Chapter Twenty One
We don't return until seven thirty, Janah has sandwiches in the room for us, Chloe is tired but excited, "That was so much fun. They wouldn't let me race around on the back of the motorcycle though."
Amaya, "It needed a stunt professional. They hardly need the star to go rolling off a crashed bike. Break a leg is only a saying, you do enough stunts already."
"I get to jump off a building tomorrow."
Dasha, "Stuntman tries to make date with Dahfoney. He ees all smiling, ask Dahfoney eef she haf drink after."
Chloe, "How'd that go?"
"I declined with a thanks, Dasha cleared things up for him."
Amaya, "I bet she did, what inanity did she verbalize?"
Dasha, "I say Dahfoney does no drink alcohol or date men, she ees lazebian."
"He tried for Dasha instead, got the blank stare, then, 'I am also lazebian girl, bye bye, haf a nice eefning, thank you for coming, we appreciate, you will go away now'."
Janah and Chloe are giggling, Amaya says, "He is typical stunt stud, rugged, handsome, he will have no problem finding companionship in Rio. Daphne and Dasha were around all day looking delicious, he had to take a shot."
"He was a good sport about it, we talked about the bodyguard business, he asked how we got into it so young, Dasha does look like a teenager after all. I explained that she's a strong gymnast and could poke a hole in somebody's heart if she needed to. That I'd studied martial arts since I was five and had real world experience, not just dojang practice. That's the summary, it went more conversationally. He does mixed martial arts, motorcycle racing. He was polite, curious, nice guy."
Amaya, "That was Cole, I did not get his last name."
"Davis. He has other scenes to do, we'll see him around. I noticed the lead, Matt, chatting up Amaya."
Amaya, "I will not be on his list now that he understands that Chloe and I are an us. Like Cole, he has been around Hollywood long enough to know lots of women are lesbian or bi. I politely disabused him of the notion that we might be bi before he had a chance to explore it."
Nikko, "How'd you do that?"
"Casually mentioning that more women feel open to try on a girl, that we have no opinion about it but we are not trying on lesbianism. He got it, we moved on to movie making, he asked about Ultra Violet, I said the book is online and the revenue stream has been solid, but it’s dwindling. We will go with the film shortly. There was one fun moment, he asked about Chloe's bodyguards, when I explained Daphne and Dasha, he smiled and shook his head. He was funny, he said maybe he should be a lesbian but he was attached to his male parts and a sex change was not in the cards."
Zi, "So the day wasn't all work."
Amaya, "Not for us, Chloe was busy, and she's in need of a solid night's sleep, another early call tomorrow."
Nikko, “Daria, you want to take this one, up to you, we're okay either way."
"Da, beach is nice, I would rather be with Vesnushki. I will take rest of days, Daphne and Nikko can swap."
Janah, "Dumb of us not to realize that in the first place."
"She could have spoken up in the first place, it isn't like she's shy. It's fixed now, good enough."
They wander off to rooms, Oceane has a bed but she slips in silently between Janah and me.
She faces Janah, snuggles up next to her, then pulls my arm across, we fall away.
Chapter Twenty Two
Morning, nice not to have an early call today. I find our swimmer using Janah as a body pillow, head on her shoulder, arm across her torso, one slim leg over Janah's. I ease out of bed, slip on a t-shirt, make coffee and tea, feel Janah stirring. I hear bathroom sounds, Oceane appears. I hand her a cup of tea, she floats out to the balcony and parks on a chair.
"I don't have the sense she felt anything sexual."
Janah, "She put her hand on my breast when she woke up, my sense of it was more to find out what it felt like, she hasn't got much of a bump of her own."
I sip coffee, look out at her on the balcony, she has the cup in one hand, the other is between her legs, maybe we missed something. I leave her to explore, bring a cup of tea to Janah when she's done in the bathroom.
"Our young lady is doing a bit of self discovery on the balcony."
Janah, "I caught that when you spotted her. She's done with prepubescent, hormones kicking in, that's what they're supposed to do. Speaking of which, my hormones are elevated, have any solution for me?"
I do, and I offer it on my knees alongside the bed, Janah's creamy tight thighs surround my head, yum. I work my magic and Janah does her part, a small squeal of release and the subsequent vibration. Up less than a half hour, my day has started splendidly. I stand with Janah, we kiss, now I can see out our door. Oceane is smiling at me, oops.
She hops on the bed, "I gave me a warm feeling," rests her hand between her legs, "here. When are we going to the beach?"
