Edmund Gathright jumped, and gazed blearily around the room to see what had disturbed his slumber. His eyes swept over chaos, piles of empty Pot Noodle pots, discarded lager cans, and wads of paper. No, nothing had been disturbed -- all looked normal.
Edmund yawned lustily and arched his back, a vain attempt to ease the cramp caused by falling asleep in front of the PC. He vaguely wondered what the time was, and after picking up his discarded glasses he peered at the task bar. 03:23, he had only been asleep for 20 minutes! What on earth could have woken him at this time? Then he noticed the mail icon in the task bar, it was obvious then, Celia had woken him.
"Well Celia, I wonder who's writing to us at this time of night?"
Celia was as silent, and unresponsive as ever.
"Hmmm, it's from Ricky, Celia," he yawned, "with a large attachment, I wonder what he wants now?"
Celia was quiet.
Edmund wiped his grimy glasses, alleviating some of the smears, and read.
=------------------------------------------------------ 'Hi Eddy, I thought this might be right up your street, lol. Seems to fit in well with the old OOP work! Odd little program I got forwarded in the internal mail here, no interest or use to me. The dork who sent it -- reckons it can control people -- I mean! Anyways I thought you could tear it apart for fun. If it does control people, maybe you could use this for the dissertation in your Object-Orientated Programming course. I mean people have to be the ultimate objects don't they, LOL! Ah well time to hit the sack, alone again -- the old charm is failing Eddy. I can't seem to get my share any more. Real pain, as there are some right lookers around here now, but they always seem to be busy. God too much more and the old balls will be going blue. Still enough of my moaning. Night Eddy, enjoy the attachment! ROFLMAO, Ricky <attachment Master_PC.zip 10.1Mb> =------------------------------------------------------ JANET does not monitor the content of this E-mail. The view expressed, and the content are entirely those of the sender. Joint Academic NETwork. =------------------------------------------------------
Edmund chuckled 'Same old Rick!' he thought, as he right clicked and selected delete. Control people, what rubbish. Edmund stood up and stretched before flopping on the unmade bed. He reached down to pull off his trainers, but failed, crumpling backwards. Edmund snored. Celia's screen continued to flicker.
Sunshine streamed in through the window of the computer laboratory, the room was quiet probably due to the unseasonable weather. Edmund was relieved he had the chance to work in peace, without the usual distractions the undergrads brought with them. Working on his masters was easier than his bachelors, there was less competition and fewer idiots.
The swing door opened and Toni walked in, she saw Edmund and smiled. She walked directly towards the seated man.
"Hi Edmund, I'm glad to see you," she said.
"Really?" Edmund murmured.
"Yes, I'm a bit stuck on my dissertation; I need some advice on Java applets," Toni cooed.
The sugary voice activated Edmunds abundant over-helpful gene. He stopped working, swung his seat a little and gazed at Toni.
"Well I have worked extensively in that area Toni, how can I help?" Edmund smiled.
"I have a lecture now, but maybe I can come up to your room this evening?"
"Well that's a bit irregular but, all right. Umm, I will need to tidy up a little," Edmund replied.
"Oh no, not on my account, I like a dirty man," Toni whispered, her mouth moving close to Edmunds ear.
Edmund visibly stiffened, he suddenly looked very uncomfortable.
"I'm, not sure what you mean Toni?"
"A dirty man, I'm sure you know how to be dirty? You know, a little Java, a lot of sex..." said Toni.
To emphasise her point Toni wiggled her hips, and snuggled up towards Edmund. The startled young man blushed deeply; he struggled to find both composure and words.
"W-w-well, if that's what you w-w-want?"
"Oh, Edmund it is!" she smiled.
Edmund reached out a hesitant hand towards Toni's beaming face.
"Woo Hoo, what a result! Well done Toni, I got it all," Ashton shouted.
As the excited student burst into the lab, he waved the compact video camera above his head. Toni giggled, and then ran to Ashton's side.
