Andrews did plan to ask her just as soon as he saw her, but when he finally saw her again, the question fell out of his brain and crawled away to some dark corner. When Ep!phanee saw him, she ran and leaped into his arms. She wrapped her arms around his neck, her legs around his waist, and her lips around his mouth. He couldn’t have gotten free if he wanted to, and he didn’t want to. They kissed for several minutes, and then at last, he set her down.
“Did you send me the card?” he asked.
“Of course. You didn’t recognize my P?”
“Well, you know… Penny?”
“Oh yeah. Well, she’s not likely to send you a card though, is she?”
“Maybe you could sign it with an F for Fanny?”
“Or you could draw a little clownfish…”
“You’re very bad.”
“In any case, thank you.”
“You’re welcome. It’s because I missed you. That’s why it said ‘miss you’ on it.”
“Very clever. So what are your plans for today?”
“We can do anything you want to do. What were you planning?”
“I’d like to work out again in the weight room. And Penny gave me a book that I haven’t had enough time with yet.”
“What is it—Edgar Rice Burroughs?”
“H. Rider Haggard.”
Piffy rolled her eyes. “No wonder people think she’s a dyke. I’ll work out with you.”
Andrews changed back into his shorts and tee shirt and met her in the weight room. Piffy was waiting, wearing a pair of shorts that were so small they almost deserved some different and as yet uninvented name and a tube top. Both articles of clothing were made of some shiny black material that he had never seen before. Even in a world where just about everything seemed to exude sex appeal, it had not occurred to Andrews until that exact moment that gym clothes could be sexy. They worked out for over an hour, and Andrews didn’t know if it was the weights which caused his heart to pump so forcefully in his chest, or if it was the sight of Ep!phanee’s remarkably toned body.
“You must work out quite a bit.”
“Yes, I have a fully stocked gym in my home at Thatch Cay. What is that?”
Spreading out below them was a great tan blanket moving across the landscape. It moved and undulated in swirling patterns. The dirigible was passing over one of the legendary caribou migrations. Tens of thousands of individual animals moved across the ground like a kaleidoscope of reindeer. Andrews set down his barbells and moved to stand next to the large window. Piffy followed him.
“Caribou,” he said. “The great plains of the United States used to be covered with buffalo like this. Now they’re extinct. I think women have done a better job of running the world than men did.”
“Say that when you’re flying through the black haze above New York, or when you’re outside your dome in Ohio and the acid rain is coming down.”