re·dress    (rĭ-drěs')    
tr.v.   To set right; remedy or rectify.
n.   1.a   satisfaction for wrong or injury; reparation.
      1.b  relief from distress

He watched her walk into the restaurant in her red dress; a statement, a painting. Every eye on her as she glided, swayed to her table and sat down. She had not seen him, and he stayed in the shadows to observe. 

He had been assigned to her two weeks ago, two weeks of gathering information, watching her, learning her habits, her movements, her ways, and he felt close to her.  Though he'd never been within twenty feet of actually touching her, his eye knew every inch of her body, every nuance of her mouth as it twitched in almost-amusement or pursed slightly in thought. He knew every shade of her ever-changing eyes, almost a mood ring to her feelings. 

The war had lasted almost four years, and tonight was the night. She was the key. He didn't know why, only that she was important. She must not be allowed to make the rendezvous.  It was his job to do what had to be done, to get redress. He understood this and accepted it. 

What he didn't count on was falling in love with her through a spy's telephoto lens. 

It did not change what had to be done, but it did complicate his feelings. He was a professional, had long since learned not to see people, merely targets, but somehow she was different. Beautiful of course, but he wasn't naive enough to just fall for smooth skin and flashing eyes, hypnotic curves and....

There was just something about her....

Using the Tech he had with him he was able to perfectly hear everything at her table. She ordered a glass of champagne, her voice low and melodic, a musical chime that nearly stopped his heart. 

Must not lose concentration....

Her dress flowed down to the floor, but with slits on both sides; he caught tantalizing glimpses when she would cross and recross her legs.  The middle of the dress was fitted, almost molded against her skin, while the neckline would almost be indecent, if not for a translucent half-shawl on her shoulders. A blood red color with subtle black accents, it was a dress for a presidential ball, too much for this upscale restaurant. 

Her goal was to be noticed then, but by who?  Could it be that They didn't know who they were looking for?  It made no sense.  He briefly considered the options. Tracking her habits, bugging her phone and email had been one thing, but it led to precious little information on her actual plans. It would also help if he knew why she was so important, but Need-to-Know...

So much of how he would respond depended on what she was there for, and so far, other than make every male in the place turn his head and pant (and more than a few of the ladies!), he didn't know WHAT she was after. It was time to shake things up and see what happened. 

Using his Tech equipment he could whisper from where he was hidden across the restaurant and she alone would hear it. Quietly, so quietly, he breathed, "A blood-red dress might hide all manner of small wounds."

He watched her closely to see how she would react. A slight, very slight stiffening of her neck was the only indication she'd even heard him. She was good. Very good. She gave no more indication of knowledge, and he decided not to try the trick again, but instead had a dessert sent to her, a simple bowl of strawberries and cream. 

She accepted the dish gratefully from the waiter as if she expected it, without looking around (even carefully; he would have noticed) to see who might have sent the treat. She did not start to eat (was she afraid of poison?) but simply sat quietly, as if waiting for something. 

He heard her say quietly, under her breath, as if she KNEW only he would be able to hear, "Thanks for the dessert, but under the circumstances, I think I will pass."  She had not touched the champagne, either. "Well," he thought, "You don't live this long with all she's been through without being careful."

She got up and went to the bar, generously handing her bowl of strawberries to a patron, who shyly took the offered sweet. She took out a fan and waved air at her face, though he could tell from here she was without a drop of sweat. Maybe she felt the heat somewhere else....

He should have been deeply concerned, maybe even a touch rattled by her surmising his Tech surveillance, but he was enjoying the cat-and-mouse interplay between them too much. On the spur of the moment he decided bolder action was required. She wouldn't be expecting it. 

He knew she would handle it like she did everything, but what about other eyes in the restaurant who were watching her for more than a glimpse of flesh?  

"Dovie'andi se tovya sagain," he mumbled. [It's time to toss the dice.]

Checking his weapons one final time he moved out from the shadows of the wall and walked boldly across the restaurant, splendidly (if not as flashily) dressed in a dark grey pinstripe suit with a tie that just happened to mirror her dress. Coincidence, and a lucky one, he hoped. 

He approached her table and his legs wanted to buckle, his heart wanted to stop. Watching her, tracking her, being with her every step the last few days did not prepare him for being in her presence. She had an aura, an energy, a radiance that melted him inside. 

(She also smelled like jasmine and honeysuckle, and she had removed her shawl, giving him glimpses of her neckline. There were...other thoughts on his mind too.)

He did not allow any of it to stop his movement, slow him down, or even show on his face. He simply smiled at her warmly and slid in next to her in the booth as if she had been waiting for him all along!

He went so far as to slip an arm around her neck and leaned in casually to kiss her cheek as if he had done it a thousand times before.  Ignoring the pterodactyls in his stomach and the electric shock of touching her skin with his lips, he murmured, "This cannot come as any surprise to you, but there really is no way out of here. The best thing to do is to stay calm and not cause any trouble or make a scene. Am I understood?"

In response she turned to look him straight in the eyes, her pupils flashing from jade green to hazel to cornflower almost faster than he could follow. She breathed deep, as if she didn't know when she would get air again, and then she leaned forward suddenly, aggressively, and bit his lip in a vicious kiss!

