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I thought it might be my face. I ruined it a few years ago in a motorcycle accident. Major skin grafts were necessary just to keep bone from showing through. The scars are many and prominent. In short, I’m not pretty. My face makes me look much older than I really am. But I have other assets.

I’m a fairly big gal at five-eight and a hundred thirty. All the martial arts training and sports I’ve done have given me a tight, muscular body. Still, I’m visibly female, with the right stuff in the right places and no shortage of it. And I like clothes that divert attention away from my face and toward my figure: silky, form-following blouses, short skirts, and the highest heels I can manage. A colleague once called me a walking advertisement for sex, which I’d have minded a lot less if I’d been getting any.

My build, my couture and my single status at age twenty-eight had made me the office sex kitten. Just about every office has one. Most of the time, the designated female is no more sexually active than anyone else there, and frequently, as in my case, a good deal less. But the position has its responsibilities nonetheless, so I flirted as universally and lightheartedly as possible.

I do flight software for warplanes; he’s the number-one real-time software expert in the world. We worked together as closely as a surgical team. We spent many hours together, chasing elusive faults through the bowels of huge programs written for exotic military computers.

Often on such occasions, I would leave off studying the problem at hand, and instead study him. He never noticed. When he’s at work, he’s the ultimate portrait of concentration. His focus narrows down to whatever he’s pursuing, and the rest of reality ceases to matter. There’s a palpable force that emanates from him, an assertion of unstoppability, as if he were daring the universe to try to hide anything from him.

What does he look like? Oh, he’s unremarkable. An inch shorter than I am. An ordinary body, with a hint of middle-aged-middle developing. At forty-three, he’s allowed. A pleasant face, usually with a smile, but nothing to make loins quiver... except for mine.

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