Paying The Price
Breakfast, then lunch, Kurt and Jack both distracted, neither of them appreciative of the hour they were in, for their minds had galloped ahead of them.
Dinner, eaten hastily, then Jack and Kurt jockeying for position in front of the mirror.
“How do I look?” Kurt asked.
“You look like a grinning idiot,” Jack replied, “What about me?”
Kurt smiled as he said, “It looks like two grinning idiots are about to see the most beautiful woman in the world.”
Ada presented herself before them, and with her usual understated diplomacy, she said, “Follow me.”
All three climbed the stairs, and as they began the long walk down the hallway, Kurt’s heart began to race faster, the rapid beating causing his breath to shorten.
Jack’s eyes were as large as saucers as they stopped in front of the door, because he could see light spilling out from underneath the door.
With an unhurried movement, Ada turned the doorknob and pushed the door open.
Jack gasped, yet Kurt simply stared. Four lanterns burned brightly, and the room was bathed in light, every inch of the room visible, and in front of them, there she was.
Kurt’s heart was pumping so ferociously, that he was momentarily dizzy; she, her, sitting on the chair in front of them. Dressed in a long gown of the truest white, Thiebe sat, her hands joined together on her lap, no facial features available as her face was fully bowed, the long golden hair flowing down over her shoulders.
Ada directed them to chairs twenty feet away from Thiebe and said, “Please, sit.”
Kurt was shaking, and Jack was trembling as they sat, and Thiebe, with her face still bowed, cooed, “Good evening.”
“He-hello Thiebe.” Jack mumbled.
Kurt was so tense that his whole upper body trembled, although he managed to splutter out, “We, we cannot wait to see what you look like.”
Thiebe drew in a breath, then said calmly, “If you wish to see me, a price will need to be paid.”
Jack stared at her, her shoulders moving gently with her controlled breathing, the golden hair shimmering, and he stuttered, “Yes, yes, we-we will pay the price.”
Thiebe drew in a breath, then slowly, her face raised, her forehead visible, the tip of her nose, lips, chin, the face fully visible, although her eyes were closed.
With a measured movement, she tossed her hair back, and the golden hair settled behind her slim shoulders, and when she fluttered her eyes open, Jack gasped.
She was not a woman.
Jack rocked back in his chair, stunned. Kurt was so overcome, that tears welled in his eyes.
She, her, was not a woman; she was so much more.
The piercing blue eyes looked directly at them, the eyes being the centrepiece of a face that had them both breathless. Her face featured delicate, defined cheekbones, a small nose, its tip slightly upturned; her lips, even in closure were pouted, her forehead smooth, and the eyes, the dazzling blue eyes, framed by the long lashes, commanded your attention. A gold coin sitting atop a collection of silver coins would capture your attention, and so it was with these dazzling eyes. Set amongst a bounty of divine features, you couldn’t help but be drawn back to stare at the large, blue eyes.
Thiebe understood the stares, and a smile parted her lips, vivid white teeth now on display, the teeth symmetrical and perfectly aligned. The golden hair cascaded behind her shoulders, reaching down to her hips, and a fringe of her hair that was brushed to the right threatened to spill forth and partially obscure her right eye.
Jack had been anticipating that she would be pleasurable to gaze at, although he hadn’t expected this; hadn’t been expecting that he wouldn’t be able to turn his gaze away from her. So beautiful, so ravishing; her face divine, innocence in her muted expression, although the innocence tempered by a suggestion of mystery, the mystery expanding every time his gaze settled on her eyes.
Kurt struggled for breath, and as tears spilled from his eyes, he knew that she was right, for he would never, could never forget this vision before him. Occasionally though, as he kept staring and his eyes blinked, he saw a different face, a younger face, the younger face not displaying the calm, knowing smile that Thiebe offered; the younger face tormented, the eyes blazing in terror.
Jack gulped, then said shakily, “You, you’re gorgeous, you’re stunning, you are the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.”
She tossed her hair back again, the fringe slowly spilling over the right side of her forehead, and both men shivered as they saw her breasts jiggle enticingly. Both had been focussed on her face, although the jiggling breasts now captured their attention. Kurt assumed that it must be the gown from the photo, the gown low-cut and almost see-through, the gown tight yet not restrictive, as any movement from the woman promoted subtle movement from her chest.
