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Chapter 28 - Phuket
Zaire wanted to do something for Bianca to thank her for her help and as she was in the good books with the Command Resort, Phuket she asked if they would shout a friend to a holiday. They suggested a week, all expenses paid.
As usual Bianca was reluctant and kept putting her off. In the end she put Phuket on hold and took Willow to Bali.
But eventually Zaire became so desperate to repay her that Bianca agreed, but only on condition that Zaire came too to be her interpreter and guide through the mysteries of being Bogan. If the Resort was reluctant to give away two holidays Bianca would pay for Zaire she insisted.
She needn't have worried, they said 'three if you like'. Zaire knew that this would require a favour from her in future but said nothing. It was a small price to pay.
Zaire said that they had to go clothes shopping as Bianca had no fashion sense and would look terribly old-fashioned.
So Bianca got a new swimsuit that was so skimpy that she couldn't imagine how it had any fashion content at all. The bottom half was just a cup held half way round on hip and held in place at the back by her bum cheek. The top consisted of two cups in the same swirly pattern that barely covered her nipples. Other fashion-forward clothes varied from the equally bizarre to something she seen her grandmother in. But they were all for a climate of 30 degrees with sun, surf, sand, bars and nightclubs.
As she packed she couldn't help feeling a bit excited. This would be something entirely different.
After a day on the beach Bianca had already had as much sun as her pale skin would take even with SPF 50 sunscreen. Zaire's darker skin was soaking up the vitamin D.
That evening they went dancing and met some young men but Bianca had no idea what they were talking about: sport; celebrities? She couldn't tell which. There were numbers in there, perhaps a score or rating, and someone did something very well. But she enjoyed dancing to the repetitive beat and liked the exotic cocktails.
They got to bed in the early hours and just made it to breakfast in time to get delicious fresh omelette to complement with a smorgasbord of other delicacies. They both had guava juice and she decided that it would be her breakfast choice from now on. Then they each ordered a flat white coffee to have with a waffle and ice cream from the Waffle Station.
This was wonderful. Bianca was so pleased that she had spied on Zaire that day and Zaire was so grateful that she had too.
After breakfast they changed into their almost non-existent swimsuits and played pool netball or something. Anyway it involved grabbing the floating ball and throwing it through a hoop. Surprisingly Bianca won.
Then they got towels from the pool guy and lay on the banana chairs: Bianca in the shade and Zaire beside her in the sun. Bianca had a book. Again Zaire was fascinated.
"Why don't you just have Isis read it to you?" she asked.
Bianca said: "OK, Contact your VPA."
Zaire flipped out the screen on her chair and called Pip.
"This is Gulliver's Travels and I'm at the start of Part 1 Chapter 5, in which Gulliver prevents and invasion and pisses out a fire. Time me, I'm about to read down to the end of the Chapter."
Ninety seconds later she said: "done."
"Now ask Pip to read it."
Ten minutes later Pip concluded.
"Now, tell me, what title was conferred on Gulliver?"
“Oh I can't remember, the language was so strange and convoluted!"
"Yet you read Shakespeare."
"Yes but I often have to ask Pip to go back and read it again to be clear."
"So there you have your answer. Reading oneself is five to fifteen times faster; you can go back at will or pause over a difficult passage; and your comprehension is much better. The answer is 'Nardac' by the way. But I cheated; I heard Pip read it too."
"So I should learn to read," said Zaire. It was a statement not a question.
It was then that they noticed Claude Ball on the neighbouring banana chair. He'd been listening to them with interest. Who could these girls be? They were both stunningly beautiful, especially almost naked. The pale one was obviously a Grad but the other seemed almost Bogan. How could they be friends?
A week ago this would have been of entirely academic interest. A week ago he was in love and about to propose to Margery. A week ago he'd planned to have Margery here with him. But now he discovered that he was no longer in love with Margery. Old Bachelor Claude was back and he'd started to consider which of these girls he would like to sleep with tonight, purely academically of course.
They had no idea who he was. Astronomy wasn't a twenty two year old female Bogan's fare and Bianca was not a huge MV watcher, preferring to get her astronomical facts from original, or at least peer reviewed, sources.
Actually, she'd deliberately not watched The Claude Ball Universe because even she knew that he was going out with Margery and she knew that he would make her feel sick; just the sight of him. In any case, who would expect Claude Ball to be in a pair of trunks on a banana chair at the Command Resort, Phuket? They imagined that he was another Bogan thirty-something here for a good time, as they were. Initially they were a bit aloof. They agreed that theirs was an unusual friendship but didn't explain why.
"Yes we both have an interest in old English literature, do you?" asked Zaire expecting a Bogan response.
But Claude surprised them by knowing a great deal about old English literature. So they had a great afternoon discussing The Canterbury Tales and The Taming of the Shrew. Claude laughed that they both reminded him of his ex-girlfriend. As he said it he realised it was true. He was finished with Margery.