That's a topic swap if ever I've heard one, "After breakfast. Find a dress or your yoga pants, we'll go to Pergula and eat."
Zi is at the door, I check in with Dasha, "Ready for breakfast?"
"Meet us downstairs."
Breakfast is buffet style, tons of offerings. It's typical of luxury hotels, other than Latin sauces for omelets and a larger fruit variety, about what you would see anywhere. We go standard, eggs to order, a veg omelet for Janah and Oceane, bacon, salmon, skip potatoes, too filling for a day of bikini. Up to the rooms to undress for the beach. The weather, even in February, runs ninety during the peak of the day, breeze off the ocean modifies the heat to warm and comfortable.
Apparently there's an unspoken rule that women are allowed chairs and towels, men have to demonstrate macho by lying or sitting directly on the sand. Best I can see, all it means is a bunch of sweaty men with sand stuck to their backs. Women can do as they please in the water, giggle, splash around, men have to swim, no playing in the waves, standing in the water with other men looking manly is okay. Ogling us through sunglasses is fine, considering we're practically naked, it's hard to see how they wouldn't.
Oceane, Zi and I swim, Zi goes back up to the others, we paddle around for a while then I make her get out and rehydrate while I dry her short hair and reapply sunscreen. She's already the most tan of us, hanging around naked on the roof at home. I want a bit of color, not a dark tan. Janah is fair and will need to stay slathered in sunscreen.
Oceane decides Dasha needs sunscreen, she coats her legs talking to herself, ‘Hard, smooth,’ that's been my experience.
Dasha, "Oceane haf electric feegers."
"What do you mean?"
"Oceane, you will put lotion on Dahfoney."
She does, "You're right, there's the tiniest buzz, a mild tingle, wonder what that's about? Do Janah and Zi."
Zi, "She has a touch of qi, mild, but it's there."
Janah, "Oceane, where does the energy come from?"
Oceane, "Everywhere. It finds me and fills me up."
Janah smiles, "Master Tan had to explain that to me, all those years I spent looking for it, he laughed at my effort to find what surrounds us all the time."
"Oceane, do you think of it, to get the energy?"
"I felt it one day drawing. When I want to feel it, it is there. Today, I will start a drawing of Dasha on the beach. I felt the colors, what pencils I might use, the energy came."
"Do you feel as if the energy comes from the pencil?"
"Yes, at first, then I felt the energy in everything. If I want it to, I can invite it to be in me, then it is. Now, when I am wondering about a color, the pencil I should use comes to me."
Janah, "Comes over, can you tell us what you mean?"
"It floats to me," she stares off to the ocean, "the water wants me to swim," off she runs, splashes in, ducks under a wave and bobs up stroking.
Zi, "What do we make of that?"
Janah, "Beats me. It may be that she's simply getting it in reverse. She wants a color, but thinks the pencil is telling her the color. It would be a form of denial, she's not responsible, just following directions. Considering her young experience, adults using her for sex, that would fit. It doesn't quite fit the whole story though."
Eloise, "You mean the part where the pencil floats through the air into her hand."
"Yes. But that may be imagination, she gets up and gets the pencil, but doesn't remember doing it, next thing she knows, she's sitting with her pad, a pencil in her hand."
"One way to find out."
"Yes, observe, if all of us see a pencil floating to her, it isn't memory gaps."
"Or we're all delusional."
Dasha, "Ees not delusional. Sister and I see already, she ees on bed wiz drawing pad, peencul comes to her een air," her hand waves like something flying, "Daria can make things fly, so ees Janah, why not Oceane?"
"You didn't think to mention this?"
Dasha, "Eef Oceane want to say, she will say. She ees seensitive person, not like tweens or Eemaya or Dahfoney. We can say to anyone Dahfoney ees lazebian, Eemaya ees dramatic princess, does no mahter. Oceane ees deferent, she must say for her own self, mostly does not say anything."
Janah, "Dasha and Daria taking account of how someone else might feel, impressive, almost a wonder."
"They have traveled an incredible psychological distance from the two sociopaths we took in. I credit Amaya and Chloe."
Janah, "And you dear one. Dasha adores her Dahfoney. You spend any amount of time she needs, teach her, light up whenever she appears, it isn't lost on her."
"Pure selfishness, I get far more than I give."
Janah smiles, "Yes, that's how you would see it."
Chapter Twenty Three
We manage to shoot the day on the beach, at least until three, then to the rooms for welcome showers, gather in our room for tea at four thirty. While we sip and snack, I check in with Nikko for the third time.
