Monday, September 15, 2014

In Plain Sight -Chapter 15

“Okay, so what are we going to do with the studio?” Michael asked, getting back to the main reason for her visit.
“I need to see it, first,” she said. “Ninety-eight percent of the time, people are experiencing nothing more than coincidence and bad timing. If something is happening, it’ll be taken care of.”
Michael nodded thoughtfully. “And Aaron really can do this kind of stuff? He’s never done it before.”
“He can now,” Ninah said with a smile at Aaron. He flushed. “He’s been doing it unconsciously, now he’ll learn to control it. I’m guessing it’s the reason Karrin hired him. She wanted the best; to her, the best was another magician.”
Michael folded his arms across his chest and a leg over a knee. “Tell me something no one could have told you about me or Aaron.”
Ninah smiled. “I’m an exorcist, not a psychic.”
He switched back to an open, eager, little boy face and leaned over the table. “Can you teach me how to read tarot cards?”
Ninah laughed. “That one, I can do.”
He kicked his feet up onto a chair and reached for another bottle of water. “So tell me about this magic stuff. I thought it was all movie make-believe.”
“Most of it is,” she told him. “First, what you should understand is that there is no such thing as demons. That concept is a religious product. Hauntings are caused by the energy of a person who has died. Normally their soul, which is nothing more than the energy that animated a body, moves on to either another plane of existence, or it dissipates and joins the rest of that stuff that makes life Alive.”
“No demons?” he asked, concentrating on her face as she spoke.
“No demons,” she confirmed. “Some ancient mythologies mentioned them, but it was in the Greek sense of the word, daemon, which only means ‘spirit’. Spirits are neither good nor bad, they have no intent. A ghost is a spirit. The Catholic Church uses such concepts to scare people into obeying. There is no proof of demonic existence.”
“Uh huh. So what do you do with this ‘stuff that makes life Alive’?”
“Some people are sensitive to the presence of this kind of energy. Just like blowing away a piece of dust, we use our own energy to ‘blow away’ the energy mote. It then goes back to the universe or, if it’s strong enough to stay in one piece, it becomes the soul for another baby about to be born.”
“What about evil people?” he asked. “Murderers and such.”
“Take responsibility for your own actions,” she said. “A person chooses their actions, there is no outside force making the person do anything. We are not puppets. Sure, people are formed by their experiences, and yes, someone from an extremely abused childhood can become mentally unstable, but it is still their choice. They could choose to get counseling. They could also have mixed wires in their brain, in which case the cause is medical –still no demons.”
“But how do you explain what happened at the studio?”
“More than likely you spoke the lines with intent, instead of just reciting them. Some old magics relied on certain sounds spoken in a certain way, and you happened to hit it just right to send the local matrix spinning. If that is what happened, then all I need to do is go in, pull the matrix apart, and put it back in its proper order.”
At least, she hoped that was all she needed to do. She had thought long and hard about what she did at the Williams’ home, and was sure she could do it again. Severance helped before, but that was with the girl, after Ninah had already settled the moving objects in the living room.
His lips were pursed in thought until arguing could be heard moving closer to them. An older couple was making their way across the floor toward them, along with a woman a few years older than Michael and Aaron. All three looked furious.
“What’s wrong?” Michael asked when he spotted them.
The older, white-haired man sputtered something in tongue-twisting Quebecois. Michael’s arms returned to his chest, crossed.
Laisse les gens s’exprimer, Papa,” he insisted with a frown.
“Gang de cons,” the younger woman snapped. She sat with an angry plop in a chair. The older woman sat next to her. Ninah could see a nice combination of both parents on Michael’s face, while his sister looked like their mother. “Bunch of asses outside waving anti-gay signs,” his sister said in English.
“It’s the new Mormon temple,” Ninah said. The three newcomers looked at her. Aaron made introductions. Monica was Michael’s sister, and their parents were Ruth and Jerome.
“I’m sorry,” she said. “Phoenix is usually some-what tolerant. The lizards and toads have come out from under their rocks the past couple of years mainly because of the temple. Elections are coming up, and gay marriage is once more on the ballot. Between the Mormons and the Catholics, that one’s been a hard fight here.”
Michael’s eyes narrowed. “Marty!” he bellowed, his mercurial personality changing once more in an instant. One of the men on the stage quickly straightened, jumped off the stage, and ran over to them. “I want rainbows added to the color-scheme!” His grin was a little on the scary side. The roadie snapped a salute.
“Oui, mon Capitan!”
The side of Michael’s mouth twitched as the roadie jogged off.
