Sand, Surf, and the Sensual

(The main setting for this story is my version of Atlantis; a world devoted to the pleasing of the senses; clothing is more for protection and decoration then for modesty - which is not word in the Atlantean language - and even then it is minimal. The Arts thrive and flourish in the tropical climate, and magic is as easy as breathing here. They are a nation of sensualist. Do the math and proceed accordingly)


In the window seat of the studio, Carmen flipped aimlessly through her sketch book to the sound of Remington's chisel against the exotic violet marble that Carmen had brought back for him even before he had moved back to Amber with her. She looked over to watch him work for a moment and smiled. So focused. Naked from the waist up, it was a pleasure just to watch the muscles under his skin work as he moved, raised the mallet to strike chisel and chip away at the stone that held his vision captive. Light from the fireplace danced over his perspiration slicked skin, glinting it gold. She was tempted to sketch him again, but she had several books filled with images of her lover.

She turned her gaze to the scene out of the window. It was snowing. Carmen hated winter. Hated the cold. She sighed and propped her chin on her fist. Behind her, the chisel stopped, was set aside, and she shortly felt Remington's gentle calloused hands on her shoulders.

"Stir crazy?"

"Yeah," she replied. Her hand went up to cover one of his.

"I can leave this," he offered, drawing her back against him. "Come back to it later." He kissed the curve of her neck. "We can go somewhere. Somewhere warm."

She smiled. "I like that idea. In fact…. I know exactly the place." Carmen's smile brightened. "You can meet Jack."

"Joy…"

She laughed and leaned back to capture his mouth with hers. "You get cleaned up," she said after a sweet kiss. "I'll bank the fires and send word to Giselle to keep an eye on the place until we get back."


Jack felt the warm tingle of a Trump call that seemed to wind sensually around the base of his brain in a wholly familiar way. The contact opened to Carmen. He had heard she was back - sculptor in tow - about a week ago. She was dressed - and that's using the term loosely - in several strands of unusually colored pearls and a hip sarong that was so short as to be risky if you blew on it. Completely inappropriate for the snowy winter weather that was currently being visited upon Amber.

"So," she smiled in that particularly playful way. "You busy?"

He was wearing jeans and a tight-fitting black t-shirt with rolling dice on it. Jack was smiling, which was not at all unusual, all things considered. Only, he had that devilish grin on, that one that said he knew that he was doing something that could would either a) cause a bit of trouble or b) get a rise out of someone. He was playing the drums, from the looks of it, his Father's kit in the Royal Library. He was making them do things they had likely not done before, with the sticks reversed in his hands, so the heavy ends struck the cymbals more resonantly, and every drum strike was a deep and solid thing. Jack banged out a driving almost tribal beat, beautiful in its intricacy, heart pounding in excitement, but over all - loud, with the bass drum keeping time underneath it all.

It was a testament to just how good he was, that when he accepted the Trump Call, he did not miss a bit. His bright blue eyes, full of mischief, focused on Carmen, and he purred at her in welcome. "Mmmmm, Angel, I'd heard you were back." His head tilted to one side, in a nearly feline display of curiosity. "You are not in Amber." The bass drum punctuated the statement. "Never too busy for a Song." Jack grinned, "Three, by the way, three songs that you are directly responsible for." His eyebrows rose, and the music came to a sudden stop. "Am I traveling?"

"Don't be silly," she grinned. "I am in Amber. Only, not for long. I hate the cold, so we're going someplace that has no concept of the word, no body taboos, and where everything is a feast for the senses. I did promise you a trip, sweetness."

"You're not dressed for this stinkin' winter." Jack grinned in return, "That you did, Carmen, that you did." His eyebrows rose, "No cold, no body taboos. So its heaven we're going to then?"

Behind Carmen appeared a man; tall and broad-shouldered wearing only a pleated kilt of black and scowling faintly over her head. Then he smacked her backside and Carmen jumped with a squeal of laughter in his direction. "Remington!" The man in question just smirked cheekily as he sauntered off out of frame.

Chuckling, she turned back to Jack. "Don't bother packing. I have an outfit here for you."

Jack laughed when she was swatted, and got to his feet, tucking the sticks into his back pocket. He held out his hand, "Then consider me ready." He called out to a corner of the Library, "Kay! I'm leaving - by Trump, it's Carmen!. See you later! Don't wait up!" He turned back to Carmen, eyes bright, "So where we headed?"

She took his hand and pulled him through and into a hug. "Atlantis," she said as she stepped back. "And there's an outfit like Remington's waiting for you in the bedroom. Matches your eyes," she smiled. "Kilt, sandals, and I thought you might like the bicep cuff. It's got a naughty picture on it."

Jack hugged her back and grinned, "You're looking gorgeous and scantily attired. I approve." He offered his hand to Remington, "Hiya, I'm Jack." Jack turned back to Carmen and Remington just blinked at the sudden change of subjects. "Oh, a naughty picture. One of yours?" He shrugged, "I'll wear anything at least once." He sauntered off whistling a merry tune. "Do they have bands where we're going? I want you to hear a couple of things we put together." Jack was then in the bedroom changing, not long after, he returned wearing the sandals, the blue kilt, and the bicep cuff. "Shouldn't we be oiled up if we're doing a gladiator film?" Jack smirked.

