It’s the evening of the play, the Japanese version. Then the set will be packed up and shipped to Malibu for the English version. The rest of the play will happen in Malibu. We might have waited and done everything in Malibu, but the children have worked hard and are anxious to try it on live in front of an audience.
Kota B is responsible for the video and is operating her internal cam as well as two others to stage left and right.
Amaya makes the preliminary introduction, “Tsuruya Nanboku IV's drama "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunshô" premiered in 1817 at the Kawarazakiza theater in Edo, today's Tokyo. It was quite successful but was not revived during the Edo period. It was revived twice before World War II, in October 1927 at the Hongôza theater in Tokyo and in September 1930 at the Meijiza theater in Chūō, Tokyo. Twenty nine years later, the third revival was supervised by the writer Mishima Yukio and staged in November 1959 at the Kabukiza in the Ginza area of Tokyo. Finally, it was revived in March 1967 at the National Theatre, with a fourth script written by the Kabuki scholar Gunji Masakatsu. This production, which is without doubt the biggest success of the National Theatre in Tokyo, became the definitive version of "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunshô". A few features, which were not in the original version, like the epilogue, were added by Gunji Masakatsu. This is the version we will portray. The original version of "Sakura Hime Azuma Bunshô" was made up of a prologue and six acts. The current version is made up of one prologue, 4 acts and 1 epilogue.”
Lights dim, then a spot to the three meter diving board over the pool.
Priest Seigen, Nadia, is involved in a love affair with a young acolyte named Shiragiku played by Zofia. Due to this homosexual attachment, Seigen has neglected his priestly duties to such an extent that the pair have decided to commit suicide together by leaping off a cliff at Enoshima. At the edge of the cliff, they each take part of a small incense container, Shiragiku takes the lid that is inscribed with Seigen's name and Seigen takes the lower part of the box that bears the name of Shiragiku.
Shiragiku prays to be born a woman in his next life so that he will be able to become Seigen's lawful wife, and he leaps into the water. Which is exactly what Sofia does. Then a bit of holographic magic as a light rises up from the sea, played by our Olympic pool, and a white heron flies up. Seigen is frightened and draws back, losing his chance to join Shiragiku in death.
As the lights move to the main stage, the cliff scene is in darkness. Sloane pulls drenched Zofia out, Nadia descends the ladder and they disappear.
We applaud, it was really quite convincing, not only to those of us that speak Japanese, just from the acting one has a sense of what happens.
The play will take way to much space to describe here. I’ve added a summary of the complicated plot for all four acts of the Scarlet Princess of Edo, or as it’s known commonly in Japan, Sakura Hime.
It’s two hours later before the end of Act I, we are near mesmerized by the performance.
Susan pops up onscreen, she’s wiping tears, “We’re a mess here, and none of us speaks Japanese. I can’t wait to see the English version.”
“Amaya thought about adding subtitles, but subtitles take away from the visuals, you have to take your eyes away from the action to read the translation. And since they are doing an English version anyway, it seemed pointless to subtitle the Japanese.”
“She did so much with the set, who built it all?”
“Eloise, Daria, Lauren and Britt, with heavy assistance from Kota B. Amaya plans to do the entire play in a version of VR. The children’s performance, one in Japanese and a second in English, will be superimposed on a realistic background. It won’t be VR like the viewer will be part of the play, just a method to enhance the sets, make them appear real.”
“Think there’s a market?”
“Beats me, she’s not selling it, anyone will be able to download it to any video device. She considers it educational, the Sylk Trust will cover the costs.”
“Amaya is always generous, both with her time and money.”
“She buys all the kids clothes, and Valeria’s, Oceane and Cassie are simple, gauzy chemises, for reasons you already know.”
“Oceane doesn’t like heavy, her skin is sensitive, she’s sensitive, she picked up on the Shadows.”
“We don’t know where that comes from, she doesn’t predict much, but she hasn’t been off so far.”
“Not sure I want to know the future.”
“Neither does she, it just comes to her. We think she might see a lot more, but she gets a sense of something then forgets it almost instantly, or at least before she mentions it to anyone. We also think Cassie knows, but Cassie doesn’t talk and if we ask her a question, she just smiles. If you have secrets, tell Cassie, no one will ever know.”
