Going through the usual security checkpoint before going into Raven's "apartment," Lora couldn't help but think about how surreal the experience was. Cold professionalism from the security officers manning things down here in the "vault" as it was sometimes called. The sterility of the decor, or lack of it, was in sharp contrast to what she would see when she stepped into Raven's quarters. The walls were still gray of course, but her friend had decorated the walls with posters and prints of ravens, moonlight, and various pastoral landscapes. Here and there were some of Raven's sculptures. Mostly of birds. It all looked as close to "homey" as you could get... under the circumstances.
She walked in and didn't see anybody immediately, so she went over towards the door leading to the Minder's office. Before she got there, Aasha, one of the other cyborg minders, came out and met Lora. After conferring with her and confirming that as usual nothing exciting happened during the night, Aasha left the apartment.
Lora went into the kitchen to make some coffee and warm up some cinnamon rolls for Raven's breakfast, since she knew the esper liked that sort of thing. Then she went over and knocked on Raven's bedroom door and called out for her to wake up so that they could go to Raven's martial arts training.
Lora heard a few muffled noises, and a groan, but there was no response.
She called out, "C'mon, Raven! You know you gotta get up for Kazuko's training class this morning!" Then she sat down in the main room and turned on the TV and started channel surfing.
There was a pause, then the door to Raven's bedroom opened. Raven stepped out, bare as the day she was born except for the collar, light from the ceiling lamps glistening on her shapely form and long, sleek legs. She stretched absently, causing her large, firm breasts to heave up a little, tossed her head to clear the hair out of her face, causing it to tumble over her shoulders and bosom, then said, "Good morning, Lora," before starting towards the bathroom.
Lora did a double-take, blinking. *Did she just...? She didn't even bother... She was naked and just walked right on past...* Shaking her head in surprise, she wondered at her friend's sudden lack of modesty. That didn't seem like her, to just walk by naked like that.
And somewhere in the back of Lora's mind, a little voice was saying, *damn, she's _gorgeous_, I think I'm jealous*. Lora promptly shot the little voice and buried it with extreme prejudice.
Not noticing her friend's dismay, Raven yawned—causing an ally-ally-oxenfree down her curvaceous figure—and went into the bathroom and closed the door behind her. A moment later, it reopened and her head poked out. "Oh, Lora, seems there's no clean towels in here. There might be some in that laundry basket."
"Uh... Okay." Lora got up and went to the basket and grabbed a couple of towels off the top. At the bathroom door, she handed the towels to Raven without a word.
"Thanks Lora!" she said, smiling. Then she frowned a bit. "Something wrong?"
"Didn't you notice? You just walked right past me through the middle of the apartment stark naked." Lora said.
Raven looked puzzled. "Um? Oh." She shrugged. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to embarrass you."
"I just thought you were more modest than that."
"I thought you'd be in the next room."
"Well, it's just surprising is all." She shook her head in rueful surprise. Then she started, "HEY! There are cameras in here!"
"All over the place," Raven confirmed, not sure where her friend was getting at. As she spoke, Duncan left the bedroom, dressed in pants and a bathrobe.
"But I thought... er... that doesn't bother you?"
"Well, of course it—oh, you mean that and being naked." Raven sighed and, again shrugged. "It used to. But then, what am I do? I have zero privacy no matter what I do. So I decided, screw it. There's no part of me that they haven't seen already and besides, there's this video of me and Temple making the rounds on the Net. So I told myself, I'm on display anyway, what do I care about modesty? And, uh, I guess it kinda stuck."
"Oh... Okay... Well... I guess I'll just be waiting in the living room I guess."
Raven chuckled. "Don't worry, I'm not gonna be going onstage on the 93U anytime soon. If that's still open. I guess I just grew out of my blushing maiden phase." She paused. "Sometimes I think it's kinda cool that people are probably stuck to the screen looking at me... but most of the time I just decide it doesn't bother me. Know what I mean?"
