IRIRS Flashback: "Spider's Gift"

Spider’s Gift

Author B H Branham ©2015
This short story is one of several that covers events in the decade before the book series “It Really IS Rocket Science” begins. While reading the book series first is best, these flashback moments can be read on their own as a collection. When the petite Russian Tsika first met Glycerin (in the short story “Even Longer”), the tall orphaned Hong Kong Brit was a severely damaged soul with minimal ability to interact with others. Tsika herself suffers psychotic rage episodes, a symptom of PTSD resulting from her own experience of being orphaned. The story “Spider’s Gift” finds the pair after they have been friends for several years. They now attend a boarding school for students with psychiatric needs and share quarters. Both young women have improved, largely through their loyalty and devotion for each other. The events depicted here begin a few weeks after the events of the short story called “Spiders and Snakes”.

Glycerin gingerly set her lunch tray down at her favorite table, a fairly secluded corner of the large commons area. The smaller girl following her carelessly dropped her own tray with a clatter, then slammed her books down as she collapsed in a chair with an annoyed huff. Tsika’s head fell back, twin tailed black hair forming two curly columns behind her chair as she glared at the ceiling.

“I hate literature! Such God damned waste of time! Reading stupid shit by authors no one cares about, then making up essays! How is this making me smart?! Is our fourth year here! Would think they would be letting us focus more on specialties! I want more of my Mandarin language and culture shit classes!”

Glycerin sat down and quietly sipped her juice, watching her violent little friend carefully. Once Tsika had settled down and begun eating, the tall teenager calculated it was now productive to answer.

“Yes, love. Some of the material doesn’t make s-s-sense to read unless you are British. But you are here in the United Kingdom, little Russian girl. We’ll helps our moppet.” Glycerin pursed her lips, analyzing Tsika’s facial muscles. Now seemed a good time to ignite her latest project to mend the adorable doll.

“Did Tsika notice in class today? There was s-something different. Today in our Lit class?”

“What? Err, no? Someone wearing something new?” The porcelain creature gnawed on her baked pork chop idly, holding it with dainty fingers.

“One of the boys. He keeps ch-ch-ch-changing seats each class. Moves closer to us. He s-s-sat behind you today. We have been watching the lad.”

“Crap! Tactical brain must be fogged up! I blame damned Brit Lit shit. Is he bully? Should we worry?”

“My doll is asking me?! All b-b-boys scare the piss out of me, my precious. But the boy does not have a sc-scary look to him. Our guess is … the young man is b-b-bloody fascinated by you. Mesmerized.”

Tsika stopped chewing. “Eh?! Are you implying boy might fancy me? Am skinny little cave grub! Would be ghost but for thanking gods that school now lets us wear a fucking touch of makeup and fancy up our clothes. Almost look like human being now instead of undead ghoul.”

“Your bows and lacing are s-scrumptious. We adores your hair ribbons. But it is possible the boy fancies you because my darling friend is NOT a grub! You are an adorable doll! Sweet, fine-boned, graceful in movement, with beautiful skin!”

“My Mouse has all the figure. Amazing boobs and butt. Only your Amazon height bothers —“

“Bloody knickers, Tsika! We’re also m-mad as a bag of ferrets with sugar cubes! Doubly so on these matters. If a boy g-g-got close to us, we would spin down and curl up like a ruddy pangolin. Little darling knows we would. Don’t tease, love.”

“Nyet! Not total truth! You are total groupie fangirl for drummer in that rock band Gothic Fire that you love so much! What’s his name? Uh … his name? Oh! Blar! The big scary guy! Don’t deny it! You never remember to close your note journals! Impossible to miss such hot erotic fan fiction you write about him! Makes me all blushing and wiggly what you want him to do to you! And then those books you read! Naughty romance novels make my eye twitch they are so sweet and lurid!”

Glycerin’s lips drooped into a pout. She began sniffling, then spiraled into tears as her face vanished behind her fingers and long hair. Soft whimpering sounds joined the tears. “Likes our daydreams! They are safe! The real, it hurts! Hurts to think, real men t-t-touching! So we dreams. Safe for us! It’s only—“

Tsika scooted close, grabbing Glycerin’s long slender hands and kissing them. “Sorry! Am so sorry, Mouse. Oh please don’t cry! Please? It crushes my soul when you cry! I was mouthy bitch. Mouse knows I don’t know when to shut up. Put the bad memories away, darling Mouse. Sweet Glycca? Am sorry. Please?”

The small elf cooed and whispered apologies until Glycerin calmed down. Tsika wiped her friend’s wet cheeks with a napkin. The statuesque teenager gratefully nodded and touched her forehead to Tsika’s temple.

“We understands, love. We sh-should dearly like to get better. Have some normal. A normal life. Maybe let a man we trust touch-touch us one day. But my doll is derailing us from the subject. The boy is lured by you we thinks. We should w-w-watch quietly and see what he does.”

“And there we see the symbolism in the wych elm tree and its relation to the plot in Howards End. For tomorrow, be ready to discuss how you think Forster’s life played into the themes he created in his novel. There’s the bell. Class dismissed.” The instructor collected her notes and left the classroom.

Tsika slumped in her chair as the other students exited into the hallway. Glycerin put her materials away, then poked at the waifish woman.

“Don’t b-b-brood, love. We know our doll is bloody helter skelter on this topic. We shall work on the assignment together later tonight.”

Tsika heard the sounds of books being put away behind her, but in an interesting repetitive sequence. Likely it was the mysterious boy Glycerin had mentioned a few weeks earlier. He kept watching her from a distance. No stalker vibes from him, more like quiet adoration. The next step apparently eluded him.

“Come on, Glycca. Don’t want to make us late to next class.”

The pair left the classroom together. Glycerin loping in long strides, keeping close to the wall while the much shorter Tsika pranced alongside to keep up. The small Russian Goth’s rather large bubble of RESTRICTED SPACE kept her friend calm as students passed by.

Tsika’s sharp ears detected a now familiar pattern of plodding footsteps behind her. After mulling ideas around, she leaned over and whispered up to Glycerin.

“H’okay, is starting to get God damned weird just waiting for him to make move. Semester will be over at this rate before we learn his intentions. Can Mouse be able to handle him being close and talking?”

Glycerin’s pupils dilated and shrank. A few seconds passed while they walked. Then she nodded. “We shall cope. As long as-as-as you’re with me, we can do it. Carry on, my precious doll.”

Tsika took her friend’s hand, then screeched to a halt in the hallway. She heard the footsteps stumble before she spun around.

She locked eyes with the young man. He froze. No recovery possible.

“God damned hell! If you want to walk with us to next class, just approach us! Say hello! Make with some idle chat! You are starting to be fucking scary all these days of stalking!”

Glycerin’s dry voice broke the standoff. “Such a charming elegant m-m-method, little princess.”

The young man awkwardly ran fingers through his mop of hair. “I … well, I thought that would be too forward? I was uncertain how to break the ice. I know Glycerin is wobbly around men and I did not want to terrify her since you two are always together.”

“Seriously? You were concerned for my Mouse?! Oh!” Tsika’s brow furrowed. She had not thought about that. “Wow. Was nice to think of her. Well? Come walk with us or we will be late to Calculus. Stalker boy obviously knows our names but am blanking on yours. Uh, Neville? No. Nick? Is Nick?”
“Nicholas. Nicholas Turner. But Nick is fine.”

“Good! Can curse-kill you faster with one syllable, yes? Come walk with us. Glycerin says she shall cope.”

Nick joined them as they continued down the hall. Tsika silently took stock of the nervous young man. He was much taller than her, but shorter than Glycerin. Good posture and stride. Nice broad shoulders but not overbuilt by her taste. His tie was neatly done, nice touch of formality with his jacket. The school had loosened up the dress code at the semester start, but some students like him still wore their uniforms. Nick’s hair was bushy and brown, unmemorable except for an odd blonde streak that sprouted at the hairline over his forehead. What really stood out were his eyes. One blue and one green. The word for the condition eluded the young Russian but it was hypnotic to look at his eyes. Meanwhile, Nick stammered bleakly as he tried to find something to talk about. He settled on classwork.

“Tsika? You wail as if you’re failing Literature but you always seem to slip by fine on exams. I’m struggling a little myself. Got a secret?”

“I credit Glycerin for my salvation. She tutors me. British authors curdle my Cossack brain.”

“Yes. Deftly spotted your Russian aura early on. How did you come to be here? In Wales?”

“By order of my Socialist masters! Is joke. I am ward of my estate trustees. Matter of my location is for their convenience. Glycerin and I have same law firm managing our estates. They keep us together.”

