Avon at the WindowBy Nova
Page 2 of 5
Avon, by the window.|
The back window of a furnished apartment in Space City, where a bundle of credits could buy anything within reason, no questions asked. He had rented the place within an hour of arriving in the city and spent another two hours acquiring a comprehensive computer system and basic supplies, so that he would not need to leave the apartment again. No point in drawing attention to themselves, even here on neutral territory. After all, the Terra Nostra controlled Space City and, unknown to most of its inhabitants, the Federation controlled the Terra Nostra.
A foreshortened figure scuttled to the bottom of the fire escape and began to climb. Avon padded across to the back door and waited for the knock. A small round balding man squeezed through the gap, peered up at Avon and clutched his hands eagerly.
"Cat!" he wheezed. "It's good to see you again. Still beautiful, naturally - but, my dear, those clothes! Why on earth are you dressed like that?"
As a matter of fact, I chose to retain the hospital uniform as the most effective way to define this new relationship between Blake and me. But that is none of your business, Lek Farrar.
"Your patient is in the front room," he said, withdrawing his hands. "Follow me."
"Arrogant as ever," the doctor said happily, as he trotted along behind Avon. "You were the most supercilious little bitch I ever dealt with in Wyld's cathouse - and the most fascinating too, of course. I'm dreadfully respectable these days, Cat, patching up the delinquent sons of the Terra Nostra for exorbitant fees. How did you manage to find -? No, don't tell me. I don't think I want to know."
He followed Avon into the long airy room where Blake lay propped against the pillows of a huge bed. A modem on a desk to one side and a stretcher bed by the far wall. Lek Farrar's round eyes flicked across to it and his eyebrows quirked in surprise.
"Separate beds? So he's not your lover?" he whispered and Avon echoed mockingly, "You don't want to know."
While the little doctor removed the cast and examined Blake, tutting enthusiastically over his wounds, Avon stood by the bed with his hands folded, impassive and patient as a well-trained valet. From time to time Lek shot a curious glance at him, clearly puzzled by the situation.
"Well, you'll live," he told Blake finally. "You shouldn't have been travelling, not in your condition, but I assume you didn't have a choice. I've left all the medication you'll need and Cat knows how to change your dressings. You're in good hands there, you know."
"Yes, I expect you've had experience with his hands," Blake snarled. "You're one of his ... old friends, aren't you? I got a whiff of the cathouse when you walked in."
The little doctor giggled delightedly and slapped his wrist. "No need to be insulting, dear, even though you are butch enough to get away with it. Come and see me out, Cat. I must dash, if I'm to be at the Terra Nostra banquet in time for the entrŽes."
Out in the corridor he stopped and tucked a plump hand into the crook of Avon's arm. "I'm afraid you've been a naughty boy, Cat," he murmured. "I know that face of his from somewhere, don't I?"
"Quite possibly," Avon agreed. "But don't bother to search your memory, Lek. It wouldn't be healthy."
Lek gave an exaggerated shudder. "Politics," he decided. "I couldn't be less interested. Well, Cat, I've done all I can for your friend. Don't you think I deserve a kiss in return?"
He leaned back, graceful and accepting. The little man closed in on him and kissed his mouth reverently, gasped and shuddered and sent a greedy tongue squirming between his lips. Plump hands fluttered across Avon's body, lingering on his cheek: his throat: his chest: circling round his groin without quite daring to touch. Slipping under the grey tunic to paw satin skin, while the jut of his erection rubbed frantic against Avon's hip, butted and jerked and stilled. He took a step backwards and looked up with a flash of bitterness.
"I always wanted you, Cat," he said thickly. "But you knew that, didn't you? It's the lure you used to get me here. I'm not sure what game you're playing this time but I can recognise danger when I smell it. Don't contact me again."
He marched to the door, back stiff and straight. Then, at the last minute, curiosity spun him around to ask one more question.
"Cat, I've never seen you like this before. Why him?"
"Because I owe him," Avon said in a level voice and the little doctor blinked, gulped and fled. Avon stood at the open door for a while, watching the night, then shrugged and turned away.
Back in the long room Blake was fidgeting restlessly. He hoisted himself higher on the pillows and growled, "I hope you paid him well for that."
"No need," Avon murmured. "As you said, he is an old friend."
"Yes, that's what I meant. I presume you paid him in your usual currency. Well, Avon? We can't keep secrets from each other, not at such close quarters. Did you screw him or didn't you?"
"As it happens, I did not. Although I can't see why it should concern you."
"Oh, I've got no personal interest in the matter," Blake said with a sudden twist of his mobile mouth. "That was all over long ago. But look at it from my point of view, Avon. I'm cooped up here at the mercy of an unscrupulous bastard with the morals of an alleycat, so you can hardly blame me for wanting to know what's going on." He laughed harshly and added, "Perhaps I should call you Cat, like he does - but the word leaves an unpleasant taste in my mouth."
Behind Avon's back, his hands had clenched into fists. He uncurled the fingers carefully and leaned over to straighten the bedcovers. "Easy, Blake," he said, soft-voiced. "You need to rest now. Or would you prefer to eat something before you sleep?"
"No, you and your little friend have turned my stomach," Blake spat. "Leave me alone, Avon. I'm sick of the sight of you."
Avon nodded and walked across to the computer, flicking the switch. Winced at the heavy thud from the mattress as Blake ostentatiously turned his back. Sat down and checked the menu on the screen, forcing himself to forget his surroundings and concentrate on planning the future.
I owe him.
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