I am dreaming. Hazy, warm, loving dreams that paint my face with content. I'm buoyed upwards, upwards until, with a flutter of my eyelids, I realize I am swimming close to the surface, to actually waking.

Not yet, please, not yet.

I roll over, my white skin sliding over satin sheets. I sigh. I slide. I sigh again. Sensation is new to me. Sleep is new to me. I lived in a world of steel, of reason, of efficiency. This is not efficient. This is ecstasy.

The sound of footsteps on the carpet hits my ears. Sleep is delicious, but the sound of those steps makes the edges of my mouth curl up.

Smiling is new to me.

I hear her murmur under her breath. She doesn't want to wake me, but now, I want to. A contraction of muscle opens my eyes, just enough to watch her through downcast lashes. The edges are blurred, the colors pastel. She is naked.

And I'm interested.

She stands with her back to me while she scans her closet for what to wear. I don't understand her reasoning. Her current attire is entirely sufficient for me. Her hips twitch as she switches legs. I swallow. I slide between the sheets and suddenly, my skin is on fire.

"Kathryn," I say.

No, I do not speak. My voice has slipped into the lower register and it rolls in my chest. I am not speaking. It is far more primal than that. It should shock me, and it does. I need to be in control of myself, my fears, my needs. My desires.

I always was.

She turns, and looks at me, and I'm not. I'm not in control of anything these days.
All I want to do is roll on my back, offer my weakest spots to her and pray at her altar. Pray. Yes.


With hooded eyes, I watch her prowl closer. There is that lopsided smile and the grace of knowing who she is, where she is, and what she wants. Oh, yeah. She knows. She wants.


"Have you been watching me?" Gracefully, she sits on the edge of the bed her bed. The bed is hers. The satin sheets are hers. The room is hers. I am.

I nod.

She smiles and raises an eyebrow. Her look implies much more than I could ever feel, but I do not object. She leans over me, her nose twitching. I hold very still as she takes olfactorial inventory. My breath twindles and halts. I am suspended between her sheets and her skin, between her touch and her breath. Between life and


Her tongue brushes boldly across the star-shaped implant on my right cheek. I start. I squirm. I burn. Once, I wondered if she would be appalled by who I was, and who I am. She is not. She embraces my strangeness with the heat of desire, hot enough to burn me to a cinder. Her hand finds my hair, burrows into it. Hot breath streaming over the sensitized metal, part of me. Tongue finding my earlobe. Lips teasing it. Tongue sucking it. My breath halts, then releases, shuddering. I tremble.

I'm lost.

A rush of sensation leaves me stranded. A single pebble in a rushing stream, I am slipping away, and I'm scared. Scared. Me.

I blink, and awaken to her eyes, regarding me silently. Her hand rests on my cheek, brushing the starburst casually with her thumb.

"I will not let you go.

She leans over me again, brushing her lips against mine, tasting, caressing, finding.

"Not today.

Her lips mend me, focus me. I am on my back, I present my weakest spots. My enhanced left hand curls around her fragile middle, pulls her closer, closer, until she covers me. Covers me completely.

"Not tomorrow.

I sigh under her delicious weight. The satin sheets have nothing against the silk of her skin. She centers me, she will not let me go.

"Not ever.

Not ever.

I have never been this awake in my life.


(c) jtd 2002