The Journal Entries

Yestar 00313

P'nyssa and Susan

He's drooling into his pillow again. I smiled and shook my head slowly, feeling every bone in my spinal column crack as I did so. I know for a fact that my body is in exactly as good a shape as it was when I came out of the tanks 264 years ago. For some reason, though, when I wake up I feel like geriatric decrepitude is setting in. Maybe it's just that as we get older, we start to pay attention to these things. When we were young we were so busy absorbing everything that we didn't notice the vehicle that propelled us through that everything. Now we have more time for introspection.

I remember when I had a cold once, when I was only four, and it was the most fascinating thing in the world to me. I felt weak, I felt tired; my telepathy was at its lowest. I was sick for three days, and there was nothing I could do about it. I only resented the disease because it kept me from enjoying the things I had planned. And back then, planning was everything to me.

I'll have to remind Susan to clean the pillowcases when we leave. Or does Dick drool onto his pillow? Do I drool onto mine? It's not a question I've ever bothered to ask him or Dave. Maybe I will.

I eased my feet over the side of the bed, searching for the slippers. I found one, but it was for the other foot, so I grabbed it with my toes and tossed it up onto the bed. Then I found the other. I can write with my feet, did you know that, Dave? Most Tindals can learn, you know, our toes are long enough to grab a pencil. But most don't bother. Most rarely learn to write with their mitts, for that matter; it's much easier to type or dictate.

I slipped the slippers over my feet. Now there's a phrase. "Slipped the slippers." Say that ten times fast. Not you, you're an AI. I eased myself out of bed carefully, being sure not to wake Ken; you know how he feels about being woken up.

So I checked the fire; it was down to just a few coals, not much else to speak of. Although the sun was out, the forest outside our doublepane window was a pretty winter white. I felt like a princess in a fairy tale, which is just the feeling BackWater is meant to inspire in its guests these days, even guests of residents like Dick and Susan. I pulled a robe over my shoulders, still surprised by the heavy feel of the wool and the soft texture of the white lace that trimmed it. It was cold enough in the castle that I pulled the hood up over my head. It felt odd hanging off my ears like that.

Further inside the castle it was even colder, although I could hear commotion downstairs, and the sounds of heavy wood being stacked, which led me to believe a fire was either going or being started. I followed the stair down to the main floor, where Susan was indeed directing a pair of wheeled robots stacking firewood in a corner of the main room. She waved as I came down the stairs and directed me to sit on the stone ring around the fire pit. "We'll be starting it up in a few minutes," she shouted over the general din and whine of the electric motors.

I nodded and smiled, pulling my robe a little tighter. It was a matter of waiting. After a few minutes the droids left permanently, leaving me and Susan alone in the heart of the castle. "Good morning," she said as she walked over to me. Unlike me, she was dressed in a simple blue and white jumpsuit, zippered up the front. It looked very functional, and very cold, but she seemed undisturbed as her breath collected in the air like mine.

"Good morning," I replied, gently. I can understand what Ken sees in her, because Susan is beautiful; A perfectly shaped body, proportionate in all places, with very large breasts and a magnificent head of curly raven hair, just the way Ken likes it. Just like mine. The hair, not the breasts. Hers are much larger than mine. She has that human face that men call 'motherly,' I guess. It does have that trusting quality.

"Sleep well?" she asked, sitting down next to me. She took out a box of long, wooden matches and struck one to the stone, lighting it, and tossed it into the kindling and straw.

"It was pleasant," I said, feeling my face grow warm with the memory of last night's lovemaking. "We went to bed early."

Susan nodded. "Happy new year, Nyss," she said. Why do I feel uncomfortable with her? I've never been able to figure this out. I feel like something is expected of me whenever I'm near her, but I can't figure out what it is.

"Susan?" I asked, remember the question I had earlier. "Does Richard ever drool?"

"All over me," she said, smiling. "When he's not tinkering."

"In his sleep?"

"Yes, he does. Why?"

"Oh, nothing," I said. "I just saw Ken doing it again today and I was wondering if it was just him, or are most men like that?"

"Most men are like that." I wondered how she knew. As far as I knew, she and Dick had been monogamous most of their lives.

I laughed quietly, and then, on impulse, leaned over to kiss her cheek. She didn't flinch, but as I eased back she touched her cheek gently where I'd kissed her. It was getting warmer in here, and it wasn't just the fire that was growing behind us.

