Ride Home

Across the Street - A

"You know I haven't seen a car pull in or out of those driveways in like three weeks?" Sam gulped down his coffee, looking out the kitchen window. His wife of a year shrugged, using a lint brush on her workout pants.

"Well, we see the lights on a night quite a bit," Lena said, manually picking out a fuzzy white ball that refused to cooperate. "Sam, pleeeeze stop buying those cheap socks," she said. "They shed worse than a pet."

"Really, though, Lena--didn't he used to head to work around the same time as me?" Sam asked. "I remember seeing him get picked up and dropped off if he wasn't driving."

"Guess I haven't really noticed, Mrs. Kravitz," Lena laughed, "But if you see my husband, ask him to pick up bread on the way home?"

"Alright, alright," Sam chuckled, rinsing his coffee cup. "Smart ass." Sam goosed Lena, making her jump and swat at him. "Have a good day, darling."

"You too," Lena smirked. "Don't worry, I'll keep a close watch on the neighborhood for you."

"I'm serious!" He laughed. "I've not seen a soul enter or leave either of those houses since...the beginning of the month, at least. You should go borrow a cup of sugar or something."

"No one really does that, Sam," Lena scoffed. "When you don't see people, it's usually cause they wanna be left alone, don't you think?"

"Maybe," he shrugged, grabbing his briefcase. "Just seems odd to me. Guy's work schedule was like clockwork--and then nothing."

"Speaking of schedule..." Lena pointed to the kitchen clock.

"I know, I know..." Sam kissed her and grabbed his keys. "See you later, honey!"

"Don't forget: bread!" Lena shouted after him.

After Sam was gone, Lena was standing over the sink filling a watering can for the plants when she happened to see a front door across the street open.

"You see, Sam? Someone's still around," Lena muttered to herself. Still pretty new to the area, Lena didn't know much about the woman across the street--only that the mailbox said "S. Taylor" and that every time "S." Came out of her house, she was dressed like an office boss. This time, though...

"Ah, fleece pants and a hoodie," she joked. "Someone's playing hooky today." When the figure walked down the porch steps and onto the sidewalk toward the bagged paper in the lawn, Lena noticed something odd. She saw the slippers. She saw the fleece pants. But...

Lena jumped a bit, spilling some of the watering can on the counter.


By the time she grabbed a towel, and looked out the window again the figure was already back to the front door, walking inside. She couldn't have seen what she thought she saw, right?

She watched the figure bend over to grab the paper, and two things struck her. First, when the woman leaned down to reach the paper, Lena SWORE she could see right through the hoodie, through a gap in the hood and all the way through the back. If that weren't enough, an empty sleeve is all that seemed to reach for the paper, which floated up into the air with the sleeve again once the ghostly arm retracted.

She had to have been seeing things. All Sam's suspicions were putting weird thoughts in her head...or something.

* * *

"Mr. Samuel Garrity?" Said a voice over the phone. It was a smooth, rich voice he didn't recognize.

"Yeah, Sam speaking."

"This is Julia with the J'adore boutique--I'm just calling to confirm that your gift is ready to pick up any time this week." Sam's brow furrowed.

"I'm...sorry, who?"

"Julia, from J'adore?" That didn't sound familiar to Sam at all.

"Julia, uh--might you have the wrong party?"

"Mr. Samuel--uh, Sam Garrity?"

"Well, that's me, but--"

"1335 Belmont, White P--"

"Yeah, yeah, that's me too, but--listen, what gift?"

"Oh! I'm sorry, sir--this actually happens a lot. Did you sign up for gift registry services for your wedding?"

"Uh huh--but well over a year ago, and--"

"I can explain--you probably didn't uncheck the 'Complimentary 1st Anniversary gift pack' box when you signed up?"

"Listen, Julia--I'm sorry, but this is a sales call, right?"

"Oh, no sir. No, not at all. Your gift is wrapped and waiting. No payment required. It was all in the registry package that you and...Helena signed up for last spring." Sam covered the phone and took a deep breath.

"Julia, I have no idea what you're talking about, but one more time--and I want you to know this is a law office before you answer," Sam smiled, "This is not a sales call. Not a marketing call, not a commercial solicitation of any kind?"

"No sir," she said chuckling. "I'm sorry, I don't mean to laugh, Mr. Garrity, but the solicitation was all set and done a year ago, like you said. We just have a gift package waiting for you, and I wanted to let you know it's ready."

"You've got my address," Sam said. "You can't just send it to the house?"

"Well, this particular gift is for Helena, so we want to make sure it's not given prematurely." Sam rolled his eyes, smelling an upsale as soon as he walked into the boutique.

