The first hint I had of her was her scent, wafting over the warm wind at my back, then combined with the sound of soft-running feet over the light-pounding surf. Then finally her voice. "Ken!"
I stopped and turned. "Come on, lady. Catch up with me."
M'Ress closed the distance between us in a casual jog and said, "You wandered away. The Herrych household is throwing this party specifically for you, Ken."
I smiled, wryly. "It's funny-- everybody knows how much I dislike big parties."
She took my arm and led my further down the beach away from the party. "I figured that was why you left," she purred softly, laying her head against my arm briefly, brushing my skin with her fur. "I love you, Ken."
I let go of her arm so I could wrap mine around her shoulders. "Even after P'nyssa?"
"Maybe because of P'nyssa." We walked further, the sound of the ocean gentle in my ears. Pendorian nights can be wonderfully romantic at times, with the soft-lit land and clear, starlit sky. M'Ress continued, "When you and I were living together, something about it didn't seem right. We weren't roommates enough. We lived together because we thought that's what people who have sex as often as we did are supposed to do. P'nyssa made me realized that I didn't have to live with you to love you."
"Your own daughter could have told you that!"
"No, not the way P'nyssa showed it to me. I told her to move in with you, to 'take my space,' so to speak, but I still resented it. It took two or three years to learn how I didn't need to sleep next to you to love you... or make love to you."
I gave her a quick squeeze about the shoulders. "It took me a while to adjust, too."
"But you still did things," she said. "You were still going out, making friends."
"Yeah, but I didn't really understand why, M'Ress. I feel a little guilty because sometimes I feel like I mistreated a few people along the way."
"They don't think so. But that doesn't change the way I feel about my treatment of them."
"Your standards change, Ken."
"No, that's not it," I sighed. "We've walked pretty far... do you want to head back?"
"Let's sit," she replied. "You want to talk and I want to listen."
We sat in the sand, she by my side. "No, Ress, I backslid." She waited. "I think I've always had these standards. I just didn't know how to express them. And because I couldn't express them properly, maybe I misinterpreted them sometimes, or ignored them. I think that's called maturity."
She smiled, her slitted eyes dazzling in the starlight. "I don't think it matters," she replied, purring. "You never treated anyone I knew with anything less than the utmost of respect."
"Did I?" I said, wondering. "I hope so."
"You've managed quite a lot in your last century, Ken. I don't think you have anything to be ashamed of at all."
"Not even my... ?"
"Not even your suicide attempt." She laughed, a surprisingly threatening sound if you haven't lived with Felinzi enough. "Listen to me. Who am I to be giving you advice?"
I put my hand on her shoulder and slowly pulled her closer. "You were my first lover, M'Ress. You're still one of my absolute best friends." I kissed her muzzle softly, and she responded by opening her mouth and licking my lips with her tongue. We kissed deeper for a short time, then parted, but not moving quite so far apart as before.
She sighed, nodding. "You don't resent taking this vacation time with me and not her, do you?"
"I look at it this way. You, P'nyssa and I, and everybody else, are going to live forever. Or at least, for a long time. I figure my memory's pretty finite... eventually all the past will blend together into a hazy combination of memory and imagination, much of it stored away in The Journal Entries or other historical documents and of not much import to me then. But anyway, let's say our time is infinite. Infinity divided by any real number is still infinite. If I take a fraction of my time away from P'nyssa to be with you, as long as I go back to her eventually, she'll still have an infinity of time to spend with me. And so will you."
"But isn't she bored back at home, alone? I mean, N'Nance came with us, and she likes to spend nights with him."
"So? Doesn't mean she's going to be lonely or bored. There are plenty of people, male and female, who are just clawing their way to get into bed with her. P'nyssa doesn't realize just how attractive she is, and it embarrasses her when people fawn over her beauty. Besides, I think she'll just want some time to herself."
"Probably. I know you do, at times. Or at least, you did quite often when I lived with you."
I nodded. "I still do. P'nyssa gives it to me. I have to wonder about her, about how much sacrifice she gives up to me."
"Do you feel guilty about it?"
"To be honest, yeah. Am I doing enough for her? What have I done to deserve someone as special as she is to me? I mean, all the things she could be doing, and is doing... but I still feel she's shackled by living with me."
"She doesn't have a very high sex drive, you said. Maybe living with you is an acceptable option because you don't have one, either."
"Huh? That's something I never expected to hear. Someone tell me I have a low libido."
"Not really. Your libido is linked to your head, Ken, not your crotch. You have sex when and where you want it... you control yourself better than most people."
