Part 5: Triangle, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 45: Imagination

The madame had said little more on the topic and Linza hadn’t pressed for more. She’d returned to her apartment earlier in the day than usual and she turned over those words. She was supposed to use her imagination? How?

Everything given probably meant that she was supposed to share how she felt. But she still didn’t know how she felt!

Nothing taken meant to not presume how Tanyth or Grun were feeling, but Linza felt that they’d been pretty clear. She was sure that clarification would help, but she didn’t know what to clarify until she knew how she felt.

Having fun seemed impossible until she sorted this out… but perhaps that was where she was going wrong.

So, she was supposed to have fun and use her imagination.

Well… She could think of one thing that fit that bill, at least.

Feeling a bit uninspired, Linza turned to the offerings of her past self, the growing collection of erotic scenes and story snippets that she’d been working on for the past few months.

Still feeling in an analytical mood, she started by editing a few of the newer pieces. 

Yet the words slipped under the surface of the mind, familiar and yet forgotten as they were, and stirred the same feelings that had inspired them.

Still, she kept to her task. It was a strategy, a like corking wine while it fermented. She let the flavors evolve, the pressure build.

She didn’t hurry herself. She needed to marinate.

An hour and then another easily slid by.

And as she checked the clock and realized that she really ought to be getting to bed, her heart thudded in her ears and her sex ached and her small clothes were totally soaked.

She slipped between her sheets and then slipped her fingers between her own folds.

Her heat flared with the sort of sudden rapture only possible through this level of anticipation. And that heat melted her inhibitions like wax inside a furnace. She plunged into the depths of her subconscious imaginings, finally unafraid of what she might find.

Grun was there first. He was dressed as he had been at their dinner, trying to look bold, yet still blushing. She wrapped her arms around him from behind—he melted under her fingertips. Then he overtook her and filled her with his girth.

Then, Tanyth. All pastels and flowing. Never really on the top, never really on the bottom. A dance of equal partners. Her touching herself, them touching themselves. Them in her mouth, her under their tongue.

Grun, steady and forceful as a drum line.

Tanyth, light and warbling like a melody.

She brought the comparison closer, switched back and forth more rapidly.

Riding Grun and licking Tanyth.

Tanyth wrapped around her and Grun inside of her.

Grun moaning and Tanyth gasping.

Until it was all at once, the steady drumbeat pounding through her and the melody like air all around.

Linza clawed at her sheets as her back curled and her body melted into pleasure. There was the gasping climb, the peak of sensation, the groaning echoes and the lingering afterglow.

And then finally, as the tide came in and the waves carried her out into an ocean of rest, she finally knew what she wanted.

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Part 5: Triangle, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 44: Advice

Between Wyn’s advice and a full night of sleep, Linza determined that what she wanted to do was ask the madame for her advice. If the madame advised her to avoid workplace relationships altogether, then Linza would have a plausible excuse to skirt the issue and maintain her friendships with both Grun and Tanyth.

She and the madame met the first day of each weekend in the madame’s office.

The office was part of the madame’s apartment, which occupied the entire top floor of one of the taller buildings on the seaside end of the estate. There was a balcony all the way around it that afforded an incredible view of the ocean. 

With all the windowed doors propped open, the ocean air flowed easily through the cozy apartment, bringing the smell of salt and seaweed. 

Linza and the madame leaned over the heavy wooden desk and reviewed the estate’s accounting books, which were all scrupulously kept. Linza would be able to contribute eventually, but she still had very much to learn. The kingdom’s tax laws were far more complex than she’d imagined, especially since ‘sexual services’ were taxed differently than ‘regular’ services. The madame had crafted a whole art of determining exactly which services could be classified as ‘regular’ (a lower tax rate) vs ‘sexual’ (a higher tax rate) and Linza was seeing how very clever it was that so many of the estate’s most expensive and sensual experiences were not explicitly ‘sexual’.

Their sessions were right before afternoon tea and the madame usually invited Linza to stay. This was Linza’s favorite part. Without any particular effort, they always got onto some interesting topic and Linza always learned something life-altering.

This time, as they settled down for tea, she said, “Would it be alright if I asked you some advice?”

“Of course,” the madame said, “I daresay that’s an express purpose of our arrangement.”

Right. Why did Linza feel like she was imposing when that was literally the premise of their relationship? The madame probably even liked getting asked for advice. Linza certainly enjoyed it when her own was solicited.

As briefly as she could, Linza explained the situation.

The madame’s eyes glittered knowingly. She said, “Follow the rules.”

Linza bit her lip. She’d been hoping for more, but perhaps this was a test. “Everything given, nothing taken, have fun?”

The madame nodded.

“I thought there might be specific rules about… workplace relationships?”

“No. I’d considered it. But I’ve found over the years that those three rules have always covered everything that’s come up.”

Well that might be because, Linza thought, those rules are sort of vague and far-reaching.

“But, for you, I’ll add one more piece of advice.”

Linza sat up a little straighter. “What’s that?”

“Use your imagination.”

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Part 5: Triangle, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 43: Personal Attack

Linza and Wyn sat across from each other at the table in Wyn’s dining nook.

Wyn looked through the notebook and quirked an eyebrow at Linza. “You were certainly… thorough.”

Linza bit her lip. “They’re so different, it’s like… how do you choose between steak and strawberry cake? It barely even makes sense as a question…”

“Well, maybe you just need to—what do you call it, ‘increase your sample size’? See if that helps you figure it out.” Wyn waggled her eyebrows suggestively.

Linza put her head in her hands. “I think they might be mutually exclusive. I can’t just walk up to each of them and say, ‘hey, I’m gonna fuck each of you as an experiment, try to pretend this isn’t an interview!’”

“Why not?” Wyn said.

Linza groaned. She wasn’t in the mood for Wyn’s teasing.

“No, I mean it,” Wyn insisted. “Why not?”

“You’re serious?!”

“Yeah.”

“B-Because— I just, I can’t! That’s too… too…”

“Too cold?”

It was something like what Linza had said about Wyn when they’d agreed to end the ‘relationship’ part of their relationship.

Linza blushed. “I just, it’s not… it’s not me. I don’t think I could even really enjoy it with either of them, not knowing… if… I don’t know.”

Wyn chuckled. “That is where you and I differ, my friend. I’m getting second-hand hot-and-bothered just thinking about two lovely suitors vying for my attention.”

Linza buried her face in her hands. “It’s so embarrassing!”

“Why?”

“I don’t know.”

“Nuh uh, you’re answering me. You did this to me before and I’m doing it to you, now. Why do you feel embarrassed?”

Linza couldn’t argue with that. She was usually the one cajoling Wyn into introspection. She’d just have to deal with the taste of her own medicine. “Because I’m ashamed.”

“What’s there to be ashamed of?”

