“Let’s go through the Sabre Form, as much as you know.” Lydia stands in front of me and guides me through the Sabre Form as far as I know, which is two-thirds of it. I struggle through a few of the postures that give me trouble. I am not as fond of the Sabre Form as I am of the Sword Form, but I know that I’ll feel better once I learn the whole thing. We go over a few of the postures that I’m having difficulty with, and within a half hour, we have it all straightened out. She shows me the next posture, then we go through the Sword Form, which is my personal favorite. She gives me a few corrections, which I practice until I feel comfortable with them. Afterwards, we sit down to have a good old-fashioned chinwag. I drink from my iced water bottle and mop my face with my towel.
“You’ve missed quite a few classes,” Lydia comments. “Everything all right?” There’s no judgement in her voice, just concern.
“I know. I’m sorry, Lydia. Believe me, I hate missing classes, but it’s for an important reason.” I briefly summarize what’s been going on with me, and Lydia is properly aghast when I mention Bob’s disappearance.
“That’s awful!” Lydia says, squeezing my hand. “Your poor sister. She must be in a terrible state.”
“She is. She’s upset, and she’s taking it out on me.” I sigh and rub my forehead. I don’t like talking about Jasmine behind her back, but I’m also feeling frustrated by her lack of gratitude. I’m not comfortable by that emotion, but I can’t deny it.
“Why? It seems like you’re the only one who’s doing anything about it.” Lydia is indignant on my behalf, and I’m warmed by her support.
“Because she’s freaked as fuck, and I’m the only one here.” I pause and add, “Plus….” I stop. I feel uncomfortable revealing Jasmine’s secrets to anyone. “She hasn’t been getting any sleep and isn’t eating very well, either. I should see if I can get her to come to class.”
“It couldn’t hurt!” Lydia’s eyes brighten as they always do when someone mentions taiji. She eats, sleeps, and breathes the stuff, and if she weren’t so down-to-earth, I would feel uncomfortable around her. “You know that taiji is good for stress. I used to grind my teeth before I started taiji twenty-two years ago, and now, I sleep like a baby.”
“I’ll mention it to her.” I have serious doubts Jasmine would try taiji because the few times I’ve mentioned it, she’s wrinkled her nose. I think she thinks it’s vaguely Satanic, and there’s nothing I can say to change her mind.
“That Reverend Marcus sounds like a real piece of work. His wife, too,” Lydia says, nodding her head. “I think he knows more than he’s saying.”
“Why do you think that?”
“I’m not sure. Just all the lies he’s already told you. There has to be more there.”
“Probably.” I sigh deeply, drinking more water from my bottle. I’m tired of the good reverend, and, frankly, I don’t want to talk to him again. I suppose I’ll have to, but I don’t want to. “Anyway, I have a date tonight with Rembrandt, on a more cheerful subject. How’s it going with you?” I worry about Lydia because she does this fulltime and never has quite enough students. Her husband is a construction worker, so he doesn’t make much money, either.
“Great! Two more of Roger’s coworkers are taking private lessons from me, one of them a woman. I don’t think the guy will stick it out, but, Connie, the woman, probably will.” Lydia’s voice is filled with enthusiasm, and I’m relieved that she might have another reliable student.
“I should go. Thanks for the private lesson.” I hug Lydia then head for the parking lot. I stop at the Eastside Co-op and pick up some chicken from the deli. When I get home, I feed a sliver to each of the cats before making myself a wrap. Just as I’m about to take a bite, my phone ring. It’s Jasmine, and I hesitate to pick it up. I know I’m being a punk, though, and I answer.
“Hi, Jasmine, any news?” I keep my voice casual, pacing back and forth.
“Reverend Yang is in the hospital!” Jasmine screeches at me, causing me to drop the phone. I pick it back up and put it to my ear, and she’s still talking. “He was brutally attacked last night, and he’s in a coma. They don’t know if he’s going to live!”
“What the hell? Slow down, Jasmine. Tell me everything from the beginning.” I sit down on the couch, shocked by the news.
“Sharon just sent out a mass email, and there wasn’t much more than what I just told you.” Jasmine takes a deep breath and continues. “Apparently, Reverend Yang met someone in his office late last night, and he beat the living stuffing out of the pastor with his own desk lamp! Sharon found him on the floor barely breathing. She called an ambulance, and they rushed him to Abbott Northwestern. He’s in a coma, and they don’t know if he’ll ever recover.”
“Oh my god.” I’m horrified, and I also feel a tad guilty. He was calling someone when I left him, and that person is probably the one who beat the shit out of him.
“What the heck is happening? Is this related to Bob’s disappearance?” Jasmine’s voice has subsided in volume, and I can listen to her without wincing.
