The Journal Entries

Anar, Urim 08, 03262

Honest Impulses 24: Silver Bells

The biting cold of a Plateau winter stirred outside Shandy's apartment, but in her kitchen she wore only a t-shirt, dark orange as always, with her cargo shorts. Linia's admired her as she prepared dinner, stirring, tasting, adding salt or herbs, while steam scented with cooking meat and vegetables, fresh laurel and rosemary, wafted through the apartment. Shandy moved in an element she understood.

Shandy turned and smiled at her. "What are you thinking?"

Linia grinned. "I was thinking about how good dinner smells. And how good you look."

Shandy blushed, turning her face away slightly. "'Tis still so strange, all that I'm learning and growing familiar. I'm taking it slowly. But, I'm taking it." A chime went off behind her. "The bird's done," Shandy said.

They ate together. Linia felt unusually shy, arrays of inhibitions scored with maybes shepherding various conversational gambits away from her mouth. Shandy, for all her bravado, was still fragile. For Linia, even moreso now was her relationship with Shandy. They'd had only a few days to explore what each meant to the other before Geroma Moor had taken that high dive off his balcony and Shandy had stepped up to preserve Gazelle.

"And you are sure this is fine?" Shandy said.

"Yes, it's fine," Linia said. "Misuko's going to be gone for a few weeks, and she knows we'll be getting together, you and me. And me and Gazelle, but for other reasons."

"Why did you no go with her?"

"I still have the Isabelle project, and... it's a good idea for Misuko to learn to live without me. She's self-reliant, but she needs to learn to trust me more than she already does. Moments of independence like this let me push her trust the other way: she needs to trust that my presence isn't undermining her ability to fend for herself. And when she gets back it'll shore up her trust that I'm not going to leave her."

Shandy shook her head. "You make it sound so logical and easy when you say it like that. Do you do that with me? Push my trust one way or other?"

Linia paused. "Like I told you before, no moreso than couples do in purely organic relationships. It's just that, like Nawazi said, I have a bigger collection of scenarios I can review to try and decide the one that creates the best outcome. I'm trying to help Misuko achieve her goals. Those decisions have to be made logically."

Shandy looked away. "And me?"

"Shandy, I loved you when I first met you. I don't know why. There was something there that made me want you. I could find out why. So can a lot of people, meat or otherwise. I don't want to. That's true of my love for Misuko." She reached a hand across the table, and Shandy hesitantly took it. "That's true of my love for you. I don't have supernatural abilities to decide wisely. I'm trying just as hard as any person to be good, if someone is committed to being good. I don't have to 'push' your trust. You're already struggling with it. And you're very different from Misuko. She wants to hear how I think about these details. I'm not sure you do."

Shandy nodded. "I no ken I do either."

"And that's why, even more with you than with Misuko, I'm not going to put my feelings on a microscope and examine them in detail. If the day comes when I'm so far out of alignment that I'm making you, or Misuko, or anyone else I call a friend, distressed and miserable, then I'll pull out the analyzers and figure out how my motives and choices got me there, and how I can make it right. I'll even enlist the help of an AI or two I know." She smiled.

"De Ette, right?"

Linia nodded. "And Santu, if I must. I have to trust him because he performed what passes for my Encompassment, so he knows more about me than just about anyone." She shrugged. "I'm not comfortable with that, but neither he nor I had a choice in the matter."

Shandy nodded, but Linia got the impression that a lot of that conversation had gone past her. If she asked, Linia would answer. Instead, Shandy pushed away from the table and walked around it. "Gazelle said you had something for her to do."

Linia nodded. "Actually, I had someplace for her to be. She's sleeping on my couch tonight. She thought it would be better if you and I had room to be ourselves. Are you and she...?"

Shandy sighed. "We're no lovers yet. I wish to heaven we were, but 'tis no right between us yet." Linia nodded. "But we are learning. I promise. She's no so good a cook as you."

"Or you, then," Linia said. "Are you teaching her?"

"As much as I can." Shandy frowned. "She has no ever been asked what she liked. 'Twas always assumed she liked what her owner liked. She did no like horses, she liked the hope she could give one to Moor. You ride your motorcycle for all the reasons you told me, but too you actually like riding it.

