It was the night after the last of the rain-packed clouds had moved on through the desert. The thick scent of damp soil and dusty rain still clung to the cave walls. Besides that, the only reminder of the rain was the slight change in temperature. Even though it was still humid in the caves, the rough rock in the tunnels felt a little cooler under my fingertips. I let my right hand pass over the wall in the darkness. I didn't need the support or guidance, I knew my way around the intricate tunnel systems now. I took a turn, leaving the big plaza behind me. I stopped for a moment, holding my breath. I listened hard but could not make out any footsteps behind me. Everyone had been at dinner, chatting noisily, when I had excused myself to use the bathroom. That was not where I was headed though. I needed to think. I was anxious as I walked the path to the sleeping quarters, as I had done so many times before. Only this time it felt different. My whole body was on fire. Whether it was because I had lied to Ian and Jeb again and actually gotten away with it, I couldn't tell. A chill went through me. Okay, I didn't have to think. I had to feel. My fingertips send electric jolts through my limbs when they traced the familiar patterns on the rock. I leaned my burning forehead on the cool stone. Was I getting sick? I didn't want to scare Ian with my assumptions. He was so protective of me. Something told me, I was just fine, better actually… I was about to burst out of excitement.

Strangely, now that Melanie wasn't roaming around in one body with me anymore, I still felt confused. It wasn't the opposing thoughts and feelings anymore, battling to come to the surface. On the other hand neither was it the wonderful assurance that I was never really alone. With her, I had always had someone to reassure me, to calm me or to scream at me when needed. Besides a few moments, I realized, I had completely relied on her opinion. Not necessarily to share it, but just to argue with. It had helped me so much.

Now I had to figure things out on my own.

I sighed a heavy sigh and made myself walk further. Why was it that the creatures on this planet were so confused all of the time. On the Flower World pretty much everything had been Harmony, in the Sea Weed World, though millions and millions of minds had been connected with mine, I hadn't felt this turmoil. The spiders, rational and clever, had had no twisting emotions and feelings throwing their bodies into a seemingly constant state of panic.

I touched the heavy red door that marked Ian's and my bedroom now. I snuck through as silently as I possibly could. If there was anyone back here, they should not hear me.

This new, smaller and fragile body could hardly push the door back into place, but I managed well enough. I took a few breaths just leaning back on the metal, curling and uncurling my freckled hands. As I was clearing my head, I realized something. I was not that confused. I just wanted something so badly that it felt like I was all over the place. Go figure. I pulled myself together. Okay let's do this.

I pulled the duffel bag out of its' hiding spot underneath my clothes, where I had left it after last weeks snatching raid. Really, I hadn't snatched it… I had bought it without paying for it, like any other souls would, but somehow I still felt like a thief in the darkness, hovering over my loot. I shook the sensation of guilt out of my limbs. It didn't suit me anymore. I belonged to a new generation of human loving souls. I had my place.

Okay…go on then.

With trembling fingers I unzipped the bag and examined the contents: Deodorant fragranced "Passion Peach", a small square mirror, Mascara, a fine lacy piece of dark blue and black lingerie, blush á la "Sexy Lolita". How fitting, I laughed to myself. I could still see Ian struggle to believe the lie about my age, given that my body and features where still very naïve looking, but somehow it seemed it was the kind of lie, he could live with… Everything was still in its place. I spilled the small objects onto the floor where they clattered around endlessly noisy. I nearly threw myself on them, to muffle the sounds. I bit my lip, holding my breath again, but there was no sound from the tunnel. No one asking questions. Good.

This time my hands felt surer.

I picked up the mirror and went to work. I had never used make-up before. It just didn't seem necessary back in San Diego or in the caves. But this body remembered the swift movements of the mascara brush. Wiggling through my golden lashes and up, until my eyelids looked slightly heavy with the lush black rim. I felt a jolt of joy and excitement as I went through these unfamiliar, yet somehow familiar motions. I rolled the blush onto my cheeks in circles and blended it with my fingertips. Next I picked up the thin lacy fabric, twisting and turning it, until I found the right way to put it on. I carefully picked off the label that red 'Lacy Plunge Halter Teddy'. It closed behind the neck with fine black ribbons that spilled down over my shoulder blades. The lacy neckline barely covered my chest as it plunged all the way under my belly button, revealing a lot more of my freckled skin than Ian had ever seen. A chill went through me as I thought his name. It was not exactly a bad chill. Not at all like those times when I had been confronted with a gun for the first time. This time, the chill was longer and it pulled at the pit of my stomach and made me gasp. Yes, it was so painful, this pleasure.

