Content warning for: One singular female nipple. And descriptions of foreplay/sex.
There is a reason for Clara to be on my mind, and it goes beyond how skinny pants outline her gorgeous legs. It goes beyond kicking myself for not giving her a kiss that night, or how she got nervous when I mentioned Eileen.
As I mentioned, we Waverlys considered ourselves the last of our kind. Or, at least, they settled on it long before I came into the world. I learned of a few individuals that might have been one of us, but they were gone before my dad could form sentences. Before my maternal grandparents met. Maybe I envied Lydia for her years fighting a malignant “devil.” She never knew what to call them, or if they were from the same species. She just threw them into a void and called it a victory.
All I had were artifacts. It took ages to find any of them. Well, any of them that Annette hadn’t gotten to first. She had a lot of time to search for devices on Earth. Even she referred to them as “esoteric bullshit,” but waving them off didn’t satisfy me. I wanted to know more, more about things she stayed hush about.
They told me not to, but I ran off to San Severo for a lot of reasons. I thought I could start anew in the Spanish Caribbean, wear revealing clothing without any hangups, and enjoy a few mimosas along the way. The resort I stayed in was on the main island, but I chartered a boat to a remote satellite. It measured less than a quarter of a mile across, and even the locals preferred to ignore it.
Off its small beach and into a green grove, the island had everything I was looking for.
I didn’t even expect it. I almost thought that Annette conjured most of her toys out of thin air, but I found something before she did. It was a marvel of metal and glass on its own merits, but somehow, I found a way to make it even more spectacular.
I felt so small among it. Everything was twice or thrice my height, and looked clean and new. It was the future we never got, or the magic we never harnessed. I still have no idea if it was magic or technology.
I approached the glass pyramid, and reached out for the glass.
The glass started to glow around my fingers, once they pressed up against the surface.
I activated something. And the journey it took me on is something for…a few chapters of Eight Cicadas. But I thought I knew a little more about the other half of me, with that vacation.
Back to Annette’s toys, her pride and joy was the Memory Extractor. It was made of a footpad and a podium hacked to project to a screen. When activated by one of us, anyone standing on the pad could play their memories for everyone in the room. I knew that humans had used it before. Both of my grandfathers were regular Earthlings, or at least born that way. But as long as someone like Annette or Samira gave the device its spark, they would float six inches off the ground. In greyscale, they could relive moments of their life. Childhood, piano concertos, they had things to tell us.
So why would there be technology scattered around the world, that only we could activate by our own touch? Annette found the components of the Memory Extractor in a gem quarry, thousands of miles away. San Severo was no short journey for me either. The only answer was that we weren’t alone, at least at one point.
I just missed those theoretical glory days of our rule, didn’t I? At least they might have been interesting.
And so here I am today, having met one of the survivors of a different time about a week prior. I wish Clara didn’t leave so soon. I wouldn’t have to use this blasted family biography to distract from her. I can’t get her off my mind! I doubt she can fill in every hole, but maybe her parents were more open with her about the past. Maybe she knows where the rest of our kind are hiding. I can go with any of that.
However, Clara is the last thing I expect to see today. When someone knocks on the back door, I think that a new mailman got confused as to which one was my front door.
Because the doors are glass, there is no surprise for when I open the door. Against all odds, Clara is visiting. She still has that diamond pendant on.
I want to say that I keep my cool as I open the door, but I can’t. My eyes go wide, and the blood rushes to my cheeks. “Clara! I mean…I thought you had to rush back to Magic City.”
“Well, I did, and then I was reminded about how shitty my job was,” she says. “Look, I know it’s a little sudden, but I thought that maybe we could just forget about the other night? I was kind of an ass for leavin’ you like that.”
“I’m over it, really. You wanna come in? It has to be cold out, if you’re wearing that jacket.” Her tie-dyed jacket does look warm, after all. “Look, I can try to explain myself.”
Clara crouches down to look at the stone griffin that I point out. “I just got it as a gift, and it had a bank note on the bottom to…whoever Eileen is,” I say. “I just got curious about her, I guess.”
“I don’t blame you. I’d be curious too.”
Clara turns around and looks up at me. “It was just a weird, knee-jerk reaction. Sorry about it.”
“Don’t even feel like you need to.”
“You know, the foliage isn’t so great in Magic City. But it looks gorgeous here in the fall…you mind if we take a walk? Just to soak it in?”
