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"I'm really excited about marketing Déjà Brew. Just think. One simple drink can transport consumers to an important time in their pasts. Our demographic samples show huge interest. I can't wait to get it out there." Lisa Lavery and her partner, Jack Ryan, were walking up a stone-paved path that could only be described as 'quaint'.
Jack stopped mid-stride. Lisa wanted to reach up and brush a bad boy lock of black hair from his brow. Polished as he looked in his designer suit, that wayward lock was the only less than perfect detail. Tall, buff, and classically handsome, Jack managed to look simultaneously professional and hot.
"I'm not one hundred percent convinced Ryan Enterprises should take this on." His voice chilled her, as did his now piercing gray eyes. "You need to convince me as well as Dora Martine, who doesn't seem at all eager to sign with us."
Lisa refrained from rolling her eyes. "If you didn't insist on treating her like some exalted family matriarch, she'd be much easier to handle."
"Maybe I don't think 'handling' her is the way I want to do business. Lisa, we need to address her concerns before we take on Déjà Brew."
"Right." She hummed some 'woo-woo,' New Agey sounds. "She's gotten to you. Jack Ryan, don't you see? Her so-called concerns are a ploy to extort more money before she signs over the rights. We've been more than generous already."
He pursed his lips. "It's not just about the money."
Her laughter sounded harsh and grating to her. "Don't ever let your father hear you say that. 'Money is the first principle of business'," she quoted.
Jack scrubbed a hand across his face."You're quoting him out of context. Ah, hell, we don't have time to resolve this now. Lisa, I'm pulling rank. Follow my lead with Dora." He resumed walking down the path, and Lisa, at a disadvantage walking this path in her heels, had to scramble to keep up with him.
"You're pulling rank? But this is my deal. I'm the one who discovered Déjà Brew, who put the deal together." His words, flung like a bucket of ice water on a winter day, echoed in her head. Granted, Ryan Enterprises, Ltd. was Jack's family business. But the two of them were total partners, in their personal life and in their shared position in the company's hierarchy. Or they had been. His announcement of pulling rank sounded a warning bell. Just as she'd suspected in too many sleepless moments, the problems between them had escalated from annoying to ominous.
"Agreed. But Dora hasn't yet signed the final papers. When she called for this appointment, she expressed serious second thoughts. She said, and these are her exact words, that you 'pooh-pooh' her concerns, make her feel like a 'ridiculous old woman'."
"So now she's decided the role of diva suits her better?" Why did Jack's willingness to 'handle' Dora Martine grate on Lisa? Could it be because the distance between them had widened recently? Or were her insecurities making her paranoid?
"Concern for how her product is marketed does not make her a diva." Jack rang the doorbell of the impossibly cutesy cottage, which reminded Lisa of pictures from a storybook Hansel and Gretel she'd coveted as a child.
"Are you saying we won't do a bang-up job getting Déjà Brew out there?"
"No, of course not. But I'm saying this is potent stuff that might not fit our usual model. Let's listen to Dora's concerns, see what we can do to make a responsible decision all around."
Before Lisa could respond, the sage green door opened and Dora Martine stood before them, all five feet of her. Dressed in a shapeless black dress and low-heeled black wedgies, her face a mass of wrinkles crowned by thick gray hair pulled back in a sloppy bun, all Dora needed was a large pointed black hat and a hairy facial wart to resemble Lisa's image of a classic witch, an identity Dora proudly claimed. Age marked her everywhere but her sparkling brown eyes, which shone with intelligence, or maybe wiliness. The moment she saw Jack, the old woman's smile lit up her face.
"Welcome to my cottage." Her voice sounded strong, surprisingly low-pitched. She opened her arms to Jack, who practically swept her off her feet in a hug. Lisa felt like the proverbial fifth wheel.
While Jack and Dora indulged in mutual admiration, Lisa looked around the cottage. She'd never before seen that much chintz in one place. Needlepoint, quilts, photos and idiosyncratic artwork filled the walls. The chairs and sofa looked overstuffed, overloaded with pillows. A black cat slunk around, staring at them, giving Lisa goosebumps. What was the strange smell? They'd evidently interrupted Dora's dinner preparations. Or maybe their hostess was planning to feed them some malodorous concoction. Lisa's stomach lurched at the prospect. She'd skipped lunch and felt hungry, but not that hungry.
