Chapter 24—“Do what’s good for you, or you’re not good for anybody!”
I had thought that our trip up and down the east coast had convinced June that she was really a member of our family. On the first night after we arrived back in Makena, though, June told me that she was a bit hesitant to sleep with Mary or Aimee. I told her that she should just talk to them and go at her own pace. There was no rush, I told her.
The next morning, however, Aimee had her own solution. After breakfast was all cleaned up, Aimee turned to June and said, “June! Report to Sunrise, naked and ready!”
June looked surprised, but scurried upstairs. Aimee followed her and I think that cured June of any misgivings she might have had. Mary, Debbie, and I giggled afterward at the two of them, since it was so comical to witness.
I helped June move her clothes out from the guest house that she had originally been using into the Rose Room, which had been Mary’s room until right before she had Dawn.
It was obvious to me that we would probably have to redesign the upper floor of the house eventually. With Debbie pregnant, we knew that Debbie was going to move from Indigo into the Orchid Room around the time she delivered—did that mean that Mary would be moving into Indigo? In addition, Dawn would not be sleeping with Mary when she got older, so she’d need her own room, as would Debbie’s child, eventually.
When I discussed this with the family, the first suggestion was that Aimee and June might share a room, but I vetoed that idea. I liked the fact that each of the women had their own room; it allowed me to know which bedroom I would be using at night, since Aimee had absolutely forbidden me from sleeping alone. Although I did occasionally sleep with multiple partners, it wasn’t the norm. Making love with one woman was very personal to me. It was a one on one experience where the two of us focused on each other. Two or more bed partners reduced the experience, but the women sometimes liked the shared intimacy, as did I, in a different way.
I knew that I could give up my own room for Dawn, but that was just postponing the problem for when Debbie’s child gets older.
The problem, of course, was that all the bedrooms were enormous. They could all be split into two easily and they’d still have room for a king sized bed, a large walk-in closet, and a private bathroom in each. Even the Orchid Room had more than one unused closet that had originally been an exercise room and a library before we converted the downstairs bedrooms into our main exercise room, library/den, and laundry room.
Aimee got some graph paper and the two of us laid out our current floor plan and then we all worked on possible designs for alternate bedroom arrangements. We liked the “one bathroom for each bedroom” idea and kept that. We also liked the idea of a larger bedroom/nursery that Orchid had evolved into. I pointed out the plumbing requirements for the bathrooms, and the women took that into consideration.
This wasn’t something we needed to rush into. After all, each of the women currently had a room of their own, and since Aimee steadfastly refused me to sleep alone at any time, there wasn’t any lack of beds for me to sleep in.
Aimee and I had a long talk about June after we returned from the east coast. We were sharing a blanket on the little beach near the shack.
“You have gotten June over her fear of men,” Aimee said, watching June, Mary, and Debbie splash in the warm ocean.
“I’m not sure it was fear,” I pointed out. “I’ve been in her mind, and it was more like disgust. Do you really think she fears men?”
“I’m not really sure,” Aimee admitted. “You are the only man in her eyes, now. That is for certain. No woman can withstand the emotional volcano that you send her when you want her to feel loved.”
Emotional volcano—I liked the sound of that. Aimee had a way with words.
“I love June,” I said. “You once asked me how much, remember? I think it was right here, in fact.”
“June seems young and naive, but she isn’t,” I said. “She’s actually the same age as Debbie. Look at her out there,” I said, pointing to the ocean where June was in a splashing fight with Debbie and Mary. “June is as playful as Dawn, but she tackled a drunk in a bar in New York in less than a second. She’s the most competitive women that I’ve ever met, but she doesn’t care that I sleep with Debbie, Mary, or you, separately or together, at any time.”
“She’s a woman of mystery,” Aimee agreed.
“Like somebody else that I know,” I said, smiling at Aimee.
“All women are a mystery to you, Master,” Aimee said, softly. “That’s why you love us so much.”
I sighed as I heard Aimee call me “Master.” Unlike when Debbie and Mary called me that in the past, I actually felt a bit of pride when Aimee or June called me that.
“I guess,” I said, thinking about how much Aimee and June were similar to each other.
June ran out of the water and to the blanket where we were sitting. “Come on, you two,” June said, playfully. “The water’s warm. Come on!”
Aimee and I allowed June to drag us into the surf.
Debbie had adopted June’s technique of dry humping me in her sleep during our vacation once June told her about it, and Aimee also did it occasionally once I came home. Mary didn’t do this at all, and I think it was mostly because she preferred sleeping with our bodies bracketing Dawn.
Our daughter had grown, and she was making more and more noises that were starting to sound like words. I had missed her first real word, “Mama,” during our trip to the east coast, but Dawn always was happy to give repeat performances, over and over again. She always smiled as she said it, even pointing to me when she said it. Mary and I were still very proud.
Another of Dawn’s abilities was that she seemed to have inherited Mary’s and my military knowledge, at least when it came crawling on her stomach like a commando. She’d crawl to get wherever it was that she wanted to go, until she’d come upon a barrier like a closed door or the small gate we had at the top of the two stairways. When she’d reach such an obstacle, she’d screech until somebody would pick her up and put her back where she belonged. We never figured out how she got out of her playpen, since she never escaped when there were people watching her. She was a stealth commando, it seemed.
Dawn also now had firm control of her rattle, and squealed in delight as she made it make noise—and woe befall anybody that tried to take the rattle away from her... even just to shake it!
Does this sound like I was a proud father? Well, you bet your ass I am!
Mary, Aimee, and June were all ga-ga over Debbie’s condition, with Mary giving Debbie advice from her own recent experience, and Aimee doing the same from her doula training classes.
If I thought that Mary and Debbie had a deep bond before, it was now even closer. Almost every time I wasn’t sleeping with either of them, they’d be sleeping together.
June and Aimee spent their nights alternating with me and each other. Occasionally, June would desire a threesome, and Aimee and I were happy to do so.
