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One Hundred Percent Stardust

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We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains. 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars that have people names - Nikita Gill

 

 

 

 

 

Usually when Erin heard Holtz’s laugh, it was a maniacal sound of cackling, rough edges — full teeth, hand gestures wild. At work, that was Holtzmann, and at play…that was also Holtz, as work and play were much the same for the engineer. However, when it came to quiet intimacy, her laugh was subdued, quiet, a tinkle of a giggle one that caught Erin’s heart up in it’s cadence and she got lost in the song.

 

They were on month two of Holtz’s back-to-the-drawing-board plan to be officially dating. By version three, she’d made the final draft and Erin had agreed to a formal date, which had blown her away. Now, some sixty days later, she was curled up with her head in Holtz’s lap, hiccuping a laugh into her stomach as Holtz’s chuckles reverberated through her. She felt fingers pulling through her hair and her giddy state quickly turned into a mixed one of pleasure. Giving a little moan as her scalp was teased, she squeezed her girlfriend’s middle. Sitting up, she met Holtz in a quick kiss. The blonde took her turn to cuddle up, nestling into her side, the movie they were watching on Erin’s sofa long forgotten.

 

Erin pecked the top of her head, along the part of her styled hair. Holtz put a hand on her thigh, rubbing the fabric of her jeans with her thumb. “I feel so happy when you’re happy, Erin.”

 

Securing her arm around Holz’s shoulders and keeping her at her side, the older ghostbuster responded, “It’s been a long time since…well, honestly, I’m not sure if I’ve ever been so happy. At least — consistently.”

 

There was a little squeak and Holtz was suddenly straddled across her, arms hooked around her neck in a hug. That powerful urge to laugh came back and Erin squished her again, bringing their bodies as close as she could. “You’re the frickin’ best,” Holtz agreed, kissing her cheek, then her lips, quick, and again, slowly.

 

Erin pulled back to look at Holtz’s face, so bright and full of life. She almost felt the need to wear the woman’s yellow glasses to avoid damage from staring too long. “Do you want to go get bubble tea then get comfy? You could sleep over again if you want,” She said with a blush.

 

“Hellz yeah,” Holtz summersaulted backwards, landing on her feet and gently tugging Erin up, who was once again in a state of giggles. The couple had spent the last few weekends staying with one another for the duration of the time. It had started with the realization it was one in the morning several months prior, where Holtz stood up and stretched, saying she should get headed home. Erin refused to let her leave at such an hour, and with rosy cheeks, insisted she simply spend the night, that she’d make breakfast in the morning. Though they hadn’t sealed the romantic deal with sex yet, they enjoyed simply sleeping with one another.


“Can we make french toast for breakfast tomorrow?”

 

“Of course,” Erin zipped up her boots and Holtz held out her waist-length black peacoat, which she slid into and buttoned to the neck. Holtz secured her leather jacket and the two took the stairs to step into the chilly late-fall air. Linking their fingers together, Erin led the way down the street at a breezy pace, enjoying the quiet briskness of the end-of-November evening.

 

“I used to dread Friday nights,” She confessed, breaking the silence. “I hadn’t taught a weekend graduate course in almost two years — I hated going home for the weekend before.”

 

“Well — I intend on filling every one of your Fridays from here on out,” Holtz winked in return. “The weekend never stopped me from leaving the lab. I really don’t know why I have an apartment.”

 

Erin tugged her a little closer and within two more blocks, they arrived at the Taiwanese-inspired shop. A few minutes later, Holtz was happily slurping orange jellies out of a green drink, jabbering something about the crowning achievement in the food industry of the twenty-first century. Erin stuck with the shop’s namesake, enjoying one of the original tea flavors with tapioca balls at the bottom.

 

“It’s a good thing I’m good at inventing things otherwise I’d be mad jealous of all these people that make the cool shit I love.”

 

They took the long way home, walking by the window displays that were just set up for St. Patrick's Day. “I’m just glad you’re not only getting paid for what you make, but people recognize it now. I didn’t know you before, but I’m so proud of how far you’ve come.”

 

A little thrown off by the compliment, Holtz’s cheeks flushed and she looped her arm around Erin’s elbow, leaning in as she tried not to chew on her straw so she could suck up the rest of the jellies. “Well, your new book is already on the Bestsellers list after three weeks, I’m proud of you, too, Erin. ‘Course I was a subscriber to the brilliance of the original edition myself, but this one is just as good.”

 

“And you were able to add components of the actualization to our theory in it, giving it more validity.” She pecked her girlfriend’s cheek as they entered her apartment complex upon rounding the block.