A glance at her watch showed it was getting quite late. Since neither Jack nor Dora seemed inclined to move things along, Lisa had to take charge. But the moment she began to walk toward them, Dora turned away from Jack and grinned. "I'm sure you want to get started on our talk." With a wave she indicated they should sit at a table in the dining nook of her main room.
Finally. Lisa removed a thick file from her leather portfolio.
"But first, I'm sure you both must be hungry and thirsty after your drive out here from San Francisco. It won't take a moment for me to bring out a snack." Dora, accompanied by her cat, moved slowly toward the source of the odor, evidently her kitchen.
"I don't want to eat anything here," Lisa hissed to Jack as soon as Dora disappeared. But Lisa's traitorous stomach growled loudly enough for him to hear across the table.
"Accepting hospitality and refreshments is a traditional way of doing business," he pointed out. "This might take a while, and you're evidently hungry."
"I can wait. I thought we'd go out for a celebration dinner tonight. Got reservations at Le Bistro."
"Le Bistro? What's the point?" He started reviewing his papers and scrawled something on a page.
Lisa's face burned. Le Bistro embodied romance for them. Le Bistro was where they celebrated each anniversary, each triumph and each personal milestone. Inevitably, dinner at Le Bistro led to a night of scorching sex. Sometimes they didn't even wait for dessert. If Jack couldn't see the point of their going there tonight....
Just then Dora bustled back carrying a laden tray. When she put it down on the mahogany table, Lisa spied a bowl filled with plump red strawberries, a platter bearing slices of pound cake, another bowl with whipped cream, a teapot, a coffee pot, a creamer and a sugar bowl. The aromas of the food and drink partially masked the odor she'd noticed previously. Lisa's appetite perked up. Maybe enjoying a snack with Dora and Jack wasn't such a bad idea after all. She found everything scrumptious.
"I know Ryan Enterprise's offer for Déjà Brew is quite generous as far as the money goes." Dora's opening gambit caught Lisa off guard.
Mouth currently occupied, Lisa nodded vigorously. When she'd swallowed, she pointed out, "The offer exceeds standards."
Dora smiled. "Yes, I understand all that. But I have reservations about the kind of distribution you've outlined, the kind your business requires to make Déjà Brew profitable."
Lisa tried in vain to catch Jack's eye. "Let me assure you, our distributors are the best in the business. We'll make sure Déjà Brew has the widest possible distribution, accomplished with complete efficiency."
Jack snorted. "That doesn't answer your concerns, does it?"
Lisa swallowed back dismay. His comment showed Dora the two of them were not on the same page. In the past, they'd always agreed to act unified with others, even when they might disagree in private. But lately, though she and Jack had been together for seven years, she was beginning to feel like she didn't know him at all. However, a business meeting was not the right time to deal with personal matters. Later, though, they'd talk. "We can easily supply more details about our distribution process and all aspects of our marketing plans. But, Dora, I didn't think that sort of detail interested you."
Dora inclined her head. "It wouldn't if I agreed with you all on the big picture. But actually, my concern is widespread distribution. You see, Déjà Brew is so powerful, I'm concerned about it being misused. Some people just shouldn't be taking my potion."
This was familiar ground. Lisa knew creative types often had difficulty letting go of their babies. She and Jack had to find the right way to reassure Dora. "As a responsible business, we at Ryan Enterprises, Ltd. agree. Let me assure you on this count, Dora. Our packaging, promotion, and marketing will focus on the appropriate and proper use of the product."
"What exactly do you see as a possible misuse?" Jack asked. Lisa glared at him. They'd already heard Dora's objections, numerous times. How many times would they have to reassure her?
"People who drink Déjà Brew can visit a time in their past," Dora started.
Duh. Of course.
"That's what makes your product unique," Jack said.
