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Guns and Dust
– chapter twelve-
Adina leaned back and blew out a breath as Zara and Priav verbally sparred in an open area of the survivor’s camp. Zara sat on the ground, leaned forward, gesturing severely while Priav sat back in a chair someone had provided, just watching her. The mask of control and utter confidence was back. Priav was giving nothing away.
Lew-Lew had pushed the rest of the camp back to keep them at a discrete distance while the negotiations went on.
Why are they arguing?
When Zara finished her diatribe, Lew-Lew stood up. “Maybe we should take a break…”
“Shut up, Lew-Lew!” Zara snarled. “We need to get through this.”
Adina felt Asher shift from where he stood behind her. “Maybe Lew-Lew is right, Zara. I’m not…”
Priav held up a hand. “Shh… the women are speaking.” She didn’t look at Asher, but kept her attention fixed on Zara.
Adina flushed with anger at Priav’s curt dismissal of Asher. She turned, glaring at the Quarry camp leader. “He’s only trying to help.”
Priav turned to her, the stern mask of her authority falling on her. “This is between Zara and I.” Priav inclined her head toward Lew-Lew. “And Lew-Lew. You and the Myrmidon aren’t part of this. Please leave us to work things out.”
Fury boiled in Adina. She locked her eyes on Priav’s.
“Adina…” Asher’s voice held warning.
“Shh!” Adina darted her eyes to him. “Let me do this.”
As she watched his eyes, his expression registered. And her fury was suddenly jousting with confusion. He didn’t look angry or offended at her cutting him off. If anything, he looked proud as he inclined his head, acknowledging her without saying a word to counter her. The corner of his mouth had come up in a subtle, conspiratorial smile. He leaned in close. “Give ’em hell, Adina.”
His smile shifted to a more neutral expression when he leaned back and turned to Priav. “I hope all goes favorably for you.” Then he turned to Zara. “And for you.” He nodded to Lew-Lew. “Lew-Lew.”
Lew-Lew threw his hand up, his wrist once again cocked at a decorous angle. “See you later.”
Part of Adina swelled with pride at him so publicly giving ground to her – just because she’d asked him to. And him making certain she knew how confident he was in her abilities calmed her. Adina pulled herself up tall and turned to face Priav fully.
“We are involved.” She raked Zara and Lew-Lew with a firm gaze. “We do have a say!” She inclined her head to Priav, fixing her eyes on the older woman. “You wouldn’t be here to make a decision if he hadn’t intervened!” She jabbed her finger out toward Asher. “And the only reason he did was because I begged him to!” She turned to Zara. “And until today – this moment, you and the rest of the people with you, didn’t have a future.” Adina indicated the rest of the camp with a wide gesture. “Don’t tell us we don’t have a stake or say in this! We made this happen.” She put her hands on her hips. “Not you.” She nodded sharply at Priav, then at Zara. “And not you!”
Priav rose and came to her, laying a hand on her arm. She just stood for a moment watching her eyes. “Adina.” Priav adjusted so that Zara and Lew-Lew couldn’t see her face. Priav’s expression softened. “Zara is a powerful, passionate woman. She has probably been talked down to or ignored by men her whole life. She’s had to fight for everything. I’m giving her the opportunity show me, and everyone else, who she is. She needs to have her power and independence acknowledged.” Priav just watched her eyes again.
Everything suddenly fell into place. Priav’s entire demeanor had changed when they got to the camp. She’d thought it was Priav taking stock. Adina leaned close and whispered, “So, this is all for show?!”
Priav tilted her head and gave a conspiratorial glance toward Zara and Lew-Lew. “Not all. I still don’t know them, Adina. I want to make sure they understand who is in charge at the Quarry. Dismissing Asher so publicly not only makes Zara feel powerful but sets a tone for the rest of our conversation – strong women coming together to find a way forward.”
Adina narrowed her eyes at Priav. She wasn’t sure why she was surprised by Priav’s canny strategy, but she was.
Priav’s mouth turned up in a wan smile. “Besides, isn’t there someplace you’d rather be while I keep everyone else busy?”
Adina felt blood rush up, her face and chest going suddenly hot. Everything inside her turned sort of awkward and lopsided again. She crinkled an eyebrow at Priav and grinned. “There is.”
