She had run the length of the beach up and back five times with Milton following closely at her bare heels when she finally broke focus and noticed the jeep parked at the gate. She saw him sitting in the driver's seat, watching her, giving a little wave, and she stopped running.
"How long have you been sitting there?" she shouted, working to catch her breath.
"I just got here," the man in the jeep called back to her. He slid out of the seat and walked toward her. "Somehow, I knew I'd find you here. Hello, Milton."
The golden retriever wagged its tail laconically and approached the stout, bearded fellow for a head-rub. The woman wiped the sweat from her brow and smiled. "They haven't thrown me out yet."
The man carried a large, bulky brown grocery bag and a large, bulky brown envelope, which he held up for her to see.
"I brought you a present."
"Jesus," she said. "My entire career in the space program, and it all fits in one envelope. Did you watch it?"
The man shook his head.
"Sure you didn't." She looked down at a beer bottle cap in the sand, caught it between her toes, flicked it up and deftly kicked it at him. "What do you think?"
"I thought you looked great," he said. "You just make a lot of goofy noises when you're screwing."
"That's not what I meant," she said. "How bad is it?"
"Pretty bad. You realize that everyone has seen it."
She nodded. "Everyone has seen it, and I'm fucked."
"You're not fucked."
"Matthew, I am so absolutely fucked. I've been approached by every tabloid TV show on the planet, and by every shit-rag gossip magazine ever printed."
"Are they offering money?"
She thought it was the funniest thing in the world. They had planned the flight to ensure that she would not be on her period. Millions and millions of dollars spent on this project, and it could all fall apart if they didn't time her cycle correctly. Jesus.
They had each been given little foil packages of tablets to take, one each shortly before each of the times they would have sex together. Little blue pills of sildenafil citrate, just to be sure that he would get hard and that she'd be charged up and ready to go. Incredible stuff, she thought, but no need. They had made love in her apartment, in her bed, and no artificial stimulants had been necessary.
She discovered that he loved oral sex, giving it and getting it, and she found that they could lay in bed for hours, slowly pleasuring one another, their bodies next to each other, or her small, strong body on his, or his carefully poised above hers. His tongue was a gift from God. He knew all of her soft spots. He knew when to go like hell and when to just work around the edges. She also knew the exact moment when she had gone just far enough with the gentle licking and biting and sucking, and it was time to lay back, legs apart, inviting him on top of her; or when she would hold him down and grab his cock, diving down onto it with her pussy and fucking him like crazy; or those times when she knew it was the exact moment, and just one more gentle motion pushed him over the edge, and he would come in her mouth as she rubbed her pussy against his hard-working tongue.
She looked daggers through him.
"Matthew, money doesn't buy dignity."
"Screw dignity, Kick. You can fight it and bitch about all you want, but you're famous."
The woman clenched her jaw, then relaxed and shook her head.
"I don't want to be famous. I don't want to be the answer to a trivia question twenty years from now."
"You already were."
"No," she said. "Nobody remembers astronauts these days. It's not a big deal any more."
"Only if you do what you did," the man said. "Or if your rocket blows up."
"That is so unfunny."
"But so true." He tossed her the envelope, then dug into the grocery bag. "And that isn't the present I brought you." He pulled a slim brown bottle from the bag and handed it toward her. "Have a beer. I had a buddy of mine drag a sixer up from Key West especially for you."
She took the frosty bottle of Sunset Ale from him, then waited as he fished his keys from his pocket.
"Hang on. I've got an opener in here somewhere."
"You can get this in Orlando now," she said.
"Jesus fucking Christ, Katherine Mary," he bellowed. "Quit the god-damned bitching. I try to be a god-damned friend, bring you your favorite god-damned beer, meet you all the way out here on some fucking nowhere beach, and all you do is fucking bitch! Why don't you cut me some slack?"
When they first explained it, she thought it was a joke. Then she felt mildly indignant that they'd even ask. They offered money. They offered a drop-dead guarantee of silence. They said, "If Jeff agreed, would you?" She got up and walked out.