"It took me ten years to come up with the right combination of ingredients." Dora continued to rehash ancient history. For Pete's sake, they'd heard all this before. Lisa suspected Dora wanted to hear more praise for her creation, but Lisa wasn't in the mood. She hadn't anticipated that she and Jack would be stuck here for hours.
"I'm glad you didn't give up before you found the perfect recipe. There must have been some really difficult times." Jack's voice rang with sincerity.
Dora chuckled, a dry sound like autumn leaves crunching underfoot. "You have no idea, Jack. At times, I feared I would turn from Jekyll into Hyde. One potion had me howling at the full moon for two solid nights. When I came up with the right combination for my memory drink, Beauregard and I celebrated 'til dawn." The cat yowled in agreement.
Lisa finished her coffee and cake. "All of Ryan Enterprises, Ltd. will celebrate adding your wonderful product to our line-up. We'll even buy Beauregard imported catnip." The darn cat arched its back and hissed at her.
Dora's thin lips twisted in a scowl.
"Tell us how you visualize the distribution, Dora," Jack focused completely on the older woman.
She nodded. "Visiting the past can be earth-shaking. Funny how our memories distort the past, even about events we swear we'll never forget. Jack, Lisa, I'm afraid people might drink Déjà Brew without proper preparation or support. Or worse, what if someone sneaks Déjà Brew into another person's drink or food?"
Lisa shrugged. "We intend to tell our customers all the proper precautions, very explicitly. People should not drink Déjà Brew alone. They need to have time to experience their sojourns in the past, and they need to be with responsible companions. There are no guarantees which memories will come up. No one should be given Déjà Brew without their full knowledge. Case closed. Let's go over our paperwork now."
"Not so fast. You see, Lisa, you're oversimplifying." Dora thought for a moment and the cat sidled over to rub against her leg. "Has either of you sampled the Déjà Brew yet?"
Lisa looked at Jack, who shook his head. "We haven't," she said. "Actually, it's not necessary. We've read all the documentation, the analyses. The data more than bears out your description of the product."
Jack bit his lip. "I think Dora is saying we need to experience Déjà Brew before we'll know how to handle it. It's a great idea, something we should have done long ago. I'll go first."
"Now?" Dora and Lisa asked at the same time.
Lisa was ready to scream. "Not now. Jack, maybe you forgot, but we do have other commitments today. We need to wrap up our paperwork here."
Jack leaned back in his chair and stretched his long legs before him. "Nothing else on our schedule is as important as doing right by Déjà Brew. Surely we can clear the time to handle this product correctly?"
Surely, Lisa repeated to herself with just a trace of sarcasm. Why even think about her other appointments or that dinner reservation? "I'm not going to drink it." Not that Lisa was lacking in curiosity. But the notion of losing control, especially at a business meeting, didn't fit at all with the image she chose to project.
Dora bustled to the kitchen, evidently where she stored the Déjà Brew.
While Jack prepared himself to experience the product they'd been pursuing for weeks, he glanced over at his partner, who was perusing notes and frowning. God, she was still so beautiful, more beautiful than when they'd first fallen in love. With her shiny dark hair that swung like a silken curtain whenever she moved her head, her big green eyes, sculpted features and her full, kissable mouth, she personified his fantasy of a goddess. Despite her reliance on power suits to tame her curves, Lisa radiated feminine voluptuousness. As always, his cock registered her presence, and, even after they'd been together seven years, the moment he saw her, he wanted her.
If only that could be enough.
If only he could convince her she had nothing more to prove to him or his family about her business prowess. When she'd signed with them, she'd fervently sworn to increase their profits and grow the business in new directions. Over the past seven years, she'd more than fulfilled her promise. He'd told her, with increasing urgency, that she could ease back. With a solid track record of successful business, he hoped they could shift their focus more to their personal life. But she'd become more and more obsessed, taking work home and often spending half the night in front of her laptop while Jack prowled their bedroom floor.
He didn't want to give up on them, but if he couldn't figure out a way to convince Lisa to ease up on the workaholism soon, he'd be moving out.
