These short-stories were written by Xtense on the Discord server, some as rewards for players, some on a whim. They're collected here and are to be treated as most-likely-non-canon-but-maybe-canon. There's also some Side Stories in impossible timelines.
These stories take place in the period between the start of the Universe and the event Bleeding Hearts. They are structured chronologically as per universe time.
Starring: Leilani Kealoha
Sitting on the porch, you could easily mistake her for a sculpture. It was a sight to behold - if she got lost in thought, she could become literally motionless, even stopping her breathing from time to time. To say it was hot would be an understatement, the sun shone on from a cloudless sky as the calm sea by her cottage reflected it in the distance, moving towards dawn. The girl could have been… 17 or 18 years old, but her expression had neither the cheer, nor the energy that people her age have. She was… calm, but in a very focused way. Her eyes didn't exactly travel from object to object, but focused on it almost instantenously. She'd make a very good hawk or eagle like that.
The girl stands up suddently and enters the cottage, from which she emerges after a short while, carrying a shiny, round object, flicking reflections to the sides. A voice from within calls:
- Leilani, what do you need the lens for?
- To look at bugs, mom.
- Alright, be home by dinner!
Carrying an old, 50s reader's lens, the girl walks towards the city. Moving past trees and a few cars heading downhill, she moves to a mixed residential/commercial area, brimming with people. A lot of tourists this time of year, most with photo or video cameras hanging from their necks, carrying cheesy memorabilia. She didn't care for them. She didn't really care for other people - noisy and… unpleasant. Picking a route that guaranteed her a lot of space, she walked behind a gate to a more silent spot. There was an empty playground there, partially covered with grass, half-abandoned, but still sometimes in use. She sits carefully by the sandpit, focusing on a little hill on the ground that is now the center of activity. Ants. Thousands of them walking around the anthill, with three visible routes outside, one leading to an abandoned, half-eaten candybar.
Leilani looks to the ants and notes in her head the trajectory each of them takes. She swears she could see some sort of… colorful markings on the surface which the ants are following, but only if she focuses really hard. It fascinates her that they seem to follow this path exactly, or almost exactly. The path reaches the candy bar and creates a whole plaza of ant activity. Adorning the candy bar's proximity, she sees the colorful markings become intensely violet here. She doesn't know what that means, but being the curious girl, she decides to… interfere a little bit into the ants' work.
First, she pulls a little bit of chocolate from the candy bar and puts it away from the well-trodden path. The ants don't follow. Alright, lets do something else… She puts her hand flat on the ground on the route which ants follow. Some try to walk around, but a few adventurous ants walk over the hand. Giggling to herself, she puts her hand next to the bit of chocolate she pulled off earlier. The ants walk from her hand to the chocolate, seem to nibble on it a little bit and… They seem confused.
- Come on ants, go back home!
They don't seem to listen to her. She seems… a little bit agitated with that.
- Ants, go home! You have your chocolate, it's time to go back!
Nothing. The ants circle the chocolate and move around chaotically. They don't listen to the girl's calls. She gets increasingly frustrated, standing up on her feet and pointing with her finger to the anthill.
- THERE! There you're supposed to go!! Don't you get it!?
Yet, the ants remain unmoved by her frustration. Leilani begins to shake a little bit, anger visible in her posture. Yells like that would be incredibly strange for someone her age, but here she was completely by herself, so no one really witnessed her tantrum. Suddenly she gets on her knees and focuses her lens to look at the ants circling the piece of chocolate. At first she intensely observes their movements, her face becoming emotionless but focused. Then, she moves the lens so that the sun shines through it, focusing its rays onto the ant.
The ant is quick to react to it's body being incinerated. Speeding up its movement, but followed closely by the ray, it stops when its legs are burned off by the scorching sunlight. Leilani watches this with an intense focus, her facial expression not betraying anything that might be going on in her soul. Her eyes start to move more rapidly in her sockets as she drops down to the other ants and methodically burns them to death. Finally, the area around the bit of chocolate is cleansed. She gets up and, still trembling just a little bit, looks around. Nobody else is in the playground, windows around her are closed and empty. Leilani, however, seems to be… breathing markedly faster than before. Not exactly hyperventilating, but you can see she is… well, “engaged” would be the best word to describe her right now. She stands for a little while looking straight ahead into space, not really focusing on anything, then she starts running towards the anthill and…
She takes a running kick to it.
Destroying the anthill seems to have made her feel a little bit better, since she started giggling a bit, like a child, but after a moment's repose standing and looking at her handiwork, she seems to have calmed down. Her expression changes to worry and little tears start forming in her eyes. She shakes her head quickly and runs off from the playground. Passing by many different tourists to get to the other side of the street, she suddenly feels… very, very strange. As if she felt something… truly, truly good. She never felt like it in her entire life, but that emotion was so fleeting, like if she never really felt it - but she did, she knows she did!
Looking around, all she can really see is the bustle of Pearl City's suburbs connecting to the beach. Tourists and locals walking in their own directions, shopfronts open, ordinary view for her. She takes a look to a family walking down to the beach, holding some gaudy inflatable toys, an excited man, a sort of a tired looking woman, some boy and a white-haired girl who, turning around for a little while, seems to have different-colored eyes. No, no, it couldn't be them, she doesn't really like other people.
Something… something wonderful just passed her by. She knows it did. And she wants it back.
She wants it back.
Tears begin to flow from her eyes. Trying to keep herself collected, she starts walking back to her home. In the distance, the sun is moving ever so slowly towards the horizon, not really close to it, but descending.
She wants it back.
Starring: Eva Varga
<stormcrow> next raid im healing
<paddy82> ffs daybreak u suk so bad
<armoredtitan> worst heal ever
The girl is looking at the screen, where a popup is showing the message: “You have died. Release spirit to the nearest cemetery?” and a red button obscure an avatar lying on the ground, in the company of many other different avatars. In the background some sort of… gigantic dragon is walking around a cavern, magical waves adorning its wings. In the lower-left corner, the chat is busy berating her for her playing.
<daybreak> i did all i could, you made me pull aggro
<armoredtitan> you dont have a bauble to drop aggro
<stormcrow> then why tf were you in the raid group asshole we got wiped because of you
Her cheek, already flushed from trying to keep everyone in her group alive, is breaking through the blue light of the screen in the dark room. As the only lightsource there, it doesn't provide much illumination, but her glasses flicker together with the screen, hiding behind them beautiful, green eyes. An attentive observer would see a tear beginning to form in one of them.
<daybreak> you didnt req for baubles when calling for a healer in chat
<armoredtitan> and what are you like twelve or something you dont go for xanartherus without baubles goddamn
<stormcrow> just kick her from the group and post feedback on her page no use wasting more time
A heavy sigh is heard in the room. The girl hovers her hands over the keyboard for a little while, with the cursor blinking showing it is ready to accept her message, but instead she reaches for the mouse and, going for the main menu, logs off. The game is shut down and a dark desktop background welcomes her eyes. Shutting down her computer, she gets up from the chair and stretches her bones and muscles. Judging by the motion, she's been there for a longer while. The dark room doesn't really let you see her motion, but with practiced moves, she passes towards her bed and lies down in it. Another heavy sigh escapes her lips, this time directed to the ceiling.
The silence in her room is broken every few moments by the sound of howling wind as her window was getting covered by quickly melting snow. You could think it was the middle of winter, but a calendar left by her desk said “July, 2013”. Putting her glasses on the nightstand, she turned in her bed to lie on her right side, face to the wall. Preparing to sleep, she moved the covers before her and positioned a pillow in between her arms. Hugging it and moving one leg on top of the covers positioned as such, as if she was hugging a person, she left her back to the rest of the room.
- They shouldn't have DPSed so weak for me to pull aggro. - she thought to herself - and why didn't they tell me they needed a bauble to drop aggro from the healer? It's not like every healer has it…
Her thoughts circled around the failed raid. Anger at her teammates was the initial point, but pretty soon a different chord began to strike in her mind.
- I should have checked out that raid on the wiki… I wouldn't have even responded to the call, then…
She starts to feel the… darkness overtake her. She is powerless to stop it. Thoughts start circling around, blaming her for the raid's failure… for not checking out the requirements… for not committing to the raid completely… For every little thing that went wrong the last three hours in the videogame. She is defenseless at the onslaught of accusatory thoughts and begins to agree with them. Yet another self-hating session just before sleep. She knows that very, very well.
- I'm a bad healer… Why didn't I check everything before joining? Maybe we'd have the mission complete already if it wasn't for me… I couldn't drop the aggro… It was all my fault…
She hugs the pillow closer as tears begin to flow freely from her eyes, staining the fabric. Quiet sniffles now join the howling wind outside in breaking the silence. Her chest moves to the rhythm of her cries, breasts squeezed against the silk. Holding on for dear life, she cried in earnest, thoughts assaulting her mind with no respite. They became more general, now.
- I'm such a failure… I can't even leave this damn house, these damn mountains and live somewhere where it isn't a weather lottery! Why can't I be like everyone else… I want to be capable, to turn my life around, I don't want to stay and rot here… I…
Her sniffles ran out, the last of her tears are now leaving her eyes. She seems… tired. Or… numb. You couldn't really tell as she is clutching the pillow for dear life and doesn't want to let go.
- I want someone to be with me… To love me… To help me… I want someone who I could hug… kiss… Who I could be with forever… I don't want to be alone anymore…
These are the last of her train of thought. She seems… too tired to really react anymore. After laying on her side for the next hour, still clinging to the pillow, her breath becomes more regular and measured. Morpheus' arm seems to have finally overtaken her.
* * *
- Are you awake, Eva?
That would be the voice of her mother, who entered the room. Surveying its state and shaking her head at the mess, she walks over to the bed slaloming over two big piles of trash and dirty clothes. She looks to her daughter, who is sleeping on her side, holding a pillow, as always.
- Hey. Hey, Eva, it's time to get up.
Eva turns to her side, releasing the pillow. Focusing her eyes, she tries to look her mother in her face, but can't really make her out apart from the general shape. Reaching for her nightstand, she takes her glasses and puts them on. Her eyesight focuses to a worried-looking woman in her late fifties.
- Get up, Eva. It's time to go to work, you'll be late if you sleep in.
- Yes… Yes, just a sec…
Her mother surveys her daughter's looks. She sees tear stains that look pretty fresh, both under her eyes and on the pillow, as two marks, still a little wet.
- Eva… what is going on? You look terrible…
- …N-nothing, mom… I just had… a nightmare…
Not really believing what she hears, the mother shakes her head again and sighs heavily.
- Well… Have a quick bath and come down for breakfast, alright? There's still a little time before you have to leave…
- Yes, mom. I'll be there in a minute.
As her mother turns around and walks away, Eva looks to her, thankful for the wake-up call. She can't not notice that her mother is growing older by the year. Pretty soon she'll need much more help around the house… Eva shakes her head and stops the thought from going further and starting another attack. Sighing, she gets up from the bed and leaves her bedroom. A door opens outside in the corridor, and soon water flow is heard, muffled by a door and the distance.
Starring: Eva Varga
She was lying sideways in bed. The wind outside blessedly gave up about two hours ago and she should be able to fall asleep without any problems, but she's isn't yet, just hugging her pillow, as she usually does. The clock suggests it is past midnight already.
The Darkness came again, as unwelcome as it was routine. This time it was a different flavour of it. Melancholic. On one hand, not the worst, but on the other, just as draining as night-long bouts of crying would be. The precipice between sadness and everyday. She woke up today. Ate breakfast. Sat in front of a screen. Ate lunch. Sat some more. Ate dinner. And went to bed. The day flew by without her even knowing… feeling it. All day wasted on looking through the Internet, playing videogames and, in general, being completely devoid of thought, of want.
Just before falling asleep, however, the day seems to be taking its revenge on Eva. She remembers her room being a godawful mess, with her never having neither energy nor want to clean it up. She didn't want to do anything at all, really. Perhaps her 18th birthday has drained her… but, no, that's imprecise. Her birthday was mostly like every other day, bar notifications jumping their way through her email and social media of friends and acquaintances wishing her a happy one. Hah, she even got to the store and bought herself her favourite chocolate which she then horked down during some battlezone matches in Realm of Conflict. But to be honest, her birthday was just like every other day of her life was since over a year. Just like this one, in fact. Spent in front of a screen, without any desire to leave the house or do anything.
The revenge was beautiful in its simplicity. “Lets just make Eva aware of all the time she's wasted”. And she's wasted a lot. Her room has been her with her solitude since forever. She got used to it so much, she doesn't even complain anymore. Like a mouse in a cage, she just eats the food pellets life throws her, gulps them down with flavourless water and… That's it, really. And Eva is painfully aware of that. More than that, she's painfully aware she will never do anything about that. Why?
Because she's scared.
It took her a long while to admit that before herself. To admit that her being like this is a direct result of fear. Fear of society. Fear of the outside. Fear of the world. Fear.
This thought is just what the Darkness was waiting for. As it starts going into overdrive, every other thought is jogged into action. Fear of the future. Fear of responsibility. Fear of adulthood. Fear of being alone. Fear of not being alone. Fear of living. Fear. Fear, fear. fear.
She grips the pillow tighter, pushing her face into the velvet surface. It's starting again, and she hates it, because she can't stop it. She's powerless to defeat the Darkness. Tears begin to flow from her eyes as pained cries leave her throat, muffled by the pillow. She just wants it to stop. She wants to stop feeling like this, she wants to stop feeling this fear of everything. Her thoughts become incoherent and overexagerrated by the distortion the Darkness creates. She blames herself. She blames her “weak spirit”, her “lack of strength”, her “stupidity” and “lack of confidence”. She blames it all on herself, because who else really can steer her life now? She's passed into adulthood. Now it's her against the world. And she's so, so scared of it.
Her throughts become fluid as tiredness takes over her. Flashbacks to various situations in her life - other kids bullying her for being “soft”, teachers telling her to speak up, even the car that ran a puddle two weeks ago and drenched her coat. All thoughts circle an immense sense of guilt that she can't resolve. She stops fighting. After suffering through this visit of the Darkness, she is finally close to resting.
Her last thoughts circle her childhood. She remembers being happy. She remembers being curious about the world. She remembers how her mom always stopped the overenthusiastic girl from getting into trouble. “Don't run”. “Don't climb that tree”. “Stop jumping around”. A flash to her pre-school years. “Be careful”, “Watch out”. Primary school: “Don't talk to strangers”, “Don't anger your teachers”, “Watch out crossing the street”.
On the precipice of dreams, she remembers something else.
“Where are you going?”. “I don't like those kids, you can't go”. “You have to be a good girl, or mommy will cry”.
Starring: Sakaki Shimizu
A tranquil, silent scene. Light flows through the wooden room, diffused through paper covering the walls. Wood-paneled floor, covered by intricate patterns, painted onto the surface. A girl can be seen sitting with her legs bent underneath her by an ornate niche in the wall, surrounded by large candles and twigs of evergreen trees standing in vertical pots - inside the niche, a painting of a man wearing an imperial Japanese uniform, with the imperial flag behind him, a red sun with red rays spreading. Wearing a traditional tsukesage kimono, she seems to be deep in thought, or perhaps… prayer. Nothing interrupts the scene for a longer while, silence filling the surroundings if not for birds singing a bit further. You could swear the girl is immobile, but her slow breathing tells you she is alive.
Panels behind her suddenly slide to the side, and a man dressed in a pretty official-looking suit enters the room. Walking towards the niche, he stands to the side of the girl, looking forward for a short while. He speaks with a cold, emotionless voice.
- Your chanoyu instructor is here. Afterwards, you will be practicing kendo under Hideki-sensei. I do not want a repeat of what happened last time. You will not bring shame to our family.
- Yes, brother.
- Father left us no will. His estate will go to the one most…
The man pauses for a while, shooting a glance to his left. The girl remains immobile, with her eyes closed.
- … worthy. You will do well to not interfere.
- I know, brother.
Satisfied, he turns around and proceeds to leave the room. The girl continues her meditation for a while longer while the light outside begins to turn redder. She remains motionless, not letting even the tiniest emotion show on her figure. Evening is soon to join.
* * *
She is looking from an upper window in the mansion. Her brother is talking to a man outside, decidedly… unfitting the surroundings. Wearing a gaudy, almost juvenile shirt and dark glasses, the man is gesticulating while loudly proclaiming that “everything is fine”, “all has been taken care of” and “you have nothing to worry about, man”. Tsk. She already knew this was a misstep for that man for which he will pay, in time, probably in some humiliating assignment. Her brother is a ruthless man, as he unoficially took the reins of her home as the rest of her siblings only now are being informed of her father's passing.
She knows exactly what that means.
Her brother never really shared with her what he was doing in life, but she knew he was a man not to be trifled with. Although he inherited most of her father's military bearing, with that came ruthlessness - which he developed into his particular blend of loose morality. She kept her distance as much as she could, but when father left this world, he became… overbearing. Determined to continue her education into a fine lady, he lacked any grace or restraint her father had. He simply signed her up for more of the usual lessons and kept her in check, punishing her when she didn't perform to his expectations. She didn't really mind the lessons themselves - after all, she grew up around tradition and honored it, as her father did - but her brother's presence made it… unpleasant. Always there. Always watching. As if…
A sudden explosion outside. The man in the garish clothes fell to his knees and to his side, with a gunshot wound spewing blood from his lung. Two more shots, targeted to his heart. She looked on in horror. Raising her hand to her mouth, she stifles a gasp. “Brother… what have you done…”, she whispered to herself.
Her brother relaxed his hand, which went to his side. It was clutching a gun which was smoking a little bit from the barrel. He stood for a short while, then turned around to the mansion's entrance. As he was turning, the girl stepped back from the window, not to be seen.
* * *
She tried to remain calm. She pulled out her finest incense and meditated. Looking at her from the outside, you couldn't really tell she was distraught. Her expressionless face betrayed nothing, as her brother entered her room. He already changed and you couldn't smell the powder, but she knew what she saw.
Turning around slightly from her sit by the chabudai, she forced herself to be completely calm, as always.
- Yes, brother?
- I will be having a bath later. Prepare it for me.
She kept sitting, without speaking. Why. Why is he doing this right now. Servants always prepared his bath. Something's wrong. Something's very wrong.
- Are you defying me?
- No… No, brother.
- Good. Remember, I do not look kindly upon those useless to me.
- Yes, brother.
He shut the sliding door and she could hear his footsteps leaving toward his part of the mansion. She breathed out strongly. At first glance you couldn't really tell, but if you paid close attention, you could see the tiniest little tremor in her pose.
* * *
Finishing heating up the water and leaving the bucket and ladle by the side, she finished preparations. She… hesitates just a moment, but forces herself to leave the bathroom and go to his office. She… wants to call out outside, but it wasn't how she was raised. She enters the room and sees her brother at his desk, writing something in his notebook.
- Your bath is ready, brother.
- Good. You may leave now.
She can't help herself not to look towards his hand writing kanji in his notebook. The notebook seemed scrawled with lines striking out series of characters. A fresh line was added today by the looks of it. She wouldn't have payed attention if not for a small detail. Her father, for some reason, taught her how to read writing from hand motions. “As a precaution”, he always said when she asked. By chance, she picked the exact right moment to read a Jinmeiyō kanji character being written. “Sakaki”.
Her heart started beating fast and she used all of her willpower to remain calm and not show her emotions. Her brother looked up from his notebook and made an impatient motion with his face towards the door. Forcing herself to remain calm and taking measured steps, she closes the door and walks away.
Starring: Valentina Sapienza
Smoke rose from the cigarette left in the ashtray in a velvet line, twisting to the sides as it travelled to the ceiling, stained with an obvious darker hue, signalling it wasn't the first smoke to grace its surface. The room was kept in a dim shade, rays of light shining through the edges of closed blinds. A medical-looking office, though by the amount of dust on the bookshelves around it you could tell it wasn't used to its capacity in a longer while. Behind a big mahogany desk, a woman was sitting with her legs crossed, holding a document folder on her legs and moving pages from time to time.
Her glasses refracted her blue eyes as they jumped from word to word, the face of a beautiful Italian woman in her late thirties. Red hair, kept short, though not too short as she liked to call it, was seemingly unkempt, but appeared just right to match her tired look. Reaching for the cigarette, she lifts it to her lips and expertly pulls a drag, a sure sign that she's been smoking for long in her life. Dropping the ash into the tray, she hits the cigarette with her long, fire-red fingernail, a sign of impatience on her forehead as she frowns her brow.
She wasn't really reading the documents… just was passing time before her next patient would come to the proper office in the other room for her therapy session. She hated when other patients missed their appointments, because it gave her an entire hour of thought, which she wasn't always able to fill. This was one of those moments.
A side glance towards a picture frame on the desk. A little red-haired girl with two adults - her parents. She sighs to herself, shaking her head slowly. Another look is directed towards the laptop left on the side, opened in one window to a stereotypical dating site, with a picture of a pretty young-looking man smiling silly with a beer in his hand, showing off his naked chest. The other window was her email client, currently opened on a message from a certain “pussyslayer98”.
“Sry babe, ur hawt but i dont do cougrs”
Her last emails with that account were… well, to say spicy would be underselling it a bit. Rough and animalistic descriptions of sexual acts from him, with crotch shots attached, and her sultry, teasing messages pulling his passion as far as she could. Her last email to him contained her photo, her face and chest, breasts adorned with a racy bra, squeezed together by her arms, a positively sexual look in her expression.
Reaching out to the laptop, she angrily closes it, muttering “Cazzo!” under her nose. Taking another drag from the cigarette, she burns out a good-sized bit of it. Her phone begins vibrating with her alarm, signalling her that her patient will be coming in, soon. Trying to keep herself professional, she stands up, pulls on her dress and puts on her doctor face. Walking away from the desk and opening the door, she leaves the rest of the cigarette in the ashtray to burn helplessly.
Looking from above, you could also see a scientific paper next to the laptop, its front page with big lettering, titled: “The effects of late sexual activity on female biology and psyche”. It appears it was discarded pretty roughly, with a bookmark around the two-thirds.
Starring: Mary Green
Relaxing on the couch, you hold Mary close to you with one arm while operating the remote for the TV in the other. Surfing channels, you can't seem to find anything interesting. Mary doesn't seem to be too interested in the TV either, she put a pie in the oven just a few minutes ago and she's relaxing with you. She is a little bit tired under her eyes while the evening is rolling in nicely. Outside, it's already gotten pretty dark and you'll soon be leaving to rest once the oven can be turned off and the pie left to cool down.
You can't really choose what to watch, so you turn off the TV with a sigh. Mary looks to you with a smile.
- Heh, yeah, I don't like evening TV either. Why don't we talk for a while, dear?
Well… there are a few things you always wanted to ask her. Like, how exactly she managed to show up at your place with no idea what she was doing. But, honestly, you don't really care about that anymore. The exact way Andrea's influence works is unknown to you, but it did bring her here, and for that, at least, you are grateful. Mary is such a sweet, loving woman… You can't imagine your life without her nowadays. Her smiling, positive, warm presence in your house definitely changed both you and your thoughts for the better. You wonder what was it like before you met, however. She's a young woman, barely pushing 21, but she's built like… well, she'd probably be great at basketball or volleyball. How is it that nobody else noticed her before? In high-school at least she should have the jocks, at the very least, aiming for her.
- You know Mary, I actually wanted to ask you something.
- Yes, dearest?
- What was it like for you in high-school?
Her smile drops just a little bit, and her eyes look down from your face to your chest. She seems… hesitant to breach the subject. Before you start regretting asking the question, she gets more air in her lungs and steels herself for an answer.
- Ohhh boy… This is probably not going to be a fun subject. I don't keep secrets from you, dear, and there's really nothing disturbing there, but it wasn't the best for me.
She makes herself more comfortable on the couch, a more solemn look on her face. You keep embracing her with an arm, listening to her story.
- So… where do I begin? Well, lets go over the looks, I guess. I know I look great, I know I look sexy and I've had it like that while growing up.
You won't deny that. The moment she walked through your door, you were smitten by her beauty, her charm following close by with each word of her introduction. You can't really imagine her ever looking different. Mary, to you, is just like that - a smiling, warm, beautiful woman.
- Well, turns out, when you're surrounded by horny little shits, that's not the best thing to be. I was hit on pretty much every day and everyone treated me like a stupid blonde bimbo for that.
You see her smile dropping even further, and it pains you. You didn't want to bring up her painful memories like that. You can understand the kids, you were one yourself not long ago and hormones are really hard on the boys, but you never allowed yourself to become this walking stereotype of a boy who just discovered the idea of boobs.
- Nobody ever cared for me or my feelings, all they wanted to do was either mack on me, grope me or shoot photos of me. The boys, however, I could handle, you were just…
She looks over to you with an apologetic smile.
- …growing up. Girls, however… Girls were a completely different matter.
You gulp a little, curious about the fabled female student society. Growing up, girls were these mythical creatures that created sisterhoods to talk about their matters in secret, never letting any boys within listening range. Always giggling behind your back, or walking away dismissively when you showed the least attention… Yeah, growing up was tough. But Mary was a member of the sisterhood… wasn't she?
- You know, girls are kind of like a… - Mary giggles to herself a little bit - … like a school of piranhas. If they ever smell blood in the water, they feed. And I was the perfect target for them, because I was just too gosh-darn pretty for my own good. So they did… pranks to me. Pranks I never really liked nor laugh about.
Mary's face becomes completely serious as her eyes glaze over a bit with rememberance. She seems to have vivid memories of the things girls did to her, and it pains you to realize it. After all, this is all still fresh in her mind, she barely left high-school. You steel yourself for whatever the girls may be doing to each other which you never knew about.
- You see, when we were having PE at the pool? They were stealing my panties and bra, so when I got out of the water, I couldn't change back. I could either walk to the teacher's lounge in my swimwear while all the school looked, made rude gestures and took photos, or go commando. They never gave them back. I hated them so much for it.
Damn… I mean, you had your share of wet willies and indian burns, but the worst that happened to you was fighting behind the gym. Girls are vicious… You can't imagine putting someone through shame like that. And for what? Just because she looked pretty? Fuck that. You hug Mary closer wearing an expression of sad, but hopeful warmth. She responds by smiling at you and looking you in the eyes, then continuing.
- So I was… completely alone in high-school. Too pretty for my own good. Never had a real friend or anyone who really cared for me. It made it hard to make friends in Uni. I dropped out ultimately, I couldn't take yet another year of loneliness like that…
You can't hold it in anymore. You hug Mary whole-body and keep her close. It must have been so painful to her, such a good, warm and loving soul, treated so unfairly. Being so sensitive, it must have hurt like hell every time. You don't really want to release her, a sudden feel of protectiveness overcoming you, but you feel her hand moving to your head and stroke your hair…
- Heheh… It's alright, it's fine. After all… on a warm evening, after I left my house since I couldn't really stand being alone, I noticed something weird at one door. All of the ad papers were strewn across the floor of the patio. I worried that some old person may be having trouble, so I came over, and… well, I saw the man who I instantly felt something special for.
Your eyes get a little wider. What. Well, yes, you don't care for the ad shit they keep throwing into your mailbox and it may have been overflowing, but… Did she really say she came over to your house just because they were lying around there? And she thought some old person needed help? Oh… Oh Mary… You're too good for this world… You hug her and turn your head a bit in your embrace. You were truly blessed to meet her. You don't deserve someone as good as that. She's… She's, like, an innocent angel, sent to this earth to make your existence not only bearable, not just pleasant, but downright happy… Yes. Yes, Mary makes you so happy to be with her, to love her, and knowing she loves you makes it all even better. An irritating ding breaks your train of thought, stopping you from your blissful thoughts about the best woman you met in your entire life.
- Ah… Dear, I think the pie is done. Heheh… Alright, let me go now, I'll just get it out for it to cool down, and…
You look up at her from your position, she wears the brightest, prettiest smile, as she always is. Oh Mary… Selling your soul was worth it, if only to meet you.
- …and maybe we'll continue this in the bed, sweetest?
Starring: Sakaki Shimizu
Entering the living room, you find Sakaki sitting by the low table, Japanese-style. With her legs bent and posture straight and prim, she's the very model of Japanese propriety. You smile to yourself. How many times did you tell her she could freely sit on the couch? She always politely resisted your invitations.
- Dinner is ready. I decided to make riceballs today.
- Thank you, Sakaki. Let's eat!
She gets up from her position and, just as prim and proper as she sat, she walks over to the kitchen to bring in dishes. You move to help, but she politely stops you. It's… such a strange feeling to basically be served in your own house.
The rice balls are delicious. You make your satisfaction known by eating loudly, commenting often on the taste - a thing you learnt fast when your silent, western soup eating caused her the tiniest distress. You never really felt comfortable with that, but suffering such a tiny discomfort to see the tiniest smile on her calm face? Worth it, every time.
After the meal, she is standing by the sink, cleaning up the dishes. You tried to help, but, again, she politely refused.
- Hey, Sakaki… You don't mind that you're basically acting like my own personal maid?
- No. It is natural for me. It is traditional for women in Japan to be house-keepers.
- But doesn't it bother you? I mean, we aren't marr-
You bite your tongue. You just touched upon the last barrier between you. You know it would give her eternal happiness, but your current lifestyle just won't allow you to settle down like that. Andrea is probably laughing at you from… wherever she is. When she told you you'd meet many women, you thought they'd all just want to fuck, you didn't plan on falling in love with them! This thought makes you sad. Visibly so. And Sakaki notices.
- …It's okay. I help you, because I love you. I don't need a paper to know that you love me, too. Whenever you will be ready to make that step, I will be there for you. Even if it takes all my life, I will wait for you.
Her words bring you pain instead of happiness. You hate yourself and hate the deal you made with Andrea. Sakaki is too good of a person to hurt like that. It's true, without Andrea's influence, you would have never met - but you don't want to witness her wither in her love for you!
Somehow, Sakaki notices your inner turmoil. She moves her hand to touch your face which instantly removes you from your thoughts.
- I know there must be something that forbids you to do that. I am certain if you were able to, you would have proposed a long time ago. I understand that. In Japan, marrying out of station is very frowned upon. I am a foreigner here and you could suffer ostracizing by your family and friends. But there is something you must understand…
She moves in front of you, slowly touching you with her body. Her breasts, then her belly, everything touches you in a whole body hug. Before you know it, she is straddling you.
- I love you. Nothing else matters to me. I know you love me, too. Why would we need anything else but each other?
Your eyes meet. You stare at each other for a moment. And then, you kiss. And everything is right again.
Starring: Cleo Loring
A right hook to the face! It hurts like hell, your jaw feels like it jumped out of its socket for a moment.
- C'mon, what's with that stance, man? I walked in there like your whole left side was asleep! Step it up, man!
Cleo retreats a bit, her boxing glove-clad hands still raised. She's ready for more. You won't give up so easily! With renewed vigor, you shake your head, sweat drops flying around.
- Hah, that's my man. Gimme your best shot!
You parry a few light jabs thrown by her, positioning yourself closer. She's not the kind of person to go easy on you, though, and you know it all too well - your jaw is still stiff around the place where her glove hit you.
Doesn't matter. You're gonna pummel her. With three steps to the right, you dodge her fast lefts and are now open for a breakthrough!
Yes! Your punches now brought her to the defense! Now to angle to the left, prepare the hook, and…
- Too slow, babe.
And… you're on the floor. You never really appreciated why people say they “saw stars” after a hit like that, but now you fully understand. Coming back to yourself, your vision going back to you, you see Cleo in a triumphant pose, with her trademark half-smile. Sweat glistens off of her skin, rivulets flowing lower to her body. She's tired, but proud of herself. Can't blame her, that was a mean punch, goddamn.
* * *
You're standing outside the shower, sweaty and tired. It's her turn since she won. Through the dim light and water vapours, you see the silhouette of her body, working on cleaning herself up.
- You did good. Most guys can't even move past my straight and left, you dodged that babe. You left yourself open like a can of beef, tho.
Your memory of the match feels a bit different from her appraisal. You weren't exactly spry, but you held yourself while you were on the defense. On the offense… well, the jaw still hurts a bit, so that's a good reminder.
- No sweat, you'll be a champ in no time. Hell, if my dad taught you how to box, you'd be one hell of a competitor.
There is a pause. You want to remain silent for a while and, well, the aching jaw doesn't allow you the freedom to jabber. Cleo seemed to have stopped cleaning herself and is now standing in the stream of water, as if contemplating something.
- Babe… remember what I said some time ago? About you not bein' an asshole?
You nod to yourself in your mind. It always puzzled you about Cleo. It's not like you never did your share of ogling and hot damn isn't her bod worth that, but… Maybe you had the right… attitude or something?
- I stand by what I said. You're a fun guy to be around. And… well…
Hearing a bit of hesitation in her words, you have an inkling she's about to say something important.
- Ah fuck it. C'mere you.
A wet hand reaches from the shower to grab you by your still wet t-shirt. You are being pulled inside and soon all you hear is shower water splashing everywhere. Before you stands Cleo, in all of her sporty, sexy glory. Her hands touch your arms for a while and then move behind your back in the strangest sort of shower hug you've ever had. When her head is close to your ear, she whispers:
- Thanks for being for me, babe. You're a good guy. My dad would be proud of you.
Her words come strangely strained. You feel the need to react - and embrace her in turn, bringing your bodies closer. Standing like that under a stream of water, you share a heartfelt moment. You're not sure why she seems to be in pain, but you have an inkling. She did mention her dad was a cop…
She pulls out of the embrace, a new vigor in her.
- Right, enough of the feely shit. I actually have a different reason to invite you here… A reason I feel you're not gonna be angry about.
She pushes you to the wall of the shower. She seems so aggressive now. And you know, deep inside, this is the real Cleo. She takes what she wants. And now she seems to want…
- Well lookie here, ain't you hard and ready. You wanted it, admit it. You love it when I rough-house you a bit.
And the truth be told… you do. You love it. Especially after seeing her decidedly wet in a place that shouldn't be wet from just sparring. Your little peeping position allowed you to see that she's turned on as much as you are right now, when her hand moves across your completely soaked from the shower pants.
- What do you say… ready for some cardio?
Cardio, she says. Hah. But… You were ready. Oh yes, you were ready.
Starring: Raquel Cardoso
The door is flung open and Raquel storms inside, fury still obviously oozing from every inch of her person. She walks over to you and, with full intent, stands in front of the TV you have been watching.
