The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.  Who said it was the best thing to follow them? 


        Even in three different situations, this rule should be applied.  With the way that things are going for Tala, her best intention should be to be in bed to recover instead of being out and about flirting with Dr. Edward Grant.   

        As for Vaughn and Johanna, their main intention is to win the position of head leaper.  It's a position that they've strived for all their life.  But what's this about flirting with disaster?  Vaughn seems mighty interested.

        But then again, so is Trevor and Siren.  Even with their best intentions to not like each other, they are caught in the other's arms, more than once... twice... and now the zipper is a tell-tale sign of what's about to happen.


Three Degrees Of Intent

By:  M. J. Cogburn and C. E. Krawiec

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For a split second.... a nanosecond... Vaughn almost gave into the absurd notion that...somehow, Johanna had found out about his first test.  It hadn’t been something he cared for, but it if would land him the title and job of senior leaper, there was no question in his mind that he’d have done a whole roomful of Charlies and posed for pictures afterwards, to boot.  Under his breath he muttered, "Bitch," then gave his full attention to Thames.  But as he focused on what the current Senior Observer was saying, Vaughn determined privately that when this was over, regardless of which of them came out on top, he and Miss Goody White Panties were going to have a private little tête-à-tête…without the tea party.  He’d give her a new definition of manners.


         Thames just stood quietly, listening to the two candidates verbally jabbing at each other.  He thought Johanna had handled Vaughn’s arrogance rather well.  For the moment that the younger man was giving his competitor a decidedly dirty look, Thames just watched him, keeping his thoughts to himself then interrupted the one-upmanship that was starting.

          “Attention,” he said firmly; both leapers snapped to at his command.  Thames started to walk about them as he spoke, his pace easy, his voice unrushed as he talked.

          “This competition is a timed event,” Thames began, enunciating his words clearly.  “Lothos is pleased, as am I, with both of your unusually quick and adept completion of your first test.”  He paused momentarily before each, making eye contact then moving on.  There was no doubt they were wondering about how they had scored but he put that unasked question to rest with his next words.

          “Let me clear up something right now, and save you both some wondering.  When this competition is finished, and only then, will you be told your scores.  So put that out of your heads now.”

          “Yes, sir,” Johanna responded firmly, her gaze straight ahead.  Vaughn echoed her words at nearly the same instant.

          “Good,” Thames acknowledged them. “Because now that you’ve completed the simple part of the competition, you’re going to need your total concentration on the next test which will start in…” He paused to glance at his watch, “…one hour and fifty-seven minutes.” It pleased him to see the surprise on their faces.

          “You may do what you please during this break,” he informed them.  “Anything except sleep or speak with anyone.  The only exception to the no speaking rule – and it is just for this break – is if you decide to go for coffee or something to eat.  In those instances only, you may speak to order.  Lothos will monitor you closely for any infraction beyond this once only allowance.” He paced slowly around behind them before asking, “Any questions?” A moment of silence passed.  “Very well.  You are dismissed.  Report back here at precisely 11:15.

          “Understood, Mr. Thames,” Vaughn said crisply.

          “Understood, sir,” Johanna responded in a like manner.

          A beat passed before either turned and headed for the door.  But there was another small requirement that Thames had decided to withhold until this moment.

          “Ms. Royden…Mr. Rickar,” he called their names, watching both turn as one to look back at him.  “Precision and punctuality are more than good manners.  Managing your time wisely, as with total focus, can often be the difference between the success and failure of a leap.”  Seeing them nod their understanding, the Senior Observer allowed a certain knowing smile to begin curving up the corners of his mouth as he added the kicker. “Not one second too early nor a second late.” Seeing Vaughn lick his lips lightly, Thames quirked an eyebrow as he met the man’s gaze. “Too early or too late in returning will get you disqualified.”  The mental time squeeze now in place, he smiled at them.  “Dismissed.”

          Johanna didn’t hesitate once she heard, “Dismissed,” turning around and looking up at the clock above the double doors of the lecture hall, her fingers already on the plain black digital watch on her left wrist.  Beside her, Vaughn Rickar was also syncing his watch to the second with the clock then exited the hall.  Johanna was on his heels but as soon as both cleared the doors, each went in a different direction.

          Vaughn wasted no time in wondering where he intended to spend the interim before the next test.  As he headed for the elevators at the far end of the long hall outside the lecture hall, it didn’t help much when he saw Shannon Vander Brice…Shannon of the night before in the gardens… heading toward him.  It was too much to hope for that she hadn’t seen him – she had.  It was also too much, he already knew, to hope that she’d understand later.

          “Hey, good lookin’,” Shannon called out, her voice almost a purr when she turned around and saw Vaughn heading toward her.  “Fancy meeting you here this time of an evening,” she said lightly, smiling as she moved to his side when he drew even with her.  Leaning up a bit as if to kiss his cheek, Shannon altered her aim, brushing her lips against Vaughn’s unresponsive lips.  “Well this is a first,” she commented, tilting her head back a bit to scan his face.  Seeing his expression, the comely blonde asked, “Vaughn, is something wrong?”  The vague frown gently wrinkling her brow deepened when he didn’t respond in any manner, not so much as flicking a look at her.

Moving around in front of him just as the elevator chime sounded as the doors opened behind her, Shannon didn’t try to hide her annoyance at being obviously ignored by the tall, dark-eyed leaper she had been dating for nearly three months.

          “I know you’re not deaf or dumb, Vaughn,” she said, clipping her words off crisply.  “So talk to me, already.” Silence.  When the leaper’s only action was to start to step around her to get in the elevator, Shannon mirrored his movement, blocking him, her temper, usually fairly even, starting to rankle at his lack of any sort of response.  “Vaughn, are you mad at me?  What have I done to deserve the silent treatment?” Shannon demanded, the last of the lightness fading from her eyes and voice as she blocked another attempt by him to pass her by.  But not a sound passed the tall man’s lips as she stared up into his eyes, not seeing the slightest emotion in them.  “Say something!”  But as the leaper continued to behave like a deaf soulless automaton, it that which made Shannon’s decision for her.  A moment later, her own full lips pressed into a thin line and her usually bright blue eyes flashing daggers at him, she stepped back from him.  “Fine,” she said, her voice and attitude more than a little cool. Turning, she stalked back the way she had come, flinging back over her shoulder, “Nice talking to you.”

          Punching the call button again, Vaughn turned his head, watching as Shannon disappeared around a corner at the end of the hall.  ‘Dammit!’ he thought as the elevator chime sounded again.  Stepping into the car and pressing the button for the second level, he leaned against the wall, and closed his eyes for a moment, his only thought being, ‘I hope she doesn’t run into Amanda.  That would really suck. We’ve got a date this weekend.’

