Welcome back, everyone!
Now that the turkey and stuffing is all behind us (so to speak), we move toward the upcoming holidays with a sense of anticipation and good cheer!
As you take a break from that holiday shopping and endless “to do” lists, why not catch up with the characters of Serenity: Full Circle with Chapters 9 and 10 …
(Two days later, back at Villa De Martini)
Martin Colby was more than pleased with how this event had unfolded. Part of the reason that Martin was the success that he was, is that he never gives up. When he makes up his mind to achieve a goal, everything that lies in front of him becomes crystal clear. He could always sense others that had this similar trait and he seemed to draw them into his world, making things easier for him to achieve his vision. This is why he chose Marc and Eyan; after relentless searching, their names kept rising to the top of his list.
Now that his granddaughter was safe and unharmed, Martin was like a chameleon. Stiles, his assistant, had adapted to this quirk in his personality during his first year in service with Martin. The operations room at the villa was repatriated to the pre-abduction style even before the group had arrived back at the villa. Martin had invited the team, as it were, to remain around for a while and enjoy the privileges of Villa De Martini. Marc and Eyan had agreed to the gracious offer and were moved from the second floor of the main villa to the adjoining guest pool house across a breeze-way from the villa. Dara had been called back to her headquarters for debriefing on the actions she had taken on her own. Eyan was offered the services of Martin’s private physician, who was available to tend to his wound upon arrival back at the villa.
Three days later, Dara arrived back at the villa. As she stopped her vehicle in the drive, she sat for a moment seemingly transfixed, very deep in thought. Then she quickly regained her composure and exited the car, walking to the entrance of the main house. Martin met her at the door welcoming her in. Marc and Eyan had been enjoying the sun by the pool through the morning hours. Martin and Dara emerged through the large French doors leading to the pool area at the side of the villa. The view of the Valmayer Reservoir that the villa backed up to was a vast expanse of deep blue water.
They sat down next to Marc and Eyan at a large table that was covered overhead by a trellis. The trellis itself was fully covered with beautiful Yellow Lady Banks roses. A servant appeared from out of nowhere and placed glasses full of sparkling water with small lemon wedges upon the table for all. There was some small talk for a few moments then Martin excused himself saying he would return shortly. Marc looked over at Dara and asked if she had brought her swimsuit with her, she replied, “Marc,” she said with a grin, “As I told you before, I always have it with me, but…” Eyan spoke up saying, “Great! Everybody’s going swimming now, while I sit in the sun and bake,” referring to his wound. Marc said, smiling at Dara, “Relax Eyan, I don’t think the lady is going swimming,” garnering more than a questioning look from Eyan.
Martin returned from the main house and sat back down and said, “I’m glad we could all get together this afternoon. There’s some business we need to discuss. First, I would like to thank each one of you for everything you’ve done. Then, there is the matter of compensation.” Dara stood up and started to excuse herself. But, she was abruptly asked to remain at the table by Martin. She said, “I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to be included in this discussion; your business is with Marc and Eyan.” Martin said, “We could argue that logic later, but right now this concerns all three of you. Marc and Eyan, would either of you have a problem sharing the one million contract price with Dara on an equal basis?” Both replied, “no,” instantly. Dara spoke up saying, “Martin, I can’t accept payment as an active Europol agent. I would think that you would know that.” Martin said, “Dara, yes, I do know that, but I also know that you’ve been placed on administrative leave due to your actions in helping us. Now, I would like for you all too just hold your remarks until I’m finished. I have no doubt that this may sound a bit strange but here’s what I propose. Besides what we have discussed in compensation, I would like to offer each of you, individually, one million dollars in stock from my private portfolio in Die-Hex/Corp. In return, no one can ever disclose the reason why or how this has come about. I would rather think of it as a virtual retainer. If I find myself in need of your services in the future, I will expect your undying loyalty, but not without further compensation. Dara, as for you, I would like you to consider assuming the top position in my family’s personal security and also act as a senior advisor to my corporate security structure. I want no more to do with being 007 in the future. I have spoken to the appropriate people and they assure me that your tenure at Europol will be held for the foreseeable future, should you decide to return. Oh, and this mishap or action on your record, will be amended to read as an extended vacation. Now, before anyone says a word, take the next 24 hours and discuss it among yourselves. No one but the four of us, make that five – Stiles, of course – will ever know of this.” Martin reached into his vest and retrieved three envelopes, handing one to Marc then another to Eyan, he looked over at Dara, holding up the third envelope. Dara looked at Marc and then said, “Martin in all honesty, I don’t need 24 hours,” as she accepted the envelope.
