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Town Mouse / Country Mouse

By Nova
Page 2 of 2

2. I should know better than to attempt altruism. Since I lack practice, the results are less than satisfactory. One might think that Blake would be grateful for the chance to relieve his palpable sexual tension. But no, he retires to his cabin in a huff.

Undeterred, I return to the Salemite quarter and enjoy myself. Next night, I enjoy myself again. By the third day of our impromptu holiday, I decide I'd rather stay on Liberator and read a good book plaque. I have just managed to settle myself comfortably on one of the recreation room's Procrustean couches when Blake barges in and looms over me.

'You're blocking my light,' I point out.

'Yes, it's intentional,' he explains. 'I'm trying to get your attention.'

I switch off the book plaque. 'Very well, you have it,' I tell him. 'For precisely one minute.'

'Oh, I won't take that long,' Blake says. 'It turns out that there are some rebels from Woodstock on Del-10 as well. One of them has lent me his holiday house for the rest of the week. I want to invite you there, as return hospitality.'

It's hardly an attractive proposition. Woodstockers are famous - or infamous - for their dedication to the simple life. Their cuisine is best described as organic, their notion of fashion revolves around comfort and natural fibres and their seduction techniques bypass finesse and titillation, to focus on the kind of openness and honesty that prompts statements like, 'If you want to fuck, that's fine by me. If not, that's fine too.' I suspect that the Woodstock version of a holiday house will resemble a Federation youth league camp. (Not that I know anything about Federation youth league camps, of course, apart from what I've seen in Salemite pornovids.)

On the other hand, an ironic glint in Blake's eyes is daring me to accept. I never refuse a dare and besides, an afternoon of rest and recuperation should prepare me for some more Salemite nightlife. Accordingly, we repair to the teleport bay - Blake lugging a large wicker hamper, me pocketing my book plaque. Orac enters Blake's coordinates and next minute I am blinking at a concentrated assault of impossibly bright light.

As I squeeze my eyes shut, Blake says, openly and honestly, 'You've probably guessed that I have another motive for inviting you here. We might as well get it over with straight away.'

Oh, hell. Our evening in Tenton has obviously given Blake the wrong idea. Now he is going to say, 'If you want to fuck, that's fine by me. If not, that's fine too,' after which we will have to endure an interval of acute social embarrassment, until such time as I am able to make my excuses and leave.

But in fact, this prediction is inaccurate. Blake doesn't say anything. Instead, he drops the hamper and wraps an arm round my shoulders, bringing his hand up to cup the back of my head, bringing his mouth down on mine. The touch is light and cool and delicate. I gasp in surprise and feel his tonguetip dart between my parted lips, gently saluting my tonguetip before he withdraws.

'That's better,' he says. 'I don't usually have orgasms in company, without some sort of physical affection. We're even now. Enjoy the sunshine, Avon, while I go inside and unpack our lunch.'

His footsteps retreat, echoing across wooden boards. I open my eyes and gasp again. I am **not** agoraphobic: although I grew up in one of Salem-6's dome cities, I have no difficulty in dealing with open spaces. However, when I find myself in a sloping green meadow balanced precariously on a mountain crag, overlooking tiers of precipes that drop down sharply to the valley below, I feel, inaccurately but inescapably, as though I am about to fall off the edge of the world.

While I have been surveying the valley, my knees appear to have folded beneath me. I am digging my heels into the earth and clutching handfuls of grass, as if that could stop me from slipping over the cliff. Annoyed by this lapse of self-control, I turn my head away. Behind me, a tall tree covered with tiny blue flowers blocks out the vastness of the sky, which is an improvement. Unfortunately, as soon as I look back at the valley, my vertigo increases, forcing me to close my eyes again.

'You're sweating, Avon,' Blake says at my side. 'You ought to take that jacket off. Here, let me help.'

He leans closer and levers at a row of studs. When I open my eyes, he is frowning down at the hectic rise and fall of my chest. To prevent him from drawing the correct conclusion, I unknot my hands from the grass and clasp them round his neck, pulling him onto me. For a moment he lies completely still, immobilised by surprise, but then his hands lift and spread, galvanised into action. He is prising me out of skintight leather. I am stripping away layers of natural fibres. Democratically naked, we continue to roll and tumble across the grass, until I manage to get a grip on Blake's erection. He struggles briefly, determined to reciprocate.

'Relax, Blake,' I say. 'After all, the art of leadership includes knowing when to yield gracefully.'

Blake cites this axiom on an average of once a week, generally as a preliminary to getting his own way. This time, however, he chooses to yield gracefully. I straddle his thighs and clasp his cock, smiling when I find that my thumb and forefinger are barely able to make contact. Over the last few days I have handled at least half a dozen cocks but this is a particularly impressive example. I draw my hand up its shaft, alternating palm pressure with fingertip pressure, manipulating the foreskin, running a nail along a vein.

Well-tested techniques, guaranteed to elicit a response from most men, although before long I realise that, despite my innate distrust of altruism, I am responding just as fervently as Blake. I try to convince myself that my fervour is in direct proportion to the size of the cock filling my hand. As rationalisations go, this fails miserably. I am forced to confess that I derive a special satisfaction from the knowledge that the shaft currently working my fist like a piston is Blake's and no one else's - that the gasps echoing off the rockface are ripped from Blake's lungs - that the gush of sperm anointing my fingers is Blake's essence.

