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Old 05-18-2013, 08:49 PM   #1
Baelnorn
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Milk (closed for heartofcourage)

The year is 2057. It is a time of great innovations and technological advancements. Computing, construction, space travel, medicine, genetic engineering, molecular manipulation - almost all areas we could think of had unimaginable breakthroughs during the last few decades. Things that we thought were impossible just 30 years ago are common place now, what was the matter of Sci-Fi movies once was reality now. We had wireless data and power transfer even across huge distances, computers that you could normally talk with, and a permanent settlement on Mars.

Not all of those discoveries were good. Society was already struggling to keep up with all the inventions and changes. Not only did the gap between the poor and the rich grow wider with each passing year, but also many changes challenged our standards and morals. The first cloned human heart. The first full human clone. The first genetically improved baby. The first neural computer interface. Thanks to the advancements in the fields of genetic engineering and molecular manipulation, humanity had reached a point where we could work miracles. We could make the crippled walk again and the blind see again. Most diseases and afflictions had ceased to be a threat. We cured HIV, cancer, Ebola, and many others. We had brought humanity closer to perfection. Allergies, tooth displacement, sight defects, obesity, unwanted pregnancies and many other “design errors” were all gone.

The road to get to that point was hard. Questions - valid questions - about the nature of being human were asked. Were we losing ourselves in the chase of progress? Were we playing gods when manipulating our DNA and removing “impurities” from our bodies? Perhaps we were, but it did not matter for long. After a long and heated conflict, which was not only fought with words but also with terror on both sides, the conservatives lost the fight. The world choked under the burden of hunger and disease, and the public demanded answers. Modern technology did have those answers, but we had to throw many of our principles and traditional values over board. They said, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” and they were right. The changes wrought by us bent the limits of morality - and some pushed even further.

Eventually we reached a point where we failed. Some impurities that could not be removed from humanity with all the genetic engineering and custom-built medications: greed and hate. Either of them alone is bad enough, but when both meet, terrible things always happen. Six years ago, a new drug appeared all over the world and completely out of nowhere. It quickly gained the nickname “Milk”, after its liquid creamy white appearance. At first, the drug seemed relatively harmless but it revealed its devious nature within the week. Milk did not affect men at all, but a woman consuming a single drop experienced a state of instant arousal and heightened sexual sensitivity lasting for hours. For some this seemed wonderful, a female version of Viagra and the holy grail in the fight against many female sexual arousal disorders. The problem was the combination of the drug with another substance - semen.

During the first few days of Milk's spreading, only very few noticed that something was going wrong and it was not until several weeks later that we knew what had happened. It turned out that Milk was not just an artificially created drug, but that it had also been designed on a molecular level with specific goals in mind. One of the obvious design goals was that it only worked on women, which it succeeded in by making the drug change its chemical signature from inert to active when exposed to a certain concentration of female hormones. This modification was responsible for the euphoria and sexual boost all women experienced from the drug. The researchers also found a second trigger on the drug. When one combined Milk with human sperm, it reacted with some of its proteins. On its own, this reaction did not change the drug's behavior, but when it occurred together with the first alteration, it turned Milk into an extremely potent ligand binding to the receptors in the brain's rewards centers.

Just as with every addiction, Milk also had a characteristic elimination half-life and a distinct set of withdrawal symptoms. Both properties were some of the most dangerous ever seen in a drug with such a brutal addictive quality. The initial half-life was about 24 hours, varying slightly for each woman, and the withdrawal symptoms started with abdominal cramps and severe headache. Every intake of cum before the appearance of withdrawal symptoms would lower the half-life slowly but steadily, sending the woman into a vicious spiral of self-destruction as eventually she would need to swallow sperm in such small intervals that she would wake up with cramps and pain. For each interval skipped without eating semen the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms would increase, eventually making the woman pass out from the agony.

Whoever had designed that drug wanted to make women addicted to sperm, and to the horror of many women and scientists, he succeeded. The molecular changes of Milk were designed in a way to make the bonding to the receptors permanent. A single exposure to the drug and semen was sufficient to create an irreversible addiction. Since the second trigger reacted independently from the first trigger it was possible that Milk and cum were combined outside a woman's body and then administered to her. It did not take long for the less virtuous individuals to figure that out and from that day on, they turned Milk into a weapon against women. Pimps and slave traders started to use this combination on the women in their clutches to keep them in line and “upgrade” their performance. Rumors spread that intelligence and military were using it on captive enemies. The news reported on cases of resentful employees using it on their female co-workers after being skipped for a promotion.

It was then that society went pretty much down the drain. Governments and various organizations quickly scrambled to start research on a cure for Milk. However, someone obviously had a strong interest in stopping any cure from being developed. When the first lab burned down and the lead researcher was run over by a truck, everyone thought it just a set of freak accidents. Then other research facilities were destroyed, scientists involved in those projects were killed and nobody believed in accidents any more. Even bodyguards, intelligence agents, secret locations or crowd-funded projects were not safe. Eventually there was nobody left willing to risk his own life trying to search for a cure, the research programs were stopped and funding canceled.

Meanwhile the social web was torn apart more and more each day. Accepting a drink from a stranger turned into Russian roulette and mistrust and paranoia spread through all social classes. Women were abducted and hooked on cum against their will. While the courts tried their best to keep up with all the cases that were investigated, most cases never were found out or it was impossible to determine the person who had spiked a woman's drink with Milk and cum. Gender equality was thrown back into the Stone Age and while on paper males and females were equal that was a thing of the past. Anytime a woman stood up and spoke her mind she risked revenge in form of a spiked drink or snack. A female employee calling out her male colleague for something stupid or dangerous? A cheerleader dumping the high school’s most popular jock in front of his friends? In the past, those situations had the potential to start rumors or result in a beating, but now they had the chance of completely ruining the woman's life.

Eventually a new perverted normality settled in. Women were advised to stay out of the bright spotlights for their own safety and to stay in the company of only those who they could trust. Most did follow that suggestion, valuing their life and safety much higher than their dignity or career. A few did not budge and continued their lives as before and most of them were fine. Since there was no cure for the Milk addiction, female suicide rates sharply increased. Most addicts broke down after desperately trying to lead a life as normal as possible but eventually succumbing to the drug. Others ended their lives long before they got to the point of being on their knees and sucking cock every other hour, going out with at least some dignity intact.