That night, they worked out together and went back to his place for a shower to cool off, and then they were in bed, their bodies strong and fitting well together. She had him in her mouth, turning her head slowly from side to side as she moved up and down him.
"Jesus, Kick," he whispered. "Sweet Jesus."
And then, as he gasped for breath, she turned him loose and moved on top of him, sweeping her warm, wet pussy down to where his solid cock stood waiting, and then feeling it hunt for the gentle opening, soft pressure, coming down on him, slowing, back up, pausing, down softly, then up, then the slow plunge until their bodies met at the point where they were fully engulfed in each other.
He rolled her over and felt her legs rise off the bed and wrap around him as he slowly stroked in and out of her delicately clutching pussy. "Sweet Jesus," he whispered, his hands on her firm, tanned breasts. She moved in a strong rocking motion beneath him, clenching her muscles around him, then letting him go, then grabbing him again. She gasped and bit her lip and began to come, letting it go for thirty seconds, a minute, feeling it ebb through her thighs, out through her fingers and her toes. She opened her eyes and smiled at him.
In a minute it came back again, the gentle waves building; this time she leaned back hard on the mattress and wrapped her arms around him tight, keeping his cock buried deep inside her as it came. He could feel her pussy flutter and quiver and he lost it in a second; she turned him loose and let him go wild on top of her, stroking hard three, four times until he plunged in and gasped and let go.
Afterwards, they sat on the living room floor, him in his shorts, her in his T-shirt, and she told him what they wanted. He laughed, embarrassed as a school boy.
"Sweet Jesus," he said. "Do you want to do it?"
She held the beer out for him to pop off the cap.
"Jesus Christ, woman." He shook his head.
"I'm sorry," she said quietly, and then she took a sip from the bottle. "I really do appreciate this."
"My absolute pleasure," the stout man said, holding his bottle out for her to clink in a toast. "Here's to you."
"Thanks. Where'd you get the tape?"
"Hell, where can't you get it? Every guy at the entire Space Center has a copy by now."
She closed her eyes. "That's not very reassuring."
"Kick, I already told you: you can love it, or you can hate it, but you're going to have to learn live with it."
"I don't want to deal with this."
"You made your bed," he said. "Now you've got to lie down in it."
More clichés. She flicked her bottle toward him, splashing him with beer.
"Hey, watch it!" he cried, smiling, dancing out of the way.
"You're not funny," she said.
"Listen, McCormick: didn't you think that something like this could happen? Did you really think that you'd be the first broad to get laid in outer space, and that no one would ever find out?"
She shook her head and looked at her bottle.
"Nobody paid any attention any more," she said. "It was not a big deal. It wasn't supposed to be a big deal."
"It was for 'science.' "
She looked up at him.
"Yeah, it was."
They had condoms. The government insisted on them; "Safety first," they said. There would be sensors to attach to their bodies. The cameras would capture everything. Houston would shut off the video feed to the outside world. Two biologists, a man and a woman, would be allowed to watch the event live as it was beamed back to Earth.
The rest of the crew knew what was happening. They handled it professionally, without a single crude comment, and made sure that Jeff and Kick knew that they were treating it the same as they would any other experiment. As the time approached, Kick bathed herself and took one of the pills. Ten minutes later, they went to the small compartment where the experiment would be carried out. Jeff sealed the hatch and paused to look at her.
"The lights are kind of bright," she said. He nodded.
"Are you ready?" He nodded again.
She took off her booties and slipped out of her jumpsuit, struggling against zero gravity. "Houston," he said, "are you reading us?"
"We're go," came the reply.
He took off his booties and his jumpsuit, and they floated into the space where the cameras could see them. They were still in their underwear, still trying to get into the space comfortably, when Houston broke in.
"Go ahead, Houston."
"Do you have your protection?" the voice came back.
Kick smiled and grabbed for her jumpsuit, peeling a Velcro pocket open to retrieve a foil-covered, NASA-issued packet containing One Each Condom, Lubricated, Spermicidal. "Safety first," Kick smiled. Jeff couldn't keep from smiling, too.