 

When back behind the locked door of Erin’s tidy home, Holtz backed the woman up slowly to the wall, kissing her lips, then her jaw and neck. “Hey,” Erin smirked, tucking a loose curl into her girlfriend’s do as she stepped back and tugged on Erin’s hand.

 

“C’mon, you said cozy!”

 

Sipping the remainder of her tea and depositing the empty cup to the trash, Erin followed the shorter scientist to her bedroom, where she had a drawer that had once contained slips and pantyhose replaced with a host of Holtz’s clothes for occasions such as the night. She loved that the stuffy, professional attire was gone and Holtz’s zany t-shirts were in their place.

 

Excusing herself to the bathroom that was attached to her room, Erin changed into a pair of flannel blue and maize sweatpants with a heather grey GWISE shirt from Princeton on top. Piling her hair into a ponytail as high as it would go, she brushed her teeth and washed her face before switching places with her girlfriend.

 

On the edge of the bed, she bit her lip excitedly, always thrilled when Holtz came out of the bathroom with her hair down. The top would still be big and curly, while underneath would be in natural, golden waves from the tight bun it was wound into all day.

 

Sure enough, blonde locks grazed past her shoulders as she stepped out of the bathroom and walked with a smile to stand between Erin’s legs, putting her hands on the woman’s shoulders and kissing the top of her head. She was in a pair of very short green shorts and a purple camisole, secretly wishing they were already intimate enough that she could just sleep naked like she did in her own apartment. Holtz ran like a radiator at night, always winding up rolling away from her girlfriend in sleep, legs sticking desperately out of the covers for cool relief. It didn’t stop her from wanting to sleep over though, or be as close to Erin as possible when drifting off.

 

Erin pushed herself back and up to the pillows, turning off the lamp at her beside, leaving the room slightly aglow from the fairy lights she kept on that ran underneath the lip of her tall dresser. After years of being traumatized in the dark, she found it easier to sleep with a light on. While embarrassingly confessing the reason to Holtz the first time she spent the night, the woman had merely curled around her and said, “I’ll keep you safe, too.”

 

Holtzmann once more tugged Erin’s body to hers as they cuddled under the blankets, pressing her lips to her cheeks, nose, neck, and finally her mouth. Erin moaned and slipped her tongue to slide against Holtz’s. The blonde held her a little tighter at the waist, her left thumb brushing the tiny sliver of skin sticking out between Erin’s top and her pajama pants. The centimeter of skin-on-skin contact rushed through Erin’s nerves and she sighed, breaking the kiss to bite her lip and glance at Holtz sheepishly.

 

“What’s that look for?” The engineer asked, her voice quiet and low and fuck it was hot.

 

“I, I…um…I…” She stuttered, embarrassed to ask for what it was she wanted. “Holtz—Jill, would you, um…want to…maybe…” The scientist didn’t rush her, merely put a gentle palm onto her cheek, eyes staying connected to Erin’s even as she looked away repeatedly to muster courage. She was fairly sure she knew what Erin was trying to ask, but didn’t want to put her out if she was wrong. “Do you want to do more than sleep tonight?”

 

Holtz watched Erin wince at her own phrasing and smiled brightly. “Are you asking if I want to have sex?”

 

Erin squeaked and nodded, a fluster of word vomit pouring out of her. “We don’t have to, I was just thinking, it’s been two months, and when you touch me like that…Maybe you want to, of course there’s no rush, we can wait —“

 

“The answer is one hundred percent yes,” Holtz interrupted the tirade of self-loathing. “It’s been one hundred percent yes since you walked through the lab door the day I met you.”

 

She watched Erin’s expression morph from embarrassed to awe-inspired in a half second’s time. “Really?”

 

Nodding, the younger woman reached her arms up, splaying them over Erin’s scapulas. “The first thing I told you was that you carry a lot of tension in your shoulders. I wanted to do anything I could to take some of that burden off of them…In my experience, mind-blowing sex often leads to total relaxation.”

 

Erin let out a tiny chuckle. “In my experience, being with you has made me relax significantly. It’s only when we’re testing new nuclear weapons or you’re setting lab fires that I feel a little tense.” Holtz’s rumble of a laugh went through her chest and to Erin’s, who shivered. “So, that’s a yes, then? We’re going to do this?”

 

“Oh, it’s a hell yes,” She responded. Her lips covered Erin’s again and her hands moved under her shirt, gripping bare skin and earning a pitch of a gasp.

