4: Easy Conversation
Jon fell on the bed and went right to sleep after they had sex. Nedra smiled at him, knowing how he felt. She was not going to be long in joining him; she needed to wash her face and tie down her braids before getting into bed. And her new dress—if it could still be called that—was still twisted around her body. She thought she would take a quick, quick shower before getting into bed beside him.
Nedra sat on the toilet, lid down, as she waited for her legs to quit shaking. It wasn’t as bad as the first time. She removed her dress and stockings, and after a moment or two longer, got up and went to the mirror. Her legs were still weak, but she could at least stand this time. That Erotic V was no fucking joke. She wanted to thank Victor for showing her the position, because Jon hit it clean out of the park. One of her shoes was in the bedroom; she had no idea where she’d lost the other one. She stared in the bathroom mirror, a serene glow in her cheeks and her eyes were lit up in the way only Jon could manage. He liked it too, but when he finally put her down, he was exhausted and told her he had to go to sleep.
Nedra briefly recalled her last time with the V; how she’d wanted to go right to sleep after Victor fucked her brains out, but she couldn’t. She wouldn’t allow herself the luxury of the rest her body needed after all of the…stress…he put her through. She had to get away from him; the man had tentacles and if she didn’t leave right then, while he was on the floor trembling in aftershocks, she probably would have been stuck in his apartment for another day.
She stared in the mirror, preening, debating on which man was better at the V. Nedra couldn’t decide, because even though the position was the same, the physics was different due to Jon being taller and more massive than the slender, yet surprisingly strong Victor. They filled her differently. Jon was well endowed but Victor was bigger. The sex was good both ways. She sighed, satisfied.
Her phone rang. She ran out into the bedroom and grabbed it before it woke Jon. She didn’t recognize the number and declined to answer. Nedra brought it back into the bathroom and ran water to wash her face when the phone rang again.
She looked at it. Maybe it was work-related. It happened sometimes; she’d just gotten a shitload of cash and maybe someone from up on high wanted to talk about it. So she adjusted her braids and answered as she ran water over a washcloth.
“This is Dr. Nedra Nix.”
“That was cute,” Victor said, his voice laced with jealous sarcasm.
Nedra glared at her phone and turned off the water. “What are you doing here?” she hissed.
“That little performance in the club…that was cute too. Do you enjoy fucking with men’s emotions? I’d better warn you that can be dangerous.”
“Who the hell are you to tell—” Nedra realized her voice was getting loud. “Hold on a moment,” she said.
She went into the bedroom and grabbed Jon’s shirt, put it on, and went out onto the balcony, closing the door so that she wouldn’t wake him. Then she put the phone to her ear.
“What the fuck are you doing in Shanghai, Victor?”
“What the fuck are you doing sharing something that belongs to us with him?”
Nedra pulled back from the phone and stared at it stupidly. Then she back-waved her hand and side-eyed the phone before it putting back to her ear. Victor watched her dismiss him and he was gripped with anger and jealousy.
“What are you doing and why are you doing it?” she asked. “What were you doing at the club…at our hotel? Are you following me?”
“That belonged to you and me. I gave that to you and you gave it to him.”
She clearly wasn’t making the connection. “You’re stalking me!” she hissed! “This shit will not fly, Victor von Doom!” Nedra started pacing back and forth. “You need to cease and desist or I will kick your ass, do you hear me?”
“You’re a liar,” he said. “You’ve lied to someone you’re supposed to love. Is that how you treat a man you’ve been with for 18 years?”
“HE is none of YOUR business, damn it!” Right at that moment she walked into the railing and stubbed her toe. “Shit!!!” Immediately she began hopping on one foot. “Damn it, Victor!”
Victor smiled as he watched her injure herself. He couldn’t help being petty; her hurting herself was immediate karma, but then he wondered if she was okay. “What happened?”
“I stubbed my toe! Fucking with you, I stubbed my damned toe! AND CHIPPED THE POLISH! Arrrgh, you’re a complete dickshit and I HATE I ever laid eyes on you!”
“But you weren’t saying that when I had my face shoved between your legs, partaking of the fruit of the Promised Land.” He licked his lips.
Nedra hopped over to the balcony table and sat in the chair after glancing in the room. Jon had gotten under the covers and lay on his stomach, one arm hanging off the bed and the other hand covering the back of his head. He was adorable and she smiled briefly before examining her toe. No blood; she’d be ok.