- ARE YOU GOING TO JUST SIT AROUND ALL DAY, ASSHOLE!?
O-kay… You sigh to yourself, turn off the tv and make the most theatrical “i'm listening” pose that you're capable of, with leg bent over your knee even.
- What is it, Raquel?
- ALL YOU MEN ARE PIGS, CHAUVINIST SCUM AND SEX-FIENDS! A WOMAN CAN'T SAFELY STAR IN A PHOTO-SHOOT WITHOUT SOME GROPING, UGLY-ASS BASTARD AND HIS DEMANDS ABOUT “LIGHTING” AND “POSES” AND OTHER BULLSHIT! ALL OF YOU ARE THE SAME, I SWEAR I'M GOING LESBO RIGHT THIS FUCKING MINUTE!
She's very distraught. It wasn't her first session, so something must have happened to activate her like that. You inquire delicately.
- What happened?
- THAT GUY HAD THE GALL TO TAKE MY HANDS AND POSE THEM FOR HIS PHOTO!! I SMACKED HIM IN THE FACE AND WALKED THERE AND THEN, NOBODY'S GONNA TOUCH ME LIKE THAT WITHOUT MY EXPLICIT FUCKING PERMISSION!
Ah… So, the guy was working with Raquel first time and didn't know she had a hair trigger, tried to pose her for the photo and got a face-full of her flat hand. Poor guy.
- Alright, but… what do I have to do with it?
- ALL YOU MEN ARE THE SAME! DON'T EVEN DENY IT! I SAW YOU OGLE MY ASS WHENEVER I WALK BY, I SAW YOU SALIVATING AT MY TITS! YOU ONLY WANT ONE THING, YOU'RE A PIG!
It's… not completely untrue, because you admit you've stolen one or two glances towards her. She was always wearing something incredibly cute. For one photo-session she was dressed in a beautiful suit, like a CEO or a secretary, wearing fake glasses and… well, she was the perfect person for that series of photos, the air of authority around her was stunning and alluring. But you don't really get it. You've fucked before. Hell, you had a few chances to ruin that pussy, yourself, especially when she was angry like this and wanted to wind down. There may be something more to the story that she's not telling you, but, to be honest, at that point you don't care too much, since she's about ready to go to stage two.
- YOU'RE SLEEPING ON THE COUCH TODAY AND THAT'S FINAL! I DON'T WANT TO HEAR ANY EXCUSES, MOVE YOUR SHIT AND STAY HERE!
Aaaand there it is. She's moving your stuff around in your own house as if she owned it. Can't have that, you already learned that never brings anything good. You stand up and grab her hand.
- WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU SAY!?
- No, Raquel. As much as you're pissed off right now, you're not ruling over my things. Sit the fuck down and calm down.
She looks at you, retort at the ready in her mouth, but she stops herself. She sits down angrily on the couch and, with the unhappiest gesture ever, crosses her arms on her chest. She's so cute when she's angry like that, a furious blush adorns her cheeks while her eyes dart side to side, looking for something to get angry over. Her foot slaps the carpet in a rhythm while she's waiting for the situation to unfold. You notice she's missing her handbag and decide to inquire about it.
- What? That old thing? I threw it away.
The blush gets redder. Ohhhh no Raquel, you're not getting out of it so easily.
- I threw it out because I hated it, okay!? I don't have to explain myself to you! I can get as many handbags as I want, every day! None of your business!
You sigh to yourself. The handbag mentioned was one you bought her some time ago when she wouldn't shut up about it. You treated it as your “Raquel-tax” and didn't give it much thought, but she seemed to really enjoy it and flaunted it often. You want to press her on the handbag's fate and decide a direct approach is the best.
- Raquel, where's the handbag I bought you?
She looks at you, her blush getting even redder. You can see she's ready to go on another tirade of hating men, sexism, their grabby behaviour to distract you. But… she doesn't. Instead, she looks down, with the cutest little grimace and says quietly:
- …I sold it.
- I can't hear you, Raquel.
- I SOLD IT, OKAY!? I NEEDED A BETTER ONE ANYWAY! GOD, MIND YOUR OWN BUSINESS, WHAT I DO WITH MY OWN STUFF ISN'T ANY OF YOURS, STICK YOUR NOSE INTO TV AND WATCH SOME PORN YOU ASSHOLE! URRRGHHH, I'M LEAVING!
She gets up in a huff and stomps outside, slamming the door on her way out. You're… not completely sure what happened just now, but it seems Raquel sold the handbag you got her. Okay. You're not really happy with that outcome since you bought it for her, but she does what she wants and she was always the kind of woman who went for a better deal when she saw it. Knowing her, she found a better handbag and needed some credit to buy it. Sigh, that woman… Well, at least your plans toward her are still in motion. She just needs to get a little bit more comfortable around you and… well, it's going to be worth it. She always hated doing it there, but this time, she's not going to have much choice. And you're sure she's gonna love it…
Smiling to yourself, you return to watch the TV. You don't really hear Raquel returning to your home, standing in the doorway to look at you, then at the ground, to then leave quietly.
Starring: Annabelle Cumming
- …and could you believe it? He actually had the gall to reschedule! What absolute twaddle, we would have had that client if only the lead wouldn't have stuck his nose into the room! Urrgh, it makes me so mad! Next time he opens his gab, I swear on me mum I'll give him the what for! Sometimes I can't believe how thoughtless my bosses get, like this one time, when we were planning a business trip to Italy, he stuck around like an undecisive git waiting for the last damn second to buy the tickets, and what do you know! They sold the last spots for our plane! The worst, however, is the boss' pet secretary, that trollop was this close to breaking up their marriage, fortunately the man had his wits about him and resisted before it was too late! Honestly, you have to be full of yourself to go after a married man! I'm not even going to…
The last half hour you spent listening to her drone on and on, yet, to your amazement, Annabelle didn't seem the least bit tired. Her mouth can work forever with the way she just keeps talking and talking. You wouldn't be yourself not to laugh under your nose at that thought, though - you'd find a use for that, definitely.
- What? What is funny? The man's misfortune seems funny to you or what? Ugh, you can be so insensitive sometimes!
Uh oh. Caught with your pants down.
- I'm… sorry Anna, I phased out a bit while you were explaining and something tickled me…
- Oh, are you tired, dearie? Well why didn't you say so! Wait just a moment, I'll put the kettle on and we'll have some nice, relaxing Lemon Balm tea, you'll sleep like a baby today!
Annabelle stands up from the couch, the motion making a little… well… you're this close to laughing at yourself for thinking the word “boobquake”, but it IS pretty damn accurate. She turns to you, her drills following her swift head motion, and with a cheerful smile, she declares:
- Would you have some crackers with your tea? Or perhaps buttered scones? I did some shopping after work, it's all in the bags I left in the kitchen. I also got you some ordinary bread, but, bah, this bread you have here isn't really what real bread should be, it's all rubbery and weird! You should try some real European bread sometime! When I was on a trip to Portugal… ah, but I'm starting myself up again, sorry. I'll be right back!
She leaves with an energetic step. You could swear that with the size of her… natural beauty, you should hear stomping, but she seems to move with a smooth, silent, practiced motion. Deep down, she is a fine lady. An aristocrat without a court. Sitting on the couch and catching up on the blessed silence, once again you take your time to think about her.
She basically invited herself in. You're still amazed at that, since no woman you knew ever did that. True, some were interested in visiting, but that always came later. With her, she just… asked if she can walk in and then you started talking. Or, more precisely, you started listening to her with a few courteous nods here and there. The woman is an incredible, unstoppable chatterbox, entirely fitting her gorgeous, full looks. She wasn't fat, oh no, she took care of her body and worked out a bit even, but… well, there was no escaping it. Her boobs were gigantic. You're pretty sure they're the biggest boobs you've seen in your life.
- Would you like some milk with your tea, love?
- No, thank you Annabelle!
You're left wondering again. About specifically her this time. How she keeps talking about her work and how frustrated she gets. You know she is a driven, successful woman, who sacrificed… pretty much everything to get high up on the chartered accountant ladder. You sometimes tried to get something about her past out of her, but these are pretty much the only times where she isn't talking endlessly. Sparing answers about “some friends” in junior high, evasive answers about her parents and growing up, pretty much nothing with regards to any womanly thing she might like. You're not the type to pry, but it is pretty easy to understand most of her private time was spent alone. It was weird for you - for a woman so beautiful, so… naturally gifted, you would never expect her not to take advantage of that and become a model or an actress. A nagging, unfunny thought suggests exactly what kind of actress she would be great as, but you brush that thought away, you're in no mood to joke about her like that. She's a good person, deep down, she doesn't deserve that.
- Here you are, dearie, some Lemon Balm tea, guaranteed to calm you down and allow you to relax.
Standing a classic tea set before you on the table, she sits beside you and begins to drink her fill. You would assume this to be the right time for her to resume her chatter, but she seems to treat tea very seriously and with dignity. Is that a british thing? Or… maybe it is an aristocratic thing. You're not quite sure, but you take the cup from its saucer and begin to slowly taste the tea.
It's delicious. You never had a fancy tea like that, not to mention where you're from you're more likely to drink coffee, anyway. It was brewed with experience, you can tell - the liquid is just warm enough to feel good, but not cold enough to begin tasting differently.
Halfway through the cup, your eyes begin to close. You feel tired, and you stopped fighting with yourself, really. Relaxing on the couch, you allow your head to droop a little, which Annabelle notices.
- Oh, dearie… You're very tired today. You should rest up a bit…
She pauses for a while, visibly thinking. A delicate blush forms on her cheeks. After a moment's hesitation, she gets closer to you and hugs you with her left arm, bringing her head closer to your ear.
You will probably cherish this moment forever, for two reasons: one, this is literally the first time you've known her when she kept her voice down, and two…
- I wanted to thank you for being so kind to me. I know I'm a drain, I keep talking and there isn't much I'm doing for you, always at work and rarely the time to just sit down. But you're not just putting up with it… You're being a real dear, who listens to me, spends time with me, is always there wherever I need. Thank you, love.
She rests her hand on your forehead and then… gently slides your head towards her magnificent beauty. You are now resting your head on her pillows. And pillows are the right word, they're so soft, so pliable, so pleasant to the touch. You feel sleep taking you over, but you want to fight that, you want to feel that for the longest time possible. She took her hand away and is now delicately playing with a lock of your hair. It feels so strange… but so, so right…
- Please rest, love. I won't go anywhere. I'll be here for you, just as you are for me.
You really don't want to, but your eyes are closing by themselves. The last thing you see is Annabelle's reversed smile and her half-closed eyes. Sleep takes you, with your head resting on the fluffiest cloud you've ever felt in your life.
Starring: Leilani Kealoha
He was asleep.
He was so cute when he was sleeping.
His abdomen rhythmically moving up and down - she watched that motion like… something between an owl and a cat.
- I love you. I love you so much - she whispered to herself.
These last few days she spent in his house. And around it. And… pretty much as near it as was possible. She didn't let him out of her sight, but she was satisfied with her observations - he wasn't meeting any other women, he was staying inside like a good husband ought. She dreamt of their marriage. Her in a white dress, him in a glorious tuxedo. Nobody else but them. No priest was even necessary. They would swear to each other, on their blood. She even had a knife in those dreams. One of those beautiful obsidian ones he gave her.
Motion in the bed. Her focus returned. The sleeping pills seem to be giving up for now. She sighed to herself - oh how she loves to watch him asleep, but it'll end soon. For now… she will enjoy the sight.
- I love you. I love you so much - she whispered to herself again.
Idly playing with a kitchen knife, her thoughts drifting to her lover's insides. She knows where his beautiful heart is. How his diaphragm works when he breathes. That little twitch he does with his leg whenever she's around. She wondered what could that mean? Oh, for sure it was his love, trying to escape! No other explanation!
- Nnm… Hhhhhh… uUuaaahh…
- Good morning, my love.
He seemed to react instantly, any trace of sleep gone from his eyes. He focused entirely on her and she loved that about him so much. Only this man knew what she needed. His full, undivided attention. Hiding the knife behind her back, she moved closer to the bed, to lay her head on his torso. He jolted back a little bit as he felt it. He's so vulnerable. So trusting. So beautiful.
- I love you. I love you so much.
Starring: Yasu Teramura
Author's Note: This story was actually written for Discord user @oeroe, but I figure it was the point that I established their behaviours as more-or-less canon, and wanted to keep it instead of moving it to the Impossible Timelines sub-page.
Yasu is having some problem again. You sigh to yourself, but smile a bit. That girl needs all the attention, but always tries to play herself off as independent. Hah, she'd be hopeless living alone. Maybe it's a good thing she decided to move in? Walking up to the kitchen, you see her by the counter, struggling with something.
- What is it Yasu?
- I want to open this Jar of Faerie Blood, but I can't…
You look at the jar she was struggling with. Strawberry jam. Uh-huh.
- Alright, give it here.
Yasu gives you the jar, looking expectantly at you and your hands. With a practiced twist, you open it and the lid pops open. She jumps back at that.
- *gasp* WHAT WAS THAT? What else was hidden within?!
- It's just air rushing into the jar, Yasu.
- There is trickery afoot! We must remain careful! But this is a reagent I desperately need, thank you!
Her happy blush is beautiful. It's moments like these that you love best about her. On one hand, so innocent, on the other, so warm. You observe how she's walking back to the counter, a new spring in her step. She takes on a faux-ritual pose.
- I beseech thee, spirits of the earth, grant me your offspring's bodies, so that I may join them with Faerie Blood to create the ultimate maintainer!
Moving her hand with full focus, she… grabs some sliced bread. Okay.
- O Faeries, thy blood granted to me shall be used to create a wondrous thing! Joining it with the bodies of the earth spirits' offspring, the land shall be at peace once more!
Aaand… now she spreads some jam on the bread. Uh-huh. Okay. Alright. She turns around, presenting her creation to you in the most triumphant gesture.
- See, brother? You helped me make the ultimate sustenance, a dinner of the gods!
You can't stop yourself from sighing some more. Your face goes a bit long in the process, something which Yasu interprets as a concern.
- B-but don't worry! I will not besmirch your kindness and shall share the food of the gods with you!
She walks over to you, that same blushing smile as before. You catch yourself smiling. What a strange, strange girl… but what a cute, cute sister. She presents you her sandwich and, with an expectant tone in her voice, declares:
- Behold! I shall now allow you to taste upon it! Accept it graciously!
Your last defenses quickly falling, you take the sandwich in your hand and to make Yasu feel a bit more special, you make the most theatric gesture out of raising the sandwich and putting it to your mouth. You mock-wince at the taste, making it seem like it's the ultimate pleasure bestowed upon you in your mortal life. Yasu is thrilled to see that. You know you shouldn't indulge her, but it's so hard to stop.
- See? See, brother? I knew you would love the Elysian taste! Alright, I'll be going to watch the Window of Visions some more!
She turns around to leave, visibly happier. On a whim, you catch her from behind by her belly and hug her.
- H-hey, what's that all about? C'mon bro…!
You can see that she's a bit confused, but the one thing that catches your eye most completely is her blush. It got so intense, her face is almost like a little tomato. You let go of her. Turning around, she has the most difficult to read expression on her face.
- T-that's enough, we're on a mission here - to save you from the Demonic Ether. I will not rest until that is accomplished…
She lowers her head a little, the tiniest bit of hesitation visible for a second.
- I… I love you, bro. Thanks for helping me.
Starring: Eva Varga
It's pretty late now. The clock is closing in to 7pm when you decide to pay a little visit to the kitchen for some quick dinner. Getting up from the couch, you tell Eva you'll make something to eat and you can both prepare to sleep. She looks up from the TV screen where currently there's a pixelated 2D rendition of a man jumping between platforms set to a sort of arabian theme. She smiles to you and nods, before returning to the game. It seems the man is now swordfighting. You smile to yourself a little, seeing how into it she is - pretty sure you've never met a girl so into video games, and retro ones at that. You allowed her to bring in her setup to plug it into your TV and, to her, it was an incredibly exciting experience, since your TV is pretty big at 52 inches. Walking towards the kitchen, you hear simplified sounds of swordfighting getting more silent in the distance, with only the clicking of the joystick's button echoing through your home.
You turn the lights on and look around the kitchen a little bit. Mary was here today and it shows - the place is so clean that it'd pass an inspection with flying colours. You ate lunch together, she cooked you a wonderful beef stroganoff with mashed potatoes and delicious clove-onion gravy. That thought twinges your heart just a little bit, bringing your thoughts, yet again, to Andrea's deal. It all feels… not exactly correct to you, like this deal was some very sophisticated form of cheating. You would never cheat on your girls. Each of them is uniquely wonderful and, though they show their love in very different ways, they do love you - and you love them. You sigh to yourself a little, then shake your head to get those thoughts out of there - you gave the problem a lot of thought and you couldn't think of anything other than riding the storm, after all, it's not like Andrea will just give you your soul back.
Whatever. Today you don't really feel like doing anything fancy, and after a solid beef stroganoff for lunch, you drift towards something a little sweeter. Your mind sets to some fresh eggs you have on the counter, there should be flour in the cupboards… a little sugar…
You turn around, flour and sugar bags in your hands. Eva is standing in the entrance, looking at you with her trademark shy posture that melted your heart ever since she showed up at your door. She hides her eye underneath a big lock of hair, as always, and, putting her hand to her ear in a nervous tick you've often seen her do when she's unsure of something, she corrects how her glasses lay on her nose.
- Could I… Watch?
Someone seems to be interested in cooking! What a chance to learn what she likes!
- Sure, Eva!
Hesitating for the shortest time, she takes careful steps towards the counter where you're already breaking eggs into a bowl. You take care to separate the yolks from the whites onto a plate by your side and after a short while, you begin to whip the whites into a foamy liquid.
- S-so… What are you cooking…?
- I'm making some european-style pancakes, I thought you'd like some Eva.
- Oh, no no! There's no need to go that far! I'm alright, I can eat whatever, you don't need to cook especially for me, I'm…
Oh sweet, sweet Eva. Your heart was pulled by its strings the first time she did that. It's like she was scared of being accommodated or taken care of. She's so shy, she'd probably refuse the first time you slept together and would rather spend the night on the floor. It hurt you so much to witness this. She didn't tell much of her past, but you know she was more of a homebird, with… little to no social experience. Your father always taught you that you should take care of those scared, those weaker and vulnerable, and Eva was the very picture of that. Your every paternal instinct activated at that moment, you left the bowl at the counter, walked to her and, while she was fighting with her own tongue inventing new reasons why you shouldn't make dinner for her, you give her a warm, calming hug.
- It's alright… I do it because I like it. It's alright, everything's alright.
Eva, at first a little paralyzed at the sudden, unpredicted hug, relaxes herself into your embrace. Her hands reach for your back to return the hug.
- Now then… how would you like to learn a little cooking yourself?
- M-me?! But I'm completely bad at kitchen stuff! I'll break everything and ruin your things!
- It's alright. I'll be there to help you. Nothing will go wrong.
Eva pulls a little backwards to look at you with a slightly scared expression, but you can see she's steeling herself to accept your suggestion.
- Y-you… You promise?
- I promise.
You smile to her warmly and, after a moment's hesitation in her face as she looks a bit lower to your chest, still with her unsure eyes, she suddenly looks upward to your face, gives you an… as confident as she could give smile, and says:
You return to the counter and invite her with a gesture. She listens and stands before you, with her back to you. You take her hands into yours and steer them towards the bowl you left before with the foam a little bit down from before. Pulling it to her, you steal a glance to her face and discover she's blushing really, really hard right now - even her nose turned a shade. Undeterred, you continue to lead Eva's movements as you whip the foam up again, then add the yolks. Instructing her to grab the measuring cup, you help her pour a bit of sugar, then flour, into the bowl. Mixing everything together, you now have the pancake mass ready for searing.
You step away from her to reach to the side cupboards where you keep the pans. You pull out your tried and tested cast iron pan - and with a satisfied smile, you see Mary hasn't been scrubbing it's surface, since they require a layer of burn-on to work best. Mary knows what she's doing, after all! Walking back to Eva, you can see she's collected herself a little bit, but is still blushing a lot. From underneath her shy lock of hair, you can see her eye carefully watching you step, as if you were some sort of predator ready to pounce her through high grass any second. Oh, Eva…
You set the pan on the biggest stove. Eva is quick to get the bowl you prepared nearer and seems to pick it up to pour the mass already. You stop her.
- Ah, not so fast! We want to get some olive oil, warm this up and then we begin.
- Oh! Oh, I'm so sorry, I was rushing and I didn't think, of course you need to warm the pan up first, I'm such an airhead, I will probably never cook anythi-
You stop her mid-word with another strategic hug from behind. Calming her down, you repeat to her everything is alright and continue the embrace as the pan with the oil is warming up. At first she seems to be paralyzed yet again, but soon she reaches towards your hands holding her and touches their surface, at first delicately, then embracing them in full.
- T-thanks for… for being so patient…
Another smile… explodes on your face. It feels so good to calm down your nervous little woman… Your fatherly instincts keep kicking in and at that particular moment you want to hold her, protect her from everything in this world. You don't exactly think of her as a daughter, but this short, beautiful wallflower deserves all of your care. A smell of warm iron breaks you out of your moment and, with a silent curse towards thermodynamics, you break the hug to lead Eva in front of the pan.
- W-what, me?! But there's hot oil there, I'll screw something up and burn us both!! I… I can't do it, please…
She seems to be shaking a little bit. This time you know pushing her is a bad idea, because this time she's legitimately scared. She needs more time to get to know her way around a hot pan, and it's okay. Smiling, you let her go and she steps aside, clearly frightened.
- Alright, I'll do it Eva.
She breathes a sigh of relief at that. Now much more calm, she lookes on as you skillfully take the bowl, pour the mass onto the surface of the pan and rotate it so the mass covers it completely. She watches that amazed at the ease with which you operate the pan, impressed by your skill, even if it isn't really restaurant-worthy. She walks over to your side to watch as you wait for one side to get seared properly, then steps back with a gasp when you pick the pan up and, with a throw in the air, rotate the pancake.
- W-wow!! That was amazing!! You're so good at that!!
Her appraisal warms your heart. Dad taught you that, it took you many tries to really get the rotation right and you fudged many a throw, but now you can do it reliably with your eyes closed. Dad loved to teach you basic living skills - you found that a little weird since it's usually the mother doing that, but never paid it any heed. Laying down the other side of the pancake to sear, you stand and wait again, as Eva steps closer to you and reaches towards your arm, holding onto it. You look to her and see something between childish fascination and admiration as the stove's flames reflect from her glasses.
Deciding that it's enough for this pancake, you take the pan and put the contents to a previously prepared plate - the pancake is now done. Eva walks to it and, just like a real child, can't help herself not to pick at it a little, but you don't stop her. At first she pulls back because it's still pretty hot, but then, using her fingernail, she nibbles the tiniest part and puts it to her mouth. Rotating to you, she has the brightest smile you saw her give that day.
- It's great!
Smiling to her, you prepare some more oil and the rest of the mass. The next pancake is for you and you are loathe to admit it, but you rushed it just a bit, so it wasn't seared as masterfully as Eva's was, but it didn't really matter. Putting it to your plate, you turn off the stove, leave the pan to cool, and, as Eva takes the plates to put them in the living room, you stop her.
- Ah-ah-aaah! First, we clean up this mess!
An apologetic expression. Eva stands the plates back on the counter, takes the bowl and wets it in the sink, letting the still liquid mass drain. You put back the flour and oil to their respective counters and stand back, looking on as Eva seems… more vivid, more alive than usual. It seems letting her participate made her really happy, and it feels good knowing that. She finished cleaning the bowl and stands it on the drying rack, turning to you and, with a smile, declaring:
- All done!
Starring: Mary Green
You haven't been feeling well recently. Not exactly ill, but… The deal weighs heavily on your mind. Yes, you got to meet so many wonderful women in such a short time, they all love you and you love them, but… What if Andrea forced the girls to like you, somehow? Wouldn't that make all of this borderline rape? Are they hiding their internal screams behind a facade of love? This thought depresses you. You really want to talk to Andrea about it, but she shows up when she wants, not when you want her to. Calling out to her never did anything, but you know she's there. At the very least, she can't read your thoughts…
You steel yourself to really take the matter under scrutiny. So, let us assume Andrea made the girls feel things for you. Would that be chemical, or mental in nature? Are they just beefed up on pheromones and hormones, or are they having their thoughts manipulated somehow? If so…
Is their love real? You know yours is, all of those wonderful women are fantastic, well worth spending time with and building a connection with. You fell head over heels for all of them, it's as if they were made specifically for you to love… You doubt Andrea would have that kind of power, though, they feel too natural, too alive, too real to be some sort of simulacrum for your enjoyment. But… what about their feelings? Are they forced to smile towards a man they don't have any real feelings for? Were they made to heel before you, pretend they care for you? Even goddamn Raquel… And if they were, doesn't that kinda make you a monster?
- Dearest, I'm back!
Mary walks into the room, back from a small shopping trip. She's as beautiful as she always is. Warm, loving, smiling, as always. The very model of a woman in love with her man, to whom she wants to give everything best. It was her that was first introduced to you by Andrea, and the introduction was so damn weird - all you basically did was let her use the bathroom, eat something, then you got a bit touchy, gave her a rose from your backyard garden and… she got her tits out. Normal women don't behave like that goddammit, Andrea must have done something to her! You can't just accept that she got all hot for you just because you spent some time with her! This must all be fake, all lies!
- Honey, what's wrong? You seem pale… Do you feel alright?
You look up to see Mary standing in front of you, real concern on her face. You must have looked awful, and no surprise, since you're on the verge of tears. Fuck the deal. Fuck Andrea. These girls don't deserve all this. You're a monster. You wanted to fuck for free and you practically enslaved these girls.
Mary sees that you're hurting. She sits beside you on the couch, her face an expression of worry. You never saw her like that before.
- Dearest, please, what is happening? What is wrong? How can I help?
- Mary… Am I… Am I a good person?
Mary is taken aback a bit, not sure how to respond for a longer while. You can see she is intensively thinking about her response.
- Honey… what brought this on?
- I… I keep thinking about how we met… I'm worried I… may have been bad in that regard…
- Oh… Oh, dearest…
Mary takes you into her arms, a full hug into herself. More than that, she pulls you towards her, holding you close to her heart. You can feel it beating from under her breast, faster than usual. Her face is a mix between a calming smile and a worried grimace.
- Dearest… Why do you think that? I admit, I was acting silly that day, but… You just feel right, you know? You're a good person deep down, you've proven it many times over to me. I didn't fall in love with you because you made me some snacks, let me shower and poked me. I fell in love with you, because…
She pulls back now a bit, so you can see the entirety of her expression. Her eyes seem watery, as if she was close to crying, but… those wouldn't be tears of pain. She seems… grateful, somehow. You don't understand it, at all - it's as if she just… met someone she cared for a lot after a long, long time of separation. She grabs you a bit more strongly now.
- …because you're a good person. You cared for how I feel. You cared for me, for my happiness. You're the… only person in my life who was genuine about his feelings to me. How can I not love you, silly? How can I not love the man who put so much effort into making me feel good, wanted, happy!?
Tears started flowing from her smiling face. It's the strangest collage of emotions you have ever seen - she is pouring her heart out to you. You can see she's 100% genuine. There can be no manipulation there. There isn't a trick powerful enough to mistake those tears for the real deal. Mary is crying, but she is happy. She hugs you again, leaving her head on your shoulder.
- I thought you were ill, that something bad happened, that you got a phonecall from somewhere… That you were in pain… I thought you wanted to distance yourself, to leave me…
Sentences strung together with sniffles. She really is crying now. And you feel like crying, too. Crying, because you were so stupid, you were so, so stupid… Mary loves you, goddammit, and you love her, you love her so much. You finally hug her back, some tears rolling down your face, too.
- I'm sorry Mary. I'm so, so sorry…
Words escape you both now. You hold each other close, calming each other down with your presence. The hug feels like it lasts ages. Finally, Mary raises her head and looks straight at you in your eyes, saying:
- I love you, my dearest. You are not a bad person. You are my dearest.
She moves in to kiss you, which you reciprocate fully. This was not a kiss of passion, this was not a kiss of comfort. It was a deep kiss that told you both only one thing: you love each other.
Nothing more. Nothing less.
Starring: Cleo Loring
The outside door slams shut loudly. You jump from your rest on the couch, the loud noise interrupting your nap.
- Fucking… Sorry 'bout the door, man.
An angry yell announces that it is, indeed, Cleo, who seems to be having a bad day. It's the first time you've really heard her so rattled and it… kinda scares you, to be honest. You know Cleo is a strong woman, not to be underestimated - your sparring sessions taught you that. Sitting on the couch, you wait for her to enter the living room.
A visibly tense expression, teeth clenched, face red from… you're not really sure if it's from exertion or anger, but you err on the side of caution. Trying to not irritate her further, you opt for the minimal treatment, hoping she'll open up to what happened herself. Your view drifts lower from her face and you notice her work clothes - she must be coming straight from the office, where she's… required to be womanly and pleasant, and that always puts her on edge. Uh oh.
- Hey Cleo. What's up? Why'd you slam the door so bad?
- I said I was fucking sorry, okay? Drop it.
Not good. Cleo is clearly so angry that she's prepared to lash out at you. You better not step on her toes and try to calm her down, but you can't really show that you're scared shitless of her fury. Stay calm, she's your girl, she's not gonna do anything to you if you don't piss her off. Cleo sits down on the other side of the couch, an angry, hard motion. She's still incredibly stiff and you can see the anger moving under her skin. Damn girl, what happened to you today? You decide to go for silence, for now. Knowing Cleo, probing will probably make her more angry, she needs some peace and quiet to work through whatever she is feeling. You observe her eyes moving a bit, her teeth clenching and unclenching and her angry blush slowly subsiding. You really want to hug her so she'd tell you what is going on, but you know already this isn't how you approach her when she's like this.
You shrug internally, get up from the couch and enter the kitchen. Opening the fridge, you hover for a while above some more fancy, kraft beers you keep for pleasant evenings with her, but decide instead to go for an ordinary supermarket lager. Taking a four-pack with you, you return to the living room.
Cleo seems to have calmed down at least a little, but you can still see her clench her teeth and angrily look around with her eyes, her face fixed towards the table. You get a bit closer and stand a cold beer in front of her, then sit beside her, not saying a word. She looks at the can for a while, observing cold drops form and drop down on the can. Sighing to herself, she takes one can into her hand and cracks it open.
It's always a sight to behold whenever she drinks beer. She downs half of the 17oz/0,5l can in one swig. You are fascinated by how her throat moves when she's doing that - you can tell she really is a pro, able to dance with the best of them. She exhales and, with a sniff, stands the other half of the beer down on the table. Alright… attempt number one…
- So… what's up Cleo?
- Nothing's up, alright? Had a talk with the bosses today, they put me on notice for “not treating a claimant properly”. Fuck them.
Okay… Cleo works as a clerk in the DMV. She hates the job, but it puts money on the table, so she can't really resign and do something else, but you often hear her talk dismissively about both the people that approach her and her clothes. The second part seemed to have been making her much more irritated up until now. Something must have happened.
- What do you mean?
- Alright, so this black asshole comes up to the desk, right? Fat piece of shit, sweating like a quarterpounder on a BBQ. Says he wants to reregister his semi. Ok, I give him the papers to sign, right?
You can see her start to get worked up. This isn't going to be pretty, you can already tell. You brace yourself - Cleo, when she's really pissed off, can swear up a storm.
- Yeah, and he's all like “naw babe, fill it in for me”. Well ok, we have to help if we're asked, right? So I sigh to myself and start asking him his info and shit, we come up to the phone number…
Her teeth clench, a new fire on her cheeks signalling the bomb is ready to be dropped.
- …and that piece of fucking shit not only says “write in yours, imma check it later, babe”, but feels up my goddamn knee!
Ohhhh shit. Yep, Cleo's disdain for feelers and catcallers is known, but for something like that, you doubt the guy would be able to stand if it were in the street.
- So I smack him in the goddamn face with the flat of my hand, all lady-like, and tell him “hands off”. I could have dropped him right fucking there and then, the bastard was lucky to still be standing!
She makes a mean left hook as she says that and you can imagine that fist hitting an obese person. Teeth… could fly, but the image in your head of waves of fat travelling to the back of his other cheek is one you'd want to witness. You start becoming a little angry yourself. God fucking damn it, people have no fucking respect.
- And the prick had the BALLS to fucking write a complaint after that!! I got chewed up by my manager and that asshole didn't fucking listen to what I was telling him!! You could have seen it on the fucking security cameras, but nooo, of course it was MY fault!! I swear to fucking god, if I ever catch him in my training place, he won't be able to fucking stand up after I'm done with him!!
Poor Cleo. Nobody, NOBODY deserves treatment like that. That manager is a piece of shit and deserves to be fired, but you know Cleo is not one to rock the boat and move the matter higher up. She's scared for her job since there's a lot of candidates for her spot. It pains you to know what she has to deal with, but you talked about that guy more often before and she just won't budge to bring him to the attention of HR. Oh Cleo… You notice her staring angrily at the rest of the beer, she's tense and furious again. Dammit, you didn't want it to happen like that…
You move a little behind Cleo, raise your hands towards her shoulders and put your thumbs on her trapezoids. She jumps a little at that.
- Hey, what are you doing, man?
You begin kneading the muscles with your thumbs and fingers. Pushing with the thumbs and rolling with your fingers, you massage her tense back one muscle at a time.
It brings you pleasure to hear that. You can feel under your hands that she's incredibly tense, but with each motion of your hands, she relaxes herself bit by bit. The stiffness soon leaves her trapezoids, so you move lower, closer to her spine.
- Mmm… Don't stop, babe…
You smile to yourself. It's not like you ever completed a massage course, but it seems to be having the desired effect - she is both relaxing herself and calming down. You can see her take the beer that was left on the table and drink it a little, a sure sign she calmed down and is now in it completely for pleasure. Continuing your work, you return to her arms, this time focusing more on her deltoids and all of the surrounding areas. Cleo's breathing becomes slower and more rhythmic, as she lays down a little bit into you. Having her like this makes it just a little bit harder to continue your massage, but you don't mind. The smell of her hair fills your nostrils with a pleasant mix of the shampoo she loves to use and her natural, pretty aura. You can't help yourself to bring your nose just a little closer. She felt that and rotated her head to give you a sensual peck on your neck.
