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Starr Chichester stopped on the narrow staircase, abruptly, and smiled. For perhaps the first time in her life, certainly the first time since she was a girl, the tatty poster on the concrete wall caught her attention. There were so many of these posters about, all of them variations on a theme, and they had been in place for so many years now, that they tended to blur into the background. Virtually every bare wall, light-post and community noticeboard still carried at least one of them –although the electronic monitors and screens had given up the advertisements on the subject long since. Everyone thought them redundant. The sole reason the posters themselves survived was that no one could be bothered to remove them. This particular one read: "A Proven Health Risk," and some hand, most probably feminine, had sketched a pair of hornrimmed glasses and dotted in two crossed eyes over the stylized testicles adjoined to the threateningly erect penis.

Chuckling, and wondering idly how many years had elapsed since the vandalism, Starr reached out and traced a long vertical tear in the poster. Of course she should report him. It was a simple enough matter to do. One press of the correct icon, in any public booth. The "Ministry Of Health And The Family" would follow up sharpish and no mistake. She could do it anonymously.

But it had been fun, such fun...

Right up to the moment of revelation, as it were, she had been perplexed by his reluctance. He was a handsome enough young male, after all, tall and slim and obviously fit. And she had all the correct apparatus.

Yet he had resisted. Why ?

What had interested her initially was the sheer absence of rumors. Quite simply, no one, not a single female in the Department, seemed to have slept with him. As it was inconceivable that anyone should have, and the word not spread, "it followed as the night the day" – who wrote that? some male long forgotten, and no doubt best left so – that the event in question had not taken place.

Never able to resist a challenge, a trait listed as both a fault and a strength, depending upon which Supervisor was preparing her Annual Fitness Report that year, she had set out to correct the situation. Nor was he resistant to her efforts. Quite the contrary, he had proven an amusing and intelligent companion. They shared several interests even.

So why?

Earlier that evening, she had decided to roll the dice, once and for all. She would never forget the expression on his face when she emerged from the bathroom, entered the main room, and planted herself in front of the wallscreen – stark naked.

What had surprised her most was the clear terror on his handsome face. For one dreadful instant, she feared she had made an humiliating error, that he was in fact a Gay: albeit an undeclared one. Although why anyone in this day and age should not Declare their gender preference was unfathomable. At least to her. Well, to any one.

So she asked. "Are you a Gay?"

"No."

Relieved, but no less perplexed, she had clamped a hand to her hip. "Then why? I simply don't understand. We've been seeing each other for the best part of two weeks now and..."

"It's difficult to explain," he had interrupted quietly.

"Am I not a female?"

"Oh, you're all female."

"Then why?" She had grown angry then, quite furious actually. "It's not as though sex were anything special. It's a bit of bloody fun is all! At least most people think it is..!"

At which point she had left off her tirade. For the simple reason that he had stood up, suddenly, and begun to undress – thus giving her something else to do. To wit, to look. First at his slim flat chest and belly. Then at his muscular flanks and legs. She had always quite fancied those legs, his legs. Then, when he straightened up, discarding the last garment nervously, at his... Well, the shock had been palpable. Utter. Next she knew her free hand had gone to her mouth, while she gaped at him, no doubt goggle-eyed...

It had been a frightful moment, every bit as terrible as Michael James had been anticipating for so long – for so very many years. Why he had given in to the impulse, then, with her, he would never know...

Of course he had been thinking about sex, especially sex with Starr. She was a fabulous female. A trifle heavyish, perhaps, but he preferred to think of that as "rounded." Her blondish hair intrigued him, the way she tended to flick it absently from one shoulder or the other. The breasts were good too. Obviously full and firm. And when she perched on the corner of his desk, his Supervisor checking on progress, the urge to reach out and caress her shapely upper leg had been almost irresistible. More than once he had consciously stopped his trembling fingers from sliding up the muscular thigh and under the hem of her short skirt.

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