         The brief trip up to the second level was accomplished in silence, for the most part not a bad thing.  Stepping out on the second level, Vaughn paused and slowly scanned the area surrounding the bank of elevators.  The entire level was a mall, housing a variety of stores and small shops, several restaurants and even a small movie theater.  But right now the leaper had just one destination in mind, Java Joe’s Café, one of his favorite late night-early morning hangouts.  Heading down the nearest of the two wide walkways that divided the second level, there were still a few shoppers barely sparing a passing glance at the dark-haired man as they hurried past him.

          Reaching Java Joe’s, Vaughn entered the small always open coffee shop.  Usually he paused in the doorway to sniff appreciatively of the fragrance of the Columbian ; it was empty.  ‘Good.  At least there’s nobody here to get their nose outta joint if I don’t talk to them.  That didn’t include Ina, the waitress who came to take his order.  With Thames’ warning clear in his ears, Vaughn looked up at the woman who looked about his mother’s age and said carefully, “Columbian, strong and black.  Keep it coming.”  When Ina asked if he wanted anything else, Vaughn settled for a single negative shake of his head.

          Vaughn had been sitting and staring at the cup of fragrant coffee that Ina had placed before him for several minutes when he heard the soft tone door chime.  He almost didn’t look up then did.  The words ‘what are you doing here?’ sprang to mind and almost slipped off his tongue when he saw who had entered the little coffee shop – almost. Instead, Vaughn became motionless as he locked gazes with the woman.  Long seconds passed as they sized each other up; neither blinked, and the only reason Johanna Royden looked away was when Ina approached her.  Vaughn watched as his opponent for the job he wanted more than anything in the world, slid into a booth near the door.

          He was particularly avid in watching and listening to her as she, too, ordered coffee.

          “Hazelnut,” was all she said when asked what she wanted.

          “You want me to keep it coming, and do you want anything else?” Ina asked.  When the evening hours began, the place was slow.  She expected that these two customers would be the only ones to come in before the few night owls started straggling in around midnight.

          “Yes and no,” was the succinct answer she got.

          Johanna sniffed appreciatively a minute later when the waitress placed the cup of steaming hazelnut-flavored coffee before her.  Lifting the cup to her lips, she blew gently on the hot liquid then took an experimental sip, humming under her breath as the coffee slid down her throat.

          Placing the cup down on the table again, Johanna glanced across the room at the man she had to beat out for the title and position of Senior Leaper. It didn’t surprise her to find Vaughn Rickar’s dark gaze fixed on her.





Dr. Edward Grant, the complex’s chief physician, had stopped by the special bathing room area of the infirmary a few minutes earlier, and so was present when Tala was brought into the infirmary after her correction.  He couldn’t help smiling just a little bit. It was plain enough to see how she had changed in the last twenty-four hours.  It wasn’t as much a physical change as it was that she was much more humble than before.  Without making it obvious, he had lingered nearby as she was put into a special medicated bath as was required after every correction. When Lothos punished or corrected any of his people it was exacting and usually severe.  On the other hand though, he always saw to it that each person received the best of care afterward…unless special situations warranted a different reaction.  In this instance, though, his private thoughts were anything but professional.

Walking up to the tub in which she reclined in the strongly, medicinal smelling warm water, he looked down at her through the still water.  He looked her over carefully, visually checking her wounds, quite visible through the water.  Seeing that no blood has been drawn, though her entire body was covered with red welts, he made notes of it in her chart which one of the duty nurses handed him before he addressed her.

"After you leave the infirmary, you will spend at least ten hours in your quarters to sleep,” he told her firmly, looking into her eyes when she carefully tilted her head to one side as she looked up at him.  “I understand that Lothos had given you twenty-four hours leave." Then, though he had the care and well being of the entire complex to consider, the chief physician – also an MPT, gave Tala a malicious smile. "Too bad you chose to use that time in correction."

Feeling utterly drained of energy and strength due to the correction session, Tala managed to look up at Dr. Grant as he spoke to her, but since he hadn’t asked her a question - just stated very sarcastically about her ill-use of her free time – she knew better in that instant than to say a word to him.  Carefully she nodded to his orders about sleep then swallowed hard as she looked away from him, and closed her eyes as she let the warm medicated water of the tub work into her body.  It was then that the song she had been singing in the cell slowly came back to mind, and she couldn’t help but say it ever so lightly under her breath... "Inch worm... inch worm... measuring the marigolds..."

For a moment, Edward Grant just watched Tala, even raising an eyebrow at her soft singing then shrugged a bit. ‘If she's singing after that, I can't wait to get her in my cell.’  After another minute, he walked away from her with a smile at the thought. But he already knew that his services were only used for those who had offended Lothos so much as to deserve worse than death.

          Olivia Robinson had been working in Lothos' project for over twenty years, and so she was quite familiar with Tala. When, after a long while, she went over to the tub the young woman was occupying, she gave her a slight smile. "Bath is over, Tala. Stand up," she instructed Tala as she lifted a towel for her use.

        Tala heard Olivia's voice close to her and she opened her eyes and closed her mouth to look up at her, but she couldn’t really see her.  It was like a shadowy veil had been put across her eyes; only a shadow of the older nurse could be seen.  Tala knew that it was her, after all, she had known Ms. Olivia all of her life.  And when she watched Olivia glancing up at the clock affixed to the wall nearest the tub, in the nearly the same instant, she stood as told to do and took the towel offered to her.  Unable not to wince, Tala wrapped it around her torso then took great care to step out of the tub for a moment not knowing what to do.  To anyone who cared to look closely they would have seen how she did not comprehend what was going on around her any longer.  She lightly blinked at the older nurse, listening to her talking to her about something but not liking it.  At that moment Tala’s emotions got the better of her, and she couldn’t help but begin to sob in front of her.  "Where am I?" she asked softly, not understanding anything.  "Who am I?"  It wasn’t a rhetorical question that much was honest and real.  The young woman didn’t know how she came to be where she was but she did want to find out.

        Something about Tala words, something in the younger woman’s face had immediately gotten Olivia’s attention and what gelled in her mind frightened her a bit. It was a fairly common occurrence at times; many correctees have come out of their punishment disoriented but Tala seemed as if she has had a serious bout of amnesia. Putting an arm around her, Olivia guided her into the recovery area and sat her down, speaking gently to her as she did so.

"It'll be okay, Tala,” Olivia said, her tone and manner, clear and calm.  “You're in the infirmary. You just went through correction and are recovering from it," she told her as she started to examine her carefully to try to determine if the correction has something to do with her amnesia.

