Neon Blue (suspense) and This Shoal of Space (SF) by John Argo were the first two e-books ever published online for download, in the history of the world, 1996-7 in innovative weekly serial chapters. More info at the museum pages. If you enjoy this free read, which is offered in the spirit of the Golden Age of the World Wide Web, please consider buying a print or e-book edition as a way of thanking the author. A fine E-book is typically priced at the cost of a latte, yet offers many more hours of enjoyment than a cup of coffee. Thank you (John Argo).

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Chapter 42. San Diego

about Neon Blue or Girl, unlockedSan Diego's warmth wrapped itself around Blue as she stepped from the plane. The palm trees, the harbor, the sails leaning in a noonday wind greeted her. First thing, she showered in her room at the Hilton. The cold, the grime, the sadness of her East slipped away. Eddie's death remained like a cold hand, but the funeral was behind her, and she could get on with her life.

She stopped in at the office. Barnes was out. Her notes and clippings were strewn about as she'd left them. She felt a pressing urgency to do something, to somehow make good the loss of Eddie. Just then, the phone rang.

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked

Hugh called SDPD, which directed the call, and she answered on the second ring: "This is Laurel Humboldt."

"Oh hi," Hugh said, "this is Father Jenkins from Hamilton."

"Have we met?"

Another bulldog like Stosik, he thought. "I was referred to you by Father Binder."

A pause. Just like damn Stosik. "Yes?"

"We're after Vincent Gordon, Miss Humboldt. He stole a lot of money. I'm just wondering what progress you're making."

A pause. "I'm sorry, Father. That's sensitive information. I can't just talk about it like this. Maybe if I met you first."

"I'm going to be in San Diego shortly."

"Why don't you give me a call then?" she said.

"I will," Hugh said, brightly. They thanked each other, said goodbye, and hung up. They had no clue, the poor fools. Yet he was at a disadvantage too. He must find out what she knew.

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked

"Blue!" Martha Yee stepped in, wearing a beige skirt suit with white blouse and chocolate droopy bow tie that went well with her custard skin and rich black hair. "Welcome back."

"You okay, Martha?"

"I'm okay." They both laughed nervously.

"How's the patient?" Blue asked.

"She'll pull through, is the word."

"Still no talk? No revelations?"

"No, but we're watching her around the clock."

"Anything on the lady with blue neon glasses?"

"Hasn't showed at her house in days. We're watching."

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked

People were not returning her calls and she was getting nowhere today. Tired from traveling all night, she went to the hotel and slept. Late that evening, John Connor called. "You need a nice midnight dip in the pool."

"Nice to hear your voice. I'm very tired, John."

"The pool is heated, Blue."

It took her twenty minutes. Her system demanded a cigarette, but she resisted because he would smell it. Instead, she ate an orange. He kissed her as she stepped across his doorway, but she dodged aside. "Where is that heated pool?"

"Orange breath," he kidded and removed his bathrobe. He wore a baggy purple bathing suit. She went into the bathroom and put on her bikini. The pool was divine. John dove in with a rattle of the board and a neat slicing sound of water. The night air was cold if you exposed your shoulders, so she kept down low in the water. The interior of the pool was illumined. She kept diving down and slowly floating up. He performed a mating dance around her.

Stars twinkled high up in the black sky.

The city skyline shone like toy blocks.

He cornered her and she let him kiss her. His tongue hungrily pressed against hers, his arms encircled her, and his hands played along the firm curves of her body. What am I feeling? she asked herself. Her fingers half-heartedly explored his abdominal muscles, his puckered brown nipples, his muscular upper arms. Her hands clasped his head, his neck, his face.

"It's late," she said. He pulled her top off, and she let him; it would be one less piece of work she'd have to do. She pulled the top with its trailing straps close to her pointed, hard breasts and turned to heave herself out of the pool. "John," she whispered, "please be patient with me just a teeny bit. I'm—out of practice."

He ruffled her hair. "Romance, remember? No rush."

They showered and, chattering, wrapped in towels, hurried inside. "Can I brush my teeth?"

"Sure. Use my brush."

She brushed slowly, letting the minty taste assault her taste buds. She felt safe with him, and she hoped he would have patience with her. The less he pushed, the more she liked him.