He walked out to find Carmen bending down to get something and Remington watching her trying to decide if he was going to let her get away that or just admire the show. Carmen stood up and made the debate moot, but he could tell by the look in Remington's eyes that she would certainly be paying for it later. Carmen saw it to when she turned around, and one could see the excitement in them turn sultry. Then she flashed him a smile and moved to stand between the two of them.

"Ready?" she asked brightly.

Remington growled. "Move it, woman."

Jack had admired the show, and simply chuckled at the reaction it caused. To Carmen he answered, "Of course I am." He placed his drumsticks on a table, and turned to Remington after he growled. He tried again, while waiting for Carmen to do whatever she was going to do to get them away from weather that required sweaters and knit caps. "I'm Jack…how're you finding Amber? Not that winter is the best time to see it."

Remington gave Carmen a sideways look as she shuffled out a card. He smirked at Jack as he offered his hand. "I'm Remington. Can't tell you much else. She won't let me out of the house."

Jack shook Remington's hand, "Maneuver to the windows then." He smiled, "Though right now, there's not much to see. Unless you like snow, which has its place. I prefer my snow to be away from where I am." He gestured towards the place where he met Carmen, "The Quarter is more lively when the weather isn't trying to turn your breath to ice." He eyed Carmen, "I'd almost pay money to see her just walk from one end of Court to the other in that get up. Just once, paying no one any mind.." He laughed, "I can imagine the choir of gasps."

Remington rumbled a low laugh. "She would. You know she would." Carmen looked over to the pair of them suspiciously and Remington's smile was innocently beatific in response. She hummed lowly and turned to gather her painting case. The sculptor turned back to Jack. "I've actually been here in more pleasant climates. But we kept to the Quarter, and never stayed long. I find that I am not in any particular hurry to go outside it just yet."

"Are you boys ready?" Carmen asked as she handed Remington the wooden case. He smiled fondly down at her.

"Always."

Jack smiled, and nodded at Remington's opinion of Carmen and the quarter. He did not bother trying to look innocent; people rarely believed him when he tried. He grinned, and hooked a thumb at Remington. "What he said." He stood on his tip toes beside Remington, and laughed.

Remington snorted good naturedly. "No one's buying it Half-Pint." Carmen laughed and opened the contact, pushing Jack through first when it opened.

Jack grinned, "Only because I'm not a sasquatch." Then he's being moved through the Trump and chuckling.

The taller man looked at Carmen and frowned. "What?" Carmen just grinned as she and Remington followed on Jack's heels..

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They found themselves on a high cliff with a mountain continuing to rise at their backs. Below them under the sparking clear waters, ruins of a great city were clearly visible. If one let their eyes wander, they would see a vague road shape leading towards the mainland. From their vantage point, they could see the black sandy beach glinting sparks of color in the sunlight. Beyond the beach and line of blue-green black trunked trees they could further see the metallic domes and colorful marble spires and towers of a bustling port city. The people they could see from their height were all just as scantily clad as the trio on the cliff. From the distance they could hear the bustle of a busy town, snatches of music from horns and drums, and the wind seemed to carry on it a tingle of something that washed over their skin and made everything more —more.

Remington's jaw dropped. "Holy horns and hooves…." he breathed.

"Welcome," Carmen grinned, "To Atlantis, boys."

"Fortuna." Jack breathed. He stood there for a moment, and closed his eyes to hear the music on the wind. Whatever was in the air was doing something, he felt it like electricity over his skin, and his skin was especially sensitive. "What is that in the air?" Then he realized he was purring where he stood, very softly, very deeply in his chest, and shook his head slightly. Jack coughed, "Well let's go."

Carmen snickered and Remington shook himself out of the enthrallment with the underwater ruins to step back to her side and take her hand. Jack began to pick out the path down to the beach and the road. "The beach should take us to town."

"This will turn into a path in a bit," Carmen said of the cliffside. "It meets up with the main road into town." She took Remington's hand and smiled at the bewildered expression on his face. "It's magic. What you feel in the air. This place is overflowing with it. If we stay long enough, we can even manage a few small cantrips. Alas, the ability leaves when we do. But it's amazing while we're here."

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Jack made his way over rocks and outcroppings with unconscious grace and east. He seemed very sure footed, and at one point skipped from rock to rock, some of them only barely big enough for the ball of his foot, before he hopped on to the path and turned to watch the couple following him. "Magic?" He smirked crookedly, his eyes clearly amused. "I s'pose that I shouldn't be too skeptical since I traveled here by rainbow." Jack grinned, "How hard would it be to learn how to give a hot foot?" His eyes drifted to some of the people on the beach; women with hair like copper and gold.

