That Damned Blessing Ch. 01

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Authors Introduction: This is my first foray into the magic and mind control genres, which is something I’ve wanted to do for quite a while now. Without revealing too much of the story in the preface, I will say that I hope to write something that is a little different from the average MC story both in how the mind control and magic affect the characters and in their reactions to it. The degree to which I succeed shall be seen, beginning with this chapter.

Also, a note to readers: while there is sex between various characters over the course of this story, only sex involving both of the main characters will be fully described — and that doesn’t start until the end of the chapter and will build gradually in later installments. If you’re looking for something that gets right to the nitty gritty, look elsewhere.

That Damned Blessing, Chapter One

In Which One Is Saved and Two Are Lost

Day One

Ryan McCullen ran along the beach, following sandaled footprints in the wet sand. The prints were small, even dainty, but they marked a stride that was surprisingly long. He knew the feet that made the prints and the legs that made the stride, and he liked both very much — but of course, what he was after was neither feet nor legs, but what was in between. And because the prints were made by a fleeing girl who was not actually trying to get away, he knew he would have it soon.

To his right the waves of the South Pacific swept in on a long arc that made up a gorgeous bay lined by green hills; out past the breakers he could see, just barely, the low shapes of four other small islands that were part of the island nation of Ranu Ratu. The country was made up of eighty-two islands, mostly tiny uninhabited rocks, dotted over four thousand square miles of ocean. He’d only ever been on Ranura, the largest island of the group, and as far as he could tell it was the only island worth visiting unless you liked looking at fishermen and jungle.

Ryan preferred looking at other things, like the girl who made these footprints.

The beach, normally pristine, was scattered with debris from the tropical storm that had struck the day before and had swatted the island with sheets of rain and gales for almost eighteen hours. At the other end of the beach from the hotel was a little collection of fishermen’s huts; a hundred yards before it the footprints veered inland, up over the sand ridge that marked the edge of the beach. The ridge was topped with brush, and he knew that right over the hill was an unpaved road that ran parallel to the sea, and then past that was jungle — or at least it looked like jungle to an eighteen-year-old kid who’d never been more than a few hundred miles from home before. In reality it was a narrow strip of thoroughly tamed forest that set off the road from a plantation of guava and papaya orchards. He crossed the road in two long strides and vaulted a rail fence. He looked left and right and then down at the ground, but his prey had seemingly vanished.

Well, she did like her games.

It wasn’t even nine in the morning yet, but already the heat was turning puddles and even the damp from the ground into steam. He stepped into the shade of the trees, and while the fact that he was no longer taking tropical sun to his skin made him feel cooler, those same trees blocked the breeze so that the humidity immediately became oppressive, plastering his unbuttoned blue cotton shirt to his back with sweat.

He looked left and right again but saw nothing but trees and undergrowth. “Lexy,” he called softly, playfully. “Come out, come out, wherever you are.” No response came except for the sound of a distant engine from somewhere in the orchards ahead. “Lexy? I bet you’re…behind this tree!”

She was not behind the tree, nor the next one, nor the next, and he was starting to get a little irritated until he heard a giggle from the road behind him. He turned and there she was: lithe and long-legged, clad in a very scanty blue bikini and a gauzy white beach shirt, her long, raven hair pulled back into a simple pony-tail, the gold stud in her left nostril glittering in the sunlight. She was looking at him over the top of a pair of Ace &Tate sunglasses that perched on the end of her pert nose, her full lips quirked in a smart-ass grin, and she stood with her hand on her insolently-cocked hip. “You really do look ridiculous, you know, investigating every tree in the forest.”

He smiled, as he always did when he heard Lexy speak. She was from Spain but she spoke English impeccably, and with a posh English accent that drove him nuts. Alejandra Garza was the daughter of one of her father’s coworkers on the resort project; Lexy, her mom, and her little sister were here visiting her dad, just like Ryan and his family were visiting his dad. He’d met her on the day he arrived on the island, three weeks ago; they’d fucked the day after that and every day since except when her period pains had killed her mood. Neither of them had the slightest illusion about this little romance bursa escort being anything other than physical, or of it lasting past the McCullens’ departure in ten days, but by God it was a lot of fun while it lasted.