“Young man, it may be true, but I have extracted from you.” Thiebe said calmly.
“Wh-what do you mean?”
“Do you remember the price I asked of you?”
Kurt couldn’t take his eyes off her, and he stuttered, “Yes, yes, the price was that we would never forget you.” The blue eyes, the golden hair, the face to capture a thousand memories, and Kurt sighed, “And I never will.”
“Thiebe, anybody who has ever seen you could never forget you.” Jack gushed breathlessly.
“Young men, you must excuse me, as my wish is to retire for the evening.”
“No, please Thiebe, let us stay a little longer!” Jack pleaded.
The answer was provided by Ada, as she moved stealthily and extinguished each of the lanterns, and when the room was in total darkness, she said quietly, “Please, follow me.”
Distraught, Kurt called out, “Thiebe, can we see you again tomorrow night?”
Silence, silence in the total darkness, then the suggestion of movement, a voice floating over, “If you wish it to be so.”
In bed, Jack was restless. “I, I still can’t believe how beautiful she is.”
“She is, she is … perfect.” Kurt sighed.
“Perfect, yes, that’s her.”
“She said that we would never forget her, and yeah, I’m sure we never will.” Kurt added.
“How could you, how could you ever forget her, but Kurt …”
“Tomorrow night, well, maybe we should ask her.”
“Ask her what?”
“Well you know, the other night in the bathing room, she took her gown off.”
The mumbled statement had images popping in Kurt’s mind.
“So Kurt you know, we could offer to pay her.”
More images in his mind, so Kurt muttered, “Ummm, sure, we’ll ask.”
Jack was reasonably content, yet still restless, and his restlessness took a detour, a detour that he didn’t want to take, but a detour that he was helpless to prevent.
Kurt heard the sounds, heard the stuttered moans, and he knew what actions would be promoting the sounds, and he hoped that his similar actions wouldn’t be as boisterous as his companions.
The following night, standing before the door, both Kurt and Jack trembling with expectation, and as Ada slowly opened the door, light spilled out, a vision before them posed as she was the previous night, face down, her hands together on her lap.
After taking their seats before her, Kurt said quietly, “Good evening Thiebe.”
The face down was effective Kurt realised, because as the face slowly raised, emotions swamped you from everywhere.
Staring, gawking, and as the hair was tossed back and the breasts jiggled, the panting became audible.
Kurt was so excited, yet he thought it was strange that he could become so aroused just by looking at someone. So beautiful, so desirable, yet Kurt was disturbed that his desire still raged as flashes of innocence and purity stole into her expression. He blinked his eyes, innocence, purity and terror displayed on her face, the young girl pleading for her life. He shook his head and caressed his brow, then looked, relieved, because the sensual fully-grown woman was now back in his gaze; so beautiful, so desirable …
“Young men, you must excuse me, as my wish is to retire for the evening.”
Ada began moving, the first lantern extinguished, and Jack, nervous yet excited, called out, “Thiebe, can we come and see you tomorrow night?”
The second lantern extinguished as Thiebe replied, “If you wish it to be so.”
“Ummm, tomorrow night Thiebe, can, ummm, will you…” Jack began nervously.
The third lantern extinguished.
“Ummm Thiebe, we have money, American dollars.”
Silence as the room descended into total darkness.
Kurt assumed that his friends mumbled statement hadn’t relayed the message, so he drew in a breath and said hesitantly, “We, we have American dollars, and we can pay you if, if you …”
Totally dark, totally silent, until Theibe asked, “Do you have a question for me?”
Kurt sighed, then asked, “For tomorrow night, if we pay you, will you take off your gown?”
Silence again, the silence seeming as dark as the room until Thiebe replied, “I have no need for money.”
Jack was nervous, but he didn’t want this opportunity to slip away, so he said, “You are so beautiful, and the thing we desire the most is to see you without the gown on.”
Unblinking eyes focussed on them, then her calm voice drifted over. “If you see me without my gown, there will be a price to pay.”
“What is the price?” Kurt asked.
“If you see me un-clothed, a price will need to be extracted.”
Jack waited, trembling, then he blew out, “Please, tell us, what is the price?”
“If you see me unclothed,” Thiebe began, “You will want me.”
Kurt was confused. He wanted her already, desperately, and she must know that, so her answer didn’t make sense. “Thiebe, I don’t understand; what is the price you ask?”
