Getting By
Chapter 6

Copyright© 2010 by Shakes Peer2B

"Please, don't say anything," Amanda told me, placing a wet hand over my lips. "There's something you need to know, first."

I nodded, surprised not so much by her presence, as by the shy, almost timid manner in which she spoke.

"I - I've been talking with your people, and I know that you expect women to be doing their damnedest to get pregnant about now. I understand that, and have even passed it on to the people who came with me. I imagine most of them are somewhere out there screwing like bunnies."

My mouth opened, but her hand stopped me again.

"My problem is that, well, I guess I need to do my part, too, but, well, you see, um, all of my lovers have been other women..."

I had guessed we might run up against that little issue eventually, but hoped it wouldn't show up so soon. I sure as hell didn't have any solutions ready, but Amanda apparently wasn't expecting me to.

"I thought about all the guys that are available, trying to decide who might be the best to 'break me in' so to speak. Colby is loyal, but pretty rigid in some of his attitudes, and frankly, no matter what orientation, I wouldn't want him thinking of me as 'his woman.' Gunther seems like a nice guy, but with the language barrier, I'm not even sure I could get him to understand. Ramon - he's good at what he does, and smart, but a Marine? Please! Jamaal, Smiley? I don't..."

It was my turn to put a hand over her mouth.

"Just tell me how you think it will work best for you, Amanda. I think it's admirable that you're willing to do this without being coerced or browbeaten into it, and I will try my best to make it as pleasant as possible for you."

"Oral sex, first, I think," she said, as if she had it already planned out. "Then, maybe from behind ... I mean, I'm not a virgin. Some of my partners have used toys on me and if I can imagine that..."

"Sure," I smiled, "and I should probably get a nice close shave first. I don't know if I can fool your body, but I'll try, okay?"

We used the rest of the shower to familiarize ourselves with each other's bodies and touch, and while Amanda didn't shy away from me, I could tell that my hands were not doing anything for her. I dried her off and she reciprocated, shyly touching my privates as she worked on my legs.

In the bedroom, I found a silk scarf and tied it around her eyes.

"Maybe this will help with your imagination..." I said, helping her to lie back on the bed.

Trying to keep my touches to a minimum and as gentle as possible, I knelt above her recumbent body and tried my best not to be too masculine in my lovemaking. To my disappointment, and her frustration, every time she would begin to get a little aroused, something would remind her that her lover was a man, and we'd be back to square one.

Finally, in frustration, Amanda tore the scarf from her eyes.

"I'm sorry, Gavin," she sighed. "It's just not working. I really want to do this, and I still think you're the guy to do it if anyone does, but I guess tonight's not the night."

I slumped tiredly beside her, and said, "Well, you tried, and like you said, it's not working. I suppose you should just go back to your room and we'll pretend it never happened."

"I forgot to tell you," Amanda said, crawling under the covers, still naked, and holding them open in invitation. "I told Ruth she might as well use that room. Come on, I won't bite."

I slipped into bed with her, also naked. I was a little surprised when her small body cupped itself against my back.

"Don't get any ideas," she warned. "I'm not trying to start anything, but a warm body is always a better sleeping companion than a pillow, so if you don't mind sharing a little of your warmth..."

"Not at all," I replied, tucking one of the pillows under my head.

I awoke in the morning to a sharp slap on my naked butt as sunlight streamed through the bedroom window.

"Up and at 'em, fearless leader!" Amanda called cheerfully, throwing the covers the rest of the way off of me. "You've got a new civilization to build, so you'd better get to it!"

"Yeah, yeah," I grumbled good-naturedly, "Jeez, the things I do for humanity!"

Amanda was dressed in Marine Corps desert fatigues and combat boots, and she tossed a stack of camouflage in my direction.

"We picked up a bunch of these at the Marine base," she said, "They look like they'll stand up to almost anything the desert can throw at us, so I asked Colby to bring a set in your size from the truck. It isn't tailored, but it should fit."

Amanda stayed around as I dressed. I wasn't sure what, if anything needed to be said about last night, but I didn't want her to think I was avoiding her either, so I started talking about plans for the day. Before I got very far, Amanda stood on tiptoe, grabbed me by the ears, and gave me a sweet, almost childlike kiss on the cheek

"Thanks for your understanding last night, boss," she said. "Still partners?"

"Still partners." I grinned, "But don't think it's going to get you out of teaching us hand-to-hand combat."

"Damn!" Amanda grinned, snapping her fingers in mock disgust. "Can't even get a break sleeping with the boss!"

Someone had made coffee, and Cora was sitting at the kitchen table making notes in a small notebook. She looked up as we came in and made another note. Looking up again, she noticed me glancing at her note-taking and shrugged, half-apologetically.

"I didn't want to make a big issue of it, but it seemed that someone should begin keeping genealogical records if we're to avoid inbreeding. At the moment, I'm simply recording couplings to help determine fatherhood when the babies are born. I think it would be wise if each woman were to stay with the same lover or at least not take another until her pregnancy is confirmed or she turns out not to be pregnant. That way, there will be no question about the father."