"P'nyssa," she said quietly. "I've got a small confession to make. Dick and I were married 246 years ago. In all that time, there are only two men I've ever made love to. Dick, and Ken, and Ken only once. And Ken because-"

"Susan," I interrupted, "You don't have to explain to me why you and Ken made love that one afternoon on Hyzen. I dragged Dick aside, remember?"

"But I do," she said, "Because I have to explain it to me. I was never one to be 'faithful'; Dick and I were always the 'think for ourselves' kind of folks, even for our thirty years of marriage back on Earth. It's not even that we believed in monogamy, because we didn't. I just never wanted to sleep with anyone except Dick. He fulfilled my life, he fulfills my life.

"I suppose I can excuse it by saying we were helping a rather depressed Ken and an equally depressed P'nyssa, but that's not the case. You two were moping about Hyzen like wounded doves, and Dick and I figured that taking you two aside was the best way to assure you two that we still loved you, even if you were both being completely asinine the night before.

"Nyss, I've been married for 246 years; I'm sleeping with my childhood sweetheart. Until this year, I'd never thought about making love to another man. I talked to Dick about it, but you know how he is; a little screwloose, but otherwise so reliable I had nothing to worry about. He said I should go and do what my heart wants. He knows that I'll always come home to him. And I will! I know I will." She looked away. "Just like you're always sure Ken will come home to you. It's like he's a part of you. Or you two are part of a greater whole. There's no jealousy between you, and I like that. There's no jealousy between Dick and me either."

Susan hesitated. "I know this is going to sound silly to you, because you were born here. But I'm scared. Scared by something I feel inside, something that I don't understand."

I started to get an inkling of what she was going to say. She continued. "But since Ken, it's been on my mind. Nyss, for someone who's never slept with another man I think it's crazy for me to want a non-human fem, but Nyss, I've got a crush on you. And when you kissed me a second ago, my heart started pounding so hard. I don't understand it."

I was right. And somehow, I understood her problem. Before Ken, I had never slept with a man. Not because I didn't want to... Well, I didn't, but not because I didn't like them. It was just that having one, and I mean that the way it sounds, having one was just too much of a difficulty. I had three fem lovers before him, but they were there to raise the children and take care of the house while I stuffed my head full of medical knowledge.

"Susan," I said, carefully, "I'm flattered. But what kind of crush do you have? I mean, is it because you want me, permanently, or do you want to experiment? You have to give me more so I'll understand."

"I don't know, Nyss," she said. She sounded tired, frustrated, like this problem had been eating at her for a long time. "All I know is that when I think about you, I get... flushed. I keep seeing your face in my mind, kissing me. Isn't that silly?"

"Not really. It sounds like a crush."

"But it's ridiculous for me to have a crush on you. You're a fem, you're a Tindal; we have nothing in common."

"I think being female means we both have a lot in common. I think you're also aware that I do have girlfriends, who I do often sleep with. Susan, if you want to explore your entalie' feelings with me, I'm willing. I just want to be clear on why."

She turned away again, looking into the fire. "I don't know, Nyss. I really don't."

I tried reason, and it didn't help. I wondered what Ken would do in this situation. He would probably try to seduce her. So why didn't I? There was no reason to, except her own inertia. I reached out with one ten and formed my mitt to her chin, pulling her face to look at me. Her eyes were frightened, but she didn't resist as I leaned forward to kiss her.

Her lips were tight across her mouth, but as I stroked them once with mine they relaxed, a little, and then a little more. I reached up and touched her face, feeling her throat, her jaw. Finally she parted her lips; I tried to increase the intensity of the kiss but she started, backing away, looking at me. The fear in her eyes was even stronger than before, and she turned, looking into the fire. She spoke to the flames. "You... you must think I'm silly."

"No," I said, gently, touching her shoulder. She didn't resist. "I think you're frightened."

"And you must think that's silly. You live with a man who's done it all; he's lived in Rhysh Castle, for god's sake. You said it yourself, Nyss- you've had fem lovers. I've had only two lovers my entire life, and one of them, once."

"Three lovers," I corrected her, smiling.

"Who else are we counting?"


She didn't understand me for a minute; then her face cleared and she stared at me. "You don't count that," she said. She turned back to the fire again.

"I do. Aren't people usually their own first lover? Don't you like yourself, love yourself?"

"I wasn't my own first lover," Susan admitted. "Dick taught me how. Back in the seventies. Isn't that silly? 'The seventies.' As if that phrase means anything in 2196."