"Alright, okay--I already did the Anniversary shopping," he said. "I must have forgotten about this whole package thing,"

"Happens a lot, sir," she said. "No issue at all."

"So where are you located?"

"500 Hamilton Ave."

"Alright, and what time do you close?"


"Great--then I'll swing by after work. Promise me one more time you're not selling something."

"I can't promise we won't have something else you want for Helena, Mr. Garrity, but I promise that your package for pick up is already taken care of, and that no one here is going to pitch you." Punctuated with a short, polite laugh.

"You're a pro, Julia. I'll be by later."

"Have a great day, Mr. Garrity."

* * *

Lena couldn't get the sight out of her head. She'd seen the woman before--a curvy dark latina always dressed for the office. She didn't always leave early in the morning, her schedule seemed rather all over the place, but she'd never, ever seen her in pajamas.

"God, now who's the Gladys Kravitz?" Lena muttered.

Still, it was so uncanny--and too much strangeness in concert. No hands at the ends of the sleeves. No ankles between the slippers and the pants. Empty darkness inside the hood?  Lena stared at the measuring cup on her counter.

When she found herself walking up S. Taylor's driveway, she'd come up with something better than the old baking cliche--a broken lawnmower.  She even half-heartedly used the pull string in her front lawn to make a scene of it before wandering across the street.

She rang the doorbell and listened. She wore she heard a conversation taking place before the door opened, but maybe it was a TV? The door finally clicked open, but only a crack.

"Hello?" Said a voice from inside. Lena could see the elbow of a sweatshirt, but nothing else.

"Hi! Um--I'm Lena, from across the street. I'm sorry to bug you, but would you mind at all if I--"

"Lawnmower issues, right?" The voice said, a little sassy. Lena's face flushed.

"Yeah, that's right! I'm so bad with those things, and--"

"Nah, you're superwoman! I always see you out there busting your back. Did you want to borrow mine?"

"Oh, if you wouldn't mind, that would be great! Thank you so much!"

"No problem," the voice said. Lena still couldn't see anything more than that mid-sleeve.

"I'm sorry again for bugging you--you're not off sick today, are you?" Laughter behind the door.

"Oh, no--I'm just not presentable, I'm sorry. Don't mean to hide from you. But listen, the garage is open--go ahead and help yourself to whatever you need."

"Thanks, thanks again! And I'm sorry, but I didn't catch your name..."





"Well, hope you have better luck with my mower than you had with yours," Sheila said.

"Thanks, I'll get to it!" As the door closed again, Lena turned grudgingly to the garage. Not only did her neighbor hide behind the door the whole time, but now she had to go through with mowing the lawn just to cover her stupid story.

When she slid open the door,  a few things caught her eyes well before the mower did. First, there were two "portable closets" in the corner--hanging racks on caster wheels, stuffed full of outfits and covered in plastic. Second, there was no vehicle in the garage. She was sure Sheila had an SUV, but if she was home, and the car wasn't...

Lena's eyes went wide. On the short stairs leading from the door into the house were a pair of men's jeans, and briefs--draped up the stairs as if the man once wearing them simply vanished.

Weird, Lena thought, making her way to the lawnmower. Just as she began pulling it out of the corner, the house door clicked open behind her.

"Lena?" Once again, she only saw the door held ajar--but now the clothes on the stairs were gone. How did she grab them so quickly?


"Before you go out and cut your grass, you wanna have some coffee?" Now the door opened a bit wider, but she still didn't see the woman doing the opening.

"Sheila, I really wouldn't want to intrude--"

"Don't be silly. Come on, I feel awful that we haven't talked since you two moved in over there. No one talks in this nice neighborhood, actually...it's kind of a shame." Lena smirked. Now she could get the dish on both of these houses--and she was invited to.

"That'd be nice, actually," Lena said, heading to the door.

"Great! Lemme just throw myself together, I'll be right out." The voice faded from the door, even as it stayed open. When Lena walked in, she caught the blur of someone disappearing into the hall from the kitchen door. "Just help yourself to coffee," Sheila said from a couple rooms away.

The house was pristine. The kitchen counters and floors were gleaming, the bubbling and sputtering coffee pot looked new. Lena opened the cupboards above the coffee pot, finding mugs and plates. She pulled a mug out and opened the fridge.

A pint of cream was the only thing inside. Lena stared at it for a while, looking at the empty glass shelves and clean white walls. An empty fridge except for the cream? When she picked it up, she instinctively read the date.