“If you see me unclothed, you will want me.”
Excited and aroused, Jack spluttered, “Yes, we will pay the price!”
Before bedding down, Jack tip-toed into the bathroom and gathered two towels.
Kurt pretended that he didn’t notice, although Jack threw one of the towels at him. Maybe he hadn’t been as quiet as he was hoping the previous night.
The day dragged, breakfast eaten quickly, then the morning hours seemed to be in slow motion.
Jack was excited and aroused by the coming night, although the spirally arousal saw him becoming restless. He pulled Kurt aside and said, “I’m feeling really, you know …”
“Gee Kurt, I’m restless and edgy, and I want to do something wild and exciting.”
“Well Ada doesn’t seem to mind when we undress, so I’m thinking that we strip off and just spend the day walking around naked in front of her.”
“Are you kidding?”
“No I’m not, and just think about this,” Jack began, “We can say that we’ve been wearing these clothes for days and we need to wash them.”
Kurt thought about it, then said, “I don’t want to jeopardise tonight, so we’ll see her and ask her permission.”
Jack broke into a huge grin, then he said, “Quick, let’s go!”
Ada was in the kitchen, and Jack approached her. “Ada, we’ve been wearing these clothes for days now, and they need a wash; can we have your permission to wash them?”
“Leave them in the wash-room and I will wash them.”
“Thank you, thank you very much.”
Ada saw them hurrying to the wash-room, and she said, “I will bring dressing robes for you to wear.”
Jack turned and faced her then said, “No, it’s okay, we can wait until our clothes are ready.”
Kurt saw a veil of suspicion in her expression, and he said, “If you want us to wear the robes we will, although we would prefer not to.”
Ada turned away as she said, “Leave the clothes in the wash-room and I will wash them.”
Jack and Kurt undressed quickly, then smiling broadly, Jack said, “Let’s go!” He waltzed out, enjoying the freedom and titillation of his nudity, and he stood in front of Ada and said brightly, “Our clothes are in the trough.”
Ada marched into the wash-room, and Jack followed her in and asked, “Would you like me to help you?”
Ada lit the burner to heat up the water, then she said, “No.”
Displaying himself in her line of vision, Jack said, “I would like to help you.”
“I am more than capable of washing clothes.” She replied.
Jack and Kurt spent the morning unencumbered by clothes, and as Ada began the lunch preparations, Jack hustled up to her and asked, “Can I help you?”
“There must be something I can do.”
“I am more than capable of preparing a meal.” Ada replied.
Facing her, Jack rested against the bench as he asked, “How long have you been living here?”
Heartily involved in the preparations, Ada said, “Why do you ask?”
“You seem like an interesting person, and I’d like to know more about you.”
“Well, just to get to know you better.”
Kurt was amused by the gall of his friend, and he knew that Jack wasn’t interested in conversation, he just wanted to flagrantly flaunt himself in front of someone of the opposite gender. Strange though, for Kurt himself had never felt so alive or carnally wicked. He strolled over next to Jack and asked, “Were you ever married Ada?”
Ada glanced at him and said, “No.” then she turned her attention back to the preparation.
“Has Thiebe ever been married?” Kurt asked.
“Have you ever had a boyfriend?” Jack asked.
“You and Thiebe must get lonely being out here in the middle of nowhere,” Jack began, “And I bet you’re glad that you’ve got some male company.”
“No, we do not get lonely.” Ada replied blandly.
“Have you ever kissed a man?” Jack asked cheekily.
“Well after lunch, I’d like to be the first man to kiss you.”
“Thank you for the offer, but no.”
“Come on Ada, don’t you want to see what it’s like to experience passion and romance?”
Jack huffed, then said, “Ada, look at me!”
Ada turned and faced him, and Jack asked, “Do you think I’m good-looking?”
Ada gazed at Kurt, then corrected her gaze to Jack as she replied, “Both you and your friend are fine looking young men.”
“Do you like looking at us naked?”
Kurt was a little embarrassed by Jack’s line of questioning, although he knew that the shedding of clothes had brought the extroverted Jack Trent to the surface. Six feet tall, muscular and good-looking, Jack could attract the gaze of many a fair lass back home, and his dashing looks meant that he normally strutted around full of confidence. In a way, Kurt was glad that the Extroverted Jack had surfaced, because a tantalising thought circled in his mind; What would happen if me, Jack, Ada and Thiebe … Kurt was snapped back to reality as Ada answered the question.
