The Aura
Chapter 1

Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Heterosexual, Fiction, Paranormal, Slow,

Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A "Rescue Me" story: Chris agrees to repair the laptop of Carmen, a coworker's sister. He discovers she is a recluse, living in a darkened bungalow and wearing wide-brimmed hats that keep her face in shadow. She exerts a strange spell on him, resulting in odd and vivid dreams; and, he begins to fall in love. Through his love he draws her from her shell. She becomes more extroverted, and he begins to heal her from a deep, long-ago hurt and to learn her incredible secrets.

Chris sat at his bench when a man in a white shirt and tie approached him. “Roger,” he said, “my favorite marketing guy.”

“That’s a pretty low bar, isn’t it?”

Chris shrugged. “We all gotta pay the rent, and your efforts pay my salary.” He picked up a device sitting on the bench. “Your new iPad is almost ready if that’s the reason for your visit to the dungeons.”

“Actually ... I was wondering -- do you do government projects?”

“For you, Roger ... anything. What do you have in mind?”

“My kid sister’s laptop caught a virus. I was hoping you could go over to her place and disinfect it.”

“What kind of a laptop is it?”

“It’s a Dell, several years old. She uses it in her work. She writes travel columns.”

“Travel columns?” Chris leaned back. “Do you mean like the Smart Traveler in the newspapers?”

“Exactly -- that’s my sister.”

“Your sister is the Smart Traveler?”

“That’s right. She has a deadline coming up and she’s worried all her stuff will be gone. She somehow caught one of those virus that holds your computer hostage.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean. One of the V.P’s machines caught one of those, once. It was a nuisance to straighten out. Sure, Roger -- I’ll help you out.”

“Thanks, Chris.” Roger handed Chris a slip of paper. “Here’s the address.”

Chris regarded it. “Carmen?”

“That’s her name.”

“I could go over Saturday morning.”

“We were hoping,” Roger replied, “that you could go over there tonight.”

“Tonight? I guess I don’t have anything else to do.”

“Thanks, Chris.”

“I’ll swing by my place and pick up some stuff.”

“By the way. I should warn you -- my sister is a little peculiar.”

“Peculiar? How?”

“You’ll find out.”

Chris found the address in an older, residential section of town dominated by small houses built in the early 1900s on small lots. He pulled into a gravel driveway adjacent to a dwelling that showed signs of neglect. The flowerbeds were overgrown with weeds and the lawn was in need of mowing.

He removed a cardboard carton from his trunk, carried it to the front door and pressed the button for the doorbell. He pressed it again; then, hearing nothing, he rapped on the door.

The door opened. “Christian?” asked a voice from behind the door.

“Yes. Roger sent me. Call me Chris.”

“Roger said your name is Christian Grant,” she replied.

“Yes, that’s my given name.”

“Then, that is how I shall call you. Come in.” He stepped into a room with heavy curtains and shades over the windows. An antique tulip lamp glowed dimly in one corner. “I’m Carmen.”

Chris turned to face her. She was about five-foot-nine, wearing a floor-length, heavy skirt and a Victorian style blouse with a tall collar and billowing sleeves. Several chains with beads hung from around her neck. She wore a hat with a wide, droopy brim that kept her face in shadow, except for her jaw, chin, glossy lips and the tip of her nose. Carmen extended her hand and he grasped it.

“Please come this way,” she said and led him into a cluttered office in the back of the house. She gestured to her laptop. “I’m really lost without it. I use it in my work.”

“Roger said you write the Smart Traveler columns,” Chris replied.

“That’s right. I have a deadline coming up and I’m terrified I’ll lose my work.”

“Well ... I’ll do my best to save your data. Do you take regular backups?”

“No. No one has ever shown me how,” she replied.

“I’ll make sure to show you how. Did this laptop come with a Windows restore disc?”

“I don’t recall. I’ve had it for some time.”

“If not, don’t worry. I have a rescue disc I can use.” He removed the power cord, turned the device upside-down and removed the battery. “Can I get a little more light in here?”

Carmen turned on a high-intensity desk lamp and Chris focused it on the laptop. “I’m going to swap out your hard drive,” he explained, “and perform a clean install. Your original drive I’ll install in this...” He held up a small cabinet. “We’ll connect it via USB and copy your data over.”

“Will you swap them back and repeat the process?” she asked.

“No need. You can keep the new hard drive. It’s a little bigger than the one in here now, but it’s no big deal. I’ll just recycle your old one into my stock.”