"Should be good," said a voice behind her. "I just picked it up."  When Lena turned around, Sheila was in jeans and a tangerine turtleneck. Her curly, collar-length hair bounced around her face, subtly made up to accentuate her dark, creamy skin tone.

She was...flawless.

"Lena, nice to meet you face to face," Sheila said, giving her a warm smile. She held out her hand, and Lena shook it. She felt something like a hum--some strange resonant feeling tracing up her arm when she did.

"You too, Sheila. Did you, uh--did you just clean out your fridge?" Lena asked. Sheila laughed.

"Kind of a long story, but if you've got time..." Sheila pointed at the kitchen table, and chairs on either side pulled themselves out. Lena smiled a bit, bemused.

"Um -- whhhat was that?" She asked, pointing to the chair on her side.

"Same long story," Sheila said, sitting in one of the pulled-out chairs and crossing her legs. "Curious?" Sheila smiled, raising an eyebrow at Lena.

Suddenly Lena felt a fluttery feeling in her stomach, followed by the sensation of light pressure around her hips and butt. She drew a quick breath and looked down at her waist, then back up at Sheila's sly stare.

"Do you take sugar, Lena?" Sheila asked, her red lips punctuating every syllable. Lena swallowed hard and nodded, unsure of how to react to this strange situation. "Don't worry--I'll get it." She snapped her fingers, and a cupboard opened up, empty save for a small tin labeled SUGAR. Lena watched, frozen in place as the tin hovered out all on its own, floating between the two. Sheila started chuckling. "Have a seat, my darlings...she'll catch up in a minute."

"I--who--?" Lena tried to work out the words, but now she felt herself pulled forward by her legs. No, not her legs--her pants?!  "I--h-how...?"

"It's a secret," Sheila giggled, "but I'm gonna let you in on it if you want." Her golden brown eyes were fixed on Lena's lower half as her gym pants strutted her over to the chair and gracefully sat her down, apparently all by themselves. Her eyes were pulled back to the counter again, where her coffee cup met the hovering sugar tin.  "Oh, I'll get that from you, too," Sheila said, looking at the pint of cream in Lena's hand and sweeping a finger over to the center of the room.

The pint slipped from her hand and uncapped itself, putting a bit in her cup. Now a drawer slid open on its own, and a teaspoon bounced out, diving into the sugar just as the top of the tin popped open.

"One spoon?" Sheila asked.  Lena just looked at her, numbed from confusion.

"It's a dream," She said. "It's gotta be." Sheila sighed, shaking her head.

"It's always screamin' or dreamin' with you guys, isn't it?" Sheila asked. She nodded at the hovering sugar tin, and coffee cup, and the spoon carefully lifted out of the tin and swept into the mug. The cream and sugar each replaced themselves as the carafe hovered from its place and poured into the mug.

"S-screaming or dreaming?" Lena stuttered, watching the invisible service in the kitchen as the spoon stirred. The mug carefully hovered over and placed itself on a coaster in front of her, and Sheila finally spoke again.

"Uh-huh, screamin' or dreamin'. When you see something totally unexplainable, you either sound your fool heads off, or you jump right to thinking you're in a dream." Sheila shrugged. "The latter's more endearing, so I'm glad you're not a screamer," she chuckled.

"So..." Lena said slowly, staring at the coffee mug as if it could leap off the table at any time, "if I'm not dreaming...what's going on here?" She looked back up at Sheila, who seemed to be having a lot of fun with all this.

"Two neighbors having a chat!" Sheila said, laughing. Lena's reaction wasn't as light. "Oh, now that I've riled you up--and I'm sorry, I can't help myself sometimes--how do I get you back to Earth?" Sheila asked.

"Dunno if I'll be coming back to earth today," Lena said, almost in an aside to herself. "Sheila, how did you do all that? What's with the empty fridge? Why haven't I seen you outside at all in--weeks before today?"

"There we go, that's a start!" Sheila beamed. She looked down at Lena's mug. "It's safe, you know; it won't bite. I promise." Sheila laughed as Lena waved her hands around her mug, almost like she was searching for string.  She slowly picked up the mug and took a sip.

"Uh...thanks," she shrugged.

"My pleasure, darling," Sheila said. "Oh, I'm so glad you came over...see, we're pretty lonely over here, and for the time being, we've kinda got to stay put until we get the okay from the boss."

"We? Boss?"

"Hmm. What's the best way to do this?" Sheila turned to Lena, looking her right in the eyes. "Lena, if I told you there was a lot more going on in the world than most people know about, what would you say?"

"I guess I'd say that between that and the, uh--floating coffee--you've got my attention?" Lena broke a smile despite herself.