Tala felt confused, that feeling evident in her expression as she looked at the nurse.  She looked at her then moved her torso toward her a bit, leaning a bit toward her as she tried to focus on her face.  When the other woman’s face finally came into view, Tala couldn’t help but frown.  ‘Correction?  Recovering?’  She looked away from her then looked down at her arms and at the upper part of her body as well as her legs.  Seeing the ugly-looking red welts, she frowned then looked back up to her again.  "T...Tala?" she said, her confusion shading the question.

‘None of this makes any sense to me.  None of it,’ she thought, licking at her lips as she shook her head.  "No... that's not me…”  Tala shook her head then hesitated when she saw a tall shadowy figure enter the room.  Squinting slightly, she peered at the shadow then back at the woman before her.  "I know you, though.  Olivia."

Since he had come into existence, Lothos had watched many of his people punished, and the effect it had on them, mentally and emotionally.  And, on occasion, temporary hysterical amnesia was one of the after effects, showing up mostly in those humans who either had never been corrected, or those who hadn't been corrected for a long period of time.  Now he watched Olivia with Tala in the recovery area, suspecting that this was likely the case with his daughter.  After a moment, he spoke to Olivia through her implants.  ‘Put her to bed in the infirmary.’

Olivia heard Lothos' words and nodded accordingly to them.  Putting her hands out cautiously on Tala, she helped her stand up.  "Come, Tala.  Let's go lay down."  Being mindful of the young woman’s welt-covered body, she led her to one of the four beds in the small recovery area near the bathing room, and helped Tala into the bed.  With her years of experience as a nurse in the complex, as well as directed by common sense, she took care to lay only the top sheet over her, knowing that too much weight on the sensitive welts might aggravate them even more.

Olivia watched Tala as she lay down on her side, wiggling with slow and cautious care until she was in a position that seemed to be the most comfortable for her.  “There now,” she spoke soothingly to the confused junior programmer.  “You just lay here quietly and rest.  I’ll come back to check on you in a little while.”  The sometimes-starchy head nurse smiled gently at Tala when she just nodded her head a bit, lightly rubbing her cheek against the pillow.  Olivia didn’t comment on the small bruises starting to come out on the younger woman’s cheek.  She knew that sometimes, even when the punishment was just a whipping, correctees came in for the medicated bath afterwards wearing facial bruises; the tip of a lash sometimes strayed where it wasn’t meant to touch.  And it appeared that this was the case in Tala’s correction.

Satisfied that Tala was as comfortable as she could get, Olivia glanced up then stopped short when she saw Edward Grant coming out of his small office directly across from the small recovery area.  She knew he knew that she didn’t need any help in dealing with putting Tala in the bed, but she also saw that it wasn’t about to stop him as he moved quickly towards her.  Whether or not he was her immediate supervisor, Lothos had given her specific orders, and even Dr. Edward Grant wasn't going to overrule that.

Lightly running her hand over Tala's hair, Olivia looked down at her, schooling her expression to keep her private thoughts exactly that – private.  She had watched Tala grow up, and she was now the elegant thing that she had always believed she would become.  "Sleep, Tala,” Olivia said softly to the young woman, ignoring Edward Grant as he stood just slightly behind her left shoulder.  ‘It’s bad enough she had to be punished, she thought angrily at him.  ‘She doesn’t need you gawking at her.’

Coming out of the small office that the doctor on call for a shift used wasn’t by accident.  Edward had lingered just inside the doorway, the best vantage point to keep an eye on Olivia putting Tala into one of the infirmary beds.  He couldn't help but lick his lips in anticipation.  Because of her correction, Tala still had only the towel from her bath wrapped around her. Even as his thoughts turn in a certain direction, he put down the chart he had been holding as a prop to cover his covert watching of Olivia, and hurried over to her.  But before he could say anything, Olivia gave him one of her patented looks and, for the time being Dr. Edward Grant decided to err on the side of caution and not to say anything.  His disappointment bit deeper when he saw that Tala was already covered with the sheet.  But it was only a minor point; hearing Olivia saying, "Sleep, Tala," just served to push his thoughts further in a direction that she would, had she been able to read minds, taken his head off for.  The glare she aimed at him told the doctor that now was not the time to incur her considerable temper.  He decided to offer a small olive branch of truce.

"I'll keep an eye on her," he told Olivia, choosing his words and tone carefully.  She had been in the medical unit a bit longer than he had, and he, like others, had learned that she was not one to mess with.  Besides, the fact of knowing that Lothos was always watching was an even stronger deterrent.  Having already been written up three times for inappropriate conduct, the last thing he needed or wanted was a fourth. 

        When Olivia turned to him he read saw it all in her eyes.  "Okay, okay," he said, lifting his hands in a gesture meant to placate.  "You take care of her.  I've got rounds to make," he said with a smile and turned leave the area.

        Olivia just gave Dr. Grant a narrow look when he stated that he would keep an eye on Tala.  It was too irresistible a temptation, and she turned to him giving him just a look -- a look that he's seen numerous different times before. Her left eyebrow raised, and half a glare shone in her eyes, that alone enough to let him know that she wasn’t’ about to let him.  Only when he gave up and left the room, did she shake her head slowly.

It was in that same moment that she realized Dr. Peter Hugen was coming up behind her; his cologne always gave him away, the musky scent is enough to make his presence known in the room.  "She was experiencing a bout of amnesia,” she told him even before he moved into her line of vision. “She asked who she was and where she was but knew who I was," she added softly as she placed her hand back on Tala’s hair again. 

            Olivia remembered the little thing when she was brought into the infirmary the day she was born.   The asthma attack she was having even then stressed her to the max.  She sighed softly as she heard Peter begin to speak.

Passing Edward Grant as he went into the small recovery area of the bathing area used primarily for people after correction, Dr. Peter Hugen barely gave the other man a glance.  But something about the way his colleague was smiling to himself made the hair on the back of his neck almost bristle.

Going further into the area, Peter glanced around, making a mental note of the various patients, all of them either finishing punishment or being examined to determine if their punishment can continue.  Glancing to his right, he saw Olivia in the small recovery room area, standing beside a bed.  Seeing Tala in that bed, he went over to them. The nurse’s explanation of Tala's behavior was a familiar one.  "My guess is that it's just temporary," he assured her.  Still, he lightly put his fingers against the pulse in Tala’s wrist, not wanting to waken her.

"Call the door guard of the correctional facility," he instructed Olivia.  "Have someone bring Tala's correction order to me.  I want to see Jessica's notes on the correction."  Tala was breathing easily enough but he wasn’t taking any chances.

Olivia moved prompt to do as Dr. Hugen asked.  Of all the years she had worked under Lothos' rule, she had worked primarily with Peter Hugen; frankly she preferred working with him more than she would for anyone else.  Not only did she consider him to be one of the best doctors that she’d ever met, she could tell by his mannerisms, and his bedside manner, that he honestly cared for everyone under his hands.

