Being enveloped in Matt’s strong arms was incredibly comforting. It was just where I needed to be, just when I needed to be there. I would have thought it would have taken a pry bar to get me loose from there. I was wrong.
“She’s pretty banged up, Liz. Can you fix her?”
“Jesus H., Matt! I dunno. That looks pretty bad. I’d say she’s ready for the heap.”
I tried to rip free to give this Liz a good talking to. Matt held me tightly captive with one hand pinned behind my back, and clamped his other over my mouth, but in such a way as it would have appeared to anyone else as a gesture of consolation.
“Do what you can, Liz. Let me know if there’s any hope for her. Otherwise sell her to the scrap yard for the best price you can.”
I was nearing a full on panic. We had poured a lot of love and a lot of hours into customizing and improving the systems on the Mirror. She was as much our friend and lover as she was our means of transportation, and I was not about to just let her go to the scrap heap because of a little ding in the bumper. Truthfully, the damage to the Mirror was bad, but not so extensive she couldn’t be fixed, and Matt’s sudden change had thoughts of capture and escape at the forefront of my mind. I saw Matt give the slightest turn of his head toward Kristine, who I couldn’t quite see. I suspected she was about to throttle him.
I tried to keep telling myself that it was impossible. Matt hated the Pax as much as we did. He’d never turn me over to them. But as much as I wanted to trust my gut, the fact was I was his captive and his hostage against any reprisal from an unarmed Kristine.
“Just do as I fucking say for once, Janie. It’ll all be over soon.”
Strangely, there was no malice in his whisper. No anger, no vindictiveness, no arrogance.
“Just shut up and do what I tell you. There’s half a dozen rifles on us, and if you want to take another breath, just do it.”
I did my best to calm myself. It wouldn’t help to die here in the repair docks on the ass end of a spaceport in a backwater town on a neglected farm world. When he was sure I could be trusted to keep my mouth shut, he released his clamp over my mouth, and using my twisted arm as leverage, he helped me into his skiff. Kristine followed, and got in behind me.
Before he released my arm, he looked at Kristine and then at me.
His voice had changed back to the one I knew so well, and his demeanor was suddenly soft and gentle when he leaned over to kiss my forehead. “Sorry ’bout the arm, but you’re a hot tempered bitch sometimes.”
Matt came around to his side of the skiff, and we started off in silence. As we neared the center of the spaceport, it occurred to me that nearly all the women in sight were in burqas. Kristine and I were standing out like very sore thumbs.
Kristine apparently noticed it too, and she spoke up first. “Matt, we have burqas in the lockers…”
“No. You need to be noticed.”
Well that might have been the truest statement ever made, but I didn’t think this was really the time. While my apprehension had not completely left me, Matt deserved the benefit of the doubt.
I studied the people of this little town as we passed right through the middle of the spaceport, and then right through the middle of town. Matt was sure to keep the speed of the skiff at a leisurely pace, and drew attention to us by waving at various men from time to time, calling out to them by name and offering greetings like he was a pimply teenage geek who somehow managed to get the prom queen in his new car. We were very conspicuous in our passage.
Many of the men shot us lecherous looks. The women were about evenly divided between glares of disgust or revulsion, and quick glances of support and admiration in their eyes. As long as we were on display, I began to occasionally wave at the men and flash a bit of my tongue between my teeth at the nastiest of our female detractors in my best “fuck you” face. The other women I gave a quick wink or a subtle nod if I could do it inconspicuously. No point in causing them trouble with the neighbors. Publicly flouting my whorish ways was rather satisfying. A bit like mooning a church full of bible thumpers and spreading my cheeks wide to display the full menu.
I can be a smug bitch.
At one point, something red and squishy struck the back of the skiff, and having no idea where it came from or what it was, I instinctively ducked. Kristine on the other hand stood up in her seat (in heels!), gathered her dress up nearly to her hips, and shimmied for all she was worth. A few jeers let out from behind us somewhere and she raised her arm that had been holding her hair over her head in the ever contemporary one fingered salute of defiance.
Matt had to fight his own chuckles. “Ok Salomé, sit down. We need to make it home in one piece!” Kristine complied, but not before giving the crowd one more shimmy, and giving Matt a little lick behind his ear. He nearly wrecked the skiff.
I was much more relaxed by the time we finished our circuitous route and arrived at Matt’s. There was still something up, but I had mostly let go of my misgivings.
“You two are something else. Some things never change.”
Matt motioned for us to precede him through the door of his home, and I led the way with only a slight hesitation. I almost didn’t catch the flicker of the lights it was so subtle. I wasn’t at Matt’s. I had stopped dead in my tracks, and when Kristine bumped into me, I just grabbed her and pulled her to the side against the wall, ready for I don’t know what.
