It felt good to be back. As her lips stretched into a broad smile, Myka stood in the center of the Warehouse. She closed her eyes as she inhaled deeply, the familiar scent of rock, aging wood, oiled metal, the slight clinical smell of the Neutralizer solution washing over her. It all smelled like home, and Myka gladly breathed that scent in deeply.
In the distance, Artie barked something Myka couldn’t quite hear, Pete and Claudia yelling their protests in tandem, probably blaming the other.
Hands in her pockets, Myka began wandering around. She walked until the voices were nothing but a distant echo. Roaming about in an unconscious wandering manner, Myka re-familiarized herself with the place she once tried to run away from.
She stopped in an aisle, brows quirking at how it was both familiar and unfamiliar in that way the aisles of the Warehouse always were. Walking casually, she reached out, letting her fingertips graze the edge of a shelf, head tilted as she read the labels on the items stored there.
Feet skidding to a stop, Myka froze, a soft gasp escaping her lips as she stared at a book. Her book. In such a rush to leave the Warehouse, she’d left so many things behind, treasured things and didn’t have the courage to call and have them delivered back to Colorado Springs.
She touched the cover with her fingers, smiling at the familiarity of it. A gift from her father. It was old, leather bound, a first edition. No matter how delicately Myka treated the book, it was a little more worn around the edges than when she first received it almost fifteen years ago; a little more worn because Myka made an effort to read it at least once every year. Myka pulled it into her hands, letting it fall open to the title page. She ran her fingers over the text as if she could bring it to life.
‘The Time Machine by H.G. Wells’
But, there was more on the title page than was there the last time Myka read the book. And Myka’s fingers drifted down to the inscription.
For showing a heart filled with nothing but pain that it was capable of loving again.
Before she could blink them away, tears filled her eyes and Myka hurriedly closed the book, wiping her face with the back of her hand to keep the falling tears from staining the text. Her face dry and certain she wouldn’t cry again, Myka re-opened the book, reading the text over and over again. Each time, she heard Helena’s voice, saw the expression on her face. An expression so similar to the one she wore that day in the bookstore. So little time, so much to say and then Helena was gone, and Myka felt the hard pang of regret squeezing her heart.
“Helena,” Myka sighed, clutching the book to her as she closed her eyes, tilting her head back.
A thousand thoughts filled her head, words said and unsaid. Words and images. A single image floated in her mind, circled by all her thoughts. It felt like falling all over again. Except..
Myka was falling. For real.
She snapped her eyes open to nothing, no aisles or shelves, no Warehouse around her, just an empty pitch blackness, tight as a closet, as far as the universe. The air whipped around her, gravity pulling her down, speeding her up.
Pain sliced into her head as inky blackness turned to blinding light. She hit the bottom of wherever she was, the air whooshing from her lungs as she landed hard on her back. The light dimmed immediately and Myka craned her neck to search for the source. A room, no, a closet of some sort, Myka deduced by the way her knees bent as her feet touched the far wall, the dresses, dangling like ghosts, brushing up against her from above.
From beyond the door, a scream cut through the air - high-pitched, piercing and unmistakable, the scream of a child.
Her response instantaneous, Myka turned, rolling onto all fours, reaching for the handle before she burst through the door. She was in a bedroom but there was no time to gaze at the furnishings, she barely had time to gain her bearings before she was out the door and into a hall.
She startled at the body lying on the floor just outside the door. A woman. She was in her late fifties, dressed in something out of Dicken’s novel, a nanny’s outfit, Myka quickly surmised. Myka thought the woman might be dead, judging by the tiny pool of blood beneath her shattered nose. Then, the woman twitched, eyelids fluttering as her eyes slowly rolled into the back of her head.
Myka was about to kneel down to offer assistance when the scream that had brought her out into the hallway started again.
Head whipping, searching for the source, Myka saw him. Like the nanny, he also wore clothes like something out of a Dicken’s novel. He was big and bulky with a boxer’s nose, permanently crooked from one punch too many. He stood before an opened door, thick hands pressed against the frame as he sneered at the person inside, at the little girl still screaming at his presence.
“*You shut it!*” he growled with a French accent, thick like toffee. “*You shut it or I’ll..*”
“HEY!” Myka yelled, really, really wishing that she hadn’t left her gun on the dresser in her room because, God, he was big, like ate linebackers for lunch BIG. But, there was a little girl, and she was screaming and judging by broken-nosed thug, she was screaming because of him.
He turned his head towards her, spreading his lips to show teeth as broken as his nose.
Myka charged. He straightened, puffing out his chest, beefy hands curling into rock hard fists. All it would take was one swing, and they both knew it.
Myka kept charging. Four feet from him, like a batter barreling towards home, she dropped into a slide. Kicking out her leg, she connected. It was like slamming up against a tree but there was the crack of bone as his kneecap popped. He howled, bending over in pain, lifting his wounded leg. Myka swung her leg again, sweeping his foot.
Arms wind milling, he toppled to the side. His head cracked against the banister, splitting the wood before he slumped to the ground, unconscious. Myka clambered over him, pulling both his arms behind his back before cursing herself for reaching for the cuffs on her belt that were no longer there.
The sound of a whimper, Myka snapped her head towards the open door. In the center of the room, a little girl stood, black ringlets cascading off her head trembled from her hard shivers, both her hands curled into fists and tucked under her chin.
“Hey, sweetie,” Myka smiled softly. “You okay?” The little girl’s head bobbed up and down. “He didn’t hurt you, did he?”
She shook her head no. Myka narrowed her eyes ever so slightly. She knew her, knew this little girl but it was a memory she couldn’t quite place and one she’d have to think about later as the man beneath her groaned.
“Sweetie, could you do me a favor?” Knee anchored in his back, Myka shifted her weight, reaching down and grabbing the ankle to his good leg and lifting it backwards so she could pull off his shoelaces. “Could you call the police, I left my cell..”
Like a shot, the little girl was off, running out of her room and past Myka.
“Hey!” Myka shouted after her, watching the black ringlets bounce as the little girl ran down the stairs. She rose quickly to her feet. “Wait!”
Myka made her way towards the stairs, the little girl already out the door by the time Myka was at the halfway mark. As Myka reached the bottom of the stairs, a man entered the foyer. He was dressed similarly to the unconscious man upstairs, smaller though in both height and build, a black handkerchief tied around his nose and mouth. He carried a satchel in his hands, obviously filled with items he’d never owned and had no intention of paying for.
His eyes went wide, focusing on the retreating figure running outside then snapped towards Myka. His eyes narrowed, Myka knew that look. She’d seen it merely seconds before.
He dropped the bag, its contents clanking as it hit the floor and he charged towards Myka. Myka ducked easily from his swing, the man obviously the brains of the operation and not the brawn. Crouching, she punched him hard on the side, just under the ribs. Then, as she rose, curled her arm around his shoulder, shifted her weight and Judo-style flipped him onto his back.
The air whooshed from his lungs as he hit the floor. But he was a scrapper and had no intention of going down with a fight. Myka saw stars as his fist connected with her jaw. She barely missed the second swing of his arm, his elbow going for her face. God, how she wished she’d had her gun or, at the very least, Pete. She had no idea how many more there were. The last thing she needed was to be caught struggling on the floor should they arrive.
Myka was a fully trained agent of the Secret Service. It didn’t mean she didn’t know how to fight dirty when she needed to.
She rose up about a foot, like she was trying to get off him then dropped hard, jamming her knee as hard and fast into his crotch as she could. He howled. Myka kneed him again, before cracking her fist against his jaw. She watched as his eyes crossed then punched him again and watched as he went unconscious.
Wincing slightly, because taking off an unconscious man’s belt wasn’t on any of her top 10 lists, Myka pulled off his belt, rolling him onto his stomach so she could hogtie him.
Knee in his back, one hand holding him down between his shoulder blades, Myka reached into her back pocket, thankful she hadn’t forgotten her cell. Quickly flipping it open, she hurriedly dialed 911 then placed the device to her ear.
No dial tone, no ringing. Nothing.
Myka pulled her cell from her ear, pulling it in front of her, eyebrows creasing as she stared at the tiny little screen. No bars either. She held it up higher, hoping to get some kind of reception.
In the distance, she could hear whistles, loud and piercing, and getting louder. She turned her head towards the sound of feet thundering towards the house.
“Dream,” she said, blinking her eyes. “Definitely a dream.”
There were five of them, with their round and tall helmets, badges pinned to their left breasts, billy clubs in one hand, whistles in the other, and thick, bushy mustaches.
“*POLICE!*” the first yelled with a distinctly French accent as he crossed the threshold into the house. “*Don’t move!*”
“Oh, Toto,” Myka smiled sheepishly, raising both hands defensively. “We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore.”
Myka had been under the influence of an artifact before, where her dreams were so vivid and tangible as to feel completely real. She’d also been back in time. But that’d been by inhabiting someone else’s body. While this all felt real, she knew it could also be a dream and, there it was, Myka’s conundrum.
The rest of the officers filtered quickly into the house, two moving towards the unconscious man at Myka’s feet, Myka standing cautiously before stepping out of the way. The one in charge directed the others to go upstairs. He then turned his eyes towards Myka, billy club pointing directly at her.
“*Who are you?*” he asked.
“Myka, Myka Bering,” she answered, taking a moment to remember her remedial French. “*You wouldn’t happen to know where I am?*”
He squinted in that way only a cop could regardless of the year. “*In a house.*”
“*I know I’m in a house. What city?*”
“*Paris. Hey!*” He shook his head then waved his baton menacingly. “*I ask the questions. What are you doing here?*”
“*What’s it look like?* Hello? Stopped a robbery,” she fired back, shoulders angling before remembering she needed to speak in French. “*You wouldn’t happen to know what year?*”
“1899.” His eyes darted to one of the officers behind Myka, she turned just in time to see the man swirling his index finger around his temple, mouthing the word ‘koo-koo’.
“Hey! I’m not crazy.” All three men shared a look as Myka turned back to the officer in charge. “I’m not,” she pouted. “I would just like to know..”
Before Myka could finish, pale yellow dress and black ringlets bounded into the room, rushing towards Myka and Myka had to brace herself as the little girl crashed into her, arms wrapping tightly around Myka’s stomach. Myka lowered her raised hands, placing them on the girl’s shoulders and returning the embrace. She looked up at Myka with wide, brown eyes and gratefully smiling lips.
“You..” the officer spoke, eyebrow raising as he disapprovingly eyed Myka‘s boots, jeans and tight, knitted shirt. “Know this woman?”
“MmmHmmm,” she nodded hurriedly, smiling. “She’s my Guardian Angel.”
“You did this?” he asked, staring at Myka as he nodded towards the unconscious man on the floor. “All by yourself?”
Myka shrugged. “I have many skills.”
If this was a dream, it was a very good one and Myka figured best to just go along with it.
“We’ll have some questions for you..”
Someone else was running up the pathway towards the house.
For a moment, it seemed as if time itself had actually stopped. When Myka felt her heart stop and her chest squeezed so hard she couldn’t breathe.
H.G. Wells ran through the opened doorway. Well, ran as fast as she could in her noblewoman’s dress, her gloved hands bunching the material so she wouldn’t trip over her feet, her hair pinned back beneath the matching hat on her head.
“Christina!” She skidded to a stop, almost shoulder to shoulder with the officer, relief cutting through the anguish etched all over her face.