"It's 2197 on Earth," I said, gently, correcting her. "Pendor falls a few seconds behind every year; it's to the point now where it's almost an hour different. Terra celebrates their new year almost at the same time we do, but not quite anymore. Ken tried, but perfection is an elusive quality sometimes. And that phrase means something to me. I understand what it means, Susan."

"2197, okay," she said with a smile. "Nyss... I want you. I want you more than anything I've ever wanted in the past, but I don't know if I can. I don't know if I should. What if I like you more than I like Dick?"

"Could you love me as much as you love Dick?"

She shook her head. "But I don't want my lovemaking to suffer because I find someone more satisfying than my husband."

The creak of a door came from somewhere behind her; I looked up but there was nothing but the ascending staircase. "Susan- We'll talk about this later. I hear Dick coming down the stairs. I'll tell you this- I don't think your sex life will suffer; in fact, it should be expanded, explored. Enjoy yourself. Enjoy me, enjoy Dick, enjoy Ken if you want. I won't pressure you; if you never bring it up again, that will be fine with me. But I want you to know that Ken obviously cares for you, and there is nothing I would do to hurt a friend of his."

She smiled and nodded just as footsteps hit the wooden staircase and it creaked gently as Dick came walking down the stairs in a robe similar to mine. He walked across the frozen flagstones on bare feet and kissed Susan. "Good morning, sweetheart," he said cheerfully.

"Morning," she said. If she was hiding her concern, she did so successfully; her kiss to him was as friendly and as passionate as I could have imagined. He leaned over to me and gave me a friendly peck on the cheek.

"You can do better than that," I said.

"Not in front of my wife I can't," he replied, smiling.

"Well, I'm not afraid of giving your wife a decent kiss in the morning," came Ken's voice from the top of the staircase. He sat down on the railing and rode it all the way down, a big smile on his face the whole ride. He skipped (skipped!) over to me and kissed me, soft and wet, on the lips. I had my revenge on him by pressing my mitt to the cold stone while I held his attention, then sliding it into his robes. He squealed when I found his privates.

"P'nyssa!" he sputtered. "Don't do that!"

"But you need it to wake up in the morning. And for embarrassing me like that. You're over three centuries old, Ken. Aren't you going to learn to act your age?"

"Never!" he said. "Where's my rapier so I can make appropriate gestures?" He leapt up on the stone bench around the firering and, raising one hand, said, "I shall not yield one whit of maturity, not grace, not respectability, to the passing of time. I declare that I shall forever be, if not a child, certainly childish."

"Why not just be a child?" I asked, knowing the answer already.

"Children, my good lady coimelin, do not get laid." He hopped off the stone and said, "So, what's the plan for the day?"

"I had thought," Dick said, "That the plan for the day was that you and I were going to go delve into lab six and examine that nanochine excretion problem you were talking about it."

"Ah, so it was," Ken replied smiling. "But first I'd like breakfast. Any suggestions?"

"I've got a dozen eggs, milk, oats, the whole nine yards in the kitchen, Ken," Susan replied quietly. "Feel free to feed yourself."

"I shall, my good lady. M'Lady P'nyssa, wouldst thou carest to joinest me'est?" I laughed. He can be one of the silliest people I know. But I do love him; it doesn't hurt that he has a magnificent pair of buns, either. I accepted his hand gracefully and we walked to the kitchen. As we did so, I turned back to see Susan and Dick talking animatedly, in hushed tones.

When we reached the kitchen and had closed the door behind us I said, "Susan just told me she has a crush-"

"On you, right?" he interrupted, joking.


"I was only kidding, Nyss."

"I'm not. She told me this morning; she wants to sleep with me."

"Nyss, she's never slept with anyone except Dick her whole life."

"Except you."

"Yeah," he said.

Being a telepath has its occasional disadvantages; I had the annoying habit of knowing him "too well" sometimes. "You feel guilty about that. Why?"

"You had to know Dick and Susan before the Hall. They're inseparable, always have been and always will be. The idea that I came between them bugs me."

"You did not come between Susan and Dick. They made the decision to seduce us, not the other way around." I walked over to him and said, "Look, if you think it's a bad idea, I won't. But I don't think it's a bad idea; I think it's good that she's admitting these things."

"It's up to you, sweetheart," he said as he dug about in the midrange cooler for eggs and milk. "Dick and I are going to be busy all day, doing what he does best." He rolled his eyes. "So you two are on your own. Have a happy New Years' Day and make Susan happy."