"Tosh," Carmen said with a wave of her hand. "Just enjoy it. Time runs four to one here. So we have a month here for a week in Amber. I expect you'll be quite popular. These are very sensual people. All senses…" her smile curled coy in innuendo. Remington hummed thoughtfully from beside her.

Jack's eyebrows rose, "An entire month." His eyes drifted again to the scenery, "I hope you brought a crowbar." He smiled, "Me? Popular?" He met Carmen's eyes for a moment as they walked along the path. "All senses. I like all my senses quite a bit. They're all very — sensitive." He chuckled, his head tilting one side as he watched the copper-haired woman walk away. He nodded to a passer by, and said to his companions. "These people are gorgeous." Jack noticed a silver haired woman, tall and lean, with legs that, in his words, 'went from here to there and back again' and turned his brightest smile loose on her, at which point he saw the sapphire hue of her eyes. "Gemstones and precious metals." He turned to Carmen, "You must have been in an interesting mood to find this place."

She shrugged innocently. "Actually, I was just looking for some interesting stone for Remington, and something new to paint…"

"Uh huh." Jack replied. "Well, there's plenty worth painting.

He glanced to Remington, "What do you think of the landscape?"

Remington turned from staring at his girlfriend with mild disbelief to ponder Jack with clearly feigned confusion. "There's land?" He looked around as if seeing for the first time. "So there is…"

"Prat," Carmen chuckled.

"I wasn't talking about the land actually." Then Jack rolled his eyes dramatically, and continued on down the path.

"You didn't mention he was slow," Remington staged whispered to Carmen. She smacked his shoulder, and the next thing Jack heard was another, meatier smack, and Carmen's surprised squeak and laughter.

Structures were slow in coming, and at first they were difficult to pick out from nature itself, or at least how nature was in Atlantis. It began with a couple of obelisks with directions in the native writing, which might not have been remarkable, were the obelisks not made from tall spires of carved crystal. They were as black as the sand they sprouted from, with colors that glinted from the hard edges and the peak. The carved symbols revealed a light blue interior under the black crystal, something like a geode, only here it was seen in the contrast of symbols against the black crystal. Jack stopped to look at them, and before he could stop himself, tapped at one with his fingertips.

The interior lit up like a beacon, giving the entire thing a shimmering aura that made the Atlantean wording stand out even more. It gave off a soft ringing sound that slowly faded. Remington crossed his arms over his broad chest. "Children just have to touch everything, don't they?"

"You're one to talk," Carmen smirked and then hopped sideways out of his reach.

"Oooo." Jack breathed, and tilted a head towards the stone, giving it a sharper rap. "There's music." He grinned, "Imagine a table of small ones." He looked up to the top of the obelisk. "I wonder if these would work as well elsewhere." He walked over to the other one opposite it, and set it to softly ringing with another slap. "Oh, I'm going to like it here. Even the road signs are musical." He turned back to the pair, and grinned. "What did sasquatch say?"

"Quiet, Monkey Boy," Remington said as he walked passed the obelisk followed by a snickering Carmen.

As they continued on the path went from packed sand, to square cut stones that were fit so tightly together it was difficult to see the seams. The stones were not all uniform in color, and at regular intervals gemstones and colors were added to create mosaics. It seemed to be telling a story that began at the obelisks, and continued as they moved along the path. The first buildings they saw were beach front villas, most of them with beautifully flowering gardens in a cacophony of colors, some of them were growing wild, concealing the villa beside it almost entirely, while others were strictly controlled, the flowers growing through and along arches, creating fanciful shapes and a kind of out door architecture. Someone was playing a flute, it reminded Jack of his Mother for some reason.

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Carmen had seen this all before, but it didn't make it all any less beautiful. Several times they stopped as Remington examined stone work, arches, and the stories told along garden walls. A curve in the road and the path suddenly opened up in a great open area surrounded by towering temples dedicated to five goddesses. Carmen explained the hierarchy of the Elemental deities with Celestra above them all. Remington had wandered off while she was explaining it to Jack, and was currently on the steps of the High Temple of Celestra examining the carvings in the temple's columns. He looked at Carmen with a raised eyebrow and open surprise. He was completely oblivious to the looks his very male presence was garnering. It became apparent to both Jack and Carmen at that moment that while Jack's tattoos were much more then any local had, they weren't as unique as Remington's chest hair.

Jack listened to the story about the Goddesses, eying each temple in turn. He wondered if there were any buildings made entirely out of the musical stuff, and what that might sound like. He chuckled at Remington's surprise, his own sharp eyes having picked out a detail or three, and glanced at the stir he caused, and shook his head. Jack smirked, and said to Carmen, "Captain Caveman has no idea what he's in for, does he?" Then he skipped sideways out of reach.

"Be nice," Carmen said with a faint frown. "Besides, they aren't funny if I have to explain them to him." She looked at Remington again and smiled. "And he knows exactly what he's in for. Just not how much."

