Magit is waiting for Kayar to come home from his graveyard shift at the trin shop. The plan to go to Valzor and drive a cab sounded good, until she and Kayar actually got there and found out that a cab now has to be leased -- and nobody's going to lend that much to a hick and a rootless immigrant from Gen Territory.
Magit has been doing casual labor for some months, and Kayar got a job -- in a trin shop, where else? -- right next to the railroad station, where the central cab stand is.
Magit's mother is still donating monthly, so between what they both make they can cover Kayar's taxes and this hole in the wall.
Magit had no luck getting work this shift, so she's been home all night trying to make the place a little more livable, with scrounged stuff she found on the sidewalks and a lot of elbow grease.
Kayar trudges around back and up the flight of rickety stairs that lead to their one room apartment over a commercial laundry. He's tired and his hands are chapped from washing dishes most of the night, between waiting on customers.
Kayar zlins Magit is home and goes in.
Kayar: No luck tonight, eh?
Kayar dumps a bag of stale pastry and a pile of yesterday's newspapers on the table.
Magit: Nope. But I found enough boxes to finish the sofa.
Magit points to the rather, umm, boxy-looking sofa which occupies the wall opposite the bed.
Kayar: Hey, cool. Looks good.
Magit: I padded it with some of those factory-second blankets. Let's check it out, huh?
Magit goes over to the sofa, sits down on it, and pats the spot next to her.
Kayar joins her.
Kayar: It's comfortable.
Kayar puts his arm around Magit's shoulder and caresses her neck with a tentacle.
Kayar: You did good, sweetheart.
Magit smiles at him.
Magit: Thanks. And what have you got for me?
Kayar kisses her forehead.
Kayar: Well, there's that... and a bag of muffins and rolls and stuff....
Kayar kisses her cheek.
Kayar: And the Valzor Gazette evening edition.....
Magit uses a tentacle or two to pull Kayar's face toward hers.
Kayar kisses her nose.
Kayar: And a fashion magazine and one about farming but it's got a coupon for trin on the back.
Kayar licks Magit's lips.
Kayar: I guess that's all. No gold coins. No jewels. No magic wands.
Magit moans exaggeratedly.
Magit: Boy, you sure know how to show a girl a good time, Kayar. ~~ gentle mockery ~~
Kayar: Maybe next time. Gotta be some stuff like that eventually....
Magit: In the tip jar at the World's Finest Trin Shop? I don't think so, somehow. Shall I do your hands with some of that lanolin stuff?
Kayar: Yeah. That would be good.
Kayar worries that Magit will find his dishpan hands unpleasantly rough against her skin.
Magit goes over to the night table -- a box standing on end -- and returns with a glass jar full of "lanolin stuff". She daubs some of the jar's contents on her hands and carefully puts the jar down by the end of the sofa.
Magit: Time to hold hands.
Magit takes one of Kayar's hands in both of hers and does a thorough hand massage on it, making sure all the roughened areas are thoroughly coated.
Magit leans over and nibbles on Kayar's ear at the same time.
Kayar: Mmmm. That's great, sweetheart.
Magit: [English, Kayar-style] You bedja, zweedee.
Magit switches to Kayar's other hand and works on it until the lanolin is thoroughly worked in and she can zlin the ~~ tingling ~~ in his hands and arms.
Kayar: Actually, I did get you something special. A magazine in Genlan. It's inside the fashion magazine.
Magit: Wow. That's new. Someone from out-T was in the shop?
Kayar: I guess so. Or maybe just somebody picked it up elsewhere and left it. Dunno what it's about. Has a picture of a couple of Gens hugging and kissing on the front. Wearing fancy clothes.
Magit holds down her ~~ desire ~~ for the moment as ~~ curiosity ~~ takes over.
Magit: Let's see.
Kayar can't read Genlan, but he can now understand and speak it somewhat.
Kayar: Sure, go ahead.
Magit searches through the magazines and pulls out a very battered copy of Thrilling True Tales of Romance. She opens to a random page.
Kayar rubs the lanolin into his hands, hoping it will soak in soon so he won't get Magit's clothes greasy.
