The twins split up to conduct their separate investigations. Brooke leads Shelly to a new place that even the Pillars don't know about, while Jessica opens up about her past. = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Chapter 06 = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = Internal Revelations Shelly looked down at Gloria, trying to reconcile her thoughts.
Gloria had been the last one to leave Varun's demesne. She was an ancient goddess, and despite her claims to the contrary, Shelly suspected that she was one of the Firsts. She knew too much to believe otherwise. But Gloria had saved them from Poseidon. When talking about it on the way to see their dad, she made it sound like the deaths of the Firsts would have tragic consequences.
Why would she take out Varun, knowing what the consequences could be? Why wasn't she defending herself? "I told you, you can't trust a succubus," Jessica sneered. Shelly looked at her girlfriend and shook her head. She'd hoped that Jessica had worked past her issues with the succubae, or at least with this one. They never would have made it away from Poseidon with Brooke without Gloria saving them. "No, no, no, no, no," Eldon said next to her.
He would be taking this the hardest. Shelly wondered what his thoughts were, but knew better than to ask. She stepped over to her brother, wanting to comfort him, but he pushed her away. She was thankful that the soreness between her legs was gone.
She didn't want to think about the healing she'd gone through a few minutes ago. Not that it had been unpleasant—Jessica was quite talented with her mouth—but that she'd done it next to her brother was embarrassing.
That her father was in the car at the same time was mortifying! She couldn't remember last night, at least, not after going through the portal back to Earth, but she was fairly certain she hadn't slept with anyone. Perhaps she'd been hurt while still a sword in her brother's hands. That was the only thing that made sense.
Her legs had formed the blade. Perhaps as Sheldon fought with her, she'd been chipped, and that translated into the pain between her thighs. "No, I won't believe it," Eldon snapped as he moved to Gloria's side. Gloria appeared shocked at first, then grateful for his support. Shelly felt bad for him, but didn't know what to say. She suspected he was falling for the succubus, and didn't know how she felt about that. Sure, she'd set them up, but it was just supposed to help him get over Jessica.
Then she'd gone and fooled around with the woman, messing things up in her own mind. What a mess she'd made of things. "What's going on?" Lyden asked from his seat in the car. "And what's your problem with the succubae?" Shelly opened her mouth to answer, but couldn't find any words. Jessica didn't suffer the same problem. "The succubae are duplicitous creatures. They'll tell you whatever it takes to get you in bed, then abandon you. They don't even take proper care of their children, leaving them for others to raise." There was undisguised hatred in Jessica's voice.
"And this one hasn't been honest with any of us. She was the last one to leave Varun's demesne. She must have been the one to murder the Pillar of Water." "I haven't been honest?" Gloria asked. Her eyes were red from crying, but she stood and glared at Jessica.
"Last night is a bit fuzzy, but I have a feeling you know what really happened. Why don't you tell them what you are?" Eldon stood next to her, glaring just as hard as the succubus.
Gloria put her arm around him, but neither one said anything else, waiting for Jessica to respond. "I don't know what you're talking about," Jessica stepped forward and pointed at Gloria's chest. "What I do know is that you're a succubus. You're a demonic creature that only cares about what or who you can get between your legs.
Hell, you were bragging about fucking a Cyclops. Who does that?" "I won't tolerate such language around me, young lady," Lyden broke in, and Jessica blanched at his tone. "I'm not just talking about the swearing, but one of my wives is a succubus.
I won't have you badmouthing them. That would be like saying that werewolves were nothing more than monstrous beasts, but one of them fought to keep us safe today.
Or how about that humans are nothing but bigoted creatures, because they can't handle not being superior to everything around them? You can't judge an entire race by the actions of a few." Jessica's face went white as Lyden spoke. She swallowed several times before looking around the room for help. Shelly felt bad for her, but she didn't agree with what the woman was saying. Jessica looked to Eldon and Gloria and she seemed to find her backbone. "Then where was she last night after she forced us to leave?
If Gloria was strong enough to win past Poseidon on her own, why did she make us leave? I'll bet it was because she's in league with Poseidon and didn't want us to know. He told us he was next in line to be the Pillar of Water." "Next in line?" Becky asked. "What do you mean?" "There wasn't time to talk about it," Brooke spoke up looking at Lyden, "but you wounded Varun when you froze him. We always thought that he kept the water cold so that no one else could do to him what you did, but that wasn't the case.
He was too weak to manage his realm. Poseidon told us that Varun named him as his successor." She turned to face Jessica. "Poseidon was completely loyal. He would never turn on Varun." Coming from Brooke, Jessica couldn't argue. Who would know better than the mermaid that'd been their captive how loyal Poseidon was? "I made you leave because I couldn't unleash my full strength with you there," Gloria spat.
"If you don't believe me, go back to the tower Brooke was kept in. Oh, wait. You can't, because it's no longer there. Poseidon tried to bind me with water, and when I broke free, it decimated the tower." "And killed Varun?" Jessica prodded.
"Didn't she say he was torn to pieces?" Gloria pointed to the front of the car. "Varun was too powerful, even weakened as he was, to be killed by falling debris. It didn't even wound Poseidon." "What happened to Poseidon?" Becky asked. Shelly could tell she was genuinely curious, and not asking out of spite.
Gloria smiled, though it looked almost predatory. "I convinced him to stick his trident somewhere else when reinforcements arrived for him. If mermen sat, they won't be sitting for a few days after the old sea god gets tired of them. Being goddess of sex has its benefits." Shelly shuddered as she remembered being under Gloria's control. She wasn't too fond of mermen, but she almost felt sorry for what they must have endured at the end of Poseidon's 'trident.' From the way Gloria grinned, she suspected the succubus didn't mean his weapon, but something else instead.
"Could the Pillar of Water's death have anything to do with the attack on us today?" President Louise asked. "I didn't recognize most of the monsters that attacked us." "They weren't monsters," Eldon told her. "They were humans pretending to be magical creatures." "I'm sorry for calling them monsters," the President apologized.
"I didn't mean it that way. But if they weren't from the Shadow World, why did they attack us?" "Michael Mulhan was behind it," Shlee stated, joining the conversation. "I recognized his voice before the explosion.
If I had to guess, he wanted it to look like creatures from our world did it, to turn the United States against us. It's why we need to get you in front of a camera as soon as possible. We need to give the public a statement." Shelly noticed her pull out her phone and make a call.
"So, they're not related?" Martha asked. "I have no doubt that the Paladonic Knights would love to kill off the Pillars, but I can't see them actually taking one out," Shelly offered.
"They're not as strong as they once were now that they're operating out in the public instead of the shadows.
It's harder to bribe judges and the police when you actually exist. Too easy to find a paper trail." "Don't they know what killing the Pillars would do?" Martha asked. Shelly thought she understood what the president was asking, but none of them knew exactly what would happen if the Pillars fell. "I mean, if they die, won't that cause the Outsiders to return and destroy us?" "The Knights are blind in their hatred," Becky supplied.
"All they care about is the death of all magic. They barely get along with the Daughters of Respite. I think that truce wouldn't last past the end of the Pillars." Martha shook her head. "I know people can be blind when they believe something too strongly. They come up with excuses to deny facts and create their own reality… But this?" "We don't really know what will happen if the Pillars fall," Gloria piped in.