“Mummy!” The little girl, Christina, wriggled herself out of Myka’s arms, running towards her mother. Helena knelt, opening her arms as Christina crashed into them. Christina in her arms, she rose to her full height, raining kisses all over Christina’s cheeks.
“Oh my baby,” she choked, fighting back the tears. “Are you all right?”
“She saved me,” Christina said, giggling as Helena planted another kiss on her cheek. “My Guardian Angel saved me.”
Helena turned her eyes to Myka and Myka felt the air rushing back into her lungs, felt her stomach drop and another hard pang knock her heart.
“Ma’am,” the officer said. “Is this your home?”
“Obviously, it is,” Helena huffed.
“Can you explain why this one was in your home,” he pointed with his club. “Dressed like that?”
There was a flicker on Helena’s face, where it was obvious she had no idea why Myka was in her home or dressed as she was, then Helena’s eyes narrowed ever so slightly, the wheels turning in her mind, then she turned her gaze towards the officer. “She’s an actress, here, rehearsing for a play.
The officers next to Myka, stood, pulling up the robber to his feet. “Must be some play,” one of them said, unable to keep the leering tone out of his voice.
After that, there wasn’t much more left. The officer asked a few more questions, still not quite believing Myka capable of taking down two grown men. But, there was a witness, even if she was nine-years-old, but she was the daughter of a noblewoman, who’s house had almost been burgled. Which were all the facts the officer really needed to know.
A doctor quickly arrived to see after the injured nanny. Myka tried hard not to laugh at his growing exasperation as Helena oversaw and corrected him at every turn.
Through all of this, Myka had a second shadow, Christina constantly at her side. She’d clasped her hand around Myka’s, holding on like she never intended to let go. As they watched Helena deal with the police then the doctor, all the while, Christina bombarded Myka with a barrage of questions, mostly having to do with Myka being an angel. What was it like being an angel. What happened to her wings. What was it like in Heaven. It was only when Christina asked of Myka knew Christina’s father that Helena interrupted their conversation, putting an end to the questions.
“Christina,” Helena said in a polite but chastising tone. “Quit harassing our guest.”
“Okay,” she pouted, still holding onto Myka’s hand and swinging both their arms. “Mummy? Can she stay for dinner?”
“Please,” she begged.
“Well, okay,” Helena gave in. She lifted her eyes to look directly at Myka. And there was something in that look, both an invitation and a warning. “Myka, would you care to join us for dinner?”
Myka felt a tug on her arm. She looked down at little eyes pleading with her to say yes. It must have been genetic. Myka had a hard time saying no to Helena, it was even worse with her daughter. “Sure.”
“Of course,” Helena said, walking towards the stairs. “We’ll have to do something about that outfit.”
“It’s..” Myka pursed her lips, tilting her head slightly. “A dress.”
“You don’t like it?” Helena asked, bristling slightly in offense. She’d led Myka to the guest bedroom, where she opened the closet, picking out an outfit for Myka to wear.
“It’s not that I don’t like it. I was just hoping for something a little more.. modern?”
“Modern? This just arrived from Paris last week,” she said, pausing to take another quick glance at Myka’s outfit. “Perhaps, you wish for something a bit more.. masculine?”
“Masculine?” Myka gaped, then looked down at herself. “Right. Yes, pants would be nice.”
Helena’s eyes brightened as her lips spread into a wide grin. “I think I have the perfect thing.”
Myka stood before the full-length mirror, twitching endlessly as she wrestled with the tie around her neck. Helena had brought her a suit and Myka found it a little discomforting that she could fit so easily into H.G. Well’s clothes, the *other* H.G., Helena’s brother Charles. The suit almost fit Myka like a glove, albeit a half size too large and it itched like crazy, Myka wondering why anyone wore clothes at all rather than put up with such an irritating scratching sensation.
“Can I come in?” Helena peered her head around the door, knocking but not bothering to wait for an answer.
Myka gazed back at her through the mirror, fidgeting with her tie. “This itches.”
“You’re the one who insisted upon wearing trousers.”
“I didn’t insist. Okay, maybe a little. But, don‘t you think you went a little overboard?” she said, gazing at her own reflection in the mirror as she waved her hands outwards then letting them fall, hands slapping against her thighs. “Do I really need the vest and the coat and this.. damn tie.”
“The outfit goes with your boots,” Helena grinned. “I think it makes you look dashing.”
“Dashing,” Myka smiled, peering at Helena over her shoulder. “I like that.”
“Here..” Helena stepped towards her, hands reaching for the strip of cloth hanging off Myka’s shoulders. “Let me get that.”
“Thanks.” Myka lifted her chin as Helena went to work. “I’ve tied a million of these damn things for my Dad. It’s a little more difficult on one’s self.”
“That it is,” Helena smiled politely. She quieted, eyes focused on the task before her. “You saved my daughter’s life and, for that, I will be eternally grateful. But, we still need to discuss how and why you came into my home.”
“I know, but it’s kind of a long story..”
“We appear to have time.”
“Time!” Myka laughed.
“What’s so funny?” Helena asked.
Myka shrugged. “I don’t know. Me standing here talking about time with the woman who wrote ‘The Time Machine’.”
“I..” Helena stammered, cheeks paling as she took a step backwards. “My brother wrote that.”
“You and I both know he didn’t.”
“It appears you know a lot about me. I think it‘s time I learned a bit more about you. Like why you were in my house?”
“I..” Myka pressed a hand to her forehead. “I want to tell you. Really, I do. It’s just.. I don’t know if this is all a dream or if it’s real. If it’s a dream,” Myka chuckled. “It’s a really good one.”
“And if it’s real?”
“There are things I couldn’t tell you even if I wanted to. I just.. Would you give me a little time to figure some things out first?”
“Perhaps. If you can answer me one question,” she paused. “Tell me why you look at me as if you know me?”
“I do?” Myka blushed, tilting her head down and breaking the eye contact. “Maybe you remind me of someone I used to know.”
Helena chuckled. “Has anyone ever told you, you aren’t a very good liar?” She softened as Myka lifted her eyes. “I know people, Myka Bering. And I know the difference between being gazed upon with longing, and being gazed upon as a lover.”
“Once again, you prove my point,” she said. “No one calls me H.G..”
Helena inched closer and when she reached up, cupping Myka’s cheek with her palm, Myka’s eyes fluttered, chest expanding from a sharp inhale of breath.
“I might not know you,” Helena whispered softly, eyes darting about Myka’s face, reading her expression. “But you know me. Don’t you, Myka?”
A simple question, a not so simple answer. Myka stepped closer, closing the distance between them. She watched the puzzled look on Helena’s face, like she was desperately trying to figure out where Myka fit in her life and how. Myka answered, placing her hands gently on the swell of Helen’s hips. What she wanted to do when Helena was nothing more than a hologram. What she should have done so many months before that.
Myka saw the way Helena’s face changed, the question written all over it as her eyes darted from Myka’s eyes to Myka’s lips. Have we kissed before? Do I want to kiss her? Will I like it?
Myka intended to give Helena the answer. She lifted a hand from Helena’s hip, gently clasped her chin with forefinger and thumb. And her eyes focused on Helena’s lips. The way they parted in anticipation as Myka slowly leaned forward, asking her own question. Can I kiss you?
Helena answered in her own way, leaning her head forward.
The thundering of little feet, because children have the most impeccable of timing, because Fate could sometimes be cruel and Myka stepped backwards. The sudden distance between them felt like a chasm, cold and dark where it had once been warm and bright.
“You look like a boy,” Christina giggled between the hands covering her mouth as she stood in the doorway.
“You think?” Myka half-grinned, clasping the lapels of her jacket as she straightened, raising her chin as she posed.
“I think..” Helena said. She stepped towards Myka, closing the distance once again, hands fussing with Myka’s tie. “She looks handsome.”
Myka swallowed at the gentle softness of Helena’s face. A look Helena wore in only the rarest of time but here it seemed common place.
Her work on Myka’s tie done, Helena gently patted her at the shoulder before turning towards Christina. “I take it supper’s ready?”
Christina nodded. “And everyone’s here.”
“Good,” she smiled, reaching down to wrap her hand around Myka’s. “Let’s go meet the family.”
“It’s lovely,” Myka sighed. Dinner over, they were in the study now, just the two of them. Myka stood by the window, hands clasped behind her back as she stared quietly at the view of distant streetlights muted by a low rolling fog, the Eiffel Tower barely visible in the distance.
“Yes,” Helena answered. “It is.”
Catching the double entendre, Myka turned her head slightly, gazing at Helena over her shoulder. Helena sat at the couch, pouring them both cups of tea. Her eyes were down but Myka saw her smile, that smile, and she knew her ears hadn’t deceived her. Smiling, she turned her head back towards the window to gaze some more.
Dinner had been both lovely and hard. She met Helena’s family, two of her brothers, the other H.G. Wells and it had taken everything Myka had not to divulge too much about herself or of what she knew. They told her stories, of their lives as children, of Helena as a child.
Dinner was hard because, well, Helena sat next to Myka. And Myka spent the entire meal with Helena’s hand on her knee, which crept up Myka’s thigh. A constant reminder that they had almost kissed, an invitation for Myka to finish what she’d started.
Now, they were in the study, alone.
“I’ve never been to Paris before,” Myka said.
“You sound as if this is the first time you’ve seen it.”
“Oh, I have. Just not like this.” Myka quieted, taking one last look before turning around fully. She meandered about the room, looking at the spines of the books on the shelves. Then, Myka moved towards the desk, fingertip grazing across the surface. Her eyes caught the stack of handwritten papers stacked neatly next to a quill and well. She leaned, tilting her head to read the title page, her eyes going wide at the text.
‘Love and Mr. Lewisham’
Her eyes shot upwards, excited grin on her face.
Helena merely shrugged. “I thought I’d try my hand at something a bit different for a change.”
“You have to let me read it,” Myka beamed excitedly.
“There’s nothing to read, other than the title page. I don’t even know if I’ll bother to write.”
In flash, Myka was across the room, knees touching Helena’s as she sat down. “You have to,” she implored. “And I’d love to read it when you’re done.”
Helena lifted the tea cup in her hands towards her lips, stopping to eye Myka over the lip. “Why do I have the feeling you already have?”
“H.G…” Myka sighed, lowering her eyes.
“If this is just a dream, there’s no reason not to divulge the truth.”
“And if this is real?”
“I guess that’s up to you to decide.”
Myka inhaled, rolling her lower lip between her teeth.
“If it helps,” Helena added. “I’ve already figured out you’re from the future. Although, as big as my imagination can be, I haven‘t figured out just exactly when.”
“I..” Myka’s mouth dropped. “What?.. When?.. How?”
Helena chuckled, amused at her own intuition. She reached for a book sitting beside her on the couch, handing it to Myka. “I found this earlier today.”
Myka held the book. It felt heavier, lighter, weighted with more meaning than when she last held it. She opened the cover, the pages turning on their own to the title page, to Helena’s inscription.
“That’s my handwriting,” Helena said softly.
Immediately, Myka closed the book like she’d revealed too much. This was already confusing, trying discern between reality and a dream. Now, it was getting hard. All those little cuts and wounds, the ones that had started to heal, Myka could feel them, throbbing and aching.