“Are you all right?” he asked.
“I’ll live,” she said, sighing. She had to calm down. “Victor, go home. Go home. Don’t do this. Don’t follow me. You’re being really creepy right now and I don’t deal well with creeps. What you’re not gonna do is stalk me because I will shoot your fucking ass. Do you hear me? I will double-tap your skull and dispose of the body. Don’t think I don’t know how; I’m a chemist and a soldier. Now go home!”
Victor had no intention of going home, but he’d say whatever she needed to hear to appease her. Her creep comment got his attention. “One condition.”
“Is it sex? Kisses? What?”
“It will be if you want that, but that’s not what I’m asking for.”
“What is it?” She shook her sore foot, angry about the chipped polish and spied her stiletto over in the corner. She wanted to throw it at him, if she knew where he was.
“I want to have dinner with you. At your house. In private.”
Nedra held the phone away from her ear and stared at it for about ten seconds. A range of expressions swam over her face. Did he just ask her for a date?
“Hello? Nedra? Paging Dr. Nix?”
She said, “You want to do what?”
“You insulted me that night in the garage,” he said, his tone changing. “You told me I was incapable of making you happy. I beg to differ.”
Nedra thought back to that night; the night of the thousand-dollar masturbation. “You got me in trouble that night,” she replied.
She bit her lip and swung her braids. Victor watched her carefully. He loved her hair like that. “On the way home, I was masturbating and speeding. I got a ticket. It’s your fucking fault!”
Victor burst out laughing. He couldn’t help it. That mental picture was awesome.
Nedra glared at the phone and hung up. Dickhead. She put it on the table and massaged her toe while she waited for him to call back, which he did after a minute.
“You done laughing, you little shit?”
She could hear the smile in his voice. He said, “How is that my fault?”
“If you really want to make me happy, you can pay the damn fine.”
“Tell me what you were thinking about that makes it my fault and I’ll consider it. Tit for tat, gorgeous.”
Nedra sighed and peeked into the bedroom. Jon was still in his same position. She said, “Hold on,” and put down the phone.
Victor watched her enter the hotel and saw the light go out. Then she returned and sat down. Her shirt wasn’t buttoned and he was treated to a wonderful view of her naked body as she put her injured foot on the table and examined her toe. He had a perfect sighting of the Promised Land and groaned. He was in desperate need of a visit. God, but the woman hadn’t lied when she said it was addicting.
Nedra picked up the phone. “I’m back. Sorry.”
“Tell me,” he said. “Tell me what happened, Nedra. Give me every last detail.”
Nedra rolled her eyes. “You made me mad,” she said, “showing up at my car like that. When I told you I never wanted to see you again.”
“I drove off.”
“You said something important before you nearly ran over my toes,” he said. “Repeat it.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said.
“You said to me, ‘Victor, I can’t have you the way that I want you and if I can’t have that, I don’t want you at all.’”
Nedra remained silent, cursing herself. She’d forgotten that his memory was pristine.
Victor said, “You want to clarify that for me…or should I do it?”
“Floor’s yours,” she said, tilting her head back to look at the cloudless sky, unknowingly giving him unobstructed visual access to her body.
Victor stared at her breasts, nipples pert and pretty in the warm air, the scar on her belly, the flash of pink between her lips. Nedra’s clit had a tendency to pop out from time to time and it aroused Victor whenever he saw it. She seemed to see him and beckon, ‘Come on over, Victor…never too tired for you…’
“You want me to be a secret—your secret.” He licked his lips, thinking of cherries.
Nedra twisted her lips. “Well? I mean, this shouldn’t be a surprise to you. I said as much when we had that little chat at your house. I told you that the most you could ever be was my side dude and I didn’t think you’d be okay with having Jon’s sloppy seconds.”
“According to him, he’s not with you enough to have first dibs. He’d have my sloppy seconds. But I wouldn’t leave any for him, you understand.”
Nedra couldn’t reply to that. Leave it to Victor to get right to the heart of the truth.
“He sees you what, about five, six months out of the year? I distinctly remember you saying you had to have it regularly. How is that possible if he’s gone 50% of the time? You masturbate every day? Or do you have another side dude? If you do, I’m getting rid of his ass as soon as I get back to New York.” Victor had no interest in being Nedra’s jump off, but he wasn’t about to have any other motherfuckers applying for the position either.