"Alright, I'll take it..." Sheila laughed. "Honey, in a sense, you're living across the street from the future."

"The future."

"Uh-huh," Sheila's eyes flashed. "But before I blow your mind any further with this kinda talk, I'm gonna ask--you sure you want to know more?" Lena's face scrunched. What kind of question was that?

"Would anyone really say 'no' at this point?" Lena asked.

"Okay...but you gotta promise to stay cool, alright?"

"Well, I dunno if--"

"Come on, you'll be okay. Sheila kept her cool. You'll be fine."

"Sheila?" Lena asked. "Aren't you..." Lena's jaw dropped as the woman sitting in front of her began fading out--first becoming slightly translucent, then downright see-through except for her clothes and the red lips apparently hovering over the empty collar of the turtleneck. "Oh my god...you're invisible!"

"Not...exactly," the disembodied lips said, slowly hovering forward over the table. Lena gasped, leaning back.


"Easy, honey--easy..." the lips cooed. "Watch behind me." Lena looked past the hovering lips as the well-filled orange turtleneck hovered up into the air, drifting to the middle of the kitchen. Lena looked up the tight top in awe, watching the sleeves and torso move as gracefully as if there was still a woman inside it. She looked back at the table, where the empty jeans stood from the chair.  A red thong hovered out of them and began dancing around the room, still filled to the shape of unseen hips and curved around a phantom crotch.

"Sheila, how is this possible?!" Lena asked, her eyes wide as she tried to keep track of the separate garments.

"Well, to start," The shiny red lips said, "I'm not really Sheila."  Lena stared at the plump, hovering lips, baffled by the effect.

"So...who are you?"

"We're of her," another voice said, coming from the direction of the bobbing red thong, "but she's not here. She actually hasn't been back in a few weeks--which is why we're so attention starved."

"I don't understand," Lena said. "So, the woman that lived here--the one that looked like she was right here a minute ago--where is she now?"

"Having the time of her life with another one of your neighbors," the lips said. Lena only had to give it a second of thought.

"You mean the guy next door?" She asked.

"Mm-hmm." The lips hovered away from her, and Lena's eyes followed the red thong as it slid back into the tight denim hips of the jeans. From there, the turtleneck settled back over the waist, and the lips took their place over the the collar once more. Once again, everything was assembled to look like a stacked invisible woman.

"So if they're gone...what are you?"

"We're her clothes, her house and her belongings, honey--kind of an extension of her attitudes and feelings, and kind of something else entirely." Lena shook her head.

"I don't....understand any of this," Lena said. "How do clothes move and talk on their own?" The outfit sauntered in front of the table, leaning down over it until the ends of the sleeves hovered just above the table.

"I'll make you a deal, Lena," Sheila's outfit said. "Keep me company, we'll find some ways to entertain ourselves, and I'll be happy to play Q&A with you for as long as you're willing to play with me." She found herself staring at the plump lips once more, following the motions bearing out every disembodied syllable. It was a bizarre, otherworldly sight--almost sensual, albeit in a very alien way.

"Um...okay," Lena said, the fluttery feeling returning again. "But when you say play..." The crimson lips curled into a wide smile that made Lena feel like she was being sized-up.

"I mean play," the lips said. "Why, does something specific come to your mind when I say it?" Lena blushed a bit as her mind sailed over the question. These were Sheila's things--so what would kind of things would a woman like Sheila mean if she used the word "play" in a context as odd as this? What kind of things would belongings play anyway?

"The way you move around, I'd guess maybe, like, dancing?" That seemed like a safe answer. Sheila's outfit jiggled with laughter coming from the floating lips.

"Yeah, in a manner of speaking..." the lips said as the outfit leaned closer. The voice became a soft, sexy growl. "I guess it depends on what kind of moves you're talking about." Lena looked down into the empty turtleneck, spotting the clasped band of a bra inside as the outfit leaned toward her.

"Well, what else do you do for fun?" Lena said nervously.

"Would you rather I show or tell?" Lena gasped as her chair slid clear of the table, carrying her right with it. The outfit began sauntering around her seat. When a tangerine sleeve extended toward her, she felt warm fingers against her cheek, teasing down her neck and over her shoulders as the outfit strode around her.

"Hey, hey..." Lena said with a nervous laugh. "We just met, you know?"

"You asked what else we do for fun," The voice said.  "Aren't you a little curious?" Lena's eyes rolled back as the soft fingers traced back up her neck and played over her ear.

"I'm--well, I don't really know what to think..." Lena said, flinching a little.