"I can't believe he fell for it, Ash"
Together the laughing pair headed for the lab door.
"See you, Edmund - we will have some fun with this, Thank you," said Ashton.
Edmund continued to stare at the door, long after it had stopped swinging. Eventually he shrugged, and turned back to the computer screen. His defence mechanism kicked in, the humiliation faded. Edmund's mind concentrated on the application layer he was writing. However, somewhere in the back of Edmund's mind a small voice whispered, ignored as it was, it still whispered. 'One day, just you wait, one day, ' the words resounded with venomous, if unheard intent.
The day passed in a blur of activity, and Edmund's seething temper was forgotten. Whistling tunelessly he left the Lab for the short walk to his room. He wandered up the corridor concentrating on the syncopation between his squeaky steps on the polished floor and his whistling. Edmund turned the corner into the reception area, and stopped dead. To his amazement, the foyer was full, full of excited students gathered in awe around some unseen event. Curiosity got the better of the young man, and he edged into the crowd to find out what was so enticing.
Edmund had forced his way almost to the front of the scrum when he heard his own voice. 'W-w-well, if that's what you w-w-want?'. For once Edmund knew exactly what the phrase 'blood run cold' actually referred too.
"Hey, everyone it's our star, Edmund!" shrieked Toni.
Suddenly every face swung in Edmund's direction, the cat calls and laughter began. Even as the young student fled fast across the quadrangle the cruel, mocking, hilarity still had not subsided. Soon enough he stood, panting heavily, in the refuge of his cluttered room. He threw himself onto the bed and beat the headboard viciously with his clenched fists. Edmund only stopped when he noticed the antique pine was smeared with fresh wet blood. His head felt into his damaged hands and a primal scream welled up in his throat.
"Why me, what did I ever do," he roared.
He flew off the bed and started furiously rummaging through the detritus in the room. Finally he emerged triumphant, holding a bottle of golden liquid. Savagely Edmund tore the seal off, and delivered a liberal slug of the amber fluid into a tea cup. He hesitated for the briefest second before downing the drink in one.
Edmund's face, never his greatest asset, crumpled into a distorted mask of disgust. Shaking, and spluttering he refilled the cup and swallowed the distilled liquid. His father's words spoken last Christmas returned to him.
"Now I know you don't like the hard stuff, but this will come in handy if all this IT work gets you down! It's my favourite scotch, Edmund it's known to work wonders."
Favourite or not, Edmund almost retched, but supreme will power kept the burning concoction in his stomach.
Then the alcohol hit his bloodstream, and he relaxed; flopping onto his bed with an unanticipated fit of the giggles.
"Fuck 'em, fuck 'em all, I don't care!" Edmund slurred.
He stood and staggered to Celia, even inebriated, his hands soon brought her purring into life. He had mail.
"Hi ya Rick, how are you mate?" Edmund spluttered at the screen.
The screen flashed once and spat out the message.
=------------------------------------------------------ 'Hi Eddy, How's that little program going, any use to you? Let me know. LOL Ricky =------------------------------------------------------ JANET does not monitor the content of this E-mail. The view expressed, and the content are entirely those of the sender. Joint Academic NETwork. =------------------------------------------------------
Edmund blinked at the screen, trying to take in the information. Why had Ricky started to use such a fuzzy font?
Edmund stared at the screen blankly, then a twisted grin filled his face.
"Program, here program, lil' ole Master PC -- where are you" Edmund giggled.
Clumsily, the mouse pointer found the recycle bin, opened it, and restored the file.
"Okey Dokey, Mr Master; lets install you and see how good you are."
The installation routine flashed before Edmunds uncoordinated eyes. Finally a box flashed up.
'Program installed! Run now?
The cursor wavered across to OK, and the mouse button clicked.
A simple interface popped up before Edmund, Masters details fill in now or skip?
"Oh just get on with it," Edmund demanded, jabbing skip.
He halted, and scratched his head, the names just would come. They were in his head somewhere, but shrouded in alcoholic fog.