- Thanks, babe… I really needed that… Mmm…
Still smiling, you finish up her deltoids and move closer to her spine again, working yourself lower. This time you work her broad, “latissimus dorsi” muscles, closer to the upper parts of her ribcage. Starting from the spine, you use your thumb to knead further away to the sides of her back. She loves it. You can tell she loves it, she completely surrendered herself to your hands and makes satisfied moans from time to time. Resting her head on your shoulder, she relaxed completely. You're happy you could do something like that for her, to let her forget her issue with a claimant. She hates her job, constantly saying this isn't what she was made to do, and you can't really blame her for thinking that - she doesn't outright hate working with people, but desk jobs make her so, so frustrated. She'd love it if she could move some more and, really, with her lifestyle, is it any surprise?
You feel her hands grab yours as they were moving to her sides. You were just about to switch lower to start from her spine again, but she stopped you in your tracks. You want to look at her questioningly, but she is quick to move your hands towards her breasts.
- Well… if you can work my back like that, I can't imagine what you can do with these, my man…
Feeling the roundness below your touch, a discovery makes you blush instantly and your soldier agrees, pulsing a little bit through your pants, which Cleo feels and giggles at a little bit. You see, Cleo isn't wearing her bra today. Turning her head towards you, she smiles seductively, eyes half-closed, and says:
- So… What do you say I hit the shower real quick, freshen up and… we'll continue this massage session somewhere more… comfortable?
Starring: Raquel Cardoso
It's not been a good day. First, some idiots at work tripped over an ethernet cable and their first instinct was to call the IT department instead of, you know, connecting the damn wire back. After leaving the terminal where you were busy setting up a new load balancer, you had the misfortune of rushing to the office spaces to do what any three year-old would be capable of doing. Why misfortune? Well, turns out, the boss's daughter was just outside your door and you smacked it into her powdered up, mascara'd face so hard it left an imprint. You could have spent the next millenium apologizing, but no, HR called you in for a talk and they took your bonuses for this month.
And now this piece of trash refuses to work! The goddamn fridge has been making uncooperative sounds for a longer while, but it finally gave up the ghost, and of course it was sometime when you were away and Yasu was nowhere to be found to at least call you about that! Grrr… With no other choice, you take the car and prepare to drive the old piece of trash to the heap, then travel to the appliance store to buy a new one. Ordinarily Andrea would probably have a whole bitch-fit about it, but this time she was eerily silent. What, succubi have a sense of smell and rotting food would overpower her natural sulfur-and-cum odor?
The trip turned out to be mostly uneventful, luckily. The trashheap guy gave you kind of a weird look, but seemed to mind his business. Going into the store afterwards, you picked a model that vaguely resembled your old fridge, then had a small heart attack as you saw the price tag, then picked a cheaper model. Setting the fridge back into place was as smooth of an operation as you could do by yourself, because of course Andrea wouldn't help. As you are angrily putting stuff back into the fridge and feeling a bit sad that the beer will need to get re-cooled before it's good to drink, you hear the door opening and a slightly shrilly yell:
- It's me babe, your most luxurious worldly good! Hope you're ready to bask in my presence!
Oh for… Raquel's becoming even more annoying as she becomes comfortable around you again. You'd think a bit of foxy dicking would have had the opposite effect and she'd consider moving on to greener pastures, but she's not only back to her old tricks, but she's actually trying to soften you up before sucking into your wallet. Well, whatever, you're in no mood for her shit right now. You hear her again from the door frame:
- Yo! Why'd you empty the fridge? And oooh… Looks like it's a new one! Good going babe, that old fridge was an eyesore! I mean, this one won't take the cake for looks, but you're moving up in the world, nice!
Her high-heeled footsteps cross the floor from the corridor and move closer to you on the kitchen floor with their easily-recognizable patter. You feel her posessively landing her hand on your head as she leans forward by your side, her hair dropping onto your shoulder, smelling of some high-class shampoo - you know, the kind with at least four foreign-sounding fruit names.
- So what made you take the lock off your wallet and finally treat yourself? Your cooking won't taste better with a new fridge, you know.
- Raq, I'm in no mood.
- Pshh, what, you got your dick caught in your fly or something?
- Oh what a sensitive little baby! You make one good decision with your kitchen and you're touchy all of a sudden!
Frustration turning to anger, you snap back at her:
- Raquel, if you don't stop I swear to god you're gonna regret it.
There is a pause as Raquel pulls back from her lean, standing behind you, the sped-up tapping of her foot clearly heard.
- Well if you're going to be such a prick about it, I'm going to do my fingernails. Enjoy your precious fridge time.
* * *
Your anger keeps bubbling underneath your skin. This day is all sorts of wrong. First the work incident, then HR, then the fridge, and now Raquel is sitting on the other side of the couch, doing her nails, something you have a marked dislike of. She seems to be finishing up, since she's preening them into the air and waiting for the polish to dry up. From time to time she looks to you - you can tell by the motion of her head, turning from the blaring TV to your side of the couch. You don't like this situation, at all. Of all the days she could have picked to visit you, she picked this one. It's as if the powers that be decided you don't deserve a rest today. Angrily reaching for the remote, you surf the channels for a short while, then realizing you're not really watching, you turn off the TV and throw the remote to the side onto the couch.
This seems to have grabbed Raquel's attention, as she looks to you with an expression of curiosity and… something you've never seen before. Crossing her legs and arms in the most closed up pose she can, she asks you indignantly:
- So what's got your pubes into the door hinge.
- Long day.
A moment of silence. You don't really feel like continuing, but after a short probing look, Raquel continues:
- What, that's it? Almost sounds like you're angry there's 24 hours in a day.
You sigh to yourself. Not really expecting any support from Raquel, well… at the very least you can bitch at her a little about your miserable experience so far.
- Some idiots at work screwed up something basic while I was doing important shit and as I was going to them, I smacked the boss's daughter in the face with the door.
Raquel chuckles under her nose.
- Cecil is still the boss in the office? If so, that slut Jasmine deserved it. She's been whoring her ass to two guys at the same time, opportunistic little bitch.
- Yeah well, HR called me in and took my bonuses for the month for that.
- And you just allowed them to?
Raquel seems to get into swing. She always sounds like she's on the edge of entering a long, bitchy rant, but now she's starting it up. Uncrossing her legs, she slaps her hands onto her knees.
- See, this is why nobody at work respects you, you just let them walk all over you! Why the fuck was HR even called for, what, Jasmine suddenly got hired as the office slut or something? Fuck babe, you got a solid case for unfair workplace treatment, just get your balls in order and fight for it!
You look at her, completely surprised by her words. She wasn't exactly nice to you, but she was never supportive back in high-school. You could count on her to always have a barbed insult on her tongue, but this? Is this really Raquel?
- Look, I ain't going to allow my man to just take this shit lying down. You're walking in there tomorrow and you fight for your bonuses. Threaten them with some lawsuits, that's sure to get their dicks to shrivel up.
- And don't give me that “but I…” crap, if you don't work for respect, they're gonna keep you as their nice little wage slave forever. Fuck that man, they should pay you at least more by a half of what you make right now.
- They can't take your bonuses away for shit that was done outside of work. That cumguzzler isn't hired, so it was an out-of-work incident. There are laws, man, why don't you fuckin' use them? When a bastard of a client wanted to get grabby after work, I punched his fucking lights out! Bam! He was all weepy and crying on my email how he'd sue me and waah waah, but I slapped him with employment laws and he shut his pussy fuckin' mouth right there! Fight for yourself babe, if you won't, nobody's gonna do that for you!
You can see Raquel is entirely into her monologue. She clenched her fists resting on her legs, a fire in her eyes suggesting she's ready to punch whoever is working at HR right this second. This… is unheard of for Raquel. This is so completely new to you that you just sit there, stonefaced, looking at her. Raquel seems to have detected something is out of the ordinary though, reflected on her pose and went back to her trademark, bitchy leg-and-arm cross, looking away indignantly as if she just had to look at a particularly ugly insect. Directing her words at the ceiling corner, she says:
- You'll do what you want, though. You were always a pushover, it's a miracle there's a set of balls hanging between your legs. I bet if you tucked your dick in between your ass-cheeks, you'd make a passable transvestite. Pff.
You smile. This is the Raquel you know. Everything has returned to normal, barbs and attacks on your masculinity included. But… You don't feel angry anymore, especially not at Raquel. It's… strange, but her pep talk has actually stirred your ambitious side to fight. Later on you'll check some law paragraphs on the PC, but for now… You get up, walk over to Raquel, put on your angriest mask that you can, pull her to her feet and before she has time to react…
A kiss. Square on the lips.
You can't help yourself not to open slightly one of your eyes, just to witness her shocked and surprised face, and it is as beautiful of a sight as you imagined, complete with a blush. She seems to have gotten her faculties back and you feel her moving slightly as she prepares to push you away, but not before tasting your lips just a short little moment longer. Finally, her hands give you a push.
- The fuck are you doing, retard!? If you want to get all kissy-kissy, at least make the setting romantic and exclusive first, asshole!!
She yells at you, angry, but her blush is still glowing red. You watch her as she storms through the door to the bathroom with a half-hearted excuse that she needs to “adjust her lipstick”, but her step is just slightly more preppy and happy than usual. You know you scored some good points with Raquel today. but that's good, because…
Today… Raquel scored some big points with you.
Starring: Annabelle Cumming
Oh-five hundred and fifty eight on the clock. She sighed. Yet another night of staking out, wasted. The house was as it always was, quiet, immobile, no lights or anything. There was no point even taking out her binoculars, she knew every corner there anyway. All she's seen throughout the night was him closing the drapes and the light in his bedroom being turned off. What was the bloody point? It's as if all her reports about this man fell on deaf ears, they kept sending her back here lord only knows why. At least her allotted time was almost up. She got up from her uncomfortable position on the roof of the neighboring house, made her way to the edge and with a skill you wouldn't expect from a woman as… gifted as her, she rappelled down on a rope attached to a hook. Down on the ground, she pressed a switch on a little remote she had in her pocket and the hook closed itself inwards, sliding off the edge of the building - she caught it with precision, making no noise in the process. Going behind the building, she began changing into her civilian clothes - intricate lace underwear and a bra which she fiddled with for a little while, then a white, ruffled shirt and some fitting business pants. Putting everything from her job back into a case that was waiting for that, she closed it, adjusted her - squished by the balaclava she wore earlier - fiercely red hair to their proper, drilly form, and stealthily rejoined the street, where the first signs of early-morning movement started.
* * *
She looked outside the window, watching as the world moved beside her, passing her by. She wore an expression of tiredness, with a shade of melancholy, padded with just a bit of sadness. The bus she was on was mostly empty at that time of day, and she had a long drive ahead of her - over an hour to collect her thoughts. She, once again, started reminiscing about her target. His name checks out, the photo seems to be him, albeit without his rough beard and a scar under his eye. With plastic surgeons today, fixing a scar like that shouldn't be a problem, so by the looks of it, it was their guy.
So why didn't she feel like it was the truth?
The man was… as unremarkable as any regular bloke from the street. A typical house, with some - classy, she admitted, but - unassuming furnishing. No secret compartments, no hidden doors or walls, no safes, nothing on his computer or phone - the guy was as clean as a spring mountain brook. No strange contacts, no known acquaintances (which seemed a bit weird to her, in retrospect - so all he does is sit at home?), nothing. Just some “regular Joe America”. He was DEFINITELY not the perp she was told he is - a bookkeeper for some really shady people, dealing with everything under the sun - arms, drugs, murder, child pornography, human trafficking, everything that makes crime horrifying. Instead, he was…
She sighed to herself.
It wasn't the first time she was tasked with approaching a guy using her sex appeal. Her 100% natural breasts convinced a colombian drug baron to let her in on her last assignment before… all this. Teehee. He didn't even see it coming, after all, who would suspect poor old busty Carmen of poisoning the boss? But that was a clear-cut assignment, she witnessed herself how he offed three people on his plantation for losing their balance carrying his white gold, which fell to the ground and scattered to the wind. He was disgusting. Smelled of cigars and sweat, fat cunt. Faking enthusiasm while she was offering herself was always the worst part of assignments like these - every part of her screamed “just break his neck”, but she couldn't, not before she secured the uplink for MI6 from his server room.
This man… was different. This man didn't immediately go to grope her, he didn't take off his pants as soon as she entered his house. At first she thought he was just the kind of bloke who controlled himself pretty well, she worked on those before, but then…
Then he made her lunch.
It caught her off-guard so much, she didn't know what to do. She was even frightened her cover was blown, but not being able to pull her portable poison tester out of her gear satchel hidden in her hair, she decided to risk it - and not only wasn't it poison, it was honestly delicious home cooking which she saw him prepare himself. No tricks, no nothing. “What… What is this?” she thought to herself back then - approaching a target was usually the most difficult part since they all watched themself really carefully, but she could have killed him in 50 different ways after entering his house! And then they sat down for a talk. Ordinary procedure is to start talking until stopped, it was a highly-classified method of establishing psychological characteristics of the target to build his profile and adjust towards his limits, but… he never did. She saw exactly when he stopped paying attention and she couldn't blame him, after half an hour of endless chatter even she would be tired, but her procedures were clear - keep talking until stopped either by target or external events. So she did. And he listened. He never once protested, never once raised his voice, was always courteous and - she won't lie - even funnily quipping at times!
The assignment moved towards using his facilities to case them for infiltration, so she started taking showers in his bathroom, slept with him the first few times - and he never laid a hand on her without her explicit permission. He never made moves, he was never overbearing, he was…
She sighed heavily this time.
He was a real dear to her.
The first time she started making moves, he actually blushed. He was actually shy around her. She had to move a lot more aggressively so he would actually participate, but he was always so delicate, so smooth, so caring, so… So loving. Completely unlike all the rest of her targets who smashed their hips into her back end as soon as her panties were visible. He treated her like a real woman - like a lady, in fact. She didn't want to admit it to herself, but she felt… happy when she was with him. Over time she started to relax, treat it not as an assignment, but as if…
As if it was actually real. As if she met the loveliest bloke on the planet and spent time with him purely because she wanted it. In many ways, she knew it was folly, she always heard stories of agents getting too close to their targets and suffering later, but… But he was too sweet. He was a good person. She knew it, she knew he couldn't be the guy the higher-ups thought he was!
She sent many reports that underlined her doubts and, point by point, enumerated the many different ways it couldn't be their guy, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears. They even installed bugs in his place - she couldn't have access to them, but what in the blazes could they record, him sleeping all night and watching TV? There wasn't anything that could give her even a shadow of a doubt, and she personally even laced his tea with some sleeping agent to have free movement around the house - she literally found NOTHING. What, director McCork would be interested in slightly smelly underpants behind the shelves!?
But even so, her assignment continued, and with each further day, it was becoming harder to see the man as just another target. She caught herself thinking about him during her day at the offices and had a bit of an internal shock. This was the first time anyone ever occupied as much of her mindspace. She was starting to lose her internal balance and she knew it. The thing, though…
Sigh, once more.
She didn't want it to stop. She felt so… so free at his house. To the point she started masturbating with his damn showerhead. What the bloody hell got into her mind with that!? But… But she couldn't help it. As much as he was passive, visibly shy and quiet, he had a charm about him, a charm she'd like to keep and protect. With time, she realized he was the best thing to have happened in her life. After all - what could she expect from retirement? You never really stop being an agent, they always have need for trained personnel, no matter the age. A title from the queen didn't matter to her - she wanted to go into dad's footsteps, to run the company some time in the future, bring some justice where it was needed both in the world and in the corrupt agency itself, maybe get the guys who quieted him. But now…?
The bus ride was coming to a stop. Passing many stops, she stood up from the chair and, holding her case, walked to the door and left, standing in front of a high-rise office building. She looked upwards and, for the last time today allowing herself to do so, sighed.
But now there was a man falsely accused of the worst things imaginable, and… she was afraid she loved him.
Starring: Leilani Kealoha
- I knew he threw it out! It has to be somewhere here!
Leilani was distraught. She was making a mess of the kitchen trashcan, looking through it with the utmost importance, not caring about the smell of rotting meat from the meal two days ago. She was looking for something that was… precious to her. Precious in ways she couldn't fully understand, but knew it was, she just knew it. Throwing the trash back to the can, her frustrated grunts started to become a low, drawn-out shriek. Walking towards the door in her crazed state, she was spinning around as if she was a merry-go-round. This, in the strangest way possible, allowed her to scan the room more completely. And then…
- IT'S HERE!
She fell to her knees by the door. Tears flowing from her face, she picks up a scrap of paper. A receipt from a store for a teddy bear. Cheap, too.
- I thought I lost it forever…
Leilani takes it closer to her chest, bringing it to her heart. From her facial expression, she is in a state of absolute bliss. Peering into her heart would be a futile exercise right now, as it was filled with endless happiness. She hastily moves to the bedroom, where, behind a removed floor plank, is a little cubby hole. It is filled with a lot of different paraphernalia: used up razors, chewing gum, a… scarily meticulously organized collection jar marked “dandruff” filled with a pasty white… colloidal fluid. She puts the receipt in one corner with care, enshrining it with the most urgency.
* * *
In the mirror we see a reflection of Leilani, who is washing her tear-stained face. She didn't really bother wearing a t-shirt, so with that reflection you see her perky breasts. They seem to be moving up and down a bit faster than usual. She wipes her face with a towel, getting her hair back to the way she likes it, and… stands there. For two whole minute, she stands there, looking herself straight in the eyes thanks to the mirror. Her rapid breathing slows down to an ordinary pace. Finally, after what would seem like an eternity to any observer, there is one change in the reflection. She smiles.
Starring: Yasu Teramura
A sneeze echoed throughout the humid room. With all windows closed and the door locked, everything got incredibly hot there. In the bed, a girl with silvery white hair, now strewn across the pillow, laid underneath the covers, a thermometer in her mouth. She is blushing and sweating pretty hard, with her tired face adorned by droplets going down her forehead.
- If you knew it was raining, why didn't you go back sooner?
- But I had to finish, brother! I couldn't just leave a-a-CHOO! *sniff* a chalk circle half done! Your eternal soul is at stake, I won't *sniff* rest until you're safe!
That girl… You shake your head to yourself. She isn't, strictly speaking, wrong, your soul is now in the possession of a daemonic being of the underworld and you're not… completely sure what will happen when you die, but right now you have a very sickly step-sister to attend to. Crazy girl got back so wet from the rain, it wasn't even funny - the last time you've seen the effects of such a downpour were during a hurricane. You wonder to yourself… how the hell did she get so soaked? The weather forecast didn't say anything about passing storms, and yet the evidence was undeniable - Yasu's clothing was drenched so bad, she needed help getting out of her priestess getup.
With a heavy sigh, you declare:
- Stay in bed, this will probably take a few days. I'll go make some tea and bring back some broth, it should help.
- *sniff* B-but, brother! Who will protect you when I am undisposed?! I can't leave you to the whims of some three-headed, smelly demon! No way! Not on my *sniff* watch!
- Don't worry, I'll be fine. Now, rest, you'll feel better soon.
* * *
Standing in the kitchen, you pour boiling water to a teacup, adding some raspberry essence, just like your mom did when you had the flu. Her far-away sneezing can be heard from here. Gah, that girl will be the death of you! You can't believe she'd still keep doing such silly things, after all these years! This one time, you had to get her out of a small borehole because she got stuck going down “to find the denizens of the Underworld and kick their butts”. Sigh… that girl… head stuck in fantasy all her life, but in the end… she was kinda right about the existence of daemons. After all, the contract you signed is proof of that, as is her presence. You never thought you'd cross paths again. She seemed to be so determined to go to Japan to study there… What made her suddenly return? More than that, why the hell did she never grow out of her “powerful priestess” phase?
Shaking your head to yourself, you take the tea set with you and, clutching some vitamin C, you return to her room. The heady air strikes you instantly as you walk in. She's really done it now… So much sweat in the air, she has to have a high fever. You set the tea on the nightstand and take her thermometer: 104°F/40°C.
You start walking to the door to grab some aspirin and something more potent from the medical cabinet, but you are stopped by her hand holding your shirt.
You look to her. God, she's a mess. We need to get the fever down ASAP, home remedies won't suffice here, she may have pneumonia already or who knows what else. With worry, you come near her, touch her forehead to make sure - yep, it's burning up.
- Brother… Am I… Am I… a-a-CHOO! *sniff* attacked by demons?
- No no, it's just high fever, stay there, I'll get you an aspirin and water. Keep hydrated and stay under the covers, you'll feel well soon.
- N-no… It must be… a spir-*sniff* spiritual attack…
- Come on, stop playing games! You're ill, this is no time to pretend!
She makes the most annoyed expression she can through her fever, glaring at you. Little tears start forming in the corner of her eyes. Oh boy… You've seen that before. Questioning her delusions always leads to waterfalls… You feel kinda guilty about that. She's in no condition to get so angry right now.
- Oh alright, fine, yes, you're under spiritual assault and you need to take this Wafer of Healing, alright? Now, get up a bit…
You help her rise from her bed. She's so sweaty her nightgown sticks to your fingers. You steal a look at her nipples through the gown, but instantly berate yourself internally and continue to help the poor girl up so she can take the vitamins.
- Now, take this and drink it with water, here…
You pass her a glass of lukewarm water. She hesitates for a moment.
- Brother… Will this… make me feel better?
- Yes, yes it will. Now drink up like a good girl.
- It… smells funny… *sniff* and… like… artificial…
A vein on your forehead begins to signal you're getting too tired for this.
- …But alright… I *sniff* I trust you, brother…
She makes a grimace when putting the vitamin in her mouth and quickly drinks it down with water. A loud, almost theatrical gulp follows.
- Now, lay down and don't move from the bed, alright? I'll come back with an aspirin, then check up on you later to see if the fever's down. Keep warm, alright?
You turn around to return to the kitchen, find the aspirin and look through a home encyclopedia on illnesses just to make sure you're going about it the right way, but your shirt is held once again.
- What is it?
- I… Th…
- Th-thanks… brother… I love you…
Your heart melts at that. Even in the highest of fevers. Oh, sister…
- I love you too.
Starring: Eva Varga
You find yourself getting increasingly frustrated. It's been a while since you bought your computer monitor, but it's never been creating problems - until now. You fiddle with the cable and try to get it into the exact position that will produce picture as it should be, but either red colour drops from view, or the whole thing stops working. You sigh to yourself - maybe being so frugal with your computer hardware isn't such a good long-term strategy, it may be time to splurge on a new monitor, this time with a digital connector.
Hearing doorbells, you stop your manipulations for a moment to check who decided to visit you. Opening the door, you see Eva with a shy, yet bright smile, holding something behind her back.
- H-hi, how's it going?
- Hey Eva! Meh, got some problems with my monitor, I was just fiddling with it a bit, but that can wait.
You… kinda wanted to stop yourself from that little complaint, but it's too late - Eva's eyes widen with obvious interest.
- Oh! What's the matter?
- Ah… the cable seems damaged somewhere, or maybe it's the connector, I dunno, but…
Before you're able to protest and welcome her properly, she puts a shopping bag on the counter by the door and asks you with a determined voice:
- C-could I look at it? I may figure something out!
- Um… Sure, Eva, thanks! It's in the living room right now…
A completely unseen before energy seems to be driving Eva right now - you never saw her so… into a problem before. It's like she was just given her life's mission and completely devoted herself to it, forgetting everything about the world around her, yourself included. You smile a little to that thought as you follow this new, confident and determined Eva to the living room.
She takes one look at your setup and says “Aha!” with the most triumphant voice a little woman like her could muster. It's almost comedic watching her so focused on the computer. She walks towards it and, without turning it off, pulls the cable going to the graphics card.
- H-hey! Isn't that dangerous?
- Hm? Ah, no, there's not enough voltage to damage either by pulling it like that, and I saw you didn't use the screws to mount it to the card.
A little blush crosses over your face. You know Eva a lot better than that to assume she was judging you somehow, you know she's not like that and her singlemindedness right now is directing her actions completely, but you still feel a tinge of shame. Meanwhile, Eva turns the connector to her face and, correcting her glasses, looks at it.
- What? What's the matter, Eva?
- See? One of the pins broke off, this one for the R signal. You're lucky you're still using the standard VGA connector, a DVI one would have been harder to fix. Do you have some spare needles?
- Needles? - your surprised voice must have tipped her off that it isn't something that's normally seen at a male's house.
- …W-well, you know, for sewing… Or… Or pins for a board, or something like that.
- Ah, pins I got, just a sec…
You go to the bedroom to pull a drawer in the nightstand. You have a few pins lying around there if you ever need to hang your posters again. You take one and returrn to the living room, where Eva is currently busy with marking something on the connector.
- Here's the pin, Eva. What are you going to do?
- Ah, let me see it… Yeah, it's the right diamater… alright, this will work!
She takes the pin, measures a bit from the sharp edge with her finger and… bites down on it.
- Whoa, Eva, what the hell!
Hearing your reaction, it seems part of her old self returned, as a blush grows on her face and an ashamed tone answers:
- Oh… Hehe, I… I do it all the time… It's faster than… Than looking for - how you call them… Pliers? Pliers.
- Doesn't that hurt your teeth, though?
- Oh no… The metal they make these from is very weak… I do it all the time at home…
Turning your head in disbelief, you see as she returns to the connector and… unceremoniously sticks the bitten of piece of metal into the hole where a pin should have been. Sticking it deeper so it's the same length as the rest of them, she moves it around inside a bit, then starts turning it with her fingernails. You don't question her methods, she must have reasons for doing so, but still, it's one hell of a jury-rigged repair.
- Done! Lets test it out!
Before you can react, she sticks the connector back to your computer, and…
- Well I'll be damned…
The desktop screen shows with no problems, fully colourful as it should be. Even the reds. Eva looks at the screen and smiles to herself, then turns around to you.
- All done! If you want, you may drop a little bit of glue on that pin to make sure it won't move, but I stuck it pretty securely inside, without heavy pulling it shouldn't move.
- Eva… that was amazing! I knew you were into hardware and fixing it, but… Wow, seeing you work, you're a natural at this! Where did you learn it?
Eva blushes at your praise, a shy smile present while she adorably avoids looking into your eyes.
- T-thanks… Hehe, well… I spent almost all of my life with old computers and consoles… You learn a thing or two… But that was nothing, I just replaced a pin…
This tugs on your heartstrings and you close in, wrapping your arms around her, hugging her closely. Standing for a little while like that, you tell her:
- It wasn't nothing to me, Eva. Thank you. You helped me a lot.
Eva seems surprised a little and is slow to react, but returns your hug and seems to melt into your arms. She doesn't want to break the hug, and neither do you. She mumbles into your shirt:
- You… You help me a lot, too… T-thank you… For being here…
Feeling her breath on your arm and the beating of her heart adjusting itself to yours, you feel bliss. Moments like these are so rare, but every single one of them is worth cherishing forever. Eva is a wonderful, wonderful person. She touches on each and every one of your fatherhood instincts, you want to protect her so bad, but whenever you least expect it, she shines brightly without even trying to. Even though she's so shy and unsure, a beautiful heart beats in her chest. Knowing it beats for you makes you so grateful that she stumbled into your house. This delicate wallflower… is truly precious, and you were granted the privilege of seeing the real her - she deserves your absolute best, too.
#@/$^@$&%, Mary Green
He stood in a long, dimly lit corridor. The wood-paneled walls were adorned by various paintings spaced a couple of feet in between. Chandeliers hanging from the ceiling provided light, but even their candled wheels couldn't light the whole corridor as it turned black in the distance, as if some sort of black fog stole all light. The rugged, red carpet seemed old, frail.
Unsure what he was doing there, he looked at both sides of the corridor, but they looked pretty much the same. Not having any sense of direction, he picked one at random and took a few careful steps forward. Surprised by how well the carpet was dampening the sound of his steps, he could focus his ears on a distant background noise. At first he thought it was simply the airy atmosphere of the corridor, but if he really focused, he could hear… very soft, very distant, unintelligible, but nonetheless - whispers.
Walking still, he was getting closer to the first set of paintings on the wall. Looking at them, they were portraits of men in their twenties. One was obese and unkempt, with visible darkness under his eyes, a darkness that could only be the result of looking at a screen for most of his life, but there was something familiar about him that he couldn't quite place. On the opposite side of the wall, the other portrait had a different man wearing a military suit, the characteristic buzzcut hairstyle giving him a traditional GI look, with his jawline pronounced and a hint of well-trained muscle visible on his neck. This man also seemed familiar.
- Did I see them some time, maybe…? - he asked himself. The mystery kept growing with no answers present.
- You did. - A female voice close to his ear said. He jumped at that, quickly assuming a defensive position, but there was no one there.
- W-who said that!?
- You know. - The same voice, now very distant, with a clear reverb, answered behind him.
He knows this voice, he knows he heard it before! But who!? Who is playing tricks on him!? And what is this place, anyway!?
He turned to the side of the corridor he was walking towards, before. A white silhouette of a person was clearly visible against the black distance. For some reason, this silhouette felt very familiar too, friendly, in fact. He started walking towards it with an urgent step, he was just about done with all this.
- Who are you? - he asked the apparition as he was walking.
- Don't you recognize me? I'm
#@/$^@$&% - a sudden burst of noise just as it was about to say its name.
- W-what? I'm sorry, I…
- You don't remember me…? Don't you love me anymore?
He stopped suddenly, shocked. What… What is going on!? Who is this person!?
- I… I didn't hear your name…
- I see… Do you remember who you are?
What a silly question, of course he did! He was…
A sudden panic grabbed his heart as he realized he couldn't remember who he was. No facts about his life, nothing came to mind. Shocked upon realizing this, he felt a sudden weakness in his knees. Stumbling to the side, he rested upon the wood-paneled wall, close to another portrait. This man… Yes, yes!! That man looks like him, he knows this! But… but the man on the portrait has an awful scar below his cheek… He doesn't have a scar… Or does he…?
- So you don't remember it either… What have you done…?
The voice was now very near to his side. Looking up, he saw the silhouette standing near him, an almost unbearable whiteness emanating from it. This silhouette was… shifting slightly every so often. Its height changed, as did its general body shape. Sometimes he could make out a different shape near its head where its hair should be, like two cocoons on the sides, but sometimes it had what seemed almost like a ponytail.
- I… I don't know what's going on… - he said truthfully. Everything about this experience was so out of this world, he couldn't focus anymore.
- It's alright… - said the vivid apparition in a comforting tone - you are still you.
- But… What does that mean…?
- It means there is still hope.
- Hope? Of what?
- That you will remain you.
He looked towards where the otherworldly shape would have its face. Squinting his eyes, he started to see a face in the light. It was a face he knew, a face he didn't see for a long time, a face… It was…
Starting suddenly from the bed, the force of the jump was enough to wake Mary resting by his side.
- Dear, what's wrong? - She asks with a frightened, worried expression.
He is breathing heavily, covered in cold sweat, sitting upwards on the bed with only his legs covered. The rumble of a distant thunder can be heard outside as he regains his faculties from the sudden waking. He looks to his side where Mary, wearing an expression of serious concern, waited for his reaction. Swallowing, he slowly calms down.
- N-nothing, dear. It was just a silly nightmare. It's alright.
- Oh… It's alright, I sometimes have vivid ones like that, too. Come, lie back down, I'll help you calm down and soothe you to sleep, dearest…
You smile hearing that and rest back onto the bed. Mary comes closer and rests upon your arm, holding you close and embracing you with her leg, posessively warming you with her beauty. Feeling her warmth and heartbeat slowing down on your chest, you allow yourself to drift back to sleep. A nagging thought remains, but is soon forgotten among a tangle of dreams. That thought being: “I think it was mom.”
Starring: Sakaki Shimizu
You come back tired to your house, legs carrying you slowly through the suburban environment. The sun is setting behind you, painting your surroundings with a strong, red hue. Your shadow is pretty long when you take the first steps in your porch towards the door. You know today Sakaki is here, most probably waiting for you to come home with a dinner and a bath ready. It still amazes you that she's willing to go to such lengths to make you feel well, to support you and to help you. She really is the perfect partner… Understanding your needs even before you voice them, knowing whenever you need some rest or some activity. Always there, but for the call of her name, never pushing herself to your attention, but… present. Always present. For you. She loves you so much, and you love her in turn. A love that doesn't require strong gestures or making itself known everytime, everywhere. A quiet, serene, peaceful love.
Opening the door, you call out inside:
- I'm home, Sakaki!
This… is worrying. She never answered loudly, but you could always hear her call back, usually from the kitchen or the living room. You try to keep your wits about you, take your shoes off, put your suitcase to the side of the wall. You can hear silent talking from the living room, so you take a few careful, silent steps towards it, trying not to make your presence known. You're not entirely sure why you keep such secrecy all of a sudden, it is your house after all, but from the sound of it, there is a phonecall in progress.
Sakaki is sitting by the table, Japanese-style, perfect and prim. She has a phone by her ear and is speaking in Japanese. You cannot understand what she is saying and her words remain calm and measured. However, she seems… tense. Her arms are held rigid, and while her facial expression doesn't really betray anything, you did notice she doesn't have her beautiful, beautiful, miniature smile. This seems to be a terse call, you don't want to interrupt.
A few minutes go by, with Sakaki replying with her calm manner all the time. You wish you knew some Japanese, but this isn't something for you to listen in on, anyway. Seems like a private matter. Finally, Sakaki takes the phone from her ear and ends the call. You see her looking at the phone with focus. Always the measured, prim woman, you see the tiniest transformation in her. She seems to still be incredibly tense, clenching her teeth more strongly than usual. You can't really tell what exactly is happening from your angle and you don't see her face precisely, but after a while…
A tear hits the phone's screen.
Sakaki, ever prim and proper, holds her emotions like a champion, but it is unmistakable. She is crying.
You walk into the room and speak, making your presence known.
She turns her head to you. A single track of wetness from her eye to her face, leading down to her nose, now trailing off to her lips. Your heart begins to hurt, seeing this. You have no idea what is going on.
