Insider Trading

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Insider Trading

“How was the show tonight?” Vanessa stood casually behind the bar making a drink for herself. She was tall, milk chocolate, and dressed in a frosty blue bath robe. Fishing olives out of a jar with her thin fingers, she stopped to pop one in her mouth.

“Good… it was a good show…” but he didn’t sound like he believed it. Jared’s black hair was rough-cut and spikey, but his eyes were bright green and his skin was fair. Propping his guitar case against the wall, he walked in and sat down.

“You seem unconvinced.” Vanessa shook her drink, split the tin from the glass, and poured. Her eyes never left Jared’s.

Jared shrugged and looked away, “You know how it is,” he offered her a charming smile, “I’m never satisfied.”

Raising her eyebrows sardonically, “No, you’re not.” Shooting the ice from the shaker into the sink, “Can I make you something?”

“Sure,” then responding to a questioning look, “Uh, I don’t know? I’ll just have what you’re having.”

Vanessa gave him a look of mock-disgust, and then smiled seductively as she slowly slid the drink across to him, “It was for you, anyway,” she winked and stuck her tongue out playfully. Reaching to the other side of the sink, she lifted a full champagne glass, “Cheers.”

She drank. He stared into his glass.

“So, what was it this time? That wasn’t satisfying enough for you?” realizing she was going to have to talk him through it.

Jared slid the olives from the plastic spear into his drink, and then poked at them with the same spear. His high-rise apartment was enormous for the city, but it still felt a little cramped to him. From the kitchen, he could see every wall of the place except the bedroom and bathroom. Still, it was a large modern space with high ceilings, and whenever he felt stifled he had that amazing view; almost the entire wall across from the entrance was glass, and his apartment was high enough he sometimes imagined he could see the curvature of the Earth. Unconsciously, he’d started staring out the window though he still absentmindedly poked at the olives.

Vanessa reached across the surface of the island, and plucked one of the olives from his glass, “If you don’t want them, I’ll take ҆em.” She was fully leaned over, the robe parting and falling open slightly at the top. “So, what was it?”

Turning away from the window, Jared looked into her eyes, and sighed, “I guess I just feel like people come out to see us, and not to hear us.”

Looking him up and down, biting her lower lip, “What’s wrong with that?”

Jared was tall, muscled without being a monster, and exotically handsome. He played guitar for a popular band, and it was well-advertised that he was a passionate man. He always wore a tight-fitting, short-sleeved black T when he was performing, which showed off his arms and tattoos.

“Of course, people come out to see you, you’re just too stupid to understand that it’s okay,” Vanessa tried to be playful, but her exasperation come through regardless.

But Jared wasn’t stupid, an also well-advertised feature of his relative fame, and he picked up her cue that the subject was exhausted. He couldn’t help but smile, and almost laughed at himself out loud, “You’re okay, too,” and he finally started on his drink. “This is great. Thanks.”

“I know.”

“You know what else is great?” he sniffed his drink, savored the smell, and then downed it.

Sliding away from him across the bar, standing fully upright, “I’ve got some ideas,” as she shrugged the robe off. Her eyes said, ‘I know you like what you see… Come get me!’ and then she ran toward the bedroom.

“You can run, but you can’t hide!” Jared jumped up from the stool, and kicked his boots off as he followed after her.

In the bedroom, Vanessa had already set the walls to display the night sky; the room was dark except for the softly glowing floor lights. As Jared tore his clothes off, he reached quickly out into the main room, and slid his hand down the wall to turn the

lights down behind him.

Vanessa lounged on the bed, above the sheets, taunting him. Completely naked, Jared slid his finger along the wall, and then with a few quick, elegant gestures he summoned up music, and ordered his favorite mixture of scents added to the ventilation system. He liked cinnamon and sugar with his chocolate.

Jared prowled onto the bed, low and determined. He kissed the calf of one leg, and then the other, and then he dragged his fingernail across the bottom of her foot.

“Don’t do that!” Vanessa was smiling and excited, feigning authority, “Don’t tickle me.” Maybe she meant it. Maybe she didn’t.

“What? This?” he delicately traced a line from her feet, up her inner-thighs and back down again.

She breathed heavily, “I guess, you could… do that.” Propped up on her elbows she eyed Jared flirtatiously threatening, “Do that, again.”

Vanessa lay back, but before she did, there was an odd flash across her eyes. Blinking, Jared tried to see it again, but her eyes were rolled up into the back of her head.

He teased her legs and feet with his hands, and eventually found his way to the rest of her curves. While his left hand continued to play, his right brushed her cheek, and then held her face. Her eyes opened up and met his, and with eyes wide open they kissed while both their bodies were still.

There was a flash in her eyes again, and Jared pulled away, shaking his head. Blinking rapidly, he stared at Vanessa.

“What is it?” she was troubled, but her body moved in closer, wanting.