The boy wrinkled his eyebrows. “Trustees? Wards? OH! My word. Both orphaned. I am truly sorry!”

“Do not be! Is not your fault. Unless! Perhaps you are confessing being time traveling murderer with supernatural powers! Ha! Made you grin! Boy is not always dour-faced after all!”

“You are very … amusing. You have these smashing elegant bows and pretty laces, beautiful curly hair, carry yourself like a little princess. Then all that dry humor and laughter falls out of you, never mind your amazing barrages of brilliant profanity.”

“Stroking my ego. Makes me want to strut! Here is truth. We are all broken misfit toys here at school for special people, yes? I curse. Is unavoidable. Bleeds off nasty lethal psycho rage. What is Nick in our institution for? Is he Jekyll and Hyde? Sweet charming man by day but rapacious Id monster at night? Omigod! Sounds like naughty erotic romance of scary kind! Hah! Made you blush! You are human, too!”

“Don’t k-k-kill him, my doll. We thinks the man m-m-means well.” Glycerin gently nudged her friend.

“See? Even she agrees you’re a comedy princess! Egad. Is it cricket if I talk directly to you, Glycerin?”

The slender brunette’s face paled. “Not a-a-a lot at first, Mr. Turner. Let m-m-m-me get used to you, please? That would-would be splendid. Chat away w-w-w-with my sweet doll. We’re fine with-with listening quietly, we d-d-doesn’t feel left out. We loves to lis-listen.”

“That relieves me greatly, Miss Wendham.” Tsika sensed Nick relaxing a little. He was walking closer to her now. “Right. My story. Well, I am installed here for just a big checklist of minor insanities. I just simplify it by saying I don’t fit in at regular upper crust schools. Personally, I think my parents are the ones who belong here. They are manic about fitting into the upper class, not being different. Of course, with my eye colors and this hair color streak I am simply doomed to stand out in any social setting.”

“Is not dooming! Unique looks are cool! Nick looks like … like comic book superhero pictures I have seen! Zoom and whooshes! Like handsome boy should have special powers!”

“Handsome? Err, my word!” The young man blushed. “Ah! Brilliant. I see. Like one of the X-Men?”

“Have no fucking clue who these ‘No-Longer-Men’ are. Sounds like burlesque drag show. Ah! I made you grin again! And now we are here. Was nice walk. We do this regular now, h’okay? I would say sit with us in class but fascist instructor cannot remember us by face, only by desk number.”

“See? Princess comedy. Well, this was superb. I shall endeavor not to be spooky anymore. I should meditate to discover my super power and report it to you, Tsika. Cheerio! To both of you!”
Nick headed off to his part of the lecture hall as the two women took to theirs. Glycerin smirked.

“My doll is percolating. We can tells.”

“His super power is obvious. He is nice boy. Not leering, arrogant, or butthead. Just nice in the middle.”

“Now my doll is being a sweet princess! Makes me shiver with goose bumps!”

“You and those God damned romance novels. Stop it! We just walked in hallway. Sheesh!”

 “Bloody brilliant! I am actually sitting with and enjoying lunch with the Princess Pair. The other blokes are going to be furiously jealous.”

“What the fuck? Is that school gossip name for me and Glycca? Princess Pair? And who are mystery men? Not like any of them knock us down and make proposition before you stalked us!”

“The other fellows have, uh, have quite a few names for the two of you, Tsika. Most of the titles are nice. Some are a bit naughty I’m afraid. I feel obliged to reveal that you each have fan clubs. Especially in the last year after the spectacular fight you were in. Glycerin got her fans after she… uh, never mind. The baffling challenge for the whole platoon of males is that both of you are so different in character but you are always together. It leaves them swirling in a dog’s breakfast about how to approach. Some of the blighters speculate you two might really BE together. You know. Very close … together? A couple?”

Tsika’s cheeks roasted in a dark rose color as Glycerin giggled. The Russian teen wiggled, causing her chair to squeak on the tiled floor. “No fucking way is that possible! Is guys that tickle my fancy! Is true for Glycca, too! Am I right, Glycca? Yes?!”

Now Glycerin’s face reddened up. “Love? You … you KNOW m-men scare me. We just … they scares us.”

“Yes, darling Glycca. But I know you WANT to. I read the clues! We simply must repair our dear Mouse.”

“Of course, my doll.” Glycerin stared at her fish and chips blankly, then sat up straight in alarm. “Oh! My word! N-N-Nicholas? Some f-f-fellows? Other boys? Fancies us? Uh, me? They looks at us?! What?!”

Nick felt himself slipping into deeper waters but saw no way to retreat. He decided to praise the fragile creature. “Good Lord, yes! You are a sweet goddess of tasty cream and sugar! Cleopatra bangs and raven-hair! Your exotic eyes! The magnificent way you walk! So … shiny! Oh God! Don’t faint!”

The young man waited tensely while Tsika stroked Glycerin’s shoulders to help her color return. The mesmerizing little elf quietly giggled as she soothed her tragically bashful friend. That calmed his nerves as well. Nicholas had a keen sense that making Glycerin cry led to blood-spurting doom with Tsika.

“It really is true, Glycerin. But the boys know you’re shy and easily frightened. No one wants to see you cry. All that makes some fellows worship you. Thankfully, your negatives are few. There are only a very limited number of full time bullies at this school and they are fairly powerless these days. They bloody never recovered from that Battle of Waterloo awarded their wretched bums by the Lightning Ninja Girl Tsika last year. Was brilliant to watch you wipe the walls with the thugs. I had a smashing good view.”

The Gothic doll managed to look embarrassed and full of pride at the same time.

“Is not exactly most feminine moment of my life, but I wallow in satisfaction of victory. Would rather have killed them and stapled their guts on wall as warning to others. But is not good plan. It is necessary to stay out of prison for Glycerin’s sake.”

Nick neutrally nodded as he tasted his meat. He made a face, then pointed at the pepper shaker near Glycerin. Tsika retrieved it for him, nodding with some glee. “Look, Glycca! Nick agrees with you that the meals are seasoned by clueless monkeys. Hah! Maybe we should riot and let Glyc try out cooking!”

“Thanks. Pepper helps. Glycerin? I am really happy you are able to sit at the table with me now. I was resigned to hand signaling from the next table until we were all graduated and gone.”

“We-we-we dids it for our doll. But we musts learn-learn to c-c-c-cope better. Otherwise university will-will be impossible. I knows now we can do it! At least with one nice boy.” Glycerin made the noise that Nick had come to understand was her giggle. She spent the rest of the meal eating under her curtain of hair pulled forward to hide her face. He counted extra points for himself that she was smiling under it.

 “School dance, eh? Fuck that. We can crank our amps up while everyone is gone. Am I right, Glycca?
Glycerin sat at her desk, using its mirror to watch her friend as the small woman perused the event flyer. Lavender pupils dilated and shrank, observing tiny clues in the facial expressions on the twin-tailed elf.

“Might not my little princess want to go to the ball? She would be adorable to see in her finest outfit.”

“What? All those people so close to you? The school has to let us sit at the edge of assembly for you, Glycca. How would you cope in unorganized setting?”

“Silly doll. Perhaps Nicholas w-wants to take you.”

“What?! Eh? No way! He is nice boy but is nothing but friendly and chatting for last month! Has not made single pass at me! We are just friends!” Tsika stopped with a shocked look. She locked eyes with Glycerin. “Wow. We are friends. Wow. I guess I have two friends now. Just sort of happened.”

“Goofy doll! We thinks he is actually co-courting you. The old fashioned way. With the notion of companionship, not merely looking for n-naughty touches.”

“Weirding me out, Glycca. I had discarded such notions because he was being total gentleman. But he has not asked me about dance and besides … what would you do? You could go with us?”

Glycerin reached over and thumped Tsika’s head. “Blooming dense-headed doll now! That is not how it works. He is not courting me. Though he is v-v-very nice to us. We can almost imagine brushing up against him-him now or letting … even touch us … gently. We can sit with the boy carelessly now!”

Tsika remained confused and worried. “But what would you do? I am worried about leaving you alone so long with no one to talk to. I have good reasons. Glycca knows I do. Very important reasons.”

Glycerin regretted her part for those reasons. She had attempted suicide twice during psychotic episodes. Tsika did not know Glycerin’s discovery of guitar as her instrument had stopped a third try. Tsika and the doctor had a theory that being alone for a lengthy time was a trigger. It was convenient for Glycerin to let them think that. She leaned over to take Tsika’s hand and squeezed it gently.