“I can’t believe either of them would actually love me and I’m scared that when they figure it out, I won’t be friends with either of them.” Linza’s voice caught in a ball of tears. She held her breath.

“Aw, c’mon, Linz.” Wyn scooted around the table and hugged her. “You’ve cried in front of me plenty of times. Just let it happen.”

Linza sniffled. “H-how stupid am I if I’m crying because two people like me?”

“Would you call me stupid?”

“No!”

“So don’t call yourself stupid.”

And so Linza relented. She was so tired of thinking that she just let herself cry, and feel the feeling of crying, Wyn’s shoulder against her cheek. And finally, she stilled.

Wyn handed Linza a handkerchief and Linza attempted to return to a semi-decent state.

“Linza, you are basically the easiest-to-like person I’ve ever met,” Wyn said.

Linza snuffled. “That’s just because—”

Wyn leveled a scolding finger at her. “Don’t you dare.”

Linza pouted. Then she cracked a smile.

Wyn put her hand to her hip. “Don’t you think that if you were some fundamentally unlovable person, I’d have kicked you to the curb ages ago? You know I don’t fuck with bullshit.”

Linza chuckled. “I do know that.”

“See, you call me brash,” she said as she tapped the side of her nose with her finger, “but doesn’t that make you all the more confident that I actually like you? It’s you I have to worry about, sometimes. Whether you’re actually telling me how you feel or whether you’re just pandering to my feelings. My feelings are that I want to know how you feel, alright?”

Linza grinned wryly. “I wish I knew how I felt.”

“I think you would if you’d stop drowning it out with how you think you should feel.”

“I feel personally attacked.”

“Good, I am personally attacking you.”

Ugh, fine. I just don’t know what to do next.”

“You’re gonna eat this dinner I put in front of you that you hardly touched. And then you’re going to go home and get a whole night of sleep because you get so much grumpier than you realize. And then you’re gonna go walk on the beach or paint with only blue or cut off all your hair or do something moody until you finally hear whatever inside of you is screaming how you feel, mkay?”

“Okay, okay. You’re right. But for the umpteenth time, I’m not cutting off all my hair,” Linza said.

“Just a trim?”

“No!”

“But you’d look so good with it short.”

“Nope.”

“C’monnnn!”

“I thought I was supposed to listen to my feelings!”

“Just for those other things. This is different, because I’m right this time.” Wyn smirked.

“You are insufferable.”

“I love you too, Linz.”

Linz rolled her eyes and shook her head. “What did I ever do to deserve you?”

“You tell a mean dad joke and you look rad in an oversized sweater, what can I say?”

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Part 5: Triangle, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 42: Analysis

At work the next day, Linza shirked her duties and spent the day at her desk with her notebook.

She did the only thing that she could think to do.

Linza analyzed the problem.

She started with things that she wanted from a relationship. The list included; ‘hot sex’, ‘hand holding’, ‘talk about politics’, ‘okay if I masturbate without them’, ‘listens about day job’, ‘might want to meet my family’ and so on.

Then, she flipped to a pair of fresh pages and underlined Grun at the top of one and Tanyth at the top of the other.

Grun’s pros included; ‘hot’, ‘nice’, ‘confident’, ‘good listener’, ‘bookish’

Grun’s cons included; ‘gets angry’, ‘not comfortable with my hedging’, ‘might be pretending to be nice’

Tanyth’s pros included; ‘cute’, ‘charismatic’, ‘lots of fun’, ‘great teacher’, ‘artsy’

Tanyth’s cons included; ‘flighty’, ‘afraid of commitment’, ‘might get bored of me’

The exercise took Linza’s entire work day, and by the time she was finished, she felt much more certain.

She was absolutely sure, in fact, that she had no idea what she was going to do.

She was going to have to talk to Wyn.

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Part 5: Triangle, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 41: Riptide

The last sliver of the sun tinted the sky blush pink and the water the deep purple of wine. Linza and Grun walked along the strip of wet sand at the edge of the lapping waves. 

Walking felt nice. She could breathe, at least.

They chatted about the weather. Linza recounted the story of the one and only time she’d attended a JSMI beach party. Grun shared that his mother was an orc general, his father a human librarian. His father had raised him after his mother returned to the orcish tribe lands.

Grun confessed to being a natural challenger, competitive from even a very young age, but nowadays he put that energy towards helping others where he could.

“That’s really lovely,” she said.

“Now, you, on the other hand.” He poked her upper arm. “You do way too much for other people.”

“It’s fine! I enjoy it.” And wasn’t it appreciated? Needed, even?

“You need to stick up for yourself more.”

Linza folded her arms. “I don’t like you telling me what to do.”

“Yes! Exactly!” He clapped her heartily on the back.

Linza stumbled forward. After she caught her balance, she turned and lunged at him. She may as well have shoved a brick wall.

Grun laughed.

“Whatever,” Linza grumbled, even as a genuine smile tugged at her lips.

They eventually turned around and headed back towards the estate. Linza wasn’t any closer to figuring out what she was going to do, but at least she didn’t feel queasy anymore.

Her relief was short-lived. As they stepped up the boardwalk towards the estate, Tanyth strolled down the other end. When they saw Linza and Grun, their eyes widened and they bolted like a startled cat.

Linza may have been able to play it off if she hadn’t frozen in place.

Grun’s eyes flicked from Tanyth down to her, but she couldn’t bear to look at him. A sudden chill gripped her spine, and she wrapped her arms tightly around herself.

Shit. This was exactly why she wanted to hide from both of them until she figured this out. 

Grun said, tone measured, “Does your personal issue have anything to do with Tanyth?”

Linza nodded. Her attempts at controlling the situation had gone terribly. She may as well be honest and let them both conclude that she wasn’t worth the trouble.

“It’s… probably best for all involved if you tell me what’s going on,” Grun said.

There was a subtle edge of irritation in his voice.

Whatever anger he had for her, she deserved it. “Tanyth trained me when I first got here, like they did you. We got close and… I thought I… well you know how it can get and… I was fond of them. I thought they didn’t reciprocate. They just told me this afternoon that… that they did, the whole time. And you and I, we seem to be— I mean, I’m enjoying—”

Anxiety gripped her throat, choking any further attempt to explain.

Grun’s posture was tense, his fingers in his beard. “Well,” he said. “What do you want?”

“I don’t want to hurt either of you,” Linza breathed. “I don’t want to hurt anyone.”

He shuffled, as if stifling a stronger reaction, then said, “No, what do you want?”

“That’s the truth! I don’t know. It’s confusing.”

“If it’s confusing, then isn’t it clear?”

“I… what?”

Grun frowned, searching for words. “I just mean… if you’re not sure, then doesn’t that mean you don’t want it?”