"It's just a good superego," I laughed.
She looked at me puzzled. Her ears flickered back and forth as mosquitoes bothered them. "No, that's not it, either." She looked aside, embarrassed, and shrugged. "You're just very much in control of certain parts of yourself. In other places, you're a complete idiot, Ken, but when it comes to sex you're completely self-directed. I can't figure out a way to describe it."
I shrugged. "Don't ask me. I'm just this silly human, you know?"
She nodded, leaning over to kiss me again. I sighed softly, smiling and reaching out to run my hand over her small breasts, caressing her soft, downy fur sliding under my fingertips. "I love you, Ress."
She smiled. "Want to head back to the party?"
I got up, brushing the sand off of my pants and holding down a hand for her. "Sure," I replied, stating the obvious. She took my hand and allowed me to help her to a standing position. I helped her brush the sand off of her own clothes and we started walking back towards the party, which even from this distance was visible by the bright lights and tall bonfire.
"Meet you there?" I asked Nance as he and M'Ress boarded the small inflatable boat to head back towards the Succubus.
"You two aren't going to swim, are you?" he said.
"Why not?" Sanla replied, smiling. "I like swimming, you know that."
"It's got to be two hundred meters to the boat! It's pitch black out!"
I laughed softly. "This from the family's professional risk- taker."
"Stardiving is a calculated risk," Nance replied coolly. "Somehow, I don't think swimming in dark, who-knows-what-infested waters qualifies as calculated."
"We'll take it," I said, tossing my clothes into the boat. "Ready, Sans?"
The Satryl grinned at me wide. "After you, Ken." I took a step into the water, tested the temperature, and then dove in head-first, being sure to flatten out and avoid scraping my face along the sand at the bottom. Since Herrych Beach is a pebbled and packed surface, unlike the pristine ground sand that makes up Shardik Beach, doing so here would probably be even more painful than the few times I miscalculated the tide back home.
The swim was relatively easy, although by the time I got the Succubus I was feeling the burn in my shoulders quite well. "Whew!" I gasped as I seized the railing off the back wall of the boat. "That was pretty good."
"Yeah!" San replied, equally out of breath. "I am not in the best of shape!"
I laughed. "After you, my dear?"
"Thank you," she smiled as she clambered up the back railing and onto the rear deck of my little trimaran. I watched with no small interest her lovely rear and it's accompaniment of long tail as she pulled herself out of the water.
"Very pretty," I commented softly as I hauled myself up as well.
"Thank you," she laughed, handing me the freshwater hose. I rinsed as well as I could, then took the towel she offered as well. "That's quite a compliment, coming from you," she said, squeezing the excess water from her hair and in a dramatic toss of her head throwing her hair behind her.
I smiled as Nance came wandering around the cabin from the front deck. "Sleeping outside, Nance?"
"It seemed the thing to do," he said. "The weather's beautiful, we have our sleeping bags, so I strung the finer nets between the hulls and we're sleeping on them. If we slept in the cabin, we'd die of heat stoke."
"Which one is Ress sleeping in?"
"The port one, although I don't think you could mistake it since it's the one that's occupied right now."
"True enough," I admitted, hanging my towel over a strand of line and fixing it down with clothespins we had brought along just for this purpose. "Slight wave tonight," I commented.
"But it's not at all windy," Nance admitted. "The boat's going to rock a little tonight, but I don't think we have much to worry about. Since we're not sleeping in, I've pulled up the keel and checked the radius. I don't think we have much to worry about."
"No watch then?"
"I don't think it's necessary," he replied. "It's your boat, though."
"You're the seafairer in this family."
He nodded, wrapping his arms around Sanla. "Mrrr... you're cold."
She smiled and reached back to nuzzle his cheek. "We could always go and generate some heat, sexy."
He looked up at me and winked. "It's hard to refuse an offer like that." He led her around the starboard side of the cabin. I chuckled quietly and shook my head, walking around the port side and finding M'Ress sleeping peacefully on the mesh netting strung between the port and center hulls. "Hey, love," I said softly.
"Mrrr?" she sighed softly, her eyes fluttering open. "Hi," she said softly. "How was the swim?"
"Chilly," I said, summing up in one word the entire swim. "Mind if I crawl in with you?"
"Of course not," she smiled, holding open a sleeping bag built for two. I laughed and joined her. "Mrrr!" she growled again in surprise. "You are cold!"
"I warned you."