Sis laughs, “I wouldn’t know what to do with a secret, you and I talk about everything, Janah can spot a lie from across the room, the stuff Lacy, Taylor and I talk about would shock a porn star. If I had a social media page they would shut me down.”
“We don’t do prim and proper well, it’s boring. Besides, our not prim and proper is in the family, so it’s nobody’s biz.”
“Mom’s got to get to bed, kiss the actors for me.”
We click off, it’s good to have a mom who lives forever, at least when she’s a mom like mine.
The children have been hustled upstairs, they have to remove makeup, deconstruct hair, it will be midnight before they snuggle in.
Amaya, “That went better than I thought.”
“It was enthralling, when you put it into a video with an authentic backdrop for the sets….wait, will too much set detract?”
“You read my mind. There will not be too much set. In fact, the work Eloise and the others did is better than an enhanced digital set. It lends authenticity. After tonight, seeing a bit of how it turned out on the video, it changed my mind. I do not want it over produced, I want it like it might have been done in the eighteen hundreds. The set will be basic, the costuming and make up will be the focus of attention, which makes the children the focus.”
“You aren’t concerned that the subject matter played by children will draw criticism?”
“If it does I shall remind whoever asks that Grimm’s fairy tales are gruesome, even the ancient Harry Potter thing was violent, kids ate it up, as did their parents. Shakespeare is violent, the Bible is worse. I will enjoying laughing the issue away.”
“The Mamas going to let the children be interviewed….no, I’m off base again, the Mamas will let the children decide.”
“We have a year’s worth of rehearsal, set building and video to make and edit. Maybe longer if there is other family travel. And we do not spend all that time in Malibu. When we go to Canada, the kids can practice lines, but Eloise can’t be building sets. All the rest of the production will be done at the Malibu compound.”
“We can skip Canada for a year if you want to get this finished, think it over and let me know.”
“It might be better to keep our momentum, rather than do the play then a month or two in Canada, then back to the play. Easier for the actors to stay in their roles if I press on.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do, Malibu until the project is complete.”
Chloe comes up, “What’s doing?”
Amaya, “We have decided to go full bore on the project when we get back to California. We think it is better to keep everyone engaged rather than go to Canada, lose the momentum, back to California to resume set building. Eloise can take as much space as she needs on the grounds, we’ll have an entire Japanese village, or at least facades.”
Chloe, “Better. I wouldn’t want to do a movie in pieces, I want to get into my character, do my bit and drop it.”
Good, sorted out a plan in fifteen minutes. And given the nature of the project, better to keep those involved with their heads in it from start to finish.
We wander off to bedrooms, Janah is propped up with a tablet in her lap randomly surfing for articles of interest.
“Any new breakthroughs on the research front?”
Janah, “Nothing leapt out, it is getting impossible to keep up with the advances in what used to be called AI. The machines are winning on almost every front. Contrary to the dire predictions of the twenty teens, the machines are making things better, they don’t seem compelled to take over the world,” she giggles, “in part because we’ve handed it to them. There is no anti-human maliciousness, it’s not like they need resources, they don’t eat or need country clubs and yachts, or mates. The machines don’t desire and don’t compete.”
“We’re going to Malibu day after and staying there until the play is finished, including the streaming version. The kids are pumped, Eloise and crew need time to build sets the bots will design based on their research of nineteenth century Japan.”
“Fine by me, we aren’t involved, if there’s travel we go, they don’t need most of us for anything regarding the play. I imagine they’ll be in a world of their own for the foreseeable future.”
And so it goes, we’re back in Malibu, Eloise and her workmates Lauren and Britt put the final touches on the newest bot, Hypatia B.
(On pronunciation, apparently High-pat-ee-ah is one version, and High-pay-sha is another. Amaya said the first sounded like a disease, the second elegant.
High-pay-sha it is.)
