It was a very intimate thing, sitting on his shoulder like that, she realized. Through her jeans she could feel the cordage of his neck and shoulders and the hard ridge of his collarbone. At her elbow was an ear the size of a small plate, and his loose hairs tickled her shoulder. In the silvery light of the sun through the cloud cover, his hair was not a vibrant blond, but a dull sandy flax. This was the first time that she noticed the grays, though, sprouted up here and there at his temples.
Brooke set the palm of one hand on the great expanse of his shoulder, and the other at the nape of his neck as he began to walk again. Jack seemed to walk with deliberate care so not to jostle her around too much, taking his time finding his footing along the dirt path.
“When was the last time you shaved?” she asked.
“About three months ago… with a pair of garden pruners. Was a pain in the ass.”
“What if I helped clean you up a little bit? Maybe that would make you feel a little bit more like the man you used to be.”
She watched it in his eyes as he considered this. “You’d do that? I mean, I’d pay you for it, and…”
“You don’t have to pay me,” she laughed. “I’d do it because of the good and sufficient reason that I wanted to.”
“Oh. I, uh… Thank you.”
She looked down, spying another white sheet clinging to his hips. “I could help you make something a little sturdier to wear, too. I’m not too handy with a needle and thread, but I could at least try sewing a couple of those together with a proper tie so you don’t feel like you’re wearing a piece of tissue paper.”
He laughed, looking down at himself and grabbed the “hem” of the thing as a gesture. “To be honest, I normally don’t wear anything if the weather’s good like this. I rigged this up when your dad came ashore. It’s not the most comfortable thing in the world, but…”
Brooke’s face turned beet red as she imagined him going about his business completely naked. She imagined those thighs, those hips, and the thing between his legs that she’d caught a glimpse of the evening before. Suddenly, her brain took a turn for the naughty and she couldn’t stop herself. Jack was in her mind’s eye, now with an erection standing long and firm, high above her head…
“Anyways, don’t worry about it. You’ve only got a week.”
His voice snapped her out of it, but she still shifted her seating on him a little to ease the building discomfort between her own legs.
Brooke cleared her throat. “OK, yeah, sure thing.” Then: “I, uh, I think I’d like to be put down now, if you don’t mind…”
He wrapped his big, strong fingers gently around her and lifted her from his shoulder to set her onto the ground. “There you go.”
She laughed nervously. “Thank you.”
“I um… it was a little high for me up there. Good to have my feet on solid ground again, you know what I mean? Anyways, I think I need to use the restroom.”
Jack nodded. “I should too.”
“I’ll be back in a few minutes!”
And like that she took off for the house, still aching in her belly for release. When she looked behind her, she saw him remove the sheet, throw it over his shoulder, and step off the path. “Why does he have to be so hot?” she whispered to herself, ripping her eyes from the sight of him doing something so banal as taking a piss, and darted into the nearest bathroom.
Thank god there were no Amos terminals in the bathrooms.
Brooke looked at herself in the mirror. Her face and shoulders were framed by deep brown hair, her cheeks and slim shoulders sprinkled with faint freckles. She was very obviously aroused: face flushed, eyes dark, and even the way she stood seemed to accentuate her modest chest and rear end. She didn’t even know she was doing that!
Quickly she shimmied her pants and panties off, and laid herself down onto the floor. She sighed when her fingers traced her own opening, stroking the lips and circling her throbbing clit. Distantly, she couldn’t believe she was doing this. Masturbating in somebody else’s house, over a man she had hated 24 hours ago. This is fucked up, she thought as she dipped two fingers in.
Brooke bit down on her lip as she stroked and fingered herself, afraid of making even the slightest sound. Her mind was buzzing with image after image of debauchery; she imagined his massive cock in his hand, pressed to her belly, oozing sticky rivulets of clear pre-cum. She imagined that deep voice of his, grunting and growling as he pumped his fist around himself, looking down at her and rumbling sweet, dirty nothings…
She didn’t take long; she never did. The smoldering fire in her belly suddenly ignited into full-on flames, and her hips bucked against her own little fingers. Brooke moaned in her throat, not daring to open her mouth as her orgasm washed over her sending every nerve ending abuzz with white-hot pleasure.
A few moments later and she lay there, panting, staring up at the ceiling and wishing that it was him.
She put her pants back on, washed her smell off her hands; threw some water on her face. She still looked flushed, and her hair was a little messy, but Brooke at least hoped that the worst of it was over. Jack Ilyin would provide masturbatory fodder for her for years to come, she knew – but making any moves was simply out of the question.
Mostly, this was because Brooke was still a virgin. Not for any particular reason, she just never got around to it, and never found the right guy to do it with. She’d fooled around some – she knew her way around a cock – but there was something about initiating sex that didn’t come naturally to her, and that left her to rely on the impetuses of other men. And when you relied on a man’s impetus for sex, it was always a gamble on whether or not it would be at all worth your time.
Of course, there was, too, the fact that Jack may not be emotionally stable enough for sex. He’d gone from being a type-a socialite to a completely isolated hermit literally overnight – and that also surely meant the sudden cessation of his sex life, with likely no cessation of a sex drive. Suddenly, the thought occurred to her that he had regularly been doing during her stay what she just did – slipping into the sound-dampened obscurity of the trees around the property and gotten himself off to lecherous imaginings of his small, young guest. The idea made her heart race with both excitement and unease. She was acutely self-aware now, moreso than she’d been at any point before, of how her ass fit into these jeans, of the way this bra cupped her breasts, of the way she might have been walking or talking or looking at him. Had she been unconsciously showing tells of attraction that she didn’t know she was experiencing? Had he noticed?
