F3 Anything for IrisbyTx Tall Tales©
(Author's note: This story is an entry into the third Friendly Anonymous Writing Challenge (FAWC). The true author of this story will be kept secret until Wednesday, November 20, 2013, when the author will be revealed in the comments section following this story. There are no prizes awarded during FAWC; this is simply a friendly competition.)
(Inspiration for this and all FAWC 3 stories was taken from a single picture, which can be found here)
(The tags for this story are FAWC, Exhibitionist, Voyeur, Role play, Diving, Island, Spying, Vacation, Resort, Business)
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This is an introduction to the story of Cam, Sierra and Iris. It's part one of three, so there's no conclusion here.
"Did you hear about this? 'RacineCorp, a division of Devereaux Holdings, reports 3rd quarter profits up 18%.' Eighteen percent? In a year like this?"
Sierra stopped swimming and settled onto the soft white sand beneath the cantilevered benches, glaring up at her boss. "Shut the hell up, Cam," she hissed. "You want to blow everything?"
Cameron realized she was correct, but could hardly let her know that. He closed the report and swung over to the edge, his feet dangling a few feet above the crystal clear Indian Ocean water. "Just reading the financial news, Sy. Nothing wrong with that is there?"
Sierra was still having a difficult time adjusting to this new Cameron. As driven as her, she'd never seen him without his suit and tie, even when working in the lab. At most he'd take off his coat. Even during testing, he'd worn a full wetsuit. He didn't socialize, outside of business events, and if she had to bet on it, she'd guess his pasty white skin hadn't seen direct sunlight in at least a decade. Still, she had to confess, he may not have been a hard body, but wearing nothing but a swim suit, he wasn't hard on the eyes.
The thought had her adjusting her red one-piece, which tended to ride up on her ass. She didn't have enough curves to keep the top or bottom in place. At least the design of the suit gave the impression of curves which were conspicuously absent.
"You were the one that insisted we don't talk about it. Don't even acknowledge their presence," she argued, holding her hand above her eyes to cut down on the tropical glare.
Cameron wanted to laugh at his partner in crime. 30% partner, and worth every damn dime of it. She was without parallel in the lab, but in public? She had the social graces of a rhino. "Look around, Sy. Not a soul in sight. The water taxis won't arrive until this afternoon. There aren't 20 people in the entire resort. Relax, skinny-minny."
Damn, she hated when he called her that. However she knew if she responded at all, it would only get worse. That was the nature of an engineering lab. Let 'em find your weak spot, and they keep picking at it, worrying it like a bone, until you broke. "I am relaxing. You should try the water. The visibility goes on forever. It's ideal for our purpose. Besides, if you don't get out of the sun, you're gonna burn to a crisp. Lot of good you'll be then."
He laughed, and slipped over the edge, dropping into the warm water not more than knee deep. He leaned over and dove outward, disappearing under the surface, coming up a good 15 meters out, shaking his shaggy hair. "You coming? Race you to our hut." He turned and cut through the water with a smooth easy stroke that surprised her.
Sierra considered everything a challenge. There was no way that Cam could out swim her. Not in this lifetime. He never saw the light of day. She competed in Ironman's across the country. Finished the Kailua-Kona in 9:12:22. She glanced up at her destination, and took off at full-speed. It wasn't more than 200 meters to the end of the row of stilted huts, so she'd have to work hard to catch him, what with the cheater's huge head start.
Passing the third hut, she was only half a dozen meters behind him, but try as she might, she couldn't make up that ground. She shifted to a new breathing stroke, alternating sides as she sped up her kick. The distance narrowed, three meters with two huts to go. She was tiring, but kept pushing. She knew how to fight through the pain, pulling alongside him, her hand brushing his calf. Only one cabin to go.
Then he was gone. She looked up, and saw him climbing onto the mini-dock of their 'suite on stilts', as Ibrahim had called it when he showed them around.
She grabbed the railing, breathing hard, trying to catch her breath. Cameron reached down to give her a hand up, but she ignored it. The asshole was smirking, not even breathing hard.
"How the fuck-"
"Make it a mile, and you'd kicked my butt, Sy. The 200 was my race in high-school." He shook his hair like a shaggy dog, reached up to the table on the main balcony, and grabbed a couple of towels, offering her one.