Linia nodded. "Another thing Misuko taught me about being my own person: I'd better have my own wants, desires, and likes."

"Like me?" Shandy said, reaching out a hand.

"Like you," Linia said, standing and taking Shandy's hand. "Are you sure this is what you want?"

Shandy reached up and took Linia's face in her hands, guided the two of them together into a slow, passionate kiss. When their tongues met, Linia moaned softly. The last time, she'd been thinking hard about how to do this, how not to break Shandy. This time, she wondered if Shandy was out to break her. "Aye," Shandy said. "In the Landing, the world has two ways: either the straight and the narrow, or wrack and ruin. But 'tis no straight line, is it? You can live the straight and narrow and be no good man or woman." She looked up. "Or you can let your heart lead you and still be so decent and good it makes me cry."

Linia smiled and said, "I'm not ready to make you cry. I'm ready for something else if you are."

Shandy nodded and pulled on Linia's hand. Linia eagerly followed her into the bedroom, a smaller space but still neat and tidy, with the two posters of robots from her old bedroom occupying the walls. "I'm glad you got those back."

"Aye. Could no have done to leave them." Shandy dropped Linia's hand. "I'm no as sure as I'd like to what to do next." She grinned. "I've been reading up on what 'tis women do in bed, but 'tis sure I either know I like what we did last time, or I no ken if I would be liking it."

"One thing I know I like," Linia said. She kissed Shandy. Shandy responded eagerly, and Linia let her hands freely roam Shandy's back and butt as their tongues touched. She found the hem of Shandy's shirt and slowly pulled it upwards until it bunched under Shandy's breasts. Shandy raised her arms and Linia pulled away from the kiss only long enough to toss the shirt over Shandy's head and onto the floor.

The kissing resumed, but this time Shandy had to unbutton Linia's blouse. That had been a deliberate choice on Linia's part, to make Shandy work for it. Shandy did. Her fingers trembled as she opened Linia's outfit, pushing aside the cloth and letting her hands slip over Linia's bra. "You'll make me swoon," Linia whispered.

"Aye, 'tis good then," Shandy said, and reached down for Linia's skirt. With only two buttons that was easier and soon it slipped to the floor, leaving Linia wearing only a bra and underwear. More kisses let Linia open Shandy's trousers and drop them down to the floor as well. They pooled around Shandy's ankles and Linia felt Shandy perform the familiar dance of doffing her pants while still remaining in kissing distance. Hands found clasps and bras joined the growing pile of discarded clothes.

Linia reached for Shandy's underwear, and Shandy's voice whimpered with a mix of anticipation and apprehension. Linia let her lips slide over Shandy's chest and belly as she slowly knelt. Shandy's soft belly protruded just enough that she had to bend her neck a little further back than tolerances usually allowed, but she'd live with it. She inhaled the musky, almost spicy scent of Shandy's arousal, and she sighed. "You make me happy," she said softly, then kissed Shandy's matted pubic hair. Shandy hissed, "Aye."

Linia knelt before Shandy, almost in a worshipful position, her mouth pressing deeper and deeper into the cleft of Shandy's cunt, seeking out the little spots. Shandy's pussy was a complicated affair, with long inner labia that folded in on themselves. Linia loved those lips, so different from Misuko's simple, almost perfectly geometrical lines. She dug in with a gusto. Shandy put her hands on Linia's head, almost staggering as she parted her legs a little further. "Shandy," Linia breathed, looking up. "I can't... my neck."

Shandy nodded. Linia stood, then took Shandy by the shoulders and pushed her down onto the high bed so that her hips were barely on the mattress. "Linia!" Shandy sputtered as the bells attached to Shandy's head and baseboard chimed, but Linia only smiled and leaned over the shorter woman to kiss her neck. Linia's mouth trailed down to the hollow of Shandy's collarbones, then across her chest to her breasts. "You have such a beautiful body," Linia murmured as she kissed one of Shandy's breasts, her lips circling the nipple closer and closer. Shandy's gasps grew louder. "I remember that," Linia said. "I told you I'd get to them later." Shandy's nipple visibly hardened under Linia's attention, and with her lips and teeth she teased it until Shandy's whimpers grew loud enough Linia wondered if the neighbors might hear.