Kayar: What does it say?
Magit: It's just silly stories. ~~ embarrassment ~~
Kayar: Yeah? ~~ puzzled ~~
Magit: Kids out-T like to read this stuff. Well, girls, actually.
Magit flips to another page.
Kayar: I'd hate to wear clothes like that, with all that stuff on the arms.
Magit: It's no problem when you're a Gen, really. I wore [English] sleeves [Simelan] my whole life until I changed over.
Kayar: I'd think it would be uncomfortable even for Gens. Nobody in-T wears them tight like that.
Magit: ~~ teasing ~~ What, you don't think they're sexy?
Kayar gets up and begins to expertly fold sheets of newspaper into fuel units for the stove.
Kayar: Naw. I like arms where I can feel them.
Magit: Silly, they're to look at, not to touch! You're just supposed to imagine the arms.
Kayar figures enough grease has soaked into his skin and newspapers by now.
Kayar: Hm. Lemme zlin....
Kayar closes his eyes and runs his hand up Magit's arm, caressing it with his tentacles.
Magit reads part of the story and tries to imagine herself the heroine, who is about to be kissed by Lord Black.
Kayar: I'm imagining... a beautiful arm... on a beautiful woman...
Magit: [tartly] I don't call that imagination. I call that flattery. And it's working. Listen:
Magit translates to Simelan as best she can.
Magit: "Her lips were tingling in anticipation as Lord Black swept her back and forth in the stately measures of the dance. Surely this time all would be well, and her happiness would be crowned at last!"
Kayar: It's a sex magazine? I guess it wouldn't be Distect, like her lips are tingling ready for transfer.
Magit: [English] No zhit, Zherlock.
Magit: What she's dreaming about is being kissed. These stories never go past kissing.
Kayar rolls and folds another chunk of newspaper.
Kayar: Hm. Let's hear some more.
Magit: "But then out of the corner of her eye, she saw the tall blond Ranger standing at the edge of the room, not dancing, watching -- watching her. What did he want? Surely he couldn't be ... No. Alicia returned her attention to Lord Black, who was smiling at her with the wolfish arrogance natural to one of his kind."
Magit: See, in stories like this the rich guy is always really attractive but then he turns out to be secretly a villain. So she's going to wind up marrying the tall blond one, who's poor but honest.
Kayar thinks about it.
Magit drops the magazine on the sofa and grabs the current newspaper out of Kayar's hands.
Magit: A lot like you.
Kayar: I guess when nobody can zlin, they can fool each other like that, eh? Do you suppose that Lard Back can kiss like this?
Kayar takes Magit's shoulders and draws her into a long kiss. ~~ happiness ~~ desire ~~
Magit: ~~ desire ~~ affection ~~ love ~~
Magit breaks the kiss a bit too soon so she can answer.
Kayar: How about the blond guy? Can he hug like this?
Kayar embraces Magit and kisses her again. ~~ playfulness ~~ happiness ~~ desire ~~
Magit: Yeah, for sure. Keep trying, though.
Kayar: Do you suppose those Gens are strong enough to sweep her up like this?
Kayar effortless picks Magit up under knees and shoulders, holds her against him and kisses her nose.
Magit: Absolutely definitely. Happens all the time in these stories.
Kayar carries Magit a few steps to the bed, sets her down and joins her.
Magit: And anyway, it's not Lard Back, that's the dorsal part of a pig. Are you comparing yourself to a pig?
Magit begins to nibble on Kayar's left inner dorsal with great enthusiasm.
Kayar: Hey, Gens have funny names. It's not my fault!
Magit: Oh, I know it isn't -- Klyd Riso. ~~ daring him to react ~~
Kayar: Hey, noble names of great heroes! ~~ fun ~~
Magit: ~~ mild surprise ~~ Klyd, maybe. Who's Riso?
Kayar delicately caresses Magit's face with a tentacle.
Magit doesn't remember Kayar ever willing to talk about it before.
Kayar: Oh, Risa Tigue, you know, Sectuib in Keon. Klyd's right hand laterals in the Unity War.