"Having tea, I think Oceane swam the entire Atlantic, we're about to test her telekinetic skills, Chloe holding up okay?"
Nikko, "She's game for anything, sailed off the building without hesitation, got a nice round of applause from the cast and crew. The stunt guy, Cole, came over and called Daria Dasha until I explained twins. You were right, he's a pretty cool guy. Wondered why one had an accent and the other doesn't. I told him that’s how they tell each other apart. He nodded, didn't pursue it. Amaya made a dent with the director, she suggested a couple of dialogue changes and they went with them. Matt loved it, he got some fresh noir sarcasm that he thought the character needed. It was interesting, the director asked her to review the script and see if there might be tweaks to other dialogue."
"Let me guess, she said she'd already studied it and penciled in suggestions in her copy."
Nikko, "The director took a look with Matt, who grinned the whole time, then he thanked Amaya for making him sound more intelligent than he was. Once the star was convinced, the director put in the changes. None of it changed the story, just snapped up the dialogue. The kind of 'go ahead, make my day' stuff Amaya is so good at."
"I'm getting a sense from you there's something else."
"Yeah, I need Zi here tomorrow, Chloe is obviously occupied and not tuned into the crowd, there's a dark vibe around."
"Crap, do you want me to come over with Zi now?"
"No, Daria picked it up, when she mentioned it, I started paying closer attention, but Shadows can be tough to detect. It looks like they're going to wrap soon anyway. There was no indication anything was focused on Chloe."
"See you soon."
"You get that?"
Janah, "Yes, tomorrow we send Dasha along with Zi."
Dasha, "Oceane, peencul ees fly now."
She's on the balcony with her drawing pad, the pencil box is on the coffee table. It's quiet for a minute, she stares at the pad, then holds her hand out. The box rattles, a blue pencil rises from it, floats past us straight into her hand. She begins to draw.
Zi, "Just like Daria and you."
Janah, "We intend for the object to fly wherever we direct it. Oceane says the pencil intends to fly to her. We can't know if that's just her way of putting it though. I guess we could see if she can make some other object go someplace besides to her."
"Let this play out, not turn it into an experiment."
Janah, "You're right. I think I'll experiment with a glass of champagne instead, contemplate the mystery of us, better yet, not contemplate the mystery of us."
Our film girls appear, Amaya, "A simple day, except for Chloe leaping off the building, my heart pounded until she popped up and waved."
Chloe, "Wasn't but a thirty foot drop to the airbag, it seems like I'm going a million miles an hour but it takes forever to land. I need a shower and a drink."
She goes to her room with Amaya, Nikko says, "No sense of a Shadow, perhaps someone passing by to check out the production. There were a lot of people hanging around, but they had a barricade some distance from the working area."
Dasha is talking to her vodka, "We will watch for Shadow, then I will kill, what ees Oceane," she joins Oceane on the balcony. We can hear the conversation, the door's open, our table a few feet from the balcony.
Oceane, "You killed the people that had me, they were Shadows."
"How do you know we kill?"
Oceane, "The darkness wasn't there, it meant they weren't there."
"We maybe only take them away."
"The darkness stayed in the house even when they were out. When I left, there was no more darkness. That meant they were dead. When things die, their colors disappear. Some colors are light, some darker, some almost black, like the people who had me."
Nikko, "Janah, have any plans to pick up more strange people? I'm still getting my mind around the twins."
Janah laughs, "Perhaps it's like Oceane's pencils, they come to us, we don't go to them."
Zi, "But we take on jobs and go...wait...the work does find us actually. We just go about our lives, then the other work presents itself. I suppose it does come to us."
Janah, "People think they initiate action, or that there is destiny or fate that puts them in a certain place at a certain time. Destiny is mental gibberish, things just happen in the chaos of life. Everything is seeking a state of equilibrium, the cue ball sits until the cue stick or something else makes it move. Nothing is initiated by the cue ball until that happens. Everything that happens is both the cause and effect of everything that happens. Like Feynman said, 'you can't say A is made of B, all mass is interaction,' in the same vein we can't say A caused B for the same reason."
"I've frequently felt like a cue ball when Nikko swats me with a bokken."
Zi laughs, "So much for heavy philosophy. The next time I'm wondering why something happened, I can chalk it up to Daphne and Nikko interacting."
Chapter Twenty Four
The movie girls are out early, I stay with Janah, somebody's got to be security for Eloise, Oceane and Janah. Dasha went along with her sister to today's location.
