Amaya's movie is out in New York and LA, she's on the phone with the director, Harry Childers, "Harry, you are golden, it is perfect, we saw it last night. Chloe's fan page is loading up with comments and congratulations."
Childers, "The screens in LA are running full. Film in LA and New York and open in LA and New York. Locals love to see their town. If you do a third book, we open nationwide next time anyway. I'm getting calls from actors who worked with the Coen brothers and agents for a couple of the names."
Amaya, "We do unknowns, or semi-knowns, the names get their share. I know they earned it, good for them, but our star is Chloe, not Cruise. Just hope for fifty million, your bonus kicks in then, I'd love to pay it."
Childers laughs, "You're kidding me, we did nine million in a weekend in two cities, big cities, but still, fifty is low. This time, you could brush up against nine figures in the States. Worldwide it's a layup."
“We shall see.”
Childers, "So, you gonna write a sequel? I'm getting used to a higher standard of living."
"It is ninety percent finished, but I am writing it online. It allows me to include audio and video related to the content, and is more fun than a Word doc shipped off to the publisher."
"Christ, publisher must be pissed."
Amaya, "Oh well. Daphne's mom is a good editor, she did a lot of Chris Fischer books and she started her career developing websites before there was anything like the plug and play site builders today. Readers get a preview, then pay for full access. I keep all the revenue. The Ultra Violet books are just a primer for Chloe's movies, I do not care about being in Barnes and Noble or Amazon. If I do another gay mystery, I might use the publisher."
"How long you plan to let the site run before I get to do a screenplay?"
"I will send you the text when the site goes live. You can get them started on the screenplay whenever you want, but I want at least a year before the sequel goes into production, we should still be getting royalties on the current film. No point in cannibalizing the franchise, more important, Chloe needs downtime between movies."
Childers, "Sensible. I don't care if you dump your publisher, just don't dump your director."
"Harry, you live with the guidelines and you do first rate work. Ultra Violet three is yours, go do one of those studio offers and make a killing. Just do not do a piece of crap for a paycheck. You have a solid rep, keep it, enhance it, do not piss it away to keep a suit happy. You said a couple of actors in Coen brothers films called you. I got a call from the Coen brothers. As I said, the next one is yours, unless you turn out some studio crap."
Childers, "Holy shit Amaya! I want the work, but Christ, you could go Oscar with those two."
"Our family does not work that way Harry. Money is great, but we are swimming in it. I would like the recognition for Chloe, but the fact is, she does not really care about that. I get more gratification out of her success than she does. They were quite gracious, they were independent unknowns at one time, they get it."
Childers, "You don't operate like any Hollywood shark I know. I don't know what to say."
"No need say anything, stick to my story, make Chloe look good, keep your standards high."
"Count on it, I'm looking out for the latest book, my screenwriters are anxious to get to it and I've got my eye on some promising young talent. Thanks Amaya, talk soon."
I ask, "Did you hear from the Coen brothers?"
Amaya, "Yes, fans of my work apparently. I had a lovely chat, they are gracious to a fault, only talked quality film making, not money or awards. They love Chloe, were complimentary of Harry's work, said nothing negative. I found them charming. I turned the tables and said if they were shopping financing for a project to give us a call. Took them by surprise, they said No Country cost twenty five million, I said we can work in that neighborhood, but only with them or a referral to a project they felt merited financing. I do not want to read a hundred scripts, or even ten."
"Guess we're going deeper into the film business."
Amaya, "I cannot say, Nikko and I talked it over, we may not get a call from anyone. They likely have no need for our money, given their success I presume they have more investors than projects."
Ultra Violet II went nationwide, Harry got his bonus. We put up twenty million and our end netted us two and a half mil at fifty million box office. That was at the end of the first week. It's been two months since release, we've made over twice that and the film is just going international. Chloe can barely leave the apartment. She's done both morning and late night TV. Sheesh, she's getting calls from studios for other parts and, apart from working with Amaya, has never taken an acting class. Go figure.
"Time to go to Phoenix, we need out of Manhattan until the dust settles."
Chloe, "Please, I'm looking forward to being an anonymous girl by the pool, Oceane is looking forward to being the girl in the pool."
Blue Sky departs Teterboro at nine, no hang ups, we arrive at the Fairmont at noon, classes start tomorrow. Oceane is in swimming heaven.
Rooms are cool too.
