Disclaimers: Although the title is not mine, the story and the characters are.
Sex: There are expressions of physical love between people of the same sex.
Violence: Not enough to mention.
©June 13, 2011
“I can't do it…I won't do it”
“But you must, Nadia. The responsibility that was entrusted to us has gone unbroken for several generations. You must take your place…it is your duty.”
“No, mother, you can not ask this of me. I want my own life.”
“None of us have our own lives, Nadia. Not me, not Nonie, and not you. Ever since the first of us became contaminated, excavating cinnabar in the mines of Spain, our role has been that of guardians. We must all step up when we hear the call. It is our purpose.”
“Then I'll be the first to turn a deaf ear,” was promised just before Nadia Sullivan stormed out of the room, leaving her mother angry, confused, and a little proud.
“Don't worry,” was said from the person sitting in a shadowed corner. “She's only twenty-three years old, she'll come around. It is in her blood. When the time comes, she will do what must be done.”
Sophia smiled, as she watched her mother's actions. The older woman had pooled enough liquid metal in the palm of her hand to form a delicate silver bell. Once it had taken shape she gently rattled her creation, and a soft tinkling sound could be heard, making the designer smile. Ever since her retirement from crime fighting, Louisa Sullivan had chosen to construct things that brought her joy, instead of the deadly metal of her past.
Sophia watched a little longer before running her hand through her dark hair. “I hope so, mom, because if she holds tight to this stubborn streak of hers, it will be the first time in the whole of our lineage that one of our kind didn't take their place.”
Nadia walked briskly down the sidewalk, her hands stuffed deep into her coat pockets, oblivious to the stares she was receiving, never giving notice or care. The only time she acknowledged her surroundings was when she heard an alarm sounding in the distance, then she hesitated, but only for an instant, before continuing on. But when the sirens began wailing, and several police cars raced by, resisting the urge to follow became more difficult.
Her heart begged her to investigate the source of the alarms, but her soul would not allow her feet to change direction. She knew if she was going to keep her course she would need a distraction, so she created tiny spheres in her pocket, and jangled them around, hoping to take her focus off of whatever crime was being committed.
“I hate this. Why can't I be like everyone else? I didn't ask for this,” she grumbled. “So what if mom and Nonie were so dedicated they only took the time to find a suitable male to make a baby with before returning to the good fight. That's not for me. I want love, romance, a family, I…I want it all,” she groused. “Not just a piece of the pie, I want the whole thing.”
The more agitated she became, the faster she rattled the metal in her pocket. “I've spent my whole life watching, first Nonie, and then mom put fighting for justice ahead of everything else, even a personal life.” Nadia snorted. “Especially a personal life.”
Nadia thought about the only life she had known for the last twenty-three years. The habits of her mother and grandmother were painted on her memory like a permanent stain. When the women weren't listening to police scanners, or trolling in the shadows trying to prevent mischief, they worked in the family owned convenience store.
The business was a small quick stop, that mostly sold household staples, like bread, milk and eggs, a few fountain drinks, grilled hot dogs, toilet paper and cheap gasoline. It was the type of place that begged to be robbed once or twice a month, but in all the years it had been open, only a few people had been dumb enough to try. After they realized that the women who owned the place were not as defenseless as they had thought, it wasn't a mistake that was ever repeated.
On the few occasions that an attempt had been made the perpetrator was usually subdued before they could properly draw a weapon. In the blink of an eye, the woman that had been casually standing at the register one second, had come over the counter, holding an extremely sharp blade at the criminal's throat the next. The lesson was learned fast…leave the Sullivan's store alone.
Nadia shook her head back and forth at the memories. “No, that's not for me,” she reminded herself. “How can they live a life without companionship? Patrolling the dark streets on long lonely nights can't keep you safe and warm. Police scanners won't cuddle you close and soothe away the tension when you've had a crappy day, and most certainly, spending hour after hour keeping an eye on your customers to make sure they don't steal from you doesn't feed that place inside your heart where love thrives.”
Nadia continued along lamenting her heritage in every way that she could imagine, until she was brought out of her brooding by a feminine voice laced with a little humor.
“Hey, tall, dark, and rushed, where you headed?”
Nadia looked for the source of the interruption, and felt even more annoyed when a short blonde, wearing a brown leather jacket and a fedora, moved from her spot against a brick building.
“You talking to me?” the irritated woman asked.
“I don't see any other six foot tall brunettes barreling down the sidewalk, so, yeah. I'm talking to you.”
