Chapter Forty Nine 

Chloe has her last session with the eagle, it’s fine tuning and painless. She's adjusting to her color sense. I wondered if it would cause her to misjudge colors, like when she got dressed or applied makeup, but it doesn't. Red still refracts red, blue, blue. She sees additional colors in things like auras, colors from electrical activity, not reflections. Lightening, for instance, has a multiplicity of colors beyond the blinding white streak the rest of us see. In auras, she’ll eventually learn what the shading implies, although she can't tell the others what some of the shades are because the colors, even if she named them, have no meaning for them.
Amaya and Chloe are in their bedroom, it's our last night at the cabin. Chloe is laying on the bed, Amaya sitting alongside in a t-shirt, Chloe is in nothing.
Amaya, “You are intensely frustrating, seeing my attitude and intent every moment.”
Chloe, “Daphne doesn't mind.”
Amaya huffs, “Daphne doesn't mind anything.”
Chloe smiles, sits up, “And your aura is telling me you are full of baloney. You love it when I examine your state of mind, it's just more attention for you.”
“And what does my aura say right now?”
“That you want to make love to me.”
They kiss, deep and long, Amaya's fingers trail up and down trim legs.
Chloe lays back, touches herself with gentle strokes as she watches Amaya. She spreads her legs slowly, Amaya shifts to her knees, takes Chloe's hand, moist fingers in her mouth, sugar sweet. She begins to kiss the sensitive spot. Chloe gasps, eyes roll back in her head, mouth open, soft exhalation, it feels incredible.
She looks down her chest at Amaya's golden hair, head moving slowly up and down, “You are all purpley-pink sparkles, I love that you love me on your tongue.”
Amaya's eyes pop open.
“Don't stop, I am starlight.”
Amaya wonders how she can make this last all night, then Chloe moans her soft moan and disintegrates, “Silken supernova, you are unique in all the world...cover me with you, and cover me with kisses.”
Chloe, “Tell me I am half as wonderful as you.”
Amaya, giggles, “You are half as wonderful as me.”
“Then I'm twice as wonderful as everyone else.”
Amaya curls into Chloe's shoulder, breathes in the lavender and vanilla of her soft  hair.
Chloe does a repeat for Amaya, takes her time, smooth legs alongside her face, smooth elsewhere on her tongue, she feels her brain sparkle, then Amaya's breath catches and a low sensual 'ahhhh...my....angel,' her legs squeeze gently. 
After tender endearments, they fall asleep bonded to each other. 
We are packed up, the houseboat arrives and we take the hour long ride across the lake.
Ned, “Now that you own the place, you must come up more often than near five years.”
Janah, “Yes, annually, every July, the entire month, sometimes August, depends on our work. Perhaps shorter stays with others in our extended family. We are home for two months, then to Kyoto for almost a month.”
Marlene, “Japan! How exciting, is it Nikko's hometown?”
“She hasn't been there since she was a child. Her parents are going too. We had so much to do, the time rockets by. Every time we cut things back, more things appear. The only way around it seems to be coming to the lake, or scheduling extended trips.”
“Do you have people in mind, to come up here?”
“I think so, but I may extend the invitation to one or two other temples.”
“We can have the vacant house in order.”
“Don't do anything but make sure the power is on and the water runs. They will do any repairs and maintenance. They need to learn. You can guide them, then begin to take them around the lake, show them how and where to fish. They will find herbs and berries on their own, perhaps plant a garden in the spring.”
Ned, “You're going to wear them out.”
“Temple life is not sitting around meditating. Everything is maintained by the monks. They are handy with tools, paint and cleaning. A monk's day is sixteen hours, often more.”
“Sounds like comin’ here will be a rest.”
“We take joy in work, manual and mental. Monks who don't are not with us long, the life doesn't suit them.”
We bid goodbye to Ned and Marlene, I can see they’ve been busy, the place had been painted, endless repairs in this climate. The old couple still have a strong work ethic, but they are up in years, move slower, muscles shrink. The help could add years to their lives, and they’ll have a chance to travel if they wish.
We arrive early evening, Angelo right on time, waiting to whisk up back to our big busy city and fresh new challenges.
Refrigerator stocked, Sis has taken care of groceries, I won't have to hit the market first thing. Everyone is travel tired, we shower, the wine drinkers have a glass, eat roasted chicken, macaroni and cheese with vegetables Sis got from S'Mac. 
Amaya and I sleep in Chloe's room, Janah and the others in her room. It doesn't take much to relax, we fade out in minutes.