That was not to say that Debbie or Mary were ignoring me. I knew how Mary was when she was pregnant, and Debbie had mood swings that made avoiding her occasionally a good idea for your peace of mind.
During June’s first time with Mary, she found that she enjoyed playing bedtime with the mother and daughter, and then, after Dawn fell asleep, the two of them enjoyed a happy sixty-nine. I giggled to myself thinking about my mental image of the two deadly sparring partners sharing a moment of ecstasy together.
Mary and June were still sparring together, and from what I saw, it appeared that the two women were nearly equals on the mats. Amazingly, I noticed that Mary was occasionally sporting bruises after a workout, and she finally seemed to be breathing heavily. June had the advantage of youth, youthful reflexes, and a fiercely competitive spirit as an advantage over Mary, and in the kind of bare hand fighting they did, reflexes and spirit counted for quite a lot.
Additionally, both women were scarily accurate at the gun range that wasn’t too far away from the shack. June had graduated from handguns to rifles, and the two women eventually had a nice collection of weapons that they kept locked away but easily accessible.
I occasionally joined Mary and June at the range, and saw that Mary was a marksman with nearly every weapon that fired bullets. She almost always scored perfect bulls-eye’s on the twelve-spot target that she used.
Since I had been trained by the army, I found that my marksmanship wasn’t quite as good as it had been when I was in basic training. Mary suggested that I continue practicing to become better (I averaged between 88 and 92 in my targets, I had been about a 98 average back in basic), but I felt that my accuracy was good enough.
When Mary heard about my attitude, she said, “Jim, there may come a day when you’re up against ten men. Getting nine targets out of ten will still leave you with a possibly armed man still against you.”
I knew better than to disagree with Mary. After all, Mary was right. I shouldn’t rely on just Mary and June to cover my ass. What kind of a leader was I?
Even so, I didn’t attend the gun range with them too much, actually. June and Mary had a scary dedication toward improving their accuracy that even impressed the people that ran the range. The women constantly had an audience as they practiced, and the owners on more than one occasion asked if either of the women were interested in jobs as instructors. Both Mary and June politely declined.
One day, I was playing with Dawn in the atrium, who was playing with her rattle on the carpet. Dawn’s plush flamingo was also around—another of her precious possessions that she doesn’t like being without.
All of a sudden, I heard a commotion in the kitchen, and Mary bounded into the atrium, pulling Dawn up and pushing me away from where I had been sitting on the floor. I was about to ask Mary what was happening when I heard a large roar as a truck moved by on the road in front of our house.
The vibrations of the truck could be felt inside the house, and in just a moment or two, the vibrations toppled a vase that landed on the floor where Dawn and I had been playing just moments earlier. As it was, it landed on Dawn’s precious flamingo, causing Dawn to start crying.
“Sorry, Jim,” Mary said, cuddling Dawn, who was still crying. “I didn’t hurt you, did I?”
“Just my pride,” I said, standing up and rubbing my ass. “How did you know that would happen?”
“I didn’t. I just knew Dawn had to get out of the way.”
I nodded. I remembered Aimee telling me how Mary could see danger to Dawn and me in advance. I also noticed how Mary said Dawn was in danger—not me—and Dawn was the first one that Mary moved out of the way. My pride was hurt in more ways in one, but I realized that I would have probably used the same priority scheme myself.
I shuddered, thanking the heavens that Mary had time to get me out of the way as well. That vase had been heavy. The flamingo had prevented too much damage to the vase. There was no damage to the flamingo, and Dawn calmed down a little bit when her plush flamingo was given back to her.
Mary hovered over Dawn like a hawk for the rest of the day.
Now that she was pregnant, Debbie no longer had the wanderlust that she had before, and the second half of her voyage of discovery was postponed.
One day, Aimee and I were spending some private time having an afternoon fuck in Sunrise, her personal room.
“You are troubled, Jim.”
“I keep thinking about that vase and Mary.”
“Mary’s not a danger to you, Jim. You just need to realize you aren’t her highest priority anymore.”
“That’s not what is troubling me.”
“What is it, then?”
“It’s Mary’s fixation on self-defense and weapons.”
“No, it isn’t,” Aimee said.
“You are worried about June’s fixation on those things.”
“I guess,” I said. Aimee had a way of cutting through bullshit.
“Mary says that June is her equal or maybe even better with bare hands.”
I nodded at Aimee. “I saw June throw a knife in New York. It was just a demonstration, but it scared me. She also knocked down a drunk that was ready to hit me. The last time I was at the range, I couldn’t tell Mary’s and June’s targets! They both shoot nearly perfect with both hands!”
“June is still the woman that loves to lay on you and rub herself to sleep.”
I laughed softly. Aimee had a way of pointing those sort of things out. I had taken to calling June “Inchworm” as a pillow name due to the way her butt would move up and down as she slept.
“Those are two people that my mind cannot reconcile. June the Inchworm sleeps with knives and guns near her bed. They’re locked up, of course, but I’ve seen her practice getting them out of the lock boxes and even has her ammo loaded in seconds!”
“Mary does the same,” Aimee pointed out.
“I never knew it until I asked Mary, and then only after I had made a joke with June. She demonstrated it to me, and I was floored.”
Aimee simply nodded.
“You know that I’m a little squeamish having weapons in the same room as Dawn, but I know how secure the lock boxes are. Still, don’t you think this is going a little too far?”
“You should ask them,” Aimee replied. “What I think doesn’t matter in this case. You two are both Dawn’s parents, and that should be paramount. I do know that Mary’s guns and knives don’t really bother you, Jim. June’s shouldn’t either. It’s just who they are.”
I sighed. “I’d rather have the cuddly June rather than the killer June.”
“They are one and the same person. You said that June was a woman of mystery, Jim.”
Our discussion paused for a few moments as we reached orgasm. Sex with Aimee was always very relaxing. This was in stark contrast with Debbie or June, who could leave you breathless without breaking a sweat.
