No Such ThingbyHighland Fox©
A very good friend is a biochemist.
That probably says as much about me as it does about her. She spends far too much time in the library, and has the social skills of an albatross. On the other hand, she's about as elegant as one -- and I mean an albatross soaring the Southern Ocean. I'm far from sure she realised it, but I find her intelligence and grace appealing.
When I can get her out of the library, anyway.
Here's the other thing. Most girls I meet are interested in what I call trivia. You know -- clothes, make-up, rom-coms. Cathy is interested in two things: biology, and saving the planet. I'm pretty sure she doesn't own any make-up. I love her to bits, but have more sense than to try to distract her. Recently she'd been spending more time than usual in her lab up at the uni, running simulations, and being very close-mouthed about what she was working on. In some ways that's not unusual. Scientists, in this publish-or-perish world, often don't give away too much until they publish. It had looked like she was working on two things at once.
All this being said, then, the last person I expected to find on my doorstep, unannounced, was Cathy. The additional surprise was her friend and lab colleague, Sarah. I knew Sarah slightly but only really through Cathy. The three of us had had coffee together a few times when they just had to get out of the lab, but that was about it. I certainly liked Sarah, and she was also a welcome visitor. I did know that the two shared some social and political views. What I didn't know was how deeply they shared those views.
Cathy stood there, blonde hair tied back, with a bag and a box, with Sarah a step behind her, carrying a small rucksack. The box contained real ale. I smelled Indian takeaway from the other. I can cook. Cathy has always had other priorities.
Both looked slightly flushed, like they'd been running. Cathy does go running -- she says it helps clear her mind -- but not in her usual study clothes, which are usually just thrown on to keep her warm and decent. "Party time," she said. "Just the three of us."
I raised both eyebrows and let them in, Sarah looking a little nervous. Cathy, I decided, was merely covering it better. They left their shoes by the door.
"I hope you're not busy?"
"Nothing that can't wait. What are we celebrating?"
"Earth Day," said Sarah
I'd pretty much overlooked it. "There's something to celebrate?" We've had this discussion. There isn't a lot to celebrate. We are, as another friend put it to me recently, "fucked".
"There is now. You have plates?" She held up the bag.
I sorted out the essentials. Cathy knows my preferences when it comes to food. Hers are similar, and she'd compromised.
"So, what's the celebration?"
Cathy looked smug.
"Have you heard of Lysistrata?"
"Fictional character in a play by Aristophanes. Ends the Peloponnesian War by persuading the women on both sides to refuse sex until the men make peace."
"That's her. An inspiration to us all. Us, in particular." Now she looked really smug.
"What have you two cooked up?"
"Okay, we came round for four reasons," said Cathy. "The first is to celebrate. The second is that we need you to help us write a document. I'm a decent biochemist, but I'm a not a great writer, unless it's an academic paper. You can write for Scotland. We also need you to hide something."
"That's three reasons."
"I'm coming to number four, as it were. We've been cooking." When Cathy talks about "cooking" she means strange molecules in her lab.
"And what's on the menu?"
"We made four chemicals. The first inhibits female libido. You take it, you just won't be sexually interested. The second is a bit different. This one works in males. You can be sexually interested, even intensely randy, but you won't be able to get it up. Blue balls turn purple. You get the idea."
"Not half as evil as some of the bastards we've arranged to get dosed up with it," said Sarah, grimly.
I already knew that some of Cathy's friends online make Earth First! look like a Greenpeace fundraising weekend.
"And the other two chemicals?"
"Are antidotes. Well sort of. They only work if you actually genuinely like the person you're proposing to get it on with. Anyone who got married for the money may have a permanent problem. At least, the women will. We're still not sure about the male one. We're the only people who know this, because we only just found out."
This was obviously a leading statement.
"And how did you find out, Cathy?"
"We had to do a human trial. Understandably we couldn't just go and ask for volunteers. We'll probably go to jail if they track us down anyway. While our friends will be happy to keep quiet, and all of them are complicit anyway, we give ourselves fifty-fifty odds of not going to jail. On the bright side, that's fifty-fifty odds of being heroines of the environmental movement. Still, conspiracy, poisoning, blackmail. It adds up, and I like my lab."
"You're getting sidetracked. I'd figured this out. The antidote."