“Nothing,” he shook his head again, “I thought I saw… a flash of light. And… whoa, that drink was strong, huh?” he smiled broadly, and blinked slowly. “Really, good. Strong, and good.”

“Like me,” Vanessa thrust herself up against Jared challengingly, devilishly.

“Like you,” his speech wasn’t slurred, but it was slowed slightly. He decided he was just lust drunk, and gave into the feeling.

They struggled against each other on the bed, arms and legs fighting for position, grappling. On top, Jared pinned Vanessa’s arms down over her head, and locked her knees open with his. Breathing heavily, “Whew, you’re stronger tonight. I can’t help but think you’re giving up a little…”

“Maybe…” and light flashed across her eyes again, but Jared barely noticed as he buried his face into her chest.

He kissed and licked at her hungrily. Making his way down, he was salivating uncontrollably by the time he made it to her hips, and teasing, eventually to her lips. Looking up he watched her back arch up, and her hands claw at the covers. Then, in a way she hadn’t before, she looked down at him, and there was a steady glow behind her eyes. Jared wondered about it, but then he was enchanted by the glow, and he just stared deeply into it while he worked.

Vanessa’s body kept sending him mixed signals. Her eyes would glint, and one kind of glow would be replaced by another, but Jared was too deeply lost to understand that the shifts in her desires matched the shifts in her eyes. His hands were directed to her breasts, and then slapped away, and then squeezed hard to her chest as though she wanted him to tear at her violently.

Confused mentally, but physically steady, Jared noticed the stars in the room, the Eagle Nebula, and felt like he was floating in space. The feeling didn’t stop him from knowing that Vanessa was close, and didn’t stop his mouth and tongue from knowing what to do.

He watched her as her body writhed on the bed, and then he noticed that she was still staring at him, eyes wide, but distant. She was smiling, but it wasn’t flirtatious or playful anymore, it was knowing and owning. Her body screamed orgasm—even her eyes—but her smile said, I win.

Jared understood her smile, but the understanding was so distant that it seemed meaningless in the moment. He climbed up and wiped his mouth and chin with his hand, and then used the wetness to prepare himself.

Inside her, their eyes locked, he saw the details of the glow. Beyond her eyes, beneath his own reflection, there was a scrolling glow like a monitor filmed slightly out of frequency. Jared’s brain was floating somewhere far away, but with every thrust, deliriously slow and heavy, he came closer to understanding.

Closing his eyes, he moved his lips next to Vanessa’s ear, and then he heard his own breath reflected. He heard the words, “You’re a whore,” but he had to really focus to realize that he’d said them. His body kept going at Vanessa, undaunted.

He propped himself up on his hands, and stared into her eyes again, looking for her, looking for the truth.

Wrapping her legs around his body and pulling him in strongly, Vanessa held Jared close. Working so close to her was frustrating, but also exhilarating, and for a moment the flashing in her eyes stopped. “You’d be surprised how much you’re selling for,” confidently, “I expected less. But then I realized if I opened up the sales to a broader market, to everyone, I could make a fortune. There was the risk that you’d notice, and you have, but it’s already been worth it.”

Far away with the stars, Jared’s mind scrambled to keep up, to find his body. But he couldn’t stop, Vanessa had an electric grip on him in the only place that mattered, and the feeling was ecstatic, irrefutable. The more he struggled the more frustrated he became, the better it felt.

A flicker in her eyes, “Oh… you’re a success with the boys too. One million, one point one, one point two! They want to buy-out the remainder. I think I can do better as I get you closer…”

“Why?”

“Come on Jared, do you really think anyone gives a shit about your music? Everyone is an artist today. The only thing that still sells is the only thing that’s ever sold, and you’re hot right now. Over a million already sampled the thirty-second teaser. This one, live neural feed is my retirement… and I’m enjoying myself,” she touched his cheek, “I really am.”

But there was a kind of venom in her voice, jealousy or bitterness. Still though, his breath was coming in short harsh breaths thrusting away his thoughts. He alternated between hard slow pressure and fast rhythmic pounding, struggling. Vanessa’s eyes went distant again, and then the glow returned. Her eyes were animated, but not hers and he couldn’t look away. All he could think about was her betrayal, but his body wanted more. Jared’s mind wandered, back through time, back out the door of the bedroom, and he thought of the drink. It was so far away, and far too late to do anything about it. Whether it was being drugged or the sub-dermal estim she was using, Vanessa had him.

Present again, she spoke as though she was off-camera, directing, “The values per minute are growing out of control! How much longer can I ride you before the climatic ending!?”

He lasted for hours. Vanessa’s electronically-augmented manipulation couldn’t push him farther than that without risking his heart. It was typical, but it never ceased to amaze her how fast the audience crashed after the client did. It was like an artist’s career; no one wants a burnt out star. “Get  ҆em while they’re hot… ”

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