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One Night Stand

By Sebastian and Nova
Page 2 of 52

      "You look bored. Not enough - excitement - for you here?" Avon frequently laid odd little stresses on uncontentious words to throw Blake, make him feel as if he were being accused of something. Blake was equable about it, most of the time.

      Avon's eyes gleamed in the low light. Blake answered him. "Is that all you had to say? I thought you were asking me to dance."

      "I didn't know," Avon said, "that you were open to offers." Blake indicated the floor, with a questioning eyebrow raised. In a no-win situation, Avon backed down gracefully. "Very kind, but I'm afraid Jenna would scratch my eyes out. As she probably will, if she returns to find me in her place."

      "Well, my money's on you, if it comes to a fight," Blake replied lightly. "But I must say, her perfume was more to my taste."

      Quite untrue, as it happened, but for some reason it scored, Avon's face going blank for a second. Avon's uncanny skill at hitting the emotional mark was a weapon Blake too had at his command. Unlike Avon, however, he sometimes favoured a subtler approach to getting what he wanted from people. Avon either did not know that sweetness proved a better lure than poison or thought it beneath him to use it. Blake had never once seen him, not once, try the beguilement of charm.

      It was just as well, because Blake had the feeling that Avon could be much, much more dangerous, if ever he did. And Blake, who had a secret yen for dark eyes and romantic looks, thought he himself might just be the first to fall.

      His gaze, restlessly wandering, met the redhead's again. Avon didn't fail to spot it. "Another conquest, Blake! I think tonight's going to be your lucky night." Jenna was wending her way back, threading her way between tables. "One way or another."

      "Can I rely on you to console the unlucky loser?" Blake asked, smiling, amused by Avon's unusual banter.

      "I'm afraid not," Avon demurred. "One night stands carry such a high risk of infection."

      Blake laughed. "Thanks, Avon. I'll keep that in mind."

      "Excuse me," Jenna was saying to Avon, with a very hard stare.

      "Dance?" Blake said, to forestall trouble. Jenna took his outstretched hand with a smile of pleasure. Blake didn't look back.

      He held her slender form close, as they moved to some sugary lyric. A pretty girl, was Jenna, and courageous too. The light strength of her moved him. "You dance well," she said into his ear.

      Actually, he was barely moving. He shut his eyes, held her head lightly against his chest and breathed in the scent of her hair. His body was reacting strongly to the nearness of her. He wondered if she'd notice, decided she'd probably be flattered. They stayed on for another number and then went back to their table.

      Jenna gave him a half-shy, secret smile as they sat down again. Blake released her hand, inwardly wincing. He hoped Jenna hadn't got the wrong idea. The last thing he wanted was a romantic entanglement with any of his crew. That was a surefire invitation for disaster to step in. Tensions ran high enough, as it was. The delicate balancing of Jenna's proprietariness with the others' suspicions of favouritism was, he felt sure, quite beyond him. In fact, for fairness' sake, he now ought to dance with Cally - or Avon should.

      He glanced over at Avon. Vila was holding forth to Gan and Cally, while Avon sat a little apart, looking into space. He didn't look bored, merely contemplative, his hand idly encircling the stem of his glass, his distant dark eyes following the dancers. As Blake made desultory small-talk with Jenna and, occasionally, the others, he listened to Avon's silence.

      Avon was prone to withdrawing into himself, for no apparent reason. Blake didn't know whether or not to be pleased that the pricking cynicism had come to rest. Avon had been in an oddly provocative mood for a man with little apparent sense of humour. However, in point of fact, when the occasion was not a pitched space battle for their lives from the flight deck , Blake was glad of Avon's sharp tongue to flaunt his own against. Loyal to a fault, genuinely fond of his crew, he sometimes felt secretly tired of adoration. How sad it was, Blake mused, looking at the shuttered dark eyes, the sculpted mouth untwisted now by cynicism, that while friendship was a nice thing, good to have around you in a harsh world, only enmity, anger and lust roused your passions and your ambition.

      A comedian was taking centre stage, beginning an act which Vila chuckled at unceasingly but everyone else from the Liberator found incomprehensible. Then a raffle was held. Vila won a bunch of flowers, which he gallantly presented to Cally, after plucking a single gorgeous bloom from it and offering it to Jenna. Cally was pleased with her gift, Jenna ungracious. Seeing Vila's pleasure waver and fade, for a moment Blake disliked Jenna. She turned to him and smiled soon after, her face transforming.

