They had been drifting through the solar system for almost three years, orbiting out to the largest planet in the system. Béla and Elaine hugged each other as they watched the vast expanse of the gas giant spinning slowly below them.
“If you look long enough, you can see it move!” Elaine said, thrilled at the newness of it all.
She was broadcasting enough excitement to completely enthrall the twenty or thirty others that shared the observation deck with them.
Currently, Béla and her roommate/sister Elaine were the only princesses on the observation deck. Only two princesses at a time were allowed there, as they tended to amplify and broadcast each other’s emotions to a degree that it overwhelmed any others present.
All in all, there were fourteen pairs of princesses, assigned two to a room. After the disastrous experiment of walling off Béla and Elaine together, more humane thought dampening fields were designed to aid them in controlling their sexual feedback when they were together. The new devices increased or decreased the density of the dampening field automatically as needed.
The last two of Sibilius’ projects were Melinda and his son, who now insisted on being called Hank. It irritated the old scientist that all of his daughters had renamed themselves something other than what he had originally and lovingly named each and every one of them. He tried to put his foot down with his son.
“Hank is such an undignified name,” he argued. “If you need to change your name, why not choose ‘Caesar’ or ‘Ptolemy’. Even ‘Jesus’ was better than ‘Hank’!”
“It’s because ‘Hank’ is such a casual name that I like it,” his son explained.
In the end, Sibilius relented. He really had no choice. His species prided themselves on personal freedom. Each member of their society worked for the common good of them all in a specific field in which each excelled, or at least was adequate. Each individual was also permitted to study a second, and often, a third, field in which he showed an interest or aptitude. All were required to perform their share of menial duties. Even Sibilius took his turn cleaning the crapper.
Melinda was the envy of all the princesses as she was assigned to room with the only male in their elite little group. Although they all had sex with each other constantly (some catching up on a thousand years of forced celibacy) Melinda was the first princess to actually lose her virginity to a male.
Normally, Béla was the pioneer (read ‘guinea pig’) when it came to exploring new ideas and concepts. She was by far the most powerful telepath. Therefore, It irked her somewhat that five of her sisters managed to corner Hank before she did. She was only number six to successfully lose her new body’s virginity in the proper manner. She made up for it by bringing him to eight orgasms in their initial tryst. No one beat her first time record. (The princesses kept track of important facts like that.)
For a while, Hank was the happiest prince on the ship. He had twenty-nine stunningly beautiful and very horny females to make love to, usually a pair at a time. His average was six trysts a day with at least one aroused princess. In addition, after hours, he was regularly ravaged and sexually abused by his deviant, bloodthirsty roommate. After a night of being ravished and ravaged by Melinda, he was grateful that he healed fast.
After several months of more or less constant sex, he began spending more time in the lab assisting his father with his work. Sibilius didn’t mind, as he got to see his loving daughters a lot more often.
Until Melinda showed up, Béla and Elaine were generally accepted as the ranking members of their group, helping each newborn pair to set up their own thought dampening fields in their new quarters. Then Béla and Elaine would each take a newborn and teach her how to handle herself so that the sexual feedback problem wouldn’t overwhelm her and cause her to go into a feeding frenzy. That was the fun part.
The only exceptions to the above, were Hank and Melinda. They’d nailed each other before they ever left father’s lab. Then Elaine one-upped Béla by choosing Hank to initiate. Béla’s initiation session with Melinda didn’t go well. Melinda wouldn’t open up to Béla, as she didn’t like other females all that well, and Béla was still pissed with her about Raul and Torquemada. Besides, they both wanted Hank.
Béla and Elaine had also led the group in volunteering for watch duty during the seven months the great ship was orbiting through the asteroid belt. Elaine discovered she had a passion for blowing things up when she was taught how to use the ship’s lasers to keep their orbit clear of floating rocks. It was almost like she knew where the rocks were going to show up before they appeared on her targeting scope.
