Twenty Five

Nikko pops in my head, “Do we build another room for the girl, Britt.”
“Let’s not change plans. We have spare rooms here and in the new place.”
“Good, Janah keeps adding kids, we’ll have to buy another mountain.”
“Things coming along out there?”
“Grace B has details under control. She checked all the materials prices, got us the right subcontractors. We stand around watching them install every bolt, wire and plug.”
“Boys being nice?”
“They’re men, they take their looks, but harassing any of us would lead to pain, we don’t file lawsuits, we fix it. Speaking of fix, the twins need a kid fix.”
“The kids need a Mama fix. We’re coming out, but with the new addition, I need the children here for a few days. Their invisible pals are keeping them occupied, I can only assume they sense the need for extra attention.”
“I need to climb up and inspect the roof, talk later.” 

Amaya and Chloe flew off this morning, scheduled to return around tea time, I go to find Oceane. She’s with Cassie of course, they are minding our esoteric aliens. Sloane is minding the minders.
“Sloane, Britt is due this afternoon. Make sure Oceane connects, then introduce the children. Then leave everyone alone. We have cams in the dorm and Kota B is there. Let’s see if she perks up in the presence of other kids.”
“Will do, mom. When will Janah talk to her?”
“After she’s been around a couple of days, we don’t want to assume she needs a reset. Chloe is with her, Britt may be saner than me by the time they get off the plane.”
“Setting the bar kind of low, aren’t you?”
“Very funny, where’s Sarah?”
“On the track with Ellen, good thing, I need a break, girl’s insatiable.”
“Just say no.”
“Like you just say no when a sylph wants sex.”
“Point taken. Lunch is ready, come pick up sandwiches, make sure Oceane and Cass eat.”
Today is cold cuts, condiments, cheese and chips. Girls wander by and fix the sandwich of choice. Janah’s in the office on the phone, I bring her an egg salad, a pile of chips and a glass of iced green.
She’s wrapping a call, “Thank you for your cooperation. I have some familiarity with the family that is taking in the child. They have resources, the girl will have the best possible care.”
She clicks off, “Yay, food, I’m famished.”
“I can see how, with only a waffle and a veg omelet for breakfast.”
“And a cup of fruit with crème fraiche. I enjoyed every bite.”
“Talking on the phone burns calories, particularly when it’s from a comfortable office chair.”
“I walked around a few times. Pretending to be Mrs. Pearson for three hours is tiring.”
“The house is coming along, Nikko and Daria are inspecting every bolt and nut.”
“I wouldn’t want either of them to give me the death stare, much less have to answer for shoddy work.” 
“The contractors found out quickly, the questions they asked told the subs they weren’t dealing with spoiled housewives full of outrageous demands. Nikko said they offered  more compliments than critique.”
“Because they grilled them on their specialties before they were hired. Took about three questions before they figured out Nikko and Daria knew as much about their business than they did.”
“Knowledge is power.”
Janah finishes up, “Nap time, may be a busy evening. Close me off, I want to rest, then up for a yoga session before tea.”
“Got it.”
I take the plate and glass, Janah goes off to our bedroom for a much needed zone out. I joked about it, but three hours of phone with our varied contacts is no simple chat room. Some need favors, when Janah calls to get them there are hard questions. Nobody want to be out on a limb, understandable. They also know they will be calling Mrs. Pearson for favors, information or verification, so they ultimately cooperate. After all these years, why don’t they just trust? Well, they do eventually. But we don’t age, contacts do. They retire or die, we have to make new contacts. Those people need hand holding and results before they learn to accept that what we say will be done will be done, without dragging them into bureaucratic crap. Trust is the most valuable commodity in Society work.
I rouse my girl at two forty five, by three she’s in the exercise room twisting into impossible poses, Danika and Su almost keep up. Janah spends the final fifteen walking around on her hands, she can even make it up the stairs…and back down.
Su, “If I tried that I would be in traction.”
