Second section is NSFW.
Chie remained just outside the meeting room door, waiting for her uncle. He had told Chie to start the negotiations, that he would follow. Yet she stayed, if only to make sure the Pendika futuretell would not hurt him, more than she already had.
Marceau waited until all the trainees left the meeting room, armed with copies of their assignments and tasks. She remained seated at the end of the table. Near the other end of the long table, the Selati remained, silent and staring at the table. Marceau kept her hands under the table as she twiddled her thumbs. Chie had kept the door opened a notch, enough to peer at them without them noticing.
The Selati sideglanced in her direction, but kept silent.
“It’s only been a few weeks,” Marceau said.
He pursed his lips.
“I don’t seem to know this Selati I’m dealing with.”
He crossed his arms.
Marceau looked at him at last, sad and wistful. “Soji. What happened to you?”
The response was quick and natural, if downcast. “What do you think…Pendika?”
The thumbs paused in their twiddling. He had always called her by her name, not even with the honorifics he gave Lan and Beika.
He lowered his head. “You. Master Lan. Master Beika. You all forget. I am Selati.”
“Yes, I know…”
He interrupted, pointing to his head. “You know.” He pointed to his heart. “You not know here.”
Marceau stared at him, scratching her head.
He sighed and stood. “Marceau! I am friend of Pendika, but I am not Pendika. I am Soji of the meridian, of Selatan. I am Selati. I do not like my government, my king. But I love my country and my people. If you make me choose, I choose my people.”
Marceau watched him for a long moment. “And that’s what you did,” she said.
“You could have asked me — I mean, us— for help,” she said.
He shook his head. “You not understand.”
“I arrested Sereno, didn’t I? Not just for helping to ruin the coffee shop, but also for his many infractions against—”
“You not understand!” he said. He patted his chest. “Is here where all is wrong! We cannot just stand and let Pendika take us and do what they like! Of course we fight. Then your people say how dare we fight when they gave food and place to live. But they not think that we are people, with feelings, with families, with needs! To you we are just…Selati!”
“But we have arrested and stopped—”
“When you able to arrest and stop…what is word…prejudice. Only then we stop fighting you. You understand, Pendika Marceau?”
Soji sat down again.
So did Marceau, lowering her hands under the table. “I am sorry for my people, Soji.”
“Sorry not enough,” he muttered from his end of the table. “Not anymore.”
“I know. But we still need the help of your people who are in the capital.”
He stiffened once more. “We will help. Only because Master Lan beg for it. And if—”
“Yes, I promise that not one Selati will be hurt or taunted,” she swore again.
He nodded. As he did so he let his arms slacken beside him, his shoulders dropping. He lowered his head to the table. “Am tired. Of fighting.”
“Then don’t,” she said, rising from her seat.
She came up to his side of the table. Then she gently draped her arms over his back and around his neck.
“Are the lovebirds done in there?” a bitter young voice asked behind Chie. “I need to ask Marceau a few things.” Chie turned and found Ren standing with borrowed arm crutches.
Chie smiled sadly. “Hello, Ren. Have they been good to you here?”
He shrugged. “I’m a prisoner. Just with privileges. They can’t be good to me. And I guess you’ll say next: I deserve this.”
But Chie shook her head. “I’m sorry things turned out this way…”
“What are you apologizing for?” Ren said sourly.
“I don’t know,” she said. “Maybe, for not being around to help you.”
“It’s too late now,” he said, looking away.
“It’s not, and I’m here now.”
“You hate me. Don’t deny it, Selati.”
Chie took up her hands, and placed them over Ren’s cheeks. She brought herself, and kissed him.
“Don’t love me, damn you, Selati,” he said as she released him.
“I have a name, Ren,” she said, and kissed him again.
He did not move, and did not return it. “Chie. Don’t love me.”
“Please don’t push me away. I know who you are, and I will accept it all.”
“No, you don’t know me…”
“You are a hurting spirit, who became hurtful. Such spirits can be mended.” She took up his hands and held them.
“You just pity me. I don’t want your pity.”
“That is not what I’m giving,” Chie said, clasping the hands she held. “Please, give me a chance to love you.”
“Not me. I can’t walk, I have a criminal record, I rampage, I’m useless…”
“You’re smart, organized, and powerful,” she replied. “You just need to hate everything less.”
“And you think you can make me change?” he asked.
“So what’s the use?”
“I mean, you will make yourself change, Sereno of northwest. But let me help you. Give me a chance to love you.”
“Are you sure?”
Chie looked up at him and nodded.
Ren suddenly dropped the crutches. As he fell forward, Chie caught him at the shoulders. He then wrapped his arms around her neck.
“Chie. Help me.”
He began to sob uncontrollably, his body shaking with the effort, his tears soaking Chie’s dress. He cried onto her shoulder for many moments.
