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Nothing But Mammals

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"I don't like this."

Arthur sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose, standing very still in front of his partially packed suitcase on the bed. "I understand that, Ariadne. Really, I do."

"Can't you just refuse the job?"

"We took it already," Arthur said, letting his hand drop to his side. "The design is flawless, and it's a simple in and out for the access codes. It's going to be fine and I'll be home soon," he said, looking at her intently.

Ariadne felt like some kind of possessive shrew, but she couldn't help it. Arthur was currently working with a gorgeous, leggy blonde named Katrina Filipek. Come on, with an exotic name like that and as hot as she was... Not that Arthur would ever cheat on her, he wasn't that kind, but Ariadne felt dowdy and frumpy in comparison to her effortless flawless looks. She was effusive and perky, the kind of woman that casually draped arms around others and not look awkward, someone whose face lit up while talking about even the most mundane things. She had smiled when she said Ariadne didn't need to come into the dream with them at all, she could handle the extraction herself with Arthur on point. And she even had a friend she trusted to watch over their sleeping bodies.

In other words, she was unnecessary. And dreary. And not creative enough. And short. And clearly not hot enough.

She was jealous, and felt it was utterly ridiculous to say so. The only way she could cover her sudden anxiety was to claim she was worried about Arthur's safety. Though he had to have seen how ridiculous an excuse that was, given how competent he was all the time.

So Ariadne stayed a jealous mess, keeping her insecure thoughts to herself in the hope they would dissipate. She thought she had it managed fairly well, until she found herself fantasizing about clawing out Katrina's eyes with her fingernails and taking a palette knife to the woman's face. It was a rather vicious impulse, not one she normally had, and the intensity of it made her pull up short. Staying in dream share was obviously normalizing violence a little too much for her.

Just to calm Ariadne's nerves, Arthur provided her with an itinerary for the job and the timeline for the actual execution of it. She stared at it after Arthur left, then followed her impulsive thought: Go check on him and make sure they're not playing tonsil hockey.

Jealousy downright sucked.

Stewing in her own emotions over the next few days, Ariadne finally broke down. It was easy enough to book a flight to the city where Arthur and Katrina would be. She didn't even think ahead to book a hotel room. The job would be in the subject's cabin, so Arthur wouldn't even need to be in his own hotel room for it. She had no idea where Katrina would be staying, and didn't stop to worry about that. She felt tied up in knots from her jealous worry, and didn't stop to question the torturous thoughts in her head of Arthur realizing how much better for him a woman like Katrina was. He needed someone glamorous and knowledgeable about the dream share field, not someone who doubted herself so much.

Seeing Arthur had become an all encompassing need, and that led her to con the clerk at the front desk into giving her a copy of Arthur's room key. What clerk wouldn't want to assist a young woman hoping to surprise her husband during an important business trip that was taking place right before their anniversary?

Once in his room, she could see that Arthur had arranged all his belongings in the usual orderly fashion. Bathroom items neatly laid out in the bathroom, suitcase unzipped and lying at the foot of the double bed. It was a single occupancy room, nothing fancy. It wasn't supposed to be, since this wasn't where the action would be.

Action. Oh, hell. That made Ariadne imagine Arthur and Katrina in bed together, kissing and stroking each other, the high of a job gone right fueling the frenzy.

She had to track him down. Rifling through his belongings, she didn't see any kind of printed itinerary. Even worse, that made her realize she had left her copy at home. On top of that, his notes were all with him, likely in his Moleskine in his shoulder bag. Dammit. She should have thought of that.

Sitting on his bed, she let her own shoulder bag fall to the floor. Ariadne had been in such a rush to fly out here, she never thought about how she would track him down to see what was happening during or after the job. Or hell, even what time it was. The job was happening sometime today, and Arthur was going to stay overnight and fly back tomorrow. It shouldn't have been something to trigger so much anxiety in her, and normally it wouldn't have. But Katrina was so very pretty, and Ariadne had zero self confidence about her physical appearance when comparing herself to her.

So drawn inward by these thoughts, she didn't hear the keycard trigger the lock. Startled when the door opened, Ariadne shot to her feet. Arthur stood there, mouth open in surprise when he saw her. "Ariadne?"

"Surprise!" she said, hoping it sounded genuine.

By his frown, she would guess not.

"I don't understand..."

Rather than try to pass this off as something it wasn't, Ariadne sighed. "I just wanted to see you."

"Berlin is not that dangerous."

Ariadne winced. "Of course not. But... Well..." How to say this without sounding like a complete idiot? "I was jealous. I wanted to be sure Katrina didn't do anything."

"Do anything." Arthur's voice was low, and he dropped his shoulder bag onto the floor as he approached her. "As in..."

"She's perfect. Never says anything wrong, always has a smile on her face. Doesn't matter if it's a stranger, she has the right thing to say all the time. She's so... capable. And she constantly looks perfect. Like with no effort at all! Next to her I look terrible." She pulled on her hair. "This is a wavy mess. And I'm not tall like she is, my boobs aren't huge, she looks like a model..." Ariadne threw up her hands in frustration and looked at him with a plaintive expression. "I just wanted to see you. I knew I'd feel better if we were together."

Arthur gathered her up in his arms. "You have tons of wonderful qualities. I like your hair long and wavy. I love the way your eyes are that light golden color. I love how you move, that little lacy number you have..." He dropped a kiss onto her head, seeming to realize that she wasn't quite convinced. "And you love me."

"Who doesn't?" she groused.

"Katrina doesn't." Arthur laughed at her incredulous look. "She doesn't! Look, the one guarding us as we did the job this morning? Her girlfriend Nicole. I came back to drop off all this stuff and take a nap. Nicole and Katrina wanted to go out for drinks later, after Katrina reports on the job for the employer. If you're here, you can come with us."