“Both you and your friend are nice to look at.”
Jack glanced at Kurt, then he focussed on Ada as he said invitingly, “I am led to believe that I am also nice to kiss, and one of my kisses has your name on it.”
Ada turned away and said, “I am preparing lunch, please go and sit.”
“Okay, but after lunch, we will kiss.”
“No, we won’t.”
“Everything that happens will happen because my Mistress wishes it to be so.”
“Ada, me and Kurt are here now, and we can give you passion and romance,” Jack began, “And, and, we can also give Thiebe a taste of our passion and romance.”
Ada stopped what she was doing, and without raising her gaze, she said, “I am quite capable of providing passion and romance to my Mistress.”
Jack’s eyebrows raised, and Kurt sucked his bottom lip as images exploded in their minds, although Ada said politely, “Please sit, lunch will be brought to you.”
Enjoying the hedonistic delight of moving through an afternoon unencumbered by garments, Jack and Kurt ventured outside after lunch, both feeling bold, daring and untamed, and Jack said, “I can understand nudists now, I understand why they do it.”
Kurt understood too; the freedom, the wicked pleasure of doing something that you shouldn’t do, although wicked pleasures could affect your mind. Kurt didn’t raise his gaze as he muttered, “Her, Ada, she said that, that …”
Jack was pleased, because he knew where the unfinished statement had been leading. He’d been barely able to function since he’d heard Ada’s response; I am quite capable of providing passion and romance to my Mistress … Without raising his gaze, Jack asked, “Do you want to …”
Kurt thought about his friend’s unfinished sentence, then he said meekly, “Maybe we should go down for a nap, because we have a big night in front of us.”
With two females in his mind, Jack muttered, “Yeah, I’m feeling a bit tired.”
They walked into the castle and headed for the bedroom, and feeling strangely timid, Jack asked, “Towels?”
Kurt skulked into the room and said, “We can use the same ones.”
Ada had to rouse them for the evening meal, and they both waltzed out, both feeling important. Clothes were a hinderance, and no clothes was freedom, because no clothes produced a glorious array of glittering emotions.
The meal was eaten with indecent haste, then Ada advised, “The bath is ready.”
They settled into the bath, enjoying the mild heat of the water, and Jack said cheekily, “It’s beautiful in here, come and join us.”
For a spine-tingling moment, Kurt wondered whether she was thinking about joining them, although the moment was extinguished as she said, “I bathe at my own leisure.”
Jack wasn’t blunted by the refusal as he said, “Come in and join us, I’ll make it worth your while.”
“I bathe with my Mistress.” Ada replied bluntly.
The statement had been presented as a solid refusal, although the statement had the men’s minds travelling in a different direction.
Ten minutes later, Ada said, “Thank you.”
Jack knew that the phrase wasn’t an expression of gratitude, it was an instruction to get out, so he whispered to Kurt, “Play with it.”
Kurt shook his head and asked, “What?”
“Play with it, get it standing at attention.” Jack whispered.
Kurt gazed at Ada, then he turned to Jack and said quietly, “No, come on, it might make her uncomfortable.”
Jack grinned, then said, “How about we find out?”
Another minute in the bath, and they both emerged, Jack confidently, Kurt sheepishly, although Kurt noticed that as the bubbles of foam near their groins evaporated, Ada’s glance was drawn to the areas.
Jack accepted the towel off Ada, then he hugged her, the physical evidence of his excitement pushing against her left thigh. His left hand settled on her lower back, then the hand moved down to her buttock, and pushing against her, he asked confidently, “May I kiss you?”
Jack squirmed in closer, pushing tight against her, and he said, “You kiss me then.”
Ada pushed away and said blandly, “Dry yourselves and then dress.”
With his appendage hard and erect, Jack wheezed out, “We don’t need to dress.”
Ada glanced at that which had been pushing against her thigh, then she said, “If you wish to see My Lady tonight, you must dress.”
Kurt was disappointed. Strolling unencumbered had aroused many emotions in him, especially when he knew that the only other people on the premises were of the opposite gender; yet because of the striking differences of the genders, he understood why the statement had been delivered. Kurt glanced at Ada, hoping that she was looking at him before his erection disappeared, although looking at her made him curious, and he asked, “Ada …”
She turned in his direction.