"I didn't know you swam competitively," she said, rubbing the towel through her hair.
He laughed again. "I imagine there's a lot you don't know about me, skinny-minny."
"I wish you wouldn't call me that," she blurted, before she could stop herself. Shit. Now she'd done it. She'd never hear the end of it.
Cameron wrapped the towel around his waist, and turned to climb the stairs up to the top balcony. "Sorry. I though you liked that name. You never said anything about it."
She followed on his heels, angry with herself for showing her weakness, and with him, suckering her into that race. "What woman wants to be reminded she's an androgynous stick? If I said anything in the lab, I'd never hear the end of it."
Cameron pulled the cork out of their welcome bottle of champagne, and poured them each a glass. "My apologies. And you're anything but androgynous, Sierra." He stood beside one of the two lounge chairs, and passed her the glass, taking his time looking her body over.
Sierra felt herself blushing while he obviously checked her out. "You said this would be professional," she reminded him.
"Absolutely. You're the one that said I should relax. What could be more relaxing than a leisurely swim, laying out on a deck in paradise, and sharing a bottle of champagne with my beautiful wife?" He grinned as he spoke, mischief in his eyes.
Sierra glanced at the large diamond on her finger. Diamonique, she corrected herself, 2 carat solitaire, with matching eternity wedding band. The $500 set looked like it was worth closer to $15 grand. She still couldn't believe she'd let him talk her into it. He was right of course, as he usually was, damn him. If things went as they hoped, there was little doubt someone would check up on their story. The 'honeymooning couple' cover had to stand up. What better way than to actually get married? She reminded herself it was only a piece of paper, with pre-nups in place, and they could bow out gracefully once their plans worked out.
"You're sure, hubby dear, this is the right suite?" she asked.
"You know as well as I do. It's gotta be at least 90% likely. The day after their board of directors selected this location, only one luxury suite was reserved. That one," he pointed across the water, at the building located on the end of the pier adjacent to theirs. From their deck, they could see only one other building, making it the most private out there. The one across the way was the same. About as secluded as they could get, on the property. Perfect for newlyweds, or an eccentric, reclusive multi-millionaire.
"But what if it isn't?"
Cameron shrugged. "We deal with it. We'll figure out a way. It's not like you and I aren't good at solving problems, right?"
She nodded, sipping her champagne, settling back into the comfortable lounge chair. He was right about that. Nobody better. It's why they worked so well together. They might cross swords a lot, but together they'd proven that no problem was insurmountable. That's why they were there.
"Want to give it a test?" Sierra asked, glancing over at their pride and joy.
"I thought you'd never ask," he said grinning, looking back over his shoulder to the huge canopy bed.
"Test Iris, you pig," she growled, stifling a grin of her own. "You said no shenanigans. You promised, Cam."
"I'm just teasing you, Sy. We're going to be in close contact for the next 5 days. If you act like you can't stand to be around me, you're going to blow our cover for sure."
Right again. Damn it. She stood, and opened her arms. "Come here, husband mine. One little kiss, and we'll take Iris for a spin." She could play along. It was only for show.
Cameron was surprised by her actions. He stood and gently pulled her into his arms. He looked down into her pretty eyes, so much better than those ugly glasses she habitually wore. "No more glasses for you. They hide your beautiful eyes."
His words gave her goose bumps. For a moment, he seemed sincere. Not joking, not teasing. His lips met hers, gentle, caressing. Hers parted automatically, and she felt the edge of his tongue brushing her lip. Her eyes closed as she surrendered for a moment, then his lips were gone. Cameron was looking down at her intently. "I'm not going to have difficult time acting like a newlywed. Are you?"
Sierra felt his firm hug, his body pressed against hers. The warmth of his skin heated where they met. "I can put on as good a show as you. It's only a few hours each day, right?"
His hand slid up her back, caressing the back of her neck, sending a shiver down her spine, before cupping the back of her head. She couldn't move, couldn't resist, when his face lowered over hers, his mouth descending, demanding, kissing her deeply, before sliding away to whisper in her ear. "As many as it takes, Sierra dear."
It took a moment for her to catch her breath, then she was sliding out of his grasp, turning to their dive bags. "Behave, Cam."
