"What happened?" asked Barrows.
"I was getting a box down from the top of my closet," Rand explained, biting her lip. "I was just about to go on duty and I didn't want to be late, but I'd run out of perfume. I was looking for the new bottle, up there." She pointed. "I knocked down this other box and didn't have time to take care of it before my shift started, even if I had known anyone was going to be in here later."
"Oh, it's okay!" Tonia smiled, shaking her head. "Your quarters are usually neat. Mine..." She trailed off with a sheepish, 'forgive me because I'm cute' smile decorating her rosy face.
Janice squatted on the floor and started wadding up the pink frizz. Tonia joined her and held up a few strands for closer examination. "What is this stuff, anyway?"
"Some kinda funky alien yarn," said Janice. "I picked it up on the last shore leave. I don't know what it's made out of. You'd almost think it was alive, looking around this place."
"I think I'll hold off on the alien yarn, then," Tonia said. She'd come back to Janice's quarters to learn how to knit, after seeing the other woman working on a shawl in one of the rec rooms. It was too noisy to talk there because of Sulu teaching everyone martial arts on one of the table tops, and besides, most of Janice's knitting gear was still in her room.
"Oh, Earth yarn can do this, too," Janice told her knowingly. "The trick is to ball it just before you start your project. If you ball it too early, it might get stretched out from the tension. If you don't ball it, and just pull from the skein, *this* can happen." She gestured around her. "That's why it was in the box. It was already like this before it fell."
"Why didn't you ball this one?"
"Hadn't learned my lesson yet?" Janice ventured. They dumped the frizz back into the box and lifted it back to its hiding place on the closet shelf together. Then Janice opened the drawer to her bedside table and fished out a huge handful of needles. They varied in thickness from the size of toothpicks to the size of carrots.
"Wow," said Tonia.
"Here, come sit." Janice sat down on her bed and patted the place next to her.
Tonia quickly obeyed, sitting very close. She accepted the needles that Janice gave her. They were about as thick as a stylus. "You could use these as a weapon!"
"You sound like Sulu." Janice showed her the tiniest pair in her bunch. "These are size twos. They're for making socks or doing fine lace-work. Those," she said, pointing to the ones in Tonia's hand, "are elevens. It's easiest to learn on bigger needles. You'll be able to see what you're doing, and your first projects will get done faster so you won't get frustrated."
"Okay." Tonia wiggled around on the bed to get comfortable. "What about those big ones that look like sex toys? With the blunt end, not the pointed one, of course!" she added hurriedly.
Janice giggled. "What, this? A size 35. It's for making really big holes in an afghan."
"What, by poking him?"
"Well, someone's in a silly mood," Janice mused with mock-seriousness.
"I can't help it," Tonia gasped through more giggles. "It's the thought of knitting with that dildo-thing."
"If you think that's something, look here." Janice took something else out of the drawer. It was much larger than all the other implements, needles and crochet hooks included. "Really big crochet hook. Size Q." She handed it to Tonia.
"Whoaa. Now *that* looks like a sex toy."
"Why do you think it's next to that?"
Tonia looked where Janice was pointing. A small clear bottle of something gelatinous rested in the drawer beside where the Q-hook had been. "Oh!" she giggled, relieved. "I'm glad I'm not the only one here with a naughty mind."
"It's not naughty," Rand protested calmly. "Sex is a natural and healthy part of life. This," she concluded, waving her hand around at the crochet hook and the bottle alternatively, "is as natural as eating. I bet even Spock does it."
"I bet he calculates the parabolic angle when he ejaculates," quipped Tonia.
Janice burst out laughing. "You know? I could see that. And then he'd write a treatise about it." She was rummaging around in a box. "Pick a color."
"What, for yarn? How about red?"
"I think I've got some red in here..." Janice pawed through her collection for another moment before her hand emerged, bearing a small ball of thick scarlet yarn. "How about this? It's a blend of wool and synthetic, with a little bit of Aldebaran three-leg shag-horse mixed in."
"Ooh," said Tonia when she felt its softness. "Fuzzy. So how do I start?"
"D'ya know how to tie a slipknot?"
"I think so," said Tonia. The yarn slipped through her fingers clumsily a few times before she held it up proudly. "Like this?"
"Mm-hmm!" Janice nodded. "Now, put it on one of the needles, and pull it almost all of the way closed."
Janice taught her to cast stitches onto the needle, and when she had reached fifteen, how to begin her stitches.
"Why does it look different from this pillow?" Tonia asked after knitting a few rows. She held up a small decorative cushion she'd found on the bed. Instead of consisting of rows of bumps like Tonia's practice square, the pillow's surface was smooth, and the stitches were diamond-shaped.
"Because you've been doing garter stitch, which is all knits," Janice explained.
"Garter stitch? Is there a bra stitch too? Panty stitch?"