As the sun began to set for the evening, Martin called it quits just as Stiles joined the group by the pool. Stiles had earned his right to join in the makeshift celebration and they all were becoming friends that were forged much like a military team. In conversation, the others learned that Stiles had once been a Lt. Commander in the British Air Force. He was forced into early retirement due to a leg injury suffered in the Persian Gulf War.
About the time the shadows of the early evening were fading, Marc and Dara were making their way around the pool to the bungalow in search of some much needed privacy. The pool houses, as they were referred to, were larger than most people’s regular homes. They had fully equipped kitchens, two bedrooms; one being a master suite. The master bath was three-sided, one side opened on to a private atrium with an open air shower; everything was constructed of natural quarried stone from nearby hills.
Marc had just asked Dara if she cared for a drink, when the doorbell chimed. Marc said, “If that’s Eyan, one of us is going to get drop-kicked over the pool,” as he made his way to the door. He opened it, and there stood a Villa attendant with a silver cart. The man said, “With Mr. Colby’s compliments, sir.” On the cart was smorgasbord of items, two bottles of chilled champagne with iced flutes, assorted strawberries, some chocolate dipped, and also truffles and caviar with wafers. The man quickly pushed the cart into the room, and then just as quickly, left the room, shutting the door behind him. Marc, a bit surprised, looked at Dara and said, “How did he know? We haven’t been in the room for five minutes.” Dara smiled and said, “Maybe we’re putting off too many pheromones,” as she began unbuttoning her blouse as she walked up to him, and pushed him down in an overstuffed chair. She stood in front of him and slowly removed her clothing one piece at a time with the aid of a large ottoman directly in front of the chair. As she removed the last thread of clothing from her perfect body and stood in front of Marc, she said, as she curled up on the ottoman, “Now it’s your turn, and don’t rush on my account.” Marc smiled and began to reciprocate, first removing his shirt and sandals, then his swimsuit, as he stood up next to her. There was a large white alpaca rug in front of the large dormant fire-hearth. Marc reached down, picking her up, pulling her close to his body and stepped over to the rug. He laid her down gently, and then moved down onto the rug beside her. The day was warm but the air-conditioning combined with the raw sexual tension between them had raised Goosebumps along the nape of her back running down to the sculpted line of her buttocks. Marc began to run his cupped hand along her thigh, up to her hip, just barely touching her with the tips of his fingers. The sensation was too overpowering for Dara to resist – not that she wanted to. She rolled over on top of Marc, and consumed him in one easy movement, her body flexing and then just quivering as he slid deep within her. In unison, they both rolled back over with Marc on top, as he began a slow rhythmic motion that pushed them both farther and farther into a nether land – an exotic place where people are seldom allowed to tread as deeply. An hour or so moved by swiftly, then another. At this point, they both felt like scuba divers running out of air, and needing to surface.
