* * * * * * * * * * * * *
“So, what’s the damage?” she asked him.
“The check. How much is it?”
“Why?” He replied, not knowing where she was going with this.
“Why? ‘Coz I want to pay half, that’s why. Let me see it.”
She reached past him grabbing up the ticket at his end of the table. He stopped her, covering her hand with his.
“Don’t worry about it. I got it,” he said while lifting her hand and placing it back on his knee. She smiled; he winked, she settled against him, the left side of her body warm against his right. He felt a small quake of arousal flicker through his body. He straightened out his leg underneath the table, wanting to adjust his erection, which strained painfully against his pants. Reluctantly, he pulled his arm from around her waist, reaching to his jacket pocket for credits to pay for the meal. She squeezed his thigh as he counted out the proper amount plus tip.
They’d been seeing each other for some weeks now. Each time he saw her, smelled her, touched her, each time drove him mad because he wanted to take her; but he didn’t want to rush things with her like he had with Tam. He fell too hard, too quick and was hurt too badly over losing her. He didn’t want to believe that he could feel that way about somebody again, so he didn’t pressure her, because that would push him over the edge. Already he cared for her, greatly, even. He wouldn’t call it love, but it was definitely bordering on something like it.
“Wanna go for a walk?” She asked as they exited the seafront restaurant.
They strolled along the boardwalk until they reached a leg of stairs extending down onto the beach. Coruscant’s two suns shone brightly and the sky, littered with puffy clouds, was a dazzling blue. He held her hand as they walked and when she stopped to remove her shoes he released it, bending to take off his own sandals. His feet sank deep into the cool sand. He smiled as she turned to him again; she leaned in for a kiss to his lips, grabbing his hand again as they proceeded leisurely down the shore.
“This is nice,” she remarked, her eyes gazing on toward the stretch of beach and ocean in the distance. Not many people were out this time of day; they pretty much had the beach all to themselves.
“Yes, it’s very nice,” he replied squeezing her hand, using the gesture to emphasize ‘why’.
She stopped short, turning to him. She wore her hair braided in rows; the strips met in a spherical coil at the back of her head. She’d taken one of the flowers from the table in the restaurant and stuck it behind her ear.
“Do you like me, Mumby?” She asked, a bit of a smile teasing her lips.
“Yes, very much so,” he replied wondering where this conversation was going to next.
“You like me and we’ve been seeing each other for some time…” She trailed a hand up his arm, moving along skin then along the fabric of the t-shirt he wore. Her hand settled against his neck and she pulled him toward her. She kissed him soft on the lips and he closed his eyes to soft caress. She pulled back just enough for him to feel her breath upon his face. The dark pools of her eyes stared intently into his.
“Why haven’t you done anything more than kiss me?” She asked, her hand playing with the hair at the nape of his neck. He released her other hand and brought both of his up to her bare waist. He let his palms settle on the low-rise of her jeans; she was warm and soft and close.
“Why?” He asked.
“Yes, why. It’s been almost a month, babe, since we began dating.”
He thought for a moment; how should he say this?
“I haven’t…well, I thought maybe we should get to know each other before…you know.”
“Oh, okay…” She looked away, thinking and then she said, “Well, how much longer?”
A look of surprise came over his face then he smiled. He pulled her closer, her hands clasped around his neck.
“Whenever you’re ready…I really like you and I don’t want to mess things up.” Again, his mind wandered back to his earlier thoughts of Tam and that whole situation. She registered the change in mood on his face and frowned at him.
“Nothing,” he replied, shaking away the gloom; now wasn’t the time to open up…not yet.
“You can tell me, you know.”
“It’s nothing,” he paused then continued, “I just want things to be ‘easy’, you know?”
“Easy…I can deal with ‘easy’. But I really, really, really want to do this,” she replied.
“Yes, now dammit. I want you. Right here, right now, Mumby Daiyo,” she said leaning in for a kiss. She pressed her body fully against him squeezing her arms around his neck, kissing him deeply. He moaned into her mouth and his hands reached down lightly grabbing her backside. Her lower body moved against him, seeking and searching as she kissed him hard. He pulled away feeling himself harden uncomfortably. He wanted her, yes and she obviously wanted him more. He looked around; this part of the beach was completely deserted. He released her, bent to retrieve their shoes that had fallen to the ground. Spying a secluded spot underneath the pier, he grasped her hand and pulled her along.
He wondered if he shouldn’t just take her back to his place; this was a public place, after all.
“Are you sure you don’t want to go back into the city?” He asked almost stopping mid-sentence as he gazed at her unbuttoning her jeans and lowering them down her shapely, brown legs. She lifted the tank top she wore over her head revealing breasts with chocolate nipples. He almost came in his pants. She laid the items on the sand and sat down waiting for him. He lifted the t-shirt over his head, his hair falling out of place but he didn’t care. She reached for him, he knelt and went still as her nimble fingers undid the buttons and lowered the zip-fly. He grasped her hand before it delved inside; he didn’t want to ruin this for either of them by exploding too soon.