Dora returned with a tray bearing a creamy white mug. "Here's your Déjà Brew." She handed him the cup. The dark brown liquid inside resembled strong tea and smelled like fermented trash. His inner businessman registered that they'd need to do something about the unappealing aroma. But he was committed.
"Is there anything we should know before Jack drinks the Déjà Brew?" Lisa asked.
It felt good to know she was worried, though he suspected her frown came more from business concerns than their personal situation.
"Jack will be returning to a time in his past, one that has a strong connection with the present," Dora said. "This may distress him, it may make him happy, or it could have any of an infinite number of effects on him. He might have a strong physical or even sexual reaction. It says all that in the data."
Lisa blushed, which set Jack's cock to twitching. Dedicated to keeping her emotions under tight control, she rarely blushed these days, not like when they'd first gotten together. He loved how the spots of red brightened her face, making her eyes gleam. "I've read that. What I meant was, should Jack continue to sit? Should he lie down after he drinks the Déjà Brew?"
Dora shrugged. "He'll assume a position that's comfortable. Don't worry. He won't be in any distress from the drink. The only potential problems will come about when he reacts to the memories he relives."
The older woman looked at both of them as if to ask if they had any other questions. They didn't. Jack wanted to get moving.
Dora squeezed his hand and inclined her head encouragingly. "With this drink I give to thee," she recited, "revisit your life and blessed be."
Despite himself, Jack shivered and he could feel his fine hairs stand on end. Dora's words resonated around him as if they'd taken on a life of their own.
Lisa looked like she wanted to tell him to stop. He took the mug in both hands and, despite a vision of spouting claws and hairy palms, brought it to his lips.
"Jackson..." Lisa started. She never called him by his full name. Determined to blot out whatever she was about to say, he tipped the cup and allowed the liquid to fill his mouth. Surprisingly, despite the smell, he tasted a delicious nectar of blackberries and elderflower with some ingredient he couldn't identify. He greedily sucked down the contents of the mug and wanted to ask for more, but his mouth felt too relaxed to form the words. The cup slipped from his hands as he began to soar high in the blue cloudless sky.
He could have soared all day, savoring the sunshine, but suddenly he saw Lisa, waiting for him in a carrel of the computer lab. At that hour of the afternoon, the place normally hummed with activity. But it was the first day of spring, and everyone else seemed to have deserted the lab to enjoy the fresh air. Everyone except Lisa Lavery. Realizing he was late for their study date, he rushed to her side.
Even though the overwhelming majority of students at Stevens U. in San Francisco, where they were both studying for business degrees, wore jeans and T-shirts, Lisa insisted on a wardrobe suitable for her future career. Today, she wore a black pencil skirt, a pale blue button-down shirt and a beige linen jacket, definitely less formal than her usual outfits. Jack had convinced her to go on a picnic in Golden Gate Park after they completed their work.
"Where have you been?"
Jack wanted to grab her and soothe the furrows from her brow and kiss her sweet pouting lips. Hell, he wanted to do much more than that. His cock, almost permanently in hard-on mode since they'd met at the beginning of the semester, threatened to burst through his jeans. He shifted, which did little to ease his discomfort. He'd hoped the Solstice would inspire her to expand their relationship beyond working together and the few kisses they'd shared.
"I picked up the champagne for our picnic. You know, to celebrate the first day of spring."
She raised an eyebrow. "Champagne? All those bubbles go to my head."
That sounded exactly right. "The bubbles await you. The park is gorgeous today."
"I'll go with you if we get through this assignment before the park closes. But Jack, I have to tell you, the more I work, the more confused I feel."
He inwardly groaned. If the problem was stymieing Lisa, he expected they'd be working late. Hoping that two heads, three if you counted his dick, would help, he pulled a chair close to where she sat in front of the monitor. Her scent, musk and roses, went straight to his groin. "I have my laptop in the car. We could go work somewhere more comfortable."
She shook her head. "I'm sure even you don't have all the software these computers have. Once we figure out the problem, it'll be a cinch to write it up here."
"I have amazing software," he murmured, though, at the moment, his hardware was even more impressive.