"So don't worry about thinking," the outfit said, doing a little spin and  falling back to land in Lena's lap. "Thinking's so inferior to feeling." Lena held herself against the back of the chair, watching as the empty jeans turned to straddle her legs.

It was such a strange feeling. The pressure on her lap was greater than the clothes, but not as much as she'd expect from an actual woman with the curves the outfit boasted. When the denim butt started to wiggle up her thighs, the back of the turtleneck arched, giving her another view inside it as well as the spread  ballooning from the front of the seamless tangerine top.

"What do you think?" She watched the inverted empty lips, floating in front of her. If she reached out above the empty collar, would her fingers run into an invisible head? If she reached out and grabbed the turtleneck, would it collapse like windblown laundry on a clothesline? "Well..." The lips said, "feeling playful yet?"

"I just...I mean, I guess I don't know what I'm supposed to do," Lena stuttered. The outfit slid higher and higher up her thighs until it was flush against her own hips, rocking and bouncing.  As she watched the lips and collar drift higher, she felt the pressure lift from her lap. Now the tight jeans were sliding up her stomach, playing over her chest until the denim ass was under her chin, shaking and bouncing like a pro.

"Well, you're allowed to use your hands," the outfit said. "This ain't a strip club." The outfit hovered away a bit, and now it simply hovered freely in front of her, wiggling the plumped hollow curves in mid-air.

"So you want me to feel you up?" Lena asked, staring at the rear of the jeans. Suddenly the outfit turned a 180, and now the crotch of the jeans was directed right at her gaze.

"You sure know how to make it sound silly," The lips said. Was that impatience in the voice? The outfit stopped gyrating and simply held itself aloft before her.

"I'm sorry, it's just -- you are clothes, right?" Lena asked. "What would you get from it?" The outfit hovered down toward the ground again, straightening into a standing position as the sleeves seemed to rest a few inches from the hips. The stance was almost accusatory.

"You asked what else we do for fun," The lips said. "We play." The outfit strutted into the kitchen and turned around. "We play in all sorts of ways -- usually whether our playmates want to or not." Lena nervously leaned to the table again, grabbing her coffee. Did this outfit just issue a threat to her?

"I--I'm sorry, I didn't mean to offend," Lena said, "But you have to understand this is kinda weird for me."

"Well, you're not as fun as Sheila, that's for sure." The outfit folded its sleeves over its chest. Lena gulped caffeine, shrinking from the haunted outfit.  The mood had shifted a bit, and whatever this entity was, she had a feeling she really didn't want to piss it off.

"I'm sorry..." Lena said. "Maybe it's because you were her clothes, and--"

"Ohhhhh!" The outfit exclaimed, turning back to her as the red lips smiled wide again. "Is that it? Maybe we should bring some of your lovelies over here to play...or we could always head to your house." A thought ran through Lena's head about inviting a supernatural entity into one's abode.

"Um, well..." The outfit sauntered back to Lena's chair, standing over her with its sleeves on its hips.

"Listen, girlie," The lips said. "You know our secret now." The outfit hovered back into the air, crossing its legs. An orange sleeve pointed at Lena, and she quickly grabbed the wooden seat of the chair as she felt it lift right off the ground with her still in it. "You know what else?"

"Wh-what?" Lena asked.

"I know your lawnmower's just fine." Lena heard an unseen *snap* from the end of the other orange sleeve, and a whirring, mechanical noise could be heard across the street as Sheila's kitchen window opened.  Lena gasped as her chair hovered toward the window, showing her push mower beginning to do the job all on its own.

"You're just -- what if people see that?!" Lena asked.

"People will think you've got a haunted yard," The outfit laughed, "or that you and your beau are way, way ahead of the Joneses when it comes to landscaping technology."

Lena watched, her knuckles gripping the chair going white as she witnessed her lawnmower faithfully turning row by row and clipping her yard. The chair turned back to the kitchen, and the outfit tapped an empty slipper on the floor.

"You just haaaaaad to know what was going on over here, Miss Helena...and I was nice enough to oblige your curiosity." Lena didn't know what to say. Diplomacy wasn't exactly easy without reading a face--but the outfit's body language said the mood was shifting quite a bit.

"So--what are you going to do with me?" Lena asked. An orange sleeve waved at her chair, and she drifted to the ground with some speed, feeling the bump when the legs hit the floor.

"Listen, honey -- there's no malice here ...but we've gotten pretty bored and frustrated playing with ourselves for the last few weeks. I thought we had a deal, didn't we?" Lena looked around.

"Play with you -- and you'll answer more questions?" Lena moused.

