Citudad Real Ocosingo Hotel, Ocosingo, Chiapas, Mexico
Francesca pushed Acan into the bathroom, closing the door with her left foot. It slammed shut. Throwing her arms around his shoulders, she pressed her face into his chest and sniffed.
“What took you so long? Thought I would go crazy. My old man tried bribing me with sangria. Can you imagine that? Me? Sweet wine? The same stuff he warned me against by drinking rum and Coke with the frat boys?”
Acan shook his head, not understanding one word in three that his redhead said to him. He squeezed her shoulders with his arms longing to enclose her within his giant wings and soothe her. Camazotz warned him not to move too fast else or she would fly away. Acan resisted and lowered his head onto the top of Francesca’s and kissed her red tresses with his wide angled lips.
“That feels creepy. Do it again!”
Acan lifted his head and stared into her wide open blue eyes.
“I scared you?”
“No, silly, I mean creepy good. The one who scares me is your boss man, Camazotz. What’s with him?”
“The weight of our world rests on his shoulders. He is okay. He is like a father figure to me and the other initiates. I have got a long way to go before I move up and be his equal.”
Francesca frowned, not understanding all of Acan’s words.
“Am I part of your world, now?”
“I would like that,” Acan said.
“What do I need to do as a groupie?”
Acan sighed. His wings itched to unfurl and enclose the slight figure standing in front of him. Francesca watched his face as if that would help her read his thoughts. Snuggling against his chest, she lifted her face to his with eyes half closed.
“Can we seal this bargain with a kiss?”
Lowering his head, Acan’s thick lips touched her chapped ones. Before he could think twice, his lips pressed hard against hers. His tongue licked her top lip. With fangs bared, he nipped at her lip and sucked for a split second.
Light-headed, Francesca kept kissing Acan enjoying this sudden turn of events. Sucking in Francesca’s blood, Acan could feel her virgin blood flowing through his veins, awakening him like no animal’s blood could do. Francesca’s blood ricocheted within, darting from organ to another, from one limb to the next, until – his face flushed and full of heat – Acan felt lightheaded. His feet left the cold tiled floor with Francesca clinging to his shoulders.
“Don’t stop,” she begged him.
Her words broke the spell. Acan fell down and struck the rim of the bathtub. Losing his balance, he tumbled into the bathtub with Francesca in his arms. Acan’s wings cushioned their fall. She lay full length on top of his chest. For a second, their lips broke contact. Francesca glazed eyes looked into Acan’s lidded ones. She licked his lips and settled her head on his chest beneath his chin.
“It’s gonna leave a bruise. Who taught you to kiss like that? It’s heavenly. Can you do it again?”
Acan smiled to himself. His arms tightened around her while the rest of his body sang and throbbed as her blood penetrated every nook and cranny of his being. Sighing, Acan lifted one of his hands and caressed the top of her flaming red hair.
“I might as well ask, too. Where did you learn how to kiss like that?”
Blushing, Francesca giggled.
“At one of the parties I attended at school. We’re up to the heavy petting stage now. Wouldn’t my father and Miriam like to know about that?”
“You have not told him of your . . . ah . . . sport that you do with your friends?”
“Just the boys. Not girls. Can’t understand why a girl would want to make love to another girl. It’s disgusting. What can of satisfaction can they get from screwing with each other?”
“As long as you are in this tub, you might as well wash me.”
“What about your father? What about the door?”
She heard the click of the lock.
“You took care of that fast enough.”
“I will wait for you.”
“No, you won’t. You’re gonna soap my back and give me a thorough wash front and back. What father and Miriam don’t know won’t hurt them.”
Acan smiled and sat up with Francesca still clinging to him. Her body sloped downwards as he slid up the back side of the tub. Francesca pushed herself off of Acan and stood up. Crossing her arms, she picked up the opposite sides of her tee shirt and tugged. Acan watched as the cotton cloth rode up her chest, neck, head, and then cleared it. Underneath the shirt he saw a second piece of cotton stretching across her bosom. He held his breath. She bent her arms placing them backwards. He saw the two ends of the stretched cloth fall to either side of her. Shrugging off her bra, Francesca stood naked in front of Acan, except for her underpants. Pulling at her pants, she let them slide to the bathtubs’ floor. She kicked them out. They landed on the gray bathmat. Licking his lips, Acan ogled Francesca as she stood before him butt naked.
Francesca reached out and grabbed both of Acan’s arms. Placing them on either side of her hips, she stood on her tiptoes and brushed her lips against his. Acan’s blood rippled in his veins. Flushed, he reached past her.
“Not like that, silly. Like this.”
Guiding his hand to the hot water faucet, she laced her fingers through his. Together, they turned on the water faucet. Water splashed into the tub.
