This chapter introduces a couple of interesting developments and some — GASP! — sex. Enjoy. -B.
My first day off in over a month and I ended up on the couch in sweats and a tank-top I “borrowed” from the SLA gym. I scrolled through twenty pages of news stories on my laptop, watched a sitcom without paying much attention to it, and made myself pasta which I then proceeded to only half eat. It had only been a day since the incident at Rich Huerta’s place and the way the situation resolved itself was bumming me out. I knew objectively that Rich’s daughter, Selena, was probably safer in SLA custody, especially considering that Sanctuary had come after her specifically, but I couldn’t help but feel like there should have been a better solution.
I showed up to the office that morning and Ian immediately sent me home. He didn’t seem in much better spirits than I was and he assured me that there wasn’t enough room in the office for us both to mope around. Lavona, his assistant, agreed and threatened to turn the office into a full on 90s House dance party if I didn’t get my sad sack ass out of her face (her words). So I went home and proceeded to do nothing for nine glorious hours.
Since going to work for the Whole Project I’d moved into a nicer apartment with something of a view, if not of the city itself, then at least of the neighborhood. The caveat was that I was at home on a friday night and instead of looking out the window and seeing nothing, I was seeing people milling about doing things while I hung out in my sweats. I closed the shades and retreated back to the couch for another marathon session of news reading and streaming movies. At least that’s what I figured would happen, but I got distracted by an invite to something called heroesXheroes. Apparently it had been sitting in my inbox for weeks and I’d just missed it with everything that had been going on. I checked it out and it proved to be an invitation-only website where people could sign up under their hero monikers and meet other heroes for dating or more casual encounters. I clicked the link in my email and was taken to a site where I saw a high-resolution picture of myself in full uniform and a question underneath:
‘Is this you?’
I couldn’t even identify when the picture was taken, but it was a good one. It was taken in front of me, but from a camera that was at a lower angle and tilted up. I had been looking at something far away and squinting a little in the sunlight. The blue sky was above me.
‘Is this you?’ the screen asked. I clicked yes.
‘Welcome, Wetspot!’ The next screen declared. I cringed. I always cringe when I hear it or read it or even think about it. Fucking empaths.
Over the next twenty minutes I filled out a profile more out of boredom than anything else. I wasn’t expecting anything to come of it, so I wasn’t too disappointed when nothing seemed to happen once I was finished. I scanned through a couple other profiles, but most of them were horny heterosexual male heroes with huge egos and a smattering of attention-seeking heroines. I ended up reading through a few of their profiles just to see if there was anyone who was well-adjusted. After another fifteen minutes passed I gave up on the site and went off to take a shower.
I got out and got dressed.
If I was going to be bored on a Friday night, at the very least I could go be bored at a bar and get drunk at the same time: multi-tasking!
I grabbed my keys and was heading for the door when I heard the chime of my email program. I thought of Ian. He often sent me emails late at night to update me on the status of various projects he thought I might be interested in. If there was something new on the Huerta case I definitely wanted to know, so I detoured to the couch to check the message. It turns out it wasn’t Ian at all. It was a message from heroesXheroes or hXh, letting me know that I’d received a message. I felt my stomach tighten. I debated just leaving without checking it, but I knew that I’d just freak out about it all night, so I just opened it. Hitting the link in the email sent me back to the site where there was a message waiting on the screen before me.
The subject read: ‘Looking for now?’
“Fuck,” I said to myself. “Fuck.”
I ignored the message and clicked on the associated profile, it was from a hero called Boros. I almost had a stroke in the five seconds (maybe even less) that it took to load his profile. I wasn’t prepared to confront the issue of being chatted up by another hero. I could fight for my life against a terrorist organization, but I couldn’t open an email?
The profile loaded faster than usual considering the usual speed of my five year old laptop and I knew that I was being conspired against. The good news was that Boros was cute. Really cute. He had a near buzzcut and broad shoulders, his pictures were all very well-framed from different angles, but he seemed a little short. Still, that was a minor quibble. I could live with slightly short.
His profile didn’t say too much about his heroic life, but it did mention that he lived downtown, an area to which I had somewhat recently moved. I proceeded to read through a few more things about him, he had a cat named Zeitgeist, he played on a local rugby team (though his profile admitted that he wasn’t very good yet), and he played violin. After reading up on him I felt sufficiently armed to open his message. I went back a screen and clicked on it.
Subject: Looking for Now?
Hi there. I’m Boros. I liked your profile, you seem like a fun guy. Are you looking to meet up now? I’d like to get out of my apartment.
PS. Please give a me a reason to shave, take off this stupid hoodie, and socialize like a regular person.
I scrolled down and found that Boros had included a self-taken photo of himself. He was scruffy, yes, but was also giving a pleading look to the camera that was so pitiful it made me laugh out loud. His hair was more grown out than his other pictures, but not enough to be shaggy. His hoodie was designed to look like a raccoon or something. It was up over his head and had raccoon ears on it. Raccoon ears. Who would send that to a potential hook-up?
I typed up a quick message back and sent it before I could psych myself out.
Subject: Re: Looking for Now?