We ate on the plane, decide that an afternoon poolside is in order and soon there are ten bikini'd girls on lounge chairs, in and out of the pool or at the pool bar. My ultra sensitive hearing picks up comments by the other guests.
""Good Lord, where do they make those people? Is there a fashion show in town?"
"I hope they leave soon, won't be an available man left in Scottsdale."
I smile to myself, nine lesbians are hardly going to suck up the testosterone competition. Of course, we don't align with the misguided view that lesbian equals butch. Only Eloise has short hair, nobody has a tattoo. I suppose the tiger and dragon brands on our forearms pass for tattoos, but Zi and I are wearing gauzy colored tops with long sleeves.
Janah, Appears you've raised the consciousness of the guests.
I wonder how Amaya found a bikini that small? She's sure raised my consciousness.
Nikko, You bring slut to a whole new level.
Yes, it's a calling.
Amaya, Enjoying my me-ness?
Every square inch.
She smiles and winks at me, then licks her lips...sizzle.
Chloe, "Zi, I'm picking up on heavy lust."
Zi, "The air is rosy pink around our girls, the men in eyeshot are smoldering crimson, volcanic."
Chloe giggles, Dasha jumps in the pool and swims over to Oceane, Chloe joins them in a slow crawl across and back, then a circle of the whole thing. Three hours of swim, sun, libations and we head to rooms for a shower and chill.
Amaya and Chloe join Janah and me in our room, Oceane asleep with the twins. We do a girl around, travel brings out a higher than normal lustation, not easy to do given our abnormally high lustatiousness at home.
Janah decides Amaya needs another go, that leaves lovely Chloe to me. I take full advantage.
Chloe, "That was....I can't think of a sufficient exuberance, thank you Daphne."
"The pleasure was all mine."
Chloe smiles, "Not from my end."
Dinnertime, we decide it's too much trouble to dress and opt for room service in our suite, while I concoct an order the others make cocktails of choice. Chloe fetches Oceane, we engage sandwiches, burgers, fries and salads. The latest Jack Ryan is on the pay per view, a new actor, Chris Pine, is the fourth Jack Ryan. This is a prequel to the others, before he became Harrison Ford in The Hunt for Red October. Russian oligarchs, Ryan framed for a terrorist plot, his wife kidnapped, he ultimately saves the world.
Amaya, "Since it takes place before the original films, there was no suspense of him possibly dying."
"I suppose, or there wouldn't be the original movies, like a twist in time. If the prequel has the hero die, do the previous movies that predate it cease to exist?"
Nikko, "Only twisted you would come up with that."
"Well, we don't age, time twists are our speci-al-ah-ty."
Oceane, "You don't age."
Oops, cat jumped out the bag.
Nikko, "Okay big mouth, you get to explain."
I turn to Oceane, "Genetic mystery, we do not seem to age. Nikko, Janah and I have been around near forty years, but we aren't biologically forty. We shared our DNA and enzymes with the others, the younger ones got to choose when to stop aging. Dasha and Daria are over twenty now, but they remain sixteen, as do Amaya and Chloe. Zi was already twenty one when she came to us, Eloise as well.”
"If you wish, you can receive the treatment as well. Pass puberty first, but you can stop anytime after that."
Smile, Oceane drifts off to contemplate immortality, or nothing, it’s hard to tell.
We have to be up early, it's already past ten, time for race girls to rest.
Amaya, Nikko and I are taking the Grand Prix four day course, tons of track time. There is one instructor for three students, ours is Hal, a former Grand Prix driver. We had a great experience at the tactical driving course, and we like Bondurant because they don't waste time. Eighty percent of the course is on the track, explanations are clear, do what they tell you and you'll be zinging around the thing in no time.
They show us how to skid, how to avoid rollovers, how to follow on the course, get the right line for turns, heel-toe downshift and braking techniques. The day zips by like the cars.
Dasha and Daria are taking tactical, executive protection and kidnapping avoidance, it'll be interesting to see the instructor's reaction to our no nonsense twins.
I spot them across the way, what a stroke, Dan was our instructor for tactical and the twins got him for their course, he's all smiles,
"Daphne, Nikko, Amaya, I saw you signed up for racing, great to see you again. It's been, what, several years."
"We wanted to come sooner, life got busy, the twins came along, we opened up a couple of businesses. Amaya was having withdrawal pains so we made time. Dasha and Daria catching on?"