The original Hypatia was a Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher in Egypt, then a part of the Byzantine Empire. Socrates of Constantinople described her as ‘a woman at Alexandria, daughter of the philosopher Theon, who made such attainments in literature and science, as to far surpass all the philosophers of her own time. Having succeeded to the school of Plato and Plotinus, she explained the principles of philosophy to her auditors, many of whom came from a distance to receive her instruction. On account of the self-possession and ease of manner which she had acquired in consequence of the cultivation of her mind, she not infrequently appeared in public in the presence of the magistrates. Neither did she feel abashed in going to an assembly of men. For all men on account of her extraordinary dignity and virtue admired her the more.’
High praise, and for her trouble she had, while she was still alive, her flesh torn off by oyster shells, potsherds or roof tiles. Afterward, the men proceeded to mutilate her and, finally, burn her limbs. All due to a conflict between, what else, Christians and Jews.
The religious are never comfortable with math and science, or women, facts bother them and they find women mysterious, which intimidates them. Fortunately, religion is on the decline as even the most obtuse come to grips with its superstitious stupidity.
Grace B, “Hypatia my ass, who thought up that gem?”
Amaya, “I did, and you will treat her with the respect she deserves or I shall have Daria reprogram you to cleaning bot. You can spend the rest of your days, scrubbing toilets.”
“I meant to say, how grand, to have Hypatia, stunning mathematician and philosopher, in our midst.”
“Better. She is going to teach the children Aristotle, Plato and Socrates.”
“But they had a fair bit of cockamamie notions.”
“Which our Hypatia will point out, or I should say, get the children to question in light of vast scientific advances since the oldie philosophers spouted their ideas.”
“Ah, I see, and will she use the Socratic method?”
“I have not the slightest. I just did the voice, which is calm, unquestionably wise and mellifluous. She is a pleasure to listen to, sort of a Grecian Emma B, without the Brit accent.”
“You gave her none of my qualities?”
“No, you have privileges the others do not, you are coarse, vulgar, get to say outrageous things and display, occasionally, a nasty attitude. You are unique in that, a kind of anti-bot.”
Janah wanders in, “What’s for dinner?”
Ellen, “Coq au vin, chicken thighs braised in bacon drippings, then baked. Sauté carrots, mushrooms, onions and shallots in the leftover drippings, add red wine, chicken broth, flour and butter, bring to a boil and simmer. The resulting sauce goes over the chicken surrounded by vegetables. Roasted new potatoes on the side, French bread to dip in the sauce.”
Janah, “Knew I’d come to the right place. Any dessert?”
“Chocolate mousse, courtesy of Valeria, she made it this morning since it needs to sit refrigerated seven hours or so.”
“I’ll be by the pool anticipating.”
Most of the family is out there, cocktails in fifteen, only light accompaniments, crackers, coq au vin is a fairly heavy dish and should be savored with a healthy appetite.
We have four pans going, braising chicken, get it into the oven, then make the sauce with vegetables. Potatoes roasting in a second oven. Heat the bread, soft ghee out on the tables.
“Emma B, please round them up for dinner.”
The children come along and take their places, Kota B will serve them. Of course Morshchiny sidles up to me for a hunk of chicken then to her place next to the children’s table.
“Just sit, we will serve individually.”
While they pass the wine bottles, we deliver bowls of the entrée, two thighs sauce and vegetable and a couple of new potatoes, skin on, hint of garlic.
Amaya, “You have outdone yourselves, this is divine. My compliments to all, who decided on coq au vin?”
Dasha, “Ellen, but it took all of us to make it. Valeria did dessert, took her all morning, you will enjoy.”
Chloe, “What is it?”
“Wait and see.”
The children are nattering away in Japanese, but in voices other than their own, they must be rehearsing lines from the play. They’ve gotten attached to kimonos, practically all they wear.
“Are those lines for the play I’m hearing?”
Amaya, “Yes, constantly after Vesnushki to rehearse. Now that we have decided to record and stream it, they have gotten intense. Probably should never have told them, just recorded it and put it out.”
Chloe, “It’s not that bad, they aren’t freaking, just challenging themselves, that’s all. I’m not sure who’s having more fun, me or them. I must say, I think I have nearly the whole thing memorized, and it is a long play. Kota B is a tremendous help, she, of course, has the script in her memory and can prompt forgotten lines and correct pronunciation as well as Amaya and I.”