"I don't even think the Pillars know. The instability could create a hole in the fabric of reality, allowing more Outsiders in, or it may just bring the two worlds together into one, or something else entirely." "I knew my last opponent in the elections was in the Knight's pocket book," Martha said with a shake of her head.
"He preached too much hate, and I think that allowed me to win. Despite what some nations think of my great country, we're not all violent and hateful." "So, that begs the question: what do we do now?" Becky asked. "I could talk to Gaia and see if she knows anything." Shlee hung up her cell and faced the President. "Ma'am, with your permission, I'd like to get you in front of a camera, making a statement. The sooner we get on top of this, the better." "And your career will be made," President Louise grinned.
"I assume you already have it set up with your cameraman?" "Yes, Ma'am. Frank will meet us. We can go live whenever you're ready." "I'm worried about your safety, Madame President," Lyden spoke up. "If the P.K.'s attack again, we might not get as lucky as last time." "I can handle that," Gloria spoke up.
"With your permission, Madame President, I'll impersonate you. All you need to do is think what you want said, and I'll say them. If we're attacked, you can remain safe in here." Martha Louise mulled that over for a minute before nodding. "I don't like hiding behind others, but you make a good point.
If you're really strong enough to stop Poseidon, then the Paladonic Knights shouldn't be a problem." She shook her head a second later and added, "But please don't turn this report into an orgy. I'm not that high in the polls." Lyden looked at his children and the other women in the car. He focused on Jessica, and then Gloria before facing Martha. "If you'll permit it, Ma'am, I would have my son and Gloria guard you." Martha nodded and Shelly's dad looked at Shelly and Jessica.
"I want you two to accompany Brooke and Bridgette. Find out what you can about Varun's death. If we have another Outsider here, I want to know about it immediately.
Becky and I will talk to Gaia and see what she knows." It had been years since Shelly saw her father in this mode. He was a leader and knew how to take charge of a situation. She could see the brilliance behind his plan as well, as it split Jessica and Gloria apart, while playing to their strengths.
Eldon could take the form of a Secret Service agent with a little bit of help, allowing them to blend in. Brooke and Bridgette could search underwater for clues, while Jessica and Shelly could try to talk to Marchosias again. She didn't look forward to dealing with the demon, but at least he was easy on the eyes. "The sooner I'm out of here, the better," Jessica said as the two of them walked to the back of the car.
Becky was by the fountain with Bridgette—no, she had changed to Brock. When had he done that again? Becky was casting a spell on him, and as she watched, water from the fountain burbled up and surrounded his lower body.
Now he could leave the fountain, though Shelly didn't know how he would move about. His fishtail wasn't designed for walking. This didn't make much sense to Shelly, but knew that Becky wasn't a frivolous person. They stopped and dropped Eldon, Gloria, and Martha off, before heading to their next destination. "I was going to save this until your birthday," Lyden said to Brock as he stepped back into the car after being gone for a couple minutes, "but it looks like you'll need it sooner, rather than later." Shelly's jaw dropped as she watched a mechanical set of legs follow after her father.
He guided the legs over to where Brock rested in the fountain. Even with the water surrounding him, he'd preferred to stay in the fountain, rather than get anything else wet. It took some effort for all of them to move Brock into the contraption, and Shelly saw that there was a hole with a harness set for him to put his tail in. "Awesome! How does it work, Dad?" Brock asked as he got settled in. "It has three modes: manual, follow, and of course, off." As Lyden spoke, he pointed to where the control switch was.
Shelly could see that it was set to off. "If you just want to follow someone, have them stand in front of you, switch this to follow, and when they start walking the legs will stay behind them by about four to five feet." Lyden demonstrated as he spoke, and Brock moved around the inside of the Orange Bubble, staying right behind his father. "Off is self-explanatory." "I don't see any controls for manual," Brock stated, looking around the contraption that encircled his waist.
The bubble of water that surrounded him overlapped portions of the machine, but apparently it was waterproof. "Your fins control it," Lyden told him. He moved the switch to manual and stepped back. "Imagine your tail fins are feet and try to walk with them." Brock lurched forward as the mechanical legs moved.
Brock gripped the ring around his waist to steady himself as his tail swung around in the harness. Shelly stifled a laugh as she realized his tail looked like a giant dick, swinging between his metal legs.
Jessica must have seen it too, because Shelly noticed her covering her mouth and hiding a smile. Shelly was conflicted concerning the woman. While she didn't entirely trust Gloria either, she felt that Jessica's attitude crossed the line.
Shelly knew a number of succubae, and even a couple incubae, and most of them were good people. Angela, as the defacto-ruler of the succubae while also being the Pillar of Fire, led with a compassionate heart.
She tried to make sure that none of her subjects took an innocent life. Even so, there were always a few bad eggs. Every now and then a succubus or incubus went bad, and Angela was forced to send a kobold after them. Had Jessica come into contact with one of them? She glanced at the woman again and noticed that her hands were clenched beneath folded arms. She was about to go to her and ask what was going on, but the car stopped.
Lyden and Becky got out, heading for the portal closest to Gaia's realm. Shelly didn't know where they were, and it didn't really matter.
They didn't need to drive. The car knew where they needed to go and would get them there safely. After hugging her father goodbye, Shelly pulled Jessica to the back of the car to talk to her. The area still reeked of sex, but she tried her best to forget about that. "What's going on?" Shelly demanded. One way or another, she was going to get some answers. If Jessica refused to tell her anything, then she would refuse to work along with her. Jessica was a skilled fighter, and they would need her skills for this mission, but if Shelly couldn't rely on her— "I'm sorry about earlier," Jessica interrupted Shelly's thoughts.
"It's just… You don't know what I've been through." "Then tell me," Shelly replied, taking the other woman's hand. "I can't understand, unless you open up." "I know. I've been on my own for so long, and meeting your brother, and then you… And then finding out who your father is!
I'm so confused." Shelly didn't have a clue what her father had to do with anything, but kept her mouth shut. She knew Jessica was nervous around Lyden Snow. Many people were intimidated by the hero of the Chaos War and the only sanctioned ambassador between the two worlds.
"I'm sorry," Jessica apologized again. "Can we just forget about it and move on?" "No," Shelly said, though she hated herself for it. She really liked this woman, but she didn't like the way she behaved earlier and needed to understand. If she couldn't understand Jessica's racist behavior, then she wouldn't associate with the woman.
Jessica dropped her head to look at her hands. Shelly waited, trying to be patient, but her mind continued to travel over the events earlier. Jessica had been cruel to Gloria. No one could say that the two got along perfectly, but there was no call for that kind of behavior. Jessica sighed and looked up to meet Shelly's eyes.
There were bags under her red-rimmed eyes, telling Shelly that she was fighting back strong emotions. She wanted to pull Jessica into a hug and just ignore the whole thing, but she couldn't. It hurt her to be this stubborn, but their lives may depend on knowing what was going on. "My… My mom was a succubus," Jessica said with a thick voice, full of anger. "I—She was… ugh, I've never told anyone this." "If your mom was a succubus…" Shelly started to ask.
She wanted to be delicate, but wouldn't that make her a succubus as well? "My dad wasn't," Jessica said in a firm tone. "I'm—I'm a crossbreed. Now do you see why I didn't want to talk about this?" Shelly understood immediately.
