by Steve Kramer

A strange kind of love
A strange kind of feeling
Swims through your eyes
And like the doors
To a wide vast dominion
They open to your prize...

In Hong Kong, Marta Nys awoke at a hotel which boasted no room service to speak of, and surly bellhops who made none-too-subtle comments in their native tongue whenever they saw a Westerner. But the terminals worked, and the beds and the rooms were clean and intact, save a single bullet hole she found on the outside which somebody missed in plastering over many others on the same wall. Marta was on a budget, she could more than take care of herself, and she was not, as she seemed to have to remind every one incessantly, her aristocratic sister, who would have awoken from the dead to get up and leave had she been brought to such a place.

It was Marta who awoke now, stretching and yawning, unrestrained by clothing, trying to get her muscles going again. They hurt, the rain was still coming down outside, and the surroundings were anything but opulent, but still Marta smiled to herself and was content. A scene from, but not the name of, an old 2-D feature came to her mind unbidden. A police captain asks a visitor to town how he slept the night just past. "I slept very well," says the tourist. "How odd," replies the captain dryly, "No one is supposed to sleep well in Hong Kong." That wasn't the city in the movie, but it translated well. The scene drifted again from her consciousness; her flesh muscles were quite sore after being taken along for the ride by her cybernetic systems in the activities of her previous night, and she was concentrating on unknotting them. The soreness recalled their tense state, and the tea-house, and Ling Ling. Especially, as she rubbed her sculpted body back into sensation, Ling Ling.

It hadn't been that long since a local Triad made a very early morning attempt on her life, an event she principally remembered as being invigorating as she dispatched the majority of the soldiers in a messy, but quite physically satisfying fashion. The remainder had been destroyed by Ling Ling Li, the woman she was meeting at the doomed tea-house, and her teke bodyguard Pai. Ling Ling had a well-honed reputation as the greatest "fixer" in Hong Kong, and in a town which seemed to thrive on its illicit business as much as Hong Kong did, this was a formidable statement. Marta later mused that her reputation, though earned honestly, was likely helped in a large way by her appearance—or at least wouldπve been had she decided it. She was best described as "long", though she stood only seven or eight centimeters taller than Marta; slender and supple, with cosmetically pointed ears to enhance the sylphan image, she also did a surprising job of straining the clasps on her traditional Chinese jacket. She was cool, cordial, and business-like during the dinner meeting, and still Marta was not through her first cup of tea before daydreaming of taking her to bed. The talk was of grey-area business, the inside information on Genom research facilities, which could only be obtained by theft...but Marta's mind placed Ling Ling's soft, full breasts under her enveloping hands, softly running around them...then, leaning forward, a soft kiss, parting Ling Ling's lips with her tongue, while the hands moved aside and to the Eastern woman's modest hips to allow Marta's own firm tits to enjoy the sensations her hands had. As the kiss lingered, became insistent, Marta now cupped Ling Ling's petite ass, kneading it softly, and pushing Ling Ling against her undulating body...

Marta was brought out of the reverie gently by distant rolling thunder, and found that her own hands were no longer softening muscles, but traveling back and forth between her breasts and hips. She took a deep breath, and released it as she massaged her own breasts now; the nipples were already hard from the short daydream, and she pinched and pulled them, rolled her head a bit, and handled her tits a bit more roughly. Typical, she thought. Her sister missing, Chiffon in the hospital back in San Francisco, and here she was playing with herself like a high-school bitch in heat. The thought brought an expected guilty start, but it wasn't enough to keep her hands from drifting to the insides of her thighs and her sex. She found herself slick, and when she touched lightly against her clit, she swore she could feel each of the vertebrae in her back jump, individually and independently.

She whispered and ignored an admonishment to herself, as she began stroking in earnest now. Eyes closed, she was elsewhere, fingering Ling's delicious, exposed sex, spread before her; her long, powerful legs pointed away, towards the end of the bed. Those large, lovely breasts now bounced and brushed against the insides of Marta's knees and thighs as she lowered and rocked herself against Ling Ling's face... Ling ate her expertly, her tongue lapping again, and again, against Marta's swollen clitoris, then darting between her inner folds to taste deeply of her, then back to her clit... back and forth until Marta could no longer support herself on her knees, bent forward, clasped Ling's thighs in a wild flail, and dropped her face directly onto Ling's own now-swollen clit...