The crew enjoyed having pairs of princesses on the bridge. They were young and excitable. The duties the crew had been performing for thousands of years were all new to the princesses, and, although they broadcast their emotions in a very distracting and undisciplined manner, it was fun to teach the newcomers and have them marvel at what the crew considered dull and routine.
Now that the great ship had entered a planetary system, Princesses Béla and Elaine were asked to re-institute their watch program with the other princesses as there was a greater concentration of rocks floating around Jupiter than there had been in the asteroid belt.
Elaine stepped down into the communal bath. There were a dozen or more passengers, several crew members and three princesses sharing the tepid water. Several greeted her, making room for one more.
“Marla, would you like to share watch with me on the Bridge tonight?” Elaine asked as she sat down in the warm water. “I was told this afternoon that our destination will be visible in a few hours, and the Bridge has an even better view than the observation deck.”
Marla looked at her roommate, Beth, silently inquiring.
I don’t mind if you don’t, Beth thought back to her.
“She’s finishing the afternoon watch by herself. She’s on the Bridge now,” Elaine replied. “I was studying with father.”
That was code for ‘I was humping Hank!’ The girls giggled. They all felt the thought dampeners that had been set up around the communal baths kick up a notch.
“You would think that Béla would have been studying with you,” Marla said, coyly.
“Well, I was on watch on the Bridge,” Elaine replied, “but there was nothing to shoot at, and I was kind of distracting the crew because, um, I needed to study up on something.”
The dampeners kicked up another notch.
“So, anyway,” Elaine concluded, “Béla practically ran me off the Bridge because I was distracting her from her duties. She told me to go study!”
The two crew members who were privy to the princesses’ private code were suppressing grins as they listened to the ‘innocent’ conversation. The Regent’s daughters, especially Elaine and Béla, were still the favorite topic of conversation amongst the crew.
“Oh, poor Béla,” Beth said, sounding much too sympathetic. “When you two go on watch, I think I’ll go visit and see if she needs ‘boning up’ on anything…”
“Do you think that would be all right?” she asked Elaine.
'That would be fine with me, too,' Béla broadcast into Beth’s mind all the way from the Bridge. 'I have a serious study problem I need some help with…'
Elisabeta was one of Béla’s favorite sisters, now that she knew her better. When Béla had initiated her, she discovered that Beth was as completely uninhibited about pure, raw, savage sex as Béla, herself. In fact, Beth actually shared a trick that Béla hadn’t known about. It was something that Elisabeta had really loved to do while sexually murdering a prisoner or a spy, and it was surprisingly nice that Béla hadn’t died from it. That meant she could do it to her again… and again…
Béla relaxed in the communal baths, luxuriating in the bubbles caressing and tickling her body as they emerged from the filter return under her feet. Her attention was on Elaine and Marla on the Bridge. She could feel their exuberance as they watched their new home gradually peek out from behind the great mass of Jupiter. It appeared as a brilliant white star as it glistened in the sunlight. The voyagers had arrived just in time for spring.
The metallic, artificial moon was set in its orbit so that it was always hidden by Jupiter’s mass when the Earth and Jupiter were on the same side of the sun. That was necessary so the bright little moon was not visible from Earth’s powerful and nosy telescopes.
Currently, Earth, in it’s rapid, swirling orbit, was moving back behind the sun, so the little artificial moon had just peeked out from behind Jupiter a few days before. It would remain in the sunlight for the next seven months. Its clockwise orbit was planned so that when Earth reappeared on the other side of the sun, the little moon would be vanishing back behind Jupiter, soon to begin five long, cold months of winter darkness while Earth swirled around between Jupiter and the sun. The two worlds were never in line-of-sight view of each other.
Beth was watching their arrival on the ship’s monitors when she got a little psychic nudge from her horny sister waiting in the communal baths. She had them all to herself. Now, Beth would have Béla all to herself. Her roommate, Marla, was okay. She loved her, of course. But she idolized Béla and her ability to reach beyond herself in her quest for ultimate sensation. She’d never had a sexual encounter as intense as the one she’d had when Béla initiated her.