“We were lovers, weren‘t we.” It was a statement, not a question. Helena reached out with her hand, cupping Myka’s face with her palm and Myka wanted to pull away, to wince at Helena’s touch. Instead, her heart skipped, her chest squeezed and her eyes fluttered closed as she leaned into Helena’s touch. Her lips parted slightly at the feel of Helena’s thumb gently sliding over the surface.
Myka dared her eyes open, felt everything within her melting at the way Helena stared back at her. There’d been so few times when Helena looked at her like this. Had Myka known they’d be so few, so far between and gone so quickly, she would have cherished them more.
“We were lovers,” she said again, eyes scanning all over Myka’s face, absorbing the expression. “Even with my imagination, I can‘t imagine a world where I‘d hurt you so deeply.”
“H.G.” Myka’s voice trailed. A do-over that wasn’t, that couldn’t be. But, Myka was here, now, and all the rules didn’t matter because here was H.G. Wells, Myka’s H.G. Wells.
This time, Myka didn’t pause. She leaned in, brushing her lips across Helena’s. This time, it was Helena who gasped softly, that gasp Myka knew so well and she reveled in the shiver that ran down her spine. Leaning in more, Myka deepened the kiss, placing a hand to Helena’s face because, this time, she had no intention of letting her go.
Tongue brushing over her lips, Helena stiffened gently with unfamiliarity, then she relaxed, acquiesced to Myka’s invitation. Myka groaned as she pushed her tongue into Helena’s mouth, at how quickly Helena picked up the rules of this new game. And when Helena whimpered, Myka felt it deep within her gut, a hard twitching between her legs.
Both hands cupping Helena’s face, Myka pushed a little harder, her intention clear. Helena stiffened, this time, not giving in. Hands on Myka’s shoulder, she pressed back, pulling her mouth from Myka’s.
“Myka..” she panted softly. “We can’t..”
Myka pulled her eyes open. She blinked, the weight of Helena’s words hitting her hard. Hands sliding off Helena’s face, she leaned back. “Oh.. Sorry.”
“Myka,” Helena smiled. She clasped her hand around Myka’s, brought it to her lips and kissing the backs of Myka’s knuckles gently. Then, she rose from the couch, hand still wrapped tightly. “I meant. Not here.”
“Oh!” Myka’s eyes widened, lips pulling into a smile.
They walked quickly and quietly as only two lovers could, connected only at the hands, hearts beating heavily in anticipation.
When they reached Helena’s room and Helena closed the door behind them, Myka struck, all panther on its prey. Her hands on Helena’s face, she kissed, pushed and pressed until Helena was up against the door. Her fingers working their way into Helena’s hair, pulling out a bajillion bobby-pins until Helena’s hair flowed down her neck.
Myka stepped backwards, pulling Helena with her by their joined lips. She twisted and turned, aiming for the bed, unwilling to let Helena go. It wasn’t like Myka thought of herself as some pushy bottom, well, not all the time. It’s just, she’d never been this hungry before, this dominating. She wanted Helena, right here, right now. She pulled at Helena’s clothes, popping buttons, yanking at seams, and frills and bustles and lacey things, the seemingly dozens layers of underthings that made up the entirety Helena‘s dress.
“By God,” Myka grunted in almost frustration, finally peeling Helena down to something resembling underwear. “No wonder you people are so damn repressed!”
“I..” Helena grunted, calves hitting the edge of the bed as her hands worked on Myka’s belt and Myka stopped kissing her long enough to yank off her shirt. “Am anything but repressed.”
Myka smirked, pushing the straps of Helena‘s chemise off her shoulders, the last of her undergarments falling to the floor. Finally. FINALLY. Getting Helena naked was always so easy before. This? Was like a present intentionally and deceptively wrapped, to make the pleasure of unwrapping a gift torture, the reward sweeter. Now that Myka had Helena completely unwrapped, she planned to enjoy the gift.
Fingertips pressed to Helena’s shoulder blades, Myka pushed. She hadn’t meant to be so.. rough as Helena flopped backwards, the air rushing from her lungs more in surprise than by gravity. Then, she looked up at Myka, with dark and hooded eyes. Helena looked up like she liked it, liked Myka a little rough around the edges and it all came back to Myka. All those months after it all fell apart, when the hurt and betrayal still stung. And that aching inside Myka, the longing flicker of a flame for something she knew, no, thought could never be, it swelled within Myka, turning from ache to need. A hungry beast that could only be sated by one thing and one thing only.
Quickly, Myka kicked off her boots, shimmied her hips as she dropped her trousers to the floor. Knees on the mattress, she lowered to all fours, crawling over Helena, dropping her head to randomly kiss the skin beneath her as she ascended, a shin, a knee, the patch of skin between the top of Helena’s thigh and the mound of coarse curly hair.
Circling her tongue around Helena’s belly button, Myka smiled at Helena’s sudden twitch, at the way the muscles shuddered as she ran her tongue up the smooth plane of Helena’s stomach. Myka didn’t know how much time she had, but she planned to taste every inch of Helena while she had it. Mouth on Helena’s breast, Myka pulled the nipple into her mouth, between her teeth. Helena’s fingers tangling in her hair as Helena arched, groaning.
Nails digging softly into Myka’s scalp, Helena pulled, forcing Myka to release the nipple in her mouth. Myka pushed herself up to crash their lips together again, Myka all lips and battering tongue, wandering hands. The hand that drifted down, fingernails scraping against that tiny patch of skin on Helena’s inner thigh. And Helena yanked her lips from Myka’s to gulp for air only to release it with a breathy gasp.
“No fair,” Helena panted, gazing at Myka with wonderment. “That you should know me so intimately.”
“Oh honey,” Myka drawled seductively, raising an eyebrow. “I’m just getting started.”
She pressed their lips together again, kissing Helena just enough to leave her breathless before she began to descend. There were definitely advantages to knowing Helena so intimately, being the first to show Helena the things she’d yet to discover. Like the way Helena liked it when Myka pulled on her nipples with her teeth, pinched them with her fingers. How Helena groaned and arched and gasped as if this were the first time. Maybe it was.
Helena grunt-gasped with each of the not quite a bite but close enough that Myka took out of her stomach. Myka descended lower, with more kisses and bites, and there was no misinterpreting her intent. Helena offered herself, opening her thighs, arching her back, head tilted up just enough to lock eyes with Myka.
Myka would never say this was her favorite part, there were so many things about sex with Helena she really enjoyed. But there was something about this moment, the right before, where Helena gazed at her with hooded and dilated eyes, with flushed cheeks and parted lips, the unsteady rise and fall of her chest in breathy anticipation. Yes, that was what Myka loved - the anticipation.
She spread Helena’s labia open with her fingers, pulled her eyes away to gaze at Helena’s sex, flushed pink and glistening wet and Myka hadn’t even done anything. Not really, anyway. Myka lifted her eyes, devilish grin on her face because she knew what was to come next and she loved what happened next. She dipped her head slightly as she opened her mouth, then ran her tongue flat up the entire length of Helena’s sex. And Helena’s brows crinkled, her mouth going slack, the small moment where she forgot how to breathe.
Myka swirled her tongue, slathering every inch of Helena’s pussy, tasting her, marking her. Myka had never really been proprietary when it came to sex but this was hers, every swell and curve, every fold and crease. If it hadn’t been hers before, she intended to claim it now.
She explored with her tongue, chuckling because, already, Helena was reaching down, threading her fingers into Myka’s hair as she rolled her hips. Helena was always impatient like that. But, Myka wasn’t done exploring, she really liked wandering her tongue all over Helena’s pussy, and she had no intention of stopping because of Helena’s lack of patience.
Tip of her tongue to Helena’s entrance, Myka circled around and around. The fingers in her hair tightened, nails scraping against the scalp as Helena clenched and twitched, hips arcing upwards asking, begging for penetration. Myka slipped in her tongue, just a little, just enough to hear Helena whimper. And Myka shivered like she did that first time, like she did every time she teasingly poked her tongue into Helena’s cunt.
“Myka..” Helena panted. “Please..”
That word, spoken so achingly, so submissively, it did Myka in every single time. She groaned at the hard twitch between her legs, clenching her thighs a little to relieve the tension. Then, Myka gave Helena what she wanted, what Myka wanted. She pushed her tongue deep and hard and fast, as she pressed her thumb against Helena‘s clit. Helena cried out, nails digging so hard into Myka’s scalp they broke the skin.
It wasn’t hard to find Helena’s rhythm. Myka had memorized it the first time, a moment which seemed so far away and like it happened yesterday. Then Helena’s other hand was threading in Myka’s hair, her choked whimpers growing stronger and louder as they always did when Helena was close. Except, Myka wasn’t ready for that moment, wasn’t ready for Helena to plummet over the edge.
Quickly, Myka withdrew her tongue, Helena barely able to whimper her protest before Myka was clambering up her body.
“Myka..” Helena breathed, before clasping her hands to Myka’s face and bringing their lips together. And it was opened mouths and dueling tongues as Myka straddled Helena’s thigh, slid her hand between them and pushed three fingers deep into Helena. Because, if there was anything better than making H.G. Wells come, it was watching her come, then falling over the edge right behind her.
Myka wanted to go slow, to make it last, savor every second. But she was beyond the point of going slow, they both were. The desire in both of them had grown to a pulsing, aching need. Myka rolled her hips, thigh pushing against the hand buried between Helena’s legs. They panted, groaned, whimpered into each other’s mouths. Helena’s hands flailed, finding purchase on Myka’s back and shoulder, the nails digging in.
“Myka..” Helena breathed as her eyes fluttered closed, neck arching as she pushed the back of her head against the pillow.
Myka snaked a hand to the back Helena’s head, fisting her hair. “Open your eyes,” Myka husked.
Helena cracked open her eyes, her expression more pained than pleasured. Lips moving to ask the question she’d dare not ask. “Do you..”
“Yes,” Myka answered quickly, lips hovering over Helena’s as she breathed into her parted lips. “With everything I am.”
The paroxysm hit Helena like it always did - hard and fast. Her eyes fluttered closed again as her head slammed back onto the pillow, the guttural groan releasing from the back of her throat.
Myka watched every twitch and tremble on Helena’s face, kept grinding her hips, thrusting her fingers. Until the tight coil of tension within her finally snapped. She collapsed her face into the crook of Helena’s neck, keening as the convulsions took over.
When Myka finally fell asleep, she didn’t dream. That disturbed her more than anything. She slept in fits and starts, comforted only when she felt the body next to hers, curling her arm tightly to pull Helena close.
Myka awoke alone. She’d reached across the mattress, when her hand found the space next to her empty, her eyes snapped open. Head lifting, she darted her eyes about, gaining her bearings. Then she flopped backwards, sighing in relief at still being in Helena’s bedroom. Sighing in relief because the dream hadn’t ended.
There was the waking awareness that she was naked in Helena’s bed, the soft smile pulling at her lips as she remembered and felt the night before. Then her eyes pulled wide because, while it might have been a dream, Myka remembered she was in Helena’s bedroom, in a house filled with Helena’s extended family, and children. Lots and lots of children. And while it might have been a dream, Myka still would have been mortified at being at found naked in Helena’s bed by one of the many children roaming the house.
She shot up from the bed, quickly finding her trousers, the ones Helena had loaned to her, and thrust her legs into them. She was still hopping one-footedly when the door opened, and Myka’s eyes went wide, completely mortified.