"Play with me, and answering questions will be the least of what you get from me," The outfit said, purring the words again.  "I may not have eyes, honey, but I can still see the way you've been looking at this body." The outfit walked behind her, and Lena felt invisible hands rest on her shoulders.

When she looked to her side, she could see the empty sleeve moving slowly as unseen fingers churned over her collar and neck. It felt good enough that Lena relaxed a bit, going with the flow of the magical touch.

"So what is it that's making you uncomfortable?" The outfit asked. "Is it the sight of me filling out my curves without a body to help me do it… or is it that a woman's coming on to you?" Lena's eyes narrowed closed as she stretched her neck, letting the enchanted massage take its course.

"A little of both?" Lena said candidly. "I don't really have any sort of metric for something like this. Like I said, you have to understand -- it's a little strange."

"You're liking this though," The outfit said, working deeper into her shoulders and back.

"Mm-hmm..." Lena said, stretching her back as the fingers continued.

"Well then, here's how we'll play," The outfit said. "I'm going to kick it up a notch, and you're going to let me know how you're doing. How does that sound?"

"That sounds--okay..." Lena said.

"Mmm...that's my girl." The hands worked higher and higher on her neck. Soon the fingers were slipping into her hairline and massaging her scalp a before pulling gently through Lena's sandy-colored locks. The fingertips came back to her cheeks, sweeping her hair over her ears and massaging her scalp.

"That's--really nice, actually," Lena said, giggling a little as she closed her eyes. "Your fingers are so soft."

"Every part of me's soft," Came a whisper in her ear, "but sometimes I like to go a little farther than gentle," the voice hissed. Lena blushed a bit, unable to hold back a smile.

"You really use that whisper to maximum effect, don't you?" Lena whispered back. The voice simply giggled in response, still massaging her scalp and playing with her hair.

"I could do one better," the voice said. "When you're like me--talking doesn't necessarily have to occupy my lips. So I could do something like this..." Lena felt her hair gathered up behind her, and the next thing she knew, she felt something soft and moist against her collar, squeezing against her skin.

"Oh....!" Lena squirmed a bit as she felt the smack of a kiss on her lower neck. Invisible fingers kept brushing back her hair as another kiss was pressed against her, and another, continuing up her back and just under her ear. "Mmm...." Lena shuddered, her toes curling inside her sneakers as the kissing continued.

"...and while I keep that going, I can tell you how lovely it is to watch that luscious smile of yours respond to all this attention." Even as the voice spoke the kissing continued, down the back of her neck and over her shoulder. "And do I see those toes wiggling?" The voice asked. Lena sighed as the lips gently kissed her earlobe, pressing it between them and sucking just a bit.

"Unnnghhh..." Lena's fingers were locked against the seat of the chair, gripping it hard as she squirmed through the invisible affection.

"I take that to mean you're doing well," the voice said. Lena simply nodded. "Then maybe another notch?"

The invisible fingers slipped down Lena's shoulders and over her back, moving under her arms and down her sides.  She looked down to see the fabric of her tee shift around her breasts. She let out a little gasp as she felt the softest teasing pressure glide over the swell in the shirt, making her nipples stand at attention even through the fabric of her bra.

Lena bit her lip, looking down at herself as gentle fingertips began to sink in, creating moving ridges of negative space against her breasts. She couldn't deny that she liked how it felt--but how much was too much? She wondered if letting this happen without resistance would come back to bite her later on, but oh--the way those fingertips worked...

"Oh! Mmmmmm..." Lena's back arched with the motions of the ghostly fondling, and a quiet giggle fell over her ears as the tiny kisses on her neck began anew.

"My goodness," The voice said. "All that fuss earlier over what?" Lena responded somewhere between soft laughter and short moans before she could pull herself together enough to form words.

"Gawwwwd...you've done this--before," Lena pushed out.

"Of course I have," The voice said. "We belonged to Sheila, remember?" Lena nodded.

"Harder," Lena, looking down at her chest. "You can grab them harder if you want." The voice laughed again as Lena's tits were compressed by ten very clear sets of indentations, pushing them together and grabbing them tightly as Lena let out another moan. "Unnnnhh...what else have you done with Sheila?" Lena asked, smirking.

"Oh, so now she's adventurous," the voice whispered into her ear.

"I've--oh, I've never been touched like this," Lena said. "Not by anyone."

"Well, flattery has definite rewards with creatures like me, darling, so keep it up."

Lena was lost in the impossible sensations. Thoughts of submission, awe, and pleasure were running through her mind, and moment by moment, hypothetical risks were replaced by infinite possibilities.