"Well, get close and we'll see what we can do about warming you up." I followed her instructions and wrapped my arms around her, holding her close and nuzzling the back of her neck. My hand strayed along her furry chest, again closing my palm against one of her small breasts and squeezing softly. Her tail hung down between both her legs and against my own, tickling my calves. She sighed gently, a very positive-sounding sigh.
"Like that?" I asked softly, caressing her nipple with my fingertips.
"Yeah..." she sigh again. "I like that a lot." We were face-to- face in the warm sleeping bag, and the chill of my recent swim was fading fast. Her paws played over my body freely, caressing my skin and sending small shivers of anything but cold down my spine.
A sudden loud gasp reached us from the starboard nets. M'Ress and I froze where we were and stared at each other. Then we burst out giggling, trying to keep as silent as possible and failing miserably. I took advantage of her laughter to pull her close and caress her back with my hands, feeling my way down towards her tail and over her butt. "You're so beautiful, M'Ress."
"You always say that," she laughed softly, her hands reaching between my thighs to close around my cock. "I think you're the one who's beautiful, Ken."
I kissed her neck and then dug my way down into the sleeping bag, between her thighs, kissing her furry belly along the way. "You're going to run out of air down there," she chided me softly. "It's going to get hot awful fast."
I kissed her mons gently. "It's not that I want you to stop," she said, "I just want you to stay conscious so you can keep doing it."
"Do you have a solution?" I said, looking up along the length of her body. She was holding the sleeping bag open so she could see me, and I her.
"We could always get out of the sleeping bag, or lay it open."
"It is rather warm outside," I observed clinically.
"Then let's do it."
I smiled and reached up for the zipper, pulling it open. The warm summer halcyon swept slowly over the bow of the ship, ruffling her fur as she stretched her legs. "You look delicious," I said quietly, crawling up along the length of her body and kissing her muzzle.
"You were tasting me a minute ago," she murred softly. "So you know already whether or not looks are any indicator of reality."
I laughed and ducked back down to her cunny, tasting the pink folds that stuck out just a little from her furry labia. She purred softly as my tongue slid between her musky folds, probing deeper into her cunny. I wanted to taste her sweet juices; it had been nearly two years since M'Ress and I had last made love and I missed the way she tasted, the way she smelled.
Her paws caressed the top of my head, stroking my hair softly as I licked her cunt. Her soft purring grew louder, her body vibrating with her pleasure as she growled, "Ken..."
"Hmm?" I hummed softly from between her thighs, kissing her clit softly. She inhaled sharply at that.
"I want something else," she moaned.
Her paw encircled my chin and pulled my head up; rather than let her pull my head free of my shoulders, I followed her tug until we were eye-to-eye. She kissed me softly, and I responded warmly. "I want you on your back. Move the sleeping bag."
I balled up the cloth and threw it onto the cabin, lying down in the soft hammock-like weave of the netting. Ress slowly eased herself over my crotch and grabbed my still-soft shaft in her hand. "You're not hard," she pouted.
"I have an intelligent dick," I smiled up at her. "It knows that if nobody's paying attention to it, it's not worth the effort of remaining erect."
"Oh, really?" she asked, stroking it slowly with her fingertips. "I'm paying attention to it now... and you're right, it's getting harder." She laughed gently, lowering herself around it.
I closed my eyes and felt my cock slide into her wet sex, feeling her body close around me. I opened my eyes and stared up at her, reaching up with both hands to run them over her breasts and along the soft fur of her belly. "Gods, I love you, M'Ress."
She smiled and began stroking slowly. The net provided a kind of rolling feedback, setting the pace for her. I stroked her belly and thighs with my hands, sometimes trying to create my own rhythm, lifting my hips to meet hers, but the net and the waves wouldn't allow it. Her eyes were closed, her breathing soft as we slowly made love out in the open. The night's warmth enshrouded us, but looking up past her face, clouds floated by, cloud lit in crazy-quilt fashion by the reflected light of distant ringworld sectors and their own chaotic shapes.
M'Ress began to stroke faster, trying to find the next, faster rhythm that was harmonic with the ropes that held us above the open water. I looked up at her, and I'm sure my eyes must have looked as wild as her did as we fought the damned ropes for our pleasure. She leaned over and grabbed the strands by my shoulders; I reached up and seized her hips, slamming upwards. M'Ress gasped a soft mewl of pleasure as she came once, then returned to her mindful fucking, my cock slamming deep into her body, demanding pleasure. She growled softly.