Blue eyes rolled. ‘I am so not in the mood for baby dykes today,' Nadia thought. “Any other day but today, little girl.” she said as a brush-off. “Find someone else to work your charms on.”
Before another word was spoken, green eyes wondered up and down the long muscular body with interest. “First off, I'm no one's little girl. Second…” here she paused. “If I were hitting on you, you'd be in my bed by now, and third, do you really think I'm charming?” she asked with a big grin.
Nadia just looked at the woman for a moment, she had to admit, the small blonde did have a certain amount of charm about her, and the wide smile on her face made the feisty woman appear even more endearing. Nadia felt the tension start to leave her body, and for the first time that day she felt a lot less cranky. She knew she was more relaxed, she had to have been to do what she did next.
When she took notice of the old man hat the other woman was wearing, she burst out laughing. Deep, belly laughs that made her double over, but it didn't last long. After catching a glimpse of the frustrated expression on the smaller woman's face, she pulled herself together and cleared her throat. “Um…sorry about that. What do you say we call a truce and start over?”
Choosing to take the high road by ignoring the temporary fit of laughter that had just been displayed, the short woman accepted the reprieve. “I'd like that.” Remembering how miserable the woman had looked just seconds before, the blonde made a suggestion. “You look like a woman that could use a drink and a long conversation. What do you say we move this from the crowded sidewalk to someplace a lot quieter?”
It only took Nadia a moment to consider the invitation. ‘What could it hurt?' she thought. “Sounds good to me,” Nadia smiled. “Lead the way.”
“Good, I know just the place.”
Nadia was surprised when she was led into a bar that looked like something out of a Indiana Jones movie. The lighting was dim, there seemed to be a thin veil of dust floating in the air, and there was a sluggishly moving fan hanging from the ceiling. All that was missing was a fruit-carrying monkey.
“Have a seat, Stretch. I'll order us a drink.”
“My name is not Stretch. It's Nadia. Nadia Sullivan.”
A strong hand was extended in introduction. “The name's, Cory Barton, and when I get back we can have that talk.”
When Cory returned she sat across from the dark woman and handed her one of the two drinks she was carrying, but before saying anything, she removed her hat and reverently placed it on the empty seat next to her. “Now, tell me your troubles, Nadia Sullivan.”
Nadia took a few sips of the strong liquor before placing the glass on the table, then she slowly ran her finger around the rim, deciding, for now, to change the subject.
“Does the owner of this place know it's the twenty-first century?” she asked, commenting on the decor.
Cory snorted. “Yeah, he knows, but he likes this…ambiance.”
Nadia raised a brow. “What?”
“He likes the clientele that this atmosphere draws.”
That's when Nadia took a good look around the room. It was the middle of the afternoon, so there were only a few people scattered around the large space, but those few painted an interesting picture.
There was a man sitting alone at a table, but was playing a two-person hand of cards. A woman was sitting in a booth with a white-haired man, and they seemed to be carrying on a conversation in a language that wasn't familiar to Nadia. Finally, her focus settled on a man that sat at the end of the bar. He looked to be in his mid-forties, with dusty blonde hair and serious brown eyes. He was wearing a multi-colored cloak to ward off the cold, and a bottle of beer sat in front of him. Every so often, he would look over at their table and turn away when Nadia held his gaze too long.
“What's up with guy wearing the poncho?”
Cory looked over her shoulder, and waved. When the man waved back, she smiled and gave him a wink. “That's Thomas. He owns the place. He's just making sure you're okay.”
Blue eyes went wide. “Me…okay? Are you serious?”
Green eyes held her in place. “Very serious. Over the years, there have been times when people have wandered in and caused a few problems…you know, getting real rowdy. College kids mostly. They'd have a few drinks and think it would be cool to start a bar brawl. I guess the look of the place fuels a young man's drunken need to recreate those scenes from old movies.” Cory's eyes softened. “Can't say I blame them much, this place is a bit of a throwback.”
Nadia laughed out loud. “A bit? Any minute now, I'm expecting Clint Eastwood, wearing his High Plains Drifter garb, to walk through the door, cigar and all.”
The women sat for a couple of hours, talking about everything except what was bothering the dark woman. When Cory saw that Nadia's glass was empty, she held up two fingers, and in no time, the bartender came over with two fresh drinks.
More people had come in, and someone had punched a few buttons on the old jukebox, filling the room with the voice of Frank Sinatra. Just like everything else in the bar, the songs and the method of their delivery were outdated. A quarter would buy you five spins from a selection of over two hundred vinyl records that, surprisingly had no scratches or skips. “Ol Blue Eyes” was singing about how he did it his way, the record sounding like it was a brand new release.