 

Holtz smirked into the kiss and shimmied as she hooked a leg around Erin’s knee and twisted so she was halfway on top, pretty sure she’d have to control their first time as their Resident Lesbian™. Keeping their mouthes connected, Holtz trailed her blunt fingernails along her sides as she dragged them up and under her shirt, her own breath hitching into the kiss as Erin shivered and sighed.

 

“Baby girl, we’ve hardly just begun and I’ve already got you withering,” She teased, winking down at Erin after pulling away to squeeze her palms after lacing their fingers together.

 

Erin found her own sadistic smirk. “Who said that I’m the only one who’s going to be withering tonight? I fully intend on ensuring you come unhinged as well.”

 

Cackling, Holtz leaned down to burry her still-teased hair into Erin’s neck, kissing the vein there. “I’ve been unhinged for a long time, though I welcome any attempts to try to completely break the hinges holding my fleeting moments of sanity together.”

 

Blowing a raspberry kiss to Holtz’s cheek, knowing how much the scientist loved it when she was silly, she made her laugh even harder. “You’re so weird, Holtz.”

 

“Eh, it’s why you love me, Gilbert.” She tried not to panic as she dropped the l word, simply rubbed along Erin’s ribcage, kissing her jaw.

 

“There’s a little more to it than that,” Erin quietly mumbled into her hairline as she kissed her forehead. “But yeah, that’s a good bulk of it.”

 

Realizing Erin had essentially confirmed that yes, this was love — no, it wasn’t just casual dating anymore (and she, Erin, had initiated the sex tonight); Holtz propped herself up on an elbow with a renewed mission to ensure their first time would be sweet, memorable, and ultimately about proving she deserved this new pedestal in Erin’s mind. “Ready to be Holtzmann’ed?”

 

Erin pushed her shoulder so Holtz was on her back, brows raised at her formerly-demur professor was making the move to be so bold in bed. She straddled Holtz properly, wiggling her hips over the blonde’s, making her whimper already, though she’d claim later it was just at the unexpectedness of it all. “So freakin’ hot,” Holtz mumbled, tugging on Erin’s t-shirt, wanting to see her for the first time. Needing no further motivation, Erin pulled the article of clothing up and over her head, taken aback by the loud gasp that fell from her girlfriend’s lips when she did so.

 

“Please, like it’s the biggest rack you’ve ever —“

 

“Erin Gilbert!” Holtz sat up, shifting Erin a little so she was in her lap instead of on her hips, mouth hung open. “Oh my god!”

 

Cheeks flushed, Erin rolled her eyes. “I’m forty-three, Jill, I can hardly have the best body you’ve seen.”

 

“No, no — it’s not that,” Holtz shook her head, then took her own turn to blush. She put her hands on either side of Erin’s waist and drew forward, “Though I will dispute you, your body is amazing and your rack is great.” She winked and leaned forward, kissing the top of each breast two inches above the nipple, but pulled back quickly. She brought her index and middle finger to Erin’s ribs on the right, tracing a long stretch of curly ink that expansed from just below the swell of her breast all the way to the end of the bone, a poem that Holtz couldn’t quite read in the dim light from the LED strand across the room. “Erin Gilbert, Doctorate of Theoretical Particle Physics, graduate of the prestigious Universities of Michigan and Princeton, professor of Columbia, now world-renowned scientist…has a tattoo.”

 

With the redness extending from her face to her neck and chest, Erin mumbled, “Lots of people have tattoos, Holtz.”

 

“But you’re Erin! You wear tweed suits! You’re the most organized person I’ve ever met! You’re so clean and sparkly and you have a tattoo! A big one!” Looking like she was going to defend herself, Holtz pulled her face to her own, capturing her in a long kiss. “I frickin’ love it, Er! Just — unexpected, I mean…what does it say?”

 

Erin closed her eyes, now understanding Holtz’s reaction as one of pure excitement, not rejection as it had almost seemed at first. She ran her nails through Holtz’s hair with one hand, squeezed between her fingers with the other, repeating quietly and rhythmically from memory the words that had meant so much to her at one time, she’d stamped them forever on herself. “We have calcium in our bones, iron in our veins, carbon in our souls, and nitrogen in our brains. 93 percent stardust, with souls made of flames, we are all just stars that have people names.

 

Holtz’s mouth was hanging open again before she shook her head to physically clear the dust that was sprinkled into her brain at the potency of the words. Speechless — what diction could she provide that would appropriately follow that? — she kissed the flesh of the curly text, squeezing Erin tight around the middle as she did so. Erin let out a moan of appreciation. “I’m glad you like it,” She said quietly. “It’s my big one — my present to myself when I finished my doctorate.”