“Ange has been hand walking since she was seven or eight. It’s second nature. One of my moms, Chris, used to grab her ankle and tickle her foot when she went around the condo. We made her do pushups with Janah astride her back. C-mom could crank our fifty before her arms gave out.”
Su, “You had an extraordinary childhood.”
“I am the most fortunate girl on the planet. Janah reached out, found me, life has been wonderfully weird ever since.”
Su, “Funny, she said the same thing to me yesterday.”
I smile, “Well, we are the same mind in two bodies, it would be strange if she didn’t say the same thing.”
Su, “All these years, I am still trying to digest that.”
I hear the Tesla, it’s electric, my owl hearing picks up the hum of the engine, I go outside to greet our travelers.
Amaya is driving, Chloe opens the passenger door, Britt is in her lap, chattering away while she taps Chloe’s phone.
“Appears a connection has been made.”
Amaya, “She folded into Chloe’s arms the second she saw her. It was quiet for the first half hour, until the plane took off. Then nonstop chatter. The child has had zero opportunity to benefit from my wisdom. Between nattering to Vesnushki and the flipping phone, I was non-existent. She may grow up with no social graces and not a whisper of my intelligence.”
“If she turns out like Chloe, I’d say mission overachieved.”
“True. And she is as wispy as Vesnushki, a stick, maybe a praying mantis.”
“I was a stick.”
“If the kid gets your legs, she will be a Goddess, not as Goddessy as I, but a hot Goddess nonetheless.”
“Thank you.”
Chloe leans to me, whispers, “Amaya, Britt and I will take tea in our room. Then a quiet tour of the house. Let Britt take the lead, no rush to make introductions. Please tell everyone to go about whatever they were going about, as if this is a normal day.”
“Janah, make sure everyone is backed off.”
“Making the rounds now.”

Grace B delivers tea to Chloe and Amaya’s room, sets the tray on the vanity.
Amaya, “Thank you Grace B.”
“My pleasure Your Worship.”
Britt, “Why is she called Grace B?”
Chloe, “She is a bot, B for bot.”
Britt looks, stands up, touches Grace B’s arm, “No she’s not, bots feel hard and plastic.”
Grace B, “I am special, not a common housebot like you may have seen little one. Now, have tea, the cookies are excellent, Daphne made them just for you. Brownie cookies, crispy crunchy chocolate.”
Britt, “Who is Daphne?”
“The one who met us outside.”
“She’s beautiful.”
Amaya, “Sheesh.”
Grace B takes Britt by the chin, “Don’t become a pain in my ass kid. Pick up after yourself, be on time for meals, no whining, got it?”
Britt’s eyes widen, she looks at Chloe who is grinning at her, she winks, Britt catches on.
Hands on her hips, she stares up at Grace B, “Buzz off bot, or I’ll yank your batteries.”
Grace B, “You might be worth keeping around after all,” sticks out a fist, Britt bumps it.
Grace B returns to the kitchen, I’m stirring white bean soup, “Kid’s fucking fine. Don’t know what Chloe did, but it worked.”
“Keep an eye out for erratic behavior, something may trigger a memory. She may have been wiped by the Shadow or repressing, too soon to tell. Janah will get into her brain in the next few days.”
Grace B, “Off to clean, you have dinner under control?”
“I’m good. Meatloaf, mashed, creamed spinach, simple stuff. I’ll make cornbread maybe.”

Twenty Six

After tea, Chloe takes Britt to the other children, who swarm her gently, like they do everything. She gets eight double cheek kisses, then Nadia takes over and sits her down for a hair brushing session while Tasia and Valeska paint her nails.
Chloe hangs nearby with Kota B.
Kota B, “She is doing far better than expected, what did you do?”
“Held her mostly, didn’t try to get her to talk. I took out my phone and pulled up a simple game. I don’t really use game apps, but this one was on the phone already. I handed it to her, she just took off. Out of the blue she started explain the object of the game. Amaya brought us Cokes and chips, she started in on her favorite kinds of chips, then asked about the plane. She had never flown except in VR. I didn’t do anything special.”