Linza’s chest ached. “No, I… Grun, I’m just not a sure person. Every decision in my life, all the best ones I’ve ever made, I doubted a hundred times. Moving away from home, going to JSMI, taking the job here, g-going to dinner with…” Linza mustered up the courage to look at Grun, but the rest of her words caught in the lump in her throat.

He took a breath to say something, then paused.

She could see the thoughts run by under his furrowed brow, hastily sorted. She was sure that a younger Grun would have blurted something that would have destroyed her. But this Grun took the extra moment. Finally, he grunted. “I… feel very differently, of course. I’m very sure I like you. I’m very sure I’d like to be with you. I’m very sure that I only want to be with you if you’re very sure you want to be with me.”

Linza treaded water in her mind just to stay above a spiral of anxiety. But she managed. “That’s very reasonable.”

“So, what does that mean?”

“I think it means… that… I’ll need some… time.”

“Time to decide if you like Tanyth better?” Grun said.

Linza winced.

Grun’s shoulders dropped an inch, and his face softened. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that.”

Linza chewed on her lip. “No, it’s fair… but it’s not that. I need time to see if… if I’m even a functional enough person to… I don’t think I deserve nearly this level of… I have some stuff to work through, I guess.”

Grun hesitated, then said carefully, “However much space you need, I respect that. But let me say this. You’re clever and bright and talented and gorgeous and sexy, and it makes me so mad that anybody would think otherwise, including yourself. And if Tanyth can’t tell you that straight up, then do they deserve you?”

Linza could hardly let herself hear Grun’s words, lest she burst into tears. Though would that really be so bad? To have Grun’s warmth around her, to lean into his chest… Linza wanted that, wanted to unravel, but she remained frozen.

Grun offered her a soft, wry smile and a hand on her shoulder. “Looking forward to your answer. Find me when you’re ready, but I’ll respect your space otherwise.” Then he turned and walked up the boardwalk to the estate.

Linza turned back towards the ocean, stumbled towards the fringes of the waves, and collapsed into the sand, shaking. Her thoughts had turned into a riptide, pulling her under.

He was right. Of course he was. She should know what she wanted. She should expect herself to be treated better. She didn’t deserve him.

But then he’d spoken exactly to that. He’d seen her, he’d called her out on it. And he hadn’t shamed her. He’d just told her she was wrong. Matter-of-fact.

His words were a life preserver, and though she bobbed under the waters of her self-doubt, she re-surfaced.

And then there was Tanyth. Tanyth didn’t break her mind in this way. She and they were more similar. Dancing around the issue. Afraid to speak to it outright. Sensitive, softer.

If Grun was the heat of the sun, brilliant and intense, then Tanyth was the comfort of the shade, the dappled patterns of light that swayed and mesmerized.

Where Tanyth was variety, whimsy, exploration, energy, Grun was a bold, straight line, surging unstoppably towards his goal.

She loved them both.

She wished that they loved each other and not her. Then, she wouldn’t have to lose one or both friends.

And yet, Grun had spoken to that, too. Did she care so little for her own happiness that she could only find it second hand?

What did she even want out of a relationship? What did it even mean to her?

Would it be like with Wyn? Burn bright and hot, but then dim to the comforting heat of friendship? Or go out entirely?

Or could one of them be the perfect gem, which could hold the light forever without fading?

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Part 5: Triangle, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 40: Drafts

Linza raced up the hallway of the administrative building and into an empty classroom, slamming the door behind her and leaning against it as if a lion had been right on her heels.

Her heart raced, her breath came in shallow gasps.

Even after Linza’s breath should have returned to normal, it didn’t. Minutes later, she still leaned against the inside of the door, hyperventilating. 

Was she having a panic attack? They were common enough around finals at JSMI, but school had never gotten under her skin in this way. Leave it to her to have iron nerves through the hardest curriculum at JSMI and then fall apart because two people were being nice to her at the same time.

She hardly deserved either of them.

Then again, wouldn’t Grun say something about how she was being meaner to herself than she’d be to anyone else?

Grun, who had been so challenging and brash and irritating… and yet so calming and kind. She had so much more in common with Tanyth, they’d been quick friends, but their anxiety sent hers into an even more violent whirl.

Linza finally steadied enough to notice which classroom she’d ended up in. It was the same one as their calligraphy lesson. The ink called out to her from the cubbies on the wall, and she pulled out a sheet of paper and tried to write through what she was feeling.

Her shaky hands nearly tipped the ink pot over when she dipped her quill, but her first draft didn’t really need to be legible, anyway.

She filled the paper. Then squished more in the sides. Then turned over the back.

She covered two pieces of paper with cramped scrawl and yet still she was no closer to finding the right words.

The door groaned behind her, and Linza whirled.

It was Grun, back in his leather shorts and humming a song. He stopped short as he saw her. His eyebrow quirked, and his wry half-smile sent Linza’s stomach churning even worse. 

“You don’t look happy to see me,” he said.

“No, not at all!” She forced a smile. “Just surprised! What are you doing here?”

“I was coming to practice.”

“Practice?”

“Calligraphy.”

“Oh! Really?”

Grun laughed. “Really. What, you don’t think someone like me would actually enjoy calligraphy?”

Linza grinned wryly. “I’d be a total idiot if I thought that.”

He winked at her. “Don’t worry. I’m used to it. Comes with the ‘territory’.” He flexed and patted his chest with an open hand.

Linza snorted a laugh.

Grun stepped closer, noticing Linza’s quill and paper. “You practicing too?”

Linza gulped. “Oh, it’s nothing.”

“Oh yeah?” He sidled over. “I’m sure whatever it is, it’s already perfect several times over.”

She snatched the pieces of paper up off of the table and balled them up, even as wet ink streaked her palms. “It’s private,” she squeaked. Making a scene like that made her want to shrivel up and disappear, but it was way better than Grun seeing anything she’d written.

“Alright,” he said. “I won’t pry.” He sounded like he wanted to, though. “Lucky I caught you. I forgot to ask earlier. What do you want to do tonight?”

“I’m feeling a bit ill, actually.” If she couldn’t hide her anxiety, maybe she could play it off as food poisoning or something.

Grun’s expression was skeptical. “If you don’t want to, you can just say so. I’m a big boy. I can take it.”

“No!” Linza said. “No, it’s not that. I really do feel ill.”

“Hm. Too ill to get dinner with me?”

She nodded. She’d hardly be keeping anything down.

“Too ill for a walk on the beach?”

Linza hesitated. Grun’s steady presence was calming, and the ocean always helped clear her head… Spending more time with him was idiocy, digging herself into a deeper hole, but… suddenly, she was afraid to be alone with her thoughts. 

Linza nodded. “That’d be nice.”

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Part 5: Triangle, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 39: Confession

The setting sun washed the estate in golden light as Grun kissed Linza’s cheek and headed towards his shift for the evening.