"What do you get from this kind of activity?" Lena breathed between sounds of pleasure. "From me, I mean?"

"Right now, you're giving me everything I need," the voice said. "Those little noises and sighs you make--those tiny electrical charges moving through your skin--they're honey to me."

"Mmmm--so...what about Sheila?"

"What about her? Well, she's on a long vacation with the guy next door, like I mentioned."

"But why do you have to wait here? If you can make yourself...mmmm--"

"The effect you saw earlier isn't exactly easy," The voice said. "It takes focus and...a bit more energy than even things like this..." Slowly, Lena felt her body weight less and less against the wooden chair, and as her fingers let go of the seat, she felt a floaty, disorienting drift.

Lena opened her eyes to see herself rising away from the table, over her chair and into the kitchen. She felt the soft turtleneck against her back, the sleeves moving against her sides as the invisible hands kept teasing and playing with her chest.

"It's...it's totally unreal," Lena said, panting the words now.  "I'm flying...I'm fucking flying!" One of the sleeves pointed at her chest moved lower, taking the invisible fingers with it. She felt pressure against her stomach, moving down to her hip and playing along the waist of her pants. She looked down again, panting as the button of her jeans seemed to undo itself. Lena grinned, anxious to see what happened next.

"Tell me, Lena, that husband of yours--how's he going to feel about all this?"

"Mmm...who?" Lena joked. It was all too much. This still had to be a dream she was about to wake up from. "Sam wouldn't believe me if I told him," she laughed. "I mean...I still don't believe it." Lena was still staring down at her unbuttoned pants, waiting.

"Do you like how I play?" The voice asked.

"It feels...like something I could probably get used to," Lena purred. "But where did you come from? How do you do these things?"

"I could tell you, but I bet you wouldn't even hear the answer if I started doing this..." An orange sleeve wrapped around her waist, the invisible fingertips crossing over her chest and grabbing hold her once more. Lena moaned as she watched the other sleeve, pointed at her zipper. It crawled down the interlocking metal teeth, and as her jeans peeled open, she felt fingers slip between the denim and her green satin panties. Lena looked over her shoulder.

"Let me see you." The hovering Lena turned a 180, and now the outfit was right in front of her, complete with glossy, plump lips. She wrapped her arms around the waist of the turtleneck, looking down at the hollow curves and back up at the lips.

"Hmmm, that's an almost predatory look, my dear." The lips didn't move when the voice spoke. This time, they just hovered, smiling. The orange sleeves draped over her shoulders, but she could still feel her panties playing against her sex as if there were still fingers manipulating them.

"It's sooo goooood," Lena purred. "It's addictively good." Lena slid her own hands up the sides of the turtleneck, tracing her fingertips over the tight orange orbs. She felt like such a slut, groping and being groped by something she didn't understand. Her critical faculties were completely shattered, and of her animal impulses, there was only one thing firing in her mind. "Is it always this easy for you?" Lena smirked. The voice laughed.

"I wouldn't know personally," The voice said, "but if Sheila and her guy are indicators, I'm inclined to say yes." Lena's body was lighting up like a furnace. The force in Sheila's clothes could feel her arousal burning brighter and brighter, sending plumes of energy in every direction.  With the right kind of manipulation, she'd have Lena begging for playtime.

The unseen fingers slowly slipped from the satin panties, and Lena looked down again to see her pants rezip and button once more.

"You're--you're stopping now?" Lena asked. The voice laughed.

"Now that I know you're a good sport, we've got plenty of time to play," the voice said. "But if you really wanna see what I can do, I've got a couple little favors to ask...

* * *

Sam pulled up to the approximate address of J'Adore, between a closed thrift store and an empty location. Between the two retail spaces, there was a black door with a small slat near head level and an intercom. It wasn't until he got out of his car that he was able to read the tiny white lettering on the door.



"Location, location, location," Sam muttered to himself. "Walk-in traffic must be abysmal." He walked up to the door and pulled, finding it locked. He looked at the intercom, back at the bouncer door, and finally sighed. "You know what? Forget this." Sam turned back to his car when he heard the intercom click on.

"Mr. Garrity?" Well, if that wasn't the creepiest thing ever...

"Hello?" Sam turned back to the intercom, looking for a camera. There had to be one, but they had it hidden well.

"Sorry, Mr. Garrity--it's not the most welcoming space, but you can come right up." He heard the servo activate, buzzing as it held the lock open.

"Hey, hold up," Sam said, pressing the intercom button. There was no response, but the buzz was still holding. What was the deal with this place? Sam was nearly ready to walk away again when the door in front of him opened, and a well-dressed woman walked out, carrying a massive shopping bag.

