Lloyd's Angel

Lloyd's Angel
by Virtual Scott

October 2010

It was shaping up to be another busy day. The remote vibrated discreetly in my pocket and I headed for the mall entrance. "On it," my partner's voice sounded in my earbud. Angela was there before me, courteously but firmly blocking the progress of a very flustered-looking middle-aged woman. I got there just at the end of the usual speech -- "do you mind if we make a quick search of your bag?" We all knew the request was for form's sake only.

The lady was looking distinctly ashen under her cosmetics when Angela produced the necklace from the bottom of her bag. Unboxed, and unadorned by any of the layers of carefully folded tissue that normally surrounded purchases, it sported only the small RFID tag that had triggered the door sensors. "I have no idea how that got there!" she stammered.

Angela looked frankly disbelieving, but she was always a hard audience. My read of the situation was that she probably was telling the truth. "I'm sure it was an honest mistake," I told her in my most comforting gentlemanly voice. "Vanessa is always leaving things on the counter, and it probably got caught when she was wrapping your purchases."

My partner looked briefly rebellious but followed my lead. "Thank you for your cooperation, Ma'am. We truly value your patronage; please visit us again soon."

Her brilliant smile startled the woman, who mumbled something unintelligible and hurried to put the incident, and us, behind her as quickly as possible. As we walked the necklace back to its rightful place, our minor disturbance was already forgotten by the other shoppers, just like the management preferred.

"Loss Prevention" was management's buzzword for it, and we were the store's best team, and a study in contrasts. Angela was young and dynamic and shit-hot; she wore her security uniform in a way that was 100% professional but put those fake-cop strippers to shame. I was forgettably (and intentionally) plain-clothes and old enough to be her grandfather.

We had good chemistry, but what management cared about was that our loss rate was less than half of anybody else's. When you were the flagship, most exclusive department store at the area's most upscale mall, that translated into serious dollars. The only knock against us was that we didn't like working with anybody else and only worked days. Angela was taking classes at night to earn her degree. I could have (and had) retired years ago, and took the job to avoid boredom; I saw no reason to screw up my nights.

The store manager didn't have any leverage, but probably consoled himself with the thought that our target demographic was rich enough that many of them didn't work, so we were busier during the days than most of the rest of the mall. Unfortunately, that traffic included the usual proportion of people who preferred to avoid paying for their merchandise.

Angela clearly suspected the lady was one of that demographic. "How do you know she wasn't lying to us, Lloyd?" she asked me again after we returned the necklace to one of the jewelry counters.

"I don't," I replied with a shrug, "but she struck me as genuinely surprised and upset -- and not about getting caught. I've had practice reading people since before you were born. Besides" We recited the tired refrain together, she with an air of resignation, "the customer always gets the benefit of the doubt."

It wasn't surprising Angela had pressed me on it; you didn't get far in this business without learning to play a hunch, and she suspected I had some trick I wasn't sharing. However, the fact that she was right didn't change matters. It wasn't something I could teach, and I wasn't entirely sure I understood it myself.

It was something I could do with my mind, although I didn't have a neat name for it. The best description is that I could sort of "push" at another person, and influence them. It wasn't a "your wish is my command" sort of thing; there was an odd, well, "twist" involved. Several, I suspected. Struggling with its application, and with the murky ethics of it all, had occupied me for several decades. Even if it seemed appropriate, it worked best at a simple emotional level; intellectual things usually required coming at the desired result sideways.

More detailed work was possible, but it was inordinately tricky and prone to outright failure, especially if I wasn't familiar with the other mind. They looked (or felt?) like fuzzy balls of static, and delicate work required teasing through them like a ball of tangled string.

The immediate point was that, although I couldn't read minds, I could sense the level of resistance I was getting when I pushed a person. When I'd thought I hate shoplifting at the lady with the necklace, it had been like missing a step on a staircase -- I was as sure as I could be that she'd already believed it and hadn't stolen the necklace.

Reminding Vanessa I feel good when I return jewelry to the display cases immediately was like pushing a finger through a sheet of tissue paper -- while holding it with the same hand. I usually tried to avoid messing about with people who didn't need it, but this wasn't the first time she'd forgotten, and some folks just couldn't resist an opportunity if they saw one. It was good if we got them at the entrance, better if we could intercept shoplifters still inside the store, but best if they never got an opportunity in the first place.

If only the shoplifters were our only problem. We headed to men's furnishings, in response to a report of a customer causing a disturbance. As I feared, it was the young asshole who'd been yanking our chains on and off for a month or so. Even without cheating I could see he wasn't serious about lifting anything, and he only turned up on our shift. My take was that Angela had a fan who'd seen that stupid toilet commercial too many times -- the one where the guy stuffs everything he can down the bowl in an attempt to score a service visit from the foxy plumber next door.

That plumber had nothing on my partner, even with the exasperated frown marring Angela's expression. The idiot had something, probably a pack of socks, stuffed down the front of his pants; Tim, the sales associate, clearly wanted to belt him but was playing by the rules that said, "Hands off and call security."

"I ain't got nothin'," smirked the slimeball when we got within earshot, "frisk me if you don't believe me."

I obligingly took a step forward.

"Not you, old dude!" he warned. "I'm not gonna let some random guy handle my junk unless you want a lawsuit. If the store wants to search me, I want a uniformed officer." All of us were perfectly aware that I was as fully accredited by the store as Angela, and that she was the only security uniform in the store at the moment.

Some people had it coming. "Fine," I growled. "If you'll accompany us to the security office?" Angela knew something was up, because his last few visits had ended with an escort to the door and a suggestion not to return that day. She silently led off, followed by the jerk and myself.

"I'd love to tap that," he confided, as we both watched her tight ass in the form-fitting uniform slacks.

She stiffened, still in hearing range. "Don't push your luck, punk," I warned him, but he was feeling invulnerable and in control.

That feeling faded a bit when we both accompanied him into our Spartan detention room. "It's for your protection," I sarcastically informed him. "You've waved your right to be frisked by a member of the same sex, but store policy requires an observer be present to ensure the inspecting officer does not behave improperly. You also have the right to have this inspection recorded," I concluded with a nod at the camera in the corner.

I could see him working the angles in his head, trying to decide if it was a trick question. I honestly didn't care, but he deserved to squirm. He finally decided to have it taped, which probably was smart if he thought we were going to beat the crap out of him.

I stepped out of the room and started the recorder, verifying it looked good and that the red light on the camera was illuminated. I also used the opportunity to give Angela a quick heads-up via the comm while he couldn't hear me. "Give him the works." She twitched. "Be nice, but be thorough -- at least five minutes."

Angela growled inarticulately in response but gave me a barely perceptible nod as I reentered the room. "Please stand with your legs spread and your arms out, sir," she told him, biting off the honorific as if it were an epithet.

"Don't try anything funny," I warned him, "she's a combat vet." Besides being true, I hoped it would keep him quiet and avoid unnecessary distractions. I leaned against the wall by the corner, where she wouldn't be blocking my view, and gave Angela a thumbs-up.

She moved in close and began running her hands slowly and carefully along one arm. She didn't touch him with anything except the palms of her hands, but Angela was nearly in his face, looked like a wet dream, and had good taste in perfume. I waited until the inevitable stiffening became visible, and then I started pushing.

This was a complicated one because I was trying to juggle several things at once. I knew he must be feeling arousal, and Angela's hands methodically working their way across his body. I left a space for those, and then wove around them desire and the sort of visceral sensations all men had -- the pungent musk of perspiration after hard exercise, the feel of stubble beneath your fingers just before you shaved, the feel of hard cock in your hand; who hasn't masturbated?

I pushed all of it to him, hard, and kept pushing. It was a lot of effort, and it was difficult to maintain the pressure and keep a physical eye on things at the same time. I knew I was getting to him when I felt the pressure start to fade and he started watching me instead of Angela, but I kept pushing anyway. Fucking slimebag.

Finally, Angela stepped back. "Don't move!" she told him, before speaking for the camera. "My inspection is completed. A foreign object appears to be concealed near the subject's genital area." She looked distastefully at his tenting crotch. "Lloyd?"

I had to let up on the pressure to talk, but I'd already worked out what I was going to say, which made things easier. "Sir, our policies strictly prohibit invasive searches by members of the opposite sex. Therefore, I am going to remove the object you have concealed in your pants."

I walked over to him, a little unsteadily, then brusquely pulled out his waistband with one hand, reached in to grab the plastic packaging with the other, and pushed as I withdrew it. I didn't quite have the socks clear before the punk exploded all over the inside of his pants. He jerked like I'd sucker-punched him, but the recording would make it clear neither of us had done anything of the kind.

"Angela, can you escort this gentleman off the premises?" I needed to catch my breath.

"Certainly," she replied with crisp enthusiasm. "Further, as an attempted shoplifter" -- the bag looked like it might not be suitable for returning to inventory -- "you are no longer welcome in this establishment. Please do not return." She marched him out while he was still poking ineffectually at his pants.

"Lloyd, what the hell was that?" Angela asked when she returned a few minutes later.

By then I was up to having a conversation, or at least avoiding one. "I guess you're just too hot to handle, Angela! Hell, if I were his age, I'd probably have that problem too. No offense intended, of course."

"None taken, of course," she rejoined, looking unsatisfied. "Should I feel offended that towards the end I think he was paying more attention to you than me?"

"Probably just worrying that I'd clock him if he got frisky," I quipped.

"Now I am offended," Angela said with a smile. "You think I can't take care of myself? You looked like you were getting winded just holding up the wall, Grandpa; everything all right?"

"Oh, fine; just not a spry as I used to be." I pushed myself back to my feet. "Let's get back to making the world safe for retail therapy, shall we?"

With luck, we'd never see sock-boy again. If I'd done the job right, he'd be too interested in getting felt up by other men to bother coming around here. I told myself it was good for the store, and good for Angela, and tried to put it all behind me.

The activity made it easy to do; maybe the official holiday shopping season hadn't started yet, but the decorations and holiday displays were up, and foot traffic was heavier than usual. We circulated randomly, and I dispensed a few light I hate shoplifting pushes at people that looked problematic.

I hadn't done a big push like that in a while, and I guess my adrenaline was still going, because I was a little wild that afternoon. Angela got a line on a girl we suspected of being a serial shoplifter; clever enough to never get caught, but always seeming to come out of the changing rooms with less than she went in carrying. While Angela was conducting an on-the-spot search, I pressed my back to the other side of the partition, located the static of the unfamiliar mind, and pushed it makes me hot to leave my clothing in dressing rooms.

Angela subsequently reported she hadn't found anything incriminating, but that the girl "was weird" without providing any details. I kicked myself, wondering why I'd passed on the usual reinforcement and wondering if the girl would actually stop stealing or just start trading outfits. Well, spilt milk.

The most exciting moment, for bystanders, came mid-afternoon. A guy at the watch counter tried a snatch and dash, with Angela in hot pursuit. In the open, she probably would have caught him; in the store, the gawkers stirred up by his passage got in her way and she was losing ground.

He was at the limit of my range when I pushed a frantic I love to taunt people but couldn't feel if it had any effect. Whether it was me or karma, he turned to look back at Angela and ran right into a newly-emplaced Christmas tree inside the store entrance. A gun I hadn't realized he had went skidding away, and my heart missed a beat -- what if he'd shot her?

Angela was on top of him before he could regain his footing, and it was all over after that. She had him on the ground and cuffed before I could even get there. My contribution was to collect the watch and gun before somebody else could. The onlookers applauded as she jerked him to his feet and we marched him back to our holding room to wait for the real cops to take him off our hands.

I tried to apologize, although I wasn't sure for what exactly, but Angela cut me off and told me she knew I wouldn't let her get hurt. It felt nice, if unrealistic. I'd already hurt her worse than she'd ever know.

Dinner was reassuringly normal. I gulped a couple aspirin for my headache, and flipped through another chapter of "Advanced Topics in Supply Chain Management" while I waited for the microwave to heat one of those allegedly healthy freezer meals, and then absent-mindedly consumed it.

After that, I sacked out in my recliner and listened to the classical station for half an hour or so while I just let my mind drift. Then it was time to get dressed for my night job. Ironically, although the surroundings were seedier than my day job, the dress code was much classier. The commute was better, too; I walked downstairs and the car was waiting as usual.

It whisked me, with only desultory conversation, to an uninhabited alley. I let myself in the back door, nodded to the staff in sight, and headed up to my office. If I'd gone in the front door, I would have had to navigate velvet ropes and bouncers to pass under a sign reading "HOME RUN -- Home of the Grand Slam Girls."

My office door boasted a small sign that read, "LP." It amused Danny, the owner, to use the same term the store did -- "loss prevention" -- even if the merchandise was different. I was already getting hard in anticipation as I opened the door and walked into the office, closing it again behind me.

"Boss," she greeted me, rising from the expensive chair. "Angel," I replied. The body was the same, and the perfume, but nothing else. She was my greatest creation, my worst failure, the fairest fruit of my gift, and a stark warning of its corrosive effect, all rolled into one sultry package.

Like a modern-day Jekyll and Hyde, two personalities inhabited the body before me, each ignorant of the other. Angela had a body built for sex; Angel frankly invited it. Angela was my partner; Angel my depraved toy. She stalked across the office to me, displaying herself for my enjoyment.

There was a lot to enjoy. Dark hair cascaded across one shoulder to fall just short of her breasts. As I watched she brushed it back with one hand to present herself, parting lips painted a deep ruby red to reveal a flash of white teeth and pink tongue. Her breasts, high, firm and beautifully shaped, rode exposed atop the ribbed bustier she'd chosen to wear this evening. The nipples capping them were rigidly erect and dark with rouge.

Angel's hands drifted to her hips and plucked the ties of her string bikini, letting it fall to the floor. It revealed a bare sex swollen and dripping with desire. She swayed close to me, limbs covered with opera gloves and dark lace stockings, balancing gracefully on the five-inch heels that enhanced her blood-boiling gait.

"Fuck me," she breathed in a husky voice that couldn't be mistaken for her alter ego's business-like soprano. I unzipped my fly, but she batted my hands aside and finished unfastening my trousers. Squatting gracefully, she inhaled my rigid organ until her nose was nestled in my wiry hair.

My balls churned and I shuddered with need, but she knew my body nearly as well as I did. She rose again and pulled me toward the desk, which not coincidentally was cleared. She leaned back against it, and the slight spreading of her legs and the molten urgency in her dark eyes was all the invitation I needed. I sheathed myself in her welcoming depths, both of us gasping with the intensity of the sensation.

I hissed, "Fucking slut," through my teeth as I withdrew slightly and forced myself into her again.

"I'll always be your slut," she sighed, her eyelids heavy with desire. I knew I'd go to Hell for what I'd done to her, but at the moment there was nothing the Devil could tempt me with that would outdo my Angel. I shot my load inside her, and she climaxed too, as she always did. She milked my rapidly deflating organ with her muscles, and then pushed me away so she could kneel and clean me with her kitten tongue.

While she worked, I stroked her hair gently and carefully laid my latest reading assignment into the baroque tangle of sparks that was her mind. Angela would wake with memories of another lecture. I actually was qualified to teach this subject, and most of the others Angela had "taken" over the past two years; it was the least I could do for her.

Our mutual tasks accomplished, we dressed ourselves. Angel didn't bother to clean herself before tying on her panties and checking her garters and stockings were straight. Call me petty, but it was another unexpected twist to our strange arrangement.

A hint to other seventy-plus-year-old would-be perverts: do not acquire companions whose sex drives significantly exceed your own capabilities. I could play a few games with my own mind, but my body just was not physically up to the challenge of orgasming more than once a night. Angel lived for sex and needed multiple climaxes a night to be happy; unfortunately my conceit of tying her orgasms to her partner's necessarily meant she was a party girl.

She fit right in at Home Run. A natural Grand Slam Girl -- "you get all the way to home base, and so do your friends!" -- Danny usually had her booked well in advance. I wasn't the jealous type, mostly, as long as I made sure all the other guys got sloppy seconds. I kept an eye on her, and knowing she was taking all those other loads solely because I wanted her to pandered to my baser instincts.

After a surprisingly chaste kiss and a final grab of that sweet ass, we went our separate ways and I settled down to business. The concept was the same, but "Loss Prevention" had some unique twists when it applied to workers at a thinly disguised brothel when prostitution was illegal. There was a lot more proactive work, for one thing. Danny didn't understand exactly what I did, but he understood I was doing something that netted him a lot of profit and he took care to keep me happy.

For my part, I sometimes regretted our pact but I felt owed it to the girls to make sure they were treated semi-decently. And, honestly, it provided a place where I could do the least damage when I hit one of my backsliding phases. I'd had a lot of them over the years.

November 1961

It was ludicrous, but I couldn't tell Dr. Reynolds that. I might have been short-sighted enough to tell him anyway, but my mouth and brain were frozen in stunned surprise until the opportunity was past.

Finally I just picked up the notes and left without saying anything. I was convinced none of this would have happened if Dr. Needum hadn't been on sabbatical, but he was -- and my Ph.D. prospects were in Dr. Reynolds' hands for this academic year.

It was expected that Reynolds would have me doing his scutwork. It was, perhaps, bearable that he had me doing busywork for the benefit of his own graduate students; I could expect they might feel they owed me a favor in return some day. Accusing me of deliberately sabotaging one of his researcher's experiments was nearly unbearable; not least because the accusation was completely unfounded.

Now I was committed to spending the weekend before Thanksgiving, including my birthday, redoing some screw-up Master candidate's work so I could prove that I was innocent of malfeasance. What a farce. The worst part was that it was all statistics, which I hated. I'd seen math wizards who could make their slide rules fly, but I wasn't one of them.

I started after dinner, putting aside my own dissertation and research notes, and proceeded to cover my desk with neat stacks of paper. By the time I'd finished sorting, I'd remembered the experiment they described. It had been another deadly dull survey intended to measure attitudes across the student body; anybody with any excuse had contrived to be unavailable and Reynolds had started drafting the unwary -- like me -- to assist.

Reynolds' student, Alex, had claimed I had messed up my interviews and thrown off the entire study. More precisely, my data was skewed enough from the other interviewers' data that the uncertainty intervals became absurdly large. Removing my data reduced the population sufficiently that it was no longer possible to draw statistically significant inferences, even if the act of removing them didn't raise questions about the survey's methodology.

The survey was too simple to screw up. The interviewer showed the subject a pair of pictures, and recorded which was preferred. Then repeat about a hundred times. There were a lot of pictures, all carefully ordered and categorized so as to eliminate bias and allow conclusions to be based on the subject's demographic. It was deadly dull, but I knew I hadn't messed it up -- which meant the math claiming I did was wrong.

My problem was that by Saturday afternoon, it didn't look like the math was wrong after all. Sure, I'd done it five times and gotten three different answers, but I was beginning to think the accusation was correct -- or there was something subtly wrong with the experiment and nobody else had picked up on it. I changed tack and started looking for patterns in the data for my surveys.

I stumbled across it after dinner, and ended up awake well past midnight trying to confirm it. When I looked at my interviews in chronological order, I found the deviations were greatest with the first interviews of the day, and decreased until they became indistinguishable from the data collected by other interviewers. The other interesting quirk was that the deviations seemed to be generally in the same direction.

By Sunday afternoon, I had established a statistically significant trend existed; responses at the beginning of each day tended to converge, and responses at the end of each day tended to match the overall survey results. I also knew that I didn't know enough to take things any further. Since there was no way I was going to go to Reynolds and tell him that without knowing why, my obvious next step was to find Alex and talk to him.

I hurried through my own class Monday and let my students go a few minutes early so I could get across the quad before the end of the period. I'd never met him, but a glance at the schedule showed Alex was teaching a recitation section of Reynolds' Introduction to Psychology class; I figured it would be easy enough to intercept him at the end of the hour and introduce myself.

The students were already bolting from the classroom when I rounded the corner, so I let the mob pass before poking my head in the door. My first thought was that I'd missed Alex; the only person remaining in the room was a stunning blonde transferring some papers into a briefcase. I paused to admire the view for a moment, until it was clear she'd noticed me.

"Yes?" she prompted, obviously less taken with me than I with her. "Did you want something?"

"I was looking for Alex Sullivan; do you know where I can find him?"

The blonde barked a brief, unhappy laugh. "I'm Alexandra Sullivan -- what did you want?"

I walked a little further into the classroom. "I wanted to talk with you about your popular opinion survey." Her expression lightened, until I added, "My name is Lloyd Parker."

"You!" I think if she'd had something heavier in her hand than paper, she would have thrown it. "Do you know what kind of mess you've caused?"

Holding up both hands in self-defense, I admitted, "Yes; Dr. Reynolds pointed it out to me last week, rather forcefully!"

I thought perhaps her stern expression wavered a little bit. "Do you know how many weeks this is going to set me back while I repeat those surveys? I was supposed to have the next draft of my thesis submitted before the holiday break!"

"Hey, I'm really sorry about that. I looked at the data all weekend, and I agree that something funny happened, but I honestly don't think I did anything and I don't know how to explain it. I was hoping maybe you would spot something I missed."

It looked like she wanted to refuse, but nobody I knew put in the effort it took for post-graduate work unless it really meant something to them. "Yeah, okay," Alexandra sighed. "I have office hours, but I think everybody is already thinking about Thanksgiving. Listening to you might be more entertaining than wondering how to salvage my study." She finished filling her briefcase and we headed out.

It turned out she had half of a small office on the third floor. It was, as she'd predicted, deserted. Unlike my basement lair on the other side of campus, it sported a window, but the folded towel stuffed along the bottom of the pane suggested this wasn't the best time of year to appreciate it.

Alexandra set her briefcase on the desk in one corner, leaned against the wall next to the radiator, and turned her blue eyes on me. "Go ahead, Lloyd -- impress me." Her crossed arms and body language suggested she wasn't expecting much.

In other circumstances, I might have been intimidated -- I didn't run across really attractive postgraduate coeds every day -- but my mind was already focused on the puzzle I'd turned up the previous afternoon. I plopped my own briefcase atop the bare table in the center of the office, extracted my quasi-legible notes, and started talking.

She lasted about five minutes before abandoning the radiator and trying to read my notes upside down. That lasted about a minute before she was standing beside me trying, with equal lack of success, to read my notes right side up. "Can you read these?" Alexandra asked in annoyance, before proceeding to barrage me with a stream of increasingly pointed questions.

We'd been alternating at the chalkboard and pacing back and forth arguing for some time when I finally noticed it was dark outside and my stomach was rumbling. "Hey, it's late; would you like to continue this over dinner?"

"Oh!" Alexandra had been pretty animated, but she visibly shut down as her sense of surroundings returned and she looked at the clock. "I'm sorry, Lloyd, but I don't think that would be appropriate."

"Maybe a cup of coffee, then?" I suggested, unwilling to let things go without making another try.

"Thank you, but no." I would have felt better if she'd shown at least a little regret.

I belatedly noticed she was wearing an engagement ring, although not a wedding band. Smooth move, Lloyd, I told myself in disgust. "Okay, well, thanks for listening," I told her, trying to smooth over the awkward spot. "Let me know if you figure out anything, will you?"

"Certainly," Alexandra said, a bit distantly.

Probably I'd never hear from her again, but hopefully at least I'd done enough to get off of Dr. Reynolds' shit list. "Good night," I told her, and walked out.

It was hard to get going on Monday morning. The roads hadn't been good Sunday, and although my ten-year-old Ford would probably live to run me into the ground, the tires were a little bald and I'd been sane enough to drive slowly. One of the perks of being an advanced student was the avoidance of early morning classes, but apparently nobody had told Dr. Reynolds that.

Another of his annoying qualities was a bizarre fondness for early morning status meetings, which this semester were every Monday and Friday. I told myself that I was lucky he'd let me skip the post-Thanksgiving meeting, but I was still in a bad mood when I stumped into his office.

I was surprised to see Alexandra waiting in his office, apparently for me.

"Now, Alex tells me you're willing to work with her to correct your little mishap, Lloyd," he said without anything in the way of a preamble. "Commendable, my boy, commendable."

That wasn't the way I remembered leaving things and I was trying to collect my wits enough to respond when Alexandra, who also wore a pained expression, spoke up. "Um, Dr. Reynolds, what I had meant to suggest was that Lloyd perhaps could assist with a follow-on study to determine the source of the error in the original."

"Well, of course!" Reynolds chuckled. "Of course he'll assist you; that's what collaboration is all about, right? I expect to hear details on your plan come Friday, now. Carry on!"

I hated morning people. I was really tempted to hate Alexandra, too; my own dissertation had just been sidetracked indefinitely and Reynolds effectively had put me in the role of an assistant to a researcher who was junior to me. However, it was hard to hate a girl as beautiful as Alexandra, and in all fairness, she didn't seem much happier about it than I.

"Your place or mine?" I asked as we stood in the hallway.

"Uugh!" she cursed a moment later after the double entrendre sank in. Alexandra turned away without another word and stalked toward the stairs.

Dr. Reynolds could still see me from his chair, so I hastily scampered after Alexandra, catching up with her as she started upward. Apparently, she preferred her office to mine.

"Just be quiet!" she snarled, before I even opened my mouth. "Do you know how hard it is to be a woman? Nobody takes you seriously! I use 'Alex' for a pen name so I can get published." She was stomping up the stairs rather noisily. "I've spent years trying to get men to treat me like somebody competent, and then this happens!"

Alexandra stopped abruptly and turned to face me. "You know what they're going to say about this"

She was two steps above me; I forced my eyes up to her face. "What?"

"Oh, Alexandra just got her math wrong; it's so hard for her. Luckily she'll have Lloyd to help keep her from getting into trouble now!" She twitched as if she'd been planning to throw up her hands and discovered one of them burdened by her briefcase. "Aaaaah!"

I couldn't help it; I laughed in her face. "One of NASA's chimpanzees probably can do better math than I can! Besides," I continued, "how do you think I feel about this? I'm a doctoral candidate, for crying out loud; I should be conducting my own research, not assisting some graduate study."

Visibly clenching her teeth, she replied, "Well, I guess we can agree that neither of us wants to be doing this."

Glumly nodding, I couldn't resist adding, "And Dr. Reynolds could care less what we think, so we're stuck doing it anyway."

Alexandra sighed in agreement and resumed her climb.

That conversation pretty much foreshadowed the short remainder of the semester. I became a fixture in Alexandra's office. Her officemate, Susan, silently procured an additional chair from somewhere, further cramping the already-tight space. After her initial stairwell explosion, Alexandra remained punctuously correct but distant. I dreaded those sessions, but the kibitzing Susan, who was rather more taken with my exalted status than was Alexandra, interjected enough humor to keep them bearable.

We wasted the rest of the month re-interviewing subjects, comparing results, and checking math, to no avail. Alexandra surveyed students I'd interviewed earlier in the semester, and, while there were some minor variations, got basically the same results I had. I repeated some of her interviews, with Alexandra watching me like a hawk, with the same lack of useful results. All of us got a lot better at statistics, but the numbers stubbornly insisted that "my" interviewees had noticeably different preferences than their peers, regardless of demographic. I left for Christmas wondering if pumping gas was such a bad living after all.

November 2010

I was nursing a drink downstairs in the lounge, watching the crowd, when the detective came in. The lounge provided space for the bar, and a small dance floor. It looked like a typical (and law-abiding) club offering adult entertainment, if you didn't stop to wonder how much of the building it didn't occupy. It catered to heavy drinkers, those too clueless or too timid to make it to the suites upstairs, and to our friends in the law enforcement community.

I'd been grinning over my beer at the dazed expressions on the frat boys coming down the stairs; by my watch, these would be Angel's first party. The change in the eddy of the crowd by the door caught my attention. I don't know what it was about the police types; no matter what they wore, they seemed to exude a buzz-kill aura that tipped off even those much less observant than myself.

What I should have done, and had done countless times before, was have the hostess bring the guy over, spot him a drink and a seat for the floor show, and leave him positively convinced that nothing illegal was happening here, even if the place was littered with Danny's stupidly clever allusions to the contrary.

But, like I mentioned, I was in a bad place. What I did do was buzz the hostess on the comm, tell her to stall the cop for ten minutes, and bring him up to the red suite. Then I ghosted up the back stairs to find Angel. She was alone in the gold suite, which reeked of sex, but looking remarkably composed as she combed out her lustrous hair. Her panties were gone and her swollen slit was oozing cum, but with a little lipstick she'd be as presentable as she had been at the beginning of the night. What a slut; my cock gave an involuntary twitch at the thought.

"Hey, Boss," she said, noticing me. "What's up?"

"Change of plan," I told her. "We have a visitor downstairs, probably a cop. How'd you like to drop by the red suite and pretend to be Danny for a while?"

"I can do that," she answered, her face so intent that she reminded me of Angela and my conscience twinged again. "How do you want me to play him?"

"Find out why he's here. Compromise him, if you can; just be sure he makes the first move." The red suite was right next to my office and outfitted with video and audio pickups -- perfect for catching people red-handed, and thus the name. I shrugged. "Go with your instincts."

The little vixen grinned widely. "I love a challenge! How long do I have?"

"About five minutes now," I replied, looking at my watch.

"I'll be ready!" she rose and swept out of the room, moving quickly without looking like she was working at it.

I sauntered back to my office, riffed through a set of placards until I found one reading, "Staff Supervisor," and another labeled, "Ms. Jones." Stepping back outside, I popped the "Red Suite" sign off the magnetic mount on the door and positioned the two replacements in its place. I pushed open the door and took a quick look at the room, confirming it was presentable and could reasonably pass for an ostentatious, but not extravagant, office.

Angel brushed past me, making sure I felt the curve of a breast through our clothing. She'd put up her hair in a quick twist, traded in her slut shoes for more modest three-inch pumps, and exchanged the gloves for a corporate grey pinstripe skirt and blazer. I doubted she looked very modest beneath it, but that wasn't the point. After a quick look in the wall mirror (which incidentally concealed the main camera) she wiped away the remains of her lipstick with a tissue and quickly but neatly retouched her lips with a more muted shade.

We traded thumbs-up, and I closed the door behind me before returning to my own office. Once there, I started the video and confirmed I had a good image; Angel was seated behind "her" desk typing at the PC there. I buzzed the host station with a go-ahead, and sat back to finish organizing my thoughts.

A knock sounded through the speaker a moment later. "Ms. Jones? There's a Detective Snowden here to see you." Angel nodded and beckoned.

With a grimace, I noticed she was surfing a pornography site. The face of the display wasn't visible from the visitor chair in front of the desk, but I hoped we wouldn't need that secondary view later.

An obviously disgruntled middle-aged man entered the picture and stared at Angel for a long moment before settling into the chair. I heard the door close behind him.

"You're the manager of this place?" he asked in evident disbelief. Is this your idea of a joke? Where's Sullivan?" That was Danny.

Angel arched one delicate eyebrow. "Yes, I'm the manager. No, I am not joking. Mr. Sullivan has better things to do with his time than fill out personnel reports and cater to unannounced visits from sexist troglodytes." She considered, and added, "Not that it's your business, but the girls prefer a manager who can sympathize with their viewpoint."

"This makes it my business," he snarled, slamming his badge on the desk. Yep, there was a lot of anger there. "And we both know 'your girls' spend far more time on their backs in these rooms than they do on that sham of a stage you have downstairs!"

"I beg to differ," Angel responded calmly. "What we both know is that we provide changing rooms for the comfort and convenience of our featured entertainers, and that multiple previous investigations -- official ones -- have uncovered no evidence that would substantiate your wild, and frankly slanderous, accusations."

What an earful. Maybe it was somehow bleeding over, but it sure sounded like Angel was making good use of Angela's unorthodox MBA coursework.

"Perhaps you would care to explain this?" Snowden asked, suddenly ice cool, as he flicked a small trinket onto the desk with apparent indifference.

"A lapel pin, it appears," she commented, not impressed. "Your point?"

It took me a moment longer to recognize it; the video quality was good but not great. I wanted to beat my head against my desk. Danny couldn't resist being clever, especially when he thought he had me to bail him out. It looked like I was going to be doing some bailing tonight.

"A lapel pin I confiscated from my son," the detective grated. Just great; I just shook my head. "You will please not insult my intelligence by pretending it is a coincidence that it is shaped like your 'Home Run' logo, or that by coincidence that same logo appears on the plaque at the head of the stairs, which by further striking coincidence bears my son's name, among others."

I was already pulling up the roster on the computer; there was a Darren Snowden added in the spring. That explained the detective's interest, and suggested this was an off-the-books probe, but why the intensity?

"Yes," Angel admitted blandly, "we do award the Home Run pin to some of our best customers."

"My son is 16 years old!" he erupted.

Snowden and the office computer had a critically important five-year difference of opinion regarding Darren's age. If, as seemed likely, the elder Snowden had a heart attack next door, I couldn't decide if I would be happy or sad.

Angel managed a nicely calibrated expression of pained surprise and sympathy. "I assure you, Detective Snowden, we do not knowingly admit minors to this establishment and we are extremely vigilant about checking identification. I am profoundly sorry this situation has arisen, but you cannot reasonably hold us accountable for it."

He waved her off, "oh I know, of course he has fake identification! But you are the peddlers of smut that actively encourage this moral decay! Peddling sex -- no, women -- like they were pieces of meat. A Home Run pin -- to my son!"

The cop was literally pounding on the edge of her desk. I knew what was coming, but what remained to be seen was how Angel would respond.

"Best customers!" he shouted. "You know how you get a Home Run pin?" It was obviously a rhetorical question, and Snowden raced on as soon as he drew a ragged breath. "You tit-fuck one of your 'performers' -- and then she blows you, and then you fuck her, and then you're not done, oh no, you sodomize her. Then you give him a fucking pin so he can boast to his friends and corrupt them too!"

Technically, the guy had to ejaculate all four times. Originally, the only restriction was that they had to occur on the same visit, but some high rollers weren't beyond forking out to engage a girl all night; now, Danny had a one-hour limit on it. Pin holders had their names engraved on the wall of fame and received preferential booking and discounts on their future visits. There was no doubt Snowden had the basics down; it was one of Danny's wildly idiotic brainstorms that had proven to be wildly successful. If you ignored fallout like this.

"You must be very proud of your son," Angel told him.

The detective was literally shocked silent, and I might have thought he'd suffered that promised heart attack if it weren't for the continued sparkle of his consciousness.

"What?" he choked out, apparently unable to believe his ears. I couldn't blame him.

"It sounds like your son is a real man," Angel purred. "Think about it. Imagine trapping your cock between a woman's breasts, and spraying your essence on her body." She leaned forward intently, bracing her forearms on the desk.

I didn't for a second think the way her upper arms compressed her breasts, exposing more of them and emphasizing her cleavage, was accidental. Nodding with appreciation, I focused on Snowden and pushed. Lust. Envy. It was surprising how little resistance I found.

"Teasing her with his scent," she continued, "until she just has to taste him." Perfect lips formed an open "O" as she paused to reflect a moment.

Snowden stirred but said nothing.

"If he's still hard, why, what woman wouldn't want a tool like that inside her?" Angel jerked minutely, and both of us realized her hands were no longer resting on the desk.

"Slut!" Snowden screamed, standing. His erection was obvious, at least on the secondary camera; I had a feeling we wouldn't need it after another minute or two. Two long strides took him around the desk. "Fucking slut! Is this what you want? Is it?"

He slapped her and Angel went over backwards. I wouldn't have put it past her to have taken a pratfall; the blow hadn't really looked that hard. The detective's eyes bulged as he took in the view I had on the overhead camera; somehow Angel's jacket had come unbuttoned and fallen open, exposing a bustier and her heaving tits. With one of her long legs still propped on the fallen chair, the front of her skirt had ridden up to her waist, providing a classic beaver shot of her creaming gash framed between the tops of her stockings.

Best of all, none of it showed on the main video, which didn't extend down to the floor. All I could see was the one calf and a foot atop the overturned chair, and a man who, after a moment of stunned inaction, began frantically unfastening his trousers.

Pay dirt. We wouldn't have to worry about Detective Snowden again.

I took a deep breath, and stood up to go back downstairs; Angel could take care of herself now. On reflection, I double-checked to make sure the time of day was visible in the corner of the monitor. If I knew my Angel, Snowden was going to join his son in the Home Run club tonight or die trying.

January 1962

"Maybe Lloyd guessed somehow," hypothesized Susan. The comment came out of left field, interrupting Alexandra's stilted description of her wedding planning progress. The only other news we had to share was that Dr. Reynolds had talked to Dr. Fredrekksen, with the result that Susan was officially part of our research team now.

I gazed appreciatively at the brunette. The thought was ridiculous, but she'd changed her hair over the break. Susan was no Alexandra, but she was attractive -- especially once she'd come out of her shell -- and I'd thought more than once letting her hair down would look better -- a good guess on my part. I was sure Alexandra spent hours each morning perfecting that professional look before she set foot outside.

"Guessed how they'd answer the survey? Don't be ridiculous, Susan!" exclaimed the blonde, echoing my thought. "We took people in the order they came in, randomly. And even if that weren't true, how could he possibly know what they'd think?" She smiled, which was like a laugh for Alexandra. "That perm didn't get to your brain, did it?"

Susan huffed. "Well, we didn't think of anything better last year! Besides, it would be easy enough to test, right?"

"No," Alexandra and I replied in unison. It was scary, sometimes, how similar we could be; if she would just take the chip off her shoulder and thaw out a little bit "I don't have any way to guess what people are thinking," I objected after Alexandra gave me a wave.

"Oh, poo!" Susan dismissed our concerns. "Where's your sense of adventure? Would you rather be building up calluses with your slide rules? Just try it!" She laughed. "I volunteer to be your test subject."

"Oh, no you don't!" cautioned Alexandra, but it looked like she was trying not to laugh. "We've all been over this data so many times that I bet all of us could recite answers in our sleep." Standing, she added, "if you want to do this, I'm going to find a subject -- this is my research, after all."

"Okay," Susan assented, "but I'll do the survey, and you'll watch both me and Lloyd to make sure we aren't cheating or influencing anything."

Susan and I spent a few minutes clearing the table and pulling out one of the survey photo decks before Alexandra returned with a student in tow. "Do any of you know each other?" she asked.

All of us, and the student, shook our heads. He sat at the table across from Susan, and I took a seat at Alexandra's desk where I could see his face and the pictures, but not what he was writing. Alexandra hovered like a parochial school nun, ready to dispense corporal punishment to unruly students.

"Okay," Susan smiled, and launched into the standard introduction. "This is just an opinion survey -- there are no right or wrong answers; what we are interested in is what you, personally, think. I'm going to show you a series of pictures, in pairs. All you need to do is look at each pair, and note which image you prefer."

I studied the student, Robert, while Susan ran through the introductory demographic questions, and tried to get a feel for him. He just looked like some random undergrad who'd been in the wrong place at the wrong time and couldn't say "no" to a beautiful girl. Susan's suggestion was ridiculous, but I wasn't going to open myself up for any grief from Alexandra by giving it less than my best effort.

As Alexandra had alluded, I already had the photo decks memorized, so I was free to devote all of my attention to Robert, concentrating on his face, and looking down to note a choice just after he made his. President Kennedy or Reverend King? Ocean waves or a hillside meadow? A kitten or a puppy? A blonde or a brunette? A swath of tartan, or one with polka dots? Alexandra knelt beside me at one point, apparently to make sure I couldn't see which column he was marking, but remained silent the entire time.

"Darn!" Susan interjected unexpectedly when she reached the end. "Somebody left the deck out of order; number 1 got rotated to the end by mistake. What do we do now?"

"Well, we're not doing this again," I voted. Maybe my eyes needed checking, because after 30 minutes of this I had a splitting headache.

"Just make a note on the forms, Susan," Alexandra decided, "and we can correct the data when we analyze it. Thank you very much for your time, Robert." After he left, she gave Susan and me a new set of blanks and we quickly copied the two spoiled sheets, moving each answer down one space and pulling the last up to the top so they would correspond to our existing data.

The three of us gathered around the table and stared at the results. I admit I was thinking mostly about where I could get some aspirin.

"Sugar," a disappointed Susan said, "it's not even worth running the numbers. I don't think even half of them matched -- are you sure weren't trying to lose, Lloyd?"

"Unbelievable," Alexandra breathed in a very different tone of voice. She found a column of data and laid it beside Robert's survey; even at a cursory glance it was clear they were very similar to each other. "What are the odds?"

I looked more closely and saw the new data was the aggregate data from "my" demographic group. The alignment was as inexplicable as my predictive performance was expected; Alexandra had pulled this guy out of the hallway, but she might just as well have pulled the data from the folder on her desk! "I need a drink," I moaned, wishing hard for the day to be over.

"I agree," Alexandra chimed in unexpectedly, and an excited Susan squealed assent and grabbed for her coat before either of us could change our minds.

We ended up in a booth at Nino's, nursing beers while we waited for our burgers and fries. Apparently, having an unofficial chaperone in Susan was sufficient to get past Alexandra's defenses. I caught one or two envious glances from guys who saw me with the two girls; if only they'd heard the conversation!

Alexandra started out worrying over the practical impossibility we'd just encountered, then loosened up enough to start worrying about whether she'd be able to keep ahead of the wedding preparations and live up to her family's and fiancee's expectations for it.

The guy sounded like a pompous prick, frankly, which might make him a good match for Alexandra Sullivan the Ice Queen but not somebody I'd want to marry. Luckily, all I needed to do was maintain a noncommittal expression while Susan made sympathetic noises and Alexandra spilled more personal information in an hour than she had in weeks.

We didn't resolve anything, but I stumped back to my room feeling better than I had -- at least I didn't have Alexandra's problems! I told Mrs. Hudson I'd already had dinner and went up to flip through the professor's notes for my class the next day before going to sleep.

I tromped through an inch of fresh snow the next morning, determined to take another look at Robert's survey with a clear head before heading off to my first class. I remembered that Alexandra had a lecture that hour, but it appeared that Susan had decided to come in early, too.

"Ha!" she exclaimed when I appeared in the office doorway. "I knew it!"

"Knew what?" I asked, hanging up my coat and hat. The radiator wouldn't catch up enough for me to remove the sweater until much later in the day.

"I knew you were sandbagging," Susan laughed, "look!" She gestured at the paperwork spread out on the table.

I sat down heavily. Susan had matched up my original response sheet with Robert's and our aggregate data. "Matched up" was the right term -- my results were exactly on the baseline, and Robert was in the 99th percentile.

"Why didn't we see this before?" she crowed. "When we consider the pictures you thought you were looking at, you're an exact match! I mean, exact!"

"I never actually took the survey myself, before yesterday," I said weakly, and looked up again. "How is this even possible?" I couldn't dispute the facts, even if I couldn't explain them.

"Maybe it's mind control!" giggled Susan, and she made vaguely threatening gestures with her arms.

"Oh, come on!" My headache felt like it was coming back again. "I really wish you wouldn't mention that to anybody," I told her, dreading the thought of Alexandra hearing that hypothesis.

"Let's find out! Let's do the survey again!" Susan was like some kid who'd had too much sugar to eat.

I shook my head. "That won't work. Alexandra's right; we both know the survey data too well." I could help laughing faintly as I poked my response sheet, which proved the point.

"Well, make me do something," Susan suggested.

"Bark like a dog," I offered.

"I'm serious!" she snapped at me.

I sighed and considered her. She really did look much better with her hair down, although the bulky sweater she was wearing didn't do her figure any favors. It was a pretty nice figure, when I thought about it. What I did next I chalked up solely to being a man who'd gone too long without getting any satisfaction.

"Show me your tits," I commanded, trying on my best vampire-like hypnotic gaze.


I think we both blushed as I stammered an apology. "I'm really sorry, Susan; I shouldn't have said that." At least she wasn't running out of the room or screaming. "I guess I just let my hormones get the better of me." Just for good luck, I added, "I wanted to try something you wouldn't do normally, just for a test."

Susan looked only slightly mollified, but she nodded.

I was thankful that Susan didn't say anything about the incident to Alexandra, but it was curious that she didn't bring up her research breakthrough either. More curiously, I didn't mention it, although my original survey was buried in my briefcase now. I told myself I just wanted to think things over before getting Alexandra all excited, but I wasn't really sure that was it. There was no way Susan's wild suggestion could be true, right?

That night, I jerked off before going to sleep, trying my best to keep the squeaking of the old bedsprings to a minimum. The mental picture of a tranced Susan slowly unfastening her nightgown had me cumming like a fire hose.

Wednesday started off bright and early with a status conference with Dr. Reynolds, which maybe boosted his spirits but nobody else's. After that, we went our own ways for the rest of the morning. Following lunch, I finally gathered my courage and pulled out my survey sheet.