Linza floated up the stairs to check the illusionist schedule, then realized she wasn’t on it at all. Skipping her day job had warped her sense of time. So, Linza drifted back down to the courtyard, debating whether to stay at the estate for a pastry or to head home.

Then an enthusiastic bundle of lilac frills shattered her inner peace.

Tanyth beamed up at her. “Linza! You busy?”

Linza froze. A broad smile crossed her face to mirror Tanyth’s, but she didn’t feel any of its mirth.

“I’m free, actually!” she said, surprised at how cheerful she could sound even while she was starting to panic.

“Great! Tea?”

“Sure!” Even as Linza turned to follow Tanyth, she silently cursed herself. Couldn’t she just say, ‘Oh I’d love to, but I ought to get home’. She willed herself to say, ‘Oh, I just remembered,’ but her throat tightened around the words. Enjoying her time with Grun felt like betraying Tanyth, so the least she could do was to be available for tea.

Tanyth didn’t seem to notice Linza’s angst. They said, “I was glad about Grun setting up our calligraphy lesson. I had just been thinking it had been too long since you and I hung out!”

“It really had been!” Linza said, voice smoother than it had any right to be, with how her heart was racing.

“Speaking of which, how was your ‘date’?” They grinned teasingly, calling back to Linza’s earlier protests. 

Linza’s throat tightened again. Admitting how much fun she’d had was sure to crush Tanyth, but she also couldn’t bring herself to speak ill of Grun. Linza took a breath to speak, but her silence was already too long, and her words fizzled.

Tanyth laughed. “That bad, huh? Alright, I won’t torture you for the details. Except… I totally will. But, tea first!”

Linza finally breathed again as Tanyth bounced on ahead. If Tanyth jumped to their own conclusions, then she was hardly responsible. But what would she say when they pressed for details? Maybe they’d be distracted by the time the two of them got their tea and settled in.

They sat at a little table on the balcony lined with ruby velvet. Linza opted for a lavender green tea, hoping it would calm her nerves. Her hands shook, and the teacup rattled against the saucer when she accepted it from a waitress in a ruffly orange dress.

Tanyth tipped back their rose milk and gulped half of it down, and as the cup clacked back into the saucer, Tanyth’s smile was gone.

Linza’s body went still, like a mouse caught in a beam of light. Whatever Tanyth was about to say, she wasn’t sure if she could bear it. But she couldn’t do anything but quietly wait, either. Why was she this way?!

Tanyth fidgeted with the edge of the table cloth. “So… um… I… I realized something this week, after our calligraphy lesson.” Their bosom swelled with a deep breath. “Everything given. I wasn’t entirely honest with you, before. When I was training you and we did your illusion exercise… I know I never said anything but… I should have. I realized this week…”

You realized how shitty it feels when someone knows you like them and they just ignore it for ages? Linza thought.

Tanyth swallowed. “Oh, you can see why I struggled to say anything before!” They put their hands to their cheeks. “I saw that you loved… Well, I felt the same— I cared for you too. Care for you. In the way— I think— you wanted.”

Linza blinked. This wasn’t what she’d expected. At all.

Tanyth soldiered on. “I didn’t say anything because I was a-afraid that… I’ve always been afraid that… well, I don’t like being pinned down. I-in a relationship sense. And I assumed that… that was what you would want. And… I don’t know if it was fair of me to assume that. And I guess I realized this week, well… you and Grun seem to get along. And I thought, what am I so afraid of missing out on that I’d risk missing out on getting to be with— I mean if you wanted to— Well, you must have thought me terribly cold, and— I never even asked your or said anything— I understand if you’re upset.” Tanyth finally took a breath. “Are you upset?”

“No,” Linza said quickly, “Of course not.” But it was as much of a lie as her smile had been.

Tanyth’s eyes brightened like the sun emerging from behind a cloud. “I’m so glad to hear that!” Tanyth reached out and put their hand on hers on the table.

The butterflies returned all at once, a whole swarm, inside of her and around her and blurring her vision and fluttering in her brain.

Tanyth took another deep breath. “Would… would you like to go on a date with me?”

“Oh! R-right now?”

“Well… how long are you free for?”

“Oh, um, n-not very long, unfortunately.” She wasn’t sure how long she could last at the cafe without completely falling apart.

“So… another time? Or…” Tanyth’s eyes welled with hope, their breath waited for her answer.

“Y-yeah, I’d like to,” Linza said. It was true, regardless of whether she actually went out with them or not. She offered what she hoped was a reassuring smile.

Tanyth beamed. “That’s great! I… I’m really glad. Y’know, I was worried…” They glanced down, tucked a strand of hair behind their ear. “I was worried you’d really hit it off with Grun.”

Linza took a long drink of her tea, if only to have something to hide her face. “Mhm.” 

Fortunately, Tanyth didn’t seem to have noticed. “Are you free tomorrow?”

“I’m not sure, I’ll have to, um, check with Wyn, she and I had something planned.” Linza liked to think of herself as an honest person, except the lies came so easily when she needed them to.

“Right! Yeah, just let me know.”

Silence stretched between them. Linza wasn’t sure she could string together another sentence, let alone prompt the next conversation topic.

“I um…” Tanyth said, “I actually have my next shift soon.”

“Oh, yeah! I should let you go. I have some errands, anyway.”

They parted ways at the front of the cafe, Linza walking quickly to nowhere except the opposite direction as Tanyth. 

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Part 4: The Interloper, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 38: Linza’s Nook

Most of Linza’s favorite places in the city were in and around the JSMI campus. Part of it was that she’d lived there for so long and knew the area better than her current neighborhood.

The other part of it was the nostalgia, the strange pleasure of being back on campus but with no homework, no projects, nothing on the schedule…

Linza led Grun past the enchanted statue of the founder at the front gates, a plump goblin woman in a pointed hat, who greeted each passerby with “Hello!” or “Welcome to JSMI!” courtesy of the Magic Mouth spell. Of course, the official casting was not the only one, and fourth years with cash to burn were always trying to sneak in additional triggers. Linza showed how whenever the statue heard “sixty-nine” she said “nice”, though Linza was disappointed to find that the enchantment that responded to “shut up” with “I shut your mom up with this fat cock” had been removed.

Then Linza pulled Grun by the hand through the gardens, showing him her favorite spots to go and sketch or think.

They even ducked past the student staff and snuck into the library, and Linza lead him all the way up to her favorite nook on the fourth floor. Here, the gaps between the book-stuffed shelves were so narrow that Grun’s shoulders brushed them on either side. Linza hooked a right at the seventh intersection, and in the shadow at the end of the narrow aisle, there was still a squat little chair tucked against the wall. She’d ‘borrowed’ it from a nearby common room during her second year.