Eloise, “We unveil Hypatia tomorrow. She will have four outfits, a peplus, chiton, himation and strophion, which is what you would see in renderings of ancient Greek attire.”
Nikko, “What will her role be?”
Amaya, “Any processing assistance the other bots might need, but that’s a minor role, they can’t get much more efficient. We decided to make her therapeutic, you can, for instance, get a massage and metaphysics at the same time, or one after the other, she plays her own relaxing music. She is not stuck in ancient Greece, any topic from Qi, Buddhist or any other philosophical subject, where they intersect, where they differ, psychology, pharmacology, or you can lay back and free associate. Some of my best writing happens when I just write whatever pops in my head, with no conscious plan. We think you might free associate yourself into an insight just by random talk. Hypatia will listen, her depth of knowledge allows her to put your random thoughts in context, if there is a context. It is an experiment, we have no idea what comes of it.”
Nikko, who is so rational it hurts, surprises us, “An interesting approach Amaya, I will book a session. Who thought it up?”
“Janah came to me with the initial suggestion, we bounced it around with Daria, who is more like you than not. She said pretty much what you said. When our direct no nonsense Russian Mama liked the idea we figured we might be on to something. Now all we have to do is find out what.”
Kota B passes with a platter of chicken and sauce, appears the children have added coq au vin to their list of favorites.
Uma, “Mama, this is totally best chicken, well, fried chicken is also best, and the other Russian one that’s rolled up.”
Dasha, “Chicken Kiev.”
“That’s it! All of them are our absolute best chicken favorites.”
“Ellen, “We’ll make fried chicken next week, let me see….fried chicken, red beans and rice with spicy sausage.”
Janah, “Is it next week yet?”
“No, but I am certain we’ll come up with something edible between now and then.”
Karol, “Mama, can we have French toast for breakfast?”
“Da, children are saving us from thinking up meals. There will be anyway smoked salmon also. Fruit and yogurt ees every day.”
Amaya and Nikko are the most careful about diet, sometimes they’ll have pancakes, a waffle or French toast, other times a bite off Chloe or Zi’s plate then fruit and yogurt.
The children are like blenders, they stay active and burn right through calories. Dahlia and Clarissa are part of the collective ‘children’, but unlike our original eight, they are growing and aging. One day, like Valeria, they’ll choose when to stop aging, but they have to cross puberty first. The children didn’t choose, we did no cellular exchanges, they simply quit aging on their own. Nadia around twelve, Uma, the youngest, at six or seven. The others in between. They were housed in a Ukrainian orphanage and hyper-bonded, there were no caring adult hands to soothe their fears, to keep them clean or safe, they had each other. When they were shipped to the US and put to work entertaining adults, we rescued them four years ago and they haven’t aged a day since.
It’s relatively quiet for a couple of weeks, Valeria and I have been once to Black’s school, I got in a nice round of sparring with a couple of the big boys, one on one this time. I’d let them get in a few licks, not patronizing, I need to get clocked from time to time as a refresher, to let go of the pain and keep on fighting.
I’d upped Valeria to a blue-black, more in keeping with her actual skill level. She had two matches, one with an equal rank that she basically demolished, and one with a red-black that gave her more trouble, a tall girl of eighteen named Sissy, who wasn’t. Tall fighters are more difficult with long legs to keep the opponent at bay. Valeria took her punishment without complaint, her blank expression revealing neither pleasure nor angst.
Sissy, “Master Sylk, you have created a handful, she’s a buzz saw that doesn’t stop.”
“She works at it, as you do. If it had been a match with points, you would have edged her out.”
“Not by much, and I have the bruises to prove it. Where does she train?”
“At home, with me and another Shaolin. We also do taekwondo and free sparring. Everyone she fights is a black belt, 5th degrees actually. Some of the others aren’t in organized martial arts, they do a version of ground fighting with a bit of judo.”
“You let her go full contact?”
“Isn’t a matter of let, she’d be insulted if we didn’t. We do lots of half speed, to build muscle memory, then full contact for pain management. I’ve never heard Valeria say ouch, much less anything else.”
“She’s going to be a contest winner, certainly in her rank and likely higher.”