“How long have you been standing there watching me make an idiot out of myself?” he asked, walking toward her.

“For the entire time you were making an idiot of yourself,” she chuckled. “But you make a handsome idiot.”

He put his hands on her coltish hips and grinned down at her. At six feet, two inches, he had eight inches on her, and she could comfortably tuck her head under his chin when they danced. His swimmer’s build was powerful without being massive, and he could pick her up with one arm around her waist when he was of a mind. Right now, though, he was minded of something else, as he showed when he leaned in and put his lips on hers. His kiss was hungry and she returned it in kind, and in a moment their tongues were tangled and their breathing heavy, as tended to happen whenever two bundles of teenage hormones collided.

Her delicate, long-fingered hands rested lightly on his shoulders at first, but they did not stay there. She began to move them down his arms and back up, down and back, making his skin prickle in their wake. How does she do that? he wondered. The girls back in Milwaukee couldn’t do that! Apparently it was true what they said about European women.

He cupped her breasts through her electric blue bikini top, feeling it fill his palm. Her boobs weren’t big — they didn’t overflow his large hand — but they were firm and perky and sweet, tipped with dark nipples that got so wonderfully hard and sensitive when he touched them like he was doing now. Lexy gave a little whimper into his mouth, a very happy sound, as he pinched her buds gently.

She was quivering against him, sliding a tanned leg between his powerful thighs and pressing her hips to his. He had already had a chubby from the moment he saw her, but the heat and pressure from her body made him spring almost violently to full staff. Lexy felt it and giggled against his lips. “That feels very hard,” she whispered. “You probably ought to find someone to take care of it for you.”

“I had someone in mind,” he replied, squeezing her small ass. Her bikini bottoms were a g-string, so he had warm flesh in his hands.

She nibbled his lower lip and slipped a hand between his legs to cup his balls through his swimsuit. “Mmmm, then you probably ought to go find her. I should think you’d want relief straightaway.”

Ryan’s hand moved a bit lower. He pulled aside the string and ran two fingers along her shaved slit, already damp with arousal. The feel of her softness and slickness made his cock twitch. “She’s close,” he told her, bending to nibble her neck. “Very close, in fact.”

“She’s a lucky girl, then, whomever she is,” Lexy sighed, wrapping her hand around his hardness and gently and slowly rubbing the cloth of his suit against it. “But are you certain she wants it as well?”

He slid a single finger effortlessly between her folds and inside. She was as wet as she was tight, and her muscles clamped down on the invading digit as a gasp escaped her lips. “I’m no expert, but I think she’s interested.”

“Then it would be a crime to keep her waiting,” she said huskily as she took his hand and headed for the trees. He lifted her over the fence and then followed, pulling her just far enough into the trees that they couldn’t be seen from the road. Suddenly they were tugging at each other’s clothes, pushing them down or aside in their haste rather than stripping. When she pushed his trunks down to his thighs and finally wrapped her fingers around his shaft for real, she sighed, “Ahh, fourteen centimeters of joy…”

Ryan liked that. Fourteen centimeters sounded much more impressive than five-and-a-half inches. It wasn’t as though he felt bad about his cock — it was about average, and since he’d just turned eighteen a few months before, he might actually get another inch before it stopped growing. Besides, Lexy wasn’t complaining, and neither had the couple of girls he’d dated back home.

Being teenagers, neither one was in the mood for waiting or foreplay. She crouched in front of him, looking up at him with those enormous brown eyes that made his heart stand still, and fished a foil wrapper from the pocket of her beach shirt. She tore it open, slipped the condom into her mouth, and then leaned in to put it on.

“Ohhh Lexy,” he moaned as her lips made contact. “You sweet, dirty girl.”

At the moment Lexy put her lips around Ryan’s cock, a mile away in a dim hotel room, Jess McCullen was climbing off of one. It slipped out of her with a queef that made her and the man she was atop both chuckle, and a trickle of cum ran out of her body and onto his belly. She clambered off the bed, stood up next to it, and whimpered, “Damn, my thigh muscles!”

The man in the bed, her husband Paul, grinned. “Well you were giving them a real workout.”