Marta was frigging herself into a shattering orgasm. Her legs kicked in the air as if looking for the sea floor while swimming; her bottom lip was between her teeth; her fingers were a blur. It began in the pit of her stomach, then quickly shot out to her entire body; her last conscious act was to grab a pillow so the scream couldn't be heard across the Pearl River. She had no sooner finished than she was flipped over on her knees, face into the pillow, still mounting Ling Ling in her dreams. Her right hand still was between her legs, her left now alternated between her breasts, pinching until they both could be felt to tingle, and even then not letting up. She came two more times that way, and fell to her side in the glow, sated and panting.

When she finally came about, rain was falling freely on the window, as if the sky had found its own release. Marta recalled that business once again took her to see Ling Ling late tonight. She wanted now, so badly, for that meeting to be just as memorable as the first—in a different way.

It was now afternoon, though you couldn't tell it by the sky. Ling Ling Li really didn't mind the rain all that much. One needed suffering, she mused, to strengthen the soul. The suffering and joys that Hong Kong had felt through its history were why its soul was now so rich... why it would survive, and never fall into decay like the North American and European cities, or like Mega-Tokyo, though the Japanese would never admit such a thing. She was a woman of Hong Kong, first and foremost; even when good sense would have dictated in the past, after certain of her activities had raised the attention of the wrong people in Hong Kong, that she leave for Sydney or Djakarta, she never could. Activities such as those of last night, for example—or rather this morning—with Marta Nys.

She greatly appreciated the younger woman's presence then. What would have been a potentially life-threatening incident, even with Pai present, was turned into an annoyance with a zealous reprisal courtesy of Miss Nys. Her client destroyed Tony Wang's soldiers with an effort that suggested that she enjoyed the challenge but never felt truly in danger, even with the deadly force of the Triad before her. After she had, she turned to Ling Ling with a look that was, behind the eyes, anything but a nervous street samurai suffering from the shock of killing which, so it was said, never evaporates. If Ling Ling didn't know better, the look almost suggested sexual excitement... as if the battle they had just shared was an analogue for their ritual joining and mutual climax. Her eyes looked at Ling Ling ferociously and hungrily; for a split second, she feared Marta had found another target. Ling Ling attempted to puncture the mood at first, ironically suggesting that the destruction around her would cost extra. Marta licked her lips suggestively in reply, and the mood stayed firmly in place. Ling Ling very slowly rose to her feet, and moved slowly toward Marta, seemingly directed by forces beyond her conscious control, stopping well inside what would be considered a polite distance in Chinese society. She offered Marta a cigarette, the way a lover would, only to be told she didn't smoke.

Ling Ling took some more tea, and continued to stare out the window, seeing the rain drip down the long pane in rivulets. It was a revelation of the self, that offer. She had reacted sexually to another woman, however obscured by symbolism it was.

It took the space of time for three raindrops to reach the bottom of the window and fall off into the gutter for her to fully consider all of the implications thereof, and, by proxy, her own sexuality. It wasn't that she denied herself pleasure. She took Yakumo, her Japanese bodyguard, when it pleased her. And her quest for money, and the power it brought, was worn like a badge of pleasure-seeking; she had no pangs of conscience to hide it. But now, this... it was something more raw in nature, something that the fixer couldn't easily fix. It was the realm of emotion, of the Plum Blossom, as the Northerners called it, a realm of sex... and by its nature, it was wild.

Now she had to consider something more than what she could take, or what she could buy. Now she had to consider what she—her body—really wanted.

She didn't consider herself a lesbian. But still, there was a feeling at her core, like the sound of a single cricket chirping in the rain, when she thought of the eyes of Marta Nys upon her. Marta's lesbian preference was well-known; now, through the challenge of that moment, she had forced Ling Ling to consider the same thing... to consider herself, and her desirability.

She recalled her first thought when she discovered that Pai and Yakumo were lovers. There they were, not knowing that they were being observed by their employer, who sought to discover the source of the sounds coming from Pai's room at Ling Ling's suite, mating with an animal frenzy. Pai's back was arched, her fingernails dug deeply into Yakumo's broad and unfeeling shoulders, her breasts thrust forward as she bucked on Yakumo's lap, impaled on his hardness, and her cries were becoming a long wail of senses-filling release as they both catapulted towards a climax. Ling Ling closed the door after herself, walking out as they both came, with the sole worry that this would impede their efficiency in their jobs.