 

“Wait,” Holtz pulled away and shot a brow up with another disbelieving expression. “Your big one? Are you saying…there’s a smaller one?”

 

“Smaller ones,” Erin found the situation amusing now. “Four smaller ones.”

 

“Shut up,” Holtz starved out, glancing all over Erin’s front, hardly phased by her half-naked form, her focus consumed by more bits of ink marking the woman’s skin. “Where?”

 

Erin climbed off Holtz to turn around, holding her growing hair over her shoulder with her right hand so Holtz could see the back of the left side. “Is that…an alchemy symbol?”

 

Bobbing her head in acknowledgment, Erin explained, “It was my first one, which I got when I graduated UofM. I wanted something related to physics — but the Greek alphabet wouldn’t be terribly pretty on my skin, and I didn’t want anyone who might see it to think it was because of a sorority or some such nonsense. I decided to go more primitive, but still related to my field.”

 

Holtz traced the delicate lines of the inch wide and long tattoo. Four crosses came together like an X with a circle around the middle where their points met. “I’m afraid I’m not an expert at reading ancient science,” She admitted, not knowing what it meant.

 

“It’s the symbol to anneal.”

 

Kissing the mark, Holtz muttered, “Heating then cooling…relieving stress to toughen up. Appropriate, Gilbert.”

 

“Yeah,” The physicist sighed, “Probably should have gotten it somewhere more visible to myself so I could have been reminded of it more often. Took me almost twenty years to properly begin to hone that one.”

 

Holtz was about to argue but her eyes noticed a trace of black peaking out from the bottom right side of Erin’s pajama pants. “And what is this?” She asked, wanting to tug them off to examine the permanent artwork. Thankfully, Erin made it so she didn’t have to be a caveman undressing her woman in desperate speed. Once her pants met the floor, she noted that the lines formed a very simple constellation — eight stars total. Three at the bottom connected quite closely ascending to the right. Two more separated by a larger almost completely horizontal line were then added to one long dot in the middle, again, to the right, and then two more jutting off the top.

 

“Damn, Er — you’re such an exciting mystery to me. I don’t have a ton of constellation knowledge outside of my fifth grade trip to the planetarium. Didn’t really care about patterns, just the cool science behind ‘em. What is this one?”

 

Shivering at Holtz’s touch so low on her waist, which was a mere millimeter above her underwear line, she quietly explained, “The Lynx. Too far away and difficult to typically be visible with the naked eye. But if someone has the sight of the lynx, they can see it. I first heard of it in my astronomy class in graduate school, and was determined to find it. My professor had never seen it herself, and told me that if I found it, I would receive a bonus recommendation letter from her upon graduating. It was before the last year of my program when I finally did.”

 

Holtz was always enthralled by Erin’s storytelling, ever since she’d first come clean about her history with ghosts. The way her pitch altered and cadence stayed calm was tantalizing to her heightened senses.

 

“It was a remarkably clear night in Northern Michigan — I’d gone home for a few weeks I had off in the summer. My dad and I went to the family cottage for Fourth of July. I couldn’t sleep one night, well — most nights at the time, but…I looked up — and there it was, just staring down at me. I was so excited that I jumped into the lake in my pajamas. I decided I wanted to remember that moment forever.”

 

Bending down low, Holtz peppered kisses over each of the eight stars in the line, making Erin sigh contently.

 

“So, that’s two small ones?”

 

Turning back, Erin bit her lip, and Holtz immediately spotted ink on her upper left thigh — a second alchemic memory, much smaller than the first. It almost had the figure of a heart, but the engineer knew better. Narrow stems nearly met in the middle, but never quite touching.  Holtz once again dragged a nail along the shape and Erin knew to explain, “Um — I’m…not really proud of this one. It was kind of spiteful. But — a good reminder, nonetheless. It’s the symbol for Vitriol.”

 

“My favorite acid,” Holtz whispered in a gasp, “How could you have never told me?! I’ve been practically written on your skin this whole time!”

 

“It’s, um…not so much the chemical sense of the word. It’s the other meaning — criticism. My mom and I had a major blow out fight one day when I was about twenty-seven, I think. It was ugly, we both said things we shouldn’t have, but hers really stung me deep. I don’t want to think about them now, but I got this tattoo as a reminder that I had to spend my life proving her wrong. And I have, though I think I wasn’t going about it in the right way until recently.”

 

Holtz tilted her head, blue eyes sparkling with the reflection of the fairy lights. She put a hand on the side of Erin’s thigh, then ghosted her lips over the tattoo of Erin’s shame. Kissing her way up Erin’s leg, stomach, clavicle and neck, she pressed their foreheads together. “Where’s the last one?”