“I always felt alone with the books up here,” Linza whispered, running her fingers down the leather spines. Few people bothered to learn the labyrinthine upper floors—these were the books that hardly anybody wanted, but that the librarians couldn’t bear to throw away. So they just packed in tighter and tighter each year.

Grun’s eyes twinkled. “Alone with the books, you say?”

Linza narrowed her eyes. “Yeeeeah…”

“You seem to have so many memories here. Why not add one more?” Grun’s smirk was unambiguously lewd.

Linza’s heart quickened as her blood heated. She’d never been interrupted in this spot, but finding a quiet place to finish a term paper was one thing. Doing what Grun was suggesting was another entirely…

Linza bit her lip. “But what if someone catches us?”

Grun smirked. “What are they going to do, expel you?”

A smile cracked across Linza’s face. A few short months ago she wouldn’t have even considered, but now…

Grun stepped closer, and his heat reached around her.

“I suppose that’s a good point,” Linza said, unable to pull her eyes from Grun’s sea glass stare.

He brushed his fingertips against the edge of her jaw, his tongue running along one of his pointed canines.

“I’ve never done anything like this before,” Linza breathed. “I was a bit of a boring student…”

Grun leaned down until his lips were just above her ear. “A chance to make up for lost time, then?”

A shiver coursed down Linza’s spine and unleashed her, and her hands found the bare skin of Grun’s chest and back as she pulled his lips to hers.

Grun pressed her against the wall, one hand on her cheek and the other on the small of her back. His cock throbbed against the front of her hips, and just as her hand found him, he pulled away and kneeled in front of her.

Before Linza could ask what he was doing, he was under her skirt, holding her panties to the side and pressing his tongue against her clit.

Linza gasped, then bit her lip to keep quiet. It was too risky, too inappropriate—but fuck did it feel good. She knew she could ask him to stop and he would, but… she didn’t want him to. Not with the way the base of his tongue stroked her clit, and how the tip of it reached inside of her, the heat of his hands on her thighs, the jolts of pleasure zipping down her limbs.

The greater her arousal, the more enticing the idea of someone catching them—turning down the aisle to the scandalous sight, or peeping from an aisle over, or listening from down the hall. What would Linza have done in her little chair if she’d looked just right through a gap in the books to see someone having sex in the next aisle over? Would she have watched? Let her arousal build? Maybe pulled up her skirt and let her hand find the wetness there…

Linza couldn’t wonder any longer because she was cumming, her hands braced against the wall, her breath held, her hips bucking against Grun’s face, her memory of the little nook forever changed.

As she finally relaxed, Grun emerged from under her skirt with her wetness glistening on his beard and a smirk across his lips.

“How was that for making up for lost time?” Grun said.

Warm shimmers still swirled through Linza’s mind. “Yes, um, good. Very good.” As Linza’s balance returned, she leaned forward and brushed a hand down Grun’s bare chest to the button of his trousers. “You have something I want…”

Grun smiled knowingly, shivering at her fingertips, his cock throbbing just below.

And then the sound of footsteps thudded around the edge of the aisle.

Linza gasped and shot to her feet, smoothing her skirt and finding a very interesting spine on the shelves.

Grun chuckled and stood with less of a hurry. Just as he leaned towards Linza, a mousy young man with a halo of curly hair stopped short at the end of the aisle. He squeaked and then turned to leave.

“We were just leaving!” Linza said, stepping towards the aisle. 

“Oh, no please don’t leave on my account,” the young man said.

“I was just visiting an old haunt, fourth floor is all yours again,” Linza said.

The young man’s cheeks tinged pink, and he fidgeted with his book bag’s strap, but nodded and stayed.

Linza scurried out of the aisle, with Grun striding close behind.

Two aisles later, a thought struck her like a switch on the rump of a horse and she nearly sprinted the rest of the way out of the library. She had completely forgotten to clean the cushion, and the mousy young man would find it soaked and smelling like sex. As they reached the courtyard around the corner from the library, Linza’s panic dissolved into laughter and she struggled to tell Grun what was so funny between giggles.

“I daresay he might have trouble focusing on his studies,” Grun said. “You naughty girl, sabotaging a poor, innocent student.”

“It was your idea!” Linza hissed, but she was beaming.

Wyn was hardly going to believe that Linza did anything so bold. And Tanyth would—

Linza’s glee dimmed. Tanyth would be crushed. She tried to push it out of her mind, but the thought nagged at her for the rest of the day, through their lunch at the JSMI cafeteria, their wandering through the courtyards of the dormitories, their shameless people-watching and quipping about students and professors, their racing each other up the sport field (Grun won, but only barely), their detour to Linza’s favorite art shop, their dinner at a local seafood place, and their ceaseless flirting throughout.

The more fun she had, the darker the thought loomed:

What in the world was she going to say to Tanyth?

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Part 4: The Interloper, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 37: Sick Day

Linza awoke to the sound of the neighborhood clock tower chiming and to the warmth of Grun’s arms around her. She snuggled into Grun, and then realized that if the clock was already chiming, she was already going to be late for work.

“Shit!” She jolted up.

“That’s not regret I hear, is it?” Grun teased. He seemed to have already been awake.

Linza stilled for a moment. She leaned over and kissed Grun’s cheek. “Not at all. I’m just going to be late!”

She scrambled out from under the covers but his hand found her waist.

“That doesn’t seem so bad,” Grun said. He ran his fingers up over her breast and then down her waist again and to her ass, humming with appreciation. “Why don’t you let me send you off properly? Give you a little breakfast?”

“That is very tempting,” Linza said, and she meant it, “But I really can’t.” She wiggled out from under his hand and rolled out of bed, taking the half step over to her wardrobe and rummaging around for a suitable outfit. She’d have to get ready in record time.

Her plans crashed headlong into a brick wall at a singular, captivating sound.

Grun’s indulgent, luxuriant moan.

Linza spun.

Grun had shrugged the cover down to his thighs and he was lying with one hand behind his head and the other stroking his cock, his eyes fluttering towards the ceiling in abject bliss. He was still naked, his wavy hair splayed out on the pillow, the muscles of his chest and abdomen rippling in time with his stroking.

“What are you doing?” Linza hissed.

Grun lifted the hand from behind his head to wave her on. “You go on, I can… nnnngh… take care of this…”

Linza turned reluctantly back to her wardrobe, but couldn’t manage anything beyond staring blankly at it. And then a rivulet of moisture ran down her inner thigh, the remnants of Grun’s ample deposit.

Grun moaned again.

She turned a skeptical eye towards him to see if he was playing it up on purpose. But he didn’t seem to be. It just… felt that good.

Linza’s mouth watered and she put her hands on her hips. “Well, I can’t leave with you like this!”