Priav pulled mecidiyeköy escort herself up straight and squeezed her arm. “See to it that your myrmidon knows that we will talk once we are finished,” Priav announced loudly for Zara and Lew-Lew to hear. Priav’s eyes smiled at her as she let go of her arm and the mask of authority descended again. Priav turned back to Zara and Lew-Lew.
When Adina caught up with Asher, he’d just pulled one of the armored side panels of the bearcat open and was peering inside. He was cleaner than when they’d arrived. There wasn’t extra water to bathe, but he’d scrubbed the blood off with sand and had rinsed his hands and face. He turned at the sound of her boots on the rocky, hard-baked ground. As his eyes walked up her appreciatively, Adina felt like every part of her that his eyes touched heated up. He smiled and leaned against the hot metal skin of the bearcat. “I thought you were going to help with the negotiations.”
Adina walked directly to him, put her hands on his bare torso, sliding them around to his back and pulled herself against him. “I had better things to do.”
He grinned and gave her a quick kiss. “Oh, I agree.” He tossed the wrench he was holding into the tool bag and scooped her up.
After a surprised squeak at his unexpected manhandling, Adina clamped her hands over her mouth to silence her laughter. He stepped up into the open side hatch and waited. “Wanna get the door?” She leaned for the handle and as soon as her hand was on it, she felt his lips on her neck. Adina’s whole body curled at the sensual touch. “Were you going to get the door?” he asked playfully as he continued to kiss her neck making it virtually impossible for her to do anything.
She concentrated, bit her lip and was finally able to slide the door closed.
Asher laid her on the mattress and just watched her. His bluest of blue eyes were mesmerizing and when his fingers pushed her hair back and traced down her cheek, everything inside her came to life. It wasn’t just that she wanted him so badly. It was like a part of her had been missing while they were apart. And that part was back in place again.
She put her lips to his, firm, but not hard, just holding her lips to his before letting their kisses become more intense. She pulled back smiling, running her hands over his dirty face. He still smelled, but it didn’t matter. The fire in Adina’s belly caught again and every nerve seemed to suddenly light up, her arousal now overshadowing everything else. She turned her back to Asher and pushed her butt back against him. “Pull my pants down, but not all the way.”
Asher spooned up against her and Adina pushed back harder, feeling the bulge in his pants. She reached back and put one of his hands on her waistband, her other hand occupied holding onto a shelf. She wiggled her hips helping him push her pants down, then her underwear, leaving her ass exposed. The restriction of her pants holding her legs together made everything inside her suddenly pull tight. She looked back over her shoulder, past her naked ass and grabbed his belt, tugging to unbuckle it, her heart racing. His hand suddenly slid up under her shirt and he cupped her breast. The thrill made her arch, jamming her bare ass back against him. As soon as he touched her stiff, sensitive nipple, she had to bite her lip to keep from crying out.
Then she felt his hard penis against her ass as he pushed his own pants down.
“Yes, Asher… I want you so badly.”
Adina groaned as he ran the head of his cock along her wet labia. And as always, he made a point of running it over her clit, bumping it, making her twitch.
Asher’s fingers lightly rolled then pulled her sensitive nipple making her hiss with arousal. “Are you sure you want me?” he teased.
She reached back and grabbed his hip, pivoting hers to push his cock into position. “Bastard!” Her whole body was writhing with desire now as his fingers played on her breast and nipple and he taunted her vagina with his hard cock. She tried to force back onto it, but he withdrew, the head just teasing at her entrance. “Don’t tease me! That’s so mean!”
“You’re sure, then?”
She nodded, breathing fast. “Yes!” she was able to get out. Then as she rocked back again, he met her and pushed forward, squeezing her breast, her nipple held between his fingers as his eight-inch cock finally slid inside. Adina grabbed a handful of the blanket and shoved it into her mouth to stifle her ecstatic cry. She struggled against her pants, her legs wanting to open. The feeling of her pants holding her legs together as he penetrated deep inside was wildly erotic. She groaned into the blanket between her teeth, her ankles kicking in frustrated expression.
Slowly, maddeningly slowly, Asher pushed into her. “You feel so good, Adina.” She nodded, chewing on the blanket. He lifted her shirt up and off, his hands running over her naked skin. His fingers lightly brushed her nipples as she turned onto her side. One of his strong şişli escort legs was against her back, the other against her legs as he filled her. The pace of his thrusts increased. She had her eyes squeezed shut fighting the urge to cry out. Each time she opened them, he was watching her expression or her body as she arched and writhed, her feet kicking with his movement.
