Belinda: Works in ProgressbyInfl8orama©
I look out the window and I see a new world, much the same as it was before...but always different. Always changing. I still have no real idea what I am, though I have been here for just short of a century. My physical form, that of a tall, voluptuous plastic female Canis lupus morph with a luscious cascade of hair in ringlets halfway down my back, is beautiful by some standards, caricaturish or even cartoonish by others. My spirit...well, that's the riddle, isn't it?
I don't want for creature comforts: the male who created my physical body in a fit of...well, "lustful mad science" just about covers it...endowed me with more than just outward charms. He also made sure I had considerable wits about me. I have long since bought and sold the Fauna Club, where I worked during my formative years. Now I have a few comfortable places to hang my hat, including this office. I have developed a professional life that I quite enjoy, and that provides for my few real needs. Frankly, most of my fee schedule provides a gatekeeping function more than anything else; while I would never be so presumptuous as to say it "keeps the riffraff out" (wealth does not guarantee character), I can say that it makes my services aspirational, and sets certain expectations. Also, it keeps me in hats.
The intercom sounds. "Belinda," says my secretary, "a Paul Madrigal is here to see you." My only appointment of the day is a college student--a big cuddly Panthera tigris morph male, from his photos--whose friends probably put him up to this. I don't get many his age, and those few usually have arrangements made by well-meaning rich fathers. His background check revealed surprisingly little, except for good scores in accounting classes and a decidedly working-class origin. So either he saved up money from the world's best door-to-door sales job, or his buddies pooled their savings on some sort of silly bet.
"Thank you, Julie. Please send him in," I say pleasantly. She does, and a huge orange-and-black striped cat enters, looking self-conscious as so many do. Typically these days, PT males his age come in two flavors: gawky things with big clumsy paws unable to get out of their own way, and jocks.
I'll work with either, but I've always more enjoyed the ones who start out clumsy. Oh, Nikolai, this one reminds me a little of you, I think fondly. I stand, a bit formally, but relaxed, and let my natural smile expand a tiny bit. "It's nice to meet you, Paul," I say. As he crosses the room--timidly for such a big powerful cat--I offer my paw, which he takes in his with unnecessary gentleness. But he means it, and I am flattered as always. Hey, it's sweet. I'm a sucker for sweet.
"Um...likewise, Belinda--may I call you Belinda?" he asks. Poor dear. He's petrified he's going to do something stupid. I feel like I should just tell him to and get it over with, but somehow I don't think he'd find any humor--or comfort--in that idea.
Instead, I reassure him. "Of course," I say, patting his paw with my free one. "Please, have a seat." I pull away smoothly, and resume my nicely-upholstered dark-stained bamboo executive chair, behind the matching desk. I like this ensemble: traditional-looking furniture sets certain unspoken boundaries which I can open at my discretion--and bamboo is quite sustainable as a building material. Just because I'm constructed from expensive polymers doesn't mean I don't like nature.
Paul sits in the substantially cushioned chair in front of me. From his posture, he clearly expects the chair to swallow him up, and seems a bit happily surprised when it doesn't. He's only stocky, not grossly overweight, but he is a tiger, and tigers spend most of their time constrained by a world designed around smaller people. As it is, he's a good foot and a half taller than I am, and doesn't lose a lot of that height when seated. "So," I continue. "Tell me about yourself."
He's staring. He swallows hard. It's cute, really. I smile inwardly. "It's okay," I say. "I like to get to know people." It's true--even more so when they don't know themselves, as is clearly the case here.
Paul clears his throat--nerves, not sinus trouble. "Well, I--" he starts, then stops. His voice still has a tiny bit of a squeak amid the growing rumble. "There's not really much to tell," he says, sounding a bit sheepish.
"Everyone has a story," I say. It's true. "You're still in the introduction, but I bet it has the makings of a happy one. Maybe I can help: what would you most like people to know about you?"
He swallows hard, looks away for a second. When he looks back to me, his bright green eyes dart to my ample bustline, covered demurely as it is in a tailored blue wool jacket and tan silk blouse. Well, he's still definitely male. They don't linger before meeting mine, though, even though he still looks totally lost. "I...I would like people to know," he says, stalling a bit, "that...that I'm a nice guy. I'm...nice to spend time with..."
