A Total-E-Bound Publication
Past Pleasures ISBN #978-0-85715-254-1 ©Copyright Charlotte Stein 2010 Cover Art by Natalie Winters ©Copyright August 2010 Edited by Christine Riley Total-E-Bound Publishing
This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Total-E-Bound Publishing.
Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Total-E-Bound Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.
The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.
Published in 2010 by Total-E-Bound Publishing, Think Tank, Ruston Way, Lincoln, LN6 7FL, United Kingdom.
Warning: This book contains sexually explicit content which is only suitable for mature readers. This story has been rated Total-e-burning.
Desire Through Time
For A and Z. A gal could not ask for finer inspiration.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:
V: Warner Brothers Television Mt. Doom: The Saul Zaentz Company DBA Tolkien Enterprises Skynet: Warner Brothers Lego: Interlego A.G. Corporation
When the machine first wound down, Kate Connor couldn’t quite decide if it had worked. The room she was standing in looked ordinary—neat and uniform, but ordinary. The carpet was a rough beige pile, and a little curving armchair stood to her right, by the door. Warm light spilled from beneath another door directly in front of her, giving the entire room a soft ambience that she found somewhat comforting.
It could have been anywhere. It didn’t have to be 3033. For all Kate knew, the machine hadn’t worked, and instead she’d been teleported to somebody’s plush, little apartment.
But then more details surged into focus, and a different idea of what sort of year this was came with them.
The door to her right, for example. It had the look of something you’d find on a submarine. It seemed reinforced and strangely shaped, rounded where it should have been sharp-edged, sunken and scalloped where it should have been smooth and straight.
There was no discernable handle.
There were no objects in the room, either. It took her a while to notice, but once there they became starkly obvious. No books, no DVDs, no magazines lying around—nothing but a little table, a bed and an armchair, with nothing resting on top of any of them. Everything was pristine and seamless, as though no-one had ever lived in the room she stood in.
Even though she knew someone did live here. She could hear them, in the bathroom.
Of course, it could have been that the room before her was not, in fact, a bathroom. After all, the running water might have signified anything, in this brand new alien context. Perhaps they used the water to pass electric currents through their molecularised bodies here. Maybe it wasn’t water she could hear at all, but stabilising fluid, for their mechanised gears.
For the first time since starting this whole crazy thing, awareness of the complete unknown grabbed hold of her guts. She thought not of the sweet countdown to her first journey through the machine, but of its opposite—how long until Waites zapped her back? How long was left? Ten seconds? Twenty? It had seemed like a scrawny little glimpse, before, and she had pushed for more.
Why in God’s name had she pushed for more?
The bathroom door was starting to open. Any second, and Earth’s bleak and terrible future was going to emerge and grab her with its tentacles. She held her breath without even being aware of it; her hand clenched tight around the timer strapped to her wrist, ready to press and press and send a frantic plea for help across the vast acres of time and space—
He was almost a disappointment, after a build-up like that.
“Hello, brother,” he said—and not even in a Chaucerian accent in reverse, or with a buzzing mechanical note behind his voice, like the lizards in V. She ran her gaze the entire length of him, but no third arm sprang out. There didn’t seem to be a ray gun on him or a tentacle growing out of his bum or anything, not anything at all.
He looked like a normal human man. Apart from the preternatural attractiveness, which Kate was pretty sure didn’t count as terrifying. In normal circumstances, perhaps, but not when in the future, trying to cope with everything aside from handsomeness.
Like the gesture he appeared to be making. Hand up, palm facing her. It seemed impolite not to make the gesture in return, and yet awkwardness flooded her on doing so.
“Hello,” she found herself replying, the steady tone of her voice a flickering surprise. It should quake, if only because of one constantly beating fact—she was speaking to a man from the year 3033. Whether or not he was about to eat her face seemed somewhat irrelevant, in light of that fact.
“Can I help you?”
She heaved in a deep breath and reflected on her luck—clearly, in this time, people didn’t automatically bash intruders. Which would have been absolutely awful, considering his immense size. Hadn’t Waites said that people would be smaller? Hunched, like trolls?
If there was ever an opposite of troll, it had to be the guy in front of her. And although he did seem to be kind of hunching, she felt that was purely due to his giant ceiling crushing head. What on earth such an immense man was doing in so tiny a room, she couldn’t say.
Finally, words magically appeared in her mouth—
“No, that’s all right. I’ve just come to…to look at you.”
Clearly, the request she made to her brain for sane and sensible words had been denied. She thought of all the preparation, all those terms—observational data, habitat
studying, analysing field parameters. Meaningless terms so general that even the future might be able to take them.
And yet come to look at you were the first words her brain managed, to this thousand-yearsbeyond-her creature. Her embarrassment was so thick it could have soundproofed a room, but crazily, he didn’t seem to have noticed.
“You’ve come to look at me?” he said. “Are you from the government? Have I breached protocol?”
There was definitely something worrying about those words—a little flavour of 1984 or other dystopian wonderlands—but he didn’t look afraid or nervous, to her. His perfect face remained smooth and lineless, and his hands remained un-wrung at his sides. It made her wonder if he was capable of making an expression—until he actually did so.
He tilted his head, just ever so slightly, and gave her a little frown. Not an angry one, however—nor a nervous frown. It was delightfully recognizable, on so open and lovely a face:
“Where are you from? Are you from Kelded? You look different. Your clothes are different.”
They had chosen something simple, something common—plain white shirt, plain blue trousers, black boots. But it still appeared very different to what he was wearing—a thin t-shirt sort of garment, and matching trousers. Both items hugged his every plane and contour, and she would have been the first to admit—they did so very nicely indeed.
Her thoughts turned briefly to Waites, and what he had hypothesised—that the people of the future would be weak, and wasted. Muscles atrophied, everything done through headsets or internal links to super computers or such similar nonsense.
The man before her proved Waites so wrong she was sure she could see his muscles laughing at the idea. She weighed him at maybe two-fifty, perhaps a little over six foot three. His shoulders were broad, his biceps sinewy and interesting beneath the thin material of his tshirt. Even his hands looked large and well-used, though in pursuit of what she couldn’t say. Mining for children? Carving “Two legs bad, six legs good” eight thousand times into the side of Mt. Doom?
He didn’t look like he spent his days being oppressed by an Overlord. Then he laughed, and she forgot every hell-future babble Waites had ever indulged in—mainly because the sound almost made her wet herself.
Every other sound—every word and gesture—up to that point had seemed quite normal. But the laugh…it rang in her ears, grating and unearthly. She only managed to label it as a laugh because his face stretched into a smile, as he delivered it.
Then, as though that wasn’t weird enough—
“You’re very small. Can I come closer and touch you?”
She rifled through every possible appropriate answer, in her head. Was it normal, for people to ask a thing like that in 3033? She knew it must be and yet found herself breathing hard again. Maybe in his time, such a question was a prelude to conducting an internal exam, or exerting his large dominance over her, or some other such thing.
How long was there to go, now?
Too long. She hadn’t said yes or no or was your laugh birthed by the aliens living inside you, but he was already stepping closer. Any second, and he would have a hand on her. His dystopian cooties would be on her body, and she’d be trapped here, forever, with—
“I’m afraid to touch you, you’re so small!”
The excitement in his voice had the strangest of effects. Rather than making her excited, too, or more terrified, or weirded out, or any of the things it should have done, it fell on her, soft and soothing. There was something shy about it, and baffled, and she recalled how she had felt when Waites explained what the machine might do. That she would never again know something so wonderful and new.
When he reached out a hand, there didn’t seem to be anything else to do, but let him place it on her shoulder. And when he took her hand in his, she didn’t particularly feel like saying anything at all. Not a protest, not anything.
She only watched him turn her hand about in his two huge ones, as though it was made of gold.
There seemed to be little point, in trying to pull away. He didn’t hurt. He wasn’t rough or forceful. He simply examined each of her fingers in turn, minutely, commenting again on her size.
Though there was certainly something about the whole business—something she couldn’t place, no matter how much she tried to stop examining him back. There just wasn’t
the right frame of reference available to her—what activity included a strange, calm hand examination, as though hands didn’t exist in your time?
And yet, the more he turned her hand in his—with that wondering expression on his face—the more familiar the scenario became. She could feel its familiarity, pressing down on her.
But of course, it didn’t come to her fully until the machine began to whir up, in her background. The pressure of it, the beep of her timer. Perhaps he sensed she was about to leave—she couldn’t be sure. Either way, he chose that moment to meet her gaze, with his big guileless eyes. He chose it, and said:
“You’re a woman.” And she knew then why it had all seemed so familiar. Like a little kid, at the zoo for the first time. As his world faded out, she saw his expression, picture perfect—that of a small boy, upon seeing a creature he had not previously known existed.
She knew, of course, the first questions Waites would ask—how mutated were they, how oppressed were they, how decimated was earth? It was the reason he had the machine linked up to a decontamination chamber—in case she came back radioactive.
It was the reason he sent her, instead of going himself. It was also the reason why she had to fight the urge to answer— I now have Super Herpes, and have just infected your body simply by looking at you. Oh, and by the way—it makes you grow a second head that hates you.
But instead, she tucked the real knowledge deep down low inside herself, and answered with all the most meaningless information— just a room, pristine and neat. Nothing falling apart. Nothing
terrible lurking anywhere. No giant handsome man who played zoo time with me.
Waites, unsurprisingly, looked more than a little deflated to hear the news. It wrote itself clear, on his face that hunger for something as awful as you’re a woman, in that incredulous sort of voice. As though all the women in the world suddenly vanished in the year 2020, and never came back.
It was better, to keep it from him. For one thing, she knew that if she told Waites, he’d start bashing on about rape and Neanderthal men wanting to carry her off, or other such things from schlock sci-fi stories about barbaric futures and men in loincloths. He spent his time believing he was living in something by L. Ron Hubbard, so what could she say?
Except nothing. There simply wasn’t anything to say at all. The future man’s sweet wondering face deserved her silence.
And yet unease dominated her body, when Waites told her to lie still and strapped her in. From somewhere beyond the thick metal casing, she could hear him telling her that her heart rate was high and how she should take deep, slow breaths, but the brand new frame of reference kept right on looming into view. A world without women—how could such a thing happen? Then new thoughts came in, tumbling on top of the old ones—
It didn’t. It’s something I don’t understand. It’s something beyond my ability to comprehend, something so bizarre that blond handsome future man will tell me, and I’ll go insane trying to process it. I’ll—
The world faded back in again—the brave new world, the future world—as the same simple room it had been before. The same strange man-boy, sat on his low little bed. He looked for all the world like a housewife, anxiously awaiting a special guest.
As did the friend sitting with him.
Both of them jumped to their feet upon seeing her, but it was the first one—the blond one—who spoke first, in babbling excited tones.
“I told you! I told you!”
Kate could only barely imagine what, exactly, this friend had been told. The expression on the friend’s face seemed both terrified and awed, as though an extinct animal had just appeared in his living room.
Which, she considered, was likely not that far from the truth. In fact, it was so not far that it stung her in ways she found hard to process. Like needles, jabbing at parts of her body that she wasn’t sure existed.
“Are you really a woman?” the second man asked—just to jab the needles in further, perhaps. His hair was darker than his friend’s—almost midnight-coloured—and slicked to his head in a rigid sort of way. It gave him a precise, finicky air that his friend lacked—and his eyes. Oh his eyes. They seemed blacker than was strictly natural, and they assessed in a way that made her feel naked.
Though that same wide-open curiosity still bristled, all over him. A little more cautious, perhaps, but still there.
“I am,” she said, though her instinct was to tell them she couldn’t answer their questions. That was the protocol, but then—the protocol made no real allowances for something like this. It made allowances for being attacked, or hounded, or approached by the Future Gestapo.
Not for two men who didn’t seem aware that the heavy shadows of their cocks were really showing, through the barely-there material of their uniforms. She would have been embarrassed for them, if they seemed to care even one little bit.
“Look at the hair,” the first one said, but the second kept his excitement reigned in much tighter. His eyes busied themselves all over her, clearly fascinated but not willing to jump up and down.
“I’m looking,” he said. “Where have you come from?”
The tone of his voice was not what she had been expecting. Somehow, she had imagined a slow, patronizing tone, as though he was speaking to a small child. When his words finally came, however, they held the same hint of awe and reverence as his friend’s did.
It made her want to tell the truth.
“From the past,” she said. After all, what did it really matter? In what way would the timeline be polluted, if she told them things? Everything here had already happened. They couldn’t take her information and stop Hitler from marching on Poland. Stamping on a butterfly wouldn’t turn everyone into ape-people.