Jack had shrugged. He might have pointed at that he hadn't started it, but that would have been pointless. He didn't have a problem with the fellow, Jack could take a joke better than most, but he wouldn't be shy about giving one back either; understood or not. Jack laughed when Carmen shoved him with her foot on his rump, and stumbled forward playfully leaving her to speak with her Begman Sculptor. Being told what to expect of a place, and actually seeing it, were often two entirely different things. Tourists who came down to The Strip for the first time were very much the same, it was like they did not quite know how to handle all the freedom, because with it went personal responsibility. If on decided to shack up for the weekend at a trendy brothel, and came out the other side with less savings and perhaps down a marriage, they had no one to blame but themselves, for example. Jack had grown up at the heart of Sin City, and while he certainly wasn't jaded, he understood the value of choices.

Carmen chuckled and shook her head. "We may as well start here. The Gardens of Celestra are the center of things in this hotbed of sensuality." She glanced up at the sky. "We can have dinner on the roof. Then you can throw yourself into the worship of the Goddess on the High Couch of Celestra."

"A Goddess with a Couch? Maybe if the Unicorn had one the place would be less uptight." Jack replied readily, and after waiting for Carmen, mounted the steps into the temple. He examined the carvings more closely, and as he walked, he ran his fingertips over the stone as he went. He paused a moment, and removed his sandals before continue up the steps. "They serve a meal to anyone that enters?" His eyes fell on the other worshipers, and his very bright smile was that of a boy brought into a toy store and told to pick anything he wanted. "Perhaps one of these nice ladies can tell me how to properly throw myself in worship…"

"After dinner. In the gardens," Carmen said as she drug Remington away from the carvings and nudged Jack with her foot applied to his backside towards the tall set of carved doors. Across the hall and through an archway was an interior courtyard and Jack found the source of the music on the wind and Remington discovered exquisite examples of Atlantean sculpture. "I'm going to speak with a priestess. Try not to nail someone right off."

Remington looked at her quickly. "Carmen, I would…" he began indignantly. She held up a hand.

"We talked about this," she reminded him gently.

He sighed and ran a hand through her hair. "You were serious?"

She smiled, stood on her toes to whisper in his ear, and kissed his cheek before leaving him to go find a priestess. Remington watched her with a bemused expression that held no little confusion..

He listened to the music for a moment, almost embarrassed to hear the byplay between Carmen and Remington, as clearly Carmen meant to broaden his horizons, and maybe Remington was going to have to be eased into it all. When she had departed, Jack's eyes drifted to the worshipers walking about as he hummed along with the music he was hearing. After a moment, he walked over to Remington.

"I know you don't know me, but you seem a decent cat, and Carmen cares for you, so that puts you rather high in my esteem, if it matters." Jack smiled, "If you've something on your mind, I'd be happy to listen. Just speak up so I can hear you way down here."

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The taller man looked at Carmen talking to a tall ebony haired woman a moment longer then looked down at Jack. He let the jibe about his height pass without comment and ran a hand through his hair roughly as his gaze shifted elsewhere. Carmen had told him about Jack months ago, and they had discussed it more then once since then. Remington had only been a little put out by her recounting of that night; it wasn't like they had been anything more then casual lovers at the time. He hadn't had any real claim on her back then. But things had changed when he came back with her and even though there had been discussions, he was still caught off guard when they had discussed this place this morning. "I don't know. She is just so atypical of any other woman I've ever dealt with, you know? She has some very specific notions of what she would like to see happen while we're here, and I'm not sure I can … no, that I want to. Goddess knows she's more then enough for me. I don't need another woman." His eyes moved back to Jack. "Why is she not only alright with this, but encourages it?"

Jack moved slightly, so he could see Carmen approach before Remington did. "Phew, got right to it. I can't speak for Carmen, Remington, but I can make a few educated guesses, and I think you're circling the half of it; she's not like any other woman you know or will know. I've had the benefit of growing up in a place not too terribly unlike this one in attitude, if not atmosphere, and so — very little shocks me with regards to human sexuality." He smiles, "She's very human, my Friend, as am I, for all our gifts. I hesitate to say 'superhuman' because that ain't quite right — more human than human." He meets Remington's eyes, "Were I a betting man, I would say that she is alright with this because she is very sure of your feelings about her, and very sure of her feelings about you. Carmen's also grown up in far more libertine environment, and if Begma is anything similar to Amber, that is a bit new to you. It's not about 'needing' another woman, Remington, seems to me its more about the freedom to experience and enjoy life without obstacle or interference." Jack shrugs slightly, "Look at it as a gift. You have the love of a good woman, and the freedom to explore and experience. Living well is not sinful, so why should anyone feel guilty about it?"

"Did that help? It didn't sound helpful to me." He looked momentarily serious.

Remington regarded him a moment in thoughtful silence. "We should have you speak to my mother. She's not very happy with us right now." He looked over at the grouping of musicians in the courtyard that had been joined by a few harpists. "And that expression is completely foreign to you. Even I can tell. Stop it before she comes over here to demand who you are and what have you done with Jack."