There was a sparkle of something gold just below the neckline of Michael’s t-shirt. Ninah knew what it was, having seen plenty of Michael’s skin in magazines. ‘Shy’ wasn’t a word in his vocabulary. He always wore the necklace, except when he was filming and needed it off for the character. She looked at his eyes, and found the pain he was hiding behind the bravado.
Ninah pulled her chair closer and took his hand, much to his surprise.
“Do you know the Christian’s creed?” she asked. Confused, his mouth opened and then closed. “I don’t mean recite it,” she said. “Just a summation.”
“Uh.” He thought about it, his eyes consulting the ceiling. “It has to do with Jesus being the son of God, born of a virgin, died and risen.”
“Close enough,” she said with a nod. His family was watching, curious. “Michael, only the first four books of the New Testament are about Christ. The rest of the New Testament is about his followers, his apostles, and their stories are about politics and their hatred of the Roman Empire.
“Dump everything except those first four books. Never once did Jesus try and force someone to accept what he had to say, which was nothing more than his own opinion of life in general. A true Christian follows Christ’s example, not the example of his seriously jaded apostles.”
She covered his hand with her other hand, nestling his between hers. “If you don’t like what you hear in church, or at any pulpit including the street corner, don’t listen. You can read, so read Jesus’ words for yourself and make your own interpretations for your own life. He didn’t condemn the Samaritan woman at the well, and he certainly isn’t going to condemn a man who spends his life helping others. Those people outside have not heard Jesus speaking to their heart.”
Michael took a deep, shaky breath, and brought their hands to rest at his forehead for a moment. He then pressed his mouth to her knuckles and released her.
“Thank you,” he said, his voice a little deeper than his usual mellow tenor. His family had also been released from their anger and outrage.
“Merci, cheri,” his mother said, reaching out to pat Ninah’s hand.
Aaron smiled at her and gave a nod of thanks.
The family relaxed and began chatting. They included Ninah even more after Aaron informed them she was his new friend from Washington.
The stage was almost done, and most of the crew had left to find food. The floor crew was also almost done; the supervisors were going through the tables, making sure everything was perfect.
Ninah’s phone rang and she excused herself, taking a few steps away from the table.
“Well, yes, but I think the tickets are all sold,” she said into the phone after listening to her sister beg and plead for concert tickets. Somehow her family had guessed where she was. Probably Eddie, she decided; never play guessing games with her little brother. “I don’t know; it’s being sponsored for a charity event.”
Michael looked at her, his eyes questioning. Ninah put her hand over the phone.
“My little sister,” she said with an apology. “She’s trying to get tickets for the concert but at this late date….” The sudden change in acts was announced on the newspaper’s front page and across radio and television stations over the past week. Remaining tickets disappeared fast.
Michael held his hand out and made grabby motions for her phone. Ninah handed him her cell.
“Name?” he whispered. She told him. “Laura,” he said into the phone. “It’s Michael. How many tickets, honey? You will have four tickets waiting. Just go to Will Call and give them your name. You’re welcome.” He handed the phone back. Ninah saw the line had been hung up. More than likely, her sister had fainted. Or was screaming.
“That’s too generous, Michael,” she protested as she pocketed the phone.
“Nonsense,” he said. “They’re my tickets and I always hold out extra seats. Let the kid come and have fun.”
Ninah pulled out her check book from her shoulder bag and took out the check she had stashed away for him. She handed it to him. He protested.
“Nonsense,” she said. “It’s my money and I always have something available for others.” She pushed it into his hand. “Charity of your choice,” she said. She had left the line blank for him to fill in.
His chair scraped the floor when he saw the amount. He looked at Aaron.
“I told you so,” Aaron said smugly.
An hour later, the staff was dismissed, and Michael and his band went backstage for dinner which was cooked and served by one of the high-class restaurants sponsoring the evening’s event. Ninah was invited back to eat with the family where she spoke with Mom Ruth who had questions about her and what she did for a living. The need to ask how someone who runs a small book store had the kind of money written on the check Michael shoved into his pocket was clearly on her lips, but unvoiced. Dad Jerome was all French as he twinkled at her; with the family teasing him, she felt free to twinkle back.
Ninah’s cell buzzed in her pocket. She looked at it, saw Severance’s name, and excused herself.
“Hi,” she said once she was in the hallway.
“Hi,” he said. She could hear the smile in his voice and it warmed her. “How’s the haunting?”
“Don’t know, yet,” she said. “I need to get to the set and take a feel around first. I’m thinking, though, that this might be a combination of that idiot script and the fact that Michael is Talented.”
“What?” Severance was surprised. “In what way?”
“Vocal,” she said. “His voice is completely enveloped in Talent. We get a glimpse of it recorded, but in person…? If anyone else had said those lines, I’ll bet nothing would have happened. If that’s the case, either the script needs to change or the lines need to be said by someone else. I’ll know more tomorrow.”
