The Wee Hours of the Morning…

When you and your Intended want nothing more than to mate like mad minks but have the honor, intelligence, and wisdom to not.

Talking politics is always a turn-off…

Gary awoke. It was still dark but he had to use the bathroom. A glance at his clock told him 0428. Perhaps because of the whiskey, he thought. Out of the bathroom he glanced at his sister’s door; shut and, from what he’d heard after they left prayers, locked. From what Henge said, keeping me out was not the problem here…

Back into his bed he quickly realized he was wide awake. With a look to the wall beyond which was his sister’s room, he swung out of bed and awoke his computer. There was an essay he needed to finish. Not just for him and his sister and mother, but now for someone who, while might able to pass MacRae’s ethnicity standards, would be hard-pressed to be called human.

Gary reread what he’d written so far: making the First Councilman a position for life; waiting to see in the now-three months the sex of his child; queens as head of state were a luxury of only well established monarchies. He typed a few more notes.

The establishment of the principate rested upon two things: the People and the Army. Through his tribunicia potestas Augustus control one; as imperator he controlled the other. Councilman for Life mimics the first; perhaps the only real military force in the Tennessee Valley, the Society, could swear personal allegiance to MacRae? Mimicking the second.

He heard steps in the hall and two flushes of the toilet. The scratch at his door surprised him. Gary stood and spoke softly without opening it.


“We’re all kinda awake,” his sister yawned from the other side. “Open up.”

Gary pulled his door wide. Faustina ambled in and collapsed into his bed.

“No PIV,” she muttered, waving her hand in the air. “Otherwise, be quiet…”

She was asleep.

Before either of their thoughts took a wrong turn Henge moved to his desk to scan what he was working on. She scrolled up and quickly back down.

“I had to learn to read,” she said softly. “It was easier than I thought.”

“You did?”

“Yes. Even looking at scanned documents is not exactly reading for my family,” she replied, turning. “I think I will begin to practice writing later today. Perhaps I will keep a journal!”

She turned back to the screen before she grabbed him and threw him to the ground.

“Please sit,” she beckoned. “What you propose it similar to how Napoleon was made First Consul for Life, correct?”

“Yes,” he replied, running his hand across her back before he sat down. He felt her shudder. “His family has deep roots here but I do not think that MacRae is a Great Man at the right time.”

“Perhaps,” Henge leaned down and put her arms about his neck, “like Sulla, he points out what is possible? For a Caesar to follow?”

She kissed his cheek.

“Perhaps you?”

“I have no desire for power,” Gary said a bit louder than he should. “And, anyway, am an outsider.”

“You think Octavian, who was the rural son of only a praetor, wasn’t an outsider? You said in defense of your thesis that his New State deliberately broke the back of Rome’s aristocracy.”

She ran her tongue around the outside of his ear, savoring the new sensations.

“All I want is to be at peace; with you, with my family,” he sighed, aware of what she was doing.

Recognizing the trouble she was getting herself into, Henge stood and massaged her Intended’s shoulders instead.

“To whom can you present these ideas? To bring them into action?” she asked.

“Formally? That would be insane,” Gary said, finally relaxing. “I would be attacked by all factions at once. I hope to have word with Robert while you are being Confirmed sometime later today.”

Gary typed a few more lines about “a plebiscite” before tapping ‘save’ and quickly turning and standing to be face to face with Henge.

Her stomach issued a huge growl.

“Dorina says I have to have my next meal; a liter drink, actually.”

“We kiss first.”

“No more than sixty seconds.”


Fifty nine seconds later she took his hand and had him to lead her downstairs, as she was still a little unsteady. She rooted through the box his father had brought in and pulled out a longer one. Cardboard in the trash she twisted open the top.

“Ugh,” she managed.

“Bad?” Gary asked, getting some cider from the fridge.

“Not good,” she replied, sitting at the dining table where his mother would. “Let us play the happy married couple with many children! I’ll sit here and you at the head.”

“Does it really smell that bad?” he asked.

“Don’t even think of kissing me until I’ve brushed my teeth!”

“How many kids?”

“Excuse me? *schlurrp!*”

“Best not let mother hear that,” Gary said sotto voce. “How many children shall we have?”

“As many as I can bear. This is so gross!”

Gary gazed at Henge and finally came round to his other question.

“You may ask it as well,” she said, pretending to read his mind.

He was unfazed.

“What happened to your eyes?” he asked.  “Adobe since I met you and gold, now.”

“Every single attempt Dorina and I made with eyes failed,” she began, taking a long drink and trying to not get sick. “Odd, given that light receptors show up so early in evolutionary biology.   We had to reach out to tribe Arpeggio, originally based in Milan, for code that would allow us to build them.”

“Expensive?” Gary asked, standing and rising his cup in the sink.

“Father, Thaad, had a fit,” she stood as well and went to the door to the carpark. He heard her push the liter drink into the trash before her return. “I have incurred a not insignificant debt, Beloved.”

Gary took her hands just before jerking his head back.

“You are quite correct; you need to not just rinse but brush your teeth!”

She smiled, ducked her head to hug him, and stepped lightly to the stairs to the bathroom there. Gary turned off the lights and followed. She was still in the bathroom so he returned to his room. His sister continued her not exactly a snore and not exactly a purr sound as she faced the wall in his bed. What to do?

Without a word Henge was next to him, pressed close.

“If we lie down, it… well…” Gary began, wanting and not wanting.

“I recall that your parents will be up within the hour,” Henge said, taking his hand and kissing his cheek. “Walk? I need to improve my balance.”

He tilted his head to her and tried on, for him, a smile.

“Of course. Let’s get our shoes and my bolt action by the door.”

“Yes. But.”

“But?” Gary asked.

She closed her golden eyes and parted her lips.

He heard his parents stirring and so hurried them out onto their walk later than they planned.

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