Good. He not only is worried about my opinion of him, but cares about it himself. I figured by his scent that he wasn't bad to be around when he walked in the door. Besides confusion and shyness, the only other things he smells like are Johnson's Baby Shampoo and some sort of generic conditioner. I've had clients his age come in reeking of Tag or Axe, which I've learned heralds the coming of either some really excruciating sessions, or in some extreme cases, me booting the client immediately. After all, I can afford to turn people away now and again.
I nod, feeling my smile warm a little. I like this one already. "Of that, I have no doubt at all, Paul." He blushes even more than he had been already. "So what do you like to do?" I ask.
"Oh, you know, hang out, play video g...um...softball, weightlifting, and stuff." He says.
"Video games?" I ask. I don't let people hide guilty pleasures around me. After all, I AM a guilty pleasure!
"Um...well, not as much anymore..." he says, hesitating.
"Paul, there are no wrong answers with me, except dishonest ones," I say, gently but firmly. It might interest you to know that I play video games from time to time, though generally just the casual ones, not the high-end immersive stuff like Conquerors or SimUniverse."
"Oh," he says, a little surprised. "It's just usually girls don't think too much of guys who don't, you know, get out of the house..."
"It takes all kinds. If you love playing video games, then play. Maybe you'll find someone who likes them too, and doesn't mind you pulling an all-nighter every so often."
He smiles unconsciously, and the way those big green eyes widen just a bit, I can tell I've just introduced him to a new possibility. "As long as you pay some attention to her when she's not playing."
"Yeah," he says, perhaps a little dreamily. "I mean, that makes sense."
"So, you enjoy playing video games," I continue. "Any in particular?"
He nods. "Mostly network puzzle games. I mean, I do pretty well in Team Conquerors--mostly map-based and not first-person--but...I like puzzles." Oh, boy, I think. He's barely drinking age and he not only loves to solve puzzles, but he plays games where you have to take the long view and not just shoot your way out. Does he even know how much of a catch that makes him?
"I see," I answer, pleasantly noncommittal. I don't want Paul to think I'm testing him--I mean, I'm not, entirely. Still, I do reward him by scooting my chair around a little bit, and...okay, maybe dipping just a tiny bit forward as I reach into a drawer in my desk to pull something out. My blouse is buttoned and tied at the top, so I'm not showing anything off, but...I've noticed that with some guys it's the suggestion that matters. "Seen one of these before?" I put it on the desk.
"Rubik's Cube," he says. "Classic." True enough. They've been around longer than I have.
"How do you solve it?" I ask.
"Well, it's already solved," he says without thinking. Yes, our boy does have a keen grasp of the obvious.
"True enough," I answer, "but when it is scrambled, can you unscramble it?"
"Well, sure," he says, a tiny bit of pride in his voice. "There's a bit of group theory involved, but really, you don't have to know the math--just make sure that you know which edge colors you have facing where, and eventually it just falls into place."
"So you don't just peel off the stickers?" I ask, teasing.
"Ever use the flathead screwdriver solution?"
"N...well, when I was a kid."
I laugh. "Fair enough."
He chuckles a bit, and relaxes just a little too. "So..."
"Is it okay if I ask some questions about you?" he asks, tensing, nervous again that I will disapprove.
"Of course, Paul. Frankly, I'd be worried if you didn't." After all, I take the "dating" part of the job fairly seriously. Otherwise, it's just tab-A, slot-B. Even my life's too short for much of that.
"Well..." he begins, uncertainly. I think "uncertain" describes Paul to a T at this point. "Is it true that you're..."
I wait for one of the obvious conclusions to the question.
"...inflatable?" Well, that wasn't so tough, was it?
I nod, unsurprised. "Yep. Through and through."
His expression takes on a layer of unabashed awe. "But...how?" he continues? "I mean, how do you move...do you eat? Do you have muscles, or bones or...how do you counterweight yourself if...?"
I raise a hand for calm. "It's a long story. The short form is that my skin is literally a 'smart polymer,' designed for extreme damage resistance and self repair. I don't need a traditional skeleton, because I have an internal structure that allows me to control flexion, tension, and balance various stresses." I notice he hangs on every word, amazed and comprehending both. Aha! He's really an engineer at heart. "I do eat, strangely enough, but mostly for pleasure. My body does actually metabolize food, but using artificial microbes instead of chemical reactions." (Or real microbes, but I don't dwell on animal digestive processes, because ewww.)
"So are you..." Paul struggles for an applicable term... "real?" he manages.