 

Erin smirked, “Oh, I’m sure you’ll see soon enough.”

 

Practically growling, Holtz leaned forward, about to tackle Erin to the mattress so she could start searching. The physicist seemed to have other plans, however, as she took Holtz’s tank top in her hands and shimmied it up and off, revealing nothing but pale skin. “How is it possible that I have five tattoos and you don’t have any?”

 

Shrugging, her girlfriend offered, “Never thought I could sit still that long. Plus — you know me, I’d get something totally absurd in a place where everyone could see.”

 

“True,” Erin giggled, pushing Holtz back so that she was on the pillows. Erin adjusted her position to be on top of her girlfriend’s hips. Holtz was whining a little, her hand coming up to stroke Erin’s poem.

 

“I’m so fucking turned on right now — it’s hardly even fathomable. Erin! You have tattoos! And they’re beautiful.”

 

Erin put a hand on either side of Holtz’s head, dipping herself down to tease her lips, keeping them just barely apart. “Are you going to gush over my ink all night or am I going to get to go down on you?”

 

“Holy shit!” Holtz closed the space between their mouths, kissing her long and hard. Erin moaned into her, taking one hand to thread in her hair. She swiped her tongue past the younger woman’s lips, which was greedily accepted as Holtz’s fingers trailed over the curves of ink on her ribcage and shoulder. Erin pulled away to start a series of long, sucking kisses along Holtz’s neck, making her tip her head back for better access. “Erin Gilbert you are a lynx. Between the tattoos and now trying to dominate me in my own field of expertise—“

 

“Jill?” Erin paused, sitting up and grazing a finger just below Holtz’s left breast, making her breath hitch. “Stop talking.”

 

“Yes ma’aam,” She responded, saluting with two fingers before closing her eyes and sighing contently as Erin’s mouth encased a nipple and let her hand wander across Holtz’s hip, squeezing against the bone.

 

Her tongue flickered against the overly-sensitive flesh and Holtz had a hard time remembering to breathe as she caught the sight of Erin sucking on her and promptly laid back. The vision of her gorgeous girlfriend and newfound tattoos while being teased mercilessly by her mouth was far too much.

 

“Erin,” She mumbled, drawing a hand to her hair as she gave attention to her other breast, massaging the damp one against her palm. “Fuck, Erin…”

 

Her hips were grinding upwards and she tried to raise a leg to better squeeze her thighs together. Instead, she wound up brushing against Erin’s underwear-covered center and bit her lip as she moaned out how badly she wanted to experience it, sans the last bit of her clothing.

 

Erin used her teeth to evoke the sound from her again, only at a higher pitch as she carefully clamped down around a nipple before popping off of it and kissing the underside of Holtz’s breast.

 

She licked up Holtz’s sternum, nipping at her collarbone and the blonde was almost in tears of desire. Daring to open her eyes, she saw Erin’s hair splaying more to the right, revealing the anneal tattoo once more and Holtz was done for.

 

“Erin,” She managed to say her name without crying, “Baby, I’m…I’ve…” She stuttered and Erin paused, sitting up and giving her full attention to her girlfriend. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this turned on before,” She choked out, taking one of Erin’s hands. “I’m so hot — you’re so fucking hot — your touch and the sight of you, fuck.” She brought Erin’s hand between her legs and the brunette laughed.

 

“Yeah, you’re a little turned on,” She said, feeling how wet she was through two layers. “How about I help you with that?”

 

Holtz whimpered as Erin scooted back and put her hands on either side of her girlfriend’s bottoms, sliding them down her legs and to the growing pile on the floor. She could see Holtz’s chest stuttering in need. “I kind of like having this power over you,” She teased, touching the inside of Holtz’s calf and tickling up to her knee.

 

“You’ve had this power over me,” Holtz admitted, eyes snapping shut, “Since the day you walked through the door.”

 

Erin’s lips tugged to a wider smile. Though she’d always wanted it, she never had much for power or control in her life. Knowing that she was in control of her destiny, and had the power to consent to a relationship of this magnitude was gratifying. Placing her hands on either side of Holtz’s waist, she leaned down to kiss just below her belly button, licking a line straight down and making her girlfriend stop breathing again. “Fuck,” She heard her whisper and Erin decided it was time to.

 

“Please tell me if there’s something you don’t like,” She made her promise.

 

Holtz dragged an arm over her eyes as Erin’s fingers glided down her sides and over her thighs — where she was already wet and hadn’t even been touched there yet. “I can guarantee there is nothing you could do to me right now that I wouldn’t like. Erin…please?”