Magit: Oh, I see. But if it's not supposed to matter in-Territory whether you're male or female -- except at times like this, that is --
Magit investigates Klyd Riso to see if he's male or female.
Magit: -- why aren't you named Klyd Risa?
Kayar: Oh, I guess my mom can't spell.
Kayar turns on Magit and starts tickling her under her sweater with his tentacles.
Magit: Well, that goes with your not be able to -- no, no!
Magit breaks into a fit of hysterical tickle-laughter.
Kayar kisses her enthusiastically.
Magit deepens the kiss a la Lord Black, and then breaks away and rolls over.
Magit: As I was saying, that goes with your not being able to talk -- "Glyd Rrrrizo".
Kayar: Well, Genlan isn't a normal language like Simelan. Not for a Sime like me, anyway.
Magit smacks "Glyd" upside the head, not hard enough to leave marks.
Magit: And what am I, chopped kidney beans?
Kayar: You're just naturally very talented, to speak barbarian as well as civilized. And beautiful and sexy too.
Magit: ~~ smug ~~ You can bet your ass I am. That is, if it wasn't attached to you.
Magit attempts to detach it, without success.
Kayar gets a grip on Magit's in case it might fall off.
Magit starts to laugh ~~ hysterically ~~ for no apparent reason.
Kayar rolls over on top of her and plants kisses all over her face.
Magit: You ... you ... you know ... ?
Kayar: [English] Yai noo notting!
Magit: You know how they have sex in Gen Territory? I heard about this before I changed over.
Kayar: No, how?
Magit: Well, first the woman gets into bed. Of course it has to be just one man and one woman over there.
Kayar: If the beds are this size, that's probably a good idea.
Magit: Nahh, I mean always a man and a woman, not any other combination. But never mind that. Anyway, then she puts a sheet over herself. And ... and then she takes her clothes off. Under the sheet.
Kayar: In summer too?
Kayar thinks it's not unreasonable if it's cold.
Magit: Yes, summer too. And then ... and then ...
Kayar: And what's the man doing? Getting undressed or just standing there?
Magit holds down the giggles for a while.
Magit: He's out of the room.
Magit: How should I know! It's just what they do!
Kayar rather likes to watch, and help, Magit undress.
Kayar: Okay. ~~ amenable ~~
Magit: And then, and then, there's a hole in the sheet ... And she lines it up with her sexual organs. And waits.
Kayar decides this is some kind of joke and waits for the punch line.
Magit: And then the man comes in and undresses and climbs on top ... And they do it through the hole in the sheet!
Kayar is ~~ puzzled ~~.
Magit: I know, I know, it's weird.
Kayar: They do it that way all the time?
Magit: Supposedly. I mean, I never saw it myself! I think the idea is that if they saw each other's bodies, they might get carried away. Or something.
Kayar: I suppose we can try it if you want. I mean, some of the sheets already have holes...
Kayar doesn't see the appeal, but he's willing to go along if Magit wants to. ~~ puzzled ~~ cooperative ~~
Kayar: It seems kind of strange. I mean, isn't the point to both enjoy it as much as you can?
Magit: No, no, you idiot! I don't want to try it, I just wanted to tell you about it. But you don't think it's funny! [seductively] I mean, I like to get carried away....
Kayar hugs Magit.
Kayar: I carried you here to bed. Where do you want me to carry you next?
Magit: ~~ dreamy ~~ Oh, I don't know ... how about ... you know ... to the Moon?
Kayar: Hm. To the Moon, eh? Well, let's see what we can manage...
Kayar gently strokes Magit's hair.
Kayar: I guess you can't fly to the Moon with a heavy sweater on, can you?
Kayar runs his hand down Magit's back and up under her sweater.
Magit: Nope. And you can't get me there with this cape on, either.
Kayar: Oh, that's easy.
Kayar unfastens the catch and lets his cape fall overboard.
Magit: Of course, it's supposed to be cold out there in space. Think you can do something about that, too?
Magit wriggles out of the sweater while saying this.
Kayar ~~ admires ~~ the view.