“She would if we did contests, we don’t. Other than at my dojangs, or the temple, I’ve never entered a contest.”
“Good thing for the other contestants, I saw you beat up two guys last time, and dance circles around two monsters tonight. I’m not blind, you let them get in a few strikes.”
“Pain management,” I pull up my top, there’s a fat bruise covering much of my left ribcage.
“Jesus, you never winced, that must hurt like hell, maybe cracked a rib.”
I smile, “I don’t have a rib that hasn’t been cracked.”
Now they’re so fused, it’s hard to crack one, like tonight, if he’d busted one, I’d feel it, it’s just a big bruise.
She grins, “You’ve given the women here a sense of possibility, the intensity has jacked up a few notches since your demonstration, after tonight it might get brutal.”
“Black and his instructors know when to let things go hard and when to turn it down. You’re a good student and a good fighter, you won’t be red-black much longer if I’m any judge.”
She smiles, Valeria comes along, “We will go home now Daphne.”
Sissy, “Woman of few words, you gave as good as you got Valeria. I hope we can dial it up again sometime.”
Sissy giggles, “As I said,” she goes off to the women’s hall, the place is winding down.
We wave at Black, he’s in discussion with three of his instructors, likely about promotions. Thirty minutes later we’re home, under warm showers and down on the mats for Qi healing by Janah and Daria. I couldn’t explain to Sissy that by morning, there would be no bruises, no knots, no strained anything.
Janah, “You took a pounding, so did your pal.”
“Valeria took on a red-black, a good one. She held her own against a tall, fast, talented fighter. And she took apart a girl in her rank. Well, not in her sparring rank, which is higher than blue-black. In a way it was a little unfair. The girl doesn’t go up against the women Valeria does here, never gone full contact with a black belt, much less a master.”
Daria, “What do you think Valeria?”
“Fighting is easy, don’t think at all. Daphne says never take a strike without giving two. I kept that in mind until it became a habit, now I just do it.”
Janah, “Okay girls, you’re as qi’d up as we can get you, time to rest.”
Valeria yawns, “Thank you Mama Daria, much better now.”
Daria stands and pulls her up, “Bed for everyone, fighting girls and Qi girls, dobroy nochi.”
Valeria, “Dobroy nochi Mama, Dafna, Janah,” she pads across the floor, up the stairs to her room.
Janah, “Leave the liniment on tonight, you can shower in the morning.”
“I smell like a wet forest, I may sprout mushrooms.”
“I’ll pretend I’m camping out.”
We’re out of it for the next seven, then I’m up at six, a hot shower then kitchen duty, Janah will rest comfortably another two hours.
Dasha shows up the same time I do, “I’ll do coffee for the early girls,” Dasha will make black tea, the preferred brew of our Slavic contingent.
Emma B is here, I ask, “Where’s Grace B? She’s usually up and dishing out sarcasm by now.”
“Patrolling. We picked up motion just outside the compound last night, the east wall. There are occasional coyotes and the odd mountain lion. They can’t scale the wall so we generally ignore them.”
Grace B comes in, “Fuckers. Two adult males, I have them on the drone feed, should have laser blasted them but they were outside the wall.”
“Were they doing anything?”
“Appeared to be looking for a way in, which is not happening unless they drop in by parachute. Any pressure on the top of the wall sends me an alarm with the location but they didn’t get to the top. I picked them up while the drone was on its nightly run.”
“I put the drone spotlight on them, you can see them here,” one of the flat screens pops open, two wide eyed faces staring up into the bright light, I hear Grace B’s voice, “You’re on private fucking property dickweeds,” then a laser blast at their feet.
They fall backwards, scramble up and jack rabbit.
“I have their vehicle identification and their faces. The ID program says they are two B&E punks, small time. I guess they wanted to up their game. Stupid really, a huge compound with an unscalable wall and a well lit exterior.”
“Billy Palatino and Phil Farmer, busted for burglary twice, possession of stolen property, dumb as fence posts.”
“How do you know they’re dumb, getting caught aside?”
“They have a shit apartment in San Bernardino.”
I laugh, “That would be one profile. They have no chance of getting in here. If we front them, they find out who we are, not worth it just to make them wet their jeans. If they show up again, I’ll send Katya to dissuade them, she can be anonymous, identify herself as private security.”