“I got it.” He croaked, lowering his pants then lifting each leg as he stripped naked before her. He heard her gasp as she looked upon his weeping erection. Again, she reached for him, but he pushed her hand away. He settled over her, sliding a finger underneath the band of her thong; he pressed his hand just there on top of her mound and she moaned, spreading her legs, opening for him. He pulled the scant fabric down, hands shaking as he beheld her sex. She reached for him, pulling him in for a kiss; he fell on top of her and their bodies crushed against the others. Lightly, he thrust against her stomach as he lifted her arms over her head. She lay back watching as he trailed heated kiss along her neck chest; he found her breast and sucked and she arched against his touch. He held her arms back with one hand, as the other trailed to the neglected breast and teased and squeezed. She spread her legs wider, lifting her lower body against him. He continued his ministrations and as his tongue found the concave space below the belly and above the mound, she sighed and grabbed his head, running her fingers through the silky locks. His hands pressed her thighs to the ground as he licked and sucked the sensitive flesh.
She pushed against him, moving his head against her while lifting her pelvis to meet his assault. She moaned and whimpered and shook and called his name and when he thrust his tongue inside, she groaned arching her back and lifting, until she shook all over. He lapped at her flow allowing her just a moment’s rest before he raised his body and pushed his hardness inside. Her open legs closed around him as he plunged. The balls of her feet settled against his backside encouraging him to go deeper. He pushed himself up onto his hands, hovering over her as his lower body drove in and out, out and in. He slowed, shifting his angle hitting her spot until she cried with the renewal of her pleasure.
He felt it coming. Feverishly the blood worked its way from his brain and from the soles of his feet. His pleasure crawled from the marrow of his bones, it seemed and he felt it gather. Her feet pushed harder against the dents in his ass; her ankles locked around his lower back holding him tight. He groaned feeling it come, feeling it expand into his loins and shoot through his shaft. He cried out, thrusting his release deep inside of her tight channel. He moved and moved, unable to stop even after feeling his member soften again. He felt her kissing his neck, the side of his face, his temple, and his eyebrow. He turned and met her mouth sucking her questing tongue as his brain cooled and his breathing calmed. He moaned into her mouth; her hands ran through his hair then down his damp back. She sighed and wiggled beneath him.
“That was good, baby,” she stated, voice raspy and hot.
“Yeah?” He asked, smiling as he lifted his body from hers. He lay next to her and she sat up, reaching underneath for her panties and shirt. He watched as she covered her nakedness, but didn’t bother to reach for his own clothing. He was too tired to move almost.
“Yeah. I’ve been waiting on that for a long time,” she winked at him, pulling her jeans from underneath his body. She threw his pants to him motioning for him to get dress.
“For how long?” he asked sliding one foot into the pants leg and then the other.
“Ummm, since three weeks ago,” she responded while putting on her own pair of jeans.
“Three weeks ago? You mean you would’ve…sooner?” He asked incredulously.
“Now, listen. I don’t normally, you know…so soon, but with you, well, I wanted to,” she replied. She leaned over and kissed him on the lips.
“Hurry up and get dressed,” she ordered.
He sat up, holding his shirt in his hand. Had he missed something here? She would’ve slept with him weeks ago had he asked. No big deal there, except she seemed so blasé about all of this. Wasn’t it supposed to be something special with girls, to wait? As soon as he thought this, he remembered Tam. It’d taken her three days before she caved and gave into him. But that was a different kind of attraction, a different thing altogether. Tam was special and he knew it from the start. Did he feel the same way about Afro? Could he? Oh, no. Had he fallen for this girl so soon, too?
She put her hand out; he grabbed it and rose. She leaned in and fixed his hair and dusted sand from his clothes.
“Let’s go back to my place,” she winked.
“Yeah, sure,” he replied. Did she want to again? And so soon? “Do you want to go with me to my club tonight?” He asked as they walked back up the beach to the restaurant. He held her, one arm around her waist and she held him the same.
“Tonight? I don’t know. Maybe. We’ll see.”
“Okay.” He pulled his telecomm from his pocket and dialed for his limo. It pulled up and they hopped inside. As it drove the short trip to Afro’s apartment, she dug inside the tote she’d left behind in the car. She pulled out a small baggie full of grass and set it in her lap. She continued to dig.
“What are you looking for?” He ventured to ask.
“My keycard,” she replied, still looking. “I’m prone to losing it, losing things like all the time.”
He reached for the baggie and brought it to his nose. Sniffing, he asked, “What’s this?”
Distracted, she turned to him and smiled. “What do you think it is?”
“I didn’t know you…you know.”
“I do, but ‘only’ that and only on occasion.”
“What’s the occasion this time?”
“You. Me. Me bringing a man back to my house for the first time since I landed on this planet,” she smiled at him. Having found her keycard she began placing the items back inside of the tote. She reached for the baggie and snagged it from his hands, placing it inside, as well.
“You don’t have a problem with it, do you?”
He thought about his own dirty indulgences into illegal drugfare. Should he tell her about it? Since meeting her, he hadn’t partied that way, not once. Well, there was that one time, after she didn’t call him back for two days. No, he wouldn’t tell her. But he was surprised with her blasé attitude toward the grassy stuff.
“No, but would ‘any man’ warrant this kind of ‘welcome’?”
“No, you’re special.” She leaned in and kissed him. “But, to be honest? That’s just my stash intended for me and my ‘relaxation’. But you don’t have to do it.”
“So it isn’t for, ‘special’ occasions then.”
She thought for a moment, shook her head and replied, “No.”
