Addergoole
Stamps Bonus Story
A Man's Man

In the weeks or months after Housewarming.

“Well… are you sure?”

This was the weirdest part of Ambrus’ “job,” the part Luke hadn’t managed to explain during his first briefing, when he had gotten distracted reassuring Ambrus about children. Ambrus was still kind of worried about his responsibilities towards those children-to-come, but with a job like this, those offspring seemed a distant worry.

His immediate worry, tonight, was this girl at his side, doe-eyed, lovely, and nearly as young as he was; more importantly, she was past cold feet and on to hypothermia.

“I’m sure,” he reassured her. “Reid is a wonderful guy. Trust me.” Trust me was a new role for him, and he found it both novel and a little uncomfortable.

“He seems kind of old.” Older than she knew, by quite a bite, but she’d been all for going to bed with VanderLinden, who was older than any of them. That, however, wouldn’t help the situation.

“Oh, honey,” he laid it on a little thick, sending out the idea of titillating secrets, “from what I’ve heard, he’s like a really good bottle of wine. He just gets better with time.”

“Really?” She was intrigued… there was gossip to hear about? He might not be so bad after all. He encouraged it, dialing it up slowly while doing nothing to discourage her impression that he was queer as a three dollar bill.

“Oh, really. Let me tell you, the stories I’ve heard…” He fanned himself a little bit, smirking evilly. None of it was exactly a lie. Ambrus had heard some pretty yummy rumors about the bespectacled scientist. He knew – from the last girl he’d walked through this routine with – that Reid would not disappoint. It didn’t really change the fact that he was dialing up a girl’s libido to pass her off to another man.

It was working, of course. It had only ever failed him with Regine.

“Stories?” She perked up, licking her lips, trying to conceal her growing arousal. “He came off as such a shut-in.”

And now that he had a master who would condone every use of his “knack,” so long as it wasn’t against her, he could afford to experiment, to stretch his legs a little. He was finding uses for the knack that he’d never had a chance to think of, before.

“Oh, that’s just the way he likes to act, but don’t let him fool you. I hear he’s quite the Lothario when he puts his mind to it.” Maybe he was laying it on a little high-flame, but it seemed to be working, anyway. He certainly didn’t want her directing all that rising lust in his direction – she was gorgeous, entirely his type, inasmuch as he’d had the chance to develop a “type,” but he had his orders, and sleeping with this one was not in those orders.

“His mind?” she giggled archly. “Or something a little lower?” She was getting punch-drunk on the rising emotions; he backed it off a little bit and chuckled along with her as if was the funniest joke in the world.

“You know what they say about the smart ones, don’t you?” he purred.

She giggled uncertainly. No, she didn’t. She wasn’t a ditz, but she hadn’t come from people who valued intelligence.

Then again, neither had he. But more than one of his masters had been brilliant (by normal standards; they all dimmed to morons compared to his current mistress). He licked his lips lasciviously, and dialed up her curiosity. “They say – and they’re right – that the smarter a man is, the more he thinks about just how best to please a partner. And the very brilliant ones – like Reid – they have a lot of time to think, and they put it all into practice.”

She shivered happily, clearly thinking about what that would mean in bed and, thankfully, not thinking about how Ambrus knew such things. Or the dark side of such, although he was pretty sure that Reid didn’t have a sadistic bone in his body. “So Dr. Solomon… Reid….” He encouraged the way she tasted the name with a soft burst of anticipation, and watched her struggle through the growing need for the proper word. “So he’s an attentive lover?”

She was nearly primed and ready to go. He took the next left, heading directly for Reid’s house, though he didn’t deviate from the casual ambling pace he’d been setting. “I wouldn’t know myself, of course-” he paused for her appreciative giggle “-but from what I’ve heard, he’s going to blow your mind.”

“Oooh.” She wiggled her hips a little, thoughtfully. “Is this his place?” He had come to a stop in front of a sky-blue cottage with the English ivy growing over it; the house practically had leather patches on its elbows.

“It is,” he confirmed. “Have a lovely time tonight, Maria.”

She hugged him impulsively, a little-sister hug, and he patted her back in a gay-big-brother fashion. “Thank you, Ambrus.”

“Any time, honey. You go have fun.”

“Oh, I will,” she grinned, every last doubt clearly forgotten. She practically skipped up to the doorbell.

He walked away before Reid answered the door, feeling strange and dissatisfied. It seemed as if he was thinking a lot more than he had been before.

“Autonomy,” Liv had told him; he’d gotten in the habit of eating lunch at Mo’s Tavern, and it seemed that Liv was almost always there when he was. “You get to make choices now. That takes thought.”

“I do what I’m told.” Before, it had been the mantra that had gotten him through bad times. He had done was he was told because the alternative was, at best, unpleasant; after a while, he did what he was told because he did what he was told.

“Ah, but ‘seduce this woman so that she thinks it’s her own idea’ is a little more complicated than ‘bend over and grab your ankles,’ isn’t it?”

He’d blushed, not because she was wrong, but because she seemed willing to talk about his time before as if it had been just another job. “It’s different,” he agreed, beginning to see where she was going. “It’s a lot more open-ended.”

Seduce this woman into sleeping with another man was even more open-ended, and he found it left him with uncomfortable thoughts. I don’t like this had never been more than a passing concern – if he happened to like what was being done to him, it was a bonus. But now, he found himself wondering is this right?

It was a question he had no answers for. Maybe, he hoped, Regine would tell him.

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