“Time travel,” the dark haired one said, and nodded, as though saying so made it final. When the other one rolled his eyes in response, Kate had to suppress a giggle. They rolled eyes, just like in her present!
“There’s no such thing. It’s a replica! I told you the government had replicas.”
“I don’t think replicas look the way it does. It looks like a man.”
“It looks nothing like a man. Look how small it is! And it has boobles!” Now it was the second one’s turn to roll his eyes.
“Those are not boobles. Perhaps they’re some sort of…growth. Maybe he’s wearing something under his clothes.”
The first one turned to her, almost agitated but not quite. She wasn’t sure if he ever reached anything like agitated. Even his excitement seemed calm and almost…impassive. And it didn’t change, not even when he caught her laughing.
She wanted to tell him, immediately, that she couldn’t help it. The word boobles practically begged for laughter—and especially if he was applying them to what she was sure he was applying them
to. And he kept on with it!
It was practically criminal not to laugh.
“Are those boobles?”
He pointed at her chest area, while asking. It would almost certainly be hilarious, if it wasn’t also grotesquely sad. Nothing could have been clearer—they had never seen a woman before.
“You mean…uh…boobies. Or breasts. Or tits.” She put a hand to her forehead. “I’m not sure why I’m listing synonyms for my growths—sorry.”
One whapped Two.
“You’ve frightened it! It’s apologizing!”
Again, that odd warmth flooded over and through her. How open and sweet he was! So open and sweet his insides were probably made out of nougat. That was what this future was —nougat people. Even his dark intense friend couldn’t hide his chewy goodness.
“Have I frightened you? Don’t be frightened.”
“I’m not,” she replied, and meant it. She had never been less frightened of two big, attractive men in all her life.
“Good,” One said, then put his palm up for her, again. “I’m Aley.”
It sounded like Alex, to her, after the world had forgotten that it ended with an X.
Aley without the X nudged Two, who offered his name with just the barest hint of reluctance.
She ground her teeth together, to stop herself from telling him that he meant Tim. She had already corrected them once, on the breast thing. Twice and they might stuff her in the Flesheriser 3000.
Though she doubted it. Why, she was starting to think that no such thing even existed.
“Kate,” she offered, and stuck out her hand without thinking.
Two sets of eyes flicked down to the offending gesture. Or at the very least, the gesture they did not in any way understand. Perhaps in the future, she mused, touching hands was how you made babies. Inside men.
“Do you want us to touch your hand?” Tem asked, and Aley leant down, to whisper in his ear.
“I touched i— her yesterday. She doesn’t mind.”
Both remained unsure, however. They only ceased to be unsure when she decided that enough was enough, and reached up to take the hand that Tem still held, palm facing outward.
To his credit, any startled jumps were held tightly in. Before he fell to simply watching, clearly fascinated, as she clasped his hand and shook it up and down.
“That’s how we say hello, in my time. We shake hands.”
When, after a long moment, his gaze met hers again, she felt a shiver of something unexpected work its way down her spine. Like longing, only not. Like the look in his eyes, that she couldn’t place. He had lovely eyes, really—not assessing, at all, but big and dark and…waiting.
Then Aley said can it be my turn, now, and the whole thing passed. She couldn’t even remember what it had been. Something nice, and warm, to remember for later—that’s all.
“And then what do you do?” Aley asked, and she found herself trying not to giggle again. God, the things she could tell them. And then we touch the soles of our feet together and eatthe sacred
She felt like a saint, for resisting.
“We don’t do anything. We say hello and then maybe we sit down, and have a cup of—a drink, of some sort.”
“Can you drink water? We have water,” Aley said, that little frown back between his pale brows.
“Thank fuck for that—I mean, yes. Yes, I can drink water.”
While Aley disappeared into the probably-not-a-bathroom, Tem turned his full attention on her. Mainly in the form of questions—questions that she should have been asking him.
“What else do you drink in this…past?”
“Mainly Vimto. Some Irn-Bru.”
Waites would berate her, for behaviour unbecoming a scientist. Even if she wasn’t, nor ever had considered herself, anything like. She was his guinea pig, nothing more—hired for her excellent reporting skills, that were currently somehow failing her. She wondered, briefly, if Tem was the future’s equivalent of a journalist.
“I don’t believe that you’re a woman—so you know. But if you were a woman, where on your body
would your genitalia be?”
She was fairly certain that needing to laugh every five seconds was not behaviour befitting anyone at all. Still, she applauded herself for resisting the urge to point to her elbow. And his expression softened, somewhat, when she indicated the space between her legs.
“I could show you my boobles, if you like. Just for proof.”
Of course, she had no real intention of doing so. Which made the suddenly startled/eager expression on his face something of a shock. Fortunately Aley chose that moment to return, from the…room.
He carried a tray of ordinary glasses with him—no hover-cart, no floating blobs of water—but once they were all sat down—Aley and Tem on the bed, Kate in the tiny armchair—she found it hard to drink. Perhaps it wasn’t water, at all. Just because it smelt like it, and they were both drinking it, didn’t mean it was.
She was appalled to find that nothing more than their wholesome, expectant faces made her go for it. I should be thankful, she thought, as she downed the entirely metallic tasting liquid. At least
their faces aren’t expecting me to wee Vimto out of my female parts.
“So…” she began, and almost laughed again when she realised how much that sounded like she was just about to make small-talk. “No women in the future, huh?”
“Women became extinct, we believe, around 2450.”
Tem sounded matter-of-fact, to her, but he tensed as he spoke. He seemed more tense than Aley, generally, but was still calm and still enough for it to be obvious, when a slight change in his temperament occurred.
“We don’t know. No-one knows. No-one even knows what they looked like— especially not if they looked like you!”
Aley laughed, through his words—though Tem didn’t seem to think there was anything to laugh about.
“What do you think women looked like?”
Aley shrugged, but Tem had an answer.
“Tiny. With hair like Aley’s.”
“Blond hair, you mean?”
He rolled his shoulders, clearly uncomfortable.
“Yes. And with…bigger eyes. And lips.”
Aley was staring at her, a wondering look on his face. But it didn’t make her uncomfortable. She wasn’t sure she’d ever seen anyone be this fascinated by nothing at all.
“Everything bigger,” he added, while Tem looked into his now empty glass. “Especially the boobles—the breasts. And the butt.”
“You like them big in the future, huh?”
“I suppose we do, if you’re normal.”
It seemed a shame to spoil the illusion, and yet she couldn’t stop thinking about their shocked faces when she had explained where she was from. What she was.
“I’m plenty big, where I come from.”
“So there are women even smaller than you? Gosh!”
“Shush, Aley. We still have no idea if she’s telling the truth or not.”
Of course, Tem said so. But she noticed that he used the word she, not it.
“I think you believe me,” she said, and his gaze flicked back to her, filled with a kind of longing she couldn’t fathom. Longing for a Yorkie bar or a nice holiday just didn’t measure up. Even longing for a kidney wasn’t really in the same ballpark.
No women ever. No women anywhere, not ever.
“I guess it must be pretty hard, huh? To live like this.” She winced at her own trite words, but winced harder when the next ones spilled out. “Unless you’re really, really into other dudes. In which case, you’re golden.”
Nothing like a little bleak dystopian humour, to lighten the mood. She wondered if they had a future comedy club, somewhere about the place. Maybe they’d let her do stand-PAST PLEASURES Charlotte Stein 16
up twice a week, about all the heterosexual sex they could never have.
They glanced at each other, then back at her.
“What’s a dude?” Aley asked.
For the first time since getting here, she glanced at the timer. This was going to be interesting.
“You know. When two men…like each other.”
“We like each other.”
“We’re companions,” Tem added.
She took a sip of the water that was no longer there.
“Uh, yeah. But I’m guessing you’re more than that, right?” She paused, ruffled. The room appeared to be getting small, and it was already pretty damned tiny to begin with. “How did we get talking about this again?”
“You said that it must be pretty hard to live like this, and then you said—”
“Okay, okay! I just…I don’t know. You’re both very attractive. And you’re sitting really close. And there aren’t any women. So I’m guessing you have fun together.” This was worse than the time she accidentally started talking to her Gran about vibrators. Why not food shortages, living conditions, who was President? Instead there was this—“And by fun I don’t mean Future Ball. I mean, you know. Sex.”
She had never felt more like a 1950s housewife who’s just walked into a gay bar in all her life. It wasn’t just her cheeks that were flushing—her entire body was following suit.
“What’s sex?” Aley said.
It was lucky, really, that the timer chose that moment to go off and the world started to fade out. After all, it would have been hard to answer him while frozen to the spot.
He knew that the possible-woman was starting to affect him. He knew, because Aley commented on the fact that he hadn’t shaved, and he’d had to not go to the renewal centre, and at the end of the day, when he laid next to Aley in their bed, he couldn’t do anything but stare up at the ceiling and remember what she had looked like.
Aley was right to be excited. There was simply no way that she wasn’t a woman. It wasn’t just possibly. She had woman all over her, like a particular smell or something slightly wrong with bits of her that he couldn’t quite name.
Of course, there were the boobles—which were obvious, and probably even more obvious underneath her clothes. That she’d offered to take off. While everything inside him froze and jumped around at the same time. And she had the long hair, but then, so did a lot of men.
No. It was something intangible about her that convinced him. And though he said to Aley that he still wasn’t sure he really believed, he only did so to make Aley go to sleep and stop babbling about her. So that he could think, about her glow-y skin and the thing that shone out of her. The thing that said she was really a woman.
Though Lord knew, he tried to poke holes in her story. Maybe Gery had set the whole thing up, to get them back for over-processing his favourite jumpsuit. Neither he nor Aley had intended it— sometimes these things just happened!—but the truth remained that they’d made his jumpsuit
smell like reconstituted turnips, and no-one ever wanted that. Especially since turnips were really just reconstituted potatoes, now, and potatoes smelt even worse than turnips.
He couldn’t remember what potatoes were now made out of. Probably something awful. Oh by the saints, what if she came back and all he had to give her were not-potatoes and jumpsuits made out of turnips?
He fidgeted under the covers made out of soil, and Aley said something mad in his sleep. Something like— let me eat your boobles. Which was even worse than how disappointed she’d be, to discover that the future was not luxurious or even comfortable, and mostly what they had to eat was stuff made out of other stuff that wasn’t the stuff you thought it was in the first place.
Of course, he understood that Aley wouldn’t really want to eat her boobles, but that was beside the point. The fact remained that she wouldn’t understand that, and so if Aley lurched towards her suddenly with his mouth open, there would be only one conclusion she could come to.
They were cannibals. The future was filled with insane cannibals. He wouldn’t get the chance to tell her that all the insane cannibals had been shipped to the moon back in the year 2456. Why should she listen, when her beautiful boobles were on the line?
The ones that he kind of wanted to put into his mouth, too—though not in a cannibal sort of way. Oh no no no. No cannibalism! Just…maybe…in a testing them out sort of way. Did they taste nice, like Aley’s skin sometimes did, after a powder shower? Were they soft, too, and sumptuous—they had looked soft and sumptuous. All of her had looked soft sumptuous.
Especially in the mouth area.
He wondered if, in the past, kissing had gone on the way it did here. It had looked like that maybe wasn’t the case, because she’d wanted to do that hand touching thing first instead of mouth kissing or cheek kissing, but how could he be sure?
The ceiling was simply no help in this matter.
Fortunately, the ceiling at least gave him the idea of giving her a cracker. He felt pretty sure she’d like that, even though he also felt pretty sure that crackers existed in the past. And they probably had things on them, too, like vegetables that didn’t exist anymore and…what was that other thing they’d eaten a lot of, back then?
The stuff that came out of animals. Animals that no longer existed. Of course there were the spliced animals and the creatures made out of genetically manipulated human limbs, and things like that, but he doubted they’d be anything like the things she was used to.
The simple truth of it was—the future had nothing to offer her. Particularly in the area of men, and how much they could or could not meet her needs. Of course, he was under no illusion that he could get her to stay for any length of time—including the length of time labeled hopefully forever right in the back of his mind, in a place he didn’t visit often—but he at least hoped for an hour or two. Maybe a day.
And why would she want to stay for a day if he didn’t live up to her expectations?
He suspected that Aley, at least, might conform to a standard that she may or may not hold. But would his long, long body and his nice blond hair and all of the rest of the things about him make her happy? For the life in him he couldn’t recall if the men of the past were mainly big, or small, or smooth, or…not smooth. Because he was definitely not smooth—in fact, he was hairy all over in a way that wasn’t even that typical for the here and now, and definitely not something that men aspired to and desired—and if she hated that, then…
Then what? She wouldn’t like him and let him kiss her cheek or see her undoubtedly fascinating and splendid naked body? He rolled his eyes at himself. As though she’d want to spend her highly scientific and important mission, doing things like touching and satisfying his probably morbid futuristic curiosity.