He gave her a look and she continued, “But I ‘do’ like you, Mumby. I just had to see if you were going to be weird about it, that’s all.”
He wasn’t one to lecture on recreational drug use. She was grown and fiercely independent, he surmised. He decided he liked that about her; maybe that’s why he’d chased after her that first day at the Pavilion; he just couldn’t let her get away from him. He didn’t reply to her, rather he held her hand, squeezing it as they rode the rest of the way in silence. When they got back to her place, they showered together, made love in the shower, sat on her living room floor and she blew him shotguns. They laughed and chased each other around the apartment, high as two kites, giggling like idiots and mischievous children at play. They made love again in her bed. Later on, she cooked him pancakes. He had to leave, to go to work at the club. He asked her to come along, but she declined. She was tired, she said. He was disappointed, but she promised him that she’d talk to him on tomorrow. They spoke on the phone everyday that week and he didn’t get to see her until the weekend. And so this was the nature of their relationship for a time.
She worked for an electronics firm, building and programming circuits. He offered her a position at a surveillance firm he co-owned with a silent partner (Lardus…hehehe). Soon he knew he was crazy about her just as he’d been with Tam. He expressed how he felt, begged for her to move in with him, but she declined, not wanting their relationship to get too heavy. He was disappointed and began to pull back, attempting to leave his full emotions at the door. They argued more than loved and soon she called it off. He’d hired a new guy (Pizza) to work alongside her and he suspected that they had begun to see one another. She acted differently with this guy and treated him as if they had never ‘been’. He grew bitter and anxious and frustrated and hurt and he began to use again. Then one day, he figured out a way to get her back. She took to the bait not knowing the trick he and his partner Lardus played upon her life. It gave him some satisfaction, but it wasn’t enough. Twice he’d loved and twice fate or the gods or something had screwed him. If he couldn’t have the one he loved then neither would she.
POSTRainfall9: Introducing ‘Iso Xani’
Iso-Xani Wild followed the stately form of her mother, Tam, through the marketplace of Setee. She lugged with her a bag of locally grown fruit and vegetables, spices and herbs. People stopped in their tracks and tried not to stare at them. Rarely did they get out of the house for her mother seemed to prefer their home surrounded by luxurious gardens to which she tended. But when they did step out, it became a public affair. It made Iso uncomfortable, the purported looks and stares, particularly of the men. Her mother did not acknowledge them, but Iso felt their burning gazes, even through the layers of robes they wore. People took an unprecedented interest in her eye color, something she shared with her brother. Even the veil, which lay over the piercing orbs, could not hide the glow from within. It was something they’d inherited from their father, a man she never knew.
She shuffled along trying to keep up with her mother’s steady stroll. She was tall, like her father. When she reached the age of fourteen, she towered over mother, standing just at six feet. Maybe this is why the men stared? Most of the women in this place were of her mother’s height or smaller. This attribute was her biggest insecurity, even though her mother told her to stand tall and be proud, she still crouched under their scrutiny. It made her feel different, outcast and alone. In times like these she missed the company of her brother.
They approached the edge of the market. A car pulled along the curb. Her mother stepped inside, sliding gracefully into the backseat. Iso followed, dragging the large sack inside and dropping into the floor. The door closed shut and the car accelerated, moving away from the hustle and bustle of the marketplace. Her mother moved, pulling away the veil from her eyes and hood from her robe. Iso did the same, smoothing her fingers along the tight curls of her hair. This she’d inherited from her mother. She turned toward the matron and smiled, relishing the gift.
“What is it?” Her mother’s soft gaze turned to worry as she looked on at the smiling face of her daughter.
“Nothing.” She replied.
Her mother raised her eyebrows in question, prompting Iso to say what was on her mind.
“Your hair.” She responded.
“My hair. What about my hair?”
“I got your hair and dad’s eyes.” She smiled radiantly. Her mother’s gaze sharpened and her eyes clouded over. She turned away, looking out the window as the car zoomed past miles of farmland.
“Now what would make you bring that up?” Her mother’s voice grew hoarse. Iso could barely make out the question; she had to strain her ear to hear. Often, when she spoke of her father, her mother became this way. Rightfully, so, she supposed. Her dad did die while defending them from an intruder in the house. He was killed trying to protect them. The burglar got away, but her dad had died, died in her mother’s arms.
“I don’t know. I just thought of it.” She answered. “I didn’t mean to upset you. I know how you can get when I mention him.” She laid a hand on her mother’s arm. Tam turned eyeing her child, sighing loudly and reaching with her other hand to grab hold of her daughter’s.
“If you know how I get then maybe you shouldn’t bring him up.”
She squeezed her daughter’s hand, giving her a tight smile before releasing it and turning away again. Iso felt a great surge of disappointment. Most times she felt she pleased her mother greatly. She did well in school, was always obedient, never, ever causing her mother grief (or so she thought) until she mentioned “him”. Her mother would go quiet, sometimes not speaking to her or anyone for hours. She’d retreat into the gardens, sometimes staying there until nightfall. Iso always found her weeding among the dahlias and peony with her eyes stained red from crying and her hands gripping tight to the garden spade.