You don’t have to shave on my behalf. Your scruff looks good on you. Give me your number and I’ll text you my address. As long as you’re not an empath. I hate to be biased, but I’ve had bad experiences.
Less than a minute passed before he messaged me back.
Subject: Fwd:Fwd:Fwd: The One Weird Trick Your Doctor Doesn’t Want You To Know!
Who likes empaths?
Here’s my number…
I couldn’t help but smile at his message. It was silly, yes, but charming. I texted him my address and forwarded Lavona his phone number along with a short message indicating that if I was killed, that phone number would be a good place to start.
She texted back immediately: ‘Affirmative. Good luck with your rocks, getting them off, etc.’
I barely had time to clean up the disaster area that was my kitchen before my buzzer rang out, scaring the holy fuck out of me. I hit the two-way button on the intercom.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hey, it’s me. I messaged you. Boros,” he said. I thought I could hear an accent, but the intercom system was ancient.
“Hi. I’ll buzz you up, it’s apartment 4A.”
I felt sick. Exhilarated, but sick, so when I heard the knock at the door I opened it maybe a little too quickly. He was standing there, not too short at all, and not wearing the racoon hoodie. He smiled. His hands were in the pockets of his black peacoat.
“Hi. I’m Taras,” he said. “Boros, too, I guess, but mostly Taras.”
He laughed at himself and rolled his eyes. “My name is Taras. It’s nice to meet you.”
He definitely had an accent. It was eastern european sounding.
“I’m Nick. Nice to meet you. Wanna come in?”
I offered to take his coat, so he shrugged it off and handed it to me. He was wearing a polo shirt underneath it and his arms looked great. His chest was broad, his shoulders too. Even though he was grinning sheepishly, he looked like the kind of guy you’d maybe peg as violent.
“Do you want something to drink?” I asked.
“Beer?” he asked.
I winced. “I don’t think so. Probably not. Wine?”
“Ok, unless you have vodka. Or…tequila?”
“Tequila?” I laughed. “Just straight up?”
“Liquid courage, right? Something has to keep me from freaking out.”
“Freaking out? Why?” I was suddenly afraid that I’d done something wrong. I scanned the room. It didn’t seem a mess. Unless he had some microvision type power and could see all the dust. This suddenly became my very realistic concern.
“I just…I’m not usually so forward with people. I didn’t want you to think that I was just trying to fuck, you know? Not that I don’t like to fuck…I just…” He clapped. “So, tequila?”
I poured us two shots each and another for good measure. After that we switched to wine and sat on the couch. Taras explained that he hadn’t been on hXh long and that I was one of the first people he’d messaged.
“The actual first was this heroine, Sapphire Jade. Her profile seemed interesting, but she’s…” He tapped the side of his head. “Nothing there, you know? She couldn’t carry on a conversation, but she did show me that she could swallow a coke bottle and turn the glass into diamond. I don’t know if that was supposed to turn me on or scare me. I guess it was a little of both.”
“So you’re bi?” I asked, or the tequila asked.
“I’m…a kind of explorer. I like who I like, you know?”
I gave him a look. “An explorer, huh?”
“Yeah,” he said, with a big smile. “What? You don’t like to try new things?”
“I try new things, but I don’t know about going that far?”
“You mean with women? It’s not so different. Anyway, there’s more exciting things about people than just their sex parts, right?”
“Sex parts?” I asked. “Where’s your accent from? Or, maybe I should ask where you’re from.”
“The Ukraine. I’m Ukrainian. Thanks for asking, by the way, and not just assuming I’m Russian. I’ve been here for about six years, about. I was in England first, but the food there sucks for a vegetarian so I left.” He barely made it through the sentence without breaking into a smile. He had a good smile. It was infectious. “I got an offer for a sponsorship to come here, I make enough through work to help my family back home. It was a good move.”
“Can I ask you a personal question?” I said.
“Are you going to ask about my power?”
“How did you know?”
“What else do people like us ask each other about. I’ll confess, I already know yours. You’re a legend in the SLA after your incident in the gym.”
I could feel myself turning red.
“Don’t worry, it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We all lose it sometimes. My power…they call me Boros, after the Ouroboros. You’re familiar with the concept? Good. Well, I can put a person’s thoughts or sensations on repeat.”
“What does that mean exactly?”
“What does a penguin look like?” Taras asked.
“Yeah? What does it look like. Indulge me.”
“A penguin looks like…”
I imagined what a penguin looked like, white and black, useless wings. Flippers? A penguin had a white and black body, its wings were useless, I think, insofar as they couldn’t fly. Its body was white and black. It had wings, but couldn’t fly. It had flippers. I was pretty sure. White and black…
“Whoa,” I said once the effect had passed.
Taras shrugged. “I know. It’s unsettling, right?”
“Is it a psychic power? I mean, I imagine it has to be, right?”
“More or less. There’s a specific term for it that I can never remember. Something about extended recall, I don’t know. Apparently I’m not the first one to have this ability, but my version is stronger than any they’ve seen. It’s wild.”
“Yeah, sounds wild.”
“But do you really just want to talk about powers? Isn’t there anything else you’d rather do?” Taras asked.