Helena entered the room backwards, her hands carrying a tray. She turned, dressed in a long, white robe, hair spilling loosely about her shoulders.
“Oh thank GOD!” Myka mumbled, craning her neck back in relief as she sat down on the edge of the bed.
“Good morning to you too,” Helena smiled, closing the door behind her with her hip. “What are you doing?”
“Getting dressed! Or, at least, sneak back to my room before everyone else woke up.”
“Myka,” Helena chuckled, walking around the bed to set down the tray on the nightstand. “It’s almost 11 in the morning.”
“What?” Her eyes went to the tightly drawn curtains, only now noticing the slivers of bright light cutting through the cracks.
Helena sat down on the edge of the bed. She picked up a croissant off the tray, aiming it towards Myka‘s mouth. “You slept rather soundly and I didn’t have the heart to wake you.”
“But,” Myka paused long enough to swallow before taking another bite. “Where’s everyone else?”
“Gone,” she said, turning to pick up a croissant of her own and smearing it with jam. “We decided, after all the excitement yesterday, it would be best if the children spent a couple days in the country.”
“You didn’t go with them?” Myka eyed her suspiciously.
“For now. We‘ll meet them later,” Helena smiled devilishly as she rose, fingers pulling at her robe, letting it fall off her shoulders, pooling at her feet. She climbed onto the bed, straddling Myka’s hips. “I just wanted to spend some time with you.” She leaned down, brushing her lips across Myka’s. “Alone.”
“If I didn’t know any better,” Myka grinned, sliding her hands up Helen’s thighs as she rose back into a seated position. “I’d say you were trying to have your way with me.”
“Trying?” Helena reached over to the tray, sticking the tiny spoon into the saucer of jam, picking up a tiny mountain of it. She held it over Myka’s breast then, with the turn of her wrist, let it drop onto Myka’s skin before leaning down, gathering the jam up with her tongue. “I’m definitely planning to have my way with you.”
It was early in the evening by the time they made it to the estate in the country. Because Helena kept her word, having her way with Myka multiple times. The ride was mostly in silence, the two sitting close, hands clasped together, Myka content to watch the scenery, Helena’s head on her shoulder.
They were met by Christina, who ran towards the carriage as soon as it veered towards the house. She grabbed Myka’s hand, pulling her through the ornate double doors, proudly introducing Myka to anyone and every one as her ‘Guardian Angel’. Being introduced by Christina as the one who’d saved her life seemed to counter any disapproval of the strange American woman, the ~actress~, who liked to wear men’s clothes.
There were more family members to meet, their friends and acquaintances. There was the conversations after dinner, long after the children had been sent to bed. By the time Myka was shown to her room, her head span and all she wanted to do was sleep, snuggling with Helena. Until she realized the room she was given wasn’t the same as Helena’s.
Myka sighed, pulling off her coat as she gazed about the room. It was both simple and luxurious but the bed seemed too large now that Myka knew she’d be sleeping in it alone.
There was a knock at the door. Myka pulled her shirt back over her chest, pinning it with an arm over her middle before turning the handle and opening the door just a crack.
“Hello,” Helena smiled, face illuminated by the candlestick in her hands.
“Hi,” Myka smiled back, opening her door a little wider.
“I just..” Helena dipped her eyes and Myka’s smile brightened at the sudden flush darkening Helena’s cheeks. “I just wanted to check and see if you have everything you need.”
Myka tilted her head, placing the side of her forehead against the frame, lower lip pulled between her teeth before she spoke. “And if I said all I need is you?”
The flush on Helena’s cheeks darkened. And there was a moment, when her eyes darted to the side and Myka knew Helena was debating whether or not to enter Myka’s room. “I don’t want you to think I don’t want to.”
“And I don’t want me to think you don’t want to either.”
Helena, her eyes going dark, inhaled deeply, filling her lungs with any particles of resolve that might have been in the air. “Myka..” she exhaled softly.
Myka leaned forward, gently placing her lips to Helena’s cheek. “Goodnight, H.G.”
The funny thing about sexual tension, it can build quickly, instantly. Sometimes, it can build slowly, a pot of water atop a slow and small flame. That’s how they spent the next day, a series of shared smiles, flirting glances, fingers brushing against the other. There were boundaries in the country that couldn’t be crossed so easily as they were in the city. Myka content to follow Helena’s lead, grateful to be spending any time with her at all.
As the day wore on and the family, friends and acquaintances broke off into their own smaller groups, and it was just the three of them, Helena, Myka and Christina. They walked down to the lake at the edge of the property, Myka in her suit, Helena in her dress, open parasol twirling over her head, Christina paces ahead of them, skipping down the trail, stopping only to pluck at various flowers growing beside the trail.
“She’s perfect, you know,” Myka said long after they’d stopped and she’d taken off her jacket, using it as a blanket to sit on as she sat with her back to the shade tree, Helena snuggled against her. “She’s, like, a mini-you or something.”
Helena lifted her head slightly, turning to look at Christina as she stood in the field of flowers, gathering more for her hundredth daisy chain. She turned back, resting her head against Myka’s shoulder. “She is my greatest creation.”
Myka murmured her agreement, lifting the hand draped around Helena’s shoulder to gently graze her fingertips against Helena’s forehead. “Why,” she paused to ponder her question before asking. “Why didn’t you have anymore children?”
“I can’t,” Helena answered. “Christina was a.. difficult birth. The doctors marveled that either of us had survived. Afterwards, I was told I wouldn’t be able to bare any more.”
“I’m sorry,” Myka whispering, bringing her lips to Helena’s temple.
“Don’t apologize. I have Christina. She’s happy and healthy. That’s enough for me.”
“Christina’s father? What about him?”
Helena stiffened. “Christina believes her father died serving his country. That’s all she needs to know,” she said and Myka heard the darkness in her tone, felt the tension in her body. Just like that, it was gone, Helena pulling the arm over Myka’s stomach tighter, shaking her slightly. “What about you, Myka Bering. Any children?”
Myka laughed. “God, no! I mean, it’s not that I don’t want kids. I just..” she paused, smile brightening her face as she turned to gaze down at Helena. “Never found the right person to start a family with.”
“Charmer.” Helena tilted her head, lifting until their lips met.
Myka opened her lips to retort, only to have Helena’s tongue jammed into her mouth. Which wasn‘t the worst thing in the world, not by a long shot. But, they’d been so cautious all day and it’s not like Helena’s daughter wasn’t fifty feet away, or that she was making out with Helena on the Wells family property, and who knew when one of them might walk by. Mostly, it was how aware Myka became of Helena’s hand. How it had wormed its way under Myka’s vest and shirt and how her fingers were making their way under the waist of Myka’s trousers.
“Helena,” Myka gasped, breaking their lips apart.
“What?” Helena licked her lips. “Can’t blame a girl for trying to get you pregnant.”
“Last time I checked,” Myka gasped, wrapping her hand around Helena’s wrist because her fingers slipped a little too easily between Myka’s legs. “That’s not the way it works.”
“Last time I checked, you haven’t seen how I do it.” But, she stilled her fingers anyway, to Myka’s relief. She kissed Myka, a little gentler this time. “Do you know how much I want you?” she breathed.
“Hello? I’m the one with your hand down my pants. I definitely, definitely know!”
Helena laughed, removing her hand completely. She remained close, her eyes still dark and heated as they flicked from Myka’s eyes to her lips and back again. “Do you see the cottage behind me? In the distance?” She waited until Myka looked then nodded. “It’s used mostly in the winter. It’s not the greatest of accommodations but it’s secluded, and there’s a bed.”
“Meet me there, tonight, after supper.” She kissed Myka again, putting all of her desire into the contact. “It’s only been a day but I don’t think I can bare another night without you in my arms.”
Myka stumbled in the dark, fumbling her way over the path barely visible under the sliver of moonlight. She found the cottage almost by accident. The shades were drawn tight and it was only the tiniest sliver of light through a crack in the curtains that had drawn Myka’s attention to the presence of the cottage.
When she opened the door, Helena pounced and it was Myka who found herself pressed against a wall, kissed breathlessly as Helena’s hands pulled and yanked at her clothes.
They turned and Myka laughed as Helena pushed and it was Myka flopping backwards onto the bed. Helena stopped at the edge of the bed, grabbing Myka’s trousers at the bottom and yanking furiously.
“I thought you liked the pants?” Myka chuckled.
“Don’t get me wrong, I definitely like the way you fill out those trousers,” Helena grinned, tossing Myka’s trousers over her shoulders before she removed her robe, the chemise quickly following. Then, she clambered onto the bed, crawling over Myka as Myka had done the night before. “I just love taking them off you more.”
It’d been this way for three days, their days spent with Helena’s family and their nights spent alone with each other in the cottage. It was a wonder either of them got any sleep at all. They’d awake before dawn, hurry back to the estate, giggling like two schoolgirls as they kissed before parting to their separate rooms.
“H.G.,” Myka sat on the edge of the bed, partially dressed in her trousers and undershirt. She reached out, shaking Helena at the shoulder. “H.G., we have to go.”
Helena swatted Myka’s hand away, lifting her head and twisting towards the opposite direction. “Five more minutes,” she mumbled.
“C’mon, H.G.,” Myka chuckled softly. She climbed onto the bed, straddling Helena’s back as she bounced up and down. “Wakey, wakey.”
Helena groaned, Myka lifting just enough so she could roll onto her back. “I hate you.”
“Of course you do.” Myka leaned down, kissing Helena on the nose.
Helena pouted, tossing an arm over her face. “I don’t want to go back to London.”
“Oh.” Myka’s face went blank as she rose. “That’s today, isn’t it?”
Helena pulled the arm off her face. “What’s wrong?”
Myka shook her head, clambering off Helena and sitting on the edge of the bed. “Nothing. It’s just..” She turned her head, finding something of interest on the floor. “The Warehouse is in London.”
For the first time in days, the air between them went serious.
Helena rose to a seated position. “I know that look,” she said solemnly, reaching out and cupping Myka’s chin with her fingers, turning Myka’s head towards hers. “It’s the look of someone who knows they have to say goodbye.
“H.G..” Myka sighed, shoulders slumping as the truth hit her like a punch.
“You’re beginning to think this isn’t a dream.”
“In my experience, if this were a dream, weird stuff would have started happening by now. As much as I want to, I can’t stay. You, of all people, should know about paradoxes. I’m not meant to be here.”
“What if you are? Funny thing about the future, it hasn‘t happened yet.”
“And if I wipe myself out of existence?”
“You can’t,” she paused off Myka’s puzzled expression. “You’re really going to make me think this hard, this early in the morning. The future that created you has already happened. Nothing any of us do now can undo that.”
“I..” Myka narrowed her eyes, tilting her head slightly. “Saw your lips move and heard the words, I just have no idea what you just said.”
“I said stay.” She leaned closer. Pursing her lips, brows crinkling, Helena swallowed hard. “I know Christina was supposed to die..”
“Helena,” Myka gasped.
“It wasn’t hard to figure out, not really.” She swallowed again, blinking rapidly to stop the tears from building in her eyes. “Had you not been there, she would have. And then there’s the way you look at me sometimes, like there’s this wound inside you that refuses heal. A wound I caused. I can only think of one circumstance where I could be so vicious.”
Myka closed her eyes, head lowering. “Please don’t..”