“Draw the curtains,” Francesca’s hoarse voice said.
Acan eyes swiveled. He saw a see-through cloth hanging off to one side. Reaching, he drew the cloth across the side of the tub. What once look transparent now appeared solid.
“In case Father breaks in,” Francesca said. “One more thing. You see this? You need to raise it so the water comes from the faucet overhead. On the count of three, we’ll do it together. One. Two. Three.”
Acan’s hand pulled up the thingy with Francesca’s hand intertwined with his. Fingers pounding with sudden blood heat, the water no longer flowed from the faucet, but sprayed Acan and Francesca in a fine spray of water.
“Isn’t this the coolest? Ah, I’ve waited all day for this. Here’s the soap and washcloth. Start washing.”
Acan took the proffered soap and cloth.
“What do I do with them?”
“Men! Like this.”
She took the soap and grounded it into the washcloth. Taking the washcloth, Francesca held it under the shower head. Acan saw the cotton cloth frothed until a white film settled into it. Francesca handed it to Acan.
“Wash me all over. Be brutal!”
Acan took the soaped cotton and slapped it against Francesca’s chest. He washed around her breast. Lifting first the right breast and then the left breast, he ran the washcloth under and over them. Holding the washcloth under the cascading water, he slapped the dripping washcloth against her thighs.
Francesca giggled and sighed. The sweet sensations that followed Acan’s vigorous rubbing left her limp and achy inside. She watched as his hand got closer to his crotch.
Her nerve endings exploded. Her body glowed as Acan soaped inside her crotch area and washed the spaces around her pubic air. Francesca wanted to scream. To dance. To holler hallelujah. But she didn’t. Her trembling body pulsed with new life. Beneath her feet, drops of her blood intermingled with the tub’s water. Looking down at Francesca’s feet. Acan saw the bloodied water. His tongue darted inside his mouth licking the dried inside skin.
Stooping, Acan washed Francesca’s ankles and the soles of her feet. His lips skimmed the collected bloodied water and he gulped down desert. Francesca’s numbed body felt light and buoyant.
“Are you almost finished?”
Acan gulped down the remainder of the bloodied bath water and sloshed it against her feet and limbs.
“Almost. How do I get rid of this water?”
Francesca grabbed the washcloth from his hand, wrung it, and placed it over the porcelain handle of the soap dish.
“Like this. Pay attention. Next time, you’re going to do it by yourself when you wash me.”
Acan stared as Francesca first push the metal button down on top of the faucet they originally had turned on. The water gushed from that first faucet, no longer spraying them from above. Next, she turned the handle on the hot water. He saw that the water stopped spouting from the metal pole. The bloodied water flowed between his feet and Francesca’s as it tumbled down into a metal circle.
Francesca looked up at him.
“You did a great job!”
Outside the door, Acan heard another door thumped closed. He tightened his body keeping his wings close to his body. Waiting, he looked down into Francesca’s blue eyes.
“Francesca? Are you all right? You’ve been in there way too long. Francesca?”
Turning her head, Francesca frowned and stepped out of the tub. Throwing a bath towel around her body, she scurried to the bathroom door, and unlocked it. She opened it an inch and stuck her head out close to the crack.
“I’m fine, Daddy. Just taking a long hot shower.”
“I thought you were going to use the spa.”
“You’ve got to take a shower before going into the spa, you know.”
Jackson’s eyes scanned the room. The dolly with the food stood off to one side.
“You’ve haven’t eaten yet, either. Your food is going to get cold. Should I reorder for you? You don’t want to eat cold food, Francesca. You need something hot after your ordeal today. Where’s that waiter that came in? I’ve got half a mind to . . . .”
Francesca stood with her face pressed close to the door’s crack.
“I’m fine. Just let me be. I’ll be out and use the spa. I ordered a salad, a fruit and yogurt salad so it doesn’t matter whether it’s hot or not. The cocoa might taste better hot. So, please, order me another one.”
She waited. Jackson screwed his lips together. He wanted to reach through that slit and shake her shoulders until she came to her senses. Jackson didn’t. He knew by trial and error that sixteen year-old girls didn’t appreciate that kind of authority figure.
“Okay, you win. I’ll check on you when you’re bed.”
“Thanks! Where’s Sen͂or Tairino?”
“He’s in my room watching a Mexican soap opera. I’m taking him to see Miriam to make his apologies for this morning. Then, I’m kicking him out and going to bed which you should do young lady. Do you know what time it is for Christ sakes?”
Francesca rolled her eyes.
“I know it’s late, but the spa will help me sleep. So, get out of here so I can indulge. Please?”
Asked like that, Jackson couldn’t refuse his daughter anything. He stepped back from the door, skirted the spa in the middle of the room, and trotted back to his room. Inside the bathroom, Acan heard the connecting door opened, close, followed a by the lock clicking in place.