"I'm close, M'Ress," I sighed up at her. She nodded once, briefly, her muzzle open and her breath coming hard as I felt that soft tightening in my thighs and belly, coming together in my cock as I closed in on my climax, and with a loud "Yeah!" I came inside her, feeling her cunt tighten around me as I did so, her body slamming down and holding me in place as I pressed deeper within her, trying to get as much friction as I could.
I lay there, gasping for breath as she lay down on top of me. We rolled to the side and lay there, holding each other closely as we recovered. "I am out of shape," I sighed softly.
"No, you're not," she murred softly. "You do fine. Besides, this was for me."
"Didn't seem like it," I laughed softly.
"Oh, just because you got a lot out of it doesn't mean I didn't want to fuck you for selfish reasons," she replied, kissing me softly. "You know how much I love to fuck you, Ken."
"I know," I replied softly. "Trust me, I know."
"What do you think that is?" I asked Nance loudly over the surf. I had the till and he was down in the tight little cabin, going over a map.
"What's what?" he asked, coming out into the wheeldeck with me. He blinked a few times; the sunlight thus far today had been brutally bright and hot. I wore sunglasses.
I pointed; he pulled out a pair of HOL's and focused them on the mass of clouds I was pointing to and that apparently we were headed straight for.
"Ohmifah," he growled softly. "It's not good news."
"Big one, and it looks bad, too. I can't make out endpoints."
"We're headed straight for it."
"More like, it's headed straight for us," Nance observed.
"Do we try to avoid it?" I asked, looking up at the sail. We were picking up some wind; the meter mounted to the floor read a steady thirteen klicks. "We're making good speed."
"Hmmm," he said. "I don't think we can. It's coming up on us really fast."
"Then what do we do?"
"My guess is, that's the line squall to an even uglier storm."
"Quite likely in these parts, according to the weather chart. The landscape versus weathervane pattern is quite good for hurricane formation. Why don't you ever fix things like that?"
"Because it worked for millions of years without tinkering, and because with three million terrs, I think we can afford a few regions that are prone to bad weather. Besides, maybe someone wants to live there... might make their life more exciting."
Nance smiled. "I can almost appreciate that."
"I'm sure you could. But what about that?" I asked, pointing out over the bow of the Succubus. "It's not going to wait for us to reach a decision, you know."
"Well, I don't think we can outrun it; I vote for a batten-down and wait it out."
"It could take all day to pass over us," I pointed out.
"So it takes all day. We're at least four hundred klicks from anything that could possibly scrape bottom."
I nodded. "Pull keel?"
"Are you worried about breaking keel?" he asked. "This is a trimaran, Ken, but I know what you made that keel out of."
"True. Okay, we'll leave the keel down. But I recommend disassembling the jib and doubling the wrap on the main."
"Good plan. Sanla! M'Ress! We're going to have to batten down for the storm."
We got to work; M'Ress and I took down the jib and stowed it in the storage hatch on the port hull while Nance and Sanla wrapped a protective sheath around the sail and then lashed it again with rope. "Anything we missed?"
"Check all hatches one last time," Nance called out. "We're using the wheeldeck door from now on. Secure the till and make sure all lines are tight. Take down the antenna and... lash down the dinghy!"
"Right!" I shouted, taking more spare rope to the small inflatable boat that now sat atop the front of the cabin, starboard side. M'Ress made all the necessary checks to the hatches, and then all four of us piled into the cabin and closed the door behind us, securing the extra latch to keep the water out in case some spilled into the wheeldeck. We watched the approaching storm with apprehension, and when the rain started we listened to it fall.
The boat rocked steadily; there were no landmarks to indicate what direction we faced, and for all I know the Succubus could have been spinning slowly but steadily on her axis and we'd never know. Well, I guess I could have checked the compass, but I didn't care to.
The Succubus is built like a standard trimaran, ten meters long, made mostly of a variety of tropical wood and a high-strength version of fiberglass. The cabin descends into the center hull and runs almost to the bow; it's built over the frame and so the roof of the cabin also extends over the side of the center hull and the supports of the outside hulls; this flat space is just barely three meters long and extends two meters over the outer hulls, thus providing sleeping space. Although ideally suited for four, the Succubus can be piloted by one person or can hold eight in an emergency. Like most small sailboats, it has no head.
The boat rocked slowly back and forth. "Well, what do you want to do?" I asked into the creaky, gloomy silence.
"A game of Scrabble could be fun," Nance joked.
"I've got a set," I said, pointing to one of the two lower benches that ran the length of the bunks.