“Tell me I’m wrong. Stay with me, Myka. Stay with us.” She clasped her other hand to Myka‘s face, lifting Myka‘s head and waiting until she opened her eyes again. “Because we both know, if you choose to leave, it will never be like this again.”
“I can’t. It’s not that I don’t want to. But, my family, my friends. They’ll think I abandoned them. Again.”
“Then tell them where you are,” Helena chuckled softly.
Her eyes went wide, the thought a lifeline thrown into tumultuous waters. “What?”
Helena stared back both bemused and slightly puzzled as to how Myka couldn‘t have come up with the idea on her own. “Send them a message. You‘re in the past, they‘re in the future. It shouldn‘t be that hard to leave them a message of some sort.”
“Oh my God! H.G., you’re a genius!”
“I know.” Helena leaned, pressing their foreheads together. “Does this mean you’re coming with us to London?”
Myka beamed, pressing her lips to Helena’s. “Yes.”
Nicola Tesla wasn’t what Myka expected. She’d seen pictures, aged black and white portraits, but nothing compared to seeing a person in the flesh. He was shorter than Myka realized, top of his head barely meeting her chin, a thin wiry frame, like how she expected a man who’s life work involved electricity to be built. He was also phenomenally smug and impossibly arrogant, a genius grown tired of a world with so few peers of his equal. Myka could handle that, she expected that. She hadn’t expected Nikola Tesla to be so.. fey.
“Helena,” he lisped in a thick Serbian accent, grabbing both of Myka’s hands and stepping back, eyes raking Myka from head to toe. “So this is your American actress,” he emphasized the word as if he were winking it. “She is ravishing.” He turned his gaze to Helena. “Or is that ravished? Put a sock in those trousers and I may just have to fight you for her.”
“Nikola,” Helena playfully warned.
“Oh..” His eyes widened with delight before narrowing, focusing back on Myka. “She must really like you. The last time she was this possessive..”
“Nikola!” This time, there was no playful tone. And there was a moment, where the two stared each other down and the air thickened to the consistency of cold butter. Nikola blinked first, Myka thinking he’d lost many of these battles. He released Myka’s hands, stepping back as he waved a disinterested hand at Helena.
“It’s not like there aren’t more Americans out there,” he scoffed like a little boy who’d just had his toys taken away.
Helena stepped towards Myka, placing her hand to the small of Myka’s back. Myka unable to hide her grin at how she kind of liked this possessive side of Helena.
“We need to speak to a Regent,” Helena said.
“You know the Regents,” Nikola answered. “You don’t find them as much as they find you.”
“Regardless, we need to speak to one anyway.”
“Fine,” he sighed, rolling his eyes. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Lips pursing, Myka took a half step forward. “There’s more,” Myka waited until she had Nikola’s full attention, the man gazing at her with a playful glint in his eyes. “You’re working on the plans for a new warehouse, Warehouse 13.”
He inhaled deeply, eyes narrowing as the delight in his eyes turned to suspicion. “Helena,” he drawled.
“Helena hasn’t told me anything.”
“It’s true, Nikola,” Helena added. “You should listen to her before you presume anything.”
“The Warehouse,” Myka continued. “The Regents have already purchased the land in South Dakota and they’ve assigned you to help with the construction.” She reached into her coat pocket, pulling out a letter. Holding it with both hands, she stared at it like it was the most important thing on the planet. “I need to deliver this letter.”
“Warehouse 13 will be finished in a couple of years. Why not deliver it yourself?”
“I need it delivered at a specific time,” she lifted the letter, turning it around so Nikola could read the date on the back. “A specific day and not a second before.”
As his eyes scanned the writing, Nikola’s mouth went slack, visibly shuddering. Surprised twice in one day. He looked back up at Myka, seeing her in a whole new light, then his eyes turned towards Helena. “Oh Helena, I was wrong. I think I will fight you for her.”
“Will you do it?” Helena asked.
“Can you?” Myka added.
“Can I?” Nikola scoffed, pushing herself up off his desk. “I’m Nikola Tesla, of course I can do it!” He reached out. “Give me the letter.”
“Wait!” Myka yelped, practically jumping backwards.
“Myka,” Helena stepped towards her, hand on the small of her back once more. “What is it?”
“The moment I do this, there’s no turning back,” she swallowed hard, the letter in her hand suddenly becoming very heavy. “What if they figure out how to bring me back and..”
“You just disappear?” Helena smiled softly. “I don’t think it works like that.”
“It’s how I got here, Helena.”
The smile on Helena’s lips faded. She glanced at the letter in Myka’s hands, quickly returning her gaze. “Well then,” she drew her hands up to Myka’s shoulders. “There’s only one thing left to do. Say goodbye.”
“Helena..” Myka sighed.
“Do you love me?”
“With everything I am.”
“Then,” Helena drew closer. “Kiss me.”
Myka didn’t pause, just pressed her lips against Helena’s, her hands draping over the swell of Helena’s hips as Helena pulled tighter around Myka’s shoulders. A kiss of passion, desire, growing sorrow, a kiss of goodbye. The moments ticked by. A certain awkwardness began to grow between them, both slowly realizing Myka hadn’t disappeared.
Nikola feigned a cough. Myka cracked open an eye to see Helena doing the same. They parted, staring at each other in puzzlement.
“It would probably help if you actually gave me the letter.” Nikola stomped across the floor towards them. He snatched the letter from Myka’s hand, stalking back towards his desk. “Fucking lesbians.”
Myka sat slumped in the chair in Helena’s bedroom, knees splayed open, ‘The Time Machine’ resting on a knee. It’d been a month since she’d given the letter to Nikola and she realized the flaw in her plan, giving the letter to Nikola was only part of what needed to occur to send her back to the future. It still had to be placed in the Warehouse, and that wouldn’t happen for another three years when construction actually began.
Which left Myka in limbo. All things considered, there were worse places to be stuck. Myka knew that more than anyone. But, she was stuck in limbo with Helena, where Christina was alive and happy. They all were, including Myka. There were just those times where Myka felt.. useless. Those closest to Helena were quick to realize Myka’s ‘actress from America’ act was nothing more than that, an act. Particularly since Myka never left during the day for ‘rehearsals‘, and there was never a play where she made an appearance. Even Helena, with her great imagination, was becoming hard pressed to find reasons for Myka’s presence in her home.
There was a quiet knock at the door before it opened, Helena smiling softly as she paused in the doorway.
“There’s someone who wants to ask you a question,” she said before Christina peered her head around the frame.
Nervous and fidgety, Christina stood before her mother, hands clasped politely before her as Myka had seen her mother do a hundred times before. Head tilted down, she looked up shyly at Myka. “Would you take me to school tomorrow?”
“I..” Myka took the book off her knee, placing it on the table next to her. She leaned forward, elbows on her knees. “I would love to. If it’s all right with your mother.”
Christina looked up at her mother, all wide-eyed and expectant. Helena placed her hands on her daughter’s shoulders. “Did you really think I’d say no?”
She hopped excitedly, clapping her hands before twirling around, wrapping her arms tight around Helena’s stomach. “Thank you, Mummy.”
“Now, say goodnight to Myka and let’s get you to bed.”
Arms pulling from around her mother, Christina bounded across the room. Myka turned her head, exposing her cheek as Christina skidded to a stop, giving Myka a quick peck. “Goodnight, Myka,” she smiled.
“Goodnight, sweetie,” Myka grinned, giving her a quick kiss back.
Mother and daughter exited the room. Myka slumped back in the chair, melancholy washing over her as she picked up her book, placing it back on her knee.
“She adores you, you know,” Helena said as she returned, closing the door behind her.
“The feeling’s mutual.”
“Of course, you realize, when she said ‘take her to school’ she meant show off her Guardian Angel to her friends?”
Myka chuckled. “I figured.”
Helena approached the chair, brushing the hair off Myka’s face, Myka leaning into her touch and kissing the inside of Helena’s palm. Picking up the book, Helena stepped around Myka’s knee, lowering herself until she sat on Myka’s lap. She continued to gently brush her fingers at Myka’s hairline, examining her face. “You miss them.”
“Is it that obvious?”
She placed her hand over Myka’s, over the book. “Do you really think this is what did it? Brought you back in time?”
“I can’t think of any other explanation. It’s the only thing I was touching when I..” her voice trailed.
“When you what?”
She lifted her hand, tracing the pads of her fingertips across Helena‘s cheek. “When I thought of you.”
“And that’s why you think if you do it again, hold the book while thinking of them, it’ll take you back?”
Helena tightened her lips, nodding in thought. “Maybe that’s why it hasn’t worked.”
“What do you mean?”
“You have to choose, Myka.” She inhaled deeply, eyes following the fingers tracing down Myka’s cheek. “Choose with everything in your heart. If your heart’s not in it, maybe that’s why it doesn’t work.”
It’s not like they hadn’t made love before. But, it was different this time.
Helena was right. Myka did have to choose, a future with her friends, or a past with Helena. She had no idea how long she would be here, how long she would have to wait and the waiting was killing her.
So, Myka chose. She chose Helena, Christina, a life here for however long it would be.
And as Helena’s fingers tangled in her hair, as Myka descended with lips and teeth and tongue, Myka prayed she would be here for a very long time.
“I think you should come with me,” Helena said over the lip of her tea cup. “To the Warehouse.”
“Helena..” Myka sighed.
“You’re going stir crazy,” Helena paused, setting down her cup. “You’re starting to drive me crazy.
They were in Helena’s study for brunch as they always were this time of day. The time before and after typically spent with Helena going over some invention or working on her latest novel, Myka sitting in a chair reading a book. Which typically lead to Myka meandering about, staring over Helena’s shoulders and asking a billion questions.
“Look,” Helena continued. “You don’t have to talk about what you know. But, you are an agent of the Warehouse. And your considerable skills could be put to better use than lounging around my study.”
“I.. I’ll think about it.”
“Good,” Helena lifted her cup, smiling. “I’ve already filled out the paperwork.”
It’d been a week since Helena’s suggestion that Myka join Warehouse 12. Bureaucracy in 2011 was an arduous nightmare, Myka could only imagine what it was like in 1899.
Christina was at school, Helena was at her publisher. So Myka did what she sometimes did when the house was completely empty, when her eyes strained from reading all day and she thought she might go crazy, she went for a walk.
The cane was a gift from Helena, the top hat from Christina. Because, according to Christina, one shouldn’t have one without the other. So Myka went for a walk in her suit and cane and top hat. She’d become accustomed to the occasional odd stares and glances. Myka’s presence in Helena’s home hadn’t quite reached ‘scandalous’ proportions, just reached the point where the two had become the center of the local ‘gossip’. Not that it mattered to Myka, at least, today. She smiled at the gentlemen she passed, tipped her hat to the ladies.
Every day she took her walks, she ventured a little farther from home. The first time Myka referred to Helena’s house as home, she’d had to stop and take a moment, pulling the kerchief from her breast pocket to wipe her eyes.
Today, she made her way to a small square, taking a seat on a bench and contentedly watching the world pass by. The time ticked by, late morning turning to early afternoon. The time growing close to when Christina would return home from school and Myka always made sure to be home when she did.
She moved to rise from the bench when a shadow eclipsed her. Myka lifted her eyes to see a man standing before her. He was in his mid-forties but something about him made Myka think he was older, something about him made Myka believe she should know him. She felt a sudden uneasiness come over her.
