As soon as she saw the bird fluttering around the lab, she knew she’d consumed some of Walter’s “special” Red Vines.
More specifically, she had absorbed some of the LSD off of Walter’s “special” Red Vines into her skin when she was cleaning up around the lab.
Things darted in and out of view in the corner of her eye.
Maybe it was a butterfly. But it did look like it had a beak.
The hedgehog snuffling around the lab bench was also quite distracting. She tried to catch it and broke a tray of test tubes in the process.
“What on earth?” Walter came out of his back room when he heard the clatter and breaking glass. “Astrix, what have you done?”
Astrid looked up at him with wide eyes and buckling knees. “Walter,” she whispered. But she didn’t have to say any more. He could tell. Her eyes were huge and dark like a lioness about to pounce, and she quivered with the heightened sensation of every draft that came through the lab as it rifled the hair on her arms and neck.
“Oh, my dear,” he said. “You’ve been into the special Red Vines, haven’t you?”
“I wasn’t eating them, Walter. I was just moving them out of the way.”
“Yes. This particular variety of LSD is especially potent. You must have absorbed some through your skin.”
Astrid raised her hand in front of her face and wiggled her fingers. Streaks of light shone from them. “Betrayers,” she hissed at her hand as she got lost in the whorls of her fingertips.
“Well, we have no other choice than to ride it out.” Walter chuckled. “I take it that this will be your first trip?”
“Yes,” Astrid replied mournfully. “And please don’t look so happy about it.”
He rocked back and bounced on his heels, almost gleeful. He rubbed his hands together. “I was known as quite the spirit guide in my day. Now, there is nothing to fear. Just let your brain roam free.”
“I feel,” Astrid began.
“Ah, yes. The feelings will be enhanced and amplified in ways that seem unusual and absolutely natural all at once. Quite thrilling really.”
“No. I feel like I’m going to throw up.”
“Yes. That is also a part of this particular trip. Let’s get you into the washroom, dear.”
Walter put his arm around Astrid’s waist and took her hand in his. He led her to the bathroom, where she clutched the sink, staring at herself in the mirror. Her skin was glittering and her curls were floating up from her head as though she were underwater. She giggled. Walter got a cloth and put it under the cold tap. He pressed it to the nape of her neck and sighed. “There, there,” he murmured. His voice melted in her ears and felt like a puddle of warm honey. The nausea passed as she soaked in the coolness of the cloth and the warmth of his body so close to hers. “Feeling better?” Walter asked.
Astrid turned away from the sink and the mirror and looked up into Walter’s glimmering, green eyes. “Yes,” she whispered. “Talk to me some more. Your voice is so nice right now.”
“Very well. Shall we go into the back and sit on the couch? We can bring this bucket in case the urge to vomit returns.” Sweeter words had never been spoken to her. She smiled and let him lead her to the back room where they sat down together on the couch.
The warmth of Walter’s body next to hers was making her hot. She reached up to unbutton her blouse. Once it was unbuttoned, she peeled it off and revealed a bright pink camisole underneath.
“Feeling warm, my dear?” He asked, then continued before she could answer. “Perfectly normal. Your brain is attempting to regulate your bodily processes. You may also feel a bit chilly in a few moments. Nothing to worry about. Everything is just fine.”
“Mmmm hmmmm.” She snuggled up next to Walter and her bare arms felt mesmerized by the fuzz of his cardigan. She stroked his arm. For a while they sat, quietly.
“You stopped talking,” she said, and tipped her face up to look into his.
“Hmm? Oh, I suppose I was just luxuriating in the moment. I must admit, I’m getting almost a bit of a contact high from riding this with you.”
“Oh, look at that,” she gasped, reaching out into the room. “The fish are swimming!” She giggled and gestured towards the fish tank which gurgled across from them. A large blue fish started to swim at her face. “Oh!” She said and burrowed her face into Walter’s shoulder. “I don’t think I like that.”
“There, there my dear. Tell me about what is happening.”
“The fish was swimming at me. And all the lights are sort of. . . light and flickery.” She wiggled her fingers in front of her face again and watched the violet lines of light and color. “Flickery,” she repeated.
“Is there any chance you want to go out and take a peek at the formula and equation I was working on the board? With your brain so activated, you might find the missing variable.”
Astrid sat up a little and the dizziness crushed her back into Walter’s shoulder. “I think I just want to sit here for a while. How long does this last anyway?”
