Diego threw his hands up in the air. Sansara just killed him again in Halo. He was getting sick of that being the case. She looked at her friend and said, “Okay, this is not about torturing you, how ’bout we play co-op? I got Borderlands 3, too, you know.”
He looked at her suddenly with intense interest. “Borderlands 3, you say?” He started tickling her mercilessly, which made her giggle and squirm. “Diego!” she managed to call out his name in protest after several failed attempts thanks to all the laughter. “Diegoooooooooo, stahp!” He ended up having mercy on her, remembering her bladder didn’t work like an everyday Joe would expect. He decided to play innocent now that the tickle torture ended. “Yes, Crystal?” he replied, sweet as pie. She picked up a pillow and bopped him on the head with it. The pillow was a natural linen color with an extremely colorful peacock on it.
“Don’t you tickle me and then pretend you didn’t do nothin’!” she cried playfully. He grinned at her. This sure beat getting trounced in Halo on versus mode. “Okay, we have to switch to the Xbox One for BL3,” she told him. “Would you like to do the honors?” she offered him the remote as she stood up, undoubtedly about to beeline to the bathroom again.
He nodded and looked at her apologetically, realizing he was the reason she was headed to the water closet. She’d finally let him up on the third floor after months and months of staying to herself and by herself. He’d suspected she was growing cannabis up here, but it turned out she did nothing of the sort. She had a gamer den at the top of the house like one might expect a princess at the top of the castle. She’d invited him in to play some first person shooters with her. Or Katamari, but he didn’t want to touch Katamari yet. It was her favorite and he was afraid he wasn’t going to like it. He didn’t want to hurt her feelings by asking to quit ten minutes into it.
He switched the video input and glanced at his phone. Someone was at the door, according to the Ring camera and doorbell. It was a man who had rang the bell. He had seen a picture of Psycho Boy Ben and it looked nothing like the man. He sprinted down the stairs to the door, just in time to see the delivery driver get back into his truck. He looked down at the porch floor and found an envelope. That was odd, they normally put those in the mailbox. He picked it up and looked it over. The return address was missing, which screamed fraud of some sort.
Still, it was a FedEx vehicle, a legit delivery operation. He thought about it and grabbed his phone out of his pocket, finding the customer service number for FedEx. He meandered back upstairs while on hold, locking the door behind him and making sure there was no ticking noise from the envelope. It seemed too thin, but he didn’t want any surprises. Silence, just like a proper envelope.
Just as he got to the third floor, his call connected to an operator. “Yes, hello. I have a question about your delivery policy… are there any circumstances where you accept envelopes without return addresses?” It turned out that you could send an envelope without a return address from a FedEx distribution center when it was mailed in person. He thanked the rep and hung up.
“What’s that?” Sansara asked him curiously.
“An envelope without a return address,” he replied.
“Do you think it’s dangerous?” she asked him, staring at it. “It looks so… innocuous.”
“It doesn’t tick,” he told her with a wry smile, handing her the envelope. “It’s up to you what you want to do with it, my lady,” he said.
She shrugged and stood up, moving to her executive style desk to grab a letter opener and proceeded to cut the envelope open. She peeked inside it and started giggling suddenly. Diego raised an eyebrow at her. “Diego, I have bad news!” she crowed, obviously not in poor spirits over it.
“You just went,” he said, expecting the usual.
She folded the envelope so it opened like a pouch. Being careful not to get it into Diego’s eyes, she sprinkled some glitter onto him and then her. “I’ve been glitter bombed!”
He looked like he might kill her for getting glitter all over him. She stopped suddenly, her glee fading to soft amusement as she stared at him. He started to soften up as she stood there, looking at him. Then, she did the unthinkable. She closed her eyes and dumped the rest of the glitter on herself. That’ll stop the tickling, I bet, she thought. She looked positively radiant and gaudy at the same time.