And besides, he was huge! It would never work, she – nor any other woman – would be able to give the man what he so deeply craved: stuffing his cock inside a tight, warm hole. She didn’t have a hole big enough to accommodate… well, any of him.
So that was that, then.
Brooke realized that she’d spent altogether too long in the bathroom and decided that the most sensible thing was to go back out there and finish their walk.
“If I can’t be professional, I can at least be platonic,” she chanted under her breath. “Strictly platonic.”
They did finish their walk around lunch time, and with no further mishaps. It was beginning to be a struggle to keep her heart rate down around him now, and she was vigilant about finding any signs in his face or body language that might tell her he was experiencing the same thing she was. So she could nip it in the bud, of course.
The other problem was that she found her eyes constantly wandering to his hips, to see if she could catch a glance of an outline through the sheet – which she did several times as he walked. This was not at all what she needed, but Brooke just couldn’t help herself.
“I think I might take my lunch upstairs,” she said when they approached the house again. “I should catch up on some emails and send a note to my dad.”
Jack looked a little disappointed, but he nodded. “Of course, go ahead.”
“By the way, is the lack of cell part of the curse too?”
Jack laughed good and hard at that. “God, no! I worked a deal with the county to keep my island off the service map for privacy reasons. But feel free to use the wifi for making calls.”
Brooke laughed too, blushing. Why didn’t she think of that? “OK, can do. I’ll see you in a few hours.”
Amos made her a rye sandwich, which wound up putting the ones she made to shame, much to her chagrin. Going over emails over lunch was a welcome distraction though, and she found herself calming down.
Googling led her to some interesting reading on the magical significance of the number 7. It was the number of ‘the seeker’, of finding truth and seeing things how they are, not as they appear to be. It was also, apparently, the number of ‘feminine energy’. Hmmm.
“Amos, can you display the timer on the computer screen? Down in the corner.”
“Of course, Miss Foster.”
A small window appeared above the tray icons. It read 25:13:04. At the beginning, it would have read 777:77:77. Seven sevens.
Brooke frowned and pouted, wracking her brain for another angle of approach. On a scrap piece of paper, she wrote the numbers out, then added them together. 49. She glanced back to the numerology website that she had open, deciding to put the 4 and 9 together to make 13. Well, 13 was a pretty witchy number, right? Brooke added them again to make 4.
The number 4 was supposedly masculine – a strong, trustworthy, balanced number.
Just for fun, she typed Jack’s name and date of birth into a numerology generator, and was met with some entertaining, if not eerily coincidental results. According to the site, Jack had 11 as his number, and was therefore special – charismatic, charming, a born leader destined for greatness. But even the blurb on the website warned that without a higher sense of purpose, he would fall victim to the cult of his own personality.
Brooke sighed. She didn’t understand any of this magic stuff, but there did appear to be a process at work. If only she could find out what it was.
At around four o’clock, the Amos terminal blinked its little green light and informed her that the weekly mail delivery had arrived, and that she had better head downstairs to inspect some of it.
When she got there, Jack was standing in the courtyard, pacing in a slow, purposeful circle with his tablet in hand. Amos was holding a fat stack of envelopes in one hand, with an opened letter in his other, positioning it just so in front of his face. What looked like a camera flash appeared from the green light, and Jack nodded. “Good resolution, thanks,” he grunted, eyes already scanning his screen. She quickly put two and two together and realized that this was his way of being able to read the otherwise tiny mail.
“Another letter?” she asked expectantly.
“Yes,” the giant said, and Amos handed her the paper, which she proceeded to inspect.
“Mr. Ilyin,” it started off. Not nearly the same haughty pretension as the first letter, she noticed. “I hate to say it, but I’m beginning to pity you. You’ve been out of the limelight since the night of your 35th birthday, having made no progress with your predicament. I’m disappointed. I thought one of our generation’s greatest minds would have been able to solve what is truly one of the simplest puzzles that I could have laid out before him, but I see no evidence of your making any headway at all. You’re a more miserable man than I could have imagined!“
Jack growled as she read aloud. “The fucker’s really getting off on this,” he muttered.
“She’s starting most of her sentences with ‘I’,” Brooke noted. “Which tells me that she’s pretty full of herself as well.”
The giant snorted, and she continued.
“I’m not heartless, however, so I’ve thrown you a bone,” Brooke read carefully. “There is a chance for you to set things right and get it all back.” Her eyes widened at the next part: “But the clock’s still ticking. Time is running out. Yours truly…“
The pair stared at each other.
“The countdown,” they said in unison.
Jack thought for a very brief moment, but quickly welled up with frustration. His free hand balled into a fist and he looked like he wanted to throw the tablet to the ground – instead he settled for kicking in one of the last pieces of intact glass on the ground floor with a snarl. “She didn’t even tell me what to do!” Jack shouted. “Khrenoten’…!”
“Hey, hey, hey!” Brooke called up to him, standing her ground. “We’re going to figure this out, alright?”
He steeled himself, remembering that there was a smaller, much more fragile human being so close. His great chest heaved a few deep breaths.
“You’re not going to let her win.”
Jack let out another breath slowly, loudly, before lowering himself to sit on a large planter and calm down. After a minute, he nodded in agreement. “I’m not going to let her win,” he repeated with a mutter.
“Now let me go back upstairs to see what more I can do.”