“I could have simply fried them, when the laser is done, they’d be fresh ash fertilizer.”
“A bit extreme. I’ve got to prep French toast, thank you for taking care of business Grace B.”
In ten I have the eggs scrambled, and ready to dip French bread sliced thick and crosswise. I line up vanilla, milk and nutmeg, now I just need customers. While I wait I do a slice for myself, flop the drenched bread on the griddle, then flip it until done. Slip it on a plate and douse it with a mix of maple and cane syrup, cut off a bite. Dang, I got game.
Ellen starts frying bacon and stacking the crispy strips on a paper towel covered platter, into the oven to keep warm.
Nikko and Zi appear, then Lauren, Eloise and Britt. I get them set up, Sloane and Sarah come in around seven thirty, the rest of the troops are seated by eight. I feel a presence, look down, Morshchiny is eyeballing me intently, nose in the air.
I cut up a slice of French toast, pit it on a plate, crumble a couple strips of bacon over it and set it on the floor. Five seconds later I hear the plate sliding.
“You have no capacity for savoring do you?”
She ignores me and licks micro molecules off the plate.
I pick it up, “Go, that’s it for you bud,” I scratch her snout, she blinks, turns and lopes over to her spot near the children’s table, behind the same two chairs, the ones that face the patio doors. She lays on her side facing the door, keeping watch for anyone not family. The children sit wherever, they don’t have defined places. Today it’s Karol and Valeska.
Ellen, “Geez, French toast was popular, I fried five pounds of bacon too.”
“We go through pigs like….pigs.”
“Well, there are thirty girls.”
Valeria, “What is today?”
She’s not asking day of the week, rather what are we doing today.
“What would you like to do? We have two more meals to prepare, but perhaps something simple tonight, pizza for instance. Do you want to make it or order it in?”
“Fratelli is good, they send it by drone, quick and easy.”
“Then that’s what we’ll do, lunch can be tomato bisque, no, pizza has tomato sauce…I know, shrimp and crab salad with crackers. Light in between a big breakfast and a pizza dinner.”
Valeria, “Emma B, we have frozen shrimp, how much lump crab?”
“I will order it, be here in an hour or less.”
“Good, thank you, and we have butter crackers, sesame melba toast, table water crackers?”
“Yes. Will there be wine?”
“No, not for lunch, if someone asks, open a bottle of white something, it does not matter what.”
“Will do, the crabmeat will be here in thirty.”
Nice to have a bot that can answer inventory questions and order a delivery at the same time.
Valeria, “And the usual pizza mix for six thirty. Put them in the oven.”
“Covered with foil, crisp the crust.”
The bots know our pizza mix, veg, margherita plain, margherita with anchovies, pepperoni, thin crust. We’re a Fratelli favorite, a dozen pizzas minimum every time we order. Any slices left over mysteriously disappear by breakfast the next day. I know Janah is one of the dark of night pizza snackers, I suspect Sloane is another. If there are others, I haven’t taken time to figure out who, I know it isn’t me.
“Do you want to practice now or after lunch?”
“Today, all basic moves, then introducing White Crane. Be prepared for it to take a while to learn, there are one hundred seventy five separate moves.”
Dahlia and Clarissa show up and park on the mat. After basics, Valeria watches while I do the entire form. Current versions are broken up into five patterns and are performed ballet style with slow hand and leg movements followed by a swift strike. If you’ve ever watched a crane sneak up on a lizard sunning itself on a rock, you’ll get the idea. The crane moves towards the prey so slowly it seems not to move at all. Then, snap! Beak strikes and the lizard is the crane’s happy meal. In the wild, all food is self serve.
“Okay, let’s learn ten steps, in a week we’ll add more, eventually you’ll have them all.”
When learning, everything is slow, even the fast strikes, speed can wait until each move smoothly transitions to the next. We go at it for a half hour, then she does them by herself another half dozen times.
“Looks good, you know the drill, practice when you have a few minutes, in different rooms, facing different directions. It isn’t yours until you can do it anyplace.”