He stared at her like she was a lunatic, shaking his head slowly from side to side. Then it dawned on him that she’d just made herself tickle-proof if he wanted to avoid the glitter bomb. So it was like that, was it? He launched himself in her direction and decided to tickle her again anyway. She squealed in surprise and tried to get away, but he got to her too quickly. She expected him to be too disgusted to try, too! And then the giggling came. Sansara was extremely ticklish, you see.
“Okay, okay, MERCY!!!!!” she begged, laughing so hard she cried. He gave in to her pleas and released her, grinning. That’ll teach her for trying to escape via lunacy, he thought. He tried not to think too deeply about the fact he was just touching her or he’d end up embarrassing himself. He took a seat on her leather couch, which was white, and picked up one controller for himself and handing her the player one controller. Borderlands 3 was up and ready to go.
She opted to make a new character with him. She gasped suddenly, “Oh, Diego, I just remembered there’s kind of an issue reading anything from this far away in split screen mode.” She got up and grabbed her office chair to sit closer and urged him to grab her spare from across the room. He wondered who she had played with before to figure that out. Surely not Ben, it wasn’t released until after they broke up. “I found out while playing with Loey,” she said. “We had to sit stupid close to read the font, it’s like size twelve.”
He’d heard plenty about her former friend Loey at this point, as well as the MUDs she’d been part of in the past. He dismissed it as nothing to worry about, ultimately. He was waiting for a sign of real competition. There wasn’t one. She was never on the phone, she never texted around him, she never had visitors, and she rarely left.
“Oh, I almost forgot… do you want that attunement tonight?” she asked him before drinking about half her bottle of water. He’d learned she had a thyroid issue, which led to drinking a lot of water, typically, and that led to relieving a lot of water.
“Yeah, we can do that. You said something about being stoned, I believe?” he looked at her hopefully. She couldn’t suppress a grin, though she tried. She stood up and went to her desk, opening a mini-fridge beside it and pulling out a brownie. She handed it to him delicately and told him, “Bon appétit.” His eyes widened as he inspected the brownie she just handed him. It smelled vaguely of cannabis.
“Before you eat all of that…” she said suddenly, his mouth wide open. “You should know you’ll be stoned for about eight hours if you eat the whole thing. And you’ll sleep like a log and maybe oversleep because it’s medicinal indica. And remember, it’s medicine. Take what you need, not what you want. Save the rest for later if you like so you don’t oversleep for work tomorrow, in other words,” she told him when he looked a little wounded about being handed a whole brownie and then told he couldn’t eat it all.
“Hey Diego, you ever braid your hair?” she asked as he broke the brownie in half. A wise move, she thought. “I’d save that other half of the brownie for tomorrow night for the second one, if I was you.” He shook his head at her to answer his question about braiding.
“Will you let me braid it sometime?” she asked him. He shook his head at her. She pouted at him. “Come on, I wanna play with your hair! It’s like sixty million times longer than mine. Besides, didn’t you tell me you’re part injun?”
“While that’s true, I don’t have to look like they used to,” he sniped, kind of grumpy suddenly about her pouting over this one thing. She dropped it as suddenly as she brought it up and started the game.
She made a Moze gunner type she named Sansara and he made a Zane operative type named Diego. How original, they both thought at the same time. Both of them heard that thought in stereo, too. Sansara didn’t look at him, but he looked at her. She was skipping past the intro because she didn’t care if he’d seen it before and was already jumping around in game like the lunatic she was.
She didn’t look all that happy, he thought. She was glitter encrusted, sparkling and reminiscent of her namesake — Crystal — but her mouth was a grim line. He wondered what was bothering her. He wasn’t going to figure it out any time soon, he knew. It could be something as little as the fact that he didn’t share the brownie, even though she told him to keep the rest. But she never acted that way before, so he pondered more deeply. She’d taken off without him in the game and was running head first into a group of enemies already, recklessly, it seemed.
“What’s the matter?” he asked her, his own character at the starting point, unmoving.
