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June 21, 2012

I Hraet You (16)

Beat 16: Total Neurological Wipeout and Euphemisms

Lloyd stared at Sheila.

Sheila stared at Lloyd.

Lloyd stared at Sheila.

Sheila stared at Lloyd.

Lloyd stared at Sheila.

Sheila stared at Lloyd.

Lloyd raised a hand.  “Excuse me.”

“Yes?”

“…What?”

Sheila gave him a bashful smile (and sucked a stream of snot back into her nose).  “U-um, well…you see…” she stammered, her sweet voice still weighed down by a gallon of phlegm.  “I want to…um, how should I put this?  I guess I want you to do it with me.  Wait, is that what they call it?  I think it is…s-sorry, I guess I should have looked into it first.  Or maybe --”

“Miss O’Leary,” said Lloyd, holding up a hand to stop her.   “Before you get too ahead of yourself, I have to ask you a question.”

“What is it?”

“…What?”

Sheila glanced aside.  “This is harder than I thought,” she muttered to herself.  “I guess he’s one of those guys who are all looks and no brains…”

“I object!  You can’t possibly expect for me to agree to this so quickly, can you?  You’re proposing that we make merry, here and now, in a school restroom?  And furthermore, have you forgotten that just minutes ago you were throwing bombs at me?  And prior to that, you’ve been stalking me?  And need I remind you that you were throwing bombs at me?!

Sheila ducked back down, like a rabbit sinking into its hidey-hole.  “S-sorry!  I…I-I was just so nervous that I realized that I’d rather blow you up than try to talk to you!”

Lloyd could only stare at the stall.

“I’ve been training all summer,” Sheila began, sliding back into view.  “I took a correspondence course at the local athletics center…and then I decided to just spend the next few months reading on commando maneuvers protocol on the internet.  If I couldn’t meet with the one that I loved in person, then I’d just have to become a master of stealth and follow you in secret…and if things got too hairy, I’d use my tools to make a quick escape.”  She glanced aside again.  “I guess I made the wrong type of bomb, though…but at least you survived.  You’re a little more physically capable than I would have guessed.”

She’s certainly capable at romancing, Lloyd thought.  But he shook his musings out of his mind.  “Miss O’Leary, I can tell that you’re far from the average malcontent, and that alone gives me reason enough to have faith in you.  Still, I’m afraid that I can’t accept your proposal.”

“B-because of the bombs?”

“That too.  But more importantly, the timing is far too unsavory.  Perhaps someday we might, but as things stand -- as long as I haven’t an idea of just who you are -- the gap between us remains insurmountable.”  He gestured toward the door.  “To say nothing of the faculty members eager to sink their disciplinary claws into you.”

“Disciplinary claws?”  Sheila lowered her head a bit.  “Oh man.  This guy sure uses a lot of weird language…I may be in over my head here.  A-am I gonna have to start carrying around a dictionary?  Or…um…maybe a thesaurus?”  She snorted a few more times.

Very capable at romancing.  “Whatever the case, I suppose there’s nothing much more to say.”  He offered a quick but gentlemanly bow.  “Much as I enjoy your proposal and your attention, and your…antics…I’m afraid I’ll have to decline.”

“But I love you!” Sheila cried out, shooting her head past the stall’s edge. 

“Y-yes, well…”  Lloyd stroked his cheek.  He hadn’t forgotten about that little detail; if anything, that element kept running through his mind even as he strung his words together.  Just how was he supposed to deal with that?  Sure, this girl had very nearly turned him into a pile of splattered guts, but only out of some quirky anxiety.  How could he turn his back on someone of the fairer sex?  And more importantly, someone who’d confessed to him? 

Time to test my tact, Lloyd thought.  “I suggest we ‘take it slow,’ as they say.  Given time to develop our relationship and meet much more regularly -- in person, and NOT in air vents -- doubtless you’ll have a chance to sway me to your persuasion.  Why, with the right motions, you could easily make it so that I love you as much as you love me.  Or perhaps you’ll find my company ultimately unfulfilling, and move on to a more suitable, less unsavory fellow to admire.”