"Hey," I told Alexandra, "you should see what Susan found." I figured it wouldn't hurt to skip over the delay in sharing the information, and I was giving credit where it was due.

"My gosh, Susan," gasped the blonde, but she wasn't looking at the paper. "Are you going out somewhere?"

The brunette had just removed her sweater, revealing a very tight top that showcased all of her curves and was cut low enough that it really should have been left for summer. I wouldn't have complained in any circumstances, but just then my mind was racing. Did I have anything to do with this? That it was just coincidence seemed extremely unlikely, but the alternative was totally unbelievable.

"No, why?" Susan asked. "But, Alexandra, look!" she continued, bending over the table to point. Alexandra's eyes followed the finger; mine followed the breasts that swayed to reveal even more cleavage between them. If she hadn't been wearing a bra, I don't know what would have happened.

"I don't believe it!" Alexandra gasped, as quick on the uptake as I had been. She turned accusing eyes on me. "How did you do this, Lloyd?"

"I don't know," I muttered, thinking I was starting to sound like a broken record. "Honestly! You were right beside me the entire time." I could see the wheels turning in her mind.

"You know," Alexandra mused, "if you accept this is happening at all, it's a lot more likely they're somehow being influenced than it is that all these people just coincidentally have nearly identical opinions."

"That's just what I think!" burst out Susan, as if hearing the words had released something inside her.

For my part, I wanted to pound my head against the wall. Even if any of this was true, the last thing I wanted was to be poked and studied and commented on like some exotic bug in a jar. "Look," I said heavily, "I don't know what's going on, either. But can we please not go talking to people about this; at least until we understand what's really happening?" I put on my best pleading, hangdog expression and strained to convey my sincerity and desire. "Ow!"

"What's wrong?" Susan asked, while Alexandra eyed me warily.

"A headache," I explained. "Do either of you have any aspirin? I think this entire line of conversation is hurting my brain." I'd always seemed to be prone to stress headaches, and this qualified as a stressful situation in my book. Susan turned and started rummaging in her desk.

Alexandra sighed. "Believe me; it's hurting my brain, too. We'll stay quiet, for now." Susan nodded her agreement and handed me a few pills, which I gulped dry. "This is still my research project, and I have no greater desire to become a laughingstock than do you. The question is, what do we do now?"

We all stared at each other silently. "Can you put on your sweater, Susan?" Alexandra asked after watching my eyes slide sideways for the second or third time.

Susan shrugged, delightfully, and pulled on the cardigan. She didn't say anything, but I had the impression she knew I was watching and liked it. I wasn't a dork or anything, but it had been awhile since a girl had flirted with me. "What now, indeed?"

"Don't look at me!" Alexandra held her head in her hands. "I'm supposed to be writing a psychology dissertation, not"

"Science Fiction?" I suggested, wryly.

"Um. Human physiology or neurology might be better, but we're all equally unqualified for any of them, anyway. This is really stupid, you know -- what are we going to do, test on each other?"

In retrospect, of course, it was amazing we were even having the conversation. We were all suspicious I was somehow influencing people, and Alexandra at least had to be wondering why Susan had decided to wear that top. If I were some coed, the last thing I'd do was invite some boy to experiment on me, no matter how well-behaved he'd been up to that point.

I could only hypothesize that I'd always tried to be a trustworthy person, and that without knowing I was even doing anything, I'd influenced people to trust me rather than simply demonstrating I was trustworthy, as I'd thought. It hurt to think about, but I wasn't thinking about it then. My cock was thinking about all the things I could do, and my conscience was thinking about all the things I shouldn't even be thinking about.

"Well, if we're keeping it private, we don't have too many options," opined Susan, heedless of my private musings. "If you're the principal investigator, Alexandra, and obviously Lloyd can't be the subject, then I guess that leaves me." She turned her attention to me. "We just need to be methodical and only try things we all agree to."

"Of course," Alexandra agreed, ignorant of the subtext of Susan's warning. "But first, Lloyd, I'd like to know everything that was going through your head on Monday."

The remainder of the afternoon was rather dull, as the girls peppered me with questions I couldn't answer about things I'd never even thought about before. I had to admire the way Alexandra's mind worked; several of her questions were extremely insightful and bore thinking on, even when I couldn't answer them satisfactorily.

I did some of that thinking later that evening, between stroke sessions. Apparently, my track record as an upstanding young man was due to lack of opportunity rather than moral character. I would tell myself I shouldn't be doing this, feel guilty for a minute, and then resume working the angles while my cock got hard again. It got even harder when I remembered that I'd be alone with Susan the next morning.

Feeling remarkably chipper, and glad my coat concealed my erection as well as keeping me warm, I took the stairs two at a time the next morning, speeding past slower or less awake students. The office door was closed, but I could see the light was on inside, suggesting Susan was there before me.

"Hi, Lloyd," Susan greeted me. "Does it seem like the radiator is working better today?" She'd already taken off her sweater and turned around as I closed the door behind me. The radiator definitely wasn't any warmer than usual, but Susan was looking pretty hot. Her top was as tight as the previous day, but she'd obviously gone without a bra and her nipples were threatening to poke holes in the knit fabric.

I swallowed twice before answering. "I don't think it's that warm, Susan; you should put your sweater on before you catch cold." Or somebody else saw her, I thought to myself.

One thing we'd all agreed on was that whatever I did, it didn't have anything to do with verbalization; I'd never said a single word beyond "hello" and "goodbye" to Robert. So, while I fumbled with my coat and Susan reluctantly pulled on her cardigan, I thought furiously about how great her breasts looked, how much I wanted to see them, and how much my aching penis needed relief.

"I think I'm having trouble with this button," Susan announced with a crooked smile. The cardigan was fastened up to the bottom of her bust, but gaped at the top -- emphasizing rather than obscuring her breasts. "Can you look at it for me?"

I nodded breathlessly. Fantasizing about it was one thing, but I guess subconsciously I still didn't believe any of this was real, and I hadn't thought ahead to what would happen if my suggestions worked. It looked like I'd have to approach it like any other normal guy, and just make things up as I went along.

Susan walked over to me, although it wasn't exactly a normal walk, until her chest was nearly touching mine. "See?"

I certainly did. My hands were trembling slightly as I reached out and pulled the top of the sweater tight against the swell of her breasts. The button looked okay, but surprisingly the sweater looked too small to reach. I could feel Susan's body moving slightly as she breathed. My cock was pressing hard against my slacks, but we were so close together there was no way she could see it, even if she hadn't been looking at my hands.

Holding my breath, I made another attempt to tug the cardigan into place. Not only did I fail again, the change in tension apparently popped the second button on her top -- when it came loose, the buttons on either side did too, suddenly revealing a scandalous amount of pale skin.

"Oh!" Susan shrieked. Her hands flew up to cover herself, but bounced off mine and failed to catch the edges of the top. She ended up pressing her tits together, revealing dark nipples peeking out between spread fingers.

"Jesus, Susan!" It had all happened so quickly I was still frozen in position, hands grasping at thin air. I might have had a heart attack, except I could see the safely closed office door over her shoulder.

She giggled softly. "They're kind of a handful, aren't they?" Susan leaned forward into me, dropping her hands, until I could feel her nubs pressing against my chest. "So are you," she sighed, her voice husky, and I jumped as she suddenly squeezed my rigid organ through my trousers.

I reached for her wrist, but Susan intercepted my hand and routed it to her tit. It was warm and silky smooth beneath my fingers, and she moaned entrancingly when I caressed it. I kissed her, both to muffle the moan and because I could. Unlike my fantasies, we groped each other for only a minute or two before her firm grip coaxed me into firing a big load in my underwear.

We grinned at each other. I hadn't made it to home base today, but I was pretty confident I'd be getting there sooner rather than later, and enjoying the trip. What Susan was thinking I didn't know, but it was clear she'd enjoyed the experience, too.

"I think I ruined Yelena's blouse," Susan said, looking at the button dangling literally by a thread and apparently uncaring of her exposed state.

She was a sight worth looking at, but I was more worried about my trousers. "I don't think I've ruined my pants, yet. I'm going to go visit the restroom and clean up, okay?"

"You can't open the door while I'm like this -- people might see!" exclaimed Susan, wide-eyed.

I couldn't help laughing. "What about me?"

"It's not funny, Lloyd. I wanted to show off for you, not the whole world."

"I appreciate the thought," I said, suddenly distracted. "But what made you decide to show me today? You seemed a little angry about it a couple days ago."

"You didn't ask very nicely. I'm a lady, not some piece of meat you just order around." Susan shrugged, making her breasts jiggle in interesting ways. "I thought about it, and it seemed exciting, especially since I knew you'd be receptive and I could trust you not to handle it badly."

Part of me didn't want to ask the next question, but Susan was a nice girl, and I was genuinely curious to hear her answer. "Do you think I -- you know -- made you do it?"

She considered it. "I don't think so." Susan pursed her lips. "I know I thought about it last night, and planned what I was going to do. I didn't feel compelled, or anything like that." Her face showed a faint blush, which was interesting. "But really, how would I know for sure?"

Susan continued, more thoughtfully. "I've never done anything like this before" -- she laughed -- "but a girl can't be prim and proper all the time. Except maybe Alexandra! If you did have something to do with it, you wouldn't make me do anything bad, would you?"

I tried for a poker face and hoped the heat I felt wasn't showing. "Alexandra said yesterday we'd only try things we all agreed to," I answered, and then changed the subject. "I really need to clean up."

"Oh, just a minute." She showed me a devilish grin, and Susan's suddenly dexterous fingers quickly unfastened the remaining buttons. She removed her top, giving me a full-frontal view of her body from the waist up, and pulled on her cardigan. "You can't see anything now, can you?" she asked, as she fastened the sweater.

"Well, no," I admitted, "but my imagination is running wild."

"That's the idea. Now go run along so we can get back to work."

My briefs were a sticky mess. After some internal debate, I finally ended up removing them in one of the bathroom stalls. I wasn't really comfortable going bare beneath my trousers, but I didn't want to risk the moisture soaking through. I made a mental note to start packing a spare pair, too.

I made my way back to the office, only to discover Susan was talking with a student. I belatedly remembered she had office hours, and suffered a panic attack thinking of what could have happened if the guy had showed up earlier. I quickly changed my plans, and wandered down the hallway to dump my paper towel-wrapped underwear discreetly in a trash can before returning. There had to be a better way of handling this.

It took Susan a few more minutes to sooth her student's angst regarding expected workload for the semester while I doodled on a notepad and thought. Afterwards, we had time to agree that we couldn't afford to get caught messing around in the office, but nothing else of interest occurred before Alexandra arrived.

Coming off her early recitation section, she looked more frazzled than usual as she dumped a stack of homework assignments on her desk and collapsed in her chair. "I think this wedding is going to kill me," she moaned, pushing a stray blonde tendril back behind her ear.

"What's wrong?" asked Susan, who was always ready to hear details.

"What isn't?" Alexandra asked the ceiling. "There's some problem with the invitations, the hall wants a bigger deposit than we can really afford, and the outfits for the groomsmen are still up in the air." She sighed and looked down again. "At least Jonathan is coming up this weekend and we'll hopefully get everything squared away."

I knew Jonathan -- never just "Jon," Heaven forbid -- was her fiance. "That's nice, but wouldn't it be easier for you to go home instead?" I asked, trying to sound helpful.

Both women turned disdainful looks upon me. "With Connie and Danny both here too?" Susan asked, demonstrating she was on top of things.

"Oh, yeah," I said, feeling like an idiot. Connie, Alexandra's best friend and her maid of honor, was also enrolled in the graduate program. Her younger brother, Danny, was in his senior year and one of the groomsmen. Obviously I hadn't been paying enough attention to their earlier conversations; that would have to change. "Sorry for putting my foot in it."

Alexandra waved off the apology. "Don't worry. I hear stupider questions in class, from people that are paying to ask them." She shook her head and leaned back. "So -- let's talk about our other interesting problem, shall we?"

"I've been thinking about that," I replied. I was thinking about it then, in fact; I was concentrating hard about trusting me. It was difficult, trying to do that and talk at the same time, but I hoped the women would just think I was choosing my words carefully.

I continued, "I see several issues with the experimental protocol. First, Susan and I were discussing this and there's a fundamental problem with measuring impact, if any, on a knowing subject. It'll be hard enough to figure out if there's any influence in the first place, right?" The girls nodded, but Alexandra was frowning. "If we tell Susan what we're going to try, how do any of us really know if she's responding to what we told her instead of, um, other influences?"

Alexandra spoke up immediately. "Granted. But, Lloyd, testing on unsuspecting subjects is completely unethical -- that's why we're not going to try anything all of us -- especially Susan -- haven't agreed to!"

"I know," I said, holding up my hands, "I know. I didn't mean going behind her back. I just think that telling her exactly what I'm supposed to be trying to do will be counterproductive."

"I have a suggestion," Susan chimed in. "We can all agree on some general areas that are okay to explore, but I'll give Alexandra my proxy to approve specific tests. That way I won't know what exactly is supposed to happen."

"That could work," nodded Alexandra.

"I suppose I should start keeping a journal," Susan mused. "That might make it easier to see if anything is happening, too." I mumbled something approving.

"Excellent!" Alexandra smiled, and loosened up enough to attempt a small joke. "Where shall we start first? I swear, Susan, if you had worn that top again, I would have asked Lloyd to make you take it off -- Yelena can wear what she likes, but I think it made you look cheap." All of us smiled, and Alexandra, ignorant of the real joke, looked pleased at her success.

We spent the rest of the morning debating strategy and blocking out the high level steps we'd pursue next. All of us exerted a significant amount of intellectual effort and I found the session surprisingly engaging. We were reluctant to break up at lunchtime, but agreed Alexandra and I would meet privately the next day to plan our first experiment. It was disconcerting to feel the unexpected freedom of my penis when I stood up and recalled how the morning had started.

I was far from satisfied, but decided it made a lot of sense to stick largely to the plan we'd devised together until I knew more. A misstep would be embarrassing at best, and possibly far worse. Besides, I was in it for the long haul, not just a short-term fling.

It was about that point I realized, somewhat to my surprise, that I wanted Alexandra and intended to get her -- even if I had to cheat. Sure, she was drop-dead gorgeous, but looks weren't everything and she had that ice queen personality going on. Somewhere in the last month she'd kind of snuck up on me and I realized there was a first-class mind beneath those blonde locks, and an engaging personality if you got past her defenses.

Normally, the fact she was engaged to a guy who, judging by her ring, was a heck of a lot richer than I'd ever be would be considered an insurmountable obstacle. I told myself that women had changed their minds before, even without the sort of help I intended to provide. The trick would be to not screw up a good thing with a stupid mistake.

If there was anything to our guesses and it came to light, I could see myself locked up in some government lab for the rest of my life. If Alexandra realized anything like what I planned was happening, she'd leave and I'd be out of luck. Bumbling might leave me with a compliant body, bereft of the mind I admired. I could see already this wouldn't just be science; it would be art, too. My cock lengthened in anticipation.

Dr. Reynolds was all smiles Friday morning after Alexandra told him, in suitably vague terms, that she was following some promising leads. I said little but tried different approaches to convey disinterest in Alexandra's project; I didn't want any more oversight if I could help it.

After our meeting was over, the two of us bundled up and trudged around the quad to the new annex, and then downstairs to the basement. "You live in a cave," Alexandra commented when I showed her into my office and turned on the light.

"Yes, but it's a warm cave," I rejoined, hanging my coat and jacket on the rack appropriated from an office upstairs. The ceiling was a little low and there were no windows, but it was a little larger than her office and I didn't have to share it with anybody. "I like it." Brushing off my manners, I helped Alexandra remove her coat and hung it up, too. As usual, she was tastefully, if conservatively, dressed.

"Well, it might be more comfortable to work here during the winter," admitted Alexandra, "but you conducted all the surveys in the Evans Building, right? I don't want to introduce any more variables, at least at first."

I nodded agreement. Alexandra's original study was focused on basically emotional response -- "do you like this more or less than that?" -- and we strongly suspected I'd been able to affect those responses. What we didn't know, and wanted to find out, was whether that was the limit of my alleged capabilities or not.

Consequently, we'd decided to try a sequence of trials to test my capability for emotional influence, intellectual influence, and physical influence. Susan wouldn't know the specific tests, which Alexandra and I were about to discuss, or even the order in which I'd try them. When we met this afternoon, I'd try each for 10 minutes or until it was clear something had happened.

"Well, easy stuff first," I said. "Write a word on a piece of paper, show it to me, and put it in your purse. I'll try to communicate it to Susan."

Alexandra grinned. "Easy?"

"Well, easy to think about and confirm," I countered.

She produced a small address book, thought a moment, wrote something, and tore out the page to hand to me.

"Cyan?" I asked, returning it to her.

"It's short and abstract," said Alexandra, as she folded the paper and slipped it back into the address book. "You can't cheat by sending a mental image of an object, and if you manage to project the color, Susan's as likely to say 'teal' or 'turquoise' -- which would tell us something, too."

I was impressed again, and said so. "Do you have any equally clever suggestions for the other tests?"

"Of course," she replied. I had enough familiarity now to recognize her extremely dry and understated sense of humor, rather than confusing it for self-superiority. "I thought we'd go out to Nino's again tonight -- Jonathan wants to meet my school friends."

I'm sure I looked blank as I processed the non-sequitur, my apparent promotion to "friend," and Alexandra's unconscious assumption that of course we'd be free on a Friday night. Not that she wasn't right, at least in my case, but it was a little annoying.

"You remember the fry conversation from last time?" she asked.

"Oh, yeah," I answered, smiling now. Susan had been mock-horrified when Alexandra and I had "tainted" our fries by putting ketchup on them. She'd steadfastly refused to put anything on hers, insisting that ketchup was solely for burgers and meatloaf.

"Well, try to convince her she likes ketchup on French fries, and we'll see what happens."

I matched her wicked grin. "And Susan agreed to this?"

"In principle. It's harmless -- she likes fries, and she likes ketchup; just not together. Besides, she won't be expecting it then, and it will be interesting to see both if she puts any ketchup on them in the first place, and what she does if she eats one."

There was no question Alexandra had a twisty mind, and I reminded myself to tread extremely carefully before trying anything with her. "Won't Susan be expecting something this afternoon?"

"I brought in some new lipsticks. I'll ask her which one she likes best. It doesn't matter which one she picks; just look disappointed and tell her it didn't work. We can tell her about the real test after dinner."

"I can do that," I agreed. "You're going to try them on, right?"

"Well, of course. How else would anybody know what the color really looks like?"

"Excuse me, I'm a guy." I smiled. "How about if you have Susan try them on too, and I'll see if I can make her hand jerk while she's applying one? That should be easy to spot, and easy to clean up, too."

"Great thought, Lloyd!" Alexandra flashed a brief smile that would have warmed me even if we'd been in her office rather than mine. "Now we just have to choose an order."

"No problem," I assured her, and fished a penny out of my pocket. "Heads, we do the lipstick first; tails, we try the word first." I flipped it and it came up tails. "Anything else?"

"Just that it will be really important for you to note anything you can think of about what you try or any sensations you have."

I nodded again. "Certainly. I think I'll start keeping a journal, too."

"We'll see you about 4:00, then." Alexandra rose and pulled on her coat before I could get there to help, and exited without any further conversation.

I know I did useful things that day, and even attended a lecture, but nothing stuck in my mind. All I could think of was my afternoon appointment.

Exactly on time, I strolled into their office and hung up my coat. Both of the girls looked a little nervous, but I couldn't blame them because I felt the same way, too. "Hey, calm down, ladies. I think I'm the one on trial here."

"Right," Alexandra said, and settled herself in her chair.

Susan followed suit. She was looking good in another cardigan, more form-fitting than others I remembered but not tight. What, if anything, might be beneath it I couldn't tell.

"If you're ready, Lloyd?"

I pulled a composition book and pen out of my briefcase, and leaned back in my chair. I was tenser than I'd expected, and took a deep breath to try and calm myself. "Go ahead."

Alexandra briefly consulted the notes in front of her. I saw the folded page torn from her address book sitting on the tabletop, but she didn't refer to it or glance at it. "Okay, Susan, we're going to start now."

That was the last thing any of us said for ten minutes. We all looked at each other, occasionally scribbling a brief note, while I thought "CYAN" as hard as I could and stared at Susan.

"Time," Alexandra spoke softly into the silence. I had a bit of a headache from concentrating so hard, but nothing seemed to have happened. Susan opened her mouth, but Alexandra cut her off, saying, "Afterwards."

I rocked back and forth in my chair a few times, and cracked my knuckles, then nodded.

"This should be a little more entertaining," Alexandra smiled. "I have a few new shades of lipstick, and I thought we might try them on." She leaned back to her desk and grabbed first a box of tissues, and then several tubes. A compact mirror came out of a drawer.

Susan started by looking at the color chips on the ends of the tubes and writing a few notes. She and Alexandra then began alternating, each girl wiping off her current color and applying a new one while the other watched.

I focused on Susan, dutifully concentrating on how great fries with ketchup tasted while Alexandra was applying lipstick, and trying to make Susan's hand bounce when she was doing her own lips. I generally ignored the lipstick, until they came to a deep vivid red. It was the sort of thing a girl might wear to a party, vibrant and eye-catching, and too flashy for regular clothes. It made me think of sex.

Without really thinking about the merits or my earlier caution, I concentrated on that color, and how beautiful and attractive and sexy lips that shade were. I still had no idea what I was doing, but I focused hard on each girl as she examined herself in the mirror.

Whether by chance or planning -- I would have bet on the latter -- the last color was pretty close to the muted rose that Alexandra normally wore. As had been the case with each application before it, Susan's hand never wavered.

Alexandra called time and everybody scribbled a few more notes in their logs. My headache had diminished slightly; I didn't know if it was because I had been alternating between two different things, or due to the first attempt being harder than the others. I duly recorded those thoughts without mentioning my unplanned detour.

"Well?" Alexandra asked, providing only the bare minimum prompting.

"Midnight Siren, obviously," answered Susan with a wide smile.

I worked at maintaining a neutral expression. I was surprised, not so much that she'd identified the red that I liked, but at her level of confidence.

Alexandra looked a little startled, too. "What makes you say that?"

"Oh, come on," Susan laughed. "I had Autumn Rose down on my initial list; Midnight Siren was maybe number three. Now I just love it!" Both girls looked at me.

Clearly Susan was no idiot, either. "I was concentrating on that browny-looking one," I protested, trying to look disappointed. "That red did look nice, though -- speaking off the clock, if you will."

Susan suddenly looked uncertain. "Drat! I was so sure." She sighed and continued, "I guess that's why we don't just go by the colors on the tubes."

Alexandra was studying the lipsticks again. "Yes, it did look better than I expected. Although you couldn't wear it with just anything" She visibly shook herself and refocused her attention on Susan. "Anything else?" I breathed a silent sigh of relief.

"What? That's it?" Susan asked.

"We doubled up," I broke in. "I was trying to make you smear yourself, but your hand was steady as a rock the whole time. I didn't have the slightest sense anything was happening."

Susan stuck out her tongue at me. "What about the third test? Or the first, I guess?"

"Does this mean anything to you?" Alexandra asked, holding up the folded slip of paper.

"Noooo," Susan answered hesitantly. She paused a moment longer and shook her head. "No, I don't think so." Alexandra handed over the paper; Susan unfolded and read it. "Cyan? Honestly, it's still drawing a blank."

"I was trying to communicate that word to you," I explained. "It gave me more of a headache than anything else did, for whatever that's worth."

Alexandra jotted down a few more thoughts in her log before closing it. "Well; zero for three on our first try. Just remember, Rome wasn't built in a day -- we'll try again next week. In the meantime, if you'd care to accompany me to Nino's?"

All of us were happy to abandon the gloom of the office for the warmer and more convivial atmosphere of the pub. Once inside, Alexandra made straight for one of the large round tables, which was occupied by a mismatched couple. They rose as we approached.

Introductions were made all around, and I found myself sitting between Susan on one side and Alexandra's friend, Connie, on the other. Beyond Susan, Alexandra's brother, Danny, was holding forth on his final undergrad semester. We had an empty chair, presumably for Jonathan, between Connie and Alexandra.

"What's he majoring in?" I leaned over to ask Connie. Danny was clearly the youngest of us, and also the most voluble. He was talking to Susan too quickly for me to follow.

"Women," she said with a laugh, and corrected herself. "I think the diploma will say 'Business' but it's a minor miracle if he graduates in four years without getting expelled first." Connie winked at me. "If you were a girl, I'd tell you to watch yourself around him, but you aren't his type." She waited a beat, and continued, "no offense, but I wouldn't have thought you were Alexandra's type, either."

"None taken," I assured her. "Dr. Reynolds assigned me and Susan to help Alexandra with her research." I started projecting a reassuring sense of trustworthiness and likeability.

"Oh, no!" she laughed. "You're that ham-handed idiot?" Connie put a hand on my arm before I could take offense. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't have said that. Really, Alexandra has had nothing but good things to say about you, Lloyd. The 'ham-handed' comment was from last year when she was feeling frustrated; I'm sure she didn't mean it then, and she surely doesn't mean it now."

We talked easily for a few minutes more until Jonathan arrived. I might have been tempted to ask for her phone number if I hadn't already had my sights set on Alexandra. If Danny stood out from the rest of us because of his relative youth, Jonathan did too. He looked like an up-and-coming executive, and we looked like rumpled academics. Danny and I did, anyway; the girls probably would have looked attractive, no matter what.

Jonathan greeted his fiancee with a kiss, and she introduced him around. I smiled through a bone-crushing handshake and did my usual best to appear trustworthy and nonthreatening.

After ordering, Jonathan produced a proof of the wedding invitations and showed it to Alexandra. Naturally, everybody else wanted to see it too, and it ended up getting passed around the table. It looked fine to me, properly elegant, but apparently I lacked the discernment to note that the wrong typeface had been used and that the vertical spacing wasn't perfectly balanced.

I guessed Alexandra was upset, less by the expression on her face than by Connie's. All of us praised the invitation, and Alexandra finally said it would be good enough, if nobody else could tell the difference.

Just the same, when Jonathan announced, "I thought you'd say that, so I told them to go ahead, and print and mail them," I caught a glimpse of white knuckles before she put her hands in her lap. I thought hard about how irritating Jonathan was.

Alexandra might have said something, but the waitress chose that time to return with our food -- Nino's wasn't fancy, but service wasn't slow, either. I met Alexandra's gaze, and we both covertly watched Susan as the waitress deposited a plate in front of her.

Once we'd all been served, Alexandra was quick to snatch the ketchup bottle in the center of the table and pour some on her fries and another dollop on her burger. She passed the bottle to Danny, who followed suit and then handed it on to Susan. I watched carefully, trying to hide my excitement, as she hesitated after putting some on her cheeseburger, but after a moment she passed it on to me without doing anything more.

The remainder of the meal passed with casual conversation. Alexandra groused about her thesis in general terms, without impressing Jonathan much as far as I could see. The wedding seemed a more popular topic, as everybody except Susan and I were more involved in it and Jonathan could intimate how great a catch he was. His attitude annoyed me, so I retaliated, to unknown effect, with a general broadcast of my negative impressions.

Our plates were nearly cleared when Susan surprised me by stabbing her last fry into the puddle of ketchup on my plate. She stuck it in her mouth, then made a face, but ate it anyway. It wasn't out of line with some of the other joking and clowning around that had been going on, so only Alexandra and I froze momentarily.

A few minutes later, the ladies made one of those group pilgrimages to the restroom. "Can't we do the penguin suit thing tomorrow?" Danny asked Jonathan as soon as the others were out of hearing distance. "This is prime time for window shopping!" The hourglass he sketched in the air made it clear what he meant.

Jonathan looked intrigued but sighed. "No such luck, kid. The shop already arranged to stay open late just for us, and officially I'm off the market." He could have just been playing to Danny, who'd been eying all of the women in the room all evening, but it didn't exactly feel that way to me; he'd put an unusual stress on "officially." "How about you, Lloyd? Are you off the market?"

A little surprised, I replied, "I guess I'd say not so much off the market, as not really in it to begin with. I'm here to get my doctorate, not have a good time."

"What a waste!" exclaimed Danny. "I bet Susan would show you a good time, if you know what I mean," he added speculatively.

I stifled a cringe, uncertain if he was just making an inflammatory barb, or had sensed something from her, or just made a lucky guess. Luckily for me, the girls made a prompt return and saved me from having to continue the conversation.

Unless I was hallucinating, they'd redone their lipstick and the ruby red of Midnight Siren now graced two pairs of lips. It was a bit over the top, but I still thought it looked very becoming, especially in the softer light of the pub. Susan was giving me a calculating look that was, frankly, unnerving.

"We should be going," Alexandra said. The comment was punctuated by the snap of Jonathan's fingers as he got the waitress' attention and gestured for the bill. "Lloyd, you can see Susan home, can't you?"

"Certainly, I'd be delighted," I assured her. Even if there'd been no ulterior motive, as the two odd people out, I would have offered if she hadn't asked first. Perhaps I was no social butterfly, but my parents hadn't raised a complete idiot.

Jonathan dispensed with the bill almost negligently, hugely overtipping the waitress. It wasn't that she didn't deserve a tip, but I sensed the point was more to make sure we all knew it didn't bother him to spend money like water than because of any real sense of largess.

November 2010

Our day at the store was blissfully uneventful. Perhaps the would-be shoplifters had watched the evening news and decided they didn't want to mess with security that could take out armed robbers bare-handed.

Angela endured a fair amount of good-natured teasing, and some wags constructed a "bulletproof vest" from inventory in the lingerie department; she looked at it round-eyed and claimed it wouldn't fit beneath her uniform. Both of us told anyone who'd listen that if we'd known the perp had a gun, we would have held the doors open for him.

We had to take a break during the morning to pose for a picture that was promised for a write-up in the next company newsletter. The writer was dutifully impressed by Angela's history and efforts to improve herself, and by my, um, longevity. There was no media presence to worry about, as the company detailed a flack to intercept all inquiries and make sure no prospective customers were scared off by thoughts of gun-wielding bandits.

It was sobering to look at the young woman standing next to me and worry, not for the first time, what would happen to her if something happened to me. We were both single now, but I'd enjoyed 42 years of marriage -- and effectively foreclosed that option for her. Any man who tried to enter into a relationship with Angela would be in for a real surprise; although between both jobs that possibility was remote.

A laughing Angela punched me in the shoulder. "Why so glum? Cheer up, Lloyd! Did you buy a lottery ticket while we're still lucky?"

I was still feeling a touch morose when I clocked out at the end of the afternoon. My mood darkened when a young woman approached me just after I left the store. She was a looker, but I was already looking forward to Angel and didn't need another disruption to my schedule. I hoped she wasn't press; I'd already forgotten everything the company handler had told us about responding to queries.

"Are you Lloyd?" she asked, unexpectedly hesitant for whatever reason.

I was tempted to blow her off, but my parents had raised me not to lie. "Maybe," was the best I could do.

"Lloyd? Can I talk to you about Angela?"

Drat. "No comment," I mumbled, trying to look as forbidding as possible.

"What?" She looked confused.

"I said, 'no comment.' You have to talk to media relations if you want a story."

The girl shook her head. "No, that wasn't what I meant. You're Angela's friend Lloyd, right? I think she's in trouble -- can you help?"

"You have my attention," I said, stopping abruptly.

She took a step or two more alone, before realizing I wasn't there and doubling back. "Look, can we talk somewhere? Maybe get dinner?"

We ended up at Applebee's. Or Chili's. Or something; I don't know, they were all the same to me. I ordered coffee and a burger; she, iced tea and some high-concept salad.

"Talk," I suggested as soon as the waitress had left. "Start with your name."

"Oh!" A comical look of dismay flitted across her face. "I'm sorry; I'm Rose. I'm Angela's friend from high school, and now I live in the same building she does. I've heard so much about you, I forgot you might not know me."

It sounded worse and worse the more I heard. I'd done a bit of a check a few years back when Angel was born, so to speak, but I'd neglected to consider Angela might reconnect with older acquaintances.

"I'm pleased to meet another friend of Angela's," I assured her. "I apologize for the rocky reception; I'm just a crotchety old man. Now -- what's happening with Angela?"

"I think she's joined a cult," Rose whispered, looking around us as if she suspected cultists might be lurking nearby.

That wasn't what I'd expected to hear, but the good news was it sounded more like my problem rather than Angela's problem. "Really?" I asked, aiming for a tone of curiosity rather than disbelief.

"You know she's going to school in the evenings?" I nodded. "Well, I think she's lying about it. Look, her birthday was last month, right?"

"Yes; the fifteenth, wasn't it?" I asked. That was disingenuous; I knew it was. I had vivid memories of the wild party at Home Run where Angel had fucked 27 different guys -- one for each year. She'd been a tousled, creamy mess when all of them, including two who'd earned their Home Run pins that night, finished with her. I'd been first, of course. I could feel myself stiffening slightly just thinking about it. Shaking off the distraction, I returned my focus to the girl sitting across from me. "Did something happen?"

"Yes! I mean, no!" Rose's eyes sparked as my failure to dismiss her fears out of hand apparently buoyed her confidence. "Wait." She took a breath. "Okay, I was going to surprise her and take her out for a little party, just the two of us, so I dropped by the University that evening. She wasn't there at all!"

I already knew where she was going, but I couldn't tell how much Rose knew and I needed time to think. I needed to do some damage control, at the very least. "Did she just skip class that night?" I asked, playing dumb, and started pushing. I want to help my friends alternated with I want to be discreet and I trust Lloyd.

"I don't think so," Rose reflected, unaware of the thoughts racing through my head. "I asked several of her classmates, and not one of them knew her -- or recognized her when I described her. I mean, how likely is that?" I had to smile at her indignant outrage. "I don't think she ever attended that class."

"Could you just have gotten the wrong room?" I wondered. I hate nosy people.

She nodded. "I thought about that, too." A trifle sheepishly, Rose admitted, "I started paying a lot closer attention to what she did. You remember that big flap with the electrical main at the end of the month?"

"The one where the worker accidentally blew the building transformer and blacked out the campus?" Something that colorful had made all the papers and news programs, of course; they'd had to cancel classes Friday and work all weekend to get the electricity working again.

"Exactly! Well, when I asked that weekend, she said she'd attended class as usual; she even made up details about the lecture. There was no way she could have been there. I know Angela lied to me about it!"

I stopped pushing and tried to work it out in my head. "I thought Angela didn't have any classes on Friday," I said slowly.

"She doesn't," Rose agreed. "That's not my point. The power went out Thursday night. Right after dinner. Before her class. There was no way they could have held it, in the dark with no light or heat!"

Damn, what a sloppy mistake. I'd skimmed the news coverage and gotten the impression -- obviously incorrect -- it had happened later in the evening. The problem was, Angela didn't believe she was lying, because the memory would be as clear as that of every other class she'd "attended" during the past two years, and Rose would never believe her friend hadn't lied. "That seems pretty suspicious," I belatedly commented after realizing Rose was waiting for my reaction.

"I thought so, too. So I've been trying to follow her."

My blood froze, and then rethawed. If Rose had succeeded, she'd hardly be sitting here talking to me now, would she? I trust Lloyd. I'd do anything to help Angela.

"I didn't have much luck," Rose continued, unwittingly mirroring my thought. "There's almost always this unmarked sedan that picks her up around the corner, and the few times I tried tailing it, I always lost it. All I know is that she goes somewhere in the direction of downtown."

I made a mental note to ask the driver if he'd ever noticed anything -- and if he had, why nobody had mentioned it to me.

Rose's voice dropped to just above a whisper. "I even thought she might be moonlighting as a call girl," she admitted with uncanny accuracy. She blushed faintly and added, "I sneaked a peek in her room once and she doesn't seem to have any, you know, outfits." I nodded, knowing Angel kept her wardrobe entirely at Home Run.

Throwing up her hands in exasperation, Rose concluded, "She's too straight-laced for that, anyway; that much hasn't changed. But there's something not right about Angela, and I can't figure out what it is. Please help me."

There was an unhappy silence while the waitress returned with our food, and I pushed another round of I trust Lloyd and I'd do anything to help Angela at Rose for good measure.

"I want to help you, Rose," I assured her when we were alone again. "I want to help Angela. But I need to think about this. Can I sleep on it, and contact you in a day or so? I promise not to leave you hanging."

"Certainly," she gushed, obviously relieved to have somebody she trusted helping her. "Let me give you my number!" Rose extracted a business card from her purse, scribbled a number on the back of it, and pushed it across the table to me. "That's my private cell on the back, or you can call me at the office number if you need to."

I tucked the card into a jacket pocket and we both addressed our meals in a more cheerful mood. Rose and I traded a few light-hearted Angela stories, and she was better company than I'd expected; it was easy to see why the two were friends. I was surprised to find myself tempted to fiddle more than I already had, but really, I knew next to nothing about this girl and I'd just had a refresher course on the perils of poor execution.

We parted later than I planned, and I headed home as fast as I could. I didn't need dinner, but I'd have to pass on the music and study this evening to have a hope of staying on schedule. Luckily, it sounded like Angela unwittingly was a lecture ahead of where she should have been anyway; I made a mental note to have Danny's contact at the University procure an updated lesson plan, if there was one.

As if to make up for the day, Home Run was a progressive disaster that night. I was late despite my best efforts, and Danny himself was cooling his heels inside the back entrance -- never a good sign.

"Jesus, Lloyd, why don't you answer your fucking phone?" he burst out the moment I made it inside the door.

"I'm too old to be a slave to a chunk of electronics," I told him. "Where's Angel?"

"Put that thought on hold, buddy. I need you to fix a problem first. We've got a situation in the gold suite that needs to be addressed ASAP."

I felt frustrated and wanted my Angel. I'm sure Danny, who knew me pretty well, sensed it.

"Lloyd!" He braced my shoulders, forcing me to look him in the face. "Don't worry about Angel; she's fine. Look, I switched her and Crystal, and she's in the lesbo lounge. You can't break in on paying customers, okay? You'll still be first in line when she gets out."

"Angel was okay with that?" I knew better than most she didn't really go that way.

"Yeah, that girl's a trooper. I told her it was a favor for me -- and you. Now can you just get upstairs and talk to Shannon before the wheels come off? Good man!" He clapped me on the back and pushed me in the direction of the stairs. "And come see me later when you get a chance!"

I stumped up the stairs muttering under my breath, but after the landing managed to force my mind back to business. If I recalled the schedule correctly, Shannon was supposed to be working a grand slam package for some guy's bachelor party. She'd done scores of them; Shannon looked younger than her age and had perfected an aura of corruptible innocence that drove the cradle-robbers wild. I couldn't imagine what the holdup would be on this one.

Sure enough, Shannon was pacing nervously in the hall when I got there, looking scrumptious in her Catholic schoolgirl uniform. In my day, anyway, the parochial dress code never included shoes like that, but hey -- I was in Loss Prevention, not Wardrobe. She looked desperately glad to see me.

"What's wrong?" I asked her, taking a quick glance through the peephole. I saw four restless, and doubtless horny, young men laughing together. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

"I know those guys," Shannon said. "Rob -- the cute one in the armchair -- he's going to be my husband."

Oh, thanks, Danny. I would have rolled my eyes but Shannon's nerves didn't need it. "You're entertaining at your own fiance's bachelor party?" I repeated, just to make sure I had it straight. She nodded. "Does he know you work here?"

In a small voice, Shannon said, "no."

"How about the others?"

"I'm not sure. Maybe Derrik; he's Rob's Best Man."

"Which one is he?" It would be interesting to see who had booked the engagement, and if Shannon had been requested specifically or not. Either way, it wasn't something she needed to be dealing with now.

"Derrik's really tall and thin."

"Okay, good. Now take a deep breath and calm down, Shannon," I told her, "everything is going to be just fine. I won't let anything happen to you."

She smiled hopefully at me.

"Now, don't think about them for minute; just think about yourself. How do you feel about doing this?"

"Good, I guess," Shannon decided. "I like fucking boys, and Rob makes me hot." More possessively, she added, "I'm kind of glad I get to do this for him and not some other girl."

That's fine. She was telling the truth. "Now, how do you think Rob will feel about this?"

Her face clouded over. "I don't know. We fuck a lot, and neither of us were virgins when we met, but he talks a lot about committing to each other and I'm worried he'll think I'm a slut or be upset I didn't tell him sooner."

I added "and when were you going to tell him?" to my mental list of questions that wouldn't get asked although I'd love to know the answers. "Don't worry, I think everything will work out great," I assured her. "He wouldn't be here if he wasn't up for this sort of thing, right?"

Shannon perked back up, overlooking the possibility that this was another "ambush" event -- some people took bachelor parties as a general license to torment the groom and push his limits one last time.

"Okay, Shannon, here's what we're going to do. You've got your act worked out, right?" I got a quick nod. "I want you to go in and do your thing, just like you planned. Now, Rob might seem to get upset, but remember, he's got to look tough for his friends, right?" I cobbled together the best approximation to I love it when Rob shares me with his friends I could manage, and pushed it into her head.

Shannon nodded again, but there was an uncertain look on her face. "Are you sure?"

"Almost positive! Look, just stay by the door when you first go in. He might shout and say things that sound hurtful, but one way or another he'll come over to you. You've been around enough men, Shannon, to know if they're turned on or faking it. Check him out; if you drive him wild like I think, have a good time! If you still have doubts, just step back out the door and I'll be right here. Can you do that?"

"I know I can," she asserted.

I hoped I could hold up my end of the bargain; if Rob moved quickly, I would have very little time between when he entered my effective range and when he reached Shannon. I prepared my mind, glued an eye to the peephole, and whispered, "You go, girl!"

There was a brief rustle beside me and Shannon was inside the room. "Is this the detention study hall?" she chirped in a bright voice.

Events started to play out as I'd suspected they would. "Shannon?!" Rob jerked erect in his chair, absently spilling his drink on the floor. Two of his friends were equally stunned, but the tall one, Derrik, brayed a nasal laugh and I didn't like the look of his body language.

"What are you doing here?" stammered Rob; I put him at about 50% embarrassment and 50% anger.

Derrik was quick with the unnecessary answer. "Dude! Your girl is here to fuck all of us for money. She's a fucking hooker, man!"

Shannon gamely soldiered on. "This is so unfair! They gave me detention because I didn't wear their stupid white bra. I mean, you can't even really see it, can you?"

My angle was all wrong, but I knew she was arching her back to push out her chest, and that anybody with eyes would have no problem seeing the frilly black lace -- and her berry-tipped tits -- through the extremely thin white blouse.

Rob stood up. "What the fuck, Shannon! What kind of slut are you?"

"I'm not a slut; I'm just misunderstood," she simpered. "Sluts don't wear underwear; I do. See?" At this point she'd be raising the front of her tartan skirt, displaying plain white panties just as thin as her blouse, and probably pulled tight enough to form a camel toe against her mound.

Here he came; my eyes lost focus as I concentrated on the other side of the door and found the rushing haze of his mind. I pushed frantically, alternating lust for Shannon and sharing Shannon makes me feel powerful as quickly as I could.

Bodies crashed against the other side of the door and Shannon shrieked; I was afraid I hadn't been fast enough.

"I still think you're a slut," Rob said, but more quietly and in an entirely different tone of voice.

"It feels like you'd like to find out," Shannon replied, and I breathed out a silent sigh of relief. There was some barely audible rustling, and then another soft thud against the door; it was accompanied by a feminine "oh!" of satisfaction.

I put my eye back to the peephole, and was pleased see the other young men were approaching. I couldn't see Rob and Shannon, but by the sound of it he was giving her a stand-up fuck right against the door.

"Maybe -- I am -- a slut," gasped Shannon.

"Maybe you're just easy," countered Rob, doing something that made her moan. "Maybe you're just hot for me. That doesn't make you a slut."

"Come on, man," Derrik complained. "Use your head, Rob!" He was almost in range. "You think she just walked off the street, that this is her first time or something? Shannon fucking works here! I've seen her pull trains, man -- she's a whore! She walked into this room planning to fuck us all blind. How can you pollute yourself with this filthy puta?"

Rob paused. "Is that true?"

"Yes, I was planning to fuck you all. I will, if you still want me to." Clever girl, Shannon, for having the common sense to compose a selective answer in, well, distracting circumstances.

Rob started pounding her again, evidently aroused by the thought. "Does that make you a slut (thud) or a whore? (thud) Is it the money? Would you fuck them if I asked you to?"

"What's the diff?!" shouted a frustrated Derrik. "She's already paid for!" He finally took the last step I needed.