I rush upstairs without a word, to get some clothes on. Silk pajama pants are no match for the bitter, cold autumn. But knitted stockings and a heavy blazer are.
Sometimes I miss Twinbrook, and how it looked when it rained. The whole town worked well when it needed to look dreary and dismal. But Riverview is clean and quaint. The water is clear enough to work like a mirror, and the leaves are bright orange and healthy.
But as much as I love Riverview’s scenery, no part of it is as gorgeous as Clara. I almost stumble whenever I look at her, and the way the corners of her mouth turn when she smiles. We make it over the bridge subsisting on just small talk. Or exposition.
She used to live in a big city, with her parents. While father Kang was a normal Korean human, her mother had a more enigmatic origin. But she told Clara vague stories of where she was from. Watching from the highest natural point in Bridgeport, she loved to point to a place in the sky and tell Clara that she was from there. It was up to the little girl to decide if that meant that her mum was a fallen angel, or a space demon.
But Clara shrugged when I told her about the time machine in San Severo. I shut my mouth about Mel’s in Twinbrook, but I think she might have used the same technology.
Once we get across the bridge, it’s too much to ignore. I want to ask Clara what she thinks about me. I already know that I’m not wasting my time on a straight woman (never again), so would she be open for something more? For making out on my couch, or saving water and taking a bath together?
“Hey, it’s easier to talk about things if we’re standing still,” I tell her. “You mind if we turn towards the garden down the block?”
“Sounds fine,” she says.
The autumn leaves still enchant her, and she still enchants me! I watch from behind, trying to look a little coy.
“Man, I would love to live here,” Clara says. “Well, for a it. Then I’d get bored and beg you to come back to Magic City, or West Bridgeport. But I like this.”
“I’m glad. I don’t feel like I have much of a choice,” I say. “I’d just rather not tell you who I’m running from.”
“Oh…um…it’s not like you have to. We all have our bad histories, don’t we?” She tries to laugh it off, sounding nervous.
I approach her at last, and I brush off her last few sentences and behavior. No one, not even me, would dare to call my beady eyes sultry. I got them from my dad, and he had other ways of attracting partners.
“I’m all for making this place a little better, if you’re up for it,” I tell Clara.
She tries to mirror my expression. She has the eyes for it, anyways. “Trying to make my vacation worth it, huh?” she asks me. “I mean, if no one is watching-”
Clara stops once I grab one of her hands. “No one is,” I say. I use that hand to pull her in.
She bites my lower lip as we kiss. It’s a common move among everyone, considering that I have a lot of lower lip to bite. Thank you, mum. Clara drapes an arm around the back of my neck, while I go for her waist. I can feel the muscles of her back through her jacket.
“I don’t want to get arrested,” I whisper, right at the moment she starts to grab my ass. “Home?”
She just nods.
We bolt home, and get home in an impressive time. As much as I rushed into kissing her, undressing is a different kind of thing. Even while still in my underwear, a multitude of cracks and scars that she wouldn’t know about show in clear view. She seemed to tolerate the ones over the left side of my face, but the rest of them?
“Come on, if you let me see your ass, what’s wrong with the rest?” Clara asks. She’s in her underwear too, and sitting cross-legged on the bed.
Then I remember that we’re both not-quite-human. Surely, she has had to see scars like mine.
I turn around, still feeling nervous. “It’s these,” I say. I don’t even gesture to the marks up and down my torso. “But…but you had to have seen things like them before, right?”
“Nope. This is a first. I think they’re sexy, though.” The blood rushes to my cheeks again, and elsewhere once I get a closer look at Clara. In her lacy white underwear, I swear that she’s a goddess sitting on my bed. I’ve never been so lucky. I never thought I would see all of her naked, lean muscle. But now I am.
“Same for you,” I say, leaning in to kiss her cheek. Hers also feels warm with blood.
I get in closer, to kiss her lips again and caress her thighs. My hands on them feels good enough to me, but I’d also want my face between them.
It’s hard to pull away and speak to her, but I manage to for a second. “So…any preference?”
Even in the heat of the moment, she just shrugs. But only for a bit, before she unhooks my bra and starts to kiss my bare flesh. She starts at the crack between my breasts, and goes lower and lower. I try to reach down and stroke her shoulders or her hair or anything, but I soon melt into the act for the first time in ages.
I still have a lot of questions about our kind. Magical demons or technological aliens? I can say for sure that Clara is pure magic.