He brought a gloved hand up, clasping the front of his top hat as he tipped his head. “Agent Bering.”
“Do I know you?” Myka asked, swallowing nervously.
“You did ask to speak to a Regent.” He tilted forward slightly, pointing his outstretched arm towards the empty space beside her. “Do you mind?”
He was already in motion before Myka could shake her head.
“What do you want?” Myka asked.
He sat looking straight forward, cane between his legs, both hands draped over the handle. “To talk to you about your situation, of course. To help correct it.”
“There’s nothing to correct,” Myka bristled. “I’m where I’m supposed to be.”
“That’s unfortunate,” he sighed. “You’re a long way from home, Myka Bering. And the faster we get you back, the quicker we can correct the damage you’ve already wrought.”
“Damage?” Myka’s eyes widened, his meaning becoming clear. “You don’t mean..”
He turned his head towards her. There was a smile on his lips, but it never reached his eyes. She’d never seen such cold eyes before. “It’s already in motion.”
“Christina..” Myka shot up to her feet, body already in motion, already running. There was no point in staying and arguing. Myka knew once the Regents made up their minds there was no changing them.
Already in a dead sprint, she saw the Agent approaching through the corner of her eye. She braced herself as he side-tackled her, the air rushing from her lungs as she hit the ground hard, shoulder first. And Myka was all wounded animal trapped in a corner, kicking, punching, spitting fire and venom.
Whoever the Regent was, he came prepared. Because it wasn’t just one Agent wrestling Myka on the ground. There were five, no, six, there hands grabbing at her arms and legs, pinning her to the ground. The hand that rushed towards her mouth, holding a cloth, a dot of wetness in the center.
She screamed as they placed it over her mouth and nose. The sweet-smelling fumes filling nose and, immediately, everything went hazy.
Everything went black.
She was aware but she wasn’t. Conscious and unconscious, surrounded by nothing but an inky blackness.. and her memories. They floated about her like a million different movies screens with no edges, far in the distance, inches from her face but always out of reach. She couldn’t reach for them. She couldn’t touch the faces that went with the memories. She couldn’t cry. She couldn’t scream.
After awhile, that’s all Myka wanted to do.
Her eyes snapped open. Myka sucked in a hard gulp of air. She let out the scream she’d been holding for eternity. Her last memory streaked like lightning into her limbs. She swung out blindly, swinging at shadows and light. She felt the ground beneath her feet, felt her knees go weak. A shape moved towards her and Myka screamed as strong arms wrapped pinned her arms to the sides of her chest.
“MYKA!” the voice yelled.
The voice. Strong and masculine. A voice she knew, used to know before everything changed and she wondered how she could have ever forgotten it to begin with.
“Pete?” Myka blinked. The shapes and shadows began to take form, turning into Claudia, Jinks and Artie. She felt herself being turned around, relief washing over her as she saw Pete’s face.
“Pete,” she said, voice cracking. Pete cradled her in his arms as the strength left her legs. “They bronzed me, Pete. They bronzed me.”
“I know,” Pete said softly, kissing the top of Myka’s head as he held her tightly. “I know.”
“Where am I?” Myka asked.
After her strength returned and the shock wore off, Myka put on her best smile to reunite with her friends. The three of them, Claudia, Artie and Jinks, walked ahead of them, Pete staying behind to walk along side his partner.
It looked like a basement, the ceiling only 12 feet high. But, it felt like a Warehouse because of the thick, round cylinders and their windows casting an eerie glow onto the floor.
“Warehouse 12,” Pete explained. “Or what’s left of it.”
“And these,” she almost slowed her steps, then thought better of it. “These are bronzing chambers, aren’t they?”
Pete edged closer, placing his hand on Myka’s shoulder. “Myka, you okay?”
She walked past another chamber. Behind the window streaked with age, she could see the silhouette of the figure inside, the person. She shivered. “Just.. I just want to go home.”
The hallway seemed to stretch forever and Myka sighed in relief at the sight of stairs. Then, Myka stopped dead in her tracks. It wasn’t a feeling like the ones Pete always got. She stopped because it felt like a hand had reached inside her, gripped her hard and made her stop.
“Myka?” Pete asked, suddenly realizing his partner wasn’t walking by his side.
Entranced, Myka walked towards one of the chambers. She didn’t want to look inside but there was that force, that thing clenching tight around her insides making her look. Myka looked inside.
The air rushed from her lungs. She slapped her hands onto the metal, fingers sliding all over searching for a seam. “Pete!” she yelled. “How do you open this?”
She banged a fist onto the metal. “HOW DO YOU OPEN THIS GODDAMNED THING!!”
Pete didn’t know what happened to Myka, didn’t dare imagine. But, she was his partner and he’d always help her no matter what. He stepped towards the chamber, his eyes finding the tiny placard on the side. “Jesus Christ,” he mumbled before turning and yelling, “ARTIE!”
They must have thought Myka had gone crazy as they ran back. Myka pounding, pulling on the chamber door as Pete circled around, trying to find a way to help her.
“Guys?” Claudia was the first to speak, her question for anyone willing to give her an answer.
“Artie,” Pete turned his head. “Open it!”
“We’re only authorized to open..”
“It’s a kid!” Pete lurched towards the man. “They bronzed a goddamned kid!”
Myka turned her head, lower lip trembling like it was taking everything within her to not shatter into a million pieces. “Artie, please.”
Myka and Pete stepped back as Artie stepped forward. He leaned forward, squinting his eyes as he adjusted his glasses. Reading the placard, his features went blank, eyes going wide as he rose. He went to the panel for the controls, a twitch of his head and Claudia was at his side. The spittoon used to gather DNA wouldn’t work here. Artie wasn’t in charge of Warehouse 12. And the authorization to open any of the Bronzing chambers inside had been for one, not two. They unplugged and re-plugged wires, pressed buttons and switches. There was a loud hum, the clank of gears moving and the chamber opened, revealing a statue, a child in bronze.
The bronze melted away, dissipating as it did. Myka rushed forward, going down onto her knees.
Christina blinked, bringing her hands up to rub at her eyes. “Myka?” she said.
“Yeah,” Myka smiled as the tears filled her eyes. “It’s me, sweetie.”
Christina threw her arms around Myka’s shoulders, burying her face in Myka’s neck as she began to cry. Myka held her tight, rising to her feet, Christina wrapping her legs around her waist.
“It’s okay,” Myka cooed, rubbing the back of her head. “I got you, now. I got you.”
Pete knocked softly on the door before opening it, poking his head in.
Myka sat on the bed of the hotel suite, her back to the headboard, a soundly asleep Christina using Myka’s lap as a pillow. She lifted her head as Pete opened the door, giving him a tired smile. “How many times are you going to check in on us?”
He opened the door wider, crossing his arms as he leaned against the doorframe. “A quadro-bajillion.”
“I don’t think that’s an actual number.”
“That’s what you get for thinking.” He smiled quietly at being able to get Myka to laugh, even if it was a small one. Entering the room, he sat down in the chair across from the bed, leaning forward onto his elbows. “How’s she doing?”
“Coping. She was unconscious when they put her in there. Thank God.” Myka looked down, watching her fingers as they grazed over Christina’s forehead. “You have no idea what it’s like in there, Pete. I can almost understand doing it to me but a child..” her voice trailed, cracking.
“She’ll be fine. You’ll be fine,” he added.
Myka forced a grin onto her face, she didn’t have the heart to question him. “How long was I gone?”
“I don’t know, five minutes?” he shrugged his shoulders, scratching the back of his head with a hand. “One minute, I see you in the library reading a book, the next we’re all sitting at the table for lunch and Leela comes running in with this letter. She said it just dropped out of the sky. We go down into the Warehouse to search for you, an hour later, Mrs. Frederick is there with another letter saying you’d been bronzed and were in Warehouse 12,” he paused, inhaling deeply. “How long were you.. where ever you were?”
“Wow.” Pete leaned back in his chair, reeling. “With H.G.?”
“That explains it.”
He half-smiled. “The way she always looked at you when she thought no one could see her.”
“Mmm,” Myka nodded. “I think I know that look. Did you guys find the artifact? The one that sent me back?”
Pete shook his head. “Nope. Even Artie’s at a loss. There’s nothing in the books to explain what happened.”
“There has to be a reason..”
“Maybe there is. We‘ve worked at the Warehouse long enough, seen more than our fair share of strange things. And..” he lowered his head, peering up at her half-squinted eyes. “I’m not the most spiritual of guys on the planet..”
Straightening in the chair, he raised his hands defensively. “I’m just saying, maybe this is someone’s way of saying ‘sorry I screwed up, let me make it right’.”
“You can’t possibly believe that?”
He shrugged. “Maybe I do, maybe I don’t. But,” he pointed with his head. “She’s alive. You’re alive and H.G.’s alive. Some people would move Heaven and Earth to have a piece of what you have. To change Fate. You did it, Myka.”
“I’m sorry, Myka.” Mrs. Frederic stood in that regal manner of hers, hands clasped together before her, the same polite and placid expression on her face. “But, the Regents have denied your request.”
“Unbelievable!” Myka growled, spinning quickly on her feet so she didn‘t have to face the woman before her. Hands curling into claws, she flailed them about, wanting nothing more than to wrap them around something and squeeze. She spun back around. “It’s her daughter! They can’t melt their cold black hearts long enough to let H.G. see her own damn daughter!”
“The daughter she thought was dead and tried to destroy the world over,” Mrs. Frederic reminded her. Her tone would have sounded cold had Myka not known better.
“Because they bronzed her!”
“No, because you interfered.”
“Okay, fine, I interfered. So that makes it right? Everything would be better if Christina was actually dead?” Stepping towards a table, Myka placed her hands on the surface as she bowed her head. “You know this is wrong.”
“Myka,” Mrs. Frederick sighed. She stepped closer, placing a hand onto Myka’s shoulder. “I know how much she means to you. If it were up to me..” she paused, patting her hand. “Well, it’s not up to me.”
Myka quietly entered Christina’s room, the room that used to be Helena’s. She was curled up on her side, staring blankly on the wall, a hand clasped around the charm of her necklace. Myka climbed onto the bed, spooning Christina from behind.
“You thinking about your mom?” she asked, gently brushing Christina’s hair off her forehead.
Christina nodded, sighing softly. “I miss her.”
“Will I ever see her again?”
“I..” Myka paused, shaking her head. She knew from experience it was never a good idea to lie to a child. “I don’t know. I hope so, sweetie. I hope we both do.”
Everything went quiet. Myka found herself drifting off to sleep. Suddenly, there was a loud thump and Myka’s eyes snapped open, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on edge. Another thump, louder, along with something shuffling and Myka sat up. The noise continued. The closet, it was coming from the closet.
“Myka?” Christina whispered, voice tinged with fear.
“Christina..” Myka hopped off the bed, placing herself between Christina and the closet. “Go find Uncle Pete.”
She ran like a shot, Myka quietly closing the door behind her. Stepping towards the closet, she looked around for a weapon, grumbling when all she could find was an umbrella. A child’s umbrella.
“Who ever you are,” she said, umbrella raised like a bat. “Come out now, with your hands up.”
Everything went quiet again. The bad kind of quiet. Myka shifted uncomfortably on the balls of her feet, hands tightening around the handle of her umbrella.
