The Jupiter had a band last night for their Valentine dance. They were very good. Mainly women, which is unusual for a jazz band, at least around here. They were playing mainly slow, romantic numbers and waltzes, but there were enough uptempo tunes to keep us on our toes. Brian did more than his share of dances, of course, including slow dances with Laurel and Yolanda.

I invited the twins over afterwards.

"Are you sure?" asked Laurel. "With it being Valentine's and all?"

"That was a couple of days ago now," I said. "Yeah, I'm sure. If we leave now we can just make the video store."

The movie we rented was Yolanda's suggestion, "The Next Step," an erotic - although not as blatantly sexy as the sleeve notes would have you believe - story of a New York dancer at the end of his show dancing days. She'd seen it before, and figured we'd enjoy it.

While I made drinks, Brian was sitting on the floor with Yolanda, showing her how to use the DVD controller. She was playing games with pause and double speed before letting the movie play.

Close to the beginning of the movie are a couple of sex scenes, each only a few seconds long. Yolanda complained at their brevity, then ran the DVD back and played them back, first normally, then in slow motion.

"That's enough," said Brian.

"Are you getting embarrassed?" Yolanda retorted. She paused the playback. The woman's back was arched on the screen, the man's head under her skirt. "Does he turn red like this if we're not here, Helen?"

As far as I could see, he wasn't blushing at all, but he did reach for the controller, which Yolanda held away from him. He tried harder to take it from her, but she held it tightly to her stomach with both hands.

She giggled as Brian tried to get the device, but when he succeeded in prying one hand away, she shot it into his side and tickled him, and when he doubled up, she grabbed the controller tightly again.

He tried tickling her, but she curled up around his hands and the controller, trapping them. Somehow when he managed to free one of his hands, he held the unit, but then she launched herself at him, trying to grab it back. She pushed him back and when he curled into a fetal position to protect his prize she lay along him, tickling him.

"Not fair," he complained, laughing.

"Perfectly fair," she contradicted. "You're just too chicken to retaliate."

"Oh, am I?" he said, and rolled over.

"Kids," I said, "can we watch the movie?"

"Sure," said Brian, and tossed me the controller, then grabbed Yolanda by the waist. She wriggled in his grip.

"Higher," offered Laurel. "She's ticklish higher."

"Shut up!" Yolanda yelled, but Brian's fingers found the spot, and soon she was yelling for him to stop.

I put the movie back on as they relaxed. Brian leaned against the sofa,

Yolanda against his right shoulder, pulling his right arm behind her, taking his right hand and setting it against her waist. He tried to draw back, but she held him firm. "No, if I can feel your hand there, I know it's away from the ticklish places."

In response, he dug under her arm with his left hand, and she jumped, then held it, too. "You know," he said, "you could just sit further away from me."

"Uh-huh," she replied. "I could."

Actually, she didn't look very relaxed, and eventually she left him to sit on the sofa.

Brian seemed relieved when the twins left after the movie.


There's a problem that I hadn't realized when I took this new position. Our new product is highly classified (well, not "classified" in the military sense, but as close as business comes), and I'm not supposed to discuss it outside the office. Here is okay, at least, in my opinion, since I'm not giving away any details, I'm anonymous, and the company doesn't know I'm writing this anyway :-) I'd be surprised if a corporate spy can make any unwanted connections.

Not discussing work outside the office generally is subject to exceptions, I doubt that anyone refrains from discussing generalities with their spouse, for instance. But for me...

What I didn't know until I'd been "cleared" into the program is that our new product is very close to what Brian is working on. But bigger, cheaper, faster, better... or at least some arbitrary combination of the above. Certainly it's within the domain of interest of his (and Rob's, of course) company.

The first phase is using our current hardware, which Brian had worked on before he left. The next phase will be using something quite different, which Brian would have been thrilled by, if he hadn't moved over to Rob's company. It's exciting, and - dare I say it - "revolutionary technology". But it's a field which no-one is supposed to know we are even exploring.

So I'm stuck with a dilemma. I really can't talk to Brian at all about my work now. Nor should I hear what he's doing. But even saying "Brian, you can't tell me what you're working on anymore" gives a Very Significant Clue to our interest in the field.

And only less than two months ago, I told Brian that he was free to read my journal. Now what do I do? Okay, you don't know what I'm doing, but I've said more than enough in this entry to tell Brian exactly what it is. And I can't really not write this entry, because I've already said too much in earlier entries... though I've been putting off uploading them, especially as I realize that I'm getting into trouble here.

So I guess I could change everything I've written and reinvent the work I'm doing, make it completely fictional, or just delete it entirely and never talk about my job again. But even there... <sigh> if I do the first, I'll have to talk about my new fictionalized position to Brian, live a lie with him about my work, which not only would be hard, I won't fall into the trap of deceiving him again, and if I do the second, the sudden lack of career references will be another Very Significant Clue.

Of course, if you're reading this, I've abandoned both choices. If you don't read this, you'll know I'm lying to you :-)

I feel like I'm developing a cover like one of le Carré's spies, and like all of his characters, there's no good option. I wish I could ask for feedback on the BBS, but I can't talk about the problem until I've solved it; a dilemma within a dilemma.

One way or another, I have to talk to Brian about it.