Chapter Fifty 

We got back Saturday, we have today to vegetate. Susan, Taylor and Lacy come over for lunch. I don't cook, Zi and I schlep Chinese from Empire Szechuan.
Susan, “More bizarre-land, Chloe has eagle eye.”
“You make it sound like a disease.”
Zi whispers to Nikko, lowers her eyes a bit, demure, there's a hint of a blush. 
Nikko strokes her hair, lifts her chin, runs her thumb across soft lips.
 “They took their sweet time coming to this.”
Janah, “The pot has been simmering for a while. In the cabin, when you were on the boat with Amaya and Chloe, Zi confessed to what she and Nikko already knew. Zi, in her quiet way, said the intensity of her feelings for Nishiko had grown to the point where she needed to say it aloud, to hear herself speak what had been in her heart.”
“Sheesh, what did Nikko do?” 
“Be Nikko, surprise me. She told Zi she treasured the gift of her words. Then we all cried like children. It was such a girl moment. I have never seen such elation as I saw on Zi's face.”
“Does this mean they’re off limits?”
“Let them have time. They like their girls, they aren’t going to be exclusive. It's like you leaving Amaya and Chloe to find their rhythm. Amaya has no intention of giving you up, likely won’t be long before Chloe wants her share.”
“Fortunately for me, Chloe has already expressed her intent. I wait like a spider in my web.”

Janah giggles, “We have an incredible life, topped off by a wondrous sex life.” 
Chloe, “You guys are radiating crystal blue, the shades of compatibility and caring. Nikko's skin is even shiner that usual, I can almost see my reflection in her legs.”
It's true. Nikko has the kind of skin that looks like she's got a reflective coating, she glistens. 
Nikko, “Neutrogena body oil, Daphne taught me years ago.”
Amaya, “If it were only that, I would bathe in it.”
“Her skin has always been like that. I told her about the Neutrogena so I could have the pleasure of applying it.”
Nikko crosses one leg over the other, leans back on the couch. Zi teases by running her hand up the shapely trim thigh. 
Sis sighs, we laugh at her.
Taylor, “If Lacy agrees, we will take your mind someplace else later this afternoon.”
Susan brighten, “Oooh, goody. I know just the thing, you won't even need mechanical devices, well, none but me. I'll provide all the mechanics either of you can stand.”
Lacy, “There is a God and She loves me very much.”
Shot Sunday goofing, now it's Monday, I need to get Violet Princess to the Murakami's, everybody goes back to work. 
We make it to the Murakami's five minutes ahead of schedule. 
I greet Hanshi, he growls, “Did you practice on vacation?”
“Yes, Hanshi. We brought bokken and shinai. I think you will be satisfied that your student has not lost ground.,” I turn to Ari, “and your student made at least four tea ceremonies a week, sang and danced with Amaya. Please let me know if any additional work is required. Chloe is most determined.”
Hanshi gives me his familiar glare, “We shall see,” he takes Chloe off to train, the fact that Nishiko was also training her apparently makes no difference. Like I could undo any good work she had done just by my bumbling presence.
Amaya, “I see your lack of stature is intact.”
“Humility is good.”
“It’s good if you have a reason to be humble, I cannot fathom how it applies to me.”

We have tea with Ari, she says, “Ignore Soichi, he revels in both the masters he created. It's his nature. A wise woman never concerns herself with a man's opinion, only with making him see a more intelligent way.”
I smile, men, as in intimate relationship is an uncharted universe to me. Dad is practical and intelligent, Black and Chan are Shaolin, I understand them. Mini adores us, is direct and uncomplicated. He sees us as people, not pussy, most of my friends around the Village, men or women, firemen, cops, shop owners, get it. The other men we know are gay, they don't think with their schlongs, at least not about women. The rest of the male universe may as well be from Mars in my world. 
Some men are stupid enough to believe that if I got a 'real' dick instead of one made of latex, I would go straight, as if a vagina can tell the difference, or have an epiphany, like 'where has your sweaty, smelly, hairy self been all my life?'
Best I can tell, what women want from a man is a nest and fledglings. Once they have that, the only other job is to keep Prince Charmless around to do nest repairs and take her children to soccer practice. Is this the way it is all the time? Don’t be moronic, nothing is the way it is all the time, it’s the way it is most of the time. Is it wrong? Nope, it’s nature. Do some species pair bond for life? Sure. Do most? Duh. We are closest to the great apes. A male ape will drill a doorknob, he doesn't know from 'love,' he knows from spreading sperm to the most females.
We see the duplicity as quite normal and natural, we recognize that it’s conditioned behavior, based on the genetic demands. We stepped out of that wheel. For those who are caught in it, we have no opinion or complaint. Ordinary is okay by us, just not for us.