Sheila tilted her head.  “You don’t think you’re good enough for me?”

“Arguably.  I didn’t inherit my father’s hardy body or monstrous strength -- two factors that, as I understand it, would make me far more desirable in the eyes of women everywhere.”  He rubbed the back of his head and grinned sheepishly.  “If it’s my genes you’re after, you might find your progeny more than a little underwhelming.”

“Nuh-uh.  If I have children with my true love, then the curse that’s been in my family for generations will finally be lifted.”

“…I beg your pardon?”

“My family was cursed by fairies a dozen generations ago.  And if I want to finally get rid of it, I have to have children with my true love.”  She ducked out of sight for a minute, and Lloyd heard her blow her nose into some toilet paper.  “Urgh.  Should have brought more tissues; toilet paper’s too harsh on the nose.”

“Wait a minute!  Just…just one minute here -- what’s all this about ‘curses’ and ‘fairies’?”

“My family got involved with some fairies a long time ago, and the fairies cursed them.  So now everyone of the O’Leary bloodline has to deal with…well, it varies from person-to-person.”  She sniffled a few times.  “I…I guess I’ll go ahead and show you.  You’d have to find out eventually…unless we were doing it in the dark.”

“What are you…?”  But Lloyd cut his question short; a great sense of foreboding began to creep through him.  He steeled himself, keeping his heart’s beating as stable as he could -- but he couldn’t do anything to stop his sudden trembling.  Would he have to take flight?  Or would he risk it all in the face of a new threat?

The sound of shifting fabric made its way out of the stall.  “J-just don’t be mad, okay?  I’m only doing this because I love you, Lloyd.”  A slew of clicking sounds followed soon after -- and with that, something fell to the floor.

Lloyd crouched down and peeked at the bottom part of the stall.  Apparently, Sheila had taken off a few of her belts -- belts laden with pouches, bombs, grenades, and enough bullets to make an NRA member jump for joy.  “Er…what exactly are you doing?” he asked, watching as her army boots jostled about. 

Sheila didn’t bother answering.  She just kept shifting around, little by little -- and then, she slipped off her boots and let them tip over.  “M-Miss O’Leary…yoo-hoooooooo…is anyone there?  I…I would very much like to know what you’re planning to do.”  He held up two quaking hands, all too aware of his reddening body and his spiking heat.  “I mean, I certainly wouldn’t expect for a girl I hardly know to begin doing what I think she’s doing.” 

A pair of camo pants fell around her ankles.  She brushed them aside with one foot.

“HNGHAH!  M-M-Miss O’Leary!”  Lloyd waved a hand in front of his face.   “S-surely you aren’t planning something as indecorous as taking off all your clothes and standing before me!  Because that would simply be an unprecedented compromise of school day manners!”

A white tanktop fell to the ground.

“AGRABAH!”  Lloyd threw himself in front of the stall door.  “Now see here!  Much as I would appreciate the fair form of a maiden such as yourself, I’d prefer NOT to be the prime suspect in a sexual harassment suit!  Given my luck -- and the propensity for people to walk in at the worst possible moment in situations like these -- I’d rather not see you in a state of undress right now!”  He snapped his head to the left.  “Maybe eventually, but not now!”

“Lloyd, I’m wearing more clothes underneath.”

“Eh?  B-but your feet are --”

“I’ve got some hanging on the hook here.  I’m putting them on now.”

“Oh.”  Lloyd swiped at his forehead and leaned against the door.  “Whew!  You gave me quite a fright.  For a moment I thought you’d do something a bit too risqué for a Monday afternoon!”

“No.  I just thought…I-I mean, I figured I should show you the truth.  See, the fairy’s curse…it…it made me something beyond human.”

Lloyd raised his eyebrows.  “Care to elaborate?”