- Welcome back.
- Sakaki… What is wrong? What is happening?
Silence. She looks down on the ground. You walk over to her and sit down beside her. You never could do the Japanese sit, so you sit with your legs forward, but that never bothered Sakaki. You wrap your arm around her.
- Sakaki, please… Tell me what is going on?
She still can't force herself to speak, turning her head side to side. You start feeling fear, because it is obvious something has distraught her, but she doesn't want to tell you what. Why? Why won't she tell you? You make a little bit of a more desperate effort and get up to sit before her right on the table, so you have her in front of you.
- Sakaki… I can see you're hurt. I don't know what happened, but I want to help you. I want you to feel better. Please, please tell me what is going on, so I can help you.
She looks up at you, your worried but understanding smile. Another tear forces itself down her beautiful face to join the other.
Sakaki gets up suddenly and, without any warning, hugs you strongly. Only now you can hear her tiniest sobbing when her face is right beside your ear. You hug her in earnest and feel her heartbeat, fast, but slowing down as the hug continues.
- I… I shouldn't be here…
You hear her sobbing in between words. It pains you what you hear. You do not understand.
- But… I want to stay here with you…
Your heart doesn't know exactly how to take it. You start to feel fear, fear that she may have been called back to Japan, that maybe she will need to leave you, possibly forever. Your beautiful Sakaki, your anchor in this crazy world, your love and your comfort, your want and your need, your beautiful Sakaki… You don't know how to react. You hold her tighter at first, putting your hand on her hair and stroking it gently, while her sobs gradually slow down in your embrace. She seems to be calming herself down, but you don't want to break the embrace. You feel fear, but it is subsiding with each minute of your hug. You think you know how to react now.
Pulling yourself just the tiniest little bit from your embrace, you meet her face to face, look deep into her eyes and speak.
- So stay with me, Sakaki. You are free to do anything you want. I love you.
You move in to the kiss, but she is faster. She joins your lips with a speed you never expected from a demure, calm woman like that. New tears begin to flow from her eyes as you kiss and hold, but her heart is calmed down, you can feel it as it synchronizes to your own, becoming the most beautiful clock in the universe, if for a short while. Breaking the kiss, she looks at you with her tiny smile and a glint of fire in her eyes.
- I will.
Starring: Cleo Loring
You've finished up preparations. Read up on everything that was needed. Everything ordered came in a few days ago and you kept it in the closet so she wouldn't notice. You leave your hastily written note on the table by the front door and go to the bedroom. You can't say it was comfortable learning how to automate the last steps, but you know it's going to be worth it. For her, you'll make the most elaborate gift you can think of. Sure, you may strain yourself a bit, but to see her smirk turn to a wide, satisfied grin? Worth it.
* * *
Cleo walks in as she usually does, without knocking.
- Hey babe, I'm here!
No answer. That's weird. She takes off her shoes and takes a few steps forward. It's… strangely quiet in his house today. Did he leave? He has the habit of disappearing suddenly, but…
There's a note on the table. He went shopping or what? Taking it to her eyes, she can read his scribbly writing:
“Bedroom. Happy birthday.”
She smirked. Hah, that guy, what did he cook up now? Well, whatever, it's probably some feely, cheesy bullshit. She admires him trying, but he should know by now it's not who she is. Ah well, let the guy be sensitive if he wants, she's not gonna raise a stink about it.
Coming up to the bedroom, she starts hearing music. Some country song she never heard before from the sound of it. “Really, babe?” she thinks to herself, her smirk getting ever wider. Hah, at least he didn't go for hip-hop, she's got enough stereotypes from her looks - her thick booty always elicits the same old tired comments both from her coworkers and random assholes on the street. A few days ago, one was especially in her face about it… well, it was the last time he'd be doing that, that's for sure, that nose ain't getting better for at least a week.
She pushes the door and…
The windows are covered, the feelgood decor is gone, the bed is looking kind of spartan, but the most definite change is in the center, for there stands a rack - like, a legit rack, to which her man is strapped, in all his naked glory. A ballgag in his mouth, he reacts with mock-fear as she surveys her surroundings. By the rack there stands a portable table and on it there are… oh boy… handcuffs, ropes, whips, both horsewhips and traditional cat-o-nine-tales, even a vib for her pleasure, and… her eyes couldn't believe it - a chastity device. Next to it all, a cd player that was playing that country song before, but now it's changed to a song she recognized - Comanche, by The Revels. He even remembered her favourite movie…!
- Baby… oh baby… You did this all for me?
A smile from the bound man shows behind the ballgag.
- You… Fuck me man, nobody's ever made so much effort for me…! You're the best…!
Cleo's smile is beautiful. She seems so happy with her present, and you're only too happy to witness that. You look on from your binds to Cleo as she comes over, gives you a kiss on the cheek and, with the fullest smile you ever saw her give, says:
- I'll be right back, okay? Gotta throw these clothes off first…
She leaves the room and you're left in your uncomfortable state for some time. Your nose starts to itch and it's driving you mad. Maybe tying yourself up wasn't such a good idea, especially since the little electric motor is now behind the rack and you're not sure if it turned itself off.
- So… I heard someone's been a naughty boy…
Cleo stands at the door. Leather-clad legs and hands, with a… is that a police hat? But otherwise, showing off her beautiful body. Nipples erect and proud on her breasts, underscored by her toned abs and… yes, there is a bit of a shine at her crotch. She comes over to the tool table and mock-thinking for a while, she picks up the horse whip.
- Now… Naughty boys need to be punished… Are you ready for your punishment?
Yes. Yes, you were ready.
Starring: Raquel Cardoso
You start questioning yourself again over Raquel. Why the hell did you even agree to her coming back? By this point it's obvious she's back to her tricks as your main wallet drain. Even though you were planning to teach her a lesson, you begin to wonder if you'll have the strength to see that come to fruition. You just don't believe she changed - oh, you hoped for that, even survived the worst of her verbal abuse to see if she maybe reconsidered being such a bitch, but no such luck, at least, so far.
Why keep suffering? Just to see her humiliated once for good - is it really worth the trouble? You did just fine without her around for a longer while. Hell, if you could, you'd ask Andrea what the hell was she thinking bringing her back, out of all people. This doesn't make sense, honestly. You know that Andrea wants you to screw pretty girls, but with Raquel, she was doing the screwing, and it didn't feel good, neither for you nor your wallet.
Thinking back to how things were when you were in highschool, they didn't seem too different. Raquel saw you working some small-time IT for hire. You weren't exactly loaded, but that brought enough cash on the table for your own fun, like going to concerts, buying merch and other things. That was probably what brought her attention to you first. She never went for the jocks or some rich-boy whose parents were lawyers or something and it… kinda puzzled you the more you got to know her.
You really thought she was into you… Sigh, that was the most painful lesson in the whole two years you've been going out. You couldn't look past your own feelings to really see what she was doing - and she was hooked to your wallet like a leech. You should have put two and two together when you got an extra paper-route just to be able to splurge on her wants. She always threw the worst tantrums whenever she couldn't get her way, like the worst spoiled child in the world. And the problem is… you thought that was how it was supposed to be, that the guy is responsible for financing his woman. You still hate yourself for that. So much money wasted on the stupidest shit she broke within a week or two, treating neither you nor the things you got her with respect.
Something broke in you when she messed up your leather couch in your apartment one time, though. It's as if you could finally, finally see clear the parasite she was. No amount of sex was worth that. You threw her out, right there and then. She didn't even have her stuff at your place, all you really had to do was get up from the couch and tell her to leave.
- The fuck are you doing, baby?
- I said, I've had enough. Leave, Raquel, and never come back.
- You heard me. Out.
You can still remember her eyes bulging outwards, the fire rising to her cheeks as her voice grew louder in her throat. She instantly went for her bitch registers, screaming at you, calling you every name under the sun and even continuing her tantrum when she got outside. Slamming the door behind her, you stood propping it with your back, as if there was a raging tiger outside. At first, it felt pretty good. You stood up for yourself, how manly is that? But then, you spent two weeks without hearing from her, seeing her or otherwise in contact with her. These two weeks were torture for you. You like to think of it now as you going “cold turkey” on Raquel, since it was pretty much like that. No more sex. No more fiery touches. No more Raquel. In the end, however, you realized it was for your own good. You never called. You stopped thinking about her. You skipped anything that may have reminded you of her in a positive way. No, you were done.
So now… what the fuck do you do with the girl that is sitting on the other side of the couch, playing with her… well, the phone you got her? What in the ever loving fuck convinced you to give her a chance? You already spent way over your fun budget on her within a month and she's showing no signs of stopping. She even sold a handbag you personally got her! For fucks sake, you can see she still doesn't have ANY respect for you, so why, why do you put up with it!?
- Hey baby, I'm going to have a photoshoot tomorrow, some shitty beachside place for some ads or something.
- …do you think I should cancel?
This is literally the first time ever since you know her when she asked for your opinion on anything. To say you're shocked is one hell of an understatement.
- See, they're going to do beachwear shoots and I hate them, they never care for the clothes and only want to get my body. Fap-material for some old men going through catalogues, pfft. I don't want that.
- I… see. So why'd you agree to it in the first place?
- Oh for fucks sake, you think I would? Don't be retarded, it's part of a series of photoshoot deals, I had no fucking idea they'd go from summer city wear to fuckin'… swimsuits and shit. I want to skip this shoot, I'm going to get so angry during it and you don't want to see me angry. Well, angrier than usual.
You turn that around in your head. Okay, yeah, that sounds legit. She always hated when she was treated like some sort of sex object, she wanted class, not slutwear. For all you dislike about Raquel, you always respected that she considered herself and her body to be… well, valuable, you suppose.
- Well, if you don't want to be there, you can cancel anytime you want, can't you?
- See, here's the thing… There are penalties for dropping a photoshoot that is part of a collected deal. For every shoot you cancel like that, you have to pay up something like 400$.
If you had tea, you'd probably be doing a spittake right about now.
- Four hundred dollars!?
- So you can see why I'm hesitant. I've got some scratch on my side, something like 200$, but… well…
Sigh. You should have known. Once a wallet, always a wallet. You're beginning to be a little angry - why the fuck did she even sign up for a series of photoshoots if she didn't know a shoot like that was a possibility!? She must have noticed the state of your gasket, since she's quick to add:
- Oh fuck it, I'm gonna do it if you're going to be an angry little prick about it.
- No. I'll help you.
She looks straight at you with surprised eyes. Her expression shows she really didn't expect that. She quickly follows that up with:
- Yes, really. On one condition.
She eyes you a little suspiciously. Crossing her legs in her standard negotiating pose, she's ready to build the deal.
- Which is?
- You stop acting indignant whenever I need something from you. You're such a bitch that whenever I need something from you, I have to almost beg, and you get all in a huff over it, as if you were making me a real favour. Well, counting as of right now, I've been the favour mule in this relationship. You want to keep this going, you have to put some effort in here, capisce?
You suspect she'd go into full tantrum mode, slapping her foot on the floor and calling you names, but she doesn't. She looks at her hands, clearly thinking over what you said to her, biting her teeth a little more. This silence is becoming weirdly long, to be honest - you wonder what could have put her in such a state, since this request was pretty damn simple.
- …alright. Just promise me you won't ask me for anything fucking stupid, like that whole fox suit deal, alright?
She isn't exactly happy with the result of this talk, but she gets up from the couch and comes over to you, hand in an expectant, practiced gesture. You sigh to yourself, reach for your wallet and get two hundred dollars in twenty dollar bills. Seeing her eyes count each note that is laid on her outstretched hand makes you a little sick. You fell for it again. When will you learn?
- Alright, I'll take this, go to the agency and pay up for canceling this photoshoot. See ya, baby.
- Yeah, yeah… See ya, Raquel.
She walks out of the room and you can hear her opening and closing the door going out. She seems to have sped up her walk a little, but soon, the noise of her high-heels disappears in the distance.
Starring: Annabelle Cumming
Your head hurts. A pretty unfun migraine is stuck with you since you woke up. You already took an aspirin and are now waiting for the pain to clear up, but there's a certain problem that makes it take longer than it should.
- …and could you believe it? She didn't even put on her office suit, she came over dressed in the most garish dress she could! Just like her to get all of the attention for herself, even if there was no call for that! The clients turned their heads instead of signing papers! I swear, one of these days she'll get herself in a bind with the higher-ups for that! Why, just last week…
Yep. Annabelle and her endless word stream. You're too polite to ask her to stop, being the good guy you are. You know she needs to get it all out of herself, it's why she loves being with you so much and you don't want to deny her that, but you feel like your head is going to explode if this keeps up.
- …oh but they never learn. Sigh, I guess that's all for yesterday's events. I admit I am a bit tired, and…
Annabelle looks on to your thinking face. She looks down to your chest, where you are currently busy scratching yourself. Your hand uncovered parts of your suit and she has a free look at your male breast. She blushes a bit at that.
- …and I… Oh, I think I'll rest a little bit on the couch…
She sits closer to you, putting her hand on your knee and stroking it slightly. Oh-ho, what is this, Annabelle? Are you… perhaps… in need right now?
- Love, I won't lie… The last few days in the office were horrible and I need a little bit of a pick-me-up… Would you be interested in, maybe… scratching that particular itch?
Oh Annabelle, so forward… You love it when she's like that. This is the only girl you know open about her needs, but still courteous enough to ask for help with them. It makes you feel special - she could always just schlick one out and be done with it, but she wants your participation - which you're only too happy to give her. But… well, your head still hurts a little…
- Hey Annabelle… I had an idea, you know…
- Yes, dearie?
- What do you say if we… increased the stakes a little bit?
- Ooh… I love it when you're creative… what did you have in mind, love?
- I want you to lay down naked in my bed…
Her legs make an impatient motion. Oooh, she's got it bad.
- …and you can't speak a word. I will take good care of you, but if you utter a word, I'll stop.
Annabelle makes an unhappy grimace. You think she got what you were implying and she's making it known, but… she isn't voicing protest or appearing too hurt. Her legs rub against each other and you feel you have an inkling why. Oh Annabelle… already so bothered? This will be a walk in the park…
- …alright, love. I'm in. Lets see you pull it off, but I'm warning you - if you stop too soon, I'm taking matters into my own hands!
- Wouldn't want it any other way, Anne.
* * *
You enter the bedroom carrying a few supplies. Feathers of different sizes, two halves of a lemon and other assorted paraphernalia. Annabelle is there, lying on the bed sideways. Not completely naked though, but wearing her corset top and some incredibly intricate lace panties. Her breasts squeeze against the corset, making it look as if it was about to burst, but she seems comfortable. A playful, but inviting expression on her face, contrasted by one of her legs bent forward. She is showing off her panties, where a visible sheen is spreading through the fabric. Smiling, you ask her to get up and, sitting behind her, you begin to help her undress.
You never understood why corsets have to be this complex piece of hardware. All this lacing and zippers and hooks and everything - it's like a veritable gordian knot of sexy. You don't mind it, however - it makes Annabelle into a complex puzzle for you, the best gift wrap you ever witnessed. With her seductive smile looking back at you, you can hear her breathe - softly, slowly… sensually… It almost makes you get bothered too much for your plan to be effective. Breaking through the last of her corset locks, you move the material forward to begin taking it off of her. Your head rests on her arm while you do so and she gives you a little kiss on your cheek. The corset thrown to the side of your bed, you take the chance to knead on her beautiful breasts a little bit.
They're so pliant in your hands… so soft… like delicate little pillows filled with clouds… You can hear her breath seize up a little and a moan escapes her mouth.
You look at her with a teasing “tut tut” on your face. She looks to you and, with an apologetic expression, puts her finger to her lips and purses them a little. She'll be a good girl. After all, this is when things started getting really good…
After getting your fill of her luscious breasts, you get up from the bed and kneel before her. One of her legs is quick to rest on your shoulder. You get the idea. You start kissing it's length, starting from her beautiful feet, moving higher with each little motion. First her lower leg… your head moves on the inside, touching her skin sensually with your lips. getting closer to the knee, then her hip… Your prize is beckoning you, but you're in no rush. You can see… smell her want from here, and it is such an alluring experience… Annabelle takes care of herself really well, there isn't a chance for you to experience anything unpleasant staying down there. Not a trace of cellulite, no suggestion that she may be tired or overworked. Truly a model of an aristocrat woman, well-kept and well-taken care of.
Reaching her panties, the wetness got so intense here you couldn't mistake it for anything else. She wants it, she wants it so bad… Oh, but not yet Annabelle… First, we'll need to take these off…
You stand up suddenly and with a stronger motion, you slide her panties off. You feel yourself get decidedly wet down there and your manhood pulses a little when you witness a string of her want connecting her glistening womanhood with the panties that quickly joins itself into a drop which falls on your bed. Oh god, Annabelle… You knew she wanted it bad, but this bad? You almost feel a little guilty for what is about to happen…
* * *
Moving the feather on her skin, up and down, you delicately touch her exposed breasts, circling the nipples and making a dive to the belly. Annabelle is sweating incredibly bad, she has her eyes closed and grabbed the bedsheets as if her life depended on it. She's trembling now and it is obvious she's close to her limit. For the last 20 minutes, you were the most delicate little tease, touching her sensually and pleasing her spots. Playing with a spot just below her ear with your other feather, she opens her eyes slowly, looking at you. She doesn't speak, she doesn't want you to stop, but her eyes beg you to finish it, to finally let her come… Oh no. Oh no, Annabelle. The fun is only beginning.
You pause for a little while, letting her get her breath back. The wet spot below her hips is now circling her entire bottom, all of this was produced by her. Incredible. Even after all this time, she's as wet as an entire harbour during a storm. She looks at you, an expression of tortured pleasure, raising her lips just a little bit in the air for you to see them. She really is begging for you to finish. You move in to kiss her, without much hurry. She attacks your lips with her tongue and pushes in roughly, demanding the pleasure. You indulge her for a short while, while she mashes her lips into you like a crazed animal. Finally you pull back, holding yourself above her. Her begging eyes look to yours, expectant and wanting. You smile the tiniest bit and whisper:
- Not yet.
She grimaces in pain and in want. “When will you stop, love? When will you stop torturing me? Please, please let me come, please…”, she seems to say. You're not satisfied yet, she is much too fun to keep on the edge for so long. You doubt she will ever let you do it again, but a deal's a deal for now, and you intend to savor her for the longest possible time.
Rising up from the bed, you position yourself between her legs. Your manhood stands at attention, all this time without being serviced, it spouted pre-cum for a while. You're wet and glistening. Annabelle looks at that and her eyes focus on your penis at attention between her thighs. She shoots you one more begging look and moves herself just a little bit closer to you.
You rub yourself over her puffy, red folds, feeling how wet she is, lubricating yourself with her juice. She immediately pushes her head hard back into the bed, raising her chin into the air. Her hips begin moving up and down, trying to push you inside… but you refuse. Whenever she gets too close to penetration, you pull back and leave your glans in the air to tease her clitoris with your underside. She looks down visibly angry, her face flushed with intense arousal. She shoots daggers towards you and little tears start forming in her eyes. She really is tortured right now, so close to release which you keep denying her.
You keep that up for a little bit more and Annabelle gets more and more frustrated by you. “Why wont you push it in already?! Stick it in, make me feel it, FUCK ME!” her eyes seem to say, but you are unmoved. Rubbing yourself all over her pussy, you sometimes make a move towards her colon, poking it with your glans, as if you were to enter it. She then pushes herself hard downwards, but you always escape in time. She's at her limits. She can't take it anymore. And then…
- Stop it, stop it! You win, you git, I can't take it anymore! Fuck me, fuck me please, fuck me! Put it in, I can't take it anymore! I'll cry if you stop! You've teased me long eno-AAaaaaaahhhh…!!
Your manhood entered her begging folds. Instantly you feel her squeeze you and pull at you like… like a calf which just got to a cow tit. Oh god, she's going to wring you dry with her pussy… the sensations are so intense it takes you a while to calm down and not just explode right there and then. You control yourself and, resting on her breasts, you both breathe as if you just finished an olympic marathon run.
She looks into your eyes, pure, endless bliss painted all over her beautiful face, her eyes still wet from her begging tears, but now resting into a purely lustful half-close. She nods to you and you begin to move. Slowly at first, tasting every quivering fold within her, while she inhales strongly and braces herself for you. But even that turns out to be enough for you. After resting just a little bit from her previous orgasm, she is back to being so bothered she's on the verge again. You really may have overdid it…
You use your free hand to knead her left nipple in between your fingers. You realize the futility of giving her any more sensations right now, but that's more for your own benefit. She yelps with her mouth close every time you hilt yourself in her. It's impossible for you to give her anything more. Her body trembles and ripples under you, she's on the verge of yet another orgasm. This time you decide that enough is enough. You try to speed up just a little bit, but she seizes you with her legs behind your back and, through her teeth, manages to snarl at you.
- Don't. You. Dare.
You know what she means. She's in no condition for anything rougher. Just as that thought leaves your head, she begins to seize up. She came again, her walls tightening around your manhood. A pulse of pleasure runs through her and pleases you just enough for you, too, to join her at the edge. Just the last two pushes as her insides undulate around your penis and… everything goes white for a moment. Your rod pulses with each blob of your pearly essence that you deposit inside her and you squeeze her underneath you with a grunt. You manage to open your eyes and witness her in a state of complete, inescapable bliss, eyes upturned to her eyelids, her face scrunched and teeth clenched. Your own face must look the same, but you don't care. This was the best sex of your entire life.
Fighting for air, you rest a bit of your mass on her. She still holds you in with her legs and your manhood deposits the last of your sperm with irregular pulses. She doesn't let you go, but you quickly realize why - her ride is still ongoing, she's just coming down from it. Oh god…
Annabelle, tired, releases her legs from behind you, allowing you to leave, but you don't really want to, yet. You look to her tired face. Poor thing. She is too tired to express anything else right now, her heavy, fast breathing slowing down. You really overdid it.
She opens her eyes and looks at you. You feel a little bit guilty and want to voice that, but just as you're about to open your mouth and speak, she puts her finger to your lips and whispers:
Starring: Yasu Teramura
You find yourself in a bit of a conundrum. On one hand, it's a real nice afternoon at home, the sun is shining just a little too much for a comfortable sit on the porch, but not hard enough to really get those fans turning. You're all for the idea of spending it inside today and the Universe doesn't seem to object to that plan. On the other hand…
- Brother, are you absolutely certain that you insulated your bio-energy with the oils I gave you?
- Yes. Yes I did.
Your irritated monotone starts showing, and Yasu is quick to notice that. She shoots you a worried look from the other side of the couch.
- Do you feel alright? I can sense something is bothering you… It's the Demonic Ether, isn't it?
Yet once more, you find yourself conflicted. You know Yasu enough to know that ever questioning her delusions leads to tears and huffed footstomping, but you can't just keep entertaining her fantasies, can you? The girl is 18 now for god's sake, she can't be the immature little priestess she was all the time you were growing up! You sigh to yourself, not giving her an answer.
You were so young when your dad re-married, you never even treated your step-mom as someone who, strictly speaking, wasn't your original mother. In many ways you're grateful for that, but on the other hand, your dad always seemed to be much more interested in how you were doing than she was. For Yasu it was the other way around. Dad, as much as he tried to be welcoming and pleasant to her, never figured too much in her childhood. Her mother, on the other hand, was there almost constantly. You remember her as a bit of an… overbearing presence. Not exactly the “no fun allowed” kind, but her… well, from a lack of a better word, “vigil” on you both was sometimes unnerving, but Dad had your back all the time, while Yasu was cared for mostly by mom.
- … If you're tired, maybe we shouldn't push for more today. We'll get back to defeating the Demonic Ether tomorrow, alright?
- Alright. I'll go back to my room and read up some more on ancient techniques used to exorcise demons, maybe there I'll find something helpful.
- Alright, you do that.
She looks at you a bit more sadly, pausing for a little while, then getting off the couch to walk towards the corridor. Her priestess get-up shuffled around itself producing an unpleasant sound, but it quickly calmed down. You feel a little guilty for not entertaining her, but it's too late now, she walked away. A heavier sigh this time leaves your lungs.
So why did you turn out… as okay as it is possible in your circumstances, while Yasu is so out there? You never understood it. Your step-mom wasn't some sort of evil corruptor to have an effect like that on her, you remember her as a mostly normal, though sad-looking woman. Maybe genetics were to blame, somehow? She has heterochromia after all, you read up somewhere that it's a result of a rare mutation. What else could have… mutated in her to cause such an effect? Or is she, in the end, just playing? The longest-running LARP session, for the record books?
Something shatters upstairs with a loud smash. You get up from the couch and rush to the source of the noise, which turns out to be Yasu's room. More specifically the “guest room” she is occupying right now, but, whatever. Entering the door with a worried, faster pace, you see Yasu sitting by the desk, looking towards a glass that fell to the ground. It must have struck the desk since the pieces were everywhere and the carpet didn't insulate the fall.
- What happened?
Yasu looks to you with a pained expression. You're worried she may have hurt herself on some glass shards, but then… She starts crying. Like a child, with her mouth wide, eyes half-closed and globs of tears leaving her eyes. She manages to not go for the loud, screaming cry, but the look is as heartbreaking as it is cute. It disarms you instantly. Walking over to her, taking care not to step on any glass, you give her a comforting hug.
- There there… It's alright, these things happen, it's just a glass…
She sobs into your chest for a little while, calming herself down, while you stroke her hair and smile to yourself a little bit. She may not have had a father's presence… but you're glad you were there for her. She never had it easy with the other kids, or either way in life, but she could always count on her older brther to have her back.
- Brother… sniff Am I… different?
Your heart freezes instantly. She never asked questions like that. She was always so adamant about her fantasies, any questioning led to instant angry dismissals and frustration. What did just happen?
- Why do you say that?
- I… I know I was always the weird kid… Others never understood me… I tried to help them see what I saw, but they just laughed at me…
Yes, that is exactly what happened. She was always so passionate about her fantasies and often came home crying when she was ridiculed by other kids who just couldn't see it. It felt so bad to witness it and you could never live with yourself if you didn't react back then. You always tried to comfort her, to make her smile, to make her forget the unpleasant experiences. One particular time some asshole kid punched her in the nose when, according to her words, she “tried to look into the future”, and then laughed in her face that “she couldn't see it coming”. That was a particularly well-executed suplex on your part… Heh, he never bothered her again, but she learned to stay away from that kid. You always wondered why your parents never stepped in to it all… Though, now that you think about it, you remember your dad and your step-mom arguing about something really badly whenever things like that happened. They always did it outside of your view, but the arguments sometimes got really loud as to be heard outside of your house. Your dad always looked drained after an experience like that, while your step-mom… looked outside sometimes to see you comforting Yasu. Why didn't they ever help? You couldn't understand that. But you will never, ever be the person who will not help your sister. Never.
- Yasu… You just see things differently than everyone else.
She looks up at you with reddened eyes, not entirely sure how to respond.
- You see things even I don't. You have a much better… spiritual sensitivity than anyone I know. But I never doubted you. I always believed you and what you said, even if I couldn't see it myself.
Yasu's eyes light up hearing that. A heart-melting smile is close to follow. It is hard for you to continue, but you steel yourself. You will make her feel better even if it leads to your heart attack from too much sweetness.
- I want you to be confident in yourself, Yasu. You're a good person. The world needs more good people like you. So what if people don't understand? They don't need to understand for you to help them, right?
- Heh… Yeah, they don't.
She puts her face into your shirt again and hugs you. Your heart thoroughly melted, you don't feel the need to continue. Embracing her with both your hands, you share a warm moment which neither of you really wants to break. You do it first since your knees start to hurt a little.
- Alright, let's clean up this mess and we can go back to fighting the Demonic Vapour, alright Yasu?
- Ether, brother!! Demonic Vapours are a completely different thing, one sniff of them would rob you of your sanity in an instant! You're lucky you never came in contact with it, you'd probably be dead already!
- Heh… Yeah, yeah, I know.
Starring: Eva Varga
- Ah, you're back. Would you like to rest now?
Eva's face is highlighted from underneath by a handheld console she's playing with, the only light source in the dark room. She paused the game and is looking to your sleepy face, not hiding that you're about ready to crash for tonight. You're not specifically tired, but the day has been one of those sleepy ones - low pressure always makes you like that. After doing some rudimentary work on your car and cleaning up, the bed feels inviting.
- Yeah, lets finish the day and rest, I've been sluggish all the time, rain always makes me like this.
- Alright, I'll just finish this battle, save and we can go to sleep.
- Sure Eva, let me drop our clothes for washing and I'll be right back.
She smiles to you, a happy, relaxed curve to her lips. You remember how timid she was when you just begun your relationship, she was so scared of everything, as if you'd get mad for her merely being here. How could anyone be ever mad at her? She's so precious and cute, and once she got comfortable around you, her presence became soothing and pleasant. Even now, when she turned back to her handheld and light patterns on her face started to change, her discreet, delicate beauty hidden underneath her shy wave of hair is unmistakable. Eva reminds you much more of a delicate midnight flower, closing its petals in fear of any pressure, but beautifully glistening under the moonlight for those willing to take their time to let her open up. Ruminating on the charms of this little slovac faerie, you put your clothes to the basket and take it to the bathroom to stand it by the washing machine and, after a quick sorting, you put all whites into it while leaving coloured clothes in the bin. Tomorrow you'll turn it on.
Coming back to the bedroom, Eva already left her game and her glasses on the nightstand and is laying facing your side, eyes closed, but not asleep yet as she reacts to you coming back:
- I think tomorrow I will look for a job somewhere near. I was thinking of something simple for a start, like a… how you say… book-lender? No, no, librarian.
- That's fantastic Eva! - you say as you lie down on the bed next to her, covering the both of you - I'm glad you found the courage to push yourself out there.
You feel Eva reach out to your arm with her hand, touching you with her fingers lovingly, the sound of her voice in the darkness making it pretty clear she is smiling.
- Thank you… If it weren't for you, I'd probably never… even consider it.
It warms your heart so much. Eva is such a wonderful person, all she really needed to beat the debilitating aspects of her shyness was some encouragement and… a loving soul she could depend on. It makes you feel so special and needed - you used to feel her trigger every fatherly instinct in you with her delicate, cute and downright charming ineptness and as you took her under your wing, you hopelessly fell in love with her.
This thought moves the unwanted part of your consciousness to work. She's… the eighth girl so far. The eighth girl you feel real, honest love towards and who reciprocates. You doubt Andrea really planned on things turning out this way since she only seems to care for how much you can fuck daily, but it still feels wrong to you. That's an imprecise way of saying it, though - you wouldn't give it up for anything in this world and you really feel what all of those girls, Mary, Sakaki, Cleo… maybe Raquel, Annabelle… afraid-of-rejecting Leilani, even your own step-sister - what they feel towards you is real, completely real, and what you feel is real, too. Almost… strangely real - is a single person even capable of loving so many girls? You heard of polyamory but you never heard of such complicated relationships. It feels much more like a turkish harem than a typical polyamory setup, but… How does love even work in a real, legitimate harem? You're anything but a typical Sultan or Emperor - you don't lust for power or influence. All you really wanted was to not have a cold bed in the evenings when Andrea showed up, but it turned into so much more. You feel like you're… eight-timing on them all, but you don't want to give it up - not because of the sex, which was fantastic, of course, but because those feelings are genuine. To lose any of these girls now would shatter you, you don't even want to think of-
- Hey… Are you asleep?
Eva whispers to you from her side of the bed quietly, in case she'd woke you up. You're thankful for her stopping that trainwreck of a thought process.
- No, not yet, I was thinking about… a few things.
- I… I wanted to ask you something.
- Sure, go ahead Eva.
- …Are you unhappy with me?
Like a lightning bolt from the sky, her question momentarily pierces your chest and gives your heart a jolt. What. You turn to your side towards her and reach out to her to touch her arm. Your voice becoming a little louder than a whisper bursts from your lips:
- Dear God, why would I be unhappy with you Eva?
- …I was worried that… You know… We've been together for a longer while and… And we never… You know… Did it…
Oh. Ohhhhh. So this is what is bothering you, Eva. You feel a twinge of guilt, reading that as if it was some sort of complaint from her.
- Lord, no! Why would I be unhappy with that? I wanted you to feel ready and tell me that, I don't want to push you. Sure, we've seen each other naked, heh, I remember when you straight-up asked me to look…
You know Eva is blushing. You just know it in your gut. You don't even have to see it.
- …but I wanted you to make that decision. I know you're afraid, that it'll hurt or feel bad or the like, that's why I don't push. I love you Eva, I want you to feel comfortable with me and yourself first, I don't want to rush you. This doesn't mean I'm unhappy, men aren't these horndogs that take their pants off as soon as they can.
And now you know Andrea, wherever she is, is laughing. You're a bit angry at yourself for formulating it like that, but it's too late - you can't exactly tell Eva you have other means of taking care of your urges. Eva is silent for a little while, considering what you said, until she speaks again:
- Thank you… for understanding me so well. Yes, I… I am scared of… this first time, but I've been working up the courage, reading up on what would be comfortable and safe and… Well… That is what I wanted to ask you.
- What do you mean?
- A book I've been reading says that if I can… get used to… um… touching you, I'll become comfortable with the idea…
You smile to her, even though you're pretty sure she can't see it. You touch her arm again and slowly slide your hand towards hers, as you say:
- I understand. If that is what you wish to do, go ahead. I will help you and explain.
You take her hand and slide yourself closer to her on the bed. Lying on your back, feeling her body next to yours, you guide her hand towards your penis. A tingle of her touch on your non-erect shaft slowly starts waking it as blood begins to flow towards your lower body. Eva at first wants to pull her hand back, but you remain delicately firm. You place her hand squarely onto your groin and remove yours so she can move freely.
- Here Eva. This is me.
Her whisper betrays her wonderment at the experience. You feel her tracing the contours of your manhood with her fingertips, an incredibly delicate sensation, as if she was touching a delicate porcelain statue. Her careful, inexperienced touches betray with their slight tremble how anxious she is, but you calm her down by wrapping your arm around her as you begin to explain:
- This is my penis, Eva. The skin below is my scrotum which contains my testicles. It's where sperm is produced. The thing above is the shaft.
- I see… It's… a little flappy…
- Hehe, that's because it's not erect yet. Keep touching me and it will soon fill with blood close to its full length.
