June 13th, 2061. San Francisco, Fireblue territory, North American Province, 05.00 local time
Louise woke up with a gasp. She was glowing all over and sweat prickled the skin of her lower back. She pushed herself up on her elbows and looked around the room, breathing rapidly.
The clock on the wall was visible in the early morning light. It was 5 AM. She let herself fall back on the pillow and pushed her hair out of her eyes. The throbbing between her thighs was relentless.
It intensified the moment she thought about the dream she had been having. El naked on the desk. El naked in a bed. El arching her back under Louise, fingers digging into Louise’s skin.
Louise licked her upper lip. She couldn’t get these images out of her mind even if she tried, she knew. The heat coursing through her body was too demanding. It wouldn’t go away until she gave it what it wanted. Gave herself what she needed.
She slipped a hand under the sheets, feeling a bit self-conscious about it in this foreign bed. As soon as her fingers reached the aching center of her desire, Louise forgot all about where she was.
She closed her eyes and conjured up the favorite part of her dream. Her arms were wrapped around El’s thighs and she could taste El on her lips. Her own legs were held tightly by El, whose head was buried between them.
As their tongues worked and their fingers dug into each other’s skin with increasing need, their breathing grew ragged. Louise’s legs started to tremble. But she didn’t want to fall over the edge until El was right there with her.
She groaned and the sound of her voice in the empty bedroom brought her back into reality. She was so close, though. The sheets rustled while her breathing became even more strained. All she had to do was to think of El…
A soft knock on the door interrupted Louise’s feverish daydream. She pulled her hand back and stared at the door, feeling caught. Who was knocking? Was it Hobbs? Did they let him out of the hospital?
She tried to catch her breath, pulling the sheets up to her chin. She wasn’t going to open the door. Not in this state. The pressure between her legs was unbearable. She was tempted to just slide her hand back down there.
A second, slightly louder knock stopped her. Louise eyed the door and exhaled, annoyed. Her heartbeat was calming down but her cheeks still felt hot. She squeezed her eyes shut, praying Hobbs would leave.
A soft whimper outside the door caught her attention then. She frowned. Then more whining followed. It took her a second to realize what she was hearing. Was that a dog in the hallway?
She sat up and moved to the edge of the bed. With her ears focused on the door, she thought she could pick up on a pair of feet and two pairs of paws. “Oh shit! It’s El and Stucky!” she realized.
Louise was up and by the door in a split second. El had already taken several steps away from the door by the time Louise stuck her head into the hallway.
“Psssst,” she said too loudly, causing El and Stucky to jump. The dog spun around and instantly started wagging his tail enthusiastically.
El tugged at his chain a little, urging him to stay quiet. “Ssst, Stucky.”
Louise gestured for them to hurry, holding the door open. She let out a sigh of relief once they were inside.
“I thought it was Hobbs,” she said, kneeling down to pet Stucky with a big smile.
He lay down on the floor, squirming from excitement. Louise giggled as he pushed his large head against her hand.
El cleared her throat, still standing. “Ehm, you look…”
Louise froze while she was scratching behind Stucky’s ear. She had forgotten she was barely dressed. Worse, she had forgotten about her sweaty face and ruffled hair. She was pretty sure her cheeks were flushed still.
She pushed herself up, feeling half brave and half terrified. She liked how El’s eyes were raking over her body. Their eyes met and she willed herself to hold El’s gaze while she spoke.
“I look like what?” she asked. Her throat was tight but her was voice steady.
El’s lips curved up into a seductive smile. “Like you were working out?”
Louise cocked her head. “I guess I was.”
El nodded slowly, a twinkle in her eyes. “How’s your headache?”
Louise put her hands on her hips. “Headache?”
“You said you were getting a headache. Last night, on our way home.”
Louise’s lips formed a surprised ‘o’. “Yeah,” she said after a moment, “I felt better after that nap in the car, I guess.”
“Good,” El replied, her eyes dropping to Louise’s chest. Louise knew the shirt wasn’t doing a very good job of hiding what was underneath.
“Why the early visit?” she asked, feeling increasingly bold.
“I thought you might want to see Stucky. I was on my out for a walk.” El took a step closer, lifting her hand slowly.
“This early?” Louise asked, skeptical.
“Yeah,” El said, trailing the tips of her fingers over Louise’s bare thigh.
Louise took in a sharp breath. She hoped her legs would hold. El leaned in and kissed her softly. Louise wrapped her arms around her, pulling her closer. Their tongues found each other, turning up the heat by a 1000 degrees.
El stumbled forward, pushing Louise up against the door, her thigh pressing between Louise’s legs. Louise moaned, her tense body already aching for quick relief. The friction of El’s leg shifting against her was almost too much to take.
But then she remembered they weren’t alone, embarrassed. “Wait, where is Stucky?” she panted.
“He’s fine,” El replied between kisses just below Louise’s ear.
Louise looked over her shoulder, scanning the room. Stucky had walked over to a corner and had lain down, his back to them. Louise smiled, amused. “Giving us some privacy,” she thought. “Smart doggy.”
Her mind went blank when El lowered her hand between their bodies, her fingertips already pushing past the fabric of Louise’s briefs. Louise threw her head back, on the verge of begging El to go faster. She was ready.