Crossbreeds were illegal and could be very dangerous. When two of the same species mated, there was no problem. The child would be the same as the parent. When different species mated, and there was offspring, there was no telling what the result would be. More often than not, the child could be extremely dangerous.
All of Lyden Snow's children were crossbreeds. Shelly remembered being watched very closely growing up for any signs that she might be dangerous. The only reason she hadn't been killed outright was because of who her father was. Gaia had interceded when Sheldon and she were still in the womb, guiding their genetics to help them. As far as she knew, only two of Lyden's children were deemed dangerous.
It was the reason Becky never had more kids of her own. Those two children were something her father and Becky never spoke about. "That explains some of your abilities," Shelly said with as much caution as she could put into her voice. "But it doesn't explain why—" "Because my mother all but abandoned me," Jessica snapped. Brooke and Brock were at the front of the car. They both looked back at them, then quickly away. They didn't have privacy, but the other two were trying to give them some space.
"I had to grow up all alone. I never met my father. As far as I know, he doesn't even know I exist." Tears blossomed in Jessica's blue eyes. She gripped Shelly's hands in her own and looked deep into her eyes. "My mother wasn't cruel in the sense that she beat me, but I was an embarrassment to her," Jessica continued. "She kept me locked away and I never had any visitors. Oh, she made sure I was educated, and fed.
She hardly cared whether I was clothed or not, being a succubus. She told me stories of what would happen to me if anyone ever found out what I was. She used scare tactics to control me. She claimed that the world hated me, and that I was kept away for my own protection." She took a shuddering breath before continuing.
"One day I got out. I was only about ten. I ran into a little goblin girl and we played in the rocks. She was my first friend. That is, until my mom found us. I don't know what ever happened to that girl, but after that, I was locked away.
I only ever saw the sunlight through my window, which was barred closed. "The next time I got out, I ran. I wasn't going to risk getting caught again. I wasn't a danger to anyone, and that goblin girl showed me that people in the outside world could be friendly.
I will never go back. I ran to Earth, and spent some time there, but some humans found me hiding in an abandoned warehouse. They thought I was weak and tried to rob me. Of course I defended myself. Mom made sure I knew how to fight. There were… other… issues that arose, and I came back to the Shadow World. I was left in peace, as long as I didn't bother anyone else." "Sounds lonely," Shelly said as she reached over to grip Jessica's hand.
She felt Jessica stiffen for a moment, then accepted the touch. "It was," she responded after a few seconds. "I wasn't completely alone. The goblin girl showed me that not everyone was bad, but the humans made me wary. I'd make a friend for a night, or a week, but never longer.
I never let anyone get too close. My mom's words still make me worry, but I know I'll be safe with you. You're just like me. You're proof that I'm not evil." It almost sounded like Jessica was trying to convince herself.
Looking into her blue eyes, Shelly saw pain and anguish. She couldn't imagine how it would be to grow up like that. To be told you were evil, or that you would be killed if anyone knew what you were.
Eldon and she had seen a bit of mistrust from others because they were crossbreeds, but they had Gaia's blessing. It was part of why they fought so hard to keep people safe. They wanted to prove that they weren't evil. The fact that their father was a well known hero only made them fight harder.
Shelly knew her brother struggled being in their dad's shadow. "When I saw your brother fighting those ogres, I saw an opportunity to prove myself again. He looked good in that form. I thought maybe he could keep me warm for a bit, if I helped save him. I didn't know who he was at the time." She shook her head, but Shelly felt the grip on her hand tighten. "I didn't think I would get caught up in all of this. Your father, your siblings, and now the Pillar of Water is dead&hellip." Shelly's heart broke.
She saw in this other woman something that she might have been, if her father hadn't been the legendary Lyden Snow, and if her mother hadn't loved them as much as she had. She opened her mouth to say something, anything to comfort her girlfriend, but Brooke spoke up first.
"I'm truly sorry for what you went through." Brooke stood and walked back to where the women were sitting on the bed. The redhead looked down at them with sorrow in her eyes. "I once hated the succubae as well. I was taught that they were evil soul sucking creatures. When I found one hanging around the man I cared for, I planned on killing her.
Lyden stopped me, and I'm glad he did. We became good friends after that, each of us saving the other's life multiple times. She turned out to be a good woman, and worthy of love and respect. I have met a few that only cared about what souls they could take while pleasing someone, but I have known many more that were like my friend." "I think Gloria is one of the good ones," Shelly offered. For a moment, she thought Jessica was going to pull her hand away, but she ended up slumping her shoulders and looking at her lap.
"You're right," her voice was soft, but Shelly heard it in the silence. "I treated her poorly, and she's done nothing to deserve it. I guess&hellip. No, nevermind." "Please," Shelly pleaded, squeezing the woman's hand. She knew Jessica needed to get everything out in the open if she was going to work through her issues.
"We're your friends. I—I hope that I'm more than that by now. You can tell us." Shelly's heart hammered in her chest, thundering in her ears as she made that confession. She really liked Jessica. She wouldn't call it love by any stretch of the imagination, but it was more than simple friendship. "You are!" Jessica looked up and met Shelly's eyes. She clasped Shelly's hand in both of hers and held it between them. Jessica's eyes shown with unshed tears.
Her grip would have been painful, if Shelly didn't find it so welcome. "I just… I don't want to hurt you." Shelly's heart dropped.
She didn't know what was behind the hesitation, but was afraid of it. "If it's the truth…" she trailed off, trying to sound encouraging. Jessica looked at Brooke and she got the message. "I'll go back up front. Sorry to get in the middle of you two." She squeezed Shelly's shoulder in comfort before walking away. Brooke was always compassionate to her husband's children, but right then she felt awkward receiving that compassion from one of her father's wives, while dealing with her own matters of the heart.
"I like you," Jessica started in a way that sounded like there was a 'but' coming. Shelly let Jessica take a few breaths, waiting the other woman out. "But, I think I still like your brother, also. I hate that that succubus has her fingers in him.
I shouldn't have treated Gloria like I did. I'm… I'm so confused." Shelly sat there for a few moments, trying to absorb that. Jessica still liked Eldon? But she'd rejected him. She'd broken his heart. Shelly loved her brother—in the familial sense only—but she felt jealousy at Jessica's admission. She couldn't pin it down. Eldon had moved on. Didn't Shelly deserve to be happy with someone? "Say something," Jessica pleaded. The tears flowed from her beautiful blue eyes now.
Shelly looked into them, and knew what her answer was. It took her a moment to speak past the emotion trying to close off her throat. "I'll let you have him. I don't want to stand in your way. I know he still likes you. I can see it in the way he looks at you. I—" She had to stop to keep her voice from shaking. Jessica squeezed her hand, and she knew the other woman was about to speak so she hurried on.
"I won't stand in your way when we get back, but I won't try to break them up, either. He likes Gloria too, and I think she is a good woman, no matter what you think of the succubae." She had to look away, lest she reveal her emotions.
"I'm sorry for the way I treated the succ—er… Gloria. I was rude, and I can see where she didn't deserve the way I treated her.
The next time I see her, I'll apologize." She moved one of her hands and Shelly felt one finger turn her face back. The finger lingered on her chin for a moment before moving to cup her cheek. "Just because I like your brother, doesn't mean I don't want you. I meant what I said. I like you… A lot. I—It's screwed up, I know." "Wow, that's…" Shelly didn't know how to complete that sentence.