Eva proceeds to touch the surface of your shaft, becoming a little more encouraged by your words. She uses her whole hand and places her fingers on your balls while the flat of her hand rubs your penis, which begins to grow. The sensations give you pleasure while this whole situation - of you as an educator and Eva as a student - makes you aroused. Your shaft has now achieved a steady growth with the head of your penis sliding a little from its hood.
- The thing at the top is called the head of the penis. It is hidden under foreskin - a coat of skin that protects it when the penis is not erect. I want you to grab the shaft now with your fingers…
Eva does as instructed and four fingers grab the underside of your penis while her thumb rests on the top.
-…and pull it down. Don't worry, you won't hurt me.
She hesitates for a short while and delicately begins a downward motion, careful for any sign of pain or discomfort. Your head emerges from the foreskin completely, the motion giving you pleasure as more blood rushes to your penis, stiffening it.
- It starts getting hard…
- Yes, Eva. In a minute it'll be about the size to be ready for sex. This moment is usually when we kiss and I please you with my touches so that my penis does that by itself.
- Oh… S-so, we're doing it wrong, now…?
You chuckle a bit under your nose.
- No no, everything is fine. There isn't a rule, really, it's just about giving each other pleasure first before you rush to the act proper.
- I… I see… S-so, if I… If I would… D-do this…?
Her hand leaves your penis, instead reaching for your hand, lying in between you. Your first thought is that she wants to hold it, but that is not her intention. You are… amazed at her sudden courage as she takes your hand and puts it near her crotch, already a little wet, then leaves it there and returns to touching your penis.
- I… I just thought it… It wasn't fair… And…
- It's alright… I'm proud of you. You don't have to push yourself so hard if you don't want to, but if you wish…
You start to touch her intimate place, as delicately as she touched yours. Not wanting to scare her, you stay away from the obvious, building up her sensitivity and familiarity first. At the same time, Eva returned to slowly sliding your skin back and forth, giving you an incredibly pleasing, slow sensation. It is beginning to be a bit warm under the covers, so you use your free hand to remove it from you both slowly so as not to startle Eva. She, however, is completely focused on the sensations you are giving her, your fingers wet just from circling her folds. You hear her breath get a little more intense, something that turns you on a lot.
- W-what is that…?
Her fingers seem to have moved across your head, where a bead of precum apparently made its way from your urethra. The sticky liquid is smeared a little on the skin with her motions not stopping.
- This is precum, Eva. It means you're doing a great job, that I'm very aroused. It is used as an additional lubricant to your own wetness down there.
- Ahhh… Nnnghh…
A sudden moan escapes her as you realize while you were explaining, you stopped being careful and moved your finger closer to her clitoral hood. You want to escape that area at first, but she instantly protests:
- N-no… Don't… Don't stop…
You smile again. Well, now you've done it. You will have to finish without putting your fingers inside, but luckily that shouldn't be difficult with how aroused she is. Considering the lesson over for now, you raise yourself from the bed and move to kiss her. She lets out a muffled cry as your lips join, with your fingers continuing to work her clitoral hood. The kiss, delicate, but full of passion, is slowly broken as Eva breathes out. You see her eyes in the moonlight, her beautiful face and her wave of hair, now unkempt due to your passion, her expression at the same time worried and begging for more, as you whisper to her to address her hesitations:
- Eva… Trust me. I will not hurt you.
She nods to you, bracing herself, as you lower yourself to her legs and move yourself in-between them. Her tightly closed, virgin slit is wetly glistening in the moonlight, her clitoral hood almost completely exposing her cute button. Lowering your face, your tongue at first starts circling around the area, her taste unique in your mouth, indescribable, but pleasant. She reacts to your motions as her legs open wide and a moan escapes her lips. She places one of her hands on your hair, ruffling it a little. Oh Eva… This sign of trust encourages you to move further with your work. Your tongue's circles become smaller as you start touching her labia, her moans fill the quiet room, echoing slightly from the closest wall.
The sensations on your tongue are incredible, impossible to describe. Her skin down there is so delicate, you can tell it hasn't ever been touched, and her youthful body is relishing every new sensation you're giving it. Eva, still moaning and moving her body slightly, grabs your hair delicately, a clear signal to you that she is getting close. You want her first cunnilingus to be an unforgettable experience - moving towards the clitoral hood with your tongue, you start her off with little full-surface touches so as not to irritate it too much. This makes her jolt upwards with a stronger moan, clearly a sensation she never had in her life before. Not wanting to overdo it, you keep to the hood itself dipping to the clitoris only from time to time, but whenever you do, she reacts strongly, with jolts, cries and her legs pushing her little body upwards.
Suddenly your head is seized by her legs and she pushes your head with her hand to her pussy, a muted cry echoing in the room as she clearly bites down on a pillow or the covers. A bit of liquid escapes her vagina, which you lap up into your mouth, the intoxicating taste of her orgasm filling your mind with pleasure. She jolts a few times holding you in, until she relaxes and releases you, her tired breath heard from your position. You feel proud of your work, even if the girl has never had oral before, you know you did a great job. Moving up to her, you lie down on your old position and savor her pleased state. She seems to be calming down and, after a heavier breath, says:
- That… That was amazing… It was so intense, so… complete. I felt like I was flying on a cloud, every bit of my body was shaking… I…
- I'm happy you liked it, Eva. I'm glad I could do that for you.
- I… But, but I made you hard and…
- Hehe, it's alright Eva. Everything's fine. Whenever you're ready to pay me back… I'll be here. Until then, if you ever want to do it again… Just tell me.
Eva's hand travels to your face, shaking slightly. Touching your cheek, her thumb slides on it a little.
- I am so happy that we met. I love you.
- I love you too, Eva. I'm glad I can be for you.
You slide a little closer to her and hug her. She melts into your hug as you feel her breath on your chest. You don't want to break it and she doesn't protest… In fact, after a little while, you're sure she fell asleep. Smiling to yourself, you kiss her head on your chest and close your eyes.
Starring: Mary Green
You want to rub the sweat off of your brow, but right now it's not the best idea - rubber gloves that you're wearing have a layer of cleaning product over them from your battle with damp patches on the shower glass. There is still the bathtub to go, but that should be a pretty quick job overall. You felt the need for some housecleaning since all the care that the girls do - well, some of them do - around the house made you a little rusty with basic housekeeping. It's nice to have a bit of simple housework for yourself from time to time. In many ways you're lucky since you can consider it a whim rather than a chore.
Rinsing the chemical from the tub, your task is finally done. Taking the gloves off, cleaning them in turn and finally putting everything back in the bathroom closet, you smile to yourself, happy with a job well done. All this sex and fun hasn't put a dent in your skills just yet!
Walking back to the living room, you comment to Mary who's currently sitting on the couch:
- Done cleaning the bathroom, I think I'll rest a bit before dinner!
- Hmm? Oh, yes… Relax a bit.
That… didn't sound like ordinary Mary. Something's amiss.
- Hey… What's up, Mary? You seem a little tired.
- Oh… Well, I had a bit to think, you see… About… Serious matters… About us…
- What do you mean?
- Well… It's been a pretty long while since… Well… Since we've been a thing. - her tone shifts from a more thoughtful cadence to a worried, almost apologetic stream. - I don't mean to push you in any way, please don't think I want to pressure you! I most definitely don't want you to feel… crowded, or… forced into anything, but…
So the time is finally here. The time of endless lovestruck moments is drawing to a close. A sudden pain in your heart as fear begins to fill your soul - you knew this moment would come. Mary is a full-grown adult after all, she's not some sort of teenager who can subsist entirely on the highs of early romance. She loves you, and you love her so much, but… But this means she wants to build her life with you. This means she wants commitment, decisions being made, promises kept, dreams of a life with you becoming real, not just a far away fantasy.
It hurts you, it hurts you so much, because you want exactly the same… but once again, Andrea's faustian deal won't let you. You will not be able to make Mary happy as she deserves to be as things are right now. It would be impossible to let her live with you, it's already a miracle Yasu never sticks her nose out of the guest room while the other girls are here - and oh, dear god, the other girls… all of them wonderful, incredible women, worth every bit of love you give them. You don't want to lie to Mary… but you have to. Please… Please Mary, if you ever find out… forgive the fool who will now give you every reason to be suspicious…
Preceeding with a heavy sigh and a solemn expression, you begin:
- Mary… I love you, I want you to understand, that no matter what happens, no matter what the future will bring, I love you Mary. But… I will need more time…
Mary seems… saddened by your words. Can you really blame her…? You hate yourself for what you're doing right now.
- You see… I would like to… Secure our future before we begin. I would like to make sure I will always have the funds to provide for us, for our… for our children. I never want us to suffer danger and I want us all to be happy, but… I need to be certain, first, that I will be able to do that.
She takes your words and thinks them through. Her expression shifts in minimal amounts between smiles, sad frowns, thoughtful focus and everything in between. It takes her a longer while, but after an internal battle, she seems to have come to a conclusion. She smiles warmly to you.
- I… understand, dearest. I admit it wasn't what I was hoping for, but maybe… maybe you're right, we should give ourselves a bit more time. I suppose I was so… so happy and confident in my feelings that I didn't take potential trouble into consideration…
You feel yourself dying internally. Mary… Oh, god, Mary, how you love that woman… How you want to give her everything that you possibly can… You're a monster for doing this to her.
- It's good that I chose such a thoughtful man as the one I have given my heart to. I hope you'll forgive this little bit of selfish thought, hehe… Come here, dear, let me hug you…
Trying not to show how tortured you are inside, you smile to her and embrace her. Her warm breath encircles your neck as you feel the smell of her hair, holding her close to you. A little tremble escapes you, unable to be contained, but she seems to not have noticed. Mary…
“I'm sorry.” - you mouth soundlessly to yourself, a tear escaping your eye.
Starring: Leilani Kealoha
She had to calm down again. She stood in front of the mirror, focusing her sight on her reflection. Her breathing was slowing down and, once again, she had neither a bra nor a shirt on her. Her breasts were moving rhythmically up and down with each hastened breath, the tiniest sheen of early sweat visible. She removed the offending object, it will never be seen by her again. It's alright. Everything's fine. All is fine.
Leilani just didn't understand. Where do all those blonde hairs come from? They're distinct and easy to see. One short hair on the couch, another two in the kitchen, one on the counter with the sink, the other underneath the fridge, amid other assorted dirt. She knows her lover doesn't cheat on her, she tracked him and his movements so carefully, watching his house and whenever he left for the stores. Nothing. He was always alone. He was faithful. He was hers. He was the perfect husband.
Her breathing slowed down some more. Looking at herself in the mirror, she felt a bit sorry about getting so distraught. After all, hair can travel with the wind, maybe there's a neighbor somewhere who has hair like that. She shouldn't worry. She should relax. Yes. But something was distracting her, didn't let her fully relax and she didn't know what. She understood, however, that this was a different kind of… bothering. For you see…
The beautiful hawaiian girl was becoming horny and wet, she didn't know why. Even her nipples were rising to the attention. Why now, of all times? He's gone for now, there is no reason to be this… needy right now. But… maybe…
She stopped breathing for a second, her eyes darting around her in the reflection. Couldn't see it at first, but her hawk eyes soon uncovered the mystery, a very simple, but a very… bothering one, which was teasing her ever since she ran back to the bathroom to calm down after finding yet another hair, but this time, in the bedroom…
It was his shirt. A sweaty shirt he left in the basket for laundry.
She came over to the basket, filled with all manner of different clothes. The shirt was definitely still wet from his sweating. His aroma. Oh god, his aroma…
Leilani took the shirt with her and went to the bedroom. Closing the window and shutting the light off, she sat in a mid-day darkness. At first she was hesitant to proceed, but soon her fingers took the shirt higher towards her nose. A long, long breath.
This beautiful smell. It was him. The earthy scent of the shirt, mixed with his intense musk, like… shades of heated copper and his hair, with salt forming on the edges. The perfume he likes to wear, a bit of dinner they ate together today… even the smell of his manliness that made its way up from when she serviced him yesterday morning. Oh god…
The girl couldn't control herself any longer, but was sparing with her touches at first. Lying down on her back with her head on his pillow, legs flat on the surface of the bed, but spread to the sides, she let her fingers perform the most sensual dance on her belly. Light touches around her bellybutton, encircling that which gave her life, her fingertips were touching her skin with a slow, methodic pulse. Up and down, up and down… She felt her abdominal muscle, tracing it's edges. Her other hand was also joining her navel, touching above her bellybutton. She focused on one particular area where her diaphragm should be. She wanted to feel it moving. She wanted to feel her breaths. She wanted to feel alive.
She wanted to feel him.
She moved his shirt towards her nose, leaving it there. His smell assaulted her nostrils, filling her head with pure, empty bliss, as if it was the most potent drug in the world. Doped up as such on his smell, her eyes started turning in their sockets, whilst her fingers moved to more strategic places. Her left hand moved to her breasts, without much hurry - keeping her left one encircled with the flat of her hand, two fingers were moving close to her incredibly hard nipple. Encircling the areola at first, making sure she feels the tiniest motion, she went for her nipple and gave it an experimental touch. Ordinarily, when she's not aroused, it was incredibly sensitive - right now, it demanded more. More. More! Grabbing it between her index and middle fingers, she gave it an experimental squeeze. Oh god it felt so good… It's exactly like he is doing when they make love…
Another smell soon joined - her own arousal. She loved him. She loved everything about him. She wanted him, body and soul. She wanted to be filled by him, so much.
Her other hand moved to her womanhood, which was glistening in the shade of the room. She was so wet right now you could practically collect the juice into a glass. She touched her outer labia with her index finger and another moan escaped her lips. It was so puffy right now, red with arousal, ready to take him in and please him…
- My love, please, please come back soon… - she begged in her mind - I want you to see me, to witness my need, to witness how much I want you… I want you to taste of me, to eat me whole…! I want you inside of me, I want you to ravish me, to take me, to seed me…!
Her finger touched the inside of her vulva. Electricity ran through her spine as she felt the sudden coldness there, but her finger soon got enveloped by her liquid want. She raised it to her nose. A sniff, to mix her smell with that of her lover, filled her nose with a bouquet of pure, carnal need. At that moment, she stopped being Leilani. She was a female, in heat, ready for a male to come by and take her. Moans began to regularly breach her mouth covered by his t-shirt, as if she was calling for a mate.
She wanted it. She needed it.
Raising her thighs into the air suddenly, she plunged her fingers within her with force and wild abandon. Not even waiting for them to get fully wet, she began mashing them inside like a piston. Encircling her nipple moved to grabbing it with force with her thumb and index finger, squeezing it and pulling on it. Shuddering in that position, she rammed herself on her hand. More… More. More! MORE! Her hips started moving to the rhythm, making her experience even more intense. Her womanhood produced a constant, sticky sound, echoing in the room, while her pistoning fingers were flinging her juices recklessly everywhere. Droplets of her need sprinkled the room around her, one reaching a teddy-bear by the side of the bed.
The motions, if it is at all possible, became even more intense. Or… faster, at least. A low growl started forming in Leilani's throat. Fingers inside of her womanhood became more focused on a particular spot that began to vibrate a little bit, which was soon joined by her entire internal walls. A jet of liquid moved through her canal, escaping outside as she suddenly pulled her fingers out and grabbed the covers of the bed as if she wanted to tear them apart. She raised her whole body into the air and a muffled shriek escaped her lips.
Standing like that, she looked like some sort of… abstract artwork. Or maybe… a headless victim of a serial killer, upturned with his body. She resumed heavy breathing and fell down on the bed, a wet stain below her womanhood marking exactly what just took place here.
Tears formed at the edges of her eyelids. Tired, she couldn't really sniffle too much, but there was no doubt about it. She was crying. Laying like that and letting it all out for a few minutes, the cry stopped for a moment, for her to say out loud to herself:
- I'm sorry, my love… I'm so sorry…
These stories take place after the events of Bleeding Hearts.
Dim light from the nearest streetlamp managed to squeeze through the edges of the curtains, creating a very dim atmosphere. It takes a longer while to adjust your sight to the darkness, and even then you'd be unable to see anything but vague shapes, lit so barely you'd have to really focus to make out furniture. A different lightsource painted a corner closer to where the bed should be with a crimson gloom - the alarm clock was showing it was 3:13am. If you focused really well, you'd notice another shape on the bed. This shape was special in that it had two reflective surfaces on it closer to its top that bounced off the vague lighting. And if you paid intense attention to those surfaces, you'd see them… moving forward and backward, from time to time blocked for a short period of time once per around two seconds. A distinctly nasal sniffle is heard and the shape moves a bit more, its vague size growing an extremity that reaches towards the space below the reflections. Thanks to that motion, you'd be able to notice that the shape was doing repetitive motions forward and backward.
“She's not dead. She's not dead. She's not dead.” - he clung to those words like a mantra. His mind's only defense against what he witnessed two nights ago. He attempted to sleep only once, before, but he woke up screaming and cried afterwards for what seemed to be an eternity to him. He never cried so hard in his life. His chest and face ached so much he wheezed in pain as he was crying, luckily tiring himself out with time. Mouth agape and scrunched in terror, producing inarticulate yells and agonizing screams, until he ran out of air. His eyes produced a stream of tears until they, too, became too tired to work. His only blessing - none of the girls were around to witness this, as he was alone in his bedroom, swinging forward and backward, without really being aware what he was doing. Every time he closed his eyes, he saw the knife, shining so strongly. Golden hair amidst crazed fingers, and her eyes, focused on him.
She told him Mary was dead. He saw bloodstains everywhere. Or did he just imagine it. Maybe there were no bloodstains. She held his kitchen knife. She licked his kitchen knife. She was so happy. She moved to and fro, getting bigger and smaller. She held his hand to her chest. It was soft. She was happy. But she had a knife. She told him she killed Mary. But Mary was alive. Did she lie? She never lies. And the bloodstains. Or did he imagine the bloodstains? Maybe there were no bloodstains. Maybe it never happened. It happened. He was touching her breast. She held his hand to it. It was hard. Her hand. She had Mary's hair in her fingers. The fingers held his kitchen knife. She licked his kitchen knife. She told him Mary was dead. But Mary was alive. But she told him she killed Mary. She was so happy.
Yesterday he went through the whole house all by himself with a UV light and a magnifying glass, looking for every little hair he could find. He found all of the blonde hairs and got rid of them. The fresh ones that Mary made when he woke up and fell backwards from the bed with a terrified shriek, too. He got all of them. This will not repeat itself, never again. He collected all the other hair, too. Sakaki's, Raquel's, Yasu's, Eva's, though, curiously, Annabelle's were nowhere to be found. It didn't matter. It will never repeat. It will never happen again. Leilani will never… never do this again, and he will make sure of it.
But what to do with Leilani, herself? He can't just… disappear on her, Andrea will never allow that. But he can't… he can't look at her anymore. He can't touch her anymore. But he has to. He has to, or Andrea will make it happen again. He's so scared of it happening again, he'd rather kill himself on the spot. Before he was weirded out with how possessive Leilani was, but now? Now he's deathly afraid of her. If he could, he would never see her again. She hit him over the head with something. She took his clothes off. She got him erect while he was unconscious, then held his erection with rubber fucking bands. And then she raped him. She kept raping him for… he doesn't know how long. It was all a blur while it was happening. Once she finished talking, she just kept going. He's pretty sure he lost consciousness more than once. But he couldn't come. He didn't even feel any pleasure. How could he? So she was riding him more and more intensely, licking his cheek, sniffing his armpits as if it was some sort of perfume. She literally rode him to exhaustion. Only then he dared to even try to get up.
Andrea was there. And she was smiling. As if she just got a christmas fucking present. Not only she didn't help him, she was so… so completely nonchalant over what happened, as if it was a good thing. And just as he woke up after he lost consciousness and awoke to Mary being alive, as he was on the verge of tears that it was all just an awful, awful dream… she told him straight up it wasn't. Not only that, she said that if he doesn't listen to her, she'll make it happen again. This can never happen again. Never. No.
“She's not dead. She's not dead. She's not dead.” - another round of repeating his mantra, which calmed him down, even if just a little.
Mary… He couldn't survive her dying, he almost went mad when Andrea said Leilani actually did kill her. No. No, this cannot happen again. But if he defies Andrea, she'll hurt her. No, no, no… No, no, this cannot happen, he'll do everything in his power for that not to happen again. He'll be a good boy. He'll have sex with the girls. He'll… He'll be with Leilani. He'll kiss her if need be, he'll be her good boyfriend if need be, just don't… don't…
Tears start running down his bobbing face again. Another bout of crying, from the mere threat of Mary being hurt. He didn't treat Andrea seriously before, when he set up the Garden. He thought she was just… just saying that to rile him up. But now that he saw her hair in Leilani's clutch around the knife…
“Oh god… Oh god, what have I done… Oh god… Oh god…”
All he wanted was to not be lonely anymore. That's all he wanted. He never wanted this. He never wanted Mary to get hurt. It didn't matter she was from another universe or whatever the hell Andrea was babbling about that he didn't understand. He caused someone's death. He was responsible for someone dying. “She's not dead. She's not dead. She's not dead.” - these words ring again in his tired mind. Mary's alive. She hugged you two days ago. You ate lunch. You… You kissed, she was warm, she was not at all dead, she didn't die. It's all lies, it's all fake, it didn't happen. But Andrea said it happened. And Leilani… Oh god, Leilani said… Oh god… He has to return to his life and keep on living as if nothing happened, because if he acts any differently, Andrea will hurt Mary.
The clock's face is showing 4:32am. He didn't stop bobbing to and fro this entire time, but he stopped bobbing at that thought. His mind is shocked at the clarity it suddenly came to. It's like… like a cloud was lifted from his brain. He has to. He has to, for Mary. For Sakaki. For Cleo. For Raquel. For Annabelle. For Yasu. For Eva. He will meet this therapist today and act as normal as possible. She will help him come to terms. He will keep meeting his girls. He will keep loving them. He will meet Leilani. He will pretend to love her. He will do it. He has to do it, but he will do it. He knows he will do it, because if he doesn't do it, they will suffer, and they cannot suffer anymore . He doesn't know what will happen, he doesn't know how much that therapist will guess or how she will help him. Knowing Andrea, she'll probably lust after him, too, and he'll fall in love with yet another person, but it doesn't matter. All that matters is, he knows what to do.
He knows one other thing, though.
He hates Andrea.
“Am I going insane?” He asked himself, as he was shakily pouring water onto one of those fancy teas Annabelle left in the kitchen. This one supposedly was to calm down and soothe nerves, lemon balm tea if he remembered correctly. Sitting down to a late afternoon lunch, a hastily seared sausage with some mustard and bread, he tried to not think about what he saw not two hours ago in the bathroom.
Sakaki… with Valentina… They were, quite literally, having sex under his shower, with a vibrator he has never seen, no less. Completely shocked, he looked through the transparent shower curtain, as Valentina took her time to soap up the demure and lightly protesting Sakaki while she was slowly resisting less and less. His dick, a mind of its own, reacted instantly, an erection painfully struggling against his jeans, especially as Valentina's mature, subtle voice calmed the japanese woman down with assurances and explanations… And oh, god, then she pulled that vibrator out of nowhere and he's pretty sure if this was some cheap cartoon, he'd shoot nosebleeds all over the small room. Sakaki's quiet cries and moans and Valentina's absolutely lewd smile and half-closed eyes stirred him so much, his dick was literally pulsing against the fabric of his pants, an inspection later confirming he left a sizable stain of precum on his underwear. And then, a colorful flash as their image waved, breaking down… and they were gone.
He called Andrea in an instant, not only was it freaky as hell, but she explicitly said things like that are not supposed to happen. This time she listened and showed up, maybe because he was literally shaking in his voice, but then… she denied seeing anything. Wasn't she supposed to hang around all the time, watching what he does or something? But that's not the point, did he imagine it all? Has… Has Leilani really shattered his sanity? But… But, no, Valentina, in her sessions with him, would tell something was wrong with him, right? That is… during their actual sessions, because afterwards she theatrically took off her glasses, as if becoming someone else and she… well… teased him.
“What in the ever-loving fuck have I gotten myself into…” A resigned thought, as a sigh escaped his nostrils while he chewed on a bit of a Polish sausage Mary bought from that store she told him about before. It was delicious, but his mind was completely preoccupied, unable to savor the taste. A sip of warm tea to wash down the bread.
* * *
Standing the plate onto the dryer, he finished cleaning up after himself. He noticed with a grimace that he has the tiniest tremor in his hands, feeling it in his legs, too. Turning around to leave, he walks towards the living room with a slower, more careful step than usual. This whole time, he ran his thoughts to what he witnessed and what did that mean. It was uncanny, he was 100% sure his eyes saw what he saw. Even Sakaki's left areola around her nipple had that tiny little splay leftwards. It couldn't have been a mirage, it's impossible… Andrea denies any knowledge and…
- Gahhh! - he groans in frustration, sitting down hard on the living room couch. Closing his eyes, he tries hard to empty his nagging thoughts to at least try calming down. Turning the matter so many times in his head, he got nowhere. It's time to stop. Deep breaths. Count to ten.
Six. “My turn Eva!”
He opens his eyes. Did he just hear Yasu? But… Yasu's not here… Andrea did… whatever the hell she does and she's not here…
“Alright, so right trigger to accelerate, left trigger is the brake.”
That was distinctly Eva's voice. He looks to the TV where one could reasonably expect people playing videogames on a console to be, but he didn't see anything. He tries focusing his ears as a stray burst of light flickered very softly in his eyes.
He raises his hand to his forehead, checking for a fever. Everything seems fine, but… Is it really fine?
- No, yep, I'm going insane. - he announces to the empty room, silence his only answer. Standing up and waiting for a short while, unsure what he was expecting, he does a quick walk to the bathroom. Shutting the door behind him, he walks up to the sink. Looking intensely at the mirror, he studies his reflection. He read somewhere that it's a good method of checking if your sanity is okay, to see if your reflection is alright, and apart from visible marks of his past bags under his eyes, everything seemed alright. He didn't trust that. Something was wrong, he knew that.
He thought back to the… shower incident. He thought about what Valentina was saying. And Valentina mentioned he asked her to help Sakaki. That's not true, he did no such thing. Moreover, Valentina wouldn't have any idea who Sakaki was. It must be his mind fucking with him, it must be…
…but what if it's not? Andrea mentioned she was… jumping Universes??? He tried to remember everything he knew about things like that from all the sci-fi shows he watched. So if there are parallel universes…
…maybe what he saw was in such a universe? Maybe… Maybe there exists a universe where they all live together…
The tiniest little smile shows in the mirror, quickly dashed by him shaking his head. No. That's stupid, the world doesn't work like a goddamn tv show. He must be going crazy, projecting his… his earlier fantasy from a dream, or something.
A heavy sigh. He turns the water, splashing a bit into his hands, then cleaning his face. Feeling a little bit better from the mere act, pretending to himself he was in control, he turned off the water and left the bathroom.
“I swear I'll start drinking if these things keep happening.”
The contrast of gold on cerulean blue was tiring him. He considered everything about this place, to be quite honest, impractical. Was there any purpose to have these superficial golden columns standing and supporting… nothing at all? And the whole idea of clouds as a walkable surface, really, after all this time it was just so… so tacky. Not to mention a potential hazard, walking around past any walkways was asking to trip on one of many golden benches lying in wait for the unsuspecting leg. Of course, this wasn't a problem for all those flying ideals, they never had to contend with actually using their legs. A sigh escaped his lips.
- What troubles you, patrician? - Behind his back, a winged person, dressed in cloth, hovering by his writing desk (made of gold, of course), asked politely in a beautiful, ethereal voice. And speaking of flying ideals, they could at least have the courtesy of announcing when they show up.
- It's nothing, Ophaniel. I was thinking about Heaven's qualities.
- And that would trouble you? - the voice is pure in its tone, almost singing in how delicate, but clear it is.
- I imagine it would trouble anyone having to use their legs to travel here.
The angel Ophaniel hovers closer to his back. His wings are… impossible to describe in simple terms. Appearing as… beams of the most delicate silk, layered on each other as feathers would be, they are as if they were light itself, confined to a space with no source. Immaculate in their cerulean appearance, waving slowly in the air, as if put to motion by a cosmic wind. A face of angelic beauty, devoid of expression and impossible to gauge in human terms, elicits a sense of unreality, as if artificial, and yet… somehow, perfect. He speaks again:
- The image of both Heaven and Hell is dictated by mortals, patrician Abel.
The person adressed as Abel turns to face him. A much more natural appearance of a bearded man, vaguely middle-eastern, rolls its eyes at the angel.
- I am aware, Ophaniel. Is there a reason for your presence?
The angel doesn't respond to Abel's slight frustration. His stoic appearance and unreal beauty give off a… strange sort of aura. Those not used yet to angelic presence would describe it as vaguely threatening, but it wasn't entirely accurate - there was no threat in how the angel appeared or behaved. His wings, however, slowly folded inwards, as the visible world around them got darker. Between his wings, an image of… something similar to a tree started to grow. First a core root, which split to two, each branch splitting further to two, and so on, and so forth… endlessly. A light seemed to travel along a pre-selected path of branches, faster and faster. The picture started zooming out, showing how incredibly gigantic, seemingly infinite this tree was. Finally, the light seemed to stop at a certain junction, lighting up every branch beyond it - a tiny chunk of the complete tree, a miniature region of the whole image, expanding outwards.
- We have broken down the presence of the Trespasser to a particular branch of fates. - Ophaniel's angelical voice reports. - It does not seem to move beyond universes that are dissimilar to each other structurally. We are confident we closed the possibility branches up to the twentieth century Anno Domini.
Abel, suddenly a lot more interested in the angel and the image between his wings, walks up and, stroking his chin, looks at the lit up fragment of the unimaginably big tree.
- So she's not jumping too far into either side… Good, so we have around… two centuries of wriggle space.
- It is a space still beyond an organized search party, patrician.
- Of course it is. - Abel sighs again. He seems to be mulling something over. - We won't get any more precise with these pings, right?
- No, patrician.
Abel sits behind his desk, intensely thinking. So the Succubus is jumping within a limited set of universes… Smart. If she's animating the owner of the soul and collecting Lust Dust, as the Ghost-Alert told her, she's probably using only universes where that soul would meet other souls naturally to produce Lust Dust. That's good, since every time she entangles a new soul into her whole “Bubble”, Heaven can use echoes of that to triangulate her exact position with increasing precision. Or, to be more precise, N-Poligonate - there are so many different… from a lack of a better word, dimensions, to take into account here, getting an exact fix on her position is hard. Unless he tries that again… He was lucky she didn't seem to discover him feeding the core branch soul energy straight from the Soul Flux, but… The effects cannot be predicted and if the Creator learned he was doing that, he'd have a faster trip to Hell than Lucy ever did. He shuddered, remembering her shriek. Still… If Lucy finds her first…
- Ophaniel… - Abel's arms seem to fall lower, as if defeated. - Prepare the connection to the Soul Flux again. We're dumping more Love Dust.
The angel, in his complete stoicism, asks:
- Are you certain, patrician? This may unbalance the Trespasser's realm, creating temporary amalgamate beings. The Trespasser may become aware we're looking for him, and the soul he posesses will witness many hypothetical beings.
Abel closes his eyes. He thinks about Lucy. Her vow to disrupt the Creator's work. The Soul Trade War. How close the whole creation was to being destroyed by her. He considers his own actions, how he bent the Creator's will to create at least a semblance of security. How the Ghost-Alarm told him these many months ago that his darkest predictions, those he sacrificed so much for stopping, are coming true. An ordinary Succubus attempted and succeeded at a Soul Trade and is collecting Lust Dust. No. No, this cannot happen again. Opening his eyes again, he says with total conviction:
- Do it.
Her golden hair shook a little as she moved her body to block entry to where such divine smells were coming from - cinnamon, peeled oranges, even… yes, it was melted chocolate. Noticing your nose pulled as if it was on a string, with a childish smile, she forbade you coming into the kitchen. Picking up on her mood, you grabbed her hands and pushed yourself by her side as if you wanted to force yourself into the door, but she resisted with a giggle. With your bodies firmly touching by the doorframe, you playfully struggled a bit, your touches delicate and non-serious. A sudden pause as your fingers intertwine holding each others' hands - you look to her beautiful face, smile wide open in a care-free grin, hints of a blush ready to burst, and her sapphire eyes, sparkling depths of ocean blue. Your heart gives measured, calm, but vivid and easily felt beats as you lose yourself to your feelings. The kiss you share clears your mind and fills it with pure, unfiltered happiness.
* * *
For the first time since you've known her, she seems at a loss. Sitting, as usual, Japanese-style by the coffee table, she looked uneasily at the breakfast you bring to the table - various meats, sliced and prepared to take into bread, a bowl with some egg, vegetable and mayonnaise salad, fried fish. You feel a little bad for her since before her was a typical western plate with forks and spoons and no hashi in sight. The lack of chopsticks doesn't seem to be bothering her the most, though. With a slightly hesitant voice, she asks you as you sit down on the floor next to her, legs forward:
- Do we pray now?
- I think we used to, but people stopped doing that with time. You can, if you wish.
Sakaki, with all of her focus, brings her hands together to a typical Christian prayer. You observe her motions, graceful and measured - she is really giving her whole heart to this act. She insisted on spending Christmas with you according to your tradition, saying she wanted to experience it as it should be. You didn't have the heart to tell her that most families nowadays forego most of the spiritual aspect of Christmas, seeing that spirituality is something very important to her. Indulging her caused her to be a little nervous, though - Christmas as a ritual was unfamiliar to her. Still, looking at her trying so hard makes you smile, especially knowing that, in a way, she tries so hard for you.
- Oh, Western God! - your smile widens a little bit at that. She really takes it seriously! - I thank you for this meal we will eat. May it nourish us and keep us healthy. I thank you for your blessings this past year. Blessings of safety at this home, where I found peace. Blessings of calm, allowing me to rest after my turmoil. Blessings of freedom, releasing me from my unwanted fate. Blessings of love thanks to the person you put in my way. I thank you for all of this and I pray for your continuing support of this household. Arigatou gozaimashita. Amen.
* * *
- And then, and then! Then she smacked the rear end into the trash, hah hah haaa!