“We promised! We did! We promised our lovely doll we wouldn’t leave. For her! That we would stay for you. Not leave our doll abandoned and alone. We shall figure something out to soothe you. Perhaps … oh! Gots it, we do! I could s-s-sit with the doctor and enjoy watching the dance safely! We m-m-might do that in any case, I should ask her before she has other plans. You trust her, my pet.”

“H’okay. Your plan is good strategy no matter what. Worst scenario predicted is that I go kidnap random boys from their dates and make them dance with me.”

 “What’s this?! I don’t understand! What do you mean?! You are attending the dance?! But I was going to … uh, rather … who are you going with, Tsika?”

Nick was a fountain of obvious disappointment. The little Goth’s mental gears spun as she answered.
“Dim jackass! I am going with no one! Well, uh, with Glycca! But she is being escorted by our school doctor. She will keep Glycca feeling safe. Once I have my Mouse with her, was just going to attack random boys and force them to dance.”

She stared nervously at her petite black-painted toenails peeking out of new red sandals glittering with tiny silver spider rivets. Nick had been praising them until she had derailed the conversation. She loved that sort of adoration and regretted her bad timing.

“Was Glycca’s idea anyway. My plan was just to stay in our room and play guitar together. Besides. Who the hell would ask me anyway? I am just psychotic rage demon girl no one wants to be near.”

“Well perhaps I could lure the demon girl to attack me a little more and I shall dance with her? Uh, wait. That came out badly. Let me try it again.” Now he focused on her toes. Tsika’s cheeks bloomed pink hot as Nick worked up his bravery. He kept mopping his hair until it was quite the mess.

“Tsika? Would you let me escort you to the dance? Be your escort at the dance?”

“Omigod! Fuck hell, she was right! Ah! I didn’t say that! Uh, would be nice. You and I are way passed stupid introductory bullshit with each other. Suppose it is like walking in hall together but with music. That sounds … meanly worded. Too toxic. Augh! Fuck! Restart! Would be nice you escorting me! Yes!”

“I’m stunned. I hear formal wear is optional. Are you going to dress up? Uh, rather how should I —“

“Will be surprise. Just dress nicely like Nick always does. Actually have no fucking idea yet. Was not thinking I was going at all until yesterday. Shit! Wasn’t supposed to say that! Am going now before feet are jammed down throat. Cheerio, Nicholas! Wow. Sounds stupid when I say it. До скорой встречи!”

Tsika’s high heels clicked in a staccato on the tile floors as she scampered back to her dorm room.
“Glycca! I am hosed! Boy asked me to party! Why are you laughing? My God! My Mouse is LAUGHING!”

 The little Goth gaped, appalled at Nick’s expression. He stood motionless, apparently struck senseless by her appearance. Glycerin rewarded both with her surreal grin as she clapped slowly. After a few seconds, the shy woman gave Tsika a nudge.

“So luscious! We knew that w-would be a perfect outfit! The nice boy Nicholas is gobsmacked!”

Tsika had dressed in flamboyantly dark Gothic Lolita style, the best of what she owned, twin tailed hair corralled by large bows and ribbons, a lacy blouse with ruffles, lace gloves, fluffy short skirt, candy-striped stockings, and high-heeled sandals adorned with large bows that matched her hair accessories. This style had gotten her in trouble many times with school administrators, but the overwhelming pressure of modern life to loosen the dress code had been lucky for her in the end. Nick wore his formal jacket and tie, nicer shoes, and pressed trousers. He had combed his hair successfully.

“It’s true. You win, little candy princess. I am not worthy. I should fade into the shadows.”

“Bullshit! Stupid-head man is quite worthy! We go now. Need to connect up with doctor for my Mouse.”

The young man turned to smile at Glycerin. “My word! You are looking very pretty as well! I had no idea you were brave enough to wear … and stopping before you wilt. Sorry! Sorry!”

“Quite cricket, Nicholas. Tsika g-got me these things last year. Makes us feel brave b-b-being mod and punkish! We are just-just so used to w-wearing the uniform, nice to step out. Bloody f-fun to twist up the look a little naughty. Happy the man n-noticed us!” Glycerin happily squeaked, peering at him from between her fingers. Tsika was silently grateful for her friend’s growing ability to converse with Nick.

The trio made their way to the large commons dining area, redecorated as a discotheque night club for the event. They settled Glycerin in with the school’s doctor and brought them both food and drink. Then Tsika and Nick made their way to the edge of the dance floor.

“Uh, Nick? Is stupid time to say this but I have no idea how to dance. Am watching what others do.”

“Then we shall be an utter smash. I am clueless on the art as well. Let’s get drinks first and wait for a slow dance to get our feet wet with.” Nick held his hand out to her. She took it in hers. They made their way to the table where she reluctantly let go as they perused the buffet.

“Is nice. The hand holding. What do you want to drink? Bastards do not have liquor like proper bar.”
Nick smirked and pointed. Soon they were sipping non-alcoholic drinks and watching the dancers gyrate.

“Bah! Could probably fake dancing using gymnastic routines.” She stared closer. “Or I could just be pretending to have seizure. Look at that bitch. Looks like she is being electrocuted.”

“More poppycock from the comedy princess! You are dancing now! Your feet are tapping, your hips have a yummy wiggle, and you’ve got shoulder action. Just crank it up a tad and it will be sexy as hell.”

Tsika’s face burned. “Am wanting to punch you but I sense that was compliment. Just informing you.”

“It’s always dicey with you, little elf.”

“I do like being called that. Better than most names people use for me. Ah, is slow dance starting.”

They made their way to the center of the dance arena with Tsika leading. She wanted to be where she could check on Glycerin. As the music drifted into the main melody, Nick put one arm around her waist and took her hand in his. She pressed against him a little awkwardly, her nose touching his chest. He was warm. It made her nervous that she liked the feeling. Comedy was needed.

“Now you and my bitch self shall shuffle around like zombies doing broken waltz I think. Heh! Made you laugh. Good. Was getting a little weird atmosphere. Prefer being relaxed with, uh, with nice boy.”

It was a rather long tune. As they shuffled, Tsika melted against Nick and hung her arms around his neck. His nice warm hands rested on the small of her back. She turned her head to lay against his chest and closed her eyes. His hands drifted down. That felt wondrous. Nice hands on her butt actively following her movement. She could not remember feeling so safe with anyone. Not since her parents had died.

“Is nice am doing this with you, Nick. Does not feel all shitty weird. Just feeling good … like it is right.”

Tsika did not notice their transition into kissing, just more of everything feeling right.

The dance ended. They were still kissing. Some chuckles from other couples broke the spell. Tsika shook her head to clear the fog, looking around at the attention they were getting with some embarrassment.

“Uh, holy fuck. Wow. Hello, yes?”

“Exactly. Let’s find our drinks.” He kept his arm around her waist and her against him. His warmth was intoxicating. The way he held her, such nice hands. Then her happy cloud was tainted by bile.

“Ah! Figures the two freaks would go together. What did you fucked up freaks do with the monster? Drug her up for the night? Gonna shag later and make more bloody wretched freaks?”

The toxic voice vaporized her glow. She knew the voice, a minion of the thugs she had beaten to a pulp the previous year. She focused. Three teen hooligans blocking their path. Tactical analysis. None had a date in sight. They were standing in an unmonitored part of the hall. No administrators or teachers within earshot. It was not going to go well.

Nick coolly made an attempt to mitigate. “You lads checked the buffet? They have marvelous—”

The largest thug abruptly backhanded Nick across the face, knocking him clear from the little Russian. That was Tsika’s last rational thought until she dimly noted she was about to kick Nick in the face with the sharp point of her high heel. He dodged forward, taking the blow to his shoulder as he threw his arms around her to hug tightly. She screamed insanely, howling, trying to free herself. Thrashing failed so Tsika stomped his foot. She ran when he buckled. Darkness took her again as she sprinted away.

Tsika returned to conscious thought a little later. She was still running. Disoriented by her psychotic rage fit, she slowly realized she was headed back to her room. Suddenly crying in horror, she shuddered and slumped down against the wall.

Oh no! No! Oh my God, NO! I broke it! Like I break everything! First boy who ever kissed me! I am worthless psycho! Fucking bitch self! Kicks nice boy in face, breaks his foot! God damn me! Fucking goons! Why could they not leave us alone! Felt so nice and warm! So lonely! Oh my God, I left Glycca! I cannot even take care of my Mouse properly! Am fucking worthless stupid bitch! Lost … lost Nick … first boy who ever thought I was—

Nicholas sat down by her, still huffing from the chase. He gathered her in his arms. She pushed back at him and struggled to get away.