“Ugh. This was a lot easier twenty years ago,” she muttered bursa escort bayan with mock irritation. “Even five years. I don’t remember long muscle cramps during sex when I was forty.”

“Well, it was worth it.”

“For you!” she said, eyeing him with a playfully baleful expression. “All you had to do was lie there while I, the frail woman, did all the work.”

“Frail my ass, you were riding me like I was a roller coaster. And last night all you had to do was lie on your back while I got the workout.”

“God bless whoever invented the missionary position!” she grinned as she moved toward the shower, waddling to as not to spray evidence of their lovemaking around the room for the cleaning staff to deal with — especially because the cleaning staff was indifferent in their interest and effectiveness. The room sometimes went a few days without a decent cleaning, and she didn’t want to have to look at cum spots on the floor for half a week.

Paul joined her in the shower a few moments later. It wasn’t just a romantic gesture, it was a practical one too — the hotel was old and run down and the boilers worked intermittently, so it was wisest to share showers while the hot water lasted. He took the soap and began to wash the back he knew so intimately from two decades of marriage. After a few moments of scrubbing, he asked, “What are your plans for the day?”

“I was going to find out if the road up to the summit of the volcano was clear enough to drive after the storm,” she told him, holding her ginger hair up and out of the way. “I thought maybe the kids would want to go on a little sightseeing trip.”

His hands traced a practiced route across her back. “That sounds fun, if any of the bridges over the river are still there.”

“Mmm, that feels nice. I’ll have to do the driving, since I don’t think either of the kids can handle a stick.”

“Your stick-handling abilities are unparalleled.”

She laughed. “Pervert.”

“I’ll tell them at the desk you want to reserve a jeep so they don’t lend them all out.” The hotel had a fleet of three jeeps for guest use; on some days, they were all gone by nine in the morning, and at other times they might go unused for a week. There was no telling. “Hey, can you do me? I have to run to the meeting in a few minutes.”

They turned and she took the soap and began washing him. Paul had really held up marvelously. Oh he wasn’t the strapping young man she’d fallen head over heels for in college, but he was still vigorous and fit, and if anything he was more handsome now than he had been when he was the foxy architectural engineering grad student who’d pursued and caught her. Salt-and-pepper hair suited him, and years spent on job sites had imparted a rugged masculinity to a face that had been, if anything, too pretty before.

Shaking herself from her momentary reverie, Jess asked, “Did the storm do any damage to the construction?”

“The text I got said it blew some things around and filled up the foundation with water, but we’re pumping it out. We shouldn’t lose more than half a day.”

“Good. The sooner you finish here, the sooner we can get you back home where you belong. We need you there, you know? And no, I’m not complaining, I know this was the chance of a lifetime.”

It had been, too. Back in Milwaukee, Paul had been a noted architect but not famous and definitely not wealthy. He had never lacked for work, and the hotels and resorts he had designed had been excellent, but they had also been small. Acclaim had passed him by…

And then the remote, poverty-stricken, backwards Pacific archipelago nation of Ranu Ratu had discovered that the extinct volcano that made up one of their remotest islands was filled with big, beautiful, and very valuable gemstones. Foreign companies had come pounding on their door expecting to buy the government with bribes the way they did every other Third World country, but the rulers of Ranu Ratu were smart. The deal they negotiated was making money flow into their sovereign wealth fund in torrents, and they were using it to develop their land. A new airport, hospitals, schools, electricity, water, internet, investment in locally-owned enterprises — Ran Ratu was going to do it right.

The centerpiece of that right-doing was going to be a massive resort and casino that would take advantage of the splendid natural environment to create a first-class tourist destination. They put out a call for proposals. Every major resort architectural firm in the world had submitted their sketches — and so had Paul McCullen, noted but very unfamous architect from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

And to everyone’s amazement, Paul’s not least, Paul won.

And that was why he had left his family six months ago and come to this remote speck of land in the empty desert vastness of the Pacific Ocean. It was a make-or-break opportunity for him and he needed to stick the landing with both feet. And if he did? Well, the sky was the limit, really.