“What do you think about Debbie?” Aimee asked, afterward.
“I think I understand her more than I did before we left for New York. We had a couple of long talks. Did Debbie show you the letter her father wrote?”
“It confirms your suspicion.”
“You don’t want me to always be right.”
I laughed. “It would make you more human, Aimee.”
Aimee gave me one of her infrequent laughs. “I’ll try to be more human. Does that mean I need to act like you, Master?”
I laughed heartily at Aimee’s suggestion. “No, Aimee,” I answered. “One human asshole in the house is enough, don’t you think?”
I rolled over until Aimee was in June’s sleeping position. “This is enjoyable,” Aimee sighed.
“You taught it to me; I taught it to June.”
“I taught it to you so you could teach it to June.”
Aimee could sometimes be exasperating. I didn’t respond, but enjoyed the sensations of her motions against my prick.
“Have you thought about June’s request?” Aimee asked.
Aimee didn’t answer, but gave me a look that told me she knew that I knew exactly what she was talking about. I had thought that only June and I had known about it.
“I don’t fuck women in the ass,” I answered.
“June will never know the pleasure of penetration.”
As I said, Aimee was exasperating. “Why must I be the only man here?”
“You won’t be for long. In five months, Debbie will have her James.”
I had been able to determine Dawn’s gender before she was born, as did Aimee, but we both kept that information from Mary because she told us that wanted to be happily surprised when she delivered. I hadn’t yet gotten any sense of the gender of Debbie’s unborn child yet, but I did secretly hope that Debbie would get her boy. Of course, the odds were practically zero that any child of Debbie’s would be the one to penetrate June.
My question had been a rhetorical, anyway. I knew that I didn’t want any other men in the house as competition. I wondered how the women could be so accepting of such a non-traditional relationship, and why I was so closed-minded about reversing the roles.
Aimee saw my mind was far away and said, softly, “We got a letter from Kristen and Jim today.”
“Kristen’s pregnant again,” Aimee told me. “Oogie has called off touring this time, since it took such a toll on Kristen during her first pregnancy.”
“Do you still think Jim may be an Empath?”
“He is not an Empath. He is magical.”
“I don’t see the difference.”
“His magic comes from... elsewhere. Ours comes from within.”
“What is his magic? Music?” I asked, intrigued.
“Music, definitely,” Aimee said. “He has the capability to be bigger than Elvis. Instead he spends his time with his wife and his family. He fights the record industry tooth and nail, and they have much more money than he has. If it weren’t for his undeniable talent, the two of them would be broke by now. Still, he wins against the big companies. Even performers that have contracts with the record companies ignore their companies’ prohibitions and perform at their clubs, sometimes donating the fees they earn to the Swift-Crittenhouse Charitable Foundation.”
I nodded. “I like music being his magic.”
“That’s not his big magic. Music just defines him.”
“Oh?” I asked. “What is the big magic you perceive?”
“I see wisdom and restraint,” Aimee said, her eyes unfocused with a faraway look. “Kristen is consumed by his magic, but her love for him comes from deep within her heart.”
Like many conversations I had with Aimee, I found myself totally confused. Aimee was describing the relationship that every woman in this house, with the possible exception of Dawn, had with me.
“I’ve invited their family here on a number of occasions,” Aimee continued. “They used to say that their touring of their clubs makes it difficult, but now that they have stopped touring, I feel I could possible convince them to visit us.”
Aimee’s rubbing had me erect again. Aimee knew this and adjusted her body so my cock slipped inside her again, with her on top this time. Of all the women in the house, Aimee seemed to have a magical way of knowing exactly how to move her crotch at any time. I have a feeling she had learned special exercises as part of her doula training.
Aimee started a massaging motion that consisted of her hips moving as well as the muscles of her cunt constantly modifying their grip. Aimee didn’t fuck this way very often, and I found it extremely stimulating.
I sent waves of love directed at Aimee, and found, to my surprise, that she was doing the same thing to me at the exact same time. I felt lost in the torrent of the pure emotion that Aimee and I were sharing. I moved my face down to kiss Aimee, which would be the icing on the cake for me.
Instead of kissing me, Aimee pulled her face away from me and asked, “Will you grant June her request?”
Aimee may be a wise person indeed, but I knew for a fact that her question came from the fact that she was a female. She knew without doubt that I would find it difficult to deny anybody anything in my current state of arousal.
I didn’t answer Aimee, knowing that I would cave in to her desires.
Aimee didn’t repeat her request, but her motions were becoming more and more stimulating. She did not allow me to kiss her, moving her face away from my approaching lips whenever I tried.
My breathing got erratic.
Aimee continued to arouse me with her motions and with the “emotional volcano” she was erupting in my mind. I closed my eyes and tried moving my own hips, but Aimee’s position on me now prevented that.
My balls started churning, but at that very moment, Aimee’s cunt muscles managed to clamp tight around the head of my cock, preventing further movement, and, even more alarming, preventing my semen from releasing.
“Will you grant June her request?” Aimee repeated.
I had never felt anything like the jaws of the vise that Aimee had created with her muscles. It felt like somebody had suddenly tied a tight rope around my shaft.
My mind turned inside out. My brain had left the building, taking up residence in my balls, where a serious need was boiling within. Aimee’s question reverberated in my empty skull, and I knew what I had to do in order to achieve my release.
“Yes...” I started to say, and as I said that first word, Aimee released her grip on me, and my balls went ape shit. “Oh... My... GOD...!” I cried as my seed belatedly entered Aimee’s waiting chamber. I had felt this way once before, when I had tried to stave off an orgasm at June’s expense, thinking that I might accidentally inseminate her. This time, however, it had entirely been Aimee’s doing, and it was much stronger.
After about ten minutes, my heart rate finally slowed to around a hundred beats per minute.
“I felt your release,” Aimee said. “In my mind, I mean. Only one other time had I felt pleasure so raw.”
I nodded my head. “You tried connecting to Dawn?”