I love Rob-Shannon-couple. That was easier than it sounds to express, and unsurprisingly met with significant resistance when I pushed it into him; I guessed Derrik might be carrying a torch for Shannon, although I couldn't be positive. I could have stopped there, but this bozo had screwed up my evening and come close to screwing up the lives of his two "friends." I wasn't sure it would take, but I did my best to ensure he'd never cum again unless he was getting sloppy seconds from Shannon.

"I'd fuck anybody for you," Shannon sighed, heedless of my work on her behalf.

"Anybody?" challenged Rob. "You'd fuck Fat Eddie?"

"Another girl," suggested one of the other boys, getting into the spirit of it.

"Her brother," drawled Derrik; the pace of the pounding on the door abruptly increased.

"You'd fuck Connor for me? Your own brother?"

"Yes! Yes! All of them!" she gasped raggedly.

"That's sick," Rob grunted, but he obviously found it as arousing as she did. "I bet you'd even take my dog!" Apparently he had unexpected depths.

Shannon started to say, "only if you wa-" and her voice suddenly rose an octave as the door slammed in its frame and Rob grunted explosively.

"I guess you're a slut, then," Rob spoke into the ensuing silence. "So prove it. Show me what a slut does in a room with four men."

I didn't need to stay any longer, and I realized I was achingly hard. In no mood to listen to Danny's next emergency, I walked back to my office and settled in to wait for Angel. Her scent lingered, teasing me.

While it was fresh in my mind, I typed up a quick incident report for Danny, and strongly suggested he meet with both Rob and Shannon about her staying on. It might take some creative concessions to Rob, but not only could we keep a productive employee, there was an opportunity to bolster our offerings. I knew what most people thought about us, but frankly, most of the staff were pretty normal in their outlook and it wasn't easy to accommodate some of the kinks our customers requested.

With that sent, I leaned back to think about what to do about Angel and Rose. That prompted me to lean forward again and dash off the lesson plan request and a query to Angel's driver, which killed another two minutes. The clock on my desk stubbornly advanced at only the usual 60 seconds per minute.

I grabbed a chamber music CD at random from my collection, started it, and crossed to sprawl on the sofa that doubled as guest seating. If I had to wait, I could make a virtue of it and catch up on my meditation. Maybe I'd even get lucky and my drifting mind would hit on a solution to my dilemma.

January 1962

Dinner broke up with a round of "good-nights" and soon Susan and I were walking back across the campus. The two of us strolled quietly for a block, watching our breath steam in the chill night air, while a new round of snowflakes fluttered down past the streetlights.

"Whose idea was the ketchup?" Susan asked after we turned onto a less populated street. Her tone had hints of both resignation and humor, but apparently no anger.

"Alexandra's. She thought something you weren't expecting would be more useful." I was honest enough to assign credit for a clever idea, and not chivalrous enough to take the fall for it if she was really upset. "Tell me about it while it's fresh in your mind," I suggested, genuinely curious.

"She's going to come to a bad end," Susan muttered, then shook her head. "I knew something was up as soon as I'd put it on my burger. I looked at the fries with that bottle in my hand, and I could feel my mouth water. But I knew I hated ketchup on fries!"

We passed another house before she resumed talking, giving me a chance to reflect on what she'd said. It seemed we had another piece of hard evidence that my ability was real, and that it was trickier to use than I'd thought.

"Finally, I just had to try one," Susan admitted. "It was really weird."

"Yeah, I saw your face. You didn't like it after all?"

"Honestly, it's confusing. It tasted exactly like I expected, but" Susan shrugged. "It was like half my brain was saying, 'you hate this,' and the other half was saying, 'this tastes great!' I'm not sure what to think."

"Wow," I said, and blew out a large cloud of steam. "Would you eat them again?"

She thought on it awhile. "I think so," Susan finally replied. "I think maybe I'd just need to get out of the habit of not liking it, if that makes any sense."

"About as much as any of the rest of it," I mused, pondering the ramifications. "Alexandra will be fascinated, I'm sure."

I sensed more than saw Susan roll her eyes. "She has a low sense of humor, even if food was one of the things we agreed to test. Would you like to come up?"

Startled, I realized we'd reached the student apartment where she lived. "Won't that be a problem? I thought you had a roommate."

Susan laughed. "Yelena? Not on a Friday evening -- I should introduce her to Danny, but I'm not ready to completely ruin her reputation! We're not supposed to have boys in after hours, but the other girls sneak them in all the time."

"Okay, if we won't get in trouble."

"No more trouble than you deserve! Just wait over there by the side door and I'll be back in a minute." She surprised me with a quick kiss and hurried in the front. I meandered over to the side of the building, following the path worn in the snow; I barely had time to look around before Susan had opened the door and dragged me inside. She led me up the back stairs to the second floor and down the hall, passing another girl who only smiled.

Susan let us into her room and I looked around for a moment while she rummaged in a dresser before producing a bobby sock. "Do not disturb," she explained, pulling it over the doorknob before closing and locking the door. Some of the thoughts that had been running idly though my head over the past few minutes came into sharper focus.

We took off our coats, but instead of hanging them in the closet, Susan dropped hers on the floor and started unfastening her sweater. I presumed my coat ended up on the floor too, but I wasn't paying attention to it. It turned out my earlier guess had been correct; there was nothing under the sweater except nubile female flesh.

"I do have nice boobs, don't I?" Susan asked, presenting herself confidently for inspection.

"Oh yeah," I agreed, urgently hard. Thoughts of Alexandra didn't so much disappear as move aside as I admired the attractive and half-naked young woman before me. I needed physical relief, and I wanted to fuck her in the worst way.

"They're bigger than Yelena's," Susan boasted, but I cut her off with an aggressive kiss. She opened her mouth almost immediately and our tongues probed against each other. I'm sure she felt my cock as clearly as I did her tits. We broke apart and almost in unison began shedding our clothes. Susan had a head start, but I didn't have hose to deal with, so we finished in a dead heat.

I thought I read lust in her expression, but Susan turned away from me and started rummaging in one of the dressers, mumbling something under her breath. A little disappointed, I followed her delectable ass and wrapped my arms around her from behind, grinding my rigid tool against the small of her back. "Lloyd!" she squeaked, squirming in my embrace; she had a condom package in one hand.

I felt like a heel for not thinking of the risks, but my remorse quickly was buried beneath my rising anticipation and physical desire. My grip tightened and I lofted Susan onto the nearby bed, smiling at her surprised shriek. "Sssh!" I told her, and knelt on the bed to straddle her as she lay on her back.

Susan looked at my cock, jutting towards her face, and I wondered if she might squeeze it between her tits or even take it in her mouth. Instead, she tore open the packet and started rolling the condom down my penis; apparently she was as eager to reach home base as I was. I trailed my fingers up her flanks to her nipples, watching them stiffen beneath my touch.

As soon as the condom was in place, I crab walked backwards until I was between her legs. I wasn't the world's most experienced lover, but even I realized we hadn't done much in the way of foreplay. I probed her bush gently with a finger, thinking I shouldn't be too selfish, but Susan was already wet and pulling at my arms.

"Oh, just get inside me, hurry!" she moaned.

No man alive, and certainly not me, was going to pass up a request like that from a beautiful girl. I lined up and started easing myself into her molten pussy; about half-way in, Susan got her legs around mine and pulled me the rest of the way into her in a rush. At that point, my remaining self-control vanished and I started rutting into her like a jackhammer. It had been awhile since I'd been with a girl and Susan felt way better than my hand, even with the condom in the way.

She made the most erotic little moans and gasps, as if she were trying to remain quiet but just couldn't hold them in. Her eyes were open, but must have been focused about 100 feet above the roof of the building.

I came embarrassingly quickly, like I was still eighteen or something, and collapsed momentarily atop Susan. Regretfully, I wriggled free before I deflated and lost the bulging condom inside her. My libido was still stuck in overdrive, even if my penis needed a break, and I didn't think Susan had orgasmed yet. Settling myself beside her, I started fingering her dripping crevice. At the same time I was physically stimulating her, I tried to will her to orgasm.

It took a few minutes, but I could see something was working because her nipples were hard like rocks and her knuckles were white where they gripped the bedspread. Suddenly Susan gasped and arched her body completely off the bed while a scream tore itself from her throat. I'd never seen a girl so abandoned, and I didn't think it was an act. My cock was hardening again at the sight of her.

Susan's eyes focused on my face and she brushed a sweaty lock of hair off her forehead. "My gosh, Lloyd, I've never felt so wanton," she whispered hoarsely. A slow smile spread across her face when a questing hand found my firm tool. "Come here, you."

I thought she might want to fuck again, but she pulled on me, leading me by my cock until I was straddling her once more. Susan stripped off the condom and cast it aside, then pressed her breasts together around my now-rigid organ. "Do they feel as good as they look?" she asked me.

"Better," I assured her. My slick flesh easily slid back and forth against hers. It wasn't the same as fucking her, but without the condom in the way, the sensation was intense, and the view was even better. I'd heard about tit-fucking, but never done it before now. It was exciting to be doing it, and even more exciting to think I might have influenced Susan to do it.

It was ungracious, but I had a sudden flash of Alexandra squeezing her tits around my cock. The thought was enough to make me shudder and jet warm spunk onto Susan's neck and chin. She jerked but couldn't avoid either the initial blast or the follow-on emissions that dripped stickily onto her chest.

"Eeww, Lloyd," she complained, evidently as unpracticed in these matters as I. "Come on, get off me!"

I backed off, but slowly, letting a few last drops spatter her belly. I felt like a dog marking his territory, and thought hard about Susan massaging my cum into her flushed skin.

Susan appeared to be oblivious to my thoughts. "Can you get me something?" she asked, sitting up. Some of my spend had already dripped onto the pillow, and now the rest was trailing slowly down her body -- a truly erotic sight.

I looked about for a moment before catching sight of her panties lying on the floor with the rest of our clothing. "Here," I said, stooping to retrieve them, "I think it's your turn to ruin a pair."

She gave me a dirty look before laughing and accepting them. "We don't seem to do a very good job of planning, do we?" she asked, mopping up the worst of the mess. Susan looked doubtfully at the spots on the pillow.

"Lick it up!" I thought while managing to get out a simple verbal, "no." My hopes rose as Susan used a finger to remove most of the excess, but she merely cleaned it on the panties and flipped the pillow so the spots were on the bottom.

She shrugged. "Oh, well. I'm pretty sure Yelena's done worse to me."

"What?" I asked, not getting it.

"This is Yelena's bed," Susan explained. "You don't think I'm the kind of girl who keeps condoms in her dresser, do you?"

I took in her naked body, topped with tousled hair and gleaming here and there with the residue of my orgasm, and thought she looked exactly like that kind of girl. I felt an urge to do her again, but my penis didn't look like it was up to the challenge. Yet.

Susan read the answer in my expression and flushed slightly before giggling. "Well, okay, but I'm not!" We both laughed, and started picking up our abandoned clothing.

It seemed a bit gauche to just leave, but we'd already had dinner. "Do you want to see a movie, or maybe get a cup of coffee?" I asked.

She cocked an eyebrow. "Isn't that the wrong order? Besides, I think I need a little more cleaning up than you do." Her skirt went into the closet in exchange for a robe, which Susan pulled on and belted. "Not that I don't appreciate the offer, mind you."

I finished tucking in my shirt and stuffed the tie in my pocket. "Well, another night, then." I hesitated, and then walked over and kissed her again. It was pretty steamy, but without the raw edge of our earlier lust, and Susan pressed her hand over mine when I slid it inside her robe to cup a breast.

"I'd better fix that," Susan told me when we parted, and ran a finger across my mouth; it came away lipstick red. "Better," she pronounced, and walked me to the door.

Susan cracked the door and I slid out, trying for a little discretion, to find myself facing another girl. She was thin, although still feminine, and gave me a piercing look as I emerged from the room.

"So, Susan is not so aloof as she appears," the girl drawled after finishing her examination. "I am pleased to meet you, I think." Her amused smirk was hard to resist.

"I'm Lloyd," I introduced myself, offering my hand.

"Yelena," she responded, placing her hand lightly in mine instead of shaking it as I'd expected.

I yielded to impulse and raised her hand to my lips; it just seemed like a natural thing to do. "Charmed."

"I can see," she commented archly, looking at the red smudge I'd left by her knuckles. "I would wish you a good evening, but I see you've already had one." Yelena stripped the sock from the doorknob and wiped away the lipstick. "Please feel free to visit again."

"Yelena!" Susan moaned from behind me.

"I want to hear all about it," Susan's roommate said as she entered the room. I waved a silent, and unheeded, goodbye and retreated the way I'd entered without encountering anybody else.

The snow was falling again Saturday, and I wasn't exactly a winter person. One of the benefits of boarding instead of living in a dorm or apartment was that I could get away with holing up on these kinds of days; Mrs. Wagner would even bring me coffee without prompting. I claimed my usual chair by the fireplace in the family room and worked through a stack of grading while Mr. Wagner studied the minutia of the sports section and Mrs. Wagner knitted -- very homey.

After I'd finished grading, I turned to the more interesting question of assessing what I'd learned the previous day and what I might try next. There was a delicate balance to maintain between what I wanted and what would be safe, and what I could tell Alexandra and what I shouldn't; I ended up just closing my eyes and waiting to see where my mind would drift.

I hadn't quite fallen asleep, or so I thought, when I woke suddenly and found Mrs. Wagner standing beside my chair with a throw in her hands.

"Oh, I'm sorry, Lloyd! I didn't mean to startle you; I just thought you looked a little cold." She proceeded to settle the throw over my lap and legs.

"Don't worry, Mrs. Wagner, I wasn't really sleeping. Thanks!"

The whole interaction was almost routine, because Mrs. Wagner was eerily silent in her slippers and really had surprised me any number of times in the past. I'd grown accustomed to it, but it was disconcerting. Somehow it hadn't worked that way today.

I lay back and closed my eyes again, but this time my mind was working much more quickly. What had alerted me this time? I worked on the problem fruitlessly for some time before calming again in the warmth of the fire and the crackle of the burning wood. I'd started watching the transient flashes of imagined stars inside my eyelids when I gradually became aware of a faint lightness somewhere ahead of me. It reminded me somewhat of coals buried beneath ashes after a fire had almost burned out, but without any sense of color.

Opening my eyes momentarily revealed the glow, if it really existed, seemed to coincide with Mr. Wagner. I closed my eyes again and cast about for Mrs. Wagner; I convinced myself that I found a matching glow where she was sitting, but it was too faint to discern with my eyes open. A little experimentation suggested the glows tracked with them, but I couldn't make out anything more. The chief result of sitting there with my eyes closed was that I fell asleep again.

The ringing phone awakened me. For whatever reason, Mr. Wagner was in charge of answering it, and he was most of the way to the kitchen before I was aware enough to close my eyes and try to follow him. I didn't have any luck, either due to the extra distance or my unsettled mental state.

"Lloyd, it's for you," he said after a minute.

I sat up in surprise. Sure, I was listed in the campus directory, but I couldn't remember anybody calling me before this, and it wasn't the right time for my parents to be calling.

"A Susan," he added with a wink. It was ridiculous how excited both of them looked; Mrs. Wagner had let it be known that she thought I didn't socialize enough, and now I'd never hear the end of it.

I got to the phone and tried to ignore my hosts, who were hovering far enough away to give me some space but doubtless close enough to hear every word I said. "Hi, Susan."

"Oh, Lloyd, I hope you don't mind me calling," she apologized. "Did I interrupt anything?"

"Only a thought experiment," I quipped. "I'm happy you called."

"I was just wondering if we could get together and plan some more research." She lowered her voice and continued, "I just couldn't stop thinking about yesterday. You don't think I'm being too forward, do you?"

"I'd like that," I smiled. Out of the corner of my eye I could see Mrs. Wagner practically jumping up and down and whispering, "Ask her out!"

"This is research!" I hissed, holding a hand over the phone, before putting it back to my ear. "Would you mind coming over here? I board but I don't think the owners will mind. The university doesn't leave the thermostats turned up over the weekend, and it would be more comfortable than your place or the library." It was unlikely to be a problem with the Wagners, and sure enough a quick glance showed Mr. Wagner giving me a thumbs-up.

"That would be fine; can you give me directions?"

"What if I pick you up, instead? It's still miserable outside, and I'd be happy to take you home again afterwards."

"Would you? That'd be swell!"

"About 6:30, then?"

"I'll be waiting in the lobby."

"I'm looking forward to it," I assured her, and hung up.

Mr. Wagner chuckled. "She must be some girl to get you out in the snow."

"Oh, shush," said Mrs. Wagner, elbowing him. "Weren't you telling me you wanted to see 'Lawrence of Arabia'?"

They traded knowing looks. "Well, Lloyd, it looks like some girl is going to drag me out in the snow, too." Mr. Wagner didn't look too upset about it.

"I promise not to throw any wild parties," I grinned, starting to think about what else I might do instead.

We ate lunch, and I called Susan back, just to let her know she didn't have to worry about impressing the Wagners. I then proceeded to do un-Saturday-like activities such as making my bed, showering, and shaving. I also checked to be sure I had a few condoms discreetly tucked where I could reach them at need.

After picking at a dinner that could have been sawdust for all I remembered of it, all of us bundled up, brushed off the cars, and departed in different directions. The movie was long, and the Wagners told me they didn't expect to be home until late. The roads weren't as bad as I'd feared and I made it to Susan's apartment early, but she emerged from the front door as soon as I got out of the car.

I handed her into the passenger's seat, slammed the balky door hard to make sure it latched on the first try, and scampered around to climb back inside myself.

"Thanks for picking me up," Susan told me, huddling in her heavy coat. "I wasn't really looking forward to going anywhere in this."

"Neither was I," I laughed, "but this seemed like a good cause." I concentrated on keeping the Ford in the middle of the street and we made only inconsequential conversation on the thankfully short drive back home. After pulling back into my space in the empty driveway, we dashed up to the house and inside to the warmth of the mud room, where we stamped the snow off our boots.

I offered to hang up her coat, and got the surprise of my life -- beneath it, Susan was naked save for a scarf and her boots. "Jesus, Susan!" I blurted, fumbling with the garment.

She giggled, evidently pleased by the pole-axed expression that must have been visible on my face. "I have a present from Yelena, too," she announced, and withdrew a handful of condoms from one of the pockets. "We only have to promise not to use them on her bed!"

"It's a deal!" I got our coats mostly onto hangers and then, hands free, pulled her tight for a passionate kiss. "This way," I urged her a minute later, tugging in the direction of my room. I had my shirt unbuttoned by the time we got there; I started on my trousers, but Susan pushed me onto my bed and finished the job herself.

"I want you," she growled huskily, shredding one of the condom wrappers. "Do I make you hot?"

"Unbelievably," I gasped, as if my rigid erection wasn't answer enough. There were things I wanted to try, but I suspected I was too worked up at the moment, and the sight of Susan wearing only a scarf was a real turn-on. I made myself lie still while she rolled on the condom, then pulled her onto the bed beside me and we were in each other's arms.

"I'm looking forward to this," I admitted, but she just moaned as I pushed myself into her wet pussy. There was no resistance and in no time at all we were fucking like minks.

"Oh, fuck! Fuck me, Lloyd!" was about the most coherent thing Susan said, but she was vocal enough to make me glad we had the house to ourselves.

I forced myself to slow down so I wouldn't pop right away. "Get on top, baby -- I want to hold your tits," I gasped.

Susan gave me a sly look, and we rolled so she was straddling me. She wriggled a bit and began bouncing up and down on my organ while I cupped her breasts in my hands. The bad news, if you could call it that, was that she was working herself more energetically than I had been. The good news was that I could lie passively and enjoy the ride.

With my eyes closed, I tried to ignore the extremely pleasurable sensations emanating from my groin and focused on the space above me. Almost immediately I found a glow, either brighter or closer, about where Susan's head was; it bobbed slightly in rhythm with her body. I fixated on that spot and concentrated on my arousal, and how good my cock felt inside her, and the orgasm that wasn't too far away.

Everything happened at once, so I never was sure what might be cause or just reaction. The glow rippled slightly, Susan's pussy squeezed me like a vise, and both of us climaxed almost simultaneously. I gasped, releasing a breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding, and Susan wailed as if she were dying. A moment later she collapsed atop me and we held each other, breathing heavily.

"God, you are hot," I complimented Susan, meaning every word, and kissed her. I wasn't sure if she'd orgasmed because of what I'd tried or not, but the effect was equally delightful either way.

"Flatterer," she replied. "I've never felt the way you make me feel, Lloyd." A subtle movement of her body reminded us both I was still inside her.

It wasn't every day a guy had a beautiful girl tell him he was the best lay she'd ever had. I was still pretty hard, and motivated to go again, so I pulled Susan close and rolled us back until I was on top of her again. Both of us were smiling in anticipation as I pulled back a bit and thrust into her.

Susan screamed and we both jumped.

"Are you okay?" I asked, concerned.

She chewed daintily on a lip and considered. "Oh, yes. I just -- wasn't expecting that." She spread her legs a little wider. "Please don't stop!"

I started pumping again. This time, I didn't stop when Susan started wriggling and panting beneath me; as if we'd played the previous few minutes over again at high speed, she climaxed after only a minute, but continued begging me to fuck her harder. With that stimulus, I rapidly approached my own orgasm. Judging by the jerking and incoherent cries she made, Susan got off one or two more times before I emptied my load into the abused condom.

"Oh, Jesus Christ," she sighed weakly when I pulled out before the condom could leak any of my semen into her.

Feeling a bit drained myself, I skimmed off the condom and discarded it before collapsing back on the bed beside her. "You are a firecracker."

"I know. I mean, my gosh, I've never cum like that before."

I'd been wondering that too, and she'd saved me the awkward question. "I'd like to cum like that again, but I'll need a little rest, first," I chuckled. There was a decent chance my meddling might have had something to do with it, but I couldn't be sure and I didn't have infinite stamina. I had a slight headache, but it was already fading.

Susan giggled. "I guess it's a good thing I have extra condoms!" One hand possessively cradled my shriveled penis.

"I have to admit I have a few laid in, too," I grinned in return. "Do you want to see how many of them we can go through?"

"Yes," Susan answered, with a matching grin. "But maybe we can talk while you recover." Her expression turned more serious.

I braced myself for the sort of touchy-feely dialog many girls seemed to feel went hand-in-hand with sex. "Sure. What did you have in mind? Something about the research project?" It was sort of a joke.

"In a way," was the unexpected answer. Susan rolled on her side so she could look at me. "Help me, Lloyd. Help me be better."

The strange request triggered so many random thoughts that they jumbled together and all that came out of my mouth was, "huh?" It wasn't my finest moment. "What do you mean?" I clarified. "You seem plenty good to me!"

Susan brushed the side of my face with a hand. "Thanks, Lloyd. But I do have a problem, a big one, that I think you could help with -- and not many people could." She took a deep breath and released it, then added, "I'm too shy."

It was a struggle not to laugh in her face, but Susan clearly was serious about it, and it would be rather ungentlemanly of me. "I hadn't noticed," I finally responded, making a point of running my gaze down her nude body.

"I'm serious!" she protested, punching me lightly. "It's different with you -- I'm uninhibited, more confident, more open. I don't know why," Susan reflected. "I just trust you, I guess." I started to reply, but she shushed me and continued. "I'm not this way with anybody else. It took me months to open up with Alexandra, and we share the same office! Remember how long it took me to say anything to you besides 'hello' and 'good-night'? Do you know Dr. Reynolds still calls me 'Susie' and I haven't worked up the courage to tell him I hate that name?"

Susan rolled back to stare at the ceiling. "I shouldn't even be in the graduate program. My parents were so proud I got my bachelor's degree that I couldn't tell them 'no' when they started talking about graduate school. I passed on a grant application for this year because I was embarrassed to ask for help on it, and then I was afraid to admit I missed the filing deadline. I can't go on like this."

"Lots of people have problems, Susan. I'm not exactly a ladies' man myself, in spite of what you might think. I'm not sure I could help, even if there was something to do."

"Don't sell yourself short." She pinned me with a direct look. "I don't want to feel like I'm asphyxiating every time I'm in a room with strangers; I want to be my own woman. Whether it's because we just happen to click, or because you've been meddling with me, I don't care -- just help me learn to do it with other people!"

"Don't you think that's a bit rash? I have no idea what -- if anything -- I'm doing, and I could make things worse without even realizing it." I wondered if that wasn't already the case. "Maybe we should wait until Alexandra's experiments have gotten a little further along."

Susan blew a tendril of hair away from her face. "That could take forever; I don't want to wait." She stroked a finger gently down my chest to my groin. "Please?"

It would have taken a more principled man than I to resist her plea; I sighed. "I'll try. Just lie here quietly, okay?"

She wriggled a bit. "Can we get under the covers first? I'm getting a little chilly."

"I have a better idea," I said, standing up and offering her a hand. "C'mon." I grabbed the throw that had gotten kicked off the foot of the bed at some point and started for the hall.

Susan hung back. "Lloyd! Where are you going?"

"The family room; we can sit in front of the fire. The Wagners won't be home for hours."

Thus reassured, she joined me and we ghosted naked through the house. The fire had died down, but it only took a minute to poke up the coals and add a few more logs. I'd thought we'd use the couch, but Susan had opted to steal a pillow and camp on the rug closer to the fireplace. Soon we were lying spooned together with the throw around us, watching new flames dart up from the seasoned wood.

"Better?" I inquired.

"Much," she answered, arching slightly so her butt was planted even more firmly against me.

"Okay, just relax. I'm not going to do anything right away." Susan nodded, and I closed my eyes. At this range, with her hair tickling my nose, what I thought of as the glow of her mind bloomed in my vision as soon as I started looking for it. I continued concentrating and subtle hints of details began to appear; it was reminiscent of sunspot pictures I'd seen. I had no idea how to manipulate it, but ample reason to believe it was possible. "Hmmm How to start?"

Self-confidence was a slippery concept, especially since most of my presumed successes seemed to be associated with simpler emotional cues. Reducing Susan's fear of conflict and failure seemed to be what was needed, but I'd never tried to remove rather than impose a feeling, either. The most workable approach seemed to be establishing a positive feedback cycle, but based on what?

"Tell me if you feel anything happening." I tried to form an amalgamation of my impressions of Susan, the notion of strong, independent women, attraction, and desire, and then somehow attempt to project that in front of me. Nothing happened for a long time, but then Susan's glow rippled gently. There was an itch inside my head, and then something twisted in a way I couldn't describe; the penumbra of the mind in my vision flared, and I lost sight of it as I was seized by a splitting headache.

"Damn," I cursed softly, seeing stars.

"What happened?" Susan asked, twisting to try and look at me.

"I'm honestly not sure, but I gave myself a heck of a headache." I tried rubbing my forehead, to no discernable effect. "I think I need some aspirin." I disentangled myself from Susan and the throw, and then stumped off to the bathroom. On the way back, I made a detour to the liquor cabinet and took a quick shot of Mr. Wagner's brandy before carrying a pair of snifters back to the family room.

Susan had thrown off the covering and in the glow of the fire looked like every man's wet dream -- at least, every man who didn't have Alexandra on the brain. I felt a stirring in my groin as I sat down beside her.

"Nightcap?" I asked, handing her one of the glasses.

She sipped it appreciatively; Mr. Wagner had far more experience and financial resources supporting his liquor supply than mere graduate students. Giving me a sly Mona Lisa smile, Susan tilted the glass and spilled some of the alcohol on herself, where it trickled between her breasts and down to her navel. "Ooops!"

I obligingly tossed back the remainder of my drink and leaned over to lick her smooth skin. I sucked the fragrant liquor from her belly and slowly worked my way upwards, kissing and teasing as I went. By the time I was done, her breathing was coming more quickly than when I started, and I was at half-mast. I transferred my attentions to her delectable tits, straining to see how much I could fit in my mouth. I teased first one and then the other nipple until both had hardened between my lips and teeth, and Susan was moaning softly.

"My turn," she husked as she pushed me away. Susan poured out a little more of her brandy, this time directly on my erect penis, and then drained her glass. She tossed her hair back and it was my turn to moan as she bent and took the tip of my organ in her mouth.

My hips rotated of their own accord, trying to drive my cock deeper into Susan's mouth. I'd gone perhaps an inch more when she shrieked -- muffled by my flesh -- and sat up to look at me. I was concerned I'd offended her or gone further than she'd intended, but that didn't seem to be the problem.

"What did you do to me?" she asked, looking me in the face with wild eyes before dropping her gaze to my crotch. I had no answer, but apparently it wasn't needed; she hunched over and engulfed me again, this time sucking me in so deep I heard her start to gag. Susan backed off, but only so she could go down on my full length again.

The feeling was incredible. I'd had a girl take me in her mouth before, but it had been nothing like this, and with nowhere near the same enthusiasm. I started bucking back, and we settled into a fast rhythm. I could barely believe this gorgeous girl was servicing me this way; I tangled my fingers in her hair, but I could hardly drive her faster or harder than she was going on her own.

When her rhythm broke down and I realized Susan was climaxing, I couldn't help blowing my load down her throat. She sat up, coughing, and we both tried to catch our breath.

"Oh, my," Susan choked. She coughed once more, and then fastidiously wiped an errant drop of semen from her lip and examined me. "I never knew -- is it like that for everybody?"

"I don't think so," I admitted sheepishly. "You seemed to enjoy it a lot."

"It was almost as good as getting fucked," she told me with a gleam in her eye. "The feel of you going into me, it was -- well, orgasmic. I want more."

We both looked down at my deflating penis. I'd already cum three times that evening, which was normally about my limit.

"Please fuck me again, Lloyd."

I proceeded to make perhaps the stupidest decision of my life, before or after. Whether it was the lure of a beautiful vixen, hormones, the liquor, my own hubris, or more likely a combination of all of them, I closed my eyes and focused inward.

Forgetting that I'd admitted to myself that I had nearly no control or understanding of my ability, and glossing over any distinction between mental desire and physical aptitude, I sank into the glow of my own mind. I thought about my hard organ, the way it felt sinking into Susan, desire for her and Alexandra, and every girl that had ever prompted an erection, and tried to find that peculiar twist that could propel those thoughts.

The next thing I remember was lying flat on the floor with Susan leaning over me asking, "Lloyd! Are you all right?"

I looked down the length of her fire-lit body from her hanging jugs to the hidden juncture of her thighs, above my jutting tool. "Oh yeah," I said, ignoring the return of my headache, and grabbed for her.

"Oh no you don't!" she giggled, eluding me. "I left my condoms upstairs!"

We raced back to my room, laughing, and if Susan let herself be caught just short of the bed, I recovered enough to wait for her to cover my throbbing meat with a condom before throwing her backwards onto the bed and covering her. There was no finesse, but she was so wet that none was needed; I sank into her like a hot knife in butter.

We rutted like animals. Susan moaned and shrieked her way through another wracking orgasm, but like a machine my cock remained stubbornly rigid; there just wasn't enough sensation through the condom. I wanted to be inside her, flesh to flesh. All the same, the point of the condoms hadn't completely escaped me.

Abruptly, I pulled out of Susan and stripped off the condom.

"What are you doing?" Susan panted.

"Something different," I told her. "I need more sensation." I grabbed the tube of Brylcreem from my nightstand and squeezed a generous amount into my hand, then began coating my cock with it.

"I don't want to get pregnant," Susan protested half-heartedly. I probably could have just fucked her and she would have let me, but my mind was on a different path by that point.

"You can't get knocked up this way," I assured her, kneeling on the bed. "Have you ever had anything up your ass before?" I rolled her. She started kicking and screaming, but I had the advantages of surprise, size, and position. My cock was harder than a tire iron as I pressed it between her cheeks and began forcing myself into her tight anus.

It was the sensation I was looking for. I pressed harder, burying myself deeper inside her. Susan was lying quietly now, crying, but I didn't need her active participation. I pulled nearly all the way free and then reversed my stroke.

"You bastard," she sobbed, but her butt rose to meet me as I skewered her again. I smiled and picked up the pace. A few minutes later I'd hauled her to her hands and knees, making it easier to fondle her tits, and we were both pounding away with abandon. I finally climaxed, but not before Susan had shuddered and nearly collapsed beneath me from the force of her own orgasm.

"Don't ever force me again," Susan told me flatly after I pulled out and she could roll onto her side to look at me.

I ducked my head guiltily. "I'm sorry, honestly. I think I screwed us both up a little bit." She was looking at my cock, which was still hard, and seemed to force herself to look up.

"I can't pretend I didn't like it, by the end. Just remember I'm not your toy." She took a deep breath and blew it out. "Can you fix things?"

"I'm not sure," I shrugged. "You want to get cleaned up first? This is sort of" My voice trailed off.

Susan gave me a small smile. "I'd like that. I feel unclean."

I led her to the bathroom and dug an extra set of towels out of the linen cupboard. "Do you want to go first?"

She considered. "How's the hot water supply?"

"You won't have a problem," I answered. The least I could do was avoid mentioning that the second shower might be problematic if I wasn't quick. My self-induced lust, or whatever it was, was fading and I felt increasingly bad about raping Susan -- there really was no other way to describe what had happened.

"Come in with me," she decided, "you're already naked." I hesitated, and she reached out and hauled me to the tub. "Don't be an idiot. I forgive you."

What followed was a lot of soaping and fondling, followed by a stand-up ass-fuck when Susan lowered herself gingerly onto my revived tool. We both orgasmed again, Susan more colorfully than I, and we just had time to clean ourselves before the fading water temperature chased us back to my bed.

We snuggled together under the blankets and quilt, this time face-to-face. "I just wanted us to both enjoy sex," I explained to Susan. "I'm not sure if I can reverse it or not."

She gently kissed me. "I trust you, Lloyd. Still. Just do your best -- if nothing happens, well, I guess it wouldn't be the end of the world."

I closed my eyes and focused on the glow of her mind. I watched it swirl and pulse, resistant to my cautious attempts, but kept trying. At some point, I fell asleep.

Alexandra swayed before me, her hair swirling gracefully in a breeze I couldn't feel, her body barely concealed beneath a filmy negligee. I moved towards her, naked and rampantly erect, and her ruby red lips formed an "O" of awe as she admired my manhood.

Neither of us shifted position, but somehow she was lying on a bed or large couch and I hovered over her. I drifted closer, the tip of my organ pushing white fabric before it into her sex. She pulled at her nightgown, the sodden material forcing me out, but I pressed it back in again. We embraced, locking our bodies together, and she breathed, "Lloyd," in my ear as our hips thrust against each other.

I woke as my balls clenched and I jetted into Susan. She had her face buried in a pillow, which served to muffle her shrieks of ecstasy so only I could hear them.

"Good morning," she greeted me with a wide smile after dropping the pillow.

"Good morning," I replied, followed a moment later by, "oh, God," as my mind stumbled into action. I didn't know what to be panicked about first. It was light out, the Wagners surely must be awake, the bedsprings weren't muffled, I'd just cum inside Susan, and I hadn't succeeded in changing us back.

"No, just Susan," she quipped, disengaging herself from my cock. She relieved one of my anxieties by removing a condom from my erection and discarding it out the side of the bed.

"I wasn't able to do anything last night," I confessed.

Susan's hand tightened about me. "I gathered as much; we'll both live." She flashed a grin and disappeared beneath the covers; a moment later I felt her mouth sucking on my heated flesh.

The mental picture of her servicing me this way reignited my carnal desires. My dick felt a bit raw, but jabbing it into Susan until her nose nestled near my balls felt even better. I felt for her body and started fingering her sopping pussy, not that she really needed it, and suddenly it seemed we were in a quiet race to see who could make the other climax first.

I lost, exhaling explosively but silently as yet more sperm jetted into Susan. I didn't lose by much, though, as a fingernail against her clit set off Susan so explosively I thought she might bite through my cock. Luckily, I and the covers muffled her quite effectively.

Her head reappeared a moment later. "Good morning again," she whispered, and pushed her tousled hair out of her face.

"Yes it is," I grinned, and kissed her. She tasted of sperm, but I knew it was mine, and that she'd take me again if I wanted. My cock pulsed slightly, no longer eager to perform, but able to if called upon. Then reality set in again. "The Wagners! How are we going to get you out of here?"

"I'm sure you'll think of something," Susan giggled.

"Oh, thanks," I muttered, climbing out of the bed and realizing the floor around it was littered with torn-open wrappers and used condoms.

I pulled on some briefs to hide my distracting cock and started picking up the debris. The bedroom door opened and closed behind me, nearly giving me a heart attack, but I realized Susan had gone to the bathroom. That probably would be safe; usually Mr. Wagner would be reading the paper and Mrs. Wagner would be puttering in the kitchen. It was unsettling to realize I couldn't remember if we'd left the door open or closed the previous night, but I pushed the thought from my mind.

Susan was back a minute later, her hair brushed and still as naked as the day she was born. She was distracting as Hell, and the look on her face told me she knew it. My cock throbbed again but I resolutely ignored it and hurriedly pulled on some clothes.

"Okay," I said, as much praying for luck as thinking, "you remember where the coat closet is, right?" She nodded. "I'll go down first and distract them. When you hear me start talking about leaving, just get your coat as fast as you can and get into it like you're putting it on over your clothing."

"You're the boss," Susan told me, but it wasn't the confidence builder I might have hoped for.

I took a deep breath and started downstairs. Everybody was where I expected them, which was a comfort. I walked into the kitchen, where I could keep Mr. Wagner looking away from the hall and Mrs. Wagner completely out of the sightline. "Good morning!"

"Oh, Good morning, Lloyd," Mrs. Wagner greeted me. She really did treat me as if she were my own grandmother. "I wondered if you two were ever going to get up!"

"I just lost track of time. The snow seemed bad last night and we thought it was better not to try driving. I hope you don't mind Susan staying over; I was just going to drive her home now."

"Not at all, dear," she smiled. "I know you wouldn't do anything improper."

The comment was so off-base I had to pause and file it for later consideration. I didn't think sharing a bed for the night with an unattached woman would count as "proper," at least for the Wagners' generation.

"Except get into the liquor, perhaps," Mr. Wagner said.

I didn't take the comment too seriously, but I could hear him getting up, which would mean trouble if he turned around to go back to his chair. "I'm sorry about that," I said, moving to the kitchen doorway and engaging him. "We were a little chilled and sat in front of the fire. I realize we forgot to put the glasses away."

"Don't worry about it," he waved, "what's the point in having it if nobody ever drinks?" He winked at me. "I've been known to have a nightcap with a girl from time to time, too."

I saw Susan's head crossing behind Mr. Wagner, but nearly died when Mrs. Wagner spoke up from right behind me.

"Good morning, dear! Are you sure you won't stay for breakfast?"

"Good morning," Susan called back. She just made it out of sight before Mr. Wagner turned around to look for her. I waited for an explosion from Mrs. Wagner, but it didn't come; apparently I'd blocked her view sufficiently she hadn't seen anything.

Susan reappeared a moment later, with only a single button fastened on her coat. She worked on doing up the others, driving up my blood pressure but revealing nothing, as she walked over to join us. "It's a pleasure to meet both of you; Lloyd has said such nice things."

She exchanged handshakes with both of the Wagners, after which Mrs. Wagner asked again, "Would you like breakfast?"

Susan cocked her head, as if considering it. We both knew she couldn't keep the coat on if she stayed, and that she wore nothing beneath it. I didn't think the Wagners had noticed she was barefooted.

"We really can't," I apologized. "She already has an appointment for brunch, and we'll be pushing it if we leave any later."

"Maybe next time?" Susan suggested. I started nudging her in the direction of the door.

"You're always welcome," Mrs. Wagner assured her. Mr. Wagner chimed in with, "don't catch cold," which was a little out of character for him but I was happy to make any escape at this point.

We stomped into our boots and I hustled Susan out to the car. Somebody, probably Mr. Wagner, had already brushed all of the windows clear of snow. "You are an evil person," I told a laughing Susan as I opened the door for her. I had to chuckle, myself; it was a pretty funny story, even if there was nobody I'd dare tell it.

The car took most of the drive to warm up, and I could see Susan was a little cold by the time we got to the apartment. After letting her out of the car, I stopped her for a quick kiss. "I enjoyed the night; I'm looking forward to seeing you Monday."

"I'm looking forward to more than that," she giggled, and hurried up the steps and in the front door.

I spent the afternoon reflecting on what I'd learned from her visit, and the lengthening list of mistakes I needed to try not to repeat. "She's a nice girl, but would you take her home to your parents?" Mr. Wagner asked me out of the blue, mid-afternoon, and that was the last he said on the subject.

Alexandra was the girl I wanted to take home to my parents, and if Susan wasn't that kind of girl, I was pretty sure it was my fault -- but I wasn't going to tell him any of that.

That night I undressed for bed and looked down at my hardening cock. I fancied I could still smell Susan, and it hardened a bit more. Thinking about her prompted me to fist myself, but it didn't feel right. After the previous night, I wasn't in the mood for substitutes. I settled under the covers, still hard, and hoped for pleasant dreams.

November 2010

I didn't remember drifting off, but I realized the office was quiet except for soft breathing. The familiar tangle of glistening spun silk hovered above me in my mind's eye, and I opened my eyes to find Angel crouched over me, looking intently into my face from mere inches away.

She was completely naked, covered with sweat and feminine nectar, and exuded a musk that completely overwhelmed her usual perfume. Her hair hung in disarray around our faces like a curtain, shielding us from the rest of the world. We kissed without saying a word, the sort of deep lip lock that stole your breath away without being aggressive.

"I missed you," I told her when I could speak again, and watched the smile spread across her face. "How were the girls?"

"Needy," she replied a touch unevenly. "You know, women can cum a lot more often than men." I reflected on what that meant to somebody who climaxed every time her partner did. "I swear two of them were multi-orgasmic," Angel continued, "but it wasn't -- satisfying. I missed you, too." Her hand drifted to my fly. "I missed having you inside me."

My cock was obligingly erect by the time her fingers clasped it. Somehow we managed to work my trousers down my legs without dislodging Angel or pulling a muscle. Sighing happily, she settled herself on my man-root until I was completely encased in her slick satin folds, and began massaging me with her cunt.

It was a virtuoso demonstration of muscular control, but largely wasted on her audience. I gazed up at her toned body and reached out first to cup and caress her breasts, and then to pull her down against me. Angel was breathing heavily, mirroring my own arousal.

"Do I excite you?" she breathed in my ear.

I smiled into the fall of her hair. "You know you do." A roll of my hips emphasized the degree of my excitement. "I spent too much of today dreaming of tapping this tight little body."

"I'm always wet for you," Angel admitted. "Cum in me, please -- I need you now!"

Not for the first time, the bittersweet thought that she told no less than the truth, and that the most beautiful creature in the world belonged to me, absolutely, got my rocks off. Angel bit her lip and convulsed atop me as she achieved her own release.

After a moment, Angel tensed to slide down and clean me, but I held her in place. "Leave me inside, tonight," I told her. "Just stay; we need to talk."

She looked closely at me, absently sweeping her hair over one shoulder, and untensed. "Is everything okay, Boss?"

The feel of her still clutching my organ, the weight of her breasts again my chest, and the soft breath in my ear were far better than just okay. There was something to be said for being old enough to step off the physical rut treadmill once in a while; I hadn't let myself wallow in intimate contact like this for over seven years, not since


I refused to let myself get sidetracked now by memories of someone, something, who was dead and gone past all hope of recovery. I'd just push through it like I always did. "Sorry, a stray thought. I wanted to talk with you about Rose Cunningham."

"Rose," Angel breathed, and it was her turn to take on a distracted expression.

If trying to describe my ability was difficult, this was nightmarish. Angel was a creature of the night and my creation, and had no direct memories of a person she'd never "met." She had intellectual knowledge of Angela's memories from before she'd been "born," but nothing more recent. Somehow, she had the ability to pick through Angela's mind -- sort of like asking a friend a question, without the friend remembering the conversation -- but I was always skittish about asking her to exercise it. I didn't know what might happen if something "leaked," and I couldn't bear the thought of risking either of the two women in the body riding mine.

"Good-looking redhead, almost as hot as me, short hair?" she asked me.

"Hair's grown out some, and almost as hot," I confirmed. We exchanged looks of shared amusement. "That's her. She lives near Angela, and seems to have figured out Angela isn't really going to the University when she claims she is. What do I need to know? Start with the old stuff first."

"They met at high school; BFF." Angel laughed at my quizzical expression and spelled it out: "Best Friends Forever. Don't tell me you haven't heard that one before." She shrugged. "They fell out of contact after graduating; Angela went into the service and Rose went through college. She got a job with a big firm in Saint Louis. There's an older brother who lives in California, and her parents relocated to North Carolina a few years back."

After a pause, Angel added, "I think she's kind of kinky."

