Inspector Afton Teris stepped off a private lift and into the plush foyer of one of the elite tower habitats on Landis 17. The floors were lovingly covered with rare and luxuriant carpeting; the walls were paneled with real wood imported from Anya Prima. The air was redolent with the exotic fragrances of beeswax and lemon, both undoubtedly imported from Earth.
The slight flex of the muscles in his jaw were the only indication of the anger festering in his gut. Afton glanced down and saw he'd clenched his fist, crumpling the warrant he'd come to serve.
Inspector Teris was no lowly warrant officer but a decorated investigator in the upper ranks of Landis 17's enforcement division. To compound the insult of being assigned to accompany an offender to court, it was this particular offender: a Bacchi. A whore. The insult drew a slight snarl, a subtle baring of teeth. Quickly he tamped down the anger and drew on the Valoran reserve that was deeply entrenched in his nature.
He'd believed the promotion from officer to inspector would free him of the burden of the Bacchi. But no; while he no longer managed the prostitute's licensing and paperwork, somehow he wound up fielding all reports, warrants, and court appearances relating to the man. He wasn't certain how, but he believed the Bacchi was pulling strings, making Afton dance attendance at his whim.
He took a deep breath, steeling himself for the encounter. The fact was, simple dislike for the Bacchi shouldn't affect him this way. His hands were damp with sweat, and his heart pounded. Afton straightened and pulled back his shoulders.
His foot sank into the plush carpet of the hall, and he paused, noting the hushed atmosphere of the private foyer. He focused his senses and imagined what was waiting for him behind the door. Afton found it amazingly ironic that a sex worker would live in the most elite housing in the city, flaunting his wealth and influence in the faces of those who actually worked for a living.
Afton carefully smoothed the hard copy of the warrant, folded it neatly, and tucked it into the inner pocket of his pristine black uniform jacket. At the same time, he fished out the small remote that allowed him access to virtually any locked door in the city. Well...any locked door that was properly registered with the government.
He'd attempted to rouse the suspect from the security desk as well as through an electronic alert, but the Bacchi hadn't bothered to answer. Of course, it didn't mean he was entertaining a client. There might have been an emergency of some sort. Regardless of how tightly controlled the profession might be, sex workers were always at some degree of risk. That was the rationale Afton used to make a silent entry into the apartment.
The Bacchi might be in danger. The thought made him roll his eyes in humor.
After keying in his private code, Afton aimed the small device at the door, then smiled in grim satisfaction as the electronics of the door whirred and clicked, offering him silent welcome into the gracious home of Lefi Dhrahn, Bacchi extraordinaire.
He moved through the spacious abode and finally entered what appeared to be the living space of the habitat. The large, elegant room was dimly lit; fragrant candles flickered, some guttering, nearly at their end. Initially he thought the room was empty, until he spotted Lefi Dhrahn's form towering over that of another, his hand raised to strike. At that moment, Lefi glanced in his direction and frowned, then tilted his head toward his client in a silent message to Afton. It was a rare moment of disapproval from the Bacchi; Afton had never seen him without a smile on his face.
Frankly Afton didn't care whether he interrupted the john in the act, until he looked closer. The figure hunched in front of Lefi was a plump female of middle years, her round white bottom presented to the man in complete submission. As he watched, Lefi dropped his hand, a loud crack shattered the air, and the woman moaned. Lefi caught his gaze again and nodded toward a door on the right. Feeling lower than a Jhar viper, Afton moved silently to the room, slipped in, and started to close the door behind him.
The sound of another loud slap cut through the air, and Afton shivered, imagining the imprint of a large hand on the woman's pale skin. Hating himself, he edged to the doorway to peer into the room and watched the shadowy figures in their unfolding drama.
Her voice cracked on a sob. Lefi drew his hand back, and once again, he slapped her sharply. He then reached between her legs; from the motion of his arm, Afton assumed he was finger fucking the woman. Her moans were piteous, a fusion of grief, despair, and sexual frustration. She lunged back onto his hand frantically, clearly approaching her climax but unable to reach that pinnacle.
Swiftly Lefi withdrew his hand and slapped her again, one cheek and then the other.
"Why?" His voice was harsh and stern but not angry.
"What can't you do?"
Again he dropped his hand, slid it into her pussy, and set a deep, hard rhythm. She was panting, and from across the room Afton could hear the wet sound of Lefi's fingers in her body. She keened like a wild creature.
"What can't you do, Judith?"
"I can't climax! I can't come!"
She was thrashing on his hand, her need reaching panic state. "David, I'm so sorry! I'm so sorry!"
David? Afton raised a brow in confusion. When Lefi's hand came down once again, Afton's cock jerked inside his uniform pants. He could barely make out Lefi's body in this light, but saw enough to show him the Somian's supple movement, his complete physical control. No doubt he was erect, but his species was known to have unlimited sexual stamina. He wasn't suffering from his arousal, at least not to the extent his client was.