“How did you get that scar?”
Ada held his gaze and said, “A man cut me with a knife.”
Kurt anticipated that a big story could be coming, so he asked, “Why did he do it?”
“Maybe I should have asked him before I killed him.” Ada replied blandly.
Both erections became dangling penis’s, and Kurt and Jack dressed in silence.
Ada said officiously, “Come, let us go.
Ada led them up the stairs, down the hallway and then she stopped at the door. Both Kurt and Jack were unhealthily excited, for their day had been one of decadent pleasures, and Kurt knew that the greatest pleasure was still to come.
The door opened, light spilling out, the figure before them sitting on the chair, posed as she had been on the previous two nights.
Both sat, Kurt’s knees trembling as he said shakily, “Good evening Thiebe.”
The face rose slowly, the toss of the hair, the dazzling eyes peeling open, and then the lips parted, the demure smile helping to turn the expression from one of innocence to one of sensuality.
Jack rubbed his thighs, shiveringly excited as he mumbled, “So Thiebe, tonight …”
Her gaze turned to Jack as she asked, “Tonight?”
“You, you are so beautiful, and tonight we would like to see you without the gown.”
Her gaze flicked over to Kurt, then back to Jack as she said, “If I undress for you, there will be a price to pay.”
“Yes, yes,” Jack blurted. “If we see you unclothed, we will want you; and yes, we are prepared to pay the price!”
Her gaze turned to Kurt as she asked, “Young man?”
“Yes, me too, I will pay the price.”
Elegantly, Thiebe rose, and in a slow fluid pirouette, she turned around. With her head cocked at her left shoulder, she pushed the strap of the gown off, then her focus turned to her right shoulder, her left hand encouraging the strap to fall away. Both hands pushed the gown down, and it gathered at her hips, then she turned her face to look at them.
Kurt had his right hand over his mouth, Jack had his left fingers in his mouth.
Thiebe guided the gown down past her hips, and then free of any other curvaceous obstacles, the gown floated down and came to rest on the ground.
Jack bit down on his fingers.
They had seen this sight before, although that had been from an elevated position more than twenty feet away from her, but now, sitting merely a dozen feet from her, the splendour of her body made them both blush severely. Her shapely legs drew their attention, yet it was her flawless buttocks that received the more thorough examination.
Completely still, Thiebe allowed sufficient time for their gazes to wander, then she cooed, “Young men, you wish for me to turn?”
Jack gulped, and replied, “Yes, yes please.”
With her left hand on her hip, she turned in a slow deliberate motion, her head held high, and as she faced them, her hands skimmed down to rest at her sides.
Jack found it difficult to breathe, his eyes bulging as blood pounded in his ears, Kurt trembling as he sucked on his bottom lip.
As a young, terrified naked girl, Thiebe had been distraught by the eyes upon her; evil men ogling her with wicked intentions on their mind, but this was different. Two young men staring at her, the young men harmless, and because of her unclothed state, the young men also helpless. Thiebe suspected that the helpless young men may have a variety of wicked thoughts in their minds, but it mattered not, for she had extracted the price she sought; she had made them want her.
Thiebe was so stunning, that Kurt was almost in tears, and he tried to rid his eyes of the welling tears, because he wanted to keep looking at her. Slim and slender, her breasts sat high, the breasts moving in time with her controlled breathing. Her calves were slender, her thighs shapely, her stomach flat, and a light sprinkling of blonded pubic hair gathered at her groin, the line of her vagina being clearly visible.
Thiebe turned side on and raised her face to the ceiling, her hair almost reaching the top of her buttocks, and she skimmed a hand through the hair, her breasts bouncing subtly with her movements. She turned to face them, noting where both sets of eyes were focussed; and she whispered, “Do you wish for me to come closer?”
Jack nodded enthusiastically, and Thiebe lightly stepped towards them, stopping an arm stretch away from them.
She turned her back to them, then turned to the side, and she threw her head back, swishing her hair around, and she could feel her hair whisking across her lower back, could feel her breasts swaying, then she turned to face them.
Bulging eyes, flushed complexions, one with tongue hanging out, and Thiebe felt content. “Young men, you must excuse me, as my wish is to retire for the evening.”
