Chapter 21: Knight of Swords (reversed)

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Meanness, confrontation, belligerence, excessive force. An enemy, a bully, someone opposing or upsetting your plans, a violent person.

Life was good. No, better than good or even great, it was right there at exceptional, a God-given glorious day of aliveness. After Eddie'd kissed, fondled, and thoroughly rocked her into a handful of orgasms beneath the stars and then out-swum her in the wee small hours, her face projected her feelings without trouble: Edgar Allan Starkes, you are still All That when it comes to turning a girl on. 

Nobody would have seen the subtext to her outward joy - But beware lover, between our last dances at MaryLou's and any Eggs Benedict in the morning, you've got some payback coming for that super sexing then swim stunt. She laughed easily at the notion, getting a puzzled look from Eddie.

Her ego could handle losing the Maserati. No male worth his salt should've turned down a chance at calling a car like this his own, exactly why she'd accepted putting it on the line with her swimming challenge. 

 She'd been impressed with how quickly Eddie'd tuned into driving it, and if zipping along country roads between Danny's and here hadn't taken long or been anywhere near the challenge of those switchbacks with three thousand foot drop-offs he'd handled in Italy, she could've cared less if he wanted to drive the eleven miles in reverse.

All factors were moving absolutely fantastically, and just how memorable the next forty-eight hours would be for everyone was locked in.  

After Eddie's parents confirmed their acceptance for MaryLou Whitney's Travers party, she'd choreographed every step, from limousine ride through which tables they'd need to visit while meeting a dozen very recognizable people she'd be introducing them to. Even if Roger Clemens, Derek Jeter, or Peyton Manning didn't get Andre Starkes to the highest level of thankfulness, she knew Leonardo Dicaprio would provide some magic for Josie; Leo never disappointed.

She was certain Eddie's victory-stamped Six of Wands would be fulfilled by major quantities of awe or acclaim on the part of Andre and Josie, and waking up tomorrow and enjoying an early brunch at the Gideon Putnam's always fabulous buffet would be a fine start to race day; having a number of quality tips from trainers and friends could also make it profitable.

They were meeting Rahim here for an hour's worth of good vibes, enjoying a display of colorful, Caribbean-inspired artwork while Rahim continued his role as highly acclaimed-- and actually squirreled away in Miami's Little Cuba - painter Hemingway 'Shark-Mohn' Jones. After meeting Rahim they would return to Danny's for a little bocce ball and socializing poolside with the boys, then make final preparations for MaryLou's extravaganza.

Resting her hand lightly on Eddie's wrist, stroking blue nails between his knuckles as he waited to wheel the gleaming burgundy and pinstriped Maserati into the parking lot, she thrilled at his simple return gesture of taking her hand and giving it two gentle kisses. Floating this high, it was a good thing the top was off...

She knew finishing second in Wednesday's captain's choice charity golf tournament would be an experience discussed often tonight, and no doubt retold for months to come, without losing any luster or conveying a single ounce of regret. Eddie would handle any storytelling regarding that admirably, but honestly, how much could you complain about watching Roger Clemens hole out from ninety-five yards to win by a stroke? 

Eddie and Danny had both displayed touches of inspiration in their games, Danny snaking in long putts to contribute eagle-birdie-birdie on consecutive holes. Lessons and opportunities to sharpen his play in big cash games had clearly helped Eddie, especially strong with long irons. Listening to the brothers bust on each other's efforts underlined their being lifelong buddies.

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