He watched her from behind, her tight little buns on display as she bent down and pulled out his Iris unit. She passed it back without looking and he took it from her. He checked the battery life, and pressed the three button diagnostics test combination. The LEDs cycled successfully.
He looked up, and she had her own unit in hand, checking settings, connections, making sure everything was set.
The Intelligent Respirator and Imaging System, IRIS, was their pride and joy. Three years of development, stemming from an argument the two of them had had about the utility of integrating smarts with an advanced shallow depth snorkeling mask. It had developed into so much more.
She looked up at him smiling. "It is beautiful, isn't it?"
Almost as beautiful as her, he thought. When she let it show. "You did an incredible job, Sy. I'll never deny that. Best work I've ever seen."
She wasn't about to argue. He was right. Many of the technology advances might be his, but the design and integration, the art and beauty, those were hers. "Why can't they see it?" she asked softly.
"They're idiots, with no vision. It's like nothing else, so it doesn't make sense to them. Horatios, all of them."
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. The banner over the entrance to their lab. Their motto.
"And you think Devereaux has that vision?" she asked, begging for reassurance. This was their last shot. They were broke, drained, credit cards maxed. This ten-thousand dollar last gasp was all they had left. It had to work. And if that meant playing house with Cameron Riddle for a few days, she was willing to go along.
"I'm positive. Have faith, Sierra. We've created something wondrous. Someone will recognize it for what it is."
She sprayed the interior glass with the defogger, passed it to him, and walked down to the water access deck. She slipped her feet into the swim fins, and jumped into the water. Kicking lightly, she lowered her head into the water, brushed her hair back, and pressed IRIS against her face. The protocol flashed in front of her eyes on the heads-up display. She breathed in deep, while the mask sealed itself, then she felt the valves reset as the pressure gauge indicated no leaks.
She ignored the splash at her side, as Cameron entered the water. "Iris, activate all systems." The gauges lit up, and the magic happened. She still found it hard to believe what Cam had managed, developing the artificial gills that provided the oxygen for their system. He'd somehow reduced the battery weight to barely a kilo, almost negligible underwater. With the power available, Sierra had been responsible for the electronics that ran the system. To her, it was a natural leap to create a state of the art, heads up display system, managed by a voice controlled AI. Thus, the imaging system component of their intelligent rebreather.
Sierra strapped the sleek pack to her back, only three inches high, with the large water intakes exposed on top. The strap went around her waist, and she tested her buoyancy. Unlike SCUBA tanks, IRIS didn't change in buoyancy. And it weighed about the same as a typical weight belt. More than 30 patents applied for, integrated into their baby. All but 6 of them hers. Of course the big two, the game changers, were Cam's.
She looked over at Cam, and saw his big grin. When he was playing with Iris, he always seemed like a big kid, the day-to-day stress all but absent, a different man exposed. The guy she'd met that first evening, arguing until dawn, designing a miracle on the back of a dozen napkins at iHOP. Who she'd rarely seen since.
"Iris, Channel 1. Stop."
Channel 1 active, Sierra. It always gave her goosebumps to hear her own voice, talking back to her.
"All systems go, Bossman?" she asked. Her voice was modulated and transferred to his unit.
"Ready, Patent-Lady. You wanna lead?"
"And have you stare at my butt for the next hour? I don't think so, perv."
He laughed. "Pull up alongside. Set a heading for 205°, 200 meters out. We'll head south from there."
"Iris-" she heard him speak, before he was silenced. Addressing Iris cut off the communications automatically during any commands.
"Iris, heading 205, distance 200 meters. Tracking Channel 1. Map lower quadrant, 400 meters, centered. Stop." She still occasionally forgot to say 'stop', after her commands. She knew the automatic command cutoff would kick in after 3 seconds of silence, but she preferred the precision of doing it right. Plus, the automatic command cutoff had been Cam's idea, and she hated giving him the satisfaction of using it.
Heading 205 set. 200 meter waypoint. Channel 1 in green, Sierra.
The map showed up in the bottom right of her mask, where a glance downward showed her placement on the map, as well as Cameron's and their target.
Swimming forward, she could see him out of the corner of her eye. The ultra-wide viewing area covered almost her entire face. Unlike a normal mask, the entire underwater world opened before her, a stunning panoramic view. She noticed movement to her left. "Cam, on our left."