Béla chuckled to herself. She could feel Beth’s excitement radiating from her as she approached the communal baths. Béla allowed her sister’s excitement to permeate through her and radiated her anticipation as Beth approached and shrugged off her sarong.
Beth quickly and carefully stepped down into the bath, her body tingling with sexual desire. For once, the psychic dampeners didn’t seem to notice. That was because Béla had turned them off. They would reboot automatically after thirty minutes, but during that time, Béla would have Beth all to herself. The dampeners around the perimeter of the baths were still functioning, so the ship wouldn’t be flooded with their erotic broadcasts.
As soon as they touched, Beth and Béla were both in full ‘feedback’ mode, caressing, scratching, nipping and biting each other. Beth thought this was much better than sex with her roommate, Marla. Marla wouldn’t go ‘feedback’ with her; she was too frightened of her own sexual capacity, and Beth was a very hungry lover. Even Elaine had trouble keeping up with Beth, and she went ‘feedback’ with Béla almost every day.
They thrashed wildly in the water, wrestling and fiercely playing with each other. With a squeal of glee, Béla shoved Beth under the surface and wrapped her legs around her sister’s head, enthusiastically doing her very best to drown her. Beth twisted around, her head still underwater, and wrapped her legs around Béla in an attempt to reverse their positions.
Then Beth, discovering where her head was, stretched forward and bit down hard on her sister, right between her legs. Béla shrieked and shoved her head down between Beth’s legs and did the same thing. Now they were both underwater and unable to breathe, but neither seemed to care, for the moment. Beth was chewing on Béla’s labia and clitoris and Béla was doing the same thing to her.
After a moment, Béla flipped them both over, enabling Beth to come up and take a fresh gulp of air. She dived back in and began chewing on Béla’s stomach and raking her nails between Béla’s legs. Béla bit Beth on the inside of her thigh, breaking the skin and drawing blood. Then she found her way back to Beth’s burning pussy and continued chewing and biting between her legs.
When they both came up for air, again, the water was a beautiful, transparent pink. The two sisters stared at each other for a second, both catching their breath, then embraced, kissing and biting each other’s lips. They still had twenty minutes to mutilate one another with their lovemaking and looked forward to doing as much loving carnage to each other as they could before the psychic dampeners kicked on.
They each went into pain-separation mode and began seriously biting and clawing, radiating and reflecting their orgasmic sensations at and through each other. After a few minutes, they arrived at Béla’s favorite sappho position, both sister’s with their teeth sunk in each other’s neck and each with a thigh between the other's legs, their fingers raking and tearing wherever they could dig their nails. Their sensual sensations radiated and reflected through each other’s minds and bodies as they drowned themselves in orgasmic bliss.
Long before Béla was ready to quit, the psychic dampeners kicked on, muting their sensual pleasures down to what they could pick up from each other through direct physical contact. Breathing heavily and bleeding profusely, the two torn and abused vampires held each other lovingly, saturated and exhausted by their sensual experience.
“Holy Jesus,” Beth whispered, her body still shaking, “I really needed that…”
Béla radiated agreement, and the idea that they could continue in her room, as the communal bath would soon be in use by others as the novelty of watching their new home in the monitors wore off.
They floated in the water, letting their bodies heal until there were no visible rips or tears in their flesh that wouldn’t be covered by their clothing. Then, pulling their sarongs on over their wet bodies, they headed for Béla’s quarters at a trot. Once inside, they stood, breathless, laughing at the stares they’d gotten and kissed passionately. Then they shared one of Béla’s meat packs and some fruit.
“Shall I turn off the internal dampeners?” Beth asked, coyly, sensually licking meat grease off her fingers.
Béla smiled. She was the one who was usually in charge during her lovemaking sessions. With Beth, however, she could relax and let her sister take over when she wanted. They would take turns dominating each other.
