The Second Bridge, pt.2

At 1800, my wife was at the far end of the dining table looking at dishwashers on her phone.  She thinks we need a new one; I think she needs to do a better job rinsing dishes before she puts them in.


At that time, I was staring off, wondering what to write.  I kinda/sorta knew Gary was due for an appearance, but I really didn’t –

And then, in an instant, I did.  Everything below the fold was there in my eyes.  Creative writing is so… strange!

At the table about a dozen yards down the strand from the changing hut, Gary sat taking notes from the large book on his left. Knoxville had a rudimentary school system through the eighth grade, but that was useless for any of the P-kids. Opposite him about four feet away sat Henge. She had been leaning her elbows on the round table, looking at Gary while he studied, but had just leaned back and crossed her legs.

He glanced up at his Intended. As they weren’t playing in her sea neither had their swimsuits on. She wore her typical denim overalls, but with a variation: these ended just onto her thighs and one of the loops over her shoulder wasn’t buttoned. Since she didn’t have a shirt on she exposed a lot of very interesting skin.

She noticed his look.

“Return to your task, Beloved.”

“You make it difficult,” he replied.

“I know,” she looked left, out to sea, as her right hand came up to pull the denim flap halfway down her breast. “I do it deliberately.”

“Will your next, final, form, have larger breasts?” Being in love for eleven years, teasing was as natural as breathing.

“No. Aunt Fausta says they’re a bother.” Her eyes came back to his. “A small B-cup is all you get.”

“Our marriage is still years away – ”

“This and that are two different things.”

What? He carefully lowered his pen. She never smiled, but Gary could almost see…

“If your oral presentation to your tutor about Rome’s transition from Republic to Empire goes well, I would like to give you a present.”

She’s testing me.

He stood and walked around the table. Bending down, he kissed her. Feeling her reaxion, he squatted and took her into his arms. More.

Time passed. He leaned back.

“And if it doesn’t go well?” He asked.

“I don’t need a reason to give my fiancé a present,” she replied, her breathing a little short. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back a fraction.

My notes can wait.


“And it’s your assertion that Octavian was a revolutionary, not a reactionary? The man who founded the imperial monarchy?”

Gary had expected questions from his tutor. His mother and father, maybe. His little sister?

“I’m waiting!” Faustina called.

“Yes. The forces set into motion three generations before, when Gaius Marius opened service in the legions to non-landowners…”

In the twilight, he sat in a wicker chair on their back deck, looking at the emerging stars in the east. His mother put a cup of tea onto the tiny table at his right. She leaned forward to whisper into his ear.

“Proud of you!”

She went back inside. He heard his father’s slow, steady walk as he came onto the deck. He passed where Gary sat and looked out.

“I don’t recall seeing you so… passionate. Not even for her.”

“I’m a rebellious teenager, father,” Gary reached for the tea. “I should be passionate about something.”

He watched his father chuckle at his dispassionate delivery of that line.

“You want to marry Henge now.” A statement.

“I wanted to marry her when I met her, father.” Almost eleven years ago.

“She’s not human.”

“And mother’s not White. You two are outliers in ethnostates.”

He watched his father turn to him at that. That accusation.


Gary pressed.

“Did you and mother have sex before you married?”

“Yes. On our way from central Ohio back to here.” He watched him fight to keep a straight face. “Quite a bit, in fact!”

He failed.

“Yet I am bounded.”

“Yes.” He watched his father take a great sigh. “When I found your mother in the wreckage and terror of the Breakup, no one knew if they were going to be alive the next day. You… you are not only immeasurably safer, but have the most curious girlfriend in hist… well… human history.”

“What happens if I just roll over,” he turned away to the gathering stars, “and give into whatever you and Fussy want?”

“Spoilt; no better than animals.” Gary’s reply was instant.

Time passed. It was black in the east and a carpet of purple in the west behind their house.

“You gave a convincing presentation this evening,” his father said, turning to look at his son. “I’m always willing to listen to convincing presentations, son.”

As he went back inside, he paused to tightly grip Gary’s right shoulder.

Your father is a good man, Henge whispered into his mind.

Thank you.


Gary narrowed his eyes at the sudden brightness of their home. He was next to the changing hut so she must want to swim. He emerged a few moments later with his blue swim trunks on. He walked up the landward side of the strand to the beach…

Henge was just past the crest, facing away toward the sea. Wearing half of her white bikini. He froze as if struck by lightning.

She turned.

“I liked your presentation and defense of your idea.” She said, walking up to him. She ducked her head for just a moment.


“Beloved? Did you smile, just now?”

“Did I?”

She wrapped her arms about his waist and pressed her chest to his. She was aware of his other physiological reaxions.

“Is…” He tried hard to think. “Isn’t this a near-occasion for sin?”

“Yes.” She kissed his chest, here, there.

“I supposed we can go to Confession – ”

“No.” She looked up into his eyes. “This is only a near-occasion. My control here is perfect.”

Still, she closed her eyes.

“Hold me. Touch me. Let us dream of our married future, Intended!” Was her urgent whisper.

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