 

Moving for just a moment so she could kiss her lips sweetly before diving in, Erin pulled Holtz’s arm away from her face, tucking it behind her head. “Ready?” Receiving a mute nod, she took two slow fingers and ran them along the damp folds between her girlfriend’s thighs. She shuddered in relief bringing her hips up in time with Erin’s torturously slow moving fingers.

 

With the way Erin was half-crouched, half-laying at her waist, all Holtz’s eyes could focus on (when she was able to keep them open for more than half a second) was the four-cross tattoo on the woman’s shoulder. Anneal - heat up, then cool down to relieve stress and make stronger.

 

Well, if that wasn’t just fucking visual poetry for the story that they would write together.

 

She bit her lip as Erin started to circle her fingers and speed up, Holtz holding herself back as long as she could (had she not tensed up, Erin’s first stroke would have done her in). Erin’s lips found her hip, biting the white skin while barely slipping her fingers inside Holtz, who was so overwhelmed and on fire by the magnitude of everything she’d discovered in the brief quarter hour they’d been going at it, that she came undone in a little cry as Erin barely curled into her.

 

Holtz felt Erin’s hair tickling her and realized the physicist was going to keep going — attempt to break laws of her own craft. She tugged her arm and the woman stopped right away, coming up to rest her head against Holtz’s heaving chest, rubbing her upper arm and kissing her shoulder. Holtz kept her eyes shut for another moment as she rode out the waves tossing her lower body back and forth. “Dr. Gilbert,” She finally spoke, eyes glazed over as she kissed above Erin’s ear. “It almost seems like that wasn’t your first time doing that.”

 

With a shit-eating grin that usually belonged to the younger woman, Erin shimmied against her body. “I’m full of surprises tonight.”

 

“Um, understatement of my life.” She let Erin kiss her in hot passion once more before slowing it down a little, biting her lower lip. “Speaking of surprises, I do believe I have one more tattoo to find.”

 

She kissed Erin’s cheek, then tucked an arm around her shoulders to gently roll her to the mattress as Holtz managed to find some coordination in her gelatin limbs to hover on top of her, eyes trailing down the woman’s arms and torso, looking at her sides carefully. With a playful pout, she pushed herself up to sit on her knees, inspecting Erin’s legs, then her feet. Erin snickered as she traced her pinky across the sole of one. “Not there.”

 

“Olly olly oxen free, Erin, where is it, baby girl?”

 

“You’ll find it,” She winked, a mega-watt seductive smile gracing her face. “I have full confidence that you’ll come across it very soon.”

 

Holtz blew air up across her face, letting a blonde curl fly up as she rolled her eyes. “Best get started then.” She rubbed her nose playfully above Erin’s belly button, her hair grazing the underside of her breasts. Erin placed a hand at the nape of Holtz’s hair, giving a little tug and making her moan into an open-mouthed kiss on her chest. “Woman,” She said with mock-agitation, “You’re trying to take me out. I will not be thwarted so easily.”

 

“Sorry,” Erin snickered, “I was just looking for something to hold onto.”

 

“Sure,” Holtz brought her head up to kiss near her mouth, then muttered into her ear, “You’re lucky we’re here and not in my apartment, I can’t handcuff you.”

 

In her continued display of self-confidence under the intense gaze of her girlfriend and now lover, Erin eyed her dresser with a wink. “You could do that here, too, you know.”

 

“Shut up!” She insisted, shaking her head, smile so bright the room was lit up twice what it was with the fairy lights. “You’re my favorite. I love you, Erin. God, it’s a good thing I didn’t know you were so hot…I mean, I knew you were hot, frickin’ look at you, but this…is so sexy and unexpected.”

 

“Are you gonna kiss me or what?” Erin teased, stroking her jawline.

 

“Oh, more than that,” She winked and brought her face down for a sweet, gentle kiss before putting her skills to work — the only ones more refined than her expertise in nuclear engineering.

 

Her lips fell to capture one of Erin’s breasts and finally, Holtz could feel the smugness falling off of her girlfriend in ripples. She fondled her other side, using her tongue to flicker across the top and swirl around a nipple, humming a little buzzing sensation, ready to drive Erin to the same heightened state she’d been in since taking off the older woman’s top. Ensuring to spend ample attention on each side, Holtz pinched sensitive skin between her teeth, hoping to leave little reminders of her love for the morning.