He heard the "Cam, on our left," from Sierra, and it took a moment for him to differentiate it from Iris's responses. He looked that way. "Iris, identify."
The mask's AI tracked his eye movements, and one of the external cameras aimed at the moving object, zooming in, analyzing. Brackets surrounded the bright blue fish. Surgeonfish, Cam darling. The dark green brackets indicated more than 95% certainty. Knowing Sierra, that was probably closer to 99.9%.
'Darling?' He'd have to give Sy hell. He'd already warned her about Iris's flirting. Later.
"Beautiful," he said.
It was different in the water. They both knew it. They were like proud parents, and every argument, every dispute, ever little irritation disappeared. They had done this. Created it from scratch. Sierra felt his hand brush against hers. She opened her fingers, and his palm met hers, fingers interlocking, as they glided through the water in perfect sync.
They spent the hour they'd planned on, returning to their suite with 20% battery reserves, plus the 5 minute emergency compressed oxygen tank unspent. A glorious hour spent underwater, exploring their surroundings, and testing Iris's abilities.
Sierra pulled up to the dock, bracing herself with one hand. "Iris, thank you. Save recording. Save data. End dive."
You're welcome. Dive archived, visuals and data. Have a wonderful day, Sierra.
She pulled off her mask, and set it on the wooden deck, unstrapped the pack, and placed it beside Cameron's. She looked over at him, sure that her smile was at least as large as his.
Her legs kicked casually, keeping her high in the water, while they grinned at each other. They didn't need to say a word. It had been perfect. Sublime. He moved closer, and she leaned into him, accepting his embrace. She'd known it was coming. There was something about being in the water with Iris that broke down their barriers. In this idyllic setting, it felt stronger than ever.
"Thank you," he whispered, slipping his arm around her body, their legs scissoring together, his thigh brushing between her legs. She saw something new in him, an emotionality she'd never expected. His eyes glistened, staring into hers.
"No, Cameron. I should be thanking you. There's a million computer jockeys out there that could have done this. I'll never be able to thank you enough for letting me be part of it."
"Bullshit, Sy. No matter what else there is between us, there's no denying the perfect synergy we share. I couldn't have done it without you, and I doubt there are a dozen people in the country that could have accomplished what you have. Iris is pure genius."
Their bodies were pressed together, faces only inches apart. The constant movement of his leg between hers was driving her crazy. She could tell from the bulge in his suit, that her leg moving between his was doing the same. They were always close after each test, but this - this was different. They had done it. Achieved perfection in as much as anyone could. Fuck the world if they couldn't recognize it. Fuck Devereaux if he didn't have the vision. If they had nothing else, they had this moment. And they had Iris.
Cameron's gaze was intense, burning. "Si, I know I promised no shenanigans, but I need to kiss you now."
Before she could respond his lips were on hers, desperate, passionate, his teeth crushing her lip, his tongue fighting with hers. She felt his thigh pressed deep between her legs, no longer moving, only his exterior leg kicking, keeping them afloat. Hers was positioned the same, feeling his need pressed against her flesh. She closed her eyes, surrendering to the moment. It had nothing to do with their honeymoon cover, or the teasing playfulness of earlier. It was right. An extension of their perfect time together with Iris.
When he pulled away an eternity later, she felt his hand caress his face, before she opened her eyes. His conveyed concern. "I'm sorry, Sierra. That was unacceptable behavior on my part. I can only plead temporary insanity. Please forgive me."
She smiled. "A shared insanity, Cam. It's Iris."
"I know. Still-"
"Gimme a kiss, hubby dear, and you're forgiven."
She enjoyed the grin on his face, as he leaned in and gave her a teasing little kiss, which lasted only a couple of seconds. "Forgiven?" he asked.
"Always. I don't think I'll ever be able to stay mad at the father of our girl, not for long."
They moved apart, and made their way to the ladder. Cameron watched Sierra climb up first, hoping a few moments respite would hide the evidence of just how strongly the last few minutes had affected him. He felt guilty, for pressing the limits, beyond what he'd promised. By the time he climbed out, he wasn't too embarrassed. They rinsed themselves off, and their gear, put the batteries on the charger, and connected the Iris units to the computer, dumping the results of their test.