That surprised me on several levels. "You think, or Angela thinks? And why?"

Her response was a short sultry laugh. "I strongly suspect; Angela wasn't sure. The mean girls called her 'Rose Cunnilingus' and 'Rose Cummingham', but high school girls will hang a slur on somebody at the drop of a hat. I'm pretty sure she hit on Angela once, in senior year." We both felt my cock twitch, which prompted another smile from Angel. "Not exactly academic interest, Boss!"

"Anyway, Angela was too clueless to recognize it at the time, and Rose never pushed it. For the rest, there's nothing to point at, but she just threw off vibes that suggested she was more, um, curious than her classmates."

It all sounded in line with what Rose had told me, and helped clarify her interest. Still, understanding the recent past would be critical in avoiding any mistakes. "I left Rose's card on the desk; take a look before you go any further, okay?"

Angel lithely uncoiled herself and walked across the office, showcasing her perfect ass. I watched a rivulet of my spend start down her inner thigh, only to be absentmindedly intercepted by a finger and transferred to her mouth.

"Rose Cunningham, Interior Designs," she read. "Well, she's still using her maiden name, and that was what she got her degree in." Angel looked briefly at the back of the card. "Collecting phone numbers from attractive women, at your age. Should I be jealous?"

"Absolutely not. As long as I can draw breath, you'll be mine." The conviction in my voice was driven equally by desire and a sense of responsibility.

"That sounded almost romantic," she teased gently while walking back to the couch.

I thought she was going to clean me and put up a hand to stop her, but Angel surprised me again by taking my hand and climbing carefully back onto the couch so she could stretch out against me. "It feels good," she explained when she saw my quizzical expression. One delicate hand wrapped possessively around my flaccid penis.

"Okay, Angela, what have you been doing?" she murmured to herself.

I waited patiently. Hell, like this, I could wait all night and be content.

She roused a few minutes later and smiled. "I think Rose needs to get laid."

"That's the most important thing you learned?" I protested.

"Maybe not," admitted Angel. "But she broke up with her latest boyfriend when she moved back, has some clothes in the closet that startled Angela, and seems to be deathly afraid of anybody getting near the drawer of her nightstand."

"What else?" I wondered.

"Rose moved back about six months ago. She was fed up with the corporate rat race and wanted to have more control over what she was doing, even if it meant taking risks. She's done the bar scene once or twice, but hasn't found anybody worth pursuing -- except maybe Angela." Angel squeezed my cock. "They do girl things together, and get spa treatments once a month." She leered at me, her expression wicked. "You should have seen the look on her face the first time she saw Angela naked!"

"What do you mean?" I knew there was nothing wrong with my Angel; I looked at her constantly.

Angel laughed in my face. "You're too close to the trees to see the forest, Boss! Angela still acts like she's a 27-year-old virgin, but she's waxed as clean as a billiard ball -- everywhere -- and has no tan lines -- anywhere! She only wears boots and athletic shoes, but the once Rose made her try on a pair of fuck-me pumps, she could walk in them like a runway model. If she's really tired or distracted, Angela can put on hose in less than minute, with no runs and straight seams; if she concentrates, she can ruin three pairs in a row. I think it's driving Rose crazy; she wants to make a move but can't read Angela and is scared to queer things if she makes a mistake." Her humor bubbled up again. "I bet with all the 'Lloyd this' and 'Lloyd that', she thought Angela had a boyfriend -- how did she react when she found out you were 48 years older?"

"Almost 48," I absently corrected her. I hadn't been looking at Rose's face, but I remembered her initial hesitation. "Why," I asked, looking up at her, "didn't I hear any of this?" I was confused, and a little hurt. "They're doing all this, she's sharing things about me, and I don't even hear Rose's name until she introduces herself to me tonight? It's like she's living some sort of secret life!"

"That's the pot calling the kettle black." Angel chuckled, but her eyes were sympathetic. She looked inward for a moment, and looked pensive. "I think you shut her out, Boss. It was different, before, but then you stopped talking to her about personal things; stopped asking about how her classes were going or what she'd done on her time off. You didn't go out for drinks after work anymore. She just figured you wanted to keep things on a strictly professional level."

Damn; hoist by my own petard. It made perfect sense, once somebody had pointed it out. I already knew exactly what Angela -- Angel -- did most of the time, so I had no reason to ask; and fearful the fabricated separation between the two personalities might fracture, excellent reasons not to poke at memories that might not stand up to introspection.

If my questions about Rose seemed to be answered, I still felt like I'd taken one step forward and two back.

"Thanks for the insight, and candor," I told Angel, before kissing her again.

"I'm yours," she declared simply after we broke.

"Yeah, well, I'm Danny's," I groused. "I suppose I'd better get off my keister before he comes looking for me." I very reluctantly helped Angel to her feet before standing myself up and inspecting my clothing. It would be easier to just send it all to the cleaners and start over; it was why Danny gave me a closet and a clothing allowance.

"The handsomest man I know," Angel complemented me as she finished adjusting my tie and brushed imaginary wrinkles away from the shoulders of the suit jacket.

"Coming from you, I'll take that," I smiled, and pulled her so tight to me she squeaked. I took a last look at the beautiful vision standing naked beside my desk, and left to find out what unenviable task Danny had waiting for me.

January 1962

I wasn't graced by any dreams that night, but Alexandra appeared at the door to my cave about mid-morning. That was even better, as far as I was concerned.

"How was your weekend?" I inquired, beckoning her in.

"Okay," she smiled. "The wedding seems to be on track, and we have Jonathan and Danny measured. The waistcoats they settled on aren't too tacky."

I thought Jonathan was an idiot. While Alexandra was preoccupied with her coat, I closed my eyes long enough to locate her, and wafted that thought ever so gently in her direction. The rigid erection in my pants was more than enough of a reminder that it was perilously easy to go overboard without meaning to do so.

"Well, what brings you down, besides the heat?"

She settled primly in my guest chair and flashed a brief smile. "There is that." The humor was switched off just as quickly as it had appeared. "I wanted to hear what you learned from Susan on Friday. She had an appointment this morning, so I haven't been able to ask her."

I quickly related the censored version. "If you try something like that again, I think she might hit you," I concluded.

"But it worked!" Alexandra emphasized, clearly excited. "It's just fascinating, Lloyd!" She turned her gaze on me, but it was clear she was looking at the interesting research problem and not the man.

Well, I liked her looking at me, and vice versa. I used my lightest featherweight touch to loft that thought at her, too. Gently, Lloyd, I told myself before resuming the conversation. "So, another test?"

"Absolutely," she responded. "It's pretty clear you have a genuine ability, but we have no idea how it works. Why did the ketchup work, but the word fail? What limitations does it have?" Alexandra cocked her head. "Have you figured out anything more?"

I decided a little confession wouldn't be out of line. "I think it's pretty short range. If I concentrate, I can see sort of a glow where people's heads are, if they aren't very far away. It's hard to describe, but I think it's all related."

Her bug-under-the-magnifying-glass stare was back. "Really! Can you see me now?"

I already knew I could, but I went through the motions of closing my eyes and finding her in front of me. Alexandra's glow started moving toward the doorway; keeping my eyes closed, I told her, "You're walking away from me now." She kept moving until she was so faint I wouldn't have found her if I hadn't been watching, and then the glow moved sideways and abruptly disappeared. "Lost you," I reported, and opened my eyes again.

Alexandra looked around the door jam. "Interesting. Was it when I went through the door, or when I stepped down the hall?"

"I think it was the wall. I could still see you, but you disappeared when you moved sideways."

"I wish Susan was here," Alexandra sighed, walking back into the room. "This isn't rigorous enough; we need an observer, at least."

The lack of an observer wasn't bothering me, but I was having difficulties resisting the temptation to meddle. "Couldn't we rough things out, so we'd have a better idea of where to spend time with the careful experiments?"

"How would you propose doing that?" Alexandra asked cautiously, but she didn't dismiss the idea out of hand.

It was a spur-of-the-moment suggestion, so I didn't have a plan in mind. "Well" I thought furiously. "Let's go out in the hall where there's more room. You'll walk slowly toward me until I tell you to stop, and then we can count tiles to get an estimate of the distance."

"How will you decide when I should stop?" Alexandra wanted to know.

"It's kind of hard to describe," I demurred. "We're just trying to get a distance we can refine later on, okay? I only have a few more minutes before I need to head to class."

"Okay," she decided, clearly humoring me.

We walked into the hallway and proceeded to opposite ends before facing each other, rather like modern-day duelists. The difference was that we were unarmed, at least visibly, and only Alexandra began pacing slowly forward. I closed my eyes and began casting my vision outwards, mouthing her name silently on my lips and concentrating on the warmth I felt.

Her slow footsteps echoed down the hallway as I kept concentrating. Eventually a faint sense of her presence appeared in my mind and I redoubled my effort, ignoring a burgeoning headache. As soon as saw a faint ripple, I shouted, "stop!" and opened my eyes.

"How far, Alex?" I asked, rubbing my forehead.

She quickly paced off the remaining distance between us. "About 15 feet. How confident are you about the distance?"

"Pretty sure, I guess. Like you said, Alex, we'd need to set up a more formal experiment to be sure." Her neutral expression, hinting of calculation, was the only confirmation I needed -- my use of "Alex" hadn't set her off at all. Maybe I'd let her come closer than was necessary, but that was what the follow-up would determine.

I heaved a sigh. "Well, we can discuss it this afternoon. I have to go suffer at the hands of undergrads now. Susan should be there by then, right?"

Alexandra -- no, it was "Alex" for me, now -- nodded. We collected our coats and headed our separate ways, the spring in my step at odds with my fading headache.

I was looking forward to our afternoon meeting, but not for any reasons that had to do with Alex's research. This late in the day, the temperature in their office was almost normal, and I shrugged off my coat without hesitation. "Hi, Susan! Hi, Alex! What have you thought up for us now?"

The girls smiled welcomes at me, although Susan quietly mouthed, "Alex?!" when her officemate wasn't looking. I winked at her in return; she was dressed more attractively than her usual practice, if less daringly than the end of the previous week.

"Okay, let's get started," Susan decided as soon as I'd sat down, and produced a half-eaten basket of French fries slathered with ketchup.

"Weren't there more of those when you brought them back from lunch?" asked Alex. Susan nodded sheepishly and Alex resumed her usual direction of our activities. "We discussed this earlier, and I think it's important to see how easy it is to undo a change you've made. For one thing, "flipping" something back and forth will be much more efficient for some tests than what we've done so far."

"You want me to make Susan hate ketchup-covered fries again, then?" Both girls nodded, and I could see the point, too. Not about the fries specifically, but I did have some flashes of regret over a few of my impulsive decisions on the weekend.

"Now?" There were more nods. "Okay, then," I said a little more confidently. I found Susan's mind almost instantly, and then opened my eyes again so I could stare at the red-spattered fries. This time I focused on the feelings of nausea I'd had once after finding particularly bad "lost" leftovers in the back of the refrigerator, and imagined those leftovers were the fries in front of us. After a suitable period of time, I relaxed. "Well?"

Susan popped a dripping piece of fried potato into her mouth. "It was better hot, but they're still good."

"Hmm, let me try again." I closed my eyes, found Susan's glow, and kept concentrating on that while I thought hard about tomatoey horror. Her glow never wavered and I felt the beginnings of a headache, so I stopped. "I don't think it's going to work," I told them.

Alex thought out loud while Susan ate another fry. "Maybe Susan would always have liked ketchup on fries and just was afraid to try them?"

Susan shook her head. "I don't think so. That supposes that Friday's experiment was a failure too, just like today -- but you rigged it so I couldn't have faked it. Besides, I know Lloyd can do these things!" She clamped her mouth closed, but Alex already was looking suspiciously at the two of us.

"You know?" Alex asked carefully. "How did you obtain this knowledge?"

I cringed, seeing no good way for the conversation to end. "Look, Alex, --"

"Just a minute," she snapped. "I'm talking to Susan right now."

Susan had a quick mind -- quicker than mine, anyway -- and proved it again. "Look, Alex," she echoed, and paused for the inevitable response.

"Don't call me Alex!" the blonde hissed, and then stopped herself so abruptly I thought I heard her teeth click. Suddenly, her attention was focused entirely on me. "Say it again," she demanded.

"Alex." I drew it out, letting the syllables roll gently off my tongue and looking her straight in the eyes. "I like calling you 'Alex'." Her eyes widened and I thought I detected a hint of color in her face.

Susan cut in, talking fast but without sounding jittery. She had to be improvising, but she did a great job. "Lloyd and I discussed this Friday night while he was taking me home. We felt that, as principal researcher, it was important for you to understand the change in perception, and I didn't feel I could do it justice with a verbal description. I know you didn't plan it this way, but we thought first-hand impressions would be extremely valuable. And," she pointed a fry at Alex for emphasis, "it's payback for that ketchup trick!"

"When did you do this?" Alex asked me. If she didn't look happy, at least she wasn't looking upset either.

"This morning. It was just fortuitous coincidence I was able to combine it with your suggestion for a distance test."

"Well, don't do it again."

I nodded, thinking I was fortunate to escape with no worse repercussions.

"So tell me," Alex continued, "how were you able to determine the distance? What's going on inside that head of yours?"

Not for the first time, I had the impression that although I was the most educated person in the office, both women were smarter than me. We spent the rest of the afternoon talking about mind glows, visualizations, and hypotheses about interpreting them.

Susan caught up to me halfway across the quad after we'd called it quits for the day. "I need to talk to you, privately," she announced.

I was already mostly hard thinking about what she might want. "Sure -- you might as well see my cave, anyway."

She surprised me again. "I really like Alexandra," Susan told me while we unfastened our coats. "I really like this, too," she continued, gripping my rigid shaft through my trousers. "But if you hurt Alexandra or take advantage of her, I'm going to tear it off and feed it to you, understand?"

"Perfectly," I gasped, painfully aware of Susan's surprisingly strong grip.

"Good." A moment later we were tearing at each other's clothes; I fumbled a condom onto myself while Susan pulled down her pantyhose, and then we were both enjoying a fast stand-up fuck. Neither of us lasted long, and I could feel Susan screaming into my mouth as I kissed her.

That encounter pretty much set the tone of the next few weeks. The three of us did our class work and continued studying and evaluating my ability. Whenever Susan and I were alone, we fucked like rabbits. Both of us were insatiable, and it got easier after Susan revealed she was on the pill and we could dispense with the condoms.

She still came like a banshee every time I pumped her, and after I found sticky deposits in her panties, I began to suspect I wasn't the only guy Susan was fucking. I couldn't complain since I thought about Alex all the time, although I hadn't done anything more "off the record."

I sure wanted to, but knew I shouldn't, and wasn't sure it was needed. The three of us necessarily spent a lot of time together, and Alex had been getting increasingly frustrated about the wedding preparations. It sounded like Jonathan didn't take the planning, or Alex's aspirations, seriously; either it was getting to her more than it had, or she was just less inhibited about voicing her annoyance.

Sometimes we'd be talking about the project or reviewing a draft of her thesis, and I'd catch a hint of an expression on Alex's face that had me instantly rock-hard in my pants. There was no way I could have restrained myself if Susan hadn't been available to serve as a willing, wanton receptacle for my physical urges. Nobody had actually said anything, but I was pretty sure Alex knew something was going on between Susan and myself even before the morning she returned unexpectedly early from a class and caught Susan giving me a blowjob in the office.

The minx had bet me that she could get me off without orgasming herself, which was saying a lot for a girl that pretty much came if my cock moved inside her. I didn't think she could do it, which was the only reason I'd taken the bet; joining Susan for a three-way with another guy wasn't on my list of erotic fantasies. Unfortunately for me, her technique had improved and she was using a combination of suction and tongue action that had to be felt to be believed. The finger tickling my prostate was borderline cheating.

I heard the key rattling in the lock, but I was right on the verge of exploding in Susan's mouth; Susan was so focused on me I don't think she head the door at all.

"Where's Susan?" Alex asked. She'd deposited her books on her desk before she noticed my expression and looked down to see Susan's head buried in my crotch. "Oh gosh, you two! Get a hotel room!"

It might have been my imagination, but I thought I saw a trace of something other than shock and disgust in her expression. Real or not, it -- and Susan's finger -- pushed me over the edge and a huge load boiled out of my balls and up my shaft.

Susan immediately pulled away, unwilling to risk losing her bet due to some involuntary muscular contraction on my part; that left my jerking tool in plain view while Susan managed to catch most of my spraying semen in her mouth.

Alex finally regained her voice. "Susan, don't you have any shame?"

"Not as much as I did," Susan quipped. She rose slowly to her feet, wiping her cheek clean with a finger.

I hurriedly tucked myself away before Alex's accusing stare returned to me. "Don't look at me -- it was her idea!"

"You seriously expect me to believe that?" Alex's laugh didn't sound too humorous. "I saw what you got out of it." She looked over at Susan, who now appeared a model of decorum. "Lloyd didn't pressure you into this, did he?"

"No," Susan laughed. "We made a bet -- which I won! Do you want to hear about it?"

Alex eyed her officemate's cat-who-ate-the-canary expression, and responded with a doubtful, "I don't think so." She looked intrigued but, true to form, tried to focus on the job at hand -- after getting in the last word. "Just remember, Susan, you're the equal of any man. Don't let them push you around, even Lloyd, okay? You can always talk to me."

We spent the remainder of the afternoon reviewing and organizing data that suggested my changes seemed to be permanent. After the session broke up and we were preparing to leave, Susan told me, "pick me up tonight at 7."

"What?" I tried to restrain my surprise and avoid attracting Alex's attention. "You already set it up?"

Susan gave me a Mona Lisa smile. "You're a pushover, Lloyd. I knew I could do it."

I smiled thinly in return and left. It was beginning to feel like I'd created a monster. However, I'd given my word, and I'd feel better if I was there to watch out for her. And, I admitted to myself, I was looking forward to fucking Susan -- even in the presence of another guy.

Thus I found myself pulling up in front of Susan's apartment right at the top of the hour. I could see Susan talking to Yelena in the lobby; the girls noticed me and Yelena waved as Susan walked out to the car. I jumped out to get the door for her, although Susan had enough practice to handle it herself.

"To the Madison, James," she drawled in a mock British accent, once I'd rejoined her in the car.

"Certainly, Madame," I replied in the same tone, and put the car into gear. It was a nice hotel, once very nice, that wasn't too far off campus. Its declining fortunes owed more to the subsequent construction of newer properties closer to the city center than to decay, and it was still the place well-heeled parents and alumni wanted to stay when they visited the campus. "That must have cost you a pretty penny," I told Susan in my usual voice.

She laughed. "Not a cent! I won it on a bet."

"What bet?" I asked, laughing too. "With who?"

"You'll see," Susan smiled mysteriously.

I couldn't get anything more out of her on the drive over. Turning over the car to the hotel valet was a little nerve-wracking, but most of my mind was focused on Susan and the question of who the other guy would be. Apparently she already had a key, so we walked through the hotel lobby to the elevators.

"Looking forward to this evening?" Susan asked, brushing my pants to feel for my penis. She found me half-hard.

"Half of it, anyway," I admitted. I reached for a breast but Susan adroitly steered my hand aside. I settled for a steamy kiss instead.

We found the room and Susan let us in. I don't really know what or who I was expecting, but I wasn't prepared to find Danny Sullivan sitting in the armchair, nursing a glass of champagne.

He rose and came forward to shake my hand. "Lloyd Parker, I really didn't expect to see you here," he told me with a grin. Turning to Susan, he added, "You're an expensive date."

"I'm just learning to get what I want," Susan rejoined, throwing her coat across the chair. "I'll just freshen up while you gentlemen prepare yourselves." She disappeared into the bathroom.

"Oh, I'm prepared!" Danny told the closed door. "I have to say," he continued, "I didn't have you figured for this kind of scene, Lloyd. But I guess Susan's a hot enough number to have both of us wrapped around her little finger, eh?" He leaned closer. "I've been with a lot of girls, and I never met one who got off on sex the way she does. What a firecracker!"

"Yeah," I tersely agreed. I couldn't decide if it was better or worse to be stuck in this with somebody I knew, much less Alex's brother. I couldn't resist asking, "How'd she get you here, anyway?"

Danny laughed. "Not much to it, Lloyd! She just asked if I wanted to help give her a night to remember. I'm always ready to help out a lady that way!" He made some thrusting motions with his hips to reinforce the message, and then sighed. "I just thought she'd end up paying for the room when she bet me you'd be the other guy. What about you?"

I had to smile, thinking of how Susan had played both of us. "She bet me she could blow me without getting off herself; I lost."

"Really?" Danny blinked. "I would have taken that bet, too -- talk about a hair trigger. Damn, I wish I'd seen it!"

Some perverse notion made me tell him, "Your sister did."

"Alexandra?!" He gaped, genuinely off-balance for once. "How did that happen?"

I shrugged, obscurely pleased by his reaction. "We were doing it in the office at school, and she walked in on us."

"I bet that went over like a lead balloon," Danny laughed. "Now I really wish I'd been there."

After a chuckle, I admitted, "she seems pretty uptight about that kind of thing, I but I think she was too surprised to say much."

Danny poured me a glass of champagne. "Lloyd, before 10 minutes ago, I would have said you were too uptight for this." He toasted the closed bathroom door and then me.

"I guess first impressions can be deceiving." I hesitated, but he seemed to be in a good mood, so I observed, "I wouldn't have thought Alexandra and Jonathan would make a couple -- how did they meet?"

"Cotillion, I think." Danny took a sip and paused before continuing. "When we were kids, anyway. Mom liked to pretend we were rich; Jonathan's parents actually were rich." He snorted. "Alexandra was looking for Prince Charming, and I think Jonathan was looking for arm candy, a nice corporate wife. I've seen worse couples."

It wasn't a stirring endorsement, and I thought about drawing him out a little more, but the bathroom door opened and Susan rejoined us.

She was wearing a lacy black baby doll negligee with matching panties, and that was it. Her hair was down and teased out, and her lips were a suspiciously familiar deep red. "How do I look?" she asked, twirling so we could see all of her.

"Why don't you come over here and ask?" returned Danny, who set his drink on the side table without taking his eyes off of her.

Susan looked hot, but it still felt funny having Danny there too, and I didn't say anything. I think she sensed that, because she sauntered over and embraced me. I could feel Susan's body as clearly as her questing hand could my erection, and we kissed hungrily.

Danny was kind enough to remove the glass from my hand before I spilled it, and then he was embracing Susan from behind and running his hands down her body. I tried to ignore his nearness and concentrate on her. "I hope this wasn't too expensive," he murmured in Susan's ear.

"Why?" she mumbled into my mouth, undulating sensuously between the two of us.

"Because I'm going to be paying for it too," he replied, and then literally tore the panties off her body. Susan squealed with surprise, and then jumped again as Danny inserted a few fingers into her from behind. She moaned, making my cock even harder.

"C'mon, Lloyd," Danny chided, breaking our embrace and steering Susan toward the bed, "we aren't here to hit singles and make out; the lady wants us to get to home plate. Am I right?"

Susan lay back atop the covers, breathing heavily, and spread her knees in clear invitation. It was surprisingly easy to focus on her glistening sex and ignore Danny, who was shedding his clothes beside me. I fumbled with my own fly.

Naked at last, I nearly threw myself at Susan and sheathed myself to the hilt in her molten cunt. I leaned forward to kiss her, but Danny was beside us and Susan turned aside to take his rampant organ in her mouth. The three of us bucked together without any rhythm, but the feel of Susan convulsing between us was unbelievable.

I jetted into her depths almost immediately, and I saw overflow from Danny's load trickling from her mouth not much later. There was no way to be sure, but I suspected Susan had already orgasmed at least once. My cock was still ready for more, but she rolled away from me, trying to follow Danny's reddened tool.

"Ride me, you slut," he teased her, flopping on his back and holding her head away from his throbbing manhood. I thought his attitude was coarse, but Susan wasted no time in clambering forward and impaling herself on him.

It didn't fit my mental image of Susan, and I didn't like watching her fuck another guy, but I had to admit she was looking and acting a lot like a slut. "Oh fuck me, fuck me harder, pound me!" Susan slurred, her tits swaying as she bounced up and down on Danny and I watched my scum leaking onto their thighs.

I think my pride was a little wounded that she seemingly could forget me so quickly. If Susan was going to act like a slut craving faceless cock, I decided, maybe I should just treat her that way. I moved up behind them, focusing on her tiny rosebud, and pressed against her.

It wasn't like I was forcing her. "Oh, God, yes!" Susan moaned, and pressed backwards so I slid into her. When she reversed course and moved back against Danny, I followed. I could feel his cock pressing against mine inside her, one of the most erotic sensations I'd encountered.

I began a slow pistoning motion, because I knew that really got her off. "Fucking slut," I grunted. Danny said something, but I couldn't hear him over Susan's moaning and gasping. I reached around her head and muzzled her with one hand.

"Roll over," he repeated; I realized most of our weight was on top of him. Keeping a firm grip on Susan, I leaned sideways and fell to the bed. He rolled with us, leaving us all on our sides with Susan the meat in our sandwich. "Thanks," he grinned, then refocused on Susan. "Take this, bitch!"

We started slamming ourselves into her, working into a synchronized rhythm. I could go deepest when we were alternating strokes, but it was when we were both thrusting into her simultaneously that Susan just went nuts.

"That's the ticket!" Danny grunted. "Give it to her!" I came again, unloading in Susan's tight ass, but kept going, maintaining pace with Danny. I also kept my hand over Susan's mouth, keeping the volume to a manageable level. Susan's body was thrashing as if she were experiencing continuous orgasms, and her head suddenly snapped backwards and cracked me in the face so hard I saw stars.

When I could focus again, the first thing I heard was Susan crying. My initial alarm faded after I realized she was saying, "Oh my God, I can't believe I came like that!"

"You're an E-ticket ride, baby," agreed Danny, leaning over me to look at my forehead. "I think you're gonna have a bump there, Lloyd."

"I'm so sorry!" gasped Susan, rolling over to look at me, eyes wide with concern. Her face looked like a mess with lipstick smeared all over it, but she was glowing.

"Don't apologize," I magnanimously told her, "it was worth it."

"You're so sweet," she smiled, and kissed me. A moment later, she sat up. "I want to do it again!"

Danny laughed; I just stared at the ceiling. "I'm glad you appreciate our prowess," he told Susan, "but, as you see, we take a little longer to recuperate." He made no attempt to hide his flaccid organ, which was still shiny with her juices. "We do have fingers and tongues, however."

"I want more cock. I want to feel it inside me. Can't I help you along?"

I sat up, too; my penis needed to be washed. "You know it doesn't work that way," I reminded Susan. "It's just a physical limitation we need to live with." Danny nodded his agreement.

"Can't you, you know, do something about it?" She gave me a meaningful look. Danny picked up on it, although I prayed he didn't understand what she was really asking.

"I'm sorry," I said shortly, heading for the bathroom, "you'll just have to wait. As soon as I get hard, you'll be the first person to know."

"Drat," Susan sulked. "I wanted to fuck all night!"

"Didn't you take any physiology?" asked Danny, half-humorously. "You'd need a lot more than two guys for that."

"How many more?" Susan asked, in a tone that made me drop the washcloth and leave the bathroom.

"Seriously?" It was clear Danny didn't know if she was joking or not. "I don't know; maybe a half-dozen or so."

"You don't need to do this," I pleaded, but Susan was fixated on the idea.

"I've heard about your reputation," she addressed Danny, absently fingering herself. "You have friends; could you talk some of them into coming over here?"

I had to give Danny credit; he looked in my direction, where I was shaking my head "no."

"Don't pay attention to him," Susan chided, walking up to Danny. "Pay attention to me." She undulated against his body and whispered huskily in his ear. "It's my party, and I can fuck who I want to." Danny's cock lengthened slightly, and I knew I'd lost the point.

While he made a few phone calls, I seriously considered just getting dressed and leaving; I hadn't signed up for an orgy and wasn't interested in participating in one. I finally decided to stay; I'd brought Susan, I was the one who'd made her want to do this, and I thought it was good to have somebody present who saw Susan as more than a fleshy tube meant to house cocks. I knew Danny's reputation too, and I didn't trust any of the gentleman callers expected to appear.

The first disbelieving frat boys arrived sooner than I'd expected. They looked young to me, and the reality of the sexy woman who answered their knock clearly surpassed whatever Danny had promised them. Susan still wore her baby doll, but the panties were gone and it was obvious she'd already been fucked.

"What's the score?" one of them asked Danny after taking in an eyeful and then scanning the room. "Is this for real?"

"Totally real," Susan assured him, unfastening his pants. "Do you think you're man enough for me?"

"We needed reinforcements," amplified Danny, unashamed of his cock, which had made it back to half-mast. I'd pulled on my shirt and slacks, feeling uncomfortable with that level of nudity.

The new guys didn't need much encouragement, and had Susan screaming with pleasure in no time. Danny was fixated on the show, stroking himself slowly, so it was left to me to answer the knock at the door. I was scared it would be somebody from the hotel, but it turned out to be another trio from school.

One of them palmed some cash into my hand as they pushed by; from the way their attention was focused on the action atop the bed, I didn't even bother asking them about it. A few more singletons arrived a bit later, also cash in hand, to join the swarm.

It was like watching ants at a picnic. The men were double- and triple-teaming Susan, who was gleaming with perspiration and leaking semen from every orifice. Danny was keeping an eye on her too, but it seemed mostly to ensure her mouth was plugged as much as possible. I stopped worrying about her after a while, when it became clear she was enjoying herself even more than her worshippers.

The first guys left after about an hour, laughing and joking with Danny, who escorted them to the door. I couldn't help noticing he was limp again and glistening with fresh saliva.

"What's with the money, Danny?" I asked after the door was closed.

"Oh, good," he exclaimed when he saw the bills in my hand. "I was afraid nobody was taking it. It's donations -- you don't think we're going to have to pay extra for cleaning?" We watched one of the guys spray sperm across Susan's back and the bedspread.

We could have bought new linens for less than what I held. "Susan is not a whore, and we are not pimps," I told him sternly.

"Absolutely not," Danny replied defensively, before our conversation was interrupted by a sharp knock.

It was another one of Danny's friends, pale as a sheet, accompanied by the hotel's night manager. "What's going on in this room?" he asked suspiciously, eyes widening at Danny's casual nudity and again at the unmistakable sounds coming from the bed.

"We're just having a little party" Danny's voice trailed off into a widening circle of silence that spread to encompass the entire room, punctuated by Susan's, "keep going! Why are you stopping?"

The manager -- his nametag said "Ray" -- walked a little further into the room and his eyes literally bugged out at the scene on the bed. Susan was kneeling atop one guy while another stood frozen behind her, slowly rotating her pelvis against both of them. She visibly swallowed and pushed a lock of cum-matted hair out of her face. Several more guys, all stark naked with wilting cocks, surrounded the bed.

"This is completely unacceptable behavior!" Ray choked out after a false start.

"What's the big deal?" Danny asked with commendable bravado. "We're all adults here; we aren't doing anything wrong." After a barely discernable pause, he added, "You should join us."

"I should call the police," Ray huffed.

It was hard to tell if he was threatening us or just thinking out loud, but I don't think anybody, even Danny, saw a happy ending ahead. I cringed thinking of how Susan would come out of it.

I couldn't let it happen. I wasn't the only one in the room to close his eyes, but instead of praying for salvation I found Ray's mind and thought about how good Susan's mouth felt on my cock and how great it was to explode down her throat and feel her suck me dry.

My ears almost popped from the change in air pressure when we heard the sound of Ray's fly unzipping and everybody exhaled at once. "Convince me not to," he told Susan, and stepped in front of her.

The outcome was predictable after that. Susan worked on him like she hadn't been near a man for a year, and carried on like he was Casanova. Luckily for us, everybody else was still too scared to move and Ray hadn't seen enough to know Susan was like that with everybody. When he orgasmed, she didn't lose a drop and left him as clean as a whistle.

"Thank you," she told him, with a sincerity of expression and tone of voice that had more than a few cocks twitching. The sound of his zipper was like a switch that jolted everybody back into motion again.

"Just try to keep it discreet, okay?" Ray told Danny and me as we escorted him back to the door. We feverently promised to do so, and wilted against the walls after the door closed behind him.

"You should be in sales," I told Danny. "I thought we were goners."

"I did, too," he admitted while eying me speculatively. "Do you know why he changed his mind, Lloyd?"

"He just knew a good thing when he saw it," I demurred, looking over at Susan, who was teasing her partners back to full hardness.

"Maybe," he said, and let the conversation slide.

Many of Susan's guests left fairly quickly, no doubt shaken by their close call; however, an uneven stream of replacements continued to arrive. I shot Danny an accusatory look after letting in a party of four, but he shrugged back at me, all helpless innocence, and I had to admit to myself I hadn't seen him go near the phone again. Evidently word was spreading on its own.

"Unbelievable," Danny breathed, as we watched Susan assist two of the new arrivals with their attempt to double-penetrate her vagina. "I should have asked for more." His penis was beginning to rise again.

I was more troubled. Watching those young men, clumsy with their eager desire, penetrate a woman who clearly welcomed all of them, kindled no heat inside me. I knew I'd been there first, and that there was no place they could penetrate that didn't hold my seed. The woman I wanted to share a hotel room with was Alex, and I certainly didn't intend to share her with anybody.

Despite our differing attitudes, Danny and I stepped forward as one to restrain and then evict one of the guys who apparently thought sluts deserved to be slapped around as well as fucked. "We need to shut this down," I told him after we closed the door.

"Who's going to tell her?" We looked at the bed, where Susan quite clearly was still having the time of her life.

"Well, I'm going to stop letting people in," I decided. Danny didn't argue the point. We proceeded to ignore the sporadic knocking that followed, and didn't answer the phone either, the once it rang.

It was well after midnight by the time the last stalwart cocksmen departed, leaving the room to the three of us who'd started the evening together. Susan lay on the bed, oozing cream from everywhere, and singing to herself like she was drunk; Danny obviously was considering whether to have a final go at her himself. I felt tired and grumpy; this wasn't what I wanted, but it reminded me of what I didn't have.

Danny rolled his eyes at another knock on the door, but since I wasn't the one teasing Susan by holding my cock just out of her reach, I recognized the sharp staccato of Ray's knuckles. With some trepidation, I opened the door to find the manager accompanied by Yelena.

"The young lady insisted on being allowed entry," Ray told me, obviously in an uncomfortable position, as Yelena pushed past me and let out a gasp at the sight of Susan.

"I understand," I told him. "We were just wrapping up the party anyway; don't worry about it." It didn't feel quite right, but I offered him some of the money I'd collected.

"Yelena!" slurred Susan. "Did you bring me some more cocks?"

"I'll leave it to you, then," Ray said, taking the cash after a quick peek. I didn't blame him for wanting to distance himself from this situation. I locked the door before joining the others.

"No, of course we didn't do this all by ourselves," Danny told Susan's wide-eyed roommate. Yelena didn't resist when I offered to remove her coat.

"She told me to check on her if I hadn't heard from her by midnight," Yelena explained. She'd obviously just thrown on a sweatshirt and blue jeans before coming over; they didn't highlight her lithe body the way her usual outfits did.

I realized, belatedly, that it was only the amount of semen, and not the nudity, that had thrown Yelena. Well, Susan had hinted in the past that her friend was a little promiscuous.

"Why don't you join the party, now that you're here?" Danny brazenly offered, his penis pointing at her.

Susan climbed off the bed and embraced him from behind, protesting, "I don't want to share!"

The comment, together with the fact that Yelena hadn't immediately refused, sparked a thought in my mind. Susan couldn't go on like this, and we were pretty sure I couldn't undo what I'd done. But perhaps I could give her an alternative outlet, one that wouldn't be so high profile My cock stirred at the idea; two girls sounded much better than two guys.

I focused first on Yelena, thinking of all the things about women that excited me. The feel of soft lips, the curve of a breast interrupted by the pebble of a nipple, and the way it grew when teased; the smell of her musk and the liquid grip of her channel when she climaxed. Nothing happened for the longest time, and I was beginning to think I'd messed up somehow. Finally I was rewarded with the tell-tale shimmer for which I'd been waiting.

I knew before Danny did that when Yelena stepped up to them, she was going to kiss Susan instead of him. Horn-dog that he was, it just made his erection harder; I wasn't immune, either.

Before Susan could overcome her surprise and resist, I centered on her and repeated the process, with much more immediate results. I wondered, briefly, if it had anything to do with my prior intervention or her natural inclinations, but put the thought aside for future consideration.

All three of us admired Yelena as she stopped to pull off her sweatshirt and jeans; she wore nothing beneath them. She might have been a ballerina, although her breasts and hips were large enough to save her from androgyny; I think she could have held a pencil between her tight buttocks.

"Men, I have tasted before," she told Danny before pushing past him to flop Susan back onto the bed and embrace her.

Danny just shot me a sardonic grin as I finished undressing again, revealing a hard-on that matched his own. We moved closer to the bed where we could see the action clearly.

The girls writhed against each other, their skin well lubricated by the male ejaculate covering Susan's body. Danny was slowly stroking himself, but I held off, knowing I probably had only one more good climax in me that night. First Susan, and then Yelena, jerked and trembled under the influence of delicate fingers probing between their legs.

"What about us?" Danny finally asked. The girls looked up as if they'd forgotten we were there.

"I did not come prepared for this," Yelena admitted, dropping her eyes.

I remembered all the condoms in the room and guessed she wasn't on birth control. Of course, Susan and I didn't use condoms and neither of us had any, and it was apparent Danny didn't, either.

"Well, there are other options," suggested Danny, who never seemed to be at a loss in these situations.

"Oh, let them do your ass, Yelena," Susan sighed. "It would be so hot!"

Yelena looked at us. "Lloyd, I will trust," she finally decided. I don't know if it was subconscious prompting on my part, or the matching feral gleam in Danny's and Susan's eyes that made up her mind, but I was glad she chose me. "Be gentle," she urged me, "I will be tight." My cock throbbed in anticipation.

I was thinking about what I could use for lubricant when Yelena surprised me by milking a handful of mixed cum from Susan's gash and slathering it on my erection, which hardened even further.

Susan looked disappointed to see her friend's attention focused away from her. "Can't we do this together?" she asked.

"Oh! I know!" yelped Danny. "Get into a sixty-nine!" Susan and I stared blankly at him, but Yelena grinned lasciviously and reversed herself on the bed. Susan's confusion lasted about two seconds after Yelena pulled her close and began licking; she ducked her head and started reciprocating.

"You first," Danny urged me. "I won't have any trouble getting into Susan."

I clambered onto the bed behind Yelena and wriggled closer to her until my cock nestled between her tight buns. Not wanting to make the same mistake with her I'd made with Susan, I probed gingerly between her legs with one hand. Yelena obligingly raised a knee, granting me unfettered access. My fingers slid easily between her slick folds and emerged dripping; Susan's breath felt warm on them as she continued stimulating her roommate's clit with her tongue.

It was a short distance down to Yelena's puckered anus. I pressed a finger gently against her back door, and it slid in more easily than I expected, but lord was she tight. After reaching the second knuckle, I withdrew it, and tried two fingers together. Yelena jerked slightly as my fingernails penetrated her, but I could feel her making an effort to relax her sphincter.

My preparations seemed inadequate, but I could feel the impatience of Danny and Susan like the hot summer sun on my skin at the beach; I told myself my cock was better lubricated than my fingers, anyway. Repositioning myself, I pressed the tip of my cock against Yelena's asshole. She tensed up, so I used my free hand to caress her flank, like petting a cat, and whispered, "Relax, I won't hurt you," in her ear.

"Oh God, I can see him going into you, Yelena -- this is so hot," Susan moaned.

Evidently, Danny felt he'd waited enough, although I don't think I was more than a third of the way inside Yelena. He bounced onto the bed behind Susan and rolled the girls slightly toward me, unintentionally forcing Yelena further onto my rod. A shock transmitted itself through the bodies before me, and I suspected Danny had just seated himself inside Susan's welcoming ass.

The two of them started banging away with abandon, but I settled for grasping Yelena's hips and pulling her inexorably onto me until I was filling up a place I was pretty sure not too many men had visited before. I switched my grip higher, palming her tits and started a pumping action that, while shallow, caught up to Danny's pace.

Susan was already cumming like a madwoman, but I could hear Yelena moaning and gasping too, and her hips were rocking against mine, encouraging me to lengthen my stroke. I obliged, and the increased stimulation quickly brought her off; when she climaxed, her ass squeezed me so tight it felt like my cock was going to be amputated.

It took me a few minutes more to peak, but finally I felt the beginnings of my own orgasm. At the last moment, I pulled free and squirted my scanty reserves of semen onto Yelena's ass. It was an unconscious decision; I guess it was a reminder to everyone else that I'd been there.

Yelena made an incoherent protest, but subsided when Susan replaced my cock with a few fingers. Looking up, I saw Danny already had spent himself and been similarly replaced. The girls sucked and finger-fucked each other silly for a while longer, until Yelena jerked again in ecstasy, and then rolled free, also satiated.

I could see Susan still looked a little restless, but after six hours of nearly non-stop fucking, she had to be exhausted. "Let's get you cleaned up," I suggested, and hauled her upright. With a little help from Danny, I got Susan into the tub and filled it with warm water. The Madison's class extended to the thoughtfully provided bubble bath Yelena found and dumped in as the tub filled.

"How about a sponge bath?" the irrepressible Danny asked Yelena; both our organs were looking a little ripe.

Yelena turned away from us, displaying my cum drying on her butt, and replied, "I'd love to make you kiss my ass, but I think not tonight." She punctuated the comment by pulling on one of the white terry robes hanging in the bathroom. "I will wait until Susan is finished."

Wordlessly I tossed a washcloth to Danny and found the one I'd used earlier for myself. After we finished, by mutual consent we wandered back toward the bed, leaving the bathroom to the girls.

"I admit, you are a man of surprises," Danny told me as we looked at the wreckage of the bed. "Have you done this before? It didn't look like anything fazed you, even that visit from the manager."

I chuckled. "Appearances deceive. I feel like I've been driving down an icy road all night, and I don't know how I stayed out of the ditch." I looked around and picked up my shirt. "I think one woman at a time is enough for me."

"Yeah, I noticed you seemed a little put off by the crowd." He looked to see we were still alone. "But what a waste! Lloyd, you're a chick magnet! You should be going to town with this." He simpered, roughly imitating Yelena, "Oh Lloyd, I trust you to take my ass."

"Oh, come on. You're the one Connie told me was 'majoring in women'. I'm just a dusty academic."

"The night we met? I'll have to get even with her for that. But listen, Lloyd, I completely struck out with Susan that night -- couldn't even get her phone number." He laughed. "Imagine my surprise when I learn later that stuffy guy at the table is banging her every which way!"

It didn't seem worth trying to correct his distorted impression of what had happened. "Stuffy? Try intimidated! You're all out of my league; you know, I probably wouldn't even know Alex's name if Dr. Reynolds hadn't thrown us together."

"'Alex,' eh? She lets you call her that?"

Oops. "It's sort of a joke," I explained, trying to brush the whole matter aside.

"Chick magnet. The only person she ever let call her 'Alex' was our grandfather." Danny gave me a long look. "You aren't screwing her too, are you?"

"God, no!" I protested, flushing darkly. I zipped up my pants, thankful I was able to protest my innocence truthfully.

"But thinking about it, I'm guessing?" he waved it off. "Don't get upset -- she's an eyeful; I've fantasized about it once or twice, and she's my sister. If you hadn't, I'd think you were queer." Danny's expression turned serious. "But, you know, as Alexandra's brother and Jonathan's friend, if you did try anything, I'd have to hurt you. Bad."

It was a side of Danny I hadn't seen before, and didn't care to see again. "Message received." It wasn't like I didn't already suspect this would be a complication, but I was too tired to deal with it now.

Susan emerged from the bathroom, wearing a robe and looking clean, if half-asleep. "Hi, guys," she mumbled, walking toward the bed. Danny and I looked at each other, and then quickly turned back the bed, letting the stained cover fall on the floor. She toppled onto the bed when she reached it, and lay still where she'd fallen.

I looked closely, but couldn't see Susan's face with her hair in the way; it sounded like she already was asleep. "I guess going home tonight wasn't such a great idea," I mused.

"We've got the room all night, anyway," agreed Danny.

"You don't have to stay; I can drive them home." I dreaded the thought of meeting with Dr. Reynolds in a few hours, and wished Susan had planned this for a weekend.

"Hah!" barked Danny, humor restored. "Just leave you sharing a bed with both Susan and Yelena? Nice try! Besides; I'm paying for the room -- I'll stay, too."