Francesca closed the bathroom door and faced the curtained bathtub.
“You can come out now. He’s gone.”
The curtains fluttered opened. Acan stepped out of the bathtub. Francesca squinted.
“You don’t look very wet. How do you keep dry like that?”
“We shed water the way the metal-clad warrior’s small horses shed water.”
“Huh?” Francesca asked. “Never mind. I get it. You’re talking about dogs. They don’t shed water. They shake themselves dry. Guess that’s what you meant. It’s time for you to go, Acan. When can I see you next?”
“Come to the temple ruins and I will show you around.”
“I’ll see whose arm I can twist to get back there.”
Acan kissed her on her throat and nipped her one final time. Her blood washed inside his mouth flaming his mind until he wanted to scream, Camazotz. Francesca pulled away from him, her hand closing over the puncture in her neck.
“Will it show?”
“No, the cut will close by itself. Come to the temple tomorrow, Francesca.”
Francesca felt Acan pull away. Her body swayed. She stumbled to the rim of the spa and tripped down the spa’s steps into the heated water. Closing her eyes, she breathed in the steam and felt her body relax one limb at a time for the first time that day.
On the other side of the connecting door, Jackson listened with his right ear pressed tight against the wooden paneling.
“Hear anything?” Gabrielle Tairino asked.
“She’s in the spa, I think. Thought I heard a man’s voice in there, but she might have the television on just for that type of deception. Woman are in a class by themselves. Sixteen years-old girls are worse. Well, she’ll probably be all right for thirty minutes. Come on. Let’s get you down to see Miriam, and then it’s off to bed for me and you. Comprenez?”
“Then, let’s go!”
Sen͂or Gabrielle Tairino followed Jackson Coleman out of his room and down the hallway.
“We’ll take the stairs. Much safer. I don’t trust their elevators. They make way too much noise for me.”
Taking the stairwell, Gabrielle and Coleman stumped down the stairs until they reach the main level of the building. Coleman held the fire door opened for Tairino as he stepped into the lobby. Coleman followed. The door slammed shut.
The desk clerk looked up as the two men entered the main lobby. The ten-year old boy sitting on the overstuffed chair got up and stretched.
Coleman brushed past the boy, but Gabrielle stopped walking. Reaching into his pants, he threw twenty peso’s in the boy’s outstretched hand.
“Here or outside,” the boy asked.
Coleman stopped walking, turned and growled.
“Might as well be inside. It’s dark outside, or haven’t you noticed.”
“It’s a digital camera Sen͂or, and will take pictures with its own flash whether it’s dark or light. You and your friend, please stand here in front of the potted tree. There’s a yellow parakeet perched on one of its branches. It will be in the background. A nice picture to send home to your wives.”
Coleman and Gabrielle grinned. They walked over to the potted plant with its fake parakeet.
“Bunch together, sen͂ores. Much better picture.”
Both Coleman and Gabrielle closed the gap between them and stood shoulder to shoulder.
“Smile. Think Mango.”
The two men grinned and faced the boy with his camera. The boy took five pictures in all. He studied each frame as he photographed them. Nodding, his smile spread across his entire face filling his eyes with a wide-eyed bright awakening as if he finally did something right in his life.
“Where should I send the images to once I’ve downloaded them on the hotel’s computer?”
Gabrielle took out his cell phone.
“Can we import them to this?”
The boy stared at Gabrielle’s cell phone.
“Let me have your link, Sen͂or, and I can e-mail the downloaded pictures to your cell phone.”
“We don’t have all night. Are you going to be here later this morning?”
“Yes, Sen͂or. My job is to wait on tables, hold open doors, carry luggage, whatever the front desk orders me to do.”
“Fine! Gabrielle, you can pick up those pictures in the morning. If we don’t get there soon, I won’t be able to get us in. Get my meaning?”
“I’ll pick them up in the morning. Thanks. Coming, Jackson.”
The boy watched them go through the foyer and leave by the front door. Behind the desk, a man stood up. His face was covered by a black ski mask.
“The Americans you saw today. He has a daughter?”
“Yes, a girl with red hair. A pendejo sees her.”
“We’ll deal with him later. Let me have those pictures as soon as you’ve downloaded them. Follow them and see where they go. Come back and tell me. Your mother can use the extra money. Now go before I change my mind.”
The boy slipped the camera into his pocket. The masked man watched him. A final question shot out from his lips.
“What room is this daughter in?”
“The Presidential Suite, Sen͂or. She’s still in there since she didn’t leave with those two men.”
“Remember, I hear and know everything. Follow at a discreet pace, but don’t lose them. Sen͂or Jackson Coleman, I’ve got plans for you and your daughter!”