The Gemini Incentive
Welcome, readers! I am excited to be participating in the 2016 SFRB Holiday Showcase, and I have something special just for you. In honor of this showcase I have written a special holiday-themed short story especially for this showcase.
Lyla Farrow received a remarkable Christmas gift: a chance to visit her past life. The process is extremely vivid for Geminis, and Lyla soon finds herself immersed in the life of the woman she once was.
From The Gemini Incentive
The night had passed too quickly for Lyla. She had never had so much fun as she did with Ash. He was lighthearted and funny, and he was devilishly charming. It was also very apparent that he adored Nicky. After they decorated the tall fir tree in their bungalow, he’d made a delightful dinner and they ate by candlelight on the deck under the moon.
“That was excellent,” Lyla told him as she put her fork on her empty plate. She had never tasted spices and flavors like these from the past. Food in her time was usually bland and heavily fortified with vitamins.
“Thank you.” Ash poured her another glass of wine. That, at least, wasn’t so different from the wine she knew. “You’ve been quiet.”
“Just tired,” she lied.
“We can leave the mess til the morning,” he said as he stood. “We can go to bed early.” He smiled at her and Lyla’s heart fluttered. The man was sinfully sexy, and she began to feel a bit guilty. This was Nicky’s body, Nicky’s time, and Nicky’s man. It didn’t feel right to be here, experiencing her happiness. Still, when Ash held out his hand to her, she took it.
He led her to the bedroom and he began to shuck off his shorts, leaving him bare. She gaped, stunned by the perfection of his body.
“You act like you’ve never seen the bod before,” he teased as he pulled back the covers. “I sleep in the nude, babe. Always have.”
“I need to use the restroom.” She hurried to the bathroom and closed the door with a huge sigh. Lyla was here to experience her own past life, but she didn’t feel as if this was her life. If she slept with Ash, it would be the same as lying to him. She wasn’t Nicky, as much as she was beginning to wish she was. Reminding herself that this was a computer hologram did nothing to make her feel better.
Lyla looked in the mirror. Nicky was petite with pixie features and big blue eyes. She was curvy and well-toned with sun-kissed skin. People in 2000 hadn’t begun to shy from the sun and its dangerous rays. Lyla stared hard at the woman in the mirror. This wasn’t her, and Ash belonged to Nicky.
“Nic?” Ash knocked on the door. “Everything kosher?”
Lyla didn’t understand ‘kosher’ but she got the gist. “Fine.”
“Uh, you’ve been in there a while.”
“Yeah, I’m good!” Lyla shook Nicky’s head in the mirror. No, she wasn’t good. How was she going to get out of this? “I’m not really feeling well,” she called out finally. It was the only way she could imagine getting through the night without having sex with Ash. That would be a bit too realistic for her.
She opened the door and found him in the bed, a frown on his face. “Can I do anything?”
The man was too sweet. “I think I just need to sleep it off.”
He pulled back the blankets and waved her in. She cuddled next to him and he wrapped her in his arms. As Lyla breathed in his aftershave, she felt even guiltier. He kissed her forehead and rubbed her stomach.
“Sleep well, babe.”
“Sleep well,” she muttered as she closed her eyes. She had never felt so content and yet so disgusted with herself as she slid into sleep.
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