When the notes were delivered to the infirmary, they were handed specifically to Olivia, who handed them over to Dr. Hugen without a glance at them.  Whatever was in them was meant for his eyes only.  She stepped to the side and waited for whatever orders that he might want to give.

A quick review of Jessica's notes revealed nothing that Peter didn't expect to see.  So for the present his orders to Olivia were simple. "Keep Tala warm and quiet.  And just as a precaution, check her about every twenty minutes for the first couple of hours to see that she's asleep."  He glanced around the room, then back to Olivia.  "And if Dr. Grant offers his services... decline them." He quirked an eyebrow at her.  After all the years of working together, the two of them could almost read each other's thoughts.  "If he gives you any guff, call me and I'll deal with him."  Peter paused a moment and, like Olivia, couldn’t help but reach to softly touch Tala's darn auburn hair before turning away.

Though Dr. Hugen's orders were to check Tala every twenty minutes or so to be sure that she's still breathing easily, after almost three hours Olivia was still checking on her. Having watched her grow up, literally from the day of her birth, in a way it was almost like she was her daughter, and so I felt an extra measure of protection toward her. Now, when she saw she was awake and smiling, Olivia’s heart and mind both felt immediately lighter. That was, until her eyes followed the direction Tala was looking.

         "Tala!" she reprimanded her sharply. She saw Tala jerk a bit, startled at the sharpness of her voice; her expression is confused when she looked up at Olivia.  She didn’t like it one bit, especially when Tala’s eyes strayed back in the direction of Dr. Grant who was now standing in the doorway of the small office again, just watching.

Sending a frosty glare across the room at him, Olivia turned and quickly pulled a curtain around Tala's bed. "What's gotten into you?" she scolded her. When Tala looked questioningly at her, the nurse made a decision. 
           "You just lay quietly," she told her in a no-nonsense voice. "I'm going to page Dr. Hugen." For a second it seemed as if a flicker of recognition came into the young woman's eyes at the mention of his name. As she started to move away, Olivia admonished her yet again, "Don't get out of this bed, and do _not_ move this curtain for any reason." 
            Stepping out from behind the curtain, she crossed to the phone on the wall near the door leading into the infirmary. Dialing the central nurses' station she said firmly, "Page Dr. Hugen to the recovery ward in the bathing area at once.”

Hanging up the phone, Olivia turned, and as she did so, she got an uneasy feeling. In the two minutes it had taken her to make that call, she saw that Edward had crossed the room and was standing just outside curtain around Tala's bed, but was looking around the edge of it.

When her eyes finally opened again, Tala's vision was better. There weren't any more shadows thankfully; everything was clear as clear can be.  She didn't move her head as her eyes scanned the room she was in.  Just by the looks of the room with all the medical equipment handy it was certain that she was in the infirmary.  Then her eyes fell on the man looking around the curtain that was drawn around her bed. She softly began to smile at him.  He was quite attractive: his black hair slicked back, his chiseled features and those eyes, almost a coal black.  When his eyes found hers, she felt almost giddy and couldn't help but smile broadly at him.  A moment later she heard someone's name called sharply and she jumped a bit then looked up into Olivia's face.  She wasn't sure why she spoke so harshly and Tala stole a glance back at the man by the curtain that was looking at her with a great deal of interest.

She became confused as she watched Olivia yank the curtain around.  She didn't say a word as the nurse talked to her, but kept glancing around her hoping that the man with that handsome face would reappear.  Tala brightened visibly when she mentioned Dr. Hugen -- the one doctor who examined her weekly for what she sure, but Tala did remember him.

When Olivia left, giving her instructions, Tala nodded to her and laid quietly on the bed turning her head in the direction that she left.  She sighed as she looked at the curtain only for it to move slightly.  Looking down, she saw feet but no body, but as she scanned up the curtain, she saw again those eyes peering around at me.  She glanced away from those dark eyes as she felt a blush begin in her cheeks, but she couldn't help herself and she turned her gaze back to him, her smile reappearing.  But when he came inside the curtain, Tala felt a shiver of nervousness and she raised her left hand to her face to move her hair away from her eyes.  Seeing the he was grinning lightly at her, almost as if he wasn't used to be smiled at, she found herself instantly attracted to him.  Why, she wasn't sure.  But before anything was said, Olivia whisked the curtain back

Tala looked at her with questioning, confused eyes before glancing back to him.  She could tell from the look that she had done something to upset Olivia; again she wasn't sure what that something was.  Nervously she looked away from both of them and toward her covered feet as she took a lock of her hair and twisted it around her fingers only then brought it up to my mouth uncharacteristically.

The instant Olivia's back was turned while she went to the phone; Edward slipped across and into the room and looked around the curtain.  The way Tala smiled up at him made him wonder…but not for long.  Opportunity had never caught Edward Grant napping.  Glancing over his shoulder at Olivia and seeing her still on the phone, he stepped quietly around the curtain and moved close to the bed.

Doctor nor patient spoke, but from the way she blushed as he let my eyes speak, there was no doubt in Edward's mind that he could get used to this very easily.  He was about to reach down to brush her cheek with the back of his hand when the curtain was suddenly whisked back and the look in Olivia's eyes reminded me of a Komodo dragon he had seen on a television program once - ready to devour whatever is in her path.  Prudently, he took a step back.

        "Olivia..." he began, but that's as far as he got.

        Hanging up the phone, Olivia turned to go back to Tala and it was then she saw them. Below the bottom edge of the curtain around Tala's bed she clearly saw the lower part of a man's legs and his feet. Feeling her Irish coming up, she marched across the room and snatched the curtain back. By what she saw, she knew it was a good thing she had turned around when she did!

           "Leave!" she snapped sharply at Dr. Grant, his smarmy smile and tone totally useless on her. She watched him step back, and when he spoke her name...that's all the provocation she needed.

           "Unless you want to wind up in traction for the next week," she advised whatever he was... "you'll get yourself back in that office and keep as much distance between you and this particular bed from now on!"

            When he received the call to go to the recovery room, immediately, Peter Hugen hadn't hesitated. Quickening his pace, he reached the infirmary just in time to hear Olivia's voice barking at someone. All he heard was the last part, "... and this particular bed from now on!" but it was enough.

            When he received the call to go to the recovery room, immediately, Peter Hugen hadn't hesitated. Quickening his pace, he reached the infirmary just in time to hear Olivia's voice barking at someone. All he heard was the last part, "... and this particular bed from now on!" but it was enough. Seeing that it was Edward Grant that she was talking to, he marched over to them. "Go." It was only one word, and that's all it took. No threat. No voices raised.  He matched stares with the other man until he finally turned away. Yet, before Edward left, he made sure that they saw him look at Tala with a smile and wink at her, then and only then did he turn and walk back into the small office.