Linia kissed her way downward, Shandy's soft stomach heaving for air with every buss and nibble, and when she reached Shandy's pussy again she smelled Shandy's wondrous arousal. She was amazed by her own reaction to it. It was similar to what she felt when she went down on Misuko, but she felt a strange tinge to her feelings, a wildness that couldn't be explained logically. She was a robot, she wasn't supposed to feel this feverish impatience for someone who wasn't her companion. Shandy made her feel wonderful, and Linia knew at her core that when Shandy and she finally dropped the pace of their love down and down to almost nothing, when Gazelle finally stepped up and became as important to Shandy as Linia suspected she herself was, that she would feel the bitter and the sweet as strongly as Shandy.

That was in the future. Right now, there was Shandy's beautiful cunt, now fully exposed under that tangle of thick, damp pubic hair, and Linia bent to kiss and lick at every exposed millimeter. She tasted the soft, milky fluids pooling in Shandy's opening, the tangier residue over the tinier opening further up, and finally the complex texture where labia, hood, and clitoris all combined into an architecture of pleasure no bigger than a fingernail. "Linia..." Shandy gasped. "More."

"More," Linia promised, and licked at Shandy's cunt, varying her pace, starting with quick, gentle flickers in a rotation around Shandy's clit, slowing down as Shandy's breathing grew faster and louder in Linia's ears. Shandy didn't use her voice but she didn't have to as Linia's fingers touched Shandy's opening. "Can I go inside you?" Linia said.

"Uh-huh," Shandy whimpered, and Linia slipped one finger, palm up, into Shandy's warm body. The wetness around her finger was an affirmation of all the good she was achieving, and as she slipped that one finger out Shandy whimpered desperately, only to hiss with delight as Linia slipped two fingers into her. "Oh, yes, yes, please, harder..."

Linia was only too willing to do as she asked, but as she pressed in with her tongue Shandy only clenched her fists. "Not that. With your hand."

Linia tried thrusting with her fingers and Shandy gasped, "Yes!" Linia smiled and bent to suckle her clit harder, her fingers thrusting in a hard, steady rhythm in and out of Shandy's wet, hungry cunt. Linia pushed harder and harder, and she heard it: the bells. She thrust just a little bit harder, hard enough to make Shandy's beautiful collection of musical chimes ring out and surround them. Shandy's hands grabbed her own nipples and pinched them, hard, as Linia's hand and tongue drove Shandy. Shandy suddenly went silent and almost rigid, but Linia didn't stop her full-tilt ravishment of Shandy's cunt, and the only sound in the room for a full ten seconds was the glorious music of the chimes. Shandy's hips bounced on the bed, almost knocking Linia's teeth as she came with a low, guttural moan, heaving and gasping for the air she'd denied herself the last few minutes.

She collapsed, her legs dropping downward, but Linia caught them. She eased her arm under Shandy's back and with her extra strength turned Shandy so she was fully on the bed. She crawled over Shandy and took up the other side. "You okay?"

"Oh, god, god," Shandy said, then put her hand over her mouth. "Sorry."

"No, it's good," Linia murmured, her lips caressing Shandy's ear. Shandy shivered.

"I should no blaspheme," Shandy said, then giggled.

"If you don't want to, don't," Linia said.

"I should say your name instead," Shandy said, turning to give her a grin. She put her hands on her belly. "I was thinking I should cover up. But 'tis silly."

"Because I know what you look like naked?"

Shandy nodded. "Aye."

"You look good naked." Shandy was quiet, and tears filled her eyes. "Oh, no, what did I do this time?"

"'Tis no sadness, Linia! 'Tis joy." She turned over and covered Linia's body with her own, kissed the other woman. "'Tis so good."

Linia nodded. "Will you stay on Hiroshi?"

"I'm going no anywhere until I get my license." She kissed Linia softly.

Linia looked up at her. "Good," she said.