Myka lay curled up on her bed, her head resting in Helena’s lap as they lounged in a patch of afternoon sunlight, Helena leaning against the headboard and indolently stroking her hair while the sun warmed their skin. They’d made love early into the morning and slept late, and were presently finding it difficult to find the motivation to leave the bed, let alone Myka’s room.
At around eleven in the morning, Myka had been forced to make a brief trip to the kitchen to procure the sustenance they needed for a long day of lying around in bed and making love. She had been hoping that by that time of day the other residents of the B&B would have gone about their business, but when she peeked her head around the corner to assess the situation she’d found Pete still sitting at the kitchen table, jabbing at the buttons of his GameBoy and uttering threats at the pixelated characters on the screen.
At that point, Myka had considered fleeing the scene knowing that she would be teased mercilessly if she entered the room, but just as she was about to turn and run, Pete must have had a vibe, because he looked up from his GameBoy before Myka could flee and grinned at her before gleefully exclaiming, “Well, look who’s finally up and off H.G,” and Myka was left with no option but to sigh and press forward.
Highly motivated as she was, Myka was quick about her task and less than two minutes after entering the kitchen she was ready to leave with the supplies she’d gathered. However, quick as she was she wasn’t fast enough to completely escape Pete’s one man comedy show, and she’d had to suffer through ‘gems’ like: “Hey, if H.G. wrote a book about what the two of you have been doing all morning, what would it be called? … The Ride Machine!” and “What does H.G. stand for? Hella Good … in bed!”
Needless to say, it was a good thing Warehouse rules dictated that agents leave their tesla’s at work or else Pete would have gotten zapped before Myka made it back to her bedroom. But, all of that had taken place more than an hour before, and currently Myka was safe in her room and snuggled against Helena, which meant that all was right with her world.
“What would you write your next book about?” Myka asked dreamily, blinking slowly with lazy contentment as she stared up at Helena. “I mean like if … you know if you were going to write a book in 2012, what would you hypothetically write about?” she continued when Helena tilted her head down to meet Myka’s eyes and arched a dark brow at the agent nestled in her lap.
“Hmm,” Helena hummed, as a soft smile played across her lips. “I suppose I would have to say that I would enjoy tackling the subject of … zombies,” she declared, nodding her head decisively when she had finished speaking.
“Zombies?” Myka asked, her face scrunching up in disbelief. “Seriously? Zombies? Because I can tell you, I was zombie once and it was not what you would call fun.”
“You don’t say,” Helena drawled amusedly as she smiled down at her lover, making a mental note of Myka’s comment. She would come back to that later. She hadn’t heard the zombie story before.
“I do say,” Myka grumbled, though her eyes were gentle as she held Helena’s gaze. “I was hungry all the time. It was terrifying, for a while there I understood with perfect clarity what it was like to be Pete,” Myka continued shuddering as Helena’s body shook with laughter.
“Speaking of Pete and the black-hole he has where a stomach should be, did you know that he had five of your hot dogs …”
“They’re not mine,” Myka interjected, instinctively wanting to sever all ties between herself and hot dogs.
“Well of course not,” Helena said waving her hand. “It’s just how we speak, darling. It’s very British and therefore erudite and charming. Now, may I continue with my tale?”
“You mean telling me about how many hot dogs Pete ate in one sitting?” Myka asked.
“Yes,” Helena responded.
“Then no, I’d rather you didn’t,” Myka replied making a face.
Helena stuck her tongue out at Myka in response to that and then proceeded to tickle Myka’s side in revenge, which made the agent laugh and squirm in her lap.
“Five of them, Myka!” Helena continued a minute later, continuing her story as if nothing had happened while Myka panted, wheezing for air in the wake of Helena’s tickle attack. “It disturbed me on a profound level,” Helena went on, her brows creasing together in consternation as she shook her head. “I goggled …”
“Googled,” Myka corrected gently.
“Is it?” Helena asked cocking her head to the side curiously. “How’s that? What’s a google?”
“A search engine,” Myka responded, taking Helena’s question as literally as possible knowing that it would result in Helena looking down at her with an adorably grumpy expression on her face.
