No Way Back – Chapter 13 – Edited 04JUN2010

LOOK!  ANOTHER CHAPTER!  WOOT!

EDIT: Okay, I surrender.  I’ve chosen to simply go with the new chapter moving forward.  So, here’s your chapter, everyone!

Chapter 13

“What do you mean, three more years?! He’s ready now! Tell your Commander that I can’t wait three more years, it’s got to be now!”

Chi’bi had already dressed herself and was getting her appearance ready for her date. She was following their protocol and contacting them with about two hours before she was ready to have her target collected. She had gotten herself worked up about the date, but only in the sense that she would be done and going to see her Djarn. She would finally be putting her false feelings for this dirty primitive behind her.

She was less than happy with the local ship commander’s response. The slightly older, orange-scaled Au’Sharh looked as if she sympathized. Then again, with those snakes it was hard to tell. “I understand, little one, after all I’ve not seen my bond-partner since the start of this mission. But, collection won’t be possible until we are nearing the end of the mission. It‘s your job now to keep him trained and ready until such time comes.”

“But he’s ready now! Why can’t you pick him up, put him to sleep, and let me home!?” Chi’bi punches the wall next to the holographic display plate, causing the reptid on the other side of the communique to flinch slightly. “I know you can do it! I know that you transport your illegitimate ‘goods’ that way! Pick him up and let me go home!”

The Au’Sharh’s red eyes flared in irritation, her matching red hair fanning somewhat in a threat display, a show of aggression and anger from her kind. “Look! None of us understand what’s going on! Think I don’t want to go home? Get over yourself, bunny!” With that, she turned away from the screen, and it went blank, and returned to a mirror. Chi’bi, or, more appropriate to say Allessa in a rabbit’s mask, stared back at her, rage filling her normally bright blues. She tried to raise them again, then a second time. And a third.

She snaps around and throws her brush across the room. It flies into a section of actual wall and leaves a small indent in the sheet rock. It wasn’t going to make her feel any better, and she knew it, but all Chi’bi wanted at the time was to throw a tantrum. How could they!? They told her, no more than 30 local months! Now another three full years?! Why!? Did she do something wrong? She was planning on throwing the match, but she hadn’t had the opportunity. Did she take too long? No, couldn’t be it, they’re extending it! But, if it was just for her…

She sat on her bed, letting her head fall into her paws, and was surprised to feel a slight dampness from her cheeks. “It’s not fair…” she mumbled to no one. Either way, it didn’t matter. She had a date to be ready for, one that, she knew, Rob was truly looking forward to, regardless of how much he claimed he wasn’t. She looked at her wrist and whispered a soft command. A bubble rose slightly, then parted, revealing what looked like a small thumbtack. She carefully reached and plucked the miniscule injector from the nanites that had been masking it, and placed it back into the storage case. I’m not going to need it now, she thought to herself as she uttered the command to return the nanobots to their previous condition. “I don’t have time for this. I have a job to finish getting ready for.” Chi’bi jumped off the bed and moved towards her mirror to get the magic and makeup right. She watched as she slowly was painlessly altered into a humanesque appearance, cringing and waiting for the pain she’d felt in her dream. Just a job… She applied the small dabs of makeup as needed to balance out the spell’s illusion to the remaining, more flexible mask, which was stretched far thinner than normal, since she was baring far more fur than usual. It still needed to be hidden, which made the nanite coverings stretch further. If it’s just a job, why does this just feel so… so… wrong?

— —

I go back into my more effectively organized closet (although my mother disagrees still), and find a nice, clean, and, most importantly, straight and unwrinkled dark blue T-shirt. Nothing fancy, just a plain shirt. I’m sure that Allessa won’t be doing anything special, either. She seemed unusually interested in tonight over the past few days, although hadn’t really spoken much to me when Dannielle was around. I haven’t made it any easier on her to talk since I had been spending the majority of my time with Dannielle. Lunches were spent together, evenings, we would spend here or at her place. I’d been having such a good time with her that I hadn’t really noticed the days slipping away until last night. Friday morning, as I was getting ready for class, it dawned on me that I had plans for today. Amazing how easily you can forget someone who hadn’t been around for you.

I pull on my shirt and then close the closet, stepping away to look at a small mirror in my room. Standing there, in just a shirt and green boxer shorts, I try to remind myself that this is just like us hanging out any other time we had. When we’d go to the mall, or just drive to the ice cream shop, or just sitting on the porch. And that I wasn’t betraying Dannielle’s trust because this thing with Allessa was something that wasn’t going to lead anywhere. I know better. I’d been trying for years, so what makes today any different?

The difference is, this time, you’re actually going out with her, and it’s not a pity party… It came almost like a second voice, a deeper, darker version of myself, a mental exercise before I make any kind of rash decisions. Debate it with internally and see if there was a logical conclusion that I don’t see.

Who says it’s not? I only barely won.

But you won. That’s the part that matters.

No, what matters is that I have a girlfriend now. She knows it. It’s a “what could have been” thing, and that’s all.

You keep telling yourself that and, one day, you’ll believe it.