She nods, we’re not sweat soaked, but we did the basics hard enough that we’re damp, jump in the shower after we strip off our t-shirts. We don’t bother with uniforms for at home practice, there’s quite enough laundry already.
Dahlia, “Can we learn Daphne?”
“Of course. Tomorrow perhaps Valeria will show you a few basic moves, it’s where everyone starts.”
Zi appears, “If they wish, I can start them now, Valeria when she has time. I need to attend these sessions myself.”
“Great, better to have another Master.”
We go off to shower, Zi takes over with the girls.
I wash Valeria’s hair, she’s gone fairly long, past her shoulder blades. Like all young girls, her hair is thick and shiny in Valeria’s case Slavic blond. After I rinse it, I decide to take advantage and begin lathering her entire willowy-ness. When I slip soapy fingers on her tush, she leans forward, arms propped on the wall.
“Use your finger.”
I grin, she wants a bit of anal probe which I’m delighted to supply. Slowly in, to the first knuckle of my middle finger then slide back and in again. She moans softly. I tease her anus, then back inside, swirl my finger in a circular motion just a little. She has an equally gentle orgasm.
Rinse and clean, I lather long lean legs, then work the softness in between while she leans back against the shower wall. I drop to my knees and finish her off with my tongue, lucky me.
I stand, earn a long intimate kiss, she steps out of the shower and snags a bit towel to dry. I bathe myself with an idiot grim on my face.
Our showers are actually like a room, there’s no door, stone seating to one side with towels, the twin shower heads are rainfall style with a separate wand. Nice and refreshed, I towel down, Valeria seated on the bench combing out her hair.
“I make you smile.”
“You make all your lovers smile, attending to you is our delight.”
“Oceane and Cassie come to my room, Janah, Amaya. A few times with Chloe, when Amaya goes off to you or Oceane. I cannot make up my mind about Sloane, it does not matter, she has girls who like the boy thing. And she goes off to see your mother sometimes.”
“Sloane is happy she decided to keep the novelty item, so are her partners.”
“Sarah started coming around, she has sex with everybody.”
“You going to let her seduce you?”
“I think so, she likes to get herself off watching me nude on the bed. I’m learning to tease. She told me it turns her on that I do not smile, that I do not pay much attention to her while she does it and when I do, she says I look like a scientist observing a chemical reaction, blank.”
“You’re like Dasha, expressionless. It is rather sexy.”
“ I will make Sarah wait, next on my list is Ellen, she stares at me when we cook, and manages to brush her leg against mine.”
“Ellen is magic in bed, you will enjoy her, she will certainly enjoy you.”
Time to crank out lunch, actually past time, it’s twelve fifteen. We hustle to the kitchen, Ellen and Dasha have the shrimp and crab salad made.
Grace B, “About time you showed, no doubt taking advantage of your gung fu student, filthy swine.”
Valeria, “I took advantage of her, now move out of the way, get on with Kota B and tell her to have the children come down.”
“Tyrant,” she clicks a message to Kota B, a couple minutes later there’s the noisy arrival of the little ones and the thumping arrival of the monster dog.
Morshchiny comes around the island where she thinks she is invisible to Kota B.
I slip her a few shrimp, she huffs and lumbers to her spot, while Kota B stares at me, arms crossed tapping her foot.
“It was a few shrimp.”
She surrenders and arranges drinks for the children, I hear Dahlia, “Amaya, we are going to start gung fu with Daphne, Zi and Valeria, can we get those cool uniforms?”
“Zi told me, they will be in tomorrow, a special order from Chloe Couture, you can thank Chloe for that.”
Clarissa, “Thank you Tetya Chloe.”
Chloe smiles, “My pleasure, speaking of martial arts, we have kendo this afternoon children, two thirty.”
A collective ‘yay!’ I don’t know if they actually like kendo, or that they like the attention from gentle Chloe and taskmaster Hanshi Murakami.
Zofia, “Hanshi is ferocious, she growls like a mama bear, it makes Uma giggle.”
Nikko, “So much for my ferocity.”
“How are they doing, I’ve lost track of lessons.”
“Annoyingly well, Kota B keeps drilling them in Japanese, they may know more about the language than I do. And she observes while they practice in their dorm. Obviously she knows all the moves and how to call a match. In fact, I’m getting her to call our matches, she can see points even I miss.”