"I'm sorry! Forget I said anything," Jessica moaned. "I'm sick, and screwed up. I—" "Would you knock that off," Shelly snapped, getting exasperated with the woman's behavior.
Her emotions were in flux, and right then she wasn't sure she could tell up from down without laughing and crying at the same time. Jessica liked her, but liked her brother also. Shelly loved her brother and wanted him to be happy, but she had a right to be happy also, didn't she? She didn't know what made her do it. Maybe it was the fear mixed with hope she saw in Jessica's eyes, or her own uncertainty roiling in her stomach, but she took her free hand and grabbed the back of Jessica's dark hair.
She pulled the other woman into a kiss, pressing her lips to Jessica's soft mouth. Jessica didn't react at first, unless you count stiffening. Shelly held it for a moment longer before realizing what she'd done. She let go and backed away, tears already forming in her eyes. Before she moved a couple inches, Jessica released her hand and pulled her face back into the kiss. Jessica's hands kept an iron grip on her cheeks as her tongue slipped between Shelly's lips.
Despite her rollercoaster emotions, Shelly was quick to respond, meeting the invading tongue with her own. Her arms wrapped around the tanned woman as they fell sideways onto the bed. They rolled to the side, until Jessica ended up on top, gripping Shelly's wrists and holding them over her head in a vice-like grip. Shelly moaned as she felt the other woman take control and kiss her with renewed passion.
"Ahem," Brooke's voice interrupted them. Shelly came back to reality with a shock, as she remembered her stepmom and half-sibling in the car with them. "Sorry," Jessica mumbled, her cheeks burning as red as Shelly's felt. "I'm glad you two made up, but I thought you should know we're almost there," Brooke stated. Shelly noticed a slight smirk on the mermaid's face and her cheeks burned hotter. She sat up, straightening out her clothes and avoided looking at her accomplice.
"Relax, you two. I remember what it's like to be young. At least I stopped you before anything embarrassing could happen." She winked at them. Shelly wanted to crawl into the deepest, darkest hole and never come back out.
"Mom, leave them alone," Brock came to their rescue, but Shelly only felt worse. Brooke chuckled as she went to one wall of the car, then grew serious. She opened a hidden compartment that Shelly had no clue ever existed. The mermaid hesitated, then reached in and pulled out two long, thin blades. She pulled each one out of its sheath about an inch, then slammed them back in. Shelly caught a glimpse of blue.
She knew what those blades were. They were the blades of a mermaid assassin. Magical, they could cut through almost anything. She wished she would have had one when she saved Jessica from the Myrmidon.
The watery blades were instant death to those fire-based creatures. They had one major drawback, however. Their wielder felt their victim's death. It was supposed to harden an assassin's willpower. If half the stories Shelly had heard about her stepmom were true, Brooke's willpower had to be granite.
"I hoped never to wield these again," Brooke whispered just loud enough for Shelly to hear. She realized the opportunity she had before her. These weapons were rare. They were only given out when an assassin earned them, and usually recovered on their death.
If she could touch one for just a moment, she could become one of those weapons. She didn't know what that would do to her when she was used to kill, but the opportunity to replicate a magical weapon was too great to pass up. "Can I see one of those?" she asked as she got to her feet. Brooke tucked the weapons close to her chest and backed away.
"I can't let you do that," Brooke pulled further away until Shelly retracted her hand. She understood that Brooke knew enough about the blades, and knew what Shelly was capable of, that if she didn't want her touching it, it was likely for the best. Even so, she couldn't help but feel a bit disappointed at the lost opportunity. They felt the car stop, and Shelly glanced outside. The sun was setting, but they were nowhere near the Bermuda Triangle, much less underwater.
She couldn't make out much through the distortion between the inside and outside of the Orange Bubble, other than they weren't in any city. "We're not going straight to Varun's demesne?" she asked, confused. She thought they were going to investigate the Pillar of Water's murder. "We can't," Brooke stated. "Though, I suppose we should start thinking of it as Poseidon's demesne if he really took over. We're too well known there.
After the events yesterday, we'll have to take another route in. That means a different portal." "But where?" Jessica asked with a note of nervousness in her voice. "If we have to travel underwater, I won't make it." Brooke regarded them for a couple moments. Shelly didn't like the frown that crossed her stepmom's face.
"I'm afraid I'm going to have to blindfold the two of you." "What?" Jessica spluttered and moved further up the bed, away from the mermaid. "Why? What about your…" she trailed off as she glanced at Brock before adding, "son?" Shelly didn't like the idea of being blindfolded either, but she trusted Brooke. "Brock knows where we're going already.
He helped me build the place. Unfortunately, the place is kept top secret. The only people that know where it is: those that live there and those that helped create it. The fact that I have to take you there will cause more than enough problems." "Why does it have to remain a secret?" Shelly asked.
She might not be the most privy to all that happened in the Shadow World, but she thought she was trusted enough to know some things. That there were secrets this big she wasn't trusted with bothered her. Was it that she wasn't trusted, that this secret was just that big, or something she didn't understand? She decided to trust in her stepmom. She went to Eldon's dresser and grabbed a couple of his shirts. Her shirts would be too small to make a good blindfold. "Trust me," Shelly told her girlfriend.
"I would trust Brooke with my life, and you can too." She waited for Jessica to nod before tying the shirt around her head.
She made sure her black hair wasn't in the knot. To make sure it was secured, she held her breath and put her face in front of Jessica's. When she didn't react, she pressed her lips firmly against the other woman, and smiled at the way she jumped slightly.
Brooke tied Shelly's blindfold on, leaving her in darkness. She waited for the mermaid to guide her, and jumped when she spoke in Shelly's ear. "You'll forgive me if I don't use the same trick to make sure you can't see." Shelly's cheeks burned as she heard the smile in the woman's voice. A moment later she felt a hand slip into hers and squeezed it, somehow knowing it was Jessica. "Okay," Brooke spoke up, "We don't have to travel far, but keep a hold of my hand.
Brock will follow after, and I'll let you know when it's safe to remove the blindfolds." Brooke grabbed Shelly's other hand in a firm grip that belied her small frame. She placed one foot forward, testing the floor of the car, then berated herself. She knew the path was clear and would be until they got out of the Orange Bubble. She would have to trust Brooke to watch her footing after that.
"Step out of the car now," Brooke guided her as she heard Brock's mechanical legs following them. "Good. Now the path is mostly flat, with only a few turns until we get to the building. I'll let you know if you need to avoid anything. Okay, Jessica, go ahead and step down. There you go. Now just follow me." Brooke guided them a small distance and true to her word, whenever something might slip them up in the slightest, the mermaid warned them.
Shelly had no idea where they were, or if they were even in the same country. The Orange Bubble could travel faster than airplanes, and was infinitely safer. Chances were that if they weren't still in the U.S., they were in Canada, but there was no way to know for sure. The humidity in the air was tolerable, and not overpowering, and the temperature was somewhere in the eighties.
"We're entering the building where the portal is. The floor is smooth, but we'll have to go down a few flights of stairs. Don't worry Brock, those legs were designed to be able to maneuver in any terrain. Your dad wanted to make sure you wouldn't be limited to one place anymore." Shelly didn't know what Brooke considered a few flights of stairs, but her legs were tired by the time they were informed that they'd reached their floor.