Aimee nodded in response. “Jim, I’m sorry for torturing you. It’s not my place.”
“Humph,” I answered. “I was just thinking that my refusal to June might feel to her the way you just made me feel. All that need and no way to express it.”
Aimee didn’t respond. After a few minutes, she said, “You are a wise and wonderful man, James Montgomery. We are all lucky to have you.”
I walked downstairs, no bothering to dress. I saw June in the kitchen, and I walked past her into the atrium. I sat on my favorite chair.
June noticed my lack of clothing, and came into the atrium after me. She was about to ask me a question when I interrupted her.
“June,” I said, using my firm command tone. “Suckle.”
June was a master of the penis suckle. Unlike a true blow job, suckling was simply putting a cock into her mouth, taking it about halfway and not even approaching her throat, and then simply applying a gentle suction. She was gentle and this didn’t even require me to be hard. I found that I enjoyed June’s suckles after a good workout.
During this operation, June’s head would be slightly lower than my balls, with her face looking up past my dick to make eye contact with me.
“Hmmm,” June sighed, continuing her gentle sucking. “Aimee.” June had recognized my last bed partner.
“Yes,” I said. “Aimee suggested that I grant you your request, June.”
June’s eyes opened wider in surprise, but she kept my cock in place in her mouth.
I was still reluctant, but I said, “I’ll do it, June, but I’ll want Debbie to be with us when it happens.” I wanted Debbie around because she, like Aimee, was pretty well connected into June’s feelings, and she was more physically expressive than Aimee. Debbie would prevent me from becoming Mr. Asshole (quite literally).
June’s eyes simply sparkled with happiness.
June continued to suckle me as I fell fast asleep.
I was dreaming of a moonlit sky surrounded by stars. It was a dream that I had many times, and it was somehow comforting to me. Everything was peaceful and quiet. The air was cool but not cold. I could see the vague patterns on the crescent moon, and I tried to make out the patterns in the shadows and of the stars as I continued to stare at them.
I could do this forever, I thought. It’s so calm, so beautiful here.
After a length of time—I have no way of knowing how long—I suddenly noticed June was with me, her nude body illuminated as if there were a spotlight behind me shining on her.
“Where are we?” I asked, knowing that the road was in San Diego, but also knowing that June had never before been a part of this dream.
“We are in your dream, I think,” June said.
“Where are we physically? Our bodies?”
“Back at the shack. I’m still doing what you commanded me to do to you. You were hard and then went soft when you fell asleep. You left my mind, so I entered yours.”
I couldn’t feel June’s suckling, but I could still feel the cool breeze on my body, which made me now realize that I was nude in this dream.
“Why are you here?” I asked.
“Aimee told me what she did to you. I want to apologize.”
“Aimee is in the atrium?”
“No. She’s still in Sunrise. She told me in my mind what she had done to you, and I was trying to think of what I wanted to say to you in response when your mind left mine.”
“You did nothing wrong; neither did Aimee.”
June dropped her eyes. “I will not accept your offer on those terms.”
“I didn’t agree because Aimee did that to me. I agreed because I realized that my not granting your request might hurt you in a similar fashion. Remember when I didn’t grant your request to have an orgasm back in New York?”
“Yes,” June said.
“I realize that it might be the same when I denied your request.”
“Aimee told me that you are too much a gentle man—she said it like that, two words—to do something that you think might hurt me. I know you had problems spanking me that first time, and I understand how you feel now.”
“You are learning, Inchworm.”
“Aimee told me that the two of us share a magical bond that none of the rest of us share. I’m not sure what Aimee means by that.”
I sighed. “I don’t think anybody on earth can possibly truly understand Aimee.”
June nodded. Her face was still serious. “I’m still sorry. I didn’t intend for Aimee to hurt you.”
“She didn’t hurt me. She apologized. Let’s say it was a mistake. I feel that if Aimee makes a mistake then there’s still hope for the human race.”
This time, June laughed. “It would be funny to spank Aimee!”
I shook my head. I don’t think that Aimee had that sort of need, and I had no need to punish her.
June said seriously, “You consider Aimee an angel sent from God, don’t you?”
This was a danger when you had a person that can invade dreams walking inside your head. “I don’t think the metaphor is correct.”
“Still, you think of her that way.”
“I have yet to figure Aimee out,” I admitted. “When I think that I might be starting to understand her, she does something outrageous and... it turns out to once again be something perfect.”
“I wish I could have met Aimee’s Aunt Tomeii,” June said wistfully. “She sounds so much like Aimee herself.”
“It’s scary to think of two Aimees on the earth at the same time,” I mused.
“We now have an audience.”
I looked around. I was alone on a road in San Diego. But I wasn’t alone. June was there... and then I realized that it wasn’t June at all, but rather, a projection of her.
“Don’t try to intellectualize it, Jim,” June said.
“You’re getting better at this.”
“Mary’s getting very concerned, Jim. Debbie and Dawn with her. Mary’s shaking your body and you aren’t waking up. Would you please wake up and reassure her?”
For some reason, the process of waking up eluded me. “What do I do?”
“When I’m dreaming, and I know it, I simply blink my eyes and I wake up.”
I blinked my eyes.
I found myself back in the atrium. Debbie was holding Dawn, and Mary had her hands on my shoulders, shaking me. Aimee was there as well, shaking June just like Mary was shaking me. June had been shaken away from my cock. Mary, Debbie, and Aimee had very worried looks on their faces.
The daylight in the atrium was hard on my eyes. I squinted and said, “Hey! What are you all doing here?”
“You were gone again. You weren’t dreaming!” Mary said. “What’s wrong with June?”
“Huh?” I said, confused. “I was dreaming!”
Aimee looked at me. “Neither Mary nor I could get to either of you.”
“I’ve been here,” I said. I saw that June looked completely unconscious. “I took a nap after June started sucking me.”
“She’s not here, either,” Mary said. “She wasn’t doing anything, it was like you were two statues, Jim. Look at her... connect with her... her mind isn’t there!”
At that moment, June blinked, and she came back to life. She saw the three women around us. “We have an audience,” June repeated, aloud this time.
“What were the two of you doing?” Mary demanded.
“Making love,” I said. “I think we were both dreaming, and visiting each other.”
This was one of the first times that Aimee looked confused about this sort of thing.
“Please, Mary. Everything is all right,” I said firmly to reassure my wife.
“You two had us extremely concerned,” Mary said. “We were all scared for you, especially Aimee!”
It took some convincing, but finally the women left June and me by ourselves.
“You lied to them,” June whispered.
“Huh?” I whispered back.
“You weren’t really dreaming. You were unconscious, and it wasn’t the same as when you are dreaming. You were behaving the same way that Mary and Aimee describe you when they took you to Washington.”
“It’s not exhaustion,” June said, reading my mind. “Exhaustion may bring it on, but it’s not just that. Aimee doesn’t understand it. Nobody understands it. I find it confusing.”
“You don’t understand it?” I asked.
“Maybe I understand a little. I got worried when you went to sleep because usually when the two of us are together and alone, I feel you in my mind. I felt you leave my mind, and I went into yours and found that there was nothing there!”
“How can that be? I was definitely dreaming, June.”
“I found something very faint, and I followed it. I saw that you were dreaming and I was there with you. Could it be that you are hiding in a part of your mind that only you and maybe I can access? I saw a dark road with a moon and stars in the sky. Mary and Aimee have described it before, and they’ve seen it in your mind. I’ve only been there this once, and I can see the horror of that place.”
“The horror?” I asked, confused.
“You seem to ignore it,” June said. “You seem to think it is peaceful and there is nothing around you except the breeze, the moon, and the stars.”
“That’s right...” I started to answer.
“No, Jim,” June whispered a bit louder. “I was there, Jim. You look up at the sky endlessly, ignoring everything else. There is terrible pain. There is agony. I see your body contorted into a fetal position. I hear a woman screaming and crying—Mary, I think. You, on the other hand, pretend you are still walking down that road, and you continue to look up in the sky, ignoring everything else. I was surprised that you even noticed me in the dream. Actually, you ignored me for about five minutes before you noticed me.”
“What I experience is just walking down a road looking up at the sky.”
June shook her head. “Your dream doesn’t seem to end!”
I remember back when I was at the hospital, the psychiatrists explained to me that the reason that I couldn’t remember actually being hit by the jeep was because my mind took a better memory, and runs it over and over, instead of the bad memory. Is that what was happening now?
I didn’t answer June, but continued thinking.
June shuddered. “Jim, I fear that when you dream of that moon and sky, you are relapsing into your coma!”
June’s description was scary. I mean, it fit with what the doctors had told me. Fetal position, Mary crying... The realization... Maybe I wasn’t relapsing into a coma, but what was it when Aimee, Mary, and even June seem to think that I’m unconscious and not dreaming? If I’m experiencing this endless dream...
Hundreds... no, thousands of thoughts were flying through my head. The past, the present... even the future. Mary and Aimee can enter my mind freely, but only June could find that hiding place that I had built, if June’s description was correct.
What if that scene was my brain’s interpretation of my coma? It may have lasted twelve years, but maybe my mind thinks it was only a dream...
“June, I need you to promise me something,” I whispered urgently.
“Don’t ever tell anybody about this! If you ever find me on that lonely road again, then please tease me out. If the other women get wind of this, especially Mary, I’m not sure how they’ll take it. Aimee doesn’t allow me to sleep alone as it is. If she finds out that you are the only one able to reach me when this happens, she may not allow either of us to sleep without each other ever again.”
“I’m afraid, Jim.”
“About what?” It was difficult to imagine June afraid of anything.
June shuddered. “The women said I was the same way as you just now. I can see that they were worried about both of us, not just you. That ‘Dream State,’ as you call it, seems very close to death to them!”
In a way, June’s and my discussion after that incident actually helped me. I still thought about that haunting moon and starlit sky—there’s no way I cannot think about it—but after that discussion I had with June, I mostly did so only when I was wide awake.
There were a few times that I experienced that dream afterward. Each time, as soon as I recognized that I was in that scene, I remembered June’s advice and blinked my eyes. It seems so simple, but that physical act seems to break the disconnection between that dream and reality. I usually wake up with a start, and with the exception of Aimee, who is a light sleeper, the usual response from my bed partner is a quiet, “There, there” and they return to sleep. In the case of Aimee, I would always feel her voice in my head, saying, “I will love you forever, Master!” Somehow, all of those responses would make me feel loved.
To this date, I still think of that scene, but it’s no longer the romantic memory that I had previously associated with it. When I want to think of something happy, I no longer think about that lonely road. I now think of other, really happy times, such as watching a child come to life, or special times that I’ve had with one or more of the women.
I don’t think June ever told Mary or Debbie, but I’m not sure about Aimee. I don’t think it is actually possible to keep a secret from Aimee.
Despite that, the fact that June told me how to escape out of that dream made sure that it never recurred to the point that any of the women became worried about it ever again.
To say that Debbie experienced hormone fluctuation would be a gross understatement. In the space of a few moments, she would vacillate between wanting me to hold her as tight as I could and to promise never to let her go, to wanting me out of her bed forever. Only Mary and Aimee (and Dawn) seemed to be exempt from such tirades.
I had experienced this before with Mary, although not nearly to this degree. Debbie, to her credit, never actually physically threw me out of her bed, as Mary had done once during a particularly bad mood swing when she was pregnant with Dawn.
Aimee’s simplistic explanation was that unlike Mary, Debbie’s hormones tended to influence her life in a more profound way.
Whether or not Aimee was correct, living with Debbie after her first trimester was an emotional roller coaster ride.