He left me to stand in one corner of the kitchen while he fired up the stove and cooked scrambled eggs for himself. Six eggs; sometimes he's a bottomless pit. He also puts the red pepper-and-vinegar sauce in his eggs- He knows he's not getting a kiss after that. Still, I don't think he expected one, except maybe a peck on the cheek while I tried not to inhale the fumes. "How many, sweetheart?" he asked.

It must be nice to have fingers; there are times when I'd rather let my thoughts roll on and not have to answer, except with a gesture, the way he sometimes does with that Ameslan. "Two."

"Coming right up," he smiled, cracking two eggs into a coffee mug and attacking them with a fork. I must have spent a few minutes staring off because next thing I know he was holding a plate in front of me. "Tabasco?" he offered, holding up the offending bottle.

"Don't you dare," I smiled, taking the plate from him.

As we ate he said, "Do you feel up to dealing with Susan? What shape is she in?"

"Nervous," P'nyssa answered. "Actually, to be fair it's closer to terrified. Of liking me more than Dick, of being inexperienced, of being embarrassed."

He pursed his lips for a moment, then said, "Well, I think you'll do fine. Can't give you much advice."

"I'm not worried about it. It's not as if I didn't introduce Tirra to lovemaking?"

"Tirra?" he asked.

"I must have told you about Tirra," I said. He shook his head. "Uncia lover, mostly dark grey?" He shook his head again; his mop of hair followed a split second behind. "Helped me raise P'maya?"

"Oh, okay," he said. "Sorry, I'm lousy with names, you know that. I really should meet those other two fems someday. I alread know Tarette."

"Yes, you should," I agreed. We finished the meal and he said, "Well, I'm off to the lab, to spend the day working with Dick on a problem that if he can't solve, I don't see how I will. I'd recommend starting a TB." He leaned over to kiss me; I presented him with my cheek. He smiled. "You have fun," he said.

"I'll try," I said, smiling back.

As he walked through the kitchen door he said, "I guess I should put some real clothes on." The door swung closed behind him.

I looked around at the disaster he had left, pondering my next move. "Roberta?"

"Yes, Lady Shardik?" the AI responded calmly. I like when she calls me that. It sounds so romantic. "Lady Shardik." Maybe I should ask Dave to call me that. No, I like P'nyssa better.

"Where is Susan?"

"Out by the firering." I rose from the table, leaving the mess for Roberta to handle, and walked through the kitchen door to the main hall. A single cylinder with two staircases spiraling up along the sides, the roof opened up when the fire was going, and at the moment it was going pretty well; if I had been sitting on the benches my fur would have been smoldering.

Susan sat on a chair she had pulled up from along the wall, reading a book; her feet were curled up underneath her. She looked up at me, a quick succession of emotions on her face. "Hi," I said, trying to be friendly.

"Hi," she replied. "I didn't think it would warm up like this, but with that new spindle of stone in the middle it warms up fast."

"It's nice," I said, enjoying the warmth. I would feel warm even without the robe in here. I put my mitt down over the book she was reading and stared into her eyes, saying, "Where do you want to go?"

She looked a little nervous. "Here."


"It's the warmest room in the house." She smiled and said, "Nobody will interrupt us here, not even the boys. And it has the big whitefur rug."

Her smile was dazzling, and as I stared at her I felt a moisture grow against my thighs; it's been ages since a woman did that to me. What was going on here, who was seducer, who was seducee?

I rested my mitts on the chair and leaned over; she tilted her head gleefully and waited for my kiss. I bent a little further, and our lips touched.

Her reaction was instantaneous; she stretched up to kiss me, relentlessly attacking my teeth and tongue with hers. The heat between us felt obscene. I had to put everything into supporting myself against the chair, because I haven't much strength in my tens; she had her hands free, and was making full use of them, reaching in to run her hands against my torso, going for neither my breasts or my treasure.

"Gods, Susan, what's into you?" I asked as the kiss broke.

Her blue eyes were sparkling while she stared into my face. "Dick said I should enjoy myself. Once I decided to... I just want you, Nyss."

"That good," I said. I felt like I had a little more self control, but even that was fading in the face of her wants. The lust within my belly was rising fast. I stripped the robe off, throwing it aside.

Her face lighted with the look she was getting. "You're beautiful," she said, gently. "God, P'nyssa... I wish you could feel what I am right now."