Chapter Fifty One

Angelo delivers us to the apartment, “Three tomorrow?”
“Good, tell the guys hi, see you then,”
I check in with Nikko, Zi is kneeling in front of her applying OPI to her toenails, “Chloe safely delivered, I see you are getting properly spoiled.”
“Her confession opened my heart, she took a chance with that admission, in front of the others. I see her differently now, a flower who's fragrance captivates me. I have to get used to the idea of being catered to, not my normal operating system.”
“I am delighted to serve Amaya and Chloe, if I could think up more to do, I’d do it. You’ll get used to less independence. Doing for you makes her special for you.”
“I hadn't thought of it like that. You’re right. I allow myself to be caught in her net. In a way, it feels right, we serve each other in accepting our roles.”
“There it is. Which means learning to voice your wishes. She reads intent, but she will want to hear you tell her. Amaya orders, no please and thank you, Chloe is the opposite. They expect my compliance nonetheless.”
“And they get it.”
“It is our way.”

Nikko decides to start right away, Amaya and I in the apartment now, Nikko on the couch, Zi just finishing up, blowing on Nikko's toes.
Nikko, “Zi, I would like tea.”
Zi kisses the top of her foot, “As you wish.”
She stands, “May I make a cup for you Daphne?”
“Yes please, I will sit with your samurai and devise devious oriental plots.”
Zi hurries off to the kitchen, I scoot next to Nikko, lay my hand on her elegant leg, “May I steal a kiss or two?”
We lip lock while Zi makes tea, Nishiko's lips are heavenly, kissing her is slick cotton candy.
Nikko, “She made it a point to say she knows how I feel about you and Janah. She expects us to continue to be active lovers. She also said she would like to be exclusive to me, I don't mind if she shares herself, but it's what she wants, at least for now.”
“I'll relay the message that she's hands off. Do you want us to leave you out of play for now?”
“No, I enjoy you and Janah far too much. Besides, she  will be happiest if I do as I please, not give up things for her.”

Zi brings two cups of tea on a tray, we take them, she kneels, sets the tray on the floor, and examines her work. Not dry quite yet, she leaves the cotton balls between Nikko's toes, picks up the tray and stands.
“Not done just yet. I'll be back, I want to change the sheets, by then you'll be dry. Do you like the color?”
Nikko's toes are a luscious dark cherry, “Yes, lovely. When you have finished with the bed, do my nails, same color.”
Zi smiles, a slight bow, she scurries off to the bedroom.
“Well done.”
Nikko, “I've only had years to watch Amaya run you around. I am favoring her approach over Chloe's, more my nature. Perhaps not quite so direct.” 
I lean over and kiss her shiny thigh.
“They way you attend is warming. Another reason I'm not giving up my lovers.”
“Good thing, I'd just have to re-seduce you. Lay next to you in bed with nothing on, let my leg work its way in between yours. Kiss your slick lips.”
Nikko grins, kisses me, her tongue tastes of tea and sugar.
Amaya, “Be done playing with Nikko. Draw the water in my room, nice and warm, cherry vanilla scent, undress yourself, I want you nude, and bring me a bathrobe.”
I stand, “I’ll be ready to play when you are, meanwhile, enjoy the delights of Zi.”
Nikko, “Won’t be long, I enjoy my other delights too much.”
I start the bath, add her oils, check the temperature, strip, find her fluffy robe. 
She steps into the tub, then eases down, bubbles in the Jacuzzi for half an hour, I use the time to freshen the bathroom. Since she ordered me nude, I get to enjoy her eyes roaming over my bod.  
“Do that thing,” she turns over, on her knees, I know what she wants, I tease her tush with a soapy finger.
“Deeper.”
My middle finger probes, slips in, she sighs. I slide it back and forth slowly. “Another.”
Add a forefinger to the task, start again. Her hips rise and fall with the motion, her eyes closed.
More than a few minutes pass, “I could take that all day, time to get going.”
I drain the tub, start the water again and turn on the shower. There are two showers, one big stand up, big enough for three girls, with dual shower heads and wands, then a shower head and wand in the Jacuzzi for hair and rinsing. Wash her hair, rinse, dry with a fresh towel. I blow dry and brush her hair at the vanity.
“You are staying in? I didn't see anything listed on the website, and felt no plan in your head.”
Amaya, “I think lunch out is in order, perhaps with Janah if she is available. We can leave Nikko and Zi to themselves for a few hours. Nothing glamorous, the diner, does Janah need to go to the temple?”
“Janah, Amaya and I want you to join us for lunch, give Zi and Nikko alone time. Perhaps you need to go to the temple as well?”
“Perfect, in an hour?”
“Good.”