As it grew later and the girls were obviously still enjoying his company as much as he was enjoyed theirs, he suggested that they have dinner together. Apart from a plate sandwiches shared by the pool they hadn't eaten since breakfast. The girls agreed and returned to their suite to get out of their swimmers; have a shower; and put on clothes for the evening, although it was still warm enough to go naked.
Zaire had chosen their clothes according to the latest fashion. This week it was 1950's retro. For eveningwear the fashion-forward choice was variations on the nylon slip, with a colourful Bogan twist. Zaire's creation was dark green with bright orange lace while Bianca's less elaborate design was dark purple embroidered with shiny gold stars in assorted sizes. Claude was obviously impressed, not by the contrasting colours but by what had once been designed as intimate apparel with plunging necklines and formfitting bodices and waists, from which hung generous flimsy skirts.
They'd spent much of the day with him close to naked in their swimsuits, yet now they were clothed he found it, somehow, more risqué. Heads turned in appreciation and envy as they made their way to his table. They both wore practical canvas beach slippers, anticipating a walk later, that added to the impression that they'd come out wearing only their negligees.
They shared several dishes of Thai food and a couple of bottles of wine. Then, as expected, they walked on the beach. It got a bit awkward because Claude didn't want to distress one of them by seeming to prefer the other. At the same time the girls both liked him and would like to take it further.
In the end Bianca whispered to Zaire saying this trip's your shout, do you want to have him? Zaire immediately said: "Thanks," put her arm around his shoulders and kissed him. Claude kissed her back and Bianca walked back to the Resort, regretting her generosity. The night was balmy and she was feeling particularly randy after enjoying Claude's wandering hands. She would read a bit more of Gulliver and hope it helped her sleep.
As she made her way back past the pool Bianca could hear an argument. A young woman, Bianca guessed, was shouting at someone, probably her boyfriend, to get out. A sliding door slammed and a young man around Bianca's age walked out and sat on one of the chairs by the palm trees. Bianca had stopped to watch, then she walked up to him. He was a Bogan, who probably enjoyed surfing. He was naked except for a pair of skimpy shorts and his whole body appeared to be covered in tattoos. He'd dropped his head onto his hands; his elbows on his knees.
Bianca stood with her back to a bright light and looked at the tattoos with fascination. The men she knew were Grads and didn't bother with such things. She realised that she could read him like an archaeologist in an Egyptian tomb. He's a Christian belonging to the Revived Avignon Catholic Church. Tattooed arrows seem to pierce his body and limbs. His patron saint is St Sebastian. His mother is dead. Bianca moved so that her shadow fell across his legs. He sat up and peered into the light. She continued to read his front. His name is Burma and his girlfriend, still inflamed, so quite recently added, is Flower.
Burma seemed startled. Bianca realised that with the light behind her, she must appear statuesque, surrounded, from the waist down, by a flimsy mist of stars.
One of her reasons for accepting a trip to a Bogan resort was the potential to tryout some of the things that she'd learnt from Margery. No doubt Isis would also be interested. Here was an opportunity for that practice run, using a complete stranger, in the event of failure. Margery had said that the first step was to establish oneself as a figure in control of the situation. The subject needs to believe consciously and subconsciously that you can enchant them.
"Burma. You know that you have only yourself to blame," she told him in a stern voice.
"Who are you? How do you know my name?"
His reply was a blend of defiance and concern, as if he'd been caught damaging property. He probably had at some time.
"Don't be concerned, I'm here to help. You know Flower has every reason to be angry. What do you intend to do about it?"
"I don't know," his voice was now one of despair. "How do you know Flower? Are you her friend?"
Bianca was amused that Bogans tattooed themselves with words that they thought no one else could read. She told him that she wasn't a friend of Flower's she was his friend. He could tell her all about his troubles. She sat beside him and put her arm around him while he told her about being caught flirting with another woman on his honeymoon and how his Flower was very jealous and how when he didn't come back from the bar when Flower had gone back to change for dinner, she assumed that he had been up to something with that other woman. It didn't seem to occur to him that if Flower came out now to find him he would be in much bigger trouble. Bianca was pleased that it hadn't. It confirmed that he already perceived her to be a figure of authority, not as a potential conquest. Yet she would need to take him somewhere else soon as a precaution.
"But in Flower's mind you were up to something with that other woman. And if Flower believes it is so, then it's the same for her as if it is so. Didn't Jesus tell us that thinking a sin is the same as committing the sin? Didn't he teach us, at The Sermon on the Mount, that anyone who looks at a woman with lust has committed adultery with her, in his heart? Didn't he say that if your right eye causes you to stumble, you should pluck it out and throw it away. Because it's better to lose one part of your body than to lose your entire body to the fires of hell? And Burma, you did covert that other woman, didn't you? You did look at her with lust in your heart."
"Yes," he said meekly.