“NO! Get away! I don’t want to hurt you! I’m crazy! I hurt things I lo-lo … love. Did … did I hurt you?”

He wouldn’t let go. She collapsed, a ragdoll in his arms. Nick rocked her gently as she sat in his lap.

“Nothing permanent, little elf. You did leave major marks on those vermin. Quite beautiful to watch actually. Poetry in violence. I like to think I helped. Made sure there were proper witnesses before coming after you. You are not in trouble! Though the doctor is having the staff look for you to sedate you. The ruffians are in detention, likely expelled at this point I should think.”

“Omigod, Glycca! Where’s my Mouse?! Is she safe?!”

“She’s fine, other than being distressed about you. The doctor said not to worry, just to get to you. Most important was to get to you before you hurt yourself. Glyc is waiting for us at infirmary with the doctor.”

“Why? Why is Nicholas here? I am not fucking safe to be near! Only Glycca stays near! And, and sometimes I fear she stays because … because she hopes I will finish in my insanity she cannot manage herself!” Tsika burst into tears again, terrified at her own anger.

He patted her back as he rocked. “Because I’m crazy, too? Because holding you like this swamps any sensible idea of dashing away? Little girl is a shiny lovely stick of dynamite with ribbons and bows? That’s better. Got a smile out of you! Don’t pretend it didn’t. Right. Breathe nicely. We should move soon though. The security people aren’t mean but I should rather walk you there myself.”

Tsika nodded bleakly. They stood up together. After she straightened her skirt, Nick took her hand, then wrapped his arm around her shoulder as they began to walk. She leaned against him. The nice warm was still there. The boy was still there. Impossible to believe, but still there.

“Stupid fucking dance.”

“I had a great time!”

“You are moron stupid-head.”

“I got a kiss. Place could catch on fire now as far as I’m concerned.”

“Suicidal. But stupid crazy man deserves another kiss. I promise not to kick him in the face this time.”

“I’d take the kiss anyway.”

“Fucking idiot.” She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him.

 Nick ambled towards the dorm room Tsika and Glycerin shared. He carried a package picked up from the mailroom, addressed to his girlfriend. That thought made him smile. Girlfriend. He actually had a lovely little girlfriend. Nuclear, but quite scrumptious.

He recognized the shop the package was from. Nick rather hoped it was something he would get to see her try on. He did not pretend, he adored the outfits Tsika wore.

Knocking on the door, a shy soft trembling voice answered instead of the loud boisterous one that usually responded. “Hello? Who-who is it?”

“Oh? Oh bother! It’s me! Nick! It is quite alright, Glyc. I’ll just leave the package for Tsika at the door and you can get it after I leave, uh, leave? Holy gob.”

The door opened as he spoke. One lovely alien eye peeked out, framed by a curtain of jet black hair.
“Don’t be-be-be s-s-silly. You are the nice boy. Come in-in.”

“Tsika would kill me if I broke the Glycerin. I suspect the murder would be long and painful.”
Long slender fingers gestured to enter from around the door. Nick walked into the room as unthreateningly as he knew how. He set the package on Tsika’s desk and spoke softly.

“I had a morsel of hope that I might get to see her try on whatever this is. Tsika wears such magnificent outfits. She’s like a –“

“A doll. Yes, she-she is our precious d-doll.” Glycerin sat on her bed, wringing her hands. She had a dreadfully gloomy expression. “She’s just gone to-to the ‘loo. Be back s-s-soon. Spit spot.”

“I guess this is a huge milestone. You’re talking to me. Alone. Without Tsika. That’s great!”

“I shall be bloody n-nauseated for a while. But thank you. Thank you for understanding. We w-wants our doll to be happy. To find s-someone to be happy and safe with. So we can do … what is needed.”

That sounded disquieting to Nick. “What … what is needed?”

She lifted her head, looking directly at him with those tragic magical lavender pupils. “We could finish it then. Find peace. Join our family.”

Nick knew he was in very deep darkness with her. “I suspect, I suspect that would make her cry.”

She nodded as a tear found a path down her cheek. “We con-considers that. Often we does. It is … an ongoing chat in our head. But we promised her! Not to leave her alone. Abandoned. So we w-won’t, not until we are sure. Nick? Little doll loves you. She w-won’t say it. She hates being v-vulnerable. She maligns her darling heart. Always claims it is s-s-s-some toxic poisoned thing. But it is precious and darling. It s-saved me. It must be t-tended to gently. Protected and nurtured. Our promise to ourself.”

The room lay silent for a moment as Nick sweated what to say. He had been told she had dreadfully gloomy moments but experiencing one was paralyzing. He silently praised Tsika’s steadfast loyalty to this creature. Then Glycerin brightened up and chuckled. She grabbed a tissue and wiped her face.

“This is n-nice! I’m cheering for myself, you sh-should know. We shan’t be a gloomy Eeyore, for Tsika’s sake. I hear her coming. Thank you, Nicholas. For tending to-to my doll so nicely.”

Tsika stopped at the door, astonished at Nick’s presence. “Uh, Nick? Glycca? Is my Mouse okay?”

“Bloody brilliant, love. We are-are doing something new! Have having a lovely chat with Nick! On our own! But look! He brought you a p-p-package from the mailroom. Lovely chivalrous the man is!”

Tsika’s eyes lit up. “Omigod! Nick. Stay and I strut for you! Is new outfit! Very brutal! Vampire mode!”

She tore into the package and lifted it up. Nick was bemused by the mess of leather, hardware, dangling metal spiders, chains, and lace he saw. Tsika sparkled as she laid it out to examine. “H’okay! Stand by! I will dazzle you! Off with this stupid school skirt … oh! OH! Yes, Nick should wait outside! Here! Read this magazine! Out with you! Wait by door! Try not to look sleazy!”

Nick could hear Glycerin making her strange little noise she used for giggling as he was hustled out of the room. The door slammed shut behind him. He decided to take a chance with a touch of naughty humor at this point in his courtship of the little doll Tsika.

“Terribly disappointed! Almost awarded an extra treat! A strip tease would have been smashing!”

“Fuck you, pervert! Wait out there, stupid-head! Maybe your brains explode when you see me in this.”

 Nick stared at the letter. He kept rereading it, hoping it would say something different. It did not.

“God damned pompous stupid shit! I could be on bloody fire and Father would not listen!”

I told them about Tsika! Told them that I had a girl now who was very important to me. That I wanted to stay here and finish out school. But no! Selfish jackass Father only thinks about the name of the school on my diploma. They are even bloody moving to a new home to qualify for the name they want on it. Did not say a single damned word about Tsika back to me in this letter! Like she did not exist!

He crushed the letter in his fist. “Fuck me! How do I tell her?! This was going … I don’t want it to end!”

Right. If I did not know before I know now. I love the little elf. So much love Tsika. God, this hurts!

Nick sat at his desk in silent fury. After glaring uselessly at his computer, he emailed Tsika to meet him alone at the corner of campus where they sometimes met for affectionate moments. Very important. No point in waiting. He hated his parents with a passion now.

 “Nick! I am here! Running whole way! What is so secretive and important?”

Tsika ran up breathlessly. A flashing sprite of little bootlets, thigh-high stockings, a miniskirt, and a lovely frilly blouse with long sleeves. Her twin tails arranged in ribbon festooned fountains. Nick stared at the lethally cute beauty, then sat down on the bench groaning out a long incoherent cry of anguish.

“Fucking shit! What the hell, Nick?! What is it?!” She sat next to him, her leg and hip against him, she slipped under his arm. Small body fearlessly pressed to him. More agony.

“God damned stupid … hate them so much.”

Tsika’s eyes showed her alarm. “Nicholas never curses! Oh my God, what?!”

“I hate myself now! Because … I have to say this. Get it out fast. My parents … fuck … my parents are transferring me. At the end of exams. Away. Really … fucking … far away.” Nick lost his composure and slumped. He began crying.

Tsika sat frozen, staring at him. Tears began streaming down her face. Her breath ragged.

“Is … is not fair. IS NOT FAIR!” She broke down in sobs and wails. “Why?! Why?! Was it me?!”

Nick wiped his face. “No! Not you at all. Father wants a school name on the diploma that isn’t from a school for crazy people. I told them about you! They ignored everything I said about you! They just bloody god damned ignored my feelings because they want everything nice and normal.”

Tsika was making such horrific noises of anguish Nick took her in his arms and pressed her face against him. She weakly beat on his chest and shoulders with her fists.

“No! No no no! Not fair! You are my second friend! Ever! You are my … my boyfriend! Is not … fair!”

