I’m continuing the story of Willem and Torrey, whose love for each other makes for an uneasy fit in an alien society. This week the prompts were: Then put your money where your mouth is or “Walk a mile in my shoes” or use: week, together, book or “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch” or “He/she could talk the horns off a billy goat” or use: jump, live, game or “Failure is not an option” or “welcome back to the age of jive!” I used one of the picture prompts this week.
Sealed in Stone #23
Other kisses had commanded Torrey, nomari kisses cold with purpose, hopeful but bestowed and returned like currency. Willem’s kiss was effortless and devastating. The sear of Willem’s lips laid Torrey open and left him wanton, a begging, needful thing. The moons of their estrangement vanished. The mere touch of Willem’s fingers through Torrey’s thin silk sleeves awakened his skin. And what was happening below, swelling and pushing between them, shaft to heated shaft, threatened to explode.
Torrey pushed away and gulped for air.
“Willem, not now—”
“I’m not going to screw you right here.” Despite the words, Willem’s voice sounded ragged, thick with desire. His pupils were so dilated his brown eyes looked nearly black. Only one word could describe what Torrey saw in them. Lust. But more than that…
“No, but I want you to. Willem, you don’t know, this isn’t you or me.” Torrey glanced over at the women standing in a knot nearby, no longer talking about knapping or fault lines. All four were staring at him, at both of them. He could only imagine what they thought. “Cyrrhi’s entering her phase. I never respond to women, ever, but I’m responding to her, and… it’s not a good thing, for Willem to be here. Not him, not any of you.”
Lena stepped forth, placing herself in front of the others. “You think we don’t know that? We track the Queen’s phases, you know. Any smart crew takes leave at this time. No kumbh sends people in unless there’s a damn good reason.”
Because She wants it. That would matter even when the nom was quiet. But now, when its Queen was in phase, pheromones infiltrating every pore of Her subjects, human and nomari alike, what Cyrrhi wanted was the only force driving the nom. Her dominant chemistry as Queen dictated every other queen’s phase, and the swelling of urges no human could control.
“I’m going to talk to her, to Cyrrhi. I’ll tell her having you here makes me unhappy—”
“The hell you will,” snapped Lena. “Think about it, Chosen. She’s in phase? Well, if that’s the case She’s not listening to you or anyone—”
Sovesa chose that moment to return, her lanky body filling the opening of the passage leading to the pleasure room. “Is this female disrespecting you, Chosen?”
“No.” Few nomari queens possessed enough knowledge of human or their language to distinguish between disrespect and a disagreement.
Sovesa grunted. “She awaits. All of you, come with me. She wishes the male unveiled.”
Torrey saw Willem tense. He knew the body beneath the veils so well he could envision the corded muscles, the coiled energy in Willem’s thighs and tight belly. He could smell him, a heady perfume of human maleness and arousal. “It’s all right,” he told his friend, and gave what he hoped was a reassuring smile. “She’s just curious about you.”
“What did you tell her?” Willem removed the layers of veils to reveal what he wore underneath: a fine cotton tunic embroidered with threadwork of gold and wormskin pants of exceptional workmanship. Jayn’s choices for certain: Willem looked like a proper kumbhson.
“Not much,” Torrey said as they walked along the corridor. “But she knows. I think she knew before she ever chose me.” Unfortunately, speaking of Cyrrhi in the familiar did not remove the fist of unease tightening about his heart.
* * * *
All Willem had hoped for was to see Torrey, and he’d hoped for that with all the passion in his soul. He hadn’t even thought about the nomari Queen and he didn’t have a shred of desire to see her, not even curiosity. She had taken Torrey from him and that was all he needed to know. He hadn’t thought about how he would deal with her because in his mind he’d never imagined he and the nomari ruler would ever meet.
Now Cyrrhi measured him through large faintly inhuman eyes, her face a mask he could not decipher. Jayn had never taught him how to do that. A crown fashioned from gilded worm jaws and teeth gleamed atop the long fall of her bright hair, and the gown that draped her body was of red so deep it seemed to clothe her curves in blood. One of his lessons reminded him that red was the nomari nuptial color, a dominance signal favored by queens during oestrus.
Sovesa bowed deeply. They all bowed, Torrey too, and Willem followed the other humans’ example, kneeling and placing his forehead on the floor. Lena clamped her hand over his wrist and hissed, “Stay down” when Torrey rose and he moved to follow. Willem lifted just his head to see the Queen had extended her hand and Torrey ascended the steps to take it.
A fireball of jealousy exploded through his veins and it was all he could do to keep it hidden behind his eyes.
What he felt mattered for nothing. His Torrey, heartsworn and unforgettable, belonged to another.
Willem fought to listen to Cyrrhi’s polite reception of the crew. Nomari was not a tongue he’d perfected. Her inflections eluded his understanding and he watched instead the way her six slender fingers played with Torrey’s, splayed against them, curling over Torrey’s five human ones—and how Torrey allowed it, passively, like a good Chosen must.
No one might speak to Her unless she asked.
“This male cannot be housed with the females. He will wish to copulate with them and they with him, at the risk of their health.”
Willem grasped the Queen was talking about him, though Her warm gaze fixed on Torrey. The way they looked into each other’s eyes, the heat between them, even if it was born of the pheromones in her scent and touch, ignited longing in him also. Willem burned just as brightly, and wanted Torrey more. The Queen’s voice vibrated like music.
“I would house him gently, my Chosen. He will room with you.”
Thanks for reading! If you’re looking for more fun, free fiction use the links below to visit the blogs of these other Wednesday Briefers.
You can visit the Wednesday Briefers home page HERE for opening snippets and links to all the briefs. Or you can go from this list: