This chapter had its title beforehand and then it occurred to me the chapter also deals with a lot of camera lenses. It made the word Objective pop up in my head. Objective is a word that refers to a camera’s lens, but it is also a word that refers to a clarifying overview that can then lead to a well-considered action. I apologize if the chapter seems a bit messy. Some threads are left unfinished while others happily tie a knot. It is unpredictable where in life a thread becomes decisively important. Not everything is as it first seems. Much depends on the perspective of the people involved. In this chapter we meet several people who need an objective conversation. First of all, they gotta talk together.
Sunrise at Sapphire Shores on Lani St. Taz in Sulani
It’s been decades since he has seen the sunrise in Sulani.
The light blue clear water seems endless and so overwhelming compared to his usual morning views.
However, the water is not an unknown element to him and one will quickly discover that he is swimming with a surprisingly safe speed.
Out here he can enjoy the sunrise in undisturbed lonely calm.
He can hear the sound of the dolphins call in the background and his heart is filled with an overwhelming love of the dolphins, the sea and the unlimited sunrise found only here.
He is not yet aware that he is being observed by a human being.
A human being as we have come to know by the name Delphine.
She is early to do her work, but also to enjoy the sunrise. She is something amazed at seeing an unknown human being among the dolphins so early in the morning.
He is probably a tourist. Yet another of the many adventurers in search of unique short -rich experiences who often find their way to Sulani.
In a few days he has traveled on again.
Not something concerning her so she bends down to remove a sharp piece of glass.
With this, both continue with what they came to do.
The unknown man snorkels in the sea…
…and Delphine continues to search for trash and treasure on the beach.
We will return to them later.
Early morning in Brindleton Bay
Far from Sulani’s beautiful clear skies, Tusnelda wakes up to a gray and hazy sunrise.
She scouts for the lighthouse but it’s like the sky has been colored by her mood.
Everything is gloomy and opaque.
She knows it’s her feelings playing with her and yet she has no power over them…. Only because she tries to avoid what she doesn’t want to see.
She continues down towards the beach.
She is so ashamed of her own envy and fear and discouragement.
She used to be such a logical and confident woman and now she is overwhelmed with emotions that are embarrassing and painful.
What’s wrong with her? How can Martin continue to love someone as pitiful and useless as her? Maybe he’d be much better off without her?
Martin has just finished his morning routine on the treadmill and now he is on his way in to eat his breakfast.
In front of the front door, he finds Mia. Whatever happens to Tusnelda, he knows she needs space to get her thoughts in order.
In the meantime, he must confide in anyone who will listen. Mia would very much like to listen to his concerns.
Tusnelda is on her way home.
She has finally come to the realization that in the end it comes down to doing the right thing for the man she loves.
If he’s better off without her, then they have to talk it out. She can’t keep cowering away from an uncomfortable conversation.
Morning in San Myshuno
Elijah is sitting at his computer and editing some pictures. This could make a fantastic poster or perhaps the cover of an exhibition catalogue?
Unfortunately, he is far from certain of her acceptance…perhaps more the opposite.
He had invited Jade in as a model for a dream job.
A poster for an exhibition called Aphrodite – Myth or Reality.
He wanted a creative take on the myth of the goddess born from the foam of the sea and Jade had seemed quite accommodating at first.
Somehow she appeared almost too innocent and pure and he had suggested her a different costume.
He loves Jade’s radiance. She is really a perfect model.
Still, she was somewhat hesitant with his next suggestion.
There is a special satisfaction in instructing the models to show their full potential and he can be quite seductive when it comes to getting them into his ideas.
But in his zeal he overlooked that Jade is not a professional model and so he pushed her too far out towards the edge.
With the help of arguments and flattery, he managed to persuade Jade to continue.
He was very happy and eager to show her the result.
Jade definitely did not share in his zeal.
She had been so dismissive. She had imagined something like Greek columns and white light robes and then he put her on display as a tacky bitch, She said disappointed.
He had explained that Aphrodite is the goddess of beauty and love and that ancient sculptors had traditionally depicted her almost naked.
That certainly didn’t put Jade in a better mood. She became very angry and shouted that she had once told him that nude photos were an absolute no go.
He had told her that his intentions were purely artistic and that he only saw her as a material for artistic expression. She could compare herself to a block of marble or a lump of clay.