Dan, "More than, easy to teach, they are the two most intense people I've ever met. Daria doesn't talk much, but her eyes say she's absorbing every word. Dasha's hilarious, she talks to herself while she's driving, repeating instructions. She'll be able to teach the course when she's done."
"Dasha, what do you think?"
"Ees seemple, Dan says do it this way, we do it, car does all the working. Press gas, brake, turn wheel. We are going to crash soon."
She means the rear fender bump, get the attack car to spin out, then how to push through a car blocking the road. Tactical training is done in SUVs, Bondurant uses Tahoes. Since we learned with SUVs, we drove Escalades until GM made them resemble boxcars, now it's Mercedes GLK, heft plus creature comforts.
Dan, "Amaya, I saw the movie based on your book. The one with the gay private eye, then Ultra Violet. Thanks for making a gay guy an action hero, we're all really tired of the limp wrist thing. Your dance scene almost made me want to go straight until realized it wouldn't do me any good anyway."
Dan is gay, a subject we'd discussed on our first visit.
Amaya, "How did you like Ultra Violet?"
"Great, all action, no endless chases scenes, no blown up buildings, well, the heroine's apartment got bombed, that counts I guess. By the way, the girl is a fashion model, quite a following, how did she get the part?"
Amaya, "She had the inside track, I wrote it for her."
Dan, "Oh, you're pals."
"I suppose, I sleep with her every night. She is at the hotel with Janah and a couple of other roommates, we are up to ten now."
Dan laughs, "She's here? Chloe Sylk?"
"She's my American Express, I do not leave home without her."
"Man, think she could stop by? All the guys have seen the movie, a couple saw the sequel the other night, said it was even better. I don't want to impose though."
Amaya, "She loves her fans, she will be delighted you asked. She will come on the final day, is that good?"
Dan brightens, "I'm gonna be the most popular guy here," he looks around at us, "Daphne, neither you, Amaya or Nikko has aged a day in the five years since I saw you last. Can I get your diet plan, vitamins?"
"It's all moisturizer, exercise and a busy life, we don't have time to age."
Dasha, "Eemaya haf always to make us dress up, making up haf to be perfect, hair exactly feex or we can no leave home even just to go to grocery."
Dan laughs again, "Then keep it up, it works. If I may ask, why does Dasha have an accent but Daria mostly doesn't? Is that too nosy?"
Amaya, "She does it mostly because it manipulates Daphne, 'Dahfoney, you will make tea now, Dahfoney, what ees dinner, Dahfoney, you will paint toes now,' she's a Russian oligarch."
Dan, "And Daphne goes along?"
"The word serf comes to mind."
Dan is beside himself, "Man, I would love to see your family in action, life must be good."
"Life is splendid."
Dasha, "Dahfoney, we will go to hotel now and haf vodka. Bye Dan, haf a nice eefning, we are happy to be your school, tomorrow we will make spin, Eemaya haf already show us. I make car spin in Ultra moovey, you will see it."
Dan, "No, wait, Dasha is in the sequel, of course, I read the book, twin Russian assassins. I have to get to the movie, I'm going tonight. Did you really teach her to one eighty?"
Amaya, "And three sixty. We have to keep the skills you taught us in practice. When the twins got old enough, we sent them to a standard driving school, then they watched us practice and they wanted to learn. Still, better for them to come here, I am sure things need to be refined."
"Anxious now to see how they do, first, I have a movie to see. I'm teaching two movie stars, well, three counting your scene in the first flick."
Amaya, "Dan, you have movie stars through here like a revolving door, I bet they have a lot of fun."
He grins, "Several show up regularly, they like the courses, take everything from tactical, race, grand prix and go-kart, then take them all again. You can do stuff here that would get you busted on the street, and it's more fun with other people learning the same things."
It's true, if you have five grand, plus travel expenses, sign up. You'll be a significantly better driver and your confidence will do a moon shot.
The next two days rocket by, in the evenings we recap for Janah and the others. We've been in the Corvettes for two days, those things are road rockets, no drift in the curves, shifts like a dream. Zing the straightaways at a hundred forty, downshift in the curves, zoom out of them to the next straight.
The twins have Dan flummoxed, "Those two are fearless, the guys are impressed," he grins, "they think up questions for Dasha just to hear the accent. They've been proposed to a half dozen times."
"What'd they say?"
"Daria rolls her eyes and walks off, Dasha stares then says, let's see if I can get some of the accent, 'We are lazebian, anyway no marry girl or boy, only make sex with one person ees ridiculous.'"