He’d heard that the past had been full of feelings and people doing things that were really outrageous and extreme all the time, so to her he most likely looked like an aloof weirdo who wanted to probe her with things.
Next time. Next time she came—oh, if she did, if she did—he would be enthusiastic and animated. And shake her hand. And give her a cracker.
Everything would definitely work out for the best, then.
Kate stared up at the ceiling, instead of sleeping. Sleep didn’t want to come anywhere near her. She had future cooties, and everyone knew they were catching. Future cooties made her think about weird future men and their intense dark eyes, constantly.
Future men made her tell lies to the person who allowed her to visit said future. They made her write down lists of things she needed to find out, when really all she wanted to do was answer their questions. Fill them up with her answers.
She wanted to fill Tem up with her answers.
She had no idea how a society had gotten into the strange state of affairs theirs was in. Everything ordered and clean and peaceful, no women, no sex. However, she had an idea they wouldn’t be able to tell her, even if she asked.
But she could certainly tell them. She could show them.
And she would, as soon as she managed to persuade Waites to let her go for longer. There was nothing to be afraid of, after all. What were they going to do? Ask her more difficult questions? It was her duty to answer them. Hugely hot men simply could not go on living like this.
Even if it meant suggesting her Grandmother order from a sex toy shop.
Unfortunately, when she got to the lab—coffee down her front courtesy of some guy who just couldn’t wait, sleep deprived and too full of itching to get there—she could see Waites was not in the mood for suggestions. He didn’t look in the mood for anything, apart from screaming at his laptop.
Soon, he would deliver his presentation to the board. After she had verified the machine’s safety, of course, and he had tested it himself. Once those things were done, he could let the world know what he, Professor Charles Waites, had done.
And naturally, the plaudits and world fame and all the rest of it would then come to him. They would come, as long as he could word his presentation right, and get the graphs and charts and algorithms in order. And if she would just give him useful observational data.
Like the observational date she had given him yesterday, about the mole-people.
“Everything okay, Waites?”
“Just…shut up. And get ready.”
Today, she thought, I will tell him that robots have taken over the earth.
Why he had ever trusted her with such a task, she couldn’t say. Though the word expendable often flashed up behind her eyes, when such questions occurred. After all, the mole-people had almost forced her to eat nuclear soil, the last time she travelled in his wondrous contraption.
“You know, I could help you with that. It’s what I do—write interesting stuff, I mean.”
It wasn’t exactly true—she spent most of her time writing letters to various disgruntled employers for the company’s head, instead of the press releases and articles she had been hired to write. But what did it matter? He wasn’t listening, anyway. Most people in the company found the time to never listen to her.
Not that she could complain, when working for Visiotech had scored her a jaunt in an actual time machine. Who would have thought such a thing, when ticking “yes, I do want to fall short of my life’s expectations” on a job application form?
Tem and Aley were nowhere near falling short of anything. They were something, they weren’t like the men of now, they were—
She slipped out of her coffee stained, bus smelling clothes in full view of not-looking Waites, and pulled on the blue trousers, the white shirt.
She was lacing her boots, when Waites finally looked up.
“Aren’t you in the machine, yet? Jesus.”
It was very stressful, being him. Multi-million pound contracts to meet, expectations hovering over him, this dungeon-lab crushing down on him constantly. And there was that whole “I can create a machine that converts water into oil” disaster that he still had to live down.
Plus there was all these women running about his world, and he only had so many hours in the day to berate and belittle them.
“I thought I could go for a little longer, this time.”
She stood and went to the machine, as she spoke. He was always more amenable, if you did as he asked while requesting something. And especially if you didn’t meet his gaze, at the same time.
“Really? You did? Which of us is the inventor of this machine, again?”
Not me. I would have called it The Asscracker, if I had invented it. Instead of something as dullas “the machine”. It’s not even specific! It could make toast , for all anyone knows.
“I know. I just thought—”
“Well don’t. Or I’ll get someone else to do these experiments. Got it?”
It was awful, really, how much panic gripped her at those words. They were just weird future men. Everything was awful, there—no women!
So why this tremendous pull to go back there? The questions, the questions she thought. Then saw Tem’s eyes, behind her closed ones.
“Got it,” she said.
He busied himself, priming the metal scoop that made up the majority of the machine. It looked sort of like a giant rounded shoe, to her, and all she had to do was lay down inside it. Once it was powered, it swung up and put her on the vertical. Which was good, really, considering how she didn’t particularly want to arrive in the future flat on her back.
Not that lying on your back in the future should make any woman uncomfortable. Likely as not, they would just gasp and run away, or poke her with sticks, or debate for an hour about what the things on the front of her chest were. Instead of staring down at her as though she was either a) annoying or b) ready for sex.
She looked up at Waites, and was more than a little alarmed to find a combination of both a) and b) all over his face.
“You look real happy about something,” he said, as he laced the straps around her wrists. She was fairly certain he had no real sexual interest in her—most men didn’t, mainly due to her invisibility. But she still had to picture Tem or Aley above her, just to wash away the nasty taste in her mouth.
And it wasn’t that he was unattractive. Not at all. He had the same dark hair and dark eyes that Tem did, and when he smiled—which he did so infrequently—a slight dimple appeared in his left cheek. It was endearing.
A shame, that in all other ways he was not.
“I’m sending you for two hours, this time. But that was my idea, not yours. It’s logical to extend your stay each time, to ascertain longer term effects.”
He moved down, tightening the straps around her ankles. As always, she thought
about what they must look like, when she vanished. Did they remain in the same positions, as though clinging to an imaginary body? Did they sag, waiting for her to return?
“Are you going to bring me some worthwhile information, this time?”
She stared up at him from the innards of the cold metal machine. He really did have a look of Tem. Such a shame, really, that he mostly made her want to punch him in the mouth. A shame that most men in her time made her want to punch them in the mouth.
“I swear, I’ll find out all I can about the mole-people of Blargon 6.”
Somehow, talking crap was much more satisfying than any sort of violence.
“Remember,” he said, as grave as Tem, suddenly. “You need to find if they use sonar. Got that? Sonar.”
For obvious reasons.
Every time the future wavered back into view, she was sure there’d be more of a welcome committee. The President of the Department for Illegal Touching, perhaps. A news crew, waiting to film her boobles live and close-up.
But only Tem greeted her, with an expression that singularly refused to be anything but delighted and eager. He immediately clasped her fist in both of his, and shook it up and down. He urged her to sit in the chair. He brought her a drink on a tray—this time with what looked like a cracker beside it.
She couldn’t help noticing that he hadn’t shaved. It wasn’t normal, on him. Like she’d arrived to find him wearing a little pointy party hat. Plus there was all the busying about, and the hand-combing of his hair.
“Are you all right, Tem?”
He stopped, at that. Froze, in fact. Of course she couldn’t read his expression—it was from the future. But best guess: he was feeling somewhat harassed.
“Do I not seem all right?”
“No. You seem like you’re going to have a heart attack.”
He appeared to gather himself a little, at that. His expression closed down a little, tightened itself up. He let his hands drop to his sides.
“Are you really a woman?”
“Aley wants to tell others—I—” He closed his eyes, briefly. “But I don’t.”
A little tickle of fear spread down her spine.
“Why? What will others do to me?”
A crease appeared between his brows. They were quite thick, really, and glossy looking—as was the hair on his head. In truth, he seemed like the type of man to be very hairy, which made the harassed bristle on his face seem less incongruous.
But not by much.
“They will take you to the Ministry, most likely. You’ll be in newscasts. One hundred years ago a man was born who looked very much like a woman—or at least, that’s what they said. And they made him Supreme Ruler of the Earth. So—and this is just a guess—they’d probably make you President, at the very least.”
Her mind immediately flicked to Waites’ schlock sci-fi, while her body remained on rigid auto-pilot.
“I can’t tell if you’re joking or not. Sarcasm doesn’t seem to exist, here.”
“You’re probably right. I’ve never heard of it.”
He sat down on the edge of the bed, as before—though this time, with a touch more despair.
“I think you should just stay in here, with me—with us. For now. Though I imagine you must have a mission, of some type. Does staying here contravene your mission?”
Had Waites even given her mission? Apart from “find out if they use sonar”? He had wanted her to explore, and uncover, and find things out. And it was true that she was curious about what lay beyond the door. And yet—
“Hey—don’t worry. Maybe it’s best if you don’t tell anyone else, you know? Maybe it’s best I stay here, with you. I don’t think I’d make a great Supreme Ruler. I’m the type of person who wants to laugh when you talk about Supreme Rulers. I told my boss that you were mole-people. I can’t be trusted.”
His dark gaze locked on hers, flashing fire.
“I want to be able to trust you. I want to believe this is what you really are.”
She swallowed down the lump that suddenly appeared in her throat—most likely it
was just disgust at herself, anyway. Maybe it’s best I stay here with you— Lord.
“I swear to you, Tem, I’m a woman.” And oh no. Was she putting a hand over his? Oh that couldn’t be good. “I’m a woman from the past.”
He looked down at the hand over his, then even worse—put his right one over the whole lot.
“I couldn’t sleep, last night. I couldn’t go to the renewal centre. Aley is there, for me.”
“What do you do at a renewal centre?”
It seemed to pull him back together, a little, to focus on something mundane.
“We turn urine into sustenance.”
Though obviously, not so mundane to her. She glanced at the cracker-thing.
“Is… that urine?”
“It’s made out of human skin cells.”
She squeezed his hand, nodded.
“Wow. Well. What advances you’ve made.”
It was okay, though. He didn’t understand sarcasm. Never again would she make a terrible blunder, because of her sharp tongue.
“Everything in this room is made out of something else. I suppose it isn’t like that, in your time.”
“Not even a little bit.”
Something like a smile touched his lips, small and soft. She could feel his thumb, stroking over her knuckle.
“Everything was plentiful, wasn’t it?”
“It was,” she said, then felt a little lick of something disturbing, on realising the word she had used. Was. As though the time before was her past, too.
“Of course, we have everything we need, here, now. It isn’t as things were after the great wars and the flame. But there are so few grapes. I wish sometimes for more grapes.”
She felt it wise to keep from him the fruit bowl she threw away, the week before last.
“And there were tall buildings, in your time, weren’t there? I’ve seen the ruins.”
Maybe giant robots had destroyed earth.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so amused and horrified, all at the same time.”
“It isn’t so horrific, here, is it?”
He glanced about the room, as though expecting horror to leap out at him.
“Hey—no. No. It’s just…ruins. And no women. And no sex! I mean—don’t you even have sex with each other?” She pulled her hand from his and stood. This sort of talk required standing. “And I know I maybe shouldn’t get into this. I don’t know why the sex thing is sticking in my head over the urine crackers or the ruins. But come on. Sex is so…fundamental. Especially to men!”
On seeing his face, she kind of wished she hadn’t stood. It gave the whole thing far too much impact. He stammered, through his next words.
“Maybe if you explain sex to me, I can tell you why or how it doesn’t exist anymore.”
He held her gaze. She couldn’t hold his, back. Explain sex— Jesus.
“Well, you know. It’s when…it’s how people used to make children.”
“Yes—inside a woman.”
He seemed elated, to have fumbled on the right answer. But the elation soon poured off his face, when she next spoke.
“Yes, exactly! And the man used to…put the child in there.”
“I know what you said. But if that’s the case, then how or why would a man have sex with another man?”
There were circles. Circles spinning inside her head.
“You are lying, aren’t you? You’re making this up.”
He stood, and now it was her turn to feel small and confused.
“No—Tem. No, look—it’s not always about putting a child in someone—fuck, this is much harder to explain than it should be.”
“I understand. You’re a liar.”
His already dark face went even further into the black.
“I’m not—listen! Just shut up and listen! Sit down.”
It seemed miraculous that he obeyed her. Though it occurred to her that he just wanted to believe, no matter how much evidence to the contrary.
“Men have sex with other men because they…like each other. And it feels good. Sex feels good. Mostly we just do it because we want to feel pleasure, not to get children. You know, pleasure? It must feel nice when you’re in the shower, washing yourself, maybe you stroke your penis one too many times…”
It was his mouth that told her it had clicked. His lips parted. The light went back on, behind his eyes—the good light, not the darkly flashing I’m-hurt-and-angry light.
“Is sex like…pleasuring?”
She felt like punching the air.
“Yes! Exactly! That’s sex in a nutshell. Unless the guy you’re with’s an asshole.”
“What’s a nutshell? And an asshole?”
“A kind of grape and a selfish person.”