Perhaps he should have considered his choice of words a little more, because the conversation ended in the most embarrassing way for both of them.
Although it may be futile, he does not stop his editing until he is satisfied with the result. His mindset forbids him to give up.
It was never his intention to upset her. Maybe there is still a chance that he will find an expression she will accept. If only she saw the exhibition as he imagined it?
In his view, the artist must pose provocative questions to reality rather than please the viewer.
He is sure that Fatima will approve his ambitious intentions to create an awareness-expanding perspective.
Perhaps she could help him convince Jade of the importance of giving an artist the freedom to create an uncensored interpretation of the origins of the myths?
Yeah? He knows he’s dreaming. He often does that these days…
On the other hand, it is what he does for a living. Shaping reality according to his customers’ dreams. There is nothing provocative in that.
The Sapphire Shores on Lani St. Taz
In Sulani, Delphine is still searching the beach and now the unknown guest sets the direction towards the beach’s edge.
She looks up as she heard the splash of his now approaching feet.
She is very annoyed at all the plastic, rubbish and caramel paper that the tourists have left behind.
That’s why she doesn’t give the newcomer a particularly friendly look either.
He doesn’t notice her unwelcoming radiance.
“Did you see the sunrise? I’ve really missed the Sulani sunrise.” he says excitedly.
“Oh!?” she exclaims, slightly surprised.
“If the tourists really value our nature so much, they should learn to clean up after themselves…If you knew the amount of trash I find on the beach!” she says indignantly.
“You are doing a very good deed for nature.” he says kindly.
“I know.” she says.
“Where are you from?” she asks a little more kindly.
“I’m originally from these islands…. My Sulani name is Koukakala Kahawai, but you can call me Valentino. I’ve always had adventure in my blood and it made me travel the world as a young man. For the last twenty years I have lived at the edge of Puerto Llamante in Selvadorada, there they gave me my the name Valentino.” he says.
“Aren’t you going back to Selvadorada?” asks Delphine, who suddenly begins to listen more attentively to what Valentino tells.
“I have long dreamed of to visit my birthplace, but yes! I am going back to the jungle. I’m on vacation with two friends, two treasure hunters who have come to look for the Heart of Sulani.” he replies kindly.
“I might be able to help them with that. Why don’t you come over with your friends tonight?….By the way, my name is Delphine.” Delphine says welcomingly.
Martin has found himself a leftover. After heating it smells heavenly.
He has almost finished his meal when he hears the garden door open.
Tusnelda enters and she immediately goes to Trix.
“Shouldn’t you be talking to someone other than me?” meows Trix.
“I just need to pull myself together.” says Tusnelda.
When Tusnelda chooses Trix over him, Martin becomes seriously concerned that he is the cause of Tusnelda’s strange behavior. He can’t put it off any longer.
“We got to talk Tusnelda!” he says in a firm voice.
“I know Martin.” she replies and gives him a kiss on the cheek.
She is not completely dismissive, he thinks.
“What’s going on Tusnelda? I can tell you’re struggling with a problem and I’m starting to think it’s me who hurt you….In that case you owe it to me to let me know, to give me a chance to make it right again.” says Martin.
“No, you have done nothing wrong Martin…but you are part of what I’m struggling with.” says Tusnelda.
“This is not going to be easy for me so I will ask you to listen without interrupting.” she says, and then she continues.
“A long time ago we had a bad quarrel and in my anger I traveled to Sixam….. At that time I never wanted to see you again….. I was so angry but I was also pretty exhausted after our argument and so I fell asleep.”
“Then I had a dream….In the dream I saw the most wonderful glowing pink tree…and suddenly I realized it was you Martin…”
“I saw your face and your sparkling eyes glowed with such love….Then I understood that you are the most important person in my life Martin.”
“I think that sounds like a wonderful dream Tusnelda. I don’t mind being your wooden man.” says Martin gently as he puts his arm around her.”
“Thanks Martin, but I’m not done yet.” she replies.
“Suddenly I discovered that I was not the target of your gaze.” she continues.
“It does not sound plausible.” mutters Martin.
“You looked at a fair haired woman and you looked at her with such a loving gaze.”
“You had a family together Martin…. A boy and a toddler girl and you looked so happy together.”