Nedra was suddenly exhausted. He was far too perceptive. “Victor, don’t be tedious.”
“What were you masturbating to when you got pulled over?” He couldn’t get the image out of his head.
Nedra sighed. “I was remembering the last time I saw you before that night.”
Victor felt himself getting hard. “Great memories, then. Was your dress up around your hips? What color were your panties?”
She’d give him a little. “Red satin. To match the suit.”
He closed his eyes and put one hand on his stomach. “I’m picturing it. One hand on the wheel, one hand inside? How many fingers?”
“One hand on the stick shift, three inside. I was steering with my knees. I’m gifted like that.”
He muttered an expletive she couldn’t discern. “Tell me…tell me…what were you thinking about?”
“That time when I was asleep and you were fucking with me.”
“I did that a lot that night. Be specific.”
“I was sleeping and you were eating me out and then like, out of nowhere, you jumped right into the pussy and started saying a whole lot of crazy shit.”
Nedra’s face felt warm. The memories were vivid. “Um…” She sat up and crossed her legs, hiding his view of the Promised Land. It didn’t matter; he was focused on the fantasy being laid out for him.
“What did I say?” He knew exactly what he’d said but he wanted to hear it from her lips. He slipped his hand in his slacks to soothe his erection.
“You told me that my pussy curves to your dick.”
“It does.” He curled his hand around himself, remembering right along with her.
“You kept asking me if I felt it.”
“Did you?” He gazed at her face. She seemed embarrassed, with the way she’d covered herself and crossed her legs.
“Of course. You were fiercely merciless. I was half asleep and couldn’t keep up…”
“What else did I say?”
Nedra continued, face still warm. “The way I fit inside of you is perfect, like a hand in a glove…do you feel that, Marine? You kept asking me if I felt it, every time you thrust, you asked me that.”
Victor closed his eyes, hand moving steadily. “Still waiting for you to call out the lie. And did you?”
“I just told you I did, you whacko pervert. I felt every one of those jackhammer thrusts. It actually kind of pissed me off that you were so…intense.”
“What else did I say?”
“Victor, really…what’s the point of this?”
“I just want to hear what caused you to get pulled over.” He was so turned on by the entire thing and was already stroking.
“I remember you saying you want it every day, you had to to have it every day and I wanted you to have it.”
“So far the bullshit meter is reading in the negative. And then what?”
“I kept hearing you say, ‘Do you feel that, Nedra?’ and I bit my lip and it bled and I came all over my hand and the seat,” she said in a quiet, shivery voice. “I came so hard.”
“Shit,” Victor said, about to burst his damn self. “How fast were you going?”
“125 in a 70 mile per hour zone.”
“Fuck,” he murmured. He was close. He needed one more thing. “That fast?”
“Yes,” she said. “I was listening to ‘Drunk in Love’ and had the windows down and I hoped that the cop wouldn’t be able to smell me but I think he did…he saw my bloody lip and I gave him my license with wet fingers…at that point, I was fresh out of damns to give.”
He closed his eyes again, his hand moving faster and faster. “What’d he do?”
“He looked at me, asked about my lip, made the usual speeding ticket talk and then went to his cruiser to write the ticket.”
“I bet that son-of-a-bitch wiped his face with your license. You smell good as fuck,” Victor said. He would have paid all the money to be there to see the man’s expression when he pulled Nedra over. He would have paid even more money to be in Nedra’s passenger seat when it all went down. Victor imagined that after she got the ticket and the cop drove off, he would have dragged her in the back seat and devoured her juicy pussy before fucking her.
Ah God, he was so hard and so close…
“I know he knew what I was really doing. I had to get up to grab my purse and my dress was around my waist and my panties were soaked. I know he could see it and smell it.”
“Oh god…!” Victor murmured, and climaxed hard with a grunt and a sigh. He could see it clearly.
“You did that to me, you asshole,” she said. “I was fine before you showed up at my car. I hadn’t thought of you in weeks and now you’re like fucking superglue…I had to scrub the seat the next morning.”
Victor liked that because it meant he wasn’t the only one having obsessive thoughts. He was calming down, but kept his hand in his pants. “That’s how you got the ticket?”
“It’s over a thousand dollars,” she said. “Because of you, you jerk! I don’t get tickets!”
“I didn’t tell you to fantasize about me and finger-fuck yourself while driving at the same time.” If it was about the money, he’d make sure the ticket was taken care of.