“You do pleasuring inside a grape?”
Sometime in her own future, she would look back and know with a deathly certainty, that this was when she first began to fall in love with Tem. Or at least, she knew it until something else came
along, that made him seem even more loveable than the last thing he’d done.
Like asking questions such as—
“So the man actually puts his…what do you call it?”
Tem chuckled. She wondered if he was thinking about chickens, but didn’t ask.
“He puts the cock inside a woman?”
“Yeah. And then, you know. Moves around until…uh…release.”
They were sat at the side of the bed, now. More relaxed, less about proving things. She had even eaten her urine-skin-cracker—it had tasted of digestive biscuits, but around a hundred times more filling. She hadn’t understood why Tem’s eyes got big when she wolfed it down in two bites, until the thing made her feel as though she’d eaten three meals all at once.
A day’s worth of food, he’d informed her. Though thankfully, they weren’t rationed. Neither Tem nor Aley were going to starve to death because she’d accidentally scarfed their meagre portion.
“Don’t you ever…put your penis in some guy, and move it around? It really seems PAST PLEASURES Charlotte Stein 28
like all of you should be reveling in a ton of man-love.”
“We do love each other. I love Aley. But I rarely do sex on him.”
“Have sex with him.”
“Apologies. I rarely have sex with him. Sometimes we rub each other, or use our mouths. Do you use your mouths in your time?”
She would definitely answer him. She would, if her tongue hadn’t suddenly cleaved itself to the roof of her mouth.
“Am I asking a sensitive question? Some in this time don’t wish to talk about pleasuring activities, either.”
“No, no. It’s fine. You were saying how you and Aley fondle and lick and suck each other…?”
A look of confusion crossed his features, but thankfully, it didn’t stop him from further talk of the delicious man-love.
“We do. But largely we use the Device.”
Ah, the Device. Of course, the Device!
Again, that chuckle. It would have been irritating, if it didn’t warm her so thoroughly. It lit his face, from the mouth upwards.
“I suppose there are things that you won’t understand or know about us. It’s a sort of…a telecast, that plays in your head. A little like dreaming, but you’re awake.”
“Holy crap—like virtual reality? You have virtual reality?”
She suspected that wasn’t the case, but excitement was gripping too hard not to blurt something out. Besides, “dreaming while awake” sounded pretty close.
“I’m not sure. Images are delivered into your mind, and electrical impulses are sent to the parts of your brain that control the nervous system.”
“That sounds incredibly awesome, and yet also really painful.”
“No—no it’s not painful at all. It provides you with a relea—with pleasure. It’s completely satisfactory—most prefer it to touching or…having sex.”
“You prefer using a device, to touching?”
He shrugged. Just a shrug. But it was the first time she suspected him of not being wholly truthful.
“You prefer it to putting your arms around a real person, and stroking their bodies, and kissing their mouths?”
Colour crept up his cheeks. It was obvious, even in the low light of his little apartment. When he swallowed, and looked away, she thought of every man she had ever dated, and how completely unlike Tem they had all been.
“I’m not sure…” he said, and such an impulse went through her—she couldn’t check it. It went too deep. It held on too tight.
“You know, kissing,” she said, as though this was just going to be a demonstration. Which it apparently was, because suddenly she found herself leaning forward and—
It lasted no more than a moment. Barely anything at all, really. And yet when she pulled back, she could read the effect it’d had, all over his face. It hummed through him, visibly. His big eyes swallowed her whole.
Though the larger question was definitely why it’d had exactly the same effect on her. She was fairly certain her bones had gone numb. All vital systems ceased functioning. Waites would be so pleased—she seemed to have invented time stoppage, all on her own.
Or maybe he’d just be jealous, and write a paper entitled “Why Kate Connor Is A Bitch”.
“You know,” she said. “Just like that.”
“Ihoissziz,” he replied.
It took some translation, but she finally guessed at “I know what a kiss is”. Which he then confirmed, by snapping forward, to get another one.
It was clumsy. Not intended to be sensuous or exciting. Strange, that it hit both. When he pulled away, breathless and looking somewhat appalled, she could still taste him on her lips—like menthol. Like something excruciatingly real and human.
“I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I’m not trying to eat you.”
She had to ask.
Had he just said eat? Oh God, was that what kissing was, here? Did eating go on, and not in the good way?
But then his shoulders dropped, a little, and the frown lost its hold on his forehead, and she couldn’t think of anything else but the wondering expression that crept back over his
face. The wondering expression that definitely had nothing to do with eating.
“You’re just so…” he said, then his hand came up, to touch the side of her face. The touch was so cautious, so careful, and nothing like being eaten at all—it sang through every nerve-ending she possessed. How different from the usual! Blundering grabs and squeezes, bored looks.
Not that Tem was anything like her latest date. This wasn’t a date. It wasn’t. She wouldn’t kiss him again. Or let him carry on touching her face. Or let him run that same hand down over her jaw, to her throat.
God, no. She wouldn’t let him do any of that.
“I’m really not anything special, where I come from.”
He had been looking at his own hand, as it slid over curves and skin so sensitive it felt on fire. Now, he glanced up, to meet her gaze. In his eyes there was nothing nervous—only surety.
“How can that possibly be true?”
How could she keep promises like “I won’t kiss him again”, when he said things like that?
She put her hand on his face. Just to make sure he was real. And after that, her lips pressed to his. Just to be absolutely certain. You couldn’t be too careful with these things.
Maybe if she didn’t taste that sweet menthol taste and hear his soft sound of surprise, he would melt away into a dream she’d once had, about a future both lovely and terrible.
This time, there was more than the soft pressure of his mouth against hers. This time, the hand he had kept on her throat slipped downward, to her shoulder. Then downward again, when she didn’t protest.
She could feel his nerves. They shook through his hand, and into her body. He kept his eyes open, for God’s sake—she could see it up close and personal. But nerves didn’t put him off what he so clearly wanted.
A kind of confirmation, she thought. To see if she was real.
And who was she to say no, when it felt so very good? Insanely so. It made all those circles in her mind start up again, to think that he had never actually done this before. He had never run his hand down the soft slope of someone’s breast, and caressed.
Though it was a first for her, too—she couldn’t remember anything so chaste ever
reducing her insides to little more than pudding and popping candy. Not even back when she was young enough to appreciate a closed-mouth kiss, and a tremulous caress.
Between her legs, sensation bloomed. The urge to do something more—anything at all—grew thick, and cloying. If she could just…and then he could…if if if.
The look he gave her when they finally parted made her want to drag him back. Quickly, before time ran out. His hand remained on her breast, and any second he was going to smooth it right over her nipple, and she wasn’t sure she could take that. He wouldn’t understand that she couldn’t take that. He didn’t understand anything.
She stood—so suddenly that he jerked back. His mouth formed a surprised oh, and his eyes… she glanced at the timer on her wrist. Only five more minutes. Just five more and she could get out of here, go home, masturbate until insane future sex thoughts went away.
Never come back, or if she did, come back properly. Make lists and asks questions and venture out into the beyond.
Anything, beyond Tem.
“I shouldn’t have,” he said, as he slowly got to his feet.
Oh you should have. You should have. Do it again.
She pinched her lips together, to stop the thoughts leaking out.
“Don’t worry. It’s fine. It’s fine. I have to go.”
As though he really was a bad date! Just a bad date who had aroused her to the point of desperation. Her sex felt fat and swollen, silky smooth between her constantly moving legs. And she knew without even seeing it on his face, that her nipples were showing pretty vigorously through her shirt.
White shirt—that had been a mistake. What had Waites been thinking? Hadn’t he realised that there’d be hot future men who made a gal want to strip her trousers off and spread her legs immediately?
Not that she wanted to do anything like that. Unless coming to the future meant that a person immediately lost all memories of the filthy things he or she had done, on returning.
“Will you be back? Please, don’t tell Aley that I made you go. We both wanted to touch you—to touch you all over, but I told him we shouldn’t ask or do so. He’ll think—”
“Tem, stop. I—stop. You didn’t do anything wrong. I wanted to touch—never mind. I’m going now.”
The timer beeped, and all she was left with were Tem’s eyes, dark and pained.
It had been the wrong thing. Any fool would know it. Tem shouldn’t have acted on his impulses, or tried to be animated, and now that he’d done both things, everything was a mess. She’d looked so disturbed! He needed to be calm and simple and straightforward, again.
Only now it didn’t seem like that wanted to happen. And so much so that it was noticeable, really noticeable to Aley, who was already fizzing with a bookload of ridiculous energy. If Aley was fizzing, and he noticed it in Tem, then what on earth did that say? Something terrible, no doubt. That he looked like a maniac, most likely.
However, when he expressed this fear to Aley, Aley just looked like he wanted to shrug his shoulders a lot
“You don’t look like a maniac,” Aley said, but Aley wanted to do more things with her, more touching of her, and somehow all of that more made him not want to tell about the kiss. If he told Aley about the kiss, then Aley would definitely think the door was open.
Even though it definitely wasn’t, and she’d just been scared. That was how she’d felt right? Scared.
“But don’t you consider that she might find us…terrifying? Maybe we’re not like the men of her time.”
Aley passed him the cleaner, but he didn’t feel like using it. Usually shower time was fun and happy, and sometimes Aley rubbed him all over with that stuff Bod had found, but oh, not today. Today, Aley didn’t even seem to want to kiss at all.
“The men of her time had hair, like you. Loads of it. I’ve read about it.”
“You have not. You’re just trying to make me feel better.”
Aley turned around inside the small space, grinning his easy grin. Looking as casual as anything, and smelling good, too. For once, Tem just wanted to lay his head on Aley’s massive chest, and have him pet him and tell him everything was going to be okay.
“I’m just trying to make you keep the hair on your face. It looks nice, my friend. I’m sure she liked it, and you. And she doesn’t seem the type to be scared, so you shouldn’t
worry—I heard that women of her time were warriors, and poked men with sticks, and—”
“Will you stop saying things you’ve heard? I know that you hear them from Gery, and he thought women never actually existed and that we used to reproduce by laying eggs.”
Aley shrugged one shoulder.
“We know. We know, now. We’ve seen her, she’s real. And I don’t think she lays eggs.”
“Did she tell you that? What else did she tell you? I know there are things you’re not telling me, Tem. Be fair! You promised you’d share if she came when I wasn’t here!”
He was getting fairly close to whining, now. Usually, whining made Tem want to give in and be kind and bring him crackers and give him kisses. But somehow it just irritated, under circumstances like these. Couldn’t he see that some things needed to be kept to oneself?
“She didn’t tell me anything, all right?”
He climbed out of the shower, half-clean. Of course, both of them knew he was avoiding the question and that dashing away meant he actually didn’t want to share. But that was the thing, about Aley—he never held it against a person, if said person wanted to keep things to himself.
She thought about his mouth, mostly. How soft it had been, how tentative, the way it had tasted when she licked her own lips, afterwards. There had been Steven, in her dating past—Steven, with his chin dimple and his wavy blond hair and maddening tongue right on her clit. And Alan, who knew how to mould her body just right, to make her scream.
But she couldn’t remember fantasizing about any of them, while her hand played between her legs. She thought of Tem, however—Tem and his single chaste kiss, while her fingers slid easy circles around and around her aching clit.
Waites had wanted to know everything, of course. But all she could recall telling him was a single blurt about soil eating and Skynet, before running out of there so fast her boots caught fire.
She’d pay for it, tomorrow. Maybe even with a denial of time travel privileges. Though perhaps that was for the best, all things considered. Needing to masturbate three times over a kiss and a breast touch couldn’t be healthy.
The whole thing felt as though it was veering into obsession territory, and that wasn’t good. He was an Aquarius. She was a Libra. He worked in urine processing. She was a writer. They came from two different worlds.
Like 2010 and 3033.
She smothered her face in her hands. Sheets still tangled around her sweaty legs. Sex still wet and ready for more. She passed a hand over one tight nipple, and it became his hand. Only in her head, he just kept going. Down over her belly, to the slick slit her own fingers found, so easily.
She couldn’t imagine how this had all come to sex, but it seemed her body didn’t want to stop, now. How would he have reacted, if she had touched him in return? A real touch, over his firm chest? Was he used to that sort of thing or would it be different, because she was a woman?
She imagined Aley doing the same thing—kissing his plump mouth, caressing his tight nipples and the taut expense of his stomach, maybe…
This was not going in the right direction.
She flung herself out of bed, and headed for the shower. Set it to freezing and waiting for the thoughts and imaginings to dissolve. She could be professional, again. All it took was searing cold and a measly breakfast of crumbly toast and weak tea.