Men’s reactions on the situation were twofold. Some abhorred what had happened, and tried their best to console and protect women. Most, however, seemed to welcome the new position of power and control men held, enjoying the ready availability of cum hungry females on their knees. Dominic Morris was in the former group. He could not believe how quickly his fellow men had abandoned their morals and responsibility, and accepted and abused the horrors inflicted on the addicted women. Being almost 41 years old, Dominic had worked as genetic and molecular engineer for Versa-Life Incorporated for the past 19 years and only recently rose to the position of Chief Engineer. Unwilling to accept the moral defeat humankind had suffered by whoever designed Milk he had equipped a small but sufficient lab in his spacious apartment flat.

For the past five years, he had spent every minute of his free time in his private lab analyzing and deconstructing Milk, and designing and synthesizing agents to counter its effect. He had seen enough women succumbing to the drug – childhood friends, co-workers, and even his own sister – and would not rest until he found a cure. However, the task was tedious and difficult. Without a test subject to administer his prototypes to, he could only run molecular simulations on his lab computer. Even thou his workstation was quite powerful it was nothing compared to the simulation mainframe at Versa-Life. Dominic had struggled long with himself but in the end decided that the benefit of running a simulation in 30 minutes instead of over 48 hours was not worth the risk of accidental discovery of his pet project and his very likely subsequent violent death.

It was Friday evening, just after 22:00, and he sat in his chair and stared at the screen, letting out a frustrated sigh as he looked at the status report for his latest simulation. As his eyes traced the letters of the words, he moved his hands to rub his temples slowly:
Simulation #292 [sample: CF-119; carrier: TCD-201]:
-- Started: 2057-7-14, 18:47:19
-- Duration: 2d 3h 18m 47s
-- Result: FAILURE
He reached out and grabbed the page-sized transparent tablet from the desk, scrolling and swiping through the simulation report’s details trying to figure out what went wrong this time. After a few minutes, he dropped the thin device back onto his desk and stood up. He pieced together the data from the report in his mind and realized that the error was a molecular chain he had removed two revisions ago. When he reworked a larger part of his project, he forgot to cover the function of the chain he had removed before.

Looking at his watch, he decided that today he would not stay up until morning to fix the mistake. He was not getting nearly enough sleep between the overtime he put in at work and his “hobby”, and oversights like this one would just cost him several days of simulation time. When his stomach growled slightly to tell him that he had not eaten anything for over 13 hours he decided to grab a small snack for supper and then try to get some actual sleep. Heading out of his small lab Dominic grabbed his dark grey sport coat, fetched his smartphone and issued his household semi-AI the command to close and lock all doors and windows.

“Cerberus, lockdown after I leave.”

“Affirmative, Hades. Initiating lockdown after your departure.”

Dominic registered his computer’s confirmation and left his apartment. A short elevator ride later, he was out of the tall building with the mirrored glass facade and headed towards a small nearby mall. Musing to himself that it has been a long time since he even took a short walk he enjoyed the short trip out in the fresh and cool air of the night. After a few minutes, he approached a pedestrian bridge connecting the small park that surrounded the apartment building to the mall area. In the light of the illumination, he saw a woman standing at the railing in the middle of the bridge. However, as he got closer he saw that she was not standing at the railing, but behind it. He drew in a sharp breath as he realized what she was about to do. Dominic slowly stepped on the bridge and walked closer, stopping 10 meters away from her.
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Last edited by Baelnorn : 05-18-2013 at 09:00 PM. Reason: small formatting fixes
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Old 05-20-2013, 01:25 PM   #2
heartofcourage
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Susan Quinn: http://imgur.com/9niu0IL,wLk0CJB

“I love you, Susie Q…”

Those were the words that haunted her dreams. They were the words that created nightmares so frightening that she feared her mind would shatter into a million shards. They were the words that had started this hill that she was currently living in…

Susan had always wanted to be a doctor. When she was a small girl growing up in the city she had dreamed of helping those around her and making the world a better place. Money had been tight in her household. Her father worked two jobs to support her three brothers and herself after their mother died of an illness when she was three. There was something about the loss of the woman that she adored so much that made her strive to change the world.

She had always been smart and quick witted with a competitive streak a mile wide. It was how she graduated high school a year early at the top of her class and started college that summer, training with some of the brightest minds in the country to solve the mysteries of medicine and further the field towards a perfect future.

Susan had always found her passion with emergency medicine. She found a satisfaction in helping those that had come into the hospital during the worst moment of their lives. She had always known the streets were a dangerous place and had heard that she needed to be careful around unfamiliar men. Milk was something that wasn’t unknown to her, but it was in the ER that she first started seeing women coming into the facility in the midst of addiction.

It was horrifying to think that someone had done this to a woman for the sake of revenge or because they thought it was amusing. These women were suffering and many lost their minds if the addiction went too far. It wasn’t unheard of for a nurse or another doctor to walk into a patient room and see these women going down on a male orderly. It was unacceptable to Susan that those men could take advantage of those poor women, but the administration saw it as providing a service to the community. It infuriated her.

Going into her third year of the program, Susan started to notice a handsome young doctor taking a shine to her. Sean was strong, smart, handsome, funny…all the things she would have looked for in a man. He was five years older than her, one of the doctors that had been at the facility since he began his training.

“I think I love you, Susie Q!” He would exclaim when she came to the nurses station to pick up a new chart.

Those words would make her smile and blush. She was young and the attention was welcome. At twenty she was starting to get the itch to explore the world around her. That meant finding a nice guy and maybe start making a nice little life for herself.

When Sean had asked her out, she accept with a kind of giddy anticipation that made her heart flip. They had a lot of fun together and the sex was fantastic. She found herself falling in love during the first couple of months she had with him. Then she started to hear the rumors…

He was abusive, the other nurses said. He was corrupt. He took advantage of the women that were coming to the hospital for treatment of their addiction. He was an addict himself. It was all the kinds of things that Susan tried her hardest to ignore. She didn’t want to think that her handsome boyfriend could really be all those things. She voiced her concerns with him, asked him what was going on, and he assured her that everything she’d heard was simply gossip.

Still, the words made her feel cautious and the love that she’d had for Sean slowly started to fade away. She could see the change in him and it broke her heart. Their great time together would turn into fierce fighting. She never feared that Sean would do something to hurt her but their bickering grew more frequent and definitely more violent.

It was one fateful evening that her entire life changed forever. She and Sean had agreed to meet and talk through their troubles. It would be one last meeting to decide whether they stayed together or split for good. Everything had been normal. They ate dinner together, shared a drink or two and then settled on the sofa in her living room to talk.

He had been charming, funny, completely normal. Susan felt that same emotion she’d first felt when she’d met him and she felt that maybe they could make it all work. One thing had led to another and before she knew it, they were in the bedroom, naked and exploring one another, reconnecting on a basic level yet again.

