Chapter 14: Nine of Cups

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The Wish Card, desires fulfilled. Enjoyment, contentment, comforts, happiness, plenty. A dream come true. This can signal the end of a major phase of a project, or someone who lives in the lap of luxury. In marriage readings, it means you will marry the person you desire.

Far away from the small, back-lighted waterfall, Eddie settled himself against a natural rock ledge where several thermal vents converged, content to use a rest period for contemplating the bam, bam bam! series of events and changes that being negotiated into Marlena's lifestyle entailed.

It was hard to believe six weeks had already flown past since he'd taken that blast to the cheek from Stykya's partner while hooping with Rahim, and Marlena had miraculously appeared in the doorway to kiss his boo-boo. Reviewing events was actually easy on the brain, more akin to savoring one of Silas Randson's top-drawer Davidoff's than examining the rightness of any specific situations.

Quitting his bullshit apartment manager job, leaving behind all the negatives and accepting the excitement of standing a judicious half-step behind a fabulous woman like Marlena Christie, had been an absolute no-brainer. How she made decisions daily for her galleries, thirty-odd employees, various artists, and a still expanding clientele was a treat to watch.

Her signing his checks as the 'Director, Creative Resources' on his business cards didn't bother him at all either. Wasn't he more concerned with her finishing tonight's teleconference and joining him here than how those direct deposit checks were stacking up? Oh yeah, Marlena in the moonlight...

Having signed a nine-month contract early on with evaluation period and yadda-yadda stuff that eliminated previously constant economic strain, whether their constant adventures as a corporate couple subtracted anything important from Life's process was pretty ridiculous. 

Being with Marlena almost every day was an obvious upgrade to life, as were custom-tailored suits, golf bags always ready to go, and private jet travel, including entry to the "Many Miles High Club." Schmoozing with the upper-crust crowd everywhere they'd been was simply not a problem, and Marlena knew how to steer away from sedentary activities.

God, he'd loved being a swim stud! Maybe years played tricks on the mind, but he'd been decent, just a few hundredths off the Brockport record in 200 back. Feeling the ol' pipes loaded with acids after going three hundred meters without a break brought back post-practice memories, chest and arms pumped-up buff, of puke-able suffering after totally cranking it in races, three strokes past the overhead flags and streeetching for the finish.

A few less beers, a little more dedication, ehhh, history, but results from working with a full twenty-five meter pool were a helluva lot better than anything possible using that nine-and-a-half stroke puddle at his old complex. An extra notch of prime-time physique in their bedroom's tri-view mirror, that was more than just his writers imagination.

With a strong start and a determined last lap push, he'd exceeded some unspoken expectations the other night. He wouldn't be winning any races with alligators, and the last fifty felt a lot longer, but if there was no actual need to quantify this terrific swimming experience, the stroke was coming back.

Sure, he wanted to make a "Here's the address, get your big black ass up here" invitation to Rahim, but having the cojones to bring him to Louisville to meet Marlena and see how everything about her and this place stacked up against his previous lifestyle, he wasn't sure how he'd take that.

This being Silas' place and their constant traveling were logistical facts, but Rahim wasn't a guy who cared about lah-di-dah stuff like new golf outfits, his learning curve regarding the art world, or even progress on rewriting his book. Interrupting whatever Rahim was doing needed to be solid, and maybe profitable. Would 'His Badness' think he was acting high and mighty, or more like dissed about just two short phone calls since leaving Charlotte?

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