“The high should last anywhere from two to six hours, depending on how much of the drug was absorbed into your skin.”
“Well, you are just a little bit of a thing and I made those Red Vines fairly strong. So, I would say somewhere in the middle.”
“You’re so warm. Your voice is so warm,” she purred. She kneaded the material of his sweater with her fingers, like a big cat. They gazed at one another. “You know, it sounds silly, but I could get lost in your eyes. It’s like there are galaxies in there.” She raised her hands to his temples, caressing his face and and slipping her fingertips over the crinkles next to his eyes. “It is no wonder you were able to see alternate universes, Walter.”
He regarded her, with the tenderness and affection that he saved for her and her alone. Then something shifted. Astrid felt the earth jerk slightly underneath them, and she started in her skin. “Oh my!” She cried out.
Walter’s arms came around her. He kissed her cheek. He whispered all kinds of random, sweet things into her ear to calm her. His hands stroked her back and arms. Astrid relaxed in his embrace and wiggled to get even closer to him.
“Walter, I’m allergic to bees!”
“Don’t worry, there are no bees here.”
“Yes! They are flying all around. I don’t want to get stung!” She flailed her arms out trying to shoo them away from her.
“There are no bees, my dear Astrid. It is simply your mind buzzing away. Let’s think of something happier, shall we? Like butterflies? Or fairies? I always did like when the fairy folk came to visit with me. There now. Breathe deeply.” He stilled her arms and held her tightly to him. He covered her with his body, his arms wrapped around her, protecting her from the wonders and terrors of her psychoactive brain.
She felt a feverish column grow within her and it was as though the warmth of Walter’s body was possessing her own. He kissed her cheeks again and then she slid her face just enough so that when his lips landed again, they met with hers.
For a moment, they stayed like that, their lips pressed, warm and dry against one another. Each found the rhythm of the other’s breath until they were existing in unison.
“I believe if I hooked us up to the EKG machine right now, we would be sharing the same heart beat,” Walter sighed.
“Shhhh,” Astrid said. She licked his lips, urging them to part.
“My dear,” he said. He pushed her away and sat up straight. “I’m old enough to be your father. And you are stoned enough right now to, well, let’s just say, you are not in the proper disposition to be making decisions like this. I should hate to do anything you would regret.”
“How could I regret?”
“Well, in all honesty, I mixed this particular batch of acid with a variety of methylenedioxymethamphetamine, the normal effects of which are heightened physical sensation and sexual drive. So it is most likely not the real you that is feeling rather, uh, frisky right now, but the drug.”
Astrid ejected a tiny whimper from the back of her throat, but said nothing. She pulled Walter’s head back down until their lips were mashed together. He moaned as he allowed her tongue to open his mouth and deepen the kiss. She leaned back so that she was lying on the couch and pulled him on top of her.
“Hold me,” she said.
And he did.
“Kiss me,” she said.
And he did.
Even through the fog of lysergic acid diethylamide and Walter’s corduroy pants, she felt him thicken against her thigh.
Walter propped himself up on his elbows and said, “I think it is perhaps time for some antipsychotics and a gallon of water.”
“No,” she said and pushed her hips against him. He groaned.
“Oh, my dear, if you continue this, I won’t be able to help myself. Please. Allow me to go and take a cold shower and get you some water.”
Her response was to weave her fingers into his curls. They felt so soft under the pads of her fingers, those silly betrayers who sopped up a dose of acid and ecstasy from Walter’s candy. She nibbled at his ear, blew on his neck, pulled on his hair. He thrust his hips helplessly against her, groaning almost angrily as he devoured her mouth and wrapped his arms around her.
“Won’t it be awkward, my love, tomorrow? Or even a couple hours from now when your mind has cleared away the effects of the LSD?”
“Wouldn’t you know better than I?” She asked him. She caught his lips with hers. “I’ve never tripped before. So I don’t know what I will feel in a couple hours. I do know what I’ve felt for a very long time.”
“And what is that?”
“That you are this big, brilliant man and I spend every moment closer and closer to you. Wanting to be closer. I’ve wondered. . .” Her voice trailed off as she lost herself in the alternate universe of his eyes. She stroked his cheeks. “Please?” She whispered. She ran her hands down his back and wiggled them beneath his sweater. She pulled at his button down shirt to release it from the waistband of his pants and then found yet another layer of undershirt beneath. “So many layers,” she muttered in frustration, tugging at it.