“Nothin’,” she said, her hands moving her controller around in front of her as she got into hot water by herself. She spoke with her hands, she waved controllers around with them as she played… she gesticulated quite a bit, in general. It was a habit she’d learned from multiple Italian best friends.
Call him crazy, but it didn’t sound like nothing to him. He waited, hoping she’d explain. She died just then because the game was harder than Borderlands 2 on the same difficulty. She’d forgotten the AI had gotten more clever by far. Whoops. She made a noise the exact moment she died, but went at it again. He wondered how long she was going to brute force the enemy camp, telegraphing her anger as clear as day while telling him nothing was wrong.
“Don’t tickle me no more,” she said. Oh, shit. He went white as a sheet. She liked to be asked for permission for things and he’d tickled her three times that night now. That’s when she’d asked him about braiding his hair, he thought. Was she trying to remind him about consent? Just then, the brownie started kicking in. That was really fast, he thought. He started to worry he’d eaten more than his fair share.
Just then Diego died and she sniggered. She’d brought the enemy back to him and he’d died from his lack of attention. Boy, did she play dirty… then again, he’d violated her personal bubble, her space. Her body. She looked like she finally got into her groove. Everything on the screen fell away, dead. He was still looking at her, wondering if he was going to have to beg forgiveness or not.
She was either pretending not to notice he’d never moved the sprite he was playing or she didn’t care. “OOoh, what are you, Mr. Purple thingy?” she asked suddenly, inspecting a rare drop. That was really fast, Diego thought. He glanced at the screen to see she’d gotten a rare level three gun. He didn’t realize they were playing on the hardest setting yet, which meant tons of rares and legendaries would drop compared to normal. She pouted. “Poo, I can’t use you yet. Time for murder!”
Diego looked at her again. She had to be a murder hobo. He watched her playing against the next spate of enemies, picking them off one by one as she simply kept moving, shooting sometimes at thin air but more often than not getting head shots. She uttered the word, “Fuck,” softly as she jumped away from a pair of grenades that were tossed at her, her whole body moving as she did so. She did not sit still when playing a shooter.
“Ever play Bard’s Tale?” she asked absently as she kept mowing down enemies in the game, feinting and weaving, dodging, withdrawing… anything not to stay still. She glanced at him. He was staring right at her, trying to figure her out. There was something really irritating her and if he could figure out exactly what it was, he could apologize and she’d forgive him and he knew that. Also, he was more stoned than he’d counted on because he hadn’t eaten anything in a few hours.
“Yeah, why?” he asked, sounding spacey even to himself.
“Cuz I got another phenomenal game just like it called Folklore you might like if you liked Mr. Elwes and Le Bard’s Tale,” she said. He expected a “duh” to come any moment now, but it didn’t. He noted she’d given it a faux French feel by dropping in a “le” randomly.
“Yeah, I liked it,” he said, trying to concentrate enough to move his character around, finally. He had given up on trying to figure her out. He’d have to ask or wait. In his limited experience, waiting was better. He replayed everything that happened between them that evening, every word they said to each other. He thought about how careful she was to keep from glitter bombing his face. He looked at her again, transfixed by all the sparklies all over her. The more stoned he became, the more he became fixated on her.
He forgot one thing about being stoned. It relaxed everything, including one’s inhibitions. He wanted to kiss her, glitter be damned. The urge to do it was incredibly overwhelming, so he put his hands on his thighs, balancing his controller on one knee. Come on, Diego, resist. She’s not in a good mood, it’s not a good time to push your luck. And that’s when he realized he overstepped her boundaries. There were no bones about it; he should apologize for touching her without permission. In fact, if he kissed her now, she might kick him in the balls, he thought. She could be quite combative when she was feeling surly.
She barked out a triumphant laugh, defeating a boss on her own, then hit pause and looked at him. “Whatchu lookin’ at, injun? I got a bone to pick wit you.” He started to laugh, holding his midsection. Her accent was a riot and the way she phrased her inquiry just tickled him pink. Injun. That was the second time she called him that tonight. He was willing to bet there’d be a third time. If there was, it was definitely the tickling.