"Neil." The girls exchanged worried looks. "We OD'd on the antidote."
"We need you to write something for us anyway," said Sarah.
"And how many men do you think either of us know in the real world, never mind that we're actually attracted to?" Sarah shot Cathy a look. I wasn't sure this had been meant to be part of my knowledge base.
"So, we bought you dinner. But I really hope you're not tired."
"Because you are going to get absolutely no sleep tonight!"
The prospect of getting wrapped up in their little criminal conspiracy, whatever my personal views on their aims, which I could predict, given some of the coffee shop conversations we'd had, had not done wonders for my libido. The prospect of giving these two what they wanted was another matter.
Let's get dinner over with first, I thought.
"I assume you have a list of people you're going to be hitting with this little medication of yours?"
The women exchanged looks again. "Wrong tense," said Sarah.
"The people in Planet Always have that in hand. They've been at it a week or so, one way or another."
I'd never heard of Planet Always. "And now you issue demands?"
"No," said Cathy. "In a few days we issue demands. Give them a few days to realise they're all impotent. Then we issue demands."
"Are you going to tell me who you've got to take this stuff?"
"A few er..." said Cathy.
"Thousand," admitted Sarah.
"...thousand of the more odious perpetrators. Oil and mining execs. Politicians. Assorted decision makers who've been involved in wrecking the planet. A few media moguls, although I doubt that Aussie guy will be able to get it up anyway. Right-wing think tanks. The water cooler supply in the Pentagon and a few other places. It's going to be a bad week for the world's conservatives."
"How big is your network?"
"Need to know," said Sarah. "Actually, even we don't need to know that. We're just the chemists, but most of our media people are known, so we need someone good who's less likely to be backtraced."
"We've been keeping you in reserve." Cathy smiled happily. "Did they put more chilli in this than usual, or is it warm in here?"
"I think it's you," I said. It wasn't that warm, and the chilli level was about normal.
"I did wonder." Cathy removed her jumper, revealing a thin top underneath. She was wearing a bra, but the top was probably a size too small. My cock twitched.
"You're not the only one who's too hot," said Sarah, following suit. "We need to recalculate the antidote dose."
"Evidently," I said. Sarah wasn't wearing underwear, and it showed.
I was wondering if these two were idiots or geniuses. I settled for mad scientists or, to put it another way, both.
"So, what's the plan for after dinner?"
"After dinner, we need to get our manifesto written up," Sarah told me. "We've got a draft. You just need to go over it. We have a few days, as I say, so that's a bit less urgent than our other problem."
"Unless we get the right hormones in our systems, the antidote is just going to keep making us randier and fucking randier, and we need to be able to concentrate. But there is a complicating factor."
Another one, I thought.
"Neil, we're geeks," said Sarah. If we were guys we'd be writing computer programs or hacking them. We're not. We both have PhDs in biology, and we both bounced from undergrad to postgrad to doctorate without breaks, but our knowledge of biology is, well...."
"Very much restricted to the laboratory," Cathy explained.
I looked from one to the other over a jumble of reusable plastic takeaway containers.
"Both of you?"
Cathy actually looked embarrassed. "Both of us. I suppose it would have been nicer in some ways to not feel bounced in to this by some chemical we took, but we've both had an eye on you for ages, so it's not like we both didn't want you anyway."
"And we know we'd struggle to find a nicer guy. We'd just have probably never got around to it without us doing something stupid. We just managed incredibly stupid."
"So, please be gentle, but, well, please?"
Politically, I'm on their side, so I decided not to laugh. In any case, they should both have a night they'd remember positively.
"This stays in this building," I assured them, "and, well, who am I to turn down not one but two intelligent, attractive heroines of the Revolution?"
We worked through the takeaway, drinking enough ale to relax but not be tipsy. Cathy and I gathered together leftovers, and went to do the washing up. As I waited for a kettle to boil for hot water, Cathy snuggled into me from behind, putting her arms around my waist, a little uncertainly. I leaned back into her, welcoming the touch, placing my hands over hers. She smelled sweet and feminine.
"What I'm really regretting now," she said, "is that I didn't get round to this months ago, when I wasn't feeling like a complete nymphomaniac! On the other hand, both of us have been pulling sixteen or eighteen-hour days, between teaching, the research we're supposed to be doing, and our little scheme. You've seen how much that takes out of anything that looks like social time."