By the time they were on their fifth round, Cory decided it was time to try again to get the woman to open up. She reached across and rested her hand on top of Nadia's. Her intention was to offer comfort, but when she felt an unusual warmth rush up her arm, she felt dizzy, and pulled back, returning her hand to her glass.
“What had you so upset today?” she asked.
Noticing the way Cory pulled back, Nadia assumed that she must have felt something odd and didn't want to touch her. ‘Figures,' she thought. ‘I can't say that I blame her. I wouldn't want to touch me either.'
“You wouldn't understand,” Nadia said with a self-deprecating slur.
Hearing the misery in the woman's voice, Cory almost reached out to touch her again, but remembered what happened the last time, and stopped herself.
“You'd be surprised by what I understand.”
Nadia remained quiet for a moment, willing herself to find the courage to share her secret. It wasn't something that she usually did, had never done really, but there was something about Cory that made Nadia feel like she could be trusted.
“Let's order another drink first.”
Cory could see that Nadia was getting drunk, but figured if a little liquid fortitude was what the woman needed to tell her story, then so be it.
After taking a gulp of her sixth drink, Nadia looked at the jukebox, and for a moment was caught up in watching the mechanical arm exchange one record for another. “Cool,” she said in dreamy voice before looking at her drinking companion through hazy eyes. “I doubt you'd understand a freak of nature.”
“Try me,” was the easy response.
“I'd love to try you.”
It was hard to tell who was more shocked by the remark. Between Cory's pink cheeks, and Nadia's red ears, both women were blushing with embarrassment…or was it a sudden flush of passion? Neither woman was sure, but Nadia was sure of one thing. The more she drank, the less inhibited she became, and if she wasn't careful she was going to make a fool of herself, it was becoming more and more difficult to deny her attraction to the pretty blonde.
Ignoring her little slip into a mild flirtation, Nadia got back on track. “Okay. So, you think you can understand? How about this?” she took a deep breath. “I'm a walking, talking metal factory.”
“I don't understand,” was all Cory said.
“See?! I knew it!” Nadia accused.
Cory rolled her eyes. “Stop being a nitwit. I don't understand what that means, is what I'm saying.”
“Oh,” Nadia said.
She pulled in a lung full of air to steady her nerves, and knew she'd had too much to drink when, instead of giving Cory an answer that made sense, she deliberately created a pool of liquid metal in the palm of her hand. She remained quiet and silently watched as it quickly morphed into a spoon, then a fork, and finally a metal key.
“See? A freak of nature.”
Cory watched in amazement, but never said a word as each item was formed, hardened by the air, then just as quickly, begin to liquefy again, eventually rejoining the host.
Nadia didn't know if her companion was drunk or just weird, but Cory didn't seem fazed at all by the display, in fact, she reached out and touched Nadia, and for a second time the warmth returned, but this time both women felt it. They held each other's gaze, both trying to understand what this heat was.
Finally, Cory pulled away, but this time Nadia didn't feel abandoned by the absence. When she looked into the other woman's unwavering green eyes, all she saw was acceptance, and for the first in her life, she felt like there was hope.
Needing to break the silence that had settled between them, Cory cleared her throat. “Um…does the metal always have to be reabsorbed?”
“No, it's up to me. I seem to have an endless supply,” Nadia answered, feeling less burdened.
“Well, I think what you did looked more cool than freaky,” Cory said.
“Then there is something very wrong with you,” Nadia accused as she signaled the bartender to send over another drink.
Cory tilted her head, and studied the other woman. “Don't do that,” she said with sympathy. “There is nothing wrong with you for being the way you are, or me for not finding it strange.” Then she lightened the mood by shrugging her shoulders. “Or maybe there is,” she smiled. “So, is that why you were so upset earlier? Because of this special ability?”
“No, not really,” Nadia exhaled and ran her hand through her hair. Something she had seen her mother do countless times over the years. “The ability doesn't bother me. I'm used to it. What has me upset is the responsibility that comes with it. My mother and Nonie…” When a blonde brow rose in question, Nadia explained. “Nonie is my grandmother. Anyway, they expect me to give up my life like they did.”
“What do you mean?”
Nadia's focus turned to the glass in her hand. “Neither one of them have ever married, or been in a serious relationship. They believed it was more important to always fight the good fight and protect the innocent instead of settling down and starting a family.”