Matt appeared through the doorway, and I resisted the urge to take him to the floor and find out what was going on. Trust is no easy thing for me when I’m not privy to the details.
“It’s Ok. We’re safe here.”
“Then what the fuck?”
Matt stepped close into me and gave me his best sexy smile. “Me, for starters.” He kissed me hard and quick. “But not yet.” With that he turned around, took Kristine by the hand, and started away through the house. A bit out of sorts I followed, taking in my surroundings. The sand colored stucco walls were warm and inviting, the perfect compliment to the plush fabrics on the bamboo furnishings. The whole place had the feel of a tropical paradise, complete with white sheer window dressings and palm trees and orchids scattered throughout. The smell was a mixture of saltwater and jungle earthiness.
It was Eden.
Matt led us into a large room brightly illuminated by large open windows along two walls and a huge bar flanking both sides of the door through which we’d entered. The fourth wall was rock like a cliff, complete with lush plant life and a waterfall spilling into a pool in the floor. The sound and sight of the water was calming, a much needed sensation just now.
The ceiling in here had to be close to four meters above the floor, and from it hung vines and flowers near the pool of water. It was a living canopy for close to a third of the room. Beneath the canopy and close to its center was a large padded table, whose use was not immediately apparent, but it was certainly not for dining. There were little padded extensions hanging from the sides and the one that hung from the end nearest the waterfall was doughnut shaped.
The furnishings occupying the rest of this room were large and overstuffed couches, interspersed with tables. The entire room was designed for relaxation and repose.
“Something to drink, girls?”
I gratefully requested a Sex On The Beach, and Kristine seconded the motion. To my surprise, Matt didn’t address the computer, but stepped between the bar and the backbar, and began to mix three of them himself. I noticed he didn’t forget the little shot of rum I like in mine, and I didn’t miss the little extra something he slipped in, though I couldn’t tell what that might have been.
While Kristine wandered over to the sitting area, I strolled over to the waterfall. It was gorgeous, and if any of it was fake, I sure couldn’t tell.
“I hope your friend can fix the Mirror, Matt. She’s been with us for a very long time. The damage wasn’t that bad, y’know.” I turned to meet his eyes, but he was deliberately avoiding my gaze.
I turned back to the waterfall, trying to just lose myself in it. I felt his hands on my shoulders, empty of the promised drinks. He kissed my neck with the gentlest graze of his lips, like a warm breeze almost, and parted his hands slowly, dropping my dress from my shoulders. “Let’s get you out of this.” His fingers brushed my shoulder blades and found the buttons at the back. His breath blew sweet from just behind my ear, and I felt his kiss at the nape of my neck. There was goose flesh down my spine and I shivered as I reached behind me and pulled him close.
“That’s not what I had in mind, Janie. Not for the moment.”
I turned and stood bare before him but for my heels and he was not displeased, by the look in his eye or the rise in his shorts. He took my hand and raised it to his lips, pausing ever so briefly there. He half-turned to one side, and still holding my hand, gestured openly toward the strange padded table a few steps away.
“Hop up, sexy lady.” He lifted me by the waist and set me down on the table. Kneeling before me, he unstrapped and removed my heels. “Still hide a blade in the shoes, I see.”
I blushed a little. “A girl’s gotta be prepared, y’know.” I felt no need to mention the other one.
He eased me onto my back as he turned me to the length of the table. I was beginning to have ideas about what this table was for.
Matt came around to my head, and although I was at the perfect height for what I wanted, he stepped back and then squatted down.
Well. I know what Matt likes, but he was always more suave about things. Still, I was ready to comply. It had been … wow, had it been that long since I’d had a man inside me? Indeed it had. I made a mental note to make up for lost time, and another to not let that happen again.
He adjusted the doughnut up to my head, which was hanging over the table. My face was perfectly supported by the padding, and it was quite comfortable, actually. A moment later, a very large glass resting on a small table came within my field of view, and extending from the glass a beautiful glass straw, ornately decorated with blown glass butterflies and flowers.
“Can you reach that?”
“Fine, Matt.” There were a lot of strange goings on here, but the furthest thing from my mind was that drink.
“Kristine? I could use your assistance here.”
Matt began whispering to Kristine, and I couldn’t quite make out what was being said.
But just as I was about to raise my head, I felt Matt climb onto the table and sit astride my thighs. His shorts were gone, and by that I was not surprised.
His large, strong hands made contact with with my ass, and they were well lubricated. I instantly wanted to open my legs for him, but his knees prevented me. Slowly, he pushed his hands down and forward up my back. About that time, I felt Kristine begin to work on my feet.
I slipped the straw between my lips, closed my eyes, and melted into my massage.
The Lilith Quotient, all chapters