One Fantastic Bauble
By Jezzy Wolfe
“Yeah? ‘Cause I can totally get it for you, if you want it.” Rog saw the gleam in Jayne’s eyes, the sheen that covered her baby browns whenever she got excited. He’d been looking for a way to seal the deal with her ever since they hooked up two months prior, but she remained reserved. Every date following their first ended with a cold shower.
He hated cold showers.
“I dunno, babe. That’s a steep price tag. I couldn’t possibly accept this.” Her feathered hair brushed over her bare shoulders as she shook her head. She had a freckle at the base of her neck that he was dying to lick, and he had a clear view of it as she contemplated his offer.
He shrugged, and said with a crooked grin, “We can always work something out, if that makes you comfortable.”
She knew what he meant, and he knew she knew. Her answering smile confirmed his suspicion.
“Well, if you don’t mind…”
“Of course not! This will look perfect on you!” Rog turned and motioned for the young guy slouching behind the register before Jayne changed her mind. “We’re gonna take this one, brother.”
The teenager lurched in their direction, hitching up his jeans before digging into his pocket for the keys to the display case. His name tag, Rog discovered, read ‘Brother’.
“Hey, how’d ya know my name?” He fumbled with the case lock.
“Just an unfortunate guess,” Rog said. From the corner of his eye, he saw Jayne cover her mouth, hiding her laughter.
With clumsy hands, Brother placed the velvet panel on the counter. Jayne lifted the choker from its display and inspected the polished stone that hung suspended from a sterling silver ring in the center of a leather band. “Is this hematite?” Her eyes reflected in its glossed surface, and the stone’s curvature distorted her pupils into thin slivers.
“No,” the clerk said. “It’s Mosturian. A rare gem, almost impossible to find, though I hear it’s a common sediment on Saturn.”
Rog snorted. “A space rock? Really?”
The boy shrugged. “Dunno. That’s just what I was told. I ain’t no rock guy.” He reached under the display case and produced a black velvet pouch. “I do know you need this if you plan to wear it, though.”
“What’s this?” Jayne placed the choker back in its case and picked up the bag.
“How MUCH is that?” Rog said, loud enough to warrant a sharp look from Jayne. Dude, watch it! He winced at his reckless outburst and clamped his mouth shut.
“It’s free with the necklace,” Brother said. “In fact, I’d get in trouble if I didn’t insist you use it. It’s in the rules.”
“Why’s that?” Jayne pulled a small glass jar from the pouch. She twisted the lid off and took a small sniff, before wrinkling her nose. “This reeks like men’s deodorant.”
“The balm is supposed to be spread over the stone ten minutes before you put it on. It’s to protect your skin. If you leave the necklace on too long and you haven’t coated it first, you will have an allergic reaction to the Mosturian.”
“I really don’t care for the smell. And I don’t have any allergies. None. Not even peanuts.” Jayne dropped the jar into the pouch and pushed it away.
“It’s not that kind of allergy,” the clerk said. “If you have skin, you’re allergic.”
“We will take that jar,” Rog said, his impatience mounting, “and I will let her decide if she wants to use it.”
“You have to sign this waiver,” the boy produced a form from a nearby drawer. “Policy.”
Rog didn’t feel like reading the small print. Unless it included a clause that offered his money back following yet another cold shower, he had no interest in the mumbled warnings of the kid. He scribbled his name and the date on a line that followed the bloated disclaimer, and pushed it back at Brother, along with his credit card.
Jayne was stroking the stone, a soft purr rattling in her throat.
Brother slid two small receipts over the counter and asked Rog for his signature on one. After he tucked the signed copy into his cash drawer, he produced a small purple bag with the words ‘FANTASTIC BAUBLES’ printed on both sides, and placed the choker box and the velvet bag inside. Mumbling something about a good night, he handed Rog the bag and walked away. By the time Rog and Jayne reached the door, the boy was playing with his phone, oblivious to their departure.
Jayne tucked her arm into Rog’s as they walked the few blocks back to his apartment. By the way she leaned into him, he knew his evening would not close in another cold shower. The choker would pay for itself before the night ended. He gave himself a mental fistbump as he led her up the steps to his building.
Once inside, she excused herself to his bathroom while he set to straightening his messy quarters. He thought about spraying some body spray on his bed sheets, but decided against it after he recalled her earlier comment in the store. He lit a bayberry candle, instead. The room smelled like a sexy tree.
By the time she emerged, he was sprawled across his bed stripped down to his boxers. She had also removed her clothes…everything except for the leather choker. The stone hovered just below her collarbone.
Not that he cared about the jewelry. He was too preoccupied appreciating the rest of her naked body.
Ten minutes later found him beneath her, bedsheets tangled around their legs. He’d forgotten how vocal she was, and he didn’t remember her growling the first time, but it didn’t matter. He was so caught up in the moment, he didn’t notice when the stone began to glow.
Then it happened. He pushed up on his elbows to lick her freckle, and his cheek barely grazed the stone. It sizzled and smoked on contact.
“Ow! Holy shit! What the…?”
She purred, pushed on his shoulders, and proceeded to nibble his neck. Which started as pleasantly kinky, but then became more than a little painful. He grunted and slid from beneath her.
Tapping the base of his bedside lamp, he cupped his throat and glared at her in the dim light. “Look, babe…”
Jayne perched on all fours, still purring, but he could see the distinct tips of 4 white fangs jutting from her lips. They grew longer as he stared, and he suspected she would’ve taken a chunk out of his throat had he not stopped her. Her usually groomed nails were longer now, ending in black spikes, the dark traveling up her hands and wrists. A row of black spikes emerged from her shoulders, and down her upper arms. Unexpected movement caught his attention, and he noticed the speared end of a tail flicking at the foot of his bed, its motion reminiscent of a cat about to attack.
He was beginning to feel like a catnip mouse.
“Did you forget to use the balm, babe?” He stammered, sliding off the bed and covering his little buddy with a pillow as he backed against a wall.
A smile curled her fanged, feline face. She leaned forward, the motion unnaturally slinky, as if she were preparing to pounce.
“I lost my collar years ago. Didn’t think I’d ever find it again,” her voice was hardly more than a growl. “I’m not done thanking you for helping me, Rog. Come back to bed.”
He shivered, searching for anything he could use as a weapon, but the only item within reach was his deodorant. It would make for a lousy weapon against an alien cat. The knock off brand of Axe wasn’t even good at battling his BO, so…
“I would really rather not be eaten,” he whimpered. (A manly whimper, but still.)
Jayne stopped and sat back on her haunches. Genuine confusion clouded her yellow eyes. “Oh.” She drummed her fingers on the mattress, her claws piercing the pillowtop and leaving little popcorn shaped puffs of stuffing across the bed. “So…maybe just sex then?”
Rog held his breath for a moment, before he responded. “Um, yes?”
Jayne shrugged, her shoulder spikes brushing the ceiling. “Sure. What the hell. You did do me a big favor, after all.”
That proved to be the best sex of his life. He still broke up with her the next day, after she’d taken off the choker and returned from his bathroom much less pointy. Admittedly, his pride was a bit wounded that she didn’t appear at all upset by his decision.
Before she left, he had to ask. “Hey, Jayne? Why didn’t you eat me?”
She smiled, and he could see the smaller tip of one of her fangs punctuate her ruby lip. “You wear Axe. I can’t stand Axe.” She winked as she opened the door. “I prefer my men in Old Spice.”