The ice in the champagne bucket was now only cold water; but champagne was still cold. Marc opened and poured two flutes full to the brim. Neither were fans of caviar, but the chocolate strawberries were quickly devoured as they sat in the overstuffed chair; Dara comfortably sitting crossways in Marc’s lap, as he fed her the last berry. After eating, they headed off to the master bedroom. Dara was awestruck when she stopped by the bath area. She turned to Marc and said, “Let’s see how a shower under the stars feels,” with a bit of a sly grin, as she grabbed Marc’s hand and pulled him out toward the atrium. The shower was aglow with open moonlight, and the stars were brighter than Marc had ever remembered. As he turned the shower on with the flat touch panel that first sensed body temperature, before it slowly starting to rain down over the entire six-foot square area. There were three large quarried sitting stones randomly placed in and around the shower area with polished top surfaces. The water was perfectly blended to body temperature as it rained down. Dara was standing under the shower of water, her face straight upward as if she were receiving blessings from the heavens. Marc was thinking that perhaps it was he who had received the blessings.
Dara was all of five feet, seven inches tall; Marc would guess she weighed maybe 110 lbs. Her waist was around 23 or 24 inches, and her breasts were full and natural with proud nipples. Her hips were a perfect match for the rest of her and, yes, the only tan line on her body was from the thong. He stepped up behind her and filled his hand with shampoo, and then began to slowly massage it into her hair as she leaned her head back. When he had completed this, Dara turned around and put her arms around his waist, placing her head against his shoulder. She could feel him coming to life once more, as they stood there. She slid down to her knees and began to return the affection that he was now so vividly displaying. A few moments later, his body quivered intensely, and then he collapsed to his knees alongside her. As they held each other, the water still was raining down upon them. There was an evening breeze rustling the shrubs within the atrium as Marc turned the shower off. He retrieved a large bath sheet from a shelf and draped it around Dara and once more for himself. A few minutes later; they made their way to the overstuffed bed. Marc held her in his arms, as they fell asleep in exhaustion.
The next morning, at precisely 11:00 am, there were two soft beeps on the phone, and a blue LED light started to blink. Marc picked up the receiver, there was a ring-back tone, and a man came on the line and said, “Good morning sir, will you and your guest be joining the house for lunch, or would you prefer to have a lunch prepared and delivered?” Marc looked over at Dara; she was still sleeping, and said, “We would like to have it delivered, please. Maybe some cold cut sandwiches, some chips, and a six-pack of ice-cold beer. And would you convey our appreciation to our host and let him know that we will be joining him for the evening dinner as planned?” Marc hung up the receiver and then rolled back over towards Dara. She was now awake and quietly stretching like a lanky feline awakening from its nap. Marc said, “Good morning, gorgeous! So, tell me, what’s it feels like waking up a millionaire for the first time in your life?” Dara’s eyes opened wide, as a smile crossed her face and said, “It doesn’t seem real, and then us getting sidetracked like this – my head’s spinning a bit.” Marc said, forcing a straight face, “You mean you don’t unwind like this after every mission?” Dara rolled over straddling Marc’s chest and feigned smothering him with a pillow, as Marc laughed aloud. They both knew it was only foreplay for the afternoon full of gratuitous sex to come.
It was nearing 5:00 p.m. when the group had all assembled at the main house for cocktails before dinner. Martin was playing host bartender. He had taken everyone’s order and prepared them with his usual dexterity. He cleared his throat rather loudly, drawing the immediate attention of the house butler, to which he signaled to leave the room. Martin then tapped the glass martini shaker to draw further attention of those in the room and said, “I’ve also asked Ashton to join us this evening.” Seeing the expressions, he continued on, “By the looks on your faces, I see that you may have thought that Stiles was his first name but, in fact, let me formally introduce Ashton Stiles. Now, as we discussed yesterday, is there anyone who has chosen to forgo my offer?” He looked around the room; no one spoke up. Marc looked over at Dara. He knew she had made up her mind at the table yesterday. Martin said, “As Ashton knows, I do not require a contract when it comes to personal business. However, I do ask that each of you shake my hand in agreement while looking me straight in the eye.” Each one of them, in turn, complied with the request, thanking him as they did so. Martin raised his drink and said, “To an indelible friendship.” The entire group followed suit.