She shoved him away and leaped up. She ran, still making anguished noises. This time he did not follow.

Right. Got to let her cry it out. Glycerin will help. Her devoted safety net. Poor crazy Glycerin. God, they need each other. I feel like shit. Want to throw up. Nothing beats stabbing someone so precious in the heart. Thanks, Father. Great lesson. Fuck you to hell.

 Glycerin rocked her little treasure, her own tears dripping on Tsika’s head.

My poor little precious doll. We grieves for her little heart. We thought Nick might be able to stay. We guesses sometimes parents aren’t so wonderful to have. Not if they commit crimes like this.

Tsika was still crying. “Never should have let anyone get … close. They always leave me! Even you! Even my Glycca tries to leave sometimes!”

“None of us has full say over what h-happens, love. I will do our best to s-see you are never left abandoned. Poor Nicholas. Dear lad f-feels bloody awful we w-wagers. Being f-forced by his parents to stomp a darling little heart that the man loves.”

Glycerin stroked the little woman’s lovely neck and shoulders, rubbed those tense muscles. She thought out options. A glum but practical notion appeared, offered to her from the dark places in her mind.

“Sweet dove? Nothing is p-permanent. You and I know better than most. That we all shuffle on and off the stage. Not when we wish. You h-have a month. Spend it wisely. Spend the time with-with him. Make lovely good memories with him. Cry after he leaves.”

Tsika settled down, stifled her tears and sat up. Her face looked purposeful now under the smeared makeup. “Your romance novel fantasies have merit this time, my Mouse. You have given me most excellent idea. We must do research. Plan. Must be quick. So little time. Will you help me?”

“My precious? I would launch myself into Hell if you asked. Just tell us what to do, love. We shall cope.”

 Nick made his way towards the girls’ end of the dorm. After a few days of frozen silence, Tsika had found him alone. Her speech was simple. She declared they should spend time together and enjoy each other as friends in the time they had left. After that the days had been a rocket ride of the three teens spending their spare time together. They went for hikes and shopped in the village. They studied together. The two young women played guitar for Nick. They ate together.

But there were gaps. Some hours where the two women said they weren’t available and were very secretive about it. Nick had no clue how to read that behavior. He thought perhaps Tsika was squelching her sorrow by pulling the relationship back. Turning the clock back to being simply good friends. Maybe she hoped it would hurt less when he was gone.

Today was different. Glycerin had emailed him to come over for the afternoon and play board games with them. Dress casual, she wrote. She never wrote. It was always Tsika he traded email with.

Blooming amazing. The tall shy thing wants me to come over and play with her and her doll. Must obey the Glyc when she asks for something. She’s witchcraft in some odd way. I’m just bloody thankful she’s devoted to Tsika and was actively helping me court her until the shit went down. Stupid damned parents! Finally, I had a girlfriend! And they could not give a rat’s ass! I must make the rest of the semester count. Piss on my classwork. Spend all the time left with my adorable little elf.

He almost trampled Tsika as he hurried around the bend into “girl territory”. He stopped, looking at the young Goth in confusion. She was dressed for outdoors, not for lazing about in their room. She had a small daypack on her back. She seemed nervous, her alert eyes darting about as if enemies lurked.

“Nick! Change in plans. Follow me. Do as I command, yes? No questions!”

“Uh, absolutely. What about Glycerin?”

“She is with people I trust. They know to stay with her. Is fine. Follow me.”

She led him down an unfamiliar side hall. Quickly the two of them were outside. Another fact discovered. Tsika knew how to jinx the fire exit so the alarm wouldn’t sound. That new knowledge made Nick smile. It revealed the truth in whispered gossip telling of the Princess Pair playing darts in the pub at night after curfew.

“So what’s all this then?”

“Shh! Silent! You will see. Must wait and be patient. We crouch here along hedge until we reach that tree. Then cross road into forest.”

Nick tried to make himself as stealthy as the tiny woman. He was terrible at it. Twigs snapped, he stumbled, then accidently stood up to recover. For that failure, his tie was used as a handle to jerk his head back down, coupled with muttered strings of profanity about the vacuum of space in his skull.

Once in the forest, she took a zigzag route that culminated near a gully. They followed that upstream. Nick estimated they had walked almost a mile when she turned into a denser portion of the woods.
“Right! Jolly good. There is no one inside a mile of us. So naught prevents me from asking – what the bloody hell, little elf?! Where are we going? Are we making a break for it? I haven’t packed!”

Tsika stopped, turning to him. She looked frightened. “Please! Just wait a bit more. Will explain.”
Minutes later they stood in front of a hunter’s hut. A small ramshackle shed with a stove pipe chimney, only intended for use during hunting season.

“Is … is a picnic. Special picnic. Something. Just for us. Please come with me.”

Nick followed her into the cabin. Inside things were quite different than the web covered, rustic abandoned appearance of the exterior. Someone had been cleaning. Table was dusted. Floor swept. The single room was partitioned by a curtain. Tsika slipped her backpack off and set it on the table. From it, she drew a bottle of wine, some bread, cheese, two plates and a knife.

“Wow! Where did you get the wine? We could have picnicked over at—“

“Gods! Shut the fuck up! Augh! Sorry! I am bitch! You know that. Nicholas knows that, he does.”

“Now you’re crying! What’s the matter? Did I hurt your feelings? Did someone else hurt you?” He reached to hug the little sprite and got stiff-armed in the chest.

“Wait, damn it! Uh, please? Is something I must say! Is hard! Hard to say! Must ready myself. Please?”

Tsika grabbed his arms and maneuvered him. “Stand here. Yes, stand right here. H’okay. I stand here in front of you. Make it like practice. Like practice with Glycca.”

He watched silently as Tsika briefly hyperventilated. Then she spoke tearfully, her hands fluttering.
“Nicholas? You are to be leaving in four weeks. This fact makes me hurt inside. So much it hurts. Am nauseated. You are my second friend ever. Does not run away sensibly when I am psychotic. You care for my Glycca, worry about her needs. You are so important to me. So! This is what I am saying.”

She clasped her hands together over her heart and looked him straight in the eyes.
“I want my charming Nicholas to have me. Now. Before he goes. To be having me. Having.”
Seconds passed with Tsika apparently stunned by her own words. Then she slid the curtain open, revealing a wood slat bed made with school-issued sheets, pillows, and blanket. She swallowed hard and spoke again.

“A gift for boy who is so important to me. Since he is being taken from me before I am ready.”

Nick did not move, unsure if he had heard properly.

“Did … are you … you don’t … are you offering to make love to me? With me?”

She shivered, then nodded. “Yes! Is my parting gift. I will belong to you. For rest of month! Every day! Want to make best memories with my Nicholas. Before he leaves.” She burst into tears.

Nicholas gingerly took the small woman in his arms, hugging her, rocking slowly.

“Bloody hell. I am stunned, this is … amazing. I would dearly love to … wait. Tsika? I am guessing you haven’t … uh … haven’t done … before … you? Bollocks. This would be your first time? Doing this?”

She silently nodded as she pressed her face against his chest.

“Oh stonking … Tsika! This is important. You should give that to someone you’re going to be with for—“

“NO! I decide! Is MY choice! Want my Nicholas to be first to have me! No God damned person I marry would care about such bullshit! I am not cattle! Not property of anyone! Did not think such moronic shit mattered to you either! Do you judge someone on such things?” Fiery eyes glared up at him.

“Actually? No. I just had my Old Church Lady Twit channel broadcasting for a bit. Here. Give me your hands.” He kissed fine little hands gently, then kissed her wrists. He felt her relax. Just a little.

“Good Lord, we’re really going to do this. Here we go. I am … honored? Stunned? Unworthy? Truthfully, it is my first time as well. I am going to bollix it up royally I am sure. Uh, it looks like you really planned this all out. I don’t even have a bloody condom. Totally unprepared. My God. All I can think at the moment is how utterly beautiful you are to me.”

“Condoms can go to hell! I want Nicholas, not rubber toy! I take pills. Is first time for us both, yes? Is h’okay! Am I right?! Yes?” She lay her head against his chest.

They stood quietly, the young man holding Tsika against him. Nick felt her breathing, her heart beating. She trembled, her muscles tense. Nick knew intuitively that this was a leap of utter faith for his darling elf, throwing herself down a rabbit hole into the unknown. Obviously, Glycerin knew about this and was helping. Tsika mumbled her next words into his chest.