Finally, triumphantly he typed.
Edmund laughed at the little spinning graphic that appeared. It looked just like Celia, but how hard was that? After all PC's all looked the same. It was kind of neat the way it had a tiny image of the Master PC program on the screen though. He blinked woozily and gazed at the option bars.
Clicking the top two just brought up predefined drop-down lists. The second two were more interesting they accessed full page menu's with radio buttons, slide bars and yet more rotating PC components. Edmund hiccupped and went back to the main page.
He pulled up the personality list, and chuckled -- aggressive; that seemed oddly relevant to Celia, after all only yesterday she had crashed on him for no reason!
Edmund pulled down the Sexuality list, aimed for neutral and missed. Before his swimming eyes Lesbian appeared in the box. He found this hilarious, and roared at the oddity of it.
His laugher was short lived, a sudden burst of nausea washed over him. Edmund clutched his mouth and darted for the unkempt bathroom. The forgotten mouse swung clunking against the desk. The rodent twisted on its wire tail and bashed its left button against the drawer handle. Celia's image disappeared, and the program returned to the home page.
Edmund staggered out of the bathroom minus his stomach contents, cursed softly and collapsed on to his bed into a deep drunken slumber.
Celia hummed quietly, ignoring Edmund's plight.
Her screen flicked, a menu box appeared.
Masters details fill in now or skip?
'Celia:PC' appeared in the box, and it disappeared.
Another box appeared.
Confirm Master Celia:PC Y/N
Master PC closed.
Celia said nothing.
Edmund was woken by the sound of fevered pounding on his door. He stood and made his way tentatively across the room. He opened the door and stared uncomprehendingly into Toni's intense face.
"I just got this sudden urge to come and see you," Toni explained.
"To apologise?" Edmund asked, more in hope than in certainty.
"Something like that, I just need to be here," confusion crossed Toni's pretty features.
"Whatever, come in, excuse the mess!"
"And the smell," Toni choked.
"Ah..." said Edmund.
The lanky figure disappeared rapidly into the bathroom. Toni heard the sound of the toilet flush. Edmund emerged shame faced.
"So, Toni..." Edmund was interrupted by Toni's shrill voice.
"This is a nice computer, can I look?"
"Sure, yeah Celia's wonderful when she behaves," Edmund smiled.
Toni caressed the keyboard in a soft, almost sensual way. He eyes glazed a little and her lips parted.
"Celia..." she breathed.
"Yeah, still you didn't come here to talk PC's did you? I mean it's half two..."
"Celia, such a nice name. No, Edmund, I came here to make up for what we did to you earlier today," Toni purred.
"Oh don't worry I'm jus..." Edmund's words dried in his mouth.
His mouth fell wider open, and his blue eyes bulged. Toni had turned around, and while one hand remained demurely behind her back, the other snaked under her loose Tee-shirt and plucked at the hard buds tipping her breasts. Edmund's attention narrowed and concentrated on the concealed caresses. This allowed Toni to slide her memory stick into the USB port behind her. Once this was done her right hand joined her left, rummaging and pawing at her jiggling boobs.
Edmund swallowed hard, he tried to ignore his straining organ; young Gathright was not as liberated as Toni. He watched intently as her hands crossed in front of her body, crushing her breasts into quivering mounds. Toni's hands grasped the hem of her Tee-shirt, and in one languid motion stripped it over her head.
Her breasts bobbed free, as large as they were, the pert nipples pointed resolutely upwards. As Edmunds's eyes drank in the beauty before him, his testicles twitched and sent their warm load heading towards his tented boxer shorts. Edmund groaned partly in passion, but mostly in mind numbing embarrassment.
Toni giggled wickedly, and walked forwards to brush her stiffened nipples against Edmund's reddened face.
"I didn't know my body was that attractive," she teased.
"Oh my god!" Edmund whimpered.
His trembling hands clutched at his groin, in a vain attempt to cover the spreading dark patch. He felt the warm stickiness spread underneath them.