Carmen sat in a chair in the corner. “Do you mind if I watch you work?” she asked.

“I don’t mind.”

She took a sketchpad and a box of pastels from a shelf. “Would you object if I sketched you?”

“Sketched me?” He shook his head. “Go ahead and sketch away.”

Chris busied himself with her laptop. Once he replaced the drive he powered it up and began the process of reformatting the drive and installing the operating system. He leaned back and stretched. “Well -- there’s a break in the action while Windows does its thing.” Carmen closed her box of pastels. “Done sketching?” he asked.

“Yes, thank you. You made an interesting subject.”

“Can I see?”

“Oh ... My sketches are for my eyes only,” she replied. “I show them to no one.”

“I’m sure you’re a far more accomplished artist than I am. So -- don’t be shy about your artistic abilities.”

“Nonetheless...” She flipped closed the cover to her sketchpad and set it on her shelf. “Christian -- how did you find yourself in this line of work?”

“Oh ... I always liked technology.”

“You’re not like my concept of a technology geek,” she replied. “You’re a people person.”

He snorted. “What gives you that idea?”

“It’s how you seem to be to me. Roger recommended you. He said you’re a good guy.”

“Roger’s a good colleague. I wouldn’t call him a close friend, though.”

“Are you hungry?” she asked. “Have you had dinner?”

“No, I haven’t had dinner.”

“There’s a Chinese place around the corner that delivers.”

“I like Chinese,” Chris replied.

She rummaged through some papers on her desk. “Here’s their menu.”

He scanned it. “I think I’ll have the Sichuan chicken.”

“I’ll place the order.”

Chris watched as the Windows installation crept its way toward completion.

Carmen stepped into her office. “Dinner will be here shortly,” she announced. “I have some nice Chinese oolong tea. Would you like me to brew a pot?”

“Sure,” Chris replied. He plugged her network cable into her laptop. “Let’s see if we can get this copy registered ... Look at that. This is our lucky day.”

“Christian,” Carmen called from the front of the house. “Dinner is ready.”

He sat at a small table in a bay window that was covered with heavy drapes. Two dim lamps and a pillar candle on the table provided the only light. Carmen poured some tea and sat across from him.

Chris scooped some of his dinner. “Tell me,” he asked, “how did you become the Smart Traveler?”

“I was a journalism major in college,” she replied. “Once I graduated I submitted some columns to a webzine ... this all was before Facebook and Twitter and all.”


“Well -- someone at the syndicate saw my work and asked me to put together a regular column. It took a couple of years before it took off.”

“How long have you been doing this?” he asked.

Carmen bit her lip. “Eight years I think. Yes -- eight years. Two years ago one of the public radio syndicators asked me to develop a five-minute segment. Now, I’m on twenty public radio stations, too.”

“Where do you record those segments?” he asked.

“Right here. I have a little studio in one of the spare rooms, upstairs.”

“That is really cool,” Chris remarked. “I had no idea Roger’s sister was doing that.”

“Do you travel much?” Carmen asked him.

“No. I guess I don’t have the time or resources.”

“You should make the time and find the resources. Is there any place you’d like to see?”

“Hmm ... I’ve always wanted to go somewhere south of the equator. I like stargazing and I’d like to see the southern night sky.”

“Do you mean Australia or New Zealand?”

“Or, South America even.”

“The night sky is lovely from South Africa,” she remarked.

“I want to see the Magellanic clouds.”

“What are they?” she asked.

“Two small satellite galaxies that accompany the Milky Way. I’d even like to go somewhere on this continent where the light pollution isn’t so bad. Even here, you can hardly see any stars at night any more. It’s gotten worse since I was a kid, even.”

“I see ... Maybe I should do a segment on travel for stargazing. It’s a good suggestion, Christian.” She scooped some of her dinner. “What do you do for fun?” she asked.

“I read ... watch films. I don’t do that much.”

“Why not?”

“Unless I’m watching one with someone I end up falling asleep.”

“You’re single, then?”

“Yeah, I’m single.”

“I’m surprised,” she replied.

“Surprised? How?”

She shrugged. “You struck me as the sort of guy who settled down.”

“Well ... I was settled ... for a while. Now, I’m settled and single.”

“Would you like seconds?” she asked. “I think there’s some left.”

“I think I’ll go see how your laptop is doing. Why don’t you keep the leftovers? You paid for them.”