He'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. His unquestioning belief in myths, and his acceptance of ancient retributions, made him vulnerable to manipulation, and not just by his Church.
"Never mind, I'm here to help," she told him.
"Who are you?"
"Well it may seem to you that I'm flesh and blood; but that's how we angels appear here on Earth. You might want to think of me as a nun. Some nuns are actually angels in disguise. I'm a messenger from St Sebastian, who watches over your mother's soul in heaven. I've come here tonight to give you succour in your hour of need. We often do it secretly when otherwise good Christians who have stumbled. Have you stumbled?"
"Yes," he replied sorrowfully.
"I can help you get to your feet again. You don't have to believe in me for me to help you. It's not about belief or me. It's about faith. Do you believe in God and have faith in Jesus Christ your saviour?"
"Yes I do," he replied firmly.
"And in the intercession of St Sebastian?"
"Yes," less definitely, as he didn't really know what intercession meant; but he'd heard it said in church.
"It was so recently that you swore, before God, to be faithful to Flower. Yet your cock has not crowed and you have already forsaken your vows and God. You have committed adultery in your heart. I've come to put that right, before it's too late."
"I'm so sorry," he told her. "Can you make Flower forgive me?"
He was ready. How would she go about it? She had no ring or amulet. She made a mental note, she would need to get herself some eye catching jewellery. Perhaps she could put his head in her lap; and massage his scalp and face as she enchanted him? In the end, she opted for the simple, straightforward approach.
"I'm going to take you to another place where you'll learn to love your wife alone," she told him as she took hold of his chin and turned his face to hers.
"Look into my eyes... Now hold your arm straight out to the side palm up. Good. Keep looking into my eyes. You feel your hand getting lighter; lighter."
His hand drifted up.
"Now it's getting heavy again. It's really heavy. It's hard to keep up. You can't keep it up. Let it go."
His hand had fallen. "And now your eyelids are getting heavy. You can't keep them up. Your eyes are closing."
His eyes were closed.
"You can hear my voice. The only thing you hear, is my voice. Tell me."
"The only thing I can hear is your voice."
"Good. It's time for me to lead you through a garden to another place. Hold my hand. You can open your eyes."
When she'd seen the opportunity Bianca had not intended anything more that her first attempt at using The Craft. As things proceeded, and she sat with her arm around him, she'd realised that despite the initially off-putting tattoos, Burma had a fine body. She'd taken him to their suite for privacy because she knew that Zaire would be elsewhere, enjoying herself with Claude.
The opportunity was there if she wanted it. It could be fun to use Burma to satisfy her frustrated libido. She commanded him to tell her about his sex life and discovered that he was a virgin. Bianca was not surprised to learn that Burma had watched porn and was confused by it. His fumbled attempts at sex with girls, before Flower, had always ended in rejection when he tried his 'porn moves' on them. Flower had not experienced this because being very religious she'd rejected any moves, beyond a quick fumble, until they were married. But she'd be in for a shock tonight. And a baby could be a long time coming.
So it had turned out, serendipitously, that Burma was an ideal foil, or perhaps a sword of another kind, to avoid her lying awake getting jealous of what Claude was up too with Zaire. At the same time she could help to save Flower's marriage.
She suggested to Burma that she was a special kind of angel, the female counterpart of the angel Gabriel, who'd visited the Virgin Mary to inseminate her with God's seed. Likewise she'd come to Burma, before his wedding night, to teach him about true physical love in marriage.
Taking a leaf from Margery's book, she started by giving him a 'Christmas present' and 'robbing him of his ego', as Margery termed it, to dissipate his initial animal enthusiasm and allow him to concentrate for the next hour or so. Then his education began. While he recovered from his first emission for the evening, she taught him about foreplay in its various forms, concentrating on her favourites. He was a fast learner and turned out to be promisingly well endowed. So she decided to move on to lessons in coition. From cowgirl, a particular favourite, they moved to missionary without a break, and from there to positions more complex and varied. Bianca was more than satisfied with his progress by the time they had completed a full revision three hours later.
It was two in the morning when Bianca led Burma back through the garden to his chair. They'd encountered no snakes or apples but he was a lot more knowledgeable. She suggested to him that when he awoke from his dream, Flower would be very sorry that they had argued and would be waiting for him. He should apologise to her and then use his newly learnt skills to prove that he loved only her. Bianca suggested to him that after he'd woken, if he ever saw her kiss her index finger while looking at him, he was to pay attention to her alone, but until that time he would forget all about her and not even recognise her. If at some time he did know her, he would be startled back to normal and forget her again, if she touched that finger to her nose. He should realise that all this had just been a vivid dream that he'd had as he fell asleep out here, worrying about Flower.
"When you hear a clap you'll wake up."
As she walked away Bianca clapped her hands, and looking back, saw him stir. She was elated. It had been so easy. No wonder Margery loved doing this to people. She couldn't wait to do it to someone again.