Last but not least I finished by dusting my armpits and the air around me with the subtle, seductive scent of the deodorant.

I checked the mirror again. Despite the fragile features and the doll-like face that were now mine, I clearly saw the outline of a woman in the reflection: my full lips, the hollow of my neck and curve of my shoulders, my breasts that were smaller than Mel's had been, but still beautiful.

I was ready. I looked ready. Ready for what exactly? I suddenly wondered. My confidence left me in one, blood draining swoosh. Of course I had seen bits and pieces of what lovemaking meant in Mel's memories and daydreams. But she had stopped short of the details! I felt as though my burning desires would pull me inside out. How long was it till Ian would find me here. What would he say? What would I say! And more importantly, what would we do? I never got to answer my frantic questions, because that was when the door slid open a few inches, revealing a profile. Jared! I scrunched myself all the way into the wall.

"Wanda? You there?"

I could not answer! I snapped my mouth shut, biting down on my lip so hard, that I couldn't help but make a sound at the sharp pain. "Urgh…" Dammit!

The door opened wider as Jared looked around the door. His eyes adjusted to the dark and focused on me. "Wanda, whaa-. Oh!" His eyes went so wide that I could see the white around his pupils. He was so surprised, overwhelmed and abashed that he knocked the door shut right on his own face. "Orghhh…" I heard his own stifled groan.

"Jared…Are you okay out there?" Worry for someone else was definitely safer than thinking about how embarrassing this whole scene was for me.

"I'm.., yeah, sorry, I didn't know that you were…" Please don't finish the sentence!

"Can you please get Ian?" I croaked weakly. This was making me blush even more, but I couldn't think of anything else. Ian was always there when I needed him these days, whenever I struggled or fell. I sure needed him now.

"Yes, ehm, yes, of course, I will." At least he had the decency not to laugh out loud.

I waited for his running footsteps to echo down the hall until I let out a huge sigh. I almost wanted to cry and laugh at the same time. This was so awkward.

It wasn't long until I heard Ian racing down the tunnel, his steps slightly heavier than Jared's.

I shrieked a little as he burst through the door panting: "Wanda! What's wrong? Jared said you needed…" His voice trailed off as he laid eyes on me. Bless his heart, after his eyes had sat back in their sockets, the gentleman in him closed the door behind him and put the lantern he was holding in one hand, on the floor. The dim blue of the lamp cast a halo of light onto the rocks. My eyes added their usual silvery shine mingling and mixing with the patterns bouncing on the walls. He turned to me slowly. The look in his eyes was unsure. Not what I had expected. There was a deafening silence that seemed to stretch time. "Wanda….I, I…?" His voice was filled with disbelief. His body seemed locked in place. Not what I had expected at all. The air went out of me.

I had done it all wrong!

I cast my eyes to the floor. Somehow, I had hoped that the mere sight of me like this would magically pull us into the hot embrace that I remembered from Melanie's dreams. But how could I have forgotten that this was not even the body Ian had fallen in love with. Maybe my body didn't attract him in that way. I knew that he loved me, but did he desire me at all? I suddenly felt like the child that I was, the soul that was only a year and a half old. Naïve. My mind was blank and thick with the silence that had followed Ian's words.

I felt the blood drumming behind my ears and tears filling my eyes. Ian stepped up close then, taking my face into his big hands and lifting my chin to meet his gaze. I could hardly endure it.

"Wanda, you are so beautiful. Is this all for me?" I nodded unblinking and felt a thick tear roll out of its dam.

"Why do you cry, Wanda? Wanda, my love? " He crooned. My face still in his hands, he caught the tear with his thump and wiped it away.

"I'm doing it all wrong…" My frilly voice whined.

"What do you mean?" He was searching my face for an answer.

"I thought... I don't know.. I just.. I just want you so bad!"

It seemed that we had both been holding our breaths. When I felt Ian's sigh rumble through his body, a jolt went through me, stronger then any one before. I gasped. How could I endure this? His scent engulfed me and made me tremble and sizzle all over my body. I didn't see anything but his lips right in front of me. Full and moist. Again the burning desire I felt in my gut was almost too painful to bear. He moved closer pressing his cheek against mine.

"Say that again." His voice was a whispered growl just under my ear. The hairs on my skin seemed to be antennas lifting, erecting to catch the sparks between me and his tense body.

"Wha-? The, the part where I want you?"

"Yes, that part."

"I want you, Ian. I want you so bad it nearly kills me right now."

A deep, wild sound broke from his throat and suddenly his right arm was around my waist and his left under my butt, lifting me off my feet. I thought my head was going to fly off my shoulders, when his hips touched mine. "Ohhh.."