Amaya, “I can occupy myself with projects for a while. Come and dress me in time to leave.”
“About an hour, you have clothing preferences?”
“Jeans, blouse, jewelry light. We shall take the car, it’s hot.”
“See you in forty five,” I snag a kiss, then a second, head out to Janah's room.
Janah, “I see you have sensibly not dressed. Are you tired of giving baths, or can I coerce you into fondling me in the tub while I admire your assets?”
“I'll get it ready, amuse yourself for a few minutes.”
Her amusement consists of watching me while I make ready, I feel all warm, being so wonderfully objectified today.
She does her thing and sits in the tub while I do my thing. She must have been peeking, she wants the same anal arousal Amaya did. These girls, so nasty, so fun.

Chapter Fifty Two 

Chloe texts Amaya as we ride to lunch, ‘hey honey. hanshi didn't kill me today he tried to play tough but i saw it was all an act so i hugged him and he hugged me back he said i am already full of geisha cunning, but his aura was all sunburst pride and warmth.
Amaya, ‘next?’
Chloe, ‘lunch, miso and grilled shrimp, then a ton of tea. ari wants me in a kimono every time. I must play shamisen and sing.’
Amaya gives her an outline of what we’re doing for the afternoon.
‘Ah, and you left Nishiko and Zi to have time together.’
‘they are adorable, nikko is adjusting to her role’
‘she is going to be more you than me. zi has it easy daphne has two mistresses to serve.’
‘daphne cannot be allowed too long a leash she will only get more squirrely.’
‘gotta go, getting a look from ari’
We pull into the drive alongside the diner, there won't be deliveries at lunchtime. Chuck brings us to a booth, Amaya on the inside, Janah next to her, me facing them. 
Chuck, “Good to see you girls, back from the mountains? Things haven't been the same with you gone for a month. Lunch rush, gotta hop.”
He leaves menus out of habit I guess. We have the thing memorized by now.
Mini comes from the kitchen, “Hey babies, look nice and refreshed, where’s the others?”
“Chloe is with the Murakamis, Zi and Nikko are at home wanting some quiet time.”
Mini, “Just make sure the famous model turns up soon, I’m a celebrity chef cause a fashion model eats in my joint. What'll it be?”
Turkey and cranberry for Amaya and me, no fries today, keep it light, veggie on wheat toast for J. Mini goes off to create lunch and the plates bang the table before Janah has her tea cool enough to drink. 
Amaya, “I am in wonder as to how they make a sandwich so well at warp speed.”
“We've had that discussion for years, it's a New York diner thing. They bring the menu, pour coffee, you give them the order and time leaps forward in some quantum quirk, the food appears. We decided it's magic.”
“Good as any other non-explanation, we don't have one for us either.”
Janah, “The Shaolin Grandmasters' Text talks about a form of qi that we use. The top level is to be able to control people, such that if someone appears hostile, the master can keep them immobile without touching them. As we discovered, it takes an incredible amount of time to learn. Masters can slow heart rate, or send cold or heat to different parts of their body, even that isn’t common, far fewer can do the other. Without Tan, we never would have made it, at least not for many years.”
“And I am not as adept as Janah and Chan, haven't the temperament for that level of inactivity.”
Amaya, “I got the skill from you, hot hand, cold hand. Chan did a transmission to intensify the ability. I would like to go further, but I have so much on my plate, including how to best boss around Daphne all day.”
Janah laughs, “You forget, you are not aging, you have far more time than you realize. You may not want to pursue it now, but it's not for lack of time.” 
Amaya thinks this over, “We shall see. I got a text from Taylor while Daphne was with you. Chloe's last shoot ran, the six pages of teen outfits, casual to prom. At last count she has thirty five offers. The magazine only hit subscribers last Wednesday, it comes out on the stands today.”