Cleo's drunken, racuous laugh exploded just as she finished gesticulating her workout buddy's pick-up truck's rear end hitting a pile of trash. Your belly shakes with your own laugh, enhanced by the beers you finished downing about fifteen minutes ago. The arm you embraced her with gets smacked by her back as she lands back on the bed from her laughing fit, little tears of joy reflecting the ever-present blinking of the Christmas Tree by your bed. You both lie back for a while, short bursts of laughter escaping you from time to time. You can't remember the last time you laughed so much, your gut hurts a little from the workout this laughter gave it.
Lying back in silence for a little while, you let your thoughts drift. Christmas with Cleo turned out to be much more homely than you'd expect from her. Sure, she was as tomboyish about it as she usually is, but she actually dressed herself nicely in a feminine shirt and a skirt - the one from the rain incident, you remembered, with a smirk. You ate a filling Christmas dinner and watched Die Hard for the umpteenth time. Hah, even had the customary discussion about whether it's a Christmas movie or not. And then she disappeared for a moment in the kitchen and brought out the beers. Hah, Cleo's the best party buddy you could imagine. The first two beers led to her jokes having a marked sexual undertone and you already knew where that was leading. Long story short, you're now both naked, tired and satisfied in your bed. You imagine she gave you a Christmas gift with not really struggling today to take the top spot and you rewarded her handsomely by giving her one hell of a rough fuck, holding her head down to the bed as she yelled for more. Mmm.
She doesn't say anything for a little while, as if mulling something over. Finally, she turns in bed and lays herself partly on your chest, extending her leg posessively over you. Her arm reaches out to your side, her hand touching your chin, forcing you to look at her face. Her trademark smirk, half-closed eyes and ruffled hair couldn't be mistaken for anything else. The hand that moved your face now goes low and circles your scrotum, cupping it delicately as her finger moves up and down at the base of your penis.
- Wanna sub this one out?
* * *
Flashes of light encircled her smooth skin and each time afterwards, she shifted in her pose on the bed. At times seductively raising her leg whilst prone on the white surface, other times turned slightly sideways while sitting, showing off her model figure. After a series of photos, you picked out her next set of clothing, which she'd put on, professionally smiling to you. You're not much of a photographer, but you have to admit - the camera loves Raquel. The feeling seems mutual - after preparing a luxurious Christmas dinner, with candles, the wine she loves, even caviar and just a little bit of subservient spoiling her, you suggested she'd do a very special Christmas photo-shoot, just for you. At first she seemed surprised, but could she really say no to worshipping her? Allowing herself to be taken by her hand, almost princess-like, to the bedroom, you took a look to the wardrobe. Picking up a set of fiercely red and partially transparent lace lingerie, you finish up with a merry little addition of a santa hat. You thought the hat would elicit protests, but Raquel is cooperative today. You take that into account, looking back on your recent talk - she really is trying to change. Smiling to that thought, you walk over to her, currently busy putting on black, transparent stockings onto her legs. Looking at you for a second, she notices your smile as you're approaching her.
- You seem giddy to get more photos done…
- Actually, there's something else… - you say as you sit beside her.
- And what's that? You better not be thinking of the fox ears and tail, or so hel-
You embrace and hug her, holding her close to you. Disarmed, Raquel lets herself feel your warmth. She even rests her head on your chest while you stroke her side with your hand.
- I wanted to thank you.
- For what?
A slightly incredulous, defensive tone rises in her. You take note of that, also. Better not push her to an outburst, just let her know she's doing good. You release her, but, still smiling, reply:
- For trying.
Looking down on her hands, a blush forms on her cheeks, as she stays silent for a little while. She suddenly hits your knee with her fist, not hard, but enough so you'd feel it.
Your smile goes even wider. Oh Raquel… Embracing her again, holding her head with your hand, you kiss her cheek.
For the first time in what seemed like ages, you see her looking you straight in the eye and honestly smiling. She moves in to kiss you, and you reply wholeheartedly. In a pause between kisses to catch your breaths, you say:
- Merry Christmas, Raquel.
This beautiful, honest smile again.
- Merry Christmas, idiot.
* * *
- …and the supplier was dragging their knuckles on the matter! Can you believe it? The report had to be done a week before Christmas, and they completely bungled! Oh, I imagine some heads will be rolling at the Materials & Supply division! Ah, can you pass me the green ones next? They'll compliment the red baubles in the upper row! As I was saying, when they found out the forms weren't filled…
You pass a few green glass spheres to Annabelle, currently standing on a ladder. You decided to decorate the tree in the living room, but will move it to the bedroom later. She wanted to get up on a ladder and was having none of it when you protested. You wanted to scold her for wearing a tight-fitting dress this afternoon since there's no way she can be agile enough to dress the Christmas Tree on a ladder, but she actually seems to deal with it really nicely. The need to listen to her talk is draining, but not unpleasant, you feel. It's such a change of pace to the quiet this place had before your… adventure started. Annabelle's presence always gave your place a lively atmosphere.
- …so he showed me a record from security of me enjoying myself while I worked and called my loyality into question! I was so mad, dearie, I couldn't think straight! Why if I had his shins in the clear, I'd kick them in- Ahhh!
The ladder loses balance, Annabelle instinctively shaking to the sides to try to regain it, but failing. You move quickly behind her as she's falling backwards to catch her and do so with a loud “Oof”. She seems completely disorientated as you hold her in your arms, now on much more stable footing. So into her angry rant, she actually pretend-kicked to the side, as if her boss' shins were right there. Oh Annabelle…
- My hero…! - Annabelle smiles as she bends a bit forward to kiss you. Her breasts make it a bit difficult, but she manages that with some effort. You stand her back down on her feet. She makes a theatrical gesture of wiping dust off of her clothes and pulling here and there on the dress to get any creases straightened out. - Thank you, love. It seems I went a bit overboard with my rant, teehee…!
You smile, a bit shyly rubbing the back of your hair with your hand. It's just natural, isn't it?
- This excitement probably means we should rest a little on the couch, I gather. - she comments thoughtfully, but then, a bit of… yes, you learned to recognize that expression. A bit of lustful mischief seems to have become a guest of her thoughts as she sits down and pats the place beside her, invitingly. - Why don't you… lie down, dearie?
You will never say “no” to that.
* * *
Waking up on Christmas morning was always an exciting experience when you were young. Running to the tree to check out your presents, a delicious Christmas breakfast, all day just total, complete fun. As you grew older, the excitement died down, but it seems today it's been replaced by a different experience… which, overall, isn't unpleasant, but it sure is unexpected. This is because from your restful sleep, it seems you are being awoken by something touching your penis. No, not just touching, something wet, slobbering. It moves up and down on your morning wood which, with ministrations like these, will not go down. You almost don't want to open your eyes, but a different sensation on your legs makes you suspicious. It's as if strings of… many different hairs were touching your legs, your thighs, sometimes even your belly.
Opening your eyes… an incredible sight. Leilani, naked, is bobbing her mouth over your member, pleasuring it. She is wrapped in Christmas-tree garlands, the silvery, spiny type, that gave off the weird sensation. Your eyesight focuses slowly on her face, expanding further to a sight you will never forget. Not just garlands, dear lord, she took the lights off of the tree, wrapped herself with them and as the lights shift their phase from a slow pulse to a rapid blinking, her body lights up. It's something you've only before seen in arty porn. Incredible.
She notices you're awake. She takes out your member out of her mouth and, with a lustful gaze, begins slowly moving up your body, like a cat.
- Merry Christmas… my love…
Sliding over you, you feel a wetness rising over your legs as she glides her feminity over them. Dear lord, how bad do you have it, Leilani?? You are wary to react, knowing you can't really stop her once she gets like this, and…
- I wish for you to feel as good as I do with you…
…and maybe it's better to enjoy than worry.
* * *
From within your dreams, you hear something like a door creaking. Not thinking much of it, you return to a pretty pleasant image of flying over your neighborhood. But then, something smacks your gut, a loud “oof” leaving your lungs. Before you're able to really gather which way is up and how air works again, an excited yelp at your ear fills your head with barely conscious thought.
- Wuh… what?
- I SAID GET UP BIG BRO, SANTA WAS HERE!!
You open your disorientated eyes and see Yasu, in her complete excitement, is still in her pajamas, jumping on your bed up and down. This slowly moves your barely woken up body closer to her legs, until…
- I BET HE READ MY L-Waah!
She crashes into your gut again, eliciting a much louder “oof” this time and waking you completely. Rapidly getting up from you, with her hair completely disheveled, she pulls it sideways from her face with an apologetic, but still completely excited expression. Seeing you aren't hurt and are slowly getting up, she once again returns to her complete excitement about a few boxes lying under the Christmas Tree. Your first instinct is to be grumpy at being woken up so roughly, but as your eyes focus on your sudden intruder, you see Yasu's eyes sparkle with barely held-back joy as she holds her hands together. You are unable to keep your grumpiness up and crack a smile.
- Now now, Yasu, what did I say about jumping on the bed? - you mock-scold her - What would Santa think about something like that?
She puts her head down apologetically and mutters:
- …S-sorry I got overexcited… BUT THERE'S FOUR BOXES HERE!! SANTA WAS SO GENEROUS THIS YEAR!!
Jumping down from the bed with a thud onto the floor, she dives head-first under the tree and picks out the boxes.
- This one's for me, this one's for me too, this one… this one's also for me! And this one's for you, big bro!
Wait. You didn't buy anything for yourself. Where did this gift come from? You eye the package suspiciously - the card seems to be written in a clear handwriting, not suggesting whose it might be. You sit down and put it to the side, first things first:
- OH MY GAAAWD!! It's a shakujou, a powerful staff wielded by many strong monks and warriors!! THANKS, SANTA!!
You smile under your nose. Your impulsive, guilt-laden shopping these many weeks ago is now bearing fruit. Yasu puts down the staff with exceptional care to the side, goes for another present and, after a short battle with the wrapping…
- A Houju!! It's so amazing, I can't believe it!!
Yeah, this one took some time to find, especially in the complete flood of cheap, shoddily-made paraphernalia. This wishing jewel, although fake, was made really well, the three jewels colored differently and looking naturally, so you decided to get it. Now, the last bit…
Yasu looks in-between her hands for a longer while. Seeing her from her back, you can't really tell how she's reacting to the gift. Worried she may hate it, you get up and walk behind her, touching her arm. She slowly turns around, holding a fake red flower.
- A red lotus… - she whispers, blushing. You're not sure what that means, you just picked up what looked nice from the online store, but suddenly, Yasu launches herself into your arms, tears of joy in her eyes. She hugs you tightly, sniffling a little into your chest. Not knowing what's going on, you instinctively hug her back, when you hear her speak into your chest:
- Santa… Santa understood…
* * *
In your dark surroundings, the air is getting a bit damp. The buttons on your handheld are becoming a little bit slick, too. The tiny screen was showing go-karts racing through a colorful, cartoony landscape. You focus on your driving, making a little pass sideways to roughly enter a corner, as blue sparks leave your wheels and you do a long, drifting turn. Yet, a boney turtle ahead of you seems to be at least as adept as you are, deftly passing banana peels left on the track. You have a trick up your sleeve, though - a red shell, just waiting for the proper moment, which is coming ahead. A long straight so you can keep your speed up and your competitor will have no chance to hide. Ready? Launch…!
- Hey! - a voice comes from your side, agitated at your assault.
- No easy mode, Eva! - you reply with a barely-hidden smirk.
You overtake the boney turtle and push forward. It's the last lap and you're about halfway there, should be easy pickings… Wait, shit, banana peel! Fffff… You're sidetracked a little, but keep up a good tempo, but looking at the minimap, Eva's kart is getting close. Just two last corners… A groan comes from your side and you notice the boney turtle entering yet another blue-streaked corner. Oh no you don't! You turn sideways to block her track, which works for a short while. Another turn - fuck, she overtakes you! No, goddammit! You ram your kart into hers, which about equalizes your speed! The finish line comes up close, aaand…
- Hahaaa, eat shit! - Eva exclaims happily. Second place for you. She's been kicking your ass all evening and you have to admit, she's good. Inspired by a sudden funny thought, you almost childishly close the handheld and put it down, grumpily turning to the side, away from her. The bedsheets you propped up with furniture wave a little at the motion, the fan quickly filling in air in your cozy pillow fort.
- Aww, c'mon, you did good this time, you almost got me! - Eva hugs into your back. You mumble something under your nose so she wouldn't hear.
- I said… - you suddenly turn to your other side going under, catching Eva in your grasp and holding her close. - At least I'm better at making you moan. - You give her a sudden, unannounced kiss, as she melts into you. You don't let go for a longer while, and Eva does not protest. Finally needing air, you break the kiss, as Eva looks into your eyes with a smile, a cute blush and the lock of her hair hiding her eye.
- For that… You can stay number one.
* * *
The table was set-up in a way that suggested something else than Christmas Eve. Candles, a bottle of wine in a bucket full of ice, two glasses… You made an effort to look as dashing as possible, wearing a suit, tie, even a little rose in your buttonhole. Gentlemanly and smooth, although… you knew, in your heart, she looked for something else. This lady across the table… A close-fitting, long navy dress, a jewel hanging from her neck, everything classy and pretty, but with an undercurrent of… lust. You smiled a little in your mind. Wouldn't that be a perfect way to describe Valentina? You both finished your meal a little bit earlier and are now relaxing. Valentina is first to pick up the conversation.
- You know, young man… I think this is the first time I agreed to a fancy dinner like this. - she says, looking at the spinning wine in her glass.
- I'm honored, miss Valentina.
She raises the corners of her mouth the slightest amount. The wine circling in her glass leaves little red meanders on the sides.
- Of course, if word got out that I'm fraternizing with a patient… - she looks at you suddenly, her smile not leaving her face. The mere act was enough to raise a blush on your face - her expression is the epitome of mature sexiness. She's been expecting that. Oh, you sly minx… She knows your body now, she's playing you like a fiddle, and you love it.
- But… who would tell? - You slowly pick at your collar, acting as if you're getting heated. Well, two can play at that game Val, because you know her…
A low, slow chuckle, as she straightens out in her chair, standing her wineglass back at the table.
- How about… the person who first called me? - Her voice starts lulling seductively. You bet she's wet right now, she's just playing with her food at this point. Oh Valentina…
- I don't think she'd TELL-
Something just slid across your leg and is now touching your crotch. At the same time, Valentina is a little lower in her chair. Is she… Is she really?? That old movie trick? Her smile grows wider as you stumble on your words. Your manhood, sufficiently teased, begins to rise and push against your pants.
- Mmm… what's that, caro ragazzo…? - She's almost sadistic now that she knows you're getting bothered and bothered bad. Her foot slides across your expanded length through your pants as she half-closes her eyes seductively.
- I said… I don't think she'd tell anyone… I actually think… - you lightly grab her foot and hold it against your penis - …she'd approve.
Valentina's smile is… predatory at this point. This is going to be a long night…
Daylight flooded into the room, dim with winter clouds blocking some of it, but ambient and clear. A glass with some waterdrops fresh in it, but otherwise empty, rested on the coffee table, a silvery leaf of over-the-counter pills next to it. Sitting on the living-room couch, he kept his hands on his forehead, leaning forward. Breathing evenly, but a bit shallower than what he would like, he attempted to calm down. Heart pumped blood like mad, and his head throbbed bad as a result, with the unrelenting headache making a mess of his thoughts. It wasn't even a few hours after… whatever the fuck he witnessed.
The vein on his head started pulsing again as the thoughts pushed his heart to hammer away to the tone of his emotions. He reminded himself again to slow down, to breathe in and out. It didn't help enough to his liking, but it was something, at least. This… illusion or whatever the fuck it was definitely couldn't be real, it's like… It's impossible for him to ever ask Cleo for something like that, and she not only said it was his idea, but called him “their master”.
Cleo was… roughly ramming Yasu's ass with a strap-on, rider crop in hand which she sometimes slapped over her buttocks, and Yasu's tears definitely were genuine - he would have ran to Cleo and stopped her right there and then if not for Andrea freaking out into his ear. So that bat-slut finally noticed something was fucking wrong, to say the least! Bitch, she didn't believe him before! And even the room changed, it looked like a legit fuckin' dungeon! That thought, at least, helped him calm down a little more, but it pulled into unpleasant territory, because now he was considering whether it was really just an illusion, or…
Well… if Andrea's jumping universes as she said… wouldn't it sound reasonable that somewhere out there exists a universe where he's a dom master over all the girls? Heck, wouldn't it be possible for him to be a complete bastard in a different universe? Like, to the point of actually hurting the girls?
A shudder runs through him as ice travels along his spine. An after-image flashed in his mind, a grim reminder of hair twirling between fingers clenched around a knife.
He hides his face in his hands for a second or two, then quickly stands up and shakes his head all around to throw these thoughts off of his mind. “This way leads to madness”, he reminds himself, as he proceeds to his bedroom to switch focus onto something more benign. It's been a while since he actually sat down to his computer just to idly browse stuff. This thought raised his spirit just a little bit, and he seems amused by this fact - after all, he never expected to actually look forward to losing time looking at cat videos.
Stepping into the bedroom, he finds it neat and tidy. He smiles, seeing that, thoughts wondering whose handiwork was it this time. He was too distracted to really pay attention, and time seems to flow strangely around here. So lets see… was it Mary? Or Sakaki? It couldn't have been Cleo, she ain't got time for things like that. Raquel - hah, hell no! Though she's making progress, he doubts she'll ever enter the housewife lifestyle. So, Annabelle? Nah, too busy running to work. Leilani… would care more for presenting herself on the bed than taking care of it. Yasu… doesn't even make her own bed. Eva tries, bless her heart, but her handiwork is easier to detect since she's still getting the hang of housework, so that's not hers, and Valentina… leaves the bed in much more of a disarray than doing it properly. So Mary or Sakaki. He walked to his computer, looking at the bed, trying to find any easily identifiable marks of who made the bed and, sure enough, his slippers stand to their side in perfect, parallel order to the bed - Sakaki's trademark. He smiles again, trying to remember to thank her. She'll probably reply, as usual, that it brings her pleasure to help, but he started noticing her very traditional calm moving aside the littlest way to make space for a charming smile from time to time. Heh… his girls are changing around him, and it feels good to know he's having impact on them like that.
Sitting on his chair, with practiced motions he leans forward and presses the power button on his tower frame. As he was leaning though, something caught his eye. Behind the monitor… Oh yeah, he left the additional Christmas present there when Yasu suddenly launched herself with happy tears in her eyes as she opened the flower gift. Picking it up now, he looks at the little package.
It seems to be wrapped neatly, but simply. A red ribbon tied around it, and nothing else in terms of wrapping - just white paper. He pulled on the ribbbon, which was hiding a flat little box inside. Opening it, he didn't really expect to see a feminine-looking locket. It seemed old, but more “current-time” old than “classically old” - age was visible only with the case having just a little blemishing here and there. He opened it, and his heart was instantly squeezed sharply, more emotions flooding in.
But this means… This one… belonged to mom? He only remembers her from photos that dad had hidden in his office behind his little bar of rarely-drunk alcohol. But… How the fuck did it get here!?
Another headache flare-up. No. Too many mysteries. He HAS to stop, or his head will explode. Putting the locket back into the little box, he puts it into the bedside drawer to look at later and maybe call dad to find out about it. For now… Relax. Internet. Cat videos. Or he'll go insane.
The screen was patiently waiting for him to log in for a longer while. Inputting a password more with muscle memory than really thinking about it, his desktop showed up. The backdrop was a random set of images he had saved for that purpose over many years, the folder counting over 5000 files with just them. He smiled a little seeing a shot from a game he liked - a young man with hair more blonde than brown, kissing a young girl with long black hair, an overhead little wave like Eva has, and scarring that was apparently a result of burns. Clicking on his e-mail client by force of habit, he inputs the password there and waits for it to connect. New emails fill in his inbox, most of them spam. Some reminders from old dating sites he hasn't visited in a long while, some pings from facebook here and there, meh… but wait.
There's an email from Annabelle there. “All warmed up”. From her work account? That's something new. Clicking on it, the message loads, and ooh, there is an attachment, lets…
A blush hits his face like he just rolled in brick dust.
Annabelle, holy shit, that's… that's just obscene… He reaches to his pants, feeling as his manhood pushes against his pants again, and he actually thinks of relieving himself the old-fashioned way, but lets read the message first.
…Dear lord, Anna… Fuck, she's thirsty… When was this sent? Oof, it's been a while. But, strangely, he doesn't remember anything particularly intense with Annabelle since then. He must have faile-
His eyes unfocus a little as they're looking to her beautiful womanhood, glistening in the light of the… laptop screen he guesses, and notices a strange insignia on her panties. Huh. What's that all about? He studies the black imprint on her clear, silky white panties in slight bewilderment. She's always talking about how she can't find the right clothes, so why ruin those panties like that? Hmm…
He goes back to the message. The desperately horny tone still hits him enough to keep erect even though his interest is elsewhere, but he's trying to find something additional in the text. The words seem pretty straightforward though… but then again, she never ended her messages on “XOXO”. Maybe if…
His heart hits really hard a singular time, shock at the discovery of the hidden message clear. His manhood, as shocked as he is, wanes instantly.
But… But she said… But… No, this… This would actually explain so much…! How she's always at work, how inquisitive she was at first, how… but… Why, Annabelle? And more importantly… Why are you telling me this??? NOW, of all times!?
Gulping down a particularly big drop of saliva, he hits the reply button… but…
But if she sent a coded message like this, that probably means they're watching her, too, so alerting them like this… No… He deletes the new message, and sits back to think some more. He'll definitely have to make sure Annabelle understood he received the message, but… How to do it discreetly? He was no good with the cloak-and-dagger… Hmm… Maybe…
He launched the browser and, on a quick hunch, he entered a phrase into the search engine. The first result from a common encyclopedia was good enough. He took it to heart to learn this completely by heart for the next time he has some private time with Annabelle, because… Well, they can't monitor her all the time, can they!? Knowing the caliber of what he was probably dealing with, he had to assume they already intercepted his search and would be looking for messaging this way. He didn't know if they had his house bugged, or if Annabelle was carrying one, but if they were, sound was no go. It had to be either light, or…
A half-smile under his nose.
Well, lets just hope Annabelle is an attentive enough lover to recognize Morse Code from the thrusts.
The knife moved through the onion with smooth motions, a finger's width each time. It was so fresh, the juice was bursting from time to time with deeper cuts, but Mary moved her hands with practiced motions, not letting the liquid get to her eyes. She smiled a little to the cutting board as she finished up dicing vegetables - the salad was just about ready, sour cream prepared to add to the mix.
You adore watching her cook. Everything she did around the kitchen was so elegant, graceful, and yet, so simplistic and honest. There could be no doubt about it - she loved cooking, she was great at it, and the things she cooked were so delicious and, at the same time, so… homely… Mary is a true treasure in your life and you're so happy you met her.
A stray thought lit up your mind's eye with the image of her hair around fingers clutching a knife, making you go pale. You shake your head, breathing in and out. You check if Mary noticed it, but luckily, she's focused on the onion.
It's been a problem for you. The further time goes, the more… stressful things have been. Ever since you accepted the deal, things were becoming ever more complicated, yes, but when… that happened, it's been an uphill battle to keep your sanity. It's got to the point where not just keeping the secret from your girls, but not breaking down is becoming too much of a mental burden. And the worst part is…
You have no one to talk to about it.
All of these amazing, beautiful women, and you can't tell them. No comfort, no pep talk, no motivating, nothing. It's maddening - a matter so important, yet one you must keep secret. But for how long can you deal with it? You'll break if it keeps up like that! It's been hard enough to keep Valentina off the matter, but you're starting to lose it, you're feeling it. These… hallucinations started happening, or whatever do you call them - first Sakaki and Valentina in the shower, then hearing Eva and Yasu in the living room. Isn't that a straight-up sign that something is seriously wrong with you? More than that, isn't it a sign that your poor mind can't keep itself straight with who you love and what you desire? But that's the whole bitch of it, you feel honest love towards… almost all of those girls. Heck, your stupid RPG dream even gave Leilani a pass, something your waking mind would never be able to do now! And then there's Andrea, who recently has been antagonistic, to say the least. It's a recipe for disa-
- Alright, dinner's ready, dear! I hope you like meatballs!
- Oh! Th-thanks Mary.
Disrupting your sordid thoughts, she stands the plates on the table - rounded meat patties joined with mashed potatoes and the tomato-onion salad she's just made. Sitting at your side by the kitchen table, perpendicular to you, she reaches for prepared before utensils. A bit childishly waiting on you to take the first bite, Mary expectantly waits for your assessment of the dish. Heh, as if it could be in any way bad, it's almost a ritual at this point. You stab a meatball onto his fork and takes a bite.
- Mmm… It's amazing, Mary. Delicious.
A beaming smile as she adjusts her hair, her cheeks booming with pride and happiness.
- Teehee, thanks! I'm trying out a new seasoning mix for the meat, this one's got a little more pepper, so I hope it's not too hot?
- No, it's just right, thanks!
For the next couple of minutes, you both chew your food in silence. Not having anything to say, you returned to your earlier unhappy ruminations, but they're not really getting you anywhere. Mary sometimes shoots you looks that seem questioning, but says nothing. Finally, both plates empty, you pull back a bit, rubbing your tummy theatrically.
- Ahh… That was great, I'm full! Thank you, Mary!
She smiles gratefully, looking into your eyes, but…
- …Dearest, is there something bothering you?
- What do you mean?
- It's just that… since about a week, you seem a bit… distant.
So she noticed. The silence was probably a dead giveaway. Crap… You can't exactly speak your mind, even though you want to very much. You don't want to keep lying to her, either. Suddenly, something rebellious got into you. No. You will not stay silent.
- Well… There's a matter that's… tough on me. At work.
- What is it, dear?
- It's under a Non-Disclosure Agreement so I can't say much - a fleeting sense of pride for figuring out this particular way of keeping things secret enough washes over you for a second - but… My client is incredibly demanding and put me up with… several subcontractors, all of them to produce resources for him. Not only that, he keeps adding more subcontractors and I'm starting to lose my head around them.
- I see… So he makes you work overtime? - Mary reaches out to you, touching your hand on the table. The warmth of her skin makes you feel a little bit better.
- That, too, but… As work goes on, I stop feeling comfortable with this assignment. - That's saying it lightly. - It feels… wrong. And the problem is… I can't abandon it without losing everything, and the client knows it.
Mary looks at you with caring concern, thinking a bit. She holds your hand and strokes its surface lightly with her slender fingers. Finally, she speaks:
- I understand it's a difficult situation. Maybe you could speak with those other contractors and find a compromise?
- That's the thing. The NDA forbids me from discussing the matter with them, only matters related to the task…
A sad look makes its way from Mary to your heart. This wasn't the result you were looking for, you didn't want her to start worrying about you. She looks down on your hand and speaks again:
- I know that you like your job. - She starts carefully. - So I'm sure you won't agree, but… if it's this difficult… - She holds your hand now, looking you in your eyes. - Maybe… you could look for another job?
Goddammit, this is where the analogy breaks down. You can't switch this job. You make a pained expression, as you squeeze Mary's hand in yours.
- Sorry… I can't. I… have to see this through.
A sigh escapes her. She looks at your hand, thoughts running through her head. She gets up suddenly, walks behind you and embraces you. The feel of her breasts hugging your back as her hands reach your chest, the touch of her cheek resting against your back - they give you a sudden warmth, calm washing over you as Mary's love touches your soul.
- If you can't stop… I will support you in any way I can. I love you, dear. I'm here to help you in any way I can. I will always be here for you, no matter what happens.
You feel yourself tremble just the tiniest bit. Various emotions wash over you in waves as you feel Mary's warm embrace continue. Several thoughts move to your mind, quickly silenced. Only a singular feeling dominates over you. A tear forms in your eye and rolls down your cheek as you hold Mary's arms on your chest. She may not know the particulars, the truth may not be as easy to swallow as your silly little excuse was, but knowing she has your back no matter what…
You don't deserve Mary.
There is something… different about him. She noticed it a few days ago, but ever since she did, she paid attention to the slightest details. It wasn't about his speech, he didn't change his usual routine in her presence, but his breathing… The tension in his arms… Or, more importantly, his look… The slightest traces of bags under his eyes, his eyes just a little bit more restless than before. Something must have happened to him, but he doesn't want to tell her what.
A melancholic tone follows this last thought, enough to break her concentration in her meditative sit by the sofa. She opens her eyes. He's there, sleeping on it, with his arm laying on his chest, his breathing measured, but calm. Looking at his restful form, she wonders to herself: “Are the amount of secrets between us destined to grow, my love?”
He called her again. Once more, trying to negotiate her return on some token assurances of her safety. Tch. She'd probably lose her sanity first before agreeing to that. There was no doubt in her that her brother was lying to her. If he really couldn't finish formalities with taking over the estate without her, he'd pay off the officers and consider it done. There must have been a different reason for his persistent nagging, one she couldn't exactly figure out herself, but one she didn't much care for. He won't get what he wants. She is not coming back, especially not after…
The young man on the sofa turned a little bit in his sleep, vocalizing a little, illegibly. His face scrunches, with his brows moving rhythmically. A nightmare. Oh, my love… She gets up from her sit, quietly stepping towards the sofa. There is enough space for her to sit above him, which she uses to slide her legs under his head, giving him a soft, delicate pillow, as she ruffles his hair.
This man… gave her purpose again. This man gave her a calm refuge, a true sanctum of peace. She is so thankful for his offer to stay and, as they got to know each other better, she discovered his calm, patient manner, quiet way of being and a measured, peaceful approach to everything… was what she adored. The man had an aura of peace about him, an aura she hasn't felt… well, ever since her father left this world. Her father taught her everything a fine lady should know and she was grateful to him for letting her discover the beauty of this calm, almost philosophical lifestyle… and this man accepted it and let it grow. He didn't try to change her, he didn't force her to be someone else, he just… took her in. He didn't ask questions, he didn't impose, he… was there. A safe harbour in the worst storm of her life. He was worthy of her feelings. She knew father would be proud to call him his son, even if he didn't have his eyes.
His head turns a little on her legs as his eyes move around rapidly. His chest twitches as his breath becomes shorter. Worried, she lies her hand down on his forehead, where his brow was frowning and relaxing quickly. Moans join his nightmare, one she wishes she could calm down, but is unable to.
- Nn.. No… Don't…
- Shh… It's alright… Please rest… - she whispers to him, keeping her hand on his forehead.
Suddenly he launches himself forward with a strong gasp. Landing on her legs, he seems scared, out of breath.
- What happened? - She asks, a caring tone to her voice.
- I… Oh, Sakaki… I had a terrible nightmare…
- I see. What was it about?
He almost starts talking. Just as he opens his mouth, he pulls back, visibly sadder. After a little pause, he turns his head on her legs.
- Sorry. It was… It was just a dream, not worth talking about.
Her heart feels this scratch on its surface, through which sadness flows. She knows the dream must have been about something serious to elicit such a vivid reaction from him, and yet… He doesn't want to tell her. Realizing this must be what he feels whenever she moves around the topic of her being here causes a little tear to form in her eye. Ignoring it, she lowers herself towards his face and kisses his lips.
- It's alright. Maybe someday… we will be able to talk about it. For now… I am here for you.
He tries to smile to her. The smile… feels a little crooked. Forced. She sighs internally, she knows that smile very well - she gave it herself many times whenever he asked about her past.
“How many more secrets before we break, my love?”
She kisses him again.
Shake it up is all that we know Using the bodies up as we go
Up. Side. Center. Down. Up. Side. Center. Down. His boxer-clad legs moved repetitively as he laid on a synthetic mat he put on the floor beforehand. He wasn't really tired by the motions he was doing with his legs for a little while. The TV blared an 80s song through his PS4, a playlist he once compiled during a slightly chilly, but very romantic evening with Eva of retro tunes they both enjoyed. By his side, a beautifully fit, ebony leg was doing the same. They just started their aerobic exercises, so there was still a lot of time to get tired. He noted, with a smile, that Cleo's exercises have definitely had an effect - where once you'd see a pretty average, smooth leg, now with sideways motions muscles deformed the surface of his skin. He noticed it when the fridge started doing funny sounds, so he moved it a little to balance it - he was surprised when he didn't need to push as hard as he did when he bought it all that time ago.
This thought reminded him of Raquel, and a twinge of guilt ran through his mind. Now that he knew what was going on in her soul, he noticed all those little times when she really, really tried to not be… well, the Raquel he remembered from high-school. A sense of guilt about his judgement of her wasn't pleasant. It's not what dad taught him to be.
I'm waking up to fantasy The shades all around aren't the colors we used to see
- Hah, I ever told you dad was part of security detail for Hall & Oates when they had gigs in New York?
- Wow, really? No, you didn't Cleo!
He turned his head to the side to look at her smiling in the air, showing impeccable white teeth to the ceiling. She didn't sweat yet either, hell, a picture of fitness like that? But she didn't talk much of her dad before, only that he was a cop. He kinda understood he probably died in service, but ever since that shower half a year ago, he didn't ask. He figured Cleo would decide herself when to talk about it.
- Haha, yeah, they had a gig in 2006 in China Club, owners of the place asked for a little backup just in case. - Little pauses with her legs moving sideways as her abdominal muscles worked. She was still smiling throughout this description, though. - Brass decided the show wasn't important enough for a full police security squadron, so they sent dad and a few beatwalkers to basically see the show for free. And before you know it, dad drove home, picked my ten-year old ass up and went there!
- Awesome! - he excitedly reacted. He wished he could have went for Metallica or Rage Against The Machine or anything like that for free when he was a teen!
- You shoulda seen how they handled their old-ass gear, the sound was perfect 80s, man! Time ain't kind to them, you could tell the times of jumpin' around the stage doin' their jig thing were long gone, but the sound was still as good as ever - and Hall still could do the high notes!
Broken ice still melts in the sun And times that are broken can often be one again
A look of rememberance came over her as she exercised, a twinkle in her eyes as she closed her mouth, hiding her teeth in a smile. She stays silent for a little while. Looking at her, he smiles, too. Imagining her at the concert, probably sitting on her dad's arms as they moved side to side, the little girl that would become Cleo excitedly waving her arms to the rhythm of cheesy 80s pop music. A pleasant, wholesome image of a father and daughter enjoying something together, what could be more wholesome? The silence extending, he instinctively asks:
- So what are you thinking about?