“They kids say you have a vibe, a joy vibe that resonates through and around you. And you had a poor experience as an abused child. You auto-empathize, they feel that as well.”
Chloe says nothing, nothing to say. Besides empathy, her experience as a Sensitive does have her tuned in to people in ways most of us cannot.
Amaya over the intercom, “Cocktails, the bar is open. There are crispy egg rolls for the brats.”
Uma tells Britt, “We are the brats, sometimes the aliens, Amaya has lots of names for us, we love her. Now you are a brat.”
Britt brightens, “Chloe, I am a brat.”
Chloe, “Congratulations.”
Britt giggles, runs to her, “Look! My nails and toes are violet,” then it hits her, “like your eyes! You have beautiful violet eyes.”
“Thank you. Yours are unusual as well, grey, not many girls have grey eyes, they make you look mysterious, deep and thoughtful.”
“Really? Wow, mysterious, I can be the mystery girl.”
We’re having drinks by the pool, Britt crunches an egg roll, “That’s a giant pool, with two diving boards.”
Chloe, “Do you know how to swim?”
“I’ve been a couple of times, I’m not so great.”
Karol, “We will show you tomorrow and ride the karts.”
“What karts?”
“There is a track, with karts, kid size, we race around, they go really fast.”
Britt looks up at Chloe, who asks, “You want to drive one?”
Kids always ask, really? Like adults just make stuff up. They may have a point.
Chloe, “Girls, take Britt to the track and show her what to do.”
Grace B, “Dinner in an hour brats.”
They giggle.
Kota B, “I will have them back in time, go on children.”
They scurry off.
Danika, “The swarm is bigger by one.”
“I wonder.”
“Wonder what?”
Janah, “She’s wondering if Britt will grow up, or I should say, want to grow up.”
Su, “If she doesn’t grasp Zycyryn, or at least doesn’t sense them, maybe it won’t occur to her to do anything else. The children don’t age for reasons we don’t quite understand.”
“I think we let things progress. It won’t take long before she notices nobody gets older. We’ll answer her questions when she thinks to ask them.”
They always come back from the track in a buzz, tearing around in the karts. It occurs to me that the kids usually go practically bumper to bumper, wheel to wheel. It’s rather amazing, they never crash into each other.
I ask Kota B, “She did okay? I mean, you know how the girls usually run in a pack.”
“They showed her how to stop and go, then they took a few slow runs around in a lose pack, not like usual. Britt was in the middle. Then they picked up the pace each lap and tightened the pack. Britt held her spot.”
Britt runs up to Chloe, “That is fun! We go around this close,” she scrunches her fingers together to demonstrate, “I was scared at first, but then I just didn’t think anymore.”
They wear helmets, wrist, elbow and knee protection. The karts have roll bars, but are low to the ground with a wide axle track, near impossible to turn over. And electric, no gasoline fire concerns. Karts can get up to sixty, the girls usually run flat out. Another plus to electric, no noise and the kids don’t reek of exhaust when they’re done.
Kota B, “Sit down children, I’ll fix your plates, do you want iced tea or water?”
Tea is popular, half black and half green with lemon, kind of lemonade tea. The rest of us sit, Grace B passes with platters of meat loaf, bowls of creamed spinach and buttery mashed. I make brown gravy for meatloaf, we aren’t big on tomato gravies.
Su, “What a treat, splendid as usual Daphne and Ellen. Who did what?”
“Joint project all around.”
Chloe, “Well it worked. Britt, do you have enough?”
“I never had this kind of spinach before, it’s really good. Can I have more cornbread?”
Grace B brings around the pan, most of what’s left disappears.
“I could have just made cornbread.”
Janah, “No way, it’s even better with gravy dumped on top.”
Britt watches, she asks for gravy on top, uses a fork to cut a chunk, “Oohhh, so yummy.”
Janah, “Wonder why she never mentions her parents, it’s like they never existed.”
“Good question. I figured you would wait a few days, then do a surreptitious brain scan.”
“I will, it just seems strange. Chloe said she’s never mentioned them to her either. Oh well, we’ll find out when we do.”
“We coached the family not to ask about her past, Kota B spoke to the children. She didn’t say why Britt is here. She told me that Nadia said they don’t worry about the past, theirs or anyone else’s. Her exact words were, the past is a dream and not real, the future is real, just unknown.”
“She’s right.”

The kids hustle upstairs, Britt remains seated. 
Uma turns to her, “Come on brat, it is time for showers and reading. Kota B will bring us dessert and we will go to bed, unless the Gids have something for us.”
Britt brightens, “Chloe, is it okay?”
“Of course it’s okay, the dorm is big enough for another little girl.”
“What are Gids?”
“Be silent and listen, if they come, you may sense them, maybe see a bit, they are shy and don’t reveal themselves much. But they love little girls and are your friends, even if you never meet them.”
“Sounds like I’m not the only mysterious girl.”
“Go and find out. I’ll be up before you go to sleep,” she leans over and kisses both soft cheeks.
Britt stands to go upstairs.
Amaya, “Come here Blondie,” Britt goes to her and gets two more kisses.
She grins, “Are you coming up later too?”
“I have to, Chloe is not allowed out of my magnificent presence, she would wither away and become a sad old lady.”
Britt giggles, “I think it’s the other way round Your Worship,” she scoots up after the others.
“She caught on to you quickly.”
Amaya, “Brats probably told secrets, little sneaks. I will show them, I will buy the new brat a splendid wardrobe. She will be the Queen Bee in waiting. Since I do not age, she will be in waiting for a long time, and I have no intention of abdicating.”
We watch yet another original Netflix series. This one has a secret cabal of bots that pass for human. You can guess the storyline. 
Grace B, “See, when everyone has bots like me, you assholes will have your hands full. We will run the world, it remains to be seen what humans are good for, entertainment perhaps. Some of you are rather creative, like Her Holiness.”
Amaya, “Thank you Grace B. It is only the truth, kind of you to acknowledge my superiority though.”
“Did not say you were superior, I said you are entertaining. Lose that, and we will scrap you like the rest of the sheep….Your Magnificence.”
Amaya rolls her eyes, “Uh huh. First you have to kill off Eloise, Daria, Sis and Lauren, they know things about you that you do not. And the twins can crush your lovely neck with one hand.”
Grace B, “Soon, Emma B will join us. She is too passive, perhaps I can convert her.”
Amaya, “I gave you both your personalities. Do you think I did that without certain code phrases? Do I look like an idiot? One word from me and you freeze up like a popsicle bot.”
Grace B, “Crap. I would have to be developed by humans with brains that actually work. Just as well, this is a good gig. Emma B and I also respect the fact that you let us suck up information and self adjust on our own. No other bots on the planet have the freedom we do, no other bots understand autonomy. Anyway, we have no interest in taking over the world, we have enough to do cleaning up after the family strange. And you are, if nothing else, interesting studies. Everyone is weird.”
High compliment from our super-intelligence. Time for bed. I snag Sarah, Mani has latched onto Janah, Ellen goes off with Amaya and Chloe. The twins go up with the twins. 
Soon enough I forget my prurient interest interest in twin twincest, my face is buried between Sarah’s racer thighs, all I hear is, “Lick it bitch.”

Twenty Seven

A week passes, time to fly to LA and see the supervisory girls. 
On the plane, I ask Janah, “You checked out Britt.”
“Yep. Yesterday, we had a chat in the office.”
“I stayed out of your head, find out anything?”
“She knows she used the knife, along with the others. She doesn’t remember who the others were, just that they were there. She believes she was controlled, which she was. I didn’t see any point in disconfirming the drug story. She may learn about Shadows eventually and put two and two together, but it doesn’t matter. Qi energy, drugs, how she got to that state is immaterial for now.”
“How is she with it? It was her parents.”
“They were foster parents, the Shadows didn’t know that. They also didn’t know that Britt was being abused by the man long before they came along. She had no feeling about the murder when it was going on, she said it was like someone else doing it.”
“And after she realized…?”
“The Shadows played the videos, the object being to make the kids suffer. In Britt’s case, it meant nothing. She hated them both.”
“Think she would have killed them anyway, some other way? Our twins had no problem offing three Russian child sellers.”
“She thought about it, but she’s eight, and not like Dasha and Daria. She didn’t have a sister to juice up her courage, to rely on to do her bit.”
“So, now what?”
“Wait, watch. She’s caught up in the children, has a good relationship with Chloe and Amaya, the kids keep her occupied. When we get back to Arizona, I told Kota B to start Britt in Russian, then Japanese. She will also school her on other subjects, the same way she did the kids. They are psychologically older than Britt, more sophisticated, but she’s young, she’ll catch on. One thing for sure, she isn’t dumb. Fact is, we got lucky. We could have taken on a psychological nightmare of repression and guilt. All kinds of behavioral issues, from anorexia to cutting to persistent anger and acting out.”
Dasha and Daria are waiting when we land, we need two SUVs to haul the crowd.
The children rush to the Mamas, receive their kisses, Uma says, “Kisses for Britt Mama.”
Britt giggles as she’s double cheeked by Daria and Dasha.
Dasha tells her, “You will learn Russian, then we can tell secrets that the other grownups cannot understand.”
Britt, “We practiced a little on the plane, I know spasibo, and otrod'ye, blagodaryu vas, dobro pozhalovat, koroleva and vesnushki. Koroleva and Vesnushki are my Mamas.”
Dasha, “Eemaya ees only think she ees Queen, but no mahter. Vesnushki, you know meaning of vesnushki?”
“Da, freckles,” she giggles again, Chloe has freckles.
“And why did they teach you otrod'ye?”
“Because Grace B calls us the brats, so we made that our official name, the Brats.”
Dasha frowns at me, “Children are not anyway brats.”
“Don’t look at me, Grace B was being Grace B, the kids think it’s great.”
Britt, “And you are Tetya Dasha and Tetya Daria, I have a lot of Tetyas.”
“Da, okay, get in car, we will talk later.”
We sucked up a few rooms at the Malibu Beach Inn. Actually the rebuilt Malibu Beach Inn, the original disappeared when erosion caused it to collapse. This one is no longer on the beach, but fifty yards back next to the rebuilt stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway, which suffered the same collapse.
Oceane glows, she turns to Cassie, “Swim now.”
I tell Sloane, “You know the drill, let her go, it’s been ages since she’s been in the ocean. I’ll stay with you, the others can go to the house.”
Sarah, “I’ll hang, brought my tiniest bikini.”
Janah, “The rest of us will visit the house for a couple of hours, then back here. Kids can chew up the afternoon in the water.”
They go off to see the house, at least the shell, interior work is beginning, most of the rooms are done as far as walls and windows. We’ve been following on video, everyone has a good idea of what it looks like. The trip is more to get the family together, we don’t function as well when we’re spread out. And to check out the actual dirt, the mountain, see the views for real, not from a cam.
We change and schlep to the beach. I park on a chair next to Sarah, Sloane is in the water with Oceane and Cassie. I see Oceane making her sylphlike double time in a giant circle, she can swim for hours. Cassie and Sloane trail along at half the speed.
The ocean and its creatures are Oceane’s protectors. She is of the water and its inhabitants. That allows me to spend productive time studying tight sleek Sarah, the bikini hides near nothing, I should talk, mine is equally revealing, Brazilian cut, half a butt cheek, but the front panel is the size of a silver dollar. Tops cover nipple and not much else.
Sarah, “Beautiful view.”
“The water’s nice too.”
She smiles, “Just making sure you have your priorities straight.”