Grun stirred from his reverie and looked towards her. “Oh yeah? Why not?”

She bit her lip and despite her best effort, her eyes drifted to his cock.

Grun smiled. “This isn’t getting you all—ngh—hot and bothered, is it?”

“No, of course not!” Linza huffed. She didn’t know why she was being contrary, other than that if she wasn’t, she really wouldn’t make it to work. 

“Then why can’t you leave?” Grun teased.

“Because… because, well, I can’t leave you here, I have to lock up.” It was true enough.

“Hm, that seems fair. You’d better come hurry me along then, huh? Otherwise these things just… nnnnngh…” This time he was being dramatic on purpose as he took a long, slow stroke. “… they just take time.”

Linza crossed her arms. It was not Grun she was fighting at this point, so much as the realization that her sense of responsibility was really going to lose to her horniness. “Oh yeah? And how can I ‘hurry you along’?”

Grun beckoned her towards him with two fingers.

She eyed him suspiciously but stepped over to the bed and kneeled next to him.

He swept those same two fingers under her and to her vulva, then stopped just as he touched her. She was still wet, still so ready to be touched.

She quivered with anticipation, heat flaring under her skin as a gasp escaped her lips.

He paused, finding her eyes, looking for any sign of apprehension or protest. There was none. He slipped his fingers inside.

“Gruuun… I, I have to go to work…” Linza said.

“Do you?” He circled his thumb over her clit.

She gasped and shuddered.

“You don’t look like you have to go to work…” He pressed his thick fingers slightly further inside. 

She whimpered.

“You don’t sound like you have to go to work…”

“W-well I do have to…”

He curled the tips of his fingers back towards himself. He pressed exactly on her spot. She moaned.

“I don’t think life should be lived from ‘have tos’,” he continued. “I like… ‘want tos’. What do you want?”

He pressed insistently, rhythmically at her spot, thumb still circling over her clit. Her own moisture mixed with the remnants of his seed and dripped down his hand.

“F-fuck you’re right on my spot!” she said. With every press, her resolve slipped a little further out of her grasp.

“I said… what do you want?”

“Fuck, I want to cum!”

His hips bucked. “Gods, I like it when you talk like that. I like it when you tell me what you want.”

His affirmation was as intoxicating as the lust. She put her own hand to her clit, pushing his thumb away and rubbing herself eagerly.

He shifted his hand slightly so that he could press more easily against her spot, moving his fingers in and out.

“Gods, right there,” Linza whimpered. This differed from his fullness in her— this was more intense, more direct. This was no gently tended ember, this was a bellows put to the flame. Like steam expanded to fill every available space, so the heat filled her even to the tips of her fingers and toes.

It was almost too much to bear, almost so much that she asked him to stop, but she didn’t want it to stop. If he stopped, the heat would dissipate only very slowly, like a steam engine with a clogged release valve.

Ironically, unbearably, rapturously—release would only come through greater pressure. Something, somewhere, would finally give. 

But not yet. Her grasping hand found his upper thigh, her fingers curled to claws and dug into his skin. “I want to cuuum…” Her other hand worked vigorously at her clit.

He moaned with deeper pleasure, his attention drifting towards stroking himself. “Fuuuuck… I’m close…”

Linza panted. “Wait for me.” Whatever part of her that would have deemed such a request as ‘too selfish’ had melted in the heat.

Grun moaned and stopped stroking. “As you wish.” He returned his attentions more fully to her, to his fingers inside of her.

The hints of pre-orgasmic pleasure quickened. “Right there… just like that… fuck, don’t stop… don’t stop…” The wanting and waiting were torture, but they allowed every molecule of her being to align to a singular goal.

Then, the cork holding back all that heat and pressure budged. A shift and her breathing quickened. A wobble and her heart thundered. And then Linza’s heat exploded. “Oh, oh fuck, oh fuck, oh fuck, I— Ah— Aaaaaaah!”

As she quivered with sensitivity, Grun turned his pressing into steady pressure, which was exactly to her liking. His reason was more instinctive, though. The sound of her climax had pushed him into his own inescapable need. As soon as he started stroking himself, he was on the edge.

His face and body tensed. His moan was the first sign, and then the first convulsion coursed through him. The second brought a spurt of cum multiple feet in the air, then the next, and the rest flowed out over his hand and onto his stomach, like sea foam over green waves.

As he relaxed, she pressed her hand over his and held his palm against her mound, his fingers inside of her, until her last waves of pleasure faded.

Grun stirred and put his fingers to his tongue, sucking her wetness off of him. He propped himself up and grinned at her. “You don’t seem in any sort of state to go to work,” he said confidently.

“I don’t?” Linza said, though her hair was a tangle and she still floated in the hazy afterglow.

He shook his head. “It’s my professional opinion that you need a day off. You are simply indisposed.”

Linza brought herself back down to reality. She did indeed have an allowance of paid leave. She hadn’t used any since she’d started working, not even when she’d actually been sick. It felt… risky, scandalous, guilty to play hooky. It also felt… exciting, interesting, lively.

She couldn’t be the only one who just… needed a day off now and again, right?

“Mmmmm okay, fine. Just this once. What, do you want to stay in and fuck all day?”

Grun sighed as if at a fond memory. “I certainly would not protest. But I was thinking… I haven’t actually seen much of the city. Maybe we could go on a tour? You can show me some of your favorite spots?”

“Oh! That sounds really nice.” And then Linza blushed. It made little sense to be shy given how they’d just fucked, but… a day on the town, practically a second date, the idea that he’d want to just spend time with her, sex aside… it felt good, and a little frightening.

Linza distracted herself by getting dressed, but then realized Grun had only his suit. While Linza searched for her most oversized sweater just in case he might be able to squeeze into it, he simply put on his pants and hooked his suit coat over his shoulder, neatly folding his shirt and setting it aside. Once he caught his hair up into a messy bun, he was instantly the picture of fashion.

Though someone might have taken offense at a human or even an elf walking around the city without a shirt on, nobody was about to tell a half-orc what they could or could not wear.

But fuck, was she going to have a hard time not staring at him the whole time.

Linza re-tucked her shirt into her skirt for the third time. Next to Grun, she felt… under-dressed. Over-dressed? It’s not like she had much of a choice—her entire wardrobe was more of the same. Linza reassured herself that if Grun had thought her usual outfit looked silly, he wouldn’t have flirted with her in the first place, so she’d better just stop fretting and get on with it.

After a brief stop by the nearest pigeon coops, where Linza delivered the letter to her employer explaining her absence for the day, she and Grun set out into town.

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Part 4: The Interloper, The Alchemist's Illusions

Chapter 36: Dessert

Grun carried her up all five flights of stairs as easily as she carried her clutch. He held her as she dug out her keys and unlocked the door, and she would have had him carry her right to her bed, except she really needed to pee.

