By Velvet Belle Tree
The amber light was blinking. Stella stared at it for a moment. Damn! I wonder how long that’s been going on. Then it hit her. She’d missed maintenance. Maintenance which she should have done as soon as she’d left orbit. But she’d been distracted by Marlon … oh how she’d been distracted by Marlon.
She’d met him at a cozy little bar on Prell Station. One last drink, she’d thought, before taking The Lucky Amulet on the run to Oreal. And there he was, a gorgeous hunk, with wavy dark hair and smoldering dark eyes. They shared a drink and then another. It turned out that he was between jobs, just waiting for something good to come along. He had a room on station which he invited her to visit. It pained her to turn him down, but The Lucky Amulet was all loaded and she had a tight deadline to meet.
Then she thought about how lonely the trip would be. It wasn’t so bad when she had a partner. But the last one had decided to settle down and now she was alone. So without giving it much thought, she’d invited him to join her on the trip. To her surprise, he’d simply said: “Why not?” Almost before she knew it, he’d packed his bag and joined her on her ship.
And as soon as they cleared orbit and she set a course for the hyper-limit, he went to work showing her what good company he could be. Her bed wasn’t very large, but he took advantage of every square inch of it. His knowledge of sexual technique and his stamina were impressive. Never had she felt more relaxed during a journey.
And when they took a break, he demonstrated that he could also cook! What more could you want from a man?
When the gong rang to indicate that they’d reached hyper-limit, she reluctantly left the cabin and went to the cockpit. It was a new, but pleasant, sensation to sit in the control chair stark naked. With her usual efficiency, she eased the ship into hyperdrive and set the course to Oreal. Then she returned to the cabin. He was waiting for her with open arms. “Now where were we?” she murmured. And he proceeded to remind her.
And now she was paying for her sojourn in paradise. She slipped into her jumpsuit to help get her mind in working mode and off of Marlon. And then he was behind her, still naked. He put his hands on her shoulders: “What’s the matter?”
She pointed to the blinking amber light. “Warning light. Hyperdrive could start malfunctioning anytime now. I should’ve done maintenance as soon as we left orbit.”
“Ah. You mean during that lovely time when my spear was first exploring your velvety depths?”
Oh, how she loved the way he talked to her while making love!
“Well, there’s no use bitching about it. I have to take the ship out of hyper and do the maintenance right now. But it’s a hell of a place and time to have to do it.”
“What do you mean?”
“By my calculations, we’re right in the middle of the Dustbunny.”
“Oh God. Not the Dustbunny.”
She was glad to see that he knew what that meant. “That’s the second reason I have to do the job as quickly as possible. The Lucky Amulet … Well, I love her, and she’s mine, but she’s getting old and I don’t know how long her hull can stand up to the Dustbunny.”
“What do you mean, the second reason?”
“Listen pretty boy, I’m on a deadline. And I run a tight schedule. Late delivery means a penalty. And I can’t afford that. No way can I afford that.”
Stella saw the way he was looking at her. Had she hurt him by that pretty boy remark?
“So I’ll help you,” Marlon said. “You told me you’ve worked with a partner before. That should really speed it up.”
“Look, I don’t have time to teach you what to do.”
“Who said you have to teach me? I’ve worked this type of freighter many times. I know what to do. Maybe it’ll take us a few minutes to figure out who does what, but then it should go smoothly.”
Stella considered for a moment. “All right,” she said. “But first, I suggest that you put some clothes on.”
By the time she had returned the ship to normal space, Marlon had returned, now properly dressed. She turned on the screen to get a view of surrounding space. The view was terrifying.
Stella quickly reviewed the procedure. She explained that they’d have to do a Level 2 maintenance, not the simple Level 1 that would’ve been all that was necessary if she’d done it on time.
She was pleased to see the look of concentration on Marlon’s face. Maybe he is more than just a pretty boy. A couple of times he stopped her to say that he’d done that part of the procedure slightly differently. But he quickly agreed to do everything her way. “After all,” he said, “it’s your ship.”
Then they discussed how they’d divide the work. A good part of the time he’d be working as her assistant. A few times she noticed him about to argue with her, then hold it in. Great control for a man.
Stella got out the tools and they began working together. Soon they fell into a rhythm. Just like our lovemaking. When they reached a point when one person was sufficient, Marlon got them some sandwiches as had been agreed. When they’d eaten, they returned to work.
Finally, it was all done and Stella made the final checks. All systems were nominal. Without further word, she got back in the control chair. She checked the course, made a slight correction, and returned the ship to hyperspace.
Then her face broke out in a huge smile. “We did it! And it might even have been in record time!”
She threw her arms around his neck. He drew her in to him and lowered his lips to hers and kissed her, long and deep. The fire started within her and her legs went weak. They had spent days in bed. They had kissed before, but as part of sex. This kiss felt different. This kiss was an act all its own. She didn’t want the kiss to end. All she wanted was the heat of his tongue against hers.
When he did break it off, she thought that he would lead her back to the bed. Instead he led her to the fresher, shedding clothes as they went. He turned on the fresher, stepped inside and pulled her in after him. The cascading water felt wonderful. She dutifully turned the water off and then soaped him down, just enjoying the feel of him. And then she felt his hands on her, returning the favor. She turned the water back on. He drew her close and she felt his hardness press against her.
She wanted to make love with the water pummeling their bodies. But years of training made her turn off the water as soon as the soap was rinsed off. He lifted her up so that his spear would pierce her. She gave a great sigh, wrapped her legs around him and threw her head back. He held her ass and moved her, first slowly, then quicker. When she came, it was like nothing she had experienced before. It came from deep within her and felt like a triumph. She screamed exultantly. She felt, and heard, him come.
The rest of the trip went smoothly. Stella enjoyed it more than she wanted to admit. When they weren’t making love, eating or sleeping, they talked. They talked about the lives they had led, and the lives they wanted to lead. And she discovered that what he wanted wasn’t so different from what she wanted. Some day to have a bigger ship, maybe big enough for a family.
Now they were in a bar on Oreal station. A bar very much like the one they had met in. She’d made the deadline — with half a day to spare. And now they were celebrating. They were drinking a wine that was a little better than either of them could afford. But one sip told them that it was worth it.
And then Stella asked him the question she’d been dreading to ask: “Well, what are you going to do now?”
Marlon hesitated a moment and then said: “We worked pretty well together, didn’t we?”
“Yes. Yes we did.” Then she smiled. “Both in bed and out.”
“I have some money saved up. How would you like a partner?”
Stella’s face lit up. “I’d love to have you for a partner.”
They raised their wine glasses and clinked them. “To our partnership,” Marlon said.
“To our future,” Stella answered.