“But it’s just a dream Tusnelda. It’s not my dream and it has nothing to do with reality.” Martin says.
“Martin, I know you are dreaming about having kids, don’t contradict me.” says Tusnelda.
“Yes I do, but…” Martin begins.
“When I saw Izumi the other day and I saw her fair hair it all suddenly made sense… The fair-haired woman…and when I saw you together…You seem so into each other.”
“I was sure you would leave me and it made me so jealous and sad…”
“Then today I suddenly understood that it is I who must set you free, because you are too caring a person to ever choose to leave me voluntarily.”
“But I can’t stand in the way of your happiness. I won’t stand in the way.” she concludes.
“This makes no sense, Tusnelda!” interrupts Martin.
“Please, don’t give the dream that power over your common sense. Don’t do that to yourself. Don’t do this to us.” he continues.
“But I believe that the dream is trying to tell me that I have to face reality.” says Tusnelda.
“That has nothing to do with reality. I like Izumi, i think she is nice, but it’s you I love Tusnelda!….. Give me a single logical argument why I should prefer Izumi over you? She is my best friend’s fiancé.” replies Martin dismissively.
“Because she’s fertile Martin! Because she can bear you children.” exclaims Tusnelda with desperation in her voice.
Martin lets out a loud gasp.
“Listen to yourself Tusnelda. This is madness.” he says softly.
Now that she has said the worst imaginable and unbearable thing out loud, she feels she can’t sink any further into the mud and still he is sitting next to her with no signs of leaving.
“But what if I’m not able to bear you children?” Tusnelda asks uneasily.
“We don’t know that yet, but should it be the facts, will we continue our life. You and me together.” Martin emphasizes.
“You are right about I am dreaming of having children Tusnelda, but the only one I want to raise them with is you.” says Martin gently.
Tusnelda senses how her chaotic feeling calms down and senses how the dream loses its power over her thoughts. She can feel that she is still the most important person in Martin’s life as he is in her life.
Brindleton Bay by Rasmus
The morning atmosphere has been differently relaxed in the house next door.
Izumi is reading a book and Fabio is playing with Futte.
However, Fabio looks a little annoyed when Rasmus sets up his camera on a tripod. He wants to take some family photos.
So here we go without further comment…
The camera is barely put away before Izumi and Rasmus are kissing.
“Ew! That’s really embarrassing!” Fabio says annoyed.
Fortunately, he doesn’t have to look at them anymore because he has to go to school now. In reality, he has nothing against Rasmus, if only he and his mother would be less obvious about their awkward habits.
Back to Martin and Tusnelda
Martin sits back on the sofa and thinks about the conversation he and Tusnelda just had.
It almost feels like they have had some kind of breakthrough.
“Hey sweetie. What’s on your mind?” he asks.
“I feel so lucky and grateful to have you in my life.” she says.
“Regarding our childlessness, I think it’s time we explore some possibilities.” she says.
“You seem to have made up your mind Tusnelda.” he replies as he feels a bubbling feeling of happiness.
“We still have an opportunity to speak with Doctor Flex. We can go there together.” he says, grabbing her hands.
“Yes, you should call him and make an appointment.” says Tusnelda seriously.
How can one express such a feeling of gratitude and and love 💕
“Are you ok sweetie?” he asks.
He can see she is very serious and very determined…
“Yes, I’m perfectly fine.” she says.
A little later, he hears Fatima’s friendly voice on the other end of the phone.
“Hello Fatima! This is Martin Andersen. I would like to make an appointment with Doctor Flex. Can you find a time in his calendar where he can see me and my wife?”
Martin finds Tusnelda in the laundry room.
“We have an appointment, tonight.” he says.
“That quickly!? On the other hand it’s probably for the best before new ghosts take over my brain.” she says a little timidly.
“It’ll be just fine. Remember we’re in this together.” he says as he gives her a kiss on the cheek.
We will now zoom out of Tusnelda and Martin’s life until it becomes evening. They both have to go to work until then.
Afternoon by Rasmus and Izumi
Rasmus is at the peak of happiness in his life. Don’t we all want to maintain this feeling forever?
The camera helps him capture a happy moment and create lasting memories.
Izumi is young, pretty and pregnant with their child.