She was on her knees before him, sucking on his cock as he stroked her hair and murmured words of love. She sighed, her dark eyes staring up into his handsome features as he grinned down at her. He came with a loud groan, his hot seed filling her mouth and she tried to pull off, but his fingers dug into her thick locks, keeping her on his cock until she swallowed his load.

“I love you, Susie Q…” She was panting as she finally pulled off and a shiver raced up her spine at the sinister look that crossed his features. “You’re mine, Susie Q. Always mine…”

Susan knew then that he’d done something horrible. He admitted to giving her Milk, that he didn’t want to lose her, now they could be together forever. Susan had kicked him out, called the cops, but there was no help to be had. The cops didn’t care and didn’t really see it as a problem. She was on her own…

The first day had been torture. She fretted, worried, wondered if he’d really done what he said he had. She worked her shifts at the hospital and avoided Sean as much as she could. She thought for those first few days that maybe she would be one of the lucky ones or maybe Sean was just full of shit and hadn’t given her what he said he had.

How wrong she’d been. She was antsy, shaking, a complete and total mess. Her head ached fiercely and her stomach felt rotten. Sean laughed quietly each time he saw her, offering to take care of her little problem, and each time she pushed him aside and escaped to just do her job. She had finally broken when the stomach pain had grown worse and the headaches more insistent. It started a wicked spiral of dependency on Sean and that was just what he had wanted.

The little arrangement they had continued for about a few days. When they worked together, she would pull Sean into an empty room and drop to her knees, getting the fill of his cum that would cure the intense cravings that were building in her. When she was at home, he would show up at all hours of the night, “curing” her until he got his fill before he left her in a heap on the bed. It was torture…but the worst was yet to come.

They had been caught by a nosy administrator. Sean had been put on probation for his behavior, but because of her compromised state, Susan had been fired. The head of her program recommended that she be expelled and with verdict, her quest to become a doctor ended.

Maybe that was why she found herself holding onto the railing of the St. John’s Bridge, looking down at the churning black waters. Tears streamed down her cheeks, the sobs deep and wracking as she thought about what she was about to do. Her belly hurt, her head throbbed, and worst of all, her heart ached with the shame of her current situation. She’d walked straight from the hospital to the bridge, her green scrubs still on. She hadn’t even stopped to gather her things…she simply wanted to make it to the bridge. She simply wanted to end it all.

Last edited by heartofcourage : 05-20-2013 at 01:57 PM.
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:44 PM   #3
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She still had not noticed him as he stood on the bridge. Dominic could not see her face from his position but he could see that she was young, probably just in her early twenties. As he slowly got closer, Dominic could clearly hear her soft sobs and had a clear view on her clothing. The scrubs told him that she was working in a hospital or other medical facility and it got him thinking about why she was standing here, just a single step away from probably ending her life. Had she lost a patient, perhaps a child or someone close to her? He did not know and now 8 meters from her he carefully cleared his throat, alerting her to his presence.

“Please don’t jump.”

He asked her carefully and watched her closely, offering a soft smile and a sincere expression of concern in his face. If she really wanted to jump there was nothing he could do stop her. The distance between them was too far for him to catch her, but he did not dare walking even closer because she might feel threatened or pressured and jump then. However, he was hoping that she did not really want to kill herself because she was still holding on to the railing. By now, she has had more than enough time to jump, but she still had not.

“I don’t know what brought you here and made you climb over the railing, but please let’s talk about it before you do something that would really ruin both our evenings. Perhaps I can help you and if only by listening to you. My name is Dominic, would you mind telling me yours?”

When she turned to look at him, he saw that she had been crying a lot. Her beautiful ebony face stained with the trails of her tears and her eyes reddened. Dominic also saw something else – desperation and pain. The expression he saw in the young woman’s face instantly took him back to the day his sister Lisa had killed herself. Lisa had broken the mirror in the small bathroom of her quarter in the rehab center and held a large splinter in her hands. His sister has had the same expression as the girl before him when she told him that she could not bear it any longer and that she loved him – before she rammed the piece of glass into her throat.

As he looked into the girl’s dark eyes, Dominic had a foreboding about why she was standing here. He could not let this happen, not again. He had seen so many women kill themselves because of Milk; every single one of them was one death too much. Then he had an idea – if she really was addicted then perhaps he could ask her to volunteer as test subject for him. He knew that she would have to trust him first, because once he told her, what he was up to he could never again let her go. The risk to both of them was just too high. He would have to be very careful here, but if she agreed, it would be worth it – and perhaps the key to finally finding a cure.

“Please, let’s talk about it. Please?”
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Old 05-20-2013, 03:27 PM   #4
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The sound of a man’s voice off to her side had her tensing, her fingers gripping the rail tightly. She clenched her eyes shut tightly against the plea that he made, asking her not to jump. She didn’t want to, but she didn’t know if she could stand to live with the pain that was filling her body.

Susan slowly turned her head towards the man that called himself Dominic. He wanted to know her name. The misery that bubbled in her throat choked her reply and she let out another wracking sob, a fresh wave of tears spilling over her cheeks as she saw the look of concern in his eyes.

“Susie.” She finally said, her voice clogged with tears and misery. “I mean Susan. Susan Quinn.”

She sniffled again, her fingers aching from their hold on the railing. Beneath her the water churned and lapped at the pylons that kept the bridge upright. Would it hurt? Would she feel the moment that her body hit the surface of the water? What if she wasn’t killed? All the questions swirled in her head and made it ache even more.

“I don’t want to talk about it.” She said, her voice laced with a note of sharp panic. “I can’t live like this. They took away everything. My job. My life…I just want to die.”

She jerked her head back around to stare at the water again. Why was this man trying to talk her down? Didn’t he see the pain that she was in? “I think you should just turn back around and walk away. Forget about me.”
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Old 05-20-2013, 04:16 PM   #5
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He could only imagine the pain and misery she was in, hearing her voice fail when she tried to answer. The pitiful sound of the sob escaping her lips saddened his heart and some part of him just wanted to hold her in his arms and comfort and soothe her.

“Thank you Susan. That’s a beautiful name.”

What she then told him only confirmed his suspicion. It must be Milk, just losing your job or a close relative or friend usually would not make someone so desperate for death. Her words were laced with despair and a slight glimpse of the horror she saw in her future. He could understand that she wanted to die – he did not wish such a fate on his worst enemies – but he still could not stand aside and watch how she killed herself. Especially as she told him to walk away and forget her.

Dominic took a deep breath and looked around to check if they were still alone. He was glad to see that there was nobody nearby or heading towards them. If others got involved, they would probably call the police and the whole situation would escalate, and that was something he would rather avoid altogether.