These moments frightened Iso. She didn’t want a reoccurrence but she found a certain joy in talking about the man who helped make her. She grasped at all that she could, anything to reestablish the ghosted father-daughter relationship that fate had taken from her. She trailed a hand along the embroidered design tapering along the hemline of her robe. She was quiet the rest of the way home, not wanting to upset her mother anymore. She glimpsed her reflection in the window of the car. Her startlingly violet eyes twinkled brightly. Once again, recognizing the likeness, she kept the thoughts of her father to herself. The car pulled in front of their home. She followed her mother inside.
“I’m going outside for a bit. Put those items away, will you?”
She barely had time to reply. She turned and her mother was gone, long robes trailing behind her as she stepped down into the living area and proceeded toward the veranda. Iso sighed and lugged the bag into the kitchen. After distributing their marketplace wares to their appropriate place in the kitchen, she stole away to her bedroom. She stripped down to a lightweight caftan and tunics shook off her shoes and fell back onto the bed. Reaching above her, she palmed the lights to “dim” and pressed a button, setting into motion a mock array of stars formulating into galaxy and universe. She stared at the small beacons of light, gazing and dreaming, allowing her mind to wonder at a world outside of this place.
The datapad at her side bleeped, signaling a new message in her inbox. It was from Omega, her brother. She scrolled through the message, reading of his recent adventures at the Academy; all the new things he learned, his experiments, his failures. At least once a month he found the time to write to his little sister. She cherished the correspondence. In turn, she wrote to him everyday telling him of the great big nothing going on around the house. She never mentioned her mother’s moments of sadness; since she felt responsible most of the time, she decided not to burden him with her guilt. Instead, her replies were routine in their monotony and simplistic enough not to cause him worry.
She fell asleep while holding the pad. She dreamt and inside her dream she floated over a large expanse of garden. It was morning and there was a mist in the air mottling the sunlight, which broke through the clouds. She landed, her feet settling against soft, dewy grass. She listened to the sounds of morning and gloried in the freshness of the air and the beauty of the flowers around her. She walked further, deeper into the gardens. The air grew thick and the ground beneath her turned from soft grass to dirt and rock. She ventured farther, hearing in the mist the sound of weeping. She approached a fountain overgrown with moss and wild vines. A lone-cloaked figure knelt at the base. It turned, eyes streaming tears upon ghastly pale flesh. Eyes. His eyes were her own. She wanted to smile, but he cried; a small voice whispered, “He is your father”.
He raised a hand reaching for her. She stepped closer, feet stumbling along the rotted path. She placed her hand inside of his; it was cold to the touch, but she held on. She smiled. Barely had she moment enough to bask in his fading presence, before he pulled her closer. She seated herself on the edge of the fountain, staring into his eyes. He continued to shed tears, but gave her a sad smile. Then she felt it; something deep and dark and sad touched her soul. He felt it, too, for he turned and glanced into the water. Her eyes searched his face as he began to cry once more. She turned following his gaze, finding the object of his sorrow.
Beneath the murky water lay the motionless figure of her mother, stationary in death. Suddenly the air around them turned to ice. The skies froze and the wind rained hail upon them. Her father’s hand clenched tight to hers. His other hand lay beneath the surface of water, gripping tightly to the folded hands of her mother. His tears flowed endlessly now. She shrieked and reached with the other hand toward her mother. “No! Don't touch her.” Her father yelled. Taken aback at his command she stared at him seeking some sort of understanding. “I did this,” he sobbed. “Me.”
With a gasp, Iso woke to the sound of rain beating heavily upon the roof of the house. It was only a dream. Never before had she dreamt of her father so startlingly. She had seen one picture of him, of them even, a family portrait taken before his death. Her mother kept it put away in a drawer inside the study. She’d found it once when she was eleven and curious about the man her mother rarely alluded to. In the picture he seemed a stranger, unattainable like those celebrities in the holopapers; fake almost, unreal he was. But in her dream he seemed only too real. She felt her hand; it was cool to the touch just like it had been in her dream. Her mother had laid so placidly inside the water, she… Her mother.
With a start, Iso bounded of her room, down the hall, and into the living area. She palmed the door, intent on scouring the gardens through rain, sleet or snow until she found her mother and made sure she was safely inside.
“Iso!” Her mother yelled from behind her. “Have you lost your mind running through this house like a maniac?”
Iso’s hand had only just slipped from the palm-reader. The door bleeped signaling the alarm’s active state. It didn’t open, but Iso turned on shaky feet toward the voice of her mother.
“I thought you were still in the garden. I heard the rain and…”
“Iso, I’m fine.” Her mother sat, curled up in one of the large stationary chairs in front of the fireplace. She sipped hot tea, holding the cup away from her as she placed it on the table and sat up. She stood, stretched and pointed for Iso to sit down.
“I’m sorry mother, I didn’t mean to run, I only heard…” She explained but was cut off mid-sentence.
“Would you like some tea?” Her mother strode past her, unwilling to hear her out. She sighed, grateful that her deepest fear had yet to be realized. Her mother was not crazy and was not in any danger and certainly wasn’t buried eight feet under pounds of water. She returned handing a steaming cup of liquid to her daughter. Iso took it, holding the cup to her lips, cooling it with a steady stream of breath.
Together they sat in silence and listened to the rain. Well, her mother sat, in silence listening to the rain, but Iso’s brain attempted to piece together a question worthy enough to approach her mother about her father. She wanted to know what he meant that “[he] did this”. Did what? Maybe if she started off light and eased into the discussion, perhaps her mother would be more amenable in responding.