"You could invent them," Janice suggested with a wink. "Anyway, the pillow's stockinette, That's where you knit one row and then purl the next, and alternate."
"Backwards knitting, in the front of the needle," said Janice. "You can practice that after you're sure you're comfortable with just knitting."
"I love the look of stockinette," said Tonia, running her fingers over the pillow admiringly. Then she went back to practicing on her red wool square, enjoying the feel of the softness beneath her fingers.
Janice fished an unfinished scarf out from yet another drawer in her bedside table and added some rows of ribbing while Tonia worked on her garter stitch. "Getting any easier?" she asked after a few minutes.
Tonia nodded. "This is all so new to me. I still feel like I need a third hand."
"You're doing pretty good!"Janice looked at her work. "Just try to keep the tension consistent. It'll get easier with practice."
"So is crocheting the same thing?" Tonia asked.
"No, because you only use the one needle, with the hook on the end." Janice opened her bedside table drawer and fished out another handful of equipment. "See these?"
"Do you crochet also?"
"Not very often," said Janice, "but there are some fancy techniques you can't do without a crochet hook. Some patterns call for them at the end, for things like edging and lace. But you can also make simple things like scarves and hats with it."
Tonia's eyes fell on the Q-hook, which was still sitting on the bed between the two women.
Janice noticed where she was looking and added, "Or, you could use it for personal recreation. Hook side out, of course, like you said earlier."
Tonia picked it up and examined it tentatively. "So I guess this feels pretty good?"
Janice nodded. "Wanna try it? If you're curious."
Tonia looked back and forth from the hook to Janice quickly. "What, here?" The soft cuddly bedsheets did look very tempting...
Janice took the lube out of the bedside table. "Sure! It's clean. Sterilized, actually. I always autoclave it right after I use it so I won't forget."
"Wow," said Tonia. "You're thorough." It only took her another moment to add, "All right!" Then she flashed Janice a big glowing smile and began taking off her boots.
"Computer, privacy lock," said Janice to the door as Tonia lay down on the bed, resting her head on the handmade knit pillow. Then she waited with the lube bottle in her hand, tracing her nails against its clear surface.
Tonia slithered out of her black pantyhose and underwear and placed the gossamery wad of material beside her. Then her hands disappeared beneath her skirt.
After a few moments, her head rolled towards Janice and she looked up at her with big eyes that shone like polished tortoiseshell. Her hand had emerged with an open palm, so Janice handed her the bottle of lube. Tonia slicked up the non-hooked end of the Q-hook and gave the bottle back to Janice, then opened her legs as wide as the little bed would allow.
As the Q-hook disappeared under her skirt, her body surged forward to meet it like a gentle ocean swell. "Mmm," she cooed, as she began to pump it in and out slowly.
Her own mood colored by the atmosphere and the sounds and scents Tonia was making, Janice removed her own boots and lower undergarments and lay down beside her. With her outside hand, she began to pleasure herself.
Tonia snuggled her head onto Janice's shoulder, burrowing her nose into the sunny fields of blonde hair. "You smell so good!" she rasped in a loud whisper.
"I'm glad you like it," said Janice as she strained her hips slightly upwards towards her hand. "That's the perfume I was nearly late trying to find this morning."
"Mm, I'm glad you did," Tonia mumbled, "but I'd still like you without it." She stopped using both hands and reached for Janice's free hand with the one closest to her.
Their fingers entwined intricately as they both concentrated on their self-indulgent tasks. Tonia had left the toy inside as she played with herself, and when she came, her inner walls clutched at it with ecstatic bursts. Her other hand, meanwhile, squeezed Janice's almost to the point of pain as she crested the wave of climax.
Tonia's throaty moans and sensuous movements drove Janice over the edge of her own peak. Her orgasm trailed on and on, the shivers growing farther apart but still remaining powerful. Finally, she knew she was done, and she rolled towards Tonia, whose hand still held hers very tightly. "Gosh, you're so strong! I never realized you were so strong."
"Strong?" Tonia's eyes were half-closed, dreamily. "Nobody's ever called me strong before."
"But you are!"
Janice moved her face forward and kissed Tonia lightly on the lips. They put their arms around each other and just lay there for a moment, relaxing, resting, and enjoying the feeling of such soft, wonderful bodies.
"This was fun," Tonia said softly.
"People think knitting is so old-fashioned," said Janice with a deadpan pout.
Janice sat up against the pillows and pulled Tonia up onto her lap so that they both faced the same way. Cupping Tonia's breasts gently, affectionately, she said, "Seems like a bad time to bring this up, but I've really got to get back to my knitting so I can finish my holiday presents in time. But I'd love it if you could stay here while I work!"
"Okay," Tonia agreed.
Snuggled up together in the blankets, they knitted together for the rest of the night.