Lora grinned slightly, looking distracted, like she was thinking about something else, "I guess so." Then she turned around and left Raven to walk back to the other room.
Raven smiled at her friend and closed the door, which was soon followed by the sound of the shower turning on.
Lora flopped back on the couch. She thought, *Cameras all around. All day and night. No privacy. How would I react? I'm on camera right now...* She shuddered. *I guess she's right. You either care and let it get to you or you just say 'fuck it' and go with it.*
In the back of her mind, she thought to herself in that little voice that maybe it might even be exciting on some level.
The replicant in the bathrobe approached Lora. "Would you like anything, Ms. Doubet?" He queried obsequiously.
Lora was all of a sudden very aware of all the cameras, "NO!! Ah... sorry. No thanks. No problem. I'm fine. Just fine." If she could have blushed she would have.
"Very well, Ms. Doubet. I shall be cleaning the bedroom if you need me for anything." The replicant then quietly left Lora to her thoughts.
Eddie watched the screen transfixed as on the screen, water from the shower dripped glistening over Raven's body. For a moment, he imagined what it would be like to be like one of those little drops of water, dripping off Raven's nose onto her bosom, then traveling slowly down the gentle curve, perhaps being stuck in her navel for a moment before finally sliding down one of those interminable legs. He sighed contentedly.
Next to him Terri shook his head. "You'll get used to it, you know. More or less."
"Get used to it? Take a load of this chick, man! She has legs up to here and that rack..."
Terry shook his head again. "Yeah, I know. It still does something to me, but ya know, I'm not gonna just stare at the screen all day... well, that's what I'm paid for, but not with drool dripping down my chin."
"Geeze, man, she's so hot though." Eddie wiped his chin reflexively. "You wouldn't want to, you know... do her?"
Terry laughed. "Of course. Or else watch that hot blonde there tangle the covers with her. I think I like her better, but, you know, I haven't seen her naked yet. But hey, we got enough of a show when she boffed the skinjob, didn't we?" He chuckled and tapped Eddie's shoulder. "Have fun watching, but don't try to take it all in at once. She's not going anywhere and she's a lot less prudish than she was at the start. Besides, you wouldn't wanna get distracted, we *do* have a job to do..."
Raven came out of the washroom, thankfully wearing a pair of jeans and a T-shirt, and with her hair wrapped in a towel. She took a deep breath and smiled. "Coffee and cinnamon. Love that stuff." She walked past Lora into the kitchen and came back with a plate of rolls and a steaming mug.
As Lora joined her at the kitchen table, she looked over at the door to Raven's room. She could see Duncan walking back and forth in there picking stuff up and tidying.
"So..." Lora said quietly, "What's he like?"
"Hmm?" Raven looked confused. "Who?"
Lora jerked her head towards Raven's room, "You know... Him. Duncan."
"Oh." To Lora's surprise, Raven's cheeks barely became rosier. "He certainly knows his stuff. But, he's no Adam, you know? He does his best, and his best is very good, but he doesn't really put any, uh, 'soul' into it, you know? He just does what he's been made for." She smiled dreamily. "Still good at it though."
Lora half-grinned, "I'm surprised that," and she pointed up at the ceiling, "doesn't inhibit you either."
"That?" Raven looked up. "Uh... the cameras?"
"Duh! Yes, the cameras!" Lora shook her head, "I don't know that I could ever do it with Matthew if I knew someone was watching."
Raven started to shrug, then paused. "Well, at first... It freaked me out. Not only I wasn't really sure I wanted to get into bed with him, you know, since he didn't seem to really *care* one way or the other... but I had to deal with the cameras." She smiled. "Then I figured it couldn't be worse than the Temple video. I still was shaking all my limbs, you know, but the next time it got easier, and then it got easier until now." She shrugged. "I don't really mind it." She chuckled. "There's even a bit of a thrill sometimes—seeing how far I'll dare to go on camera. Maybe I'll give one of the techs a heart attack someday."