"Oh." The jealousy deflated as quickly as it had arrived, all the vicious and envious thoughts draining away. "I feel stupid now."

Lifting her up a little, Arthur slanted a deep kiss onto her mouth. "Flattering, though, that you think every woman wants me. And completely avoidable if you just said something about it, you know. We could've gone over this weeks ago."

She pouted at his smile. "You think this is funny."

"Maybe a little," he allowed. "Though... Don't you trust me?"

"I trust you. It's her I didn't trust."

"Huh." He shot her a playful smile. "I think I'm hurt. Here I am, being honest and making a relationship work in spite of the dangers, trusting you when you had to do that strip tease for that loser on the other job we worked on..."

Ariadne laughed and smacked his arm. "Arthur!" When he laughed as a reply, she pursed her lips together and pushed him backward onto his bed. "Fine, then. Let me give you your own show. Just to prove you're the only one I want."

"And you're the only one I want."

There wasn't any music playing, but Ariadne got up and kicked off her shoes. She started to sway to the memory of a slow and sensuous beat. Reaching out, she pulled Arthur by his tie toward her, deftly unknotting it before turning so she could push him backward onto the bed. He sat there as she moved, raising her arms above her head. That pulled his tie out from under his collar, and she held it between her hands above her head, as if her wrists were bound together. Ariadne smiled at him, rolling her hips in the suggestion of sex, then turned slightly to the side. That way, he could watch as she slid down into a front split, his tie around her hands, and she arched her back and threw her head back so he could see the line of her torso clearly.

"Definitely a good view."

She grinned at his comment, then moved her left leg around to the front and raised herself to her knees. Moving in slow circles, she leaned forward and back, belly and hips shifting in an undulating motion. Her hands drifted over her clothes, caressing herself through them, and she gave Arthur such a longing gaze that he licked his lips in anticipation. Ariadne licked her own lips as she started working at the buttons of her shirt, trying to make a normally unsexy thing appear delectable. It was also harder to do with the tie caught up around her wrists and hands, so she tossed it at Arthur before unbuttoning her jeans and rising to her feet.

A little shimmy, then Ariadne was moving around in an undulating circle as she took off her shirt. She made a little pouty duck face, feeling utterly silly, but Arthur's enchanted smile was worth it. She could do this. She could absolutely do this.

Tossing the shirt aside, Ariadne danced to the song in her head around Arthur. She grasped his hand at one point, using it to unzip her jeans and then drag them off her hips. A twirl and shimmy with her ass in his direction, and then she shoved them down her legs and kicked them off. Luckily, they didn't travel too far or bang into anything, and she nearly cringed at the graceless move. Arthur didn't seem to notice, and was watching her with rapt and reverent attention. He reached out to skim his fingers over the skin of her hips.

"I am allowed to touch, right?" he asked in a teasing voice as he hooked them into the waistband of her panties.

Turning, Ariadne swiveled her hips so that the panties dragged down a bit. "For you, honey?" she asked in a higher pitch playfully. "Absolutely. Only the best for the high rollers."

Arthur laughed, amused by the role play aspect. "Then lemme see my money's worth."

Off came the panties, and she settled herself on Arthur's lap, grinding her ass against him as she reached behind her to muss his hair. He let his hands roam over her stomach and breasts, much like she had done to herself not too long before. "Mmmm. Just the right kind of touch to really get me going, nice and wet and ready for you."

Saying that aloud made his breath catch, so Ariadne pulled away from him long enough to nudge his knees open. She put one foot up on the bed, opening herself up for his view, and put his hands over her breasts. "Do you like what you see?" she purred.

"Very much so," Arthur said, a rasp in his voice that she loved hearing.

Unzipping his pants, Ariadne grinned at him and waggled her eyebrows as best as she could. "Good. Wanna show you a good time, after all." Pushing his pants and underwear out of the way, Ariadne shifted position so she could sink down over his erect cock. "Think this'll be a good time?" she asked, clenching down hard around him.

Arthur groaned and put his hands on her ass, pulling her in closer and helping her keep her balance. "Oh, yeah. Definitely a good time. Lemme help you out here..."

They rocked against each other, moving fast and hard as they fell into their easy rhythm. Ariadne leaned in forward, her face next to his shoulder, and she nearly bit down on it to muffle her cries of pleasure. She dug her fingers into his arms, quickening the pace at the little choking sounds he was making. He was close, too close, and she wasn't nearly ready to come yet.

Despite his obvious effort not to, Arthur came anyway, groaning and boneless beneath her. Giving her a wilted smile, he couldn't say more than "Sorry."

Ariadne pouted, slowing her pace and finally stopping. "That sucks."

Ignoring the sticky mess they were making, Arthur pushed her onto her back on the bed and slid his hand between her legs. "Let me make it up to you..."

"Oooh. I've always liked your hands..." Her laughter turned into a delighted gasp of pleasure as he began to stroke her clit and lean down to kiss her. She grasped his shoulders to keep him in place as she slid her tongue into his mouth, hips rocking against his hand. He kept up a steady rhythm until her body tightened and she nearly bit on his lip as she came.

Lying back on the bed with limbs splayed, Ariadne grinned up at Arthur. "Mmm. I like this."

"I suppose I should make you jealous more often," Arthur teased.

Ariadne smacked his arm. "Absolutely not."

He laughed and pulled her up to a sitting position. "I'm a mess now."

"I'm not sorry," she replied with a grin.

"Didn't think you would be," he answered. "How about a shower together before we go out for drinks with Katrina and Nicole?"

"I like that idea." She gave him a filthy kiss, and then led the way to the bathroom.

Amazingly enough, they were even on time for the drinks.

The End