"It's a shame really, I had planned for a little more," Toni paused, "but as you are satisfied I'll wish you good night, lover."
Edmund moved to stop Toni leaving, but the squelch from his groin reminded him of his only too personal predicament.
"Err, sure, thanks, I need to clean up anyway," Edmund paused, and blushed beetroot, "Ah, no I didn't mean clean my, Um, no -- bye!"
Edmund made a rapid, stiff legged escape to the bathroom.
Toni could not resist a low laugh at Edmunds's antics. Her smile slowly fell; she turned back to the PC, and stroked one finger lovingly along the space bar. Toni shuddered with delight, before retrieving her memory stick and stuffing it in her jean pocket. She stooped and picked up her discarded Tee-shirt and slipped it back on.
"Bye Edmund, and thanks," Toni called, as she slipped out of the room.
Edmund's head poked out of the bathroom, he stared at the closed door.
"Thanks? Why, what did I do..." asked Edmund
"Celia, what did I do?"
Celia had finished her work for the day, the download was done.
Celia was quiet.
Penny was bored mindless; the lecture seemed to drag on forever. Idly she doodled in the margin of her note book, it was her habit; her first love was art, but her skills had let her down, no Art College for Penny. So here she sat, drummed into submission by the intricacies of C++. She wondered why she needed this crap, when all she wanted to do was learn graphic design.
"Hey, nice tits..." Steve whispered.
"Don't be so rude Steve," Penny replied.
"No, not yours, although they are fine, those..."
Steve tapped his finger on the margin of Penny's notebook. Penny looked at the superbly drawn breast's staring up at her with amazement. The detail was astounding; right down to the crinkles on the over erect nipples. Penny slammed her notebook shut; her elbow buried itself in Steve's ribs.
"Hey, it's not my fault, I didn't draw them," Steve sat back, glanced around the room and then whispered to Penny again; "anyway I think I know where you got your inspiration."
Penny's eyes followed the jerking motion of Steve's head. Finally she saw what Steve meant, the girl beside Ash sported the most delicious pair of breasts Penny had ever seen, and they were tipped by twin peaks that strained the cotton Tee-shirt to bursting. A familiar, unexpected, and most unwelcome sensation started deep in Penny's lower abdomen. Her eyes were glued to the strained material.
"Hey it's rude to stare," Steve joked.
"I wasn't staring, what's her name again?" Penny asked.
"That's typical, only a girl would ask. Every male on campus knows that's Toni, who wouldn't give their right arm for a..." Steve was halted by Penny's elbow.
"Oww, look that could get to be habit forming. Sorry, she's just a babe, no competition for you though, Penny."
"I know," Penny smiled.
The trouble was Penny wasn't seeing Toni as competition, not any more. No, new disturbing thoughts were running through Penny's over excited mind. Penny did not like this; no, she did not like it at all.
The lecture ended, and the sound of rustling papers filled the theatre.
"Come on dreamer, let's get a coffee," said Steve.
"Sorry, I was miles away, what?" asked Penny.
"Coffee?" Steve repeated.
"Yeah, just let me nip to the loo first, see you in the SU."
"Sure, later," Steve said.
Penny sat enclosed in the cubicle, her eyes fixed on the
mess staring up at her from her panty gusset. Even the denim below them bore the stain of her excitement. She leant down and stabbed an inquisitive finger in the thick goo, god, she had been wet! As her fingertip dabbled in the slime she got the oddest of impulses; she fought against the alien idea. Even when her coated fingers were in front of her face, she rebelled. She sniffed her digits tentatively, her resolve snapped and her fingers sank deep into her warm receptive mouth.
The taste was glorious, pungent but so feminine, Penny arched her back, as images of the perfect breasts flooded her psyche. Her free hand wormed its way to her slick labia; the thumb brushed her clitoral head. Soo close, she was sooo close. Penny heard the Lavatory door swing open; someone else was outside. It was no use; try as she might she could not hold back the inevitable climax. Penny screeched her delight, as she pounded up and down on her invasive fingers.