The sound of a shuffle cracked the silence. “Myka?”
Myka felt her heart stop. She’d recognize that voice anywhere. “H.G.?”
“Would you mind opening the door?”
The umbrella dropped to the floor, immediately forgotten. Myka rushed towards the antique closet, yanking on the double handles.
And H.G. Wells tumbled out.
“Where the bloody Hell..” Helena stammered as she rose to her feet, suddenly realizing where she was. “Did you..?”
“No!” Myka gasped.
“I don’t care.” Myka whipped her hand out, grabbing a fistful of Helena’s shirt and yanking until their lips crashed together.
“I thought you hated me,” Helena panted as their lips parted.
“I did,” she nuzzled her nose against Helena’s. “Then I spent my summer vacation in Paris.. and London, with you.”
Helena smiled, opening her mouth to say something else only to have Myka crash their lips together again. And it was like before, like a hundred years just drifted away and they were in a tiny cottage on the outskirts of Paris.
There were Helena’s fingers tangling in Myka’s hair, Myka’s hands pulling at Helena’s shirt. The two of them twisting and turning, tumbling onto the bed.
The door burst open, Pete rushing in, Tesla gun raised and at the ready.
“Oh!” Pete immediately skidded to a stop, his eyes going wide as he raised his barrel towards the ceiling, lest he accidentally shoot either woman while they extricated themselves from each other. With his free hand, he shaded his eyes, twisting his head to keep from looking directly. “H.G.”
“Hello, Pete,” Helena said, wiping her lips as she stood.
“Myka?” he winced, like he‘d just walked in on his big sister fapping to her porn collection.
“You can lower your hand now, Pete.” She stepped closer to Helena, threading their fingers together, like she needed confirmation Helena was really here.
Like an alarm had been sounded, the rest quickly came to the rescue. Claudia arrived first, skidding to a halt. ‘Whoa-ing’ before her mouth just dropped open. Jinks right on her heels, staring quizzically, wondering why no one was trying to arrest the woman standing next to Myka.
Artie arrived last, a little more winded than the others. And it was like the air in the room deflated a little. Myka felt Helena tensing, clenching Myka’s hand a little tighter.
“You..” Stunned, Artie adjusted his glasses. “How did you..”
“We have no idea, Artie,” Myka quickly said. “Me and Christina..” Myka’s eyes went wide, fingers going to her lips. She turned her head quickly towards Helena, the woman staring back at her, a look of confusion and sadness at the mere mention of Christina‘s name. “Oh Helena, Christina.. she’s here. Here, here!”
“What?” The truth etched itself across her face. “Where?”
Just like that, Helena was off, barreling through the crowd bunched around the door.
“Christina!” she shouted as she reached the top of the stairs, taking them two at a time. “Christina!”
In the living room, Christina sat on the couch, Leela right next to her, arm draped protectively over the girl’s shoulders. At the sound of her name, her head whipped up, eyes widening.
“Mummy!” she yelled, launching herself off the couch.
Mother and daughter collided, Helena scooping Christina up in her arms, spinning the two of them around and around. She rained kisses on Christina’s cheeks and neck, sobbing as the tears flowed freely. The strength left her legs and Helena dropped to her knees.
Myka and the rest quietly made their way to the bottom of the stairs, silently watching the reunion. Jinks was the first to react, wiping his eyes with the corner of a sleeve, Claudia nudging him with an elbow before she, too, had something in her eye.
Christina spoke, her mouth going a million words a minute, telling Helena everything that had happened as Helena did nothing more than beam at her.
They weren’t in the Warehouse but the bed and breakfast that served as their home, but something caught Myka’s attention, made her tilt her head as she walked towards Helena and Christina.
“Christina,” Myka kneeled down next to Helena. She reached out, then pulled back her hand. “What’s that around your neck?”
Christina looked down, clasping the charm around her neck. It was gold, no more than a half inch around, an iridescent stone colored like a rainbow set in the middle. “It’s a necklace.”
“I know it’s a necklace, silly. Where’d you get it?”
“I..” Helena glanced at Myka. “I thought you gave it to her.” Myka shook her head no. “Christina, where’d you get it?”
She lowered her head, cheeks flushing guiltily. “In the garden. I know you don’t like me to leave the house before breakfast but I wanted to search for Fairies. That’s when I found it.”
“When did you find it?” Myka asked, the wheels turning.
“The day the bad men came.”
“The bad men came and you made a wish, didn’t you?”
Christina nodded. “I wished for a Guardian Angel and then you came and saved me.”
“And just now, upstairs, you wished for your Mother back?” Myka reached into her pocket as Christina nodded, pulling out the pair of rubber gloves she always keeps on her. “Can I see it?”
Christina pulled the necklace off. Myka gingerly grabbed it by the chain, she extended her arm behind her, Pete quickly approaching and taking it from her.
“Mummy?” Christina asked and all eyes were back on her. “Are you staying?”
Helena glanced at Myka then smiled with trembling lips. “For now.”
It was close to 1am by the time Myka made her way back to Christina’s room. She knocked softly, peering her head inside before entering. Helena and Christina were on the bed, Christina fast asleep, her mother lying next to her.
Myka couldn’t help but smile. “Hey.”
Helena lifted her head, lips spreading wide. “Hey.”
Myka sat down on the edge of the bed, facing Christina, the smile on her face fading a little. “Agents will be here in the morning.”
“The morning,” Helena chuckled softly. “I thought they’d already be here.”
“Artie’s afraid you’ll take Christina and leave.”
“The thought had crossed my mind. But, I’d ask you to come with me and I knew you’d say no.”
Myka reached out, turning Helena‘s wrist and wrapping her hand around Helena‘s. “Then you’d be wrong.”
Helena narrowed her eyes, half-smiling like she was seeing Myka in a whole new light. “Either way, it wouldn’t be fair to her, or to you. I can’t think of a better, safer place for her than right here. With us.”
Myka beamed so hard she thought her cheeks would burst into flames. Helena pulled Myka’s hand to her lips, kissing the backs of her knuckles. Her expression turned melancholy, Myka noticed immediately.
“The last time we met..” Helena pursed her lips, eyes darting away as she searched for the right words. “There was something I forgot to say.. I’m sorry.”
Helena blinked at the tears welling in her eyes, as her focus went distant and the painful memories returned. “I prepared myself for the possibility you would one day disappear. That it would happen the same day Christina..” she shuddered, leaning against her daughter just to feel her presence. “A fire at the school. I came home, you were gone and there was a knock at the door..”
It’s not how Myka remembered it, it wouldn’t be. To hear it now tore a hole in her heart. “H.G., you don’t have to..”
“I died that day.” She pulled her hand from Myka’s, using it to wipe the tears from her eyes. “Then, to step out of the Bronzer, see you and realize you had know idea who I was. It was like dying all over again.”
“Helena..” Myka sighed. She knew that moment, the tiny little stabs into her heart every time she looked at Helena and didn’t see the same feelings returned. Rising from the bed, Myka circled around it, sliding back on and stretching her body against Helena’s. When Helena turned her head, Myka claimed her lips, softly and gently.
“I’m here, now,” Myka said as their lips parted. She extended her arm, draping it over both Helena and Christina. “We’re all here. Together.”
TWO MONTHS LATER
“Okay! Do you have everything?” Myka pointed at the items on her mental checklist. “Backpack? Of course, you’re wearing it. Duh! Pencils? Notebook? Oh! Cell phone?”
Christina, head sagging backwards, let out a long whine. “Myka!”
“MYKA!” Pete yelled from the passenger’s side of their SUV. “Let the kid go to friggin’ school!”
“OKAY!” Myka barked back. “Just give me a second!”
Bending at the knees, Myka placed her hands on Christina’s shoulders. “If you need anything, anything, don’t be afraid to call.”
“And I’ll be right here after school to pick you up,” Myka paused, swallowing the huge lump in her throat. “I love you, kiddo.”
“I love you too, Myka,” Christina said, wrapping her arms around Myka’s neck and kissing her cheek.
Myka did as she had for the past four days, hold Christina tight for way too long, eyes squeezed shut to keep herself from turning into a blubbery mess like she did the first day… and the second.
Despite being born in 1890, Christina had adjusted in the way only children can. There were the occasional setbacks, when she missed her mother, or when learning about computers and televisions, cars, airplanes and all the rest of the world’s modern conveniences became too much. But, she wasn’t alone. She had her Aunt’s Leena and Claudia, who took great pride in catching Christina up on a 100 years worth of pop culture. There were her Uncles, Steve and Pete, who now had a partner in crime when it came to watching Saturday morning cartoons. There was Grandpapa Artie, who bristled at the idea of being called ‘Grandpapa’ then spoiled Christina rotten when no one was looking.
And there was Myka, just Myka, or her Guardian Angel when she was alone playing ‘Warehouse Agents’ with her Barbie dolls. There was also that first day at school when Christina introduced Myka as ‘her other Mummy’ and it had taken everything Myka had not to turn into a blubbering mess. Again.
Myka inhaled deeply, memorizing the smell of Christina’s shampoo as she finally released her grip. Christina bounded off, waving at her new friends, the adults behind her quickly forgotten.
Arms wrapped around her middle, Myka walked back to the car. She slid behind the driver’s seat, taking another deep inhale.
“Are you..” Pete gaped. “Crying? Again!”
He turned his head, looking into the backseat, the seat behind Myka. Where Claudia sat, wiping her eyes with the back of her coat sleeve.
“What?” Claudia sniffled. “I just got something in my eye.”
Pete twisted again, turning towards the seat directly behind him. Where Jinks also had something in his eye.
“What?” he snapped at Pete.
“Guys!” Pete rolled his eyes, pulling his seatbelt and latching it into place. “She’s gonna be fine.”
Myka turned the ignition, chuckle rising up her throat. She put her hand on the gearshift about to put it into drive when she paused, taking another solemn look out the window and towards the school.
“Do you really think it’s true?” she asked then turned her head towards Pete. “That this is someone’s way of saying ‘sorry I screwed up’?”
“You’re kidding, right? I mean look at her.” He nodded with his head and Myka took the opportunity to gaze at Christina one more time. “She’s happy. Heck, I want you as ‘my other Mummy’,” he said with the worst British accent ever. “Who occasionally makes out with my other, other Mummy or, you know, mud wrestles. Oooh! Jello wrestling…in tight footy pajamas.”
Myka laughed then slugged Pete on the arm.
Myka tossed her keys onto the table in the foyer. Hand on the back of her neck, she massaged at the slight tension. It wasn’t like there wasn’t a school bus that drove by the B&B. While Christina was ready to take that next step, Myka wasn’t. So, every day she drove Christina to school. On the days she when was on assignment, one of the others did. Although Myka was beginning to suspect one of them, probably Claudia (with Artie’s approval) was secretly letting Christina ride the bus.
The B&B was quiet and Myka took the opportunity to enjoy those rare moments when she was completely alone in the house. Winter had come early to Univille, winter always came early in Univille but it was deep into the season when the gray skies and foot of snow on the ground felt right.
In two weeks it would be Christmas. Christina’s first Christmas at the Warehouse. And Myka brushed at her eye with a knuckle. She was not crying, she was NOT crying, just getting a little misty-eyed at the thought.
She smiled as she gazed at the decorations they’d all helped put up. The gargantuan tree Pete and Christina had picked out in the living room, the presents underneath already beginning to pile up.