Nedra paused a very long time before responding in a tiny voice. Her secret heart wouldn’t let her lie to him. “Victor, I couldn’t help myself.”
There was a giant, pregnant pause and Victor closed his eyes, savoring her words. Nedra remained quiet, for the silence was so noisy and so honest it was deafening. When he finally got himself together, he said, “Then how can I ever be a secret if you can’t help it, Nedra? You kissed me like you were starved for affection that night in your office. Now that I know his schedule, I understand things better now. You have options, baby. You don’t have to starve.”
“I won’t…I won’t ruin my relationship with Jon just to fuck you, Victor. I already told you this.”
“I just asked you to have dinner at your house. I didn’t ask you for sex. You keep thinking that’s what I want because that’s what you want. You want to fuck. I just won’t turn you down if you ask me to.”
“You make this so hard,” she whined.
“Not me,” he said. “You.”
“I have to go,” she said. “I’m exhausted and I need to go to bed.”
“Do one thing before you hang up,” he said.
“What are you wearing right now?” He stared across the way, wondering if she'd tell the truth.
“That’s it. I was about to take a shower before your dumb ass called.”
“Touch yourself,” he said. “Like you did in the car.” He wanted to watch her masturbate.
“Are you serious?”
“I’m tired, Victor. I just had sex with my boyfriend—three times—and I’m kind of wiped.”
“Oh please,” he said. “I’m not hearing this from the same woman who talked all that shit in my apartment that night.”
“Yes you are,” she said, smugly. “I’m a happy girl. Jon’s very good at what he does.”
“Apparently not good enough,” Victor said, “because you’re still awake. I recall you going right to sleep immediately after our third round. I delivered a knockout punch, wouldn’t you say?”
“Eat shit and die,” she snapped, and hung up the phone.
Victor retired to his suite shortly after Nedra hung up on him and took a shower. He would have to keep his distance for the rest of the trip, but he had no intention of going home. When he obtained Nedra’s phone number, he’d also obtained the specs of her phone. He contacted a woman he’d met on the Deep Web, a woman who had particular access and abilities. He needed a mirror of Nedra’s phone and for a healthy fee, had one within a week. From there, he found Jon’s contact information, and using another clandestine contact, obtained his street address and the company he worked for. Another Deep Web associate managed to get him copies of both Nedra’s and Jon’s service records; this cost him quite a bit of money. The associate he’d paid an hour or so ago left a package in a safe deposit box. He would retrieve the package when he returned to New York and make use of its contents when it was safe to do so.
The shower had jets angled to hit every square inch of his body and he stared up at the shower head, letting the warm water beat against his face. She said he didn’t know how to make her happy, but never offered any suggestions on what it would take for him to do so. When Victor hacked into Jon’s computer, he discovered that he’d made arrangements for two to Shanghai and Hainan. Immediately Victor made his own arrangements, making sure he was on a different flight. He told Franklin that he needed to converse with some scientists at a think tank in Beijing who might have an idea or two on refining Reed’s design. Franklin was okay with plan, and Victor was off to Shanghai the day before Jon and Nedra left.
While on the plane, he read their service records. Jon had achieved the rank of Captain before retiring after 20 years in the Marines, and his record was exemplary. He was a scout sniper who got his training in Quantico and specialized in urban assignments. He had 27 confirmed kills, and appeared to be a badass with almost any kind of weapon. There was some stuff that happened during his time in Afghanistan that was redacted; apparently his Deep Web contact’s level of access only went so far.
Nedra’s record was also good. She was an operations chief of a weapons company and by all accounts, an expert rifleman and fierce in hand-to-hand combat. She was injured in Afghanistan, but the details were redacted, and shortly after her tour there was over, she did not re-up. She served 12 years in the USMC, going in at 18 and truncating her military career at 30. After that, she enrolled in graduate school at Cal Tech and got her PhD in chemical physics four years later. Franklin Storm sniffed her out a year before she graduated and clearly let her know she had a place at the Baxter Building if she was so inclined.
Victor wondered what happened in Afghanistan. She told him that she got her scars there, but would not elaborate. Under what conditions would she share that personal story with him? How much would she have to trust him to tell him that? And had she and Jon served in Afghanistan at the same time? The dates lined up, but that was all he’d been able to discern, as everything else had been redacted.