Slowly her senses returned, and Penny sat silently waiting for the door to sound again and indicate her audience's departure. The metallic creak and bang reassured her enough to stand, and ease her cramped limbs. Confidently she swung the door open; she was not alone. The sound had not been a departure, but an arrival, and two women stood facing away from her. One was washing her hands, while the other toyed with her eye make up. Penny slunk forwards trying to be as unnoticed as possible.
As she rinsed her hands, one girl departed, and Penny relaxed a little. It was then she glanced in the mirror, and straight in to the wide brown mocking eyes.
"Are you OK, you look a bit flushed" Toni asked.
"I-I-I'm fine thanks..."
"You really should dry your hands, they'll get chapped you know," Toni called, helpfully.
Toni watched the door swing too.
Toni laughed a throaty laugh.
Steve sat staring at the cooling coffee cups, idly, his long calf swung backwards and forwards. He was so relieved to see Penny; he actually stood up and pulled out a chair for her.
"You were a long time, are you OK?" He asked.
"Not really..." Penny replied.
"Oh a woman thing was it?" Steve quipped.
"No, how dare you! Just because I'm a long time in the toilet, it doesn't mean I'm some kind of dyke," Penny raged.
"Hey calm down, I just wondered if it was, you know, your time?"
"Oh sorry, no next week, I'm due next week. Why, were you concerned you wouldn't get your share tonight?"
"No I'm not like that..."
"All men are! Anyway the answer is no, I'm going out tonight -- I have a lot on my mind."
"OK fine. Look let's not argue Penny, where shall we go; Thursday nights in Norwich can be a bit slow."
"Like I said, I have to think. So I will be going alone."
"Oh like that is it, well I'll just stay here and drown my sorrows," said Steve.
"No change there then!" Penny retorted.
"Come on, let's get to Dickie boy's tutorial, you know how he hates latecomers," Steve smiled half heartedly.
Penny relaxed at the tutorial, for all his aloofness, Dick Stewart knew his stuff, and several of her programming problems were clarified. She started to cheer up, but she was still furious at Steve, how dare he imply that -- she was still sure he had somehow known. She really did have a lot to think about though.
"... and what would your approach be, Miss Bannon?" Asked Dr Stewart.
"Oh sorry, what was the question?"
"Precisely, there wasn't one, could you concentrate please?"
"Yes, sorry I don't know what's wrong with me today," said Penny.
She ignored Steve's sullen glance. The afternoon wore on, and soon Dick closed the session. As the others left, he pulled Penny to one side.
"Look Penny, you are the most capable one here. But you must focus, stop this daydreaming," Dick paused, "do you understand?"
"Yes I do Dr Stewart, actually I do," Penny smiled, and walked off to join Steve, who held the door open for her.
"So are you still off out on your own, or are you more sociable now?" Steve asked.
"I have to sort this out Steve, it's affecting my work. I have to sort it out alone; it's my problem, OK?"
"Yeah, I suppose, still you know where I will be if you need me, like, you know -- later."
"Yes I know; one track mind, you," Penny smiled, and gave Steve a peck on the cheek.
"Don't I get more than that?" Steve complained.
"Like you said, maybe -- later," Penny giggled as she walked away.
She pulled the flaps of her jacket closed in a vain attempt to keep the wind out. Penny lent against the wall of the Adshel bus stop and wondered about life.
'What attracted me to this concrete splendour, this provincial University on the edge of Norwich? Well the social life was good, but at this time of year, god was it bleak. What the hell am I going to do in the City? Just wander around in the cold and freeze off my arse, that's what.'
Penny shook her head at her own stupidity as she watched the red Double Decker roll towards her. The City was as expected, damp, dark, and cold. Norwich at it's finest. Wearily she stalked the half empty streets, but she found no answers, not in her thoughts, nor in the bright shop windows; stocked to the brim, full of pre-Christmas delights.