Her words echoed in his head, “Come on, I wanna play with your hair!” That had to be it, he thought. It had taken him two weeks to catch onto her pattern and figure out there was a pattern and a direct correlation to whatever had happened. She wasn’t overtly complicated, you just had to look for the theme. She had never asked to touch his hair before and he’d said no without truly thinking it over. It wouldn’t really hurt him to let her braid his hair. At least, he didn’t think so. Why’d he say no like that? What a knee jerk reaction. She’d been gracious enough not to start wailing on him in response to being tickled.
Sansara put her hands out in front of her chest, almost as if she was going to pray, leaving two inches between her palms. She stared at her hands for at least seven seconds, then pulled them further apart. She repeated this a few times, gathering a ki ball large enough for all the Kundalini attunements. There were nine, overall. She had paid for this privilege, but since Diego was sort of a test subject anyway, she didn’t ask him for a dime. He’d agreed to receiving them all, so she created one large shell ball of ki to house all nine attunements, which were smaller balls of ki.
“Diego, repeat after me: I wish to receive the Kundalini attunements from Sansara per the recommended schedule.” She didn’t bother to look up from her hands. Diego sounded kind of out of it. He must have had too much medicine, she thought. He was going to be out like a light soon. Probably directly after the munchies. He repeated what she said and she felt the ki ball that encapsulated all of the attunements disappear from her hands. “Alright, you chill for thirty and feel your feels and think your thinks. I guess I’ll go find you something to eat because I don’t think you’re getting down the stairs in one piece right now.”
He kept repeating her to be a wise ass. Her hands formed fists as she turned and walked away from him. She was glad she was sober. He obviously couldn’t handle this. She only ate her herbs when her hip was screaming in agony, which was far less now that she swapped healing with Diego daily. For some reason, her self-healing wasn’t working as well as her normal healing did.
He thought about following her anyway. He had a bad feeling suddenly. He no longer wanted to be alone and he also no longer wanted to be inebriated for the evening. He’d forgotten he was supposed to be her protection. He got up and the room swam before him. This was some good shit, he thought. Sansara forgot one little detail: one brownie was a big dose for a chronic user. For Diego, it was a huge dose. He could have eaten one fourth of the offering to have a great time.
That’s when the Kundalini attunement hit him. For fifteen or more minutes, he was flooded with the feel-good sensation of Sansara’s healing with an extra kick. He stood still in the middle of the room, aglow with warm energy. He wondered how it was that she did it. He wanted to do it, too. She had half a mind to charge him to become an actual Kundalini master. Not everything in this world could be free. She’d only shown him how to heal himself, really, but he knew how to heal others from watching her.
He laid down on the couch and snoozed after the attunement was complete. It had felt like his head became unscrewed. The middle of his forehead had pulsated as if with headache the whole time.
Sansara came back and saw Diego asleep on her couch. She set down some water and a big bag of kale chips before she roused him. “Hey, injun,” she said sarcastically. “I brought you a snack.” He opened his eyes, wondering when he’d fallen asleep. He’d glided into it so peacefully, too. He looked up at her as if he’d never seen her before. There was a glittering goddess filling his vision. That had to be the weed talking. He put out a hand and cupped the back of her head with one hand, applying a faint pressure to see if she would kiss him or if she’d stay still to allow him to kiss her.
“What are you doing?” she asked, pulling his hand away from her. “Do you think you get to put your grubby paws all over me just because you want to?!” Boy, she looked mad now. His heart sank. She had every right to yell at him, too. He’d pushed her boundaries many times today and never gave in on his own. He knew for sure now that was the issue.
“Sansara…” he murmured. “I think I’ve taken too much medicine.”
She picked up the kale chips, opening the bag and deposited them next to his hands. She took note that he was aroused but ignored it to the best of her ability. He’d just be another Ben, she thought. “There’s water on the side table, too. Eat and drink. When’s the last time you were stoned, bro?” She had a way of slinging the word bro like a fucking insult. He sat up, trying to clear his head, then chowed down on the kale chips, taking water breaks until both were gone. She shook her head at him. What a disgrace, she thought. I give him a gift and he tries to make a move on me to get his dick wet.