They are a steady couple now, filled with expectations for a shared future.
A couple very much in love.
“What shall we do now?” Izumi asks in her special mischievous and alluring way.
Sorry Izumi. Maybe not what you were aiming for but it will be more photographs.
“Do I really have to get involved in this?” meows Brooke.
“This is humiliating!” Brooke meows embarrassed.
Fortunately, Brooke escapes more torment, because now Rasmus leaves to work.
Fabio comes home from school just as Rasmus has left.
They are having an afternoon meal together.
Today Fabio has to do a school project and his mother is very determined to give him her support.
As they build on the school project, Fabio tells his mother with eager gestures about a scout who gave a talk to his class today…. “You can fish and climb, tie knots and do good deeds and you get a badge when you have…”
“That sounds exciting, but let’s concentrate on your project.” interrupts Izumi.
Some times she can be so annoyingly motherly, Fabio thinks.
Izumi is very excited about the result as the school project is done…”This is fabulous!” she says excitedly.
Fabio is proud and happy about his mother’s praise.
A little later she is the annoying mother again as she insists that he do his other homework before running out to the climbing frame.
He actually misses Rasmus to distract her. Too much parental attention can be quite exhausting.
When all homework is done, he has no energy left to even think about the climbing frame.
Instead, his lays exhausted down on his bed to take a nap.
Afternoon at the San Myshuno Private Practice
We will find Fatima at the clinic’s reception desk. She looks quite content.
Since her modeling job with Elijah, she beamed with confidence. This is not to say that she lacked confidence before, but her radiance shows that something has changed.
Speaking of Elijah. He is standing in the hallway talking to Kristine.
“Yeah, Jade just arrived after her work, but she’s pretty pissed off at you.” says Kristine.
He needs to talk to her.
“Hey Elijah! Nice to see you!” says Fatima welcomingly.
At least he got one supporter at the clinic.
He might as well get straight to the point.
“Hey Jade! I actually came to talk to you.” he says.
“I thought I made my point clear. I’m not doing any more sleazy modeling jobs for you.” Jade says.
“Well you made yourself pretty clear Jade…but I have another job. I’m going to photograph some wedding dresses and I thought you might enjoy it?”
This ended the dispute between them.
Elijah really has a very special talent for persuasion.
Late afternoon in The Ancient Ruins in Windenburg
If Jade dreams of ruins, Greek columns and white dresses, that’s exactly what Elijah wants to give her now.
It seems to work as intended for she appears to have rediscovered her enthusiasm for modeling. Even if the job entails some troublesome dress changes in primitive conditions.
“I’m glad you convinced me to find another expression. You’re beautiful like a goddess…I look forward to working on the pictures” flatters Elijah.
“I’m really glad we agreed.” Jade says. Truth be told, she loves the attention and the opportunity to finally wear a wedding dress. She would not have wanted to miss the experience.
“The sun is going down, but I have one last dress. Shall we get started with the final photo shoots?” Elijah asks.
Thus the last pictures (out of maybe fifty which I will not bother the reader with. ) 😅
The photo assignment is done and Jade and Elijah are both a bit lost in their own thoughts.
“How about we find a cafe to relax on top of a job well done?” Elijah asks.
Late afternoon in Brindleton Bay
Both Tusnelda and Martin have come home from work.
Tusnelda has spent the afternoon getting the garden under control.
She has expanded the garden with another planter. It is her goal to try to grow a death flower.
She can see that Martin is standing by the grill. He really likes barbecue food.
“Hey Tusnelda! You’ve come just in time. The food is ready.”
“Are you ready for our visit to the clinic?” he asks .
“I don’t really know…I mean my gene test came back nothing so what can a doctor do?” says Tusnelda nervously.
“Doctor Flex is an expert in the field of solving unwanted childlessness, so let’s hear what he has to say. I’m with you all the way.” reassures Martin.
An hour later in San Myshuno Private Practice
Martin confidently walks up to the front door of the clinic. It can be seen that he knows his way around.
Tusnelda follows a little hesitantly.
Martin has excitedly told her about the medical secretary Fatima, but it’s a young guy with messy hair sitting at the reception.
He looks up as Martin introduces them and explain their errand.
“Hi there!” the guy replies a little too briskly.
