Chapter Five

The first session is nearby, Baie Rouge, a couple of miles down the road. It’s a quieter beach, pinkish white sand, blue water. Mindy, Drew, mom Peggy, Amaya and I can catch the action from the beach bar. It’s pretty early, nine, they’ve been here since eight, the beach is fairly deserted. A few people around doing what we’re doing, watching models model.
It’s what you’d expect, girls walking together, a variety of bikinis, wraps, hats and sunglasses. Some shots in the water, only ankle deep, don’t want the suits wet.
Drew, “Taylor is sooo beautiful, she’s the centerpiece.”
“I suppose they’ll rotate the girls around in other settings, today is Taylor. It’s not exactly an action movie, is it?”
Mindy, “No, but I like watching the meticulous set up, so many people to take a few photos.”
Peggy, “At least they don’t have to get everything exact anymore, they can Photoshop if there’s a shadow where they don’t want it. Must have been more work before computer graphics.”
Drew, “Look! Chloe is getting close ups, must want those eyes to help sell the hat.”
Chloe is doing different angles of a head shot, a floppy brim white hat, another in green, a third purple and black. She smiles, laughs, left side, right side, face on. An assistant pulls her hair back and adds a purple scrunchy to hold it, more shots.
“Geez, they must haul a load of stuff around, six girls, all the outfits and accessories.”
Next thing we know, it’s noon, equipment packed up, taken to an RV that doubles as the dressing room, Chloe and Taylor come over with the other girls.
Taylor, “This is Genevieve, Marisa, Jamie and Desiree.”
“Nice to meet you, we’re the Chloe and Taylor groupies, I’m Daphne, this is Mindy, Drew, Peggy and Amaya.”
Taylor, “We have another session at three, it will run for a while, they want sunset shots, the photographers are headed over now.”
“Where to?”
Genevieve, “Friar’s Bay, just up the road. Paul said there are more palm trees, a cliff with villas overlooking the water, more people. I’m starved, but more bikini shots, can’t be bulgy.”
“They supply lunch?”
Jamie, “There’s fruit and stuff in the RV, it just gets crowded and they’re back and forth trying to pack up, move and set up. We’re kind of in the way.”
“How soon do you need to be on site?”
Taylor, “Half hour before. All we do is show up, jump into the next set of clothes.”
“Come to our place and we’ll get you fed and back to the afternoon session.”
I take out my phone and walk around pretending to call Janah, I mental instead, “Bringing our girls, four more models, Mindy, Drew and Peggy back for lunch. Can you fire up the restaurant and have them send something over. They don’t want to load up, so make sure there’s salads, model food.”
Janah, “Susan and I are just at the restaurant, I’m on it.”
Click off the not phone call, we pile into two cars and make the ten minute trip.
Peggy opts to find her husband for lunch, Mindy and Drew come along with us.
Mindy, “Gee, this place is huge,” she races to the patio, “Drew, look at the view, a pool!”
I make introductions, Nikko and Zi are out someplace allegedly shopping but neither of them are shoppers, more likely enjoying the town and having lunch about now.
Twenty minutes later, a golf cart pulls up full of trays, our fridge is full of Evian, Diet Coke and bottled tea. Susan and I spread out dishes, unwrap the food, prepared sandwiches, seafood, chicken or mixed green salad, cut fruit and a raw veggie tray.
Models eat like Nikko, a slice of vegetable, a half fork of scallop, crab or shrimp, sip mineral water. The two teens go after it like pack animals, lots of who is from where, plans, giggly girl talk. Two of the four models are teens, sixteen and seventeen, two are twenty somethings, all the flavors, auburn, black hair, blond, Chloe and Jamie ginger brunette, Taylor blond. Genevieve, Janah and Amaya are babbling away in French at one end of the table. I’m talking about Chapmans and the Shaolin Temple. Hard to hide brands in a bikini, I had to give up that idea, thus the explanation, which means talking about becoming Shaolin.
The girls are all New York, from Taylor’s agency, she’s worked with the older ones, the teens are new to her.
Jamie asks Taylor, “Heard you don’t take much work anymore.”