I pulled Susan's legs over so she was stretched out in the center of the bed instead of diagonally across it; she didn't stir. "I don't think we're going to see too much more action, Danny." Sighing, I started removing my clothing once again; this time, in no rush, I hung my shirt and slacks in the closet. I kept my briefs as some sort of sop to modesty or self-restraint.

Danny was a boxer man, but seemed content to follow my sartorial lead. "When do you want the wakeup call?" he asked, reading the directory on the nightstand next to the phone.

"Next week," I groaned while figuring logistics in my head; that elicited a laugh. "You'd better tell them six -- I hope nobody expects breakfast."

Yelena, still wearing her robe and toweling her hair dry, joined us while Danny was talking to the front desk. "Oh, how cozy," she cooed sarcastically, "we all are going to share."

"It's a king," objected Danny after he hung up. "There's plenty of room."

"With a cat, perhaps. Sharing with two men? Like large dogs, but with other things on their minds." She pulled the robe's belt tighter around her waist. It was either the bed or the floor if she stayed, and Yelena showed no inclination to abandon Susan. "I will sleep on this side," she finally declared with a very thin grin, "and then I will have one direction only to defend."

Danny and I ran the remaining permutations in our heads. "Chick magnet," he said so softly only I heard him, as I rolled to the center of the bed next to Susan. Yelena climbed in behind me, and Danny turned off the lights before lying down on the other side of Susan.

I fell asleep with surprisingly little effort, but woke later to find myself in a tangle of limbs. I was on my side facing Yelena, who was pressed tight against me with her head tucked under my chin. I could feel the swell of Susan's breasts against my back, and she had one of her legs hooked over mine. A hand that had to be Danny's draped over Susan and hung in my face. My penis was swollen in my underwear, but there was no way to reach it, much less do anything about it, without disturbing everybody. I lay there, thinking of Alex and the obstacles between us, until I drifted off again.

"Doctor -- Reynolds -- sure is -- a pain -- in the ass!" Alex told me while we tried to make corrections to her thesis draft. She could barely hold the red pen steady; I took it from her so she could brace herself against the pounding she was taking from her advisor.

"Commendable, my girl, commendable," Reynolds told her as he withdrew his foot-long dripping wand from her anus. She tightened her grip on my more modestly-sized erection to avoid being dragged away from the table.

"I'm a bigger dick than that," boasted Jonathan. He unzipped his tuxedo and fished out a rapidly hardening two-foot cock.

"You should be sure to use protection until you're married," Connie chimed in. She produced a condom made of white lace and tulle that matched the veil Alex was wearing, and then rolled it onto the first few inches of Jonathan's throbbing weapon. He hoisted Alex onto the table, scattering silverware and pinning her thesis beneath her.

Alex looked down at herself, staring at the pubic hair trimmed into the shape of a heart. "I was waiting for my true love."

"All the ladies love this," Jonathan reassured her, and began feeding his meat into her in short strokes. Soon she was completely transfixed, and every thrust lifted her briefly off the table as the lace-clad tip of his cock appeared in her mouth.

"Can you -- rewrite -- that last -- paragraph?" Alex choked out when the monstrous organ permitted. She pointed at the sheet on the table.

"Sure," I told her, before I found out the pen had run out of ink. "Susan?"

"I'm almost there!" she screamed. "Danny!" He was fucking her hard, much more quickly than Jonathan's ponderous pace, and Susan was having trouble pouring the midnight siren ink from the lipstick tube into the pen without splashing it everywhere.

"Not on -- the waistcoats -- they're -- rented!" Alex moaned in between thrusts.


I awakened to find myself in the hotel bed, with Susan and Danny bouncing vigorously beside me. Yelena was missing, although the sheets were still warm. My eyes ached and the clock said it was early, but there was no way I was going to get back to sleep -- or stay awake, for that matter.

The toilet flushed as I was dragging myself to my feet. "Can't you control your roommate?" I blearily teased Yelena as we passed. We were interrupted by a particularly loud and passionate exclamation from Susan, which engendered an involuntary swelling in my briefs.

"About as well as you control your friend," she replied. "You all think with your cocks, I see."

"I'm not thinking much at all right now," I confessed. "I'm taking a shower; send a search party if I don't reappear in 15 minutes."

My face had been in the hot spray for far less than 15 minutes when I heard the shower curtain rustle and Yelena stepped into the tub behind me. "You are a patient man, Lloyd. I thought that I would help you wake up." She started lathering up my body, which prompted me to return the favor. Her touch felt fantastic, but not as good as the sensation of our bodies sliding together when we embraced. My erection was a rigid pole trapped between our groins.

I felt her start when I ran my soapy hands down the curves of her tight ass and pressed my fingers lightly into the crevice between her cheeks. "I am still a little sore there," she told me between kisses.

Disappointed, I forced myself to nod. "It's okay."

"Yes," she smiled, confusing me a bit. Yelena turned in my embrace and reached down to pick up something from the lip of the tub. "Luckily for us, I found this in Susan's coat pocket," she continued, brandishing a condom. We had a heck of a time opening the wrapper with wet hands, but Yelena got the sheath onto me almost soon enough to suit my impatience.

A quick check revealed she was already slick between her legs, but just to be safe I tickled her clit with a finger while caressing her breasts until her breathing was uneven. "Fuck me already," Yelena urged. Her frame was slight enough that I just picked her up and lowered her onto my waiting penis.

Yelena's legs immediately wrapped around me and she began gyrating on me. "Oh yeah," she sighed, "fuck me harder!"

I shifted my position until her back was against the wall, and held her there so I could thrust in and out of her welcoming pussy. She kept up a constant stream of filthy encouragement -- not all of it in English -- and worked her elongated nipples until I stiffened and fired my load into the condom.

My cock and her legs were still supporting her body, so I pushed Yelena's hands aside and started mauling her tits myself. I was fascinated to see how far her nipples extended from her relatively small breasts, and the way she writhed and cursed when I twisted them. She screamed, "bite me!" and repeated it until I understood she was serious.

I lifted her slightly so I could capture a nipple in my mouth, and bit gently while pulling at it with my teeth. Yelena jerked and stiffened, then went so boneless I almost dropped her.

She sighed and looked up at me. "Are you awake now?"

"Very!" I assured her, and we smiled at each other.

"It's after six -- what are you doing in there?" Danny called from the bathroom door.

"Nothing!" we replied together, breaking into laughter.

"Jesus, Lloyd, you're as bad as me," Danny shouted, but he left us alone.

I hoisted Yelena free and set her back on her feet. It was tempting to clean each other, especially since I wanted a closer look at her neatly trimmed bush, but Reynolds probably would blow a fuse if I was late. Regretfully I pulled off the condom and quickly cleaned myself with a soapy hand while Yelena did the same.

"Chick magnet," Yelena giggled very softly while we toweled ourselves dry. I didn't dignify her comment with a response.

We wandered out of the bathroom, passing a very satisfied-looking Susan strolling in the opposite direction, sans robe. Fresh semen was leaking from her puffy lips and I noticed Yelena's eyes followed her ass the same way mine did.

"I thought you wanted to get out of here early," Danny groused at me before focusing his attention on Yelena. "Hey, beautiful, when are you going to let me have a turn?"

She sniffed disdainfully. "When you begin thinking that 'your turn' -- as you put it -- is a gift I may choose to bestow, and not a foregone conclusion to which you are entitled, for one." Pulling on her jeans under the robe, she continued, "A girl likes to feel appreciated."

"Oh, I appreciate you plenty," he assured her as we both watched her shuck the robe. Her trim butt did wonderful things to the denim, and there was a gap at the waist just crying out for a hand to slide down her midriff and explore.

The rest of the scenery was quickly covered by Yelena's sweatshirt. "No, you appreciate my body," she corrected Danny after her head emerged. "It is not the same thing."

Spell broken, we started pulling on our own clothes. My shirt was a little wrinkled, and I sported a night's stubble, but I didn't look like a bum; Dr. Reynolds probably wouldn't care, anyway.

"Are you going to make your meeting?" Susan asked. She was easily the most presentable of us all, having brushed her hair and taken the time to care for her clothing the previous night.

"Yeah," I guessed, looking at the clock, "especially if Danny can handle the checkout." I remembered the cash in my pocket and handed it to him.

"Leave me with all the fun jobs," Danny complained absently while he quickly riffed through the bills. "This is it?" he asked, looking up with a touch of surprise.

"I tipped Ray last night," I reminded him, "and this is not a for-profit enterprise, right?"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah." The money disappeared into his billfold. "You're a hard man, Lloyd, but surprisingly fun to be around."

"Likewise," I told him, a little surprised to realize I meant it. It was true that none of the past 12 hours would have occurred without his presence, but I couldn't imagine having survived it in his absence.

"Ladies?" I looked up to find Yelena had borrowed Susan's brush; her short locks were damp and arranged differently than she usually styled them, but still attractive.

"We're ready," Susan answered for both of them, and we all filed out of the room. She remembered to hand her room key to Danny during the elevator ride, and he peeled off to the reception desk when we headed for the front door.

I mentally kicked myself for not holding back a buck for the valet, but felt bad for the thought. I could have skipped the orgy without a second thought, but would have paid far more for the time with Susan and Yelena.

November 2010

Thanks, Danny.

It was one of the "the merchandise has left the store" sort of problems. One of the girls hadn't come in that night. It wasn't unusual, but there was a protocol for these things. Had the girl given advance notice of the absence? No. Was she answering her home or mobile number? No and no. Did a discreetly vague query at her emergency contact number result in an acceptable response? No. Was Lloyd in? Yes.

I sighed heavily and asked for the driver to bring the car around while I looked at Glory's personnel file and printed a locator map for her residence. Ironically, I would have been better off in my rumbled and soiled suit, but really this wasn't the sort of job that called for a suit at all.

Angel was still in the shower, so I ended up leaving without saying goodnight and studied the map during the ride home. When we arrived, I fed the paper into the conveniently installed cross-cut shredder, and told the driver I'd see him the next day.

It seemed likely to be the sort of job that benefited from proactive medication, so I gulped some aspirin and changed into a boring, forgettable black sweatsuit. I left my wallet on the dresser, and took only my license and proof of insurance.

I rehearsed various scenarios, none of them good, on the way across town, and pulled up to the curb on a dark side street a block from Glory's house. The ID and key went under the floor mat; my car was old but sported one of those combination code entry systems. As prepared and deniable as I could be, I started walking slowly down the block, just another old geezer out for an evening stroll.

Glory lived in a small single-family residence, which was good, and there were lights on, which could be good or bad. Increased numbers of people meant increased volatility and decreased controllability; family interventions were the worst, almost impossible to sort out. I didn't see any movement inside the front windows.

Telling myself to quit stalling, I walked up to the front door and rang the bell. There was no answer, but I concentrated and listened hard. There was faintly audible screaming and shouting inside, which suggested things might have turned violent. I consoled myself with the thought that, as far as I could determine, there were only two people inside the house.

I started ringing the bell repeatedly, and finally one of the people inside came to see what was going on. I pushed I am not threatened by the old man and contemptuous indifference through the door, blind, and braced myself for whatever might happen next.

"What do you want, you old motherfucker?" was the greeting I got. The guy looked like a redneck who'd been drinking. Looking past him, I could see Glory cowering in the hallway. She'd been beaten pretty badly; a quick glance was enough to see a black eye, welts on her arms and legs, and blood on her lips.

I hated physical violence, with a passion, but I hated those who dispensed it even more. This creep was going to get what was coming to him. "Might I borrow your phone?" I asked politely.

"What do I look like, a fucking operator? Fucking go buy your own phone, pops -- I'm busy!" He slammed the door in my face, convinced that was the end of the matter, but I'd braced my shoe by the jam and it bounced back before it latched; he'd already turned away and consequently didn't see the door swing open behind him.

I was sorry for what I was about to do to Glory, but I didn't have time to think of a clever solution to the problem, and she'd suffered enough already. I love rough sex, I pushed down the hall to her. Physical punishment makes me hot. The resistance I felt tugged at my conscience, but I kept pushing until it faded.

There was probably another five seconds before the guy noticed me standing inside the door. I focused on him; it took almost no effort at all to push I need to put women in their place into his mind.

I slowly pushed the door closed with my toe, but I needn't have worried. The guy was already slapping Glory again, calling her a slut and a whore. She gasped with every blow, but I noticed she wasn't trying to get away.

All Mr. Redneck noticed was that he had an erection that needed servicing. He threw Glory against the back of the sofa and started plowing her from behind, doggy style, while continuing to beat her and scream obscenities. If he saw me at all, he evidently calculated that I was completely beneath his notice.

That was as well, because my oh-so-great plan was already in danger of unraveling. I hurriedly cast about in the kitchen before locating a bottle of vegetable oil. Now came the part I knew I'd pay for in the morning. Closing my eyes and struggling for calm, I focused on myself.

There was the tangled mass of my consciousness, an order of magnitude more complex than any other I'd seen, and entwined with a forest of other objects I'd never been able to visualize with anybody else. I held my breath, searching, and then stroked carefully. If pressed, I would have said that it was like laying memories into Angela, except I didn't actually send anything.

Whatever the mechanism, the impact was immediate and definite. My sweatpants tented out and I swayed dizzily as what felt like half the blood in my body suddenly surged into my engorged penis.

I staggered in the direction of the rutting couple, and dropped my drawers. I poured oil over my beet-red organ, not trying for neatness as long as it stayed away from my shoes, and stepped up behind the guy, who was still ignoring me. Heedless of my ballooning headache, I pushed myself hard into his ass, using my position to grind further into him. As my tool sank into his rectum, this is the greatest feeling I've ever had sank into his mind with all the strength my splitting head could muster.

He stopped struggling against me and I could feel his sphincter spasming involuntarily as he orgasmed hard and dumped his load into Gloria. I felt nothing but disgust, for him and myself, as I pulled my still-rigid cock out of him. He slid to the floor like a drawing unpinned from a cork board.

Ignoring the oil and shit covering my cock, I hauled up my bottoms, and looked down at the human vermin before me. Boasting about punishing women makes me feel strong. I boast when I'm frightened or nervous. I hoped I'd be able to drive when I got out of there.

Glory was looking blearily around. "Lloyd?"

"Dial 9-1-1," I told her, slowly and clearly. "Tell them you're being raped." I had to repeat myself several times before she moved brokenly toward the phone; her asshole boyfriend was starting to stir.

"You can do this, Glory," I encouraged her. "Remember, you're being raped. Make them believe it."

She nodded and dialed shakily. Her voice was slow and wooden, but people in shock behaved in all different kinds of ways.

"Who you callin', bitch?!" the redneck demanded.

Absolutely perfect. I silently mouthed, "forgive me," and elbowed Glory in her breast as hard as I could. She gasped violently, hopefully in arousal, and dropped the phone; I could hear the dispatcher's voice asking if she was okay.

I made my way to the back door, taking care not to step in anything, opened it, and wiped the knob with the sleeve of my sweatshirt. After stepping outside, I closed it the same way. I ghosted across the back yard and through to the other side of the block without being seen. I was just approaching my car when the police, all sirens and flashers engaged, blasted through the intersection ahead on their way to the scene of the crime.

It took me twice as long to return home as it had to make the drive out. Once inside, my clothing went straight into the trash. It took a long hot shower and several Sudafeds that probably did nothing good for my blood pressure before my angry erection subsided and I felt at least physically clean again. I didn't think I'd ever feel mentally clean, and not just because of what I'd done to one scumbag who'd deserved it.

February 1962

I made it to Dr. Reynolds' office just as he was beginning to stare at his desk clock and look annoyed. It would have been even worse if I hadn't gotten lucky with parking. Predictably, the entire meeting was a waste of time; he told Alex her research was commendable, without showing any sign of having looked at the draft notes she'd submitted the previous week, and reminded her -- unnecessarily -- the final draft of her dissertation needed to be in his hands by the end of the month in order to stay on track for spring commencement. My presence added absolutely nothing.

"Did you oversleep?" Alex asked me on the way out, evidently having noticed my rumpled appearance and discreet yawns.

"Not exactly," I demurred, and then stopped in my tracks after a few steps. "I, um, left my briefcase at home this morning. Can I catch up with you later?"

Alex frowned. "I really wanted to talk to you about the sequencing of the middle sections. I was up early thinking about it, and it's bothering me. Would you mind if I tagged along and we discussed it while we walked?" She looked hopefully at me.

There was no way I would ever refuse a request like that from Alex, although I supposed she didn't know that. "My pleasure," I answered, and it was. The sun seemed brighter, and the air warmer, as we walked side by side, retracing the route I'd taken a scant 30 minutes earlier. Alex didn't stray from the topic of her thesis when we reached the car, although she knew I usually walked. By the time we reached home, I'd reassured her that her plans for swapping some of the material made a great deal of sense and she was feeling a bit more at ease.

I pulled into my usual spot in the driveway and, with only a little reluctance, invited Alex in to wait while I grabbed my stuff. My emotional high aside, it wasn't that warm outside. Luckily, the Wagners were out, probably grocery shopping or something, so I could avoid any awkward conversation. She waited quietly in the front room while I dashed upstairs, threw things in my case, and scurried down again.

Alex remained silent until we turned onto the sidewalk. "You weren't here at all last night, were you?"

"What do you mean?" I asked, wearing my best look of ignorant innocence.

"Oh, come on, I'm not stupid," she laughed. "You didn't forget your briefcase; you weren't here this morning to pick it up. The car was too warm for such a short drive, and you park it outside, but there was no trace of frost on any of the windows. Obviously you parked under cover somewhere further from campus, and drove straight to school this morning." Alex looked at me sidelong. "You have on the same shirt you wore yesterday, too."

I couldn't help laughing too. "Guilty! Remind me not to play poker with you." I didn't know what to make of it; I watched Alex all the time and couldn't always remember what she wore from day to day. I couldn't remember anything distinctive about my shirt, but apparently she'd been able to recognize it.

"Lloyd, were you with Susan?" I thought perhaps Alex sounded a touch jealous, but it was more likely I was just reading my hopes into something that wasn't there.

Getting caught in a lie would have been bad, but I didn't want to give Alex the impression Susan and I were an item or something. "It was a party. Susan was there, but so were a bunch of other people. It got later than I thought, and I just didn't want to chance driving last night."

Alex's face fell. "Was anybody else I know there? If you and Susan got invited, why didn't I?"

"Well, I'm sorry, Alex; I really didn't think about it. I mean, you're always working on your research and the wedding -- it didn't occur to me you'd be interested."

To my surprise, she burst into tears. "That's all I do!" Alex cried. "I want to have fun, too! I'm killing myself on this research and Dr. Reynolds has totally lost interest in it and I know Jonathan thinks it's stupid, and I'm stuck planning the entire wedding practically by myself, and then there's classes and grading. I can't keep doing it all!"

Hesitantly, I set down my briefcase and embraced her, not knowing what else to do. Alex clutched at me and buried her face against my collarbone, still sobbing. I was paralyzed; half my brain was thinking that heavy coats and all, her body pressed against mine was the best thing I'd felt in my life, and the other half was trying desperately to avoid getting an erection.

"Hey," I finally said, holding her just far enough away from me that we could look at each other comfortably, "I know it's tough, Alex. And I'd be the first to admit I wasn't a big fan of your work at the beginning" -- that got a small smile from her -- "but I know you and I know you'll get through this. Susan and I will help; you know Connie can help with the wedding, right?" I squeezed her arms gently. "And I'll see about putting some events on your social calendar, okay?"

Alex sniffed and nodded, and then wiped her eyes. "I'm sorry to unload on you like I'm some ditzy well, blonde."

"You're the most beautiful blonde I know," I smiled, "but I'd never make the mistake of thinking that's all you are." I bit my tongue to avoid saying any more.

"Hmm," Alex said, looking more cheerful, "I guess it's too bad for you I'm already taken."

"Tell me something I don't know!" We both laughed, and the remainder of the walk to school was upbeat.

That day marked a turn in several relationships. As winter started to give way to early spring, Alex and I grew increasingly close. She spent almost all of her free time polishing "Unconscious influences in demographic-neutral peer preferences," largely reviewed by myself, and then preparing for her oral defense. We started taking long walks, heedless of the weather, discussing either her research or frivolous topics while we wandered the neighborhoods near the campus. When we weren't tied down by office hours, we started spending more time working from "our" booth at Nino's, where the atmosphere was a little more calming.

There was a price to be paid for my "Mister Nice Guy" facade. I spent each day working with Alex, laughing with her, sharing frustrations, and even touching her occasionally in the way friends will, and ruthlessly refusing to yield to the temptation to convince her to be my lover. More often than not, I left Alex and made my way to Susan's apartment, painfully erect and with, I'm sure, unhealthily high blood pressure.

Once there, I'd sneak in the side door and head up to her room. All my accumulated lust and frustration would be poured out into Susan's more than willing body as I imagined the things I'd do with and to Alex. Sometimes, if she was there, Yelena would join us; occasionally I'd rut in her if she was agreeable and Susan was gone.

That happened more frequently as time passed. Susan had become increasingly unreliable. She started showing up late in the mornings, sometimes missing classes, and often appeared unprepared. I knew she was seeing other people, which didn't bother me, and Yelena told me Danny was a frequent caller, which worried me a bit. The thing that really unnerved me was the way Susan gazed at Alex when she thought nobody was looking; it reminded me too much of my own feelings.

March was hellish enough without that added to the mix. In addition to the work Alex knew about, I was pushing my tenuous control of my ability to the limit. I was at my wit's end with Dr. Reynolds; having encouraged his disinterest in Alex's paper earlier, I had realized it was in danger of being overlooked entirely, which would threaten her chances of graduation.

A few well-placed entreaties to his secretary had finessed that roadblock, as well as given me the names of the other members of the review board. I was going through a bottle of aspirin a week while I tracked them down and invented reasons to talk to each of them. Alex's paper was a good one, arguably better than my Master's thesis, and she wouldn't have liked it if she'd known what I was doing, but I needed those professors to have a favorable opinion of her thesis without thinking too much about what it said. Somehow I managed to stay on top of my own coursework, although I don't think I looked at my own thesis more than twice during the month.

To top it all off, Alex's birthday was at the beginning of April, and she was really looking forward to a special evening out Jonathan had promised for preceding weekend. Her excitement and increasing anticipation were driving a stake through my heart; I'd gotten used to hearing about how he'd disappointed or aggravated her, and listening to Alex's enthusiasm for his plans was not what I needed.

"You look tired, Lloyd," she finally told me one evening, after responding to a question I'd lobbed at her in preparation for her thesis defense. It was Friday and Nino's was pretty crowded, but our booth was on the quiet side of the room and the waitress knew our routine so well we never had to ask for coffee refills.

"I feel tired," I admitted. The headache from my last "unexpected" hallway conversation with Dr. Flynn was still wearing off, I felt I could recite Alex's paper backwards in my sleep, and guilt over Susan was weighing on me. We'd just heard that afternoon she was flunking her classes. "How do I live with this?"

Alex didn't pretend to misunderstand what I meant. "Susan's a big girl. Maybe you helped bring her out of her shell, but she's responsible for her own actions. I'm sorry she's chosen this path for herself too, but don't blame yourself for it."

"She's a nymphomaniac, Alex," I told her bluntly. "I was thinking with my dick, I didn't -- still don't -- understand really how this all works, and I ruined her life. Of course I blame myself! If this keeps up, she'll never get her advanced degree; she'll never use a thing she's learned."

Alex played with her half-empty coffee cup for a minute before looking up again. "I won't pretend that I don't find what you did shocking and repugnant -- I do." She sighed and continued, "But I think none of us were smart to encourage you to experiment as casually as we did, and I honestly believe you didn't intend for things to work out this way. You can't put her back now, and I know you're too good a man to go on beating yourself up uselessly."

"Have you considered going to church?" she asked, surprising me.

"Honestly, no. My family wasn't very religious."

"Well, think about it. You might find it reassuring to remember that not everything is within our control, and that God has forgiven far bigger sinners than either of us will ever be." Alex smiled. "Connie and I go to the First Baptist over on Maple; you could come with us if you wanted -- the people there are friendly and I know you'd like our pastor."

That was how I found myself walking to church on Sunday morning for the first time in probably 20 years. The weather had turned warm -- well, for late March -- and I'd endured far worse to spend time with Alex. The stroll over to her apartment had given me some time for reflection, but then I learned I had yet another problem.

"Good morning, Lloyd."

Both women greeted me on the front walk using the same words, but the effect was totally different. Alex accompanied them with a bright smile and quick hug that made my heart pound and left no doubt she was pleased to see me. Connie's tone was distinctly cool and her body language was quite different from our first meeting at Nino's.

In case I hadn't gotten the hint, she walked beside Alex, leaving me to trail behind them, and maintained a steady stream of conversation regarding the wedding, preparations for it, and the birthday outing Jonathan had planned. In a way, it was a hopeful sign that Connie seemed to feel intervention was required, but I wished she weren't such a good friend.

I was a little surprised to see Danny at the service, but perhaps he was a better Christian than I gave him credit for. We greeted each other and settled in our seats; I figured it wasn't coincidence that Connie sat between Alex and me.

"We should double-date again sometime," Danny whispered to me, and then we were bowing our heads for the invocation.

Most of my mind stayed focused on the problem in front of me -- beside me, technically -- rather than the worship. Many things about it were still unclear, but my ability definitely worked best with emotions, especially when I could reinforce existing feelings or relate to them myself.

After some thought, I closed my eyes and found Connie's glow beside me. Trying very hard not to be too heavy-handed, I focused on her and fanned my suspicion that Jonathan was a cheating womanizer looking for a trophy wife, and that Alexandra wouldn't be happy with him. Her best friend's happiness was very important to her. Once I'd caught a hint of a shimmer, I switched to Danny and reinforced feelings of friendship -- hopefully I'd be able to ask him questions the girls wouldn't answer.

I sat back and listened to the sermon. The pastor was worth listening to -- he was fairly young, almost our age, but seemed to have a knack for connecting with his congregation and communicating his message in an interesting way. Honestly, I figured I was still in for it when I died, no matter how much I told myself that what I was doing was more like having a silent argument with somebody than taking away their free will. I did feel better when the service concluded, although some of that probably was due to Connie's more relaxed expression.

"You should join us for brunch," Danny suggested. Connie didn't smile, but she didn't frown either when Alex nodded and I accepted.

The conversation around the table inevitably centered on Alex's birthday celebration plans, or rather her outing with Jonathan. Even Danny, who didn't have the reasons for hating it that I did, was clearly wearying of the topic.

"I know!" he finally exclaimed around a mouthful of pancake, "if you and Jonathan are having a private celebration, then I think the rest of us should have our own party. Connie? Lloyd? Are you two up for a night on the town?"

"Pass," Connie laughed. "I already have a better offer."

Alex immediately looked interested. "Really? Is that mister tall, dark and handsome?"

"Maybe," admitted Connie, with an uncharacteristic blush.

Danny settled for a smirk and rotated to look in my direction. "Lloyd?"

"I'm in," I answered, not really sure why. The prospect of sitting at home thinking about Alex together with Jonathan wasn't appealing, but it wasn't clear Danny's idea of fun necessarily would be better.

"He's not that bad," Danny repeated a touch defensively, as I waited for the driver ahead of us to notice the light had changed. "Jonathan's just, um, traditional."

I darted a quick look at him. "Alex doesn't strike me as a particularly traditional woman. She's okay with being 'the little wifey'?"

Danny had the grace to look slightly abashed. "Well, okay, probably not. But they've talked about it, certainly. I'm sure they've got things worked out."

Given Jonathan's eye for arm candy and Alex's aversion to chauvinism, I wasn't so sure, but any further discussion would have to wait. Our destination was in sight. "LEGS!" proclaimed the sign, and knowing Danny, that wasn't all we were going to see. Well, the hell with it -- I was here to be distracted.

There were a lot of legs to be seen, hidden among the throngs of men crowding the floor. A leggy waitress wearing a tuxedo shirt, heels, and not a lot more met Danny two-thirds of the way to the bar with a drink; clearly he was a regular. She was back with another pair by the time we'd found seats at a small table.

"Here -- you look like you could use it," Danny offered, pushing something in a lowball glass in front of me. I tossed it back, ignoring the burning in my throat, and tried to concentrate on the stage. The girl in front of us was slowly removing her costume, prompting numerous cheers and wolf whistles from the watching men.

I found my glass magically refilled and nursed my drink while I watched the hooks on her bra come undone until only the girl's hands held the lace in place over her generous tits. She was undeniably attractive, but her roots looked a touch dark and the smile didn't quite reach her eyes. Despite my best intentions, I found myself comparing her unfavorably to Alex.

The cheering peaked when she cast away the bra, and I unobtrusively adjusted my lengthening cock. Maybe Alex's breasts weren't so large, but the Alex in my fantasies wouldn't stop dancing with her G-string still in place, and she'd be using her luscious lips for more than just blowing kisses. I knew she'd be looking only at me, and not working the crowd that was beginning to spout dollar bills like weeds in a spring lawn.

"Can you imagine Alexandra doing that?" Danny asked, leaning over so he could be heard.

I jumped and tried to stuff the thought back behind my eyes, hoping like hell my fantasy hadn't spilled over to him. My laugh was a bit uneven, but with all the background noise it passed muster.

Danny continued talking. "Damn, I'd like to have my own place. I could watch this and be making money instead of spending it." The waitress returned with another pair of drinks and he slid a bill into her bra, earning a quick smile that was more genuine that that of the departing dancer. "Of course," he resumed, "my parents would kill me. If labor relations didn't do me in, first" Both of us watched the waitress's departing derriere before turning back to the stage.

We stayed a few drinks longer, but I couldn't get into it. Every time I started thinking about how none of the girls looked like they really enjoyed what they were doing, I'd begin thinking about how I could fix that, and then panic and shut down. I think I would have given anything to trade places with Jonathan, wherever he was -- he could have the club and girls, and I'd take Alex.

After a few efforts to rouse my spirits failed, Danny admitted failure and suggested we head back. I probably shouldn't have been driving in my condition, but we were in no hurry and the traffic was light most of the way back to campus. Frat row, on the other hand, was packed.

"C'mon, Lloyd," Danny urged me, "they're having a huge party next door. Stop in and visit; it's part of the collegiate experience, for chrissake!"

I was drunk and horny, and maybe there'd be a willing coed. Danny grinned and clapped me on the shoulder when I pulled into a vacant spot, leaving the car crooked but out of the traffic lane. We ambled up to the front door and I paid the cover, figuring I owed Danny for at least a few drinks.

Danny grabbed a beer and disappeared, while I picked up something that claimed to be a mixed drink and stumbled towards an unclaimed seat on the couch in the front room. The music was loud enough to wake the dead, and the dancers in the crowd had far more enthusiasm, if less artifice, than the professionals we'd seen earlier.

The crowd shifted slightly and I caught sight of Connie. She was dancing near some guy who watched appreciatively as she gyrated, swinging her hair and trying not to spill the cup in her hand; luckily it seemed to be nearly empty. I remembered her throwaway comment from brunch and felt a surge of benevolence. She was a good friend to Alex, and if we had friction between us, I knew Connie was just looking out for her friend's best interests. She deserved some harmless fun.

The room wasn't that large, so I tried to collect my wits and concentrate on her. I thought about the grace of her body, and how she must love dancing for the guy, and teasing him to excitement with her moves. I knew I was drunker than I'd thought because it took so long to get a reaction.

The guy's eyes looked like they might bug out when Connie tossed aside her cup and began stroking herself through her top while doing a slow grind. I was just congratulating myself on a job well done and tossing back the rest of my drink to combat the headache when another guy, with a strikingly dark complexion, appeared with a drink in each hand. He pushed a cup roughly at Connie, spilling some of it, and started shouting at the other guy.

My stomach twisted as I watched Connie try to press herself between the two men, only to earn the wrath of both of them. Clearly disgusted, she threw up her hands and stalked off.

I couldn't believe I'd made such a stupid mistake! Feeling nauseated, I turned just in time to heave up over the side of the couch and pass out.

The sound of cheers and slow jazz in time with my woozy thoughts brought me back to consciousness. Connie was dancing again, but this time she was wearing only underwear and the men around her were watchers rather than participants.

If there had been anything left in my stomach, I would have thrown up again, but I settled for dry heaving and closing my eyes to try and block out the sight of what I'd done. Walking out felt like it was physically beyond me.

The weight of somebody flopping onto the couch jolted me back to semi-consciousness. I opened my eyes to see Connie sprawled beside me.

"I guess we both had too much to drink tonight," she slurred, making no attempt to cover herself. "I can't believe I did that."

My mind stumbled, trying to think of a response that wouldn't leave me in tears, and then Danny was standing in front of us.

"Lloyd, you dog!" he swore admiringly. "I was feeling sorry for you, but I guess I didn't need to worry. You are such the ladies' man!" His shirt wasn't tucked in, or completely buttoned, so apparently he hadn't been worrying too much. He raised a glass in salute, giving the pair of us a knowing look, and disappeared again.

"Bastard!" Connie yelped, and punched me unexpectedly.

"What?" I asked, trying ineptly to defend myself in case she tried a follow-up blow.

"You womanizing bastard!" she repeated. "You know Alexandra came home and cried all night after she found you and Susan together?!"

I gaped, completely off balance and surprised.

"She's engaged to another man and shouldn't be thinking about you at all! Not only do you chase her and destroy her happiness and present yourself as trustworthy, you go screwing around with other women! Going out with Danny -- I should have known. She's way too good for the likes of you. You deserve to burn in Hell!"

Connie stopped for a moment to catch her breath. "You wanna fuck me too?" she asked defiantly.

I realized I did. My blood was up at her unjust slander, and it still had a lot of alcohol in it. I stared inside her, only partially aware of what I really was doing, and watched her mind shimmer. Wordlessly I unzipped myself, extracting my erection, and watched to see what she did.

Ignoring the bystanders who'd listened to the argument and were now watching in wonder, Connie pulled the crotch of her panties to the side and took a few steps sideways so she could sit on my cock. She was so wet that I slid right in, and then I held her upright while she began to bounce in my lap.

My load had been building all night, and I came pretty quickly, unloading spurts of jism deep inside her molten cunt. Connie started pumping faster when she felt me get off, but she shuddered and moaned when a newcomer asked another spectator, "Are they?"

I shifted my grip up to Connie's breasts, feeling her erect nipples, and bucked a few times. "Who's slutting around now?" I whispered in her ear, and felt her clench around me as she orgasmed.

"Oh my gosh, don't they have any shame?" whispered one girl with eyes as big as her open mouth.

Shame hadn't been on my radar up to that point, but my cock returned some control to my brain and our surroundings pressed in on me. Stunned observers had turned me on a few minutes ago, but now all I wanted to do was shrink in behind Connie and disappear. I settled for the next best thing, and took her home -- it didn't seem likely the guy she arrived with would be willing to do the honors.

Connie spoke only one word to me on that trip. "Thanks," she told me curtly before slamming the door and staggering up to the door of her building.

Alex didn't talk about her outing with Jonathan, and I didn't talk about my night out with Danny and Connie. If I could have undone it completely or even just forgotten it, I would have done that too. Instead, I waited until just before the end of the day Tuesday before presenting her with my present. "Happy birthday," I told her simply.

Susan hadn't bothered to appear that day, so it was just the two of us sitting in her office. Alex opened the wrapping and looked at the book for a moment without speaking. It was an autographed copy of "Verbal Behavior" and I hadn't quite had to resort to human sacrifice to obtain it, but it had taken effort.

My industry was more than rewarded by the moisture in Alex's eyes and the fierce hug she gave me. "Thank you," she whispered, and neither of us said anything more for a long minute. Alex finally sat back in her chair and stroked the book's cover gently before looking up at me.

"Can I ask you a favor?" she finally said.

"Certainly." I already knew I'd say yes, no matter what she asked, and I think maybe Alex knew that too.

"Will you escort me to the awards convocation next month? I'm getting the Herbst Award, and Jonathan has a conflict."

The Herbst Award was presented to the outstanding master's candidate at the university and included a stipend for doctoral work. It was a huge coup for Alex. "Jonathan is an utter moron; I'd be honored to escort you, Alex."

Offense at my slur warred with pleasure at my acceptance, but Alex finally settled on a smile. It felt like it was my birthday instead of hers.

The evening of the convocation was unseasonably warm for April. Alex was a vision in a navy dress that channeled Jackie Kennedy. I could hardly tear my eyes away from her, even when Connie flashed me while Alex's back was turned. I almost put the pin for her corsage into Alex's breast.

The hours that followed were perhaps the happiest in my life to date. It was incredibly easy to pretend we were a couple and Alex wasn't engaged to some other guy. She was luminous, in her element, and loving every moment of it. The conversation was erudite, and we both knew most of the other attendees and honorees, if only casually.

Neither of us was in a mood to go home when the reception was over, so we found a lounge and had coffee. No longer inhibited by other listeners, our conversation shifted to our own research project.

"Think of the possibilities!" Alex enthused, leaning towards me so her voice carried over the sound of the small band in the back corner. "The therapeutic applications alone are endless, if we can just work out the control issues."

"Yeah," I sighed, "control." I'd been a good boy all night, but my penis was coming to life. I was no dancer, and the thought Alex probably was intimidated me, but I watched other couples moving on the floor and wished I could hold her that way. Don't screw this up, Lloyd! I told myself and stepped firmly on the impulse.

"I'm only one man, Alex," I protested gently. "Even if I knew what I was doing -- which I don't -- the human mind is a complex thing. I'm like a bull in a china shop, and there are a lot of china shops out there, more than I could visit in several lifetimes."

She smiled and cocked her head, distracting me with the line of her neck, which was unobscured by hair tonight; Alex had put it up for the evening. "You're no bull. Think of a surgeon, wearing boxing gloves. You're down to mittens, now. The regular gloves will come in time, I know it, and then we'll work on making them thinner and thinner."

"An elegant analogy from an elegant lady," I conceded the point. I was equally entranced by her unconscious use of the word "we." I could see major problems with pursuing formal studies beyond Alex's current thesis, but I refused to think about them. "What do you plan to do, after this?" I asked directly for the first time.

"Jonathan wants me to stay home, or maybe teach." Alex's expression twisted momentarily. "He says he can provide for us, and we can get ahead best by focusing on his career."

I waited, wearing a hopefully encouraging expression, and didn't try to force the pace of the conversation or make a pithy comment.

"Yeah, I know -- what do I want?" She pursed lips colored the deep red of Midnight Siren and ran a finger along the edge of her saucer. "Well, I didn't work this hard to get my Master's so I could bake pies or wipe the nose of some second-grader." Alex looked up at me through dark lashes. "I want to dance."

"What?" I was sure I'd misheard her.

"Will you dance with me?"

The really sad thing was her expression said she was afraid I was going to refuse. There were any number of good reasons why I should, but they counted for nothing in the face of my desire and her need. "Watch your toes," I warned her, and extended a hand to help her stand.

We surprised ourselves by dancing until the end of the set. I wasn't as bad as I'd feared, and Alex was so graceful I knew nobody was paying attention to me anyway. There was a slow number that was almost my undoing; the feel of her sinuous body against mine was heaven, but Alex gave no indication she'd noticed the raging erection trapped inside my underwear.

I knew I was going to have to find Susan, or Yelena, or somebody later. Of course, the girl I really wanted was standing in my arms, but when she laid her head against my shoulder, I knew there was no way I could abuse Alex's trust in me, no matter the provocation.

The swing that concluded the set left me a little breathless, not just from the exertion, and both of us were laughing. It seemed a good time to end the evening, before I did something we'd both regret. The drive back to Alex's apartment went too quickly for my taste, and to cap it off, Alex perked up at the sight of the '61 Studebaker parked in front of the building.

"Jonathan!" she told me, and barely let the car come to a stop before she hammered the door to pop the latch and climbed out.

How could she have gone from seeming ambivalence to excitement so quickly? Alex's enthusiasm depressed me, but it seemed churlish not to escort her at least to her apartment door. Besides, I refused to abandon the field entirely to my opponent. I set the parking brake and managed to catch up to Alex on the stairway. She already had her key out, and managed to insert it and twist the knob in one smooth motion.

"Jonathan!" Alex repeated, but then she suddenly stopped so dead in her tracks I nearly bowled her over.

Her fiance was sitting on the loveseat, but my eyes went to Connie. Alex's roommate stood just in front of him, stark naked, a look of surprise on her face. There was something more there, too, but Alex twitched and I followed her sightline to Jonathan.

He was still dressed, but like me a few weeks earlier, his cock was exposed and erect. It was also gleaming with moisture from tip to pubes. "Alexandra, baby, let me explain," he started, glib as always even as he wilted, but Alex cut him off.

"Out! OUT! I want you out of here, now!" she screamed. Her face was nearly as pale as her hair.

"It wasn't like that," Connie interjected, making no attempt to cover herself.

"I have eyes! I can see exactly what it was like, you, you, slut!" Alex shrieked back, starting to cry. "How could you do this to me? Both of you, get out! I don't want to see you!"

Jonathan tried to zip himself up, but apparently the zipper caught on his underwear and jammed. In another situation, it would have been comical watching him yank on it, but I sensed Alex was on the ragged edge of control.

"Do you need Connie to help you with that?" she snarled. "Damnit!" Alex choked back a sob. "Fine! Don't let me interrupt you -- you both stay, and I'll leave!" She whirled to face me, looking like a drowning swimmer. "Take me somewhere! Anywhere!"

Alex maintained a stoic expression as we descended the stairs and exited the building. I went to open the passenger door, but she detoured to the Studebaker instead. Alex opened the door by the curb and fumbled inside briefly, apparently rolling down the window. She slammed the door closed, and proceeded to hurl several heaping handfuls of dirty slushy snowmelt into the car. "Maybe that will cool you down, you cheating bastard!" she screamed in the direction of the apartment, and tromped back to me.

She was sobbing brokenly by the time I climbed into the driver's seat and got us going. At first I drove aimlessly, at a loss for a destination. The Wagners would have welcomed her, but I didn't think Alex needed to face anybody right now. Finally I realized I was heading in the direction of the Madison, and thought, "why not?"

"I'll just be a minute," I assured Alex after we arrived. Her face was a mess of running mascara and blotchy skin, so I gave her my handkerchief and went in to get a room. Luckily, early April was still off-season and they weren't full. I gave Ray a polite nod, not sure if he had placed me or not, and went to collect Alex.

She looked better, and we had the elevator to ourselves, anyway. Luckily for my conscience, it wasn't the same room I'd stayed in with Susan. The layout was much the same, with a bed and a sofa. Alex vanished into the bathroom as soon as I took her coat; I hung it and mine, and put the spare blanket I found in the closet on the sofa. It took just a moment to turn down the bed, and I tossed one of the pillows next to the blanket.

"What's wrong with me?" Alex asked, startling me.

"Nothing," I told her, meaning it. She'd washed her face, and the red eyes and nose couldn't detract from her natural beauty.

Those eyes started to tear up again. "Aren't I good enough for you?" Alex rubbed away the moisture, but her voice was uneven. "You've been with Susan. I saw the way you looked at Connie. I know you've fucked other girls -- why not me?"

"God, Alex," I temporized, unsure where to begin. "You have to know you drive me crazy."

Her gaze dropped ever-so-briefly below my beltline before rising again, and the corners of her mouth twitched infinitesimally upward.

"But look -- you can laugh at me, but it's not all about sex. You are the smartest person I know, man or woman, and -- believe it or not -- probably my best friend too." I shuffled a bit at that admission, which left my mouth before I'd realized it was true. "So what if you're also the most beautiful woman I've laid eyes on? I'm not going to throw all of that away by making a pass at you. Especially when you're already engaged to another man."

"Oh yeah, look how well that turned out," Alex said bitterly. She whispered, "You could have made me"

"Oh no," I burst out, stung by her voicing the thought that had tempted me so many times that year. Alex jumped, startled, and I forced myself to relax. "Never that. Bull in the china shop, remember? I want all of you, Alex, not just your body. I could never live with myself if you turned out like Susan. Besides, I'd never want to share you with anybody." My face heated but I held her gaze.

Her smile had blossomed steadily while I spoke, until it made my heart ache. "I was a fool to think marrying Jonathan would make me happy, and you were a fool to let me do it." Alex slid the engagement ring down her finger and tossed it negligently on the carpeting. "What do you say to that?"

I didn't say a word. Instead I stepped forward and swept her off her feet, and then turned in the direction of the bed.

"Wait, stop!" Alex shouted, pounding on my back with her hands and squirming.

Aghast at the thought I'd misread her so badly, I quickly set Alex back on her feet and backed up. She was still smiling, and my heart lurched into motion again.