“What shall I do to you?” Beth asked, as she opened the internal panel and reset the dampeners.
As she did, the room felt like it opened up and she could feel the anticipation Béla was radiating. Béla wanted to be choked again, like she was the first time they had been together.
'And what would you do for me?' Beth broadcast into Béla’s mind.
Béla formed her reply in her mind and showed the gruesome, erotic image to her sister:
Beth’s bloody body lies writhing on the bed with her breasts and belly torn open. Béla’s hand is completely buried inside Beth’s ruptured cunt. Beth is screaming in orgasmic ecstasy. Next time. I promise.
Beth smiled. She’d loved the sensations Béla had radiated when she’d strangled her, before. She always loved the way bodies convulsed when they were slowly being choked to death. She walked back across the room, taking her time, luxuriating in the tingling feel of her fresh, new flesh as it regenerated. She was ready to have herself ripped up and torn apart right now. But, this time it was Béla’s turn.
Béla lay down on her bed with her legs dangling off the side, her feet almost touching the floor. She raised herself up on her elbows and looked down the length of the lean body she offered her lover as Beth advanced across the room toward her. Beth dropped to her knees at the side of the bed and began licking and kissing Béla’s inner thighs. Béla’s legs trembled in anticipation as she momentarily caught the projected image of a long pole being shoved up between her legs and tearing through her belly.
'Except for the lack of a pole, you would do that to me?'
'That and much more, dear Sister… You, I could stake over and over, my joy in your writhing never-ending!'
Beth advanced to licking and nipping Béla’s leaking cunt. As Béla radiated more sexual excitement, Beth began biting her clitoris and vaginal opening. Béla cried out and covered Beth’s chin with her girl-cum. She radiated orgasmic bliss throughout the room. As she did, she noticed the reverberations from two opposing walls that Beth had set to reflect, rather than absorb, their psychic broadcasts. The reflected waves intensified her orgasm so that she was barely able to remain conscious as she came.
'We’ll be lucky if we don’t kill each other because of that!' Béla realized, as she came again from Beth’s teeth chewing on her vagina.
She could feel Beth sucking blood directly from her torn and bleeding cunt and absorbing her radiated orgasmic energy. As the energy reflected off the far wall and flowed back through her body, she came again.
'Are you eating my flesh, you cannibal bitch?'
Beth didn’t answer. Instead, she radiated her joy at swallowing her sister’s hot blood. She began to crawl slowly up Béla’s body, pressing her left breast, then her belly, up against Béla’s bleeding cunt, masturbating her lover’s torn vagina with her hot flesh. As she moved up Béla’s body, she left bleeding bite marks on Béla’s belly and decorated her own flesh by rubbing against her sister’s wounds.
Beth felt the room vibrate as Béla came again, this time from the bloody bite mark she’d made on the underside of Béla’s left breast. She moved her mouth over to the other breast, sliding one leg up between Béla’s legs to massage her healing pussy with her thigh. She bit down on Béla’s nipple and rammed her leg up against her. Béla cried and writhed beneath her. Orgasmic sensation flooded the room, causing Beth to come as Béla came again.
As Beth came, she put her hands around Béla’s neck. They lay together for a moment, Béla beneath Beth, and gazed into each other’s eyes. Béla was breathing in short gasping breaths as she recovered from her orgasms. She nodded, ready to be choked to death.
Beth began to squeeze her lover’s throat. She felt Béla’s throat muscles working up and down as she tried to breathe. Béla grabbed Beth’s breasts with both hands and began to squeeze them in return, digging her nails in and breaking the skin. The joy and sexual frenzy that Béla’s oxygen-starved, convulsing body broadcast was radiated back from Beth, then was radiated again by Béla as her body orgasmed in response to her murderess’s erotic glee and her serious lack of air.
As Béla passed out, she came again, harder than before. She thought she heard Beth scream as one of her breasts ruptured in Béla’s tight grip. The combined sensations blended together, overwhelming them both. Beth collapsed on top of Béla’s unconscious form, totally satiated at last.