Cory was very cautious with her response. “How can you say that? You are here. They are here. Doesn't that make a family?”
Blue eyes blazed for a second before cooling. “I am an heir. An heir to a dynasty of avengers. That is who we are, that is what we do. We breed to continue the line, then move on. There is no place in our lives for husbands, or wives, or large families.”
This didn't ring true for Cory, so she treaded lightly. “The three of you don't love one another?”
Nadia felt like she had been slapped in the face. “Of course we love each other! My mom and my Nonie are the most important people in the world to me.”
“Then you are a family,” Cory simply informed the woman sitting across from her.
Feeling ashamed for even making Cory think that the women didn't love each other deeply, Nadia tried to make her point clearer. “I don't…it's not that I don't know love, but I want more for myself than a life of service.”
Cory remained quiet, trying to think of the right thing to say. “You don't think you could have both?”
Blue eyes rolled. “Who could deal with a spouse that was always lurking in the shadows waiting for trouble to start? I think that's a lot to ask of someone.”
Cory's eyes twinkled with mischief. “You'd be surprised, Stretch. Sometimes you can find understanding in the least likely of places.”
“I ain't going,” Nadia slurred.
“Come on, Stretch. Tell me where you live so I can get you home.”
“Nope…I ain't gonna do it. I'll sleep here before I go back there to those…to those…comic book characters.” Nadia said just before her forehead made a soft ‘THUNK' on the wooden table.
Cory covered her mouth with her had, and muffled the laugh that had escaped as soon as Nadia's head hit the table top. ‘As sad as that is, I can't help but find it adorable,' Cory thought.
“Well I can't leave you here,” she finally said to the top of the dark head. Searching the tall woman's pockets had only garnered a bankcard, and a locked cell phone, but no identification that gave an address. “I guess I'll have to take you home with me,” she informed the inebriated woman.
The dark head lifted and ebony brows wiggled lasciviously. “That was your plan the whole time, wasn't it?” Nadia warbled out just before she hiccupped.
Cory was about to protest, but then shrugged her shoulders. ‘Maybe it was,' she thought. She couldn't deny that she had found the woman very attractive from the first moment she had laid eyes on her.
Cory had Thomas help her half drag, half carry her tall companion out of the bar called, “The Lair,” into a waiting taxi that would take them home.
Most of the cab ride was spent with a suddenly amorous Nadia trying to kiss Cory on any exposed patch of skin she could find, and by the time they reached Cory's building, Nadia wasn't quite as drunk as she was before, but Cory still needed to help her into the apartment.
“Come on, Stretch, you gotta help me a little.”
“Told you, my name's not, Stretch,” Nadia mumbled.
“Okay, fine. Nadia, you gotta help me, you weigh a ton.”
“You think I'm fat?” Nadia pouted.
Cory would have laughed if she hadn't been straining to hold Nadia up. “No, don't be ridiculous, but it's kinda hard holding up six feet of inebriated goddess when you're only five-foot five.”
“You think I'm a goddess?” Nadia asked as she tried to kiss Cory on the lips.
“What has gotten into you?” Cory asked, ignoring the goddess question.
“I'm sorry. I…I don't usually drink this much.” Then with some clarity, Nadia made an observation. “H…how come you're still sober?”
“I come from a long line of imbibers. My tolerance is pretty high,” was the nonchalant answer.
“Oh,” was all Nadia said.
When Cory finally got her guest down on the sofa, she removed her coat. Once it was off, the tall woman fell back on the cushions and began to breathe deeply, so Cory pulled off her shoes and socks.
Once Cory had removed as much of the tall woman's clothes as she dared, she covered Nadia with a blanket and lightly brushed the back of her fingers along the high plains of the sleeping woman's face.
“What? No goodnight kiss?” Nadia mumbled.
Cory jumped, startled that her houseguest was now awake. She straightened up, and put her hands on her hips. “In your condition I doubt if you could find my mouth,” she smirked.
A large hand waved her forward. “Wanna bet?”
It was so tempting. Earlier, it had taken all of the blonde's willpower not to give in and let the randy brunette ravage her mouth in the taxi, but regardless of how tempting it was, she knew it wouldn't be right. “No I don't wanna bet, now go to sleep.”
When Cory turned to leave, she heard a taunt at her back.
“What's wrong, Cory? Are ya scared? Don't think you can handle me?”
Never being one to back down from a challenge, Cory returned to the sofa, she looked down at the dark woman, and feeling like she had nothing to lose, she leaned over, intending on giving the woman a quick peck on the lips, but Nadia had other plans.