Anybody would be fit for anything, after that. Apart from Waites’s questions. Nobody was ever fit for those things.
“Do you know how much I pay you? Do you? Are you listening to me?”
She got the distinct impression he wasn’t pleased with her delivery of observational data, the day before. Though in truth, she didn’t think he wanted to hear “the subjects from the future proved highly arousing in a way that suggests I’m wrong inside”.
“Get in the machine. And you had better come back with something more than the name of the robot overlords. I want details, Kate. What fuels them? What’s their average size, in metres? That
sort of thing. I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”
No, she thought. Too much to ask would be if you wanted actual details of a future that will cease to exist, if I tell you just the right thing.
She shivered, from head to foot—just like that, an entire society gone and replaced with God knows what. Maybe something worse!
Like real robot overlords.
“What are you shivering for? It’s not cold, Kate, stop being a baby. Lie still.”
She did, and felt the straps tighten.
“Now. I’m sending you for eight hours, this time—don’t complain.”
It seemed cruel, somehow, to keep the smile that threatened pinned down. But she did it, anyway.
It was just Tem, again, looking even more harassed than he had the last time. He hadn’t brushed his hair. The stubble on his face had grown coarse, and grainy. It wasn’t pleasing that all of these things made him seem even more attractive.
“You’re here,” he said.
Then there was the breathless note to his voice, as though her arrival thrilled him to
his core. She couldn’t overlook that, on the attractiveness scale.
“Sit down, Tem.”
He did so automatically, though his body continued to jump and jive.
“Listen, what happened before…” she began, while the words bad date bad date ran on a permanent loop in her head. “I don’t think it should have happened. I mean, I’m not a scientist, but —”
His eyes narrowed—though not in any suspicious sort of way, she felt. More like he was processing, considering, waiting for her to explain further—and when she didn’t, he stepped in.
“You’re not a scientist?”
She wondered if there was any possible way to reword what she had said, after the fact.
It sounded weak, even to her ears. What on earth was she doing scientifically examining his mouth with hers, if she wasn’t qualified?
“What are you, then? What do women do, in your time?”
“We do the same things as men. Supposedly. And I’m sort of…a journalist.”
He nodded, as though the word meant sense to him. Though she couldn’t tell if it had satisfied him on all “is Kate qualified to be here, doing stuff to me” fronts.
“I’ve done that sort of work before,” he said, finally.
“I thought you said you worked as a—you know, a—”
“We never only do one job. We go where we’re needed, and work on many things. In particular, the scientific and artistic achievements and endeavours of the human race are all important, and all contributions are welcomed.”
She didn’t voice the first thing that popped into her head, in response to those words. It would probably only sound trite and ridiculous, and likely it wasn’t even true anyway. His world was not a utopia. There were no women, for goodness’ sake!
“How did you get like this?”
It sounded bullish, coming out of her mouth. But she couldn’t seem to stop it.
“All these men, all so peaceful! Is everyone like you? Is everyone this calm?”
“I don’t feel calm,” he said, then seemed to consider for a moment. The frown was back, between his thick brows. “But we try to be peaceful because we have to be. We couldn’t survive another war—we just don’t have the resources to waste. And we—I don’t know. Were men not peaceful, in your time?”
“Many were. Many are. I don’t know! They’re just not like you and Aley. Nobody is— women aren’t, either.” She sighed, and sat, in the little armchair. “Maybe you’ve evolved. Maybe it’s the lack of sex.”
She cursed herself, for bringing it up again. And for the sudden flash of interest that crossed his face, once she had done so.
“Does sex usually make you feel not-calm like this?”
“Probably. Yes. Yeah—I feel distinctly not-calm.”
“When we feel that way, we usually use the Device.”
“You realise it probably drugs you into a soporific state of obedience, right?” she blurted, before crazy ideas such as “creating terrible rifts in their society” could stop her. But he only grinned, as though that was the silliest idea he’d ever heard.
“It’s a stress reliever. Nothing more. Here—I can show you, if you like.”
She got the distinct impression he was trying to move things away from all the illegal flesh to flesh contact, but such an idea seemed irrelevant, when the words virtual reality came into play. That was what he’d said, wasn’t it? A kind of virtual reality?
She stood in time to see him remove what looked like a sieve with tentacles from a drawer. Waites would have wet himself, at such an example of a future torture device.
“Uh…I don’t think so, Tem. Thanks, though.”
“Really—it’s perfectly safe. Female physiology isn’t all that different from male. Is it?”
“I’d like to give you pleasure,” he said, which was really lovely of him. It was. Even if the only thing she could think after he’d said it was: Pleasure away—with those big, masculine hands and that
gorgeous looking dick between your legs and that mouth, that lush mouth—
The Illegal Touching Bureau was going to kill her.
“Oh. Well. Um.”
“Just sit in the chair, and I’ll attach it.”
So that’s what the single chair was for. Future masturbation.
“That’s it. Now lean back. Relax. I promise it won’t hurt you.”
She was sure Waites had said the same thing, right before he strapped her in to machine mark one and watched it electrocute her.
The metal felt cool against her temples. Things went over her eyes—things that closed them.
“I don’t like this, Tem!”
“It’s perfectly harmless. It won’t hurt you at all,” he said, while thoughts of mind control devices and drug-induced obedience danced through her head. Maybe the tentacles would fry her brain. Maybe the machine would search for the right nerve impulses and get mad when it couldn’t find them. Maybe it would give her clit a twenty-four hour erection. Maybe—
He was right, about the dreaming while awake.
She opened her eyes—though her real eyes didn’t actually open—to find a meadow. Or at least, what these people thought a meadow might look like. Clearly they were fresh out of grass, here, because the stuff underfoot appeared to be purple.
And the trees! Weird, gnarled, pumpkin-y looking things.
Though she accepted that both things were perhaps not meant to be either grass, or trees, at all. Maybe this was just meant to be weird dream stuff. Maybe trees and grass had mutated. Who knew?
But none of that weirdness even came close, to the girl she could see, sat beneath the dull orange-y sun.
She felt immediately compelled to go to this woman, even though two things struck her, at once— the girl was clearly naked, and she was not exactly a girl. Even from a distance that much was obvious, and Tem and Aley’s words rang thunderous in her ears.
They have big eyes, and big lips, and oh my all the better to eat you with, my dear.
She approached the sprawled and naked non-woman, with reluctance.
“Oh, hello,” the non-woman said. She shaded her insane alien eyes from the dull sun. They hadn’t got a damned thing right about her, but they managed the old ‘walking along, only to find a nude sunbathing woman’ cliché?
She would have laughed, if it were not for the sad thing before her. Everything
seemed square on her, as though her body had been created out of Lego bricks. She barely crested Kate’s navel, and as for whatever they had decided should be between her legs…
She had to look away. It was terrifying—like something out of Alien.
“Would you like some pleasure?”
“Oh…um…that’s really nice of you. But no thanks. I…uh…just don’t swing that way.”
Eg: into alien town.
“Really awesome of you to offer, though.”
“I will pleasure you.”
And Kate would have pulled away. Run, in fact. She would have, if the woman hadn’t then started doing the craziest thing Kate had ever seen. Crazier than a world without women. Crazier than grape sex.
The non-woman reached forward, and grasped her where her penis wasn’t. Literally grasped the air in front of her— oh Lord I’m naked! How did I not notice that? —and began pumping where no cock stood out, hard and eager.
Which would have been fine, and hilarious—and oh, how she could have rolled her eyes and laughed and said well, I guess this Device wasn’t designed for me.
If intense pleasure the likes of which she’d never known hadn’t then rung through her body, in great wrenching spasms.
“Oh my word, you’ve killed her! You’ve killed her dead! Why, Tem, why?”
Aley was leaking, and the woman was on the floor, and Tem simply couldn’t think what had happened. She had just flung herself off the chair, gasping. Then he had just watched her shiver all over, before her entire body went horribly, deathly still.
Aley was likely right. He had killed the only woman in the world. And here was the final proof of her womanhood, too! No man had ever reacted like that, to the Device.
“We’ve killed her,” he said, and felt his eyes leaking, as Aley’s were. “Oh Gods, what have we done? What shall we do?”
“What do you mean what shall we do? You’re the one who always knows! Do you mean that you don’t know, now? Oh, how awful!”
“We cannot even take her to the medical centre. What would they do with her? They would probably all faint with shock before they even got to treating her strange female body.”
Tem reached out with one trembling hand, and stroked her lovely hair—which seemed to calm his companion, somewhat. He had that good look of wonderment on his face, again—that nice look, that always made Tem want to pet him and play with him.
“Is it very soft?”
He thought of her mouth, softer than sand.
“She is very soft all over. I touched her lips, while you were away. I touched…I— maybe I shouldn’t have. I don’t think she liked it.”
“You touched her lips? What were they like? Oh, look how plump they are. And she has so many eyelashes!”
“The women in the Device don’t have any eyelashes.”
“Oh why did you put her in it, Tem? You should have known it was not meant for her!”
Because it had seemed best. Because it had seemed better than the kissing, and the
touching, and the other things that might have scared her. Because, because, because he was afraid, and apparently his fear had killed her.
When she stirred, he felt sure his heart was about to break out of his chest and swallow Aley whole. And it seemed that Aley felt the same, because he clutched himself and screamed. It took them both a moment to creep on their knees back to her, and hover over her, and wait to see if she would make another move.
“Did you not check her pulse?” Aley whispered, after a few seconds had passed.
“I wasn’t sure she would have one,” he replied, but felt foolish for doing so. He leant down and put his ear close to those pink, sweet lips, waiting for a breath.
“Check her throat.”
“What if her main pulse is somewhere else?”
“Is it? She told me that men put their penises inside her!”
“What? They don’t just rub them on the outside? I knew you were hiding information, from me!”
“I am sorry, but—”
Aley didn’t give him a chance to finish. Why would he, when details like this were emerging?
“Where does it go?”
He sighed and shook his head.
“I’ve no idea, and if she’s dead we’ll never find out so shush. Let me listen.”
He practically heard Aley hold his breath, just as something warm and moist hushed out over his skin. By all that was holy—she lived! He hadn’t killed her. She was breathing and stirring and—
“I’m all right. Guys. I’m all right.”
He jumped back immediately—how close would she find acceptable? It wouldn’t do to make her more uncomfortable, even if he was sure she had made sweet eyes at him, the day before. But who could say when she was an almost entirely different and new species? Maybe women didn’t make sweet eyes. Maybe women just said hello and shall I pleasure you, like in the Device.
She sat up—though slowly—and reached for him.
“It’s all right, Tem. Really. I’m just…wow. What was that?”
She touched her temples—Lord but her hands were beautiful. So small, and hairless. He looked at his own big coarse things and felt crude, by comparison—even though most said he was fair. Not as fair as Aley, of course, but he had the nice fine cheekbones that she did. And a good full mouth. And the big dark eyes.
Eyes almost as big as a woman’s—though that was all nonsense, now, wasn’t it? It was just wrong, completely wrong. He realised with a jolt that he would never be able to use the Device again, in quite the same way.
“It sent impulses to your pleasure receptors. But maybe you received them differently,” Aley said.
“Or maybe you just weren’t used to it.”
“It felt—wow. It was just amazing. My body’s on fire.”
“Whoa—calm down. Not real fire. Not real fire. Just, you know. It was like an orgasm.”
“Ohhh. Well yes. That’s what it does. It provides us with stimulation.”
“And doesn’t it make you guys flail around a bit?”
Aley glanced at him, and he saw it in his eyes—the dullness of it, when compared to how she had reacted.
It seemed somehow disheartening to answer so, however, and he tried to think of all the ways it might be different or the same for them, when using the Device. Did they gasp, in the way she had done? Did sex make her gasp?
How to relate their world to hers, when there was no foundation? No common ground from which to come at things?
“We sometimes make a sound. And we shiver,” Aley said, but that didn’t seem extensive enough. Until another thought occurred to him:
“And we ejaculate! Which is—”
“I know what that means,” she said, but she didn’t appear cross that he had assumed. Quite the contrary—her expression was something like amused, he felt. “Though I’m surprised. I mean, I’m guessing procreation is just done in a lab, now. Makes me wonder why your balls haven’t dried up.”
He knew what she meant by balls, though he couldn’t remember the last time he’d heard someone use the term. And certainly not in relation to how dry they were.
“Everything procreation-wise is done a lab, with gene samples. We’re sterile. But we do…we still —”
“Make a mess. Once, I did it all over Tem’s face. He was furious!”
He despaired at Aley, sometimes—he really did. The man could never check his tongue, even when he had no clue as to how someone might respond. He had already disturbed her once, with all the touching. And just because she seemed comfortable talking about this sort of thing, didn’t mean she wanted to hear about bodily fluids all over the place. Perhaps, in the past, they never did anything like that!