I rested my head against hers. "You can get all randy on me whenever you like," I told her. "I'm not sure about Sarah just yet, but that's because I don't know her nearly as well as I'd like."
"Sarah's fantastic. Very shy, but with a mind like a razor -- at least when she's not completely turned on. Then she's as bad as a guy with a hard-on. She also hates conservatives as much as you do. She needs to get out of the lab at least as much as I do. Neil?"
I turned so I could see her face.
"Be very nice to her, and if we get through this without winding up in Cornton Vale or Gitmo, we're both all yours. Now, are you going to kiss me or not?" At least in Cornton Vale she'd have visiting privileges. Probably. Assuming she didn't get extradited somewhere really unpleasant.
I decided to leave the washing up for a couple of minutes. My first kiss with Cathy appeared to be Cathy's first kiss. She was uncertain, knowing what she wanted, but unsure how to go about it. The little revolutionary was a study in contradictions. She was confident enough to have a plan to completely overturn vast swathes of what she thought was all wrong in the world and actually have the nerve -- and sheer ruthlessness -- to implement it, yet had no experience at all when it came to sexual intimacy. On the other side of that she was almost exuding sexual heat. I held her gently, and ran my tongue over her lips.
Cathy responded playfully. "Okay, yes, you can do more of that." I leaned in for another one, this time slipping my tongue inside her mouth, encountering hers. I touched her inside. She was wet and soft against my probing tongue. Gaining in confidence she responded by penetrating my mouth herself. "You know I've never done this?" she asked.
"We all start somewhere," I told her, quietly. "You're just a little later than most."
"I've got a lot of catching up to do. Physically, I need to burn out what my own drug is doing to my body. Tonight, because it may do permanent damage at this dose. That's another way of saying I really need a good screwing." She paused, almost surprised. "Did I really say that? I've never said that before. Yeah, I need you to give me a really thorough seeing to! Oh, yeah, I need to say that to you more often." She'd get no complaints from me if she did, and I hoped this wasn't just her antidote talking. "Emotionally, I need you to be very gentle at first, so I can get used to this. Then I need you to give me a really thorough, and I do mean thorough, seeing to. Mmm. I think Sarah wants the same. Do you think you can manage that with two concupiscent women in one night?"
Cathy must be one of the few people I know who knows what concupiscent even means!
"I'll give it a good try," I told her. "Let's get the washing up done and we can go and curl up together and see what happens. How does that sound?"
I washed and Cathy did the drying. Three empty beer bottles went in the recycling. The bag that the food had come in was folded for reuse. I have lots of uses for plastic takeaway containers.
Sarah had found my music collection, and I found Beethoven playing when we got back to the living room. She'd drawn the curtains, turned off the main light and turned on a small side light in one corner. I think she was looking for an approximation of romantic, which I hadn't really planned for. She'd also let her long nut-brown hair down. She was using the available light to scan a back issue of The Ecologist.
"I like this quote," she said. "The planet isn't dying: it is being killed, and those who are killing it have names and addresses. My thinking exactly. Anyway, Neil, welcome to our little conspiracy."
"Thank you," I said, settling next to her on the sofa. She put the magazine down and snuggled in to me. I put an arm around her, more or less instinctively. Cathy joined me on the other side, claiming the other arm. "At some point you're going to have to explain your agenda in detail, especially if I have to knock up a manifesto to be approved by, what was it, Planet Always."
"The approval part has been done," Cathy told me. "We have a set of demands. All you need to do is put it in a coherent document explaining our reasoning."
"That can wait," Sarah insisted. "This drug is doing strange things to my poor head, and I really, really need someone to do something about it." I'm a long way from being entirely comfortable with the notion of being kissed by one woman in front of another woman I was kissing ten minutes previously. Sarah didn't seem bothered. She was, in some ways, even less sure of herself than Cathy when it came to what she was supposed to be doing when French kissing, and appeared to be psyching herself up for something she wanted to do, but knew it was going to be a big personal step. The fact that she was doing so in front of her friend and colleague really didn't bother her.