“I’ve been meaning to ask you about something.”
“You’ve been meaning to ask me about Darwyn?”
“Yes. Well, yes and no. I mean he’s having a party…”
“When is it?”
“Next weekend at his family’s estate in the Palms.”
“Yeah.” She stopped, not wanting to rush things too much. She really did want to go to this party and she meant to ask her mother weeks ago. “I wanted to ask you weeks ago, but only thought of it now.”
“Will his parents be there?”
“Yes.” She nodded.
“I’ll think about it, Iso.”
She was quiet for a moment. Her mother kept too close of a tab on her. She was almost eighteen, and her mother still treated her like a kid. “Okay.”
They were quiet for a moment more. The storm raged outside. Silently she looked on at the lighted garden. The trees and shrubberies and bushes blew to and fro. She turned seeing her mother’s gaze looking on the same. Not thinking of a better way to segway into the conversation, she decided on an all-out approach.
“Did dad ever do anything really bad to you?” Her mother turned a sharp gaze on her that softened once Iso’s eyes pleaded for a reply. She was slow in responding, but it came after several sips at her tea.
“We all do bad stuff to one another. It’s human nature.”
“Yeah, but… I mean, like… Okay, so…”
“I had a dream about him.” She answered quickly bracing herself for the tight-lipped retort followed about tear-filled gazes away into the fireplace.
“Oh?” Her mother’s eyes remained on the storm outside.
“Yeah… He, uh, he said… I saw him in the garden and he was crying and you were there and he said, ‘I did this…me’. I just wonder what was ‘it’ that he did that was so bad that…”
“Iso, you’re father did a lot of sh_t in his day, but he loved you and he loved Omega and that’s all that matters.” She straightened the blanket around her feet, eyes refusing to meet her daughter’s.
“Did he love you?”
“He loved all of us. Remember, he died trying to protect us. Just what is it with these questions lately?”
Iso stared at her mother observing her anxiousness. She was hiding something. There was a shadow coating her false words. She could see it, a shield, and a wall protecting her mind. How could she see it?
“You’re lying.” She stated not believing what she said. Her mother turned a sharp eye on her and Iso felt, no saw the rising fury begin to creep up inside.
“About the way he died. You’re lying mother, I can see it.”
At any moment, Iso expected her mother to react violently. It wasn’t that she was a violent person or anything, but there was something fierce and protective in her aura. Her aura? Now she can read auras? Iso shook her head, attempting to come out of the trance she found her in. She ‘had’ to be in a trance to speak to her mother this way.
Her mother rose from her chair and came and settled down next to her daughter.
“What can you see, Iso?”
“Red.” She replied wary of her mother’s close presence.
“Red.” Her mother repeated, nodding in understanding of something of which Iso had no idea. She sat back against the couch and gazed out the window. Suddenly, she bent reaching into the drawer of the table and pulled forth a pack of filters. She lit one, sat back on the sofa and ignored her daughter’s presence. At least Iso thought she’d forgotten her, until her mother began to speak.
“I’m not going to tell you everything, but I’ll tell you enough, seeing as how I can’t hide anything from you anymore.”
“What do you mean?”
“You are a lot like your father, Iso. More than I ever would have imagined.”
“You have his eyes and his height, that much is obvious; but you also have a trait that is undeniable…Force-sensitivity.”
“What?” Iso responded. She sat up in her seat placing the cup on the table. “You mean, Force as in ‘Jedi’?” If she…and her dad…then… She turned expectantly to her mom.
“No, he wasn’t. I mean, he trained, but it is not the path he chose.” Her mother sucked on the filter, exhaling loudly as she placed the bounded tobacco to her lips again.
“How come you never told me this before?”
“You didn’t need to know…until now and I’m telling you now.”
“Don’t you think this is something I should know about? Does Omega know this?”
“Yes,” she replied.
“You told him and didn’t tell me!” She shouted suddenly angry with her mother for not sharing this important piece of information. Outside the thunder rumbled in the distance. The storm had begun to subside.
“Your brother found out…I would’ve told him, both of you at some point, but I…”
“But you what?”
“Don’t take that tone with me, Iso. It doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t have changed anything. Well…I mean, now it changes something, but before…”
Her mother continued, “I didn’t want to tell you because you’d get your hopes up, just as you are doing right now. It’s inevitable I suppose, you having his gifts… I tell you what; I’ll take you to Coruscant, get you tested, and see if it is Force-sensitivity or just a fluke… Maybe…”
“Maybe what, mom?”
“Maybe it’s just genetics. Your father mentioned something about Crion, your grandfather being able to read him too easily… We’ll go to Coruscant, get you checked out and then we’ll go from there.”
“And you’ll tell me what it is he did to you?”
“You’re jumping the gun, Iso. For now, we’ll journey to the Temple and see what happens next. Maybe it is time you knew the full truth about your beloved father. Just promise me you won’t hate me for it.”
Iso held back, unsure of whether that would be possible or not. She loved her mother with all her heart, but how in the world can a parent keep something so crucial from their child? And for so many years? Her mother extinguished the filter in the candy dish. She rarely, if ever, smoked any more and when she did, she tried to hide it from her and Omega. Iso didn’t begrudge her mother’s nasty habits as smoking filters and occasionally indulging into too much wine seemed to be the only ones. Still, she should’ve told her about this Force-thing.