The Princesses Elaine and Marla were on the Bridge. The crew was lining up their trajectory to match the orbit of the artificial moon, which now had the size and appearance of a shiny silver coin. Neither one of the princesses had lived on Earth during the technological period. Their understanding of ‘modern’ technology was whatever memories Béla had shared with them.
To Marla, this was pure magic. She had gotten used to the idea of living inside a metal world, first on Deimos in that horrid, unfeeling drone body, then in the great metal ship that currently contained her and all the others. The gargantuan mass of Jupiter, off to one side of the view screen, and the little metal world in front of her was almost too much to grasp. They were going to live inside the little jewel that spun around the great god ‘Jupiter’, whose enormous head of multicolored hair she had seen for the first time only a few days ago from the observation deck.
She and Elaine were mind-linked, sharing their thoughts on the monumental events happening around them. Elaine picked Béla’s mind every night, learning about Earth and science and the historical events which had occurred after she was taken by the Praetor, and had a much better understanding of what was occurring, now. Béla had still been living when the Great Eagle had carried the strong-armed man to kneel on the giant step overlooking the moon’s tranquil sea.
Elaine’s calm understanding helped Marla keep her hysteria under control. By the end of their shift, the little metal moon had grown so that the viewscreen could no longer encompass its entire width. It had magically grown so that it was now even larger than the great god, Jupiter, himself.
The bridge crew let the princesses know that their objective was that tiny little dark spot that the rest of the surface seemed to spin around. Princess Marla didn’t believe the ship would fit, and was certain they would all soon die for offending the gods in this manner. The bridge crew was respectfully amused by the Princess’ unusual viewpoint of events. She was more than a little grateful when their watch was over and they were permitted to leave the bridge.
Elaine went directly to her quarters, hoping to find Beth and Béla still together. As she entered, she could smell girl-sex and blood, but Beth had already left. Béla was lying on the bed table; naked, wet and unconscious. There was blood on the sheets and between her legs. In fact, her breasts and stomach were speckled with the dark, sticky stuff, and her throat was bruised purple.
Somewhat disappointed at missing her sisters’ performance, Elaine picked a pear out of the cooler and ate it as she stood and studied her remaining, but favorite sister. She realized that she owed Béla a lot – it was Béla, after all, who had rescued them all from the living death inside the Praetor. Béla was also her first lover in this new, exciting life, and Béla’s opinion of her was a deep part of how Elaine regarded herself and her own importance in this unfamiliar new world she found herself in.
She wondered what Béla was dreaming about as she slept. Was she even dreaming at all?
‘What drives you, my Sister?’ Elaine thought as she crawled up on the bed and lay down beside her. ‘What makes you who you are, and why do you love me so much?’
She knew without a doubt that Béla loved her deeply. She saw it every time they mind-linked. But there was a sadness there, deep in her mind and usually well-hidden. Béla kept it shielded, even from herself, most of the time. But sometimes, Elaine could feel her sister’s discontent. Sometimes, a frustrated thought would escape before Béla could clamp down and reassert her self-control.
Snuggling up to her musky-scented sister, Elaine gently brushed her mind against Béla’s, seeking to mink-link with her while they slept. Béla’s mind was open and receptive, completely unshielded, and Elaine easily merged their minds together.
‘That was easy – she’s probably sated from all that sex,’ Elaine thought to herself as she closed her eyes.
‘All what sex?’ Béla’s sleeping mind asked, noticing her sister’s arrival in Jake’s living room.
Elaine looked up. Béla was sitting on a guy who was lying on a couch. They were both naked, and, from the motion of Béla’s hips, they could only be doing one thing.
‘Oops! Sorry!’ Elaine thought at her sister. ‘I didn’t realize you would be dreaming…’
She broadcast her upset about interrupting, having only intended to do some light exploring of Béla’s past adventures as she drifted off to sleep.