Now, though, Ling Ling watched the rain come down the window, and saw it as a symbol not of suffering, so ubiquitous in Hong Kong, but of sexual vitality, which wended its way down, down the smooth glass in sensual curves. She smiled.

Perhaps it was time, she thought...

It was that time of the night which was made so false in Hong Kong—bright and garish in tones of red and green, enough so that street lights were unnecessary at this midnight hour. Marta Nys, with a cheap umbrella offering a bare minimum of protection, strode purposefully down the street, in and out of the crowd. She let her emotions lead her tonight, and no one knew it better than the unfortunate local six blocks behind her who she left crumpled in an alley in need of a doctor after he fondled her ass on the way by.

The message that Ling Ling left for her at the hotel in the afternoon made perfect sense. After yesterday, things were a bit too "warm" in Hong Kong for them to meet at one of Ling Ling's usual public places. Would it be possible for them to meet at Ling Ling's heavily guarded penthouse apartment, and transfer the material there? Marta knew that Ling Ling was beyond questioning on the matter of the streets of Hong Kong, where was safe and where wasn't, and that she was merely taking reasonable precautions in inviting Marta to her sumptuous penthouse; it wasn't an invitation to have Marta close to her, in her house, with soft music playing and a bottle of plum wine as a precursor for an incredible night of fucking until dawn. Not that it had kept Marta from putting the latter scenario foremost in her mind to the point that when she got the message, she came within a hairsbreadth of excusing herself, heading from the lobby right back upstairs and masturbating again.

It led her to consider something that was, by any objective examination, downright foolish. She considered it, in the kindest light possible, as the price to pay for helping to develop a closer, more lasting bond with a powerful ally of a woman. Her sister, were they alone, would sum it up as, "You're thinking with your clit again, aren't you?"

She suddenly thought of her lover Chiffon, still recovering from Genom's attack. Dear, sweet, submissive Chiffon. She couldn't imagine doing this for her; there would never be a need. She could picture her, waiting expectantly for her next to the chair at their home wearing the briefest of lingerie, or nothing at all. Sheπd help Marta off with her boots as soon as she sat down, then rub and lick her bare feet, sometimes rubbing them against her chest or her pussy (she'd been known to bring herself to orgasm that way, just in playing foot-slave to Marta). When Marta had relaxed completely, Chiffon would peel off Marta's tight pants and with glacial slowness, lick her way up her smooth legs, finally settling down in between them to lovingly swab her partner's cunt with her tongue like a kitten in a bowl of milk. Or occasionally, when such ministrations simply wouldn't do, Marta would take Chiffon roughly by the hair, remove the lingerie in the minimum of actions necessary, and force herself on her, and immediately Chiffon would obediantly go limp and beg to be treated so, that she was such a wicked little girl and she'd been craving her lover would come and treat her like she needed to be treated, and take her pussy... right up until her selfless, slavish words were stopped by her pretty head being thrust between Marta's legs and they lustily sixty-nined each other into sweet release, with Marta still holding on to Chiffon's head by the hair.

She thought of the time when Chiffon was curled up with her in the hot tub, licking Marta's nipple as if she was content beyond understanding. Marta suddenly pulled her away with a "pop". "What are you, Chiffon?" she asked earnestly.

Chiffon acted as if she didn't understand that there might be more than one answer. "Whatever you wish me to be, Marta," she said with an adoring smile.

Marta had expected the answer, but didn't want to hear it, not at that time. It was true that she had her pleasure right there, with her, that close. But no fulfillment. There was more needed. There was a need to know something had been accomplished in the taking...a need to rediscover that delicious, giddy uncertainty of sex.

It was something she'd try to recapture tonight.

In the lobby of the Chou Sun Hotel, a room which seemed every bit as big as the entire hotel she was staying at across town, Marta was met by a man who introduced himself as Ms. Li's valet, Chang. He did not ask Marta her name, even to verify identity, just that she follow him. They rode the ninety-four floors to the penthouse in silence, with Marta taking great care to ignore Chang, even as he not only undressed her with his eyes, but likely fucked her silly with them as well, given his boldness in staring. She kept her arms firmly and stiffly at her sides, knowing that if they weren't, her hands would be around his neck. This was not the time for that behavior.