“Susan, I won’t do that. I won’t walk away and let you kill yourself. I can only guess what has happened to you and I know how hard it must be for you. Still, please let us talk about it. Perhaps I can do something for you. But you need to trust me before I can help you. If you still think that you don’t want to live after what I have to tell you, then you can still jump off a bridge.”

He prayed that she would take his offer. He was not sure that he could stand seeing her jump. Not after how many women he had seen kill themselves. He tried his best to keep Susan engaged in their conversation, so he moved the topic a bit. He knew that he was taking a big risk by making her this offer, but if he could get her away from the edge and make her listen to him, it would be worth it. Besides, he was still hungry and needed something to eat, and he hoped that his offer would make her reconsider.

“Look, it’s been a long day for me and I haven’t eaten anything since breakfast. I was just on my way to grab a snack when we met. How about you climb back over the railing and we go for a walk? I promise you that I won’t call the cops, and that I won’t make a move on you. We can talk a little, get something to eat and then come back here. No strings attached. In the end, it’s up to you to decide if you want to listen to what I have to say, or if you still want to jump. What do you say?”

He softly smiled at her as he slowly walked a bit closer to her, lifting his hands towards her to reinforce his honest offer.
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Old 05-21-2013, 10:19 PM   #6
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“I don’t want to be like them!” Susan nearly screamed into the wind, sobbing as the wind whipped back into her face, her hair stinging her cheeks as new tears started to course down her cheeks.

All she could think about in that moment was her father. How disappointed would he be in her to learn that she’d not only lost her job but also become an addict? She didn’t know if she could ever face him again with that knowledge. It made her grip on the railing loosen slightly, her resolve becoming clearer as she thought about doing the unthinkable.

Then the man kept talking. He didn’t want her to jump. He didn’t want to walk away. Why would he do that? Why did he want to save her? Didn’t he know the pain that was coming her way? She sobbed again, bowing her head slightly as she let his words sink in. He wanted her to walk with him and if at the end she still wanted to jump off the bridge, he would let her finish what she started.

Turning her large brown eyes towards the stranger, she noticed the way that he was holding out his hand towards her. He sincerely didn’t want her to jump. Susan sucked in a deep breath, her mind spinning with all the possibilities that her life now held. It wasn’t worth it, she reasoned with herself. Still, her heart made her reach out for him, her hand slipping into his before she started to climb back over the rail.
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Old 05-22-2013, 02:27 AM   #7
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“And you won’t be like them, I promise!”

Dominic quickly replied to her outcry. He did not know for sure if he could keep his promise, but he was willing to be caught on this lie just to keep her from jumping now. Still, he would try his best to prevent her from becoming like the poor women who succumbed to the drug in early stages. With enough discipline and a little effort from them both they could keep as much of her dignity as possible intact and allow her to live a life as normal as the circumstances warranted.

“Please, let us talk it through. Give me a chance to prove that not all is lost.”

The engineer kept pleading and begging with her while he slowly walked closer and closer towards her. His arms still held out to her, offering her a hand to grasp if she wanted one. He was so close, just a little longer and he would be within arm’s reach of her, and could catch her. All he needed were just a few more seconds. When he saw her faltering and her hold slip slightly, his heart skipped a beat and he let out a shocked gasp.

“No!”

Thinking that he had lost her, he breathed a sigh of relief when she did not release her grasp completely and eventually she turned towards him and reached out for his hand. Her fingers slipped between his own and he gently but firmly held her hand. A quick step later and he was at the railing and wrapped his other arm around her shoulders, holding her and helping her as she climbed back to his side.

Dominic could feel her shaking in his hold and pulled her softly into a tender embrace. He could feel the sobs wrecking her young body and her tears wetting his neck as she clung to him. Holding her tightly he dropped to the ground with her as her knees buckled. The sight and feelings of Susan crying in his arms made his heart ache. Seeing women in despair or pain had always been his Achilles Heel and the events of the recent years had left him in a mostly sad state of mind. However, now that she was in his arms, it was all about her. He hugged her gently and whispered in her ear as he kept rubbing her back and shoulders softly.

“You’re not alone Susan. I’m here with you and I promise that I’ll never leave you as long as you need me and want me to stay. I’ll help you as much as I can. Whatever happened to you, whatever made you end up here, I’m convinced it wasn’t your fault. All I need is a little trust from you to let me help you.”

He held her for several minutes as he talked to her softly, feeling her relax just a little in his arms and finally her cries and sobs stopped. He released her from his embrace and looked at her, giving her a soft and tentative smile. Reaching into the pocket of his sport coat, he pulled out a silken handkerchief and handed it to her with a quick glance around to make sure they were still alone.

“Here, just let me know when you want to go.”
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Old 05-23-2013, 11:55 AM   #8
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Susan was sobbing hard by the time the man pulled her over the railing, his arm around her shoulders as he held her tightly. She couldn’t see through the veil of tears that clouded her dark eyes, her arms wrapping around his neck and shoulders for dear life. Never in her life would she admit that something as simple as a hug felt so good. This man was a stranger, but he was showing her more kindness then her so called boyfriend.

She pressed her face against his neck, her tears wetting his warm skin. She suddenly felt incredibly weak as all the adrenaline left her body and her knees buckled. A whimper burst from her lips and she gasped, clinging to the man as he slowly sank to the ground with her.

The distant sound of whispering came to her over the rush of blood in her ears. She could hear his deep voice soothing her, telling her that she wasn’t alone and he was going to help her. Shaking her head, she wanted to voice her opinion that there was nothing that he could do to help her, but her throat was clogged with another wave of tears.

Over the course of several minutes, the tears slowly dried up, leaving her hiccupping and sniffling in his arms. She trembled as he slowly released her, looking down at her tear stained face with a look of fond affection. She couldn’t meet his eyes and she stared down at the sports coat that he wore, shaking as he offered her a handkerchief from his pocket.

“Thank you.” She mumbled softly, taking the handkerchief and wiping her eyes. Blowing her nose as delicately as possible she finally glanced up towards his face.

“I think I’m ready.” Susan answered softly, taking his hand as he helped to pull her to her feet. “You know, you don’t have to do this. You can just leave me here.”

Or take me to the hospital. Or call the cops. Her mind filled in the blanks left behind by her statement. There were so many things that this man could do but he wouldn't. Not until he was sure that she was safe. He wanted to feed her. He wanted to protect her. He was probably the only person in the world that would help her right then.
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Old 05-23-2013, 07:33 PM   #9
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When the girl told him she was ready, Dominic nodded and offered her his hands to help her back to her feet. Then she mentioned that he did not have to do all this and could just leave her. The mere thought of leaving this young woman alone after what had happened to her was abhorrent to him. His father had always told him two moral guidelines, both quotes from some decades old videogame but still surprisingly genuine – “Never leave a wrong to ripen into evil or sorrow” and “Act with wisdom, but act.” If he abandoned her now he would not only lose his perhaps only hope of getting closer to the cure, but he would also violate the two most fundamental values of his upbringing.