“I wouldn’t have done this except Chloe wanted to come. She normally won’t travel for work, but this is too juicy to pass on. Amaya and I have another business now, I’m getting past the marketability point and creaky old twenty nine.”
Jamie, “You don’t look old.”
To a sixteen year old, thirty is near dead, Taylor laughs, “Well, I am what I am. I saved money, Amaya and I are having fun dispensing fashion advice and I don’t have to get up at five thirty and get pulled and prodded before eight.”
Marisa, “I have to drag myself to early calls, I am not a morning person, they should do these shoots at midnight.”
Desiree, “At midnight you’re in a club someplace.”
Marisa shrugs, “Soon as I find my rockstar, I’m retiring. I have to get my boobs enhanced first.”
“You going for that?”
“I’m not Taylor. She’s the perfect one, on time, always chipper, doesn’t party. I’m not from the city, all the attractions are attractive, blasting through the VIP entrance while the wannabees stand in line. I’m superficial, it’s an art.”
Chloe giggles, “You make the gossip rags enough.”
“Yeah, I’m apparently doing a lot of stuff I don’t know about. Christ, they can make up stuff. I go to a club on Saturday, maybe Wednesday if there’s no work the next day. Always home by midnight. According to the tabloids, I’m out all night every night. Somehow they miss all the gym time, and nights where I’m bone tired and asleep by nine.”
Desiree, “Daphne, those marks, you burn them into yourself? That must be awful.”
“I’ve had better days. It’s part of it for some of us, it’s not required. I had to give it a go. It scarred up my forearms, but they are a reminder that pain is both endurable and temporary. I don’t suggest it for everyone.”
Taylor, “As the senior citizen, I have to get everyone up and moving, it’s an hour to show time, the bathroom is to the left, let’s get going.”
Drew, “Um, I really like the pool…”
Chloe, “Then hang out and use it. Janah and Susan will be here, and Nikko and Zi will come in soon. Call your mom though.”
We climb into the SUV, bit of a squeeze with eight, but they’re models, nobody is much wide. Amaya has them back in plenty of time.

Chapter Six

Amaya and I wait, again at the beach bar, with intermittent strolls up and down the beach at Friar’s Bay. It’s more crowded, more kids, busy. A small crowd borders the photo shoot, after a round trip we take a minute to join them, watch Chloe and the others.
I’m standing next to a thirteen year old girl and her brother, she says to him, “Do you know who that is? Wow, I can’t believe she’s here.”
Brother appears to be fifteen, “Who, what are you talking about?”
Girl, “Chloe Sylk, that’s flipping Chloe Sylk, she’s hot, has a primo fan page, I follow her, she’s funny, and has incredible violet eyes that look right though you, even in a photo.”
Brother, “Is that who you and your dweeby friends are hunched over your IPads about?
Girl, “Totally, she has the best fashion advice, she’s some kind of fashion genius.”
Amaya coughs, “Sheesh.”
The girls looks at her, “You don’t like her stuff?”
Amaya, “Her stuff, as you call it, is pure perfection.”
Girl, “Oh, I thought you were dissing it.”
“No, fashion genius is exactly on point.”
Brother has taken note, I think he’s drooling, Amaya’s in a miniscule bikini, she has a sheer wrap that does nothing to hide her ultra flat tummy and firm curvy legs. If she took off her sunglasses, he’d froth at the mouth.
Brother goes for it, “You should be modeling.”
Amaya gives him the blessing of a wide smile, “Thank you, Chloe asked me, I declined, not my thing.”
Girl, “You know her?! For real?”
“I guess, I live with her every day.”
Girl says what teen girls say a thousand times a week, “Ohmygod, you’re Amaya, you’re Amaya, geez, I’m standing next to Chloe’s BFF. You were in Japan with her, right?”
Amaya, “Kyoto to be exact.”
Girl, “You guys were in kimonos, they were awesome, and you met those Japanese girls who created the page, Mayumi and Katsumi. It’s sooo cute.”
Cute is a Japanese industry, I think they have patent rights.”
“This is so awesome. I’m going to be tweeting my fingers off.”
I hear a break called, Chloe wanders over, the crowd parts like the Sea of Galilee. Chloe is radiant, I hear a couple of ‘It’s Chloe Sylk’ whispered in the crowd.
Chloe takes Amaya’s hand, squeezes it, pecks her on the cheek, “Hey gorgeous, having fun or bored to tears?”
Amaya, “Chloe, this is…um, didn’t get a name…”
Girl, “Amanda, ohmygod, I can’t believe I’m meeting you, I love your page, my friends are going to be sooo jealous.”
Chloe, “And who’s the handsome dude?”
“My brother, Jeff.”
Jeff is technically comatose, he’s landed in a dream, Amada, “Well, speak dork.”
Jeff, “Hi.”
Amanda, “Eloquent.”
Chloe, takes his arm, “He’s a hottie, take a picture of us.”
Amanda has her phone out in a heartbeat, Chloe sidles in close to him, scrunches down, she’s taller. Her arm in his, she kisses his cheek for the next shot.
Jake is beaming, finds his voice, “Will you marry me?”
Amanda, “Jeeefff!!!”
Chloe, “My first proposal, how sweet, I love it,” she kisses him again, “made my day.”
“Amanda, let me get a couple with you and Chloe?”
That was easy, Chloe talks to her, I get a shot so it’s clear they aren’t just posing for a one off. Then Chloe stands behind her, Amanda is like five four, rests her head on her shoulder and wraps her in a hug from behind.
“Amaya, take the other side, have a conversation,” I get a couple of shots of them talking, Amaya is wearing a hat and sunglasses, then I step back and get a couple of full body shots, give the phone back to Amanda.
Amanda is trying to say thanks, she actually gets teary eyed, “This is sooo great, can I post these on my page?”
Chloe, “Sure, send them to me and I’ll put a couple on mine, send them to the contact info on the page. Mayumi does the actual site, she likes to have things run in themes, not just random pictures.”
Amanda is about to explode, “I’m going to be on your page?”
Chloe, “If it’s okay with your folks. Tell them we just use first names, the location of the photo, nothing about where you’re from or anything.”
“Mom is going to freak, I catch her reading up on you all the time.”
“I’m glad to be something you can share with her, moms like that.”
“Mine does, and she buys me some of the stuff you recommend. If I wanted it, she’d probably say no, but if you like it she’s already convinced.”
She reels off a list of bracelets and rings, some cosmetics, Chloe smiles and nods, she has no idea what Amaya puts up there.
Chloe, “I have a secret weapon, my girlfriend Amaya has a special eye for fashion, she’s my major influence, so you see, all of us need helpful suggestions about our look.”
Amanda peers over at Amaya, “Cool, you must be really good, Chloe has such incredible taste, she wouldn’t take advice from just anyone.”
Amaya smiles, “You wouldn’t know what advice to take, freckles.”
Chloe giggles, “Gotta go, sun’s going down, they want some sunset shots, great meeting you guys.”
Jeff, “Now I’m never going to be able to date, how do I top that?”
Amaya, “Criminey, A queen is standing in front of him practically naked and he is dreamy eyed over a mere Fairy Princess.”
“I doubt he’d turn you down, he’s caught up in the moment, she did kiss him after all.”
“I shall not stoop to such pedestrian behavior.”

Amanda, “Don’t be a dope Jeff. After they see you got a kiss from her, every girl in school will be after you.”
Jeff touches his cheek, “I didn’t think of that, cool.”

Chapter Seven

It’s near dark when we return to the villa, Chloe and Taylor head for the pool, swim laps to work out kinks from standing around, clothing changes and posing. It’s not that it’s hard work, it’s repetitive and a fair amount of hurry up and wait. Janah has thoughtfully arranged dinner to be delivered, at least we can get into shorts and t-shirts and chill. I’m in a chaise next to the pool, “Taylor, what’s tomorrow?”
Taylor, “Philipsburg, where the cruise ships dock. Lots of shops peddling to the tourists, we’ll be out of bikinis and into casual chic. At least it runs from ten until two or so, they want people on the streets.”
“Going for any nightlife stuff?”
Taylor, “Nope, he’s considering a dinner party, but it would have to be staged, something other than dinner time, the good places are packed with the visitors, they don’t want to shut down sections for a fashion shoot, it isn’t like it’s a travel piece, there’s no advertising value for them. They shipped a line of more casual elegant dresses, we  were just going to be on the pier or in front of a club maybe”
“Why don’t we have a dinner party here? Not for us as such, we’ll go out someplace. He can set up, arrange dinner or a buffet, take shots inside, on the deck, catch the view, like that.”
Taylor, “I think he’ll jump at it.”
Dinner arrives, I’m so starved. We have snapper filets, shrimp and crab, a veggie skewer, grilled lobster and sides of Mediterranean vegetables, a fancy way of saying zucchini, yellow squash, baby carrots, green beans, sweet onions and bell peppers roasted and seasoned with a bit of garlic and parmesan. The drinkers wash it down with white and red, a bottle of champagne in there someplace.
We hang out around the pool for an hour afterwards, then bed, ahhhh.
Today, excepting Nishiko and Zi, everyone is going into Philipsburg, it’s all stores and restaurants, tourist central. Mega cruise ships dock, disgorge thousands of passengers for fleecing by both locals and typical chains you’d see anywhere, Lalique, Liz Claiborne, Hilfiger, Lauren. Apparently millions of people want jewelry; gem and jewelry stores are like Starbucks in Manhattan, every third store. Philipsburg is four streets paralleling the bay, a mile long. They’d dredged the bay, piled the sand up on the two beaches, built massive docks for the ships, the oldsters can shuffle off the boat into Philipsburg, buy trinkets in colorful faux quaint Caribbean shops, have something sweet with rum and stagger back to the boat chock full of fun in the sun travel unauthentic Caribbean experience. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe the Caribbean didn’t exist before cruise ships and 747s packed to the rafters, maybe it’s a Disney theme park.
Amaya, “This place is like a movie set, or one of those gated ‘communities’ that blight American suburbs, what a nightmare.”
“Dear One, seniors don’t like surprises, they like safe, predictable and orderly. Surprises cause fibrillation, or broken hips, they could get lost, disoriented. That doesn’t bring in the retirement fun bucks.”
Susan, “What a cynic.”
“Tell me I’m wrong. Nikko and Zi were here the other day, we were warned.”
Susan, “That’s why I wanted to come, to see for myself how to turn Caribbean culture into a theme park.”
“Maybe we should buy an island, turn developers loose and make a Manhattan theme park. The subway would be sparklely clean, air-conditioned, no gridlock, the authentic New Yorkers all spit shined and polite, Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, colorful food carts, lots of palm tree covered benches, all the major brands lining streets, warp speed diner service with vaguely middle eastern cooks and waiters, guys dressed like panhandlers that don’t take money, instead hand out discount coupons and the only cars are yellow taxis, free of charge, drivers all speak the King’s English with a slight Brooklyn accent.”
Janah, “You may be on to something. The flavor of New York without the aggravation.”
“Some of us just have vision. One island over, I see theme Paris.”
Amaya, “And theme Japan.”
“Perfect, all the biggies, well, do we have to add a theme London? Maybe one big island with all of them, connected by a Great Wall of China moving sidewalk. That way, one boat ride, dock, get a sanitized version of all the popular destinations with none of the hassle of  long flights, interminable immigration lines or people speaking funny languages. Elder nirvana.”
Janah, “Lunch.”
L’Escargot on Front St. specializing in, guess what? But the menu is also full of seafood and veg dishes, French influence, some Caribbean slant. It’s good, fish fresh, Amaya has lobster, I have traditional snails in the shell with garlic butter, Amaya makes a face at my selection. Janah has onion soup, stuffed manicotti with cheese sauce and a Caesar salad. I nibble off Susan’s grilled snapper bordelaise. We manage to kill time with dessert and wine until two.
Chloe calls, “We’re about wrapped, where are you?”
I give her the location, “Do you want lunch?”
“ No, we had a half hour break, we had fruit and tea, we’re ready to get back. Paul and his assistant are coming over to check out our place.”
I give Nikko a heads up, “Company, the photographer is coming to scope out the villa, best put some clothes on.”
Nikko, “We walked the beach back and forth a few times, lunched at the hotel restaurant, the maid has come and gone, the place is tidy. Getting out of the shower now.”
Chloe and Taylor show up, we travel back to the villa, Taylor says, “Paul and Evie have another half hour, then they’ll be by.”
Everything is only minutes from everything, we’re sitting around the living room when Paul and his assistant drive up, I open the door, as they are getting out of the car.
“Welcome, I’m Daphne, Chloe said the shoot went okay, no disasters.”
Paul, “None, Taylor keeps the girls moving, I wish she’d work more, the girls respect her and don’t screw around when she’s there.”
Taylor makes further introductions, Paul and Evie take the tour, he says, “Place is great. This is a stroke of luck, we have a designer with evening casual and I had no place to use it but street shots. How much do you want to rent the space, I need about two or three hours, an hour to set up.”
“How about free? You have to buy the dinner, but it can be arranged from the hotel unless you have something else in mind.”
Evie, “Thank you, you won’t be too inconvenienced?”
“We’d be going to dinner someplace anyway, it’s no trouble.”
They look around, think about who where, Evie makes notes on her phone, takes pictures of the space.
Paul, “It’s Wednesday, our last night is Thursday, we shoot outdoors tomorrow during the day, tonight is too soon, I guess I’m saying we have the one night.”
“Doesn’t matter, tomorrow night then, time?”
Paul, “I’d like to catch the afternoon sun, sunset, then I’m thinking a buffet so the girls can be standing or around the living area, not seated at a table. Can’t show off the clothes like that. You don’t need to leave at all, we can do set up easy enough.”
“We’ll go have cocktails around five, diddle around and have dinner out. We’re our own entertainment, Chloe will let me know when you’re done.”
Evie, “Thanks again, super place, we needed something elegant to set the scene.”
“No guys at dinner?”
Evie, “Nope, the objective is to display the clothes and accessories, the magazine will figure out some theme if they want one. Frequently, there is no explanation, just the photo. The wardrobe is casual elegance, it’s not diamonds and evening dresses for a big gala, they could be doing anything, maybe a graduation trip to a St. Martin villa, St. Maarten if they want to fancy it up.”
Plans laid, they leave with Taylor to find catering management and arrange the buffet.
I shop around for restaurants, call Le Pressoir in Grand Case, just north of  Friar’s Bay, make a seven o’clock reservation for six, and we’re set for tomorrow night.

Chapter Eight

Final shooting day, I deliver Chloe and Taylor, Amaya and I hang for a while, take a drive around the island. It’s a beautiful place, one beach resort after another in between cliffs and villas overlooking the ocean.
Amaya is loving the drive, we stop for a few minutes here and there, have a long lunch, Chloe texts, ‘one more set and done yay!’
Amaya, ‘b along soon’
We’re twenty minutes from French Cul de Sac, Taylor and Chloe are just walking up the beach. They climb in the SUV and we head back to the villa.
Chloe, “Sheesh, I’ve slogged through enough sand for a while, Pinel Island was nice, they took shots of us at the Karabuni beach bar, we had lunch there, fish, barbeque, grilled lobster. I’ve been in a zillion bikini’s and enough wraps, sandals and hats for a lifetime. Tonight will be fun, I get to wear clothes.”
Amaya, “You had the day in Philipsburg.”
Taylor, “That was a nice break, regular resort wear. It’s good to work with Paul and Evie, they don’t screw around like some photographers. He’s good with Photoshop, doesn’t have to get lighting perfect every time he takes a picture.”
“Aren’t location shoots dwindling? I mean they can stick you on a beach anywhere, you don’t actually have to travel there.”
“Yes, it’s cheaper, it can look not quite right though, depends on what the client wants. Since we had a group of brands, it’s less expensive for them, divide up travel costs. Coming here from New York isn’t really that expensive this time of year, after October, the prices skyrocket.”
We arrive, our other girls are gone, must be strolling the beach.
“Where are you guys?”
Janah, “Shamelessly exhibiting ourselves up and down the beach, lunch at the restaurant, went for a swim in the ocean, well, a wade in the ocean, coming back now. I see you’re done.”
“Yep, Taylor and Chloe are headed to showers and a chill, then dress for tonight. The crew will be here for five, hour and a half.”

Janah, “Okay, we need to clean up, make things tidy, see you in a sec.”
I join Chloe and Amaya, they’ve finished showering, I get in while they do hair things. By the time we’re put together, Paul and his crew are at the door. The other girls are already dressed for the photos, Evie has Chloe and Taylor’s with her, they try a couple of combinations, walk around, Paul is taking shots of the girls on the deck while he has sun. The backdrop is the ocean and the far cliff, he takes a few million photos from every angle, different combos of girls, standing, seated, looking out to the ocean, talking.
Dinner arrives, the catering crew sets out the buffet, Evie gets the placements she wants. It’s not about the food, but the shots will include the untouched buffet, girls standing around, then making selections, then shots of them, plate or glass in hand, scattered around the living room.
I’m skipping descriptions of all the clothes, think of expensive skirts, designer shoes, bangle bracelets, hair up and back on some, long on others. Paul is adjusting the lights inside and on the deck. Time for us to go to our dinner reservation, we pull up to Le Pressoir at five to seven, our table is ready.
Goat cheese with apple and beet salad, tagliatelles and pan fried vegetables for Janah, shrimp in lobster bisque, grilled sea scallops with sliced smoked duck, filet mignon in camembert cheese sauce, lobster tails with pineapple, crispy mahi mahi with vanilla sauce, yum, vegetarian tasting plate, very good and nicely presented.
Amaya, “Splendido,” she finishes her glass of Pouilly-Fumé Cuvée Majorum , I pour her another.
There’s also Chateau Mont-Redon for red, and a bottle of Gosset, a tasty tart champagne Janah favors. The bottle of red is emptying, Susan swaps to a red graves, Le Bourdillot. I’m not name dropping wines, I don’t know one from another, except for the Gosset, which we stock at home, they ordered French wines they had never tasted, a final evening splurge.
Susan, “This has been a rather strange week. I haven’t done so much nothing in forever, I’m feeling unwound.”
Zi, “Me too, Kyoto was wonderful but we worked it, except for the last stretch with the Shingon Buddhists.”
“And we didn’t even shop, Amaya never geared up.”
Amaya, “There is nothing here but gaudy jewelry and beach wear. All the upscale stores here are in Manhattan, here it is just higher priced. I do not need any more clothes or jewelry.”
Nikko, “That something new?”
“Chloe influence I suppose, she is not much into shopping and fashion. Goofy Fairy Princess, a fashion model who cares nothing for fashion.”
Susan, “What about your business, fashion consulting?”
“Shopping for somebody else, I have the eye to save them from themselves. Besides, I am not giving up being fashionable, I am slowing down on buying, that is different.”
Zi, “Juju will be shocked.”
“I will continue to buy from him, I can give it to you guys, or the girls at Chapmans. We like him to make money, and he and his crew have to work, it is not as if they have medical insurance and a retirement plan.”
“Well, actually, they do have health insurance. Janah nagged them into it a while back, then Obamacare came along, and after Mighty Jim’s wife had to have an operation and the kids needing this and that, they are glad she did.”
Susan says to Janah, “Daphne told me you are picking up the pace when you get back.”
“I won’t let Nikko and Daphne go at it like they used to, my concession to Nikko was we would take on more social work.”
“The volume of cases had nothing to do with it?”
“Mrs. Epstein says they are swimming in things. They can’t get any bigger, the core group at the Society isn’t getting any younger either. They have to start handing off contacts, and the organizational duties to someone else or let the whole thing go eventually.”
“I don’t suppose I know to whom they are going to hand it off?”
“You are acquainted with some of them.”
“Jesus, Janah. When in hell are you going to find time?”
“I am good friends with a highly organized mother daughter team, and a truckload of Shaolin monks.”