Dawn was walking now, and had an ever-expanding vocabulary. When Aimee would teach her words, she’d teach Dawn two words, English first, and then the Hawaiian equivalent. Even though Dawn was not racially Hawaiian, she was still born on the islands, and Aimee was determined to make sure that her beloved language did not die.
I remember making a joke that for the first few months of Dawn’s life, we kept encouraging her to walk and to talk, and now, it was common for us to wish her to just sit down and shut up! Dawn would interchange Hawaiian and English within a single sentence, which would confuse everybody except Aimee, of course. Aimee, on the other hand, would gently explain when and how to use the Hawaiian properly.
Actually, Dawn’s English/Hawaiian attempts actually got the rest of us learning more Hawaiian as we attempted to figure out what Dawn was saying. I don’t think that Aimee had ever planned that this happen, but I am very sure that Aimee liked the side-effect.
Of course, in the end, Dawn was really not a problem at all. She had the curiosity of a kitten, and a devilishly sharp mind. I loved that beautiful creature, and I would do anything I could for her.
As Aimee mentioned to me, we had both invited Jim and Kristen to visit us many times, and this year, they finally took us up on our offer that year in the middle of June. They asked if their manager, Patty Nadal, could also come over. We said, “Of course!”
The three were immediately taken by our “grass shack” and they stayed in one of the larger guest houses on the property. Kristen was pregnant, although not as much as Debbie was.
They brought a lot of gear with them, mostly baby stuff, even though we had assured them that we had more than enough cribs, cradles, and whatever they needed, but they wanted to be self-sufficient.
Patty Nadal was indeed the red-head that was sitting next to us that time we were at the Goddess club in Chicago. Patty had arranged for a courier to arrive with even more gear after they had been with us for a few days. This new gear contained computers, amplifiers, and a few instruments. Kristen and Jim told us that they would like to help our family celebrate the Independence Day holiday musically. None of us had expected a professional night club act to ever perform on our property, but we were excited at the prospect.
Jim and Kristen’s child, Trisha Beth, was even more adorable than her pictures suggested. She got along with Dawn very nicely as well, except that Dawn was still very possessive of her rattle and flamingo, as well as some of her other toys. Trisha Beth had her own favorite toys, however.
If Dawn wasn’t around, I’d say that Trisha Beth was the cutest kid that ever lived. Even so, she was definitely the cutest baby with blonde hair that ever lived.
We took everybody on a tour of the islands; it was their first trip to Hawaii, and they really loved the pace of life here. Jim, Kristen, and Patty never mentioned anything about our unconventional family; if they suspected anything, they never said anything. For their part, we noticed that Patty stayed in the same guest house as Jim and Kristen, so maybe their life might have been different as well; it didn’t really matter to any of us. What I really admired was that they didn’t judge us on our lifestyle, they just simply treated us as friends.
On the fourth of July, Jim and I grilled a feast of lamb chops, hamburgers, and boneless chicken, while the women (including Kristen and Patty) made various salads, vegetable dishes, and drinks. We had a big holiday picnic.
As we worked together, Patty came out with some seasonings and sauces that Aimee had prepared earlier. Patty and Jim explained to me how he got the stage name “Oogie Woogie” and the story about how he and his beautiful wife met. They also explained about his tribulations with record companies and how Jim, Kris, and Patty opened their first nightclub as a way to spite the industry. They proudly told me how, despite the fact that the record industry refuses to count the sales of the House Band records and CDs, their band easily outsells most of the current top forty bands in total units actually sold (as opposed to total units distributed to stores).
In return, I explained to Patty and Jim about the accident where Mary and I first met, and also gave them heavily edited story about our family, describing how close the women were (Jim hadn’t met June before) and how the women considered themselves sisters. Patty and Jim listened without asking any awkward questions.
Our conversation quickly turned to our daughters. We had very many nearly-identical stories, except that Trisha Beth only had one aunt, an Aunt Merry who was Jim’s sister. Dawn had four aunts: the three that were “honorary” aunts, and Mary’s sister, who lived in Nova Scotia and who we hadn’t met yet.
After dark, people in boats off the coast started setting off skyrockets, Roman candles, and other fireworks. We watched the fireworks from our patio chairs.
After the fireworks calmed down, Oogie and Kristen went to the stage that Oogie, Patty, June, and I had helped set up earlier, and I turned on the floodlights which were now pointed to give the stage good coverage. The couple performed a rather great set with just a few instruments: a keyboard, a guitar, a trumpet, a trombone, and (surprisingly) a few Macintosh computers. They had a couple of amplifiers, microphones, and other electronic equipment as well.
After a set that lasted a little over a half hour, Oogie stepped up to the microphone, and said, “Kris and I had been wondering how we could pay tribute to this lovely property that you have shared with our family. You call this place the Little Grass Shack, so we decided to dedicate this next song to your Shack.”
Patty and Kristen typed a few things on a couple of the computer keyboards and gave Oogie a signal.
I smiled. I was expecting the “I want to get back to my little grass shack” song, but noticed that Kristen had picked up an electric guitar.
Electronic drums started playing out of speakers.
If you see a faded sign,On the side of the road,That says,“Fifteen miles to the Love... Shack!”
Oogie and Kristen performed what was a nearly flawless imitation of the B-52s. It was a great dancing song, and I found myself dancing with Mary, June, Aimee, and even Debbie during that song. I noticed that Kristen was singing backup to herself; I would be told later that the couple had programmed accompaniments on the computers just for this show. They had a multi-track system set up that Patty was controlling using the computer systems.
I had noticed the lights of many boats had moved dangerously close to the shore, obviously attempting to better hear the music coming from the performance.
When the song was complete, Kristen and Patty left the stage with Oogie taking a seat behind an electronic keyboard. Before they left, Patty typed on the computer keyboards for a few seconds, and signaled again to Oogie. The two left the stage and sat down on some patio chairs next to Debbie, who had a tired Trisha Beth on her lap. Both of our daughters had a special set of ear plugs that were connected with a long metal chain behind their heads, which Jim and Kristen had wisely suggested, due to the volume of the music emitted out the speakers. The chain was in case the children tried to swallow their ear plugs.