“I don’t know, Jasmine, but it might be.” We talk for a few more minutes, then I hang up. I go to the kitchen to brew some coffee because my brain is on the fritz, and I need it in working order. I take it into the living room and think. It all comes back to Hayley. I go over my notes and sift through everything I’d heard about her and our brief conversation. She’s an unreliable source, and everything she’s said is cast in doubt. Her husband grabbed her in my presence—that much I know to be true. But, it seems as if at least some of the bruises she had were self-inflicted. It also seems as if she seduced Reverend Yang, but why? Was she angling to become Mrs. Reverend Yang, or is there another reason? Did she pull the same stunt on Bob as well?
I decide to give it a rest and to chill out before my date with—oh, shit. I forgot I promised to cook for Rembrandt tonight. Damn. He’s cooked several times for me, so I’d feel like a jerk if I bought premade food. I rush out to United Noodles and buy the ingredients I need to make everything I said I’d make plus almond cookies because no way in hell I’m going to make dessert. When I return, Onyx gives me an earful. She doesn’t truck with me coming and going, and I have to soothe her every time I have a busy day while Jet loiters in the background looking mournful. I give them their treats before getting to work. I don’t make my own wrappers because I don’t have the patience for that. The dumplings are lightly fried and delicious—I always sample what I make—and the wontons are succulent. The cats are meowing constantly at me because they’re not used to me cooking and because they want some of the food. I make the barbecued pork, and I can’t resist eating several pieces. I stop myself because I want to be able to eat something when Rembrandt shows up. I get everything done with a half hour to spare. I go upstairs to take a shower and to put on a fetching magenta dress with a plunging neckline. I put on some lip gloss before going downstairs. Onyx is yowling at me as the doorbell rings. I go to answer it, and Rembrandt is looking natty in a gray suit with a black silk shirt. His eye patch adds a rakish touch to his ensemble. He’s carrying a bouquet of red roses, and he holds them out to me. I bury my nose in them because I don’t get flowers very often.
“Meeeeow!” Ginger yells and paws at her carrier. Rembrandt sets the carrier on the floor and lets her out. She races over to Jet and buries her nose in his butt. He yelps, but allows it as Onyx eyes them both from a distance. After they all sniff each other to their satisfaction, they race off into the house. Rembrandt takes off his shoes and leave them in the hallway. Then, we stroll arm-in-arm into the kitchen where Rembrandt deeply inhales. He arranges the flowers in a vase, which I appreciate.
“Something smells fantastic,” Rembrandt says, peeking into the covered pans in the oven. I’m keeping the food warm in the oven because cold dumplings aren’t very good. I point at the plates and chopsticks on the counter, and Rembrandt obediently takes them into the dining room. He also brings the roses into the dining room to be the centerpiece, I presume. I make sure everything is cooked properly, then I bring the food into the dining room as well. I grab us some water, and once everything is in place, we sit down to eat. The roses are wonderfully fragrant, adding to the atmosphere. The cats magically appear and jump on the table to stare at us. I give them each a morsel of pork from a wonton, and they beg for more. I shake my head, and they go over to Rembrandt. He gives them each a small piece, and then he tells them no more as well. They pout, but grudgingly sit on the edge of the table. It doesn’t stop them from watching every bite, however, and it’s difficult to eat with three pairs of eyes glued to your chopsticks.
“Stop it, guys,” I say, shielding my plate from their prying eyes.
“This is so good, Megan,” Rembrandt says, his chopsticks clicking at a rapid pace. “Your dumplings are the best.”
“Ancient Taiwanese secret,” I crack, eating as much of the barbecued pork as I can stuff in my mouth. I love the stuff more than I would care to admit, but I don’t get to eat it very often.
“You’ll have to give me the recipe.”
“That’d be hard because it changes every time.” The few things I can cook are done by memory, and I do it to taste.
We apply ourselves to eating, so conversation dwindles. The cats haven’t given up hope, but we pay them no mind. I urge second and third helpings on Rembrandt, and he happily accepts. We both slow down after a third helping, and I reluctantly put down my chopsticks. My mouth wants more, but my stomach is protesting. I still have plenty left, and there’s more in the kitchen because I’m Taiwanese through and through. We chat about nothing in particular as we eat. I don’t like talking about serious subjects while dining because I think it interferes with digestion. After we’re done, we take the dishes into the kitchen and stack them in the sink. I shoo Rembrandt into the living room, then I make us some Oolong tea. I pile the almond cookies on a plate, then put the plate and the cups on a tray to bring into the living room. I have to laugh because Rembrandt is sitting in the middle of the couch with the three cats sitting on his lap. They’re all jockeying for position, and Ginger emerges the victor. Onyx and Jet sit on the couch on either side of him, but that changes once I sit on the couch as well. Then, Onyx jumps into my lap and Jet settles on my knees. He’s precariously perched on the very edge of my knees, and I pull him closer so he won’t fall off.