Mischief twinkled in his eye, but he thought better of it, and Linza scurried off to the bathroom, cursing her basic bodily functions.

As she emerged and saw him standing on the other side of the room, shirt mussed, trousers still tracing his muscular legs, hands tucked in his pockets, she paused.

He, too, hesitated.

For all their mutual voracity, a quiet and insistent hush fell over them. It was as if they each noticed a rare creature, one that might flee should they speak too loudly or move too quickly.

Grun stepped forward first, with his gentle yet intractable momentum, like a ship gliding on a calm sea.

He reached her like a spray of salt water, upon her all at once but nowhere harshly, his fingertips brushing her chin.

Her hands washed up onto his chest, crested around to his sides, his waist.

He folded around her, kissed her neck. She pulled him in closer, fingertips curling to claws.

His teeth met her skin.

She gasped. Her hands found the firmness in his trousers.

He groaned and unzipped the back of her dress.

She undid his buttons.

He slipped the dress down her shoulders and around her hips and it crumpled to the floor. His fingertips traced her spine, his palm pressing tight against the flat of her back, his breathy moan pouring over her neck.

Despite how conflicted Linza had felt, despite how many questions remained, in that moment she knew exactly what she wanted. She unbuttoned his shirt and traced her tongue over the arc of his pectorals, dropping to swirl over his nipples and earning a gasp and a wiggle.

As he shrugged out of his shirt, she dropped to her knees before him and freed his throbbing cock.

She had noted the size of it when he had stroked himself, but now that her own small hands wrapped around him, she truly appreciated the scale. She could just barely wrap one hand around his head and his base, but his mid-shaft swell forced her fingers apart. The base of his shaft was the same grey-green as the rest of his skin, but he darkened to purple towards the tip and his glans was soft pink under the sheath of his foreskin.

Grun moaned and shuddered at the sensation of her fingertips exploring him. “Y-you don’t have to—”

“I want to,” Linza crooned, swirling her tongue under his tip.

Grun’s entire body went stiff, vibrating with the effort of saying upright as he groaned. “I-I insist…”

That wicked, slithering thing draped over her shoulders and snickered.

Linza smirked. “Is that so?” She gripped just behind his head and gently pushed down towards his base, the skin sliding with her and revealing more of his glans. She flicked the tip of her tongue at his frenulum. 

He shuddered and grunted.

She slowly stroked him. “Insist away. No, really. Feel free to stop me any time.” She leaned down and sucked at his tip.

“Fuck! N-not fair…”

“If it makes you feel any better…” She lifted her other hand to cup his balls, learning the weight of them in her hand and earning another barely-contained moan. “You did get to go first. I… I really appreciated what you said at dinner.”

“N-not sure how it earned this, but… I’m glad…”

Linza gently squeezed his testicles, noting the way it made his eyes roll back.

Gods, she never would have dreamed of doing anything like this—of being anyone like this—six months ago. But between the illusions and the lectures and all the smut she’d been writing, she’d become much more sure of herself than she’d realized.

“I’m an alchemist, remember? You give me compliments, I give you…” She took him into her mouth and swirled her tongue between his frenulum and his foreskin.

“Oh, fuck!” His breath shuddered.

Every gasp, every moan, every shake ignited the heat between Linza’s legs. She loved having such an effect on him, loved making him lose his composure. Not that it was particularly difficult… but it was still very satisfying. 

She lost track of time kneeling before him, stroking and sucking and exploring, teasing out groans and twitches and pre-cum. His breathing accelerated.

“L-Linza… If you keep that up, I’m gonna…”

Linza slowed, giving a teasing suck to his tip. Grun’s hips bucked into her hands, desperate to keep up the sensation.

“S-sorry! It’s okay if you don’t—”

“I just have one question. How soon before you’re good to go again?”

His husky laugh stirred the heat between her legs. “I’m a half-orc, what do you think?”

“Good.” Linza started up again, full-tempo. After the brief pause, the sensation was even more intense.

“Fuck! Gods, that feels good…”

His shaft throbbed, his head oozed pre-cum onto her tongue, his balls tensed. She remembered his load on the veranda, remembered how badly she had wanted to try and swallow all of it, and her whole body went dizzy with arousal. Her panties were soaked, her sex throbbed, but she could wait. She wanted everything that he could possibly give her, and she moaned around his shaft, hoped that he would understand her wordless request.

“Oh shit… Linza, I’m… I’m gonna… Linza!”

If there were such a thing as a sympathetic orgasm, Linza had one right then, her whole body buzzing with the pleasure.

And then his first spurt hit the back of her tongue, and her entire awareness narrowed to drinking down as much of him as she could. His seed was hot and bitter and earthy and she wanted more of it, all of it, and she sucked and swallowed at his tip until he put his hand to her cheek. Linza leaned back and licked her lips.

“Good gods, Linza, you play so fucking hard to get and then…” He shivered. “And to think I was still worried you didn’t actually want to come to dinner.” His breathing slowed and his shoulders relaxed, but his cock showed no sign of softening.

She kissed his tip. “What can I say? You’re persuasive.”

Grun smiled and growled. “I could say the same to you. Nice guys finish last, and now you’ve gone and turned me into a jerk.” He leaned down and scooped her up off the floor and carried her back towards the bed.

“You were already a jerk.”

“Hey, since when have I been a jerk to you?”

“You interrupted my lunch!” Linza smacked his chest, and then he tossed her back onto the bed.

“Huh. Good point. That maybe wasn’t the best first impression for meeting a human, was it?”

“No! How’d you guess that I’m an overachiever and yet not realize that?”

Grun kneeled over her, a smile still dancing in his sea-glass eyes even as he pouted down at her. “Look, the barging in is a cultural thing. I’m sorry it ruined your lunch. But if my memory of that meeting is a bit… hazy…” His cock throbbed. “That is not my fault.”

A wicked grin pulled at Linza’s lips. She reached down and stroked his cock again. “I dunno, maybe if you weren’t so eager to show off how obedient you could be, you wouldn’t have cum your brains out.”

Grun’s eyes fluttered, and he whimpered, swaying as his legs slackened under him. “Hey!”

It was so much more intense a reaction than she’d expected. She loved it. “That really affects you, doesn’t it?”

“Yes,” Grun grumbled. “And for the record, I’m a switch. That lever goes both ways, and it’s just as touchy on either side.”

“Oh? What does it take to get it to go the other way?”

“Beg me to fuck you and you’ll find out.”

Heat thundered through Linza. She wriggled out of her soaked panties and offered them to Grun. “I could beg, but why don’t I let my panties do the talking.”

