The bath was almost warm compared to the rooms chilly temperature. The candlelight flickered softly over the tub's Lilliputian lake. Having turned away discreetly as Jodi slipped from her night shirt, Brandy now spread soap over the potter's back and shoulderswondering what anomaly might lurk sight unseen.
"Wonderful So, tell me about your none-too-talkative friend. Why, for instance, have you two not become lovers."
"How did you know?"
"Oh, just a feeling. I get feelings about people sometimesespecially about the ones with lots going on. You know, underneath the surface? Hes like that. You both are, really, only in different ways."
"What else do you feel about Mister Hitchhiker?"
"Are you sure you want to know?"
"Why wouldnt I?"
"I think hes only pretending; hes not really mute "
Brandy was impressedand suddenly apprehensive about hearing more.
" and hes dangerous."
"Simon? What do you mean; how?"
"He has power. Lots. But I dont think hes aware yet, or knows how to use it."
"Jodi, what are you talking about?"
"Havent you noticed? Hes done things, Ill bet, odd, improbable things you couldnt explain."
"Where are you getting all this?"
"I told you; I have feelings about certain people."
"Well, Ill admit hes a little peculiar which doesnt make him dangerous necessarily."
"Well, maybe I'm wrong. But I get the distinct impression hes heading for trouble, like he's standing on the backs of two wild horses racing down a road that's about to fork. Soon he'll have to choose or be ripped apart."
"And what if I refuse to let that happen?"
Detecting Brandys protectiveness, Jodi changed approach.
"Youre really fond of him, arent you?"
"No. Well, a little, I guess. I can honestly say Ive never met anyone like him."
There followed an awkward silence Brandy feeling a twinge of déjà vu (surely this conversation had taken place somewhere). Jodi seemed contrite (having said too much too soon).
"You were going to tell me how you two hooked up, something about getting stuck way out in the desert?"
"Oh, that. It was weird A lot of things, I admit, have been pretty weird Do you have any shampoo?"
"Over by the sink."
Returning with the bottle, Brandy worked up a lather in Jodis lackluster hairwhile deciding an 'expurgated' version of events might better serve.
"So, what do you think, Jodi? Is it possible for one person to find his way into another persons dream?"
Jodi had been encouraging Brandys tale with nods and occasional comments, partly out of interest, partly out of wanting to stay submerged. She was getting waterlogged, however. To stand and step out with her back turned would have been relatively simple. Why risk ridicule, rejection, or sentiments akin to disgust?
"Brandy, if I dont get out of this water Ill dissolve. Look, already my palms have shriveled into prunes."
Though sounding nonchalant, Jodi's voice betrayed a quavertriggering, in her guest, anticipation of some unsightly growth, hideous tumor, or disagreeable clump of misbegotten flesh; Brandy offered to leave.
"Ill wait for you outside."
"No, please! Stay."
In an effort to spare them further postponement, Jodi stood, stepped out of the tub, then pivoted front and centerlight from the candle falling unobstructed on her glistening "little man."
Having fantasized far worse, Brandy was not repulsed by what she behelda single peculiarity. Jodis body, otherwise, was perfectly normal (except, perhaps, her figure was trimmer than most).
Trying not to shiver, Jodi fixed her hopes on Brandys candid feedback.
"You want my honest opinion?"
"To my subjective eye, you're positively beautiful "
All smiles and blushes of a sudden, Jodi threw herself into Brandy's arms.
" beautiful and soaked to the skin. Here, let me dry you off."
A new sensation swept through Jodi's consciousness (as Brandy wrapped her in terry-cloth and patted her dry), gratitude now exchanged for sweet titillation. To think that someone would neither laugh nor pull a droll face at seeing her disfigurement, was such a dream come true Jodi buzzed with joy. Carried away, she sat on the tub edge, moved the candle between her knees, and allowed it to illumine her (tumid) malformation.
"Go ahead, if you'd like. Take a good close look."
Brandy, clearly intrigued, accepted the invitation. She knelt, tilted her head sideways, then leaned so close her breath tickled the hair on Jodis mons. Normally, where there would have been a clitoris, a tiny penis protruded (replete with functional foreskin and miniature glans). Except for this, Jodis sex looked unimpaired (what Brandy could see of it).
"Its called female pseudo-hermaphroditismclinically, that iswith a urogenital sinus at the base for both urethra and vagina. What that means in English is everything works. "
"Does it, you know, grow like a guys?"
"Touch it and see."
From Brandys point of view, this all seemed rather innocenttwo girls locked in the lavatory for a game of "Show & Tell." But when the tiny organ throbbed under her investigative fondling, a wave of guilt urged Brandy to cease and desist. Might not 'dalliance' with Jodi jeopardize something much more 'durable' with Simon. But how to disabuse Jodi without offending her? To recoil would be to reject. To proceed would be to encourage. The situation was delicate (though not without precedent; Brandy had made love to females before: once as a teenager at a girlfriends slumber party; more recently during a backstage interlude at the club. Both experiences had been pleasant (if vaguely inadequate), gentler (sexier even) than couplings with men. She looked at Jodi—tense with anticipation (her features diabolical lit as they were from below)—and struggled for some graceful means to discontinue.
"Ive often thought how odd it would be to have a body part that got big all by itself. Or are you making it do that?"
"No. You are."
Fully extended, Jodis "little man" was the size of Brandys thumb.
"It looks like the blunted horn of an itsy-bitsy unicorn."
"And will you cradle its head in your maidenly lap?"
Leaning forward, Jodi planted a playful kiss on Brandy's brow then kissed her again in earnest, this time on the lips. For an uninhibited moment, both mouths sought tongues. Then, reminded of Simon, Brandy pulled away.
"But, Jodi, Im no virgin."
"And Im no unicorn. Here, slip into this; youre all wet from me and these puddles." She handed Brandy the flannel nightgown. "Why don't we 'retire,' as they say, to my boudoir? 'Living room,' that is. We can light a fire in the pot belly stove. Would you like some tea?"
Brandy, irresolute, gave a circumspect nod.