The Realms

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Take Me Away

On that bombshell Davis and I took a nice, long vacation. Most of our time together over the last year had been business. We took a few weeks to simply have fun and reconnect. We tried out some new things in the bedroom, visited parks to ride the rollercoasters, played tennis, and went on hikes. It was completely lovely. It was also nice to be able to talk about something that didn’t involve other creatures, other universes, or other attacks. He informed me that he’d be moving into his own place soon. “True privacy!” I celebrated.

“Or at least a bit more. I’d like you to have a key. And I know you’re near family now but if you ever want to branch further out you’re always welcome to move in with me. Both you and Jack. I’ve already told him. I did mean it two years ago when I said I’d make your dream come true. If Jesse ever wants to move in with us I’ll make sure to get us all a home. Heh, at least Evin doesn’t require too much space,” Davis laughed.

“I don’t know about that. His ego takes up a lot of room,” I said wryly.

Davis reached over and grabbed me up, tucking me into his lap. “That might be so. Maybe he can stay outside, then.”

“Oh, he’d love that!” I snorted.

“Mm. We won’t be that cruel. We’ll be nice,” he decided.

“Not too nice.”

“Let’s go inside. I’ve got a new game for us to try.” Davis lifted me to my feet and put out the fire. We strolled back into our little cabin and set up the video game.

The next day we returned home so he could start packing. Stan, Jesse, and I helped him move the following week. It was another two weeks before he was settled in enough to throw a housewarming party, which I invited Riel to. He came as my date and we all had a ball. Evin spent nearly as much time at Davis’ as he did at home. That was all well and good since Jack and I were both gone for work during the weekdays. Davis did all his work from home so could keep Evin company. He’d visit Rose every so often at the door to Djinnestan. We all heard less and less from Aeryn and her family as her wedding drew nearer. Jesse was concerned that their sexual relationship was done for good. I squeezed in a couple more nights per week for him, explaining to Davis, Evin, and Jack that he was feeling a bit insecure and low and that I wanted him to know I’d still be around. I wasn’t trying to be a substitute or anything; I was simply showing him how important he was to me in his time of uncertainty. The other guys all pitched in to hang out with him, too. We all needed it, really. They’d affected each of us in such substantial ways and now things were changing.

We finally found time to enact Jesse’s fantasy of failing to rescue me. We all really enjoyed that. Evin created an interesting role for himself; playing the devil on Davis’ shoulder urging him on. It was so much fun we vowed to do it again sometime, maybe with costumes. Though I only wore the sexy pink underwear and jewelry on dates with Jack I asked him if he wanted to surprise the others during the next bit of group play by having me don nearly all of the items. I told him he could use the pink toy on me when he rescued me. He pretty much salivated as soon as I mentioned it and wholeheartedly agreed. His exact words were, “I’ll rescue the shit out of you, little ma’am, if I can see how damn beautiful you’ll look dolled up in all pink. I’ll buy a new set for you and ribbons for your hair; I want the shades to match exactly.” When I pointed out the items he’d already gotten me matched he replied slyly, “I wasn’t talking about the clothes matching each other. I want to match your color,” while shooting a pointed glance at my crotch. We’d been out at dinner so I couldn’t punch that lustful expression off his face to ease my embarrassment. I’d mumbled something and ran to the bathroom to throw water on my face. We hadn’t made it home that night: we snuck behind a building to attack one another and only made it as far as the car afterward.

And then one day we all received a special invitation. We were cordially, secretly invited to Aeryn’s honeymoon. Oh, frabjous day! We had several months to prepare and set up. The honeymoon would be in Cabo. Jesse and I were super delighted and planned out everything. We managed to get rooms on the next floor up from where Joey and Aeryn would be staying. Weirdly enough, Sam and Mark were coming, too. We’d finally get to meet Mejir and Joey. I wasn’t too keen on having to lie to him about who we were and who Mark and Sam were to Aeryn (and having to call her Allison instead of Aeryn) but it was necessary. I’d just treat it like one of our sex games. I didn’t want to mess anything up for her. With any luck we wouldn’t interact with him much. I pushed any worry from my mind and made arrangements for work. Thank goodness I had a capable substitute in Alex, the kid I used to sell notes and answers to. He’d certainly thrived at the company and I was incredibly happy I’d given him a chance to prove himself.

