“Professor Davis, is it time to play?” Charese stepped from the closet, tossed her shimmering blond hair, and unbuttoned her white silk blouse.
Joel Davis lifted the retinal projector onto his forehead just in time to see Charese’s bra drop to the floor. As she approached, she peeled away her tiny, black leather skirt to reveal scanty, lace panties.
“Not tonight, Charese. Maybe tomorrow night.”
“Yes, sir.” Charese pouted her lower lip then scooped up her bra and skirt as she stepped back into the closet.
Joel’s eyes followed his dolly playmate wistfully. He loved being addressed as Professor Davis and sir. Maybe one day, when he got a job. Right now the idea of playing with Charese seemed like a lot more fun than keeping his appointment with Ilyena. Meeting in person was his idea—to take their relationship to the next level. Now he felt nervous.
He gestured to Ilyena’s animated image on the wall. She waved back, dipping a bare shoulder and tossing him a kiss. Her stunning dark beauty stirred him as much as Charese’s pale rosy glow. But unlike Charese, Ilyena was a real person.
They’d known one another online for two years as teammates and bedmates. They shared the same passions: for music, protesting climate change, and raising money to save the starving children of Sofaragway. After making virtual love the first time, they’d stayed awake all night sharing their dreams, like getting jobs as online gamers or becoming social justice warriors. Liberating FDs (freedom deprived, no one calls them criminals anymore) was their favorite cause, along with insisting the government provide … well, everything, whatever anyone wanted. True freedom meant everything was free, right? Wasn’t that in our Constitution? And anyone being told they were special or getting a special reward just made everyone else feel bad and less equal.
Joel and Ilyena made virtual love every time they met online, and he was sure they would for real, in person—almost sure. Thinking about it twisted a knot in his stomach. He didn’t look exactly like his avatar, a few inches shorter, more heavy in the middle than top-heavy, kinda jowly. He suspected the real Ilyena might look a little different, too, and maybe wasn’t as good with a bow or long sword as she was in the games.
Joel inhaled quickly to catch his breath. He scratched the top of his forehead then pulled the retinal projector down over his eyes. He blinked to scroll the selection then winked up Dark Warrior Ilyena. Her image came up quickly. Long raven hair framed her wide, shining eyes and flowed down one shoulder to curl below her low-cut, red leather bodice.“Hi there, my beautiful princess.” His athletic persona struck a bicep pose as it ran fingers through its long blond hair and squared its chin. Joel hoped his nervousness didn’t show.
“My Lord Jacquard, hi yourself,” Ilyena said then dropped her gaze. “You know I’m not feeling—”
“Me neither,” Joel said quickly. “Maybe it would be better—”
“Better to meet another time?”
“Yes. When we’re both feeling well,” Joel said, hiding his relief. “Why don’t you get some rest now. We can play tomorrow.”
“That would be wonderful.” Ilyena’s full-lipped smile returned with her upward glance. Joel felt a stir all the way down. “See you tomorrow, my lord. We have dragons to slay.” She nodded, and he winked to disconnect.
Joel lifted the projector and looked toward the closet. “Charese,” he called. “If you expect a good grade on your philosophy exam, you’ll come to your professor now.”