                  Olivia might have had the Irish in her that was more than adequate enough for Edward Grant to know when he was bested - he knew she would do just as she said she would do. He had seen it happen too many times before. But when Peter Hugen walked up and plainly said, "Go," he knew he had to do just that. And it didn't matter to him what the other doctor and Olivia thought as he made a point of getting Tala's attention, then smiling and winking at her. He raised an eyebrow and licked his lips before turning and walking away from the bed.

            When the man that had peeked around the curtain had caught her attention, she saw the smile and the seductive wink. Tala couldn't help but smile back at him before looking up into the stern eyes of Olivia. Shrinking back as soon as she saw them again, she continued to twist her hair nervously. What had she done that was so wrong?

           Ever since Edward had attained his rank of TM before he got his medical degree, Peter Hugen had always known that there was a darker side to him that only a few people knew. He knew that Edward was very adept at hiding it from the unsuspecting. Seeing him smile and wink at Tala told him that he was doing just that to Tala. 

           However, when the other doctor finally returns to the office, and just as he sat down at the desk, he stepped into the doorway. There was no way he couldn't see Peter's expression. Peter waited for Edward to meet his gaze. He saw the vague challenge in those black eyes even as he folded his arms and listened.

           Straight and plain," Peter stated, dropping the volume of his voice but not the meaning in his tone. "Stay away from Tala, Edward," he warned him, his eyes as cold and direct as his were cunning at the moment. "You don't know enough about her to know what you're letting yourself in for."        




        “It appears that I’ve interrupted a …make-up… situation,” Xavier said smoothly.  Not so by much as a raised eyebrow did he let either of them see that he was enjoying their discomfiture.  “I can come back in say… fifteen minutes…” Siren’s fiery blush and the expression on Mr. Conroy’s face, just as red as Siren’s, told Xavier that his sarcasm wasn’t lost on either of them.  He let them lie there and sweat for a couple of minutes.

        Meeting her father’s gaze even though every ounce of her was scared to death of what was about to happen, Siren licked at her now overly dried lips and said with the utmost respect to him, “That won’t be necessary, sir.  Mr. Conroy’s abrupt actions will not occur again if I have anything to do with it.”  She glanced over at Trevor and glared at him, letting him know with just a glance that she didn’t appreciate the kiss although it was one of the most enticing things she had ever experienced in her life.

        Taking a deep breath, she looked back up at Xavier and said, “If it’s acceptable to you, sir, I could get up, dress in something more appropriate and cook breakfast for the three of us.”  She laid her hands on her upper abdomen and waited to see what he would say.

        After making her offer, neither Siren nor Trevor said or did anything, laying very still and watching Xavier.  Siren’s relief when he said, “That is an acceptable suggestion,” was quite plain.  Meeting her eyes, Xavier told her to shower and dress and carry out with her suggestion.  He saw the hesitation in her eyes.

        “You’ve slept all night with him, half naked,” he told Siren bluntly.  “And you were in his arms a few moments ago.  What’s there to be shy about?  Unless he’s totally blind, Mr. Conroy has looked at you at least once.”  As another blush rose in her cheeks, Xavier said, with just the slightest hint of sharpness in his tone, “So, if you want me to order you to strip right here and then go shower, Siren, keep laying there!”

        He didn’t offer her any assistance, choosing instead to watch Siren hobble painfully into the bathroom, the ripped upper half of her uniform hanging around her waist.  When she was in the bathroom and he heard the water come on in the shower, he turned back to the man still on the bed.

        “You’ve demonstrated remarkable restraint,” Xavier told him softly.  He knew Trevor was astute enough to know what he meant.  But when the younger man didn’t react or even open his mouth in an attempt to reply, Xavier changed from subtly undercharged conversation to orders.

“Go to your quarters, Mr. Conroy, and shower and change and report back here in…” Xavier glanced at the bedside clock, “… twenty minutes.  You will breakfast with us, and then you and Siren will go to your jobs.  And this time…” Xavier let his eyes warn him, “… the door to her office will be unlocked and she will have a mask on again.  And the two of you will work in an attitude of respect to each other.  Is that clear?”

        “Perfectly clear, sir,” Trevor replied.  When Xavier finally told him to get up and get moving Trevor did just that.  He didn’t waste any time in pulling on the robe that Siren had given to him last night.  About six minutes later, Trevor was just opening the door to his quarters when Allen McAllister came out of his place, two doors down.  The slack-jawed stare his best friend gave him as he followed Trevor into his quarters and closed the door was exactly what Trevor expected from him.

        “Put on a pot of coffee, would you pal?” Trevor asked as he headed for the bedroom.  “I’ve got to shower and change and get back in…” Trevor glanced at the clock on the wall behind the TV, “… about ten minutes.”

        A lukewarm shower was all Trevor could bear, but standing there with the spray pouring over him was the best feeling he’d had all morning.  Yet when he finally stepped out of the shower, he knew there was still the gauntlet of one in the other room waiting to pounce on him when he came out of the bedroom – Allen.

        Allen did exactly as his friend asked him to do, setting up a pot of coffee to brew.  He did it without question because he wanted some as much as Trevor apparently needed it.  Once the coffee had brewed, he pulled down two mugs from a cupboard and poured each of them a cup.  Sipping at the fragrant, hot liquid, he moved over to one of the chairs in the living room and sat down to wait for his friend to come back out.  When Trevor came out of the bedroom, a damp towel wrapped around his hips, Allen’s mouth dropped open at the sight of the whip welts that covered his body.

“Daaaaammn,” Allen said lightly as he stood up and took Trevor his coffee.  “What the hell happened to you? What did I miss?”

        Trevor sat down on the couch carefully before answering him.  Taking the cup that Allen offered him, Trevor told him in a single word, “Xavier.”  Taking a sip of the coffee, he closed his eyes and sighed then opened his eyes and met Allen’s gaze again.  “Make it a damn short inquisition,” Trevor told him.  “I’ve got about seven minutes to dress and get back.”

        Allen gawked at him for a moment.  “Back where?” he asked him as he watched Trevor stand again.  Getting up from his seat, he followed his friend back into his bedroom, watching as he went over to his closet.  “Talk fast then.  What… who… when… blah blah blah. What happened?” Allen asked, taking another sip from his cup.  He shook his head slowly as Trevor began to dress, telling him, he hoped the shortened version of what happened.

        Pulling out a clean shirt and trousers, Trevor began to dress carefully.  He noticed Allen’s expression when he didn’t put on any underwear.  Trevor was not an exhibitionist by any stretch, but he decided to let Allen see Xavier’s handiwork and turned around.  Allen’s gasp was enough of a response.        Quickly, he outlined the longest twenty-four hours of his life.