Or perhaps they did. She had said, hadn’t she? Maybe they were doing it all the time, all over each other. Everywhere—up and down, left and right. Men and…men and women all writhing around until everyone released all over each other. Many theorized that such activities were common, back when there were plenty of people of both genders to make them so—if only because of the fifty percent increase in possible variations—
Men with women and women with men and women with women and men with men and men with men with women. And all of them conspiring to make his pulse thrum in his throat and wrists and… other places.
It was far too hot in their apartment. He should have insisted with the warden, when the issue of temperature control came up.
“We don’t…I mean, we don’t do that often. Though I wasn’t furious, at all! It’s not as though doing it on each other is considered—” Tem began, but Aley interrupted.
“It’s not disgusting. Do you think it’s disgusting?”
He wished, sometimes, that he had Aley’s blundering forthrightness.
“I think you guys should probably stop talking like this.”
Even if she was going to be offended by it. He felt his face heat, though he doubted it really made a difference to his already flushed appearance. Likely she had noticed, already.
Did women notice things like that? Could she tell when…well. When men felt the need to use the Device? She had pulled herself up and put her back to the bed, but from where she was sitting she had a good view of all of his parts. Likely she had seen it yesterday, too, after they had kissed.
Sometimes he longed to wear the dresses that the men in the sand fields did.
“We’re sorry. Aley, tell her that you’re sorry.”
Aley ducked his head appropriately, but he soon whipped his gaze back up when she waved her hands, and said, “No, no—don’t be. It’s just all so…sexy. And I don’t think it should be—I feel like I’m taking advantage of you.”
Aley laughed, though Tem had no idea why. What did “taking advantage” even mean? She made it sound like a bad thing, but she was still kind of smiling, and wriggling. Her skin looked pink, the way his own did when he felt the tingles in his belly and that thick sort of overpowering desire.
“I really don’t think I should be getting hot under the collar.”
She paused, that dimpling smile hanging low on her lips. He wanted to say that she was cheeky, like Bod sometimes was. But he simply couldn’t tell if that applied to her, or if she was doing something different entirely.
“You have no idea what that means, do you,” she added, finally.
But Tem knew exactly what she meant. He could feel what she meant, thrumming through every blood vessel and nerve and pore. It was like something primal, dredging itself up from the bottom of the water-lakes. It felt out of control—not the same as when he sometimes woke in the night and just needed to rub his body against Aley’s.
And though Aley always seemed satisfied with that, he knew that he did not. It just wasn’t enough, and this was why. Because of Kate. Because his body wanted something long dead and a thousand years ago.
“I don’t even know if I should be saying any of these things,” she said, but her eyes were making signs, and he was almost sickly certain that if she had been a man, it would mean she was about to kiss him.
But oh, it seemed he didn’t have to interpret or act on any of those things—because of Aley. Mad, bold Aley.
“Tell us the things,” he said, breathless—and even touched her! He reached out, and touched her right on her leg. Tem had no idea how he dared, but that was Aley all over. Aley who had come to him and practically shouted, I saw a woman. She came into our apartment, from the past! In the middle of a crowded room.
“Well…it’s just…you guys are very attractive. I mean, much more attractive than the average human man back where I come from—I guess it’s from selective gene manipulation or trying to get as close to women as possible, or something. Not that you look like women!”
“We don’t look anything like you,” he said, before he could stop himself. Though he definitely would have liked to—his voice sounded so high and full of air.
“No. No you don’t,” she murmured, then…oh then she reached up, and stroked her palm down one side of his face.
He felt like doing as she had done, a moment before. Flinging himself about and gasping and maybe dying, a little.
“You look amazing. And you’re both so…sweet and curious. I think I like that. A lot. I know I shouldn’t, but—”
He knew his eyes went big when Aley suddenly lurched forward and kissed her. And open-
mouthed, too! He had no idea if people in her time even kissed that way at all, and yet there he was, doing it to her.
Though it quickly became clear that people did kiss like that, in her time. In fact, it became clear that people did it much more wetly and openly than he’d ever seen anyone do. He watched in fascination as her soft lips parted and her wet tongue—definitely her tongue— slipped into Aley’s mouth.
Actually in his mouth. He would have voiced some sort of protest, if it were not for the deep pang of jealousy that seemed to be setting up home in his chest. When she finally pulled away from him —much to Aley’s stuttering forward reluctance—he wanted only to echo Aley’s words:
“Oh! Do it again.”
But he never got to hear what she really wanted or felt, because Aley kissed her again. His hands went to her hair—all that thick, lovely, dark hair. She couldn’t seem to resist or protest. No surprise, really. Aley was very handsome and always knew how to go for what he wanted.
Perhaps women really liked that.
Perhaps they also liked pushing their tongues in and out of someone else’s mouth, then licking and licking when the man grew brave enough to return the whole thing. It certainly seemed as though she was enjoying herself, even if she also appeared to want to protest in some way. As though this was embarrassing or difficult, somehow.
Though she protested less when Aley did what he often enjoyed having done to him—affectionate kisses, just at her jawline. He watched her spread her fingers into his hair, holding him there, eyes closed. She could have said words, then, if she had wanted to—but nothing came save for a sigh of delight.
Aley was delighting her! He could never do the things Aley did so easily. Not even when she turned her head, just a little, and opened her eyes to let her gaze settle on him.
He knew his mouth was hanging open, like a small child or a simpleton. But there didn’t seem to be anything he could do to stop it. And even less so when her free hand found its way to the nape of his neck, and ran into his hair, and was she pulling him towards her? It seemed as though she might well be doing so, but what if she wasn’t, what if she…
He thought of his earlier musings: women and men and women and men. All the variations, as her mouth pressed sweetly to his.
He immediately wanted to try the tongue thing, but held back—what if she only wanted to do that with men she really liked? And certainly it seemed that way, until he felt her lips part and slide against his, so hot and wet. It was a strange, intrusive thing to have her tongue suddenly pushing into his mouth, but it affected him more powerfully than he would have imagined.
His—what had she called it?—his cock pulsed heavily within the tight confines of his uniform, already leaking. His mind fluttered to earlier conversations, to Aley babbling about spurting on his face, and suddenly it was her beneath him, her all messy and sticky with his fluid.
The thought made him groan, embarrassingly, into her open mouth. Though what he had to be embarrassed about when Aley was already taking off his clothes, he had no idea. Is this what was going to happen? Were they going to do sex together? It seemed insane and yet—how intimate. What a thing to share!
He wondered if she would object, if he tried to take off her clothes. The idea of touching not just her breasts, but her bare breasts, made his breath stutter in his chest—in truth he wasn’t sure if he was breathing at all. His mouth seemed full of her and her hand was pressed warmly to the nape of his neck and Lord, she smelt of something long forgotten and sweeter than rain.
When she stopped with the kissing and pulled at the hem of his uniform, he raised his arms for her without a word. It seemed best. Maybe if he did so, she would end this trembling excitement in him, to see what was beneath her clothes.
His first urge on the top being removed was to hunch. It came on sudden—what if she didn’t like
what she saw? All the hair, the hair all over him.. Other people in this time remarked on it—why wouldn’t she?
But her hands stilled him. She spread them over his torso without a word, the corner of her mouth hooking slyly upward in an expression he couldn’t place. Cheeky, he thought, again, as she poked out her little pink tongue and leant forward, to lick the little point his right nipple had become.
Behind her, Aley clapped his hands excitedly. Tem wished he could do the same, but instead found himself fixed, knelt up over her, a slave to the sudden wash of heat that surged through him.
“Sorry,” she said. “I couldn’t resist.”
And only then did he remember that he had to breathe, in order to carry on living.
“I think you’ve broken him!” Aley cried, and warmth and concern came to her lovely features.
Her hands were still on his body, however.
“I’m sorry, Tem. You just looked so edible, I couldn’t resist. Here, come on.” She stroked upwards, clasped his throat in both of her hands. Some of the tension went out of his body. “Let’s get on the bed.”
And just like that, it swiftly returned. On the bed? Where he did things with Aley?
She stood, and helped him to stand—though doing so only reinforced how weak his legs felt and how bare his body was. Aley, on the other hand, had already found a place on the bed. He had sprawled, completely nude and comfortable, right across its length.
And he was stiff. Stiff, in front of her. It was bad enough that his own cock appeared to be pushing out the front of his trousers, obscenely. He cursed the uniform—it wasn’t so bad when you were average, but he knew he was very far from that, and probably even further from what she expected.
But then she knelt on the bed, and made her face level with his, and her arm went around his shoulders. He felt her face press into his hair, close to his ear, and it occurred to him that she was keeping her back to Aley purposefully.
Especially when he barely heard her whisper—
“It’s all right. Tell me what you want. Tell me.”
He shivered against her, to hear it. Just for him. Those words were just for him. And they forced his hands up, to cup her small, soft face. They made him want to look into her eyes, and say words to her.
“I want to see you,” he said, and in reply she kissed him, slow and not like before. He could feel her hands between them, undoing her clothes.
Beneath the first outer layer there was another, smaller one. It clung so tight that at first, he was sure it was a part of her—so this was what breasts looked like! But then she reached behind herself, and the other garment fell away, too.
“What is it, what is it?” Aley asked, and he felt certain that any moment she would be turned from him, so that his companion could see, too. But that was all right, because he was permitted first. He got to lay his hands on her first, to fill them up with the swell of her flesh—she had nipples, like a man! And they were small and tight and when he laid his hands over them, she gasped.
His hands seemed separate from his body. They fondled and stroked and tested the smooth round versions of what they had to make do with, but it was difficult to process how they really seemed. What the experience was like. Instead, his groin pulsed and pulsed and took over his entire body, nagging for release.
“What do you think?” she asked, so sudden and so neatly cutting into the ache of pleasure that he was startled. He drew his sweating hands away and watched, as Aley took his place—turning her gently and cupping first one, then the other, in a way he wished he had the confidence for.
“Do these work the same as ours?” he said, then—of all things—he ducked his head, and suckled on one of her nipples. Or at the very least, one of her potential nipples. Really, they could have been anything.
Though she certainly behaved as though they did, in fact, work the same as theirs. He ached, thickly, thinking of how good Aley’s mouth felt, in a similar place. How good her tongue had felt, flicking over his own nipple. He was far more sensitive there than most men, and knew it, but she seemed to have the same issue.
The noises she made echoed ones he had made himself, many times before. Delighted noises, guttural, groaning sorts of noises. They drove him half-crazed, pushing him to do things she was sure to find distasteful.
Like shoving his hand down his trousers, to tug and relieve the ache in his balls. And maybe stroke, just a little. Just until that stifling tight pleasure uncoiled, a little.
But then she looked to him, and her eyes turned to softness, and she said—
“Does that feel good?”
And it was all spoilt. Even if spoilt wasn’t exactly the word he was looking for.
“Do you do that often? Stroke yourself? Or is it usually the Device?”
He knew the answer, clearer than anything—the Device was quick and efficient. It dealt out the most satisfying climaxes. Who wouldn’t want to use it? And yet…when it was early morning, halfasleep, with Aley. And now, here, with her.
Fortunately, Aley answered for him.
“We do this, more often,” he said, and reached for Tem’s hand.
It was just like always. He could climb on to the bed and feel the heavy weight of Aley’s cock in his hand and it was good. It was all fine. Her eyes were on them, bright and eager, as he let the slick flesh slide through his fist.
“Show me,” she said, then Aley’s hands were fumbling with the front of his trousers, and finally, finally his swollen shaft met air.
When Aley kissed him, it was the same as Kate’s kisses. Suddenly wet and open and forceful, with a hand wrapped tight around his rigid erection. He tried to match the pace set but in truth could only hold on to his own galloping excitement—Kate’s body behind his closed eyelids, Kate’s mouth on his, Kate’s hand pumping him steadily to release.
He wondered if she would do it the same—a thumb slick and firm on that sweet hollow below the head, squeezing just ever so slightly too hard whenever he bucked or rutted into that practiced grasp.
Probably not. She wouldn’t have the strength that Aley did, she wouldn’t know all of PAST PLEASURES Charlotte Stein 50
his secrets. And yet when Aley suddenly broke away and turned to her, breathless, Tem almost lost control at his words—
“You try it, now.”
Kate tried to think back, as to whether “threesome with two gorgeous, amazing, wonderful guys” had factored into any of her ideas of what the future might be. She tried to think back as to whether there were any clauses in her contract with Waites, that could lead to her getting sued for doing pervy things with time travel test subjects. She tried to do a lot of serious thinking, but unfortunately her mind only wanted to operate on one level—
Tem and Aley are almost naked and completely naked, respectively, and they are touching each other. They are touching. One of them just asked me if I would like to join in. His saliva is still wet onmy nipples. This is insane.