The red lights on the three cameras glowed. Kick slipped out of her white cotton bra, figuring that she'd leave her panties on until Jeff was ready to take them off for her. The sildenafil citrate was working fine; she felt the warmth and the wetness begin to build. The pills were working for Jeff, too: before his shorts came off, she saw he was beginning to get hard. She floated in to touch his cock, and before she realized what she was doing, she had put her lips around it and had sucked him up and down twice before he whispered her name and she looked up at him.
She furrowed her brow. It was no big thing. They were on the mission to have sex with each other, and this was part of it. She sucked up and down slowly, wetly, five more times until his body jumped. Their bodies floated softly in the compartment as he reached for her hips and stripped away her panties. He let them float out of his hands as they skimmed past her feet, and then he moved between her legs and parted her snatch with his tongue. Kick grabbed the railing on the wall and let her hips come up in mid-air as he licked at her clit, and then he held her legs and rose up until their bodies came together.
Kick continued to hold the railing with one hand as she held the condom packet out for him to take, then wrapped her legs around his back as he tore open the packet and withdrew the oily rubber sheath. He smiled as he struggled to get it on his tall-standing prick, rolling it down, and then he was ready. Kick braced herself as he pushed in close and found the folds of her pussy, nuzzling once, finding the angle, then going in all the way inside her in a long, slow, single motion.
They balanced against each other, and then he felt her hips begin to rock. "Sweet Jesus," he thought. They held each other and made love awkwardly, clutching for hand-holds and toe-holds against each other and the walls of the compartment. Jeff held her hips as she reached over her head to clutch the railing, letting her push and pull her pussy in a quick, sweeping glide up and down his prick. The sildenafil citrate was a dream, he thought, not with the cameras, not with everyone watching us. His cock felt painfully hard; he reached forward to rub Kick's breasts. Her eyes were slits; she was biting her lip hard as she worked her body. It was coming, and coming fast. "God," she moaned, "oh God," and then it hit: first a single wave (her eyes opened), and then another and another, and then she closed her eyes and clenched her pussy and heard "Sweet Jesus" and felt Jeff's fingers grabbing her roughly, slamming his hips forward as his bodied buckled. She tangled her ankles around his hips — he would not get free — and let it come. Shit, the sildenafil citrate was good.
Katherine Mary McCormick grew up in Mountain View, in the shadow of the blimp hangars at Moffett Field. Her father was a research chemist who tried to get his only child interested in what he did; it didn't happen. As a child, she was taller and prettier than the other girls in her classes, and better than any of them at sports. She had a friendly personality and, even in the first grade, all the boys fell in love with her instantly.
Her parents enrolled her in pee-wee soccer just after her fifth birthday, and she excelled. By the time she had reached the under-eights, no one on the field was her equal. By her twelfth birthday, she had led her team to two statewide championships. In high school, she scored three goals in a game seven different times, and her teams won the state title three times.
In her senior year of high school, the college scouts came calling: Santa Clara, North Carolina, Stanford. She had excellent grades, a knack for biology and science, and wanted to stay close to home. She chose Stanford and a full-ride soccer scholarship.
Once in college, she realized that she'd never make a good living playing soccer, and chose to concentrate her studies on developmental biology. As part of her coursework, she spent a summer interning at the NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett, working on an experiment in cell development that would be conducted on a space shuttle mission. She was bright, vibrant, a lot of fun, and caught the eye of every man she worked with, each of whom fell in love with her instantly.
One of those who fell for her was the project leader, Ken Reilly, who mentioned her at length to his supervisors at NASA, and they liked what they heard. She was kept under careful watch for nearly two months while every aspect of her life was investigated, and then she was approached.
On the Thursday before her internship was to end, Reilly called her into a meeting in his office. She assumed that he would offer her the opportunity to stay on at Ames as a paid researcher, and was only slightly surprised when she found two other people waiting in Reilly's office. They were introduced as members of the mission specialist recruiting team from NASA. Katherine McCormick's eyebrows raised involuntarily.