Oogie pulled the microphone closer to his face, and said, “In the past, I’ve dedicated songs to Mary and Jim; my lovely wife Kristen, who is the one and only Goddess in my life; to Trisha Beth, the best thing that ever happened to Kristen and me; the ravishing Patty; and just now to your lovely Shack. I now want to dedicate a special song to every one of you, including the two unborn children who, God willing, will be with us in the future.”
Oogie looked at the computer for his cue, and then I heard what sounded like orchestral strings playing an introduction.
I see trees of green,Red roses too.I see them bloom,For me and you.And I think to myself,“What a wonderful world!”
This was an older song, and it was absolutely lovely. Although he dedicated this song to everybody, he was staring only at Kristen—his Goddess—and Kristen was staring back at her husband. It was obvious that the two were absolutely, positively in love. I looked at the women in my life: Mary, who had Dawn asleep on her lap; Debbie, who had Trisha Beth; June; and Aimee. Every one of them was staring at me the same way that Oogie and Kris were starting at each other. As I looked at each of the women, I sent a mental “I love you” to each one.
At the end of the song, I was about to applaud when we suddenly heard explosions: the boats that were moored nearby were setting off firecrackers and Roman candles in their own form of applause.
Oogie looked a bit embarrassed, but turned toward the ocean and waved to acknowledge the response.
I wish to this day that we had recorded their performance. I found out afterward that they could have easily recorded their performance if we had asked them to do so, since they had the equipment with them. They just hadn’t thought of it, since it wasn’t an official “House Band” performance.
Everyone in our family was sad to see Kristen, Jim, Trisha Beth, and Patty leave, as we all really managed to get close during the time they were visiting us. However, I knew we’d be seeing them again; if not here in Makena, then at their own family compound somewhere in central Illinois.
After they left, Debbie called her Uncle Chuck in New York to have him purchase a larger estate in the Chicago area, where we could stay when we visited the Swift-Crittenhouse family. As far as she was concerned, there was no “if we would visit” but “when we will visit.”
One night, during Debbie’s third trimester, Debbie and I were sharing a bed. I could tell that Debbie had something that she really wanted to tell me.
“Out with it,” I finally prodded, hoping that the words “I HATE ALL MEN!” wouldn’t be the majority of her response.
Instead, Debbie asked, “What?”
“You’re trying to say something, but you don’t know how to start.”
“I... I lied to you, Jim.”
Debbie? Lie to me? Never!
Debbie saw my disbelieving look and sighed. “I used to have dreams of you, Jim. When I was much younger. You were in the army, and were strong and handsome. I told my mom about them, and she thought I was dreaming. There were some times that I felt you with me, though. This was before I even met you!”
“I know, Debbie.”
“That place that you had June drive by in New Hampshire,” I said. “You went there a couple of times with your parents. You thought you felt me there at the time.”
Debbie didn’t say anything for about five minutes.
“How the fuck do you know that, Jim?”
“I visited you in your dreams,” I said. “In your dreams, you believed you knew me back then, and I was there with you. I remember the bumper cars, the picnic table...”
“Oh my God!” Debbie said. “It really happened.”
“No, Debbie,” I said, softly. “It was just a dream.”
“What do you mean?” Debbie asked.
I thought for a moment. Could I really explain to Debbie about what I learned about dreams? I didn’t want to tell her about that lonely road that I had walked for twelve years. I didn’t want to tell her that a dream could sometimes be just a step away from a nightmare. I didn’t want to scare this pregnant, wonderful woman.
I held Debbie hard. “I’ve thought about this for a while, and I realize now that it was just a dream. You had good memories of that park, and you dream about it every so often. On two different occasions, I visited you in those dreams. The last time I did was right before we left for New York. The memories you have now are memories of those dreams, and you are confusing them with the actual times you were at the park. I know that.”
“Think about it, Debbie,” I said, softly. “The first time you met me, did you have any idea that you had seen me before?”
Debbie thought a bit and said, “No...”
“You see?” I said, hugging Debbie tightly, making sure not to press too hard against her distended belly. “If you really imagined me as a youngster, you would have recognized me, or at least, you would have had a feeling of deja-vu, that you knew me from somewhere. You never did. Dreams can be very tricky, I’ve found out. Didn’t Disney have a movie where a girl sings, ‘A dream is a wish your heart makes?’”
“’When you’re fast asleep,’” Debbie sang, softly. “Cinderella.”
Shit. A story about a girl who lost her father! Time to get away from that one.
I decided to be easy on Debbie. “Debbie, if you wish to believe that you had a dream about me before we met, do so. I think it’s very romantic to be the man of your dreams, like your mother said.”
“You were there,” Debbie said, softly.
Debbie smiled as she fell asleep, and I wondered why I had tried to warn Debbie about dreams. I think I was starting to sound a bit paranoid.
Debbie’s delivery was late, and her doctor was a bit worried about it, but on the first of September, 1990, James Malen, II was born to the world.
Aimee, who by this time was fully accredited as a doula, was very comforting to Debbie during her delivery, despite the worried remarks from the medical people. It turned out that Aimee was correct (as usual), and the doctors were wrong. Aimee, June, and I were with her during the delivery. We helped her get through it by thinking happy thoughts toward her as she was forced to bear down to expel the child. Mary and Mely were in the waiting room, playing with Dawn.
James was born weighing seven pounds, eleven ounces, and didn’t have a bit of hair on his head, unlike his cousin Dawn. He looked like Kojak, from the TV series.
When asked to fill out the birth certificate, Debbie claimed that she had a fling with somebody in New York City, and she had no desire to seek paternity. However, anybody that looked at the beautiful boy that was the product of Debbie’s and my love could see that his eyes were identical to those on Dawn and the other male that lived in our grass shack in Makena.
It was hard for me not to strut through the hospital and tell everybody that my son had just been born. After all, I was just a “friendly uncle” and close friend to the mother.
