2.15: An Anomaly

Parental Advisory Explicit ContentGeneration 2 is Not Safe For Work and Not Suitable For Children.


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“I thank you for your hospitality. Your male said you were expecting me?” Jaiyana licked her fingers discreetly and put the bowl down, looking to her hostess.

“Joel is my partner. And you’re welcome,” Bronwyn replied. “You can stay here tonight, or for a few days. There will be plenty of time to choose a spot to set up your own camp.”

“I can show you the lay of the land tomorrow,” Joel offered. “If you like. If you don’t hunt, I can–“

“I can hunt,” Jaiyana said, more sharply than she’d intended.

“My apologies,” she addressed Bronwyn.

Bronwyn just smiled, and Joel said nothing from where he crouched beside the fire.

“I–of course I will accept your shelter. With thanks.”

“I understand many things are very different here, but you will come to love this place.” Bronwyn nodded confidently. A thoughtful look crossed her face as her hand touched Jaiyana’s arm.

“Oh. You’ll have to excuse my son.”

 

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“What the fuck for?”

Jaiyana drew herself up sharply on her seat, gaping in shock at the tall, surly youth who had appeared at the corner of the little cabin. His hair hung in disarray, and the dusky red twilight complemented his red-rimmed eyes.

“For that,” Bronwyn replied mildly, gazing at him with reproving motherly fondness.

Jessie eyed the stranger at the fire, staggering a few steps in her direction. “Who the hell are you?”

Jaiyana regarded him for a moment. “I’m Jaiyana. I’ve just arrived.” She bit her tongue against a sterner reply. A male would never dare address anyone in such a manner among the Lakana, much less his mother or a guest, but her hostess’s menfolk weren’t her concern. And these aren’t the Lakana, and there is a reason you are here and not there, she reminded herself.

 

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Jessie suddenly stood straighter. “Arrived? A boat came in?” He whirled, looking down toward the shore. “When? Did anyone else arrive?”

“No.”

Deflated, Jessie turned back to Bronwyn, dismissing the stranger. “Food?” he demanded of his mother.

“Your sister brought the rest inside,” she motioned toward the cabin. Her nose wrinkled. “You need to bathe.”

“Uh huh,” was the response from Jessie’s retreating back.

“And perhaps not in the ocean, if you’re as drunk as you smell,” she called after him. Shaking her head, she returned to the fire, removing the tea.

“He is very…” Jaiyana paused. These people were not the Lakana, and she did not wish to offend.

“Angry, yes. And rude.” Bronwyn quietly ladled the tea into a wood cup and handed it to Jaiyana with a smile. “My son is not normally like this. He is not the same without his best friend. He is hurting.”

“Ah. That is why he asked if anyone arrived with me,” Jaiyana intuited.

“Yes. He is afraid she will not return. She will, but not for some months.”

 

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“You know this? Why did she leave?”

Bronwyn chuckled. “That is a story for her to tell. Her journey was not of her own choosing, per se.” Reaching for her loom, Bronwyn began weaving as she contemplated. “But it is a necessary journey, for both of them.”

“How so?” Jaiyana raised an eyebrow in inquiry.

“Hm. Sometimes we must make journeys we don’t want to take, but the hardship is necessary if we are to arrive where we’re supposed to be. These two, their journeys even now lead them to a path that they can walk together.”

Jaiyana wondered at her words, and watched Bronwyn’s fingers working the loom. Here, it seemed, women did men’s work, and men had status much like females, yet Jaiyana observed a quiet balance of power between her hosts. It would take some getting used to, but perhaps she had finally found a place where people–anyone, male or female–could choose their roles in life.

 

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“Jaiyana,” Bronwyn’s serene voice interrupted her thoughts. “Tell me about your own journey.”

She looked into the woman’s knowing eyes. My wife is expecting you, the male had said.

“You are a priestess,” Jaiyana realized. “Like my mother.”

 

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Back in Midnight Hollow, Annika started attending the high school. The stares from the other kids were unnerving, but Annika ignored them as best she could. They weren’t important. Getting through this to get back home was important, so she threw herself into the coursework.

Happily, Jace’s letter to the Riverhavens hadn’t included any mandate for after school activities. Chance escorted her from the hotel to school each day, and back to the Riverhaven house for homework, and dinner with the family each night. He even walked her to her classes, but fortunately she was spared sharing any classes with him, as he was in a class junior to hers.

 

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Chance was, she observed, quite popular with the other kids, most especially the girls. Her position as the Riverhavens’ guest garnered a few catty comments from them, but she let their glares slide off her back. She wasn’t interested in Chance, or in engaging these petty girls. She just wanted to get through this and get back home.

The subjects, at least, were more interesting than those back home. Island lore, basic reading, writing, and math, and aspects of life more specific to the simple life led by islanders comprised the simple Ouroboros curriculum. Modern schooling, she’d found, was more challenging, holding her interest far more than island school had, and covered a wider knowledge base in science and languages and arithmetic.

 

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Evenings over the next week or two were often spent around the fireplace with stories of home and the past, or playing with the many Riverhaven children, but just as often she slipped back to the hotel. She whiled away time in the steaming, fragrant water in the marble tub in her suite until Nadia clocked out, or sometimes she waited at the bar for her.

 

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Annika had come to think of the older girl as a friend–a friend who likewise appreciated no-strings sex. Her experiences with Aimee had simply been about getting off, but Nadia slowed her down, taught her to appreciate a lover, taught her how to please and be pleased, in different ways. The goal wasn’t just an orgasm, but enjoying and appreciating each other’s and their own bodies together.

Annika was an enthusiastic student.

 

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“It’s not you, I just…need something different.” She was getting the itch again.

“Well, now you know how I feel at the mere thought of being with a man,” Nadia quipped sourly, surveying the empty bar.

