I can feel her eyes on me as I accompany the stranger around the corner, and even though we’re out of her sight at this point, it seems like I can still feel them. Probably because I know her thoughts have followed us. Well, my thoughts are with her too; she just doesn’t know it. She doesn’t understand why I’m doing this, either. I’m not going to tell her. I never do.

As we get started, I set up a close watch over his shoulder on the street both directions. Not that there’s much I could do if some threat appeared — I’ve never been able to afford a gun, and I’m not in much of a position to run away — but it’s just common courtesy to keep lookout for someone who’s busy inside you with his back to possible danger.

Of course most people coming this direction are heading for the break anyway, and don’t give us more than the initial glance. There’s always random sex going on near where a water pipe has broken; it’s only natural that all the skin-baring and unusual cleanliness involved is going to make someone horny. I should know — no, not because I usually end up on the receiving end like this, but because my buddies and I have no fixed territory and always head for water pipe breaks when we hear about them. What can I say? We like bathing; it’s weird; I know.

This guy’s a little distracting; it’s hard to maintain a decent watch. It’s an effort to keep quiet, too, when he turns out to be generous as well — but I make that effort and stay silent because even the best sex in the world couldn’t make up for what I’d feel if I had to look at her knowing she’d heard me moaning for someone else. I concentrate on the sound of rushing water just around the corner; on how nice it’s going to be to get washed up after this; on how lucky we were to get to the break before some asshole with a gun showed up, like they always do, to charge people to bathe or drink; and on anything else other than enjoying myself. Because she’s right over there, and I’m cruel but I’m not that cruel yet.

Right before bathing’s the best time to bottom for someone (if you plan to get off), especially if you travel with someone else you’d rather didn’t have to look at you all covered with stuff. I prefer top, but this guy’s not so bad, and it’s not like I wanted to do this anyway. He actually lasts a lot longer than I expected, for a street fuck, and the others are probably done and waiting for me by now. But that’s a good thing; it means she’ll have all her clothes on when we head back around the corner.

The guy’s panting as he pulls out, evidently quite pleased with the way this went. “What direction you headed?” he asks.

“We’re gonna find a Market,” I tell him as I fix my pants. And she’s going to throw me looks all the way there that I’m going to pretend I’m not aware of or disturbed by.

“That’s your gang over there?” He’s adjusting his belt on his hips, resettling his three pretty holstered guns.

“Only two of them. Dunno who the younger ones are.”

“None of ’em looked like much. Why don’t you forget yours and run with me for a while?”

Guess my ass is just that nice. And obviously he couldn’t tell that I only offered it because he had his eyes on hers. Well, and maybe a little because I did too. I’m pretty good, most of the time, pretending I don’t want her, even when she’s trying her best to get me to say it… but there’s only so many times you can watch a woman that beautiful bathing half-naked before you just can’t help reacting.

“No, thanks,” I answer, pondering the best way to stab him if he wants to insist. Not that I think I’d actually be able to — he seems really fast (sexual stamina notwithstanding), and is probably a lot better with those guns than I am with this chipped knife. Which was the whole reason I did this in the first place — if he’s going to insist on someone, it’s going to be me, not her.

But all the guy does is shrug. “Your loss. I’m gonna set up shop at the break here; figure you’ve bought yourself some time.”

I restrain a sigh. “We’re real close to an exit,” I warn him; “they’ll probably be Down to fix this one pretty quick.”

“Nothing I can’t handle,” he replies, patting one of his guns.

“You kill the repair team and they’ll sweep the sector,” I persist.

Another shrug. “I’ll be gone by then.”

Yeah, thanks for making life easier on the rest of us, pal. I’d kill him, but I’m still not sure I could manage it. So all I do is mimic his shrug and accompany him back around the corner toward the pipe break that is from now on (unless someone shows up with bigger, better, or more guns) effectively his.

So you see I’ve got a pretty normal life: screwed figuratively by a guy I just let screw me literally to keep him from screwing the woman I love that I won’t screw because I refuse to get her pregnant and condemn someone new to a pretty normal life like mine. Yep, that’s Downside. Might as well just called it “Screwed.”


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