She couldn't recall having been this nervous when meeting a fixer before, or meeting a lover before. Futilely, she attempted to retain control, and remind herself not to have heightened expectations... this was an exchange with a fixer and nothing more. No good. Her teeth were locked, her eyes were open and staring straight ahead, and her breathing was more shallow than it should have been. There was even a very brief wish that she'd find more Triad soldiers menacing Ling Ling so she could release some of this energy by eliminating them. She really had no idea what she'd find when the door opened, and the uncertainty was driving her mad. She savored every second of it. It had been too, too long.

The elevator stopped, and opened to a darkened area, with just a broad hint of each shape within visible. "In here," said Chang in a way that suggested she should've moved already. She walked forward, and didn't need her senses to tell her that her ass was being viewed until the moment the door closed. She supposed the bastard had a tiny prick and resolved to spend no more of her thoughts tonight on him.

There was music: a biwa, a traditional Chinese harp, played in the darkness. Her eyes were still adjusting to the lack of light. She didn't see Ling Ling, but that wasn't surprising; Ling Ling always met clients in the minimum of light possible and never rose to greet them, so no figure popped into view immediately. It was a calculated attempt at being mysterious, Marta mused... alluring, sexy...

"Hello, Marta."

She pinpointed the source of the delicate voice, and as the scene resolved into view, Marta's heart began to race. Ling Ling was seated in profile to the door on the largest couch Marta had ever seen. The few rays of moonlight which made it through the rain clouds now filtered through the screened windows behind her to show that her ebony hair, usually worn conservatively, now was down freely, about her shoulders and onto the crushed velvet surface of the furniture; another ray glinted theatrically off her green eyes, which were turned up towards Marta in a way that did not suggest a professional meeting was about to take place... as neither did her outfit, a roomy set of what could only be described as pyjamas, red silk with an ornately printed hsien lung, a Chinese dragon, in green winding its way around her right leg and torso to appear, fangs bared, across her chest. The smile on her face seemed conspiratorial, even for a professional fixer.

A complete tea service in fine stoneware was set before her on a low table, and steam from two cups was visible. There was no chair opposite Ling Ling.

Marta lost her rain slicker and umbrella to a nearby hook—her fingers trembled some during the exchange—and noiselessly walked over to the sofa, somewhat embarrassed at the heat she could feel between her thighs. "Hello, Ling Ling," she said, returning the smile and suppressing a quaver in her voice.

Ling Ling watched her all the way to the sofa, hoping she wasn't being too obvious in her appreciativeness. This was an encounter she wanted to go slowly. The feeling in her body as she watched Marta walk, in an almost supernaturally fluid fashion, was one to be savored like wine, not drunk of deeply. At least, not yet.

She handed Marta a cup. "Let's talk business," she said, in a voice that suggested anything but. "Hopefully we won't be interrupted this time."

Surprisingly, to Marta, business was conducted. Ling Ling had obtained a detailed plan and location for a Genom research facility located in the Furabashi district, near Chiba. The cover was the first three floors of the facility, which were nominally involved in manufacturing gene-spec bacteria for disease control. The building, however, had seven floors with no windows above the third, and Lynxes employed as "receptionists". A proffered datapad followed, with the price and specifications for a hardsuit matching the description she'd given Ling Ling earlier. "You'll leave for MegaTokyo in the morning," she added. "The arrangements are on the next page."

Marta was in silent awe as she reviewed. It was easy for her to forget Ling Ling was as professional as she was appealing. The tone of the conversation forced Marta to concentrate on the protocol of a transaction of this calibre, which would have dictated that she outline a schedule of payment in response. Instead, she put her somewhat dangerous gambit into motion.

Her heart was in her mouth as she replied. "Ling Ling," she said softly, unable to meet her gaze, "I haven't the funds to pay you with now."

All traces of a smile vanished. "Oh?" she said suspiciously.

"I can assure you that you'll receive the money in full, eventually." Marta trailed her eyes from the seat of the sofa across Ling Ling's supple form in a direct, unmistakable way. "But," she almost whispered, "in the meantime, I have other ways to repay you."