Unfortunately, I know better than to try to lie. The truth is that I’m so excited that I feel like I’m going to puke. For as great as Dannielle is, Allessa was the girl I’d dreamed about for quite some time. The culmination of years of hoping, wanting, wishing, and it was all about to come to one night. And that night was in less than an hour. Damn, I still have to get through doing my hair and shaving and finish getting dressed! I dash over to the dresser, all three steps, and quickly yank out the bottom drawer. The contents, a dozen pairs of jeans and a few pairs of khakis, along with the drawer, become disconnected from the unit, creating a mess of semi-folded pants.

Maybe I should slow down just a tiny bit…

— —

I look at my watch. I have five minutes to make the two minute journey to pick her up, but I’ve become impatient and want to see her now. I’d actually been ready for the past ten minutes and it was everything I could to wait this long. I tell my parents that I’m heading out with Allessa, and I hear them wishing me good luck, with dad being a bit more exuberant about it than mom. I pull the door shut behind me, then start down the steps to the walkway. As I move to the sidewalk, my mind starts to race. Is she going to even open the door? What if she changed her mind? Am I over-dressed? I run my hands along my almost wrinkle-free khakis, smoothing them to my legs as I walk. Did my hair get screwed up? The flash of a memory takes me back to that day when she made the wager. I really hope there’s nothing wrong with my hair…

I step up the front stoop to Less’s house and stop, taking a deep breath.

“Okay, this is it,” I whispered to myself as I started to reach for the doorbell

— —

Chi’bi checks her hair once more in the mirror. It was considerably longer than she’d had it in a long time, but that was fine. Its black coloring and the added volumizers help to mask the bumps that were her ears in hiding. She’d elected to keep her hair down and simply styled it around her head and shoulders. The black hair was unusually straight and long, falling gently along her shoulders and spreading to part against the straps of the dress she’d elected to don based on the history of Robert‘s personal interests in what girls wore. The straps ran down to a cross-cut chest and seemed to wrap around her bust, accentuating her bosom without leaving much showing. It followed her body closely, the straight, smooth fabric sharing her curves with the world. Its skirt ended slightly below her knees, and she’d chosen a bright pink set of hosieries, speckled with small black spots, and a pair of black patent heels which made her look just that much taller. Since she couldn’t hide her tail or ears effectively in this outfit, she’d decided to use matching scarves, one tied around her waist to mask her tail, and the other around her neck to hold her ears in place behind her which made them easier to hide in her hair, and both were colored to match her stockings. She looked closely at her reflection and made sure anything obvious was hidden. She cursed her lack of nanites since she wasn’t expecting to need so many, and turned, looking at her form from behind. Everything looked in place for now.

She took a glance out the window to find Rob making his way towards her house. She suddenly felt nervous, like a girl five or six years her junior going out on her first date. She closed her eyes and banished the thought. “If I have to do this, I might as well enjoy myself…” She brought to mind the dark tan Eil’ph she’d imagined him as before, and put the imaginary Rob in the dark blue shirt and khakis that he’d chosen as his get-up. The visualization made her smile. She could do this. She could fool him into giving all his time to her and make the time fly. She just had to have some fun.

Chi’bi, now falling into her Allessa character, reached for the door when she saw him reaching for the doorbell. “Alright, this is it,” she whispered to herself as she twisted the doorknob and yanked the door open.

— —

I go to press the button as the door flies open, and am met with a sight I couldn’t have had in my naughtiest of dreams. Her gorgeous eyes smiled at me, their luminescence the brightest that I could ever remember. I find my eyes taking in every inch of her body. The dress, hanging from her body in a fantastic display, danced in the light from her living room. Everything about her oozed beauty, and my excitement is made only more powerful to me by the fact that she’s allowing me to be the one next to her. She notices my reaction and smiles, the first to say anything.

“So, I take it you approve?”

All I can do is nod as I finally tear my eyes from her perfect display and back to her eyes.

“Good. Now, can we go? I’m starved.” She purrs the words as she steps forward and takes my arm before I can offer it.

I finally snap out of my shock and turn to guide her to my car. “I really just figured it’d be more like us usually hanging out, being that it’s a one-time thing and all.”

She smiles as she starts leaning slightly into my body in a way she’d never done before, flirty, fun, unabashed about being close. “I told you to expect a night you’d never forget. Have I ever lied to you about anything like that?”

I absently answer her. “Well, no.” I turn to look at her, unable to hide my confusion. “But, if you thought this way about me, why did it take this long?”

“I told you, silly! I didn’t want to be just some girl. I wanted you to feel you earned it. Do you?”

“Yes…”

“Then that’s what I wanted!”

I feel myself grinning like a fool as I guide her to the passenger door. I separate from her for just a moment and quickly swing the door open.

“Oh, a gentleman! How unexpected!”

My smile grows wider as she climbs into the car and I find myself watching her take her seat and straighten her dress. She crosses her legs as I push the door shut, which is the last thing I notice before I walk around to the driver’s side. I open the door and climb into my own seat. As I press the keys into the ignition, I finally respond. “You knew the whole time I’m a gentleman.” I push in the clutch and twist the key, bringing the V-6 powerplant to life. “If you didn’t, you wouldn’t have made me work for it.”

“So true.”

I roll my eyes in an attempt to reduce the happy grin that hasn’t left my face. I bring my hand down to the gearshift and drop the car into reverse, and we begin the drive to what, for me, is going to be the best night of my life.

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