Eventually she found herself in King Street, wandering close to the banks of the Yare.
She walked on and watched a young couple embracing, so engrossed were they in their passion that they ignored her approach. Just as she got level with them, they broke the kiss, and came up for air. Her face registered shock to their completely indifferent mirth, the women walked off, hand in hand, into a club. Penny stood looking at the red emblazoned sign; it read 'Absolution' in a jagged script. She teetered at the doorway for a second before plunging through it.
Inside, the club was like any other with a mix of men and women, she laughed at herself. Then she noticed the dance floor, it was mostly girl's dancing together interspersed with the odd male/male pairing.
Penny jumped slightly and turned to face the bar stewardess.
"Drink?" She asked in explanation.
"Yeah, have you got any Grolsh?"
"Sure, bottle or pint?"
"Oh bottle please, I don't drink pints"
"Some do," the bar maid winked.
Penny sucked the Grolsh past the wedge of lime and sighed, a few drinks and she would head back. This was just too stupid. She felt a hand rest on her shoulder, and turned to face its owner. A savagely pretty blonde stared down at her, the intense blue eyes stripping through her reserve.
"Grolsh drinker, join the club -- as they say, I'm Patty, and you..."
Penny found her mouth had gone dry, quickly she swallowed.
"Penny, from the UEA, student, I'm new here."
"Now that I know Penny, I would have noticed you if you had been here before," Patty grinned, wickedly. "Mind if I join you?"
"No, not at all..."
"Good I have a table over in the corner, come on let's talk."
Dutifully Penny trotted along behind Patty, skirting the dance floor. Penny's eyes watched the pronounced sway of Patty's hips. The unwanted feeling returned to the pit of her stomach. She sat down opposite Patty and waited for her to speak; when she did, it was brief.
"Well what?" asked Penny.
"Pretty female student, with a Union full of young guy's, well, what brings you to absolution?"
Penny opened up, and over the next twenty minutes the events of the day flooded out of her mouth. It felt so good to tell someone.
"So what do you think?" Penny asked.
"I think the only way to know, is to try..." Patty answered.
Penny nodded, and then froze; she could feel Patty's foot massaging her calf. Penny stayed still, but swallowed hard. The foot nudged higher, confidently parting the trembling thighs. By the time the toes reached the targeted seam they could sense the dampness. Penny closed her eyes and sighed. Her eyes flickered open and she hurriedly stood.
"I-I think I made a mistake, sorry, Patty."
Penny dashed past the dancers, averting her face, so the tears would remain unseen. Some distance behind, Patty walked patiently back to the bar.
"I do wish you would stop doing that!"
"Can't stand tourist's, they have to know if it's real or not," Patty smiled.
"Great, but there go my profits."
The barmaid nodded towards Penny as she dashed for the door.
"It's for the sisterhood!" Patty protested.
"Patty, I'm not even gay."
"Yet," said Patty smiling, "Not yet."
Steve watched Penny walking towards him across the floor of the Union. She snuggled up to him and whispered in his ear.
"I hope you are not too drunk, because I'm real horny," she cooed.
"Let's go! But I, for one, will never understand women..."
Hours later, one light burned on in the student residences. In this single lit room a figure sat, working intently at a computer. The screen contained a spinning image of Penny Bannon, the two option menu's read 'passive' and 'bisexual'. One click later, the first box read 'aggressive'.
Toni lent back in her swivel chair, the damp finger returned to her sopping slit.
"One step at a time sweet Penny, one step at a time."
Edmund made the first mistake of his day, he woke up.
Initially this did not seem a bad idea; he had shuffled to the edge of his bed, and bent down to pick up his discarded socks. It was at this point he discovered his mistake; his stomach fell and bounced on the inside of his skull. The impact crushed his brain and sent the entire room spinning. Edmund had a decision to make, either to expire immediately, or throw up. Unfortunately for Edmund, he lived.