After breakfast, Oceane draws on the balcony for a while, then to swim, we park on the beach. I'm following Dasha, she's with Nikko. Daria and Zi are off patrolling the area.
Nikko, "Dasha, you watch the filming, if anyone looks cross-eyed at Amaya or Chloe, let me know. I'm going to pay more attention to the crowd. If Daria spots a Shadow, she can mental you, Zi will call me if she picks up anything."
Dasha has her assignment, she won't be distracted, fantasize or daydream, I log off so she can pay full attention.
It's past noon, no bad news, check in with Nikko, "Quiet on the set?"
Nikko, "Busy on the set, they must put in gunshots during editing. I see guys with guns, but they only click. A car rollover made racket, Cole got shot. Chloe and Matt ran through a building then out onto a roof, she was grazed by a bullet but still beat crap out of a bad guy. Matt's daughter is being held hostage in Bogota, so he and Chloe are whacking punks until they find out who has her. Zi and Daria got nothing threatening in the real world, so far so good."
Maybe I can get clear later why they're in Rio if the kidnapped daughter is in Bogota, "We're wrapping the beach, going back to the room to de-sand, maybe we'll take a walk, we haven't seen anything but the hotel and beach. I'll see you later."
I relay the update to the others after we're showered and shiny, pass on roaming the streets, behind the hotel it just looks like any other city, businesses, residential, scattered restaurants. Except for the spectacular beaches, Rio seems fairly mundane. We aren't into carnivals, there are a lot of average hotels, the restaurant options are plentiful but nothing stands out when I surf the web. We go to, of all things, a Japanese place and have good sushi, Janah nibbles on tempura vegetables, then back to our suite.
Ah, this is much better, lovely view, our film crew shows up, we decide on a variety of sandwiches and salads from room service. Guess we don't qualify as determined experience seeking tourists.
Dasha, "Ees only another beeg city wiz deeferent language."
She has a point. The rest of our time in Rio is more of the same, one day we took a taxi to Sugarloaf Mountain and the rode cable car up. Another day to Ipanema beach instead of Copacabana, only to discover that they both have the same sand and water.
"I feel like the Mars Rover."
Amaya, "What are you talking about?"
"They spend billions to send those things to Mars to discover Mars has rocks, rocks they knew about in the first place. We go to Ipanema to discover small rocks called sand, the same rocks that cover Copacabana. At least we didn't spend a billion dollars."
Janah, "It was only two miles, Mars is thirty four million miles away at the closest orbit."
"So it's what per mile?"
Janah, "Well they had to build the rover, they spent about two billion, about fifty eight bucks a mile to get there."
"New York taxi rates are cheap by comparison, even less in Rio. Today we took a Rio Rover and discovered sand for a lot less than NASA spent to discover rocks. where do I submit our findings?"
Amaya, "You are a bizarre person."
Nikko, "Don't encourage her."
Now that we've covered the cost of cosmology (expensive) versus the cost of taxis (cheap) we can summarize the rest of our Rio trip in one word, sand. But the beach is beautiful, Oceane in ocean bliss, Chloe got two weeks of filming out of the way without incident or Shadows. On to Bogota.
It's a six hour flight, lose three hours in time zones, leave at eight, arrive at five, whisked to the 101 Park House. It's more like apartments than hotel rooms, full kitchens, two bedrooms and baths We have a penthouse suite and a couple of master suites. Each of the suites has two bedrooms and baths, Nikko, Zi, Amaya and Chloe have the penthouse, Janah and I have Eloise and Oceane with us, Dasha and Daria have their own, with an extra bedroom. Bogota is landlocked, Oceane will have to suffer with the hotel pool.
We have cocktails in the penthouse, I'm security chief, cover what's probably obvious, "This is Colombia, kidnapping capital of the Earth. Do not hang out alone, the protective case for your phone is also a stun gun. Use it and worry about consequences later. If someone tries to get you in a car, yell scream kick fight, anything to avoid getting in the car. This is not a test. Don't hesitate to kick the crap out of some guy's nuts, gouge his eyes, stick your thumbs through his throat. Some of us have done it before, the rest of you have been trained. You all have mace, I don't much like mace, but if you have to use it, flip up the safety. It's built so to grip it properly the spray points away from you. Nikko, Zi, Dasha and I will carry other weapons, knives and shuriken. The ones who don't will have one of us with you at all times. Remember, not so much as down to the lobby by yourself…and Oceane is to be watched every moment every day and night, got it?"
I get the required nods and yeses. They're going to hear the speech more than once, doesn't matter, I want it imprinted on their brains.