Though the fact that it also happened to be both joyous and exhilarating factored into her decision to do whatever took their fancy, somewhat. She wanted to laugh, and hug them, and show them everything they’d been missing for a thousand years. She wanted to tell them—
“I know this might come as a shock, but I have done that before.”
Though it was also true that she’d never been with a man who looked as shivery and flushed with lust as Tem currently did. His frankly huge cock pointed deliriously skyward, pre-cum beading at the tip. Whenever Aley squeezed, he jerked.
Clearly, they did do this often. Often enough that Aley appeared to know when Tem was close, and how to hold off his orgasm when that happened. Though she couldn’t imagine them doing a lot of kinky delayed gratification play—instead she saw the Minister of Urine-Biscuits calling them on their future-phone, and Aley squeezing his friend just so, right at the base, spasmodically, until the transmission had ended.
Then it was all writhing and jerking and oh come on me, come on me.
Or at least, it was in her head. She hadn’t previously thought of herself as much of a man-on-man sort of fan. Of course, it was nice to look at. But in reality…in reality, gay men didn’t want to shake hands with Mrs. Vagina.
But this was very, very different. Tem’s gaze prickled over her skin, wherever it wandered. Aley
didn’t seem to want to stop looking at her, not even when his friend’s prick was in his fist, and he was being stroked in kind.
No men, of any type, had ever looked at her the way that Tem and Aley were currently looking. Even Tem, who appeared hesitant and ever so slightly unnerved, seemed to be waiting, hungrily, for her hand on him. And when she reached forward—hand shaking, just a little it was him who urged Aley back, to make room for her.
“It’s going to be quick. I’m close,” he said, and she felt that flush of sensation spread through her, for what seemed to be the thousandth time.
“Do it hard,” Aley urged, from somewhere behind her. “He likes it hard.”
But she didn’t get chance to test that theory. As soon as she clasped her hand around the thick stem of his prick, he jerked forward, snap-quick. His eyes closed. A heavy groan escaped his lips. And he spurted in thick jets, all over her hand and the bedcovers.
She didn’t have time to revel in the swell of desire this pushed into her, however. Mainly because Aley had grasped her free hand, and pulled it behind her back. Something thick and hot was pushed into her hand, then a few slick slides later, a grunt, and a spill of liquid over her fingers.
It made her want to moan aloud. They were so eager. So full of pent-up lust. It was barely a disappointment that they had already finished. How could it be a disappointment, when there were so many other things to explore? When Aley was already pushing against her back, asking for her to show him, show him. When Tem brought her hand to his mouth, to clean her of the sticky fluid that gleamed there.
The only problem was time. How long did she have left? A few hours? Less? It wasn’t enough. It would never be enough.
“Lay back,” Tem told her, and she obeyed without a word. She began to unbutton her trousers without a word, too. Her pussy shivered with anticipation, but oh God there was more, so much more than she could imagine.
“Help her,” Aley said, and Tem didn’t hesitate, working the material down her legs until nothing but her underwear remained. Two pairs of eyes lasered in on that cotton-clad V—even when Tem pushed and wriggled out of his own trousers, he kept his gaze on her.
“It looks smooth,” Aley said, and Tem nodded.
Kate closed her eyes. If they were going to talk around her like this, she was going to have to fuck them inside out and upside down. Her hips were already rocking of their own accord. The earlier…thing might as well have never happened. She couldn’t even remember what that strange pleasure felt like.
All she could feel was Tem’s thick cock in her hand. Aley’s mouth on her breasts.
It was Tem who began peeling her knickers down. She knew it was, even with her eyes closed. It was Tem who parted her legs, too—slowly, so slowly. Not like a science experiment or as though he thought she might break. Sensuously, she thought. Taking the effortto restrain himself from
more, quick, now.
She opened her eyes to find them staring, still stiff as boards, both uncertain and almost giddy with elation.
“It’s nothing like—”
Tem’s gaze flicked up to hers, steady and certain.
“Show me how to touch you.”
She knew it should seem embarrassing, being buried beneath such avid attention. And especially
when they were asking her, essentially, to touch herself. And yet it sung through her body, loud and long. Her clit jumped, before her fingers had come anywhere near. Wetness trickled between the cheeks of her arse—she was flushed and swollen and ready for both of them. At the same time, if need be. Twice.
Then her fingers parted her slick folds, and oh. Oh. She wasn’t sure how words were going to make their way out of her mouth.
“Does it feel good?”
“Where—where does he do it in you?”
She couldn’t fathom why such odd, almost amusing words excited her so viscerally. Ridiculous Madonna songs ran through her head. Sliding one finger into her pussy felt unreal, impossible, as though it was something she’d never had or done.
Every nerve and some that probably didn’t exist lit up. The sound of her own slickness thrilled her with its rudeness—what would they think? What on earth would they think of this slippery hole in her body, that made her shiver and buck?
“Here,” she said. “Here.”
And took Tem’s hand.
He was breathing hard, as flushed in the face as before but now at the base of his throat, too. Aley nudged him and murmured something like go on, then those thick fingers were pressed to her slit, to the place her own finger had slid into not a moment before.
He gasped, as she urged him on until he slipped in, knuckle deep. The gasp felt better than his explorations did, and she answered it with one of her own.
“What’s it like?” Aley asked, and Tem’s words emerged dry and fluttery.
“Slippery. She won’t need any lubrication, like…she won’t. And she’s hot, burning hot. It’ll be like a mouth, but so close. She’s clasping my finger—are you doing that on purpose, Kate?”
He looked up at her, that slight frown between his brows. His pupils were fat, and lust-blown.
“I do it when it feels good. You feel good. Go on—you won’t hurt me.”
He slid another finger in, alongside the first, and pressed deeper. Behind him, Aley stroked a hand down Tem’s trembling back—and not an entirely companionable hand, either. It ended somewhere she couldn’t see, between his legs. “We have to make it wet, here,” he whispered, while Tem squirmed under his touch. “Sometimes just between, but sometimes inside, too.”
He too looked flushed, when he glanced back at her. Flushed, and occupied by something that seemed to be making Tem push in and out of her, eyes sometimes closed. Eyes sometimes on what he was doing.
“He doesn’t like to admit it, but he likes it when I do it. He moans and rubs against the bed—is it the same for you? When a man puts his penis in you?”
Aley’s gaze was so clear, so direct. It scooped the answers right out of her.
“I do when he touches me here,” she said, and took his free hand.
At first he seemed unsure, and tried to touch where Tem touched. But he picked it up fast, when she pressed the tips of two of his fingers to her clit. His face opened up—he grinned wide and toothily.
“Oh! So…oh that isn’t built very well. How odd—Tem, see here—”
But Kate didn’t get to view Tem’s reaction. Pleasure put her head back, into what passed for a pillow, here. She thought of all the words she would usually say, at this point: fuck me, fuck me. Give it to me now. All those simple, crude instructions that sex was usually made up of.
And of course she couldn’t say any of them, to two men who’d have no idea what she meant. She might as well tell them to fraggle the beefactor.
Instead, she squirmed beneath their probing, tentative strokes, bucking up when they grew too faint and thin, sliding away when they found a sensitive spot. The pace became maddening, all the focus on such tiny details turning into a tease.
Though the tease didn’t last as long as she began to fear it would. They talked and talked in their curious sort of way, and Aley told Tem to do it harder, harder, and somewhere in amongst it all her spine melted and sounds came out of her mouth, but it was all just agonizing. Until Tem told Aley to move his hand away, and leant down to kiss the split of her sex.
Vague awareness of Aley, saying— yes, taste it— came to her. But mostly it was the feel of Tem’s soft mouth against her pussy that pushed her to it. His tongue suddenly firm and slippery on her clit, though he had no clue what he was doing. It turned that sweet ache into something that coiled and snapped, and more words they wouldn’t understand came out of her mouth, “Yes, I’m coming, I’m coming.”
He moved the moment she urged him away. Both of them did. She could hear their panting, shivering breaths, and knew what sort of state they’d be in. But they backed away, as far as they could go.
Then after a moment, she felt Tem’s hand, on her ankle. Just resting there, lightly, as though it might not be there at all. Even before she opened her eyes, she knew it was him.
“Are you all right, Kate?” he asked. She had been right. He knelt to her right, hand on her. Eyes warm and liquid, forehead tight with concern. Mouth looking as though he’d just stuck it in a bowl of
“Of course she’s all right. I think she got to it—that’s what coming means.” Aley glanced to her. “It is, isn’t it?”
She drew herself up, limp to the core and half-dazed with it, and almost laughed. They looked like bookends, knelt at the end of the bed. Bookends, with wavering stiff pricks.
“Yeah. That was really…that was. It was.”
“Good. Can we do it again?”
Aley lurched forward before she could even get to words. Most of which would have been—I don’t think I can do that again for another month. But when she scooted back, so did he. Tem put a hand to him, but it wasn’t needed. He might have been the more confident of the two, but clearly he was as mired in stop-start/right-wrong as Tem.
“Can I not taste you, too?” He clicked his tongue, and looked down—an expression so like ah, shit, she almost heard him say it. “No—you’re like us, aren’t you. You don’t want it right away.”
Then he laughed, as bright as anything, and pointed at Tem.
“She is just like us. Women are just like us! Gery will be so furious if we ever tell him.”
Which would have been startling enough on its own, if he didn’t then draw Tem to him, quite suddenly, to plant a kiss right on the mouth. Combined, they formed a giant bag of startle that forced a little noise out of her.
Were they going to just fuck each other, now? Is that what this was? Did they expect her to leave, while they went about it? Did they have a raygun on them, in order to force her away at gunpoint?
Because otherwise, she had news for them. They had just received an anatomy lesson, courtesy of her body. She would definitely be staying for the up close and personal man-love tutorial, in return.
When Aley broke off the kiss and turned to her, she braced herself for some ordering of them around. It was probably morally wrong and a violation of time travel codes of conduct, but it had to be done. They needed guidance. Who was she to deny it to them?
The simple truth of it was, she could actually tell them what to do, and even more astonishing, have them obey her. She knew they would—there wasn’t a need for questions, hesitant prompts, are you into its.
They were into it. She could have gleaned that much from the huge erections. Though further confirmation came from Aley’s next—and rather pleased—exclamation: “You taste like syrup!”
She couldn’t imagine what he had thought she’d taste like, but syrup seemed infinitely preferable to bread made out of sweat, or the meat of a mutated bluebottle. Not to mention what then occurred to her—the real reason for the kiss. They weren’t asking for her to leave so they could get down to private man-love—no no no.
He had wanted to taste her body, on Tem’s lips.
The ache of wanting-to-go-for-a-second-round went through her, tingling and sharp, at the realization. And thankfully, they were thoughtful and blundering enough to meet it just right.
They kissed again, and rubbed against each other, briefly. Which wasn’t in any way unpleasant. Especially as they seemed to have learnt how nice licking could be, when your lips taste like woman. She watched their cocks slide together, the shuddering arch of their backs. All golden in the low light, all sweet.
But then Tem pushed away from Aley, quite suddenly, and she heard him murmur into that fine blond hair— no. We should kiss her. We should kiss her and hold her, like you do.
Her instinct was to tell him that it didn’t matter—though the image of the pair of them needing to cuddle post-coitus was a sight for her imagination to behold—until she realized that it wasn’t out of some soft sense of what should be done, that he was saying so. He looked at her, as Aley carded fingers through his hair. He looked and looked, and waited for Aley to answer, for her to answer, longing all over him like something smothering.
“You go on her, then,” Aley said, and she was sure he meant something far filthier than Tem simply climbing over her body, to press himself to her.
She spread her legs, but he didn’t attempt to push anything between. She felt his cock lying between their bellies like a branding iron, heavy and hot, but he didn’t rut against her. Instead, his thumbs covered her temples and his gaze held hers and every thought in her head tried to fly away.
Though one remained:
I’m never going to get away from this—his dark liquid eyes, trying to get right into me.
Followed quickly by another.
I don’t want to.
She kissed him, then. She kissed him, and petted his hair the way she had seen Aley do it, and let her hand just curl around his arm. When he shuddered, and tensed, she kissed his cheek, then close to his ear:
“This is the way men and women used to be, together.”
He whispered back, hoarse and bitter:
“I know that, now.”
It took what seemed like far too long a time, before he grew hungry, and eager. Gradually, the kisses deepened. She could feel Aley behind him, stroking his back, again.