“I know Susan, but I want to do this. And I won’t abandon you when you need someone the most. No matter what you may think about men or the world, please believe me when I tell you that I’m not like the rest. If you want to talk, I will be there to listen. You can also ask me pretty much anything you want, but I hope you understand that I can’t answer some questions right away. Especially in public.”

He lowered his voice on the last sentence while offered his arm to her as they started walking towards the mall. One of the bridge’s ramps connected directly to an upper level of the mall, so it was only a matter of minutes before they were standing amidst a bustling shopping center with various small shops, restaurants and snack bars lining the hallways.

“Okay, here we are. What do you want to eat? This evening is all about you, so don’t hold back! We can get whatever you want. Oh, if you want to sin a little tonight, around that corner is a small crêperie that makes awesome French crêpes. The version with chocolate sauce and whipped cream is my personal favorite but they also have lots of other fixings.”

As they kept walking through the mall, they were drawing some looks, primarily because of Susan’s scrubs. However, the people were certainly used to strange clothing these days and so simply shrugged it off as some sort of costume or fetish. The last thought was making Dominic a bit uncomfortable but he tried his best not to show Susan. Finally, they reached a place selling some food she agreed on and they quickly placed their orders. Dominic used his sports coat to pay for it with a simple gesture of his fingers swiping over the fabric. Almost all clothes these days were some sort of “smart cloth” which can connect to the wearer’s smartphone or other mobile device and provide certain extensions via one wireless communication technology or another.

While they waited for their food to arrive, he turned to her and for the first time he could take a good look at her. He had seen that she was young, he had estimated her at about 20 which he thought was close to her age, but she looked even younger with her delicate features. Speaking of features, he found her very beautiful. Perhaps it was because of her ebony skin and her dark eyes – he had always had a weak spot for exotic women – but there was something else to it even if he could not tell what. It was just that to him everything about her was about perfect. However, it was a real shame that he had met her under these circumstances and he wished they would have been different.
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Old 05-27-2013, 11:38 AM   #10
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Susan clung to this stranger who had pulled her back from the brink of darkness. Her arms intertwined around his, her body pressed against his side as he pulled her to her feet and started walking towards the mall. She was still in a daze, her mind spinning around the fact that she had almost killed herself.

He had promised her that he would help her. Could he really do that? He didn’t seem like a doctor or a scientist. Susan knew very well that looks could be deceiving, but there was something about this man that made her want to trust him. He had a kind and easy air that surrounded him and a hint of secrecy that made her think that he had something major to hide. She hoped that her judgment hadn’t been clouded by the Milk.

Entering the mall, she saw the looks that were cast her direction. She wasn’t dressed for the chill in the air and her scrubs were functional in the hospital but completely out of date here in the outside world. They weren’t made to pay for lunch outside of the building and she suddenly found herself uncomfortable with the glances that were cast in her direction.

When Dominic asked her what she wanted to eat, the sound of his voice made her jump. Her large eyes looked up towards his and she trembled, glancing around the food court until her eyes settled on the little pizza place that she’d always been fond of. She hesitantly pointed towards it and waited as he pulled her closer, paying for their food without question.

“Thank you.” She said in a soft voice, her hands still clinging to his arm for dear life. “I’ll pay you back when I go back home.”

She stood there, unable to look at him but she definitely knew that he was staring down at her. His gaze burned her skin and she felt her belly starting to roll. She shivered, pressing her cheek against the fabric of his jacket as she struggled to keep herself under control. Tears pricked her eyes as she sniffled, another wave of despair coming over her at the thought that she would have to find someone to…take care…of her addiction very soon.
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:11 PM   #11
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Susan's soft voice pulled Dominic out of his thoughts and brought him back to the current situation and the little pizza place she had chosen where they were waiting for their food. When she thanked him and told him that she would pay him back, he smiled softly and slowly shook his head. He could not believe what he was hearing – this girl had suffered so much and yet she was too modest to accept his invitation. She had probably learned to care for herself at an early age and did not want to owe anyone money, but in this case he would decline her offer.

“No Susan. I don’t want you to pay me back. You’re worrying about enough things and I don’t want you to add money to that list. This evening is on me. I insist.”

He told her gently, hoping that his words would calm her down a little and reassure her. Her hands were still holding on to his arm as if she was still standing behind the railing, about to fall any moment. He could only guess that inside she probably was, and when she started to shiver and sniffle, he protectively put his free arm around her shoulder and pulled her against his chest, hugging her softly. Dominic felt her young body shiver in his arms and whispered gentle words in her ear while gently rubbing her back.

“It’s okay Susan. You’re save; nobody will hurt you as long as I’m with you. I’ll protect you and help you if you let me.”

Dominic tenderly held her in his arms until their food arrived. Once the plates with their hot pizzas and their drinks were placed on the stand-up bistro table, he slowly released Susan from his embrace and looked at her with a soft and caring expression on his face. Knowing that they still could not have the talk he – and perhaps she as well – wanted to have so badly he shifted the topic to the food, hoping it would distract her a little and calm her down until they got back to his home.

“Don’t worry Susan, it’s alright. But let’s eat before those wonderful smelling pizzas get cold, okay?”

He picked up his knife and fork and started eating his dinner. Usually he was not a huge fan of any sort of pizza or fast food, but after a few bites, he had to admit that this small place made good pizza. Thinking that anything that distracted Susan from her situation and made her talk to him about herself a little was a good thing, he asked her about her choice. Dominic hoped that his questions would make her think about some more positive things that could happen on the weekend.

“This pizza is really great. Did you pick this place randomly or have you been here before? I’ve been around this mall for quite long but never ate here. Perhaps you could show me some more places I’ve been missing out some time later?”
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Old 05-27-2013, 06:29 PM   #12
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It was a strange thing to be cared about by a man that she didn’t even know. How was it possible that this stranger was showing her more kindness then the man that she’d thought she loved? Susan sucked in a deep breath and slowly let it out, considering that very thought as Dominic did his best to distract her from the panic that was rising in her chest.

“Okay.” She said softly, glancing down at the hot pizza that had just been delivered to their table.

Her favorite: pepperoni. She should have felt a little jolt of joy at the thought of devouring a little slice of heaven, but she only felt numb inside. Bringing the slice to her lips, she ate quietly, her eyes sad and downcast before Dominic asked her how she’d found this place.