Brooke guided them for a couple more minutes down winding hallways, or what Shelly assumed were winding hallways. She knew the moment they went through the portal. The solid floor turned to dirt and rock beneath her feet and her ears wanted to pop from the change in pressure, but the blindfold wasn't taken off right away. "Who are they?" a deep voice demanded, followed by what Shelly thought sounded like an angry purr.
"I've told you about Shelly Lance, and this is Jessica…" Brooke started to answer, but trailed off when she didn't know Jessica's last name. "I'm Jessica Angel," she replied for herself. "Yeah, well, what about… By the Pillars, is that Brock? Nice legs man!" "Thanks Erwin. My dad just got them for me." There was no doubting the amount of pride in Brock's voice at his new gift.
"Humph," the man grunted. "That doesn't explain why you brought them here, Brooke. This place is supposed to remain hidden. What do you think you're doing by bringing them here?" "Varun is dead, Erwin," Brooke's voice was solemn. Shelly itched to take off the blindfold, but she remembered Brooke's warning to wait.
She didn't like the way this Erwin guy was treating her stepmom but she also sensed a subtle danger about him. She could shift into the form of a shield or sword with a simple thought, and since Jessica was still holding her hand, she would be armed or protected as needed. She was hesitant to do so, not wanting to turn this situation into something more dangerous than it already was. "Sucks to be him, then." Erwin's response to Brooke's statement shocked her.
"Seems we've been losing Pillars a fair amount in the last couple decades. That one was a bit too uppity for my tastes anyway. Did your hubby finally do him in?" "This is serious," Brooke stated in a tone Shelly knew well. It was the same tone she used when teaching the twins how to fight, and she thought they weren't trying hard enough. Sheldon had received that tone more than Shelly, and every time, her brother ended up sprawled on the ground, a new bruise forming somewhere.
It wasn't that Brooke was violent, but she didn't tolerate fools very well.
"Remember the amount of chaos that followed the Chaos War? Lysa and Angela did their best, but a lot of bad things happened while they were learning to control their powers." "Heh, they should have called that time the Second Chaos War. Volcanoes going off all the time, and windstorms whipping up enough sand to shred an ogre in seconds. Hell, remember that new volcano that suddenly appeared in Egypt about a year after your hubby destroyed that outsider? Baffled scientists, until our world became common knowledge over there." "That's why we're trying to find out who did it," Brock piped up.
"We don't want them doing it to any other Pillars." "Meh, they could take out the Pillar of Darkness for all I care. He's not exactly a friendly guy either. And that Pillar of Light? I hear he's pretty stuffy and won't see anyone." The man chuckled, but Shelly couldn't believe what she was hearing. The Pillars were what allowed them all to live in this world.
That's why they're called the Pillars! "None of them matter to us down here. It's not like the water can hurt us after the way you built this place, and as long as Gaia doesn't find out we're here, none of the other Pillars will learn of us." Erwin's voice gained a hard edge as he continued to speak. "But bringing strangers here is a good way for others to find out about us.
You know the rules as well as I do, Brooke. They need to die." Shelly didn't understand what was going on. She was blind, but what the man was saying made no sense. Gaia knew about everything that touched her ground. It didn't matter whether it was in this realm, or Earth. She didn't watch everything at once, but to think that there might be something going on under her nose was laughable.
Unless… This wasn't ground under her feet, but something else. The sounds of blades being drawn broke the momentary silence. Shelly decided to act.
She'd seen Jessica fight with a sword and decided that would be the perfect shape to take. Sheldon's shirt fell away from her eyes as she formed her hand into the hilt and the rest of her body twisted into a sharp, three foot long blade. She had to shift much of her mass out or she would have been too heavy for Jessica to wield. She didn't know where that mass went, only that it was there for her when she needed to change back.
When she formed into things with greater mass, she had to absorb mass from objects around her. She hated doing that, though. It made her feel bloated for days afterwards. Once she was done, she allowed herself to see from just above the cross guard. It was the most stable place to be able to look around. They were surrounded. She didn't recognize any of them, or what they were. Many of them were misshapen, and twisted. Their leader was a tall, dark man with what appeared to be cat ears on his head, and whiskers by his black nose.
His fingers looked dangerous with their claws, but it was the twin daggers in his hands that worried Shelly. A quick glance towards the woman holding her showed that Jessica had removed her blindfold also. Erwin purred with excitement as he grinned at them. Shelly could tell that he was excited to fight. She didn't feel as confident in their survival. "Erwin, put those blades away!" Brooke snapped in a tone that implied he was an idiot, without saying the words.
Shelly noticed that the mermaid hadn't drawn her blades. "Think! I know what the risks are if any of you are found out. If I didn't think they could be trusted, I wouldn't have brought them." She turned to Shelly and Jessica. "And you two! I told you not to take off the blindfolds. I swear you're almost as bad as your father was when he was a teenager, Shelly." "But—" Jessica used Shelly to point at those surrounding them.
"No buts!" Brooke shouted. Brock and even the creatures around them took a step back. Brooke might look like a small woman, but all knew what she was capable of. Shelly let herself change back, but kept holding Jessica's hand just in case. Brooke waited until she was fully changed, before turning back to the rest of the crowd. "Do you really think I would endanger all of you after what I went through to make this place?" Erwin looked sheepish as Brooke berated him, but he didn't put his blades away.
"Erwin…" Brooke placed her hands on her own blades. With as much grace as a frightened cat has, Erwin sheathed his daggers. "Damn it, Brooke," Erwin muttered. "I was just making sure. We can't be too careful. If you vouch for them, we can let them be." He must have found a bit of his backbone as he looked back up to meet Brooke's green eyes. "But if they tell about this place, it's on your head." "They won't tell," Brooke promised for them.
Shelly wasn't sure what it was she wasn't supposed to tell. All she knew was that a bunch of creatures she didn't recognize were hiding—even from the nearly all-knowing Gaia—and Brooke had somehow helped build this place. Erwin turned to Brock and held out his hand. "Welcome home, Brock. We've missed having your smiling face around for a bit." Brock shook it and returned the aforementioned grin. "Glad to be home, Mr. Schrödinger." * * * * Shelly realized she was staring.
It couldn't be, she thought. There's no way. He should be dead. She thought she'd heard something about the man having committed suicide, but that must have been faked, if this was really Erwin Schrödinger. "We haven't had any trouble down here," Erwin said between bites of his fish. Shelly had a strong stomach, but she felt queasy as she watched the cat-man eat. The ground felt unsteady, but it looked solid enough. "I was sad to hear that Varun had captured you, but you understand why we couldn't come help." "The secrecy of this place is more important than one life," Brooke agreed as though it hadn't been her life in the balance.
"That's why we have our rules." "Rules that you broke," Erwin gestured to Shelly and Jessica. "This place is more important than one life, but not all lives," Brooke returned.
"There may come a time when you have to leave here and return to the world above." Shelly hadn't noticed her surroundings when she'd lost her blindfold, but they were deep underground. What she had at first mistaken for a sky, was a vast array of glowing gray moss on the ceiling above a huge cavern.
Houses were built up, some of them built out of the very ground, but she couldn't tell where they got the materials to do it. There was no vegetation in sight. "Why should we fight for anyone?" Erwin responded. "If they knew we existed, they'd kill us without a second thought." "You're crossbreeds!" Jessica spluttered, making Shelly jump. She looked around and realized what should have been obvious from the beginning.