 

She pushed herself up a few inches with a flat palm on the mattress, using the other arm to slide under Erin’s spine and pull her towards her mouth. She noted the long expanse of Erin’s neck as she did so, feeling like a little vampiress, she let go of the nipple between her lips with a little smack, coming up to Erin’s neck and sucking greedily at her pulse point, keeping her held upright and impossibly close.

 

Erin felt like mush already and Holtz hard hardly even started. Draping lazy arms over the engineer’s shoulders, she opened her eyes to see Holtz staring at her body through thick, long eyelashes and dilated pupils, accentuating how primal the whole night was making her feel.

 

Though she was significantly quieter (pretty much always, and in bed was hardly an exception), Erin was starting to feel the heat that Holtz had been describing throughout their first time together. She brought her hips up to meet Holtz’s bare ones, trying to keep from moaning at the contact, winding up letting out a little squeak of a sound.

 

“Don’t keep quiet on my account, princess,” Holtz muttered against her neck, pulling away to see the start of a little bruise forming that Erin would probably chastise her for later. For now though, she kissed the wet spot and then her way back to her scientist’s breasts, running her hands over them in tandem after lowering her back to the pillows and pushing herself up so she was straddling Erin on her knees.

 

Recalling her mission once again she shuffled backwards on them, tucking her thumbs into the waistband of Erin’s black bikini-line underwear, pulling the damp garment away from her flesh, pouting when there was still no tiny tattoo visible along the bones of her hip or anywhere on her pelvis as she assumed it would be. “K-keep looking,” Erin encouraged her, reaching for one of Holtz’s hands and putting it on the inside of her thigh. Smirking, Holtz spread the woman’s legs apart, still coming up empty, but…not really as her senses heightened and she licked her lips subconsciously, making Erin wilt a bit.

 

“Mmm,” She let out a raspy rumble deep in her throat as she lowered herself to kiss Erin’s pubic bone and then pull away for just three tempting seconds before licking a slow line down Erin’s wet clit. Her girlfriend met the motion with a thrust of her hips and Holtz tried to avoid being too haughty as she moved her tongue vertically a few times before sucking on the tender spot and humming as Erin tried not to whine. She felt the brunette tensing.

 

Anneal, Erin, she thought to herself. Lifting one of the woman’s legs over her shoulder, she felt her mouth stop of it’s own accord in surprise. Erin let out the full sound now, though in protest as she sat up a little then realized why Holtz had briefly paused.

 

She’d found the fifth tattoo. An x, similar to her first alchemy tattoo, with ends that curled into themselves, and a circle in the middle, sat directly below her ass on the upmost part of her thigh. She didn’t know the meaning of this symbol either, but the location was hot as fuck. Giving a kiss then nip to it, feeling mission accomplished, Holtz resumed her work, holding onto her leg by curling one arm around it. Erin tried to relax, biting her lip — her cheek, anything to keep her grounded while her girlfriend worked her up below her waist. Though when she felt Holtz’s tongue dip at her entrance, she gasped and sat up, putting a gentle hand on Holtz’s shoulder to signify she wanted the blonde to keep going.

 

Holtz curled he well-trained tongue and slid it into her slowly, deliberately, then pulled out, licking a long line up her clit and back down again, repeating the process while trying to keep Erin from bucking against her.

 

Easing Erin’s leg down and off her, Holtz spread her thighs open just a bit more as her tongue stayed persistent on her clit, but switched to have two fingers inside her instead. Erin groaned at the new pressure, welcoming the change and the new pace as Holtz managed to multitask at flicking her mouth over her most sensitive place and pump in and out of her with her fingers. Again — this was her true calling, all the nuclear specialities be damned. Making Erin Gilbert unravel was going to be her next award-winning venture.

 

Erin was breathing heavier and her hands were moving all over like they did when she was dancing — her own hair, her sides, the sheets — a pillow, reaching for Holtz or pressing down against her eyes.

 

Managing to pick up the pace still, Holtz closed her eyes and moved her head in time with the stroke of her tongue, the dive of her fingers, and then Erin was done for.

 

She whimpered and though Holtz offered her a little relief from the now burning sensation sweeping across her nerves by lifting her tongue and using her mouth to kiss the inside of her thighs instead, she kept her fingers inside, enjoying the spasm if Erin’s walls around them.

 

Her orgasm lasted double the length of Holtz’s and she had almost a full minute to kiss and nurture her before Erin ripped her out and up, draping her sweaty body across her own, trying to catch her breath as she hooked an ankle around Holtz’s.