Bowing to the inevitable, he listened as she summarized what she'd done so far. The problem was a variation of the classic 'Selling Ice Cubes to Alaskans'. How would they market bottled water in a community where the tap water was spa quality?
"You have to convince the consumers they're buying something besides water when they purchase your product," Jack pointed out.
Lisa rolled her eyes. "Duh. I know that. But how do you mount a convincing campaign given severely limited marketing funds?"
He wanted to mount her and forget the assignment, forget everything but the pleasure of being with her. "Let me see what you've come up with so far." The best way for Jack to view the monitor was straight on, which involved standing behind Lisa and leaning over her shoulder.
Mistake. The full impact of her sensuousness nearly knocked him off his feet. He'd resisted before, but a man had his limits. "I've been trying the 'fancy water as sex appeal' approach'," Lisa started, pointing to the screen.
"Water can be amazingly sexy," he agreed. He nuzzled her long white neck and inhaled her.
"Jack." She managed to make three syllables from his name as she swiveled her chair so they were mouth to mouth.
Ravenous, he pressed his lips against her soft, moist mouth. She tasted like the first berries of spring. Visions of green meadows dappled with sunshine, the two of them hand in hand, danced before his eyes.
As he deepened their kiss, he sank to his knees. In moments, she yielded to his demands for more, providing desired access to her lovely mouth and swaying forward to accept his tongue's probing. Despite an initial frisson of resistance, she opened to him like a flower.
"Let's get out of here," he growled.
"Not until we get this done." A blush lit up her face, and she licked her lips. He wanted to nip at her little pink tongue. Instead, he stood her up, sat down, and pulled her down over his raging erection. He nearly groaned at the initial contact.
"Come on. Sometimes a break is what's needed to get the creative juices flowing." He'd wanted their first time together to be classy, special. But now, the urgency of his need impelled him to reconsider his high-falutin' plans.
She wiggled back against him. "Down, boy. I have a feeling my creative juices are not your primary consideration right now."
He loved it when Lisa flirted. Heck, the "L" word was popping into his mind a lot in association with Lisa Lavery. Though he'd managed to refrain from even thinking about 'love' previously, with Lisa he found the word cropped up often. "What do you think is?"
"Why, Jack Ryan, it's clear. You want to celebrate the start of spring by getting into my pants."
Her blunt pronouncement caused his dick to throb, especially because she sounded perfectly amenable.
He swallowed hard. "Can't think of a better way to greet the season." His voice sounded hoarse.
"Hmm. Interesting sales pitch. Tell you what. I want to make some progress on this assignment before we break into the champagne. But let's combine our efforts and see what we come up with?"
"What do you have in mind?" He stood now, and she quite clearly eyed his bulge, once again licking her lips.
"I don't know if I can credit my mind for much right now." She came as close to giggling as he'd ever heard. She pulled away from him and stood up. Though he didn't like the separation, he was gratified to see that, for once, she'd dispensed with panty hose. Her skirt hit mid-thigh on her long, bare legs. She tossed her jacket aside, and he caught it as he stood up.
"You have a beautiful mind." Along with her beautiful body, which was just about killing him.
"Well, my beautiful mind needs to finish more work on this project before we can play. But I have an idea. Sit back down here in the chair."
Fascinated, he laid her jacket aside and did as she instructed, sitting in the chair with his legs splayed wide to accommodate his growing erection. With a sexy waggle, she worked her way into his lap so that her firm, round ass nestled against his aching cock. He bit his lip to keep from groaning.
"Hmm, this seat's become much more comfortable," she said.
Comfortable wasn't the first word that came to his mind. He planted his hands on Lisa's thighs and drew her closer, harder against him. The powerful muscles of her thighs rippled at his touch. To his intense delight, she opened her legs, raising her skirt over her hips. To his intense delight, she'd also dispensed with panties. He nearly came at the realization.
His cock wedged into the crease between her cheeks, he couldn't refrain from thrusting his hips forward. The sweet pressure of the contact aroused him further and sent shivers up and down his spine. He wanted to plunge his dick deep into her, and he wanted to feel her warmth and wetness surround him.
He groaned, and she wriggled even closer.