"Is your Mother still a looker?" Jack asked curiously, and then laughed. "Ha! Kay used to tell me to stop or my face would get stuck like that." He clapped Remington on the shoulder, and raised his eyebrows at the arrival of the harpists. "Perhaps I should try to make that expression again, then Carmen will pout fetchingly. I think all women should pout fetchingly from time to time."

"She does it especially well," the dark haired man remarked dryly and pointedly ignored the question about his mother. Some things were just not done. No matter where they were. He reached up and adjusted the gold band around his bicep, finding himself suddenly nervous when he saw Carmen sashaying back towards them. "Infuriating female," he muttered, then sighed, unable to fight completely the smile that tugged at the corners.

"Yes, I'm sure." Jack replied, smiling at the obvious avoidance of his question. Cougars need lovin' too, he thought. He noticed Remington's fidgeting, and his smile turned into a knowing smirk. He almost laughed out loud at his muttering, but instead stood straight with his hands behind his back as Carmen arrived. He attempted to look prim and innocent, and failed completely. "Remington kept me in line. I've not nailed anyone yet."

"Perhaps I should sit down," Carmen smirked. "Or at least note the date." She looked up at Remington and tilted her head at what she saw in his eyes.

"You'll enjoy it," she told him. "I promise." The sculptor just grunted and leaned down to kiss her temple.

"So," she said cheerily to the pair. "I wrangled us spots on the rooftop garden. Since I know there's things up there Remington will want to see, we can go on up. Jack, you can … shop if you're so inclined, or join us now."

Jack smiled, his blue eyes meeting Carmen's for some sign of what she wanted to do. He had a fairly clear notion of what part of her goal was with regards to Remington, but it was not for him to help steer unless he was asked to do so. His eyes flicked to the musicians, and the entrance of a certain silver-haired woman he'd seen earlier. "I'm certainly going to need some fuel." He smirked, "Why don't you two head up, and I'll join you in a few, I want to speak to a couple of the musicians. I have a couple of songs I'd like you to hear if I can manage it on my own here."

"Don't you mean three?" she grinned and Remington draped an arm across her shoulders while her arm snaked around his waist. "We'll be on the uppermost level. The far left corner when the come up the stairs."

"Knock first," interjected Remington.

Carmen laughed. "Oh, baby… I told you there aren't any walls — or doors." At his look, she patted the hand on her shoulder. "Believe me when I tell you that you have nothing to be concerned about."

She gave Jack a wink and turned her tense artist towards the stairs that were just visible on the far side of the courtyard.

Jack chuckled, "Yes, I mean three." He smiled and nodded at the direction. When Remington said to knock, and Carmen said their weren't any walls, Jack offered. "I'll try to stomp my feet then." He smiled when Carmen winked at him, and moved to join the musicians. It took him a moment to make sure he would be understood, and then the language of music took over. Someone allowed him to make use of their drum, and Jack began to play a song, by ear, with the musicians, keeping the beat with them. It had the deep resonant tone, something like Japanese drums.

He played for a bit, and discussed his needs with the musicians. One of them told Jack that more musicians would be arriving, and that his request seemed entirely possibly, they just needed more people for the kind of arrangement he mentioned. He smiled, and played more music with the group, changing drums whenever he could, playing tall and short ones, as well as a hand held bodhran. Then he caught the silver-haired woman's eye, and with another gigawatt smile, walked over to talk to her.


Her name was Adonia, daughter of the Admiral of the Royal Fleet. She was studying to be a Healer, but like everyone else in Atlantis' capital, she was a frequent visitor to the Temple of Celestra. She gave him an abbreviated tour before she had to go. But she agreed to meet him later that evening, by the central fountain in the Temple Complex an hour after the rising of the second moon.

Jack had even liked her name. He hair was remarkable, it was more then just platinum blonde, which would have been lovely on its own, but it was actually silver. Soft and silky to the touch, but in appearance like someone had somehow spun silver into very fine soft threads. She was about his height, with bright sapphire eyes, and legs that were just exciting to see in motion. Jack looked forward to their rendezvous, though he would have to pay attention to the moons — he hoped there were actually two moons, and that it didn't mean something exclusively local. A kiss, and she was off to the rest of her day.

Jack wasn't the only one making their way up the stairs towards the large rooftop garden. Most of them stepped out onto the lower levels of garden terraces that surrounded the temple; stepping through archways alone or in pairs or groups. Music was drifting up from the massive gardens below; harps for now, and flutes.

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The rooftop area was spectacular; flowers and ornamental vines in exotic colors spilled over the low walls; alcoves created by plants and intricately carved columns and open air gazebos and pavilions marked only by the sheer curtains that surrounded them hidden among the places meant for gathering. The view of the city was breathtaking under the sunset that grew more spectacular with each passing moment. He discovered he was unable to take a straight path to where Carmen told him they would be; the path wound through the gathering points, managing some measure of privacy in public for those who wished it. Carmen had chosen well her setting for easing Remington into things, he discovered as he rounded a rose marble pot holding a large purple fern.

She had reserved one the open air pavilions with the sheer white curtains. Pillows and carpets covered the floor, small tables holding wine, food, a basket of red skinned citrus fruits, an intricately carved wooden box and a collection of pipes. Remington was looking decidedly — mellow with a glass of wine swirling with a rainbow tornado of colors in one hand and Carmen's bare breast in the other while she fed him from a tray of spiced meats. She was sitting between his sprawled legs with her own wrapped around his hips. What little they had been wearing had been tossed negligently to one side.

Jack coughed as he came around the pot, stepped back briefly, shrugged and then
sauntered in with a grin. "Someone has been into the wine." He looked at the sky to get his celestial bearings. "You both look decidedly relaxed." He dropped onto a pillow, "I've made the musical arrangements, and a rendezvous." Jack smiled, "Shall I go find my own garden corner?" He chuckled, "Or is everyone in the spirit of the day?"

"Hey, squirt," Remington drawled and Carmen grinned. He toasted him with his wine before taking another drink. "Have a drink."

"Or a pipe," Carmen chirped.

"Why not both?" Rem asked as he leaned back more fully into the cushions behind him. He tugged on Carmen's pearls and smiled lazily as she scrambled to unfold her legs from around him until she ended up straddling his waist. She tossed the dark curtain of her hair over one shoulder and smirked down at Remington.

"You are so stoned."

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Jack chuckled, "Thanks, I believe I will." He got himself some wine, admiring what he could see of Carmen's tattoo. "There's a pipe?" He drank a glass of wine where he stood, tossing it back in a long pull, and then poured himself another. He didn't just have an Amberite's metabolism, which was good even by Family standards, he had the metabolism of a Shape-shifting Amberite. He drank another mouthful, and plopped down onto the cushions. "Carmen, should I bother with the pipe?" Jack drank wine, scooped up a plate of fruit to set by him, and reclined. "Don't be surprised, but I'm already lacking inhibitions."

"There's a shocker," Remington said languidly. Carmen leaned down and kissed him before sitting back up on her heels. She chuckled at Rem's put out expression before turning to Jack.

"I know. It makes headlines in Amber." Jack smirked, and smiled as Carmen sat up.

"Oh, have the pipe. It's excellent stuff — and don't guzzle that wine, you philistine. You're missing the true exquisiteness of it throwing it back like cheap whiskey. Now, be a good lad and hand me one of those red fruits — which you cannot have or we'll peeling you off the moon."

"Okay then, I will." He shifted and reached for the pipe, getting the scent of what it was packed with. "Philistine? My, my. You've not had enough to drink if you can dredge up such fine insult, and besides, I need to down a couple or I'll absorb it and be rid of it in a hurry. I'll sip this one." He smiled, and tasted the wine more politely this time, and sighed in appreciation. He tossed her the red fruit, and then picked up another. Jack sniffed it, and then put it aside before picking something that was cut into chunks that seemed like a melon. "What does that fruit do? It smells wonderful." He lit the piped, and smoked it for a bit, seeming very familiar with the necessary motions.

Carmen gave Remington a predatory look as she sank her thumbnail into the dimpled skin of the fruit. It peeled easily apparently, as all she was doing with sliding her thumb between the fruit and the skin. "It is commonly called the Fruit of the Lovers. When processed, the juice is excellent on its own. But in its raw form, it has a very —intriguing effect." She tossed the peel over her shoulder and split the flesh apart like a grapefruit before sectioning off a wedge. She leaned down to Remington again while her teeth tore the end off. She opened her mouth slightly, gesturing for her prey to do the same. Carmen smiled again and painted his lips with the juice. Like a man enthralled he couldn't take his eyes off of her — and then she blew a thin gentle stream of air across his juice slicked lips, Remington's loud gasp of surprise was nothing compared to the shudder that ran through him when Carmen leaned down and captured his lower lip between her teeth and giving it a gentle tug.

"Ooooh." Jack breathed, "Well, now I understand." He pushed the red fruit to the other side of the platter.

"What—the hell?" the sculptor breathed and shivered when his own breath crossed his lips. Faster then one would expect in his condition, Remington grabbed Carmen by the hair and pulled her down into a kiss that curled his toes.

Jack admired Carmen's backside as he drank wine and ate fruit. He wanted to ask for a woman to stand by and feed him grapes and perhaps another to fan him with a large palm front. Maybe some kind of leaf-type crown and a toga. The image made him chuckle, and then he whistled encouragement, "That's where the pirates hid that booty." He drank more wine, pouring himself another glass before anyone noticed.

The Begman finally released his woman. Carmen sat back up and grinned down at him. "Now," she purred. "Imagine that — elsewhere."

"Minx," he growled. She waggled her eyebrows and moved herself down until she was straddling his thighs.

"Relax," she cooed. "Finish your wine and your pipe. Then I'll show you wondrous things."

He looked to Jack over the top of his glass. "And him?"

"Oh, I can show him wondrous things too."

Remington tugged on her pearls again, pulling her down to look into her eyes quietly for a moment with the lush sounds of a hundred harp strings drifting up to them from below. "Alright then."

Jack raised his eyebrows, "How wondrous?" He listened and smiled at the music, and drummed his fingers with the beat on his glass. He sipped some wine, and flicked it with his fingernail, creating a clear ringing note from the glass. "Everything is musical here. I don't think I'll be able to leave without taking some of the drums home, or that stone with the colors inside." Jack blinked, "I've even got a way to make a musical sculpture, it just occurred to me." He grinned and drank more wine.

"Visit the Temple of Aeolia," Carmen said as she leaned over and back to grab her own wine. Remington's hand that wasn't holding a glass smoothed up her center line and over her sternum when she did. It was a lazy, possessive gesture. Or it might have been anywhere but there. "Goddess of Music and Air. They have some very interesting instruments there. There's also some very exotic woods. You should see about getting some custom sticks."

"Very nice." Jack grinned, "I will be sure to do just that. I was asked not to leave my sticks all over the Castle." He chuckled, "So I blamed at least half of them on Dad."

She looked back over at Jack, giving him a slow once over. "You're overdressed, Drummer Boy."

His eyebrows rose, and his bright blue eyes brightened, "Am I? Well, wouldn't want to be that." Jack had already lost his sandals, having put them down — somewhere. He was luxuriating in the fabrics on the cushions, and so it was an easy thing to lift his hips, and pull the kilt off of his body, leaving him bare. The tattoo curled and curved past his hip, and down his thigh. Jack settled back to the cushions with the slightest shiver, and sighed. "There, that's better, yes?"

Remington glanced over lazily and his eyebrows rose at the body art. "Damn… how many days did that take?" Nudity didn't bother Remington; he was an artist, after all. He was of the opinion that if he saw something he had never seen before, he could throw a rock at it. Then again, with Carmen's family - who knew?

"Many days. Art is never finished." Jack smiled and glanced down at the work. "It is the work of several artists, it started with this bit on my chest, and sort of — expanded from there." He grinned, "It has been a very useful bit of ornamentation to have. It has been less a matter of finding what I wanted, and more a thing of abstraction. Every artist has followed the them, but each one is a little different. That's been part of the fun for me."

"She offered to ink me, but I haven't found anything I want permanently attached to me-" Rem smirked and reached up to tweak something sensitive on the woman in question. "Besides her."

Jack laughed at his final comment, and raised his glass in toast and salute. He drank the
wine, shifted a bit, and very quietly purred. "Carmen will be adding to this when we can make the time, I think."

The sky turned a gorgeous dark violet with the last of the sun's rays slowly vanishing on the distant horizon. One full moon sat low in the sky for now and the stars overhead were just starting to wink into the visible range. A drummer or two joined the musicians below, but the music remained muted and languid, taking on a sensuality it hadn't had previously.

"Do you know how long for the Second Moon, Carmen?" Jack eyed the sky dubiously for a moment, but closed his eyes to listen to the music, and then opened them as the stars began to come out for the evening. He hummed a little bit of a tune, and whispered what sounded like lyrics, "…Put Your Lights On…"

"Couple of hours yet," Carmen purred under Remington's hand. "Plenty of time…"

She finally rolled back upright and Remington's hand settled on her thigh; his thumb making lazy circles against her skin. She smiled, leaning towards Jack. "I think we can make time very soon," she purred in reply. Carmen accepted the blue marble pipe from a watching Remington, toked it, and offered it to Jack. It was a different blend from what was in his current pipe. But first she crooked a finger at the drummer, beckoning him closer still.

"Excellent." Jack replied breezily in return, smiling with languid enjoyment of their surroundings. "I almost can't wait." His eyebrows rose when she beckoned him, and without upsetting the fruit tray, or spilling his wine, he rose easily to his feet. He stretched, arching his back like a cat, and then crossed the small distance in a few steps, before settling down upon the cushions beside Carmen. Jack sighed a little bit at the smooth softness of the cushions against his skin. Then he supped his wine and smiled lazily.

She leaned in and twined her fingers into his hair before pulling him into a kiss. He could see in her eyes right before their lips met that she needed him to do this. Now. With Remington watching, touching her, close enough to touch Jack — though he very likely wouldn't.

Jack went willingly, even before he noticed the look in her eye that said the kiss was instructional, as much as it was very enjoyable. Her lips were sweet from fruit and wine, and so were his, and she smelled just as he remembered, though with that subtle feminine scent of excitement that was still very much hers. He wondered if she knew just how good she smelled, and not just to human senses, but to his enhanced ones as well. It was those senses that made her tell him he could not have any of the red fruit, he was already very sensitive. His fingertips caressed her arm as they kissed, and Jack was only as shy as he had been when they first kissed, which was to say — not at all. Jack half-groaned, half-purred at the ending of it.

Carmen gave him a heavy-lidded smile at the end. Her hand trailed down his shoulder, chest and torso to finally come to rest on his hip. She turned her head to look at Remington…

Jack, displaying more sensitivity than Kayle would have given him credit for, smiled in return, sipped his wine, and looked up at the continually appearing stars. They seemed so much closer and clearer here than elsewhere.