Judging by Tusnelda’s measured look, she doesn’t have high expectations for his abilities.
“If you take your seats, the doctor will be there soon.” says the guy.
Soon turns out to be an euphemism for at the same time Dr. Flex appears behind them.
“Hello Doktor. Flex.” Martin greets with recognition.
Tusnelda’s attentive gaze is still trying to form an impression of the guy with messy hair. In her eyes, he doesn’t look like a professional.
“Welcome Mr. Andersen. I’m glad you managed to talk sense into your wife…Please take a seat in the waiting room and I will be ready in a moment” says the doctor.
It is only now that Tusnelda becomes aware of the superior guy who is the doctor.
“Martin hasn’t talked me into anything.” she says without smiling.
“Why should we wait when he clearly has nothing to do.” Tusnelda says suspiciously.
“Hey sweetie. It’ll be ok. I’m here with you.” says Martin calmly.
He senses Tusnelda’s discomfort, which is not very different from his own feelings the first time he visited the clinic.
“I know Martin. I am happy for your support.” she replies.
If it hadn’t been for him, she would have already disappeared out the door again.
Early evening in Windenburg
Jade and Elijah have just arrived at the Hare and Hedgehog café in Lykke Center
They find an undisturbed table at the edge of the cafe.
Here, they can be reasonably sure of avoiding all the tactless townies who uninhibitedly interfere in any conversation.
There are some guests in the cafe, but not many at this time, as most are preparing dinner at home.
“How do you like the photo assignment today” Elijah asks kindly.
“I loved it, Elijah! These dresses were so beautiful and they really made me dream.” Jade replies.
“Yes, I think I could feel less resistance from you today.” Elijah replies cheerfully.
“I’m sorry Elijah, but you really pissed me off yesterday.” Jade replies.
“I like your temper, Jade. You don’t have to elaborate. I didn’t doubt your point.” Elijah smiles.
“I guess so.” Jade laughs.
“Does that mean I can use you as a model in the future?” Elijah asks.
“Yes, as long as you respect my boundaries, I’m all in.” Jade says welcomingly.
He still has to remember that she is not professional, but he loves working with her. In time, she might become less reserved towards his ideas.
Evening in San Myshuno Private Practice
Finally, Martin and Tusnelda sit in the doctor’s consultation, where he kindly welcomes them to the clinic.
“I want to thank you for making an appointment so quickly, Doctor.” Martin says politely.
“No reason. I’ve been looking forward to this meeting,” the doctor replies kindly.
“First, I would like to describe the procedure… The plan is that today we will have an initial interview, all three of us together, and then we will plan the rest of the process. This means, among other things, that you and I agree on a time when I can do a thorough examination , Mrs. Andersen.” Dr. Flex continues.
“My name is not Andersen. My last name is Stormhat, but now that we are going to spend more time together you can call me Tusnelda.” answer Tusnelda.
“Hey sweetie. The doctor is just trying to be nice.” says Martin.
“So do I.” says Tusnelda.
“Tusnelda, I don’t want you to feel pressured into this. Maybe it’s all going a little too fast…. Just tell me and we can leave again.” says Martin.
“I chose to come here myself, Martin.” Tusnelda replies.
“I can see that you care a lot for your wife, Mr. Andersen. Perhaps you will leave us for a moment so that I can make an agreement with her privately.” says the doctor kindly
“Yes of course if she’s ok with it.” says Martin hesitantly.
Somehow Tusnelda is not fully present and she has therefore not followed the exchange of words, because when Martin gets up she also gets ready to leave.
“Hey Tusnelda! Will you wait a minute.” The doctor says.
“I need to take a sample for analysis, to rule out underlying gene defects and diseases.” says the doctor.
“It’s not necessary, doctor. I’ve already had such an analysis done and I’m perfectly fine.” says Tusnelda dismissively.
“I would definitely prefer to do my own test, but where was that test done and can I see the result?” asks the doctor.
“Well, it’s probably going to be difficult.” replies Tusnelda.
She’s pretty sure Simon doesn’t want to share his results in public, as he’s not licensed to do that kind of research on humans.
“Well, then you get to make your own test.” replies Tusnelda.
“I’m glad you came to your senses.” says the doctor.