 

The engineer peppered kiss after kiss across any available space of skin she could reach without moving her body, her shoulders, upper arm, neck, and breasts all receiving tender attention as Erin seemed to find some motor function again. She nuzzled Holtz’s hair with her nose, bringing her hand to drag slowly up and down her back. Holtz kissed the space between her collar bones that dipped into a hollow spot one last time before wondering, “Tell me about that last one?”

 

“It’s to calcine, particularly gold. A restorative in a native tradition I learned about in a woman’s oppression class during my doctoral courses. I had to fill a humanities requirement, and it was probably one of the best classes I ever took. I attended a presentation from a local woman who described the holocaust of her people and how it would forever haunt her…” She closed her eyes and Holtz slid off of her body to lay down next to her so she could observe her as she spoke. “When it was over, everyone was leaving and I hung around, taking my time because I just didn't have the courage to ask what I wanted to.” Holtz ran a hand over Erin’s poem as she continued. “She wound up approaching me. She said she could sense I’d seen things that many in contemporary culture would rebuke. I asked if she’d ever been haunted by manifestations of ghosts of her people. She said yes, but a combination of calcined gold and other herbal properties had vanquished that haunting.”

 

Holtz kissed the tip of her nose then rolled her onto her stomach so she could look at the final tattoo one last time. It was really a beautiful symbol. She wasn’t going to ask about the placement of the tattoo, but thankfully Erin offered, “As nice as the story was, I was hammered after a symposium one night and I’d had that drawn out and saved to my BlackBerry…went to a twenty-four hour tattoo place and emailed it to the guy, and that’s where I evidently wanted it.”

 

Laughing, Holtz touched it one last time before turning Erin back. They both sat up and gave a long stare at one another in the fairy light until they leaned towards one another in a mutual hug and giggle. “That was great, Erin.” She kissed her cheek.

 

The brunette nodded against her shoulder. “I never knew sex could be so much fun — silly, but still so hot. Perfectly everything I love about you. After the last few really awful relationships and one-nighters I had, I decided I didn’t want to have sex again until I found someone who made me feel like I was made of 93% stardust,” She explained, gesturing to her poem. With a bright smile, she kissed Holtz’s lips and stated, “You made me feel like 100% stardust tonight.”

 

Holtz found herself actually blushing and tearing up as she now knew that phrase carried a lot of weight for Erin. Tucking Erin’s left side to her, she pulled the brilliant woman into her hold, tracing the cursive black ink with her pinky, swallowing the lump in her throat before daring to find words. “You’re my sun, and I’ll forever orbit you if you let me, and I’ll always make you feel like stardust so long as I can help it.”

 

Erin nuzzled her bare shoulder and Holtz kissed her temple. “You know, I never got tattoo, as I said, I couldn’t hold still that long and mine wouldn’t have nearly the symbolism like your do; but I did have the privilege of using my drafting skills to mark up some sweet outlines for the guys in our engineering fraternity and my excellent logo for our chapter for Affiliated was tattooed onto at least a dozen people while I was at MIT.”

 

Her girlfriend kissed her back. “I’d let you design one for me,” She said without hesitation.

 

“Yeah?” Holtz grinned wildly, feeling herself blushing all over again. “You’d let me draw something up and have it put on you for the rest of eternity? Even for your ghost self to have when you return to haunt Columbia for their wrongdoings against you?”

 

Erin pushed her shoulder playfully and stood up and out of her hold, taking her hand and leading her to the master bathroom so they could get cleaned up before falling asleep. “I would be honored to have a Holtz original on me forever. Provided you don’t say that I got ‘Holtzmann’ed’ after the artist finishes his work.”

 

Snickering, Holtz traced the anneal tattoo as Erin ran hot water for the shower and pulled two large, fluffy clean towels out of her cabinet. “No guarantees. Now I’m not going to be able to sleep for the next three days while I think of sweet designs for you.”

 

“No rush, Jill,” Erin said with a smile, plugging the drain and pouring her favorite coconut oil into the tub. “Like you said, it’s forever.”

 

“I’m going to make it perfect, I promise.” She winked and settled into the hot water as the basin started to fill, spreading her legs and making room for Erin to lean back against her. She traced the words of her poem that peaked above the water and kissed the nape of her neck. It was amazing — Erin clearly had an understanding about the marvels of the universe. She was a physicist, who believed the truth that they were all made of little bits of stars that had burst billions of year ago. Still, of all those little bits of stars, Erin had chosen her to collide with.

 

The physicist was having similar thoughts, leaning up just a little as Holtz dropped a lazy hand over her shoulder. If there ever was a soul made of flames…She knew, even in their brief time together, but it was solidified after the night’s events, that Holtz would ignite her own soul anytime she needed it.