“I use to come here all the time after work.” She said, glancing over at him. “When I was on call, I never really got a chance to eat a good meal. This place was on my way home and it was always the best.”

She shrugged her shoulders at her little confession, her eyes showing a slight spark of life when she talked about how the way things use to be. She blew out a little breath, turning her dark eyes from him and back to her meal.

“Listen, it’s really sweet what you’re doing, but…well, I know what’s going to happen to me. You don’t want to be saddled with someone like that.” She was giving him the easy way out. It was nice that he offered to take care of her but a reality was always way different from a nice little fantasy.
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Old 05-27-2013, 07:23 PM   #13
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Dominic smiled when she talked about how she found the place and why she was eating here. He could instantly sympathize with her – the pressure and demands of your job throwing a wrench in your eating plans and more often than not forcing you down a way that is lined by at best mediocre tasting and at worst unhealthy fast food. Therefore he was quite happy that she decided on good tasting pizza – even more since you could actually see it being made with fresh toppings – instead of burgers or something like that.

Then she told him that he would not want to be burdened with her, that she knew what would happen to her. It was now that he was sure she almost killed herself because of Milk. Dominic could feel his chest tighten at her words. He wanted to hold her, to comfort her, to help her – but he just needed more time for his research and a test person to help him. Time he was not sure she was willing to give him and a role he was unsure she would play. While he would do everything humanly possible to make her feel not like a lab rat, that was pretty much what he needed her to be for him. This thought alone saddened him, because he wanted her be happy.

“Please listen to me now Susan. You’re not a burden to me and I swear I will never see you as one. I know what you’re going through right now. I’ve seen it several times during the last few years, and every single time was once too often. I can’t leave you alone Susan, not after what happened in the last twenty minutes. Please give me this one chance. Please.”

While he spoke, he had reached out for her hand and softly squeezed it as he kept talking and looking in her eyes. He wanted to tell and show her so much, but this definitively was not the place or time for it; it would have to wait until they got home. Which was when he realized the next problem – would she follow him into his apartment? He did not know and could only hope she would agree to it and not think of him wanting to take advantage of her condition. He continued at a lower voice, not wanting to draw any undesirable attention to their conversation.

“I know I ask much of you, even more so considering that we just met. Please believe me when I say that I would never take advantage of you, that I would never abuse you. I don’t know who did this to you or why, and honestly I don’t care about their reasons because they can only be wrong. I don’t believe that you deserved it or that you are a bad person.”

Dominic released her hand from his gentle grasp so that they could both continue with their meals, still trying to piece together a plan of how to convince her to believe him. He was not sure how to solve this riddle before him. For their combined safety, she would have to agree to stay with him before he told her what he was doing at home.
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Old 06-01-2013, 09:23 PM   #14
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Susan listened as he tried to convince her that she wasn’t a burden nor would she ever be one. She wasn’t so sure that he would feel the same way as her cravings got more intense as time went by. He reached out and took her hand, squeezing it softly as he looked into her dark eyes.

Dominic was a handsome man, one that most certainly would have made her go weak at the knees if this were a different time and different place. She sucked in a deep breath and then slowly let it out, centering herself from the thoughts that threatened to send her off into left field.

Then he started speaking about how she had ended up like this. She wasn’t really ready to share her story. That wound was too raw, but there was something kind in Dominic’s eyes. He would be there to listen when she decided that it was time to tell him exactly what had happened. If there ever was a time that she was ready to tell him what happened…

“So, where do we go from here?” She asked him as she finished the last bite of her pizza.
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Old 06-02-2013, 01:52 PM   #15
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They were both about to finish their pizzas when she asked him where they went from here. He looked up from his plate and gave her a soft smile. The fact that she asked him this question told him that she had regained at least a slight glimpse of hope and was not completely lost in desperation again. He took a deep breath as he reached out for her hand again and told her about his plans for the rest of the evening.

“I don’t know where you want us to go, but I’ll be true to my word. If you want to go separate ways after our shared meal and the little chat we had, then I’ll let you. However, I’d really like you coming back home with me. I want to talk about so many other things with you, which I can’t do in public. I won’t force you into anything thou – it’s your decision and yours alone whether you accept my invitation or not.”

Dominic gently rubbed the back of her hand with his fingers, trying to read her expression when he suggested her following him back home. He expected her to decline his offer so he quickly added a bit to his statement to make it less suggestive and demanding. Using his free hand, he reached into the inner pocket of his sports coat and pulled out a small piece of paper, which he then handed her:
M. Sc. Dominic Morris
Chief Genetic Engineer, Chief Molecular Engineer

Versa-Life Incorporated, Genetics and Molecular R&D

@versa-life.inc, @dominic.morris
Even thou many considered paper business cards outdated, Dominic was still quite fond of them. In his opinion, they were much more personal than simply sending a digital card to the other person’s mobile device, especially when the other person was wearing scrubs with very limited personal smart functionality and probably did not even have her smartphone with her.

“I know, right now you probably have a hard time trusting me enough to come with me. Here’s my card and I can give you my address so that you can call someone and tell him or her who you are with and where you are staying. Or, if you need some more time to think about it, you can also come over any time this weekend after sleeping on it, I don’t have any plans yet. But please, at least consider accepting my invitation and listening to what I have to say, okay?”

He removed his fingers from her hand and stepped around the bistro-table. Standing right in front of her, he offered her his arm, silently hoping that she would take it and follow him. He prayed that his words made her reconsider her previous intentions of ending her young life. He knew he had told her that if she really wanted to jump he would not stop her, but he also knew that he would not have the strength to face it head on. Even after all those years, the suicide of his sister still was like a festering never healing wound in his mind. The memories of that day made him draw in a deep breath and release a heavy sigh. Still, he looked at her and gave her a tentative smile.

“I think we still have some part of our ways home which we can walk together? Let’s go back to the place where we first met. There you can decide where and how this evening is going to end. Just as I promised: your choice and no strings attached.”
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:15 AM   #16
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Come back home with me. Those words echoed in Susan’s mind as Dominic rubbed the back of her hand, his fingers gently stroking her skin as he stared into her dark eyes. She sucked in a deep breath, trying to process what he was saying. Was he going to take advantage of her situation? Something about the way that he talked and the way that he seemed to care told her that he wasn’t like that.

Then he pulled out a piece of paper from his coat, handing her the tiny business card that was pulled free. She’d never actually seen a business card in person and she reached out her free hand for the heavy piece of paper, reading the raised black lettering on the surface before she frowned slightly.

“You’re a scientist?” She asked softly, her voice low and almost a whisper. There were so many strange things about this man before her, but something about him made her want to trust him.