When she stepped out of the bathroom, he was asleep on his back, mouth slightly open, breath escaping in slow, measured exhalations. Turning the light off, she gingerly got into bed so as not to wake him. She lay awake for awhile, smelling the place. It smelled of wood and paint and linen and not-very-often-cleaned carpets. It smelled of him, and she let that soak into her tired being. Pretty soon, as the moonlight washed over her, she fell asleep.

She awoke later. Fontainebleau was meowling outside the sliding glass door. She slipped out of bed and let him in. "Prrr!" he said, thanks, and jumped up on the bed. She shivered and closed the door, locking it. Her upper arms and shoulder blades and bare breasts had goose bumps. She found his shirt and slipped it on, along with her panties. Then she got back in bed, lightly, like a feather falling to earth. He was snoring softly. She nuzzled under the sheet and sighed deeply. The cat made circles and then settled near their ankles, purring. She snuggled close to John. He put his arm around her back without waking. She fell deliciously asleep with shivers running up and down her spine where her back was spooned against his belly.

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked

Sometime during the night, they both woke. She felt a stray fingertip, not hers, on her sheer panties. She squirmed, feeling aroused, wet. They stroked. Moaned together.

"John, do you really like the women you sleep with?"

"What's this, a quiz show?"

"Okay, I'll rephrase it—"

"Your chin digs into my nipple when you talk."

"—Sorry." She kissed his nipple and blew on it. He rolled his eyes up, stirred sensually. "Do men like women they sleep with?" He ran his hand down her back, and she knew her skin had a smooth, heavy feel. "Do they?"

"Laurel, yes. Ohh.."

"You like me, don't you?"

"A lot, Laurel." He pulled her close. "A lot."

When she felt his breath on her face she parted her lips and met his mouth hungrily. Their tongues thrust together. Her fear and stiffness evaporated in a flood of longing. His hands explored her body. A tingly feeling of powerful pleasure rose along her spine in waves. She felt a deep longing, a forgotten hunger that she had not felt in a long time.

If it was just a brief affair, or even a one-night stand, she did not care anymore. She tenderly held his head between her hands and devoured his mouth. She slid down a bit and kissed his chest, catching his nipples with her teeth. She grasped his genitals, rocking them violently, wanting to suck.

He jack-knifed in bed, holding himself.

She kissed his shoulder, afraid of what she had done. It had been a long time, and she'd forgotten…"John, Johnny, did I hurt you?"

He lay back laughing. "Blue, you'll have me singing alto." Seeing her hurt, embarrassed look, he put his arms around her. "You've got a lotta woman bottled up in you, baby."

"I'm such a klutz."

"No, you are perfect."

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked

He meant it. Passion walloped him. Romance. Her body was perfect for him: Full-bodied, just right; curvy and athletic, small-breasted, round in the butt without overstatement. They nuzzled for a long time, growing ardent, hands exploring, touching, caressing. Blue pulled him on top of her. Eyes closed, mouth open and upraised as if to catch some invisible rainwater, she cried out softly. With a force that seemed to not his own entirely, he thrust into her tight body. She orgasmed sobbing, biting her wrist. When he tightened his hands around her firm butt, she shoved her heels against his shoulders and tossed her head from side to side. It was Lollie redux, but with a deeper passion by far. Sweat flew from his hair, dripped down his nose. He blew beads of sweat off his upper lip. Her legs were spread open, held apart for him. Her face was upturned in a delicious agony and she gasped with each pounding arrival. He felt a wildfire flashing up his spine as the tremendous pleasure overwhelmed him.

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked

She, sensing that he was approaching climax, cried out for him, reached for him, shook him by the arms. She let herself go, twitching as waves ran up and down her body. They wailed together. He shuddered as orgasm flooded him. She felt the change in his rhythm. She hugged him and kissed the shell of his ear. She turned him to the side and wrapped her arms and legs around him like a reward. They were both soaking wet with sweat and her secretions and his cream. He let her stroke him and whisper how good she felt. He pinned her wrists back and kissed her and told her how good he felt. She had a golden warmth inside and forgot her fears.

Blue kept her feelings deeply stored apart in separate boxes, and she made sure the padlocks were tightly locked


Copyright © 1996 by John Argo, Clocktower Books. All Rights Reserved.

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