“After you left, Siren had a diabetic seizure and Hugen came in to rescue her,” Trevor started off.  “Then I catch it from Hugen and Lothos, and Lothos sends me to correction.  Then,” Trevor took socks from a drawer and sat on the side of the bed and pulled them on. “After seven hours in correction… with Mara and Xavier… they parade me through the halls to,” Trevor hesitated a split second then went on, “…to Siren’s quarters.”  He noted that Allen’s eyebrows were about half way to the middle of his scalp at his last words. “And, let’s just say that last night was one I don’t care to repeat again for as long as I live… well, maybe not all of it.”

        Allen was absolutely floored by what Trevor had just said.  He shook his head slowly and met his eyes as he stood to go over to him.  “Buddy, you majorly screwed the pooch, didn’t you?” he said with a slight grin.

        Trevor snorted at Allen’s observation.

        Then, thinking about what Trevor had just said, Allen asked with even a wider smile, “Last night?  Hmmm… was she that bad?”  Allen saw the glare and couldn’t help but laugh.  “I’m sorry… sorry… forgive me…” Allen backed up when Trevor started toward him.

        Allen’s broad comment about Siren got Trevor’s back up and he turned toward him, hoping the frost in his gaze would give him chills. He kept advancing until Allen backed up against the wall.  Clapping his hands on Allen’s shoulders, he leaned toward him and growled, “Allen… eat dirt!  Then go to work.”  Glancing at the clock on top of the TV, he headed for the door.  “Lock the door on your way out, pal,” Trevor called out, giving Allen another dirty look for good measure.

        He made it back to Siren’s place with all of about twelve seconds to spare.  He knew he was cutting it close because Xavier was standing in the hall looking at his watch when he turned the corner.  Stepping past him without comment but in a respectful manner, Trevor stood aside and waited for him to come in and shut the door.  About then, he heard a sound and turned to see Siren hobbling into the room from the kitchen.




        Siren did exactly what Xavier told her to do.  She went into the bathroom, stripped, and showered as ordered, the glass shard still firmly embedded in her foot.  She wasn’t about to take it out when he had told her specifically that it would be dealt with in the morning.

        Showering quickly, she stepped out and dried her body off, dressed with the clothes that she brought into the bathroom with her and brushed her hair out. Throwing her hair quickly into a clip behind her head even with it wet, she exited the bathroom.

        Xavier was standing outside of the bathroom when she exited. Nodding respectfully to him, she hobbled out of the room then down hall and into the kitchen to prepare breakfast.  Taking eggs and bacon from the refrigerator, she hobbled over to the stove just as Xavier came into the kitchen.  As she stood there beginning to prepare scrambled eggs, she turned to him.  “Which would you like, sir? What kind of eggs would you like?” She didn’t meet his gaze as she leaned down to get the skillet from under the stove.

        It didn’t escape Xavier’s attention that Siren had called him ‘sir’ as she started to prepare for breakfast.  In answer to her questions, he said quietly, “The usual is fine, Siren.  Scrambled eggs, bacon and wheat toast.”  As she turned to continue, Xavier left to shower and dress.  Ten minutes later, showered, dressed, and groomed, he stepped into the hall to look for Mr. Conroy, just in time to see Trevor turn the corner at the same moment.

        He didn’t say anything till he was inside and the door was closed.  Just as Siren came into the living room with a spatula in hand, Xavier told Trevor, “It’s good to see you take orders so well, Mr. Conroy.  And punctual as well.”

        Siren barely listened to the banter that Xavier carried on with Trevor as she continued to travel back and forth between the kitchen and the table, hobbling all the way. She didn’t stop to look at Trevor.  She didn’t stop to look at anything.  Once breakfast was on the table, she stepped back away from the table and stood still.  She wasn’t about to sit down until ordered to do so.  Even with it being her own home, she wasn’t about to get into any further trouble.  Whatever Xavier says… she was going to do.  No more… no less.   

        Squaring her shoulders and looking straight ahead, she told both of them.  “Please sit.  What would you like to drink, Mr. Conroy?  Xavier?”  Siren asked trying to be hospitable in her own home.

        When Siren announced that breakfast was ready and invited them to sit, Trevor and Xavier moved to the table.  Without Xavier having to suggest it, Trevor took the initiative and moved to hold Siren’s chair for her.  Xavier read her glance clearly when she looked at him, the look in those eyes was one he was quite familiar with.

“Don’t over react, Siren,” Xavier told her calmly as he sat in his regular place. “Being too exacting wastes time and it only serves to make you angrier as the day wears on.”  Darting a look at her as she sat, he added, “This isn’t Level One Correction.  It’s just an adult-version of how I handled several of your cut-up sessions as a child.  So just relax and go about your routine like any other day.”

        Siren could feel the anger bubbling up inside of her.  Wiping her face bland, she sat down and nodded curtly to Trevor.  She ran her tongue over her teeth and glanced at the table where the cups should be.  Nodding, she looked over at him.  She had no idea how the next sentence was going to impact both of them and since Xavier just said ‘like any other day’; she took him for his word.  “Well,” she said taking a deep breath looking at both of them, “You two never answered me.  What would you like to drink, father?  Mr. Conroy?” she asked turning to each as she called them by name.

        When Siren relaxed some, so did Trevor.  But when she called Xavier ‘father’, all he could do was sit there with his chin on the table, staring at one then the other.

        Seeing Mr. Conroy’s expression, Xavier told Siren, “Why don’t you put the coffee in the carafe and bring it in here?” Xavier waited for her to go back into the kitchen then directed a hard gaze at Siren’s punishment partner.  “I strongly advise you to keep what you just heard strictly to yourself, Mr. Conroy,” he said in a low, menacing tone, his gaze frigid as he stared into Trevor’s eyes.

        Xavier had a way of threatening without actually using threatening words.  Trevor was learning with every second that passed that the older man sitting across the table from him was the living embodiment of a threat.  It was a threat that Trevor didn’t take lightly at all.

        “Understood, sir,” Trevor told him quietly.  Xavier’s smile, though pleasant enough, didn’t dispel the chill down his back.  To cover his thoughts, Trevor got up to take the tray from Siren when she returned.

        After breakfast, Xavier instructed Trevor to take Siren to the infirmary to have the glass shard removed, and then they both were to go to the Logistics Sector and their regular shift.  Breakfast was nearly a silent meal, and as far as Trevor was concerned, it couldn’t end soon enough.

        Upon finishing breakfast, where the silence was thick, Siren stood up and began to clear off the table as she usually did when she made breakfast.  Taking the plates, she heard Xavier telling Trevor what he wanted him to do.  When she heard this piece of news, she was grateful that Xavier hadn’t forgotten about it.  She was starting to wonder if the shard was going to be a part of her forever.