It was a Wednesday night, and Annika was bored out of her mind. She’d cleared out of the Riverhaven house shortly after the evening meal, with excuses that she had some extra history reading to do, but she couldn’t concentrate. She’d never gotten sex so regularly as she had these past few weeks, but it was somehow making her want sex more.

With a man.

 

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Sex was, she reflected, a utility that either gender could provide, but there was just something about how it felt to be with a man that hit her personal sweet spot. It just fit.

She took a sip of her drink. “Have you never been with a man?”

“Sure. But I didn’t like it.” Nadia grinned wickedly, then leaned forward. “Tell you what, sweetheart, I’ll bring a strap-on tonight, if that’s what you need.” She pointed the whiskey bottle at Annika. “Refill?”

“You can’t fucking fill what she needs filling, Red.” His voice came from behind her.

 

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Annika’s eyes widened, her senses thrilling to life. Blood rushed to her skin in response to his voice. She knew it was him without so much as turning in her seat. That was the same tone of voice he’d used when he–

She tossed her drink back, her eyes meeting Nadia’s.

“Yeah yeah,” the redhead said, throwing up her hands in mock defeat. “Rain check.”

Very cooly, Annika turned her head in his direction. Her eyes, downcast, landed on his hip, taking in the half-undone belt buckle, and the curl of his hand at his thigh. Working her eyes up to his, she kept her expression smooth.

Just hearing his voice had sent her pulse racing, but it quickly cooled as she took in the smirk on his face. This was the same idiot who had tried to make her jealous over some woman in a clothing store. “Well, well, well, if it isn’t the fucking fairy.”

“What the fuck are you wearing, Mayberry?”

 

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“My name is Annika,” she replied, standing to face him. “Hello to you, too. Colin.” Annika steeled herself against the distaste in his eyes as they ran over her attire. What an ass.

“Looks like someone took some fucking pity on you and bought you some real clothes. That Riverhaven broad has bad taste, but I guess it’s better than that shit you were wearing last week.”

Primly, she smoothed down the skirt of the dress Natalia had bought her. She didn’t really like it either, but damned if she’d admit that to this arrogant asshole. She stepped into his space, resting her hand lightly on his hip. “That ‘shit’ I was wearing, I made with my own two hands,” she retorted.

Colin looked down at her hand pointedly, though he didn’t move away. “Awful fucking presumptuous, aren’t you, Mayberry?”

“Presumptuous is an awful big word for you, asshole. And Mayberry isn’t my name. Get fucked.” This jerk really had some nerve calling her presumptuous after calling her names and insulting her clothing.

His eyelids lowered a fraction. “Annika.”

 

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“Whatever that crap is you’re smoking, it smells toxic.” Annika wrinkled her nose when Colin lit a cigarette. She’d always enjoyed the pleasant scent of tobacco when Jessie smoked it sometimes, but Colin’s cigarette smelled like it could eat a hole in your lung.

He leaned back, resting his head on her hip. “It’s fucking tobacco. Please tell me they know what fucking cigarettes are in whatever podunk BFE you’re from.”

“You’re a lot nicer when your mouth is otherwise occupied.” Annika shoved him off of her and slid off the bed.

He laughed coarsely, propping himself on his elbows on the bed. “I’m not a nice guy,” he informed her, then reached for his undershorts.

“No shit,” Annika muttered. “What the hell was that about at the store last week, anyway, huh? Did you think I’d fall at your feet? You thought I’d be jealous? I needed to get laid, and you were there. You were a nice lay, but that’s all it was. Get over yourself.”

 

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The fairy just looked at her speculatively. Annika was too annoyed to wonder what he was thinking. Turning, she reached for her dress, which had been slung in haste across the bar when they’d come in. “I don’t know what games you’re used to playing with women, but I can’t be bothered. Thanks for the fuck. You can go.”

Colin exhaled a plume of caustic smoke. When he’d seen her at the store, he’d made sure she saw him with Samantha. Served her right for being such a smart-assed little cunt when they’d met at the resort. Only, she’d surprised him. She hadn’t gotten upset. She wasn’t jealous. She hadn’t tried to get his attention or seek him out. That was something of an anomaly, in his considerable experience. And now she was …dismissing him? Interesting.

“Make your own fucking clothes. Huh. Who even does that?” he said, ignoring her dismissal. “Let me guess, you don’t have grocery stores where you’re from, either. Where the fuck are you from, anyway?”

“A beautiful, self-sufficient island in the south, far from this shit hole, where we actually know a thing or two about taking care of ourselves and surviving. As a matter of fact, we do grow our own food. We hunt. We fish. Some people even grow tobacco, which smells a hell of a lot cleaner than whatever that is you’re smoking.”

“And yes! We make our own clothes.” Her arm held up the pink dress. “It’s a lot better than this machine made crap! I don’t even like this dress. I hate it. I hate everything she bought me, but I wear it because that’s what I have. I don’t give two flying fucks about you peoples’ obsession with ‘fashion’. All I care about is doing what I have to do, and getting the hell out of here. I just want to go home.”

Colin’s eyebrows raised slightly, then he started clapping his hands slowly. “Great speech.”

“Ass.”

 

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“Yeah.” Climbing off the bed, he pulled his pants on and zipped the fly. “You ever been on a motorcycle?” he asked conversationally.

“No.”

“Get dressed. We’re going out.”

“Why?”

“To get you some fucking decent clothes.”

 

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Challenge notes: I think I mentioned before that due to some issues with Traveler and the school system, Annika wasn’t sent to Midnight Hollow until after she’d actually aged up–hence why I’m letting her off the hook with afterschool activities in the story. In the game, as per the Perfect Children roll, she did indeed attend after school activities until she graduated.