It’s the second time today that the doctor has assessed her sanity, she thinks as she stands with her mouth open. She finds his superior confidence rather gross.
“Thank you for your cooperation Tusnelda. I am sure that we will find the cause of your childlessness through joint efforts and when that is done there are plenty of treatment options.” says the doctor optimistically.
“Like I told you, diseases are out of the question, so I’m probably just too impatient.” says Tusnelda.
Marcus has seen all kinds of survival mechanisms in his patients before, but usually his patients are far more emotionally affected when they finally choose to consult him. He has a hard time deciphering the confident woman.
“You can make a new appointment with my secretary.” says Marcus, but by then Tusnelda is already on her way out the door.
Tusnelda immediately spots Fatima and the guy with the messy hair when she leaves the consultation. She immediately gains trust in the smiling, sympathetic woman. It’s something about her radiance.
“You must be Martin’s wife, Tusnelda? I’m so glad to finally meet you.” says Fatima welcomingly.
“Thanks, and the same to you.” replies Tusnelda kindly. She feels totally safe now.
Tusnelda can’t spot Martin when she steps out of the clinic…
Then he suddenly stands right in front of her and looks at her with his loving brown eyes.
“Are you ok sweetie?” He asks, stroking her cheek.
“I am ok.” she assures, giving him a kiss on the cheek.
“I greeted Fatima. I understand that you spoke of her so positively…” Tusnelda says as they walk towards the elevator.
Later they stand and talk together in the street.
“That doctor seems very correct and rigid, but I assume that’s his professional attitude.” says Tusnelda.
“That’s his profession Tusnelda. He’s probably not that distant if you know him privately. I’m sure we can have confidence in him.” says Martin.
“He just made me feel so absent.” sighs Tusnelda.
“To me, you are anything but absent.” says Martin.
With this, it is time to leave Tusnelda and Martin to their own devices.
At the Hare and Hedgehog cafe in Windenburg
In the cafe, we still find Elijah and Jade in conversation about their past and hope for the future.
“Can I ask you if you’re with anyone right now?” Elijah asks.
“Maybe, in a way, but he is a kind of difficult to figure out.” says Jade…. Then she is interrupted by the buzzing of her phone….now that we are talking about the sun, she thinks.
“Hey Marcus! I’m in a meeting right now…” says Jade.
“No, it’s a business meeting….I’m at the Hare and Hedgehog cafe with Elijah, the photographer I told you about.” Jade says.
“I’ll buy myself something to eat while you talk.” says Elijah.
Elijah looks back at Jade as he leaves. Of course a woman like her has a boyfriend. She is lively, funny, gorgeous and very attractive.
“I don’t know if I’ll make it to you tonight Marcus, but then I’ll see you tomorrow…..Bye Marcus.” Jade says ending the conversation.
It has been a fantastic day in every way. She is really happy that she and Elijah found a common understanding and she looks forward to working with him more in the future.
Late night in Brindleton Bay
Rasmus has not yet come home from work, so Fabio and Izumi eat dinner together.
“I know there wasn’t much time left to play today, but I’m proud of you Fabio and on the bright side it gives you more free time tomorrow.” Izumi says.
“Yes, I guess so.” says Fabio seriously.
“Mom, did you hear what I told you earlier today about the scout?” Fabio asks.
Izumi doesn’t answer right away. She is distracted by the bubbling feeling of happiness she feels when she hears Rasmus come through the door.
“Can I join the scouts mom? You learn new skills and do good deeds and for each step you complete you receive a badge, so can I?” Fabio asks.
“yes, maybe if it doesn’t affect your school. Let me think about it.” Izumi says.
“You want to be a scout now?” Rasmus asks approvingly.
“Yes if my mother allows it.” says Fabio with a sigh.
Suddenly, Izumi gets the feeling that the male members of the family have a special connection beyond her reach.
She assumes that the matter is thus almost settled. Her son is going to be a scout.
Fabio stands at a distance and watches his mother and Rasmus, who are about to assure Izumi that Scouting is a healthy interest that increases both responsibility and self-discipline.
He gives Rasmus a big hug before going to bed.
However, he still prefers his mother to put him to sleep.
He is still sure that he is her number one as she is to him…even if Rasmus has moved quite close over time.
Late evening in the Hare and Hedgehog café in Windenburg
Marcus finds Jade at the cafe in an intense conversation with a black-bearded guy.