“I’ve got the left arm of a demon.  I try to keep it hidden most of the time, but…well, it’d only be a matter of time before anyone -- you, especially -- saw it.  And…a-and I trust you enough to show it to you first.”

“Miss O’Leary…do I really mean that much to you?”

“Uh-huh.”  She snorted a bit more.  “If it’s you, I’ll be happy.”

Lloyd furrowed his brow, and started stroking a temple. Sheila O’Leary…try as he might, he couldn’t remember anyone by that name.  And he would have certainly remembered someone as distinct as her.  So why?  Had she been stalking him in secret all this time?  Was she just an incidental encounter?  Or someone from his past he’d long since forgotten?  So, yet another strange woman appears before me, he mused, covering his mouth.  And here I was thinking that I was the oddest fellow in this story.

“Very well.  If you’re willing to trust me, then I’ll trust you as well,” said Lloyd, unable to hide a smile.  He stepped away from the door and turned to face it.  “If you want me to see your devil’s arm, then -- and pardon my pun -- I’ll accept your true form with open arms!”

“Lloyd.”

“Yes?”

Sheila blew her nose.  “I lied.  I really did take my clothes off.”

“Oh.”  It took a full five seconds for Lloyd to process what that meant.  “Hghabaghdababa!  Miss O’Leary, you can’t --!”

But it was too late.  She swung the door open and stepped outside.

Lloyd’s mouth hung wide open.  He started sweating all over again, and he turned redder than the ace of hearts.  He reared back, as if staring down a junkyard dog, with fingers squirming and his legs struggling to keep his body upright.  “E…E…E…” he sputtered, his eyes bulging so far out of his head they nearly shoved his glasses off his face.  “E…E…E…”

He fell to his knees, and threw up his hands -- as if to drag the very sky down to earth.  “EXCALIBUR!” he roared.

Skin so smooth and pearly that it hardly seemed real -- doubly so, as it cast an almost ethereal gleam.  Legs as long as Lloyd’s, and eight times as shapely, begging to be stroked by a hyperventilating onlooker.  Hips so wide they could bear Paul Bunyan’s children, no doubt bound to an ass so pert and bubbly he could have jumped off it like a trampoline, both sheathed in green undies that might as well have been painted on.  A trim, slender waist, glistening like the rest of her body and curved like a million-dollar vase.  Fingers and toes so delicate they’d make a geisha look like a gorilla, and ending in nails gleaming with a jewel-like luster. 

And her chest.  That chest.  THE chest.  Perfect shape.  Perfect symmetry.  Swelling and contracting with each breath she took, with more than a bit of bounce following each motion.  Breasts several sizes past the D-cup threshold, safely contained in a lacy, shamrock-green bra; Lloyd could almost hear them speaking to him, their siren song begging for release.

Lloyd’s eyes almost fell out of his head.  Sheila O’Leary might have had the head of a nerd, but she had the body of a supermodel…or better yet, a caricature of one.

Sheila clasped her arms behind her back.  “Th-this is what the curse did to me,” she explained, shifting about a bit.

“THAT’S what you call a curse?!” Lloyd yelled.  He sprang to his feet.  “Miss O’Leary, surely you jest!  Such a blessing, such an endowment heaving before me, larger than any bust I’ve ever beheld in real life or on the internet, is nothing short of God’s majesty given form -- the form of two soft, majestic, positively magnificent collections of flesh and tissue…the matron’s symbol, personified, and aggrandized to its apotheosis!  The zenith has been reached; no mortal OR deity may dare challenge you!  Aphrodite herself would spread unsavory rumors about you in a bid to have your divine form sullied -- BUT, any harm that would come to you and your well-being, be it emotional or otherwise, would merely ricochet harmlessly off your impenetrable fortress of a body!  The bastion of motherhood, of grace and warmth and love, and milk!  For a man to decry you, and subjugate you to ridicule by merely bemoaning your improbable yet insatiable form, is NOTHING SHORT of a crime against all men, all creatures that walk the earth!  A sin!  O, joyous day, for such a woman to walk the earth!  Come, let us depart for the forest, where I shall invoke the muses and sing you twenty-seven songs of glory, that you may --”      

“Ah-CHOO!”