His lips caught my sigh. They were soft and mushy, yet so demanding. His warm tongue sent chills down my spine. I caught his lower lip and grazed my teeth in a teasing pull on his. He growled and pushed me harder against the wall. The warmth and tension of his body made me deaf.

And suddenly it all made sense. He wanted me. He had just been as locked in the storm of sensations as I had been. My expression must have been worse than his. At this very moment, I couldn't care less.

"Where?" He grunted. I needed a second to understand why he had interrupted the push and pull of our lips. The molten lava seemed to churn inside of me, drawing me in, making me move. It only took a glance. There weren't that many options. I nodded towards the mattress and before I could look back at him, his grip tightened and he swirled me around in one swift and gallant motion that knocked the breath out of me. We were on the mattress, Ian on top of me. He held himself up so not to crush me with his weight, but I pulled him closer. I wanted to feel him everywhere. His lips found mine again. They brushed back and forth over my burning lips, in a rhythm that my body understood quickly: Softer, harder, teasing, then forceful again. His kisses trailed from my lips, over my jaw line and then to the hollow of my neck. His chin grazed my chest and I nearly exploded. He pulled the fabric that covered my breast over my shoulders. Maybe I was too eager, but I couldn't help it. My hands that under their own direction curled themselves into Ian's hair, released their grip so I could push his shirt up and over his arms. I let my nails dig into his skin lightly as they trailed down to unbutton his pants. When he kicked them off his feet, my heart was hammering so loud in my chest, I was afraid Ian could hear it. He didn't hesitate to rid me of my clothes. In one move he pulled the bottom half of my lingerie off and over my feet. His eyes couldn't help but take me in, then. I lay there, my hair spilling out over the mattress and my chest, my fast shallow breaths pulling my stomach up and down in little hick-ups. A shiver passing through me, made my legs tremble slightly. That seemed to do it. He was on me with that low, wild sound coming from his lungs again. It echoed through me and in a spasm more than a controlled movement, I locked my legs around his middle.

"Please," I begged when he pulled back one more time to see if I really wanted this. I didn't know how to be more obvious than this. I was about to pull the hair from my scalp. Do it! I was screaming with my whole body, till it almost hurt to breathe. I felt my taut nipples touch his skin. Do it, please!

And then he did.

He slid his arm under my head, slightly pulling my left leg up a little, till it was angled right. His lips met mine the same time I felt the unfamiliar pressure. I couldn't help but gasp, but it came out more as a moan. This seemed to fuel him. He pressed into me harder, kissing and biting my neck, causing fireworks to shoot from my skin. The chills bolted through me, tingling at the top of my head and in the tips of my toes, and, well, in other places, too. The motions reminded me of the molten lava again. The draw, the pull, the push, entwined, melting into each other's shape.

I discovered that Ian had dexterous hands. His fingers sometimes as light as a feather brushing my skin, seemed to burn me alive. I was crazed by his touch. As much as Wanderer, the soul was an entity, so was this body. It felt like I was going to burst into a thousand pieces if he kept touching me the way he did. I moaned and groaned which made Ian's voice come out in raspy sighs. I watched the muscles dance under his taut skin. His tendons and veins pulsing and flexing, made the blood rise to my ears. His movements became faster and rougher, his moans louder until he nearly shouted, the sound muffled into the mattress. Oh my god! I stifled the urge to check if he was okay. I knew he was.

He pulled his head up and kissed me deeply. I smiled and looked at him with the giddiest expression I had ever felt on this face.

"Wow…" I whispered.



"You don't think we are done, right?"

"We aren't?" I nearly screeched. I didn't know how much more I could take. The pleasure the pain spiraled through me.

His answer was another moan and as he slid out of me, the push and pull was replaced by his fingers. I gasped in surprise and he kissed me again. Melanie hadn't showed me that! I trembled under him. My skin seemed to get tighter all over. When I came, I thought I lost consciousness for a moment. Disoriented I was carried on a wave of electricity, flowing as smoothly as water, but sending shocks through me all at the same time. Just when I thought, it would kill me, the current got slower and eventually subsided with some aftershocks that made my body spasm.

I felt the oddest calm after all this excitement. A smile pulled my lips up.

"Okay, WOW!"

We both chuckled. We lay there for a long while, unwilling to unlock our bodies. A heavy mist seemed to have settled in our room, making me sleepy and happy. I wondered if the Healers had a spray for that. Ian's soft snore finally pulled me in and I fell asleep on his chest, his arms holding me tight against him.