Jack was snapped back to reality by the sound of her voice, and he stared at her as thoughts ran through his mind. He may never see this vision again, may never get this opportunity again, so he panted, “Th-Thiebe …”
“What young man?”
She stood before him naked, her hands on her hips, looking so gorgeous, so desirable, so tempting, and Jack stuttered, “May … can we … can we touch you?”
She tossed her hair back with victorious fervour, then settled her gaze on him as she said huskily, “No, the price I sought from you has already been extracted.”
Thiebe noticed both mouths flop open in disappointment, and she said, “Ada …”
Ada moved around behind Thiebe and placed her hands on the bare hips. Thiebe leant back and curled her right arm around Ada’s neck, then gazing into her eyes she said quietly, “Faithful servant, of you I ask no price.”
Ada towered over Thiebe, her clothed body seeming to frame the naked woman, and Ada leant forward and kissed her neck, then her right hand skimmed up her side until it engaged with a breast, her left hand flowing up to delicately caress the other breast.
Jack shifted in the chair, so uncomfortable, so aroused, and Kurt squirmed, shaking so much that his head wobbled.
Ada’s hands travelled, one travelling from breast to stomach, the other stomach to breast; tickling, caressing, not an inch of the upper body being missed in the journey, until Ada’s right hand slid down to Thiebe’s groin. The naked woman’s body stiffened at the first touch, her stomach sucking in, her limbs displaying their muscle definition; then after emitting a poetic groan, the muscles subtly relaxed, and Thiebe closed her eyes as she rested the back of her head on Ada’s right shoulder.
Ada sucked in the aroma of the golden hair, then she focussed on the squirming males as she said quietly, “Go, go now.”
Jack shook his head in confusion, “Go?”
“Go to your room, leave us be, and please, close the door.”
Both got up awkwardly, both walked out of the room backwards, and Kurt had a final glance before he pulled the door closed.
Whispered murmurings could be heard, “Ohhh, faithful servant …”
“My Lady, come lay with me.”
Outside the door, Kurt glanced at Jack, and Jack could imagine what his friend was thinking; You wanta stay and listen for a while? But no, Jack had other things on his mind. Maybe he would need to ask Ada to wash the towels, because his towel was just about to come into play again. Without looking at him, Jack muttered, “Come on, let’s go.”
Another day minus clothes, breakfast in the raw, a naked lunch, Jack following Ada wherever she went. By early afternoon Jack was sufficiently aroused to pose a question. “Ada, we have money, so if we pay you, will you massage us?”
“I have no need for money.” Ada replied.
“Well as a favour, as a special treat, will you massage us?”
Ada turned to face Jack, and Kurt sucked his bottom lip as he anxiously awaited her reply. Kurt reflected that it was great to have a friend like Jack. When it came to flirting, Jack was bold and daring and he asked questions that Kurt was too insecure to ask. As young virile males staying in a castle with two attractive females, both Kurt and Jack’s minds were travelling in the same direction, and while salacious thoughts swirled around in Kurt’s mind, Jack was bold enough to allow his almost identical thoughts to exit via his mouth.
“If you wish, I will massage you both after I finish my chores.” Ada replied.
Jack and Kurt helped Ada with the chores.
Jack suggested that he should go first, and since he had set the wheels in motion, Kurt didn’t argue. Ada led Jack into the bedroom and closed the door.
Standing outside the room, Kurt listened intently.
“Lay down my friend, and I will start on your back.”
Minutes ticked by, shuffling sounds, quiet groans, more minutes disappearing, then Jack’s sheepish voice, “Arhhh Ada, can you, I mean will you …”
Kurt knew where the unfinished question was leading, and holding his breath, Kurt patted his chest as he waited for a response.
“No.” Ada replied, and Kurt deflated.
With a hint of desperation, Jack wheezed, “Ada please, I mean we’ve seen Thiebe naked and I’m all wound up.”
Moments of silence, then Ada’s calm voice, “My friend, my role is not to provide sexual enjoyment, although if you wish to deal with the situation, you may.”
Jack’s voice now surprised. “You mean that I can, you know …”
“I would have no objections.”
Fifteen minutes later, Ada had no objections when Kurt relieved himself while she massaged his thighs.
Jack’s afternoon declaration rang true for both of them. “Man, I’m starting to like it here!”