I raise an eyebrow.
"Um...no offense," he says hastily.
"None taken, Paul, but yes, I consider myself pretty real. I like strawberry ice cream and shy men, and I think those and other feelings are deep and complex enough that the fact that I was designed and built in a lab can't explain them all."
Paul considers this. "Wow," he finally says, after a long silence.
I smile. "Pretty much wow," I agree.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean for those questions to be so....technical."
"No big deal. My body is a little strange to most people. Curiosity is natural."
He relaxes visibly. "I just worry about...you know, offending you, annoying you...I mean, this is kind of a big deal to me."
I feel a grin coming on. "Good," I say, meaning it. "You know what? If you'd like, we can continue to get to know each other over dinner."
"You mean, like a date?" he asks.
"Very much like a date," I say. "Most of my clients prefer some interaction as prelude to...well, getting right down to business. Stimulating conversation, you could say, even if it's not necessarily all about sex."
"I'd like that very much, Belinda," he says. He's using my name. That's a good sign. He's getting comfortable. From "comfortable," we can proceed to "having a good time," followed by...well, whatever we decide.
"Say, seven tonight?" I venture.
"Seven...seven tonight," he says. He sounds like he's trying to be patient the night before Christmas. I like that. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but it's still flattering.
"So...What do you enjoy here?"
He shrugs. "I...to tell you the truth, I've never been here before." He cleans up well. He wore a simple white shirt and red tie this afternoon. Now he's wearing a black silk suit, light blue shirt, and pale yellow tie--nothing showy, but I'm impressed that not only does he have more than just the one (you'd be surprised), but he knows what fits him and how to dress. We're at D'angelo's, an Italian place off El Prado and Westshore that doesn't advertise. It doesn't have to. It's priced accordingly. This was his idea. "I thought you might like it, though."
I smile. "It's very...intimate." I say. "Trying to wine and dine me?"
Paul sputters a little. "Well, that is...I just thought it would be a nice place to talk."
Oh, shoot. "I didn't mean to tease you too much, Paul. It's a very sweet gesture...and it is nice and quiet." Like most high-quality if-you-have-to-ask restaurants, D'angelo's is full every night, including tonight, but the building is designed to absorb a lot of noise. Considering my sensitive hearing, I like that a lot. "And you're willing to try new things."
His eyes smile along with the rest of his face, boyishly. "I'm in a five-star restaurant with a gorgeous woman," he says. "Who wouldn't want to try that?"
My turn to blush. Yes, I still blush. Just need a reason. "Well, I'm in a five-star restaurant with a sweet handsome man," I say softly. "So that's a good start."
He chuckles, still self-consciously, but with an unmistakable warmth.
When the waiter arrives, Paul asks for his wine recommendation. The payoff is a not-terribly-expensive pinot noir with a surprisingly lusty bouquet and a warmth that goes right to my toes. (No, I can't actually get drunk, but I can enjoy a good wine. I'm not sure how. I just do.) Before his chicken marsala and my penne alla vodka arrive, I return from the ladies' room with a few buttons loosened (I've changed too, into a dark purple open-necked top with pearls, and black tailored pants. The blue suit would have made me look like his boss, and I don't know if he's into that yet). I get the customary stares out and back, though I have to marvel. If anyone knows what I do for a living, they disapprove a lot less than just thirty or forty years ago. Of course, I'm not dressed like a stereotypical escort. And while I am not a solid anthropomorph, I'm wearing a little light powder to cover the shine of my plastic skin, and one has to look pretty closely in this dim light to even note that I don't have any fur.
Paul notices the cleavage, and while it definitely catches his eye and elicits a smile, he doesn't let on otherwise. I like discretion--and appreciation. We talk about his family and friends over a delightful dinner, and he responds very well to my flirting, particularly the batted eyelashes. He also picks up the rather sizable check without batting an eye, which surprised me, as we hadn't gotten around to discussing that (I often go dutch on the first meeting with a client, believe it or not; after all, it's tax-deductible for me now). He gallantly walks me out to my car, holding the door for me on the way out. I had already decided that the night would definitely continue, so as I open my door, I turn and reach up to peck him on the cheek, popping my other card into his coat pocket. "See you around 10?" I whisper warmly.
He nods and smiles.