Asher turned her fully onto her back and wrapped an arm around her legs, using them to pull her onto his hard rod. His eyes watched her breasts as they bounced with each thrust, her expression as she groaned into the blanket, straining in ecstasy.
It was too much. She yelped as the hot rush of her orgasm roared up through her. Asher held her firmly as her hips shuddered and she bucked under him.
“I love the way you cum, Adina.” His words made everything inside her clench anew and she threw her head back, grabbing him and pulling herself hard onto him, wanting to feel every millimeter of him buried inside her. Her whole body locked into an arching, trembling spasm.
She finally collapsed onto the mattress, panting around the blanket that hung from her slack mouth. “Earth and sky…”
Asher pulled her pants off and opened her legs. He ran his still stiff cock over her sensitive labia and clit making her twitch again. “Do you want more?” he asked with a smirk. Adina could only nod, still in the afterglow of her first orgasm. When Asher entered her, her whole body felt relaxed, his shaft a perfect fit and completion of her. Her legs wrapped around him instinctively. She pulled the blanket from her mouth and sat up, kissing him long and deep. She leaned back and arched, her hands on the blankets, lifting her hips and pushing down again as his strong fingers gripped her hips. It was a slow, luxurious thing and Adina’s body responded in relaxed rolls as the joy of being so intimately connected to him flowed through her. Then the inner fire caught again, and she tensed, her body moving more urgently trying to make him fill her even more. Asher pulled out.
“Noooo…” she moaned as his lips fell on her neck, then down onto her breasts and he pushed her onto her back again, kissing down her tummy and finally onto her mound. She opened her legs wide as his tongue played with her swollen clit. Asher pushed her legs up and sucked her clit into his mouth, rolling it with his tongue and pushed two fingers inside her. Adina grabbed the blanket again, squeezing her eyes shut and moaning into the thick fabric, her hips quivering as he kissed, licked and sucked. Suddenly she was shuddering again, her legs quaking, and she grabbed his short hair, grinding her pussy onto his face. Everything crashed inside her and her back arched, her whole body spasming at the terrible, amazing torment. She screamed into the blanket as the fire of her orgasm raced through her again. Asher held her legs firmly, keeping his tongue on her clit. Adina’s abdominal muscles seized pulling her head and legs up, curling around the feeling of Asher’s tongue. Then she was lost. Nothing made sense as her body released into a twitching, uncoordinated mess on the mattress.
Asher kissed his way up her spasming body again. “That was nice.”
Adina could only pant. For several minutes her tummy felt like it was yanked back to her spine as the orgasm slowly quieted and she could finally lay still.
When she came back to herself, Adina let her fingers run over his naked skin and watched his eyes. Then she kissed down his chest, to his belly and finally onto his phallus. She tasted herself on his shaft as she licked it and then pushed her mouth down onto it. Asher moaned in pleasure as she worked her mouth up and down on his cock. She got between his legs pumping her mouth, sucking hard and running her tongue against the underside of the head. He tasted so good and salty along with the lingering flavor of her own nectar. She kissed down the shaft and pulled one if his testicles into her mouth, rolling it with her tongue and sucking, stroking his cock with her hand. He moaned and his hips pumped. Adina sucked his other testicle, loving how he twitched as she did, his hips thrusting hard as she pushed his cock through her fingers. She pursed her lips, sucking up along his shaft, until she was at the head again, sucking in the cleft at the underside base of the head. His hips trembled and then she gave him what he wanted, driving her mouth down over his cock, forcing all of it in. She moaned, cupping his balls so he knew how much she liked it. Then she pulled back again and sucked the top of his shaft, working the rest with her hand, his balls with her other. He was suddenly gasping, his hips pumping to meet her mouth.
Then he threw his hips forward hard and exploded in her mouth. Adina coughed at the rush of hot cum filling her mouth and throat. She choked but held herself down sucking and gulping. Asher’s hips shook with each movement of her tongue as she tried to hold all his cum in. His hips finally eased down to the mattress, but she kept her mouth on his cock not wanting to let anything escape. When he finally relaxed and she didn’t taste any more of his semen, she pulled her mouth off and kissed his cock, then each testicle, then up his belly onto his heaving chest.