She finished her senior year at Stanford knowing that she was being fast-tracked into the space program. She took flying lessons to get over her fear of high places, enrolled in post-graduate courses, played soccer on the weekends, and worked her ass off in between. By 23, she was well known at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, the Dryden Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, and at the Johnson Space Flight Center in Houston, where she was being force-fed everything she needed to know to become a mission specialist.
While in Florida, she found she had to discourage the advances of several male members of her team, each of whom sought to gain her companionship. She didn't want the distraction of being romantically involved with a member of her crew. Her resolve remained firm until she met Jeffrey Siebern, an Air Force fighter pilot who had been moved into the program and placed on her crew.
He was a soft-spoken but self-assured young man with deep blue eyes and a gentle smile, who had been a star high school quarterback in Texas, and then a top student at the Air Force Academy. He was destined to be an officer in the Air Force, but found that he loved the thrill of flying jets more than being a desk jockey. While at a weekend fly-in at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, through one coincidence, and then another, he suddenly found himself a candidate for the astronaut training program, and within months had been placed on a shuttle crew.
After the mission, she was offered several jobs in the private sector, boring lab jobs, desk jobs, 9-to-5 jobs that she would have died for before joining the program. Now it would take something more. She moved in with Jeff and they began making plans. He wanted to stay in the Air Force. She thought about going back to school. They made love morning, noon and night and soon found it was all they had in common. Jeff would travel around the country, meeting young people interested in applying to the Air Force Academy. She'd spend her days driving down the coast with their dog, Milton, and laying on the beach. He'd fly back on the weekends and they'd go out for their meals and then come back to the condo to lay by the pool or climb all over each other in bed.
The sex was good, but she was growing bored with her life. Jeff was back in Texas, recruiting. She found herself flirting with a couple of college guys she met at a bar and found that the only thing stopping her was not being sure which one she would take home. She settled on the dark-haired guy because he was the most unlike Jeff. She took him back to the condo and was met at the door by Milton, who wagged his tail until he realized that the man wasn't who he thought he was.
She offered him a drink and he asked for water. She went to the kitchen and poured him a small glass from the faucet and handed it to him. He drank it down as she stood before him, using one foot and then the other to slip off her shoes.
"Nice place," he said. His name was Ben or Brian. She had only half-heard it over the noise of the bar. There was a room down the hall she thought he might like to see, she said, and she took the glass away from him. Milton followed them back, but she closed the door in his face. "Sorry, boy," she said.
She kept the light on low and they watched each other undress. He had a muscular build but was smallish down below but she figured it would more than make do. She unhooked her bra and watched his face as his eyes stole a look at her breasts; she left her panties on and crawled on the bed, meeting him on her knees as he joined her. They embraced, mouths meeting, fingers searching. She touched his cock; he touched her breasts. She kissed him and pushed him on his back, bringing her mouth down to his cock.
He sat back up and reached for her hips, pulling them toward him, peeling her panties off. She smiled as he lay back down, guiding her hips over his face; she swept her pussy down to his mouth and he licked hungrily at it, smelling the sweet warmth, letting his tongue tickle through her tendril lips. She went back to work on his cock, sucking him slowly, then letting the speed and the pressure and the delirium-inducing little scrapes with her teeth and tongue make him shudder and writhe on the sheets. He held her hips tight, her pussy mashing against his lips.
He hit the spot, bang, and she stopped sucking his cock, raising her body up on her arms, fucking his tongue roughly as she closed her eyes and felt it begin to come. As the first wave struck, her body quivered and she pried herself loose, crawling off him on her hands and knees.
"Come on," she whispered. "Come on." He stumbled onto his knees behind her, her hips gently undulating; he held her with one hand and clutched his prick with the other as she looked back at him. "Come on," she whispered. He teased her asshole with his throbbing cock and she said "No, no, come on." He moved closer and blindly searched with the tip of his prick between their bodies and felt the hot, sticky wetness. There it was. She arched her hips, giving him the angle. There it was. He slipped in and began fucking her, holding her hips, looking down to see his prick gliding slowly in and out, seeing her tiny asshole; he looked up to see her glancing sideways across the room. She could see their reflection in the mirror on the dresser. She watched her body move in short, jerky thrusts as he fucked her. "Come on," she whispered.