“Am I interrupting something!?” he asks in a brusque voice.
Jade looks up in surprise….
“Marcus!? What are you doing here?” she says without understanding.
“Oh! Hi Marcus. We haven’t greeted each other yet… I’m Elijah your new neighbor.” Elijah says welcomingly.”
“So you’re the psycho who seduces naive women into your photo studio to get them to undress themselves in front of you.” Marcus says angrily.
“Damn it Marcus! You’re really gross now!” Jade yells in anger.
“I assure you that’s not the way it is, but maybe you two should just talk to each other.” says Elijah.
That’s how it will be, for now.
Marcus and Jade find another table, but still Elijah thinks it’s wiser to walk a little distance.
“Elijah and I did a photo assignment today. I posed in some wedding dresses and I absolutely don’t see how that could bother you…You should give him an apology.” says Jade.
“Wedding dresses!? How desperate are you?” Marcus hisses.
“What do you mean by that?” Jade asks angrily.
“As soon as there’s a guy waving a wedding dress in front of you, you come running without reservations.” says Marcus.
“What!!?” Jade says angrily.
“First it was Rasmus and now this thug…Are you even sure he wants to have children with you!” Marcus continues his rage.
“You are ridiculous Marcus!”
“You’re fucking jealous and you don’t even dare admit it!”
“You claim the right to live your independent bachelor life and at the same time you think you can control who I see and when I see them. I don’t buy into that Marcus!”
“No, no! It’s not like that, Jade.” Marcus weakly protests.
“So prove me wrong Marcus…and don’t try your dumb practical proposal again. I expect more from you.” Jade scolds.
“I’m so sorry Jade. I was rude. I know. I’m really sorry.” says Marcus, ashamed and shaken in his confidence.
“Huh!?” is her only comment.
Marcus hurries to leave the cafe.
He is suddenly very tired so he finds a bench nearby.
He just needs to collect his thoughts in solitude before going home.
Months ago, his life looked fairly simple and calm. The work occupied most of his waking hours and if he needed some excitement and physical intimacy, he found a one-night stand at a bar or frequented one of his casual lovers.
The meeting with Lana and Maria shook him out of his well-known way of life. He has a daughter, even if she is unknown to his surroundings, she is an indisputable fact.
Then Jade shows up in his consultation and starts asking her ridiculous questions about Rasmus. Fortunately, he is out of the question now.
And Jade still keep coming by, causing turmoil and confusion in his life…and some pretty satisfying woohoo moments.
“Hey Marcus. May I sit down?” Jade says as she suddenly stands next to him…as always happens.
“Yeah, I guess it’s ok.” he answers.
“We gotta talk Marcus.” she says.
“I am really sorry for yelling at you, Jade. I’ve always considered myself a non-committal guy, but this just doesn’t work for me anymore.” says Marcus.
“I have not bought a ring…but Jade, would you consider to move in with me…like officially live together?” he says.
“I assume that means we’re spending the night at your apartment tonight.” she whispers.
Marcus figures that for now that answer is about as good as it gets…until he buys her that ring.
Elijah stays in the cafe after they leave. He drinks a cup of coffee and tries to calm down.
The meeting with Marcus has sent him on a completely unexpected journey back in time.
For Elijah as well as for Marcus, the bench in front of the fountain seems to be a good place to reflect.
Elijah had almost gone into shock when Marcus suddenly stood before him…. At first glance he thought it was Leon standing in front of him.
He had been a young insecure lanky kid just starting high school when he first met Leon.
Leon was muscular and handsome and very popular with everyone in high school.
He was very surprised that Leon even spoke to him, but one day he had shown Elijah some pictures on his phone. He had noticed Elijah was interested in fashion.
Elijah lets his gaze rest in the beautiful blue fountain in front of him. He should take some pictures before he leaves.
The blue light makes him think of a special episode. They were a group of young teenagers who had gone swimming at night.
Martin and Kaori apparently had a flirtation going on together so he and Leon had looked the other way up towards the Plumbite Pier.
Suddenly, Leon had suggested that they try the Ferris wheel together.
He had been so surprised so his heart had almost stopped beating.
He had eagerly run ahead.
That night had changed everything.