It explained why she couldn't identify most of the creatures around her. She cursed herself for not having caught it. She was too wrapped up in the cat-man's identity.
Erwin Schrödinger. Schrödinger's cat. Schrödinger was a cat, or at least a cat-man. Was he always that way, or did something happen? "Yes, most of us are," Erwin glared at Jessica. "Some of us are just cursed, but Brooke and a few others have gone out of their way to help us. I'd appreciate it if you didn't go around telling anyone about us.
We've worked hard to keep this place a secret from the Pillars. I'd hate to think what they'd do if they heard even a whisper about us." While his words seemed casual, his tone conveyed the threat behind them. "But how do you hide from Gaia?" Shelly asked.
It didn't make any sense. "This is a floating underground island," Brooke smiled. "Gaia can only see what's touching her Earth. Since this chunk of rock isn't touching her Earth, she can't see it.
It also means that nothing will grow here, without her influence. We're constantly working to supply this place, while keeping everything secret." Something in the mermaid's voice told Shelly she wasn't saying everything, but Shelly knew better than to ask. The fact that they were on a floating island explained why she was feeling queasy also. She saw Jessica nodding to Brooke's words. Shelly wondered if she was going to bring up her heritage, but Jessica remained silent.
Shelly didn't blame her. Sometimes you kept a secret for so long, you continued to keep it when it didn't matter. "When Mom comes to visit me, she brings me stuff and I bring it here," Brock said. "We're quite the clandestine operation." He seemed quite proud. Something else clicked in Shelly's head. "That's how you plan on getting into Varun's, I mean, Poseidon's demesne.
This place is connected there somehow." Brooke nodded. "There is a large tunnel with an underground river going from here to the Pillar of Water's area.
We'll use that to infiltrate Poseidon's area while you and Jessica talk to Marchosias." Shelly tried not to let her shoulders slump. She didn't know where in the Shadow World they were, but she knew where Marchosias's island lay, and it was a far distance from the border between Earth and Water.
She was exhausted from the lack of sleep last night, followed by the fight for their lives against the Paladonic Knights and Daughters of Respite. Knowing that she would have to travel that distance, then try to get information out of Marchosias didn't appeal to her. Jessica must have sensed her emotions, because she reached over and gripped Shelly's hand. Shelly felt comforted by the gesture and squeezed back, earning herself a smile from her beautiful girlfriend.
"If you think we're going to embroil ourselves in your affairs just because you created this space for us, you're wrong." Erwin pounded the table, making Shelly jump. Unfortunately, his hand struck his fork, and sent it flying into Brooke's chest. It fell to her lap where she looked at it for a moment.
With more calm than Shelly could have mustered, the mermaid picked up the fork, examined the chunks of food still stuck on it, then flung it back at Erwin with lightning speed.
The cat-man flinched as it brushed past one of his black pointy ears and embedded itself on the wall behind him.
"It doesn't matter what I think," Brooke said in a tone that made ice seem hot by comparison. There was no anger on her face, and she appeared perfectly calm, but her green eyes matched her voice. "But if you think that hiding out here will keep you safe while the Pillars are struck down, then you're a bigger fool than I thought." Erwin glared at Brooke, but the effect was ruined as he licked the back of one hand, then used it to wipe at his offended ear.
"I learned a long time ago not to meddle in things that I shouldn't." "You couldn't have known that the cat you were using for your experiments was the favorite of a fairy," Brooke replied.
Her voice warmed, but it was the difference between an Antarctic night and an Antarctic morning. "This concerns you and every other creature living in this world. If the Pillars fall, this world goes with it. Perhaps all of creation." "Bah!" Erwin growled and his lips curled, showing sharp fangs. His golden eyes flashed as he met Brooke's stare. "We heard the same thing during the Chaos War, and look how that turned out.
Someone will always come along and save us." "There was a prophecy that time," Brooke stated.
Her voice lost whatever warmth it had gained, and if anything, grew harder. She still looked relaxed, but Shelly noticed one hand was close to the blade on her left hip. "And my husband didn't do it alone.
A lot of good creatures died, ensuring this world survived. Lyden wasn't the only hero." "And now we come to the crux of things." Shelly heard Erwin purr as he spoke, as though he'd caught a mouse he was ready to pounce on. "You need fodder for your armies. You want us to sacrifice ourselves so our betters can live on to fight another day." Shelly couldn't believe the audacity of this man. Brooke had helped create a space where he and other outcasts could survive without being persecuted, and his way of repaying her was to act like this?
"You are the most pompous, egotistical, self-righteous man I have ever met," Jessica spoke up. Erwin looked away from the mermaid with an expression that said he was shocked anyone would dare interrupt his conversation with Brooke. "She hasn't asked for your help, you imbecile.
She was warning you of what might come." "Jessica—" Brooke tried to intervene, but Jessica kept going.
"A Pillar is dead, and the rest are in danger. How can you choose to sit here in your little hole, pretending the outside world doesn't exist? Hell, you can pretend your balls are the size of watermelons and your cock is as big as your arm, but from where I'm sitting, neither one of them even exists.
Pretending whether something is real or not doesn't make it exist, or mean you can ignore it." "My cock and balls are plenty real, girl!" the werecat snarled and jumped to his feet.
He reached into his pants and laid his genitals on the table. "That real enough for you?" Shelly was impressed with the man's boldness, if not with the material presented. Sheldon's is bigger, she thought, then shrugged that uncomfortable idea away.
Why would she think of him? She'd been with other men who were larger than this guy. Erwin was just a little bigger than average. "That depends," Jessica sneered. "Does it bluster and preen itself like its master, or does it actually do something?" "Jessica!" Brooke snapped, losing her calm demeanor. Shelly saw Brock trying to hold back his laughter at Jessica's insult. Shelly found herself struggling not to laugh at the comical way Erwin's black-furred face turned slack at Jessica's words.
Jessica didn't look away from the cat-man. After a couple of tense seconds, Erwin's lips curled up as he burst out laughing. "By the Pillars, you've got a sharp tongue on you, girl. You're right. I've spent so long trying to hide who and what I am.
I was once a great scientist, you know that? Then one day a fairy catches up to me. Imagine my surprise in finding out fairies are real! Ends up, one of the strays I'd used to prove a hypothesis had been his favorite.
As punishment for my actions, he made me into this. I still remember the way he chuckled as he flew away. That was almost a century ago. Not only did that little sprite curse me, but he made me immortal to boot so I could suffer for all time. I had to fake a suicide to hide what had happened, and that wasn't easy!
He made sure his insult was felt all the time also. When no one is looking at me, I'm a normal human, but the second I'm observed, I become this cat-person. I had to hide what I was, until Brooke found me. It looks like it took someone like you to help me remember my humanity." "I didn't ask for your history, old man," Jessica said, though she'd lost her anger.
Erwin chuckled some more, then turned to Brooke. "You'll need some supplies, though you know we don't have much. It also looks like you're about dead on your feet.
Get some rest. We'll have the boat prepped and ready for you when you wake up." He stood and walked to the door, leaving them alone. "Can we trust him?" Shelly asked as soon as she felt it was safe. Chances were that with those ears, Erwin had exceptional hearing. "We can trust him to keep his skin whole," Brooke said. She looked over to Jessica with a shrewd look. "That was a very foolish thing you did. Erwin is their leader here.