"No, really... whole bunch of games down next to food storage. They've even got magnetic backings to keep them from going anywhere when the waves hit."
Nance shrugged. "Your call." I pulled out the game and set it up, handing sets to everybody. I extended the small 'card table' addition I'd added to make games like this possible and we played three whole rounds of Scrabble before it became too dark to play. With electric torches in hand, we put the set away.
"So, what now?" Nance asked around a mouthful of cereal. "I'm not tired." I looked out the portal and couldn't see a damn thing. The storm had gotten progressively worse over the past couple of hours, the sailboat tossing about helplessly. Sometimes the wood construction would creak painfully, and having built the boat by hand I could picture in my head precisely which beam was creaking, where it was, and how much force I thought it could take. I could see, in my mind, the wood fibers complaining, coming apart slowly under pressure. It wasn't the sort of imagery that made me feel very happy.
M'Ress noticed because she took my hand and held it in her own, kissing my shoulder briefly. "Is something wrong, Ken?"
"Huh?" I asked, looking up. "No, not really. Just worried about my boat."
She smiled. "If you're worried, shouldn't the rest of us be worried as well?"
"No, not that kind of worried. She'll hold up," I replied, sighing slightly. A giggle came from across the darkened cabin. "Sounds like Nance and Sanla have found something to keep themselves occupied."
"We could, too, you know," she said, pushing me down onto the bed. I couldn't see a damn thing, but I could feel her lowering herself to kiss me, and giggled softly when her muzzle touched my neck and she slid her way down my body to my crotch, opening my shorts and taking my cock into her soft, raspy mouth. "Oh, Ress..." I sighed.
She laughed softly as she slowly swallowed the length of my penis, sucking it down until I could feel the head pressing up against the back of her throat, her tongue pressing upwards and holding me to the roof of her mouth. I sighed softly as she treated my cock with the utmost care, slowly mouthing my shaft. The friction was simply incredible as she swallowed the length deep down her throat; I closed my eyes and sighed, laying my head back on the pillow. "Oh, Ress..." I sighed again, reaching down and softly touching the top of her head, feeling her short fur under my fingers. "That's good!"
She smiled and I felt her leave my cock, straddling my body. "I'm glad you think so," she purred softly in my ear. I could feel her hand grab my cock again. She slid downwards onto it like she had last night, but this time she grabbed me and we rolled over. "I want you to do the work this time."
"Gladly," I replied to the dark. As the boat rocked back and forth and the wind howled and poured rain against the sides, I slid my shaft completely into her, feeling her heat surround me again. With almost an afterthought I kicked off my shorts, which up until now had been orbiting around my ankles. "I'm going to fuck you until the storm ends."
"Oh, fah, Ken, that would be perfect!" she murred back at me as I started to thrust into her.
"It would, huh?" I whispered quietly. "How would my favorite Felinzi feel to be fucked silly? To just be taken and taken and taken..."
She growled, her body squirming under mine in the hot, cramped space of the little cabin. I felt like I could last forever as I stroked my cock inside her wonderfully familiar cunt.
I stopped and lay down on top of her, feeling her body underneath mine, feeling her heartbeat over the roar of the storm. She wrapped her arms around me as I slowly worked my hips against hers, filling and emptying her with my cock. She sighed and let her arms loose with some reluctance as I again pushed myself up on my arms to improve my leverage.
"Well, if you want it that way," I said, laying back down on top of her.
"Yes," she sighed. "I like feeling your body against mine." I complied, although it took more strength to make love in this position. "Besides, if you go slower you'll last longer."
I chuckled softly into her ear, kissing her cheek as we made love. The wind whipped and roared outside as I slowly pumped my cock within her warmth, feeling her pant and gasp as first one and then another orgasm swept through her. Her body shook underneath me, and I gripped her tightly in my arms as I felt my own orgasm again building. "I love you, M'Ress," I said quietly.
"Mrrowl," she sighed back. "I love you too, Ken." I began to stroke faster, feeling that tightness again and finally coming against her, inside her. I held her close and nuzzled her neck quietly. "Thank you, Ress," I whispered.
She hugged me tightly as my erection shrank and slipped out of her cunt to come to rest lying against her soft labia. I laughed again, holding her close. "Oh, I love you," she sighed. "I love you so much, Ken."
"Come on," I suggested gently, groping in the dark for where I knew we had hidden the towels. "Let's get cleaned up."
We settled down and, eventually, even with the creaking hull and raging storm, the exhaustion of making love and the inevitability of our present state took their toll and I, too, managed to fall asleep.