“Wow,” he commented. “Alright. Let me know if you need us to come down.”
“I think I’ll be alright,” she said. At least, she hoped she’d be alright. Should she have him come down? No, it was probably not much more than a few stray motes spooking the mundane crew. “But you can come down anyway.”
She could feel the warmth through the phone. “So we’re good?” he asked, his voice deep and low. She shivered.
“We’re very good,” she assured him. He’s very good, she thought. Shara had made no protest when Sev brought Ninah close to them and kissed her. His beard tickled, his lips were warm and moist. She was divested of her jeans, and she lay naked in his arms while Shara cradled them, lovingly kissing and caressing both of them. Severance was on his back and lifted Ninah above him, the firelight flickering on their skin as she lowered herself onto him….
“How’s Shara with this?” she asked.
“He’s fine,” Sev said. “We had a long talk, and he’s comfortable. Are you comfortable with him?”
“Strangely, yes,” she said. “I’ve never had an issue with poly relationships, although I’ve never been in one. Am I in one?”
“Gods, I hope so,” he breathed. “The three of us will sit down when you come back.”
It felt right. That was all Ninah could think when she thought of the three of them making love together; it felt right. Shara didn’t enter her but his fingers knew what to do; he pleasured both Ninah and Severance while the two took each other. Ninah wanted more.
“What are you glowing about?” came a whisper in her ear. Ninah jumped. Aaron had come out to see if she was alright. “Sorry,” he said, catching her. “Making sure you weren’t lost. You are glowing,” he accused, waving a finger at her face.
She flushed even more. “New relationship,” she said. He smiled and gave a nod.
“Ah. Let me guess: Severance?”
Her face gave her away and he laughed. “It’s alright,” he said. “Both the guys or just Severance?”
“Severance,” she said. “Although Shara was present.”
“Nice,” he said with a smile. “I’m envious; wouldn’t mind taking a turn with either one of them. I didn’t think Shara worked with women, though; Karrin mentioned something about her brother-in-law at one time.”
“He doesn’t,” she said. Well, Aaron was on the way into the clan, and probably Michael, too….. “But he knows how to use his fingers.”
Aaron laughed. Ninah liked Aaron. Michael would be a bit high maintenance for her, but she enjoyed Aaron’s quiet company. And once they were part of the clan, Aaron would be floored to find out he was allowed playtime with the guys, if they all consented.
“Aaron, could I ask a personal question?” she asked.
“Have you and Michael ever…. played or strayed?”
Aaron looked around and led them to a room that wasn’t being used. There were a couple of cushioned chairs, and they sat.
“Both,” he admitted. “We’ve only played a couple times, by mutual consent, and straying… well, straying happens with men more than it does with women, I think. We’re careful and we forgive each other. It’s only happened a couple times in the past eighteen years, though, so I don’t want you to think it’s a regular occurrence.”
Ninah nodded, noticing that he was careful to not name names. “How do you deal with it?”
He sat back, considering her. “I’m going to take a guess; you’re thinking about your own boys.” Ninah told him his guess was right. “Well, I can’t speak for Severance and Shara, so I will generalize.
“Men are dogs, Ninah. We sniff each other’s butts, we bark and growl, mark our territory, and the moment we walk away the feud is over and forgotten. Usually.
“For us, sex is external and most women don’t understand that. From my observations, women tend to think of sex as a romantic thing and they take it to heart. It’s the opposite with men, and we are always getting into trouble with women because of it.”
He leaned forward and took her hand.
“Whatever happens, don’t take personally anything they do,” he told her. “Don’t let it bother you if they are fighting. They’ll get over it. Men have mood swings just like women; let them go off in their corner when they need to, let them know you’re available when they need to communicate, and they do need to communicate, just don’t push them when they aren’t ready. Be firm, though; part of being in a relationship is communication. With a three-way partnership, communication is going to be even more important. Michael and I have been together a long time, and we have a tendency to grunt at each other; we can translate. When we need to, though, we make it a point to sit face to face and talk.
“Having a daughter has gotten us into the habit of checking in about once a week. Emily knows when to take the bull by the horns and make us talk.” He smiled. “As the communicator of our species, I recommend that you take the lead. Do you need advice on a man’s body?”
“No,” she said. “I’ve never been a shy lover, and I’ve had several close, gay friends who didn’t hesitate to tell me all the gory details of gay sex and the hygiene thereof.”
Aaron chuckled. “Good, good. Yes, we like things messy.”
He watched her face, smiling quietly. “Do you enjoy watching them together?”
Ninah smiled back at him. “I think they’re beautiful together.”