No matter how much Brock and I have helped them, if he told this community to kill us, they would." "Sorry," Jessica apologized. "I just couldn't take any more of his self-righteous bullshit." They were all silent for a while. Shelly was still trying to understand how this city came to be. The amount of energy required in creating this space, or the floating island, and set up the whole thing was more than she could imagine.
Then, for there to be a portal here from Earth… She thought only the Pillars were strong enough to fabricate those. That meant that at least one Pillar knew about this place, but which one? The most likely answer was Aunt Lysa. She was a crossbreed, just as all of Lyden's children were.
Though she wasn't really the twins' aunt. She would have been the most likely to sympathize with this group. Were there others strong enough to create portals? What about the Firsts? If there was a First working with them&hellip. Her thoughts were interrupted by Erwin returning.
"I already have food being prepared for you at Brock's hut. It's a little crowded in there for the four of you. I have room here if you girls want to stay." The way Erwin purred as he added that last statement gave Shelly the creeps.
Before she could respond, Brooke spoke up. "That'll work great, Erwin. But I think the girls should stay at Brock's place. I think they'd be more comfortable there. If you don't mind, Brock and I will stay here. It'll give us the chance to set down more plans for tomorrow and let them rest." If Erwin was disappointed, he hid it well.
"Come on!" Brock said cheerfully as his mechanical legs carried him past them. "I'll show you where I live." In all the years she'd known her half-brother/sister, it never occurred to her to wonder where he lived.
She'd never had any interest in seeing the home of the sibling that made her uncomfortable to be around. Now that she knew what to look for, she took in her surroundings once outside. The air was humid, but not cloyingly so. The ground was solid, but she could sense the slight motion as the island rocked on the water. Some of the homes were built out of wood, and because they were underground, they didn't have to worry about bad weather.
More were made from the ground itself, dug out of the very rock they lived on. High overhead, moss gave off a strong grayish white glow that reminded Shelly of an overcast sky. Brock—wait, now he was Bridgette. She hated when he did that—led them to one of the homes built into the rock. A tall hill rose up, and carved into the side were some steps leading down to a wooden door. Bridgette placed her hand against the door, and a moment later Shelly noticed a gentle glow rise and then fade before the door opened.
Even in a place inhabited by those that relied on one another to survive, they still had to lock their doors. Jessica stopped Bridgette before she could lead them in. "You know, it can be a bit disconcerting when you keep changing genders like that. Why don't you pick one and stay that way?" Shelly had often wondered the same thing, but was afraid it would have been rude to ask.
Bridgette didn't seem to mind, though, and smiled. "Honestly? Because I know it bothers some people and those that it does, deserve to be bothered." She walked inside as she continued speaking, though her words filled Shelly with guilt.
"I used to get teased a lot when I was younger, but Dad showed me that there was nothing wrong with who I am. He taught me that it didn't matter what my gender was, as long as I was happy with who I was. Some situations work better when I'm a woman, and some work better as a man. I like being Brock around Dad.
I think he relates to me better that way, though I know he loves me no matter what. Erwin likes to stare at my breasts when I'm Bridgette, so I usually stay as Brock around him. I decided to be Bridgette now, so it's just us girls." Bridgette showed them her small but cozy home, while Shelly reexamined her feelings towards this sibling.
She'd always been uncomfortable around him/her because of her ability to change genders, but how was that any different than the twins' ability to change shape? It was still the same person inside. This home made the house she shared with Sheldon look huge. There was a small entryway that doubled as a sitting room, an equally small cooking area, and two smaller rooms attached.
"Mom doesn't stay here often," Bridgette told them. "So, I don't need a lot of room. Since I was always bound to the water, I never left my room." Shelly poked her head in and saw that the room was nothing more than a pool of water. "There's an underwater tunnel that leads to the back door, and that's how I usually come and go. I can't believe Dad got me these awesome legs!" "They work well for you!" Shelly told her, deciding to treat her better from now on.
"You two can sleep in here. The bed is a little small, but neither of you are big so you should be fine." Bridgette showed them Brooke's room. The bed was big enough that they'd both fit, but small enough that they'd have to cuddle. She didn't mind that thought at all. In fact, as she looked at the bed, she had to stifle a yawn.
The day had been a full one, and she was looking forward to some sleep. "I'd better get back to Mom," Bridgette said with a smile at Shelly's yawn. "Erwin is all right, but I've seen the way he looks at my chest when I'm in this form. I swear, if he weren't half cat and hated getting wet, he'd have tried to get with me a long time ago." Shelly laughed at the thought of a cat trying to get with someone who was half a fish. "He won't try anything on Brooke while she's alone with him, will he?" Jessica asked.
Shelly appreciated that her girlfriend was concerned about Shelly's stepmom, but Jessica couldn't know what Brooke was capable of. Bridgette laughed before answering. "No, he wouldn't dare. Mom could kick his ass, and he wouldn't dare do anything to offend Dad. Everyone knows what Dad did and respects him." She looked around for a moment before adding, "Sorry there's not much in the way of accommodations, but help yourselves. I'm sure Mom will come get you in the morning." Shelly's odd sibling left them, though she resolved to become better friends with her in the future.
"You dad seems like a pretty cool guy," Jessica stated as the door closed behind Bridgette. "Yeah," Shelly said, wondering where this was coming from. "Some people don't like the fact that he has so many wives, or that he has so many powerful friends, but I tend to like him." She meant to say it light heartedly, but knew she meant it.
"He's smart, open minded, strong—" "You're not crushing on my dad, are you?" Shelly asked, bothered at the concept. "What?" Jessica asked with wide eyes.
"No! Eww. It's just that you don't meet many men like that. I can see parts of him in you that make you so wonderful." Shelly couldn't help but blush at the compliment. She knew her dad was awesome, but this was the first time she'd ever been paid a compliment like this. "I know you're tired," Jessica said as Shelly felt her hand rest on her lower back, "but I was kind of hoping I could apologize for my behavior earlier." Shelly turned to her and smiled.
"You already apologized." She placed her hand on Jessica's cheek and looked into her blue eyes. "We all make snap judgments. The hard part is realizing our mistakes and apologizing, which you've already done." "But I wanted to apologize," Jessica stressed and used her hand on Shelly's back to pull them close. Understanding flooded Shelly as she felt the other woman's lips brush hers.
"Well why didn't you say so?" Shelly asked as a grin split her lips. She was tired, sure, but sleeping could wait. Jessica's arms tightened as Shelly placed hers around the back of the woman's neck.
Their lips were soft as they came back together. There was no urgency in the kiss, no driving passion, but it was filled with tender care. The two women stood there for a moment in each other's arms, enjoying the security they felt at having one another. Despite enjoying the slow pace of the kiss, it was Shelly that first opened her mouth to let her tongue explore the other woman's.
Jessica opened to her, and their tongues met in a slow dance, twisting and brushing against the other. Jessica's mouth was sweet as their bodies pressed together. Her heart quickened when Jessica lowered her hands to Shelly's rear, fondling her. Shelly brought her hands between them, moving to the hem of Jessica's shirt and pulled it up to her neck.