“Now that you mention it,” I said, and put down my wine glass. “Do you want to go to my bedroom?”
“I think right here is fine.”
He put down his wine glass as well and scooted over on the couch until he was immediately beside me. He licked his lips and came close enough that I could smell the alcohol on his breath. Mine probably wasn’t much different. I leaned in toward him and we kissed.
His tongue searched for mine and his hands went all over me. I tilted back slightly on the couch and Taras took the initiative to climb on top of me.
I kissed his neck and breathed in his smell. It had a subtle sweet note mixed in with an earthiness that was pleasant, a perfect blend of cologne and flesh. It made me want to bury my face in him and stay that way for a long time. His hands were up under my shirt, seemingly just familiarizing themselves with my upper torso. Taras’s touch was firm, even though his hands were soft and warm.
“Will you push me?” he whispered into my ear. “I want to feel what it’s like.”
I hadn’t even considered it, but I couldn’t see a problem with it. He was consenting and willing. He wanted this just as badly as I did. So I took a breath and when I let it out, a little burst of pheromones came along with it. Taras moaned into my ear and the way his crotch was pressed against me I felt his cock harden in his jeans. I smiled.
“That’s really fun,” he said. And ground his crotch into mine. “I’ll return the favor later, but let’s get some of these clothes off first, yeah?” Taras suggested.
I agreed. We both stripped down and appraised each other. His body was very pleasant to look at. He wasn’t as lean muscled and perfect as Devon, but he was strongly built and stocky. His body was practical and my dick had no trouble saluting him.
He whistled as he looked me over. “You are fucking hot.”
“Said the pot to the kettle,” I responded.
He gave me a confused look. It was adorable. “Excuse me?”
“It’s an expression, don’t worry about it,” I said, and grabbed his ass so I could pull him forward and get his dick in my mouth.
His cock was the perfect compliment to his body, slightly longer than average, considerably thicker and with a fat mushroom head that looked handcrafted for good times.
I proceeded to blow him while he straddled my chest and reached back to jerk me off. I don’t think I could have been harder. His smell was amazing, fresh but sexy. His hand was doing amazing things to me.
“Fuck, man. Suck my dick. Get it down your throat, just like…yeaaaaah. God…” Taras said, or, you know, moaned.
I was horny and feeling a little reckless, so I pushed him again.
“Oh fuck, are you pushing me? Fuck. Finger my ass, Nick.”
I had to oblige him. I brought a hand to his mouth and he lubed it with spit for me before I brought it back to his ass. I slapped each of his cheeks once and then slipped a finger between them. His butt was rock hard and his hole was tight. As I pushed my finger into him, I gave him another, harder pheromone push and his hole clamped down tight on my finger.
I pushed my finger deeper, up toward his prostate. He was still working his hips and fucking my mouth. His cock was throbbing —
So I pushed him again. He only had time to pull his dick out of my mouth before he started cumming. He shot all over my face, simultaneously groaning and cursing.
As he started to come down, he began apologizing. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to…you know, go all over your face. But in my defense, it’s a good look for you.”
I wiped his jizz of my face and smiled. “It’s ok. Just finish me off?”
Taras went to it. It didn’t take long. I was pretty turned on. Taras was sweet, but also a little dirty. It was a good combination.
“I think I’m gonna cum,” I said aloud.
“Yeah. Oh shit, I’m cumming.”
“Hold that thought,” Taras said.
And then I came and then I came again and then I came again and again. For the next three or four minutes (how do you even measure time in the midst of a recurring orgasm?) I experienced at least a dozen orgasms, each one exactly as stellar and fulfilling as the last. When Boros let me out of the loop, he was sitting across the couch with his legs curled under him grinning at me like a little boy. I was breathing heavily, looking out through lidded eyes and completely exhausted.
“What the fuck…?”
“Cool, right?” he asked.
“Yeah. Definitely cool,” I replied, then yawned. “But why do I feel so sleepy?”
“Your body thinks you had all of those orgasms. It’s hot but, I imagine, exhausting.”
I nodded. I had a response, but I just needed a second to get to it. I wanted to tell him that it was fun. That we should do it again, but I fell asleep just as I was getting ready to speak.
When I woke up it was daylight and I was still on the couch. Naked under a blanket. I looked around for Taras, but there was no sign of him. I stood up and stretched. I felt awake and alert. Apparently I’d gotten a good sleep. I grabbed my jeans off the floor and put them on without bothering with underwear.
I wandered into the kitchen and grabbed an apple to munch on. I just happened to catch sight of a note stuck to the backside of my apartment door with a thumbtack.
I had fun. You’re hot and you let me take my clothes off in your apartment. Perfect night. Thanks. Next time you can get naked at my place? I’ll cook. It’ll be fun.
Sorry I left by the way, Superhero shit.
I just sighed. What else was there to say? I left the note up and finished with my apple, throwing the core in the garbage just before my phone buzzed in my pocket. I took it out and saw that the call was from a blocked number. I answered it out of curiosity.
“Hello?” I said.
“Hello, Nick,” Akma said. “I’ve heard you’ve been looking for me. Hope this isn’t a bad time.”