Sheila’s sneeze blew a few liters of snot onto Lloyd’s body.  “…S-sorry,” she muttered, blushing as Lloyd wiped his glasses on his shirt.

After wiping himself down with a few paper towels, Lloyd set his glasses back atop his face and brushed at his bangs.  “Think nothing of it, my dear.”

“So…you, um…you like what you see?”

“YEEEEEEEEEEEEES!  Yes MA’AM!  Did my speech just now not sway you to my appreciation of your condition?”

Sheila looked up at the ceiling.  “Y-yeah…I kinda wasn’t paying attention.  You just kept talking and talking, and…well, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with that stuff, you know?”

“But I thought I did rather well!” Lloyd moaned, lowering his head (and giving himself another chance to stare at Sheila’s chest). 

“I’m sure it was really pretty.  Like…totally pretty, for sure.”  She snorted a few times.  “Sooooooooo…you ready to do it?”

Lloyd snapped his head back upward -- this time, looking her in the eyes…or at least, he kept one eye on her glasses and the other on her chest.  “Eh?  What do you mean?”

Sheila walked toward the door, and stood in front of it, her hands clasped daintily before her hips.  “Sorry, Lloyd.  But I’m not letting you out of here until we do it.”

“Eh?!  B-but why?!  What did I do to deserve this?”

“You wanna know what you did to deserve having a girl with over-the-top curves pine after you and give you an opportunity to make merry with her without any questions right here and now?”

“Ah --” Lloyd held up a finger to object, but cocked his head to the side.  “Okay, I deserved that.  I suppose I walked into that one.”   

“Besides, you’ve seen me now.  You like it, too.”  She sniffled a bit, but took a step forward regardless.  “S-so…so that means you wanna go at it, right?”

“I should have known this was just an attempt to have me perform such salacious deeds!  Much as I approve of you, and much as I profess my devotion to pleasing the fairer sex, you’ll not best me today!”  Lloyd jerked his head away and shut his eyes.  “Taut-bodied temptress!  I’ll not be seduced!”

“Lloyd.”

Lloyd opened his eyes and looked at his hands; they hovered in midair, armed and ready to snag a touch.  “…Okay, I’m seduced.  But I’m STILL not going to do anything with you today!”

“Why not?  Don’t you want to touch me?”

Lloyd bit his thumb.  With all the excitement (in more ways than one) in meeting Sheila, he’d forgotten about his little ability.  A mere handshake was all it took for him to head inside a woman’s heart and start his process in the audition room; if he so much as hugged her, what would happen?  And even with just a slight motion, he’d still head into that room…would he face failure and danger once more, just as he had with Lien-Hua? 

Until I better understand my power, I’d best keep my hands to myself, he thought.  But Miss O’Leary seems to be in no mood to move.  Under normal circumstances, I’d just try to move her aside…but in this case, that may be out of the question.

Sheila pouted.  “I…I-I’m gonna give you till the count of three,” she warned.  “If you don’t come over here, I’m going over there.”

“W-wait!  Hold on a minute!  We can sort through this like adults!  We’ve no need to give into base desires so rea-”

“One.”

Lloyd held up his hands and backed up a step.  My fortunes have soured…if I don’t act quickly, then I’ll have more than just a little guilt on my hands!  But how can I escape such a poor situation?!  He frowned and let loose a quick sigh.  Perhaps I would have had better luck dodging those bombs.

Wait a minute…that’s it!

“Two.”

Lloyd ducked into the stall, but darted back out quickly -- yet he hadn’t come back empty-handed. 

“I’m giving you an ultimatum, Miss O’Leary,” he declared with a wide yet panicked smile.  “Let me free, or I’ll be forced to use this grenade!”

TO BE HEARTINUED…

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