      The evening went on. Blake drank a little more soma enhanced by adrenalin. Avon took alcohol but slowly, one glass to Vila's three.

      "Why?" Blake asked him, raising his own concoction for comparison. Avon looked at him incuriously.

      "I prefer the taste."

      "Oh," Blake said, having expected something more complex. No-one, it was true, could like the taste of adrenalin and soma but it did tend to pick you up, even as it knocked you down.

      More entertainment was provided: acrobats, one of whom was possessed of a rubber body which he could twist with ease into inhuman positions, elegant or otherwise. It was a repulsive yet fascinating sight, the knit of bone and muscle stretched unnaturally beneath supple skin.

      Vila was saying, "I had a girlfriend once, she was a trapeze artiste and you wouldn't believe, you just wouldn't believe, the things she could-"

      Silent for an hour or more, Avon gave a sudden hard laugh, watching with a desultory eye the rubber one's doubled-over writhings.

      "I don't imagine he gets tired of being alone."

      "Eugh, it's horrible," Jenna said, grimacing.

      "Think of the years of training," Cally marvelled, absorbed, but failing to bring Vila's mind up to a higher plane.

      "She had the body of an angel - and the face of a troll but who looks at the sky, when you're watering the plants? Mind you-"

      Still struggling, heart lurching, with the nearest thing to innuendo he had ever heard Avon express, Blake ducked under Vila's babbling voice and asked Avon, sotto voce, "What did you say?"

      Avon only looked at him oddly and Blake realised that he must have had more adrenalin and soma than was good for him. His perceptions seemed heightened, his skin tingling with nerves. The great glass chandelier overhead sparkled as it turned in the light airstream, reflecting little sparkles across people's faces. Avon flickered in and out of the cast of light, his eyes quite black, his face pensive and melancholy, an occasional shine here and there picked out on the silver decoration of his black suit. Blake blinked, realising he was hypnotising himself, drooping nearer and nearer the table, so he pushed aside his glass with a firm hand. From a passing waiter, he ordered a pot of black coffee. It was strong and bracing.

      A troupe of dancers had appeared now, tall pretty things in peacock satin, pleasant to watch. Relaxed, his mind clearing a little under the probe of caffeine, Blake eased himself back into his very comfortable seat to watch. Jenna leaned against him, despite his lack of encouragement. Vila was visibly moved by the spectacle of long, bare legs kicking. Gan was tapping his foot to the music and smiling, quite oblivious to the fact that he was totally out of time. Cally watched impassively.

      As did Avon, his expression hard, almost disinterested. You really couldn't tell if he was enjoying the feminine beauty on view or not. For some reason, Blake found himself obsessed with seeing some sort of reaction from Avon. He felt peculiarly aware of Avon tonight. The most difficult of his crew, Avon was also the most fascinating. There were depths to Avon that Blake felt he had never touched, nor ever would with a lifetime's scratching him.

      Blake danced with Cally, her narrow body firm to the touch and sweet, her glossy dark hair soft under his chin. When they returned, Vila swept her off. Blake pulled Jenna to her feet and held her close, folding her hand inside his own much larger one, against his chest. All he could see in his mind's eye were long, bare legs.

      Jenna closed her eyes dreamily and pressed herself against him. This unleashed fervent images to wipe out the innocent leggy vision - Jenna, on her knees, her pretty pink mouth stretched sweetly around his cock. A hot, honeyed fire rose in his loins. Speaking to him from another world, Jenna murmured, "You're so nice, Blake," and he felt a hearty rush of shame for his crude fantasies, which brought him a little to his senses.

      Staring open-eyed over her shoulder, he caught Avon's darkly sardonic gaze and the image which rose in his mind this time was Avon on his knees, partly undressed, hands bound behind his back. Now, this he didn't feel guilty for, matching Avon stare for stare, looking out towards him now and then, as he guided Jenna around the floor.

      Forcing himself down Avon's unwilling throat, half-choking him, making Avon swallow. Nasty and yet, just the thought of it made him throb with lust. He shook his head to clear the erotic daze. Things were going too far. Too much soma, definitely, netting down inhibition, and too long, no doubt, since he had indulged his body. He really should pick up a woman, get it over with.

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