“There’s no one that I can call. Everyone I know works at the hospital and…I don’t think I’m ready to tell my father what happened.” She said softly, her eyes lowering to the table top. “Won’t he be proud to know that I lost my job and became an addict.”

She heard Dominic push himself from the table, moving around to her side. He had such a hopeful look on his face as he offered her his arm. He was a man that had known pain and wanted to save the world, it seemed. She was intrigued, but most of all she was scared.

“I don’t want to go back to the bridge.” She said softly as she stood and took his arm, trembling as she thought about what she’d almost done that evening. “Lets…let’s just go somewhere to talk.”
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Old 06-05-2013, 06:58 PM   #17
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Hearing her whispered question, Dominic simply nodded his head, but the frown she had shown still confused him. Was she not happy about him being a scientist? Had she expected him being something else? Before he could think about it further, she told him that she had nobody to call. His chest tightened and his eyes widened at her words. He could not believe what he was hearing, that she really did not have anyone she could trust – not even her own family. When Susan took his arm, he could feel her tremble as she told him she just wanted to go somewhere to talk. Dominic nodded and smiled softly at her as they started walking away from the pizza joint.

“Let’s take the main exit. There’s a nice path leading back to the park from there. No bridges along the way.”

Eventually they made their way out of the mall and continued along the path leading them towards the park again. They were walking quietly for some minutes until they had left most of the people behind and were alone on the path again. The air had cooled down while they had dinner and despite still being relatively warm there was a definitive chill to the night’s breeze now. He looked over and realized that her scrubs were never going to keep her warm. Without a word, he gently pulled his arm from her, slipped out of his sports coat and placed it around her shoulders. He softly put his arm around her shoulders, not only to keep his coat from falling off her delicate frame but also to let her know that he was there to help her and protect her.

“Okay Susan, what do you want to talk about? I know you must have countless questions. You probably wonder why I’m doing this, right? Why would a complete stranger do all this for you? Talking you out of jumping off a bridge, paying a meal for you, listening to your troubles. The answer is simple – because I apparently belong to a dying breed. I’m one of those few men left who abhor Milk and what it has done to us – to humankind. This wasn’t supposed to happen. We were working on a better future and suddenly everything goes down the drain. We are better than this. We have to be.”

Dominic took a few deep breath to calm himself. He was already getting too agitated again and his voice was getting louder than he wanted it; this topic really was his sore spot that always hit home. He continued talking while they were getting closer to the building where he lived.

“Anyway… why I try to help you? Because if I ever stopped caring and trying to help the drug’s victims, I would have to admit defeat and betray the principles with which my parents raised me. One of the things my father always told me was, ‘All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.’ I do consider myself a ‘good man’ and looking the other way while you kill yourself and not even attempt to help you definitively would have been evil. If I had just walked away I could have never looked myself in the eye again.”
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Old 06-10-2013, 09:40 PM   #18
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The cool night air helped to clear her mind of the troubles that had weighed her down. Susan sucked in a quick breath of the night air and slowly let it out, trembling as the breeze cut through her thin clothing and shook her to the core. Maybe things would be alright, she thought to herself as Dominic pulled her to a stop and draped his coat around her shoulders without a question.

“Thank you.” She said softly as he draped his arm around her shoulders and held her tightly.

She listened quietly as he asked what she wanted to talk about and about the questions that she surely had. She let out a long sigh, her hand reaching from beneath the coat to push back a black curl from her cheek.

She had reason to trust Dominic, but it seemed strange to hear that he was one of the few out there against the use of Milk. Many men in high places had used it to the best of their abilities to enslave women. She could tell by the agitated tone in his voice that he was one of those men against the entire institution.

“I’m actually kind of glad that you didn’t walk away.” She finally admitted, her arm squeezing his tightly. “I can’t bear to think about what I almost did.”
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Old 06-13-2013, 06:20 PM   #19
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“You’re welcome.”

Dominic replied simply and smiled softly at Susan when she thanked him for giving her his coat as protection against the chill of the night. Then he felt her squeeze his arm tightly and she told him that she was glad he came by and talked her out of killing herself. Her admission brightened his mood considerably, giving him hope that she would accept his proposals.

“You don’t have to. The most important thing is that you didn’t jump. Everything else is irrelevant for now. I’m just glad that you did listen to me.”

They made their way around another curve, gradually heading towards a group of tall apartment buildings. Dominic lifted his left arm and pointed to one of the tall structures a short distance away, a high and slightly warped tower of glass covered with spots of green. It was a relatively new and very modern construction, balancing extravagant architecture with natural corners.

“There, the second one from the right. That’s where I live. Just in case, you want to take up my offer to come in. I’d really like to continue our conversation in a more private setting so that we can talk about that what I promised you earlier.”
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Old 06-17-2013, 12:01 PM   #20
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Susan stood beside Dominic as he pulled them to a stop and pointed to the apartment building that he called home. She had never seen a more expensive and impressive looking place in her life. It made her little apartment in the old part of town look like a hell hole.

Considering what he was saying, Susan knew that she would agree to go with him. What more did she have to lose after the week she’d experienced. Turning her dark gaze slightly, she looked up into Dominic’s strong features. With a little nod, she agreed to continue on to his home.

“I think I’d like to talk as well.” Susan said softly, a tremble coursing down her spine before a searing pain clenched her belly.

“Ow!” She cried out, yelping as she felt her knees buckle and Dominic’s grip on her body growing tighter. “Oh God!” She knew the pain would end, but it also meant that she would feel like she was being turned inside out for a few moments as her body rebelled against the drug that had enslaved her.
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Old 06-17-2013, 07:27 PM   #21
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For a moment, Dominic was almost happy. She also wanted to talk, which meant that she would accompany him into his apartment. That was half the battle right there. He “only” needed to explain to her what he wanted from her and get her to agree with it, but then she suddenly cried out from pain and her knees almost gave out under her. He reacted quickly, reaching over when she started to fall and held her firmly but still softly against his chest. He supported her weight until the attack had passed and she could stand on her own feet safely again, which was when he carefully released her from his arms. Dominic only knew too well what that had been, the first signs of withdrawal. His chest tightened and he let out a heavy sigh. He would have given anything to save her from that fate, but he just could not – yet.

“Are you okay?”

His voice was full of concern. Offering her his arm again, he looked at her with sad eyes and his voice dropped to a whisper.

“It’s okay Susan. I know what that was and you don’t need to be ashamed about it in front of me. I’ll never judge you for it. Let’s get home and talk, okay? If you feel weak, I can also carry you the rest of the way if you want.”