        As the men continued to sip at their coffee, she finished cleaning up, and then washed the dishes that she could before she kindly requested their cups.  Once done with the dishes, she headed back to her bedroom and went to her closet.  Reaching in, she got her shoes.  Staying barefoot, she walked back into the living room and sat down patiently to wait for Trevor to be ready to go.

        Xavier watched as Siren fitted the new mask on her face then picked up her shoes in her hand.  As she stepped toward the door, hobbling, Xavier called her name and waited until she looked back at him.  “Remember,” he smiled at her.  “It’s just another day,” he reminded her of their earlier conversation.  He let her see in his eyes that in spite of what happened with the correction that his feelings for her hadn’t changed.

        Siren saw the look and even though he was the same man who humiliated and raised a hand to her last night, she saw the love that shown through.  She hobbled back over to him and gave him a warm embrace.  “I love you, Daddy,” she said softly and pecked his cheek before returning to the door.

        When she turned to Trevor, she saw his mouth slightly open, his stare directly at her.  Smiling, she couldn’t help but say, “Shut your mouth, Mr. Conroy.  You’ll draw flies.”  She threw his words back at him from yesterday but she made sure that he could see the laughter in her eyes and the smile on her face as she lightly shook her head at him.

        Seeing her kiss and hug Xavier had been a bit much for him, but Xavier was her father, even if he was her TM, and whether or not Trevor knew that, as her father had just said, it was just another day.

        Trevor grinned at her then opened the door, waiting for her to move ahead of him.  It was a bit mind-boggling to think, that a man whose name could make grown men shake in their boots, him included, could have a genuine paternal affection and love for the attractive young woman standing before him.  Once in the hall, Trevor had to shorten his stride to accommodate for her slow hobble.  It was okay at first, but just as they got to the elevator, he glanced down and saw the blood on her foot.  Without asking, he turned and literally swept her up off her feet then immediately stepped into the elevator, as the doors seemed to part on cue before them.

        There were three people in the car, and though he could feel her shaking; wanting to spit tacks at him for picking her up, she had the good grace to just give him a sideways look that, he thought, singed his eyebrows.

        “Walking probably caused the glass shard to wiggle some,” he told her placidly.  “No need to aggravate it further till a doctor can take it out.”  To the scowl Siren still aimed at his head, he added in a very low whisper so that only she could hear, “Relax, Siren.  It’s a nice public place.”

        Siren sighed lightly and tried her best to not be so upset with him.  All he was trying to do was help her with her foot and at the moment, it was hurting like hell.  Dropping her shoes onto her abdomen, she turned and wrapped her arms around his neck to help out.  She raised her foot to look at it and saw the blood slowly trickling down her foot.  Tsking at it, she shook her head and laid her cheek on her right arm, her mouth only inches away from his neck.  Sighing softly, she lightly said, “Thank you, Mr. Conroy.  My foot does feel better when I’m not on it.”  She closed her eyes and tried not to move in his embrace.

        It only took a minute for the others in the elevator looking at them to get Siren to settle down.  Trevor just smiled at the couple of guys who got a gleam in their eyes as they checked Siren out.  But when he shifted her slightly in his arms, holding her just a bit closer, both of them nodded to him and occupied their thoughts with other matters.

        Siren tried not to think about the people in the elevator with them, who were probably wondering what the hell was going on between them.  However, her mind was filling with how Trevor had kissed her this morning; his lips on hers and how wonderful it had felt to be in his arms.  She took a deep breath and smelled his cologne and couldn’t help but sigh again.  Gawd, he smells wonderful,’ she thought to herself.

        Trevor kind of liked the way that Siren laid her head on his shoulder… sort of.  A quick downward glance and he saw her eyes were closed, a bit of a smile on her lips.  Barely drawing a breath in, he caught the scent of the perfumed soap she had bathed with.  If he turned his head just right, he could probably brush her cheek with his chin.

        When the elevator opened to the second level where the infirmary was located, Siren kept her eyes closed as Trevor carried her.  Upon reaching the infirmary, a young nurse opened the door for them then let them in.  Not raising her head, she felt Trevor stop then start again as if he was being directed to which bed that she was going to be on.

        Feeling him stop again, she felt the solid part of the bed with her left foot and knew that he was about to set her down.  When he hesitated for a moment, she felt almost a gentle squeeze from his arms, and it was then that she raised her head to look up at him.  When their eyes met, she saw a look in his eyes that she hadn’t seen before.  As he moved away for Dr. Hugen to come to her side, Siren glanced from Trevor to Dr. Hugen then back once more and said, “Thank you again, Mr. Conroy, for your assistance.”

        Trevor met her gaze, licked his lips and then glanced at her full lips. To her formal ‘thank you’, he just nodded and said, “I’ll wait in the other room,” he told her, holding her gaze before turning.  If there was a female heart under that mask, she read his eyes.

        When he turned away form her, something inside turned inside of Siren.  She could tell that he wanted to kiss her again and, God help her, if she had her way, she’d let him, too.  Not once in the whole ordeal that they had been through had she once called him by his name and as he took a few steps away, she tried it on for size.  “T… Trevor, please don’t go.  I… have a feeling that I’m going to need someone to… lean on,” Siren said remembering his words from last night.

        When Trevor heard his name fall hesitantly from Siren’s lips, he paused then turned and came back to her, standing at one end of the examination table.  “I think my shoulder is strong enough to endure some leaning,” he told her with a hint of a smile, both on his lips and in his eyes.

        As it turned out, Siren had called it correctly.  Dr. Hugen had decided to probe the cut to make sure that there weren’t any smaller fragments of glass deeper inside.  The leaning quickly changed to Trevor putting his arms around Siren, her clinging to him like a vine.  Her little gasps and whimpers as the doctor probed and then cleaned and put a couple of stitches in the wound ended up being muffled in the front of his uniform.  To her whispered, “Tell me when he’s finished,” Trevor rubbed her back soothingly.

        “You bet,” he reassured her softly.

        From the moment that Dr. Peter Hugen saw the fresh whip welts on Trevor Conroy’s neck and on his wrists at the ends of his sleeves when he came in carrying Siren, he could tell from the look in both of their eyes, whether they were aware of it or not, that neither of them were feeling any pain at the moment.  But as he finished bandaging Siren’s foot, they were holding onto each other like they didn’t want to let go or at least until they could get somewhere a lot more private.

        “Okay,” Dr. Hugen told Siren as he applied the last strip of tape to the bandage on her foot.  “Stay off your foot for the next two days.  No walking…period.”  Glancing at Trevor, he added, “Seeing as how you have your own private carrier service, that shouldn’t be too difficult.”  He couldn’t help but smile at her reaction.