Myka made her way up the stairs, heading towards her room. Closing the door behind her, her ears pricked as a sound caught her attention. Running water. The shower. The sound made the hair on the back of her neck stand on edge. Pete and Steve were on assignment. The rest were in the Warehouse. And Myka knew she wasn’t the type to leave the shower running.
She reached at her hip, pulling her Tesla out of its holster. Nudging the bathroom door open, steam billowing around her, Myka entered the bathroom.
The shower curtain was closed, a shapeless shadow tinting it. Myka edged closer. One hand holding her gun, with the other, Myka reached out for the edge of the curtain. Heart in throat, Myka took a minute pause, swallowed her resolve and yanked the curtain open.
“Jesus Christ!” Helena jumped, grabbing the only thing she had to cover herself, a hand cloth.
“H.G.!?!” Myka gaped. She blinked rapidly, closing her eyes and holding them for a half second before reopening. Helena was still there. “What?”
Myka reached out with her hand, fingertip poking Helena in the arm.
“It’s real, Myka,” Helena chuckled. “I’m here.”
“How?” Myka tucked her Tesla back into the hostler. Her hands had started to shake and she feared accidentally shooting both of them. “Did you escape?”
“No,” Helena laughed, turning off the faucets. “It appears I have friends in high places willing to pull strings on my behalf. It’s not permanent, mind you. Just a temporary furlough..”
“How long are you here?”
“Until the beginning of the year. Even the Regents aren’t such bastards as to keep a child from her mother on Christmas. How is she, Christina?”
“Amazing,” Myka smiled. “Just like her mother.”
“Charmer,” Helena narrowed her eyes, tilting her head slightly. “Would you mind handing me a towel?”
Myka, realizing she had three weeks with H.G. and that H.G. was right before her and completely naked, slowly shook her head no.
“You do realize I’m dripping wet?”
Lower lip curling between her teeth, flush darkening her cheeks, Myka slowly bobbed her head up and down.
“Like I said, charmer.” Helena took a step back, giving a come hither motion with her finger. “Come here.”
Myka needed no further prompting. She stepped into the shower, boots splashing softly on the standing water. She planted both hands, palms flat, on either side of Helena’s head against the wall.
“I’ll ruin your suit,” Helena purred, grabbing a fistful of Myka’s shirt and pulling her the rest of the way in.
“You know I don’t care,” Myka grinned right before their lips met and neither cared that one was fully clothed while the other was completely naked and that they were standing in a shower not exactly built for two.
They moaned into each other’s mouths, Helena’s fingers moving to work on the buttons of Myka’s shirt, Myka’s fingers tangling in Helena’s hair. It’d been months since they’d last touched. It felt longer, an eternity because there was the giant chasm of the unknown between them. Now they were together and neither intended to waste a single second.
Her hands in Helena’s hair, Myka moved them lower, down her back, bumping along the ridges of her ribs. Arms wrapping around Helena’s waist, Myka leaned back, taking Helena’s weight. Helena wrapped her legs around Myka’s hips.
They never stopped kissing, as Myka stepped out of the bathtub, out of the bathroom and into her bedroom. Their teeth clacked as Myka’s knees hit the bed, when she leaned to let gravity take it’s course, Helena not letting go, pulling Myka down with her.
Myka giggled as she shirked off her jacket, Helena’s hands worming their way into her shirt, under her bra. The giggle turned to a coarse moan, Helena’s fingers tweaking Myka’s nipples in that way only Helena could do.
Helena moved a hand down, nails scraping across Myka’s stomach. She cupped Myka’s mound, curling her fingers.
“Fu..” Myka grunted, eyes practically rolling into the back of her head.
“I do love the way you fill out a pair of trousers,” Helena purred. She pushed with her hips, reversing the two until Myka was flat against the bed, Helena quickly straddling her. One-handed, she un-looped Myka’s belt, popping the fly, working the zipper. Fingers sliding between cotton and skin, Helena’s eyes narrowed as Myka’s fluttered half-closed, as a low and guttural moan rumbled up Myka’s throat.
Slow burn to fast boil, Myka’s breathing went hard and quick. She writhed beneath Helena, rolling her hips onto Helena’s hand, not quite able to believe how much she missed Helena’s touch. When Helena dipped her fingers lower, sliding from clit to cunt and barely pressing at Myka’s opening, Myka went overboard. The paroxysm seized her, mouth frozen in a silent scream as she bucked and trembled, stomach clenching so tight her shoulders rose off the bed.
It was over way too goddamned quick and Myka flopped an arm over her eyes, groaning in embarrassment at having early pearly’ed all over Helena’s hand.
“I’m sorry,” she whined sheepishly.
“Why? You planning to roll over and fall asleep?” Helena teased. “If I wanted to have sex with Pete..”
“Hey!” Myka squeaked, removing the hand over her eyes to gape at Helena.
Helena kamikaze kissed her. “I’ve spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about what I’d do to you the next time I actually got to touch you. And I refuse to be deterred just because you set off the fireworks a little early. Now, if you’ll excuse me..” she rose, kneeing open Myka’s thighs as she kneeled between them, her hands already pulling at Myka’s waistband. “As much as I love how you fill a pair of trousers, I love taking them off more.”
Which was enough to get Myka’s heart racing again. If she hadn’t been ready for round two before, the look in Helena’s eyes did it for her. Hungry and focused, a woman with a mission. And Helena was on a mission, pulling at Myka’s pants and panties both, yanking them off. Completely forgotten the moment she tossed them over her shoulder.
Then Helena was stretching out on her stomach, spreading open Myka’s thighs. Myka’s breath hitched at the look in Helena’s eyes, all hungry and seductive. And it wasn’t just Helena opening Myka’s thighs. Myka pulled her thighs wider because, God, she’d really missed this. She missed Helena.
Helena lowered, groaning as she swiped her tongue up the entire length of Myka’s sex. She took her time, an agonizing tease of poking and prodding and licking, always where Helena wanted to be, never where Myka needed her to be. Myka whimpered with each roll of her hips, back slithering against the sheets as the electricity rippled through her body with each long, teasing swipe of Helena‘s tongue.
They had three weeks and still Helena took her time, luxuriating in the taste and feel of Myka, like she needed to memorize Myka all over again. They had three weeks but they both knew the Regents could show up at the door at anytime.
But a girl could only take so much. Myka reached down, meaning to tangle her fingers in Helena’s hair. Instead, Helena’s hand met Myka’s, their fingers threading together, fitting in that way things between them always did.
Myka held on for dear life, as Helena’s lips wrapped around her clit and the slow teasing turned to a steady battering of tongue against clit. Faster and faster, the suction a little harder. Myka’s eyes slammed closed, Helena’s name spoken like a mantra on her lips. Then she was keening, thrashing against the bed as the electricity streaked through her.
Helena still milking the shudders from her, Myka felt it, the tears streaming out of the corners of her eyes. Once she realized she was starting to cry, she couldn’t help what came next. Something inside her, like a dam weighted heavily by more than just water, no, Myka realized, not a dam, a wall. That one last barrier, thick and high as a mountain, she’d built it to keep her safe when it had done the exact opposite. When it finally fell, and all those things she’d shielded herself from that she’d never allowed herself to feel, when it all came crashing in, it was like nothing she’d ever felt before. And she wondered how she could have ever deprived herself of this for so long.
“Myka..” Helena clambered over her, clasping Myka’s face with both hands. “I’m.. I’m sorry. Did I hurt you?”
Myka opened her eyes, heart aching at the sight of Helena’s panicked concern. She’d hurt Myka before and she looked at Myka like she’d rather die than do it again.
She smiled weakly, shaking her head. “No. Never. I just..” she paused, reaching out and brushing a lock of hair behind Helena’s ear. The feel of Helena’s skin beneath her fingers, that face that haunted Myka’s dreams and Myka felt another part of that wall come tumbling down. “I..” she stopped herself, brows crinkling in amusement over how three little words could say so much. “I love you.”
Helena’s face lit up like a sun gone supernova. She leaned in close, brushing her lips against Myka’s. “I love you, too.”
“H.G.,” Myka groaned. She hadn’t intended to spend all day in bed. But, she figured, that’s what one does when they find H.G. Wells naked in their shower. She’d found it odd that no one had actually come inside the B&B all day, realizing they probably knew before she did that Helena was back. Polite enough to give Myka and Helena some time alone and she made a mental note to thank them all later.
Myka groaned again, letting the pleasure ripple through her as Helena’s lips did wonderful things to her nipple.
“We..” she panted softly, lifting her head up slightly to gaze down her chest. “Have to get dressed soon.”
Helena’s eyes glimmered playfully as she lifted her head, Myka’s nipple releasing from her lips with a wet pop. “You’re no fun.”
“I.. we have to pick Christina up from school.”
“I can’t wait,” Helena grinned from ear to ear. “She’ll be so surprised.”
Helena slid up, lifting off Myka before rolling onto her side to face Myka, tucking an arm beneath her head under the pillow. Myka did the same, mirroring Helena’s pose. Their hands met in the middle, fingers threading together, the two staring into each other’s eyes and giggling like schoolgirls.
“Ya know what Pete thinks?” Myka asked quietly.
“I’ve been in modern times enough to have seen your version of pornography. I think I know what Pete thinks.”
“No, it’s not like that,” Myka chuckled before quieting, her face contemplative. “He thinks this is some higher power’s way of saying sorry for screwing up.”
“I didn’t realize Pete was so spiritual.”
“He has his moments. But, seriously,” she looked down at their entwined fingers. “What do you think?”
“Stranger things have happened..” Helena stopped herself, realizing now was not the time for neither sarcasm nor humor. Features going serious, she thought about the question as her eyes examined Myka’s face. “I’m a scientist. I believe in the tangible. If there is something or someone out there responsible for giving me a second chance with Christina, a second chance with you, I only have one thing to say..” she leaned in, pressing her lips to Myka’s. “Apology accepted.”
Helena, being Helena, didn’t end the kiss. She let it linger, deepening, with a hand caressing Myka’s side, leg draping over Myka’s thigh. Myka felt herself melting, acquiescing to Helena’s touch, returning it. All the while, the little voice in the back of her head continued to grow louder.
“H.G...” Myka gasped, pulling their lips apart.
Helena pouted. “Five more minutes?” she whined girlishly.
Myka couldn’t help but chuckle, or refuse Helena. Never had been. She was about as spiritual as Pete when it came to things like these and only now was Myka able to recognize the intangible element, like a force of nature, that had drawn her to Helena in the first place. She knew sometimes things like these don’t last, they can end suddenly, tragically. Once, it had ended tragically for Helena, it had ended suddenly for Myka. In the end, Myka decided not to think too much or dwell too hard on trying to find the right words to describe all that had happened to them, all the things that fell into place to bring them together. All there was, all that really mattered was the here and now. A here where Christina was alive and safe. A now where Myka could reach out with her hands and feel Helena beneath her fingertips. A now where they could love each other completely, openly.
Myka had her second chance and she wasn’t going to waste a moment.
“Five minutes?” she said, brushing her lips against Helena’s, breathing softly into her mouth. “A lot can happen in five minutes.”
Helena purred in agreement, eyes fluttering closed as Myka’s lips found that perfect spot on Helena’s neck. “Absolutely.”