Lora's stared slack-jawed at Raven for a long moment.
Raven blushed a little at Lora's shock. "Yeah, doesn't say much for my morals, does it?"
Her friend shook herself out of her expression of shock and leaned in close. Even more quietly, she said, "Um... it's not that. Well it _is_ that. But more than that, it's just that... Well..." And then she whispered, "-You made _me_ think that might be exciting myself just a minute ago.-"
Raven blinked dumbfounded for a moment, then burst out laughing. "Boy, aren't we a pair of exhibitionists."
"I still don't think I'd want to do that. But the idea... "
"Yeah I know what you mean." Raven looked at Duncan through the bedroom door. "Ultimately, I don't have much choice though. I'm on camera 24/7, so I can either let it paralyze me, or just have to get on with my life, such as it is."
Lora took Raven's hand in both of hers and said, "Just live for today. But be ready for tomorrow." Raven felt the folded paper in Lora's hand and took it as Lora's hands hid it.
Raven clasped her hands behind her back—deftly slipping the bit of paper in her jeans pocket. "So anyway, how are things with Matthew?"
"Good. I just wish I could see him more. We barely have any time any more. This schedule is killing us." Lora continued, "But hold on a sec. What's this about a Temple? Who is he?"
Again Raven's cheeks became rosy. "She's a Lynx replicant who lives in Mega Tokyo, works with Nabiki Tendo."
"She?" Lora's eyebrows went up towards her hairline. "Oh my..." She chuckled, "I'm beginning to feel like the fifth wheel in a bad Woody Allen film. Anything else you're hiding under that oh so innocent looking exterior?"
"Uh, I don't think so," Raven said. "Unless you want to see the video. You can probably find it linked from a PK website."
"Ah... No thanks. I don't swing that way myself."
( "DAMMIT!" Eddie cursed. "Now I'll never get to see those two together!")
("Oh well, them's the breaks kid." Terry said consolingly.)
Raven looked away, looking genuinely uncomfortable for the first time since she'd strolled across the apartment in her birthday suit.
Lora, worried, said, "Something wrong?"
Raven snorted in self derision and turned back to Lora. "You just made me question whether I, uh, swing that way, too." She sighed.
Shrugging, Lora replied, "Does it matter really? You obviously like men, right? So you like checking out the other side of the fence too. So?"
Raven smiled, gratefully. "You make it sound so simple."
(Eddie: "Come on, ask her if she'd like to check out the other side of the fence too, dammit!")
"Isn't it? Look, this is one area I'm not a prude on. Even though I'm straight. Just hope I'm not disappointing you. Girls just don't do anything for me."
"Oh, no. Don't worry. I mean, you're gorgeous," Raven smiled, "but I see you too much as a sister to really think of you that way." She giggled. "Except when you put on that black leather bodysuit. Then... I get pangs."
(Eddie: 'Black... leather... bodysuit? Any chance we might see that?')
Lora laughed, "Thanks for the compliment. Well, maybe I'll wear that again sometime soon."
(Eddie: Here? Wear it here? Please?)
(Terry: Don't get your hopes up.)
Raven laughed as well. "I'll need to find something just as sexy then. Wouldn't want you to let you have all the fun."
Lora grinned wolfishly, "I didn't tell you about Matthew's reaction to that suit, did I?"
Raven leaned forward eagerly. "Oh, do tell!"
(Terry: 'Someone's a lucky bastard.')
"Well, let's just say the suit didn't stay on very long!"
Raven laughed. "No, I imagine it wouldn't. He still sounds as dreamy as ever."
"Yeah. He knows how to make me happy. Very much so. He... when we're making love, he's very considerate for my needs, sometimes at the expense of his."
Raven smiled knowingly. "I see. He sounds really peachy."
(Eddie: 'Threesome! Threesome!')
All of a sudden, Lora's eyes flew open, and she said, "Oh crap. We're gonna be late to practice if we don't hurry!"
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