The dinner was a superb mix of Spanish dishes with fresh seafood from the Mediterranean coast. The wine that flowed like water was a smattering of Spanish, Italian and Californian varieties. Some of the Italian bottles had vintage dates in the 1800’s. As the evening progressed, Marc, Eyan and Dara were experiencing the tip of the iceberg of the billionaire’s world. Marc found it somewhat amusing that on the day he had become a millionaire, he could still feel totally impoverished by these surroundings. Life never ceases to amaze, he thought.
The party, as it were, broke up around 3:00 a.m. They all ambled out pretty much as a group; Marc and Dara, being the last to step out in to the evening air. They stopped by the pool. Marc turned toward the door, but before he was able to open it, Dara had decided a moonlight swim was in order and had begun to remove her clothes. Marc turned to see her beautiful back side in mid-air before hearing the splash. He looked up at the main house just in time to see what he thought must have been Stiles’ lights go off. He kicked off his shoes, dropped his pants, pulled off his remaining clothing, and dove in the pool. He swam up to Dara and pulled her in close. He wanted to feel her body next to his. He kissed her quite passionately and started to react to the moment. Just then, he heard Eyan from the side of the pool say, “That looks inviting. Mind if I join ya?” Before Marc could say, “Your wounded, remember?” Dara said, “Sure, just throw your clothes over there by ours. The water’s fantastic.” Marc looked at her as if she lost it, when she said, “Relax, anticipation is half the fun,” as she pushed away and began swimming like a fish, across the pool. Eyan had stripped and was in the pool almost before Marc could catch up with Dara. He grabbed her by the ankle and pulled her back to him and said in her ear, “I’m going to make you pay for this one,” before kissing her, then pushing her below water, as he swam off to the shallower end of the pool. After several minutes of swimming around the pool the three of them moved over to the side that had submerged marble stools along a poolside service bar. After some small talk Dara said, “Anyone for a beer, as she walked up the stairs, then down into the service pit, and around to the bar refrigerator. The guys both said yes as she opened the door and retrieved the beers. She walked up on the service side of the bar and sat the drinks down; she rejoined them in the pool. Eyan, being a virile male, was having a rough time trying not to be obvious, as Dara was hard not to stare at. Once she sat back down in the water, the pressure eased a bit for Eyan.
They began to discuss the future, as they had been talking of current events most of the evening. Dara asked how things had evolved into the current situation and what they had planned for the future. They looked at each other, both feeling a bit myopic. Dara said, “You two haven’t a clue, do you?” Marc said, “Actually we do, it’s just very dynamic at the moment.” Dara said, “Then what’s the general game plan?” Marc, realizing just how acute Dara’s critical thinking was said,” We own this Island out in the middle of the South Pacific – don’t ask – we plan to set it up as a base of operations, but we needed to cross a point of income to begin the process. Now we’re nearly there. Unless something of amazing potential falls in our lap, that’s what we’re planning to do.” Marc looked over at Eyan to see his reaction. Eyan was posed, sitting at the bar looking somewhat like the statue of the thinker, with his hand at his chin and his lips pursed.
Dara was more than intrigued with the response, and said, “An island in the South Pacific? OK, why there, and not some place more convenient, like in the States or maybe in the Bahamas?” Marc said, “Because one, we have it on a 99-year lease, and two, it’s in the mainstream – almost dead in the middle of the Eurasia transit; it’s perfect jump-off point for the entire globe.” Dara said, “God, I hate to admit it, but it makes perfect sense.” Neither of them had noticed, but the sunrise was beginning to cast its ember glow to the east. They decided to call it a night. Eyan turned to Marc, as Dara swam to the steps, and said, “Marc, I think you’ve hit on something here; we need to talk more about this.” As he and Eyan turned to get out of the pool, there in front of them, stood Dara silhouetted against the sunrise. She was standing at the edge of the pool, squeezing the water from her hair, in all her natural beauty. Eyan said to Marc, “Right now, in all honesty, I wish we weren’t such good friends; she’s just amazing,” as they treaded onward, towards the steps.
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