Kayar: Well, we could get into our little warm cave for the trip.
Kayar wrestles the blankets out from under himself and invites Magit in.
Magit wriggles under the blankets and out of most of her remaining clothes.
Kayar slips out of his own clothes and joins her.
Magit: You know I love you, don't you? I mean, really.
Kayar wraps her in his arms.
Kayar: Sure, sweetheart. I can zlin it, can't I?
Magit: Yeah. But that just tells you what I feel now. I mean something that goes on all the time. Even when I'm annoyed with you or something.
Kayar strokes Magit's back and tries to concentrate on the conversation, not so easy when a lot of blood has deserted his brain for more relevant regions.
Magit: ~~ concerned ~~ Kayar, are you listening?
Kayar kisses her lightly.
Kayar: If you didn't love me, you wouldn't stay with me.
Magit attempts to conceal her small ~~ disappointment ~~, but of course she can't.
Kayar wonders what Magit expects, and tries harder.
Kayar: I mean, you don't require my money, or my brains, or anything like that. So it must be my love, and your love for me. ~~ affection ~~ nerves ~~
Magit: I know, love. But when you feel it, you don't say it. And when you say it, like now, you don't feel it.
Kayar notes that some blood is heading back to his brain.
Kayar: But when you zlin it I don't have to say it, do I?
Magit: Yes, you do. Barbarians like me have to be told things. ~~ earnest ~~
Kayar thinks about that.
Kayar: You have really nice eyes. And really good lips for kissing.
Kayar: And you're wonderfully huggable.
Kayar demonstrates that too.
Kayar: And you're smart. And making love with you is always great.
Kayar thinks some more, hoping he's on the right track.
Kayar: And when I come home from work feeling tired and unhappy, if you're here, I feel good again.
Magit: ~~ sympathetically ~~ That's all very sweet. But I don't blame you for how you feel. Or don't feel. I just wish ... Oh well.
Magit turns ~~ practical ~~ again.
Magit: I notice you've lost some of your first fine flush of enthusiasm.
Kayar: Sorry. ~~ embarrassed ~~
Magit: No worries. I know what to do about that!
Kayar: Magit, I don't know what you want me to tell you. I don't know how to talk like that Lard Back in Simelan. ~~ sincere ~~
Magit: No, I don't expect you to. You're doing fine, really, Kayar.
Kayar wonders if he'll ever understand a woman raised by barbarians.
Magit's efforts seem to be quite successful, but then they usually are. Her own ~~ enthusiasm ~~ returns unexpectedly as well.
Magit: Umm, Kayar?
Kayar: Yes, sweetheart?
Kayar assesses his feelings: ~~ desire ~~ arousal ~~ confusion ~~ affection ~~
Kayar: Can you zlin that I love you?
Magit winces and slaps Kayar again.
Kayar wonders if he should get up and get dressed.
Magit: Ohhhh, Kayar, Kayar. ~~ affection ~ love ~ desire ~~
Kayar is easily influenced by that ambient and goes right along with it. ~~ affection ~~ love ~~ desire ~~
Kayar remembers some stuff he learned in school, and found very boring at the time. It seems different now.
Kayar: Magit, my sweet rose of the wilderness.
Magit smiles and ~~ eggs him on ~~.
Kayar uses his tentacles to evoke pleasure.
Magit: Ohhh. Ohhh ohhh ooooooohhh.
Kayar: Your eyes are bright as stars... Your skin is smooth as silk, as soft as velvet...
Kayar is throbbing with desire himself, as the feedback loop intensifies.
Magit: [softly] Kayar, darling of my heart, do me one favor?
Kayar pauses, trying to remember the next line: was it tentacles as graceful as young grass snakes?
Magit: If you can manage it?
Kayar: Whatever you want, sweetheart.
Magit: ~~ blast of lust ~~ Save the Classic Simelan Poetry for another day, and let's just do it?
Magit laughs softly.
Kayar complies ~~ eagerly ~~.
Magit does not lie back and think of Gumgeeville. In fact, it's the furthest thing from her mind.