Grun breathed deeply, his eyes darkening with arousal. He growled and the sound curled down around her, arching her back. “Yeah. That’ll work. Careful though, I’m not sure if you’re quite ready for—”

Linza pressed a finger to his lips and then rolled over towards her bedside table. Grun shifted out of the way so that she could fish out a glass dildo nearly as thick as he was. “I’m a, uh… bit of a size queen.”

“Show off,” Grun said.

“I just didn’t think you’d believe me if I didn’t show you.”

“Well, now I’m obligated to prove to you that my cock is better.”

“Please do… try.”

Grun growled, grabbed her hips and hauled her towards him. He spotted the jar of lube on the nightstand and coated himself. He was all quick and efficient movements, right until he lined his tip up to her entrance.

Linza’s hips bucked reflexively towards him.

Grun smirked. “Now, now… beggars can’t be choosers… I’m going to take my time.”

“Hey, now, that’s not—”

It was Linza’s turn to be utterly undone when he dragged his tip up between her already-slick folds, circling over her clit before sliding down again. Linza shuddered and arched towards him, desperate for more and yet unable to ask for it because what he was already doing felt so good.

“First impressions are important,” Grun crooned, circling his tip over her clit again, “As you so kindly just reminded me. So I want to make sure you know…” He pressed at her entrance and she tensed eagerly, but he pulled away to brush over her clit again, drowning her protests in another spark of pleasure. “Exactly how it is… I like to do things.”

Grun leaned back and pulled away from her. A whimper escaped her before she could think to stop it. 

“Rutting is fun and all…” he continued. “But I prefer to take my time. And as you also so kindly just reminded me…” He leaned down over her, face moving towards her hips. “You smell delicious.”

As slowly and gently as she had reached up to kiss him, he lowered his mouth towards her sex.

Linza had always thought of herself as a relatively self-controlled person, but she realized in that moment that she had nothing on Grun—at least not when it came to sex. Because while he said he’d wait forever and he’d meant it, reveled in it, she could not keep her hips from bucking into his face.

Fortunately for her, he seemed just as eager to taste her as she was for his touch, and he growled eagerly and stroked his tongue along her. Just as she had when she’d kneeled before him, he started slowly, gently, learning what made her moan and shudder. This was skill, it was craft. It was the ‘work’ in sex work, and gods did it pay off.

Linza’s back arched and Grun teased her with a few swirls of his tongue before slipping a finger in as he slid his tongue up to her clit. 

“Size queen, huh?” He slipped a second finger next to the first. His hands were so large that just those two fingers together were the girth of an average human cock.

All Linza could do was nod, and then his third finger sent her spinning back into dizzy ecstasy. She loved the stretch, loved how it felt to squeeze around something that filled her so completely. Pre-orgasmic sparks of heat danced around his fingers. And then his tongue found her clit again as the pads of his fingers found her spot.

She whimpered as every muscle in her body tensed. “D-don’t stop!”

Within and without, he surrounded every nerve of her pleasure. She squeezed around him, chasing her release. And then her pleasure blossomed under the rhythmic pressure of his tongue and she screamed so loudly that the neighbors would certainly hear. But there was no stopping it—whatever part of her mind cared about the neighbors guttered out for that blissful moment as she crested her climax.

Linza moaned through the rhythmic pulses of her aftershocks, her body unraveling with each wave of pleasure. Grun gentled his touch, easing his fingers out of her as she settled.

It was thoughtful and appropriate, but her nerves sparkled with desire, and she was not so easily sated.

“Fuck me right now,” she breathed.

Grun’s muscles went taught as they had when she’d brushed his upper thigh under the table. “I’ll start slow,” he said, an edge in his voice as if he were reminding himself more than Linza.

She nodded. “You won’t have to stay slow for long, don’t worry.”

Grun found the jar of lube and slicked his cock again.

“You won’t break me,” Linza chided.

“Is that a challenge?” Grun’s eyes flashed.

That slithering thing writhed with pleasure. “Yes,” Linza said.

Grun leaned over her and pressed his cock between her folds, and she lifted her hips to meet him. He rocked just his first half into her, withdrawing and stroking again. The fullness was incredible and she wanted all of it, but Grun pulled away again. On the third thrust, Linza couldn’t stand the tease, and she grabbed his ass and pulled him in to the hilt, a moan blooming in her throat as her eyes tipped back. She squeezed around him to take the edge off the painful stretch, and her body trembled with pleasure. 

“Fuck, you feel good…” she moaned.

Grun’s hips bucked into her. “So do you…”

“Please fuck me.” Her fingernails curled to claws around his upper arms. “Please!”

He growled and thrust into her, then again, and again, his pace increasing as his restraint dissolved.

“Yes!” Linza became an expanse of glittering stars. She loved sex after an orgasm. Every stroke felt like a climax, but left her desperate for more. She couldn’t stand how intense it was, but she couldn’t get enough of it. She squeezed around him, milking every sensation she could from that thick, throbbing cock.

“Fuck, you’re tight…” he said. He slowed abruptly, and Linza wondered for an instant if he’d already finished. But if he’d finished, she wouldn’t be wondering. No, he was edging himself.

These slow, deep strokes were ecstatic torture. There was no heat or urgency to hide just how large he was inside of her, how much she stretched to accommodate him. She huffed, squeezing around him as hard as she could, desperate for more sensation.

“Just how will I know if I broke you, I wonder…” he crooned, his pointed canines just inches from her face. He thrust deep, to a point that only felt good if she was very, very warmed up. She was. A whimper escaped from her throat.

“We could wager something,” he continued. “What would you like to bet?”

Linza tried to form words, but every stroke of his cock blanked her mind.

“Oh, or did I break you already?” He increased his pace.

Her head tipped back, mouth gaping, and every exhale was a moan. She didn’t resent the smug look on his face anymore. She didn’t have anything to win that she wasn’t already experiencing, any place to put him except exactly where he was.

“Please…” she breathed. “Please cum in me… I want to f-feel you…”

He growled and punded her into the bed, sending sparks bursting through her body with every stroke.

“Yes, gods yes! Please!” She could hardly wait another second—it was too intense, she was too hot, too full—but she didn’t want it to ever end.

“Linza…” His breath sawed in ragged gasps. 

“Yes, yes!” She wasn’t cumming, but she might as well have been. Every nerve sparkled with pleasure, her mind drowned in it, her body throbbed with it.

“Linza!” And then he erupted. His cock throbbed with every pulse, stretching her over-sensitive nerves, filling her with his heat. It flowed out around him with every thrust, slicking the tops of her thighs, spilling out onto the bed. She wanted to be covered in it, covered in him, bathing in his warmth.

It was a minute or more before his stroking slowed and he eased down onto his elbows over her, his breath steadying and his cock still throbbing.

Thanks to Presdigititation, Grun’s cum didn’t ruin her mattress.

But Linza couldn’t say the same about herself.

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