She came from another galaxy. Literally. Aron had only seen her kind once, when he was about thirteen--on television an ambassador gave a report on the status of the comet epidemic in the east galaxy, frowning and urging for an evacuation of residents in the third sector. Beside him stood a woman with skin so pale it looked nearly translucent, with a bright violet sheen that caught the light when her body moved. Her stance regal, nodding as her husband spoke, her golden-colored eyes softened with concern. When they married several years ago the news splashed all over the tabloids and podcasts. Surets remained one of the few species to frequently marry humans--men considered Suret females status symbols because of their beauty and scarcity. Most resided in the west galaxy, maintaining their own democracy, marrying other Surets. But every so often some grinning senator or actor would be photographed with one of the beautiful creatures at a conference or premiere.
Considering the rarity of such women in Aron's neck of the woods, he figured his chances of ever seeing one in person were about the same as a bunch of naked women falling from the sky and fighting over who would pleasure him first. So his reaction--stuttering, bulging eyes, red cheeks--when he nearly tripped over one on his way to the office elevator, was quite predictable.
"I'm sorry," he blurted. "I bumped you pretty hard. Are you alright?"
She shrugged and they stepped inside the elevator.
"Therapy not required," she smiled.
Her eyes shone such a bright shade of gold, mesmerizing him with their tiny yellow flecks. Her violet hair jarred out of its tidy bun, spilling like a plum river over her shoulders. She smoothed it back into obedience.
The elevator shot up. Through the large window a sliver of the east galaxy was visible; several small planets surrounded by a cluster of stars burning against a navy sky. The star pattern was a familiar sight to Aron, but the Suret looked impressed, her eyes scanning the horizon with interest.
Aron wanted to say something witty--charmingly witty. He opened his mouth but became appalled by the little incoherent squeaks he made.
"Hmm, let me guess which sector you work in," she said. "Nuclear engineering?"
He let out a nervous laugh.
"Aron Kent--office gopher," he said. "I'm Mr. Langston's personal assistant. But I assure you, if at least two hundred and eighteen people die, I'll be running this company."
"And you are?"
"Mina Selton. I'll be supervising operations for the next three weeks and giving a status report to the major investors."
His eyes fluttered with surprise. "Oh, you're the one they sent? But I thought that..."
She smiled, silently combing his mind. "Not all Surets are trophy wives, Mr. Kent. Some of us do work for a living."
He cleared his throat. "I didn't mean--I just ... sorry. I've never met a Suret before. I'm not trying to act like an idiot but I think I'm failing. I--wait a second. How did you know that's what I was thinking?"
She grinned. "Telepathy. It's a kick."
"Are--are you serious?"
Her smile grew wider. "Be quiet for a minute."
She stepped forward and the delicate scent of her scratched at his nostrils. She studied him intently, her eyes unblinking. Their brightness was almost too much. He lowered his gaze, but when his gaze caught the smooth expanse of her legs his nerves faltered again. He didn't know where to look. The swell of her breasts beneath her silk blouse, the delicate curve of her collarbone, the way her lips formed a natural pout, as if forever ready for a kiss. Damn it, there's nowhere safe to look! His mind went to a highly inappropriate place and he felt his cheeks redden. When he met her gaze again her smile looked like that of a child knowing a delicious secret.
"You know," she whispered. "I don't mind missionary, but personally I much prefer doggy-style."
His jaw dropped so quickly, she burst into immediate laughter.
"You could see that?" he choked. "Oh, God!--I'm sorry, I wasn't trying to think of you that way--really. I'm so sorry."
"It's alright," she said. "You're kinda cute. And you--" she paused, her eyes closing slightly. "Why yes, Mr. Kent, I do enjoy whipped cream--though I've never licked it off of that."
"Oh, God!" he stammered. "I didn't mean to think that--I'm really very respectful of women. My minor in college was women's studies."
The elevator came to a gentle halt. As the doors slid open Mina flashed him a mischievous smile.
"Women's studies," she repeated. "How modern of you. Would you like to accompany me to a fundraiser tonight, Mr. Kent? Perhaps later you can put that minor to work and do a firsthand study of the sexual habits of the corporate Suret--that is, if you're fully prepared to do extensive fieldwork."
A gleeful yelp rattled through his mind. When he met Mina's gaze he could tell that she could hear it, too--her eyes sparkled.
"I'll throw you the details after work," she said, stepping out of the elevator.
She gave him one last playful glance as she strolled down the office. She seemed oblivious to the heads snapping around in her direction as she walked by, or perhaps she'd simply become used to it. The men leaned forward, carnal thoughts bluntly creeping across their faces. Even the women turned to stare. They took in her graceful frame and exotic features with curiosity, as if admiring a painting. Aron watched her turn the corner, unblinking, until the doors slid shut, jarring him out of his daze.
As he made his way through the rows of cubicles, he mulled over Mina's ability to read minds. You're beautiful, Mina, he thought. He hoped she could hear him.