A week before James was born, June and I took a trip to Lahaina and found a T-shirt place that made customized shirts. I commissioned a T-shirt for Dawn that read, “I’m The Big Cousin!” and we got James a light purple sleeper suitable for a newborn that read, “I’m The Little Cousin.”
When Mary and I led Dawn into Debbie’s private room to meet her cousin for the first time, I could swear that she was strutting down the hallways as if she knew what her T-shirt read. I do know that a lot of photographs were taken of the two cousins wearing matching outfits, and Dawn had the biggest toothless smile that I ever saw in my life.
James and Dawn would be best friends immediately. I never saw any real competition for affection from any of the grownups.
After having experienced Dawn, I thought I was ready for James.
Oh, the follies of parents!
For the first month or so of his life, James was very similar to Dawn at the same age, except sometimes when you’d change him, “Old Faithful” would erupt, requiring an additional change.
When he was a little older, Mary and Debbie decided that James was actually waiting for his chance to go when they changed him, and the volunteers for changing, which were as high as 100% when Dawn was a newborn, dwindled to just Debbie, Aimee, and myself.
I think the three of us that didn’t mind changing James knew in our hearts that there was no animosity in him. Aimee thought it was the cool air hitting his privates that set him off, and we finally found ways to minimize the exposure and afterward the process wasn’t as difficult, although James still sometimes had a problem.
I once heard June refer to James as “O.F.” for “Old Faithful” and when I heard the shortening of the term to “oaf,” I put my foot down... hard! Even though James didn’t understand the good-naturedness of the teasing, it could be something that might have a negative impact later on. Besides, it was my feeling that the people that actually changed him should be the ones that should be able to say anything about it, right? Mary wickedly suggested the name “Ever-ready,” a name that might make him popular later on in school.
James was never known as Jim, mostly to avoid the confusion that might happen due to the fact that we both had the same given name. Debbie always maintained that he was named after his grandfather, who never used my nickname.
The interaction between Dawn and James was interesting. Dawn had dolls that she played with, but somehow knew that James was a “living doll” and always accorded him the utmost respect, except when something would suddenly capture her attention when she was with James. At that point, James would be dropped as Dawn went to pursue whatever it was that captured her imagination, and as a result, we were always vigilant when the two children were together.
It wasn’t always easy. Mary was trying to wean Dawn from the bottle and pacifiers, and Dawn discovered that James was a rather great source of replacements when hers were taken from her. As a result, James would have to resort to sucking on his own thumb, a habit that would take us a couple of years for us to finally break.
Dawn’s name for her little brother was “Jaym,” since she seemed to have problems with the “S” sound. If you heard her say, “Jaym! Jaym!” then everybody knew that he was getting himself into trouble, and we’d rush to find out what was going on.
After having her own child, Debbie decided to start selling off some of the properties around the country that she owned. She had decided, like Mary had done before her, that Maui was now her home. We still took vacations every so often, but traveling with youngsters requires a lot of extra work, packing extra equipment and supplies.
It was Aimee who actually solved that problem. We had about four parts of the country that we would visit: the New England area, the Midwest (specifically Chicago, after the Swift-Crittenhouse family paid us a visit), New York City, and the Los Angeles-San Diego area. Aimee simply ensured that we had an adequate stock of strollers, infant carriers, and whatever else we needed at convenient locations before we traveled, usually at the property where we would be staying. She also hired people to stock the properties before we traveled, and to clean up the properties after we’d leave. In addition, we leased extra large sized conversion vans with comfortable seats, entertainment centers, and other useful essentials at each of our vacation homes to ensure that our family, which was getting large, would be able to travel in style.
Still, Debbie sold just about all of the properties we didn’t use from year to year, selling the investment properties to Charles Penet, who still considered them to be good investments. Debbie even sold the apartment complex in San Diego in favor of a luxury townhouse near the beach that had five bedrooms (it cost a fortune, but quickly became a favorite vacation spot for us). It turned out that not having all those extra properties made her taxes easier for the accountants, who didn’t have to worry about property and other taxes in close to twenty different states.
After Debbie had James, the general consensus of the women was that Aimee was next. I knew she went off her birth control a few months after James was born, but she never made it look like she was trying very hard to become pregnant. After a while, I suspected that she found that there was something wrong with her physically that might prevent her from giving birth during one of her few visits to the gynecologist, but whenever I brought up the subject, she just said that she wasn’t in any particular hurry to have a child, and dropped the subject. Aimee was stubborn, and if she didn’t want to talk about something, she wouldn’t.
Instead of working on a baby, Aimee took up a new hobby. She landscaped a large part of the property that was closest to the beach, working the soil and creating a lovely edging to it. Aimee continued with this project for years, working on it a little at a time, and refusing any help from the women. For some reason, she allowed me sit around when she tended her garden, and she would also allow Dawn to come over and help her.
Centrally located on the northern edge of the garden was the seedling that Aimee had planted when Dawn was born. In its opposite spot, on the southern side was an identical plant that Aimee planted when James was born. The seedlings were for Butterfly Palms, and they grew quickly—even quicker than our children did.
Within this garden, Aimee planted an uncountable number of orchids. On the outside edges of the plot were her favorites, the light purple ones. Inside the plot, however, Aimee had designed a sidewalk within the landscaping that weaved in and among the orchids. I helped her laying down the slate tiles, and it was beautiful.
I built a shed for Aimee’s garden tools, and June and little James offered to help. Whenever we would stop to relax, we would listen to Aimee singing softly to Dawn in Hawaiian, as the two carefully mulched Aimee’s precious plants.
Aimee’s Garden was lovely and reflected the large amount of time that she devoted to it. In just a couple of years, it would be a favorite place for the entire family to walk before reaching a landing just west of either of the children’s palm trees. On this landing, we had outdoor furniture looking out over the beach where we could see the sun setting into the water—a breathtaking sight that none of us ever got tired of seeing.