The Begman sculptor had frozen in place when Carmen had started kissing the other man. There had been a knot that had slowly loosened as they continued. There was something indefinably beautiful and desirable watching his woman like that, with this particular other man. He wasn't sure he could have watched her with anyone else, and maybe it was the atmosphere and the location. Perhaps it was the drums, or simply Carmen's perfume. He didn't know. Right now, he didn't care. He saw the question in her eyes and smiled. Remington pushed himself up on one arm and kissed her just the way she liked to be kissed.

She smiled when it finally ended, looking from one man to the other. She raised an eyebrow in question to Remington, who made his choice and laid back on the cushions once again.

"Well, now that that's settled." Jack grinned at Carmen, his fingertips grazed along her arm and along her fingers as well. "What shall we do? And I do know, I owe three songs." He smiled, "One of you can shake a tambourine or something." He sipped at his wine, finally savoring the flavor of it. They had a nice private area to themselves, the breeze was arm, the cushions soft, and in truth — even Remington scent was not unpleasant. He sniffed, shrugged, and drank more wine.

The scent in the air was unmistakable by now, and Jack's sharp hearing could pick up the sounds of others on the rooftop, already engaging in the acts of pleasure Celestra held sway over. Carmen must have picked up some of the louder ones, because she made a small sound and smiled in that sly way as she reached for a half of the peeled fruit she had set aside. Remington watched her with a look of wary anticipation as she dug her nails into the ruby red flesh and coated her hand with the intoxicating juice. She shifted until she was no longer straddling Remington. He shivered slightly when she took a bite out of the segmented half. Who knew eating citrus fruit could be that erotic?

Carmen scooted back further, never breaking eye contact with her sculptor, until she was on her hands a knees. When she wrapped her juice slicked hand around him, he moaned quietly…

…and then she breathed and stole his breath away.

For Jack, the invitation was clear…

Jack's eyes became hooded, as he allowed his senses to take in everything on the rooftop. He purred softly, the scent of pleasure filling his head. Hearing what was happening around them was only icing on the cake. He could hear the music in it; a sigh, a gasp, a soft mew, a groan. He could hear the rhythm of life all around them, and he smiled brightly as he realized what Carmen was preparing to do. Jack sat languidly, once again appreciative of the Trump Artist's assets.

When the invitation was obvious, he happily took it. He rose up to his knees on the cushions, shivering slightly in anticipation. Carmen knew he got the message, when his hands smoothed down her back, to her hips. His thumbs smoothed slowly over her tattoo, and then Jack fervently added to the rhythm that was being made all around them, and to the symphony of sound that floated over the rooftop rising to the stars like a heat haze.


Hour melded into hour. Carmen shooed Jack to his rendezvous when the crescent of the second moon was heralded by a deep gong from inside the temple. While he was gone, she fortified her somewhat dazed Begman with local food and drink created for just that purpose.

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When Jack left, he left with a satisfied smile and a haze in his blue eyes. He had given Carmen a kiss, waved at Remington, and while he did not skip away, it was clear that he could have. He hummed along with the music that was playing again, and with another look at the moons above, went to find Adonia.

Adonia kept Jack occupied for a time with a tour of the Temple of Nerissa where she studied, and he heard the music of fountains and the sacred waters of goddess. He was beginning to appreciate more fully Carmen's remark about Atlanteans believing in their culture appealing to all senses; preferably more then one or two at a time.

They were also a very limber people….

Jack was becoming deeply appreciative of Atlantean culture, and the exotic appeal of their women. The Temple of Nerissa was a beautiful place, and for the Twin that was always listening for the right sound, it was a symphony of new tones and notes and melodies. He knew he'd never be able to reproduce some of them away from Atlantis, but that did not keep him from thinking he might just give it a try. Jack and Adonia added their own music as well, which led him to discoveries about the Admiral's daughter, and still more worship of Celestra there amidst the waters of Nerissa. They walked back to the Temple of Celestra hand in hand, after making each other sing until they took time to eat and recharge.

She accompanied him a few hours later back to the rooftop playground of Celestra where they discovered Remington in the middle of returning the favor Carmen had performed earlier. Her undulating form glistened with the juice from the fruits tossed carelessly aside when they had given up as much of the juice as Remington could get out of them. In the light of the twin lunar lights, the network of trails left by Carmen's nails criss-crossed Remington's back, shoulders and arms.

Neither of them noticed the new arrivals, or if they did, they didn't care.

Jack smiled, and whispered the names of Carmen and Remington to her, before leading her into the alcove they'd been sharing. He lowered Adonia to the pillows beside the other couple, and himself to her, exploring her long legs, her curves, and the bronze skin that shimmered under the moonlight. When the others realized they were there, Jack just let nature take its course — with the help of wine and more fruit. Soon, both couples were very aware of each, and they became entangled, molten and moving; the alcove became close enough to heaven for Jack to make a few supplications to the Goddesses of Atlantis, and to his Angel and the Admiral's Daughter.


TOCMoonlight and More

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