Eloise kept holding Rowan’s hand tightly, as Rowan strolled around the defense committee building, finding something to do amidst all the bustle. Being one of the key elements during the actual proceeding, but not during the planning stages, Rowan watched everyone else be busy finding various people. Eloise stayed beside her, having done her part of the work already.
“You’re not my pet, Eloise!” Rowan finally said. “Let go of me.”
Eloise gave her that lost-puppy look again, which made Rowan slap her forehead again.
“Are you sure you’re not supposed to be elsewhere?” she asked.
“I just want to be here with you,” Eloise said shyly. And ‘shyly’ definitely did not match the platinum-haired terror of the programming halls.
Rowan had had enough of this ruse.
She yanked Eloise toward the futuretell’s office. She then locked the door behind them.
Rowan pinned her to the wall. She towered over Eloise. “Stop whimpering around me, Eloise of the capital. It really doesn’t suit you.”
Eloise looked up at Rowan in a confused stare.
“I think you’ve already said that you like me. I know you rather want to do things…to me or with me, I’m not sure. Will you please stop going in circles and just say it or do it already?”
“What…what do you mean?” she asked.
“Eloise. What I have are dreams, vague things my body remembers. It’s annoying, and disturbing. I hate it that I heard about it from you and from Johann. If I’m going to remember something, I’d rather have it straight up. So whatever it is you’ve been hoping to do, will you please just do it and get it over it.”
Eloise stared at Rowan for a long moment.
“You’ve done more than enough to pay back for it by now, with all the ways you’ve been helping me and Assistant Lan and the others. As for what Ren did: you can’t change that fact anymore. But life will go on, and it’s your choice if that will forever stop you, or if it will change you. Being stopped isn’t your style. You just want an excuse to be trapped, when what you really want is to take action. So stop with this abandoned-puppy thing, and go back to being yourself.”
Eloise sighed into a smile. Rowan saw the spark return to her eyes, and the domineering sneer return to her lips. “Are you sure you know what you’re asking?”
The threat made Rowan pause. Then she steeled herself. “I…think so.”
“Because I’m not going to hold back.”
“I know,” Rowan said.
Eloise smiled, not with malice, but with intent. “Don’t regret it.”
She held Rowan at the neck and pulled her face down toward her. She locked her lips with hers.
Rowan felt herself lose her place as the salty lips bit gently over her, as the tongue touched hers. Not knowing what to do, she sucked and savored the breaths as they came, continuing to taste the spicy salt in her mouth. Her hands somehow found a comfortable place at the small of Eloise’s back. She drew her closer, their chests came together. She found herself being pushed onto the floor, and onto her back, as she continued to be kissed. She let her shirt be unbuttoned and her trousers be loosened.
She felt a hand slip down across her torso, and into the space between her legs, even as the kisses continued to bite at her cheeks and neck. A surge of gentle release coursed through her, and she lost all resistance to Eloise’s movements. Eloise began to stroke her there, each carrying more waves of sensation. Eloise was surprisingly gentle with her workings; none of her actions hurt or pained.
Rowan breathed heavily as her hips raised and lowered in time with the beat of the fingers inside her; each breath wanted to kiss her back, and sometimes she did so, reaching for Eloise’s neck. She reached up and felt the same place in Eloise, feeling herself lose full awareness of what she was doing. Eloise lay beside her and let Rowan caress her. She too began to breath heavy breaths.
Rowan was not sure what she was doing. As a surge of pleasure came from Eloise’s fingers, making her gasp and touch her hips with her, she spontaneously pressed fingers inside Eloise, and received similar gasps of warm grateful breaths. She was drunk on this sensation, drunk on something inside her and outside her. She felt heady and floating, even as she was awake. As she was pleasured, she tried her best to give the same.
Their rhythm became as one, and their breaths came out together, as the movements increased in speed. She no longer understood what was going on now, just that Eloise was beside her, she loved her, now they were together, and whatever this is that she was doing, it felt wonderful and beautiful and right, that it once been wrong but now it was perfectly right…and she could not breathe, she wanted to hold in her breath, she wanted her hips to rise as high as her head was lifting now, up in the clouds, she wanted to keep stroking this young woman beside her forever and watch her gasp and gasp as her eyes rolled and she knew that her head was also lifting high in the clouds…she could not breathe, her head could not get any higher, her hips could not get any tighter, and she desperately needed to….needed to give in…and to float, to glide along with this girl in the clouds…needed to…release.
She gasped for air as she shuddered to the ecstasy, drowning in a sensation that her mind finally reconciled with her body. She began to slowly feel a nagging urge to give in completely to it, to lose consciousness and to drift with it into slumber. She placed a hand at her groin, not wanting the sensation to end so soon.
Eloise placed her own hand there and gently stroked, keeping the pleasure and increasing Rowan’s need to drift off. “It’s alright, don’t fight it. Go sleep, you need it for later. But was it good…my love?”
“Yes,” she answered, completely relaxing, her head filled with warm delight. “And I think I love you.”
Eloise disappeared into darkness, as Rowan began to heavily sink into dreamful sleep.