‘It’s alright,’ Béla said, looking at her dream-walking sister. ‘This is Jake. He’s my lifemate; my – husband, here on Earth!’
‘Oh,’ Elaine replied, then, ‘Oh! You’re married?’
‘Well, yeah,’ Béla admitted, ‘but not really. I think of him as my lifemate, but he thinks I’m dead.’
‘You are dead,’ Jake replied, looking sad and wondering how to convince her of that. ‘We never actually got married, and this is just a dream.’
‘Are you dreaming me, too?’ Elaine asked, somewhat amused at the man’s strange statement.
‘Well, you are a beauty,’ Jake replied, grinning at her naked figure. ‘But you’re no match for Béla. Are you dead, too?’
‘I was,’ Elaine replied, not sure how she should interact with a man who was in the act of fucking her sister, ‘but I’m not now. I’m dreaming – like you are.’
‘Why are you here?’ Béla wanted to know. ‘And how did you get here? I didn’t know you could dream-walk.’
‘Is that what this is?’ Elaine asked. ‘Dreamwalking? You’re implying that this is really happening?’
‘Of course,’ both Jake and Béla said, with Jake continuing, ‘not. I’m dreaming.’
Talking to the sexy, dark-haired girl sitting on top of him, Jake continued, ‘I used to dream about things that happened to you – you know, like – thousands of years ago. Then I started dreaming about you coming to me, late at night. But until tonight, you’ve left me alone for awhile, and I thought that maybe I was finally getting over you.’
Béla stopped her gentle up-and-down motion and stared at him for a moment.
‘Is that what you want?’ she asked, her voice heavy with emotion. ‘You want me to leave you alone?’
Jake gazed up at her. Even knowing he was dreaming and she wasn’t really there, he felt compelled to tell her the truth.
‘I never wanted you to leave,’ he murmured, almost to faint for Elaine to hear. ‘I wanted you to live – but you didn’t…’ He sighed, then blinked away tears. ‘I never… expected… I never thought it would be you. I thought you would live forever… And that I… that I would be the one to…’
‘So did I,’ Béla whispered.
Then she dropped down against her lifemate and began sobbing against his chest.
Elaine withdrew, forcing herself awake, sorry that she’d interrupted them and even more sorry in the knowledge that her presence in her sister’s dream had ruined their astral lovemaking.
She sat up in the bed, feeling a little disoriented, then realized that she’d just made an astral jump of millions of miles through space. She looked around the room, thinking that somehow, something was different, yet suspecting that her mind was playing tricks on her. Then she spotted it.
Someone had placed a pitcher next to the cooler. Hoping that the cooler had also been restocked during her nap, Elaine climbed off the bed table. As she opened the cooler, Béla stretched and sat up. Elaine felt her sister’s mind brush lightly against hers, gently asking to come in.
“You want anything?” Elaine asked. ‘There’s fresh meat. And that raspberry tea you like? There’s a pitcher here. It’s still cool.”
“Thanks,” Béla said, her voice sounding flat and unemotional. “I can get it.”
She climbed off the bed table and padded barefoot over to the cooler. The silence between them was heavy and almost visible.
“I’m… I’m sorry,” Elaine said softly. “I didn’t mean to interrupt…”
“It’s alright,” Béla interrupted. “You didn’t know.” Then changing the subject, “When did you learn how to dreamwalk?”
“Well, I didn’t – not really,” Elaine replied. “I mean, I’ve seen images in your mind of times when you did it, but…” She sighed. “Well, I was never really interested in trying it, myself. There wasn’t anywhere I wanted to go. I didn’t know, when I mind-linked with you, that…”
“It’s okay,” Béla said again. “It’s done. He’s awake, now, and I can’t make him hear me.”
“He woke up?” Elaine asked, “So you can only link with him when he’s asleep, then?”
“Yes,” Béla replied. “But when you tried to leave and woke yourself up, Jake woke up, too.”