Ling Ling blinked once, carefully avoiding changing her expression otherwise. This was unexpected. Her attempts to allure Marta seemed clumsy to her own eyes, so out-of-practice was she... and yet here was the woman who reawakened her desire, offering her body, directly. Doubly surprising, she almost regretted Marta's choice to couch her desire in terms of payment, ordinarily the currency of any conversation that Ling Ling, the Fixer, involved herself in. It seemed too pure for that, in a way. Feelings of surprise, gratification, puissance, and long-denied sexual excitement mingled and coursed through her. She put them off, just for a second longer, while she took a sip of tea and considered her response. It still felt too good to rush.

Marta sat unmoving, instantly regretting what she'd just said. Too much, too soon, too obvious... damn her hormones anyway! The gentle biwa and the murmur of the rain against the window joined in a deafening chorus of self-doubt in Marta's ears as Ling Ling quietly sipped her tea.

Ling Ling finally looked up, directly into Marta's eyes, and held them captive in her gaze for a long time as she leaned just a bit closer. She was, Marta considered, the most feminine creature she'd ever seen at that moment; her eyes so full of the mystery and power of womanhood that Marta found so arousing. Marta steeled herself for rejection, but Ling Ling showed only a very, very slight smile, a hint of the many emotions within.

"And what would you offer me, Marta?" she asked, earnestly and softly. "Show me."

Marta's heart began to drown out the music and the rain, beating to the rhythm of a fantasy fulfilled. She couldn't leave that seductive gaze, and their eyes remained locked as Marta slowly unzipped her jumpsuit down to the navel and shrugged out of it, peeling off one arm, then the other, to leave herself unclothed above the waist in silent response. Ling Ling almost gasped. So many who'd chosen to mechanically enhance themselves became grotesque, seeking their definition in the extremes of the human form. Marta had not sought to alter any of it, and the doctor who performed her upgrade obviously had the soul of an artist. The curve of her waist, the shape of her breasts, the definition of her shoulders... all of it was left in a way which suggested the handiwork of nature inspired. Her arms settled at her sides, the palms outward... she was a blossom, delicately opened, vulnerable, trusting, fragile in its natural beauty, and waiting for her.

"Beautiful," murmured Ling Ling, as her hand moved to claim the offer, cupping Marta's breast and slowly running her cream-soft fingers over the firm flesh. Marta's eyes snapped shut and her breathing became erratic. She was afraid to move, afraid to do anything which might affect the power of this moment.

Now Ling Ling moved closer, and their bodies touched. She felt her body slide against Marta's; she was trembling, and it made her tremble, too, especially when her hardening nipples made contact. The thin layer of silk between them made Ling Ling feel more nude than if she was wearing nothing. Marta, eyes closed, head tilted slightly upward, remained in her worshipful position as Ling Ling lightly played with her breasts, her hand drifting back and forth between them

"Beautiful," whispered Ling Ling again, and they kissed for the first time; lips meeting in a light brush before tasting deeply and urgently. Ling Ling impolitely kept her eyes open. She saw Marta's face, a mixed masque of release and mounting tension, and tried through the unreal feeling of the moment to consciously impress upon herself that she was making love to another woman. A second later, her own eyes closed; the detached moment of surprise lost in a crashing wave of sensation and lust.

Soon, Ling Ling broke the kiss, and trailed it down Marta's neck, making her way slowly to Marta's extremely hard nipple. She felt Marta's hand grip the back of her head as she rolled her tongue over that electrically sensitive spot. Marta gasped—giving Ling Ling a reassuring clue that she was doing something right—as her new lover suckled it like a baby, then still not breaking contact with her tongue, proceeded to the other nipple to apply the same ministrations. Marta's head lolled back, and a long, long, low moan escaped her lips.

As if on cue, they suddenly paused, looking again directly at each other, both breathless. Ling Ling smiled—again, that indecipherable Mona Lisa grin, thought Marta—and said, "Offer me more."

This time, Marta returned the grin, savoring her role as the object of desire. She hooked a thumb into her folded-down catsuit and quickly shimmied the rest off. A few kicks took care of the boots. She stretched and posed for her novice partner, who tried to tell herself that such natural beauty, and the pride she took in it, would be this arousing to anyone.