“When do we leave?”
“I can arrange things tomorrow. We’ll leave a day after that if planning is successful. Why don’t you go mail your brother? Don’t mention to him the reason behind the trip…say something like shopping or you’re going with me to visit a friend.”
“More lies, mom?”
“No…not lies, just necessary omissions. I promise I will explain all of it to you and Omega, soon enough, all right?”
Iso nodded and rose from the couch. She walked quietly down the hall toward her room. Her other should’ve told her this before. Hell, she should’ve noticed it before now. She’d always had strange premonitions; she’d always been able to read the thoughts (although in a hazed form) coming from people like those in the marketplace. What if this trait were genetic? What if she came from a long line of seers? How dare her mother keep this from her? Her father, a Jedi? Why would she keep that hidden? It just didn’t make any sense. But she would make her mother make sense of it all. She and Omega had a right to know everything.
She loved her garden. She called it ‘Eden’, after some folkloric garden of legend on some distant planet that she’d read about while younger. She had always been a girly-girl, but as time moved and the girl grew into a woman, and then a mother, her habits changed; her preference for things changed. And after Xanatos’s death, and her children full-grown and almost to adulthood, everything about her former life changed. She looked forward to everyday where she could squat or sit in the grass, weeding the beds or planting seeds. It was enough for her. Soon, Iso would go away to the Academy; so, she concluded that her extended stays in her garden, those stays that lasted well into the night, were justified. She had to get used to being alone; get used to solitude.
She had not taken on any lovers. After buying the property and getting settled, the garden had become her new infatuation of choice. She cared for it as much as she did for her children and that was all and it was enough for now. Loving hurt too much and being loved sometimes hurt worse. She couldn’t put her body or mind through that again. And speaking of her mind, Iso thought she was losing it, she could tell. Her daughter was too watchful of her and too conclusive in her observations. She’d have to think of a way to calm her daughter’s worries before she left for school.
Feeling a presence behind her, she turned and viewed the tall form of her daughter standing and waiting for acknowledgement.
“Iso. You all ready to go?” She asked, rising to face her daughter.
“Yes ma’am. Darwyn’s driver should be here shortly.”
Tam brushed the dirt from her hands and smoothed them along the fabric of the caftan she wore. Her daughter wore a sage colored pant-set with an extra wide belt at the waist and tall black boots on her feet. She looked like a bounty hunter or something, thought Tam. To this she smiled at the notion of her sweet, sensitive daughter as a ruthless gun-for-hire. But the color did highlight her dusky skin and sandy hair quite well; it even complimented the amethyst shade of her eyes, eyes that stared in concern at her.
“I’ll be fine, Iso.” She smiled squeezing her daughter’s arm and pulling her in for a hug. “You worry about me too much. I want you to go have fun with your friends. It may be the last time you can get away before you leave.” She released her and met the yet expectant gaze of her daughter.
“What is it?”
“Can we talk about Dad when I get back? Omega is coming in; it’ll be the perfect time for you to tell us…”
“But you promised!”
“Calm down,” she ordered. She turned, hearing the sound of an aircar and said, “Your ride is here. Just have fun and when you get back, if your brother is here…I’ll tell you everything. Okay?”
Iso nodded. Tam suspected she was unconvinced of her plea to wait until later. If Omega did come home as he’d stated then yes, she would tell them everything. She didn’t want Iso going off to the Academy unsure of what to believe about her father. She’d spoken with Qui-Gon Jinn when she took Iso for testing. He stated her daughter was too old to train fully as a Jedi, but could study the religion and build on her telepathic talents, possibly working as a researcher or inquisitor for the Council. This is what Iso wanted so Tam agreed to it. She wouldn’t be a Jedi, but something like it. It was just as well. The legacy their father left them was a broken one, but some parts of it they could salvage in order to form a new one.
“Have a good time. I’ll see you soon, okay?” She pulled her daughter in for another hug and watched her as she traipsed her long limbs through the portico, retrieving her bags and stepping through the front door to the outside. The car rose above the house and Tam shielded her eyes watching as her daughter flew away. She closed her eyes a moment and breathed deeply. She decided on a long, hot bath. She walked through the patio and through the tall glass doors, turning as she entered the house. She palmed the door close and set the alarm for the house. She walked to the fireplace and programmed it for a slow burn; grabbing a wireless remote she programmed music to play in every corner of the house. Modern amenities, she loved, even on a backwards planet like this. She was grateful for Xanatos’s fortune because it allowed her this house, a driver and a car and money to cover schooling for the kids. She was the envy of the town; namely because she had money to burn, but more so because no one knew where she or the money came from. The less they knew, the better, she’d decided.
Entering into the bath, she set the gauges, filling the tub with water. She added oil and bubbles and lit candles around the room. In the bedroom, she stripped down and stood in front of the mirror, examining her body. There was the faint outline of stretch marks on her stomach. She didn’t mind them; this was from carrying her babies and she’d forever be proud of that. It was the one good thing she did with her life. Her breasts had filled out a lot more with age. They also had begun to droop. She did a small shimmy and watched as they bounced; still buoyant, she smiled, not too flabby. She turned and looked at her backside and legs. Everything still shapely and in order, she concluded. But she did notice the spread of her hips now wider in adulthood than they were in her former years; but again, that is to be expected. Overall, she was pleased and promised herself that she take these moments of vain self-examination to heart and to do it more often.