When the blonde was near enough, a hand was placed at the back of her head, pulling her close, leaving no room for escape. Cory thought about pulling away. Having to fight off fumbling, drunken advances was not on the agenda tonight. But the firm hand that held her in place, and the silky tongue that was pressed against her lips caused an involuntary hum to come from Cory's throat, and she opened up, inviting Nadia in.
When their lips finally pulled apart both women were out of breath.
“Oh, boy,” Cory panted.
“Oh, boy is right,” Nadia added, sounding more sober than she had before the kiss. The warmth of that touch in the bar was nothing compared to the heat that was slowly consuming the tall woman.
Cory had wondered if it was just the alcohol that was making Nadia so amorous, or if there was a real attraction between them. Now, as she allowed the strong emotions to flow between them, she had her answer…there was a definite attraction. So, when Nadia moved in for a second kiss, Cory met her half way.
‘Oh, what the hell,' Cory thought, just before their lips touched. ‘Why fight it?'
The kiss started slow, but grew so heated that, before Nadia knew what she was doing, her feet were flat on the floor, and she had pulled Cory into her lap. Soon drunken gropes turn into purposeful caresses.
Cory's hands were holding tight to two fistfuls of dark hair as her hips started to grind into Nadia's firm stomach, seeking out relief for her throbbing center. But when she felt herself rising too fast she knew that if they didn't stop she was going to climax right there, so she broke the kiss and stood up, pulling her houseguest with her. “Come on.”
“Where are we going?” Nadia asked, out of breath, but offering no resistance as she was led out of the living room.
“To a place where we will have more space to move around.”
Realizing that they were headed for the bedroom, Nadia didn't even think to pretend that she didn't know what was about to happen. She began shedding her clothes, leaving a trail along the way. Cory wasn't playing games either, and by the time the women had reached the bedroom, Nadia was totally naked, and Cory was left in nothing but a pair of silk panties.
Passion filled, blue eyes settled on the very girlie undergarments, and Nadia's desire was heightened. “Oh my, the baby dyke has a secret.”
“I'm not a baby dyke,” Cory forced out as she removed her panties. “Don't let the hat fool you, Stretch.” Cory laid down on the bed, putting all of her femininity on display. “Come over here and let me show you a few things.”
Nadia didn't hesitate, she joined her companion on the bed and covered her with the length of her body. The feeling of skin on skin made both women instantly wet.
“Mmm…you feel so good,” Cory whispered.
“So do you.”
Nadia couldn't wait any longer. Now that they were touching, she wanted to know the body beneath her. She began with a slow kiss on Cory's lips, gently probing with her tongue, exploring the warmth of Cory's sweet mouth. Her hands appreciatively wandered over soft curves and sensuous dips that left no doubt that this was all woman. Then she gradually worked her way to the full breast that had been calling to her from the moment Cory laid on the bed.
“Your body is perfect,” Nadia murmured around a tight nipple.
“Thanks…it took twenty-two years to grow it,” Cory gasped.
Nadia ran her tongue over the valley between Cory's high mounds before moving to give the other breast equal attention. When she reached the pink nipple she pulled it into her mouth, and licked and sucked until it became rigid.
“Time well spent,” she complimented.
When Nadia took more of the aching breast deeper into her mouth, Cory arched her back and dug her fingers into thick, dark locks, trying to push more of her breast into her lover's mouth.
“Yesss,” she hissed.
The sound of pleasure sent Nadia's hand on a mission of discovery, that started with the caressing of a rounded hip, before it made it's way down to cup a perfect backside. She squeezed and stroked until she felt her companion moving around, trying to get the hand to go lower. That's when the wondering hand came around to the front and worked it's way between the blonde woman's legs. When the treasure was finally reached, she found a fountain of moisture waiting for her touch. She began to run her fingers through damp folds and spread the juices around the hard button that almost had a pulse of it's own.
Cory's voice was shaking with built up passion. “I…I'm gonna come.”
“Not yet,” Nadia promised. “I want to taste you first.”
Cory groaned with carnal anticipation. She knew she would die if she didn't find release soon.
The lusty sound fueled Nadia's desire, and she moved further down her lover's body. She knew now, more than ever…she needed to know this beautiful woman's essence. She kissed her way down to a well-toned stomach, and continued on until she ran her lips over neatly trimmed blonde curls. When she finally reached her goal, she spread her lover's legs apart, and nestling her shoulders between quivering thighs.