"Sorry! I nearly ran you over."

"No, no--my fault," Sam chuckled. "I was just standing right in front of it." He grabbed the door before it shut again. "I wasn't even sure I found the right place." The woman turned and smiled at him, raising her eyebrows.

"Oh, you don't find J'Adore--J'Adore finds you," She winked. Sam gave her an uncertain smile, rolling his eyes when she kept walking.

"Pretty odd," he said under his breath, stepping inside and climbing a staircase. At the top was a stylish wooden sign with etched script reading J'ADORE. An arrow pointed him down the hall. Just as he was wondering how this retail space managed to attract any customers at all, he found himself at another door with a placard that read "J'ADORE:WE BRING THE BEST THINGS TO LIFE!"

Yeah, we got it, Sam thought. You're a super-special super-secret boutique. He was scoffing when he walked in door to find...

A waiting room.

Sam laughed aloud this time as he looked around. There were a couple of chairs, another door, and a service window.

"Hey, this is some business model you guys have, but..." Sam was jolted out of his wise-crack when he found himself looking through the glass of the service window at an empty, powder blue blouse. "But..."

"Mr. Garrity! Glad you could make it." The voice came from the other side of the glass for sure, but it couldn't have come from-- "Please have a seat, Patricia's on her way to help you."

"Um," Sam took his time looking at the blouse, trying his best to reason through the mad puppeteering that had to be happening beneath the desk. The fabric shifted and folded as if a real woman were wearing it, and most of all, the perfect, curving swell of the chest was--

Sam laughed in spite of himself.

"Listen, can you just skip to the part where the producer comes in and points out the hidden camera to me?" The collar seemed to shift to its side.

"Mr. Garrity?" He faintly read a nametag that read Julia.

"Julia?" He chuckled, shaking his head. "We spoke on the phone earlier?"

"Yes sir." The collar seemed to nod with the voice. "And yes, I promise Tricia won't try to sell you anything." A sweet laugh was coupled with the jiggling of the top in front of him.

"Julia--I can't see you," Sam said, staring at the collar and beguiled by the well-filled but somehow empty blouse. The blouse responded by lifting its sleeves part way, the collar turning back and forth as if the invisible woman inside was trying to see herself.

"Can't you? I thought I was pretty noticeable."  Sam's jaw practically dropped as he watched the curves in the blouse grow, swelling the fabric to capacity. The sleeves lifted up and seemed to smooth out the blouse without touching it, and now the shapely torso turned to him, almost posing behind the glass. "Well, Mr. Garrity--you're paying awfully close attention for someone who can't see me," Julia said.

"Invisible..." Sam managed. "I mean you're invisible. I see the blouse, but--" The inner door of the waiting room opened, and Sam jumped.

"Mr. Sam Garrity." It was a woman with chin-length black hair, a tight cream sweater and a black leather miniskirt. "Happy Anniversary."

"Uhmm," Sam looked back at the empty blouse with Julia's voice, then back at the woman in the door. "Can someone please tell me--"

"I can answer any questions you have if you come this way, Mr. Garrity." Her dangerous mauve lips curled into a smile as she directed him through the door. Sam looked at the service window again, staring at the busty phantom top.

"Seriously, this--"

"Serious Sam," the woman snickered. When he looked back at her, she motioned through the door with a nod. "Come on, this way."

Sam sneered, shaking his head. He took one last look at the empty blouse and turned back to the black-haired woman. "Okay," He said. "Alright, I'm playing along." He walked into the corridor, waiting for the woman to follow.

"I'm Tricia," The woman said, holding out her hand. Sam shook it.

"Sam--but you already know that for some reason," he said. “So before I get any further into a situation than my wife appreciate--”

“Lena’s going to love everything we have to offer, Sam.” Tricia led him into an office with a floor-to-ceiling pane of glass next to the door. “Have a seat.” The office was warmly decorated with company swag, snaps of Tricia and friends, a calendar…

Sam sat down.

Tricia sat behind her desk and pulled her chair to it, grinning and eyeing Sam like dinner. “She’s already given her permission, you know.”

Sam’s brow furrowed. He looked from the open office door and back to Tricia. “I’m sorry, what?”

“We’re going to send you home with Lena’s gifts--but you’re going to get yours here.”

“I don’t--” Sam started up out of his chair when the office door slammed and locked before his eyes. He watched the bolt turn over on its own, and somehow he knew--like a bad dream--that it wasn’t going to unlock again.

“Are you going to cooperate with me now, Mr. Garrity? Or am I going to have to get Julia to sweet talk you again?”