Naked she strode down the hall into the kitchen and opened the cooler. She pulled out a bottle of wine and a bowl of cheeses and fruit. She took these items to the bath and set them upon the side of the tub. She lowered herself inside, glancing through the large window, which rested against the tub. She was never really sure about that window. The contractors said the glass on the outside reflected and that one could not see inside. Still she didn’t trust it one hundred percent. But she did like the view. The soft jazz music flitted softly throughout the bath and the rest of the house. She lay, sipping on the wine (not bothering with a glass) and nibbling on pieces of fresh cheese and fruit. Soon, she grew drowsy. She put the half-finished bottle of wine on the floor next to the tub. She set the cheeses away from the ledge. She settled back into the tub, gazing out the window. Her lids grew heavy and she fell into sleep.
A low roll of thunder sounded in the distance. Its vibrations shook the glass of the window and the walls of the house. Tam woke with a start; head thumping slightly from the wine. She rubbed her eyes as she noticed the chill in the water gone cold. The bubbles had dissipated into the murky oil-filled water of the bath. She reached for a sponge, and adding soap began to scrub her dimpled skin. The music had shut off and the candles had burned low with melted wax covering the surface on which they sat. She glimpsed the view outside and saw clouds stacked high in the heavens. The trees didn’t move like before; there was no wind. It was the calm before the storm, she thought. She finished bathing and reached for the plug to unstop the tub. The water began to drain and she stood, reaching for a towel, wrapping the large terry cloth around her body as she stepped onto the plush rug beside the tub.
Thunder sounded again. This time it rumbled more heavily, traveling the length of ground working its reverberations into the structure of the house. She walked to the vanity, reaching for a toothbrush and paste. She wet the brush and squeezed a dollop onto the bristles. As she lifted her gaze to the mirror she glanced a form standing against the open doorway. Quickly she turned seeking to identify the intruder or to determine whether he was just a figment of her imagination, a distortion in the reflection. The brush halted its movements in her mouth. She looked on at him, as he stood, lips transfixed into a soft smile, eyes twinkling in the scant light.
“Hello, Tam,” the figure responded. She couldn’t move. She tasted the mint of the paste in the back of her mouth as she swallowed. Fear and curiosity shook her small form still dripping wet from the bath. How could he be here? He was dead, she thought.
“Aren’t you going to say anything?” He asked, pushing his body away from the wall. He began walking toward her and she froze on the spot. The sound of the water gushing from the sink filled the room. He stood directly in front of her and she grasped at the counter debating on whether or not to pinch herself. This couldn’t be! He was dead! She began to shake uncontrollably, as his hand reached for hers. It was here she noticed him; noticed him fully. He wasn’t…he was…translucent. A ghost, a specter. She was hopeful for a moment, realizing that yes she had to be dreaming, that this couldn’t be Xanatos standing before her now, live and in the flesh. But then his hand touched her own, pulling the tightly gripped toothbrush from her mouth. She closed her eyes refusing to feel the lightweight, feathery touch of his hand upon her own.
He pushed the toothbrush underneath the flowing water and put it back to her mouth. All the time he gazed at her, smiling, happy, but there was a sadness lingering in his eyes. He held her hand, moving the brush into her mouth and sliding it across her teeth. She looked on in awe, thinking that at any moment she’d pee herself or wake up and find herself in a pool of urine. This was a daymare at its best. This wasn’t possible! He reached around her, grabbing a tumbler and filling it with water. He pushed it to her lips and she drank the fluid back. Disengaging herself from his stare she swirled the liquid around her mouth, turned and spat the contents out. Maybe if she closed her eyes he would disappear, but then she felt his hand on her back and inwardly she screamed. He pulled the toothbrush from her shaking hand and placed it into the holder. He turned her to him; bending his head he snuck a kiss, which she closed her eyes against. She was tight-lipped and didn’t return the gesture, but she couldn’t deny the touch. She felt him as solid as any ethereal form could be and again she questioned how? Why?
She kept her eyes closed; she could feel gaze upon her. She began counting back from one hundred, hoping and praying that when she got to one, she’d wake up. She felt herself lifted as he placed an arm around her waist and the other underneath her knees. She felt him, felt the softness of skin against his bare chest. Inwardly she cringed at her reaction as her hands slid around his neck, partly for support and partly out of curiosity; she wanted to ‘feel’ him. This just had to be a dream. He carried her through the doorway into the bedroom. There he laid her upon the bed.
“Open your eyes,” he commanded with a voice so soft and willowy that she almost did open her eyes, disbelieving that this man could be Xanatos. “Tam,” he prompted again; this time his voice was more firm in its ordering.
She opened her eyes to find him standing there; almost glowing as he looked on smiling. His hair was shorter, cut just to the nape of his neck. The bangs were long and fell against his eyes. Slowly, he reached for the band of his pants, undoing the tie that bound them. Realizing his intent, she scooted away from him. He reached out with velvety fingers and grasped at her leg pulling her back. A streak of cold sensation shot through her from his touch. She lay still, eyes questioning.