“I’ll see you whenever,” she said, turning the video game and television off completely. She threw a spare blanket at him once she found one that wasn’t under a cat, and then she left the room and shut herself into her bedroom. She locked the door behind her.
“Way to go, Romeo,” Diego told himself. He picked himself up and knocked softly on Crystal’s door. “Crystal… I am so sorry.”
“Don’t be sorry. Strive to do better next time,” she said, muffled by the door. It sounded like she might be crying.
“Crystal, baby. I love you. I’m an idiot and a big buffoon and I’ve been dying to kiss you for four months,” he blurted out as he rested his forehead against her door. “I would do anything for a chance to be with you. Anything. I swear.”
“Anything, you say?” he heard come through the door.
“Anything!” he bellowed, surprising himself.
“Get on your knees and beg,” she said.
Wow, that was a first. She couldn’t see him, so he tried to stay standing and started to beg. “ON YOUR KNEES,” she said sharply. As if she couldn’t hear what direction his voice came from. Fool. He was kind of turned on by this as he knelt in front of her door. He hoped she’d open it wearing lingerie or a French maid’s outfit or something other than what she went in there wearing. A negligee would give him a nosebleed, he swore it.
He got onto his knees and started to beg. She opened her bedroom door a crack and looked at him from the darkness inside. “Like a dog,” she said. She stared, waiting, imperious and commanding in the dim lighting. He gulped and tried imitate Max begging, giving her the eyes, whimpering softly.
She opened her door and beckoned him inside, “Come here, bad boy.” She was hidden behind the door, so he couldn’t see what she did or didn’t wear. It was very dark inside her room, just a few silvery beams of light to illuminate silhouettes. He crawled inside on all fours, again feeling oddly aroused by this strange situation. The door clicked shut behind him. He stayed still, making that whimpering noise for her again, as his eyes adjusted to the dark.
He found her directly in front of him, nudging him with her knee. “You may touch the bride,” she said to him. This was getting weirder and weirder, he had to admit. His hands went to her bare knee. He gasped softly, rubbing his fingertips up her thigh. She was naked, he’d discovered.
She positioned herself directly in front of him, murmuring to him, “Does the puppy want a treat?” as she pushed his head toward her clitoris. He blushed in the dark as his mouth kissed her pubic mound. After kissing around her delicate flesh, he parted her labia gently to lick and lap at the bud between her thighs. It was her turn to whimper softly. “What a good boy you’re being,” she half-gasped as he continued to worship her pleasure center with his mouth.
He had a feeling he was dreaming, but he really didn’t want to wake up to reality if so. Soon, the woman was quivering where she stood and he whined at her again, pretending to paw at her thighs by gently rubbing his fingertips from her mid-thigh to her knee. “Again,” she commanded. “Three times, one for each transgression. Then we will join together, doggy.”
His mouth was already back on her sensitive flesh, teasing it as gently as he could muster. His need made him want to be hard, rough, and fast, but he fought it the whole time as he tried to achieve the goal she’d set forth. His hands went around to her backside to rub over her buttocks as he worked his tongue as expertly as he could. She moaned in response to the massage and inadvertently pushed his head closer to her body. Gods, was she hot. She was beyond hot. She was a goddess that he craved like a drug.
He was delighted when she squirmed away from him again, her body betraying her ecstasy. One more… and then he hoped the obvious would happen. Doggy style. He changed his approach to this one, writing her name over and over with his tongue. She made a loud noise when she climaxed again a few minutes later.
She took him by his pony tail and pulled him to his feet. “Kiss your bride,” she demanded in a low tone that he didn’t even think to defy. His mouth joined with hers hungrily. She could taste herself on him as she pushed her tongue into his mouth, rubbing it against his, which he was more than eager for. His hands went to her breasts as they kissed for one moment that seemed without end.