"Where's my coat? The closet?" Alex opened the door without waiting for my reply. "I may not be keeping his ring," she muttered, "but -- can you believe he gave me these as a present?" She brandished a handful of condoms.

"What, for your birthday?" Even for Jonathan, it seemed incredibly tasteless.

She started laughing. "It's worse!" Alex gasped. "He told me they actually were just wrappers for the 'real present'!"

"Jesus Christ!" I began chuckling too, but stopped. "You've had those with you all night?" It seemed totally unlike Alex, and puzzled me.

Alex's mind was as quick as ever. "Are you kidding?" She started laughing even harder. "Can you imagine dropping them at the awards dinner?" Alex wiped her eyes and gave me a knowing smile. "No, I took them from his glove box when we left the apartment. I think I made up my mind on the dance floor."

"I didn't think you noticed!"

She was still smiling, but there was some change in Alex's expression that sent blood pumping back into my penis. "It was hard for me to miss, Lloyd."

Alex walked back to me and put her arms on mine, and then started to sway like we had during the slow number. I obliged her and pulled her closer, moving in time to the remembered music. This time, she ran a hand softly down my chest and traced the outlines of my erection. "See?"

"I don't remember that last move," I murmured in her ear.

"It wasn't the right time," she whispered, fitting her body more closely against mine. The swell of her breast felt as if it were pushing the air from my chest. "Haven't you heard the saying, 'a vertical expression of a horizontal desire'?"

"How apropos," I said, and kissed her. In heels, Alex wasn't much shorter than I and we fit together like two pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. The kiss wasn't tentative, but it didn't last long. The next one followed immediately and lasted far longer. We gave up any pretense of dancing; I was focused only on the feel of her body, her taste, and the sensation of Alex's tongue brushing against mine.

My fingers stroked up the length of her neck, leaving goose bumps behind them. I found the pin and pulled it free, letting her blonde tresses spill across her shoulders. Alex opened her eyes, but held the kiss. A shift of her weight pressed a hip more firmly into my raging erection.

I hated to let go, but the zipper in her dress needed two hands. Alex stayed close, within the circle of my arms, and began unfastening the buttons of my shirt while I teased her zipper open. By unspoken mutual agreement we paused after she unfastened my fly, and then our clothing tumbled to the floor in a rush.

Alex in a slip was a sight fit to take a man's breath away. I didn't think the figure I cut in an undershirt and briefs merited the look she was giving me, but I wasn't going to complain. "No arguments this time," I warned, and scooped her into my arms.

She was an armful, or maybe I just wasn't that strong, but I was staggering even before we both began laughing again. "Don't drop me!" Alex screamed, giggling, and I didn't, quite. At least we both landed on top of the bed.

Removing Alex's slip and pantyhose was a more challenging job than I'd anticipated, but it was a marvelous excuse to run my hands over every inch of her luscious body. Both of us were sporting damp spots in our underwear before we finished. Finally we were naked, save for one of Jonathan's presents, and I was looking down at her sweat-slicked body with avid desire.

"I think I've died and gone to heaven, Alexandra," I smiled at her.

"I hope you'll hold off on that for at least a few more minutes," she told me, her voice vibrating with barely suppressed urgency. "Now quit teasing me!"

She was tight, but incredibly ready, which was good because my self-control was fraying. A dispassionate connoisseur might have rated her technique somewhere around where Susan had started, but for me, the girl of my dreams was looking up at me and moaning my name. It was even better than I'd fantasized.

"Oh fuck," I gasped, clenched within her velvet grip, and kissed Alex again. Her nipples were like pebbles against my skin and her breath was warm inside my mouth as I buried myself inside her.

"God, yes!" Alex cried, encouraging me to pump her harder, as if I needed the prompting.

I knew I wasn't going to last much longer, so I plunged into her pussy as far as I could reach and kept pushing, pinning her to the bed. My balls literally throbbed as I ejaculated probably the biggest load of my life into the confines of the condom.

Alex's eyes grew wide as she felt me spasming inside her, although I was pretty sure she wasn't a virgin. I was positive she hadn't orgasmed.

"I think I've wanted to do that nearly since Thanksgiving," I panted, earning a smug look. I pulled out before anything could leak and gave her another kiss, lowering myself gingerly to one side so my entire weight wasn't on her.

She looked surprised when I cupped a breast, squeezed it gently, and ran my hand down her flank to the thatch of hair above her slit.

"You don't have to do this, Lloyd."

"Yes, I do," I whispered in her ear. Her hair smelled like spun strands of heaven. "I want to make you feel as good as I do; I want to watch you cum." My finger dipped inside her, and her hips rose slightly to meet it; a soft breath raised more goose bumps down her arm. "I hope you weren't planning to sleep tonight!"

Her reply was lost in an inarticulate grunt when I lightly brushed her clit at the same time I started nibbling on an earlobe.

I'd be kidding myself to say I played her like an instrument, but her body was responsive and charged up, and she wanted me the same way I did her. Alex was quiet, but cords of muscle stood out on her limbs and her nails left red crescents on my arm when she came.

The sight of her had me ready to go again, and after a frenzied condom change, her legs were wrapped around me and pulling me into her. We quickly found our rhythm, and Alex pulled one of my hands down to her tit. I obligingly caught the stiff nipple between two fingers and drew it outwards, eliciting a sudden gasp. "Fuck! Oh Lloyd, it feels so good!"

I was already set to pop again. It was difficult with one hand tied up, but I kept working Alex's breast and tried to hitch slightly higher to increase the friction against her clit. "You are so hot! Come on, cum for me, Alex!"

She started shaking and her body contracted spasmodically around my cock; the stimulation was enough to set me off too, and I collapsed atop her as we cried each other's names.

"You are crazy hot," I told her after I'd caught my breath.

"You make me feel that way," she smiled back at me. "It wasn't that way, the other times."

A gentleman doesn't ask, so I let the comment pass by. I made an attempt to extricate myself, but Alex stubbornly refused to unlock her ankles.

"You're not going anywhere, mister," she announced. "You promised me a sleepless night, remember?"

In point of fact, we did fall asleep -- just before dawn, after we'd run out of condoms. Danny and I had been wrong, earlier; one guy could keep a girl busy all night, if she was the right girl and he paced himself.

My eyes felt like they were going to fall out of my head when I stirred groggily to life a few hours later. I couldn't have cared less, when my arms were full of beautiful blonde. Alex nuzzled closer, her arms wrapped possessively about me. I managed to focus on the clock atop the nightstand, which reported it was nearly 8:00. "There's no way we're going to be on time for Dr. Reynolds," I sighed.

"Fuck Reynolds," muttered Alex, showing no inclination to move.

"I think not," I retorted, rolling us so I had her pinned beneath me and silencing her startled shriek with a kiss. "I've very possessive, and don't like sharing."

Alex stared up at my face, touching it as if to reassure herself it was real. "Me, neither," she smiled. We both felt my cock twitching between us. "God, you are insatiable!" It didn't sound like a complaint.

"You have that effect on me," I complemented her; Alex looked smug. "But, Reynolds aside, I have an exam to proctor at 10:00. Besides, we're out of supplies, and I'm starving."

"Men!" Alex's ankles started riding up my legs until she had me locked again between her thighs. "I'm not letting you go; order room service!"

"If you insist." We both smirked as I reached for the phone.

We ate our Eggs Benedict sitting on the bed, with me in trousers and Alex wearing only her slip. Honestly, she was far more distracting than if she'd been naked, a fact of which Alex took shameless advantage. My eyes kept drifting between the strap that repeatedly fell off her shoulder, and the moist treasure almost revealed by the raised knee that pushed up the hem of the slip. Her finger slowly brushed up her breast and pushed the strap back into place.

"Show a little mercy, Alex," I finally begged her. My throbbing manhood felt ready to explode. The orange juice didn't do much for the dryness in my mouth. Why couldn't Jonathan have given her more condoms?

"I'd have your baby, Lloyd," she replied.

"Christ!" I exclaimed, spilling juice all over myself. "That's jumping a little ahead, isn't it?"

"Don't you want a little Lloyd?" she asked, stopping the tease.

"I'd prefer a little Alexandra," I confessed, "but, Alex, it's a huge decision. You're not married -- hell, the rest of the world thinks you're engaged to Jonathan -- neither of us has a job; have you thought it through?"

"Of course," Alex replied, with the tone I recognized so well from our office sessions. "We're both crazy about each other, respect each other, and like each other -- even after spending most of the semester living in each other's pockets. Neither one of us wants to share. Isn't that marriage? I'm sure the formalities will follow. The rest will work itself out." She looked at me expectantly.

My heart hammered with the excitement that comes at the top of a roller coaster, when you knew what was going to happen but screamed anyway. I cleared my throat. "Um, Alexandra Sullivan, will you marry me?"

Alex maintained her composure long enough for a formal, "yes." It disappeared with a shriek of exultation as she threw herself into my arms, heedlessly scattering dishes and silverware across the bed. Just as unexpectedly, she eeled out of my grasp.

"Now," she announced, "since my parents won't take this well, even without making it a shotgun wedding, and you won't have Susan to help out" -- Alex's eyes were hard for a moment -- "your future wife will treat her future husband to a little oral sex."

"You don't have to do this, Alex," I protested half-heartedly while she tugged down my trousers to expose my swollen tool.

"I want to," she told me, before bestowing a kiss on the glistening cap of my organ. Alex gently hefted my sac and ran her tongue down the length of my penis, making me twitch and catch my breath.

"Turn around," I gasped. She looked up at me uncertainly; hell, I was uncertain -- I'd never gone down on a girl before -- but the symbolism was important, and if there was one person I wanted to do, it was Alex. "I want to taste you."

She screwed up her face, which was a little amusing since she was such a stickler for equality and I could see my precum glistening on her lips.

"C'mon, Alex, nothing we do together can be wrong," I coaxed earnestly. Her expression cleared immediately, too quickly for conscious thought, and I silently damned myself for an idiot, but the damage was already done. I prayed it was innocuous as it seemed, but Alex was already crabbing around to straddle me.

I set aside my misgivings and studied Alex's pussy as she returned her attention to my prick. The folds of her labia were flowered open, glistening, and dried reside covered her upper thighs and crotch. There was a faint odor, but it wasn't displeasing; it smelled like, well, Alex. Raising my head, I blew gently, watching her curly pubes bend slightly, and felt her grip my cock more tightly.

My tongue extended and brushed her, bringing me the heady taste of feminine musk. I brought my hands up to cup her cheeks, and began exploring more aggressively. Alex let out a moan I could feel all the way up my body when I found her clit, and more droplets of moisture appeared. Her skin was so soft against the stubble on my chin!

Alex was working over the head of my cock with her mouth and fisting my length with a hand, so I returned the favor and slid a pair of fingers into her slick warmth while jabbing at her clit with my tongue, teasing it out of hiding. I felt really tight inside, close to cumming, and Alex's breath was rapid against my throbbing meat.

I came first, spurting helplessly beneath her touch. The sensation of Alex's lips disappeared after the first jet and I faintly heard her cry, "shit!" but the exclamation cut off when I caught her bud gently in my lips and strummed it with my tongue. She ground herself into my face and I felt her entire body tremble violently.

After she quieted, I rolled Alex onto her back beside me and sat up to look at her. A trail of spunk decorated my stomach, but several more ropes dripped from Alex's face and breasts. "Women swallow this?" she asked in disbelief, rubbing an eye.

"Only if they want to," I assured her, leaning in for a kiss that tasted of semen. "God, you are sexy!" I grabbed her breast, smearing my spend across her skin. "I'm the luckiest man alive!"

"I'm glad we both recognize that," she retorted with deadpan humor, but I noticed she licked the finger she'd been rubbing in her eye. "And I guess I'm a pretty lucky girl, too."

We both looked far more presentable -- if just as sexy, in my biased opinion -- an hour later as we strolled to the front desk. If you ignored the damp hair, we looked almost the way we had when we'd checked in. Of course, an astute observer, seeing us together, wouldn't have hesitated to guess we'd spent the entire night fucking like rabbits.

The way my feet hovered an inch or so above the floor, or the way Alex held my arm possessively, staying so close you couldn't have slid a sheet of paper between us, were both tipoffs. So was the way I hauled off and kissed her, just because I wanted to and because I could, when the clerk asked if we'd enjoyed our stay. Alex gave as good as she got.

"Chick magnet!" Danny's laughter sounded from beside us. Alex froze in my embrace. "I swear, Lloyd, I have never seen such an operator!" He slapped me heartily on the shoulder. "Come on, introduce us -- do I know her?"

It was almost worth it to see Danny silenced, for once in his life, by the sight of his sister cuddled against me. "Alexandra?!" There was no time for me to appreciate it, however, because I could already sense the titanic eruption building inside him.

THERE'S NOTHING WRONG! The thought was quick and dirty, a desperate attempt to head him off, and totally lacking in finesse. I gave myself a splitting headache. We all stared at one another for a timeless moment.

"You dog," Danny chuckled, and looked at Alex more closely. Her chin was up, daring him to make an issue of it. "You've never looked better, sis -- you should get fucked more often."

The clerk behind the counter looked like he couldn't believe his ears. Alex blushed so hard I was sure I could feel the heat from her face.

Apparently tired of waiting for a response, he turned back to me. "So, anyway, Susan and I are having another party tonight." Danny tossed the key in his hand and winked. "You want to come?" As an afterthought, he added, "you're both invited."

"No, thanks," I said.

Alex tightened her grip on my arm and amplified, "he's off the market."

"Really?" Danny's grin amped up a notch. "Does Jonathan know?"

"No," Alex confessed, looking like she wished the conversation was happening anywhere else. "I'll tell him today. And I'd appreciate you letting me tell Father and Mother, too."

I'd almost forgotten her parents. Oh God.

"Are you kidding?" asked Danny. "Do I look like somebody who wants to die young? They're all yours! Hey, I've gotta run -- have a good time, you two." He hustled out of the lobby as if he were afraid Alex might change her mind.

We followed, more slowly. "Are you going to be okay, going home?" I asked carefully.

"Certainly," Alex confidently assured me.

"I lied," she confessed a few minutes later, as we pulled up in front of her apartment. The Studebaker was nowhere in sight. "Will you come in with me, please?"

"Absolutely," I smiled, and kissed her lightly.

We'd barely gotten out of the car when Connie came running out the front door. "Oh gosh, Alexandra," she cried, "please forgive me! I feel like such a heel!" She clutched Alex tightly, repeating, "Forgive me!"

"Sssh, it's okay," Alex assured Connie, "I forgive you. Everything's worked out for the best."

"I don't know what happened; things just got out of control," Connie said, intent on confessing. She shot me a quick look. "Jonathan showed up unexpectedly, and I asked him if he wanted to wait. I just thought I'd tease him a little, to see if he'd try to cheat on you. Alexandra, you should have seen the way he looked at me!"

"I did," Alex dryly interjected.

"Well, but I don't know what was wrong with me! What was I thinking? I did a little dance for him, just as a joke, to get him to do something." Connie's face fell. "He did, but I was too hot to stop. I didn't mean to break up your engagement! You've got to believe me!" She started crying again.

"It's okay," repeated Alex, hugging her friend again. "It wouldn't have worked out. I guess you just sensed it sooner than I did. You saved me from a big mistake, Connie. Lloyd asked me to marry him; I still need a maid of honor." The two looked at each other. "Friends?"

"Lloyd?" Connie looked a bit dazed. "Really?" Alex nodded. "Oh my gosh, Alexandra! You're getting married!" The pair of them started jumping up and down excitedly and squealing like a pair of schoolgirls.

I tried to catch Alex's eye and gestured at my watch.

"Go in, Connie; you have to be freezing," Alex said, coming to rest. "I'll be right behind you; Lloyd has to leave."

"Her, too?" Alex asked me a moment later, fire in her eye.

I didn't pretend to misunderstand. "Once. When I was drunk out of my skull and couldn't think of anything except you being with Jonathan."

She relented, a little. "I hope you enjoyed it. Your 'chick magnet' days are over."

I looked Alex straight in the face. "I'll never touch another woman, now that I have you; that's the honest truth, before you and God, Alexandra."

She stepped into my arms. "Go! Enjoy your stupid test! I'll hate every minute of the day until I can see you again."

We kissed, hard, and I swung her off her feet in a circle, just for the joy of it. I didn't remember until I was passing out tests that it was Friday the 13th; I think every student in that class who could spell their name got an "A" on that exam.

April 2003

"Room service!" chirped the perky coed. She stood beside the bed, holding a loaded tray, and displaying her cleavage to good effect. That was easy, since her outfit would make an NFL cheerleader look prim. I didn't know how she avoided freezing.

I groaned and thought about going back to sleep, but the smell of Eggs Benedict had gotten my stomach growling. "He's your brother," I mumbled at the mop of silver-blonde hair on the pillow beside me.

"He's your partner," Alex tartly rejoined, rolling over. "Just leave it on the bed, Denise; we'll let your evil master know you did a good job."

"Thanks, Mrs. Parker! Have a great day!" She skipped out of the room, and we heard the front door open and close a minute later.

"Why did I go into business with Danny, again?" I groused, and sat up. I'd been asking the question for decades, so my wife just ignored me. When I'd found out my "wedding present" was an ownership interest in Home Run, I'd been appalled; I'd also felt personally responsible both for Danny's mindset and the welfare of some of the girls -- Susan among them -- he'd engaged. It felt comfortable now, but the oddity got to me every time I stopped and actually thought about it.

Beside me, Alex reached for her reading glasses. "Forty-one years. Can you believe it?"

"God, I'm a lucky bastard."

"Yes, you are," she laughed, and reached for her plate.

It wasn't our anniversary, but rather the anniversary of the day we'd decided to marry. We'd gone back to the old Madison hotel every year until it had closed in the early nineties, but now we just stayed home. Danny, bless his twisted little heart, felt we needed "hotel ambiance" and never failed to provide his take on room service. It was a mystery how he'd deduced the menu, but I wouldn't have been surprised to learn he'd hired the Madison's old chef to prepare it.

A man of surprising depths was my brother-in-law, as long as he could work in a scantily-clad girl and make a buck off it. Denise was a case in point.

We'd found her in a shelter for battered women, bruised from the working over her pimp had given her, and climbing the walls in need for her heroin fix. My artistry didn't extend to curing physical addiction, but it was child's play to blunt the psychological craving and adjust the emotional baggage that had gotten her to that point.

She wasn't one of the "service personnel;" Danny's unwritten agreement with the cops was that he didn't take outcall jobs, and he was scrupulous about sending somebody from the bar staff on these occasions. Frankly, I thought he was more scared of Alex than the vice squad.

Still, peculiar though it might seem, we sent a lot of our rescues his way. Danny was always in need of attractive support staff who weren't put off by the shenanigans at the club, and a word from Alex or me was all the background check he needed. Like the others before her, Denise had a steady job, a good support system, and when she got her GED later that year, she'd be poised to move on to even bigger and better opportunities. It was one of the things that let me live with myself.

Alex sighed and set the book review aside, still unread. Sometimes we made love in the morning, but this didn't look like one of those days. "Hold me," was all she said.

That was easy enough to do, and remarkably pleasant. Alex had just turned 65, but although she'd never had a facelift or Botox, she'd kept her figure; I thought the silver in her hair just made her more elegantly beautiful. I scooted closer, and then surprised her by hoisting her into my lap so she lay against my chest. My hand found her breast beneath the silk negligee, no longer as high and firm as in her youth, but still precious to me.

"I'm damn lucky you married me," I repeated, more somberly.

"So am I," Alex whispered, conforming her body to mine with the ease of long practice.

I knew she was thinking of Jonathan. After she'd broken off their engagement, he'd surprised nearly everyone by marrying Connie; she'd been showing at our wedding and their daughter had been born a scandalously short time afterwards. Their marriage had survived years of compulsive serial cheating on both sides -- Connie had even worked for Danny for a while -- but it hadn't survived the downturn in the '70s when Jonathan lost his job. The daughter had left for college and never looked back, and Connie had moved to Florida. She and Alex still exchanged cards and occasional phone calls, but their lives had moved in different directions.

It was a comfortable existence, and the work distracted both of us from the terrible loss of Lloyd Jr. and so many others on 9/11. We'd had him late, and with our hopes for a daughter-in-law and grandchildren dashed, we poured our energies into the surrogate children from the ruin of the real world in memory of the child of our bodies.

Alex stirred momentarily to life. "We should go in."

That meant it was bad. The work we did with the shelters was somewhere between outreach and a hobby; the job that paid the bills was the Edward and Patricia Sullivan Memorial Center for Clinical Psychology, of which Dr. Alexandra Parker, M.D., Ph.D. was the founding staff member. Yeah, when Danny thought they weren't rich, it really meant my in-laws hadn't intended to squander their wealth on themselves or their children. Public works, on the other hand

I was on staff, too, but in a lower-key role. It was almost funny the way medical doctors treated the "fake" doctors like me, but I didn't take their disdain too seriously. Most people probably thought I was just there as a sop to humor Alex, which was fine with us since I could never have explained what exactly it was I did do. She could spout enough psycho-babble to snow anybody who got curious, and do it with a straight face.

Consequently, the most challenging work happened on Sundays, when fewer bystanders were around to worry about. It went without saying that none of the patients Alex asked me to consult on were there for a vacation retreat.

"Tell me about it?" I asked, curious.

"I'd rather not," Alex replied, surprising me. "I'd like to get your opinion without prejudicing it first."

I couldn't remember another time she'd said that. Part of me wondered what could be that bad, but another part of me looked forward to the chance to do something more interesting than reforming another crack whore. There were only so many seriously fucked-up head cases out there, after all.

"Shower first? I'd hate for people to think you kept me around just for the sex." I nuzzled her tousled hair and squeezed her breast suggestively.

Alex laughed, as I'd hoped, and rolled off of me. "You're pretty good, for an old man. Do you think you can catch me?"

I laughed too as I chased her fetching silk-clad ass into the bathroom.

I was still admiring it, now clad in seasonably-appropriate wool slacks and obligatory white monogrammed lab coat, as we made the short walk from Alex's reserved spot into the Center. We nodded politely to the guard and the few other staffers we saw, all of whom were appropriately awed to be in presence of Alexandra the Great. I'd never told her about the nickname, but that didn't mean she hadn't learned it.

We ended up in the secure ward, which wasn't a total surprise, but ruled out a few things. Alex checked us in at the control desk, and I ambled over to room 1. It had an attached viewing area, and I knew we'd need it for this case. I looked through the glass cutout in the door.

The occupant was a looker. She sat on the bed, naked, rocking back and forth, and stared at the wall in front of her. She had preposterously large breasts, capped by wide areolae and erect nipples, a wasp waist, and shoulder-length dirty blonde hair that might have looked attractive if it had been brushed. Jarringly, her face was made up like one of Danny's girls. I guessed her to be in her late twenties, more or less.

"Where did you find her?" I asked Alex, who was standing beside me.

"No cheating," she said, without a trace of humor in her voice. "Let's visit, first." She unlocked the door and we entered the room.

The girl tumbled onto her knees on the floor with an agility that surprised me. She faced us with her breasts cupped in her hands and her face aimed at our feet.

"Good afternoon," Alex said in her most gentle voice, "do you remember me? This is Dr. Parker."

"Call me Lloyd," I told her.

"Let me serve you, Lloyd," she responded, proffering her breasts. Her voice was remarkably cultured.

She was a puzzle. "Um, can you stand up and tell me your name?" I asked, since Alex was remaining silent.

The girl rose gracefully until she was balanced on the balls of her feet. "My name is Torrid Passion, Lloyd."

Even Danny didn't have that perverse a sense of humor. "Can you just stand flat-footed, Torrid? I don't want you to fall and hurt yourself."

She looked nervous and gingerly lowered her heels, but the strain was apparent and she swayed more than she had before.

"That's a good girl, Tori," Alex cut in, "you can sit like a lady now."

The girl -- Torrid, Tori, whatever -- looked at me first, then sat on the bed, knees together and aimed slightly to one side. She was the very picture of a prim young woman, except her chest was still thrust out and she seemed totally heedless of her nudity.

I looked past her bare skin to the tangle of her mind. It was twisted, not unlike a bonsai tree, in ways I'd never seen or even imagined.

Alex asked, "Have you ever heard of a Janet Mueller?"

"No," Tori answered flatly.

"Thank you for your time, Tori," Alex smiled warmly, but it didn't make much impact.

"It was my pleasure to serve you, Lloyd," Tori told me as we made our escape.

"Jesus Fucking Christ, Alex," I burst out once the door was closed behind us, "where did you find that girl?"

She dragged me into the observation room, where we couldn't be overheard. "Just tell me first," Alex begged, "did someone -- like you -- do that?"

I hugged her close, suddenly understanding the source of her tension and unease. "No, love, I don't think there's an evil mind controller out there; her mind doesn't look like that. Just some incredibly sick and twisted bastard with too much time on his hands. Did they get him?"

Alex relaxed in my arms and laughed humorlessly. "I doubt it. They picked her up in an INS raid following a tip about illegal domestic servants; can you believe it? It sounds like he bought her from someone else."

"How long?" I wondered, opening the blinds so I could gaze through the one-way glass. Tori was sitting curled up on the bed, rocking, again.

"She went missing in her freshman year of college, back in '94," Alex reported. "Janet Mueller is her real name, but she only responds to 'Torrid Passion' or 'Tori'. They identified her from dental records." She pulled a photo from the folder in her hand and passed it to me.

I could see the physical resemblance, but the younger girl smiling from the picture didn't look like the life-size Barbie doll rocking on the bed.

"It's worse than you can see," Alex stated in a flat tone, and I realized she was as angry as I'd ever seen her. "She stands the way she does because her tendons have been shortened to the point her heels can't reach the floor. The makeup on her face is permanent, tattooed on." She let out a shuddering breath. "Obviously her breasts have been enlarged, although she doesn't have implants. And she was lactating up until last week, although her tubes are tied and Dr. Fisher estimates the surgery was performed at least several years ago."

"Inside -- well, you probably know better than I. She won't wear clothes, ignores other women if there's a man in the room, and is ready 'to serve' -- by name -- every male orderly she's seen." Alex's voice had risen to an angry snarl.

"Damnit, nobody deserves this! Janet has parents and a brother; we can't show them this! Please tell me you can fix her, Lloyd. Let us give them back a woman, not a toy."

"Of course we will," I assured her. It would be the most complicated thing I'd ever tried, but we -- to be honest, I -- was the reason the Sullivan Center was developing a grass-roots reputation for delivering with cases other places wouldn't even try. "Just give me a few minutes to study her, and calm yourself down. I don't promise miracles, but we'll do right by her. Trust me on this, Alex."

"I always have," she smiled, already looking less stressed. "Take your time, and I'll see if the ward nurses have anything new to add."

I reversed a chair and sat down, propping my arms on the back and staring at Janet. I let my eyes go out of focus and looked with my mind's eye, studying again the strands of her consciousness bent awry. The damage to her psyche was obvious, but the means of repairing it were less evident.

Parts of the crystalline lattice were faded nearly to oblivion from disuse, fenced off by tangled knots of presumably learned behaviors. I was always at my best reinforcing existing urges, so the trick would be to bypass the tangles. More than forty years of effort had yet to establish any correlation between what I saw and actual behavioral or intellectual centers, so I couldn't know in advance what was important and what could be left for later or ignored.

Alex had thoughtfully left Janet's file, and I thumbed through it. The new stuff didn't interest me, and the background data was scanty. Just another California girl, thinking about maybe going into law, a few friends at school, a maybe-boyfriend. Living a normal life, a bad week, and then gone without a trace -- until now. She'd probably spent more of her adult life as Tori than Janet. What could I hang my hat on?

It had to be her name. The unknown perpetrator obviously had gone out of his way to eliminate it, because it was too bound up with her identity and who she was, but he didn't have my abilities and could only go at it second-hand. If we could get at her name, we'd have broken the back of the master knot and the rest would follow. Worst case, I'd just imprint it -- something I was getting better at -- and rely on her own subconscious to make the connection.

I opened my eyes and stretched, aware of the familiar glow at my back.

"Ready?" Alex asked.

"Yeah," I answered. "Keep asking about her name. Janet Mueller. The rest is too vague to work with for now, I think. We can do a second session later if we need it. It'll be tricky."

"I thought so. Here, I brought you some aspirin and a cup of water."

I gulped them down and stood up. "What did I do to deserve you?" I asked Alex rhetorically, kissing her on the forehead.

She pulled my head down for a quick, but proper, kiss. "The same things you always do. Be careful, Lloyd, please?" We exchanged warm smiles before she left the room.

I turned around and sat down again. This time I was able to watch without distractions as the door opened and Janet tumbled to her knees on the floor again. She seemed to relax slightly when she saw Alex was alone.

"Hi, Janet, it's Alexandra again. I thought we could sit together on the bed and have a girl talk."

The girl remained motionless on the floor, staring mulishly at my wife's feet.

I closed my eyes and focused my attention outward. "Janet Mueller," I whispered quietly, feeling the way my mouth moved and the sound of the individual syllables in my ears. I fixated on the picture of the younger girl, the feel and sound of the name that went with her, and pressed it all at her. Nothing happened, yet, but I wasn't expecting a quick fix -- not after nearly nine years. I kept up a steady pressure, regulated my breath, and kept watching for signs of movement amidst the tangle of her mind.

"Janet Mueller. It's a pretty name, don't you think?" Alex asked, keeping up a light banter. "Did you have friends? What did they call you? Janet, or maybe just Jan?"

"I do not have friends. My name is Torrid Passion. Master called me Tori when he was pleased, but I have not served him for many days. He will punish me." There was a pause. "He will punish you too, for wearing clothes like a man. You should undress." There was another pause, and my mental antennae quivered. "I could help you hide them; you have been kind and I would not like to see you beaten."

"Thank you, Janet, but I'm just fine. Your master is a very bad man, and he will be locked away for a very very long time. You will never see him again. You do not have a master. Janet Mueller has parents, and a brother. Wouldn't you like to see them again, Janet, and hug them?"

One of the knots was trembling ever so slightly. I grinned and pressed harder, ignoring the onset of the headache; it would be worth it.

"Other doctors told me that," the girl whispered hesitantly.

"What, honey? Your name? Janet Mueller? Can you say it yourself? It's such a beautiful name, Janet. I imagine it would sound like music, hearing you say it."

"Janet. Mueller." The emotional overtones suggested she expected to be beaten any second.

The resistance was starting to fade, enough that I felt confident enough to open my eyes while still pushing. I would have given anything not to see what happened next.

"That's right, Janet Mueller," Alex agreed cheerfully. Both of them were perched on the edge of the bed. "Do you think you could write it?" It was a clever idea that I'd overlooked, as usual, but when Alex withdrew the fat ergonomic pen from her coat pocket, Janet reacted like it was a cattle prod.

"NO!" she shrieked, bouncing to her feet.

"It's just a pen," Alex reassured her, holding it out for inspection and starting to stand.

"Noooo, don't punish me!" In a frenzy, Janet lashed out and I watched, helplessly, as my wife toppled backwards, off balance, and bounced her head off the bed frame before sprawling on the floor.

I ran like a madman, screaming for a trauma team, but I could already see parts of Alex's mind dimming and becoming insubstantial before I skidded to my knees in the spreading pool of her blood and urged her to hold on. I was having trouble seeing through my tears, people were shouting at me, and the naked girl on the floor near me was screaming "My name is Torrid Passion, don't punish me!" over and over at the top of her lungs.

"Damnit, your name is Janet Mueller!" I screamed with every bit of rage and fear and loss that was coursing through my body.

She froze, shocked silent, and then curled into a fetal position. "I want my mother," Janet sobbed brokenly.

I wanted my wife but, unlike Janet, I knew I wasn't going to get my wish.

Alexandra's body lingered on for more than two years before she finally stopped breathing on the day of my seventieth birthday. I spent every day of that living hell holding vigil beside her, trying vainly to restore something that was already gone forever. I should have told the hospital to pull the plug and end the farce, but I couldn't bring myself to do it and foreclose any possibility of a miracle.

Even the false hope of an animated Alex-less body was denied me. I turned my back on the Center and Home Run. It was Alexandra I cared about, and if I couldn't save her, I wasn't fit to help anybody.

The friends and acquaintances were the worst. They couldn't see what I did, and if the machines said she maybe wasn't brain dead, then there was still hope. I knew better, but had to pretend to be hopeful and optimistic; I could recite stories about people awakening from comas in my sleep. Connie visited once, and they told me Janet had been there too, when I wasn't around. The stream of visitors grew smaller, and more morose, until it was just Danny and myself.

He'd brought a small cupcake with two candles in the shape of a "7" and "0" squeezed on top, but the cardiac alarm went off before we got to it. It must have cost him dearly, but Danny held me while I bawled my guts out like a baby before they finally wheeled her away.

We spread her ashes in the winter-bare flower garden in front of the Center, near her parents'. They already had a different name painted on the curb in her parking spot. I felt old beyond my years, and used up.

I tried to go back to the house, but it was filled with memories of our life together. I spent Thanksgiving sitting at an empty table, looking at the empty seat that belonged to Alex and the woven placemats Lloyd Jr. had made one year at camp. The can of chili beans was like ashes in my mouth. I knew I couldn't do it any longer.

The realtor thought I was crazy, but I sold the house and everything in it and found a small apartment on the other side of town. I filled it in a one-day shopping spree at the clearance center, and settled in to hibernate.

Danny wouldn't let me. "Hibernate, my ass! You came here to die, Lloyd, and I think it's a pretty piss-poor plan. Think of a better one, okay?" He'd be back a week or so later. "Do you think Alexandra would be impressed by this?" He kept it up all winter.

Finally, he got to me in the spring. "Look, Lloyd, I could really use your help at the club. It hasn't been the same without you." It belatedly occurred to me that the entire affair had to have been hard on him too, and he'd had to deal with his business the entire time -- even if it was a little nontraditional. I suspected he was just feeding me lines until he found one that worked, but the result was the same.

There were a few old girls, who treated me like a grandfather, and a bunch of new ones, who treated me like a dinosaur, and Danny must have told them I was made of spun glass or something. We made our way through the welcoming crowd, and Danny showed me into the remodeled office he'd set aside for me.

"So, what's the catch?" I asked, as I tried out the leather chair. It was pretty comfortable.

"No catch," Danny assured me. It was when he looked the most innocent that I was most on my guard. "Just camp here for a few hours each night. Get out of your Cave of Atonement regularly, okay?" The concern in his voice softened the barb. "Maybe fix problems, once in a while."

The office was quiet; it could have used a little music, to make it more welcoming. I supposed I could spring for a CD player or something. "Come on, Danny. What kind of problems?"

"Little stuff." He shrugged defensively. "Some of the new girls, they aren't the same. They get a little rowdy, or there's a misunderstanding. You know. Heck, you're the psych major -- I just know how to make money."

"Go bullshit somebody who doesn't know you, Danny," I laughed. It had been a long time since I'd done that, and it felt good. "Yeah, okay, I'll do it. But you'd better throw in a clothing allowance unless you want to see me wearing sweats all the time."

"Done!" he cried, offering a handshake to seal the bargain. It was all a sop, anyway; we hadn't discussed money and I had a one-third interest in the club already. I realized I was willing to let him win one, and rejoin the human race.

Things settled down pretty quickly. Matters weren't as bad as Danny had suggested, and practical experience and a little gravitas were sufficient to do the job without resorting to any of my tricks. I'd sworn off them, anyway. Women, too, which the girls somehow figured out quickly enough without anything ever being said.

I liked to look as much as the next guy, but most of them could have been my granddaughters, and besides, I'd promised Alexandra. Maybe she hadn't meant it to last in the event I'd been so careless as to let her die without me, but I was going to take it that way. If it was just fear of being hurt again, well, it was the same difference.

By the time summer rolled around, I was comfortably ensconced and thinking about getting a day job. I'd recovered enough to find sitting around my apartment boring; God help me if I watched any daytime TV. Also, frankly, Home Run didn't by its nature draw the cream of society and I was itching to be around normal people for a change.

The brainstorm came when I was walking at the mall and caught sight of this overweight guy in a security uniform confronting some kid. I told myself I could do the job as well as he, and get paid for walking around the mall, to boot.

Danny had trouble taking the idea seriously when I broached it to him. "You're yanking my chain, right? Jesus, Lloyd, why don't you go teach at the University? You could look at the coeds and be only slightly overqualified instead of grossly overqualified. A brain-dead monkey could do that job!" He flinched. "Ah, sorry about that."

I waved off the apology. "I feel like a brain-dead monkey. Look, can you help me, or not?"

Of course, the interview he sent me out for wasn't at that mall. It wasn't even at the upscale mall out in the 'burbs. It was at the high-class flagship department store that anchored the upscale mall. If I'd really been dependent on a wage, I'd probably have had to work a month to buy a shirt in that place.

It was clear when I walked into the interview that I already had the job. Danny obviously had lots of friends in high places. "So, you do plainclothes work?" the interviewer asked, apparently intent on checking off boxes as quickly as possible.

"Yeah," I answered. I had to give Danny credit; I wouldn't even have to wear one of those stupid uniforms.

"You know how to deal with people? Customer service?" He looked at me with a little concern. "Customer relations are very important here. You gotta handle the guests nicely."

I thought about telling him I had a Ph.D. in organizational psychology, a couple decades in counseling and practice, and effectively was the customer service manager for an illegal brothel. I settled for smiling and telling him, "Yeah, I know how to get along and play nice with others."

He didn't look all that reassured, but stuck with the script. "Well, then, welcome aboard, Mr. Parker! My admin will give you the forms and get you set up for new hire training. Can you start next week?"

That was the start of two modestly enjoyable years that accomplished nothing much beyond keeping me moving, fit, and busy enough to have little time to brood. Perhaps I was just marking time, waiting for my life to change -- if so, I didn't recognize the change when it happened.

November 2010

I'm not sure I actually slept at all; I just knew that I felt like crap when I finally slunk out of bed and started the coffee maker. I sat there in the kitchen and stared at the thin stream of brew spilling into the carafe.

"Happy 75, Lloyd," I told myself morosely.

Some of it was self-pity, but I felt like every decision I'd made since Alexandra died had turned to shit. It was my 75th birthday, and I was sitting alone with no living relatives reflecting on the fact that I was probably accidentally killing myself with medications while trying to recover from raping a man and effectively destroying the life of a woman who didn't deserve it -- and that was just the last twenty-four hours.

My business partner saw me as just a tool to be used, and the only person who'd tried to befriend me had been shattered beyond hope of repair into pieces that either mirrored the darker side of my soul or existed as a fragile facade of what had been.

On top of that, my balls ached with their load of unspent semen. Good things never happened on my birthday.

I watched the morning news while drinking my coffee and a few more aspirin. At least Glory's boyfriend had been locked up as planned. The breathless on-site reporter was thin on details, but he said police claimed to have a confession. With luck, he'd be butthole buddies with some bruiser real soon now, and get put away for a long time.

I needed to have a talk with Danny about Glory, but that couldn't be done over the phone. We'd have to see if we could set up some proper support for her, or she'd disappear into the underside of society. It had seemed the lesser of evils last night, but it was still evil.

Over fifty years of habit prodded me into action and I dragged into the store right on time.

"Happy birthday, Lloyd," Angela told me when we met in the break room. "You look like you did a little too much celebrating last night."

I grunted noncommittally and helped myself to another cup of coffee. It was pretty pathetic when the break room brew was better than what came out of my coffee maker at home; maybe it was time to splurge and get a new one.

"Would you maybe like to go out for a drink or maybe dinner and celebrate again?" she asked.

I looked up, surprised. It was hard to say which of us was tenser.

"I'd like that," I answered and surprised myself with a brief grin.

Angela hadn't relaxed completely. "If you don't mind, there's a friend I'd like you to meet. I thought we could all go out together."

It seemed out of character for me to sound too enthusiastic, so I tried to keep my tone neutral when I replied. "Any friend of yours is a friend of mine, Angela."

She was watching me closely, and I don't know if she bought it or not, but Angela flashed a pleased smile.

The crooks could have robbed us blind that day and I wouldn't have noticed. Maybe they did. I wandered around the store in a daze; when I was by myself, I speculated on why Angela had chosen today to reach out again, and why she'd apparently changed her mind about mentioning Rose. When we were close enough to converse without using the comm system and letting the rest of the staff listen, we discussed where we might go and how dressy it should be.

"I'm definitely taking a break from this uniform," Angela told me during one of those latter interludes. "And you must own something that doesn't make you look like the doddering grandpa who got out of the old folks' home by mistake. For God's sake, Lloyd, I know men half your age who would kill to have your hair."

My salt and pepper days were long behind me, but I still had a full head and it had a nice wave. I liked Angela's far better, but wasn't about to say so. "I can probably find something. A suit?"

Angela laughed loud enough to attract attention. "Not if it makes you look like one of those idiots from corporate!"

"Perhaps you'd like to come over and pick out something yourself?" I inquired archly.

"Getting ahead of ourselves, aren't we?" she riposted. "Look where we work, Lloyd," Angela gestured broadly around us. "Surely some of this fashion sense must have rubbed off on you!"

I interpreted this to mean a sport coat, although I was on the fence about the tie. "You will, I trust, exhibit some of this fashion sense yourself?"

Her eyes twinkled. "I wouldn't want to spoil the surprise."

I felt like some wet-behind-the-ears teenager going on his first date. After some deliberation, I picked out my second-best sport coat, but compensated by wearing a shirt I knew Angel liked; it seemed likely Angela would have similar tastes. It had French cuffs, which I fastened with a pair of heavy gold Home Run cufflinks. They wouldn't mean anything to somebody who didn't already know what they were, and they were simple and elegant; I wondered again how they'd gotten past Danny. I straightened the silk tie Angel had given me for my birthday last year; if it was too much, it could come off in an instant.

I really wanted to bring roses for Angela, but it seemed inappropriate for coworkers, and doubly so if Rose was there to witness it. As a standby, I'd stopped on the way home and bought a bottle of modestly expensive wine to serve as a more politically correct hostess gift.

After arriving early and pacing for a few minutes, I decided to screw propriety and rang Angela's apartment. I noticed in passing Rose was one floor above her.

"Come on up," her velvet soprano welcomed me over the buzz of the door lock.

My heart wanted to mount the stairs two at a time, but sanity prevailed and I arrived outside her door with my wind intact. It was ajar, but I knocked anyway before letting myself in.

"I'm just finishing up, Lloyd," she called from the bedroom. "Make yourself at home."

I looked around; the place hadn't really changed in the two years since I'd seen it last. The furnishings were sparse -- not unfinished, but carefully chosen by somebody who was used to travelling light. Everything was tidy, with the exception of an empty garment bag trailing over the corner of the futon.

"Oh, nice," Angela commented, and I looked up.

She was a vision in black, superficially not that unlike her working uniform -- if an Italian sports car could be called "not unlike" an American minivan. The differences were in the details. The turtleneck and slacks hugged her trim figure, displaying her eye-pleasing contours and making her look taller. A heavy link belt rode low on her hips and complemented a simple necklace and earrings. As usual, her hair was swept up in some simple twist I'd never been able to figure out.

"Wow," I choked out. My throat felt dry.

Angela laughed. "Lloyd, you're so articulate! I've always liked that about you." She approached me and tweaked my tie straight with a gesture that was heartbreakingly familiar. "You remembered," she whispered, stroking her hand gently down the tie.

Shocked, I looked her in the face. There was a spark in those dark eyes I'd never seen during the day, and her earrings matched my cufflinks. "Happy birthday," she told me with a wide smile.

"Angel?! I mean, Angela?"

"Angel is fine," she said. "Here, sit down before you drop that and break a toe or something." She confiscated the bottle I'd forgotten I was holding and steered me over to the futon.

"Angel! What are you doing here?" I still felt I must be dreaming.

"I live here," she replied, sitting next to me.

"But, Angela? Is she gone? God, have I finally killed her?" It was getting hard to breathe.

"Lloyd, calm down! We, she, whatever; we're fine!" She shook her head with an air of amusement, and turned her attention back to me. Wrapping her arms about me, she pressed herself close, letting her physical presence soothe me.

I fearfully asked her, "Do you remember?"

She didn't ask what. "Mostly. You hurt me, Lloyd -- badly. In ways I can't even describe. I trusted you, and you violated that trust."

There was no need to say more. I remembered the night two years ago, when we'd sat together on this futon on the 73rd anniversary of my birth and the third anniversary of my wife's death. When the pent-up demands of three years of grief and more than five years of celibacy fractured my self-control and I raped a young woman. The night I abused my special gift to shred her psyche and rebuild a warped plaything to pander to my base desires and a veneer to hide my crime. The night I'd surely condemned whatever remained of my tattered soul to Hell.