We laugh, "That would be Dasha, you did okay with the accent. How'd the guys take it?"
"Love it, now they propose just to get turned down. By the way, we've all been so busy, I forgot to mention I saw Ultra Violet II, wow. That ought to get a prize someplace."
Amaya, "Thank you. Hollywood is not favorably disposed to indie film. They vote studio stuff. Probably for the best, we would not go to an awards show anyway, then they would be insulted."
Dan, "I laughed out loud when Dasha's character told Daria's in the middle of blowing away a crowd of Yakuza, 'Always een movie, a million shots, nobody hit anything. Ees seemple, point gun, pull trigger,' then she shoots another one."
He thinks for a second, "And when Ultra Violet is having a sword fight while Daria watches from the bar, she downs a shot of vodka, walks over and shoots Chloe's opponent, Chloe says, ‘Hey, I was winning,’ and Daria deadpans, ‘Last call,’ the audience loved those lines. I almost never see movies twice, but I'm seeing that one again."
Amaya, "How nice, thank you, Chloe will be happy to hear how much you enjoyed it. She is coming tomorrow, looking forward to meeting everyone."
Dan, "Good thing, some of the guys think I'm pulling their leg, said if she doesn't show, I have to buy the beer."
Amaya, "Well, they will have to buy the beer, better yet, we can all go someplace and I will buy the beer."
Dan, "Do that and you'll own the place. Tomorrow's gonna be a fun day, formula one cars and Chloe Sylk."
We stop for drinks at the pool bar before going to clean up and change for dinner. Chloe and Oceane climb out of the pool and join us.
"Janah and Zi came down for a while this morning, then went off to SPA appointments. We've been doing full breakfast, skip lunch. Oceane and I went from pool to lounge chair to pool. We used up a bottle of sunscreen."
Oceane, "We are going to the race course tomorrow."
"Yes, the instructors want to meet Chloe. We'll get pictures for the fan page, you can see Daria and Dasha finish tactical driving."
Oceane is hard to describe, in part because she's not curious. Curiosity leads people to ask questions, try on ideas and opinions. Out of that, we get a sense of what the person is about. She takes in her immediate surroundings, but if you ask her what she did yesterday she can only supply a vague answer. Her physical skills are fine, she doesn't forget how to breathe or walk or swim. She knows a twenty dollar bill is more money than a ten, she knows things must be paid for. But if you ask her to add up a five, ten, twenty and a few singles, she has no idea of an amount. She can read signs, probably books, but she never reads them. Spoken languages she retains, French, Russian, Chinese and Japanese, but she doesn't read those either.
Why don't we drill her? Do repetitions until she grasps the concepts? Aren't we supposed to be educating her, for her own good? We wrestled with it, waited to see if a natural interest kicked in. It didn't. We have nine other family members, more than enough to look after Oceane. We also have deep financial resources. If we don't all die in an accident, Oceane doesn't need to be pressed into the ordinary world of economic reality. She doesn't need to know how to add up a fistful of bills, read the news or understand neuroscience. She can use the internet, I've seen her watching YouTube, stream video from Amazon or Netflix for fifteen minutes or so, then she's off in a dream.
Every time Chloe and Zi read her aura, she's a perpetual robin's egg blue, the color of gentle contentment. Oceane is happy to float, untouched by life's anxieties, why would we force them on her? She can pick up feelings from whomever handled an inanimate object, feelings from people she's near, even more if she touches them. They aren't her feelings, she doesn't incorporate them into herself, she just knows what they are.
Everyone gets a vibe from other people, sometimes it's subconscious, sometimes conscious, frequently wrong. One person says another has a mean look, a third says the mean look is sadness or disappointment. People overlay their own feelings on the emotions of others, which screws up getting it right. Oceane doesn't filter their emotions through the filter of her own, she is touched directly by how the other feels.
It's an interesting juxtaposition. Dasha and Daria can see or hear how other people are acting, but they have no sympathy or empathy, no way to relate to the emotion. Oceane gets the emotion regardless of how people act. Despite being on opposite ends of the spectrum, one thing constant, neither the twins nor Oceane are personally affected by others people’s emotions. Janah and I are mulling over whether she can be helpful in our work. So far, we haven't needed to know what someone felt when they touched something. It's not like we're detectives out to solve mysteries. We're vigilantes out to abuse abusers. And Shadow Slayers, like Buffy was to vampires.