With one hand, he massaged the flesh of her thigh while the other held her tight against him. He nuzzled the delicious skin at the back of her neck, inhaling her. He worked his hand to her inner thigh and then, was drawn inexorably, to her hot, wet feminine core.
"Oh, my," she moaned, moving her hips to press her slick folds against his fingers. "That feels incredible."
Jack, nearly overwhelmed with sensation and lust, grunted. Though in the back of his mind he still retained a hazy notion of a blanket spread on a grassy meadow, sunlight, champagne and chocolate, he quickly surrendered to the reality of being with Lisa here, now.
She steered his hand to her engorged clit and moaned when he touched her. Every sound she uttered, every movement she made, turned him on even more.
"Will you look at that? The computer screen went blank. I'll just move the mouse." She leaned forward, jamming her ass against his prick and engulfing his hand with her pussy. Jack gritted his teeth not to come as she slid the plastic over the pad.
"Lisa. Tell me what you want, baby." He played with her labia and clit with one hand and inserted his index finger into her intimate opening.
"You're doing just fine, Jack."
Though he wished he could stay forever with his cock pressed against her butt crease, he also wanted to get inside her, quickly. He had to get deep inside her before he came.
Lisa made sexy, throaty noises as she rode his fingers.
She caressed his legs, still encased in denim, with her talented hands as her ass pumped back and forth. Even the sound of the chair wheels on the floor turned him on.
"I want to touch your cock," Lisa whispered.
Jack groaned. He didn't want to move, but he wanted her hands on him. She bent away from him and massaged his glans through the jeans. The friction of the denim on his delicate skin took his breath away. His cock throbbed violently, and he barely managed to hold back from his climax.
She rubbed him there. "You feel amazing, but I want to touch skin."
They were agreed on that. She raised her ass so he could lower his zipper. He couldn't get his jeans unsnapped and unzipped fast enough. He stood because that seemed the fastest way to lower them and, right now, speed mattered.
When his jeans were down around his shins, she knelt in front of him and took his prick in hand. Just the light touch of her fingertips on his swollen cock nearly made him jump out of his skin. She hefted his balls and rubbed him the right way. A flick of her tongue over the glans and around the shaft set him to howling despite the absence of the moon. He dug his hands into her hair and held him to her.
"I want to taste you before I come into you," he whispered.
She sat at the edge of the chair and invited him between her legs. Though he wanted to enjoy the view, that would have to wait for another time. He buried his face in her muskiness and eagerly tongued her pink folds.
Oh, yeah, she liked it. Holding his head to her, she rode his lips and tongue as he feasted. Her sweet core tasted like the sexy scent he inhaled deeply. "Jack, there. Right there." She punctuated her words with quickening thrusts. "Just like that. Just like that." She moaned and tightened her legs around him. "Baby, I'm coming. Right nowwwwwww." She did.
Her orgasm was like Christmas and birthdays all at once. He felt so proud, he wanted to have a lapel button made: Lisa Came Fast the First Time I Went Down on Her. But his own cock asserted demands that required more immediate attention.
He kept kissing her there through her whole climax. She quivered, and tremors continued to shake her. Geez, he'd hoped she'd be orgasmic. Something else to love about her.
When she'd calmed, he rose and lifted her from the chair for a big, deep kiss. With her arms and legs around him, Lisa melted into the kiss. The two of them entwined, Jack rotated and put his bottom into the chair. Legs splayed, erection jutting forward, he lowered Lisa onto himself without ever breaking their kiss. Her legs slid over his as the two of them locked intimately together.
His cock slid right into her. If he hadn't been occupied kissing her at that moment, he'd have cried his pleasure out to the skies.
Lisa came up for air first. "Jack." She murmured his name, fluttering her lashes. He was gratified to see her cheeks flame bright red, a suitable color for the heat she radiated. He'd plunged deep inside her. Nothing he'd previously experienced could prepare him for the intimate pleasure of being inside her. He remembered hearing about tantric sex, which would make it possible for him to stay in her for a long time, maybe hours. He wished he knew the secret of how to do that because he expected this first time would be a short ride. Hell, he'd already lasted far longer than he would've imagined possible.