Stan and Areillo were coming along on the trip, stating that they had big news to share with us. We had Evin do a few test jumps to see how far he could travel and how long it would take. Then Davis had an idea and created a distance-shortening realm for Evin to use. He adored the invention and wouldn’t stop kissing Davis. Finally Davis chased him away with his guitar. I was beginning to think maybe Evin had always had a bit of a crush on the highly-talented cold. Guess I’d ask him about it sometime. I totally didn’t blame him. We sent Evin ahead first and Dad dropped the rest of us off at the airport. Jesse, Jack, and I sat giggling as we played poker on our pagers. Ashley, Davis, and Cal sat a few rows away. Cal ordered a drink or two while Ashley conked out and Davis read a book. I think Stan and Areillo went to the loo together about halfway through the flight to get into some mischief.

We touched down and hailed a cab to the nearest car rental place. I rode in one car with Davis driving and Ashley and Cal in the back seat. Stan drove the other car with Areillo, Stan, Jack, and Jesse. It was stupid warm in Cabo. Even Davis was wearing shorts. We drove down stretches of highway, through smaller surrounding towns, and then saw the gorgeous ocean open up on our left. The water was definitely better down here. It wasn’t murky grey; it was shimmering blue. I couldn’t wait to jump into it. A short while later we pulled in to a group of hotels right on the beach. They were three slightly different and massive buildings all owned and operated by the same company. Each one had its own theme. We found the one we’d be staying at and pulled up to the entrance to unload. Jesse ran ahead of us to check in as Davis and Stan went to park the car. The rest of us carried our bags in and looked around the lobby. We hurried to move out of the way as a group of employees came out to dance. Delighted, everyone clapped along and even a few guests joined the dance. One of the guests looked very familiar. “Aeryn,” I saw Jesse mouth. He was done at the counter and I could see he was ready to cross over to her.

Davis came to the rescue and held his arm, pointing at a brown-haired man holding his hands over his face and beaming at her. His eyes and hair were both brown, but his eyes… They were a shade of brown I’d never seen before. And they were so deep. I nearly got caught up by them but the kid next to him started jumping. He lifted the pudgy little red-haired boy into his arms so he could wave at Aeryn. Joey and Mejir. I wondered why Mark wanted Joey dead. “Let’s get our stuff set and get our feet wet, eh?” Stan suggested to take our minds off Aeryn.

We all watched Joey stroll merrily over to his wife and kiss her. Sam appeared and expertly cut in with a joke. My group picked up our bags and headed for the elevator. “Well, hello there,” a familiar voice rang out from inside. We stepped in and saw Mark Ashton in the corner of the elevator dressed rather conservatively and looking years older.

“Fancy meeting you here,” Stan greeted.

“I never knew you had real clothes,” Ashley joked.

“It’s my doctor costume,” Mark shrugged. “You guys enjoy yourselves today. Tomorrow we’ll ‘bump into each other’.”

“I look forward to it,” Davis nodded.

“Good. We’ll have a lot of fun. I’m a pro at this. Jeff and I pulled a similar thing on Aeryn a few years ago,” Mark smirked. The elevator arrived on our floor and he walked us to our rooms. He stopped me just outside the door to my room as the others carried the stuff into their rooms. “I missed you, Ani. This might be the last time we’ll see one another for a few years. Things are changing so rapidly. Stay in touch with me. When it’s time, I want to move your entire family to Italy so I can keep an eye on you. Okay?” he spoke softly, running his hand up my back.

“Okay. We can go over that some time in these next two weeks. I’m so glad to see you,” I told him, putting my arms around his neck.

He slammed me into the wall and kissed me hard, nearly taking me there on his lips and touch alone. He pulled back about an inch and stroked my chin. “I’ll catch you later, babe,” he promised and vanished. I stood there a moment catching my breath and then went into my room. Evin was already there complaining to Jack about how bored he’d been waiting for us. I sighed and dug into my bag for my bathing suit. Davis and Jesse were already ready to go. After popping into the bathroom to change, I secured our passports and other valuables in the safe. Jack quickly changed into his trunks and we pretended to run from Evin, speeding out and down the stairs towards the back of the hotel with him chasing us. We all darted out the back doors and past tourists and employees towards the hot sand awaiting us below. We dove into the water and the waves curled around us to lick us up into the depths of the ocean. Evin floated above us as Cal and Ashley joined in and splashed about. They informed us that Stan and Areillo would join us for dinner.

We swam for hours, working up a mighty big appetite. The climate here inspired ungodly levels of hunger and allowed us to eat even more than we normally did. Everything tasted ten times better when it was eaten near such a refreshing ocean. After we stuffed ourselves good we sat around a fire in the courtyard to watch the moon rise. We ordered a few drinks and lounged about listening to the live band. How wonderful. We turned in around 10:30 to recover from the jet lag. Evin and Davis laid down with me while Jesse and Jack took the other bed. Evin made sure we were all awake in time to get our breakfast. Aeryn and Joey were walking by when she stopped and seemed to notice us. She tiptoed over and smiled brightly. “Ani Brewster? It’s Allison Dutch. I’m one of the physicalists on the net. I paint using real paper and paint,” she “introduced” herself.

“Oh, wow! So nice to see you in the flesh. I’m a big fan of your work,” I gushed. We went through all of the formalities and everyone was introduced. Joey seemed pleased to meet us. Once more, I wondered why Mark was so keen to kill him. We all set up a few activities to do together and they went on their way. I turned to my brother. “Are you ready to tell us your news?” I asked him.

“Ah, yes. It’s as good a time as any.” His brown eyes twinkled as he held Areillo’s hand. “We’re getting married!”

“Oh, dude, you should have waited until evening. It’s much too early in the day to celebrate with champagne,” I complained.

Everyone laughed and congratulated Areillo and Stan. “Thanks, guys. We can’t wait. Of course we want you all there,” Areillo said.

Ashley jumped in here, offering her services as wedding planner. I stared out at the ocean, content. Our parents would be so happy. Jack checked his watch. “We’d better get moving if we want to get our shopping done before we catch the pirate boat,” he mentioned. We hustled to finish up breakfast and ran back to our rooms to get money. We all reconvened in the lobby and headed out to the cars. We drove through town and then went walking down on the pier, avoiding the sellers who didn’t have established shops. Capitalism was still alive and well down here and I took joy in that fact. We visited several stores and took lots of photos for our parents. We stopped by a booth with a baby lion and I cuddled him to death, taking more pictures with Stan. We visited one of the restaurants for an enormous lunch and then went back to shopping. When it was time to board our ship we raced back to the cars to secure our new clothes and trinkets in the trunk and made our way onto the dock. What a blast the ride was! The music was nautically delicious and the crew was all quite fit. They had plenty of interactive activities for us to participate in and put on one hell of an entertaining show. I resolved to drop my punk look when I returned home and to take up the trappings of a pirate. We ate dinner on the boat as they sailed around and waved to people on a tricked out party boat that passed by.

“We have to get on that ship before we leave,” Stan ruled. It was definitely right up his alley.

“We’ll fit it in,” Jesse promised. All the passengers turned their attention to the other side of the deck as the pirates began to fight. They parried to and fro like the gentle rocking of the boat itself. They fought valiantly and we cheered them on. One man was forced to walk the plank and everyone cringed and hissed at the one who made him do it. The good guy toppled off the gang plank and we all held our breath. The evil victor crowed and stalked proudly through the crowd, threatening to toss off any other naysayers. The passengers got into it, cowering away while he taunted them and cursing at his back when he moved to antagonize someone else. I sensed someone behind me and turned my head to see the felled pirate climbing up the bow and into the rigging. I dutifully held my tongue until he leaped out and shocked everyone with his reappearance. We all whistled and clapped as he came to our rescue and defeated the villain once and for all. The crowd exploded in triumphant celebration. The DJ set dance music playing and the crew cleared the deck of props. The crew then came around handing out balloons and most all of us crammed into the space to dance.

My boyfriends surrounded me, even Evin, and we all grooved to the music as the sun set. The ship returned to the dock and we had our pictures taken with the crew. We danced on our way back to the cars. Once back at the hotel we went for a short swim and raced up and down the beach. Tuckered out, we retired for the night. Jack, Jesse, and I shared a shower and Davis, Evin, and I shared a dream. Tomorrow during lunch it would be show time. This would be very interesting.

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