“Thank you,” Helena grumbled looking down at Myka peevishly which only made Myka grin. “That term, ‘search engine’. It confuses my Victorian mind.”
“How so?” Myka asked curiously, more than happy to follow along as best she could with the often fascinating divergences Helena mind carried them on.
“I haven’t yet fallen out of the habit of thinking of an engine as an engine,” Helena sighed. “Steam, pistons, cylinders, cranks, levers,” she breathed out nostalgically. “When I hear the phrase ‘search engine’ I can’t help but imagine a little mechanized crab-like bot scuttling about in pursuit of treasure, collecting its boon with iron pincers.”
“Like a tiny robot pirate,” Myka said and Helena smiled down at her and declared, “Exactly!” and she and Myka grinned at each other goofily for a moment.
“In all seriousness though, I must know. Is a google something actual or did they invent the word to bother me?” Helena asked.
“They invented the word to bother you,” Myka stated dryly.
“I thought as much. That seems to be the basis for most of modern society,” Helena sighed. “For example, hot dogs. I googled …” she paused for a moment, and Myka patted her knee to let Helena know that she was proud of her, “what they’re made of and cannot fathom why anyone would willingly consume one, let alone five at one time! What a wonderful and grotesque ability Pete has. Do you think it may be an artifact?”
“Pete would say it’s a gift from god and pat his stomach while grinning at me,” Myka replied rolling her eyes though she couldn’t stop her lips from curving up just the slightest bit at the thought.
“Ah, ‘Good Food Face’,” Helena said knowingly, able to picture the expression Myka meant immediately.
Myka smiled at Helena upon hearing her description and a moment later Helena did her best impression of Pete’s charmingly dopey good food expression which transformed Myka’s smile into a laugh.
“Never do that again,” Myka choked out as she struggled to get her laughter under control. “I can’t have sex with anyone who makes that face, especially if they do it on purpose.”
Helena immediately smoothed her features out and Myka grinned up at her.
“Really,” Helena replied as she began to gently stroke Myka’s hair again.
“Classic or modern?” Myka inquired.
“Modern,” Helena declared, smiling when Myka continued to look unimpressed. “I’m quite fascinated by the treatment zombies are given in fiction today. In my time zombie fiction was very pat, very boring, rooted in fear and ignorance. The dark ‘other’ coming after the pale ‘innocence’ of Europeans in a nauseating mockery of the then current world order,” she continued, her voice passionately rising in tone and volume until Myka took Helena’s hand into her own and held it, bringing Helena back to the present and calming her down. “Sorry,” Helena said shaking her head a bit sheepishly. “Mother always said I was possessed of too many feelings for my own good.”
“I like your feelings,” Myka said softly, meeting Helena’s eyes before she lifted their joined hands to her lips and kissed the back of Helena’s hand tenderly. “I like your passion,” Myka whispered as she pulled back.
“I know you do,” Helena drawled teasingly, “you liked it three times in succession this morning,” she breathed out, winking at Myka who rolled her eyes, though a blush did touch her cheeks.
“Modern zombie fiction however,” Helena continued, her voice a delightful mix of thoughtfulness and animation that Myka never tired of hearing, “the themes are so much more interesting! Engineered gases, toxins, viruses … a new way to explore the danger of science left unchecked, which, as you know, is a favorite of mine,” Helena said smiling down at Myka.
“The Time Machine,” Myka murmured, “The Island of Dr. Moreau.”
“Hmm,” Helena hummed in agreement. “Moreover, we see themes of moral corruption, in regards to science and scientists overstepping their bounds…”
“The Invisible Man,” Myka breathed out, and Helena stared down at her contemplatively for a second before smiling a little shyly.
“Have you read all of them?” she asked softly, her eyes searching Myka’s face.
Myka’s eyes skittered away from Helena’s and her cheeks flushed again as she nodded her head.
“Of yours,” Myka admitted a little self-consciously.
If the publication dates hadn’t given it away, the change in style and topic would have shown Myka when Helena’s brother took over the sole writing credits for the stories of H.G. Wells, and after reading one of Charles’ works, Myka had decided she didn’t need to read any others.