Later they had become the best of friends, even though everything about Leon was perfect and he had just been a lanky pimple infected guy.
At some point, life had separated them. Leon wanted to climb a mountain in Mt. Komorebi and he himself had traveled abroad to attend a dance school.
Wonders if Leon ever reached the top of that mountain and where he is now.
Late night at the Lagoon Look in Ohan’ali Town
Delphine has put all her treasures on display on her desk.
As she agreed with Valentino this morning, he has brought his two friends, Kaitlyn Hamilton og Paul Guevara, to visit her.
They are both treasure hunters and they have asked with interest about the occurrence of rare treasures on the islands.
Valentino is doing the dishes and Delphine entertains with the story of how she found the rare green copy of the Heart of Sulani in a dark cave in Mua Pel’am.
“Of course I have it locked away in a secret place.” she says.
“It is understandable.” Paul says kindly.
“Do you mind if I take a closer look at the treasures on your desk?” he asks.
“You are welcome to look at anything you want.” Delphine replies kindly.
Paul gets up and walks over to the desk.
He would like to know if he can cut a deal with Delphine at a reasonable price.
Valentino goes for a walk outside and there he meets a familiar face.
“Keala? Is that you?” he asks hesitantly.
He wonders how gray she has become over the years, but she is probably still the most beautiful woman on these islands.
“Koukakala! Is that really you?” Kaela says, giving him a warm hug.
The joy of seeing each other had been mutual.
Unlike Valentino, Kaela had lived her whole life on the islands. In pact with nature and the spirits of the past. They have so much to talk about.
Delphine stands and watches Paul staring at her Sulani treasures. She can feel his desire to get his hands on them.
He sits down as she gets closer.
“Were they hard to find?” he asks.
“Nah! I guess they are almost a kind of side benefit when I look after my job of removing rubbish on the beaches and in the sea.” she says kindly.
“Would you consider selling them to me?” asks Paul.
Outside, Valentino and Kaela are saying goodbye to each other.
“Now you promise to visit me before you leave?” Kaela says in a firm voice.
“I promise.” says Valentino.
Of course, Kaela has become an older woman, but old love does not deny itself regardless of the distance of time.
“We have to go now Paul.” says Kaitlyn….It might be the first words she’s said all evening.
“Yeah, I guess we’ve finished our deal here too.” replies Paul.
“Thank you very much for the deal. Maybe I’ll see you in Selvadorada.” Delphine says optimistically.
“Yeah, We will see you later” Paul mumbles. He seems to have gotten busy now.
“What price did you have to pay?” Kaitlyn asks when they’re out of earshot.
“She asked for a place to stay and a license to dig, which she could pick up for free at El Árbol del Jaguar in Puerto Llamante.” replies Paul.
“You’re a sly fox when you trade goods. You always have been. It is almost evil to cheat the poor girl” Kaitlyn says with a knowing smile.
After saying goodbye to Kaela, Valentino goes into Delphine’s house to talk to her.
“I see you have sold your Sulani treasures?” says Valentino.
“Yes, I have and I’m really happy with what I got in exchange.” Delphine says with a big smile.
“I know Paul and I want to apologize for not standing by you. I hope he didn’t cheat you too badly.” says Valentino.
“Don’t worry about that.” Delphine says kindly.
Later, she initiated Valentino into her plans and now they stand together and plan how it can all be carried out.
“Look at this. I have my own private plane so transportation won’t be a problem.” Valentino says kindly.
“Wow! I had this vision, but that’s amazing! Thank you for doing all this for me.” Delphine says overwhelmed.
“I’ve really grown to like you Delphine and this isn’t going to be cheap for you. I really hope he’s worth it?” Valentino says caringly.
“He is Valentino. Fate has chosen us for each other.” she says, giving him a warm hug.
“I believe you when you say it.” Valentino says and hugs her back.
Author’s note: I’m sorry this chapter has been so long in the making, but I’ve had a very sick cat. He is fully recovered now without me ever finding out what hit him.
Here you see him in his favorit place on my desk where he enjoys life and the prospect of avoiding more vet visits in the near future.
Another thing is that infants have arrived in my game. They have been a rather entertaining distraction from the writing. No Infants appear in this chapter, but something might be coming 😉
Thanks for reading this far 🥰