DISCLAIMER: The characters herein are used without permission. No infringement intended.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: The song that Claudia plays is David Rose's 'The Stripper'.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.
FEEDBACK: To corchen[at]gmail.com
How they ended up where they were is unimportant (it featured a drunken bet and a poker game, and Myka was sure Claudia was using Erdnase's deck again). However Helena was never, she said, one to renege on a bet. As Claudia handed the bracelets across the table with a triumphant smirk, Myka let her head fall onto the arm of the couch with a quiet groan.
This was going to be horribly embarrassing. In fact, maybe she could make her escape before... She stood up from the table, swaying very slightly but catching herself on the edge of the coffee table. (Why had she allowed herself to be persuaded that when you're stuck in a motel and the power goes out, the logical thing to do is drink vodka and play poker? She wasn't sure whether Helena was a bad influence on Claudia or the other way around, but when both of them were bored, well. It had been easier to play poker than to let them come up with something else to entertain themselves. It was booze and poker, they had insisted, or she would have to allow them to cannibalise the coffee machine for parts to build... something. Their technobabble had degenerated into another language before they'd got to that point.)
"Where do you think you're going?" Claudia demanded, snagging Myka by the wrist and tugging her back down onto the couch.
Myka wobbled at the sudden yank and toppled over, landing half in Claudia's lap, one arm thrown around the girl's neck. Claudia blinked owlishly at her, and giggled.
"Hi," Claudia said, and crossed her eyes at her.
"Hi yourself," Myka said, hugging Claudia lightly with the arm that had landed across her shoulders. She liked Claudia - it was like having a kid sister - a sometimes-annoying, hyperactive, terrifyingly intelligent kid sister.
Helena had finished settling the bracelets around her wrists, and looked across at them with an amused smirk.
"If you two are finished snuggling," she drawled, "then perhaps, Claudia dear, you would do the honours and provide me with some suitable music?"
Myka screwed her nose up at Helena and slid off Claudia's lap and onto the sofa. Fine, she would sit through this - but that didn't mean she had to like it. Claudia's ever-present laptop was open on the coffee table so it was only the work of a moment before she had a song selected. She looked up at Helena with an eyebrow raised.
"How's that for you?"
Helena nodded with a smile, and Claudia sat back into the sofa, pleased with herself. Myka opened her mouth, but then decided that she really didn't want to know just why Claudia managed to play that particular song so quickly. Oh dear. This could not end well, surely.
Helena was wearing a softly draped dark green shirt and black trousers - she'd kicked her boots off earlier in the evening - and was standing there in bare feet, listening to the music. Her toenails were painted. Claudia leaned forwards, resting one elbow on her knee, and her chin on her palm.
"Shouldn't something be happening?" Claudia asked, and Helena shrugged, the movement fitting naturally into the rhythm of the music.
That shrug seemed to catalyse something, because once Helena had started moving, she didn't stop. It wasn't anything dramatic, though, just a subtle undulation of her hips and sway of her arms. It was a sensual movement but there was nothing flashy or showy about it. Myka was starting to wonder if they had the wrong artefact, when Claudia gave a delighted laugh, and Helena jumped slightly.
"Ah," she said, looking down at her chest. "So that's how it works. How fascinating."
Her shirt was slowly unbuttoning itself, the material folding back on itself as each button slipped free of its buttonhole. Myka felt her mouth drying out as Helena's creamy skin was revealed, inch by tantalising inch. Her bra matched her shirt, black satin and green lace. Myka caught herself wondering if her panties matched as well, and pushed the thought away. She didn't actually want to know, after all, did she? Did she?
Helena's shirt slipped slowly down her arms and pooled on the floor by her feet. Next were her trousers, which unfastened themselves and inched slowly down her legs. Helena shivered slightly as the garment slipped further down and Myka thought she could just see a wave of goosebumps washing over her skin. Not that she was looking.
Her panties did, indeed, match her bra.
She stepped elegantly out of the trousers, the movement showy, extending her legs and pointing her toes. Myka wondered idly how much of that was Helena, and how much was the bracelets. She would have to ask her later. Helena turned, looking coyly back over her shoulder at them, and the clasp of her bra popped open. Myka gasped, and slapped a quick hand over Claudia's eyes.
Claudia protested, trying to tug the hand away, but Myka pulled her up from the couch and escorted her to the doorway that connected the rooms, propelling her firmly through it and shutting it behind her.
"Hey!" Claudia thumped on the door. "No fair, I want to see! And you still have my laptop!"
Myka turned back into the room but quickly turned towards the door again, blushing furiously. Helena was facing her, bra dangling from one finger, the other hand propped on her hip, one eyebrow raised suggestively.
"Ah," Myka stuttered, "I think I'd better, um, join Claudia. Until you're done. Right. Um, sorry, Helena."
She stepped through the door and shut it firmly behind her, foiling Claudia's attempts to peer past her. In the other room, Helena sighed heavily, and levelled a disappointed look at the door as her panties slid down her legs and she stepped out of them. Once she was entirely nude, the bracelets unclasped themselves and fell onto the floor with a musical tinkle, just as the last chords of the music sounded out.
"Blast," Helena said quietly, sitting down on the recently-vacated couch, careless of her nudity.
And it had been such a good idea. She and Claudia had been convinced it would work.
Oh well. There was always Casanova's cologne.
Note: Erdnase is the pseudonym for the author of 'The Expert at the Card Table', a book of sleight-of-hand and cheating techniques using playing cards, still considered one of the essential texts and often known simply as 'the Bible'.
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