She was sobbing now, her face buried in a pillow. Lefi sat next to her and stroked her back while soothing the red marks on her buttocks. As her sobs began to cease, he leaned forward, his face to her skin, and gently pulled her back to her knees as he coaxed her ass into the air. Instead of entering her body, he embraced her. His long, silky ponytail trailed over the calves of her legs.
"You can climax, Judith." He spread her knees wider and slid onto his back so she hovered over his face. The woman was overwhelmed by his ministrations, and she moaned again, this time in agonized bliss. "It wasn't your fault, love. I just never took the time with you, did I?" He pulled her down and gave her oral stimulation. She gasped, her body reacting to the invasion.
"You were a wonderful man...a wonderful lover." The woman's voice trembled as she spoke, carried away by a fusion of arousal and emotion. Lefi lay back a bit so he could speak.
"But you never told me what you wanted, did you? And I never asked."
She breathed, her plump body rolling with the movement of his mouth. "I didn't know how to say it."
After a noisy, wet kiss to her mons, Lefi broke free, slid out from between her legs, and rolled her to her back. He lay on his side next to her, his head propped on his fist. "You know the words now, though, don't you?" He brushed the tears from her cheeks. "You know how to ask for what you need?"
She nodded, and even in the dim light, Afton could see the Bacchi's radiant smile. Somian were famously happy people. They credited it to their uninhibited sexuality. As a Valoran, Afton held the suspicion that they were simply idiots. But then, idiots couldn't perform the sort of miraculous brain research the Somian were known for. In addition, the Somian civilization hadn't seen war in millennia, and violence was almost unknown among their people. He had to respect that.
"Can you tell me what you need now, Judith?"
"I want you inside me...on top."
"Good girl. Fast? Slow?"
"Slow it is, then." Lefi sorted through a basket, selected a slim container, and quickly coated his cock with a spray-on film. That was a point in his favor; the Somian were nearly impervious to most diseases, and unless the woman was at risk of pregnancy, the condom was strictly a matter of consideration.
Afton watched as Lefi covered the woman and then guided his engorged cock into her body. She wrapped her plump legs around his lean thighs, and they began to move, slowly, steadily. Afton could no longer hear the Bacchi's murmured words, but the woman gave a shaky laugh followed by a groan. She circled her arms around Lefi's neck, then pulled him down and nuzzled his neck and shoulder. The Bacchi rose and smiled down at her, then peppered her lips with kisses.
How could he do that? For that matter, how could she lie with a stranger this way, sharing kisses that were nearly as intimate as the sex act itself? She groaned, and without warning, her hips thrust hard into Lefi's, pumping as her butt left the cushioned surface on which she lay. To Afton's surprised humor, her toes curled as she froze with her orgasm. She unlocked and thrust again, panting hard, stifling her cries against his shoulder. No faking there. The Bacchi urged her on, and she groaned loudly, finally ending on a breathy shriek.
Lefi Dhrahn went still, allowing her to come to a slow finish on his cock. Clearly he knew what sort of touch she needed. His entire focus was on the woman and her climax. Finally she fell back with an embarrassed laugh, sated and happy.
"That was beautiful, Judith."
She sighed, a small, exhausted expression of satisfaction on her face.
"I'm very proud of you." He pulled out of her body, his cock still erect, still perfectly under his control. She lay on her back and ran a gentle hand over the rigid organ.
"Do you ever climax, Lefi?"
"Sometimes. If that's what my client needs."
"What about your needs?"
"My needs?" He leaned back, his eyes dropping closed, his hair hanging in an arrow down his back. "You fulfill my needs. When you climaxed now, you gave me such happiness."
"You know that isn't what I mean." She pulled her hand away and reached to the side, where she found a silken robe.
Lefi stripped off the condom and discreetly disposed of it. "Sometimes I take a lover for a time. That's all I need." He rose gracefully, and Afton's heart stopped for the briefest moment. In this light Lefi's skin was luminous, his hair inky dark. His eyes were shadows in his face. His body was sculpted and perfect, broad shoulders angling to narrow hips. His erection had faded, but his cock was still thick and heavy. Afton caught his breath, his skin flushed, and his cock ached with excitement.
He's a man. A male! The words echoed in his mind, effectively killing his arousal. For the moment, anyway.
"Do you still want to learn how to pleasure a man?" Lefi had deftly turned the conversation back to his client.
Bashfully she nodded.
"Well, next time we'll work on that."
"Will you climax?"
His laugh was beautiful. "Of course, for that is the purpose of the exercise, is it not? You're afraid. Can you tell me what you're afraid of?"
"Just...you know...you in my mouth."
"You worry about my coming in your mouth?" She nodded, and even in the candlelight Afton could see her blush. "Then I certainly won't, if that worries you. I'll wear a sheath. But Judith?" With a finger under her chin, he tilted her face up to his.
"Every man has his own taste. My semen is sweet. If you want to, you can taste it. Next time." He helped her to her feet, and in his skilled hands, the small, round woman appeared graceful and elegant.
"Next time..." Her eyes went unfocused, and the tip of her pink tongue showed briefly at her lips. "I'd noticed...that your sweat isn't salty. Not much, anyway."