- Heh, got caught driftin' off, didn't I? Just remembering the good times with dad, before… you know.
He knows. He kinda hoped the topic wouldn't drift down that road, but then again, how couldn't it? He saw her expression becoming more nostalgic and more serious. A sigh escaped her, as she prepared to say something more, but it seems she had a hard time formulating it. He understood. She's had a few moments before when she wanted to say something more serious, but couldn't get it out without a beer or two.
We're soul alone And soul really matters to me Take a look around
This time, something pushed him towards acting:
- You didn't mention your dad often. I only remember one time, you know, in the shower after we sparred.
Her teeth clenched together, as she laid silent. The movements of her legs sped up, and he could see she's pushing her muscles way more now. The atmosphere got tense and he started regretting it, but suddenly she spoke up:
- Not much to tell, man. A robbery went bad, dad was first to get on the scene and got gunned down by some punks.
- I'm so sorry Cleo…
- Yeah… I was pretty sorry too. Ran away from home afterwards. Barely 14, I got with a bunch of lame-ass punks who thought they were gangsta. Heh. - A sudden short, bitter smirk graces her face, as she still worked her legs. He felt his forehead starting to slowly sweat, but hers was still clean and dry, if not for the little furrow of remembrance. - Tyler, the leader, thought he'd gotten a new virgin pussy into the fold. - Her arm moves quicker than you can see upwards straight with a fist clenched. - Punched his lights out clean when he made a move and took over that sorry bunch!
That's Cleo. She's not gonna let anyone treat her like that! And he could imagine the jab, his jaw still kinda phantom-hurt after their memorable spar.
- I'm not proud of that time in my life. We basically did light crime, hoodlum stealing shit from supermarts and stores. Dad would have spanked my ass so hard if he were alive… - another sigh escapes her lips. - I was stupid back then, way too stupid to see what I was becoming. As we got older, weed and booze started to be part of it. We got even worse. It got to the point we were mugging people at night and spend their dough on fuckin'… we called it our “party mix”. A forty, an ounce or two, and we'd sit back in Central Park, hotboxin' in a fuckin' van.
This… This Cleo is someone he didn't know. This is a Cleo that is so different from her current life, it almost feels impossible to be true. Alcohol? Weed? Muggings!? Holy shit, he never knew Cleo held in so much… They keep training, as he stays silent to let her continue.
- Yeah, that stopped when we tried to work over the wrong person. A lawyer type, some Goldstein-looking guy, who had a motherfucking gun. He shot Shaneequa who was holding him up that time. We freaked, hard. Ran away and hid, scared out of our dumb asses. It's when I decided enough is enough, I can't be throwing my life into shit because I couldn't fuckin' control myself.
There is a toughness to her words now, strong, steely quality. Hearing this tone in her voice made you amazed at the strength of her conviction.
- No fuckin' way, I ain't gonna rely on no one anymore, Imma get tough, Imma get a job and Imma make life the way I want it, not how the world wants me to, crawlin' through shit. Next morning I bounced on the gang, moved outta Brooklyn and started workin' out real hard. But just workin' out wouldn't move me in life, I needed a job.
Her legs speed up again a little bit, as sweat forms into little droplets, ready to go down her forehead. He's been sweating for a while now, he's still not as fit as she is, but he wasn't yet tired. A bit of frustration entered her voice now:
- Spent almost two fuckin' years lookin' for a job, not even a goddamn McDonalds wanted to hire me. I was so fucking mad because of that, and I got even more mad when I learned why. Turns out, word travels in the biz and my hood days blacklisted me in many small businesses. I wanted to fucking rip my head off for that, I was so goddamn stupid!! - she screams this last part out. The guilt in her voice is painful, you want to hug her. - But I finally found a job in the DMV. Hate the hell out of it, but hey, it's stable and legal.
She turned her head to him, as the sweat on her forehead takes the chance to run down to the floor with gravity.
- And the rest was basically boring day to day. I trained. I worked. Day by day. That's how we met, I was doing my laps through your neighborhood.
- I was always curious about that! - he blurts out suddenly - You said back then my house seemed interesting, what the hell did you mean by that?
Her eyes turn down to her arm, and she rotates her face back up. She stopped moving her legs. Her expression seems sad now, and he doesn't know why. What does it mean? The silence continues uncomfortably long, but he knows that disturbing Cleo won't help her come to terms with what she wants to say, and he doesn't want her to abandon the topic. He learned so much about her today, it not only deserves post-workout beers, but a hug and subbing out the next sex. He never knew Cleo carried so much pain inside her…
- I… - she starts, stops herself, but bravely tries to pick up. - I thought I saw someone in your door.
- Someone that… looked like dad.
- I know it's stupid, I mean, after ten years, dad showing up like that? Come the fuck on, this ain't a fairy tale, but… But I guess my brain got blank and I had to walk in.
Again, she turns her head to him. Her eyes seem to be glistening a little, not exactly forming tears, but it's obvious that emotions run wild through her. He reaches out to her hand on instinct, immediately berating himself because he should know better than to do “feely shit” for Cleo, but surprising him, she reached out to his hand and held it. Feeling its warmth felt good, comforting. She smiled a little.
- And when I saw your stupid hair-bush, I had to figure out a convenient reason why I'm walking into someone's house. Heh. I guess it sounded stupid as fuck, but… Well, you know?
Her hand intertwines his.
You're out of touch I'm out of time But I'm out of my head when you're not around
- I kinda think it was a sign.
The two men stand in front of each other, looking carefully into each others' teeth-protector-clad faces. A referee walks up to them and tells them the rules of the match, as the crowd's murmur dominates over the ring. Singular whistles and shouts fly through the air, filling the hall with pre-fight atmosphere. Underneath the ever-changing angles of the cameras, flashy subtitles show below the men. Representing USA, Santino Turnbow, walks to his position and doesn't really demonstrate any significant emotion towards the match. His opponent, Efe Ajagba from Nigeria, looks at him with a calm confidence. The pre-fight show was pretty emotional, with their weigh-in causing significant ruckus, but it's time to see whether mass translates to anything more than pounds.
- Oh for f… They're still doing repeats of this? - Cleo's voice exclaims in annoyance, as her body shifts in a one-arm embrace on the couch. - C'mon, fuckin'… stop living in the past! He lost, okay? Done deal, let the man live it down!
Both men get ready, as the referee prepares to start the match. Lifting his hand, the forces are unleashed! Over 200 pounds of manly muscles begin to move around the ring, Santino starting off agressively with a right jab and a left swing. They connect, but fail to impress Efe, who steps to the left and pulls back just a little bit, retaliating with a right jab.
- See this shit? - Cleo is almost jumping in her seat with excited anger. - Stopped going offensive and Efe took him like he was twelve! Basic fucking mistake, man! Hold your guard up and don't let 'em pass! Don't just throw jabs like you was back in boxing school!
True to her words, Efe stepped up his attack, first breaking through Santino's guard and hitting him straight on the nose with a jab, and while Santino tried retaliating with a reflexive hook, the Nigerian replied with a series of his own jabs and hooks, putting the American on the defensive. And Efe was merciless. Two quick punches into his guard, a gut punch, a test jab at his guard, and then…
- And like a sack of shit he goes down! - Cleo swings her beer at the screen, the can dangerously close to leaving her hand. Her disappointment is mirrored by the crowd's reaction - the match didn't even last more than a minute when Efe hit a powerful hook to Santino's cheek, who fell to his knees completely disorientated. Pulled back up by the referee, who confirmed that the man's been dinged pretty bad, he gave a Technical KO call to a thoroughly unhappy crowd which was hoping for a longer, more involved fight.
- We fuckin' get it, ESPN, he lost, okay? You don't have to fuckin' stomp a man into dirt! - Cleo keeps excitedly shouting to the screen, while the owner of the arm encircling her smiles, looking at her. He thought to himself that Cleo's almost as excitedly watching tv as Yasu is, just to completely different shows. He loved that about her - even though she was much more mature than his step-sister, she maintained an almost boyish energy towards this stuff. The contrast of competitive Cleo to laid-back Cleo was incredible - over the time they've known each other, they have now drunk more beer together than you'd find at at least three good frat parties. And even with her laid-back manner, she could turn on a dime whenever a topic came up that made her leave her “Heh”-infused chill. Just like Yasu was, so quick towards fantastic excitement about every-day stuff. His smile dims a little as he turns that thought in his head. That's what made Yasu… weird in the eyes of everyone else. Although to him personally this facet of her childish personality was endearing and cute, he recognized that she was getting a bit too old to do things like this. He wished he could talk about it with her on an equal ground, but he already knew how that would end - a pout and unhappy stomping out at best, or genuine tears and hurt feelings at-
- So what's got you so silent all of a sudden, man? - It turns out Cleo has been silent for a short while herself and was carefully examining his look that seemed to be fixed in the distance somewhere.
- Nothing much, thinking about my sister a little.
- Sister? You didn't mention her before. - Cleo takes a swig from the can while getting herself a little closer to him. It's clear she enjoys the embrace, though her boyish side would never admit that.
- Yup, I have a sister, she… - He bites himself in the tongue instantly. Fuck, that was close. - …called me yesterday. She told me how she's doing and stuff like that, but…
- Yeah? - Cleo inquires curiously, with her trademark half-smile leaving her face to be replaced with genuine curiosity.
- But she's still acting like she was a kid, I guess. - he shrugs - You know the kind, thinking she's some sort of magical priestess or something, with magical powers and shit.
- Hahaaa! - Cleo laughs at that, raising the last quarter of beer in her can to the lamps. Her laugh shakes your arm, so much energy flows through it. - Yeah man, I know the type! Fuck, I was like that back then, too! You ever watch Dragon Ball Z? Goku was the man! I was this close to actually doing the yelling powerup in our bathroom back then! Hahaha, maaan, how time fuckin' flies!
- Heheh, yeah well… My sis is kinda like that, but she's eighteen already, so she shoulda like… gotten over it, but she didn't.
- So what? Let her be her, if she's into this shit, why stop her? - Cleo calms back down and, still smiling, asks.
- That's the thing, see. She's… had a pretty rough growing up because of that. - His eyes glisten over in remembrance as he looks to the tv. - When we were kids, she often got bullied because of her stuff.
- Fuckin' kids… You beat their asses I hope?
- Hell yeah I did! - he seems to be getting a little energy himself, thinking about that, as he pulls his arm from her back and gesticulates. - This one asshole who punched her in the face got fuckin' suplexed!
- Hahaaa, that's my man! - Cleo gives him an approving slap on the back. - You didn't teach her to defend herself, tho?
- I tried once or twice, but she didn't want to fight. She was more into the… spiritual, I guess? - He grimaces a little, trying to explain. - She was always yammering on about some ghosts, spirits and demons, she thought herself as some powerful priestess or some shit. And in the end, that made her the weird kid in schools.
- I see. - Cleo becomes a bit more solemn as she nods to you. - Yeah, I can see why you want her to drop that shit. You talk to her?
- And here's the problem basically. - He winces. - She's either getting angry or straight up cries when anyone tries. I gave up a long time ago, but she gets older, you know? She can't stay like that forever.
Cleo considers what she heard, resting her chin on her fingers in thought. He wraps his arm around her again while she does. The television switched to some talking heads, discussing the match they saw earlier, but that flies past either of them. After a while, she picks up again:
- Could I talk to her, maybe? - She looks up to you, a helpful tone in her voice. This is something new from Cleo, but then again, this is the first time he discussed anything that might require her intervention. - I mean, as far as leaving past behind goes, I got some experience on that, so maybe I could help her.
He felt his heart pound a little harder at that. This is something he'd definitely want, help to convince his sister to leave that magical shit behind, but…
- Nah, it's alright baby. I'll handle it. - He smiled, trying to convince himself more than her that it's fine. - Besides, can you imagine that talk? “HEY SIS, MY GIRLFRIEND WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT YOUR CHUUNI SHIT!”
- Chuuni? - She raised an eyebrow.
- Heh, yeah, I think that's how they call this in anime or something?
- You watch anime? Pffft! - she blows a raspberry, jokingly mocking him.
- Look who's talking, miss Super-Saiyan! - he laughed back at her, pulling her closer from her sit on the couch.
- I was a kid back then, your sorry ass got no excuse! - She laughs as she smacks his knee with the flat of her hand.
- Well I ain't no kid now! C'mere! - Pulling her body onto his legs, he pushed her face-down on the other side, her jeans up in the air rounded around her bottocks.
- Ey ey ey! You think you got what it takes to tame this Saiyan princess? - She grins to him defiantly from her position.
- Well this princess is gonna get her ass whooped if she's going to be all Vegeta on me! - A loud smack followed as he spanked her butt roughly. Cleo let out a yelp, some of it in pain, but…
- Ohhh fuck, your hand is great…! - She moans as the aftertouch of the slap remains on her bottom, a tingling feeling of needles forming a hand-shaped essence of exciting pleasure. - I've been a naughty princess, king! I need spanking so bad!
- Yes you do, you little brat…! - His voice acquired a lustful tone. Pleasing Cleo like this was so strange when they were starting off, but as he learned her limits and what she liked, he found he enjoyed giving her pleasure way more than he had misgivings about causing her pain. Another loud smack to the other buttock followed.
- Ahh! Ah… Ahhhnnn…! Yes… Spank the little bitch… She's been so bad… - Her hand reached to his crotch. With him wearing sweatpants, that made her job so much easier. Her fingers encircled the bulge that was slowly growing.
- What did I *slap* tell you *slap* about reaching *slap* without being asked? *slap*
- Ahhh! Ahhhh! Aaaaahhh…! Ahhhh! Yes, yes you told me not to, and I did it anyway, I'm so bad, I must be punished, I must! - Cleo cried loudly, pleasure clearly dripping from her voice. She loves it, and he knows it. This time she gave in without even struggling too much.
- No, no… - Cleo suddenly pushed off of his legs, standing up quickly and stretching her butt to him - we need the tools, come on man, you gotta get my butt red and fuck me like I'm your bitch, c'mon!
She pulls him up from the couch and they leave quickly to the bedroom, leaving the TV and any remaining thoughts about his sister behind. Soon, muffled yelps and cries can be heard from the bedroom. They soon transform into loud, rhythmic moans. The TV blinks with it's auto-turnoff mechanism.
- So what do you think? Good enough for sale, right?
She swiped the photos to the side one by one, a series of catalogue pics showing off various winter clothes. Each of them posed professionally, with great early-morning lighting that gave a beautiful, warm hue to the snow surrounding her. Tasteful fur-lined coats, tight-fitting pants with warmers, boots, gloves and hats, adorned by her cute cold-induced blush below a deep, confident stare. Raquel's work is professional, no matter how much skin it shows, and she knows it.
- Yeah, looks great. - He answers dispassionately. She gives him a look, half-closing her eyes, but continues on.
- Alright, so these go for sale. Lemme show you the ones shot for Ada's Collection…
His thoughts were completely elsewhere. It would be more accurate to say he's currently in a whole different place in his head, with the couch he's sitting on and her arm holding on to him while she's hunched closer to him to show… the phone he got her and her photos on its screen. This month has been full of events for him and he's having a hard time processing it all. Just yesterday, on that armchair there, something incredible happened, and he didn't mean the blowjob - Leilani, the person he was scared of ever since… that happened, showed a side of herself that he doubts she has shown to anyone else before, and he didn't know how to feel about it. She hurt him, she hurt… a Mary, she's unhinged, dangerous and unpredictable, a menace to society who clings to him like a psychopath… but she said she needs help. That's an understatement and a half. She said she needs his help, though. What did she mean by that? He was glad enough she agreed to stop with her dangerous, stalky behaviour, but what kind of help does she need? She said she got angry sometimes and couldn't control herself, so it was obvious she needed some form of support from him, and if it meant she'd stop hurting people, he was glad to give it, but to give support like that would mean he'd need to reconsider how he thought about it. After she hurt him so badly, it was tough to consider her as anything but a psycho, but now-
- HEY! Wakey wakey, I asked you something!
- Huh? Ah, shit, sorry Raquel, lots of stuff on my mind.
She huffs up rolling her eyes, pulls back from her position with the phone and, locking it, hides it in her purse. He expects her to go on some sort of bitchy rant for not paying attention to her, but surprisingly, she instead asks:
- So what's so important that you can't focus on me?
Now his problems switched gears to Raquel and how to best approach the eternal bitch. For fucks sake… It was a challenge just keeping it together, but keeping his cool with all of his girls was straining him more and more, and Raquel was one of the most difficult ones. But what to do now, goddammit. It's obvious he can't just go out with it and tell her he's got doubts about a psycho girl he's been fucking. A fleeting thought makes him smile internally, releasing some pent-up nervousness. Hah, with Raquel that'd actually make two psycho girls, just different kinds of psycho. But, no. As much as Raquel is… difficult, to say the least, she's more bitch than psycho. In that sense, she won't kill him for making her angry… so should he just shut up and accept the consequences, or… Another one of those slightly rebellious moments - well, what the hell, he could try at least. He clasps his hands and lies them down on his knees in a decisive movement, ready to hear Miss Bitch's assessment.
- Lets say you know someone for a long while, considered him a shitty person, but things change and you see him differently. What are you supposed to do?
Raquel stays silent for a longer while, looking him in the eyes. The silence is a huge surprise for him, but he knows her enough to know not to break it prematurely and let her chew through what she wants to say… but this time something is wrong, it takes her way too long to formulate an indignant response chiding him for this and that. He turns to look at her and the second he does, her look drops to her hands which she keeps together. Her face seems… sad. Tense. Her eyes rush from point to point as her measured breath rhythmically moves her chest. Even then, she does not speak, and the silence keeps up for the next minute or two. The need to speak overpowers him.
She looks up to him, the same sad expression as before. Her lips are shaking a little, but still, she does not speak. The question seems to have had a much deeper impact on her than he anticipated, giving him an awkward uncertainty as to what exactly is happening. His heart directs him to raise his hand and touch her cheek and, once he does, she lulls her head into his hand, eyes closed. She raises her own hand to his and touches it delicately. Her lips, still trembling, seem to want to open, but close themselves quickly.
She never acted this way before. Something was very, very wrong, and he didn't know what. Their touch, while comforting, started becoming awkward to him. It seems she came to the same conclusion, though. Opening her eyes again, she looks at his face, this time a frightened expression. He does not understand why she seems scared. He feels her tremble under his hand, an obvious internal fight going on inside her, but what is this about? What was in the question he asked that could make her react like this? He struggles to remember exactly how he formed it. He asked her…
- I DON'T KNOW, ASSHOLE!
She thrashes her head angrily, shaking off his hand, enraged scream echoing in the room. She quickly gets up from the couch and stands before him in a completely, unescapably angry pose, with fists clenched, body hunched forward and face antagonistically moved closer to him. Her lips were angrily upturned and shaking, cheeks flushed red, eyebrows turned inwards and eyes wide open, staring daggers at him. He was shocked at the sudden change, for which he could not fathom the reason.
- I DON'T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO DO! AND I DON'T CARE, YOU'RE A COMPLETE FUCKING ASSHOLE AND I'M LEAVING!
Angrily turning on the spot, she stomps her way to the door where he hears her quickly putting on her boots. Goddammit, no, it's cold outside tonight, she can't walk like that! He gets up from the couch, runs to the corridor outside and, as she gets up from her one-knee kneel, he grabs her hand.
- LET ME GO, FUCKER! I'M LEAVING!
- No, you're not, it's too cold!
- I'D RATHER FREEZE TO DEATH THAN STAY WITH A PRICK LIKE YOU!
He ignores her barbs and grabs her coat, trying to at least force reason upon her. She's having none of it. They struggle for a while at the door, both of them pulling at her coat. She pulls at it angrily, strong motions stretching the material, until…
Raquel pulls hard one last time and lands on her bottom on the floor, half of the coat in her hands. The other half was left in his. Shocked surprise at the sudden development makes him stand motionless looking at the cloth, until he hears a sniffle at his feet. Lowering his hand, he sees Raquel sitting on the floor as tears stream down her face, pulling some mascara she had left over into dark streams. She does her best to hold her tears in, but pretty soon sniffles turn to a quiet cry. His heart is stabbed by cold icicles when he witnesses that, a sense of guilt and purely human empathy coming over him. Completely devoid of thought, he walks over to her and sits by her side, holding her with his arm, as she rests her crying head on his chest. He strokes her hair, trying to comfort the girl. Her tears don't show a sign of stopping, however. They stay like that for the next fifteen minutes, him comforting Raquel as her cries silence and tears slowly dry up. Finally, in-between sniffles, she speaks again.
- I just… *sniff* I… I need more time… Please…
He doesn't understand. Trying to re-form the question that led to it all, to at least guess at what made her so upset. He wanted to talk about Leilani and how his perception of her changed, so he asked her how do you deal with a horrible person who changed… Oh. Ohhhhhhh. Oh God, he's so fucking dumb…
- It's alright Raquel… It's alright… - he stroked her hair slowly, as understanding dawned on him. He felt so incredibly dumb and so very sorry.
- I need to… I want to say things, but… *sniff* But please…
- It's okay… Shh…
He held her close, feeling her heartbeat, encircling her with his arm. Their closeness, an experience so precious, marked a new point in his life. He wanted to smack himself for how blind he's been. Rushing through his head, all those little moments that he pretended not to notice, that he was comfortable treating as one-offs, because he didn't believe she tried to change. Raquel… Dear God, you tried… And he was too proud to take notice until, by accident, he made her break down in her attempts… He feels like a monster again, but this time, he has the chance to fix it before he hurts her more.
- I understand… And I'm sorry for making you feel like that. You have all the time you need, Raq. I'm here.
She raised her head, looking at him with tear-reddened eyes.
- I'm here for as long as you want to work on yourself. I'll wait for you to tell me what you want to tell me.
The tiniest smile. She again lowers her head, pushing it into his chest, as he strokes her hair. She reaches out to him this time and hugs him. Kissing her forehead, he picks her up from the floor. As she shakily stands on her feet, he crouches again and takes off her boots, one by one. She does not protest. Supporting herself on his head, she helps him by raising her legs. He stands back up facing her. Her expression is worried, uncertain, but he hugs her again.
- Keep trying, Raquel. Some day you will say it.
- You can't do that!
Her breasts bounced up as she angrily slammed her hands on the leather-surfaced desk. The man looked at her hands at first, then at her frowned face which sported a sizable blush of frustration. His expression didn't sell much beyond an air of professional superiority. Waiting patiently while resting his back on his considerably old-fashioned turning armchair, he gave the agent a moment to remember her place. With satisfaction he noted how she pulls her hands back and relaxes back into a professional stance. Good girl.
- I'm afraid we just did.
- But he's a nobody! A bloke living a boring middle-class life in the middle of the States! Did the Agency even peruse my reports?
The man pulls up from his rest on the chair without much hurry. Light from the ceiling lamp had a chance to lick the front of his black suit, illuminating a metal plaque on his chest, which read “Dir. Adm. McCork”. Resting his arms on his desk, he gives a bored, forced smile, as if he was explaining something to a trainee.
- We did. And we have reason to believe that his domicile warrants further investigation.
- With all due respect sir, I have been there almost every day and I don't see any value in continuing surveillance of either the man or his house. - Annabelle tries pleading one last time. - There's nothing there! I checked every corner, every bit of writing he has, both on his computer and physically! There's no secret compartments, no safes, nothing at all!
The man lowers his head to an opened document, clearly intending on ignoring her concerns, and speaks:
- That is for the Analytics department to decide. Their recommendation is to keep surveillance going, both passive and active. - He reaches for a cigarette, pulls a drag, and continues. - As part of the active surveillance team, your services will need to continue.
She knows it's a futile effort at this point, the motions have already been filed and team Feather is ready to set up their hardware. A Stingray IMSI-catcher, a MITM router-sniffer, even jacking into his powerlines to track electricity usage. She couldn't understand, for what purpose is all of this surveillance theatre? They used methods like these for known mob hideouts, not someone who didn't even pass the first contact filter!
- I am to understand you successfully infiltrated the house and the man does not suspect you, yes?
She tries to keep up a facade of professionalism, but deep down, a little needle poked at her heart. Yes. Yes, he does not suspect her. Why would he? He's not only a completely normal bloke, innocent as a lamb, but he's… He's just… He's such a dear… He's so gentle, so caring… Quick to wit if he has the chance, and listens to her babbling on endlessly with no protest. She stopped really filtering what she says, gossiping about work without a care in the world…
- Yes, I infiltrated the house and he trusts me completely.
- Good. You will return to your post at your earliest convenience. At oh-three-hundred, team Feather will install their hardware.
- Yes sir. - She turns around to leave, unhappy with the results of this talk.
- Hold it.
Obediently stopping and turning back again to Director McCork, she notices him pulling out his phone. A standard-issue Blackbeary, secured with the usual MI6 software and hardened for service. He touches the screen a couple of times, until it starts playing sound. Annabelle instantly blushes as she hears her own voice in a situation all too familiar to her.
“Stop it, stop it! You win, you git, I can't take it anymore! Fuck me, fuck me please, fuck me! Put it in, I can't take it anymore! I'll cry if you stop! You've teased me long eno-AAaaaaaahhhh…!!“
He touches on the screen again and stops the recording. Annabelle stands still, blushing furiously, trying to understand what this demonstration from the bugs in his house was supposed to be about. The Director puts the phone back into his suit's pocket and intones:
- I really do hope this assignment didn't cause you to forget why you're there, agent Cumming.
- …No, sir.
- That's good. We wouldn't want anything… untoward to happen to the object of our surveillance.
A longer silence this time.
- …No, sir.
He rests back onto his armchair, turning slightly sideways, while Annabelle tries to hide her anger.
- You may return to your post at the surveillance site at your earliest convenience. Dismissed.
She turns around and steps outside, masking the intense rage roiling inside her. The bastard knows and just tried threatening her!! Oooh he's going to regret this!!
When she is outside of his hearing range, she stomps angrily into the elevator. Thoughts storm her mind as she considers everything about her current situation, but with how loud her internal anger is, she can't focus. On a whim deciding to visit the shooting range, she presents her ID to the quartermaster, who nods with a smirk and, turning around, reaches for a standard issue SIG Sauer P226 and two boxes of magazines.
- Hey Anna. Bad day?
- Oh you wouldn't believe, Tom! - Annabelle angrily shakes her hair drills. - I just finished talking to McCork and I'm sure now they completely ignore my reports!!
The man who seems to be called Tom places the pistol and the magazines in the glass case by his window, unlocking it for Annabelle. She takes it quickly and, with a smooth motion, inserts the magazine into the pistol. Without much fanfare, she steps to the first stall and hangs a standard target. Pushing the button, she sends it away. While she waits, Tom left his post closing the door behind him and approaches Annabelle, standing behind her and looking at her practice.
- So McCork is still the bureaucrat he's always been, eh? - He crosses his arms, resting his weight on the wall of his booth.
- Bollocks to his bureaucracy! - Annabelle barks angrily, keeping the button pressed. The target is halfway to the end of the range now. - If he actually cared about his job, he wouldn't ignore first-hand reports from his agents!
- Yep, that's McCork alright. Heh, when I was still active in the fi-
Poff! Poff! Poff! Three shots rapidly leave Annabelle's gun. Tom notes her posture is pretty stiff today, then looks to the side of her face. Her teeth are clenched pretty hard. He takes a look to the target and whoa-ho, it's maximum distance, 120 yards. She's really angry.
- Look, dearie, I appreciate the talk, but I'm in no mood now, I just want to pop these and get back to work, alright?
Tom shakes his head, but remains silently behind her. He witnesses her go through two clips in total. Finally, she relaxes her stance, puts the safety back on the pistol, unloads the emptied mag and pushes the button to return her target sheet. He has to admit, he never saw her so rattled before.
- Hey… I dunno what happened, but… - He raises his hand and scratches the back of his head. - If you wanna talk about it, I'm here, alright?
Annabelle ignores him for a moment, awaiting the return of her target. Tom sees as her teeth unclench and a satisfied smile returns to the side of her face. He looks from behind her to see… All perfect shots. The maximum point field on the head is, in fact, one big hole, ripped with different bullets.
- Whoa-ho! Nice job, girl!
She pulls the sheet from the clip and, with an… ominous, in his opinion, half-smile, pushes the sheet and the pistol into his arms.
- Right. Now that I calmed myself down a little, I know what to do. - she walks quickly past him towards the exit, where she flashes her ID to the magnetic lock, which opens the door. - Thanks, Tom! Always a pleasure!
- Likewise, Annabelle! Hang tight! - he replies, as he picks up the leftover boxes from the range and goes back to the armory. Putting the gun back to its place and filing the rest of the ammo back, he disposes the empty mags into a shelf specifically for that. Shaking his head, he writes down Annabelle's results.
* * *
She set the webcam's timer to shoot in a minute. Getting herself wet and bothered wasn't as fun as it should have been, but authenticity was required. Touching her clitoris, she yelped a little as her fingernail caught it, sending a painful, but not completely unpleasant sensation down her spine. Patiently massaging herself as the timer counted down, she made sure the camera caught the little logo she hastily inked onto her panties.
The photo was done. She looked onto her absolutely lascivious expression on the monitor, put herself quickly back together and hovered her mouse cursor over the send button. “There is no turning back after this”, she thought to herself. “No way they won't guess the message if they actually read it. Lets just hope they think it's part of my mission”.
On the screen, an email was written - a… lustful fantasy, peppered with a bit of extra-special secrecy which could, at best, get her fired and, at worst, cost her her life. There was still hope in sending it before team Feather installed their stuff around his home. She once again considered what she was doing. “They can't do this”, she thought again. “They can't keep a man under surveillance without probable cause”. She was certain what was happening was very illegal, even for the whole Five Eyes agreement. This is wrong. This would have never been happening under Director Cumming - her father. And the man they went after was a complete nobody! He posed absolutely no threat, heck, he paid his taxes on time year after year, she checked that! There's no reason to keep doing this to him and…
She takes a close look onto her feelings, something she rarely had the chance to do in this line of work. He was such a dear, he was fantastic - a man she never dreamt of, who by complete accident stumbled into her life and conquered her heart. And how did he do that? By offering her home-cooked lunch. She felt so good with him, so calm, so… so free of this life, of… of this constant cloak-and-dagger. The man gave her so much…
It was time to admit it to herself. She loves him. And she will be damned if she lets the Agency harm even one hair on his head. She will fight the whole MI6 if she has to.
He didn't move much. Sitting on the armchair, naked in the dim light of the corner lamp, his legs were splayed sideways, as her equally naked silhouette was bobbing in between them, posessively laying her hands on his thighs. It was the strangest mixture of emotions he's ever felt in his life. Fear, yes, but not as strong as it was… back then. Pleasure, intense and passionate, as her lips undulated around his member. Guilt, because he blamed himself for what she did. Amazement at her expert ministrations. Pressure, since he forced himself to even allow her that. Anger, because as much as he hated her for what she did to that other Mary, he was forced to be with her. Finally, awkwardness, since even though he had every right to despise her…
- My love…
She placed her fingers in a ring around his shaft and, smoothly licking at his sensitive underside, she gave his rod delicate, but forceful pumps. His scrotum began pulsing intensely as a spasm wracked his body. Pearly liquid shot in a jet upwards from his urethra, caught by her mouth, which quickly encircled it, sucking every bit of his essence. His breathing seized for a while as he lost control of his faculties, orgasm robbing him of rational thought. Slowly coming back, he witnessed Leilani obscenely swallowing his load and giving his balls one last posessive lick before standing up and sitting on his knees, hugging into him.
His release freed him from his tortured thoughts for a short while, but they were scrambling to return to his mind. A sense of guilt about what he just experienced and with whom lingered. Another night, spent with the murderer of Mary.
- My dearest… Have I pleased you?
If only she understood…
- Yes… Thank you, Leilani.
She hugged into his chest, rubbing her face into his neck, almost like a cat.
- I'm happy. I love making you happy.
“It's not as if she's a child, or an animal, right?” He thought to himself, as she pressed her lips into his neck. “She has to understand what she did… But I mean… She won't hurt me if I try to talk to her… right? As crazy as it is, she loves me. Maybe… Maybe I could… Reach her, somehow?”
He decides to approach the matter carefully. First, he raised his hand and delicately put it on her hair. Petting it, he hoped to calm her down enough. Steeling himself, he begins:
She stirs a little on his chest. Her breasts shift a little as she raises her head to look him in the eyes. A chill forces itself down his spine.
- Yes, my love?
- I wanted to… ask you something.
Her smile widens and she rests her head on his chest again. “So far so good”, he thought, while he strokes her hair with his hand.
- What is it, dearest?
- Why are you so… protective of me?
Silence. She seems to either be thinking, or… denying him an answer. Just as he was about to give up on this avenue and resign himself to fulfilling his duties to Andrea, she speaks again.
- I… I can't lose you. I love you. You are mine.
Her voice put on a creepy monotone. He's treading dangerous territory and he knows it. A quiet gulp goes down his throat, but he can't stop now.
- But I am here. I will be here. But if… if you act so dangerously…
She gets up again from his chest. Her eyes pierce his soul as they look into him, this time a quiet, observatory quality in them. A cold sweat breaks on his back as his instincts scream to abandon this folly, but… “No”, he thought. “I can't let it happen again.”
- …others may take you away from me and we will… be separated.
Her eyes are almost feline in the way they… observe him. Not expressing anything, pure observation, as if she was counting the cells on his nose. She doesn't move from her position as he's slowly losing hope of reaching her, but suddenly…
- We cannot be separated. - steel in her voice, a conviction so strong he's sure she is absolutely, 100% certain of it. This was no mere certainty, it was unshakable faith, dogmatic in its reverberating strength. Her word was law. Another nervous gulp from him, his voice turning just a little bit shaky as his speech speeds up.
- N-no, we cannot, so to stay together, you have to stop acting dangerous, you see… Th-the problem you… removed… What if… If police find out and… and they separate us?
- They will not. - Another sentence of absolute, unshakable certainty. - But I understand.
Fear drives the shock in his reaction.
- Y-you do?