“Almond cookies and tea,” I say, setting a cup and three cookies on a napkin in front of Rembrandt.
“So full,” Rembrandt groans, but he picks up a cookie and nibbles on it. I do the same, followed by several sips of tea. I am done after I eat two cookies, and I burp in contentment.
I lean against Rembrandt, and he hugs me tight. Despite the fact that my stomach is full to bursting, I want to fuck him. I’m afraid I’ll explode if I move, though, so I refrain from jumping his bones for fifteen minutes. Once I can breathe again, I reach over and stroke Rembrandt’s chest under his shirt. He takes off his jacket and shirt so I have easier access. I lean forward and lick his nipple, making him shiver. He pulls my dress off as well and unclasps my bra. My tits tumble out, and he attacks them with gusto. By this point, the cats have fled to parts unknown, which is a relief. Rembrandt sucks one of my nipples, and I grip his head in both hands. I hold him to my chest as I arch my back.
“Let’s go up to your bedroom,” Rembrandt says, his voice hoarse.
“Let’s do it here,” I reply. He stands up and takes off his pants and his boxers briefs so he’s as naked as I am. I kneel before him and start sucking his cock. He guides me with his hands, and I run my tongue down his shaft. Suddenly, the cats run back into the room, and they skid to a halt to watch us mess around. I release Rembrandt’s cock and stand up. “I guess we should go to the bedroom.” We go upstairs and shut the door behind us. We can hear the cats grumbling outside the door, but I don’t care. I push Rembrandt onto the bed and take his cock in my mouth again.
“Swing around,” he pants as I suck. I position my pussy over his mouth and nearly come on contact with his tongue. I clamp my thighs against his cheeks, but I’m careful to allow him to breathe. It would be difficult to explain to the ER what happened if he passes out from lack of air. I grind against his mouth as I carefully wrap my lips around his cock. He brings me to a peak in less than a minute, and I explode all over his face. I can feel his cock getting harder in my mouth, and I realize he’s on the verge of coming. I pull back and giggle at the sight of his cock sitting straight up in the air.
“I wanna try something new,” I say, climbing off him.
“Sure,” he says, his eyes half-shut. He’s breathing hard, and I can tell he’s near explosion. I go to my closet and pull out a few scarves. Using them, I tie Rembrandt to the bed. He smiles at me as I take the last scarf and place it over his eyes. “Kinky,” he laughs as I tie it firmly behind his head. There is no fear in his voice, and I’m amazed that he’s so trusting of me. Not that I have anything nefarious in mind, but I wouldn’t be as sanguine if our roles were reversed. I wonder if I can push it even further, but I decide this is enough for now. I reach over to my nightstand and take out a condom from the drawer. I fumble with the packet and with putting the condom on his cock. I’m not good at putting on a condom, and I usually make my partner do it. Rembrandt isn’t able in this situation, however, so it’s up to me. I finally manage to roll it down, and I sit back on my haunches to admire my handiwork.
“You ready?” I breathe in Rembrandt’s ear. He jumps as I stick my tongue in his ear.
“Oh, yes,” Rembrandt says, nodding his head as best as he can. I run my hands up and down Rembrandt’s chest before sitting on his cock. It jumps as I slide down the tip.
“Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m ready yet,” I tease, pulling back up. He groans, but doesn’t say anything as I tweak his nipples.
“I’m not sure how long I can last,” Rembrandt says, his cock twitching under me. I rub against it, savoring the control I have over him.
“I’m sure you can last just a few minutes longer,” I reply, sliding halfway down his cock. I halt, holding him inside of me. After several seconds, I push myself down to his groin. I am going to make this last as long as possible.
“That was amazing,” Rembrandt says when we’re done. I’ve untied him, and we’re lying on the bed in a sweaty bundle. I have my head on Rembrandt’s chest, and he is stroking my hair. “You’re just full of surprises, aren’t you?”
“I aim to please,” I say with a smirk. I press a kiss against Rembrandt’s chest and take a peek at his cock. Sadly, it’s flaccid and doesn’t look as if it’ll be active any time soon. I feel a rumble in Rembrandt’s chest, and it’s him snoring. I slip out from under his arm and open the door. The cats bound in and jump on the bed. Ginger settles on Rembrandt’s chest while Onyx and Jet curl in a ball by his right thigh. I go downstairs, grab a cigarette and a mug, and go outside to smoke. Once I’m done, I go to the living room and start a new post.