“I’m sorry,” Elaine said again. “I seem to…”
“Stop being so sorry!” Béla snapped at her. “I told you! It wasn’t your fault!”
“Please, Béla, don’t yell at me,” Elaine whispered. “I know I messed it up for you. I said I was s…”
“Stop!” Béla yelled. “Stop apologizing! God!”
They stood for a moment, not yelling, not apologizing, not looking at each other, each sister’s mind shielded against the other.
Béla heard a soft half-laugh that Elaine tried to suppress.
“What?” she asked, trying to keep her frustration out of her voice.
Elaine half-smiled at her sister. “For a telepathic race, we seem to have a lot of trouble communicating.”
“I’m sorry,” Béla apologized. “I just that…”
“Don’t you start!” Elaine said, interrupting her sister. “No more apologies, okay? From either of us?”
“I promise,” Béla said softly. “And I promise not to take my frustrations out on you, or any of my other sisters.”
“Why would you be frustrated?” Elaine wanted to know, noticing a definite lightening of the mood between them. "Have you noticed that you’re covered with blood and you smell like a… What’s that word you like? Oh, Skank? I’m the one who should be frustrated – I came in here hoping that you and Beth would still be going strong, and she was already gone! And you were just lying there in your own blood, like she always leaves you. And I missed it all.”
Béla laughed at that. “Poor little sister! I thought you said you didn’t like her lovemaking – that she was too rough, even for you. Did you want to watch her tear me apart?”
“Well, yeah,” Elaine admitted. “But you weren’t very bloody this time. Did you two have a quarrel? Did she get mad and leave you high and dry? Is that why you went to Earth to fuck that guy?”
Béla hugged Elaine and kissed her cheek. “No, to all of the above! We didn’t quarrel. Beth strangled me to death; that’s why there wasn’t much blood this time. I went to Earth because… Well, I’ve been ignoring Jake for awhile, and I felt guilty, I guess…
“Since you and my other sisters have arrived,” Béla began, “I’ve been trying to forget about Earth, and Jake, and my friends there. When I was on Deimos, I went to Jake almost every night and visited him in his dreams. I tried to tell him things, but humans don’t seem to, well, ‘retain’ is the word, I guess. They don’t retain information they learn in their dreams.
“I thought it would be enough, you know?” she continued. “I could dream-walk – the Praetor calls it that; dreamwalking – I could dreamwalk to Jake and it would be enough until I could figure out how to get back to him. It would be really handy to be able to dreamwalk my body back to earth instead of just my mind.
“I asked the Praetor, and it told me that the next ship arriving – the only ship arriving – was going to Jupiter. It would be almost eight more years before it returned to Earth.
“So I… made my peace with… myself. I’ve been gone only a century – less than a hundred out of all those thousands of years I’ve lived. Eight more years won’t matter, will it? I mean, I’ve spent hundreds of years before, waiting for conditions to change for the better. I hardly remember that time passing at all!”
“We do live almost forever,” Elaine whispered, understanding now. “But, eight years can still be a long time. When you’re in love…”
“Love?” Béla asked. “Yes, I do love him. I cried for him, today, you know?”
“Okay,” Elaine replied quietly, not knowing what to say. Béla’s tears had embarrassed Elaine so much that she’d awakened Béla’s lifemate with her efforts to flee the scene.
“You don’t understand,” Béla explained. “The last time I cried for him was the night that I realized I loved him. And I was crying more for me that time, than I was for him. Today, I cried because… because it was supposed to happen to me! I was supposed to… bear the burden. I was prepared. I was… used to that happening to me.
“He wasn’t…” Béla started to tear up, again. “He wasn’t prepared for me to leave him like that… And I hurt him! I really, really hurt him!”
Elaine pulled Béla into her arms and held her while Béla sobbed into Elaine’s shoulder. “I don’t believe anyone gets used to that happening,” she replied softly as she led her sister back to the bed. “I never got used to it. And I don’t think you did, either.”