"I am," I said, kneeling on the rug before her and kissing her neck gently. I have a fetish for Humans, I've started to appreciate. Or non-furries, at least. The sensation of naked skin sliding under my lips sends me flying. I sought the opening of the jumpsuit, grabbing it with my teeth and pulling it down, quickly. Her hands were in my hair as I thrust my head between her wonderfully large globes, feeling the dry skin sliding against my cheeks. She cooed a welcome as I traced the outline of one with my teeth, suddenly sliding down and encircling her nipple with my tongue. Her whole body went rigid.

"P'nyssa..." she sighed, one long, trailing sigh. My mitt found the zipper and pulled it down further, all the way to her crotch. She sighed as I reached up and pulled her jumpsuit from around her shoulders. I never took my mouth away from the gentle teat I was treating.

She raised her behind from the chair, helping me with both her hands to pull the jumpsuit completely off. We tossed it aside together, looked at each other and laughed. Then she leaned forward and with the extra leverage rolled me to the rug.

We fell together, face-to-face, kissing crazily. I was enraptured by her heat, the soft silkiness of her skin. Or maybe the heat came from the roaring bonfire. I know I was burning.

She dove down to my breasts, taking a nipple in her mouth. She quickly discovered how satisfying just holding one in her lips could be, but she soon shifted tactics, running her tongue around my aureole, sometimes nibbling into the fur around them. I sighed; I wanted to hold her there for ever. "You're a natural, Susan."

"I thought all women were naturals," she said, looking up at me. Her face was so very kissable, I pulled her up to me and did. We rolled on the rug until I was on top again, kneeling by her prone body.

"Silly myth," I said, running the pads of my mittens along her sides and down her thighs; her body shivered when I stroked by her groin. "I haven't met many people who can bend far enough to practice oral sex on themselves regularly."

She blushed underneath me, and it had to be the sexiest thing I'd ever seen. I kissed her stomach, and she tensed underneath me again. I had one mitt on her knee, the other was bent half to support me. I worked my way down to the raven triangle, but at the same time I slid my mitt up along her thigh, closing in. She sighed loudly, anxiously.

I slid my mitt up against her mound, parted her lips with my pad and slid my thumb into her. She gasped, surprised; her cunt was wet with anticipation. If I had the inclination, I was willing to bet I could get my mitt in there.

She groaned gently as my tongue joined my mitt between her thighs, licking her needful little clit. Oh, I could tell, I don't just use my telepathy on my patients. She was a roiling mass of lust and so was I. I assaulted her clit; my right mitt was between my own thighs, and even over the crackle of the bonfire I could hear the liquid sound I was making of myself.

Her cunt was a beautiful hot pink, flushed, her clitoris small, her inner lips very fine. I dug into her sweet cunny, and her whole body went steel-rigid as she came, once, twice, again. I eased off and kissed around her mound, letting her settle a little before returning to her clit. She wailed softly.

I withdrew my thumb, rolled the mitt gently and began to press the tip against her lips. I had totally lost track of what I was doing; inside her, the feelings were just going higher. Slowly, I turned my wrist back and forth, inundating the mitt with her juices, even the fur on the back. I pushed it one mil at a time, rocking back and forth; her cunt opened up for me, letting me in. Her body rocked, she screamed as she came again; her hands were trembling against my head. "Enough," she said as I looked up. She nodded quickly, "That's enough. Please." I slid what little of my mitt I had gotten into her out and crawled up to lie by her side, holding her. She was crying.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Nyss," she sobbed once, strong, "Oh, God, that was good. That was so good."

"Then why are you crying?"

She didn't answer me, just lay against me, crying, but also sometimes something that sounded like a giggle would escape her. After a time had passed, I've no idea how long, she said, "P'nyssa? That was so good. I feel bad because I didn't do anything for you."

"You did plenty for me, Susan. You did," I replied. "But there's something else?"

"I'm worried... I liked it so much, I don't know if I can ever enjoy what Dick and I do the same way."

"That's nonsense, beautiful. Do you love him?"

"Yes!" she said, gently. "Of course I do!"

"Then you should have no problem," I said, trying to be reassuring. It was important to me that she get any doubts about her ability to love Dick out quickly.

We lay together, silent, for a while. Then I said, "Susan?"

"Hmmm?" she said gently, rubbing her cheek against mine.

"I really have to call in and check on a few things."

"Mmmm," she sighed gently. "Okay." She rose to a sitting position, and I did the same, calling Roberta to give me a p-screen and to call my office.