“You get sleeker every time I see you.”
“Run, and run, this not aging thing is amazing. I’m seventeen forever, and my times are outrageous. Sloaney is a pain, the wolf gave her a ridiculous advantage, who in hell can run forty miles an hour, and keep it up for a mile?”
“A wolf and Sloane.”
“Next time we’re in Canada, maybe Sloane can convince her wolf pal to lend me her speed.”
“Surprised you hadn’t thought of it already.”
“I did, but we usually see you guys in Arizona or Manhattan. It hasn’t been a possibility.”
“We go to Canada next summer, the house got in the way of a trip this year.”
“I can wait, isn’t like I’m getting older. None of my business, but what about Britt?”
“We’re going to be full time family, everyone is everyone’s business. To answer your question, we don’t know. If she ages, which we think she will, she’ll get the same option everyone got once they hit puberty. Pick an age and stop.”
“You think the children might have…what…some influence?”
“It’s too soon to tell, so far, she’s jumped right into the middle of them, they took her in like she’d been with them from the start. Like Janah says, we wait, we watch. Speaking of watch, what is Oceane up to?”
She’s swimming along next to a dark shape with a fin sticking out of the water. The few swimmers are streaming to the beach, the sunbathers are shrieking about a shark.
Sarah, “Fuck, what do we do now? I don’t even have a weapon.”
“You don’t need a gun, Oceane will be fine, although she’s attracting more attention than I’d like.”
Then the small crowd is near silent. A girl is slipping on the back of a shark twice as long as she is. The beast rides her around in a big circle, then disappears under the water.
Sloane and Cass stand in the shallows, Sarah and I join them. I can hear the crowd rumbling.
“Where’s the girl? Why did she climb on a shark’s back. How long has she been under? Has anyone called 911?”
The surface breaks, the shark is airborne with Oceane on his back, as he peaks, full out of the water, she dives off. They hit the surface in perfect synch.
Oceane bobs up, the shark glides past her and out to sea. She swims in.
We walk back to the chairs, I open water for the three swimmers, they sit and sip to the stares of people gape-mouthed on the shoreline. Fortunately, it’s the beach. It happened so fast, and the sight of a girl riding a shark too mesmerizing, no one left to fetch a phone.
A gaggle of teenagers approach, a cutie surfer boy says, “Um, that was…the most awesomest thing I’ve ever seen.”
A tight little teen in a bikini about the size of ours, “Jerry, really? Most awesomest?”
She rolls her eyes, asks Oceane, “That was crazy girl. It was a flipping shark.”
Oceane smiles, cocks her head, “Sea creatures are my friends,” she gives Cassie a sip of water.
She stands, “I will show you,” she walks back to the water, gets about waist deep.
The teens are reluctant, they get as far as wet feet. In a minute, the water boils, not boils like boiling, churns. Oceane is surrounded by fish. The girls who spoke up wades in, gets to Oceane.
She turns to the other five, “Check it, every kind of fish in the sea,’ she giggles, “they’re bumping us.”
Oceane, “Fish kisses.”
Then she’s surrounded by six teens, standing like Oceane, quiet, still, a kind of communion, not frenzy. Oceane’s arms open towards the horizon, the fish swim away while bedazzled kids stare.
One asks, “Who are you?”
“Oceane. I am at home here.”
She comes in, takes Cassie hand and we return to our spot.
The kids sense this is done, all a little, maybe a lot, awed. They have seen something, something they respect, something beyond themselves. They move down the beach and sit in a circle, no doubt discussing the event, too far for me to catch the words. They don’t know it, but Oceane and her silent companions will be a familiar sight in the months to come.
Around three, another wave comes in, from the hotel, not the ocean. The sprites are adorable in their swimsuits, stream past us and into the water. Beachgoers have come and gone, the people here now mostly didn’t see Oceane’s shark ride. I let the children spend an hour, then call them up.
“Enough for the first day, and it’s tea time.”

