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When Jason finally felt like opening his eye – only one was available, the other pressed against Jane’s warm skin – he saw the line of needles still sticking in her back, like strange little cel-towers on a warm skin-toned landscape. They’d stopped glowing, the tiny filigreed wires spiraling back in to protect the gems now that the healing was done. Jason sat up, seeing Jane and Isabella lying with eyes closed, breathing easily. Down at the foot of the bed Patrick was sitting quietly, looking at the two women, his hands now folded reverently in his lap.
Reaching for the crown of Jane’s head, Jason carefully withdrew the needle, wiping it down with a surgical cleanser before placing them one by one in the inlaid box. After the third one Jane smiled and stirred, turning her head silently to watch Jason. Isabella still rested, eyes closed. Patrick began untying the ropes slowly so as to not disturb her. Both men moved with a careful ritualistic reverence, only stopping on occasion to caress the Jane, who gave soft, happy murmurs at their touch. As the last coil of rope unwound from her calf Jane carefully slid off to the side of her sleeping friend. Now that the magic had calmed, there was a strange, post-orgiastic awkwardness in the room.
“You’re more than a barista, aren’t you, Jason?” Jane asked softly. He didn’t answer. He turned and rummaged some more in the lacquered case at the foot of the bed. Jane watched to see if he would answer, finally sighing and looking over at Isabella. Her wrists and legs were marked with the impressions of the hemp ropes. Her body sprawled lush and relaxed, her mouth slightly-open with a soft snore. […]