I eased her in to it, using my lips to gently brush her lower one. She leaned in to me with a little sigh, then tried it for herself, our arms clasping each other gently. She seemed to conclude that she liked it. I took this as encouragement, and I brushed her lower lip with my tongue, only to feel the tip of hers meet it. Our tongues brushed each others, gently and playfully. I looked in to Sarah's brown eyes, seeing rising excitement. She was the one whose tongue slipped uncertainly in to my mouth, her lips closing on mine. She didn't go deep the first time, but it was my tongue that touched hers just inside my mouth. Her teeth grazed her bottom lip when she finally pulled away.
"Wow," said Cathy. "It was sexy just watching that!"
The whole thing of doing this in front of Cathy did slightly throw me. "Mmm. Okay. I don't know how you want to do this. Do you want to play with me one at a time, in private, or do we want to make it a threesome here?"
Sarah was almost impatient with me. "Neil. I'm a virgin. This is all new to me. I'm doing this for the first time ten years after some of the girls I was at school with were fumbling around with little boys. I'm also an ecofeminist, and while some others of those I know might disagree with me, by the time I'm finished heterosexual monogamy will not be the only socially normal way to do things. If I want to do nice things with my male lover and my female lover at the same time, in private and with their consent, that's between me and them. If we want to get married in a three way relationship, that will be up to us. Fair?"
Sarah pushed dark brown hair back from her eyes with one hand. It was a gesture I'd seen her use when we'd met before, and I'd always found it appealing. "Good. Okay. Ground rules. Never physically hurt me. Try not to emotionally hurt me, but I understand people make mistakes. Just don't do it deliberately. No babies. Seven billion of us is at least six billion too many. I'm on the pill. I really don't like dealing with blood and cramps when I'm trying to concentrate. I want to know what having your semen inside me feels like, among other things. Cathy can speak for herself on that score. There is, however, no way in Hell I want my first sexual experience to be a one-night stand!" Cathy's hands were rubbing my shoulders.
"At least for the moment, the three of us are together. Let's not complicate it. No playing the field without agreement. That's not likely to change. At the moment, I want you to be very gentle with me, but I might want you to be a little firmer with me later. We'll see. If Cathy wants to go somewhere on her own while we do that, she can. If she wants to sit and watch, she can." Sarah mellowed a fraction. "What I think I'd like is for the three of us to explore this together, if that's okay with you, because I'm really not too sure what I'm doing. Oh, and did I mention no rugrats? So, are you going to throw me out of the door, or are you going to kiss me again? Hint. I know which one I'd prefer."
Cathy's hands on my shoulders became firmer as I kissed Sarah again. Sarah had a slightly different, more reserved, style to Cathy. The shyness, balanced with her firmness in her other attitudes, was very appealing. There was a strange mix of personal confidence and sexual uncertainty. This in itself was very arousing. The fact that I was snuggled on my sofa with two attractive women was helping. Sarah and I came up for air.
"Are you happy with that, Cathy?" Sarah asked.
"I was certainly hoping to go down the relationship route rather than the one night stand with a friend in bed option, certainly." Cathy's chin was on my shoulder. We rubbed cheeks and she put her arms around me from the back. Sarah was embracing me from the front. It felt warm and safe. "No sprogs. I agree on that. You can also put yourself up me without having to worry about that, and I really want that to happen in the next few hours, at the latest. I've just discovered I like talking dirty, by the way. Be gentle, the first time. I know it might hurt. The rest, I more or less agree with Sarah. Do I get a kiss as well?"
I was aware of Sarah's eyes on us as I slipped my tongue into Cathy's mouth again. I felt Cathy's hands on the buttons of my shirt. She unbuttoned me as we kissed. Sarah took each arm in turn and undid the cuffs. I found both women removing my shirt, followed by the very pleasant sensation of two pairs of hands exploring my naked torso. Oh, yeah, I thought. I put my hands on the backs of Cathy's, telling her she could keep her hands on my body.
This was complicated. I switched from kissing Cathy to kissing Sarah instead. My hands moved to fondle Sarah's breasts through her top. They were moderately large and quite firm. She definitely wasn't wearing a bra. I could feel hardened nipples under the palms of my hands. Sarah pressed herself to me, demanding. I could hear Cathy's deeper breathing behind me as she started on my belt. She was quick and efficient, undoing it without taking it off completely.