Inside his head there were explosions, and he struggled not to lose consciousness, so overwhelming was the experience of her lips caressing his mouth while her teeth pulled at his own lips with fury. In pure self-preservation mode he kissed her back almost as savagely, their teeth crashing against each other's like swords and spears on an ancient battlefield.

He forced his tongue down her throat (she bit it like a wild animal, but he held his position), at least until she curled perfectly french-press manicured nails around his neck and dug in painfully to the soft flesh. It only made the kiss more intense. 

He had to regain the upper hand quickly, and in a move that shocked even him with its daring, his hand slipped between the slit in the side of her dress, up over her quivering toned thigh and advanced straight to her sex.  

He planned on only a quick-contact touch, his only goal to startle her so badly that she momentarily gasped so he could quickly gather himself and pull whatever weapon might be needed, but this did not work out as planned, because as his thrusting fingers forced egress between her thighs he found to his utter amazement that she was 

A) not wearing any further defenses to the region and more importantly...

B) dripping wet.

His momentum carried his fingers all the way to her opening, and while a few moments' thought might have told him this was a bad idea, his brain had long since left rationality behind. His fingers entered her with all the ferociousness she had shown earlier in biting him so roughly. 

She moved her mouth down to his throat, and for a moment he was worried she might actually try to kill him by ripping it out with her teeth, but she was responding as a woman now, not an operative.  She sagged against him, her body in full convulsion to the climax that had overtaken her almost instantly. 

This was no time to let up. He seized on his advantage by thrusting his fingers inside her repeatedly, again and again, not wanting to give her time to recover and pull some other fiendish maneuver.  She softly moaned protests and tried to claw his eyes out, but she was strangely ineffectual in this.

It was at this moment that he remembered the restaurant full of people, and while the dark ambient lighting and location of the booth afforded a fair amount of  privacy, he knew only too well what types of people were here with a goal to stop him. His eyes began to automatically swivel across the floor. 

He noted with surprise that no one had yet moved from their positions, until he realized that the other agents and operatives must be even more shocked to see such a display. This meant the best chance of his success was not to stop, but to continue! Well, if he had to, he had to....

He pulled her roughly onto his lap (she offered little resistance, in fact scooted part way herself), and he started kissing her neck, scanning his eyes all the while. He was slightly vulnerable in this position, but keeping her in front of him was a good idea. To further keep her off balance he snaked one hand around her neck and down her dress, ruthlessly finding an already hard nipple and pinching it with purpose. 

She would not go gently into that good night.  Her hands found his swollen response and her nails dug in mercilessly through the thin suit cloth. He wanted to roar but instead bit at her neck a bit harder than he intended. drawing a small trickle of blood, which thankfully disappeared into the dress. 

She didn't keep torturing him for long, having found the zipper and quickly delivered him into her hands. Her actions were just as rough, but he sensed it was not in an attempt to injure him (well, not JUST in an attempt), but rather her enthusiasm for the moment. He had no complaints, as both hands were now on her breasts, one pulled openly free from her dress as he shamelessly massaged and kneaded her flesh as she writhed under his touch. 

He had only begun to wonder if he had the audacity to make the final move when she beat him to it without hesitation. Ripping the back of her dress enough to pull it up off her hips, she slid her dripping wet folds of soft molten flesh over his own heat, and without pause plunged down upon him with all the force she could manage.

The near certainty of catastrophic danger demanded a quick resolution, but even if it had been just any other find-dining establishment in any other city in all the world there was no way, after how their bodies had found each other, responded to each other, spurred each other further and further, that the fusion could last long. 

They made the most of it, both thrusting so violently as to appear as rutting dear in a forest, seemingly oblivious to the now-stopped-dead restaurant where all eyes were focused on their heedlessly slamming bodies, and certain people eased weapons free....

Without stopping for a moment his hands went to his jacket side-pockets and pulled out powerful semi-automatic handguns.  Without even turning his head (he was sucking on her neck), he shot dead-aim, both hands pointed in separate directions, again and again, felling one after another after another. 

Each shot seemed to push her even further, and as his clips emptied she moved into warp drive, a frenzy to shake the heavens. The last of his bullets found their targets as she came in a tidal-wave of passion, pulling him in further, joining her at that apex of connection, not just flesh merging, but hearts, minds, souls. 

(Or at least, that's what it felt like.)

Both climaxed, continuing to rock for a few more seconds, momentum and muscle memory not giving up.  He calmly reloaded both guns one-handed, eyes scanning the room for possible missed targets. There appeared to be none. Quietly he said, "We best be going, my Lady." She nodded mutely.

He gently lifted her off him and, proper adjustments made, he stood. Seeing her torn dress he gallantly offered his suit jacket which she graciously accepted. 

Guns still out and pointed, they moved quickly to the back of the restaurant and out the door. In  his mind he was already composing his report explaining all this. She looked up at him and said, "I have to admit, for the longest time I thought YOU were the one sent to kill me." 

His enigmatic smile could have meant anything. 


After Dark Tales                     Hyperion Empire