But that didn’t mean it wasn’t hard for his wife. Jessica — Jess to escort bursa everyone since she was a girl — missed him with a bone-deep ache that was the first thing she felt in the morning and the last thing she felt at night. She missed the way Paul would wrap her arms around her from behind when she was picking out her clothes for the next day, the way he would sometimes show up unannounced at her office with flowers and take her to lunch, the way he could scoop all five-foot-eight of her off the floor like she weighed nothing and kiss her in a manner that took her breath away even after all these years. She missed washing his clothes, she missed eating the meals he cooked, she missed cuddling and watching Netflix at the end of a long day. She missed the sex. Christ, she even missed his snoring.

And it wasn’t just her that missed him. Their daughter Kim was 21 and in college, living in her own apartment with three other girls, so she was weathering it alright. Ryan, though, was another matter. Their son had always been closer to Paul than to her, a fact that she sometimes envied but never regretted. Paul had left two months before Ryan’s 18th birthday, and he had missed so much of that vital time in Ryan’s life. A child only became an adult once, and Paul hadn’t been there for it. And more than that, it was hard to run a house by herself, raise a son by herself, still be a significant presence in her daughter’s life, work full time at a demanding job, and maintain enough social contact to avoid going crazy. Everything was easier when Paul was there.

“– wives tonight?”

Jess was snapped out of her musings by Paul’s voice. She looked up at him with a sheepish smile. “I missed that. What?”

He grinned and caressed the side of her face with the backs of his fingers. “I was wondering if you were planning to get back in time to have dinner with the other wives tonight?”

“Oh.” Jess was not the only wife of a crew member to take advantage of summer to visit her husband. Eight other junior architects and engineers had brought their families out to visit them, not to mention that two of the construction engineers had simply moved their young families to Ranu Ratu for the eighteen-month duration of the construction projects. The women of those families had formed an informal clique called Der Frauen-Trinkclub — the name was German for “Wives’ Drinking Club,” and had been given to the group by Erika Ritschel, the gorgeous blonde spouse of Karl, an engineer from Hamburg. In fact, the government here had cherry-picked some of the best and brightest young design and construction talent from around the world and brought them to build the hotel. Paul said it was the most exciting environment he’d ever worked in. “Yes, I guess so. I was going to take a picnic lunch to eat with the kids, but we ought to be back in plenty of time for dinner.”

Paul dressed quickly. One of the benefits of this particular job site was that the dress code was quite informal. Given the tropical setting of the island, Paul (and almost everyone else) eschewed coats and ties for light, airy, summery things. Today he sported a light blue short-sleeved cotton shirt and a pair of cotton work pants, topped off with the tan safari hat that had become his trademark during his time on the island. He kissed his wife goodbye, lingering long enough to make it clear that he’d rather not go at all, and then left.

And left Jess alone with her thoughts once more, and immediately she was back in a mood She wasn’t sure why she had suddenly gone all pensive — until she caught her naked reflection in the full-length mirror on the back of the door. She hadn’t dressed when Paul had, instead focusing on getting him out the door on time. Her reflection told her all she needed to know. “Well,” she said after a moment, “shit.”

Who the hell was that fat, dumpy old woman looking back at her?

She stepped up to the mirror and regarded her image with a frown. What a mess. Oh, things didn’t start out terribly if you began at the top. Her naturally red hair was still lustrous and vibrant, hanging straight to past her shoulders. She had never loved being a ginger. She’d been teased mercilessly as a kid and she’d had to avoid the sun her whole life. If given her druthers, she would have chosen dark brunette hair with a natural wave, but she had a ginger’s complexion with the rampant freckles that went with it and dying her hair had just made her look stupid the few times she’d tried it. Still,even if it wasn’t what she’d always wanted, she had to admit that what she had wasn’t bad.

Her face was still alright — clearly her best feature now, though it didn’t used to be. Her cheekbones were high and wide and her chin was narrow, making a triangular face that was still mostly unlined — unlined enough, anyway, that with the right makeup (and at her age she barely went to the bathroom without makeup) and the right light, she could pass for late 20s as long as nobody looked below the neck. She did love her large eyes, such a dark green that people often mistook them for brown unless they looked closely enough. Her nose was still sexy, and if her lips had lost much of the fullness of youth, she still liked their shape. Her neck was a little dicier, but it was still long and graceful. So far, so good.

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