Neither one wanted to break the kiss, so she reached around to her back and undid the strap of her bra. Jessica slipped her arms out of the shirt and bra, though the shirt still hung around her neck. Shelly capitalized on the other woman's free breasts and took each of the perfect mounds in one hand.
Jessica moaned into their shared kiss as Shelly brushed her thumbs her girlfriend's nipples. She felt Jessica's hands slide up her rear to her shirt, and soon her shirt was around her neck and her bra was on the floor. Shelly had to release her girlfriend's breasts as Jessica pulled them together again. Her own breasts molded around Jessica's firm mounds. She wrapped her arms around the slender woman, tightening the press between them. The feeling of bare skin on bare skin sent a shiver through her.
Even though they had fooled around in the Orange Bubble earlier, Shelly felt her crotch slicken with desire. When in the car, it had been a mad rush to get each other off and heal, but this time they could enjoy themselves.
"Come on," Jessica pulled away and smiled. She grabbed Shelly's hand and tugged her into the bedroom, while pulling her shirt over her head with the other hand. For the briefest of seconds, Shelly was uncomfortable with the idea of having sex on her stepmom's bed, but when Jessica turned and gave her dazzling smile, she didn't care.
She could always remove the sheets first, or do it on the carpeted floor. When Jessica bit her bottom lip, reached out and thumbed her right nipple, then pulled her into another kiss, she quit worrying and just enjoyed her girlfriend's hands on her body. Her thighs grew slick as her pussy leaked out its desires. Shelly stripped off her shirt and they both removed their pants before falling to the bed in a tangle of arms and legs.
Shelly ended up on her back with Jessica's right leg between her thighs, pressed up against her moist slit. "You're beautiful, you know that?" Jessica said, sending a thrill through Shelly at the compliment. "You're a sweet talker," she replied and then moaned as Jessica pressed her thigh hard against the juncture of Shelly's thighs. "But I like it," she finished and pulled Jessica's face down to hers. Shelly ground her snatch against the other woman's leg.
Her hips lifted and fell as her crotch slid across Jessica's naked thigh. Every motion sent sensations of bliss through her, radiating up from her clit and blossoming into her stomach and chest.
Jessica pulled her head away, then dropped it to nuzzle into Shelly's neck. She felt her teeth graze her sensitive skin, though she didn't bite, sending another thrill through her. Jessica moved her leg away, causing Shelly to groan in frustration. She was getting close! A couple more seconds and she would have cum. Jessica's mouth trailed down Shelly's collarbone, but it was the woman's hand against her moist sex that made Shelly gasp.
She felt one finger slide in, easily slipping between her damp folds. She gasped again when Jessica's lips brushed across one stiff nipple. Shelly gripped the sheets as waves of pleasure washed over her.
She tossed her head from side to side as she soaked Jessica's hand. It took her a few breaths to regain her senses. She tried to sit up, but Jessica pressed her back down.
"I want to return the favor," Shelly moaned, wanting to press her lips against every inch of this fantastic woman. "Maybe when I'm done apologizing," Jessica grinned. "Besides, I'm enjoying myself. Shelly decided to let her have her way. Besides, it wasn't like she wasn't enjoying Jessica's 'apology.' Jessica dropped her head down and trailed kisses across Shelly's flat stomach to her right hip, and then her thigh.
She felt hot breath pass her vulva before Jessica nipped lightly on the inside of her other thigh. She jumped, but it turned into a moan as she felt a tongue slide along her thigh, back towards her hungry heated pussy. Jessica used her mouth to open Shelly's petals. She felt her tongue poking at her hole, lapping up her juices. Jessica moved her muscle around in a random pattern, keeping Shelly on edge, but not sending her over that proverbial cliff.
Her clit felt ignored as Jessica continued to focus on her opening. She tried to shift her hips to let the woman know what she wanted, but Jessica seemed to anticipate her movements, moving perfectly in time to keep from touching that magical button. Just when she thought she was going to lose her mind, Jessica shifted up and sucked hard on her clit. At the same time, Shelly felt fingers penetrate her again and rub along the top wall of her burning canal.
This didn't just tip her over the edge, but launched her off it. Her body shuddered as she screamed in rapture. She was no longer in control of her body, but she couldn't think clearly enough to care. Her entire world centered on the tingling in her skin, the fluttering in her stomach, the curling of her toes as she thrashed around on the bed, and the feeling of those fingers still pumping into her, stretching out her blissful orgasm.
"Okay!" Shelly croaked as she reached down and pulled the fingers out of her. "By the Pillars, I've never had an orgasm like that before!" "Am I forgiven?" Jessica asked with an impish grin crossing her face. "I already told you that you were," Shelly sighed in exasperation. "Now get up and, so I can return the favor!" She tried to pull Jessica up, but she was a bit weak after that powerful climax.
Jessica didn't resist, though, lithely moving up Shelly's body until they could kiss. Shelly tasted her own juices on the other woman's lips. It increased her hunger, and she reached down to grab Jessica's firm butt cheeks. This time the kiss was filled with passion. It was almost scary how much Shelly desired this woman. Any fear she might have had was pressed to the background, however, as Shelly needed to please this woman.
With a growl, Shelly rolled them over, almost knocking Jessica off the small bed in her haste. They readjusted, this time with the black haired beauty on her back. Shelly dove for her perfect breasts, lavishing the nipples with her tongue as she lowered her right hand to Jessica's cunt.
It was soaked, the viscous liquid pouring from her swollen petals. She slipped three fingers into her, before she was aware of her desire to do so. Jessica bucked against the invading digits, moaning in rapture. The sound of her moans went through Shelly like a lightning bolt, fueling her desires and driving her on.
She lowered herself down Jessica's fit body without removing her fingers. She didn't have the patience to tease as Jessica had, and attacked the nubbin at the juncture at the top of her inner labia. Jessica jerked as Shelly brought her over the top, ramming her fingers into her well saturated pussy.
Shelly wished she had a large cock to ram her the way she was pounding her fingers into Jessica. Her insides felt empty. She couldn't remember the last time she'd had a thick piece of meat thrusting into her, but for some reason she thought it hadn't been that long ago.
Hell, she'd even accept Erwin's average penis right then. If Brock walked in right then, she didn't know if she could keep herself off of him. She was so horny right that moment, the fact that it was her brother only slightly bothered her. She was just debating on going to get him, when Jessica got her attention again by pulling her back up and into a kiss.
She wrapped her legs around Shelly's thighs, giving her whole body a strong hug. Despite none of her erogenous zones being stimulated, Shelly felt another climax crash through her. She couldn't remember ever being this aroused. What was it about this woman that turned her on so much? "Get some rest," Jessica whispered as she tucked Shelly under the covers. Shelly still felt empty inside, but after three powerful orgasms, exhaustion won out.
Maybe she could talk to Erwin before they left tomorrow. She had no doubt he would be happy to fill her holes. Jessica walked to the door of the small room and looked back, but Shelly barely noticed as her eyelids drooped and sleep overtook her. She thought Jessica might have left, but when she woke the next morning, her girlfriend was holding her tight.
Warmth spread through the twin as she remembered their shared bliss, but not much else from last night's coupling. ==================== From the Author ==================== Book one has been restored to this site in 5 chapter increments, with the exception of the Epilogue. Comments below are ALWAYS welcome. Please let me, or Garbonzo607 know how we're doing on this story.