“You smell so good,” she whispered as she nuzzled the moist heat that awaited her.
Cory was about to say something to rush the journey along, when she felt a warm tongue swipe the length of her sex, before batting the tip of a very swollen clit.
“Oh, God!” she yelled, and raised her hips up off the bed.
Nadia wrapped her arms around the straining thighs and dove in, licking all around the flooding entrance, while keeping Cory anchored with her arms.
“Mmm…so, so good,” Nadia mumbled.
Now she was swimming in the deep end of the pool, and would not be distracted from her pleasure. At least that was the case until she felt Cory's hips began to make deep, purposeful thrusts, then she knew her lover needed more. But before abandoning her post, she pushed her tongue in one last time, drinking as much of the sweet nectar as she could gather. Then, in one fluid motion, her mouth moved up to cover her lover's neglected bud, and two fingers swirled around the waiting entrance, teasing a little before being pushed deep inside.
“Sweet Mother!” Cory shouted. Then she began to chant as she drove her hips harder. “Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop.”
Up until that point, Nadia's lips and tongue had been driving Cory higher than she had ever been, but when the dark woman's fingers entered her, it all changed, and for the first time in her life, she was filled…completely filled.
Cory could have sworn, that the moment Nadia's long fingers entered her they expanded, covering every inch of empty space that was left inside, chasing away the need to beg for more. It felt so good that she didn't think it could get any better than this, but when the suction increased around her already overly sensitized clit, she was lost. Cory felt her eyes roll to the back of her head and she was immediately hit by an orgasm so powerful she thought she would go blind from the intensity.
Both of her hands shot down and pressed Nadia's face tighter to her mound, her head was thrown back in ecstasy, and her mouth was wide open, as she screamed. “Shit! Shit! Yes, yes, yes!”
She rode out the feelings until every bit of pleasure had been milked from her body, and she was left twitching with aftershocks. She released Nadia's hair, expecting to find a clump still in her grasp. She pulled her lover up to lay on top of her, knowing that if Nadia's desire was anywhere near the fevered pitch of her own, the dark woman was in desperate need of relief.
When Nadia moved up enough to straddled Cory's leg, she almost sobbed from the much-needed contact. Never in her life had she been this turned on. She immediately began stroking herself along Cory's thigh, leaving a wet trail as she tried to keep pace with the orgasm that was building. Her face was buried in the crook of Cory's neck, and the bed moved with each thrust as her grunts grew louder.
Their bodies rocked together faster and faster, and to Cory's surprise, she was beginning to lose herself to another wave of pleasure. But even through the seductive haze that was threatening to consume her, she was she still able to find enough presence of mind to reach down and entered her lover, sending Nadia's excitement to a place that equaled her own. And when she felt her lover's juices begin to flow out around her fingers, Cory moved her free hand down the smooth expanse of Nadia's back, grabbing a handful of firm flesh to keep the taller woman grounded, guiding their movements until she felt herself cresting again.
They opened their eyes and held each other's gaze, and Nadia thought, ‘What is happening to me?' just before an earth shattering release robbed her of all thought.
The next morning Cory opened her eyes, and was immediately aware of the warmth that ran down the length of her back. Remembering who she had spent the night with, a smile bloomed on her face and she wiggled her behind, pressing her bottom tighter to the cushion of soft curls nestled against her backside.
“Mmmm… don't get me started,” Nadia mumbled into a cocoon of blonde hair.
“Why not?” Cory asked as she pulled the large hand away from her waist, and up to her mouth for a kiss.
“Because, before I do anything else I need to call my mom and Nonie, and let them know I'm okay. They're probably going crazy by now. I turned off my phone when I left the house, and never called to let them know I'm okay.”
“Then you better get a move on. The sooner you go. The sooner you'll get back,” was said in a sleepy voice.
Nadia pulled Cory closer, kissing her soft hair. She felt like, for the first time in her life, her eyes were wide open, and she was looking at a whole new world. She felt open and alive, and she knew that it was because of the woman in her arms.
She knew, without a doubt, that there was no request that this woman could make that she would not fulfill. This was THE woman, the woman that she would do anything for. Never in her life had the brief dalliances that she had experienced affected her this way. Cory Barton was it, and if the green-eyed blonde asked her to never take the chance of risking her life as a crime fighter, she knew that she would do it.
Realizing that Nadia had not made a move to get out of the bed, Cory flipped the covers off their naked bodies, exposing both of them to the air. “Go make your phone call, and hurry back. I need you to keep me warm.”