While I was talking to Jean, getting an update on a pair of kids under my care with chemical burns, there was a warm sensation at my feet. Under the screen, Susan was licking my toes, making it very difficult for me to concentrate. Once I was assured that the children were in no particular danger or need of me, I did some quick signwork and logged off; the screen dissolved to reveal Susan lying on her side, playfully kissing the bottoms of my feet.

I leaned over and looked her in the eyes; she smiled at me like a child caught with her hand in the cookies. "If you're going to use your tongue on me, use it like a real woman."

She nearly charged me, knocking me over and settling down between my legs. Her long, fine fingers (with well-trimmed short nail- I looked) spread the fur around my cunny and she sat there for a second, staring, propped up on one elbow. "It's so interesting."

"Never seen one before?" I asked, teasingly.

"None but my own," she admitted. "And then only when I thought I had a yeast infection."

I stuck my tongue out at the thought, and tried to get back to the subject at hand: my cunt. "Pretty, isn't it?"

"It's beautiful," she said, leaning over to kiss my mound gently. I swooned, more with the idea of having this beautiful raven kiss me there than by any natural talent she had. But she was daring, I'll give her that; she dove down and ran her tongue deep between my lips from bottom to top, getting one good long taste. She came up for air, and the look on her face was puzzlement.

"How do I taste?" I asked, curious to hear her version.

She licked her lips a few times, then said, "Musky. A little salty, a little... minty? What causes that?"

I lost all control and started laughing. "P'nyssa!" she said, a little angrily. I laughed all the harder. "P'nyss-ssa!" she demanded, pouting.

The pout made me stop; it made me feel like I was going to melt. With a pout like that I could deny her nothing. "I'm sorry, Susan." I went on to explain that Ken and I had made love last night, and described our rather unusual toy.

"You used that half-kilo candy cane I gave you as a dildo?" she said, incredulous.

I shrugged, a little embarrassed, and said, "What else were we going to use it for? I certainly wasn't going to eat it!"

She smiled and leaned over, kissing my cunt gently, sliding her tongue in between my lips. Every little bit of attention made me high, and I told her so. She looked up at me and said, "It's an interesting taste, anyway."

She plunged a finger into me; I ground my hips in response, and she slipped in a second. Then a third. I was in heaven; I could feel my muscles preparing for more, but I didn't know if Susan was going to give more.

This isn't lovemaking I do with Ken; with him, there are so many other things to do. But I wanted Susan in there, I wanted her to fuck me with her hand. "Susan," I whispered.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No, no," I whispered. "Your fingers. Put in four."


I nodded, quickly. She slid her pinky in against the other three fingers. I sighed as she slid it a little deeper into me. "More," I whispered. I hoped I wasn't pushing her too far; maybe she wasn't ready for this.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Susan, please..." I replied. She returned, her tongue licking over my clit repeatedly, but it was still her little hand I wanted.

"It's all the way in, Nyss," she said. There was a little worry in her voice. But I didn't care; I was going over, I could feel my orgasm coming, and coming hard.

She turned her hand slightly; I felt her fingers press against the walls of my cunt, and her tongue sent me over, moaning, stars exploding in front of my eyes. I remember pounding the rug with my fists. And I remember moaning again as she slid her four fingers from within me.

"Did I do good?"

I looked at her, amazed at hearing such a silly question. "Of course you did good! What do you think all that moaning and thrashing about was for?"

She blushed; the color of her cheeks began a hot, rosy pink, not unlike the color of her cunt, and I began to feel warm again between my legs. I told myself to stop it. I smiled, hiding the struggle for composure going on inside, and said, "So, how do you feel about Dick?"

From where I sat I could feel a variety of things going through her mind, mostly concern, but I could tell there was affection, love, all the right things. "Come on," I said, not giving her a chance to answer verbally. "Let's go find them."

After dressing, we found the two of them standing over a huge PADD set into a draft table, loudly discussing some mechachemical point. "Excuse me," I said even more loudly, interrupting them.

"Nyss!" Ken exclaimed, hurrying over to hug me. "You smell good," he said in a quieter voice.

"Glad you think so."

"Smells like you had fun."

"I did," I replied, tickling him gently.

"And did Susan?"

I thought for a second, reaching out to her, feeling the emotions playing between her and Dick. "I think they'll be okay," I said, answering all his future questions too.

"Good," was all he said in reply.