Just a few minutes later, they reached the impressive building he had pointed out earlier. It was even more beautiful up close, and she could now see that the green spots she had seen from the distance were bushes and trees growing on terraces and platforms all around the building. Dominic guided her through the main entry towards one of the countless elevators, where the holographic projection of a young smiling woman greeted them.

“Welcome back Mr. Morris.”

The elevator quickly climbed higher and only moments later they reached the 22nd floor. He led her towards a big door and it opened on its own as he touched it. As they stepped inside the lights turned on and the voice of the semi-AI welcomed them.

“Welcome back Hades.”

Looking around, Susan could see a large and beautifully decorated apartment opening up before her as she followed Dominic into the living room.

“Please, take a seat wherever you want. Want something to drink?”
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Old 06-17-2013, 08:02 PM   #22
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Susan gripped Dominic tightly, her fingers wrinkling his shirt as she clenched her face against the pain that was coursing through her body. She felt like her belly was about to burst open right there in the street, but she knew it wouldn’t. Dominic held her upright, his strong arm making sure that she wouldn’t crumble to the ground completely. As the sudden pain started to subside, she let out a shaky breath, her legs trembling as she stood back on her own two feet.

“I’m fine.” She said, her brow covered in a light sheen of sweat as she looked up into Dominic’s concerned eyes. “I promise. I’m fine.”

She took his arm and averted her eyes when he said that he knew what had just happened to her. It wasn’t that she was ashamed…it just felt awkward to share something so personal with him after knowing this man for such a short amount of time. “I can walk.”

It was quiet as they walked towards the impressive building that he had pointed out. It was a true model of architecture and was stunning the closer they got to the structure. It must have cost a fortune to live there, she thought to herself as he guided her into the main entrance towards one of the elevators. It took only a few moments before they reached his floor and soon she was being escorted into his apartment.

“Wow. Your home is beautiful.” She said, her voice low and laced with awe as he directed her to sit wherever she wanted. “Water would be nice. Thank you.”

Moving towards his plush couch, she slipped off his jacket and left it draped over the side of an arm before she took a seat for herself. Looking around at the gleaming modern space, she suddenly felt a little out of place. This wasn’t a world that she belonged in.
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Old 06-18-2013, 02:24 AM   #23
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“Thank you, I’ll forward your compliment to my interior decorator. I’m not of much use in those things, I couldn’t decorate a living room to save my life.”

Dominic hoped that his playful comment would brigthen the mood a little and poured her a tall glass of pure water before moving to sit down next to her. The way she looked around his apartment, soaking up every detail with her beautiful dark eyes, made him wonder where and how she lived on her own. He knew from talking with friends that nurses and other non-doctor staff did not really earn much and often could not even afford a moderate standard of living. Yet another item on his personal list of things that he was sad and disappointed about.

“Here.”

He handed her the glass and leaned back against the backrest. His thoughts were racing about how and where to start, and eventually he decided on starting with her current situation to make sure he had correctly understood the events of the evening.

“Okay, here we are. I promised you to talk with you, but I also want to understand what has happened. I know this is a very personal topic for you, but you must know that I really care about you. Everything I’ve told you before is true. And you don’t need to be afraid of me. I will never abuse your condition for my personal gain.”

Dominic took a deep breath before he continued, looking at Susan’s face in an attempt to gauge her reaction to his words.

“From what I’ve heard and seen this evening, I’d say that someone hooked you up on Milk. What you said on the bridge and in the mall, that you knew what would happen to you and that I wouldn’t want to be burdened with someone like that. The sudden abdominal pain on our way here. Everything points at Milk. Am I right?”
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Old 06-21-2013, 09:29 AM   #24
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“Thank you.” Susan said as she took the glass of water from him and brought it to her lips, taking a sip as Dominic took a seat and started to explain the things that he knew.

She turned her dark gaze towards his, pushing her hair back from her face as he took a deep breath and told her that he knew that she was addicted to Milk. She averted her eyes to the carpet beneath her feet and took another sip of her water, not wanting to see the emotion in his eyes as she made her little confession.

“It hasn’t been that long.” Susan said, placing the glass of water on a coaster on the table and turned towards Dominic with a sigh. “My former boyfriend gave it to me one night while we were…making love. I should have known better the moment that I met him, but I guess the past is always clear when it’s the future.”

She shrugged slightly and tried to play it off as nothing even as her heart ached with the knowledge of what had been done. “I tried to tell the police what had happened but they had said that there was nothing to be done for me. He used that to the best of his advantage and supplied me with what I needed at work. It got me fired and it got him suspended. He’ll probably be right back at work within the week.”
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Old 06-21-2013, 06:56 PM   #25
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Dominic listened to her words, deeply moved by the courage she had mustered to tell him the truth. Susan averted her gaze and looked at the floor as she told him, but he could still see that she was having trouble voicing her story. He stood up and moved in front of her seat, dropping to his knees and taking her hands in his. This gesture was enough for their gazes to meet as he looked up at her.

“I’m so sorry Susan, sorry for what happened to you. Your ex was a fucking bastard and I promise that if I should ever meet him, I’ll knock a few teeth out of his grin for what he did. But as satisfying as that would be, it wouldn’t help much right now. I still want to help you, but I’ll be honest with you. There’s also another reason why I’m so interested in you, but please let me finish explaining before you react. Please. Please?”

He took a deep breath and stood up, releasing her hands and sitting down right next to her. It was too late to turn back now and he had to pull through.

“I know that some of the things I’m going to tell you now will be hard to stomach. I know that I’m asking for much, probably too much, but I must do it to keep us both safe.”

Dominic took another deep breath. Right now, he would have really liked a glass of scotch, to help him with his courage, but standing up and leaving for a drink would probably not make the best impression on his guest.

“I need your help Susan, but before I can tell you any details, I need you to agree to one condition. Once I showed and told you what I’m up to, you can never again leave me. What I can tell you will put us both at risk, and a single slip of the tongue or telling the wrong person would have us both dead within a couple of hours. This means that you would have to live with me and could only go out with me and nobody else. Well, at least not alone.”

He stood up and walked a few steps away from the couch towards the bar, where he stopped and leaned on the counter for a second. Dominic gathered his thoughts before he continued.

“I can fully understand if you don’t agree to it, no hard feelings. In that case, I’ll still try my best to help you. I know some guys from the Jackson Rehab Center and they can show you some techniques and focus exercises. Those will help you to keep your schedule and prevent your condition from getting worse too quickly. I can also get you in touch with a few people who are willing to employ an addict, especially one with medical training. And if you need a place to stay for a few weeks I can rent a room for you until you have it all sorted out.”
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