Lisa's large breasts pressed into him, and he fleetingly regretted that they hadn't gotten naked. He wanted to see those breasts, suckle them, but he couldn't bear for her to move away. So he savored the feel of the breasts, even through Lisa's bra and shirt. Her nipples pebbled so hard, he could feel them distinctly even under the layers of clothing. How fantastic it would be to tongue those nipples, play with them, make them even harder. And to touch the soft white flesh of her breasts.
His cock grew tauter at the prospect. So much delight lay before them. So many new aspects of Lisa to make his.
She thrust her hips, slowly at first. He'd have to look into tantric sex. But right now, he had to meet Lisa's eager thrusts with his own. They fell into an erotic rhythm, and, with each move, they raised the ante.
Jack held onto the cheeks of Lisa's ass, steering her on her wild ride. His wonderful, articulate Lisa was reduced to making noises and calling his name as she dug her beautifully manicured nails into his back.
When she called out her come, Jack lost it. With a rush, his orgasm exploded. He pumped deep into her, thrusting again and again and again.
They clung together in hot, wet relief. Jack suspected the weave of the chair would be permanently imprinted on the backs of his thighs and his ass. Hell, that would be better than any tattoo.
It was only when they'd subsided and begun to regroup that they heard the applause.
Aw, shit, Jack thought. Lisa's sexy flight had been totally uncharacteristic. Realizing they'd had an audience might put her off ever playing again.
"Who?" she started. She got off the chair and quickly readjusted her clothing. Jack had to scramble to pull up his jeans. If somebody gave them a hard time, he'd deal with it.
"Hey, that's the most education I've ever gotten in computer lab." The guy standing several yards away from them didn't appear threatening. He wasn't smirking or acting like a wise guy. He wasn't making any effort, either, to hide the fact that he'd gotten an eyeful.
"A gentleman would have quietly walked away." He tried to look appropriately macho as he sized up the other guy.
He held up his hands. "I'm a poor, starving student, not a gentleman." He held out his hand. "Ricky Aguirre, the only other guy in the lab today."
"Aguirre, I'm Jack Ryan." He wasn't about to introduce Lisa, but she surprised him.
"Lisa Lavery." She looked composed, totally together. His admiration rose another notch.
Everyone shook hands. Then Aguirre excused himself, once again leaving Jack and Lisa alone.
Jack figured they were done in the lab. After mind-blowing sex, Lisa would surely forget work and leave with him for fun and games.
He was wrong. But maybe there had been a method to Lisa's madness. Perhaps it was post-coital inspiration that helped them quickly solve the academic problem.
After that, they celebrated the Solstice in the best possible way.
Jack wanted to stay with his memory, but the potion wore off. Far too soon, he found himself sitting at the mahogany table with Lisa and Dora. Both women looked at him with worried expressions.
"You were gone for a long time," Lisa pointed out. "But it must have been good, because you smiled a lot."
Oh, yeah. If only he could tell her, describe again for her how it felt to relive the first time they'd made love. But he couldn't find the words. He also didn't know how to tell her how experiencing the past made him feel about the present. When they'd first fell in love, who could have foreseen how love would erode?
Dora was staring at him. "How do you feel, Jack?"
He searched for the words. "Your Déjà Brew is a wonder. I've never experienced anything like it."
She didn't appear surprised. "But I want to know if you're upset, physically or emotionally. Did the Brew take you back to a memory you would've preferred not to revisit?"
"That's a complex question. If I had to give a simple answer, I'd say 'no'. The memory I relived was a great one."
"You sound hesitant." Dora's gaze probed him.
"It wasn't the past that I'm unsure about, but the impact of the memory on the present."
Dora nodded. "That's one of the reasons I'm hesitant about mass marketing the product. Drinking it can have complex results."
Lisa shook her head. "I think you two are overcomplicating what should be straightforward."
Jack couldn't wait to hear where the Déjà Brew would take her. "Maybe. It's your turn to drink."
Though Lisa looked less than happy, she took the mug Dora had brought in and drank.