“I love you,” he stated.
Finding her voice she murmured, “This isn’t real. You’re not real. This is just a dream and I’m going to wake up any moment.”
She closed her eyes again as he began to disrobe. He chuckled softly as she felt him kneel onto the bed and straddle her body. His fingers pulled at the towel and she reacted by grabbing at the material hindering his actions. “No,” she said looking on his ghastly form.
“Even in death, you deny me,” he whispered softly sorrow lighting the words.
“If you are dead, you cannot be here. This is a dream and I’m going wake up from this any second now.” She shook and turned away from him closing her eyes once again. She prayed, wake up Tam; wake up!
Suddenly her arms lifted, her hands releasing the towel. She felt him pull it from her. He held her down using some invisible force. She peeked a glance and saw him hovering over her. She felt his cold body move between her spread legs. Silently she commanded her body to move, to squirm away from him, but nothing happened. Hot tears escaped her eyes. His hand caressed her face and neck as the other hand reached below. He slid a cold finger inside and she felt great disgust at the wetness she knew awaited him there.
“What the Force wills, it also takes away. But there are ways…” He continued while his fingers delved into her essence, “There are ways to cheat the Force. I will have what’s mine…now, say my name.” He commanded as his fingers began a slow rhythm. She felt herself reacting, body lifting into his touch. He thrust deeper and she squirmed in pleasure and disgust.
He grasped her neck and squeezed painfully. “Say my name,” he commanded again. His thumb applied pressure at her core and his fingers, now three inside of her, f_cked her senseless; senseless, because she did indeed call his name, over and over again, as she came. A rush of warm liquid coursed from her body as she fell back against the bed limp and feverish.
She opened her eyes, hoping that he was done shaming her. He lifted off of her, pulling her legs up as he knelt above her.
“Turn over,” he ordered, his voice thick with arousal. She didn’t move, didn’t want to. Shouldn’t she be waking up at some point? She felt his hands push her body onto her stomach. He knelt over her; she could feel him stroking himself. “On your knees.” Again she didn’t move, just kept her eyes and body closed to him. Forcefully he pulled her up until her backside pressed against his thighs. He placed a finger against her anus, slowly pressing it inside. She moaned and moved away from him. In life, he’d tried this so many times, but she wouldn’t let him. Now he wanted to defile her in her dreams; she couldn’t have it.
He grasped at her hips and yanked her back against him. He pushed a finger inside, testing the tightness of the passage, forcing her to relax. But she wouldn’t relax. She squeezed the muscles against his fingers and heard him moan. Slowly he worked in another finger and she cried at the pain of entry. Soon, she focused her thoughts on something else; the mahogany of the headboard, the chip in the paint on the wall that the contractor missed, the time of day blinking on the chrono. She yelped as he pulled his fingers from inside. She heard him moaning as he stroked his length some more. Risking a glance, she saw him massage the fluid from the weeping eye onto his member.
Then he moved, grasping her hips more tightly. She closed her eyes against the assault and felt great pressure as he pushed the head of his penis deep inside. He began with slow movements, each gaining distance as he gained momentum. She tried to relax her body, but found her muscles clenching tight against the intrusion. This caused him to moan even more and before long his entire length blazed a stretch of fire through her backside. He pushed and thrust and moaned calling her name. She felt his hand pull apart the cheeks and knew he watched as he sunk deeper and deeper. Soon, his pace became erratic and his thrusts even more frenzied than before. He pushed once then twice then once again and she felt cold globs of come shoot deep into her. He moaned her name, his touch cold against her tight form.
As he pulled his softened member from her body she smelled in the air his sex and hers and the faint trace of blood. She cried softly as he lowered her body back to the bed. He fell against her, kissing her all over, calling her name, rubbing her body as he fell into sleep. She gazed upon him, upon the luminescent glow that wasn’t normal. Again she questioned why? And how? And attempted to make herself wake up. Suddenly, he started…sitting up, he glanced about looking, listening. He turned to her eyes with his full of worry and was it fear she read there? He leaned over the side of the bed for his pants and slipped them back on. He reached for her towel, covering her body up again.
“I have to go,” he stated.
Tears slid down her face. Truly she was going mad. Why could she not escape this man? He leaned in and kissed the tears away.
“I will return, soon,” he promised. She closed her eyes against his fading form. Wait, fading? When she opened them again he was gone.
Thunder rolled in the distance. She sat up and found herself yet in the bath. Outside, rain began to fall and the winds of storm blew against the trees in the distance. The candles had burned out. The music she’d programmed continued to play. She glanced to the doorway and experienced a moment of joy because she didn’t see him there. It was a dream after all. She reached for the stop and allowed the water to drain from the tub. Just as in her dream she stood and wrapped a towel around her body and stepped onto the floor. Humming softly, ignoring the after effects of a bad dream, she commenced with brushing her teeth, but not without glancing to the doorway behind her. She finished and used the towel to dry her body. As she sat at the vanity, she pulled her robe on. The discarded towel lay against the floor. She looked again and saw there was blood on the towel. Closing her eyes she inventoried her body and yes, there it was a great soreness and throbbing pain in her backside. Standing, on the verge of hysterics, she turned and examined her backside in the mirror. A few droplets of blood tainted the crème silk fabric. She fell into the seat, staring at herself in the mirror.