“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/ A stately pleasure-dome decree.”
“Eh?” Victor shook his head. “Who did what with a dome?”
“Khubalai Khaan,” she said, “You know, the Mongol emperor? I don’t know his name in Spanish. I was quoting Coleridge.”
“Oh,” said Victor, feeling like he was failing history class. Or maybe Coleridge was a poet? It was hard to concentrate and take off Feroza’s pants at the same time. Pants were very complicated.
Her suit-ling clung like thick rubber to her ankles and calves and thighs. “It’s just orientalist rubbish, really,” she said. “A bit embarrassing that I remember the whole thing.”
“So Coleridge was a poet?” Asked Victor.
“That’s right.” She shimmied out of the shell of the upper suit. Her hand went up to the zipper at her collar.
Victor swallowed. He was almost entirely certain she was seducing him. “How does, uh, the rest of it go?”
“In Xanadu did Kubla Khan/ A stately pleasure-dome decree:/Where Alph, the sacred river, ran/Through caverns measureless to man/ Down to a sunless sea.”
Then the poem got sexy, and Victor was kissing her.
Snaps snapped. The pants and boots of his environment suit scraped down his legs, leaving them feeling as light and flexible as the noodly blanket he’d hung over the airlock. The heavy shell of his upper suit rose, occluded Feroza’s face. Then his suit was rolling on the ground and so were they. The air on his skin when she unzipped his suit liner felt almost as delicious as Feroza, herself.
Outside their little bubble of warmth and light, the Dragons panted and steamed. Heat fountained from the mountain beneath them and life ground against itself in the jungle below. The planet Saturn shone, invisible beyond the gasoline clouds.