The chilled air, more than the sound of her lover's voice brought Nadia out of her thoughts. When she moved to leave the bed she heard a sleepy confession as Cory tried to find a spot that hadn't been taken over by the cool air. “You're like my own personal electric blanket.”
“Do you have a robe I could borrow? It's cold out here?”
“Take the comforter,” Cory said before pulling a pillow over her head, trying not to wake fully. “And turn up the thermostat on your way out. The box is on the wall by the light switch. For some reason I forgot to turn it up last night.”
Nadia could hear the smile in the sleepy voice.
“I'll be back in a sec,” she said through chattering teeth.
The naked woman quickly skittered across the wooden floor in her bare feet. “Man it's cold out here,” she said just before she found the thermostat and turned it up to eighty.
When she spotted her discarded jeans in the middle of a long line of clothes that led to the bedroom, she grabbed them up and retrieved the phone from one of the pockets, then called home. There was only a half ring before the line was picked up on the other end.
“Hello, mom…no I'm okay. I'm sorry I worried you and Nonie…no, I won't do it again…I love you too. Listen…mom, I have something to tell you…I met someone…”
When the couple finally got out of bed, they headed out for breakfast. Nadia thought it was just another one of her lover's adorable quirks when she discovered that Cory was proud that she didn't possess any culinary skills And her kitchen showed it. The appliances looked new, and the cabinets and refrigerator were empty. The only signs that the person that lived there ever ate anything was the food splattered microwave, and the freezer stacked with frozen dinners.
Cory grabbed her fedora from the wall hook, and the new lovers walked out of the door.
“I've been meaning to ask you,” Nadia started as the door closed behind them. “What's up with the hat?”
Cory pulled at the brim. “What? Don't you like it?”
“Sure,” Nadia shrugged her shoulders. “It's just kind of odd for a twenty-two year-old to be running around in her grandfather's hat.”
“Correction, great-grandmother's hat,” Cory stated.
“Oh, really? Now that sounds like a story I need to hear.”
“And you will,” Cory promised. “Just as soon as I get something in my stomach.”
The couple didn't know it, but the meal and the conversation was going to be delayed.
The women were about to walk into the corner diner when the door flew open, and two masked men ran out. The diner had just been robbed, and the thieves were making their escape.
One of them bumped into Cory and knocked her off balance, but when Nadia reached out to catch her before she hit the sidewalk, one of the thugs thought she was trying to block his escape route, and raised his gun, beginning to shoot without warning.
There was no thought, there wasn't any time to think. It was all instinct and reaction. Before she knew what she was doing, Nadia held up one hand, palm out, all five fingers spread wide. Then, in rapid succession, metal panels quickly formed, creating a shield large enough to provide cover for both women. While one hand was sheltering their safety, the other hand stopped Cory from hitting the concrete.
Both women were breathing hard, flinching each time a bullet would ricochet off of the metal. It was the rapid pinging sounds that made Nadia realize how dangerous the situation was, and when the noise stopped she retracted her shield and settled Cory back on her feet.
“Are you okay? Did you get hit?”
Nadia was frantically running her hands over Cory's body, looking for any hint of an injury. Finally, Cory started batting her hands away to make her stop.
“I'm fine, Stretch, but they're getting away.”
Both women turned their heads, and saw the backs of the retreating men. Just the sight of them caused Nadia's anger to soar. She realized how close she had come to losing Cory, to losing something she never thought she would have. That's when two daggers began to form in the palm of her hands, but, before she could throw them, Cory stopped her.
“No. Allow me.”
“Allow you? Allow you to what?”
Blonde brows wiggled, and instead of answering, Cory turned her focus on the men running to their getaway car. Then, like a dealer dispensing cards, she gave two quick flicks of her wrist.
That's when Nadia felt the hair on her arms rise, and a low pulse of energy passed by her, making her skin feel like something was crawling across the surface. Her eyes tracked the invisible path that was being laid, and could swear she saw two solid balls of power, shimmering like a heat wave, rolling in the criminal's direction. That was shocking enough, but when both men suddenly flew through the air, like they had been hit by a battering-ram, and landed on the pavement…out cold, her mouth fell open.
“What the hell was that?” Nadia asked when she was able to find her voice.
Cory polished her nails on the lapels of her coat before pulling out a cell phone. “Just a little something I like to call the fist of fury.”
“The fist of…”
Cory held up a hand to stop Nadia from talking. “Hello, dispatch? You need to send the police to Capital Boulevard. Ronnie's Diner just got robbed.” Cory closed the phone, and turned her full attention to her lover.