At exactly 10 pm, I hear a knock at my door. A peek through the peephole reveals a hesitantly hopeful tiger. I open up, smiling at his widening eyes. I've changed into a black evening gown that plays up my curves, and sets off my lavender skin. I've washed off the powder to let myself shine.
"Do come in," I say, my voice warm and a little husky. What can I say? I like tigers.
Paul enters, and I lightly push the door closed behind him. He drinks in the sight of me appreciatively. I've seen men leer, and this is not it. His look is awestruck, with a chaser of pure joy. I do a little pirouette for him, and then lead him to the couch. "Can I get you a drink?" I ask.
"Please. For some strange reason, my mouth has gone dry," he says. That would have been mildly funny even if he hadn't meant it mostly seriously. I make no note whatsoever of his erection, the bulge visible through his trousers. It's been there on and off since we first met earlier, but it wouldn't have been polite to point it out before now.
I giggle, and bring two glasses of Inniskillin. The 2098 Riesling is possibly the best dessert wine on the planet. We sip and chat. So far, he's treating me like something between a real first date and a schoolboy crush. It's sweet, really...and far too charming. I rest a paw lightly on his arm, and he leans close, his muzzle nearly touching mine. Our eyes meet, lingering. His breath is hot on my lips, the scent of the sweet ice wine, fresh mint, and a nice natural smell filling my nose, joined by the soft musk of his arousal.
Here I should mention that in my chosen vocation, every kiss is special. It has to be, or there is no point in doing it. I am not a "fast food" sex worker, and while I look like a sex toy, I only pretend to be one for certain of my clients. I am a professional, and when I kiss you, I want you to remember it happily for a long time. It's part of the experience. However, generally I accept that I'm not going to think too much about a typical kiss once it ends. I do mean to enjoy it while it lasts, though, and surprisingly often, I am lucky enough to get what I want.
I will remember this first kiss for a long time. I could feel Paul's strong, racing pulse in his cheek as I touched it, and feel a kind of warm electricity on my lips. It lasts for...a nice long time, before we both break and gasp.
"Wow," Paul says. I nod and smile agreement, and I'm not kidding. After a second helping, and a third, my paws find the buttons on his shirt, and free his broad, fluffy chest. He arches his back, eyes closed and face rapt as I run my fingers through his ruff fur. "That feels soooo good, Belinda..." he says.
I nuzzle his neck and am rewarded with a deep rumble. Then he tenses. "I...Belinda," he says, "I...need to tell you something."
I stop, reluctantly. "Of course." I can't help hoping this isn't going to be some horrific revelation that stopped the night in its tracks. I wait expectantly.
I try not to breathe the massive sigh of relief. Not only would "Is that all?" be insensitive here, it would be totally unprofessional. So would the other response on the tip of my tongue ("Not for long, cutie.") Instead, I say, "Don't worry about a thing. This is your night, Paul." I run a paw along his jawline.
"Thank you, Belinda...it's just that..." He blushes furiously, his face slowly growing forlorn. "I'm afraid I'm going to screw this up."
I put a paw on his chest and smile at him. I'm kneeling on the couch and he's sitting, so we see eye-to-eye. "You won't," I say. "The only things I ask of you are to respect me and enjoy yourself, and so far, you seem to be doing really well at both of those."
"That's all?" he asks, cautiously brightening.
"But...what about you?"
"What about me?" I ask, only a little puzzled. Usually, clients ask questions like this after sex.
"I get to spend the night with a big strong cuddly tiger who seems to underestimate himself. My job is to respect you, enjoy myself, and to see that you have a spectacular night." I rub his chest a little, and he slowly starts to relax.
Gradually, paying close attention to his body language while pretending not to, I let my naughty little paw make its way skillfully down his body, past his slightly soft belly, to his belt buckle. I feel his erection graze my wrist through the silk of his trousers. He gasps.
"Shall I help you out of these?" I ask. He nods, smiling nervously. With practiced paws, I slowly undo his belt, unfasten his pants, unzip...and his stiff member springs free. It apparently worked its way through the flap in his black briefs at some point, though it almost looks like it could have ripped right through if it had wanted to. I'm not exactly a size queen, but he is big enough to frighten lesser women. It's big enough around that I am just barely able to get my fingers all the way around, as I stroke experimentally. I know better to continue, at least while we're both still dressed. Paul kicks his shoes off, and after I slide his pants down to reveal a good strong pair of legs, I snuggle up next to him. "Better?"