“Come here, doggy Diego,” she said, leading him by a hand on the nape of his neck. Suddenly his knees encountered bed. “Disrobe, doggy boy,” she commanded him, using almost the same tone as she did with Max when she expected to be obeyed.
His clothes came off in a rush, though it was difficult in the dark. She used her hands to pet his naked body now, teasing his erection time and again. She turned him around so the backs of his knees were lined up with the edge of the bed and pushed him backward. He landed on the soft mattress with an “oof.” Then he had no choice but to gasp as she returned the favor, using her mouth on his erect penis. “Oh my god,” he uttered as he tilted his head back, his hips twitching as he fought the urge to thrust into her mouth. This ecstasy lasted him at least a few minutes. He wasn’t sure how long exactly but he never wanted it to stop.
Yet, stop it did. He felt the bed depress beside him as she climbed onto it. He rubbed her behind as she got on all fours as he’d hoped, waiting for her hip muscle to ease up from her usual pain. He’d been dying to rub her all over, he realized. “Permission to climb aboard?” he asked, hoping the cheesy porno-like line would please her. Instead of answering, she pulled him closer to her.
“Come here, my good little doggy boy,” she said, her tone fierce, as if her need was great and maybe even desperate. “Give me your bone.” He grinned in the dark and fumbled to find her delicate folds that would receive said bone. He was so glad he started keeping his fingernails ultra short and filed, he thought. Ah, there was her clitoris again… he traced a line from there to her vaginal opening. He slipped a finger into her to make sure she was wet. Boy, was she! That was all the urging he needed before he inserted himself into her.
He leaned over her back, his chest brushing up against her as he put his arms around her midsection. “That’s my good boy,” she praised him, moving herself backward onto his hard cock. He started kissing her flesh wherever he could reach, letting her ease herself to and fro. He did everything in his power to add more sensations to what his wife was inviting with her ride, including cupping her breasts in his hands and twisting her nipples carefully to try to excite her. She moaned loudly as he found more of her active erogenous zones.
He thought this was perfect. If Sansara was the one moving back and forth over his erection, she was in control of the sensations she felt. She almost wished there were two of them, so she could have his mouth on her nipples at the same time, but alas physics and reality could not allow for that. She made more and more noise, if soft, as she continued to engage him as such. “Ross,” Sansara said out loud, the name soft but definitely not Diego’s name.
She made a noise in disgust at herself, stopping. “Why the hell did his name have to come to me? I haven’t seen that creep in decades,” she declared as she disengaged from Diego. Diego guessed they’d just done something to remind her of the distant past. He didn’t feel good about the foreign name, either. He put a hand on Sansara’s.
“You okay?” he asked her gently, pulling her hand to his lips to kiss the back of it.
“Yeah… Diego, I’m so sorry. I’m not seeing anyone else. It’s just you. I swear to you and I don’t care if you snoop through my shit to prove it, either. It’s just that certain role-playing activities remind me of people in my deep past, long before I even met Ben. I hate it when I trigger myself.” She squeezed the hand holding hers. “This is why I’m celibate until further notice,” he heard, just as he woke up from his wet dream.
Who? What? How? Why? WHEN? What the hell just happened? Why’d he dream that? It was so hot and then that! He sighed heavily. He wondered when dream Sansara or real Sansara would do anything to remind him of Cynthia, a lady he’d role-played with once upon a time.
He looked around, realizing he was on Sansara’s couch and it was morning. Shit, what time was it? Did she leave him to rot, knowing he had work? He relaxed as soon as he saw it was only eight in the morning. He wondered if Sansara would ever sink into his arms and let him kiss her, or better yet, if she’d ever kiss him. So far, they’d had a few cheek kisses as he’d requested. Three total so far.
Her boundaries were more absolute than the boundaries of most, he noted idly as he pushed himself up to get ready for work. He’d have to do better in the future if he was going to earn an actual kiss, he figured.