Marta fell back to a semi-reclining position on the couch, dramatically bringing one leg up directly vertical between their faces, then down again to coil both around Ling Ling's hips. She kept grinning, drunk with passion. "You won't get a better offer," Marta whispered, her mouth having gone dry.

The Eastern woman leaned forward with glacial slowness, as if in molasses. She was no lesbian, and she lacked the certainty that Marta had. There seemed to be so precious few indicators to infer from, other than the palpable arousal between the two women. She reached the point where she hovered over Marta, and felt the hunter's legs lock just below the waist of her garment in back... she froze there, as slowly she became aware of Marta's hands slipping into the roominess of her chemise.

"Please?" begged Marta, in a voice so unlike her own, a voice that reminded her of how Chiffon sounded. The fingertips, unexpectedly soft for someone in her line of work, Ling Ling thought, reached the undersides of her breasts, gently lifting and propping them. "Pleeeease?"

It seemed something of a reminder to Ling Ling, as she gasped with the touch and stared slack-jawed at Marta: sex is a two-way street; it was time to receive pleasure from acceptance, not just giving. And now, with Marta's gentle touch, a jolt of excitement made her realize that her resistance, her reluctance, and her inexperienced hesitance, was gone. Ling Ling practically launched herself forward, with a loud, needy whine, and kissed her new lover hard.

As the kiss finally broke minutes later, Ling Ling arched her back and screamed with the pleasure of the first orgasm her new lover brought her to that night.

Ling Ling was spread on her bed like a compass star. Any movement she attempted was dulled—a little, erotic roll of the hips; a languid loll of her head; a shudder of her breasts. "Oh. Ohhhhh..." she moaned as she floated on the sensations she was receiving.

"Please come up here, Marta," she said, finally.

Marta, sporting a wicked smile from behind her long, disheveled hair, elbow-walked up the bed, maximizing the contact between their bare skins as she went. "I figured you'd want a payback for the last one," she said. "I'm still not sure they didn't hear me down on the street."

Ling Ling chuckled a bit. "I'm not keeping score. I think I lost count anyway." She looked up unsteadily at Marta, who was almost lost behind a mop of raven-black hair. They both burst out giggling. Neither was sure when the last time she'd giggled was.

The smiles softened, became warm. "So..." began Ling Ling. She wasn't usually at such a loss for words, and Marta had brushed back her unruly hair with a quick wave of her hand and parroted back—"So...?"—before she began again.

"What now?"

Marta was lying on her front, her legs straddling one of Ling Ling's. She gave a little shrug, and absently started circling a fingernail around one of Ling Ling's aureoles. "Well... we could --"

"I don't mean that."

The tone, although not accusatory, caused Marta to study Ling Ling closely, looking her in the eyes. "I don't understand."

She spoke softly. "I mean...what are we, now? Who are we, to each other?"

The eyes never wavered. "Your client." Ling Ling's brow furrowed briefly. "Your friend. Your lover. I know what I want, and I believe you know now what you want. We will be whoever we choose to be." With that, they kissed... calmly, slowly, taking all the time they needed and more.

Marta looked down at her hand. The gentle attention she'd been giving her new lover's ample breast had caused the nipple to become erect and inviting. She flashed a grin and began using the tip of her tongue, instead.

"Oh, no... it's so sensitive now, don't... don't... ohhhhh..." Ling Ling's eyes fluttered closed.

Marta now began a gentle rock, back and forth, back and forth, in short strokes, gently grinding her clitoris into Ling Ling's firm thigh. "Ling Ling... darling, I have a confession to make," she said, looking up.

Ling Ling's eyes remained closed. "Don't stop," she whispered.

Marta couldn't help but grin. "Um, I lied. I really do have the money," she said, closing back around the nipple.

"I know."

"Mmm?" was all Marta could manage as a startled reply.

The eyes opened briefly. "I checked your accounts. I am a fixer, after all."

A stunned pause gave way to renewed giggling, then to cooing and gentle, long moans. The biwa ended its delicate melody and the rain increased in its intensity.

...This is no terror ground
Or place for the rage
No broken hearts
Whitewash lies
Just a taste for the truth
Perfect taste, choice and meaning
A look into your eyes

Peter Murphy, "A Strange Kind of Love"

Return to Kazei 5