- Yes. I will not remove problems anymore. I will persevere for you. - She lays down her head on his chest again, her heartbeat punctuating the sentences she speaks. - I love you. And you love me. That is all that matters.
A feeling of absolute relief washes over him. He was so scared she'd fly off the handle, but not only she seems to have gotten the point - as twisted as he made it seem - she agreed to it. A sense of satisfaction fills him as he unconsciously starts to stroke her hair again - he did it. He made her promise she won't… do anything rash again.
- I will ask you something now, my love.
A chill creeps up his spine. Uh oh.
- Will you help me?
- With what?
- With calming me down.
What. What is happening.
- What do you mean?
She shuffles a little bit on his chest. Her hand travels along his arm from his forearm upwards, feeling the muscles under his skin. This motion carries with it a soothing, almost massage-like quality.
- Sometimes I get angry. Very angry. - a sad note has entered her creepy monotone. Something is… different this time. He listens very carefully. - And if you're not there… I act out.
Stopping his stroking, he stays silent, wanting her to continue.
- When I get angry, I do dangerous things. You don't want me to do dangerous things.
The way she speaks now… He is reminded of a TV programme he saw ages ago. It was a documentary programme about children with developmental difficulties. That particular episode focused on children with autism. He recognized the same measured, tonal way of speaking that Leilani is now doing. It's the first time she spoke to him like that and he was amazed. He felt like she just uncovered something incredibly important for him to truly understand her. “Don't let it go”, he thought to himself, changing the way he speaks to how the teachers spoke in the documentary.
- I will help you, Leilani. You will have to trust me. Do you trust me?
She once again raises her head to look him in the eyes, but this time, there is no threat in her look, no cold steel nor probing question. This look is a look he will forever remember, because for the first time since he met her, he felt…
- I trust you. I love you.
He felt he was speaking to the real Leilani.
Laying her head on his chest again, he put his hand on her hair and stroked her, this time not as one partner would another, but as he would a child - unconsciously to himself. They stayed like that for a long while as thoughts ran through his mind, scattered and uncollected. One thought seemed to dominate his thought process, however. A question that would stay with him for a long time.
“What am I supposed to feel towards you now Leilani?”
- But it's just an hour's drive away! There's going to be so many wondrous things to see!
Raising her hands clasped together, she looked up to you with the biggest puppy eyes she was capable of. Practically begging you at this point, her dress shuffled as she followed you as you walked through the corridor. You tried to act busy, mirroring what your parents always did whenever you wanted something they didn't agree on. Realizing this left a dirty taste in your mouth, but at least it gave you something to do while she pattered behind you… no, around you - she once again went ahead before you to try negotiating.
- Come on big bro, this is a once-in-a-lifetime chance! Maybe we'll find something to help cure us there!
Looking behind her, you can see Andrea resting against a wall with her arms crossed, giving you a contemptuous look. She turns her head side to side, as her wings move slightly upwards. Bitch.
- No, Yasu. We're not going and that's my final word.
Her crestfallen face breaks your heart. The way her eyes go from looking on your face to looking on the floor is devastating you. You could go with her no problem, you wanted to go with her, in fact, seeing her starstruck by the little Japanese culture fair would give you a big smile and sense of brotherly contentment, but the cunt that ruined your life said no. What is it with her fucking exceptions, anyway!? She lets you go to work no problem, visit local stores too, but any time you want to visit a bigger venue she loses her shit. It's probably related to her whole no-threesomes rule, but how the hell does that work, anyway?
Yasu turns around without saying a word and runs to her room. You sigh to yourself. Andrea, seeing that, gives a wolfish grin and walks to you, while her wings do the tiniest flutter. Bitch must have enjoyed that. You want to flip her off so bad.
- Good work, puppet. No going outside, we're laying low.
- Yeah, yeah. Whatever.
She smirks to you and starts disappearing into the floor. From your position, she's just about where you'd be able to kick her in the face, but it's either a futile, or a costly thing to do.
* * *
You just don't get how they can rerun the same movie for so long and get away with it. It's not a bad movie per se, it's got a star cast, the plot is a pretty fun little bank job romp, but it's got to the point you can't switch the channel to HTB and not see Sea's 11. It's a shame nothing else is currently airing that's worth watching, so you settle for watching Gregory Looney's face grimace towards Judith Robson's horseface. They're about to get into a divorced-marriage argument, when Yasu walks quietly into the room. She moves to the couch and sits beside you, neither of you speaking. The movie runs for a while, as Brant Abyss chews through some fastfood on-screen while explaining the intricacies of an underground vault, when Yasu touches your arm.
- Hey, bro…
- I've been thinking… About the fair… - You sigh internally. This will end in tears, and you're not sure if they won't be yours. - They're going to have priestly attributes and everything that is needed for spiritual work, like candles, incense and… and wands and…
- Don't you have these already?
- N-no, I do, I do! But they will have… - she hesitates, and you already know there's a lie forming somewhere in there. Oh Yasu… - …special kinds that you can't get anywhere else, so… - You'll have to turn her down, there's just no way Andrea will let you go. - …so maybe I could go alone…?
Huh. Well, it's not like she herself is tied down to the house because of Andrea's stupid, stupid rule. You suppose you could let her go, it's only an hour's drive by bus. She's old enough, she's been going to cons by herself. Why not?
- Alright Yasu, you can go by yourself.
You expected some sort of yelp of happiness or, at the very least, an excited jump, but instead, there's silence. You turn your head from the TV to look at Yasu.
Her cheeks are flushed completely, as her face is scrunched into a gigantic pout. Little tears on the sides of her eyes shake with her tremble, eyebrows angrily turned inwards as her brow is furrowed intensely. She's angry and she's barely holding it in.
- Yasu, what's-
- YOU HATE ME, IS THAT IT!?
Wuh-what?? She jumps to you and starts to hit your chest with her tiny fists, not really hurting you, but angrily drumming her disappointment with you, as her scream turns slowly into a barely held cry.
- YOU JUST DON'T WANT TO GO WITH ME! I HATE YOU! I HATE YOU!
She jumps out of the couch and, childishly bawling her eyes out with her arm to her face, she runs to her room again, shutting the door loudly.
Shocked, you don't know how to react for a while. It slowly dawns on you what just happened, and the realization hits you like a ton of bricks. Yasu… Fucking hell, she must have wanted to go there specifically with you, and not only you denied her, but implied you don't want to go there with her. Fuck. That wasn't what you meant at all, goddammit, you just… Fuck. Your heart hurts so bad right now, you want to go to Yasu and apologize to her, explaining the situation, but what the fuck are you going to say to her!? “Hey, I sold my soul to a succubus who makes me stay here”!? You hate yourself so bad, but more than anything, you hate Andrea. You didn't mean to hurt your sister… You really didn't mean to…
You sigh to yourself sadly, turn off the tv and walk to the bedroom. Lying back on the bed, you try to gather your thoughts. Minutes pass, as millions of thoughts run through your head. Finally, you get up to your computer. A few experienced clicks here and there, some browsing and perusing through Japanese paraphernalia, you are reasonably satisfied with your selection when you click on the check-out button. You specifically check for it to be gift-wrapped and with a custom message. Entering payment data, you confirm the order that should arrive in a few days. The decision makes you feel a little bit better, though leaves you with an unpleasant taste in your mouth.
“I'll apologize properly, I swear sis”, you think to yourself.
It was so unlike her to lie in her bed like that, unable to sleep. Most of the time, it was more difficult to actually wake her up than to fall asleep, but recently, something was different and she didn't know what. Since Christmas, whenever she was alone with her thoughts, they were going a mile a minute. And their topic was always the same: her step-brother. She was… shocked when she unwrapped her final present. The red lotus… she knew, from her books and the Internet, it meant love, but not just any kind of love - it was also a symbol of purity, of all the positive qualities of the heart. This, to her, meant that Santa understood her predicament and accepted it, declaring her feelings pure, and once she understood that, tears of happiness followed. What she felt wasn't wrong, what they did wasn't wrong, her sharing her brother's burden in the Demonic Ether was an act of love, a love that was pure and judged good by a saint.
So then, why did she feel so… so strangely uneasy? If her feelings are completely fine… what's the problem?
She turned on her side, holding a pillow close to her chest. The problem…? It was as simple as it was complicated, if that even made sense, for the main difficulty she had… was her brother. When she moved in, she was so furious at him, his aura was so wrong! He needed her help, immediately, or who knows what could happen to his immortal soul! And then the whole rain thing happened… that idiot!! She told him not to look!! But…
A quiet sigh escapes her nose.
But it made her heart jump and she didn't know what was going on. It felt… It felt amazing when he looked at her and actually blushed… and he looked so cute, too…! Back then, she tried to focus herself back on her task, to stop his soul from getting into any grubby demonic mitts and healing him, but it was the strangest thing - none of the remedies worked!! It made her so angry, she fingered through every page of her Codices and books of wisdom to find all the mystical techniques of cleaning a Demonic Ether infestation, but none, none worked!! And as she kept trying and trying, she tried more and more extreme methods, and even then, nothing helped!! It wasn't until… Yes… It wasn't until her Talk with the Spirits that… things started to feel different for her.
Reaching down to her panties, she tugged a little on the fabric, uncovering her… Sacred Gate. Delicately running her finger on its surface, she shuddered a little at the touch.
Yes, it was ever since… the warmth within her started growing. And with time, she realized that she felt something really special, something she only read about before. She always loved her step-brother, yes, they grew up together and he always helped her and cared for her, but this… this was different, and yet… the same? Kind of? She never felt like that about anybody in her life before, and she was scared that it was something bad. She was so happy when Santa put those fears to rest, but… but does her step-brother feel the same?
She turned on her other side in the bed, pulling the pillow with her and tugging at the covers.
She didn't know what to think. All this time she was telling him that it was treatment, that everything she did was to heal him, and it was true, but… but there was this feeling underneath it, the feeling that Santa told her was pure and good… Her sharing her brother's burden and taking the Demonic Ether within herself was an act of love, but… was her brother aware of that?
With a little stunned gasp, she realized that it was this uncertainty that's been eating into her and stopped her from sleeping. Her eyes glistened in the dark as understanding dawned on her and a sense of discovery pushed her heart to beat faster. Yes, yes!! This is exactly it!! She must know if her brother realizes and feels the same, or else she will never be calm again!! But…
…but how should she do it? She can't just straight-up ask him, no way, that's… she'd be so embarrassed!! She could… maybe she could make him watch deep far-eastern documentaries related to the subject and… and hope he gets the idea??? Or… Or! Or maybe she could mix up a love potion and… no, damn, that'd force him and she doesn't want that! Gaah!
She kicked the covers up in frustration and covered her head with the pillow. Staying like that for a moment, surprisingly, let her head cool off a little. Pulling the pillow from her head, she sighed again.
No. She will have to talk to him. It's the only way. But…
She pulled her legs closer to her chest, holding them with her arms.
But she's scared.
A sudden jolt wakes you up. In your dream, you were driving your car, placed on a collision course with a truck. You wanted to swerve, but the wheel stopped working. Neither did the brakes. Waking up like this was never a pleasant experience, especially since your bladder seized the opportunity to remind you of its contents. Half-asleep, you get up from the bed and make your way to the bathroom to do your business. You don't really pay attention to your surroundings coming back, but a sudden chilly air is enough to rouse you from your state. Huh. A window you didn't close or something? This bears investigating, in any case.
You move to the living room and find that, indeed, the patio doors are very slightly opened. That's weird, there's not much point going outside with all the snow - that is, unless Andrea does her thing and your garden presents itself in a sunny summer afternoon with your currently planted crops there, bustling in sped-up growth. She only does that when no girl is around, though. This means…
You walk up closer to the door, feeling the icy chill of the air on your legs. Amid the falling snow… Yes, there is a silhouette outside, standing on the patio! She's wearing all of her winter clothes, so she's probably been standing there for a little while. What's the matter, girl? What pulled you out of your slumber? You do a quick visit to your wardrobe, put on your boots and jacket. Trying to walk over as silently as it's possible, you open the patio door.
The cold air immediately hits your face, tonight it's an acceptable -3°C/27°F with not much wind. The light of the street lamps illuminates the slowly falling snowflakes as they cover everything in a light coating of snow, white, but looking deep-blue so far into the night, almost as if it self-illuminated with a gloomy, almost ethereal light, creating a beautiful scenery, straight out of a fable. The only sound was the very delicate air of frozen wind, moving branches and painting crystalline sheets on windowpanes.
Stepping outside, snow creaks under your boot. The person standing outside turns to you, her face illuminated by a far-away light. The lock of hair cast over her eye is unmistakable. It is Eva.
- Hey. - Her single, quiet word, carries with it a tone of sadness. Is something bothering her?
- Cold enough for you?
She raises the edges of her lips a little. Her emerald eye trembles a little in the cold, as she extends her hand, inviting you to keep her company. You are happy to oblige, though you're worried about her little night venture. She's never done that before. Walking over to her, you look at her reddened nose, so cute in the distant lamp's subtle light, as a little cloud of air leaves her nose and lips. The winter aura gives her a beautiful charm. Standing beside her, she puts her arm under yours and holds your hand - hers is cold, suggesting she's been out here for a while.
You stand like that, looking at the falling snow, for a while. It's a beautiful little moment that you're glad to have woken up to, but questions fill your head, and she seems aware of it. You know, however, that Eva needs a moment for herself to gather her thoughts before she'll speak what is on her mind. You let her be, until:
- Back home, it was like this almost all year. - her quiet, but clearly heard in the calm air voice intones.
- Snowing like this?
- No. - Her smile widens. - There was much more wind and… how you say… ice-rain? No, hail. There was more hail.
- Not weather to stand around, I guess.
A pause in the conversation. You look to Eva's face, which seems… you can't exactly put it down. It's like she's sad, but… more nostalgic than bothered. Your curiosity gets the better of you:
- What's the matter, Eva?
Her smile dies down as she looks onto the snow in your garden. You can see how she tries to put into words the thoughts that seem to be biting at her soul. You instinctively hold on to her hand a little tighter, waiting for her to answer. Finally, after what seemed like a couple of minutes, she speaks:
- I… I'm scared.
This admission pierces your heart immediately, protective instincts back on full guard as your heart pumps stronger a single time.
- Of what?
She looks on to the tree, branches covered in snow. Taller than the streetlight, it has an unnatural halo around its shape. A puff of air leaves her lips as she sighs sadly.
- When we got to know each other… I told you I… suffered from depression, right?
- Yes, I remember.
- I'm worried it's coming back.
Fear enters you as you consider the ramifications of this. Does it mean she's already suffering? Eva… What's happening to you? You're such a happy person nowadays, you bloomed into a confident, smiling person… You helped her break out of her shell, took her under your wing and, with the love you share, showed her how beautiful life can be! Why? Why's she sliding back??
She turns to you, holding your hand still and looking into your eyes. Her expression - yes, now you understand. She's frightened of the future…
- I was… afraid of telling you, because… You're already stressed because of your job and… And…
She looks down on your chest.
- …and I didn't want to burden you…
You launch straight into a hug, holding her close, almost smothering her in your arms. Eva, you dum dum…
- You're not a burden. This is depression speaking. You are not a burden, a problem or anything like that. - Your voice starts getting a little shaky. - You are wanted. You are needed. You are… I…
You pull her away from yourself to look her in the eye. Her face is a mix of surprise and intense emotion, as you move to kiss her lips. The cold quickly moves between you as the kiss warms both of your lips. Eva relaxes in your arms, closing her eyes, and you don't want to let her go. This sudden fear that you might lose her to her own fears… No. You will not let that happen. You're never leaving her without help and support. You'll move mountains to help her. Finally pulling away from the kiss, you hold her close as snowflakes dance around you in the heat of your closeness.
- I love you Eva. We'll beat the Darkness. Together.
Eva looks to you, her eyes sparkling in the light of the distant lamp. Her blush grows stronger and completely covers her cheeks. She closes her lips and, slowly but surely, extends into a beautiful smile of grateful happiness. Reaching into her eye to wipe a tear that's forming, she sniffles a little bit, looking on your chest.
- I should have known you wouldn't…
She pauses and pulls up her eyes to look into yours. With a newfound confidence in her voice, a steel you rarely have the chance to hear from her, she says just one word.
The snow outside was getting pretty harsh. In January it's pretty normal to have snowfall, but getting it up to your knee was kinda pushing it. Cars outside were covered in a pretty big layer of fresh snow, and while the scenery was eerily beautiful, the reality of it was far less pleasant - he'd have to go outside to clear snow off the roof. He sighed to himself, not looking forward to the task. No girl was present at his home at this time, so he announced loudly into the air while putting his boots on:
- Hey, Andrea, got to go outside and clear snow off the roof or it'll crash.
The air around him darkened a little as an angry-looking horned face rose from the floor just enough to speak back:
- Are you serious, puppet? Can't you fuckin'… stay inside and let the sun do its thing? Every time you unexpectedly leave, bad shit happens.
He stomped his now boot-encased foot hard on the floor.
- Well unless you want me to die from snow than your fucking threats and promises, I HAVE to. Deal with it.
It looked kinda comical as Andrea half-closed her eyes and, with a pout, hid again below the floor. He felt satisfied at winning this little battle so quickly, but not just that. This time he actually got a bit angry. Listening to Andrea protest at basic house maintenance was really just a drop in the ocean of anger he's been holding in for Andrea ever since the Leilani incident, but he was too destroyed by it to really react. Now that Valentina's… but can you really call it legit therapy? Whatever she was doing however, it worked, he won't lie. It may have been her experience as a therapist, or… her touch, but he's been getting out of his condition day by day. He only screamed a little when he saw Mary has trimmed her hair in the bathroom and precisely cleaned it up to the last hair, but at least the nightmares stopped.
Putting his jacket on, he grabbed a snow shovel and the widest ladder he had. Going outside, the frozen, sub-zero wind hit him instantly, chilling his skin. The streets were empty, as even the most ardent of children stayed home. Looking to the roof, he saw a sizable layer of snow gathered on the tiles. He'd have to secure the ladder to the ground so he'd not fall off, but seeing as he already successfully passed the biggest danger of being uppity to Andrea, it wasn't that hard. Pulling air into his nose, he carefully positioned the ladder on the grass, using hooks that came with it to secure it. After climbing it carefully, with another sniff, he put his shovel to work.
* * *
Throwing the final patch of snow onto the backyard below, he felt satisfied - it was a good piece of work, and it was a bit of a change from everyday happenings. With a triumphant, almost pioneer-like gesture, he let the snow-shovel rest on his arm as he walked to the front again. Staying a little longer on the edge of the roof, he appreciated the scenery. From up top, the trees looked like covered in cotton candy. The grey sky merged in the distance with the slight fog of the horizon, as buildings emerged from it, some already cleared, some not. Cars in various stages of coverage stood waiting on parking lots and on curbs, their color hidden under the whiteness. Nobody else was out at the moment and he kinda enjoyed the solitude. That was a pretty alien thought to him and he smiled at the bitter-sweetness of it. Wasn't it loneliness that got him here in the first place…? Shaking his head, he decided that enough is enough and moved closer to the ladder. While walking, however, he noticed that on the other side of the street someone was walking. A short silhouette in a blue jacket, a thick wool cap, held its hands to its face, which was looking to the ground. The silhouette seemed to have trouble walking… wait…
His heart beat faster when he realized, immediately pulling him down the ladder to run, but before he was able to cross the street, he felt something strange happen. His right hand, at the apex of a swing, seemed to lose feeling. He immediately stopped and, as the hand fell back to his side, feeling returned to it, along with terrible pain, as if all the blood inside of it suddenly stopped circulating for a short while. Holding it close to himself, he massaged it back to normal sensation. Oh… Oh lord, is this what Andrea meant about leaving the Bubble!?
He looked to Eva, still walking and looking down. She didn't seem to notice him yet, but something about her… posture didn't seem right. She was unnaturally bent, as if she held herself close. From this distance, he couldn't see her face, but she kept her hands almost completely covering her face. Goddammit, what to do…
On an impulse, he ran back to the house and, just opening the door, he yelled inside:
- Andrea! Shift to Eva! NOW!
No visible reaction from the winged bitch, but there was no time to check. Risking it, he ran back to the street, where Eva was still visible. Oh thank God, this means he was in the right universe. Going as far as he was before, he stopped just before what he imagined the edge of the Bubble to be and, waving his hand, he called out to Eva.
- Hey! Hey, Eva!
The silhouette looked up and, removing her hands from her hands, showed a smile. For the first time in his life, he could say he didn't like that smile. Why? It felt fake. It felt forced, acted. No, something's wrong, Eva's acting differently, but sped up her step and…
He froze in the street as Eva instantly went for a whole-body hug, rubbing her face into his jacket. A mixture of many different feelings assaulted him, but above every positive sensation, one dominated: fear.
- Eva… what's the matter? What happened?
- … Sorry for… not calling ahead. I… I needed to see you.
* * *
She sat beside him on the couch, cocoa in her hand, as her eyes looked into the distance. He looked at her with concern, letting her take all the time she needed to… calm down? Prepare herself? What was all this about? She didn't move, the cocoa slowly getting colder in her hand, as she looked an empty sight forward. She seemed… lifeless. It hurt him to see her like this. He wanted to do everything he could to help her, but he understood enough from his… lessons with Valentina that opening yourself isn't as simple. It took a while before he was able to start talking about his experience. But…. but this is different. She's not scared, she's not hyperventilating, she doesn't feel threatened, she just… sits there. Immobile. Empty.
- Thanks for… the cocoa. - her little lips opened themself just enough to speak a little. He took that as an invitation to begin.
- Eva… what's happening? Are you alright? Can I help in any way.
She turned to him, looked him in the eye for a short moment, then her look dropped to the ground and turned back to her cocoa mug. She observed the swirly pattern of lighter and darker swirls dancing in her mug. Finally, she spoke:
- I… need someone to talk to. To… to listen. Please.
He was still worried something happened and he wanted to learn something more concrete about what may have happened, but he knew better than to push. If she needs to speak, by God he will listen.
- I'm here for you Eva. I want to listen to everything you want to say.
Another little silence as she was gathering her strength to speak. With a sip from the mug, she begins:
- Imagine a… a deserted, misty land. Mist is the only thing you really see. You stumble around looking for anything. You find remains of buildings all around you, signs of civilization and life that seems to have been here. You call out for help, but no one replies. You wander around looking for someone… anyone. You spend an entire day looking for a soul and, after that, you notice nightfall coming. So you look for… how you say… safe-place?… Shelter. You look for shelter and find it in one of the buildings. You try sleeping, but you can't for an hour or two, until tiredness takes you over. You wake up on a cold floor and, once again, you go looking, this time gathering things you find for your shelter. You find a lot of useful stuff which you even like toying around with.
She smiles bitterly to the mug's contents.
- So you start spending more time in this shelter than looking for anyone. Months passm and as they do, the mist slowly lifts. Looking outside of it, you can see the remains of what once must have been a beautiful city. You survive on what you find and… gave up trying to look for anyone. And as you were just about to pick up some stuff… You see someone.
Turning around to him, but still empty looking downwards, her legs shuffle in place a little. He listens to the story patiently, but a terrible feeling in his gut is rising.
- So you run to him. And he's friendly. He takes your hand and leads you somewhere. Somewhere new. Somewhere you haven't been before. Somewhere… Somewhere unknown. And you let him lead you, because he's the first person you've seen in a long time and don't want to lose this… human contact.
His gut feeling turned into full-on sinking. No. No, Eva. No.
- But… But something happens. The further you go, the more misty things get again. After a few months of following him, the only thing you can see is his silhouette, and the only thing you can feel is his hand holding yours.
His heart is being pierced with needles and he feels his emotions slowly taking over. Eva… Please, please, no, don't do this to yourself…
- And… today… I tripped. - she looks to him with her eyes, now with the lightest sheen of incoming tears. - I… I tripped and lost sight and touch of him, and…
She lets go of the mug, which falls onto the carpet, splashing what was left of the cocoa, and holds her hands to her face. First tears start to leave her beautiful emerald eyes, as the wave of hair over her face lurches forward with her pained motion.
- And I was so scared…
He can't stand it anymore and moves forward to hug her tight to his chest, tears in his eyes, as he tries to hold back the waves of feelings crashing onto his vulnerable head. He hugs her tightly, as if he just found her after months… no, years of looking.
- Eva… Eva… I will never leave you, you will never again be alone, you will never again have to fear, this… We will beat this depression together, I will help you. Please… Please, don't be scared…
He fell silent as the little body he held relaxed into him. He didn't want to let go, never ever again. Like a knight holding a shield over a lady from the mob's rocks and tomatoes, he held her close to his heart to protect it against the Darkness that made its return. He knew it is temporary, he knew she will feel better with time, but after everything Eva ever told him about depression, he knew it would return. With the little woman he held close in his arms, feeling her heartbeat on his chest, he knew, however, one thing.
When it returns - he will be ready and he will not leave her.
- There is one thing I can't seem to understand… - she admitted, tapping on her notepad with the pencil. For the last 45 minutes, she scribbled it with all sorts of notes about her patient. Many questionmarks, some underlined statements. - You say it's like you lived your life in a cage, but I am not seeing the bars. You have freedom to change your job, freedom to dress how you like and decorate your house as you wish. You can meet who you want and leave whenever you want, so… how is that like a cage?
The young man winced, clearly uncomfortable. She has seen him do that many times whenever the topic of his seeming isolation at home came up. A few theories about that, but nothing really stuck together apart from one that made no sense.
- It's… Hard to explain, mrs. Valentina…
- Please, caro ragazzo - She smiled a little, looking at him lying down on the couch from above her glasses. - Miss.
- Miss… - he seems to turn the word a bit in his head, finally accepting it. - As I was saying, the matter is complicated, because I'm more… trapped by the situation than anything… - he gulps. She makes a note of that, it's clearly a topic giving him much discomfort. An avenue of research in the future, maybe when the boy opens up more. - …physical.
- I see. Perhaps, then, you would like to focus again on what you remember? - she switches her legs in a smooth motion. Her business skirt rises just enough for her transluscent lace panties to get just enough sunlight to subtly imply what is beyond. From his position, it was probably more of a show than she was willing to admit, but she didn't mind. The boy was… so precious in his inexperience… She just… couldn't resist. A blush seems to be filling his cheeks slowly. So he did look… My my…
- Y-yes… - he shakes his head a little bit and gets more comfortable. His brown hair settles back to an unkempt little bush on his head. She found that… alluring, in the strangest sense. Every bit of this boy oozed youth and inexperience… and it was like a magnet for her. She needed to remind herself that she's here on business, not for pleasure… at least not yet.
The boy recounts his horrible experience. He mentions how a person he was wary of, but trusted, abused her privilege in the most terrible extreme. How she hit him on the head with a club or baton or something like that… forced him to keep erect with a rubber band and had him suffer a terrifying ordeal for the next couple of hours as she rode him like a crazed animal. His descriptions of how terrified he was and how he lost reasoning… feeling - after all her years as a specialist in PTSD, she didn't hear of many cases as bad as his. She knew he wasn't lying, you couldn't make up things like these, not to mention his telltale bags under his eyes. It's a sore spot for her as a professional, too - men rarely get the help they need if they are victims of violence from women. Even so, she struggles to stay impartial. She needs to be in order to help him, she knows that, but she finds herself… maybe too invested in his particular case. She wonders why, but can't really put a finger on it.
- Thank you for having the courage to face that again. I want to ask you a few questions about that. - she turns her notepad to a new page, pencil ready for writing, as she adjusts her glasses with her left hand. - Questions that may help with deciding what you could do, going forward, since moving away is out of the question.
- Sure, miss Valentina.
She gives the most demure little smile. Oh my… So he remembered…
- Tell me about this Leilani person. Who was she to you? Were you close?
- …Well… - another gulp. He must still be scared of her. Poor soul. - Her car broke down once in front of my house. She came in asking for help, and… - he is visibly uncomfortable again. She notes that down. So many uncomfortable subjects for this boy, as if he was… ashamed of having contact with women? Very interesting… and very… propitious… - …and she told me straight from the door she loved me.
- Pardon, caro ragazzo? - She thought she misheard.
- She told me she loved me, more than anything, and… invited herself in.
Oh dear. This poor, poor boy fell victim to a psychopath. Delusional borderline personality disorder, from the sound of it. A very dangerous combination. But he must have noticed something was wrong, yes? What happened?
- I… um… I… - he seems to be getting incredibly uncomfortable again. His thought processes are almost visible to her, all that's missing is a little hourglass icon over the boy. So much work ahead of us… Tsk. But whoever the person who called her was, it seems it wasn't someone from the boy's family. That, at least, made her a little happier - at least he has a guardian angel to take care of him.
- It's alright. If you don't feel comfortable answering, we can skip this question. - She told him with an encouraging smile.
- W-well… I… C-couldn't just leave someone who needed help… And… Well… S-she started coming over…
She can imagine how this looked. If her guess was correct, she was most definitely demanding attention, to do everything together, all the time, to the point of staying at home together… “forever”. Untreated borderline personality disorder, especially the delusional kind, is horrifying to consider.
- But you started trusting her? - she looks at his unkempt brown hair again from under her glasses.
- I mean… She was overbearing and there wasn't saying no to her, but… She… She wanted intimacy… And… Well… I'm… Um… - the boy's blush could easily be used as a substitute for flint and tinder. Her… avidità made itself known, with a sudden flush to her skin, an uncomfortableness to her sit. My oh my, my dearest boy… You have no idea what you're doing… “We may have found someone worth our attention, mia cara Valentina…”, she thought to herself. But, patience… Patience first…
- It's alright. There is no need to be ashamed… - against herself, she feels her voice entering her seductive registers. - You're still young and there's still so much to discover… - Steady Valentina, steady… Don't get ahead of yourself… - I just wish your first time wasn't as traumatic… I'm sure someone else could have given you an unforgettable experience…
Aaand she blew it. Even a Cherubim would get what she was getting at. Her avidità won another battle. Dio mio, this better not end up like that dating site cazzo!
The boy burns with a red-hot blush as he looks at her for a little while, however his expression is very difficult to read - something between deer-in-headlights inevitability and… delicate hopefulness. It was uncanny. Did she… Did she succeed? Did she hook this young boy? A sense of giddiness comes over her for a short while before she stops herself - “No. Finish the job first. Flirting later”, she admonishes herself.
- …Miss Valentina…?
- Yes, caro ragazzo?
- …I… - his eyes look around a bit, as if searching for help. His internal fright was as clear as if it was presented to her on a plate. Oh please, please, dear boy, say it… Say it and I'll heal you with everything I have, I will teach you everything I know, I will remake you into a man, just please, please… Say it…
- …I wish it wasn't, either…
Fireworks in her head. Explosions. Alarm sirens, confetti, Italian flags waving, crowds cheering, everything in the space of her mind. But she can't, she can't show how much she wants it, she has to maintain professionalism, they have to work it slow, they have to be… patient…
She smiles delicately, putting down her notepad on the coffee table, where a cup of coffee was standing on a saucer, forgotten. She reaches to it now, taking a little sip of the cold liquid. Standing it back down, she gets up from the armchair, adjusting her professional dress and professional hair, takes the notepad into her left hand and, lowering herself above the boy who looks at her with an unhidable blush, says:
- That will be all for today… mio caro ragazzo…
- You mentioned your ex-girlfriend. I think her name was Raquel?
His brow furrowed tightly as he grimaced. She looked him in the eyes with focus, awaiting his explanation. He shifted a little on the couch, strained with discomfort.
- Yes, Raquel. We met in… h-high-school… and we've been ghh… going out for halffff… a year.
- Mmm, I see. What was your relationship like?
He huffed, eyes misted a little. She noted his legs were twitching and jumping, he appeared very uncomfortable. Touching a nerve?
- Shhh… She was… using me for… for money…
Tsk. What is it with youth today? Using relationships and sex-appeal for materialistic gains. Sex, while it can be its own reward, is an emotional thing. It's about trust, it's about having your emotional needs fulfilled. A big dick and muscly body may sound fun, but with age you look differently at these matters. She considered endurance much more important than just the tool itself.
- When did you break up?
- She ruined my couch… Hnnghhh… w-with fingernail polish…
Seeing him so tense, so strained… He puts up with so much in his life. Not just the PTSD which, hopefully, her therapy helps pull back, but the rest of his short life wasn't roses and rainbows. It's a wonder he didn't explode sooner.
- How did you feel afterwards?
- Scared… but rrrrrr…relieved.
She admired the boy for struggling so hard against such odds. It's always such a pleasure to witness someone of such strong character and perseverance. In many ways, she wishes she'd have known him earlier.
- It is good that you understood you had to stand up for-
He pushes his crotch upwards, his penis trying to free itself from her hands, but she's got it in a tight grip. Quickly holding its base and releasing her other hand from its head, both slick from the shotglass-worth of precum he has produced so far, she holds on to his manhood, feeling it pulsing underneath her grip, trying to delay the explosion roiling in his scrotum. The boy, sweating intensely, slowly relaxes back onto the couch, little tears formed in his eyes from the struggle, but another success - his orgasm was so close, and yet… He didn't buck, he didn't pump, he didn't break. Such a delightful boy…
- Mmm… mio caro ragazzo, that was just a paulum bit close… You don't want to lose your chance at your grand prize… do you?
He huffs on the couch, chest moving up and down, as if he just finished a very intense training. In a sense… he had, she reminded herself. He's such a dear, though, he's putting up with it like a champion. She's tested a few… candidates before, but not one made it this far. They all resigned themselves to pumping helplessly against her hand or her butt, coating her with their seed. But it just wasn't fine enough for her - she always cut them off after they lost in her tests. She has no need for weaklings. But this boy… This boy is the closest she's had to a winner. Oh yes, young boy… Keep it up, and you just might earn the chance to breed her.
She lets go of his penis, leaving it erect and twitching a little in the air. Raising her hand, she licks off the remains of his pre-cum. Delicious… Getting up from her lying forward on the couch, she steps over to his head, swinging her naked hips seductively. She wears an expression of almost motherly concern as she puts her hand on his forehead, slick from the sweat he produced in the last two hours.
- There there… You did great today… It's time to rest, mio caro ragazzo. All of your hard work will be rewarded… Trust me.
A tired sigh her only answer, she takes her clothes lying on the armchair by the couch and, sitting down on it, begins to dress herself.