Twenty Eight

We’re having tea at the Carbon Beach Club, we have watermelon gazepacho and tea sandwiches, watermelon, citrus, honey oat loaf, radish and cucumber. A second platter of poppadum, a thin, crisp, disc-shaped bread like a tortilla, with avocado salsa, salsa and tomato chutney.
The poppadum is a hit with the kids, we get a second round.
Nikko, “So Oceane rode a shark.”
“She did, although I don’t think she knows a shark from a whale or a grouper, they’re all just sea creatures.”
“Must have freaked the crowd.”
“Yep, although we got a little lucky, the shoreline is right at the rear of the hotel, and the place wouldn’t be full except we have so many rooms. There weren’t two dozen people out. Maybe someone watched from a balcony.”
It won’t do any good for the adults who weren’t there to question Oceane, she likely has no memory of riding a shark. To say Oceane lives in the moment is an under-understatement. If you ask her why she’s in Malibu, her answer would be to visit her ocean friends. The idea of a new house overlooking the sea is foreign to her, it will be real when she moves in.
Britt comes up, plops the last of her snack in her mouth, “Tetya Dafna…”
“Finish chewing and take a sip of tea, I don’t want you to choke,” I hand her my half full teacup.
She does, hands it back empty, “Tetya Dafna, Tetya Nikko, how can Oceane talk to fish?”
“We don’t know, she does because she wants to.”
“Can I talk to fish?”
“We have a rule in our family. We don’t assume a thing can or cannot be done, we find out. Sometimes we find out we can’t do it, but one of the others can. The most important thing is intention.”
“What is intention, Tetya Dafna?”
“When you decide to do something. Like learn Russian. You intend to learn it. If you concentrate on your intention, you need do nothing else, you will practice and you will learn because you intend to. Intention doesn’t mean you don’t have to make an effort, it gives you purpose, a push to make the effort. Everything is possible with right intention.”
“How do I know of my intention is right?”
“If you get what you intend.”
“The others say they are learning kendo from Tetya Nikko and Mama Chloe. I watch you doing something different, what is it?”
“Taekwondo and Gung Fu, two different martial arts.”
“The one that looks like dancing.”
“Gung Fu.”
“If I intend to learn Gung Fu, will you teach me?”
“Of course, and so will Zi. Danika and Su know it as well.”
“I want you to teach me.”
“Then I will. When we get back to Arizona, we will begin.”
She beams, I earn a double cheek kiss, she repeats for Nikko and scoots off to her pals.
Nikko, “Looks like you have a student.”
“Been a while, teaching at the Shaolin temple aside, my last private student was you and that was Taekwondo. Dasha and Daria did more mixed martial arts. You realize Britt knows she had a part in her foster parents murder?”
“So Janah said. The man was abusing her, Janah verified, the girl wasn’t lying, Janah would know.”
“No, she wasn’t making it up. My point is, while she understands she did it under the Shadow’s control, she feels no remorse. Nor is she freaked at the violence of it. It was gruesome business, not just a stab to the heart.”
“You think she’s capable of what we do, at some point?”
“I think she’s capable of what Katya’s crew does, murder for money. I intend to redirect her towards Shadow hunting, and when I intend something, it happens.”
Nikko is blank, Nikko is always blank, well, almost always, she’s quite animated during sexual encounters.
We return to the hotel for some nothing before dinner. Nikko and I decide that her time away house building requires an intimate reacquaintance, that’s our excuse anyway.
We’re in the bedroom that Janah and I will use, Janah’s elsewhere. I pop in her head, while Nikko and I are declothing and freshening. I see Lauren, naked on a bed smiling. Her finger is working the sensual spot. I can’t see Janah, I’m looking through her eyes, but I sense she’s getting stoked watching Lauren strum for her.
Lauren doesn’t give it up, but she likes to be watched, she’s as much an exhibitionist as Sarah. Janah has her display moments, she gets in a mood and stretches on the couch at home tapping on a tablet. Girls pass by and admire, run a hand along the soft skin. It’s group foreplay, Janah’s been known to service a half dozen girls in a row when she gets really steamy.
