© Copyright 2003 by Cyan
"Oh, look at that one," said Talee. When I turned to look, there were lots of people around, but it was very clear who Talee was talking about. Very clear.
"You know who that is?" I asked.
She turned her eyes to me quickly and I saw her searching my face. "You're kidding," she said, looking thoroughly amazed. Brax can have that affect on people.
It's hard to put your finger on it: sure, he's good looking, and he knows how to dress. And of course, you can often sense when someone is a bit wealthy. But even beyond all that, there is just that way he carries himself: it makes people take notice. And it sure had Talee noticing. I'd been looking forward to the moment when I introduced him to my oldest friend, and could hardly claim to be disappointed. "Hello my dear," he said when he reached us, making my day. "And this must be Talee," he said, turning to the woman in question.
I seldom saw Talee at a loss for words, but she did take a moment to get a hold of herself before returning his greeting. When she glanced it me, I could see it in her eyes: the amazement and perhaps even envy. In a minute, Brax had his drink and stood with us while we sat talking. The darling moved in so close we were touching and Talee sat there in awe as she did her best to maintain the conversation, particularly when Brax casually mentioned how fine she was looking. I almost felt guilty for parading my luck in front of her. Brax's hand slid down my back, caressing, perhaps a bit too low for public display, but I figured I'd let him get away with it as long as he didn't try for more. "Well," he said, to me, but obviously for both of us to hear, "perhaps we ought to bring Talee to see the pit."
Alarm bells immediately went off in my head, both regarding the whole idea and because I wasn't sure how Talee would take the remark. Of course I'd told her Brax had one, which was hardly unusual for someone in his socio-economic bracket.
And Talee was indeed looking very wary all of the sudden. She gave Brax a careful look. "I'm afraid that isn't my thing," she said.
Brax laughed. Laughs like his ought to be registered as dangerous weapons. "Well that's the beauty of it," he said, "you don't have to be into it." I kind of knew what he was saying, and yet his words sent a chill up my spine. "But," he went on, "I was only thinking you might like to see one." I knew Talee had never seen such a thing. I hadn't seen it yet and certainly wasn't sure I wished to. "I'm sure you must be curious," he added.
Talee shook her head. It was clearly an unconscious gesture, along with her slightly embarrassed smile since Talee always took great pains to look knowing and sophisticated. She laughed a little, realizing her own slip. And something about the whole thing gave me the sense that she would indeed give in.
We passed through the great room with the spectacular night view that Brax and I had enjoyed in so many ways during recent nights past, and he led us through a door I hadn't noticed before. It led to stairs, spiraling downward. We came to a room.
The lighting was dim, but clearly illuminated in the middle was it. Talee and I approached the thing cautiously as if it would attack us, but though the whole room had an ominous feel, it was also hard to avoid the fact that all we faced was a bit of unusual architecture.
It was circular, perhaps ten feet across, about eight feet deep. The walls sloped inward just a little bit, rounding to the floor. Brax knelt next to it and showed us that the walls were just a little soft, that though the whole thing was obviously seamless, that it was padded. I found myself curious despite knowing all too well what it was designed for. I wondered at myself for tying myself to a man who had this thing.
Around it were small couches, backless like ottomans. Brax pointed out a rope ladder that could be brought over and lowered into the thing. A noise behind us stole our attention and I turned to see a woman descending the stairs that had brought us.
She was also dressed as if she were to go out. Once she was down, she came partway over to us. "Ah," said Brax, "This is Ajje, my neighbor. I let her know we were here because she's been curious as to what it would be like..."
It wasn't like Brax to let his voice die out, but his expression told the rest. I glanced at Talee and found her growing pale. Ajje, the neighbor smiled. She looked at me and Talee in turn and accurately set her attention on Talee as the third wheel among us. "Listen, thanks but no thanks," said Talee, warily.
"Don't worry, it's certainly up to you," said Brax, with that silky voice of his. "But Ajje has been waiting for a chance like this, haven't you, Ajje?"
I wondered about this Ajje, whether I should be worried. He'd certainly never mentioned her. But while he was talking, he took my hand and I soon found myself pulled against him, the length of our bodies touching. Both of us looked back and forth between Ajje and Talee. I couldn't believe I wasn't making objections.
"As I said," said Talee, obviously discomposed. "I'm definitely not into that. For me it's only men."
"Oh, but Ajje is perfectly heterosexual too, aren't you?" said Brax. "But like I said before, the beauty is that it doesn't matter. You know very well you'll enjoy it all the same."
I thought again about what he was saying. She wasn't attracted to women at all, but that didn't matter since...
"You won't have a chance like this every day," said Brax. "And it truly is easy, the slight uneasiness you're feeling now is the hardest part of the whole thing." He glanced at Ajje, who hadn't said a word, but was looking at Talee. I saw that their eyes were locked, and had my first doubt about whether Talee would in fact hold fast. "And as you've no doubt heard, they say it's, well, as good as it gets."
"No," said Talee. Her eyes were still on Ajje and somehow she reminded me of a small animal hypnotized by a snake.
Then Ajje moved. Smoothly and gracefully, she went over to the rope ladder, and dropping one end into the pit, she descended it. Talee was left, staring at the spot where Ajje had been. "You know you'll like it," said Brax.
With that Talee turned to me. She looked into my eyes and I saw something. Pleading. As if she wanted me to tell her what to do, or make Brax stop asking her, or something. At that moment, I felt it was in my power, that Talee had left everything up to me. Did I want to see this? The thought had certainly never occurred to me before, and like Talee, I knew I felt no attraction to women. But then why didn't that fact make my response easy? Why was I delaying, not giving Talee her answer? I glanced toward the pit to see Ajje standing in it, calmly.
Then I did what I never thought I would. Just a tiny nod, but it was certainly sufficiently clear for Talee, a nod toward the pit. I saw her eyes widen in surprise. I felt myself do it again, the same signal. And I watched as she moved, as silently as Ajje had, toward the ladder, then down into the pit.
Brax kissed me, then went and retrieved the ladder. The two of them stood there in the bottom, Talee clearly ill at ease. I noticed they carefully kept their eyes off each other. "Come close," said Brax, having approached the lip, and they obeyed.
He sprayed them. Short sprays, the first one at Ajje's face, then one at Talee's. I saw their eyes blink. I watched the spraying device as he set it aside. It was done now. I noticed Talee looked very pale and wondered how I could have encouraged her to get into this mess. "I suggest you look at each other," said Brax to them, as he returned to me. Ajje turned to watch Talee, but seemed to give up when all Talee did was give her a very brief nervous glance. Brax's arms went around me, and he began to undo my blouse.
.... There is more of this story ...