July 2008

"Hey, Lloyd, I hear you're getting a baby girl! Will you miss me?" Dom thought he was more of a comic than he was, but he was a pretty sharp partner and I'd miss him. I didn't know exactly how he'd gotten his job, but he was at the beginning of his life rather than the end, and was making the jump from store cop to real cop. I didn't envy him the change, but then I wasn't the one making it.

I was the one who got to deal with his replacement, an unknown quantity probably the result of the same impartial hiring process I'd run through. There had been some informal discussion about swapping around shifts, but nobody was keen on teaming up with the newbie -- or keen on teaming up with me.

There weren't complaints, precisely, but I rattled them in some unknown way. Dom told me I "had dark waters" when he was in a good mood, and called me "hinky" on days when he wasn't. I was still in the middle of the seniority list -- by date of hire, not age -- and I knew some of the others continued to harbor suspicions I was some kind of management spy. They didn't like it when I used big words, either.

There were only three topics of conversation at Dom's farewell party. "Can I see your gun?" "Do you think management will give us a raise?" "I hear Lloyd's new partner is a hottie." I quickly tired of all of them, particularly the last. It was based on third-hand gossip leaking from that week's new hire orientation, and quickly elaborated with sexist suppositions from the all-male audience who felt challenged by the absence of any hard facts to make up their own.

As somebody who spent nearly every night looking at more female flesh than they could imagine, I had somewhat higher standards and lower expectations. "Man, don't you wish you were still young enough to enjoy her?" asked some wag who had misinterpreted my lack of enthusiasm.

He was quickly silenced by Dom, who'd had the native intelligence to notice I wore a wedding band but had never, in two years, spoken a single word about a Mrs. Parker.

The laugh turned out to be on me after all. I ambled into the break room the next morning to find the personnel manager and a young girl waiting for me. Okay, the "young girl" probably wasn't any younger than Alexandra had been when I met her, but that had been a long time ago. She looked damn young to me.

She stood straight like she had a stick up her ass, or was posing for a Marine Corps recruiting poster, or both, and a body that would've had Danny panting and climbing the walls. I admit I admired her charms, discreetly, myself, but I also noticed her level gaze that flicked periodically around the room before always returning to me.

"Mr. Parker, I'd like you to meet Angela Vasquez. She'll be your new uniformed partner. Ms. Vasquez, this is Lloyd Parker. I hope you enjoy working together."

Angela had a firm grip and an inquisitive eye. She favored me with a social smile, but I'd seen her eyes flick from my face to my ring to the earbud and back to my face again before the rep had gotten fairly started on his retreat to the safety of the management offices.

"REMF," Angela muttered under her breath.

"Excuse me?" I said, not catching the reference.

She waited a beat until we were alone. "Rear Echelon Mother Fucker," Angela explained, watching me closely.

I snorted. "Very apropos. Armed Forces?" It wasn't a very risky guess.

"Does it show?" she asked, grinning to show she knew it was a silly question. "Army. I was in Iraq; two tours."

That impressed the hell out of me. "Well, I hope you find this a little more restful. Would you like the ten-cent tour?"

"Sure; lead out."

We didn't do much more that day than walk the store, every floor, so I could show her every door, every changing room, the blind spots where shoplifters seemed to think the security cameras couldn't see, the few spots where they really couldn't see, and most of the other quirks I'd picked up in two years.

I could see Angela treated it like a combat exercise, never mind that the bad guys almost never fired back here. She didn't ask many questions, but the few she had were worth the asking. I found it easier to talk to her than I expected, so much so that I was a little hoarse when our shift ended.

"You look younger than I expected," she told me at the end of the day.

The compliment took me a bit by surprise, and made me feel good. "You're older than you look," I said in turn.

"Yeah," she said with a sad smile. "They say it wears off a little bit after a while; I don't know." The smile brightened a bit. "Well, until tomorrow, Lloyd?"

"See you then, Angela. Have a good evening."

I started looking forward to the day job. I got a lot of razzing from the guys, until Angela nearly broke a few fingers off the hand of the idiot who thought the way her ass filled out her uniform slacks gave him license to pat it. After that, they treated her with the respect you'd give a tiger, and put down our cordial partnership as another facet of my mysterious bearing.

My secret was that I simply treated her like a daughter or granddaughter instead of some centerfold picture. I wouldn't have thought you needed a psychology degree to figure that out, but maybe I was wrong.

Angela was intelligent and inquisitive, sometimes annoyingly so once she got over her initial reticence. She reminded me a little of Alexandra, more so when I found she was working this job during the day to make money for school during the evenings. The Army had paid for her undergraduate degree, but she was determined to get an MBA and break into a good management job. "Nobody ever got rich working for somebody else."

Our shifts grew to resemble freeform dialogs on the topics she encountered in class, occasionally interrupted by the need to dissuade misguided shoppers from eroding the store's bottom line. Angela's gratitude was obvious, since she didn't have much free time off for studying. I was happy to keep our conversations on safe topics.

Nevertheless, as that summer faded into memory, a degree of tension worked itself into our friendship. Part of the problem was me; I'd been extremely reluctant to say anything more about myself other than I was a widower who didn't want just to sit home alone. Nevertheless, I could see the wheels turning in Angela's mind -- figuratively -- every time this old geezer undercover officer she worked with managed to answer, at length and off the top of his head, nearly every question that came up in her coursework. A good deal of the art of our profession was noticing things that looked out of place, and I knew it was bothering her.

The other part of the problem also was me, so to speak. It seemed I was finally waking up to the fact that I was still a man -- one who hadn't gotten laid in more than five years. I remained stubbornly faithful to my memory of Alexandra and the promise I'd made her, but it was starting to get hard.

The girls at Home Run were walking inducements for sex and treated me with the careless familiarity of someone who was harmlessly androgynous. It wasn't exactly like being the palace eunuch; rather, the thought that someone of my ancient decrepitude might retain a sex drive just never crossed their minds. Danny wasn't that much younger than me, and he was still active. Anyway, I thought I'd become inured to it all.

I knew I had a problem when I caught myself thinking one afternoon about what Angela's ass would look like if she were in heels instead of her black athletic shoes. I gritted my teeth and told myself to focus on the accounting problem we'd been discussing.

My conscious mind was one thing, but I started waking in the mornings with erections and unsettling fragments of half-remembered dreams that all featured a lithe, dark-haired beauty with a flashing smile. I felt vaguely guilty, but there was nothing I could do about it.

I started going off the deep end in October. Some of Angela's friends from school were throwing her a party for her 25th birthday, and she invited me. I mumbled something non-committal at the time, repeatedly counted up the reasons I shouldn't go, and ended up taking a night off from Home Run anyway.

The place was some restaurant I'd never heard of before, and I knew I shouldn't have come the moment I stepped in the door. I took a long look at the cluster of youngsters gathered around Angela and realized I was probably older than all of their professors. Unfortunately, Angela spotted me before I could retreat.

"Lloyd!" she screamed, bouncing to her feet. Maybe a dozen pairs of eyes were focused on me while she hurried over and embraced me. "I'm so glad you could make it! C'mon over and meet everybody!" My body tingled where her breasts had brushed it, and what she did to a pair of jeans had to be illegal.

Angela introduced me around to her friends, whose names I uncharacteristically forgot, as her partner, and parked me on a stool next to hers. All of them were acquaintances from the University, save one young man whose eyes held the same faintly haunted expression as Angela's.

"I brought your something," I told her during a lull in the noise. "You don't have to open it here."

She looked at the slim package, wrapped in expensive paper from the specialty store in the mall, and then at me. "That's so sweet, Lloyd; you didn't have to do this." Before I could react, she leaned over and pecked me on the cheek.

My paralysis lasted a minute or two while she tucked the gift into her coat pocket, and nobody else commented on our interchange. I was intensely aware of Angela's proximity the remainder of the evening. The left side of my body felt her heat, even when I was drawing out her acquaintances on their experiences at school.

"Hey, you want to go clubbing with us?" Angela asked me after the remains of the meal had been cleared away and we'd embarrassed her with the obligatory "Happy Birthday" chorus.

"Are you kidding?" I laughed, and then blinked. The mental picture of myself trying to bounce along to the crap I heard filtering out of the Abercrombie changed channels to the image of Angela drawing a bare knee up my leg, spreading her tiny miniskirt, and arching her back to emphasize her breasts through an indecently thin top. I hurriedly added, "My heart would never survive it."

"You aren't as old as you think you are," she chided me with a smile.

The erection filling my underwear begged to differ, and I remained close to the table as the group began to break up and made their goodbyes.

I welcomed, and simultaneously dreaded, a farewell hug from Angela. "Thanks again for coming, Lloyd. And thanks for the gift; you didn't need to get me anything."

"You're welcome. Have fun; I'll see you Monday," I replied.

I drove home to my dark apartment, carefully undressed, and masturbated for the first time in decades. My hand hadn't forgotten what to do, my cock was aching for release, and there was still a hint of Angela's scent on my shirt. A little lotion for lubrication soon warmed to body temperature, and each slow stroke I made pulled the tension out of my body and concentrated it beneath my hand.

The pace didn't stay slow for long. I closed my eyes and started fantasizing, dreaming of delicate feminine fingers replacing mine on my heated manhood. A moist tongue extended to touch me, warning me of the warm lips that were about to engulf my glans. In my imagination, my hands were free to guide her head closer, but the hair threading between my fingers remained stubbornly dark and it was Angela's face that looked lovingly up at me, not Alexandra's.

"I didn't thank you properly," she'd say, releasing me and crawling sinuously up my body. Angela was naked, and bare like most of the girls at Home Run, so there was nothing to obscure the view as she inserted me into her glistening folds. My penis felt like it had entered a sauna, and her muscles gripped me like a hand, but her hands were supporting her body so I could admire her compact breasts and the ruddy nipples capping them.

My hands pulled her forward, dragging her off my spear, so I could taste her skin, capture one of those buds between my teeth, and stretch it before allowing it to pop free. Her lips parted with an inarticulate sigh that left us both trembling, and when I pushed her back to spear her again, she was wetter than before.

"Do that again," she gasped, and after I did, her nipples matched, equally stiff and engorged.

"I don't think I can take much more of this," I admitted. Every nerve in my body felt like it was energized and my heart was racing.

"Thank God," Angela replied, wearing an expression of desire that managed to raise my blood pressure even more. She started rocking herself more vigorously, working my frenzied penis with her pussy, and the ends of her hair, perfumed by her body, trailed across my face. A droplet of sweat zigzagged its way down a jiggling boob, never quite breaking free.

My body jerked, and Angela threw back her head and screamed her climax as I began pumping jets of hot sperm onto my undershirt.

"Oh God, Alex, forgive me!" I sobbed into the stillness of my lonely apartment. The semen cooled rapidly, but my desire did not.

I knew it was just a dirty old man's fantasy. My darker side, stirring sluggishly to life after a long sleep, reminded me that, unlike other men, I had the power to make that fantasy a reality. I sat on that thought -- hard. The trail behind me of lives ruined or ended by my feeble attempts to play god for my personal benefit still haunted me.

Nevertheless, in the same way my body and spirit slowly had returned to life, my intellect was stirring again. Fed by my discussions with Angela about her coursework, I realized I missed the stimulation of using my entire mind. My idle thoughts -- purely as an intellectual exercise! -- drifted to considerations of how I could "fix" somebody while avoiding the missteps of my youth.

The only thing that kept this madness in check was the dawning suspicion, totally against all expectations, that Angela might be interested in me.

She was never without the expensive pen and pencil set I'd given her. While we both remained professional at work, Angela's demeanor seemed warmer than before, and she invited me out for a drink the following Friday. "Oh come on, Lloyd. I feel like I owe you a round!"

I tried to make light of it. "It's date night. Don't tell me you couldn't find a younger man!"

She laughed and made a rude gesture with her hands. "I prefer a companion with a little more intellectual depth, and you're much smoother with the mental undressing." Angela laughed harder at my guilty start. "Don't worry, I take it as a compliment. If you weren't looking, I'd know you were gay!"

"Now who's being politically incorrect?" I chuckled. "I guess you talked me into it."

We ended up in a booth upstairs. Surprisingly few people remembered the store had a small restaurant in it -- a throwback to the old days -- and it certainly wasn't the sort of place people went on Friday nights. It was quiet, and even if the employee discount didn't extend to alcohol, a few beers weren't going to break us.

Angela had softened her look by donning a disappointingly bulky but warm turtleneck and letting her hair down. She'd been growing it out, and it was long enough she usually put it up when she was on the clock. I, of course, was already set with a forgettable flannel shirt and cardigan.

Our conversation avoided the financial meltdown, work, and school, and drifted onto our pasts. Angela's laconic accounts of her experiences in the Army were by turns comedic and dark, and I was pretty sure she was self-censoring some of it. In her turn, she was tickled to hear I was an alumnus. We compared notes on the changes (or not) between our eras for a while, but she guided the conversation back to me.

With some initial reluctance, I described my meeting with Alexandra and how we'd come to marry. Needless to say, many details were omitted and others altered for the benefit of young ears. She was horrified to hear we'd lost our son at the World Trade Center. Even with sympathetic prodding, I couldn't say more about Alexandra than that she'd died a few years ago after a long illness.

It was still more than I'd ever told anybody, except maybe Danny, who'd lived it too, and I realized that the tightness in my chest had loosened a bit by the end of the telling. Angela furtively wiped her eye, and we sat silently for a moment longer.

The restaurant was deserted; it was past closing time and I vaguely recalled Angela telling them we'd lock up on our way out. Just at the moment, perversely, I was feeling a warm sense of companionship rather than sexual attraction. "We should do this again," I suggested. "Next week, my turn?"

Angela shook her head, dashing my hopes. "On Halloween? Are you kidding?"

I couldn't believe I'd forgotten. Danny always threw a costume party at Home Run that was like Mardi Gras, but with fewer morals. There was no way I could skip out on it; I didn't know how he'd made it through the years I'd been gone without getting raided, or worse.

"How about the week after that?" Angela countered, shattering my introspection and lifting my spirits.

"Let me check my appointment book," I grinned. After a little pantomime, I added, "My eyes don't work so well in the dark anymore; can you make this out?"

"It says you have a date with a smack for being a wise guy," she mock threatened, but spoiled the effect by laughing.

"Well, heck," I was laughing too, "a drink with you beats a smack upside the head any day -- I guess we're on!"

It was back to the old grind after that. I intercepted an odd look or two from Angela later the next week, but we still seemed as close as ever and my mind was focused on trying to head off Danny's wilder ambitions for Halloween.

The party was a disaster. Personally, not professionally, that is; Danny was a master at gauging his audience and cleaning up on the business side. The problem was, there were a lot of people there and every damn time I caught a glimpse of a thin brunette, my cock ratcheted up another notch in my tuxedo pants.

It was ridiculous -- Home Run would be the last place on earth I'd expect Angela to show up. Even if she did, she didn't strike me as the sort of girl who'd go out wearing only a mask and a G-string. Maybe the red devil with the cutout around her crotch, but not with a pitchfork that had dildos instead of tines. Who knew there were so damn many brunettes in town?

After walking halfway around the room trying to get a look at the face of the harem girl who was covered from head to toe, but only in gauze so thin you could read a newspaper through it, I had to retreat upstairs to my office.

Danny poked his head in the door while I was cleaning up after my jerk-off session. "You know, Lloyd, you don't have to do that. At least half the girls would be more than happy to give you a blow, or fuck, or whatever. Whatever you promised Alexandra, she's gone now." His tone was neutral, nonjudgmental, but then he'd been amoral since our unexpected meeting in the Madison lobby long ago.

"Thanks," I told him, the stark reminder of my past poor planning pouring cold water on my nerves. "I'm okay, now."

I didn't stress out for the rest of the evening. I told myself things would just happen in their own time, or they wouldn't. Any thoughts I might have to the contrary were purely hypothetical intellectual exercises to pass the time, like doing the crossword puzzle. I was almost able to convince myself everything really was okay.

Then there was Obamamania. The effect was a bit muted in the store, whose clientele slanted more Republican, but you couldn't avoid it anywhere else. I knew by the spring in Angela's step who she'd voted for; actually, so had I, but I didn't advertise it.

I didn't want to stay at the store, so I'd made reservations at an Italian place Danny recommended. It was expensive enough to keep out the noisy crowds, but perversely focused on the "casual chic" sort who didn't get excited about dressing up to eat.

Angela gave me a long look. "Am I going to be okay like this?" she asked me, gesturing at her sweater, after I'd given her the option of convoying or carpooling.

"I'm not changing," I nodded. "Besides, you know you'll have the waiters walking into walls."

"Stop it," laughed Angela. "What would you know? Do you even own any clothes younger than I am, gramps?"

"Ouch," I winced. "I have it on good authority you're fine. Shirt? Check. Shoes? Check. No swimsuit -- Check. Don't worry."

"Well, I'll trust you," she said lightly, sending a faint chill down my spine. "But I'll drive; I seem to recall somebody saying he didn't see too well after dark."

Her old Taurus looked and sounded like it was on its last legs, but it knew its mistress and got us to the restaurant without complaints. Angela hesitated in the driveway, seeing the valet sign ahead but no alternatives -- apparently the casual chic didn't like to self-park, either. She sighed and pulled up in front of the door.

They were expecting us, and the maitre d' led us back, not to the table I was expecting, but to a curtained-off private room. It boasted a fireplace, a chandelier, and an ornate table set for two. A single long-stemmed red rose was laid across one of the settings. Goddamn it, Danny! I silently cursed and colored beneath the expressionless gaze Angela turned on me.

"If this will suit?" the host asked, pulling back a chair for Angela.

She nodded, showing considerable poise, and allowed herself to be seated. I was seated across from her a moment later, and the wait staff left us, promising to return momentarily with menus and water.

"Well," Angela allowed. "This is a little more than I was expecting. You did say 'drinks', didn't you?"

"I have never been so embarrassed in my life," I muttered into my lap.


I looked up at her. "I said, I'm sorry." After a heavy sigh, I continued, "I asked a -- friend -- to recommend someplace quiet where a couple could talk. I think he's a little too invested in my emotional well-being and jumped to conclusions. I certainly didn't expect this! We can leave, if it's making you uncomfortable."

"No, we're here," Angela said, lifting the rose to her nose and inhaling. "I saw your face when we came in, and I know you didn't expect this any more than I did. It's a little humorous, really."

There was a break while we ordered drinks and some appetizers.

Angela spoke up again, sounding stern, as soon as we were alone. "But you've been holding out on me, Lloyd."

I let my surprise show, uncertain what she meant.

"I was curious, so I looked you up in the alumni directory. Why didn't you tell me you have a Ph.D.? Christ, no wonder you can sleepwalk through my coursework! What are you doing wasting your life doing store security?"

"That part of my life's over," I told her flatly, slumping back in my chair and draining off half my glass of wine. "I can't do it anymore."

She backed off her intensity. "Yeah, your wife. I Googled her. I'm so sorry; that must have been Hell for you. What a tragic accident."

I didn't say anything, but just stared at the menu without seeing any of the words and clenched my hands in my lap. And cursed Angela's perceptiveness.

Her eyes narrowed. "It was an accident, right? Surely you can't blame yourself for it? Lloyd?"

"I. Don't. Want. To. Talk. About. It."

Angela sighed and picked up her menu, but the atmosphere remained tense through the end of the salad course.

She surprised me by speaking up just after we'd gotten our entrees. "I'm sorry I'm being pushy, Lloyd. I'll say one more thing, and then I promise I'll shut up and never mention it again if you don't want me to. Okay?"

I nodded, resigned.

"Don't cheapen Alexandra's memory this way. I care about you, and you're throwing your life away for something that wasn't your fault. Look, I saw a lot of bad things in Iraq, and others saw worse. Bad things happen in life, Lloyd. But we pick ourselves up and move on, because if we don't, then what were our friends sacrificing themselves for? Don't be a quitter."

Her premise was wrong, but I couldn't tell her that. Knowing she cared lightened my heart, and the humor of the situation got to me. Getting lectured about life by a young girl? "Yes, mother," I rolled my eyes.

She smiled, and the rest of the evening passed much more agreeably.

When we left, Angela was carrying the rose with her. "Thank your friend for the rose," she told me while we waited for the valet.

"I'll tell him what he can do with your rose," I growled, still embarrassed by the whole thing.

"You're so sweet," she laughed, and squeezed my arm gently.

We drove back to the mall, and Angela pulled up next to my old Acura. "Next week, my turn?" she asked casually. "In less refined surroundings," she added with a laugh.

"Absolutely," I agreed with delight. I was even more delighted when she leaned over and brushed her lips against my cheek before I climbed out. "Drive safely," I warned, closing the door.

"Live well," she shouted through the glass. Angela waited until I had the engine started, and pulled away into the night. She was incorrigible.

I spent the night dreaming about the touch of her lips, and what they would feel like everywhere on my body. In my dreams, we revisited the restaurant, but Angela was the main course. She lay naked atop the table, writhing in ecstasy, while I gave her the fucking of her life and we both came together. Later, we spooned on the plush rug in front of the fireplace, and her kisses tasted of our combined excitement.

That smile was still on my lips when I woke alone in bed, and the stickiness in my pajamas belonged only to me. Was she as interested in me as I was in her? The question kept preying on my mind.

I didn't know which one of my bastard coworkers to blame, but I knew the jig was up when I met Angela in the break room Thursday morning.

"Hey, I'm sorry, but I have a conflict for tomorrow. Could we reschedule for Tuesday?" Angela already had her "professional" smile on, but I could see the glint of humor in her eyes. For damn sure she knew it was my birthday.

Arguing would have prolonged the inevitable. "Yeah, but no fancy stuff," I warned her.

"Plain enough for you?" Angela asked archly; she'd just pulled her winter coat over the uniform. It meant we weren't going upstairs, and probably weren't going out anywhere that wasn't extremely casual.

My pulse sped slightly in nervous anticipation. "I'm yours to command."

She laughed. "How long will that last?"

It wasn't technically holiday season yet, but the mall had already opened satellite parking lots for the employees, so we rode the shuttle out. "Just follow me," Angela said during the ride. "I'll drive really slowly so it'll seem familiar to you."

Angela didn't carry through on her threat, but she was a careful driver and I didn't have problems staying with her, even in the evening rush. We headed generally in the direction of the University and turned into an unremarkable residential area. I followed her slowly down a street, and saw Angela roll down her window and point towards a vacant spot along the curb.

As I pulled in, she sped down the street and turned into an entrance just beyond the building, quickly disappearing from view. I got out of the car and looked around, feeling a little light-headed; this had to be where she lived! I started walking towards the door of the building she'd gone behind, and Angela appeared in the doorway when I was about two-thirds of the way there.

We walked up to the second floor and she unlocked her door before ushering me in. "Welcome to Casa Vasquez, Lloyd. Throw your coat in the closet. Can I get you a beer or glass of wine?"

"Something red would be great," I answered, looking around with interest. There wasn't a lot of furniture, and everything was spic-and-span; pretty much the polar opposite of my place. I heard some clunking and shifting of cookware in the kitchen, so I drifted that way.

Angela met me there. A pair of half-filled glasses sat on the counter, and she'd just put a pot on the range. "It'll take a little while to heat, but the hard stuff was done yesterday. I hope you like Mexican."

I smiled and told her, "I'm not so picky in my old age."

"Great! If you can amuse yourself a minute or two longer, I'll change into something more comfortable." Angela winked at me and sauntered out.

A sip of wine steadied my nerves, and I wandered back into the main room. There was a small display case hung on the wall, and I moved closer to examine its contents. There were some ribbons and medals, of which I recognized only a Purple Heart, what I took to be a unit insignia, and her Bachelors diploma. The rose from our last dinner lay in the bottom of the case. I looked around for pictures, but didn't see any.

"Ta-da, comfortable and decidedly not fancy!" Angela announced. I'd faintly hoped for a filmy negligee and heels, but what I got was sweatpants and a tee-shirt, with fuzzy slippers. The shirt, which was black, proclaimed "I invaded Iraq and all I got was this fucking shirt." It had the same insignia as the patch in the case.

"It seems like a lot of work for a shirt," I laughed.

"You have no idea," Angela said, walking back to the kitchen to check the pot. The back of the shirt said, "TWICE."

"Come on," I kidded her, "were you even out of diapers for the first one?"

"First grade, I think," she mused while giving the pot a stir. "They decided a second tour was good enough for government work. Here, get some more wine; we have about 15 or 20 minutes, I think."

Angela disappeared again while I refilled our glasses, but she was back by the time I was setting down the bottle. "Happy birthday, Lloyd," she smiled, and then handed me a gift box.

"You didn't have to do this." Whatever it was, it had a little heft to it. I opened the box, and found it contained a man's watch. Looking more closely, I realized it was an old stainless steel Rolex, still in pretty good condition. "Angela, I can't accept this; it must have cost you a fortune."

She lightly pushed away my hand. "It didn't cost me a penny. My mother gave it to me; I guess it was my grandfather's." Her eyes focused inward for a moment. "She's never been very talkative about her side of the family."

"It must have some sentimental value; save it for your husband, then."

"Stop whining and just accept it! I forgot I even had it, honestly, but I thought of you right away when I found it. You know nobody my age wears watches anymore -- we just look at our cell phones. It would make me happy for you to have it."

I carefully removed the watch from the box and examined it. It looked like an Oysterdate, which pretty much exhausted my knowledge of Rolex watches, and appeared to be in mint condition except for some scratches on the bottom of the steel link band. Angela obviously had wound it and set the correct date and time.

After a moment of thought, I removed my pedestrian Timex and put on the Rolex; it sat solidly on my wrist, a little loose but quite passible. "Thank you, then, from the very bottom of my heart."

"You're welcome." She hugged me, and I was intensely aware of her body beneath the thin shirt. I didn't want to embarrass either of us with an erection, but my body had other ideas.

"So, what are we eating?"

"Carnitas," Angela answered, looking back at the range. "It's slow-cooked pork, served with lots of things that are bad for you. But, hey -- we both probably should be dead already."

It proved to be delicious. I forced myself to stop before I was full, not wanting to be bloated.

"Forget about the dishes," she ordered me when I started to clean the table. "Go sit on the futon and pretend you're a guest, okay?" Angela punched the button on the coffeemaker and joined me; our knees were almost touching.

I shifted a bit, using my hands folded in my lap to cover my rigid penis. Angela looked at me, as if she were waiting for something, and I gazed back at her, taking in the loose coil of hair on the back of her head, the way her bust moved lightly beneath the shirt as she breathed, and the curve of her legs beneath the soft pants.

"You're undressing me again," she chided.

"I think you're the most beautiful woman I've ever seen," I told her with a dry mouth.

A slight wariness entered her eyes, but I was already too far gone to notice it. "I admire you very much, too."

They were almost the words I'd been longing to hear. I needed her so badly! My hand trembled when I reached out to turn her face towards me so I could kiss her the way I'd been longing to.

She swept my hand easily aside and turned her face away, stiff-arming me back into my place. "Lloyd, no!" Angela was clearly upset, but still in command of herself and the situation.

I stared at her in stark incomprehension. "No?"

"I invited you here tonight to salute you and feed you, Lloyd -- not to have sex!" She was trembling now, herself. "I am not that kind of woman."

"You're all that kind of woman!" I shouted, and began struggling to reach her.

Physically, she had nothing to fear from me; emotionally, anger started to displace her initial disbelief. Angela shouted, "NO!" and slapped me, hard.

"YES!" I raged, and waves of emotion fueled by loss, rage, humiliation, and lust channeled through my mind's eye and crashed down on her like a ton of bricks. Mentally, it was more like a ton of flashing, razor-edged knives.

I wasn't consciously directing anything, but my raw ability hadn't faded any after years of disuse. Any inhibitions I might have felt were buried beneath raw emotion and a bitter sense that all my past attempts at self-restraint had ended badly. I didn't show any restraint at all, that evening.

The tangled ball of Angela's mind thrashed as if the individual strands of her consciousness were unraveled simultaneously in place and then stretched in differing directions, somehow forming two almost independent but interwoven tangles, before the sparkles forming them began to flare under the pressure of my intent.

I wanted a slut, a wanton sex object who would always be ready for my attentions, craving my touch, and loyal beyond all doubt or distraction. Not a slave, exactly, but a partner whose most focused desire would be my own gratification by whatever means necessary. If I felt even a passing desire to take her, she would be ready. The living incarnation of every adolescent boy's unwaking wet dream and carnal fantasy.

Both of us screamed. What Angela felt, I didn't know, but the mother of all headaches seemed to hit me like lightning, and the sparkles of her mind were eclipsed by the stars appearing in my vision, just before I passed out.

My senses were out of kilter when I finally decided I was awake. Keeping my eyes closed seemed to reduce the intensity of the headache, and allowed me to concentrate on the pleasure I was receiving. My first thought was that Susan was blowing me; that we'd stolen away again to the lumpy couch in the ladies' washroom for a quickie. She was all frantic desire, without the quiet, assured confidence that Alex had developed after decades of learning more about my body than I knew myself.

Belatedly I understood that framing the comparison at all meant it couldn't be either of them, and I forced my aching eyes open. Angela knelt between my legs, worshipping my organ with an intensity of purpose that showed in every line of her body. The sight of this fantasy realized brought me to full rigidity.

Angela stood, revealing her sweatpants and underwear already were missing. My eyes drank in the arousing contours of her young body, pausing briefly at the traces of semen glistening near her neatly groomed bush. Wearing only the tee shirt and socks, she quickly knelt atop me and guided my erection into her pussy.

We both moaned at the exquisite sensation, and Angela quickly looked up at my face. Seeing that I was awake, she gave a cry of delight and leaned forward to kiss me aggressively. "Master!" she cooed a moment later.

"Don't call me that," I blurted, feeling the word jab at my guilty conscience.

She started and pulled back slightly, suddenly looking as if she might cry. "Don't you find me pleasing?"

"Don't stop! Oh, you're extremely pleasing; just -- not that word. I'm nobody's master, least of all yours."

The smile reappeared instantly. "Whatever you say," she agreed, and began to work herself on me again. Angela's expression suggested she was pandering to some beloved, but addled, elder -- not a bad analogy -- but became by turns more self-absorbed as our excitement crested higher.

I couldn't remember the last time I'd cum more than once in a day, but years of abstinence coupled with the sight -- and feel -- of Angela's wild abandon were pushing me to the edge again. "Oh, you hot fucking slut," I gasped, not bothering with any self-censorship at this point.

As if my words were goads, Angela began panting. "Oh, fuck! Fill me up with your cock! I am your slut! Oh! OH! Ohmygod!"

She was too much for me, and I felt my penis throb as I orgasmed the remaining dregs of my scum into her. Angela screamed her delight at the same time, orgasming so wildly she put out a hand to grip the futon and keep from falling over. Part of me suspected it wasn't a coincidence, but the rest of me was having too much fun watching to give it any thought.

Angela pulled herself off me and watched, entranced, as commingled lubrication and jism glistened along the entire length of my deflating manhood. She reached out to grasp me, but I shooed her away.

"Go easy on an old man! You don't want to break it, do you?"

"More," she pleaded, with the air of a five-year-old in a candy store.

I couldn't help laughing. "We'll see! First, I'd like to see more of you."

Angela stood without artifice, but with innate grace, and faced me. She pulled the shirt over her head and tossed it to the floor. A toss of her head arranged her hair behind her shoulders, and she was already removing the simple cotton bra she wore.

My mouth went dry looking at her. I knew what Angela looked like fully clothed, but some women were expert at using garments to accentuate their good points and obscure those that weren't so good. She hadn't struck me as that type, but it was clear her body didn't need any help at all in that regard. I didn't know how I was going to do it, but I wasn't going to end the night at this point!

I stood up, and discovered my pants were still puddled around my ankles. Happy I'd worn loafers, I managed to free my feet without killing myself. A few steps brought me within reach of Angela. Gingerly, I reached out to cup a breast; it was warm, soft, and I felt the nipple erect itself against the palm of my hand. Angela's lips parted in an unaspirated sigh, and her body melted against mine. Well, against my flannel shirt and cardigan, anyway.

"Damn shirt," I muttered, and withdrew my hand to start unbuttoning it.

Angela brushed my hands gently aside. "Let me," she offered. Her fingers were deft, and didn't miss a single opportunity to touch and stroke my body. When she finished peeling my undershirt over my head, we were pressed against each other with our outstretched arms entwined.

My cock was thinking about rising to the occasion a third time. I left it to fend for itself, sandwiched against a toned hip, and pulled Angela tighter against me. I kissed her again, and this time she reacted passively, parting her lips and allowing my tongue to explore her mouth as I chose.

"Where's your bed?" I asked, finally, and watched Angela's eyes light up.

She nearly danced across the room, walking on tip-toe, and I followed behind, watching the flex and sway of her tight ass. "Have you ever had anal sex?" I wondered.

"Oh, no," Angela replied, turning to glance over her shoulder at me. She didn't look disgusted or scared; she sounded excited. "You'll be my first," she husked, echoing my thoughts. With an air of unconcern, she added, "Will it hurt?"

"It shouldn't," I reassured her -- or myself -- as we entered the bedroom. "Do you have some Vaseline or some other lubricant?"

Angela nodded eagerly. "I'll be right back!"

I looked around the bedroom after she left. Stacks of textbooks sat on a small desk, along with other (relatively) untidy debris from school. The bed was occupied by a doll wearing a presumably home-made camouflage uniform, and a teddy bear; I moved them to the floor, telling myself there was no point in half measures or remorse at this late date.

With a short sigh, I closed my eyes and focused inward. It was a little disorienting, but I looked at my own mind. From my vantage, the tangles were more complex and clearer than those of other people, if equally impenetrable. The difference was that, stroking ever so lightly here and there, I could feel the feedback of insubstantial phantom fingers walking across the outside and inside of my body.

Finally, it felt like I'd found the right place and I pressed. The result was pretty much like blowing into an inflation valve attached to my cock; it obediently rose and hardened, while my vision greyed and I reeled slightly. I'd regret it in the morning, but I had a lot of things to regret already, and one more wouldn't matter that much. When I opened my eyes, Angela was standing in the doorway, a jar of Vaseline in her hand and an expression of delight on her face.

There were a couple ways to do this, but I chose the one that pleased me best. "Good girl! Work some of that up into your ass, and loosen yourself up a little. Feel free to touch yourself, too. Show off."

Angela popped the cap off the Vaseline and dipped a finger into it. She turned so was facing somewhat away from me, but could still watch my reaction. I watched with excited interest as she reached carefully between her buns and touched the rosebud of her virgin ass. There was a brief moment of hesitation, and then her arm twitched and a look of introspection appeared on her face.

I leaned back against the pillows on the bed, resting my back. I was tempted to touch myself, but it seemed better to hold off -- I didn't know what I really had left in the tank at that point. I did know I wasn't going to waste myself on my hand, when I had Angela.

Her hand reappeared, and she coated a second finger. "I want you," Angela complained, although she was working both fingers into her back door at the same time. She set down the Vaseline and began using the other hand to touch herself in front. "I am so fucking wet for you, I can't believe it!" Angela's hips rocked slightly in rhythm with her probing fingers, and a look of frustrated desire crept onto her face. "Oh please, I don't care if I'm ready or not!" Her nipples looked like rocks and moisture beaded on her inner thighs.

"On the bed, then; kneel!" I decided, and she scurried to comply. I stood and moved behind her; when I grasped her waist, Angela jumped but immediately arched her back, presenting herself for me. I inserted myself briefly in her dripping slit, freshening the coating on my rod, and then withdrew and aimed higher.

"Oooooooh!" exclaimed Angela, as I slowly pressed myself into her. "Oh, fuck, yes!"

She was damn tight, but her body offered only momentary resistance while I went deeper. Soon I was buried in her chute all the way to my pubes, the first man to be there. Like the rest of her, Angela's ass was all mine.

It was a heady thought, and I started pumping her. I slapped her ass, leaving a red mark, not because she deserved it, or because I was really into that sort of thing, but because I could. "Are you a slut? Are you my slut?" I demanded.

"Always!" Angela gasped excitedly. "I'll always be your slut! Use me however you want!" She forced our pace, repeatedly impaling herself on my rod so forcefully I found myself hanging onto her waist just to maintain my balance. "Oh, please, fuck me forever!"

It was everything I'd fantasized about, and so was she, and I came again. Actually, I was only firing blanks by then, so the release was pretty modest for me. Angela screamed and bucked like a bronco, nearly collapsing on the bed and taking me with her.

I let her fall off my cock, and concentrated on maintaining my balance.

"Do you want me to clean your cock?" Angela asked, looking at my frankly less-than-pristine penis. She looked a little worn around the edges to me, and I didn't need to watch her licking her shit from my rod.

"No," I declined, softening the refusal with a smile. "I'll handle it. Just relax for a few minutes, okay?"

She slumped back on the bed while I went in search of the bathroom. When I returned a few minutes later, once again sanitary, I found Angela sound asleep, still naked atop the covers.

Smiling, I reached down and brushed the hair away from her face; she stirred slightly without waking. Heaving a sigh, I sat on the bed beside her and looked again. The strands of her mind roiled like nothing I'd ever seen, crusted with the impenetrable signs of my tampering nearly everywhere I looked.

What a damn fool I'd been. I asked myself morosely if the evening had been worth the rest of a girl's life. Of course, the decision had been made -- or not -- in the first few seconds after I'd lost control, but it still seemed like a Faustian bargain. Never mind that the end of my years of celibacy had removed a tension from my body that I hadn't even realized existed.

Once again, I'd seemingly left myself with no option but to pick up the pieces and see what I could patch together of another innocent victim's life. "Damnit, Lloyd," I hissed in frustration, and got up to fetch a damp washcloth.

I dressed myself, cleaned up Angela as best I could, and took care of the dirty dishes and cold coffee. After throwing her clothes in the hamper I found, I dithered before leaving Angela as I'd found her. A last look showed her clutching the bear tightly in her sleep, and the doll lying where it had fallen back onto the floor.

November 2010

I wept silently, waiting for her to push me away and complete the destruction of my breaking heart. Instead, she hugged me tighter.

"Lloyd, what you did was wrong. But it's in the past; you can't go on beating yourself up over it forever. Look at me." I met her eyes, which looked wet, too. "I forgive you. You're a good man, one of the best."

I started to object, but she placed a fingertip against my lips.

"Hush. I know what you're thinking; you see a trail of collateral damage and high-handed decisions made unilaterally and often in the heat of the moment. I see a fundamentally decent man who loves those around him and who is willing to sacrifice himself for them; who will make judgments nobody should have to make, in order to leave things better than they would have been."

I snorted and asked, bitterly, "Do you see yourself as 'collateral damage'?"

"Of course not. But think, Lloyd; you can't always intercept that necklace before it makes it out the door, or head off a brawl before it starts. There are losses you can't make up or undo, like the death of a loved one or the loss of innocence. There's no replacement; you soldier on and hope to draw something positive from the experience."

Angela, or Angel, paused and stared intently into my eyes, and I started to feel calmer as I tried to view things from her perspective.

"We've discussed it, Angela and I, more than once," she continued, instantly destroying my fragile sense of balance, "and there are days when we wish she had never met you. I'll admit I wondered what it would feel like to masturbate myself to orgasm when I'm horny and you're off on some errand, or to dissuade some creep by just lying there like a corpse when he spends himself inside me. Would Angela have met somebody at school or after work? What might her life be like if we hadn't struggled for two years to come to grips with ourselves?" She shrugged expressively, still not releasing me.

If this was supposed to be making me feel better, it wasn't working.

"But that's all water under the bridge, and it would be stupid not to be thankful for all the good things that have happened, too. I've learned things about my body and my mind Angela would never have discovered, and if I had a few nights I'd trade in, I had far more I want to do over again just the same way. Angela's pretty sure she's learning far more in her classes since you took over. It's not about the money, but we have far more than we spend. We have exciting opportunities ahead of us we'd never have individually. But most importantly, we both know we have a man who loves us and would move Heaven and Earth to keep us safe from harm." Angel ruffled my hair affectionately.

I was struggling with information overload. I hadn't expected any of this and felt like I'd been run over by a truck.

"Imagine how I felt," she teased, reading my expression.


Angel understood me well enough to grasp the full scope of the question. "A year ago, actually," she confessed, stunning me. "That's why it's so appropriate you wore this tie. Angela bought it, you know."

I was dumbfounded. "Seriously?"

"Seriously. She wanted to get you something for your birthday, but was too nervous to give it to you; she didn't remember anything concrete about the previous year beyond a feeling she'd tried something and it hadn't gone off well, and you'd already withdrawn at work." Angel smiled. "I just found myself holding the box that night, and was so pleased because it looked just like what I would have picked out, and I'd never thought of giving you anything besides myself."

"But I was really curious about the 'from Angela' on the tag -- in my handwriting!" she laughed.

"I don't remember that," I blurted out, engaged despite myself.

"I removed it," Angel said, still laughing. "I wasn't going to give you a present from some other girl, when I didn't even know who she was!" She turned serious again. "I thought about who this 'Angela' could be, and was shocked when I realized I knew everything about an Angela who seemed to be my twin, right up to a year before, when she just -- ended. I couldn't understand it."

"I might have left it there," she admitted, "but the next evening I had the strangest feeling that Angela was happy you liked the tie. After that, I couldn't leave it alone. We struggled, but finally we could communicate telepathically when I was riding in the car and Angela was out walking. It was quite a shock to realize our initial short interactions actually spanned days and that we never independently observed the same events, even when we knew we must be quite close to each other."

I shook my head, marveling at the conundrum she must have faced and surmounted.

"I think we both simultaneously realized we shared the same body, which makes sense in retrospect. In a way, it just made it more frustrating because we didn't have any control over it. I started making Jeff drive me here every time I had a free shift, so we could work on it."

I remembered the surge of mysterious car trips. "I thought you were Christmas shopping," I confessed, "which sounds remarkably stupid of me, now that I think about it."

"Men!" Angel laughed, hard enough to draw tears. She gasped for breath. "Shopping, me? What kind of store would you have let me into, alone?"

I laughed too, imagining Angel at work, or heaven forbid, a Victoria's Secret. It would have been like chumming for sharks. I'd created her as a sexual creature, with inexhaustible desire and no restraint beyond my own.

The shared laughter felt good, releasing a tightness within me I hadn't realized was there. Angel released her grip on my shoulders, but wriggled until we were more tightly nested against each other than ever. "Okay, I admit it, that was a dumb thought," I told her. "I take it you figured it out?"

She nodded. "We did. Don't ask for the trick, because I couldn't explain it if I wanted to, but we were able to flip back and forth whenever we wanted. Like a were-slut, I suppose." She giggled. "It was disorienting at first, but we're both pretty unflappable now. It's been useful."

"I imagine," I nodded.

Angel confessed, "That was me patting down the sock guy. You'll never know how hard it was to keep my hands off his package, but I knew you were going to screw with him and he deserved it; I think he would have popped if a chimpanzee had pulled out those socks. You should have done more; I don't think she told you, but Angela saw him following her home once."

"I knew he was a punk," I muttered. Making a guess, I asked, "That was Angela reading Snowden the riot act the other night, right?"

"Got it," she agreed. "I told her she shouldn't have used so many polysyllabic words."

"Polysyllabic?" I echoed, raising a brow. "Am I talking to Angela now?"

"Nope. I didn't get to the end of the story. At first, we still communicated by flipping back and forth really quickly; most of our conversations occurred while we were in the car. But after a while, we found that more of each other's memories were becoming naturally accessible, as if they were our own."

"We might have left things there, but last night's talk wasn't just a wake-up call for you, Lloyd. Angela and I had a long heart-to-heart afterwards. We've realized that letting things go on this way is hurting all of us, and that we'll never finish healing until we let go and move forward. You're flogging yourself over something that doesn't matter anymore, and we've realized we can only get what we want together, not apart."

"What exactly does that mean?" I asked.

"Our memories were already identical. Our skills and aptitudes are basically the same; we were, after all, the same person. The biggest difference was that I have certain hardwired needs and desires, and Angela didn't. So" she shrugged.

I felt a pang of loss.

"Don't mourn her," Angel consoled me. "She isn't really gone; she's just grown -- differently -- than most people."

"So; Angela, then?" I surmised.

"Angela, to the rest of the world." She turned towards me and pulled my hand up to her breast; it didn't feel like she was wearing a bra under the knit top, and her nipple was hard against my palm. "I'll always be your Angel, Lloyd."