Janah, “Cripes. Taylor hasn't sifted through the offers yet I guess.”
“No. She did set up an interview with Deanna Markov of Fashion Notes.”
“Double Cripes.”
We finish up, wave to Chuck, Mini is going full blast in the lunch rush. At the temple, Janah goes to her office, Amaya and I watch practice for a while, visit David and Manolo and pick up a gallon of liniment. 
David, “This one absorbs better, the monks all request only this.”
“I'm anxious to try it. We have pretty rough sessions at home.”
“The scent is quit pungent, I have not been able to mask it without diluting potency. It isn't obnoxious like bleach or ammonia, it is woodsy, damp musk. Personally, I don't find it unpleasant, but it will permeate the atmosphere around you.”
“May I?”
I open the bottle, let it aerate, sniff the cap, then my nose a couple of inches from the opening I sniff.
“Woodsy covers it, pine bark, earth, basil, thyme and bay leaf come to mind, there is only a hint of musk, but musk more like cedar wood.”
David smiles, “I added cedar and basil to offset the scent a little. Most people want scents that are flowery or sugary. Those are fine, but the herbs I created for muscle relaxation and blood flow don't come in flowery or sugary.”
He turns to Manolo, “Bring our newest baby.”
Manolo runs off, returns with a quart jar of powder.
David, “Mix this with water. It won't dissolve, but it needs fluid, you drink it. One tablespoon in twelve ounces of water. You will not be hungry the entire day, and there will be no loss of energy, nor will you lose muscle. Fat will melt after two weeks. Eat apples and crunchy vegetables, cooked or raw, doesn't matter. It's for the fiber.”
Amaya, “My savior, now I don’t have to be jealous of Chloe.”
He's been creating new herbs, grafting things together, looking for more powerful agents by selecting out plants that have more of the core ingredient. Janah has been wanting to find time to go over it with him. We've been looking for an agent that would speed up absorption of anesthetics we use on shuriken to knock out targets, or numb them to the point they can't feel their hands. If one of them is holding a gun, we have to hit the hand with a shuriken so precisely it stuns a nerve so they can't shoot. It's imprecise and it would be better to get an instant anesthetic effect. Other objectives are drugs that disable any capability to lie, without the long nasty work of hallucinogens, then Pentothal and Ketamine, then talking them into revealing what they know. Can he come up with something that simply makes them trusting and uninhibited, sort of an oxytocin methamphetamine effect? It takes time, it's not like he can ask volunteers to take unknown chemical substances.
David, “I also have a test anesthetic,’ Manolo produces a small jar, “I tried it on myself, my hand was numb in seconds. Paint it on the shuriken, let it dry, I suggest a second coat. It will deteriorate four or five hours, you can’t apply the day prior, I’m working on that, but it isn’t ready yet.”
“Cool. Drying time?”
David, “It’s pretty quick, thirty seconds, then another coat after a full minute or so, it makes layers that way, more effective and it won’t all get wiped away by clothing.”
“Good, we try for direct skin contact, but sometimes we have to settle for sticking them through a shirt or pants. I’ll give you a field report soon as I have a reason to put one in a bad guy. This is an enormous advantage.”
David, “Let’s see how it works first.”
We make our way to Tan's hut, empty now, with the spirit of the old qi master hovering. We sit for an hour, merge for another. Leave chock full of the bliss of intense communion.
Amaya smiles at me, takes my hand and we walk to Janah's office.
Janah looks up and grins, “You must have merged. I reached out for Daphne and got nothing but blue screen, then you come in here holding hands.”
“She's keeping me from floating away.”
Amaya leans her head on my shoulder.
Janah, “She is so crazy for you.”
“I am familiar with the feeling in myself, for you, her, Chloe.”


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