He groans and bucks, arched so high that he slams against my chest, hooping his arms around me and bearing me to the ground. Mission accomplished. Pinned by Blake's weight, I am in no danger of falling off the edge of the world. I shift lazily and reach for my cock, intending to exorcise my unSalemite enthusiasm by the most logical method available. But Blake shifts with me. Seconds later I am braced on my elbows, legs splayed, head tipped back helplessly, while Blake gulps my cock down his throat. He is good at this - something I might have guessed in advance, given his established penchant for oral gratification.

Seduced by his concentrated attention, I forget to shield my eyes against the sky's immensity and the gulf below. Brightness assails me twice over, blazing through the air and then blazing through my entire body as I come in Blake's mouth, with an intensity that is only enhanced by terror. I fall back on the grass, flinching at the touch of the flowers that rain down from the tree, flinching again when Blake releases me and rises.

'You don't really like open spaces, do you, Avon?' he says, more perceptive than I would have anticipated. 'Let's go inside.'

He bends down and hauls me to my feet. Standing, I experience another rush of vertigo but luckily I am distracted by the sight of Blake, magnificently naked, plastered with small blue flowers. Normally, this image would strike me as ridiculously wholesome but right now, I find it rather charming. Blake stares back at me, similarly charmed.

'You look like some sort of pagan wood god,' he says, unselfconsciously poetic. 'Does that mean you're about to disappear, any minute now?'

'That depends on what you have provided for lunch,' I tell him.

Blake laughs. 'Sarranese brandade, Gallican bread, a selection of Del-10 cheeses, rose petal jam and potato pie. Will that do?'

It is an unexpectedly accurate reflection of my tastes. 'So you have been paying some attention to me over the past eighteen months,' I say. 'You are eighty per cent right, Blake, although the pie is a mistake.'

'A hundred per cent right,' he says smugly. 'The pie is for me. Come on, Avon, I'm starving.'

I follow him into the house, where he collects a tray and carries it into the bedroom. Apparently, Woodstockers have, at least, identified the connection between food and eroticism: by the end of our lunch, Blake is licking brandade from my navel and soon after that I suck rose petal jam from his cock. This leads to a reprise of our previous activities, with some interesting variations, after which we lie tangled together and watch the movement of sunlight and shadow across rocky slopes. Secure behind a window, I even find the view attractive, especially when it is framed by Blake's profile, angled casually towards me.

'What next, Avon?' he says.

For a Woodstocker, this is almost tactful. Clearly, Blake wants to know whether I am merely indulging some Salemite perversity or whether I share his simpler sentiments. Equally clearly, he is prepared to let me set my own terms. As a reward for his forbearance, I decide to meet him halfway.

'This place is less excruciatingly rustic than I anticipated,' I murmur. 'I would be happy to remain here for the rest of the week.'

I must have said more than I intended, because Blake's face changes. 'Would that really make you happy, Avon?' he asks.

Happiness is not a concept often invoked on Salem-6. It more properly belongs with woolly-minded Woodstock notions like peace and love. However, just as Blake is beginning to approximate Salemite indirection, I seem to have been corrupted by Woodstocker simplicities.

At any rate, I find myself saying, 'Yes.'

That single word changes Blake's face even more drastically. His eyes darken and the tension in his muscles slackens, relaxing his mouth into a melancholy pout.

'Oh god, I've missed this,' he breathes. 'Although I didn't realise what I was missing, until now. Avon, sweetheart, I can't keep on risking our lives, not any more. Forget about Central Control. Just find us a bolthole, somewhere out of the Federation's reach.'

His eyes gaze into mine, urgent and shadowed. I discover that, while I enjoy driving Blake to distraction, I don't like to see him sad. Consequently, I resort to the best method I know for invigorating him: by talking politics.

'You'd be bored within a week,' I say briskly. 'We can do better than that. If we locate Docholli, as you planned, we will then be in a position to collect a detachment of Avalon's troops, take over Central Control and gradually restore the Federation's subject planets to full autonomy.'

Blake chews thoughtfully at a knuckle. 'That idea **had** occurred to me but I wasn't sure whether it would work,' he admits. 'Still, I suppose that, if a Woodstocker and a Salemite can cooperate, anybody can. Will you stay and help me, Avon?'

'Why not?' I say.

*

For once, everything goes as we have planned. Better, in fact. Avalon's troopers spot Travis outside Central Control and gun him down. On entering, we are attacked by a bunch of white-coated scientists, who mysteriously dissolve into puddles of alien slime after being shot. I suspect we may have inadvertently forestalled Travis's attempt to revenge himself by facilitating an Andromedan invasion, although we will never know for sure.

At any rate, I have no time to come up with alternative theories. Even by Blakean standards, the next year is exceptionally busy. I acquire an even more eclectic range of skills, along with an inside knowledge of the most interesting and lucrative ways to deploy those skills in a remodelled galaxy. However, much to my chagrin, once order has been established, I don't immediately set off to make myself rich and safe. Instead, I corner Blake and ask, 'What next?'

Blake says, 'If you want us to stay together, that's fine by me. If not, that's fine too.'

It irritates me less than one might expect.


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