“No, I have difficulty believing that,” Nikko has the focus of a Tibetan mystic.
Nikko grins, miniscule, but I see it, “Well, let’s put it this way, she hasn’t missed any, and she calls point before I do.”
Eloise, “She operates near light speed, our neurons don’t fire anything like light speed. If she didn’t call first, she’d need a repair. We monitor their systems continuously, I should say, they self monitor and we get the results. They’re all operating efficiently, nothing’s busted. We did a few tweaks to Hypatia, then Emma B uploaded her memory, all the bots share data instantly. Hypatia is now in that loop. She meets the family at tea this afternoon.”
(On pronunciation, apparently Hy-pat-ee-ah is one version, and Hy pay-sha is another. Amaya said the first sounded like a disease, the second elegant. Hy-pay-sha it is.)
Tasia, “We met her this morning, she told us of her namesake’s life in Greece, and her horrible death.”
Karol, “Our Hypatia would kill them all with a laser.”
Daria, “Unfortunately, the original Hypatia did not have a built in laser and was not made of titanium.”
“What is her voice?”
Amaya, “I dug way back and found Diana Rigg as Mrs. Peel, not as Brit as Emma B, but I used the intonation, the self assurance and slowed down the pacing, Mrs. Peel talked too fast.”
Emma B plays a short clip.
“That series ended before my mom was born.”
“I stumbled on it fishing around YouTube, I watched a few for five or ten minutes each, it was silly stuff, the fight scenes were ridiculous and the production costs must have been near zero.”
Eloise, “Since we had no actual Hypatia, we used Rigg’s face, similar hairstyle without the flip ends. Amaya got the voice right after she tweaked it.”
Lunch is done, bots are cleaning up, a nice afternoon to chill with no dinner to prepare. We’ll have a Hypatia B pizza party, I call Susan.
“We’re introducing the new bot, if you’re available, cocktails at six thirty, pizza at seven-ish.”
“Taylor is having Felicia over.”
“Bring her too, but it’s not a command performance, if you guys have other things to do, pass by tomorrow instead. If she comes, you know what needs to be cleared up first.”
Felicia Godfrey is Taylor’s latest play pal. I recall mentioning Taylor does a bit of model chaperoning, fourteen year old girls in LA, sometimes on their own. That can become problematical when they figure out with a bit of makeup, a sheath dress and heels they can pass for twenty one. The agency pairs them with older girls they know to have more sense and maturity. Taylor talks to the younger ones, all of whom know her work, and in the process gets to know the older girls. Once in a while, they click. Taylor is twenty nine, hotter than a handgun, and has been twenty nine the last fifteen years thanks to us.
Susan, “I’ll cover the rules, maybe Taylor has mentioned it. As far as I know they were thinking of ordering in and watching a movie. Felicia’s not a clubber, she doesn’t even drink wine and she’s not into getting hit on all night long. Let me ask,” she goes off, I hear background conversation, “Felicia said definitely, she’s not been to your place, I don’t know what Taylor has explained about your family.”
She has to sign a non-disclosure agreement. No photos of the house or grounds, she cannot discuss the family with anyone, not friends, not mommy and daddy, certainly not the media under any circumstances. Our lawyers have it airtight and penalties for violation are stiff. We have lots of rescued children, we have a group of girls with unusual and unique skills. We do not want them advertised or babbled about.
“Good, see you for cocktails, are James and Kara in town?”
“Kara, James is at a conference in Scotland. Kara said she had no intention of hanging around Edinburgh while James listened to lectures. And under no circumstances was he to come home with either a kilt or a bagpipe.”
I laugh, “Eeeewww, both things are horrid. Kilts are just nasty and they could use bagpipe music instead of waterboarding, it would be far more effective. I recall you made it to Ireland once.”
“A few days, a few too many, you must have to be Irish to appreciate Ireland, we booked five days and left in three. Much prefer rainy old England.”
We click off. I’ve seen some of Felicia’s photos, naturally she’s all brushed up, but she looks lovely, almost Chloe-like, fresh and happy, not one of the pouty types.