A knock on the door startled them both and El pulled her hand back. Louise cursed in frustration. “Oh fuck no!” El quickly put her hand over Louise’s mouth, tenderly, her eyes wide. She raised a finger to her lips, pleading to be quiet.
They both stood absolutely still for several long seconds. Louise shut her eyes and prayed to the whole damn universe that whoever was at the door would go away right now.
But then came a second knock. “Thomas?” Hobbs’s voice followed.
Louise saw her own terror reflected in the grey eyes only inches away from hers. El lowered her hand and quietly took a step back, gesturing at the small bathroom. Louise nodded but had no idea what she was doing.
“Thomas?” Hobbs repeated. “Open the door!”
El tugged at Stucky’s leash, urging him to follow her into the bathroom. Thank God he was calm and quiet for once. Louise stepped away from the door, trying to think. She was sure Hobbs had heard her curse.
“Leave me alone, Hobbs. I’m…” she yelled, running her hands through her hair. “Working out!” she added. The door of the bathroom closed with a subtle click. Louise ran up to the bed, grabbed the sheets and wrapped them around herself.
“Thomas, just open the fucking door.”
“This guy is unbelievable,” Louise thought, getting pissed off. There was no mirror for her to use except for in the bathroom. She could only guess what she looked like when she pulled open the door, fuming.
“What do you want?” she hissed.
Hobbs was fully dressed. His eyes took her in from head to toe.
“Good morning,” he said with a satisfied smile.
Louise bristled. “I was doing push-ups. Why are you here?” she asked, raising her voice.
He took a step back, glancing around the hallway. “Hush, someone will hear us.”
“So what?” Louise replied, ready to shut the door in his face.
“I read the new instructions,” he whispered. “Let me in. It’s urgent.”
Louise almost dropped the sheets. She tilted her head, confused. “What?”
“We need to do a few things differently from now on,” he replied. “Just let me in, okay? I don’t want anyone to overhear this.” Hobbs was holding his side. He was probably still in a lot of pain.
Louise shook her head. She could not let Hobbs walk into that room. Even if he didn’t hear El and Stucky in the bathroom, El would overhear their conversation, which was just as bad. “No way,” she said. “Not here.”
Hobbs raised his hands, frowning. “What? You think I’m going to jump you or something?” he sneered. “Give me a break.”
Louise gave him the most lethal stare she could summon. “You can’t just come up here and tell me what to do, Hobbs. Go back to your hospital bed,” she snarled. “Or at least get out of my face.”
His nostrils flared and he pointed a finger at her. “The major will hear about this.”
Louise huffed. Now he was going to threaten her with telling Michelle? Seriously? This just kept getting better. She smiled at him, not impressed. What did she have to lose anyway?
“I’ll see you downstairs in 5. Find us a room where we can talk,” she said and turned around abruptly, the sheets flying in the air as if she had a cape. She threw the door shut behind her.
After 15 long seconds, she could hear Hobbs’s steps retreating in the hallway. He was leaving. She blew out a long breath and walked to the bathroom door.
“Hey,” she whispered, opening it. “You can come out now.”
Stucky raced out first. El followed soon after, grinning. “That’s the second time we almost got caught.”
Louise didn’t think it was funny at all. She glared back at El.
“Oh come on,” El replied, “That was quite the performance you put up!” She arched her eyebrow. “Push-ups?”
No matter how hard she tried, Louise couldn’t help but break into a smile. She sighed in surrender. “You took a big risk coming here again,” she said nevertheless.
El reached for her hand, entwining their fingers. “I know. I’m sorry.”
Louise stared down at their hands. Dark and pale, large and small, opposites in every way. And yet it was such a natural sight to her. As if this was how things were supposed to be.
“I need to shower and get down there as soon as I can,” she said reluctantly.
“Can I join you in the shower?” El teased.
Louise widened her eyes at her. “Stop it! This is serious.”
El pursed her lips. “I know,” she said after a moment. “I guess I’m trying to forget how bad this is.”
“Yeah,” Louise replied softly, feeling the panic rise in her chest again.
“I can’t seem to stay away from you,” El whispered.
Louise lifted her hand to cup El’s cheek. El looked as scared as she was. “We need to be more careful,” she said softly.
El looked back at her, a flicker of relief in her eyes. She nodded quietly. “I’ll get out of here. You go talk to Hobbs. It seemed urgent.”
Louise swallowed hard. Now that the immediate danger of getting caught seemed out of the way, she had another problem to deal with. The new instructions. What was in them that was so urgent Hobbs would come up to her room?
She pointed at the bathroom. “I really need to get ready.”
El let go of her hand. “Okay, right.”
She tiptoed to the door, Stucky following her as if he knew what was expected from him.
“Wait! I’ll check if the hallway is empty,” Louise said. She hurried past El and opened the door. Everything seemed clear.
“Go,” she whispered, stepping into the hallway to let El and Stucky through. A horrible feeling of doom settled in her stomach as she watched them hurry away. This would not end well, she knew.
It would be worse for herself than for El, she hoped. It was her only comfort. What was in those instructions, though? She needed to find out and see if there was anything she could do to delay the inevitable.