“Psycho bitch has fairy tale in her head about how this goes. Would Nick carry me to bed, please?”
He stood silently for a few seconds more, processing what was about to happen. Then he nodded and scooped her up in his arms. So light, so small, such gorgeous eyes. Looking in her eyes, he lost his footing and fell into the bed on top of her. The bed made alarming cracking noises as he crushed the air out of her lungs. Then he thanked the gods the pratfall performance only left Tsika chuckling under him.

“Handsome prince is amazing klutz! H’okay. We are both human it seems. Maybe this will be comedy instead of horror. Might be more fun if I am not being so serious.” Tsika softly laughed. She crossed her arms over her chest protectively as Nick rolled off of her.

He sat on the bed next to the little sprite, not sure what to do next. Finally, she made a face, arching her sharply painted eyebrow. She fluttered her bright amber eyes and stuck her tongue out.

“Silly man. Unwrap me! I am gift, remember? Unbutton my blouse first.” She straightened out and relaxed, fanning her hair out on the pillow and resting her arms above her head. Nick undid the first few buttons of her blouse and then stopped. His eyebrows raised.

“That is one brilliantly sexy tattoo. How in the hell did you get that spider?”

“Hah! Uh, is something Glyc and I did together? Omigod! My Mouse has a huge snake on her chest! So brave of her! Am glad you think it is pretty and not cheap tart stuff.”

“Spiders and snakes! Oh, my! Any other tattoos?” He continued with the buttons.

“Fuck hell no! It hurt! No. None. Don’t even ask how we got these. All very sketchy.”

Nick opened up her blouse, then gently unhooked the clasp between her breasts. Her brassiere popped open, freeing her breasts. He sat quietly gazing at her. Tsika’s white cheeks blossomed with rosy heat.
“Fucking hell! Look, I am knowing I am skinny grub! You don’t have to pretend I am—“

His forefinger touched her lips to silence. “Hush. I am admiring an enchanting nymph. You’re like a lovely painting. Ivory skin, beautiful little curves, waspy waist, and a very cute navel.”

“Oh! Uh, haha. Thank you. Guess I am mouthy bitch and making too much noise. I should shut up.”

“Tsika? You do … whatever … makes you happy, little doll. If you want to chatter and talk, you talk my bloody ears off. I am just deeply in shock and awe at the moment.”

“H’okay then! What makes me happy right now would be I take off my Nick’s shirt.” She sat up and began untying his tie. He sat motionless, riveted by the small delightful movements of her lovely little breasts. By the time she had his tie off she was sitting in his lap. Tsika unbuttoned his shirt and pushed it off of him, stroking his shoulders and back as she did so. Nick relished the touch of her against him.

“Bloody Hell’s Basket! I may not even get to the serious part I am so charged up already.”

“Nice! I am now knowing that Nick finds pale grubs sexy. Weird man, but is good for me. Uh, yes. Is impossible to ignore the feeling of you pressing against my butt. You are massive lump at the moment!”

She slipped off of his lap onto her knees next to him. She stroked his back and chest with her fingers, as she lay her head on his shoulder. Nick was having trouble thinking about anything but her breasts against his arm. She coughed, then muttered. “Don’t know how to time this. Want this to be sweet, not mechanical. Not too fast. But what does my Nick want? Is his gift after all.”

He turned and pushed her blouse the rest of the way off. Nick kissed her shoulders, running his fingertips up and down her back. He sucked on her throat, lifted her just enough to lightly kiss her breasts. Tsika massaged his scalp, making a mess of his hair, catching her breath loudly with each kiss. Nick was trembling he wanted her so much. She was panting, her dilated pupils locked on his eyes.

“My God, I want our clothes off. Now.”

He lay her back down, got up and stripped off his clothes. Tsika took in the view with obvious concern.

“Um. Yes. Sounds likes dumb porn dialog … but you are bigger than I imagined. Do not forget that I really AM small doll as everyone calls me. Please be careful with me, h’okay?”

“I will die making sure I am gentle, but I am so wanting you.”

Her tank boots flew across the room, Nick unrolled her spider web stockings one at a time and removed the skirt with help from the little Goth. He was particularly breathless in removing her panties. Tsika now lay naked, blushing at his worshipful expression. She involuntarily shivered, inspiring Nick to lay down beside her and cover them both with sheet and blanket. He cuddled her up against him. She wiggled in closer, making happy little noises.

“Feels nice and warm. Feels really good laying with my darling Nicholas. Kiss me?”

Gentle kisses were exchanged, then a long deep kiss. Her leg drifted over his hip and wrapped around him. Exciting naked little body pressed against him.

She nuzzled his nose and licked his lips. “Would stroke my Nicholas but afraid it would all be over. Maybe all over me!” Her clownish remark made him laugh. She giggled, then turned solemn again.

“My Nicholas? Would you lay on me first time? Traditional style? Want you to have me old fashioned way first time. More of my silly fairy tale about how such a thing should go.”

“I will never be able to smell mint again without you appearing in my head. Whatever you want, princess. But seriously, I may not last a minute that way. I am utterly stiff, randy as a stag just touching you. You are a gorgeous little doll.”

“Is h’okay if not perfect. We practice! Many times! Whoever we marry will get skilled lover, yes?”

“That sounds like a blooming marvelous plan.”

“Good. Want to walk funny for months. Damn good memories. Depending on darling boy for that.”

“I am so, no words. Tsika? I? I love –.” Tsika covered his mouth, her face alarmed. She shook her head. “No! Hurts too much. You are my friend. I am grateful for that. We will please each other. I trust you.”

“Is very good, adorable Tsarina.”

“Haha! Your phony Russian accent sucks like shit! Also you are brave idiot to use the name my father called me. I give retro permission so you may live. H’okay, let us begin? Uh, Please touch? Here.” She guided his hand down between her legs. “Touch and stroke me gently. There? Yes, there. Oh, fuck! Yes! Right there! Want to be really ready when you do this. Am totally panicky about this hurting first time. Have heard bad stories, just informing you.”

“You keep talking to me. My God it feels good just being on you, little elf. Lovely to lay on.”

He tentatively began stroking as directed. She quickly relaxed as his fingers moved and explored. Watching her eyes close, her lips part, feeling her hips begin to roll with his strokes – the process of pleasing and exciting Tsika fascinated Nick. He slipped his other hand under her to press against her tailbone. Her soft low moaning escalated into a growl, then leaped into a scream. He panicked and stopped. Tsika grappled his throat with both hands and throttled him.

“OH MY GOD! Why the fuck did you stop?! Omigod, don’t be with stopping! Will punch you!”

“I thought you were hurting! That I was hurting you!”

“How did I look like I was hurting? Was making noise? What the fuck? Was I looking in pain?”

“Looked and sounded like a wild animal being tortured.”

“But … it was feeling good! Really good! Please don’t stop. H’okay?”

Nick began again. A minute later, he jerked back in alarm as she howled. Tsika punched him.

“No! Fucking! Torture! What the hell?!” She pouted. “Do I really make that much noise? Is it embarrassing? Was not paying attention. Just enjoying you touching me. You are doing wonderful. EXCEPT FOR THE GOD DAMNED STOPPING! NO MORE STOPPING!”

“Right. I think I get the picture. Assuming no one hears you and alerts the Bobbies, I’m not stopping.”

“You will fucking KNOW if you are hurting me because I will kick your ass! Sorry! Stupid mouth. I am totally horny wanting my Nicholas, just so you know. Take me now, yes? Just be careful? Look in my eyes when you do the thing. I want us to know each other’s feelings while we do this, yes?”

He rolled on top of her, took a deep breath, then slowly began slipping into her. Tsika angled her hips to help him. Wet warmth called to him as he penetrated. Suddenly her nails dug into his back. Her eyes widened and her mouth opened wide.

“Wait! Augh! Don’t move! Don’t move! Please?” She gasped a few short breaths, then nodded. “H’okay. Had to psyche myself up. I will hold you tightly. I trust you. I trust my darling Nick. Do this to me. Now.”

He moved with a gentle insistence. She winced, hugging him tightly, then slowly relaxed as he filled her. “Please be still a moment? Thank you for being still. It did hurt … a little. Not bad now. Want to memorize new feeling. Is amazing! Feeling you inside me. My Nicholas has me now. Silly dream of nice man being first to have me have happened.”

She kissed him. “Now?! Now, we try to be less serious. Just have fun, yes?! Merchandise already damaged after all, am I right?! We can just play with each other, touch and enjoy. Is good, yes?”

“You’re so oddly hilarious at the strangest times. I’m mesmerized by you.”

“You are stupid shithead and I am trying very hard not to be anywhere in my head but right here right now. Let me do the moving this first time, h’okay? It is still quite scary with all of you in me.”