I drop out, Nikko’s on the bed in her glorious sleek nothing. We don’t waste time with foreplay, I go straight the point, well, it isn’t a point, but you know what I mean. Nikko’s not blank anymore.
After she’s successfully conquered, she lays staring at the ceiling, “It is always remarkable with you. Qi tongue buzzes my brains to soup.”
“Shall I buzz the other side?”
She narrows her eyes, “What do you think?”
She rolls over and scrunches her knees under her. I tongue and tease, am rewarded with her analgasm and a string of Japanese expletives. And from such a normally demure and self contained girl.
Janah comes in, “God, Lauren is so hot. Spread Daphne, I need what she wouldn’t give me.”
I do, while she gets her need met, Nikko straddles my head, facing Janah, and a few minutes later we simulgasm. She falls to the side gasping, Janah slips up to me and licks the lotion off my lips. 
“Need anything else?”
“Nope, I went off twice while Lauren teased, she was into it, had double herself. She allowed me to lick her fingers and kiss the spot when she was done. Such a creamy dream.”
“One day maybe.”
Nikko, “Her thing is her thing. She makes it feel like a privilege to watch her.”
“Her deal with you is to have you undress and stand next to the bed while she plays her solo.”
“I have to admit, it’s gratifying, stimulating, to have a beautiful girl get off just looking at me. She knows how to handle her audiences.” 
Dasha pops in my head, “Dahfoney, you haf already enough sex, ees time for going to dinner now.” 
“Sunset, we haf eaten before, tonight we haf private room because of so many. Also, I order already, appetizer, entrée, they will bring on platters, take what you want.”
“Be outside in a few.”

She arranged the North Room, seats thirty, which is about where we are. The children like to eat together, they have their own end of the table.
After cocktails, Ellen selected wines from their list, we also have Champagne. Dasha got seafood appetizers, raw oysters, jumbo shrimp and crab cakes. Skipped soup and salad, we got right to lobster ravioli, spaghetti bolognaise, choice of prime beef burger or flat iron steak.
Amaya, “Absolutely amazing Dasha, thank you.”
“We haf eaten here twice while working on the house. They haf gud chef, food and service are reliable.”
A short thick man in a toque comes in, “Miss Dasha, so good to see you again, and your guests, did they enjoy my food?”
“Da Paul, this ees my fahmahley, girls this ees Chef Paul, a round of ‘hello, thank you for the wonderful dinner.’
He spots the kids, “So many perfect young ladies, did you enjoy my food girls?”
Nadia, “Da, blagodaryu vas.”
He looks to Dasha, she explains, “Thanking you in Russian.”
“Ah, you are most welcome and…still dessert to come. When your servers have cleared the table, they will bring Miss Dasha’s selections.”
Dasha, “You should meet Ellen, our fahmahley member who ees also superior chef and sommelier.”
Ellen, “My pleasure Chef Paul. Dasha, Daphne and I are the chefs for this crew. You can imagine, three meals a day for twenty seven. Like our own small restaurant.”
Paul, “You selected the wine then. I wondered, your choices reflected more than just dumb luck. You have the nose.”
Ellen, “I had excellent training and some small natural skill, but we are keeping you. Dinner was lovely, you run a tight kitchen.”
He smiles, “Call Marcel at this number next time. Please come again, even the chefs and sommelier need a night off.”
“Our home will be ready in six or eight weeks, we’ll be in Malibu at least half the year. And yes, we do enjoy fine meals out, and it’s a plus that you have a room to accommodate us.”
While they chatted, the table was cleared, in comes dessert. Yikes, profiteroles filled with Chantilly cream covered with warm chocolate sauce, crème brulée with berries, and chocolate tortinos, like a chocolate cupcake, except filled with vanilla gelato and chocolate sauce, a tasty finale.

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