“You were saying?”
“I was saying you have some explaining to do.”
They had moved a couple of blocks away from the diner, thinking it was probably best to be out of the area when the police arrived. Explaining the sudden appearance of bullet blocking shields and invisible fists of energy wasn't a conversation they wanted to maneuver their way around, so they walked and talked, sharing as much about themselves as they could while strolling down a crowded street.
Cory had explained that she too had abilities. A power that was the result of one of her forebear's attempt at nuclear fission back when the science was still in it's infancy. He was caught in a laboratory explosion when one of his colleagues tried splitting an atom, and neutron bombardment occurred. The colleague died, but Cory's relative lived. The problem was, the kinetic energy and intense heat that was released had changed the relative's DNA forever, and like the neutron bombardment, it was a gift that kept on giving.
“So we are kinda in the same boat?” Nadia asked with a smile.
“You don't have to look so pleased, Nadia, but yeah, we're definitely in the same boat.”
“Is that electricity you shoot?”
“No, it's more like the energy that builds just before it arcs. A kind of energized slug to the jaw. A power punch if you will.”
“That's pretty neat.”
“Yeah, well, I like it,” Cory said with a smile.
“You don't feel alone? You know…not having anyone you can share your troubles with?”
Cory's smile got bigger. “Nope, not at all. There is a special place I can go to, a place where I can hang out and socialize with people like me…like us,” she motioned between them.
“That sounds great,” Nadia said wistfully. “I would love it if you took me there sometime.”
Cory just laughed. “I already have, Stretch.”
Nadia looked confused. “When? We've only been to your apartment and that dusty little ba…”
Her voice dropped off and a crooked smile pulled at the corner of her lips. She smacked herself in the forehead and laughed.
“The Lair? That place caters to people like us?!” she asked with excitement.
“Yep,” was the short answer.
“I should have known, I mean, the name alone is a dead give away.” Then Nadia became pensive. “You don't mind the responsibility of it all?”
“No, not really,” Cory said.
“It doesn't make you feel like your life is being stolen from you?”
Cory shrugged her shoulders. “I don't want to sound like a cliché, but what's that saying? ‘To those that much is given, much is expected,' or something like that. I look at it as more of a gift than anything else.”
“A gift?! If this burden is a gift I want someone to direct me to the return counter.”
Cory just shook her head. “Then I'll tell you what my dad tells me. Think of it like this. The universe must think you're mighty special to choose you to protect mankind, but if that's not enough incentive, think about those that are like us that have harmful intent. The population will need to be kept safe from their powers.”
Nadia thought about this for a few minutes. Cory was right. She was looking at this thing from the wrong angle. All this time she had thought of her abilities as a curse, but now she saw that there was another side to this. She was a humanitarian, a seeker of peace, a protector of the innocent. She smiled to herself. She had been given the gift of nobility, not the curse of isolation that she had always seen her oddity to be. She looked at the short woman beside her and smiled. Now she wanted to be worthy.
“What do you say we join forces?” she asked her companion.
“As what? The Dynamic Duo of the new millennium?” Cory teased.
Nadia hummed. “That's not bad, but how about, hammer and fingernails, or better yet, hammer and nails, or even, pulse point?”
Cory's forehead furrowed in confusion. “Pulse Point? What's that?”
“You know, that pulsing energy you send out, and the sharp pointy things I can make,” was said with a big smile.
Cory rolled her eyes. “You are so corny, Stretch. But my dad always told me a sense of humor was a very important component of a relationship.”
Nadia was thrilled that Cory felt like they were in a relationship. The tall woman was so excited she could barely keep herself from jumping up and down in the middle of the street. She never imagined life could be this wonderful.
“Your dad sounds like a wise man. I hope I can meet him sometime.”
Cory blushed a little. “Well, you kinda already have.”
“What?! When?!” Nadia asked.
“He, um…owns The Lair.”
Cory squeezed her eyes tight, waiting for the fallout. When it didn't come, she peeked out of one eye, and saw a bright smile and shinning blue eyes looking back at her.
Her lover only laughed. “Come on, Power Punch. Let me take you home to meet the folks. My mom and Nonie are gonna love you,” Nadia enthused.
“How can you be so sure?” Cory asked as they walked along the street.
Before answering, Nadia formed a simple silver band in the palm of her hand, then she slipped the polished metal onto Cory's finger, draping her arm over the smaller woman's shoulder.
“Because I do,” the hero said with a smile.