Tsika began a soft rhythmic motion that shredded Nick’s thoughts. A single swivel of her hips did him in. She clung to him as his spasms took over. She kissed his face and stroked his back until he recovered.

“Wow! Omigod, Nick! Such a strong man! I just hung on for literal fucking ride! Oh, don’t! Don’t leave! Ah! Stay in me. Please?”

“Yes, madam. Staying in. I’m enslaved to powerful magic. But obviously no fireworks for you.”

She lightly slapped his face. “Idiot. Did not expect it to happen. That is why you must take me many times. I belong to you for rest of month, remember? Many times you will fuck me, charming idiot. You will get many chances to return favor of pleasing me.”

 By that weekend, Nick had a pretty good idea about what pleased Tsika, what especially excited her. 

The bed made dangerously fatal cracking sounds as he rhythmically thrust deep inside her. She gripped the bed frame posts with both hands, her legs curled up around his waist, rolling her hips to match his moves. Tsika heard the noises she uttered now. She was astonished the village couldn’t hear them a mile away. Her piping voice transformed into banshee screams, demonic growls, shrieks, profanity, each noise begging him not to stop.

“Oh fuck! Fuck! Oh, Nicholas! I … I think … I think I’m com— Fuck! Fuck! Please don’t stop! Please? God damn! Is perfect rhythm! Oh my God! Damn! Fuck! Fuck me! Ah! Ah—.”

This time it was Nick’s turn to hang on as Tsika shivered, bucked, and screamed. He lost his battle quickly feeling his lovely little woman’s magnificent orgasm. Both fell limp, taking quick breaths as they cuddled in the aftermath. Tsika held him tightly with her legs. She ran her fingers up his arms and shoulders.

“Oh my God! I am dripping sweat! Am noisy pervert. Will have to live in soundproof box to fuck future mate! Am sorry, Nick! Did not realize I was this way. Holy shit, I am so … loud! Not acting! Comes from deep inside! True feelings!”

“Christ. You’re just setting the bar so high no other girl will ever compare! That was amazing, little elf.”

“Fabulous. I am D.I.Y. porn show. Nick? That felt really really good! Thank you. Feel buzzy sleepy now!”

They snuggled and kissed for a few moments. “Right. Tsika? Glycerin giggles and blushes when you and I sneak off. Is she okay? Staying safe? I admit now it took me quite a while in the beginning to figure out that noise is her laughter. She seems … delighted?”

“She is safe with her music mates. But yes, she is like naughty lecherous voyeur she is enjoying this so much. She wants details. I am unable to say no to her requests for good stories. Hope you are not embarrassed. But it is too fearful for my terrified Mouse to do this sort of thing herself. I think Nick has clues on why by now. I am trying to repair her. That is my goal for darling Glycca.”

“Spot on. I wish I really was a time traveler. I’d go back. Save her from the bastards who mistreated her.”

Tsika reached for the windup alarm. “You are good man to think of my Mouse. H’okay. Here is next plan. We nap for thirty minutes. Then I have new surprise for you. I have been reading up on such matters.”

She stuck her tongue out at him, then performed an enticing lick of the air before baring her teeth.
“Uh, I may not need a half hour if that is what I blooming think it means. Set it for twenty.”

 Twenty-six days. Tsika had to admit every muscle she had was sore, even bruised. Twenty-six days of her gift. Passionate exciting sex with Nicholas. Every day. As many times as they could stand each afternoon and evening. She really was walking oddly. Not a joke. She sat gingerly on the bed and kicked off her boots. She limply let Nick remove the rest of her clothing before curling up beside him.

“Nicholas? It is … two days left. H’okay, right now? I am exhausted but I will do what you want.”

“You know what, little goddess? At this point? I just want to hold you close. I can’t pretend the clock isn’t moving anymore. Let me just lay with you, hold you. Memorize my lovely little Tsika.”

Her façade crumbled. Tears flowed. Nick took her in his arms and rocked her as they lay entwined.

“Do me a last favor, Tsarina. When I go? You and Glycerin see me off. I want my parents to see what they did. Yeah, it’s vindictive and petty. But I want them to understand why I hate them.”

“Nicholas has little streaks of me in him now. Vengeance, revenge, they taste good when all is suck. I will put on good show for them. Because! Because it won’t be show at all! Am already pathetic!” She continued to cry as she clung to him under the sheets.

Their last two days were spent quietly, simply clinging to each other as time allowed. Tsika grieved for the remainder of her days in boarding school, regretting her loss of Nick, regretting she wasn’t up to those last two days. She and Nick corresponded over the internet for a time but both agreed the contact was too painful. When Tsika and Glycerin went to university, she fell out of touch completely with him.

 Slamming the door to the condo as she pranced in, a twenty-three-year-old Tsika tossed her briefcase near the couch in the living area. Spotting prey, she crept up on her dearest friend Glycerin. The slender statuesque creature lay curled up in her chair by the large plate glass window reading. Her headphones obviously turned up, she had no clue of the tiny stalker’s intentions.

One pounce and a smattering of happy shrieks later, the two nuzzled greetings. Tsika pushed Glycerin’s half curtain of hair away from her eyes. “How is my Mouse today?! We have new gigs! Some bigger venues! Where is God damned idiot man Blar? Stupid-head needs updating on contract details!”

“It’s a good day for me, love. The gloomy is quiet. The man is in the studio. He w-was doing something with drums. Very n-naughty sounding rhythms. Mades us a bit randy so we covered our ears and turned up the v-volume. Sounds quiet now, though.”

“H’okay! Will let you go back to your book, Glycca Ping. Maybe he is prey as well if he has ears cloaked.”

“That’s my spirited spider doll! We shall begin dinner prep as s-soon as Kpau shows up. The little dove is off doing s-something for that Taiko drum group she haunts. Beginning to s-suspect a guy is involved but she just sticks her tongue out when we guesses.”

Tsika left Glycerin to her reading and crept down the hall. Peering into the studio, a grin spread across her face as she spotted the back of a shaggy long-haired head with studio headphones on. A few minutes later, her ambushing grope and kiss attack faded to simple cuddling. She hopped up from the floor where Blar now lay.

“Anyway! If you were listening to anything at all while you were slobbering on me, the big lumbering dumbass should read the contract for the Edgefield gig. It’s in my briefcase. I need to do some correspondence bullshit and babbling online now. No interrupting from large Bear!”

“Yes, ma’am. Off to read fine print. Don’t turn your back on me though. I may take sticky revenge.”
Tsika flipped two middle fingers at him. She headed into the band’s office as the tall muscular drummer clumped past her towards the living room. Sitting at the desk, her fingers flickered over the keyboard as she posted on the band blog, clicked and hunted on her favorite clothing websites, and answered fan mail. Her “Other” private message queue was rather deep so she began responding to those.

Junk. Fan. Trash. Stalker shit. Junk. Fan. Creepy request. Fan. Malware. Fan. What the fuck?

Her typing stopped. She stared at the name on the message. Nicholas Turner. After a few motionless seconds, she clicked the message to open it.

Wasn’t sure this was you until I looked at the profile pics. You and Glycerin look gorgeous! Brilliant bloody marvelous. In an actual band! I shall hope you remember me. If you would like to chat or even arrange a meeting, here I am. Well, here in Germany. I shall be upfront – I did get married. She knows about you and says I should do this. So, if you decide it is awkward and do not respond, I understand. I am glad to know you are doing well. Never forget you, little elf.

She hastily wiped the tears covering her cheeks. She sat listening to Blar in the kitchen with Glycerin. Her was playing the clown to get happy giggles out of her. After a moment, Tsika composed a reply.

Fuck you! Of course I remember you, idiot! I must think a moment, Nicholas. Please be patient, yes?

She jumped up and ran to the kitchen waving her arms furiously at her two band mates. “I need … I need to talk. Serious talk. To both of you. Now. Sit with me on couch. Please.”

Half an hour later, Tsika was still sitting between her two loves, having recounted the history of her and Nicholas in more detail than Blar had ever been told before.

“I don’t know what to do, stupid-head! I really am torn up. Don’t know what to do.”

Blar lay his head back. “Did you love him?”

“I never told him I did! Was too insecure. I was more psychotic about being vulnerable back then than I am now. It is unbelievable, yes? Stop laughing, shithead! I really am better now!”

“It still nearly kills you to say the words out loud to me. I can imagine.” She responded by beating Blar with a couch pillow, then took his arm and curled it around her.