While in Shanghai, he kept his distance. There was no point in alerting Nedra to his presence; not until he saw fit. He wanted to see how Nedra and Jon were together, in public and private. They were adventurous and traveled extensively, sightseeing and hiking and enjoying each other’s company. They laughed a lot and had no problems with PDA. Jon would stop whatever he was doing to kiss Nedra and run his hands over her delectable ass any chance he got. Victor didn’t blame him.
He also discovered that they were exhibitionists. They weren’t afraid to make out or engage in risqué behavior in public. In fact, Victor was certain they’d had sex at one of the towers of the Great Wall. Nedra wore a lightweight tennis dress; something quite easy for Jon to get under if the mood struck, which it did in a corner of Watchtower Six on the Mutinayu section of the Wall. Victor watched with high-powered binoculars, jealous as hell.
Victor was a private man; someone who was perfectly fine with solitude, as his three years could attest. He had the kind of mind and hobbies that could occupy him for years and not grow bored. Before Nedra’s bald commentary regarding Sue, Victor had held Sue on a pedestal; a brilliant MIT graduate who he felt could understand him and satisfy his needs. In his reality, he would have married Sue, continued his research and done quite well had life not interrupted, first by his own instability, and second by Nedra Nix.
The sex was one thing, but she started kissing him at some point and it did not take long for him to crave her lips. She was not put off by any of his antisocial acts and saw through his bullshit…and then was bad-ass enough to like what she saw. She was extremely smart and Victor had to admit that the fact that she walked into his house armed was highly stimulating. And there it began. She showed him a sensitivity that he had not experienced, a sensuality that soothed his rough edges, and a sexuality that blew his volatile mind. After that night, Victor forgot all about Sue as a potential partner; greeting her with as much enthusiasm as she did him.
Victor got himself all the way together and decided to see if it was his lack of physical contact with women that made him crave Nedra or if it was Nedra specifically. He went out on a few dates with a few women he met online and at bars…followed them either home or to a cheap-ass motel…and discovered that it was indeed Nedra. After that, he didn’t bother trying to meet any more women and put his outside-of-work efforts into locating her lab. He had to see her again. What he wanted was to court her, to woo her, to make her choose to be with him. But to do that, he had to know what she needed to have in her private life that satisfied her…and Jon was always the immovable object he couldn’t work around. So he decided to stalk them. If he couldn’t get Nedra to tell him what he needed to know, he’d use other means, be they fair or foul. He didn’t give a fuck. Victor didn’t have the constraints or moral considerations others had. The ends always justified the means.
He got out of the shower and turned out all the lights. Victor got in bed and looked at his phone, wondering if she was still awake. He closed his eyes and tried to go to sleep, but his eyes were open seconds later as he reached for his phone.
Are you asleep?
He waited. Would she reply or was she truly asleep? He watched her go back into her suite and the light never came back on…did she go to bed or did she take a bath like she said she wou—
Not yet. Fuck you want?
You never answered my question.
Invite me to dinner. I want to share a meal with you.
Are you serious?
Yes. It’s only fair; you’ve been in every room in my house except the kitchen.
Because I don’t cook.
You can order.
Victor, are you sure? You really want to have dinner with me, nothing else?
I really want to have dinner with you…but if you want to have anything else with me, it’s yours for the taking. I have it bad for you, Nedra.
There was a long pause and he wondered if she’d fallen asleep.
It’ll have to be after Jon’s gone.
Fine with me.
I’ll let you know.
Don’t make me wait too long.
Don’t be a dick.
There was another long pause and Victor laid the phone on his chest, eyes closing naturally now. He had what he wanted. But then the text tone sounded.
Will you behave? Will you stay in your lane?
You know what I mean.
Meaning will I be quiet as a church mouse when your big galoot of a soldier comes stomping through town? Will I act like we’re strangers while he’s around when I know the taste of your pussy? Will I pretend to be 'just a friend’ if he catches us together? Is that what you mean?
A pause. Then:
Never mind. Good night, Victor. Go home. I don’t want to see you anywhere near Jon and me again. And I’ll have dinner with you when he leaves. Fair enough?
Victor smiled at the phone.
“Easy Conversation" -Jill Scott
“You Owe Me” -Nas
“Can’t Get Enough” -Kenny Lattimore
“I Hate U” -Prince
“I Didn’t Mean to Turn You On” –Cherrelle
“No One Else” –Mary J. Blige