“I think you’ll find that men of my generation are prone to wearing undershirts,” Walter muttered and pressed a kiss against her forehead. When Astrid’s hands finally found the skin of his back he sighed. “Oh, that does feel nice.”
“Kiss me more,” she begged and he was powerless to do anything but obey.
“You know, sex on LSD is an advanced undertaking,” he said. “I’ve tried to mitigate these effects with the MDMA, but it could get scary or uncomfortable. It might not even be pleasurable. For you. I’m certain it would be pleasurable for me, but I don’t want to take advantage.”
“Walter,” Astrid whispered. “I could never be scared of you. Or be scared with you. Not anymore. We know how to soothe each other. We know.” Her hands came back to his soft curls and pushed his head down into her cleavage. He moaned as he nipped and licked at her breasts. They both sat up for a moment to disrobe. Astrid plucked off her cami and bra and Walter shucked off his sweater, shirt and undershirt. Astrid started to make for the button on her pants, but Walter stopped her hand.
“Allow me. Please,” he cajoled. His fingers deftly relieved her of her pants and she stood before him in a pair of gray underpants, shivering slightly. “Oh, you are beautiful. But are you cold?”
“Not if you hold me,” Astrid said and Walter dispatched of his pants. “You don’t wear boxers?” She asked him.
“Not on Tuesdays,” he replied and wrapped his arms around her. They laid together on the couch and he pulled the old afghan over their bodies. Together they explored one another with curious fingers that felt liquid and solid all at once to Astrid. It was like his body was blending into hers, but she wasn’t afraid. When his fingers finally traversed the region between her legs he found her to be warm and wet. He stripped off her underpants. “Are you certain,” he asked her as he propped himself up on his elbows and planted a kiss on her chin.
“Yes,” she said without any hesitation. “Just hold me the whole time.”
“Of course,” he responded. He started to move down, as though he would kiss between her legs. But she pulled his head back up and kissed his lips.
“I just want you,” she said. “I just want to be together with you.”
She reached down and stroked him a few times. She hadn’t been with that many men, especially since starting at the Bureau. She’d never been with a man as old as Walter, or as freakishly brilliant. While he wasn’t handsome in the conventional sense, he was alluring to her and had been for some time.
Plus she was disoriented from being high as a kite on Walter’s home brewed acid.
He seemed to throb in her hand to the rhythm of her heart and she knew it was the right thing to be with him. She positioned him and then moved her hand away to place it on the warmth of his back. He hovered there for a long moment, or moments, or hours, and kissed her, until the desire to feel him deeper was almost excruciating to Astrid. She pushed her hips up off the couch to take him in and wrapped her legs around his waist to pull him down into and against her.
She closed her eyes, and as they moved together in unison, the motion created patterns and textures of light in her mind. At times it was blinding. In other moments it was a muted, moving plaid. The circling of their hips created swirls and whirls behind her eyes, like the patterns of her fingerprints.
It felt electric.
It felt like swimming, like she and Walter were dolphins, swimming along in one skin.
It felt like she was made entirely of velvet.
It felt like dozens of different things all at once.
Time flipped over and bended and then wriggled with scalloped edges like a giant tongue. That giant tongue was Walter and he was lapping at her entire body with his entire body. It felt hot and wet with a delicate friction that was incredibly pleasant to every nerve in her being.
She heard whispers and realized he was alternately kissing her neck and speaking to her. “I want to quote poetry to you, my dear,” he said. “But this is far more lovely than any poem, and ahhhh, ohhh, the words simply escape me.”
She did not know then, nor would she ever know for how long their bodies moved as such, entangled together. She finished first, clinging to him with her arms and legs, gasping with a tongue suddenly so dry she searched for his mouth that his kiss might wet her own parched lips. It did not only that, but gave Walter the final titillation he needed to come spilling into her, moaning repeatedly with each pulsation in a song similar to that of a whale.
“Walter? Did we get a hedgehog?” Astrid asked as they cuddled under the afghan.
“No. But I will get you one if you like.” Walter murmured.
“That’s okay. I was just wondering.” She nestled her head against his shoulder. “I’m so thirsty.”
“Shall I get you some water now?”
“That would be nice.” She said and watched as he scampered off through the lab, completely naked, and happy as a lemur, to fetch her a drink.