        Siren couldn’t believe what she just heard come from Dr. Hugen’s mouth.  It totally blew her away.  Turning her head and laying it back on Trevor’s chest she looked at Dr. Hugen with a flushed expression.  “You don’t have any wheelchairs?” she asked not really hopeful that he did, but at least she might save Trevor the trouble of hurting his back over her.  “I don’t want … Trevor to hurt his back because of me.”

        To Siren’s question about a wheelchair, Dr. Hugen cocked a knowing eyebrow at her.  “Wheelchairs are for those who really need it and trust me,” he assured her with a glance at Trevor still standing behind her.  “Trevor’s got a good strong back… and arms.  I know.  He and I seem to work out in the gym about the same time a couple of times a week.”  Peter knew he ought to be ashamed of himself, but he wasn’t as he added, “You ought to see the muscles in his chest ripple when he’s doing bench presses.”

        Siren swallowed then licked her lips, her imagination going about ninety miles an hour down a one-way street.

        “Okay, Trevor,” Dr. Hugen said glancing at him, “your package is wrapped and ready to deliver to… wherever she is bound.”  Walking away from them, Dr. Hugen thought, ‘Gawd, I’d give a quarter to be a fly floating above them right about now!’

        Siren blinked as Trevor came back to her side to pick her up once more.  Leaning down quickly, she at least put on her left shoe and laid the other on her abdomen.  Glancing back up into Trevor’s eyes, she lightly grinned at him as his arms started to encircle her again.  She put her right arm back around his neck and interlocked her hands to that her arms were once again about his neck.

        When he easily picked her up, she leaned her head back down on her arm, just enjoying the closeness of him.  As the infirmary vanished behind them, she again thought about the kiss from this morning and she lightly shivered in his hold as he stopped at the elevator.  Lifting her head up, she saw that he had turned his head to her.  Unlocking one of her hands, she reached over and pushed the button to call the elevator car.

        This time, the elevator opened with no one inside.  When Trevor entered into the elevator car, he maneuvered the best that he could to where he could push the button, but in the process he hit her foot on the wall.  Hissing at the pain that shot through her foot, and clutching at Trevor’s shoulder, Siren reached out and pressed the button to take them to the level where the Logistics Sector was located.  Hearing Trevor’s quiet, “Oh Siren, I’m sorry,” Siren nodded silently at his words knowing that he didn’t do it on purpose.  Turning back to him, she looked deep into his eyes.

        Bringing her hand back toward his shoulder, she redirected it to land ever so softly on his cheek.  She wasn’t sure that the action surprised Trevor, and she couldn’t tell it in his eyes if it did or didn’t.  She blinked at him not knowing if she should say anything at all and lightly licked her lips as she glanced at him. ‘What I wouldn’t give to be kissed by you again, Mr. Trevor Conroy,’ she thought with a bit of giddiness.

        But before Siren could even open her mouth, the doors of the elevator opened and all she could think was, ‘Damn, what’ timing.’  Turning her head away from him as he started walking down the hall toward work, she sighed lightly.

        When he got to the door of the Logistics Sector, Trevor graciously bent down so that Siren could get to the doorknob.  Siren heard the sigh that he made as she turned the knob and opened the door.  She was sure that they looked a sight to behold especially when Allen McAllister looked up from the paperwork that was on his desk.  The look on his face was absolutely priceless.  Keeping her face subdued as possible, Siren nodded to Mr. McAllister as Trevor passed him and headed toward her office.

        Siren heard the chair turning as they walked by and she knew that he was watching them.  Helping Trevor once again with the door to her office, Trevor shut the door with his foot once they passed by the door.  Walking her to the chair, he slowly lowered her legs so that she could stand on her own.  He held onto her to make sure that she could stand steady.  When their eyes met, her hands rested lightly on his shoulders and she found herself reeling under his intense gaze.  Slowly, she removed her hands away from his shoulders and broke their gaze.  “Thank you,” Siren whispered softly and began to turn away from him to get into her chair, but when Trevor’s hand came up and his index finger caught her chin turning her head back to him, she looked back into his eyes and felt herself melting.

        Leaning down, Trevor whispered softly, “You’re welcome,” and brushed his lips over hers lightly.  When she didn’t pull away, he deepened the kiss a little more and felt Siren’s full lips part slightly under his and her hands crept slowly up his chest to finally meet around his neck.

        When their tongues met and the kiss became more passionate, her hands roamed up into his hair and she moaned lowly.  It was during this moment, in his arms, that she felt a warm sensation filling her chest, a warmth that spread everywhere in her body.

        Trevor’s arms slid around Siren’s waist and he pulled her against him.  Parting her lips, his tongue explored her mouth, darting and touching her tongue and with just those delicate touches, he felt a not unfamiliar warmth beginning deep inside of him. He crushed Siren harder against him and her low moan of response urged him on.

        His hands roved the length of her back, his fingers exploring every warm curve. When he heard her whimper softly, he let his hand drop lower, caressing the firm roundness of her behind, he was finding it difficult to think clearly.  But her lips were sweet and urgent and breaking the kiss, he nuzzled the curve of her neck; traced kisses along the length of her throat and up again.  “Siren…?” he whispered before he took her mouth once again.

        Trevor’s kisses took her deeper into a trance and when his hand roamed over her back and puller her closer to him, she found that she didn’t want to stop what she was feeling. She’d never felt this before… never.  When he broke the kiss to begin to nuzzle at her neck, kissing his way down and back up again, she found herself gasping and sighing at the same time.  When Trevor called her name only to kiss her again, she felt the gentleness in the kiss start to escape away to something more ravenous.  She found herself matching his kiss.  Forgetting everything except for his kisses, his touch, and this time, it was her that broke the kiss.  She kissed along his jaw and back toward his ear and ever so gently kissed down and back toward his mouth, letting her tongue roam where it wanted.  She heard him call her name again, and before his lips took hers again, she called out his name as it rolled off of her tongue silkily, “Ohh… Trevor.”

        The touch of Siren’s lips on his cheek, Siren’ kisses leaving a silken trail of heat all along his jaw… Trevor felt his breath becoming shorter.  Moaning softly as she moved back to his mouth, Trevor let her have her way with him.  But when she whispered his name as their lips met again, there was a huskiness in her tone, and it was matching the fire that was starting to burn inside of him.

        Trevor pulled her against him, crushing her harder against him.  This time, as she twined her arms around his neck and pressed her body against him, his fingers strayed to the zipper on the back of her uniform.  Again, he whispered questioningly, softly, “Siren?” She answered with an even more urgent whimper… and a nod.  Gently, slowly, he began to pull the zipper down.


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