Susan takes a bit to let it sink in, then, “I’m a little surprised, you’ve kept us out of it all this time.”
“With the rise of the Shadows, and the sheer volume of other work, we need expertise in coordination. That’s what you do, make things run smoothly and keep the pests out. Who better to monitor our site, keep it hack free, than a proven expert?”
“Who does it now?”
“It’s a cut and paste, pieces here and there. It was set up that way to keep the techs in the dark about the overall purpose, they think they are doing snippets inside a big data service. There is one guy who does the hacks and controls the system.”
“Big data, the people who run a zillion Facebook posts and pull out threads for marketing and analysis, for instance?”
“Yes. One guy knows how the whole system works, he collects the relevant information to a project and loads it on the site, sites actually, different departments only have access to their section.”
“One person?”
“Yep, and exactly the kind of person you would create if you were writing a novel about it. He a paraplegic, a normal child until his brutal drunken father kicked him down a flight of stairs when he was ten. The then boy had the gall to get in-between him and his mother while daddy was busy punching her. He’s twenty seven now, lives hermit like in a small place in Brooklyn, wall to wall computers. I’ve never met him, just what the Epsteins told me.”
“He’s got the motivation, and clearly the skill.”
“When you’re paralyzed and people shy, a room connected to the world without having to be out in the world is your heaven.”
“He’s also autistic, the precise commands of coding are child’s play for him. Think Rain Man, Kim Peek, with no interest in memorizing phone books, but can read a book on Linux and be coding in twenty minutes.”
“That took me a few million hours, so he’s like you.”
“I may be autistic as well.”
“I didn’t mean that, I meant….”
“I know what you meant, but I think I may actually be a version, just high functioning and able to deal with disorder, empathize. Autistic kids aren’t setting out to be whiny or aggressive, they just don’t empathize and can’t stand it when things go haywire. For them haywire is anything that isn’t structured. An inability to read other people’s moods or feelings apparently allows the brain to develop other unique skills, memory, musical ability, what day of the week was November fourth eighteen seventy two.”
“What day was it?”
“Monday, the three hundred ninth day of the year.”
“Did you already know that?”
Janah giggles, “I guess I did in the sense I knew the answer, I didn’t look it up beforehand. If you’d thrown a quarter in a well every day since then you would have a lot of quarters, fifty thousand seven hundred thirty five, maybe a few more for leap years, but only twelve thousand three hundred twelve dollars and fifty cents. If you had invested your ninety one dollars and twenty five cents every year at four percent, it would be five hundred twenty nine thousand, five hundred  ninety dollars and sixty five cents today. Compounding works.”
I add, “Seems easier to steal it from drug dealers.”
Amaya, “If the family’s money grows at four percent, then….”
Janah, “We’re worth around six hundred million, you’ll be a hundred in seventy nine years. By then it will be fourteen billion and big change.”
Zi, “Wow, it’s like the rich can’t help but get richer.”
Janah, “If they don’t spend it or give it away, more importantly, what’s for dessert?”
Crème Brule with vanilla crème fraiche and raspberries, chocolate cake with pear sauce, crepes suzettes, marinated pear with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce wraps us up tight, a grand for the total evening, and we waddle off to the car, drive back to the villa.
The photographers and other girls are gone, out for a night of dance at one of the numerous nightclubs, Taylor and Chloe are in the pool, bikini free.
Chloe, “Couldn’t bear the thought of another bikini.”
“Works for me.”
Everyone opts to create our own clothing optional resort, and we digest splashing around in the pool and finishing off the two bottles of wine left. Then off to bed. Amaya, “I need sexual gratification, Chloe, then Daphne.”
Chloe and I fulfill her demand, Amaya is gurgling nonsense softly by the time we’re done, then I have a warm slow go at Chloe, with an extra charge of qi that sends her into a death spiral climax. Chloe rolls over me and settles into her spot between Amaya and me, I wind down while Amaya tastes all twenty three of Chloe’s freckles. As I nod off, the last thing I see is blond hair spread out over Chloe’s hips, long lean legs surrounding Amaya’s head.

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