“Sichuan doesn’t agree with me. You can take the leftovers home.”

“Okay ... thanks.” He picked up his empty plate.

“Just leave it,” she said. “I’ll take care of everything.”

“I’m going to install your Office software and see about recovering your data. Thanks for dinner, Carmen.”

“You’re more than welcome. I enjoyed our conversation. I don’t often have company for dinner.”

THAT I believe, he thought and headed to the back of the house to her office. He spotted her sketchbook on the shelf and reached for it. Then, he stopped himself. It would be a violation of trust, he thought and sat at her desk.

Carmen returned to her office and sat. “Oh,” he said, “Do you have the unlock codes for your copy of Office?”

She began rummaging through her desk and held up an envelope containing a CD. “Is this it?”

“Yes.” Chris completed the reinstallation of her word processing software. He plugged the cable leading to her old hard drive into a port on her laptop. “I’m going to start restoring your data.”

“What about the documents that virus deleted?” she asked.

“This particular piece of malware doesn’t actually delete them. It simply hides them.” Chris scanned folders on her drive. “Here they are.”

“They’re all renamed. I’ll need to go through each one of them.”

“There’s a directory here.”

“It’s scrambled.”

“It’s simply encrypted,” he replied. “I learned all about this particular virus when it infected one of our vice president’s machines. Fortunately it’s one that the infosec guys have cracked. There are some for which you have no choice but to pay the ransom.” He copied a program from a thumb drive. “This will decode the directory...” He manipulated the keyboard. “Now, we rename them ... Done.” He unplugged the external hard drive and stood. “Check it out.”

Carmen sat and manipulated her laptop while Chris stood to the side, attempting to look over her shoulder past the wide brim of her hat. “Yes ... Everything’s here.”

“Let me show you something else...” He grabbed the mouse. “I installed some browser add-ons that prohibit malware tricks like cross-site scripting. I also downloaded an anti-virus package. I made sure all your other patches are up to date, and I tightened your firewall settings. That should keep you out of trouble.”

“You said you’d show me how to back up my files,” she replied.

“You need a backup device for that.”

“What about using my old hard drive?”

“For about a hundred bucks I can get you an external hard drive with a terabyte. That’s more than ten times the storage on your hard drive.”

“That sounds like a good investment,” she agreed.

“I can come back on Saturday with the drive, if that would be all right.”

“Yes...” She stepped out of her office and returned with her checkbook. “How much do I owe you?”

“Nothing. Roger asked me for a favor.”

“What about for the external disk?”

“I’ll need to see what’s in stock. We can settle that up on Saturday.” Chris dropped her old hard drive and other items into his cardboard box. “I’ll be on my way, Carmen. See you on Saturday.”

“Don’t forget your leftovers.” She placed the carton into his box.

Chris sat at his workbench. He looked up. “Good morning, Roger,” he said.

“I spoke to Carmen last night,” Roger said. “She’s very appreciative of what you did for her.”

“Yeah -- I figure I got some Boy Scout points for doing a good deed.” Chris powered down the laptop he was configuring. “I like Carmen. I looked up a few of her travel columns on the paper’s website. They’re fascinating. She has a real talent for vividly describing off-the-beaten-path attractions and destinations.”

“Yes, she certainly does.”

“How many days a year does she travel?”

“That’s the thing,” Roger replied. “She never leaves the house.”


“Well ... Rarely.”

“How does she survive?”

“Peapod -- she has groceries delivered.”

“How can she write those columns?” Chris asked.

“That’s what none of us can figure out. I think she recruited a small army of locals who send her tips.”

“Do you mean, via email?”

“Right. She consolidates them into her columns and radio segments.”

“Then, it’s quite a gig she has.”

“It certainly is.”

“I’m going back there on Saturday,” Chris said.

“What for?”

“I’m going to deliver an external hard drive and show her how to back up her stuff. Then, maybe I’ll ask her out.”

Roger laughed. “You want to take her out? She won’t go, Chris.”

“We’ll see. Like I said, I like her and I think the feeling is mutual.”

“You’re making a big mistake. Carmen will not go out with you or anyone. She’s a recluse ... a hermit.”

“Was she always like that?” Chris asked.

“Not at all. In high school she was popular and outgoing.”

“What happened to her?” Chris asked. “Did she suffer some sort of a breakdown?”

“Of sorts. The summer before her senior year of college she got sick.”

