The morning after Nomi and Amanita's wedding dawns with a pale yellow light that slowly fills the room until Kala wakes, feeling satisfied and loved through her whole being.
If she's honest, she also feels rather sore. In interesting and intimate places.
The celebration lasted long into the night, her connection with the other sensates ebbing and flowing as they came together with their lovers until everything she knew dissolved into exhaustion and satisfaction. The exhaustion, on the other hand, lasted longer for some than others, judging by the way Wolfgang had touched her sometime after three in the morning. And once she was awake, she thought it a fine idea to wake Rajan, because she wished to touch him as Wolfgang was touching her--
A wave of amusement comes from Wolfgang, though he is still half-asleep. She does not dare connect with any of the others at the moment, because she is having enough trouble adjusting to her own thoughts.
She can't quite believe what happened between the three of them—that Rajan was willing, or that she had made such a brazen suggestion. Not that she'd been able to say the words. She'd simply looked at Rajan and blushed, and he'd raised his eyebrows before polishing off his glass of champagne, and Wolfgang had watched them both with hot eyes and said nothing.
"Good morning, my love."
Kala turns to lie on her side, facing Rajan. "Good morning." He kisses her sweetly, and the scratch of his beard triggers a sense memory of it brushing her inner thigh. She can't help but smile against his lips and bring up a hand to cup his bearded cheek.
"Did you sleep well?" Rajan asks, a hint of mischief in his voice.
"Well enough, considering."
Wolfgang is fully awake now but willing to pretend otherwise, to give Kala and Rajan time to talk. The humor that colored his mental touch before still colors the background of his thoughts, but she knows the self-protective nature of his amusement. He is prepared, as always, for the worst outcome—whether rejection, or a kind dismissal. And she cannot allow that to stand.
Kala reaches behind her for Wolfgang's arm, dragging it over her waist and encouraging him to nestle closer to her, and then Rajan takes his hand. Held between the two men, she is a little over-warm, but she's willing to endure some discomfort, considering the profound gift they have given her. The warmth also tempts her to close her eyes and drift back to sleep, until Rajan rolls over and sits up.
"Where are you going?" Kala asks.
"Breakfast should be coming soon, and at least one of us should be clothed enough to accept it without causing a scandal."
Wolfgang snickers, and she feels herself blush again. Surely at some point she will stop reacting like this. She is a married woman, not the same timid innocent who fainted at her wedding. Though one does not have to be a timid innocent to blush at being found in bed with two men. Or not in bed, but near a bed, and a very disheveled bed at that.
"Stop thinking so much."
"You stop thinking so much." Kala tosses it back at Wolfgang, though the retort makes no sense. Thinking too much has never been Wolfgang's problem. He is far more likely to act impulsively on his feelings, never considering how feelings can lie to you as efficiently as your own mind can.
The quiet rap on the door sends Rajan into the suite's front room, and he discreetly pulls the bedroom door close as he goes. Wolfgang waits until he hears the click before urging Kala to turn and face him. His kiss warms her, his mouth opening under hers until she takes the hint and strokes her tongue along his. He wants her. He wants to be inside her, watching as Rajan kisses her breasts and she is overcome with pleasure.
How can you possibly want more, after last night? she asks, and he replies, I will never stop wanting you. She is so happy, happy beyond what she would have imagined she could bear.
Rajan wheels the cart into the bedroom, bringing delicious smells with him. Warm sugar and butter and coffee and tea. In the center is a large plate piled high with the most exquisite pastries Kala has ever seen. Croissants and rolls, brioche and danishes, and at least three flaky confections she can't identify. Around the edges are blueberries, juicy pineapple rings, and ripe, luscious strawberries.
"Oh, bring that here," she orders Rajan, and he passes her the plate before pouring tea for both of them. He holds up the coffee pot, wordlessly asking Wolfgang, who nods and moves to sit up, leaning his back against the dark leather of the headboard. For a few moments they are quiet, scattering crumbs and dripping juice on the expensive hotel linens, and then Capheus is standing by the foot of the bed.
"Oh," he says, his smile dimming only slightly. "You've already had breakfast."
"As you can see," Kala says. Her earlier practice pretending to be bold does not help. Fortunately, she pulled up the sheet while she ate, so no nudity is on display. Not hers, at least. Wolfgang, as always, does not care and sits cross-legged on top of the covers eating a handful of blueberries, his smile as big as Capheus'.
"I thought we could all go down to to the restaurant and eat together."
"And what did Zakia think?"
"She's still asleep," he admits.
"Lunch might be a better idea," Kala says.
Wolfgang adds, "A very late lunch. Go back to your woman."
Capheus is gone, and Kala realizes that she and Wolfgang have been ignoring Rajan. She turns to apologize, but he looks curious, not hurt.
"That was Capheus?"
"Yes. He wanted to go to breakfast, but he could see we were already eating."
"What are they like?" asks Rajan.
Kala checks with Wolfgang, who shakes his head and shrugs before slurping down half of his coffee. "Who?"
"Your other...friends. In your group."
"Our cluster?" Kala says. "You've met them. You know what they're like."
"Not the same way you do. Who are they, inside of themselves?"
He really wants to know, Wolfgang says.
Of course he does. She purses her lips, considering. "Capheus is like sunshine. When he visits, I feel like I've been wrapped in his arms and held so tightly that it takes my breath away. Lito is rather up and down, emotionally—"
"Mostly down," Wolfgang interjects.
She elbows him. "That's not true! He just—feels everything. Very intensely."
"Nomi and Will are alike in many ways. Passionate about fairness and justice."
Wolfgang takes over. "Riley always has music in her mind, running through her bones. And Sun—you don't want to fuck with Sun."
"I wouldn't dream of it," Rajan says, laughing. Kala marvels at how handsome he is when he laughs.
"Sun is strong and fragile at the same time," Kala says. "And her fragility is her strength."
Rajan takes a moment to consider. Kala takes a breath. Wolfgang takes another pain au chocolat.
Whatever Rajan is considering, it's quickly resolved, and he looks at both of them with the same kindness and openness he has always shown Kala. She feels Wolfgang's developing affection for Rajan as his own person, not solely as a conduit to Kala. Wolfgang has had too little love in his life, and watching Rajan extend his generous spirit to Wolfgang is far beyond anything she could have imagined.
What a gift she received, the day she met Rajan. A gift far beyond anything she deserved.
Me too, Wolfgang tells her silently, and he can't resist adding, And he's a really good kisser.
"I think I finally have the smallest part of understanding," Rajan says, "what it must feel like for you. All of you. To belong to each other."
Wolfgang smiles at Rajan, and his beauty takes Kala by surprise. She has seen him burdened with pain and unhappiness for too long. From this moment forward, she vows that she and Rajan and the rest of the cluster will do whatever they can to ease those burdens.
"It's was decided for us," Wolfgang tells him. "But you are making a choice, and it can't be easy."
"Bur you are wrong, my friend," Rajan says. "It's the easiest thing I've ever done."