Glycerin scooted close, snuggling next to Tsika. She was in a mixed mood, wringing her hands but smiling. The tall creature was better at smiling after years of practice. “We still can’t believe lovely Nicholas found you and s-sent a message! We admits we did long wonder if he got through it all and how it ended w-w-with his parents after it went rotty with them. Of course, we still don’t know. We just knows now that the darling chap still exists and f-found someone to marry.”

Blar squeezed the petite doll until she purred. “Look. You know my spiel on life, Tsika. If you were really in love with him, you still are. Do you want to go see him? If you do, don’t chatter on the web. Go. Now. See. Him. Scoot!”

Tsika stammered almost as badly as Glycerin still did at times. “But?! You! And me! And us! Don’t want to break anything! Augh! Is horrible dilemma! I don’t know what to decide! There … there are also some matters left unfinished … yes, some matters. I don’t know what to do!”

“My opinion? If I act at all possessive of you? A nasty cloud will hang over us forever. You didn’t go, you didn’t resolve the story, you didn’t find out what you needed to know. It will end up being a rancid albatross around my neck that will stink in our arguments forever. I love you. I don’t own you. None of us own each other. Every day we choose to stay with the people we are with. And I am actually being selfish. I want you to go because I love you.”

Glycerin hiccupped anxiously. “We doesn’t know what to think. Worried we are! We loves the nest we have w-with our doll and the man.” She stroked both Tsika and Blar as she spoke. “But Blar is right, it w-will be healing to go see charming Nicholas. Actually, we sh-should love to go ourselves! Just to show him how much better we gots. We would gives Nicholas a hug we would. A b-big hug! Then we would throw up. Best if my doll goes on her own.”

Blar rubbed Tsika’s tightly bound muscles in her neck and shoulders. “See? Glyc approves. The little minty elf should go. See a special guy who cared about the little explosive candy princess when few would. It sounds like he still cares.”

A flash bomb went off in Tsika’s head. Memories. Words.

“Oh my God! I just realized! You and Nick use the same awful syrup sweet names on me! What the Hell?! I am elf! Pixie! Mint candy! Princess! More nauseating names! Big stupid bear cheated! When we first met, you used words from my deep memories! Aggravating kind eyes! Nice hands! You trapped me using Nick’s super powers!”

She melted under strong fingers kneading her shoulders. “I am still trapped. Ooh, rub there harder.”

Blar got his laughter under control. “Seriously? If you ever call me Nick while I’m coaxing tasty spasms and howls out of you? I will simply count my lucky stars I have you and not say a thing. I am happy you two lovely women put up with me. Period. Go talk to Nicholas, arrange to meet him! He’s probably about to go nuts worrying that you’ve deleted your account and went into hiding.”

 “H’okay. You did not get fat. Is good.”

“Give it another ten years, little elf. You, on the other hand, are cranking at ‘11’ on the goddess dial.”

Tsika had hopped the train from the airport to meet Nick in Hamburg. She recognized him immediately even though he was facing away from her, choosing a soda from a vending machine. One pounce later, he was running his fingers through his hair just as he had almost a decade before when they first met. Her bright amber eyes darted about inquisitively.

“So! Where is your lovely wife? I have prepared a long list of jokes in order to trade humor with her on Nick’s taste in women. Nearly wet myself laughing when I saw her picture, she also being small and brunette but with more boobage.”

“Uh, at the last she decided to go visit her parents in Denmark. I’m to tell you ‘Sei gegrüßt’ and for you not to worry, um, she wrote this out for me to give you. I can’t even pretend to pronounce it. No bloody idea at what she said in it. I think it’s Russian. I have enough trouble with German and bit of Danish.”

Tsika opened the paper and read. The words were in Russian though the grammar was fractured.
Фонд поздравления, Tsika. Мой русский не очень хорошо. Ваш муж замечательный доверять, и пусть вы пришли, чтобы увидеть Николая. Я чувствую себя вынужденным сделать то же самое. До тех пор, как я получить его обратно, вы можете время в пути, как вы хотите. Такая романтическая история!

She translated silently, wrinkling her nose in some amazement at the content.
<’Find congratulations, Tsika. My Russian is not very good. Your husband is a great trust, to let you come to see Nicholas. I feel compelled to do the same. As long as I get him back, you can travel time as you wish. This romantic story! '>

She read it again. It appeared to mean exactly what it said. Looking up at Nicholas and thinking of Blar’s words on this matter, Tsika made a snap decision.

“Fascinating. Your wife is wise woman. I should dearly like to meet her someday. So! What does Nicholas want to do rest of day? Go eat? Dance? Just walk about?” Tsika stepped closer and grabbed his tie. “And stupid-head better be well rested. Am not forgetting Nick still has two days left of his gift.”

“Say what?” Nick’s blank face aggravated her. Squeezing one eye shut, she punched his gut.

“My gift! Duh! You never punched last two days on my ticket. I did not complete gift as specified! Cannot close chapter until it is finished. I, Tsika Tsarinkov, always follow through on my commitments.”

“Dear God! That?! Wait! What? Don’t you love Blar? Wait! What the bloody hell does her note say?”

“Too many questions from stripe-haired clown with cartoon eyes. Shut up. Yes! I love my darling Bear. Passionately. More right this second than ever! Because Blar understands me. He encouraged me to come here. He is really special kind of guy on these matters.” She tearfully set her travel bag down and waved the letter from Nick’s wife. “And this note? This note tells me your wife is special kind of woman on these matters. It tells me you are lucky man. That I can rest assured you are truly loved. She trusts, gives space for closure of the past. You have been allowed a safe pass for two days.”

Nick swallowed hard. “Attempting a diversion now. What about Glycerin? How is she?”

“Glycca Ping wanted to come and see you! She is very fond of you. She thinks when we do tour here next summer she will meet up with you. She wants to give you hug! She will be showing you how much better she is and thanking you for your help!”

“She’s that much repaired? That she can give a guy a hug?”

“Oh, much more than that!” Tsika nearly choked, mixing tears with laughter. “She is naughty love groupie of Blar! Remember her posters, music, and such? She is not only our band’s lead guitarist but also stupid-head’s mistress … or rather, uh, our … mistress. Yeah. Is very complicated. Always sounds very weird when I say it out loud.” Tsika’s confident bluster faded. Her eyes widened as she blushed.

Nick’s eyes sparkled as a grin replaced his befuddlement. “Now I can fire back! I knew Glycerin loved you that way! Sometimes I thought I was her indirect way of pleasing you. Well! It sounds like my little elf lives a very complicated life. You’re going to have to explain it all to me.”

Nick stepped closer and put his arms around her shoulders, running a finger up the nape of her neck.
“But … later. Right now? My head is flooding with memories. Mint fragrance. Snowy skin. All I want to think about is you for the next two days before reality returns.”

Nick traced her ear with his finger. Tsika snuggled against him and looked up into his eyes.
“Ah, we are on same page now! We will complete our memories and my commitment of gift. My memories are on fire as well. Hey! We keep this funny! I place bet! We give each other assessment on skills learned over time, yes?! Then loser buys breakfast. Am planning on winning. Just informing you.”

“I have a feeling I’m already buying all your meals. It is really good seeing you, little princess.”

Tsika threw her arms around Nick’s neck and kissed him. “Am feeling so amazingly happy! Glyc said this would heal. She is so good to me. H’okay! I follow Nick! I will be complete gift! Your mint candy treat!”

“I’m doomed. Excited. Still doomed. I really am a time traveler it seems. You were right. Remember?”

 Blar opened the entry door of the condo, only to be waylaid by a raven-haired predatory pixie attack. Tsika leaped on him, wrapping her legs around his waist and grappling his neck with her arms. She rubbed her body against him with explicit intent as she attacked his mouth with hers.

“Wow! Good to see you, too!”

“Fuck you, big idiot! No. Wait! Fuck me! I command you! Now!”

“Uh, we’re not alone. Kpau and Glyc will hear you. They’re in the studio.”

Tsika hung from his neck by one arm while she thumbed a text on her phone. “There! Glycca Ping will keep her dove enchanted in the studio. Is not hard with blonde’s empty skull. Now! Either stupid man captures me to fuck me until I am sticky all over or I will knock you down and ravish you myself!”

“It’s always dicey with you, little elf.”

“My God! More word stealing! Thief! Fuck me hard or I am leaving you to go steal Nick from his wife!”

Blar threw Tsika over his shoulder. He strode into his bedroom caressing her butt and the back of her thighs, evoking giggles and shrieks from the excited woman. She slammed the door behind them.

Is good. Can focus on future without regret now. Well, maybe after next hour or so. Focusing on now right here right now! I am home.


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