He chuckled, put an arm around her shoulders, and walked her out of Afton's sight. "No, it isn't. Later this week you'll come back, and we'll talk some more..." His voice faded away, leaving Afton standing alone and awkward in the tiny room.
Behind his trousers, Afton's cock was hard and urgent again; an insidious dampness escaped his body. He clenched his fists, his fingernails nearly drawing blood. A moment of focus allowed him to recapture his Valoran dignity. Then he heard movement outside the door. Lefi was safely wrapped in a floor-length robe as he moved around the living space, picking up objects and putting them away. His client was still in the house, and Afton decided it would be best if he remained hidden for the moment. He took a deep breath and turned to examine his surroundings.
The room was small--not a closet but clearly designed for storage. It took only a moment to ascertain what Lefi used it for.
One wall contained hanging floggers and manacles, leather straps, and exotic devices Afton couldn't make sense of. There were shelves with dildos of all shapes and sizes, as well as other toys, lubricants, and massage oils.
And then there were the costumes.
The Bacchi had everything ranging from fetish gear that consisted of a few leather straps, to flowing robes from a Warlan fantasy. Afton moved hanger after hanger, then finally broke into a grin. There were several outfits clearly designed for women, along with wigs and shoes. They would fit the Bacchi to perfection.
"See something you like?"
Afton whirled around, the smile fading from his face. The Somian in the doorway didn't quite tower over him but was tall enough to intimidate. In reaction Afton returned to his own instinctive military posture.
Lefi reached past him and brought down an outfit that consisted solely of drapes of brightly colored, silken scarves.
"I dance in this one. The client likes to strip me naked, one scarf at a time." He flashed that brilliant smile and hung the skimpy costume back on the rack. "It's called the Dance of the Seven Sins. Borrowed from Earth, of course."
He lifted down another. "One gentleman--and I use that term loosely--enjoys seeing me dressed as a female. This little green schoolgirl dress is his favorite. We can only be grateful he acts out his fantasy with me rather than...otherwise."
Afton finally gave in, smiling and shaking his head. The old-fashioned jumper had a silky blonde wig with it. Another Earth-based kink. While he was tall, the Somian was willowy and beautiful enough to cross gender.
"So what compels you to intrude while I'm with a client, Inspector?" Lefi turned away, leaving Afton to follow him into the main living space. He opened a panel and brought up the lights in the room. An elaborate golden Bacchi bracelet dangled from his left wrist, shimmering and catching Afton's gaze. An electric-blue credit chit dangled from one link, and the various acts the Somian was proficient in were advertised by the numerous dangling charms. The precious metal indicated that among the Bacchi, he'd achieved mastery within the guild of his profession.
It seemed Lefi Dhrahn was no common prostitute. Afton had never really noticed the bracelet before. He had the odd impulse to examine it, to see just what the Bacchi did for his clients.
Feeling the warmth of a blush on his face, Afton reached into his pocket and extended the warrant just as Lefi turned away and swept into the kitchen in a flutter of black silk. With the lights up, the gem-green tones of his hair sparkled, matching the iridescent flush of green over his cheeks. When he turned back to Afton, his vivid purple eyes gleamed with humor. He offered a glass to Afton.
"It's only juice, as you're on duty." He smiled again and sipped his own drink.
"I have a warrant." Afton handed him the paper, leaving the glass untouched as Lefi studied the document. One arched brow rose.
"In less than an hour."
The prostitute rolled his eyes and sighed in exasperation. "Fine. Give me ten minutes." He finished his drink, leaned back against the marble counter, then studied Afton's face.
"So tell me, Inspector, did you learn anything today?"
"Only that having an audience doesn't impair your performance."
The Somian laughed, his eyes crinkling at the corners. "Then you weren't really paying attention, were you? I found your presence quite...distracting."
Afton felt his skin darken in embarrassment, and the response annoyed him; he should have been well accustomed to the Bacchi's relentless flirtation by now.
"Why did you strike her?"
Lefi gently set the glass on the counter, then turned back to Afton. Humor still danced in his eyes.
"Some people find punishment cathartic. It allowed her to break through the emotional barriers that kept her from culmination." He pushed off the counter, and the silk of his robes brushed Afton as he passed by. "I keep a light touch with her. Judith only needs the suggestion of punishment to purge her guilt." He gave Afton his elegant profile. "You might try it sometime, Inspector. As a Valoran I imagine you carry far too much guilt."
For a moment Afton froze. How could he possibly know such a thing?
He followed Lefi back into the main room of the apartment. With the lights up he could see that the far half of the room had been arranged for relaxation--and sex. The floor was thickly carpeted; cushions of all sizes littered the space.
"This is the main living area. I've got another room with more specialized equipment. That's where I usually...work." He spoke casually, his tone friendly and open. "Please, make yourself comfortable. I'll be only a moment."
He was gone, leaving behind the fragrance of exotic spices, sex, and aroused Somian. Afton shivered as his cock hardened once again. With a frustrated sigh he flopped down onto a luxurious honey-colored chaise and waited.