“Did you like that?” she asked between her own pants, looking up at his face. The crease between his eyebrows was gone.
He leaned down and kissed her, panting. “I loved it.”
She returned his kiss and grinned up at him, laying her head on his scarred, tattooed chest. Everything inside her felt so relaxed now. “So did I. I love the way you look when you cum like that.” She ran a hand over his smooth brow. “So much better.” She just let her fingers trail over the skin of his forehead and between his brows where the crease normally was.
They dozed for some time. She woke to Asher shifting his arm under her and when she opened her eyes, he was watching her again. She kissed one of the scars on his chest. “Tell me about Cosanti again. Tell me about the people there, how happy, and free they are. After seeing the slave camp, I want to know that there are better places in the world.”
Asher was quiet for a while, his chest rising and falling under her head. She thought his expression was wistful, like he was looking through the top of the bearcat to someplace far away. “You can see it from miles away,” he began. “Not a cloud of smoke on the horizon, but a glow, bright like the rising sun. Most people who live there have never see it from far away.” He looked down at her. “How beautiful it is.”
She watched his eyes as he went on.
“No one goes hungry in Cosanti. The water is clean and the food…” his tone was longing. “Tastes and textures I can’t wait for you to try, Adina.” He smiled, his blue eyes on her face, a big finger running down the side of her face. “Beer, wine, tea, fruit juices, things you can’t imagine.” He raised his arm as if displaying a panorama above him. “From my balcony I can always see several of the wind generator balloons. They glow at night like floating flowers, and they have long tails, guidance fins that flow out behind them. There is a large market a few blocks from my home and the streets are lined with shops, apartments and cafes.” His eyes returned to her and the smile that followed was a peaceful thing. “When the wind is right, I can smell the spice market.” He grinned and peaked an eyebrow. “When it’s wrong, it get the smell from the dyers ward.” He wrinkled his nose, grinning at her. “Phew!” He picked up his battered shirt. “There are newly manufactured clothes in soft fabrics and colors that you can’t believe. People are happy, healthy. We have clinics and doctors and surgery. Things that normally kill people out here in the wastes are solved with pills or simple injections.”
She pushed up onto an elbow, feeling suddenly uncertain. “You’re not making all this up, are you?” It all sounded so fantastical, like a dream, and sometimes she wondered if he was playing some elaborate joke. “It’s really the way you say it is?”
He lifted his head so she could clearly see his eyes. “You see the color of my eyes. It’s the same as yours are turning after the inoculant. It’s all real, Adina.” He gave her a long kiss. She leaned into it and pulled herself partially on top of him to hold her lips to his.
“I can’t wait to see it.”
He pushed hair behind her ear. “I can’t wait for you to.” He smiled broadly. “I just want to watch your face when you see it all.”
Adina nodded as if to things outside the bearcat. “Things like what happened to Nat and the survivors don’t happen in Cosanti, do they?”
“No. Slavery is outlawed in Cosanti. By now, Nat would be in school, or maybe apprenticed to a tradesman if he was living there. His life would be…” He hesitated. “Easier.”
Adina cocked here head at his hesitation and shift in his tone. “What?”
“I was going to say better. But that’s not fair.” He looked her in the eyes and the crease was back between his eyebrows again. “I don’t ever want you to think I look down on you or anyone else who is able to survive out here. That’s monumental hubris. Most of the people I know, even longhunters like me, would never have survived if we’d been born out here. A lot of people who live in the city states, who have never seen what life out here is like, feel like they are better than you or Priav, or Zara or Nat. And it just isn’t true.”
“Hubris?” Adina didn’t feel the twinge of shame with Asher that she had at other times when she didn’t understand something. It wasn’t just that he knew things that she had no way of knowing. It was that he never held it over her or acted like he was smarter than she was. Her heart thup-thupped in her chest. He was just so comfortable to be around. Everything with him was easy.
“Sorry. Hubris is like pride but taken to an extreme. Someone who thinks they are better than other people and can’t see what’s in front of them or won’t accept it – that’s hubris. Sometimes I fall into that trap too. I see how hard things are out here, how bad they can be, and I can’t help but compare them to things back home.” His expression closed incrementally, the crease in his brow deepening. “It just makes me want to do everything I can to make things better.”