The Girl (?) Next Door by Martin Green.
Wait a minute. What was going on here? Id taken the beautiful mysterious woman next door to dinner, having finally gotten up the nerve to ask her, and now, at her door, had just given her a tentative good-night kiss. This was inevitably the end of any date, and these had been few and far between, Id ever had. But the lovely Selena was kissing me back, hard, and incredibly, she was pulling me through the doorway. Selenas dark eyes glistened and her perfect breasts pressed against my chest. Before I knew what was happening, we were in her bedroom.
Let me go back a little. Im just an average guy. Im 35 years old, at least ten years older than Id say Selena was. I make a decent living as a researcher for a brokerage firm, but Im not rich by any means. Im certainly not good-looking. And Selena, she was the most beautiful woman Id ever seen. Shed moved in about a month ago. Shed knocked on my door several times, asking me to explain how things in her place worked, the dishwasher, the air-conditioner, even her coffee maker.
Naturally, I was entranced by her. To my amazement, she seemed interested in me. She wanted to know all about my job. She asked me questions about the stock market and how it worked. What made some stocks go up and some go down? How did I know which companies were good buys and which were not? How was the market regulated? Could someone manipulate it? I found myself spending two or three evenings a week in her apartment.
Did I say she was mysterious as well as lovely? She told me nothing about herself. When I asked she evaded my questions and said shed tell me later. Judging from her apartments furnishings she must have had money, but she didnt seem to have a job. I never saw any evidence that she did any cooking. I was curious about her but that didnt matter. It was enough that she was beautiful and that she appeared to like me. There was only one flaw in our relationship, my cat Mickey didnt like her. The first time Selena was in my place she tried to pet Mickey, who uncharacteristically scratched her. It looked like a deep scratch, but Selena said it was nothing. When I looked, there was no sign of a scratch at all. That was strange, but I didnt think anything about it, not at the time.
* * *
If this was another kind of story Id now have to describe in intimate detail the first night I spent at Selenas. Suffice it to say, it exceeded even my wildest expectations. One thing was surprising. Im not a great lover; I know the basics and thats about all. With her fantastic looks, I expected that Selena had had many lovers and was experienced in all the ins and outs of sex. But she didnt seem to be any more knowledgeable than myself. As she had with my work, she asked a lot of questions. She also read books and I found out that she was a fast learner.
Selena was in fact curious about many things. Her apartment was filled with books, the ones about sex being the latest additions. She had books about world history, science, economics, climate and, surprisingly, physics. She also had a laptop, on which she spent a lot of time, but she never let me look at it. It contained her private thoughts, she said.
As Ive mentioned, I saw no signs in Selenas apartment that she ever did any cooking. After I came home from work, I usually made dinner for us. Selena and my cat Mickey had arrived at a truce. Mickey kept her distance and Selena made no further attempt to befriend her. It was clear that Mickey remained suspicious.
If my first night with Selena was fantastic, the month that followed was an idyll. Then after dinner one night she told me that in a short time shed be leaving. What? I said. Where are you going?
To a place far away.
My time here has come to an end. Its time for me to return home.
Ill come with you.
Im afraid thats not possible.
I was devastated. Will you come back?
In time, but then things will be changed.
She smiled. Youll see. Now come, lets enjoy the present.
Selena kissed me and soon one thing led to another. As Ive said, she was a fast learner with regard to sex and for that night I forgot everything else.
* * *
When I returned from work the next day everything Selena had in my apartment was gone. I knocked on the door to her apartment; there was no answer. I went back downstairs and found Mr. Jensen, the super. Selena had left that morning, he told me. I said I might have left some things in her place; he let me have her key. The apartment was completely empty, no books and of course no laptop.
I returned to my place, a pain in my heart. I dont know how long I just sat there. I do know that it became dark outside. Finally, I roused myself. I got the flash drive on which Id downloaded the contents of Selenas laptop when shed been sleeping the previous night and put it into my computer. A number of files appeared. I opened some and they were in a language I didnt know. Then I saw a file with my name heading it. I opened the file. Part was in the same unintelligible language, but there were some sections in English. I read: easy to seduce knows a considerable amount about the stock market but little else afraid hes fallen in love, as humans on Earth say, I read some more; it was in the same vein.
I was incredulous, but then I wasnt. Of course Selena wasnt really interested in me. I wondered if shed been placed next door to me because of my stock market knowledge and my innocence in all other matters. It occurred to me that I should inform someone about Selena, the government maybe, but they would just think I was crazy. Maybe I was because I still yearned for her. Shed said shed return in time. I wondered when, and I wondered who or what else would come with her.
* * * *
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