"That's a good idea, Cora," I told her, drawing a cup of coffee for Amanda, then for myself. "I should have thought of that. It will have to become one of our 'laws.'"

"'Laws?'" they both asked, taken a little aback.

"Any society needs rules by which to live. Some, many, in fact, are simply statements of common sense. Others are designed to provide a basis for decision-making when common sense is insufficient, or there is likely to be disagreement about how to proceed. I will take input from others about what should be in those laws, but ultimately it will be up to me to decide which are implemented and which aren't - and to enforce them."

I don't know what they had expected, but for some reason the women were a bit subdued after that.

"As for staying with the same lover," I mused, "without trying to sound callous, what about Ruth?"

"As long as she stays with Jamaal, which she seems inclined to do," Cora answered, "it shouldn't be too hard to determine whether he or one of the rapists is the father. You didn't say, but I got the impression that they were all Caucasians."

"They were."

"Well if her baby is from one of them, then inbreeding on the father's side should never be a problem."

"That's true, I suppose. How is she holding up?"

"She's a stronger person than you might expect. She grew up with money, and never really had to test her character, but somewhere, she's finding reserves of strength that you might not expect from her."

"I'll have to take your word for that, Cora," I said into my cup as I lifted it to drink the last of the coffee, "but please keep an eye on her. I don't know what we can do, and we certainly don't have the resources to handle psychological trauma, but if there is anything that needs doing that we can do, I'd like to know about it before it becomes a bigger problem."

"I think just keeping her busy is the best thing for now. Jamaal has been very solicitous and understanding, so I think she's about as well cared for as she can be."

"Well, there's no problem about keeping her or anyone else busy. We've got work for an army, just to get this place ready to support us for the winter. You and Amanda should probably both just move into the master bedroom with me. That'll let the other guys know you're off limits for now. We also need to find a way to get everybody inside. Winters can be pretty harsh in the desert. It's not likely to get much below freezing, but the wind can be pretty ferocious."

"I think I may have a solution for that last little problem," Garcia said, coming in through the kitchen door and heading for the coffee pot. "There's an abandoned mine shaft a little way up the valley on the south side. Until we can get better shelter built, I'd say have people pitch their tents in there. A few yards in from the entrance, the wind shouldn't be bad at all."

"Might be a good place for storage, too, if it's pretty dry," I said as I rinsed my cup.

Someone had made bacon and eggs but they were cold. I was going to pass but realized we were all going to need all the energy we could get, so I took advantage of the fact that we still had electricity and zapped a plate in the microwave. I was going to miss that when the power finally went out...

"By the way, boss," Ramon said, "that German guy with Amanda's group, he's been asking to see you."

"Okay, I'll get to him as soon as we figure out our priorities and get work parties and watches scheduled. I'm going to leave the watches and training schedule to you. Get with Amanda and see if you guys can come up with a short course in hand-to-hand that she can teach while you deal with weapons. Crystal might actually be able to help with marksmanship, but whoever teaches what, they answer to you. The idea is to get as many people capable of defending this place as we can, as quickly as possible - then make them better, okay? We haven't got time to make Marines out of everybody right now, so you'll have to make the best compromises you can."

"Gotcha. How much of a workday you going to need out of 'em?"

"Eight hours. I know that's going to be a strain for some, but everybody's got to pitch in, and everybody stands watch, including Crystal. For now, we'll want our most reliable people at the critical stations, and you and I and Amanda will have to make rounds to keep them alert, in addition to standing our own watches. Normal working hours are eight to four."

I suddenly became aware that both Cora and Amanda had been trying to get my attention while I talked with Ramon. I turned to find expressions of indignation on both of their faces.

"You expect us to just move in with you, just like that?" Amanda burst out.

"And be your concubines?" Cora continued indignantly.

For a moment I was at a loss, then my mind went back in time a couple of minutes and I realized what they were talking about.

With a red face I told them, "No, no, no, no, no! It was simply a proposal to solve both the space, the 'one father, ' and," I glanced at Amanda meaningfully, "other problems! I'm sorry, I've just got so much on my mind that I didn't give that as much attention as it deserved. Consider it an invitation, please, nothing more. I just thought ... Look, I'm sorry if it sounded like I was issuing an edict or something. It's true that I may have to do that on some things, but not personal relationships."

"That's better," Amanda grinned. "For a minute there we thought you were starting a harem."

"Please, forgive me. If you so desire, Cora, Amanda, you are welcome to share my space for as long as it's convenient for you."

"We'll get back to you on that." Cora still seemed a little miffed, even if Amanda was willing to let it slide.

We had a million things to accomplish and not enough people to make it happen. As I was head down with Ramon, Amanda, and Cora, as our medical specialist, John Hipa appeared with Wanda Somers on his arm. I noticed Cora jotting something in her notebook.

"Say, I don't know if you noticed," John said as he poured coffee for the two of them, "but there's a computer in the study down the hall and it seems that at least some of the internet is still up and operational."

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