November 2008

Wednesday morning found me feeling about as crappy as I'd feared, and far less than what I deserved. I splashed some coffee in my aspirin and slowly dressed for work while I waited for them to take effect. After buttoning my cuffs, I looked for a long moment at the Rolex sitting on the nightstand.

Everything Angela had said to me last night was true, but I couldn't wear it. It wasn't that it was out of character for my outfit, which it was, but that I felt I didn't deserve it. After what I'd done to her last night, I couldn't wear it, and I couldn't return it without insulting her.

After a little more thought, I pulled down the lockbox from the shelf in my closet and unlocked it. I opened the velvet-lined jewelry box inside and just looked, feeling tears well up inside me. Alexandra's wedding band and engagement ring were dwarfed by the ring she'd gotten from Jonathan and almost thrown away, but for some reason, she'd never gotten rid of it. I added the Rolex to the collection, and a minute later, my wedding ring. Dead or not, she'd never have forgiven me for what I'd done to Angela; I was no longer worthy to wear it, either.

Work was stressful for the first time, ever. Angela was there, right on time, looking normal. We greeted each other, checked the turnover from the previous evening's shift, and started out on our rounds. Nothing was wrong, but -- nothing was right. The easy banter I'd enjoyed was gone. Our conversation was stilted, and every so often I'd dart a furtive glance in Angela's direction, only to catch her doing the same thing.

By the time the day ended, I felt so heartsick that anything would be better than another repeat -- even coming clean and apologizing to her. I called Home Run and told them I had something to deal with, then put on my heavy coat and drove down to the university.

It felt like driving backwards in time, except there was permit parking and parking decks to deal with, and the Evans building where Alexandra's office had been was gone, replaced with the new student union. Heavy-hearted, I trudged over to the Newcomb building, where the business classes mostly were, and tracked down Angela's classroom.

The only problem was, she wasn't in it. I asked a few students, with no useful results, and ended up stumped. Where had she gone? I belatedly thought about calling Angela's cell phone, but the number was written down on some scrap of paper back in my apartment.

I discovered my feet, operating on autopilot, had brought me to Nino's. It wasn't called that anymore, of course; in fact, not much beyond the foundation looked the same. Having absolutely no better ideas, I pushed through the door and went inside.

The place was loud and crass and lowbrow, which probably was what Mr. Wagner would have said about Nino's if he'd ever visited it. They could have been playing satanic acid rock for all I cared, because the first thing I saw was Angela dancing on one of the tables.

Actually, she was wobbling on one of the tables, wearing some denim miniskirt I'd never seen before that was way too short for the weather, and one low-heeled sandal. The other shoe was probably with her top, assuming she'd worn one over the bra that was all she had on now.

"Fuck me!" she challenged the circle of onlookers, at least some of whom looked like they were willing to take a chance on her. The guy behind the bar was talking on the phone; I doubted he was calling the producers of "Girls Gone Wild."

"Jesus, Angela!" I shouted, rushing over. "Have you lost it completely?" My anger was fueled by the fear that she had, and that I was responsible for it.

"I'm a fucking slut, and there's nobody here who's man enough for me," Angela slurred, and I realized she was drunk. "Except you, M-Boss," she amended, pointing.

Every eye in the place focused on me, which was a little discomforting. So was my erection, although it was safely hidden beneath my coat. "Come on down, Angela. I think you've had enough to drink. Let's go home now, okay?"

"Are you kidding?" she shouted. "These drinks taste like piss!" Angela hurled a mostly empty glass to the floor, where it shattered. "I need spunk, sperm, jizz, cum, mancream, joyjuice, nutbutter " Her voice trailed off for a moment, and then she started up again. "I'm so fucking sexed-up and I can't even cum! I've been trying for hours!" She rubbed herself a few times, revealing she wasn't wearing panties and riveting the attention of the guys around me.

Heaven help me if my back gave out, but I sensed I was running out of time. I stepped up to the table, using my gravitas to part the crowd around me, grabbed Angela by the legs, and let her flop over my shoulder in a fireman's carry. I headed for where I hoped the bathrooms still were, pausing only briefly to accept a backpack from a wide-eyed coed in the crowd. Everybody I passed must have gotten a hell of a beaver shot, but it looked like Angela had been giving those away already.

I elbowed my way into the men's room, finding it thankfully unoccupied, and stood Angela up against the wall. I could feel my spine pop, but I could worry about that later. "What are you doing?" I asked again, dumping the pack on the floor.

Angela ignored my question, concentrating on unzipping my fly. She looked up triumphantly after finding my hard-on. "Oh, God, yes!" she crowed, and pulled her skirt up to her waist.

Miraculously, it looked like she'd avoided the attentions of the boys, although I'd never seen a woman looking so turned-on. After knowing Susan, among others, that was saying quite a lot. Situation aside, I couldn't think of a woman I wanted more, either.

I let Angela pull me into her, and we started an urgent stand-up fuck right there in the corner. Naturally, I heard the feared heavy footsteps outside the door almost immediately after we got started.

Letting Angela worry about us, I cast my mind behind me, located the two minds just outside the door, and started pushing -- with all the measured consideration I could muster -- nothing interesting to see here at both of them. My concentration wasn't helped by having Angela start kissing me between thrusts.

The two university cops ambled into the bathroom and surveyed it calmly, not obviously reacting to the sight of the May-December couple fucking their brains out beside the urinals. I was just praying for them to leave, but their presence seemed to energize Angela even more.

It looked like I was going to get my wish, but one of them called out, "hey, wait up!" just as the other was preparing to open the door.

I started thinking about whether I could trade on our membership in the larger security fraternity, when the first guy stepped up to the second urinal and unzipped himself. The two of us gaped at him, and then each other, as he started peeing while his partner waited by the door. Angela tried to stifle a giggle, with mixed success.

The guy casually looked in our direction and commented, "Cold enough to freeze your dick off out there."

Angela laughed out loud, and I mumbled something incoherent when she started doing things with her superheated body that had me feeling anything but cold.

It was enough to overcome my sense of our audience, and we again jerked into simultaneous climaxes. I muffled Angela's mouth with mine, preventing an outburst that might shatter my flimsy veil, but the fire in her eye was, well, orgasmic.

"Have a good one," the campus cops told me -- or us -- as they left.

"Depend--" Angela started, before I kissed her again.

A huge weight left me when the door closed and we were alone again. I stepped back, feeling a little wobbly myself.

"Oh God, I needed that," laughed Angela, before casting a feral eye on my fading penis. "Let's go again!" She looked distinctly disappointed when I tucked it away and zipped up. A finger absently swiped up a trickle of semen and transferred it to her mouth.

We looked at each other, totally attracted and on totally different wavelengths. I'd barely recovered from the previous evening, and it looked like there was no way I was going to keep up with her. What the hell was I going to do with a raging nymphomaniac about a third of my age?

Even as I asked myself the question, I realized I knew the answer.

Danny raised an eyebrow when he saw me. "Lloyd, I thought you were going to be out tonight with a problem."

Angela pushed past the pair of us, entranced by the dancer atop the stage.

"Well, now I'm here with a problem," I observed a bit sourly.

We turned to watch Angela's progress. She'd made it to the base of the stage, only to be confronted by one of Danny's goons stationed there specifically to keep unwanted guests from mingling with the performers. A tiny nod from Danny kept him in his place; Angela passed by with a salacious caress and quickly gained the platform.

"Who wants to fuck me?" she shouted at the top of her voice.

I winced and reflexively looked around for police or other unfriendly types; luckily, none seemed to be present.

Danny, always an acute judge of these things, chuckled quietly. "Not exactly the sort you and Alexandra used to bring me, Lloyd." He laid a quieting hand on my shoulder. "A little rough, but she's an angel, I think."

"She'll need a standard contract," I told him quickly. "And a wardrobe allowance, and a driver." Danny started to open his mouth. "Just for coming in and going home; I'll talk to Jeff about it."

His eyebrow had climbed again. "Anything else I should know?" he asked, his voice tinged with humor.

"Don't let anything happen to her," I told him flatly.

Both of Danny's eyebrows climbed into his hairline before his natural poise reasserted itself. "With both of us looking out for her, what can go wrong?"

I rolled my eyes and hefted the backpack. "I'll be in my office."

Chin was still as inane as he'd been when Lloyd, Jr. had taken him for some undergrad course. I sighed, set aside the lecture notes, and looked at the clock; it was after midnight. I hadn't been able to face going out to see what was happening, and the contents of the backpack had been my only defense against boredom.

She burst into the office, covered in more spunk than I'd ever seen on one person. "I want to fuck more!" she shouted exuberantly at me.

She bore so little resemblance to the woman I'd worked with all summer. "You like it here?" I asked sadly.

"Oh yes," she said, and then came closer so she could kneel at my feet. "I imagine every one of them is you," she whispered, pressing her forehead against my hand.

Strangely, it really did make me feel better. What had Danny said? "My sexy Angel," I smiled. "You may return every evening if it pleases you."

Angel looked at me anxiously. "Will you be here?"

"Yes," I answered simply. We both smiled at each other.

November 2010

We kissed, and my cock was hard against my stomach. I was more than ready to continue, but she eeled out of my grasp and stood up. I expected her to strip herself or me, but she surprised me by just standing there and grinning.

"Angel!" I protested. "I can't believe this; it's my birthday!"

She wrapped her arms around herself and twisted back and forth. "I want it more than you do, trust me; but you can have me every day, and we haven't done presents yet!"

"Presents, plural?"

Angel nodded. "It's a big day. You're 75, and technically I'm 2!"

I frowned repressively and stood up, too. "I thought we just agreed, Angela, that technically you're 27 and some change, and I seem to recall you had a birthday party, which you quite enjoyed. It sounds like you're double-dipping."

She stuck out her tongue at me. "We both know that party was for Angel. And you. Angela didn't get to do anything at all, except stand up Rose." Putting her hands on her hips, Angel declared, "it seems only fair that if Angel can have a sex party on Angela's birthday, Angela should be able to have a sex party on Angel's birthday."

I grinned. "Okay, already; you're making my head hurt. Where is this party?"

"Upstairs -- I hope."

"Rose?" I'd almost forgotten her until Angel mentioned her. "Isn't this a little abrupt?"

Angel grinned wickedly, and I realized I was still as hard as an eighteen-year-old. "I don't think so; if I'm wrong, we'll just have to behave ourselves during dinner and fuck ourselves blind afterwards. Now, if you'll just grab the wine?"

I was enjoying this newly assertive side of her, and decided to relax and let her drive. I retrieved the bottle from the side table and followed Angel out the door. I thought again about how good the slacks looked on her, and realized the extra length of her legs came from the heels she was wearing. It was tempting to think about leaning forward and goosing her, but visions of broken legs in the stairwell dissuaded me.

We walked along the hall to what I presumed was Rose's apartment. Angel peeled a post-it off the door and flashed me a triumphant smile as she held it out for me to read: "come in." She whispered, "Be quiet; it's a surprise," and opened the unlocked door.

"It's Angela," she called softly while I locked the door and set the bottle down on the kitchen table.

Rose's voice sounded from the bedroom. "I'm in here." I thought she sounded a little tense.

Angel gestured frantically for me to follow her, and together we walked over to the bedroom doorway. "Rose!" she exclaimed as we looked inside.

"Oh my God!" screamed her friend. Rose was stretched out atop the bed, completely naked, with her wrists handcuffed to the headboard. She writhed in a futile attempt to conceal herself, obviously embarrassed. Her blush spread all the way to her chest.

I admired her tits, slightly larger than Angel's, and figure, which I found only slightly less pleasing to my eye. She sported a pierced navel and a small landing strip above her copiously flowing pussy; the covers beneath her were soaked and I could smell her desire from the door. Out of the side of my eye I could see Angel making the same examination I was; my cock felt harder than ever.

"I'm so embarrassed," moaned Rose, tugging on the cuffs again. "Can you unlock these now?" She looked at the nightstand and Angel, unwilling to meet my gaze for even a second.

Angel seemed disinclined to move, so I took it upon myself to walk over and pick up the key that was sitting atop a sheet of folded paper on the stand. The cuffs I recognized as standard issue. I unfolded the paper and read a brief note in Angel's handwriting: "If you're ready to take a chance, be sure these are all you're wearing. 6:30PM. Love, Angela. PS: Make sure the door is unlocked." I looked over at her and bounced the key in my hand. "Well?"

"In a minute," Angel told me. She crossed in front of me and sat on the edge of the bed beside Rose. "I've always wondered," she said softly, looking down, before leaning forward and kissing her friend. It was a long kiss, and Rose's arms strained against the cuffs. Judging by moans I heard, she didn't want to push Angel away. The women finally came up for air, both gasping. "More fool I," Angel said cryptically, but I could guess her thoughts. "Well, no time like the present," she said more cheerfully.

I held out the key, but she waved me away. "No, I want to know what the big secret in this nightstand is."

"No! Angela!" Rose screamed. "Don't you dare open that!" She thrashed energetically but had no way to interfere as Angel opened the top drawer. It was a measure of her desperation that she resorted to calling on me. "Lloyd, can't you stop her? Do something!"

What I wanted to do was stick my cock in something, but I was afraid if I even adjusted myself I'd shoot my load in my pants. I settled for watching Angel's methodical search of the nightstand.

The top drawer held odds and ends, including a small wand vibrator and a tube of lubricant, along with some condoms. They were hardly worthy of notice. The next drawer was lingerie, which Angel sifted quickly aside before producing an egg-shaped vibrator with an external battery pack and a string of beads. Those went on the top of the nightstand with the other toys.

Rose was blushing again, but both Angel and I had searched enough people carrying contraband to know that whatever she feared, we hadn't come to it yet. That became apparent when Angel removed a set of flannel pajamas from the bottom drawer and exposed a gigantic double-headed dildo that looked like it had been stolen from a horse. Even bent nearly double, I was surprised it fit in the drawer.

"You use this? By yourself?" Angel inquired, resting one end between Rose's breasts and then slowly pulling it so the head dragged from her cleavage to nearly her crotch before it was lifted away. Rose watched it like a bird transfixed by a snake. "Tonight, I'm afraid you'll have to share."

Setting the dildo aside for the moment, Angel selected the egg vibrator and turned back to Rose.

Rose clamped her legs together and moaned, "Come on, Angela, can't you just release me?"

"A little help please," my beautiful vixen requested. It never occurred to me to refuse or, for that matter, convince Rose to stop resisting. I knelt at the foot of the bed, bracing one foot against my knee, and spread Rose's legs apart. They were muscular, but she put up only token resistance.

Once her objective was revealed, Angel slid the egg slowly into Rose without turning it on, and then pulled it out again, slick with moisture. She adjusted its positioning, and began pressing it against Rose's ass. "Come on, Rose, open up for me; you know you want it."

Rose shook her head, but she drew her knees wider apart and I saw fresh drops of dew appear on her labia as the egg was swallowed up by her sphincter.

"What a greedy little ass you have, Rose," purred Angel. She lifted the battery pack to where Rose could see it, leaned down, and gently blew on her friend's pussy while she thumbed on the vibrator.

All of us were surprised by what happened. Rose's hips seemed to levitate off the bed and I thought she might break the headboard as she wailed and climaxed explosively. A fraction of a second later, Angel cried out in surprise and bucked so hard she lost her balance. She actually bounced her head off Rose's stomach before falling off the bed. I would have laughed if the situation hadn't been so erotically charged.

Both women orgasmed again before Angel could find the remote and switch it to its lowest setting. "Rose," she gasped, "I had no idea!"

The redhead didn't look embarrassed now; she looked, well, hungry. "I've been here for an hour and a half, just in case you got here early. I spent it all fantasizing about what might happen, getting hotter and hotter with no way to get off."

I slipped off my jacket. "I think we'll be having dinner late," I told the ladies when they looked at me.

Rose's eyes were wide, but Angel leaned over and whispered something in her ear. Rose closed her eyes and nodded briefly, and then the two of them kissed again.

"Could I have a word, Angela?" I asked, once they'd parted. We walked out of the bedroom, just far enough Rose couldn't hear us. I looked at Angel, who was nearly bouncing with anticipation. "What's up? I don't want to force Rose to do anything against her will, and I thought you weren't that into other girls."

"It's Rose," she told me, as if that explained everything. "She needs a good fucking -- didn't you see how excited she is?" Angel slowly pulled my tie free, using body language that had me ready to chuck the entire discussion. "I want to fuck her, too. I just imagined your voice telling me."

That probably should have sounded alarm bells, but most of my spare blood supply was below my waist and nobody was home upstairs. "But she's okay with this? I know she didn't expect two of us."

Angel aimed a devastatingly smoldering look at me. "I reminded her she'd do anything for me."

How had she figured that out? I gaped, but she was already walking back into the bedroom, working her hips with every stride. "Screw it," I decided, following; there'd be another day.

In the course of her time at Home Run, Angel had learned to sell a striptease like nobody else I'd seen. Perhaps I was biased, but Rose watched from the bed like she was living in a fantasy. Her slit was leaking condensation like a cold glass on a warm summer day.

I'd watched Angel disrobe before, but that didn't mean I was tired of it. She hadn't done a tease for somebody else in my presence for a while, but the occasional glance in my direction reassured me I wasn't far from her thoughts. I stripped without affectation, looking forward to quenching my desire in her body.

Finally, all of us were naked. I watched Angel for a hint about what to do next; it was refreshing not to be driving for a change. Rose looked back and forth between her friend and my erection.

Angel broke the tableau and knelt on the bed between Rose's legs. "Have you ever shared this with anyone?" she asked, picking up the double-headed monster again. Rose blushed in response. "Tell me what you want, then."

"Make love to me," Rose whispered, barely loud enough to hear, and darkened even more.

"Is this for making love?" Angel asked, bringing one end to her face and kissing it. I had no doubt she could have deep-throated an astonishing length of it, but it was too wide to fit in her mouth. "Or is it for fucking?" She ran a finger down Rose's stomach, laughing lightly as her friend raised her hips in a vain effort to increase the level of contact. "Did you say something?"

Rose bucked, trying to hook her legs around Angel and pull her in, but the teasing brunette was just far enough down to deny her the required leverage. "Fuck!" she panted. "Just fuck me, already!"

"What?" Angel dangled the cock so one end rested on Rose's mound just above her creaming gash, but lightly enough that Rose's struggles didn't succeed in forcing it between her glistening lips.

"Fuck me, oh, fuck me now!" Rose screamed, loud enough I began to worry about the neighbors. "Fill me up!"

After shooting me a quick triumphant glance, Angel rose on her knees and spread them slightly. She proceeded to work one end of the dildo into herself and twisted until nearly half its length had disappeared inside her. Given its girth and the speed with which she'd impaled herself, I knew Angel had to be dripping with excitement, too.

The tube of rubber hung obscenely between her legs as Angel crawled closer to the redhead chained to the headboard. Rose had already drawn up her knees and spread them wide, offering herself eagerly. This time, when she rocked her pelvis upwards, the head of the artificial cock sank into her, and she let out something that was halfway between a gasp and a sigh.

The gap between their flexing bodies steadily lessened until it disappeared, and then Angel drew smoothly back and began to repeat the process. I realized it was the first time she had been with somebody without my cum marking her. It was a little unsettling, and my erection urged me to remedy the situation.

I knelt on the bed behind Angel, admiring the play of muscles that led up to her tight buns.

"Fuck my ass," she ordered me. "I want to feel you exploding inside me!" She slowed her thrusts and arched her back, exposing her clenched sphincter and giving me an aiming point.

God, she was tight, especially with that monster filling her womb, but I slid right in. I didn't inquire about details, but ever since that first night, Angel kept her ass cleaned and lubed for use at a moment's notice. Rose gasped as I rammed all the way home and pushed Angel into her.

I withdrew slightly, balancing on one hand so I could reach around and grab a breast with the other, and let Angel do the work. She rocked back and forth, alternately impaling herself on me and the dildo, and I felt her heart racing beneath my hand.

The reach was a little harder, but I moved my hand to Rose's bobbling breast and kneaded it. I twisted her nipple and felt her buck underneath us, biting her lip and moaning. The slick heat of Angel's rectum gripped me as her body writhed against mine. I wasn't going to last much longer, and didn't want to be the first to pop. It didn't sound like Rose was far behind, and I wasn't worried about Angel.

My eye fell upon the forgotten battery pack lying beside Rose. With a devilish grin, I let all my weight fall on Angel, pressing us together in a sweaty flesh sandwich. Both girls gasped in surprise, but my hand was free to grab the remote and thumb it to high, while holding on for dear life.

Rose bucked like a bronco, screaming, "Oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck!" as the added stimulation pushed her into a mind-numbing orgasm. I knew how strong it was because Angel climaxed too, shuddering as her bowels convulsed around my throbbing cock. She felt like heaven, and I panted as my load pumped into her ass.

That, of course, set Angel off again before she could even draw breath. She cried out incoherently, and only the intruders pinning her in place fore and aft kept us from tumbling apart. Rose was looking frankly a little frenzied, so I switched off the vibrating egg. All of us panted wordlessly a moment longer.

"Happy birthday," I told my incomparably sexy companion, and then leaned forward to kiss her on the back of her neck. I leaned back, withdrawing from her ass, but paused a moment to wipe myself on her cheeks as her rosebud reluctantly closed. All felt right with the world again.

Any thoughts we might be finished were quickly dashed. I was still admiring the view when Angel pulled herself off the dildo, leaving the other end impaled within Rose, and reversed direction to face me. "Suck me clean," she demanded, and sat on Rose's face.

I was a little nonplussed, initially. "Come on, Rose. Get going! Get that tongue of yours way up inside my ass and lick out all that tasty cum!" Angel wriggled and seated herself more firmly atop her friend, while Rose's legs kicked uselessly.

The kicking stopped, and Angel's breathing deepened. I reminded myself that she wouldn't be doing this unless Rose wanted it, since only her partner's orgasm could release her own.

"Come here, wise guy," Angel beckoned, and reached out to draw me forward by my cock. She took me in her mouth, without any expectation of milking me a second time, but rather in the near-ritual cleaning she performed almost every time we made love.

I felt no regrets about pulling free a few minutes later and enjoying the view. Angel, her hair spilled out of its confining twist, rocked slowly atop Rose, her eyes closed. On impulse, I walked around the bed to the nightstand and used the key to unfasten the cuffs on Rose's wrists. Immediately, her hands came up to pull on Angel's thighs.

Angel's eyes flew open and she shifted slightly, bending down to focus on Rose's stuffed pussy. The pair began a frenzied sixty-nine; their tongues attended to swollen clits while Angel began pistoning the dildo into Rose again. Rose's fingers found their way to Angel's dripping cunt and asshole.

Their breathing gave way to rough gasps and short keening cries, and then both bodies tensed and relaxed in another simultaneous orgasm. For once, I felt no temptation to meddle.

Perhaps, at long last, I'd received a birthday present after all: patience. I lay down beside them, caressing Angel's flank, and didn't worry about my physical capacity. Later -- maybe that night, and maybe not -- I'd be ready again; and when I was, my Angel would be there for me.

I decided I'd better see what Rose had in her freezer; I didn't think either of them would be moving from the bed for the rest of the evening.

May 2011

I couldn't remember a better Memorial Day weekend. Angel had completed her last class, and we'd said good-bye to the homework and book bag. The MBA was hers, even if the official commencement ceremony -- and the scary meeting with her parents -- still lay in the future.

On Sunday, the three of us celebrated the start of summer by packing a picnic and driving down to the park. We'd invited Danny, but he'd begged off, saying somebody needed to be minding the store.

The weather was fabulous, and the girls were wearing new bikinis. We staked out one of the grills near the beach volleyball courts, and I sat back in a lawn chair to relax and watch as Angel and Rose took on all challengers. The pair of them were toned and fit, if not particularly skilled, and it was a pleasure to serve as their cheering section. The slow-cooking ribs didn't take much of my attention, and I used the opportunity to reflect on the last six months of our lives.

Angel had been a real eye-opener, in more ways than one. I felt both pride in the way she'd blossomed and additional remorse at the years I'd stolen from her, but she never let me get away with the moping when she caught me at it.

She'd made a few deferential, and insightful, suggestions -- mostly just tweaking the personnel assignments -- which had made Danny so happy he'd laughed to me once that he might just turn Home Run over to her when he retired. I wasn't sure if he was joking or not, but it wasn't as implausible as it might have been.

Defeated again, the girls had to yield the court temporarily. I thought the guys they'd been playing had thrown a few points, just to draw the game out, but it hadn't been enough. The loss hadn't dampened their spirits, and they were laughing as they walked over to join me.

"I think we'd better put on some more sunblock," Angel told Rose. They'd both worked up a sweat, and Angel had a professional interest in not showing up at Home Run with a sunburn. "Can you grab the bottle?"

"Drink something first, why don't you?" I pulled a couple of water bottles from the cooler beside the chair while the girls collapsed on the towels spread on the grass in front of me, and handed them over.

"Thanks," Rose gasped a long drink later. "I guess I'm not as fit as I thought I was."

I laughed. "You're getting old! They must be 5 or 10 years younger than you are, and it looks like they do this all the time." They boys were playing for blood now, although I noticed the duo who'd defeated Angel and Rose kept looking our way; the newcomers had girlfriends with them.

Angel shot me a dirty look. "Lloyd! You're supposed to admire us and make us feel beautiful!"

"I've been doing that all day," I retorted with a leer. "I'll show you tonight." Rose stuck out her tongue at me, and I tossed her the lotion bottle while we all shared a laugh.

The pleasing scent that always reminded me of the beach filled the air while the girls oiled their arms and legs. I knew I should peek at the ribs, but I'd seen something in Angel's eye that told me to keep watching. She was studying Rose critically.

"I think your boobs are going to burn," Angel told her friend. "All around your top."

Rose squirted some additional sunblock on her fingers and tried to smear it around and just under the edges of the fabric covering her, but my brunette sexpot wasn't impressed.

"Oh, just take it off," she finally said, a little exasperated. "Nobody's looking."

That wasn't technically true. I was watching raptly, although the pair of them was used to that by now. The guys in the sandbox had traded ends, so their admirers had their backs to us except when they were getting into position after a point, but it was a public park.

Rose looked around uncertainly. With a tiny shrug, she reached behind herself to pop the catch and released her top. I noticed she took care to angle herself away from the volleyball match while she massaged lotion thoroughly into her mammaries. Her nipples were erect when she finished.

Angel smiled. "Now turn around, and I'll do your back." I hadn't seen her move, but she was in possession of Rose's top and didn't seem inclined to give it back.

The redhead blushed and ducked her head, but did as ordered. She knelt there, facing the volleyball game, while Angel spent about twice as much time as I thought was required to do the job.

Nobody, least of all I, had expected to see these new facets of Angel. I tugged briefly at my shorts to make room for my lengthening erection; maybe I wouldn't make it to the evening, after all.

There was absolutely no question in my mind that Angel would do anything, without question, that she believed I wanted or needed. The easy give-and-take I'd originally had with Angela had returned, and might confuse a casual onlooker, but she'd always be mine.

With others, though, she was a chameleon. The new Angel was the same sex addict she'd been, chained to her partner's orgasms, but she was a lot more creative and proactive about how she got them. She'd developed an uncanny ability to understand what turned people on.

If Rose was a little kinky and into lesbian bondage and discipline, then Angel was more than willing to push her buttons. Danny and I had been watching closely for almost half a year, and we'd seen some shocking things -- but never once anything that didn't have the client begging to know when they could have her again.

She genuinely didn't seem to care about the means, only the end. I spent a few sleepless nights worrying about what would happen if she met up with somebody who was really twisted, in a dark way, before deciding I'd just have to trust Angel and her love for me.

I settled back to enjoy the show. Angel didn't like to be left hanging, and that meant what she'd just started wouldn't be ended until the pair of them had climaxed.

A quick scan of our surroundings showed nothing unusual. That was another thing that, very privately, had me a little worried. I was a guy; there were a lot of others out that day, too. Men liked to look at beautiful women. I had two of them, right in front of me, in bikinis -- one of them topless -- rubbing lotion on each other, and nobody was paying attention? Not without some "help," I reflected.

It almost had to be Angel. I'd never seen anything that didn't hover on the ragged edge of plausible deniability or amazing coincidence, and there was no hint about whether it was even something she did consciously. The most likely explanation was that something had broken loose after I'd been stirring up her mind.

The thing that made me nervous was that I couldn't see how she was doing things that I knew I couldn't duplicate myself. If the rest of the world decided to take notice of us after all, we'd be screwed.

"Lie down, now," Angel said, pulling my attention back to the present moment.

Rose gratefully flopped onto her stomach, suddenly no more noteworthy than many of the other sunbathers we'd seen. Her relief lasted about a minute before Angel started tugging down her bikini bottoms.

"Angela!" Rose's shriek did turn heads. "What are you doing?!"

The crack of Angel's oily palm on Rose's butt rang like a gunshot. One of the guys on the sand shanked the ball so badly it went sideways, rolling in our direction; that I had to chalk up to fortuitous physics.

"Don't be a baby," Angel chided, working Rose's bottoms down onto her thighs and then started to spread more sunblock on her friend's buns.

The three of us watched the guy run down the ball nearly at our impromptu campsite. He, at least, had the expected masculine reaction to the girls. In his place, I would have been holding the ball in front of me; apparently more confident, he was content to cradle it in one arm and let us look at the tent in his baggy trunks. "Hey," he said, fixated on the girls, "are you going to play again? We're almost finished with these new guys."

"We might," Angel said. "Are they any good?" she asked, nodding towards the court. Her hand slid slowly down the cleft between Rose's cheeks.

"At volleyball?" the guy asked, totally mesmerized. He shook his head and laughed at himself. "Yeah, they're okay, but I'd rather be playing with you." His face flushed as what he'd said played back through his ears.

Angel laughed gently. "I'm Angela; this is Rose, and Lloyd."

"Nate," he grinned, nodding at the girls.

"Hey, Rose," Angel prompted, "I think we could take those girls. What if we play a foursome with Nate and his friend against those new people?"

Thus prodded, Rose had to look up. "Yeah, okay," she agreed.

"Excellent!" Nate smiled, gave us -- well, the girls -- a thumbs-up, and turned to trot back to his friend, who had started walking over to see what was going on.

"You'll have to put your bikini back on," Angel told Rose. "And I didn't finish yet."

"You!" cursed Rose, who rolled and started trying to grapple with her tormentor. I could have warned her against it, but didn't see a reason to bother.

The tussle ended predictably, with Angel on top, and Rose pinned on her back. They were kissing passionately, and Angel's hand crept between the redhead's thighs. I scanned our surroundings again, and returned my focus to them in time to see both bodies tremble and tense up in perfect synchronicity before relaxing.

Angel rolled off and both of them lay momentarily side by side, gazing up into the blue sky, wearing satisfied expressions on their faces. "I think Nate has a thing for redheads, Rose."

That was enough to make Rose quickly pull the bottom of her suit back into place. "Give me my top!"

"Um, Angela?" I broke in when it looked like she meant to prolong the tease. "I think you missed some skin, yourself."

With no more prompting than that, Angel flipped the top to Rose and grabbed the bottle of sunblock. I could only admire her unconscious grace as she rolled smoothly to her feet and came to stand before me. "Where?" she asked, holding out the bottle.

I squirted some lotion into one hand and rubbed both together. "Coincidentally enough, your breasts, I believe." I reached up and pushed the bottoms of her cups higher with my fingers, until they popped above her breasts and I could knead the lotion into them. Her eyes half closed, and fluttered when I pulled on her nipples.

It was fun, but I wasn't looking to make it with her in the middle of the park. I didn't drag out the massage, but I could see she was a little excited. I thought about teasing a finger or two into her bottoms, but Nate called out for them from the court.

"Behave, my love," I told her as she pulled her top back into its proper place.

"Why start now?" she quipped, stooping to kiss me, but hesitated when she saw I was serious. "They're attracted to each other; she had such a tiny cum." Angel reached out to caress my cheek. "Should I deny them a chance to find happiness due to timidity?"

"Don't deny them their free will," I replied, catching her hand in mine. "That would be a worse crime. Learn from my mistakes."

"Angela?" called Rose, hovering indecisively halfway to the volleyball court and looking towards us.

She squeezed my hand briefly before pulling free and skipping ahead to catch up. I sighed and pushed myself up out of the chair. It took a moment for me to catch my breath; another hazard of old age. A quick look under the lid suggested the ribs would survive for a time without me, so I strolled slowly after the beauties ahead of me.

The argument already was in progress when I reached the edge of the sand.

"You can't have four on a side!"

"What is this, a league?" asked Nate. "We're just having a little fun."

"They have rules for a reason. You can't just go making stuff up."

Angel gave a contemptuous laugh. "If you're afraid of losing, just say so. Like Nate says, it's just a little fun."

One of the girls on the other side of the court snorted. "You didn't look so tough before the last game -- dykes."

"Wrong on both counts!" laughed Angel, looking at the guys. "How about a bet? If you win, we'll blow you." She folded her arms and waited for their reaction, ignoring Rose's aghast expression.

The pain in my stomach was sudden and intense. "Oh, shit!" It didn't pass, and I felt dizzy, too. Angel was at my side, tormentors forgotten, before I could sink to my knees and sit on the grass.

"Lloyd, what is it?! Are you okay?" she asked, peering at my face. "Is it your heart?"

"I don't think so." I struggled not to moan under the relentless pain. "It's lower; appendicitis, maybe?" I looked up at the circle of faces staring at me. "Sorry to -- aaaah! -- get in the way of your game."

"I called 911," Nate announced, joining us.

My vision narrowed, centered on Angel's wide eyes; a haze of glows illuminated the growing darkness around her. "Lloyd, stay with us! Don't scare me like this!"

Rose's voice sounded nearby. "He looks so pale!"

My consciousness expanded briefly, not in a good way, when the EMTs lifted me onto the stretcher. I wanted to curl into a fetal position, but the straps held me flat, and any movement sent jagged spikes of pain through my abdomen. Angel was my anchor, her grip crushing my hand while the aura of her mind spread over me like an electric lace canopy. The siren sounded so far away.

I hadn't been in a hospital since Alexandra died, and wasn't happy to be back. I felt strangely detached and almost sleepy, certain only of Angel's hand, while I floated in a sea of mind glows, many wracked by physical or emotional anguish, or even fading the way Alexandra had.

"Lloyd, I love you! Don't leave me!" sounded fuzzily in my ears. There was a rush of other voices too, but the sounds meant nothing to me.

"Angel" Drawing breath hurt, and took too much effort. The glows around me started to fade away -- all except the closest, which flared to unbearable brightness. Suddenly the pain was gone; my consciousness lasted but an instant longer.

June 2011

I stood in the office, curiously unwilling to sit in His chair. I'd been in it any number of times, either alone, waiting, or sharing it. The feel of it against my bare skin was like an old friend. The scent of the leather, subtly perfumed by His cologne, made me think of "home." Today, I chose the sofa.

Mr. Sullivan didn't make me wait long. "You know, Angela, this office is yours." He put a metal lockbox on the coffee table before sitting beside me. "Lloyd left everything to you, including his ownership interest in the club. Hell, you spent as much time here as he did!"

"Not today, Danny." Mr. Sullivan always wanted people to call him Danny -- unless they were prosecutors or tax collectors. It was one of his quirks, like the way he liked his employees to leave as little to the imagination as possible. I was shockingly overdressed, in a dark knee-length dress and jacket and modest 2-1/2 inch pumps, but we'd just come from the memorial service.

It was scandalous enough to have two young, unrelated women sitting in the first row, without dressing like a call girl. My Lloyd had always been a believer in subtlety, so I honored him by dressing carefully, looking appropriately mournful, and not hanging all over Rose -- or letting her hang all over me. A number of the other girls had gone, too, but they'd been in back and not in the faces of the people who'd known Him from his other jobs, or even school.

"Well, this is the only stuff from his apartment worth keeping, apparently. Lloyd wanted it given directly to you." I knew Mr. Sullivan was more affected than he let on, but he didn't let society's expectations bog him down; he probably felt the sooner this task was out of the way, the sooner he could get back to thinking of new ways to wring cash out of Home Run's clientele.

I felt a little thrill of anticipation, looking at the box. I'd never seen His apartment, or felt a need to visit it. Home was wherever I could offer myself for His enjoyment; I felt myself juicing up at the thought of it, and then remembered that cherished wand of flesh would never again pierce my body. The box was His last gift to me.

Mr. Sullivan looked at a piece of paper he'd brought with him, and rotated the combination lock on the box to 721. "Sentimental bastard," he said under his breath. "That was the day he and Alexandra were married," he added in response to my look of inquiry.

After a quick glance at him, I unlatched the box and flipped open the lid. There were a number of old composition books and a smallish jewelry box, and that looked like it. The jewelry box was on top, so I lifted it out and opened it.

"Sentimental bastard, indeed!" Mr. Sullivan laughed as we both stared at the contents. "Jesus, Lloyd, you packrat."

I picked out the ring He'd worn until the night He'd created me, and the slightly smaller copy of it. "Their wedding rings?" I guessed.

Mr. Sullivan nodded. "Yup, and that's Alexandra's engagement ring." He poked a fingertip at the smaller of the two diamond rings in the case.

"I thought Lloyd was only married once," I commented. He'd been very clear I should never call Him Master, so of course I was very careful to use His name when talking with others. "Was this an anniversary ring?" The other diamond was much larger, and the style was different, too.

"No," Mr. Sullivan answered, laughing louder. "It's the engagement ring Sis got from Jonathan before she decided to marry Lloyd." He looked at my face. "What, you've never heard that story?"

"No." I wanted to know everything there was to know about Him, but He almost never talked about His life before me. "What happened?"

"Well, it's a long story," Mr. Sullivan began, with the relish of somebody who knew it was a good one. "Let's just say Alexandra was engaged to another guy when she met Lloyd. She dumped him a couple months before the wedding, and chose Lloyd instead! I have to say, I didn't think much of him when we met, but he grew on me." He smiled absently. "I guess she didn't give back the ring when they broke up, although it looks like she got the watch."

"What?" I thought I'd been following him, right up to the end. "This?" I asked, pointing to the old Rolex. "I gave it to Lloyd as a birthday present two years ago."

Mr. Sullivan gave me a funny look and picked up the watch to look at it more closely. "I'm sure this is Jonathan's -- see this scratch? It's from a bar fight. My sister gave him this watch as an engagement gift. How did you get it?"

"My mother gave it to me; she said it belonged to her father and thought it should stay in the family. I don't know why she didn't give it to Dad; she never said much about her folks."

"What was her maiden name?"

"Edwards," we both said at the same time.

"Karen Edwards?" he repeated, and I nodded. "Jesus, Angela! Your grandmother was sitting right behind you at the service today!"

My mind reeled at the thought. I tried in vain to picture her face, to remember anything about her, but I drew a complete blank. "Grandma" always meant Nana Vasquez in Houston.

"We're having dinner tonight; you definitely need to crash the party! Connie's granddaughter -- I'll be God-damned!" He bounced to his feet. "Be here at 5:30, okay?" There was nothing Mr. Sullivan liked more than being one up on everybody else; he walked out of the office looking younger than the day I'd phoned him from the hospital.

A little dazed, I closed the jewelry box and picked up one of the composition books. I recognized His neat handwriting as soon as I opened the cover; it looked like lab notes, dated from February 1962. A second book, chosen at random, had dates in the 1980s. I riffed through a few pages, but couldn't concentrate. A grandmother!

We recognized each other immediately from the service. From the look on Mr. Sullivan's face and the absent curiosity on hers, I knew he hadn't told her yet. With the insight that came from knowledge, I studied Connie's features and found hints of my mother there.

At least he didn't leave her hanging. "Connie, my dear, this is Angela Vasquez. She worked closely with Lloyd over the past several years, and in many ways he was her mentor. I believe you know her mother -- Karen Edwards?"

She sat down, hard. "Karen's daughter?" We stared at each other while Mr. Sullivan grinned.

"Angela, this is Connie Dickerson -- your grandmother. It's a small world, isn't it?"

It took a couple false starts, but smiles appeared on our faces. There was nothing for it but to stand up again and hug each other.

"How in the world did you discover this?" she asked, when we were seated again.

Mr. Sullivan was only too happy to relate the story and point out his cleverness in fitting the pieces together. I learned more about Mom's side of the family in 15 minutes than I'd known in 25 years. It was easy to see why Mom had never said much about them; Ms. Dickerson -- Grandma -- was a sweet old lady, but my intuition told me she had her foot in Mr. Sullivan's crotch before the end of the story.

"How apropos," she told us when Mr. Sullivan finally fell silent. "I'm so glad you could be with Lloyd at the end, Angela." I sensed from the way she was studying me again there was something more that hadn't been said yet.

"I've always wondered" She squared her shoulders, as if making a confession. "I've often thought Karen might have been Lloyd's daughter; the timing was right, and she didn't get the Edwards nose."

"A great comfort," Mr. Sullivan readily agreed. He showed unusual, for him, restraint in not mentioning exactly how I'd been "comforting" my putative grandfather for the last two-and-a-half years.

For myself, it felt right. I could hardly have loved Him more, and any family relationship we might have had paled before my need for Him and His love for me. I twisted the band that had belonged to Alexandra before me, settling it more firmly on my finger, and looked forward to the remainder of the meal. "Please, tell me about how you met him."

It was later than usual by the time I walked down the hallway, but dinner had run on and none of us had been ready to end it. Connie had finally begged off in order to rest before her morning flight back to Florida. I still hadn't decided whether to send her contact information to Mom or not, but that was a decision for another day.

"Oh, Angela, good evening!" the ward nurse greeted me. "You just missed Christine."

"How is he this evening?"

"About the same." She straddled the line between raising hope inappropriately, and crushing it.

"Well, I'll sit with him for a while."

I walked quietly into the semi-private room and felt my heart soar as I saw the recumbent figure stretched out in the bed. The quiet beep of the monitors alternated with a muted whirring as air bladders beneath the covers slowly inflated and relaxed. I carefully brushed a lock of sandy hair away from closed eyes before sitting down.

We hadn't been the only people to have their holiday relaxation marred by misfortune. Kyle Brown had tried one too many stunts on his motorcycle; his helmet had saved him from immediate death, but not the blunt force trauma associated with hitting a car at high speed.

He and My Lloyd had died nearly together, but where doctors couldn't repair a ruptured abdominal aortic aneurism, they could preserve a body and give a mind time to heal. I still didn't know for sure what had happened, or how, but our dinner revelations had clarified some matters for me. I didn't think I was imagining things.

I was as sure as I could be that My Lloyd would awaken soon, just as surely as Christine and Michael Brown knew the hysterical brunette in the bikini they'd met in the waiting room was their son's girlfriend. Maybe there was another girlfriend out there, but that was a problem for another day.

My fingers crept under the light blanket until they found His manhood, slightly erect. Maybe it was risking infection, but the nurse had absentmindedly removed the catheter earlier in the evening, the same way she'd replace it after I'd left. "Oh, Lloyd," I whispered, squeezing lightly and feeling a touch light-headed as He inflated inside my grip.

The flesh didn't feel exactly the same to my touch, but my rising need was oh-so-familiar. I looked around again, making sure we were alone. "Please, Master, I need you," I begged, disobeying His express command so I could feel the word on my lips. I milked Him to full rigidity, feeling the responsiveness that came from youth and hormones.

I couldn't prevent myself from folding back the blanket and gown to expose Him in all His proud glory. I felt the wetness in my panties as I leaned forward to kiss His turgid organ and tease the sack beneath it with my tongue. I knew I should go more slowly, be more deliberate, but it had been nearly two weeks since He'd gifted me with His seed, and I was going crazy with desire.

Probably it was unnecessary, but I'd refused to relieve myself with actual intercourse if I couldn't go to it knowing He had marked me as His. Mr. Sullivan had packed the lounge for a week as I'd done my best to tease my audience and myself to orgasmic forgetfulness. Not even Rose's delicious convulsions after I'd tied her up and tanned her ass had been enough to quench my need.

No longer. I shifted so I could take Him in my mouth, using the strokes I knew brought Him the greatest pleasure. He grew larger still, and I urged Him closer to release with all the skill and desire at my command.

Finally my fast was ended by massive ropes of spunk that flooded my mouth -- more than I could remember having ever received from Him. I tried my best to hold it, but couldn't avoid crying out and jerking with the force of my own orgasm. It ran through my entire body, heating me from curled toes to fluttering eyelids, the way that only His ecstasy did.

"Is everything all right in here?"

I realized I'd set off the alarms and the nurse was staring at me. Hurriedly I swallowed His delicious treasure, hoping I hadn't left too much on my face, and forced myself to stand up.

She wasn't focused on me, after all. Both of us stared at the hazel eyes that looked up at me in wonderment.

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