Maybe stroking other things, too. Maybe saying a few dirty things, to pull all of it back from the brink of depressing and deep and God knows what.
She heard him clear and ridiculous:
“I’m going to spill on you, Tem.”
Then less ridiculous and more weirdly arousing—
“You do it on Kate. Come on, do it. You must be ready.”
When she turned her head a little to the left, she could see Aley stroking himself. Muttering words like I’m very ready and other things strange, until his cock gleamed slick and stiff in his fist and Tem shifted over her.
Every strangled groan of Aley’s made Tem rock against her, minutely. His prick skidded easily through the mingled sweat and pre-come that had gathered between them, but no sense of real pleasure came from him until she rocked back. He gasped for her, then.
And Aley gasped, in turn.
“I’m almost there, Tem. Shall I do it?”
He had his head thrown back, hand quick and rough on himself. The tip of his prick looked as though it was about to burst, but that only shoved words out of her harder. They came before she even knew she wanted to say them.
“No. Wait. Wait until Tem’s inside me.”
It became clear, then, what such an idea meant to both of them. Two sets of eyes grew big and startled. Tem snapped his attention to her, fully, and went to say something. Whatever the words might have been, however, they dried up in his mouth.
“Go ahead,” she said. “Like this.”
She reached between their bodies, but he seemed to anticipate what she was about to do and jerked away—just a little. It was Aley’s hand on his back that stopped him, and pushed a tortured sigh from his lips.
“I can’t let her touch me,” he said, head turned towards Aley. “I’m too close. I’ll do it.”
In response Aley was cruel, she felt. Though cruel in a way that made Tem flush and groan and rock towards nothing.
“Then I will. She can touch me. Is that what you want?”
“No—yes! I can share. We share. I don’t mind.”
“You do mind. But that’s all right, my friend. It’s all right, go on. She wants you to, don’t you, Kate? I can see it in her eyes.”
Tem glanced up, as though searching for whatever it was Aley thought he had observed. It seemed odd, to her, that Aley should be so certain and so clever, so quickly, while Tem hung back, unsure.
But it made her kiss his mouth, and arch up into his body, and clasp a hand around his rigid cock.
His teeth immediately dug deep into his lower lip. It dug in harder, when Aley rubbed his own tense prick over the slope of Tem’s back, as though he’d forgotten which were his hands and which were other, ruder parts of his body.
Tem’s breath hitched when her hand slid all the way down to the root, but he held on. He retained his red-cheeked, sweating, squirming composure. Though most of it left him, when she stroked her thumb over the slick tip.
His cock swelled in her tight grip and he poled his arms either side of her head. Stiff, straight, keeping it all in check. His mouth suddenly against hers, urgently searching. She thought there might be words in between kisses, but they were too garbled and soft and grew more so when she hooked one leg around his hip.
She ran the tip of his cock through her slick folds and he surged forward, nudging against her clit until she had to gasp. Of course he tried to pull back immediately—perhaps because of the sound she had made—but it wasn’t hard to draw him down and in, then everything must have been far too heated and slick for him to resist.
He sank in almost to the hilt without even trying, a low moan burring out from somewhere deep inside him. His eyes fluttered closed, and such bliss crossed his features— but she couldn’t blame him. The feel of him thick and solid inside her made her want to ride, hard, immediately. It made her want to flip him over and fuck his twisting body until he spurted inside her, until he cried out her name and clutched her to him.
Luckily, he got the idea long before she had to take the lead. His hips rolled, experimentally, the roll soon turning into a jerking thrust, the jerking thrust becoming a jolting shove that made her cry out.
He amazed her by managing words.
“Did I hurt you?”
He looked stunned and desperate, and though she was sure he would have liked this to last, it was obvious it wouldn’t. He could barely stop himself rutting, even when concern wavered in his voice and his forehead tightened with it.
“No. God, no. Again. Harder. Do it as hard as you like.”
His mouth set in a tight line, and he obeyed almost immediately, levering himself up on his arms until he loomed over her, so strong and masculine and yet not all in the same instance. This time when he thrust, the thick press of his cock sparked a flood of liquid sensation—God, he was right there, the angle deep and perfect.
“Yeah, like that. Go on—fuck me. Fuck my pussy.”
Of course, Tem couldn’t possibly have any idea of what she was talking about. But it didn’t register on his face. Nothing registered on his face but greedy lust and flushed urgency—his tongue flickered out to lick his upper lip, and she thought of her taste, and whether it still lingered there.
He barely seemed aware of Aley, when his friend spoke.
“Does she feel good? Describe it to me.”
“Tell him,” she urged, and he groaned. His arms trembled.
“It’s too tight around me. It’s too good.” He gasped, and his head hung low as his hips churned. “So slippery. She’s rubbing right against—oh. Oh!”
She dug her nails into his sides, as he climaxed hard inside her. The sounds he made— the feel of him—she was only surprised she didn’t come from such things alone. Though there was no surprise at all when pleasure bloomed and slithered through her, to feel Aley taking his friend’s place, between her legs.
“You don’t have to be gentle,” she heard Tem say, but when she opened her eyes again he was at her side, looking down at her with a gaze that seemed caught between loving and…hurt? She couldn’t tell, she couldn’t tell, and though she was fairly certain that no real jealousy bloomed between them, it was clear that Tem had never had to share something he felt he shouldn’t have to.
“Go on,” he said, and put his hand on Aley’s shoulder.
Kissing Aley was different to kissing Tem—in a way she wished it wasn’t. It felt good, and it made her hungry to have him inside her, and his big body over her sent tingles spiraling through her groin, but it just wasn’t the same.
It grew sweeter, however, when Tem leant down to kiss her as Aley held himself up, and slid almost effortlessly into her aching sex. She gasped into his mouth as Aley laughed and moaned through his shock, pushed her hand into Tem’s thick dark hair and choked back words that were holding her hostage.
Go on, they said. Tell him, tell him what this means to you, but them saying so only made it seem even more ridiculous. How many hours had she spent with them? With him? Barely any, in comparison to the whole scheme of her life. And yet—
And yet his eyes locked with hers, and Aley panted and fucked into her and said how much he couldn’t take it, he couldn’t take this bliss not like this, not forever, and she couldn’t think of anywhere she’d rather be.
Tem’s hand was between their bodies, cupping first one breast, then the other. She felt him worry a nipple as Aley’s cock slid in and out, in and out, and even more arousing—his tongue, swiping over her parted lips.
“Do you want me to touch that place?” he whispered, and felt his hand sliding down her body before she’d even had chance to answer. Of course, she knew what he meant: her clit. He understood, and wanted to touch her there.
The first stroke of his fingers, fumbling between Aley’s slapping flesh and her soaked folds, had her gasping his name again. Orgasm rippled through her, quick and startling, but Aley didn’t seem to mind that it was Tem who had caused it, Tem she praised. He was coming too, a joyous, incredulous look on his face as his hips snapped forward and he swelled inside her.
“I can feel her doing it,” he laughed, and Tem grinned too, in answer. No hurt remained on his face. Both looked thoroughly fucked and terribly pleased with themselves, and when they collapsed all over her she couldn’t complain.
She was thoroughly fucked and terribly pleased with herself, too.
Nothing seemed right, when she awoke. Everything was white and grey, not honey-gold. Everything was dull and useless, not Tem and Aley murmuring that they wished things could stay like this forever. Don’t go, Kate. Don’t go. And later, when Aley slept and Tem
thought she did too, she had heard him whisper in her ear. Words that sounded as though they began with L and ended in E.
She began with L and ended with E for Tem. It was true. It was.
But she had left them, just the same. And worse yet, she had left them in her sleep— she knew it, after a moment of not wanting to wake up. The timer had beeped and sent her back sleeping, completely naked.
She tried to sit bolt upright and ran into the straps around her wrists, her ankles. Then Waites was looking down at her, lip pulled up in the worst sort of incredulity.
“What have you been doing?” he said, and her mind raced back and forth, trying to light on any possible thing that would excuse her nakedness. The robots, she thought, therobots, but coherent ideas weren’t sticking.
The truth clanged around inside her head, brilliant and bright. Not like this fucking nothing, Waites sneering, constant noise and shouting and no Tem. There wasn’t anything like Tem, anywhere here.
“I…they caught me…”
They didn’t have to catch anything. I went, willingly.
“Made me do terrible things…”
They’d never have to make me do anything.
“It was horrible, Waites, horrible!”
It’s everything I never knew I always wanted.
“Let me up, please, let me up!”
Send me back. Send me back. Send me back.
It wasn’t hard to fake tears. They came naturally, as did the shakes. And it must have convinced, because he untied her quickly. He even brought a blanket, to wrap around her shoulders.
“Well, you’re back now. You’re safe,” he said, for once grave, and understanding. He even patted her shoulder. “And you never have to go back there again.”
When he woke up, she was gone. He knew she was, immediately, because although her scent remained all over him, the room felt empty. The bed felt empty, and emptier yet because Aley was in the shower, singing about those flying things that used to flap around in the sky.
And though he was sure she’d come back, he found himself thinking, again—what if she doesn’t? What if she were never to return, and couldn’t tell them about the flying things and if they were once real. Or kiss them again, in all of those incredible ways. Or kiss him again, and hold him, and tell him that she hadn’t actually heard him say that thing and so wasn’t consequently horrified.
Though in truth, he sort of suspected she had heard him. And that she wasn’t horrified at all, not by any of it. She had gone so far beyond kissing, and looked into his eyes with such warmth, and Lord knew what was going to happen, now.
Other than worrying, that she wouldn’t come back. The other times she had seemed to know she was going, but this time she hadn’t. Or at least, she hadn’t thought to wake him and say things to him.
Did that mean something bad? He couldn’t think about it, meaning something bad. He couldn’t speak to Aley about it, when Aley came out of the shower, because although he knew with every fibre of himself that Aley understood better than he did—about special feelings that might exist between people, and how that might exclude him slightly—he didn’t want to hurt Aley.
He loved Aley. It was just that he loved Kate, in a different way. A longing sort of way.
“Are you all right, Tem?” Aley said, and he thought of her face. Her dark eyes, full of sweetness. “She will return, soon. She will return, and then you know what I have thought?
We will make her stay with us.”
It was only then that he truly doubted she would return. Her staying with them forever was just too much of a silly dream. All of this had been a silly dream. She was gone, and would not return.
She explained everything carefully, and in great detail. It wasn’t hard. The world was full of ridiculous sci-fi stories that he was only too happy to believe. It made her wonder if he was really so unhappy in his work, in his life. If a man really was so unhappy, surely he’d want to believe in a sad and yet ultimately lovely future that he could escape to?
But it was clear he didn’t. She doubted he’d even believe that the real future had any loveliness, if she told him the truth. He’d probably think it awful—no women. Everyone living in those tiny little rooms, eating skin-crackers and drinking metal water. Hardly ever going out. All the men so calm and collected, so warm and loving.
What kind of person would like that?
“Are you ready, Kate? Take deep breaths. Only five minutes—you’ll be fine.”
It hadn’t taken much to persuade him into letting her go again. Just one more time, to get the final data he needed. She could do it, no problem! She was more than willing to risk life and limb for his project.
He had even smiled at her for what seemed like the first time ever. What a dedicated and conscientious person she was. He was glad he hired her, even if she did irritate him something chronic.
“I know, Professor,” she said, and smiled through the fake wavering. He couldn’t see her, after all. He was too busy with the machine, with the controls, with everything else in the world besides her.
She knew he wouldn’t check too closely. He was getting ready for his own jaunt to the year 2055, when frightening mole-people who made you be naked did not abound—what did it matter what she did? She was irrelevant to him, just as she was irrelevant to most of the people in her own time. And not cruelly, either, not cruelly at all—but just enough.
It could be, she would later think, that he understood as she began to disappear. He had seemed to jump up from his console at the last moment, a look of baffled fright on his usually so composed features. But that was all right. It would become clear to him, quickly, that he had not been to blame. He had told her, after all, to strap her timer on—be careful, Kate, he always said. You can’t get back without it. Which is why, of course, she had strapped a simple digital watch to her wrist, and left the real one hanging on its hook.
About the Author
Charlotte Stein has been published in numerous erotic and erotic romance anthologies, and has written her own longer length works for both Black Lace books and Total-E-Bound. She has been writing for more than half her life, but only recently worked up the courage to submit something to actual publishers. Thankfully, the story ended well.
Email: [email protected]
Charlotte loves to hear from readers. You can find her contact information, website and author biography at http://www.total-e-bound.com.
Also by Charlotte Stein
Waiting in Vain Sultry Solstice: Tigerlily
Take a look at our exciting range of literagasmic™ erotic romance titles and discover pure quality at Total-E-Bound.