“I’d read most of your stories before I met you, and I made a point to read the rest after,” Myka continued softly. “But The Invisible Man is one of your most popular works so most people would have been able to get that one, and ... what?” Myka asked peevishly, as a smile spread across Helena’s lips as she gazed down at Myka.
“Why did you read the rest of them after you’d met me?” Helena asked.
“You know why,” Myka grumbled.
“I don’t,” Helena responded.
“You do, you just want me to say it because you’re mean and narcissistic,” Myka muttered.
“Not to mention talented, funny, an excellent skier, a scintillating conversationalist, a …”
“I get it,” Myka grumped though a smile tugged at the corners of her lips. “That was very witty.”
Helena smiled down at her and posed cutely, then turned inquisitive eyes back on Myka. “Are you going to tell me?”
“I was intrigued, okay?” Myka said throwing her hands up. “You intrigued me. You were dashing and beautiful and clever and unpredictable and fascinating and … I was intrigued. Are you happy now?”
“Very,” Helena responded smiling down at Myka contently before she leaned down so that she could place a kiss on Myka’s lips.
Myka sighed softly at the touch of Helena’s lips, and her hand lifted to keep Helena in place as she arched up and deepened the contact between them.
“What other themes?” Myka asked a bit breathlessly when she pulled back from Helena’s lips minutes later.
“What?” Helena asked, blinking slowly as she tried to remember what they had been talking about before they had been kissing.
“What other themes of modern zombie fiction interest you?” Myka said, smiling a bit smugly, pleased with herself for having dazed H.G. Wells with a mere kiss.
“The loss of security, insofar as what happens to civilization when what seemed to be a Promise Land, an idyllic paradise … disappears.”
“War of the Worlds,” Myka murmured, completely unable to help herself.
“I feel like I should give you a gold star … or cookies,” Helena commented lightly looking down at Myka.
“I’d prefer a kiss,” Myka replied.
“Oh good,” Helena sighed, “I really didn’t want to leave the bed,” she breathed out before bending to kiss Myka once again. “Explorations of what it means to be human, the necessity of law and order for civilization, fear of our most basic human instincts: to hunt, to feed, to kill … to continue. Considerations of the ramifications of perpetual progress and … why are you smiling at me like that?”
“Because you’re cute when you’re nerdy,” Myka whispered, reaching up to stroke Helena’s cheek gently.
“I’m not nerdy,” Helena declared indignantly though she continued to allow Myka’s touch.
“You are,” Myka affably insisted. “You’re a sexy nerd. Like Winnie Cooper.”
“I don’t know who that is, but if you think she’s sexy then I don’t care for her,” Helena replied pouting a little and Myka laughed.
“You’re petulant when you’re jealous,” Myka breathed out fondly, tracing a finger over one of Helena’s dark eyebrows and then the other. “Don’t worry, you’re the only sexy nerd for me.”
“Well, that’s more like it,” Helena declared, “We’re back on track,” she continued making Myka laugh.
“Modern zombie fiction could also be used as … as an allegory critiquing capitalist culture, which is another of your favourites I beli…” Myka began but her words were halted by Helena’s lips pressing against hers.
“I propose a change of topic,” Helena murmured against Myka’s lips a minute later.
“The economy?” Myka asked.
Helena shook her head.
Helena shook her head.
“History?” Myka inquired.
Helena shook her head.
“Non-zombie literature?” Myka ventured and again Helena shook her head. “Sex?”
“I’m amenable to this,” Helena replied immediately, allowing her eyes to roam over Myka’s body appreciatively in case for some reason Myka doubted her interest in the subject.
“You’re always amenable to this,” Myka said and Helena shrugged not displaying a single iota of care. “Alright then Wells, what are you waiting for? Change the topic,” Myka breathed out challengingly as she gazed up at Helena expectantly.
Helena smiled wolfishly.
“And to think you wanted to talk about the economy,” she murmured playfully before shifting down on the bed so that she could take Myka into her arms.