“Sick? With what?”

“Some brain infection ... meningitis of some sort. She was in the hospital ... we didn’t think she’d make it.”

“She obviously did.”

“Yeah, but it changed her. All this happened while I was doing a tour in Iraq -- I was part of the first wave that went over there. After my discharge I discovered that she had moved into the basement. She spent all of her time down there, alone in the dark ... or, online.”

“Maybe that’s how she cultivated her stringers that feed her material for her columns,” Chris surmised.

“Maybe. I’m telling you, Chris -- find another girl.”

“It wouldn’t hurt to ask, would it?”

“Ask if you must,” Roger replied. “I know what her answer will be. I know her better than anyone and yet I hardly know who she’s become. I know enough, though. If I were you, Chris, I’d find another girl and forget about Carmen.”

Chris parked in Carmen’s driveway and carried a box to her front door. He rapped on it and it swung open. “Come in, Christian,” he heard her say.

He stepped inside. Carmen was wearing a different granny skirt, a white puffy blouse and a black, wide-brimmed hat. She followed him to her office in the back.

“The advantage of this,” he explained as he unwrapped and opened the box, “is that you can connect it when you need to back up some files and when you’re done, you can unplug it. That way even if your laptop catches another virus, the data on this drive will be safe.”

“It sounds like a good idea,” she replied.

“Also, there’s enough space on this drive to keep several generations of data. That way you can go back and recover something from last month, even if you changed or deleted it on your laptop.”

“That’s a very good idea,” she agreed.

“And, it’s simple to use. You simply create folders and drag and drop your documents into them.” He stood and watched as Carmen began copying files.

“Do I just unplug it?” she asked.

“I would recommend shutting down the laptop first. That way you’ll guarantee any delayed writes or buffers are flushed to the disk.”

“I see. How much do I owe you for this?”

“Eighty-seven fifty.” Chris presented the invoice and Carmen began writing a check.

“How do I make it out?”

“Just make it out to me -- Christian Grant.”

She tore off the check and he regarded it. “Carmen Lassiter ... Of course, Roger’s name is Lassiter.” He slipped the check into his shirt pocket. “Carmen ... I was wondering if you’d like to go out for dinner some time.”

“I really can’t,” she replied. “Daylight bothers me. That’s why I like to keep it dark inside.”

“This would be during the evening. I know a nice, quiet, dim place.”

Her lips flashed a brief smile. “I appreciate the offer, but I must decline. Why did you want to ask me out?”

“It’s because I like you, Carmen. The vibe I get is that you like me, too.”

He regarded her for a long moment. “You’re right, Christian,” she finally replied. “I do like you.”

“How about if I come here so we can just hang out? I like being with people I like and I like you. I admire you, Carmen. I read some of your columns and they’re written by someone I’d like to know better.”

She paused again for a long moment. “I really do appreciate what you’re trying to do, Christian. I think it would be better if we don’t.”

“Better for you or for me?” he asked.

“Better for both of us. Thank you so much for the help with my laptop. I was able to make my deadline after all and knowing how to back up my files will give me some peace of mind.”

Chris took out his wallet and removed a business card. “Take this. If you have any trouble with your laptop, I’ll be happy to help you.” He took a pen from his pocket. “I’ll write down my home and cell numbers, too.”

She took the card. “I’ll keep this. Goodbye, Christian.”

Chris readied himself for bed, stripping to his briefs. He turned back his covers, slid between the sheets and turned off the light. Thoughts of Carmen he attempted to banish as he relaxed and began to drowse.

He became aware of a presence in his bedroom. Sitting up he saw a figure surrounded by a dim halo of light. She was tall and slender, with a round face, dark eyes and high cheekbones. Her hair was dark and long with a natural wave, parted down the middle of her head and pinned at her temples with small barrettes. All he had ever seen of Carmen’s face was her lips and chin and this girl’s were similar. “Carmen?” he said.

“What’s in a name?” She approached him and sat on his bed. Then, she was gone.

Chris awoke with a start, his heart pounding. He stood, looked around the room and then his apartment. The front door was firmly locked and bolted and the sliding door to his balcony was latched and secured with a length of broomstick in the track, immobilizing it.

“Holy shit,” he muttered. “That was freaky.”

Chris returned to bed for an unsatisfying night’s sleep.

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Story tagged with:
Ma/Fa / Consensual / Heterosexual / Fiction / Paranormal / Slow /