Diplomacy, part 10
The couple approached the end of the long hall where milling officials in white tuxes waited. She had been told that their arrival would be announced. After that, they'd be informed about the usual diplomatic gatherings and how they were conducted. Since the dinner was being co-hosted by the US and ME at the embassy on Earth, they would be in the reception line along with Ken Hobson, his wife, and assorted staff members.
"That dress...as wonderful as it is on you, will look even better on the floor. I don't know how in hell I'm supposed to smile and make nice when all I want to do is throw you on the nearest piece of furniture."
JP's eyes widened as all her blood rushed south. She managed to swallow before speaking. "You tell me this now? Damn it Cierra, you are a wicked little temptress. Is it too late to change our minds?"
Cierra made a tiny whimpering noise. "I wish we could. Here we go," she whispered.
The ornate double doors opened as one man whispered softly into a headset, informing the staff of their arrival. Before the couple could blink they found themselves in a whirlwind of preparations. Kelly, Laura, and their heads of staff joined them and a reception line was formed.
"God, I hate formalities," Laura growled under her breath.
"We all do but I'm the one who opened her mouth and told Haley I was a queen."
"May you live in interesting times," Kelly giggled, quoting an old curse.
"We certainly do," Ken Hobson agreed. The President of the United States had to admit to many new events caused by Cierra and her friends.
The doors opened as the first of the guests arrived.
The Herald, a slight woman with a clear voice began announcing each guest as they arrived.
After a while, Cierra's hand felt squashed from shaking so many hands. She knew that she didn't need to but felt that she had to distinguish between the users and the genuine so she offered her hand much too often.
"Your Majesty," another man greeted her.
"Hello, Ambassador Degbe." Cierra liked his eyes and lowered her defenses, peeking into the man's personality. He was from a region of Agoué. He was also genuinely interested in bettering the lives of his people. He was hoping to speak with her later that evening about sponsoring a promising young university student for the group of scientists that planned on studying the hominids. The female student was the first of her family to receive any higher education and was bright and hard working. Cierra smiled warmly. "Tell Gisèle to pack her bags if she's interested, Ambassador."
The man's mouth gaped and he quickly shut it. His eyes glimmered with gratitude. He nodded formally and bowed. "Merci, Mademoiselle, votre Majeste."
Several people later she met with Minister Hoshi, and man of Polynesian and Japanese decent from Palau. He knew the odds of being more than another face in the crowd was slim. He was only able to attend because he had been in San Diego for a conference and had heard through the grapevine about the gathering. He bowed politely, too mild a man to force his ideas on anyone, especially a stranger. Perhaps he would write a letter and have the Embassy deliver it later.
"And what would the letter say?" The man's expression was priceless and Cierra hid a devilish smile.
"Ma'am, I...you have surprised me, your majesty. The letter would only explain the request from a family from my country. They wish to relocate to the colony on the coast. They are a fishing family and believe they would make a contribution to the community."
"Speak with Kelly and Laura before you leave the country, Minister. I'll have it delivered to the Bay Otter Clan and see if they are willing to accept them."
"Ma'am, you are as generous as you are beautiful. Your majesty." The man bowed deeply and moved along the line.
JP leaned closer to her wife. "No flirting with the out-of-towners," she teased.
Finally the duty of receiving people ended and everyone headed into the open rooms near the dining room for cocktails and for small talk. A glance at the clock told Cierra that dinner would hopefully be served in about an hour. She looked around, hoping for some finger food to tide her over. A waiter walked up to her and JP, offering her some champagne. They took them to be polite and to hold something.
"I'm hungry enough to sneak off and nibble on the food Sharon sent with us," JP complained.
"Me too, let's look around for some snacks before I start eating the flower arrangements."
They spotted a waiter with a silver tray and headed for him but someone who wanted to chat stopped them. By the time they managed to excuse themselves the waiter was out of sight.
Two more men walked up to them. The women smiled politely and ignored their rumbling stomachs. Once the men spent a polite amount of time with them they moved on in a never-ending cycle of chat and move.
"How many of them are going to kiss your butt tonight?" JP complained.
"Oh, about as many who have checked out your ass," Cierra teased. JP's gown hugged around the hips and displayed her tight buns to their full advantage.
JP barely managed not to blush but got even, making it appear as though she was placing a chaste kiss on Cierra's tanned cheek. "Be good or I'll make you kiss it before we go to bed."
"And that's a punishment how?"
JP's blue eyes darkened and Cierra shivered. She knew she was playing with fire.
Cierra spotted a young woman with a tray and quickly approached her. She and JP grabbed several daintily decorated wafers. They weren't enough to fill them but at least their bellies had something to work on.
Ken Hobson and Jill approached the Napa couple. "And how are you enjoying diplomatic life?" Ken teased. He knew Cierra hated the pomp and protocols.
She gave him an exasperated look then turned to JP. "Tell me again why we decided to begin all this?"
"Um, because you hated the view at the hospital?"
"Oh yeah, right. Next time buy me a travel guide."
Jill laughed and took JP's arm. "Well, at least you'll get a free meal out of this. They're about to announce dinner."
Ken offered Cierra his arm and they slowly walked towards the formal dining room. They had taken just a few steps when the staff discretely indicated that everyone should find their places. Ken escorted the women to the head table and held Cierra's chair while JP helped the First Lady to sit. Ken and JP shared a grin and nodded to one another.
Once everyone was settled in his or her seat then Ken nodded at Cierra. They took their napkins from their holders and everyone followed suit. A minute later the staff began serving the diners a small plate of appetizers. Each plate held three small appetizers, decorated artfully on the small saucer sized plate.
Each plate held three small items. One appeared to be tuna in a fruity sauce and cupped by endive leaves. The second item was stuffed button mushrooms and the third was satay skewers of beef with a dollop of peanut sauce. Both women were starving and had to force themselves not to eat the tiny amount of food too quickly. They chewed slowly and took the time to savor the flavors. Cierra sipped the Chablis that had been poured and chatted with those around her at the table.
The next course served was southern bisque in a large flat soup bowl. Although not a fan of creamier soups, Cierra found it a nice, light flavor. She ate her fill of it and pushed it slightly away so one of the staff would remove it. She hoped the next course would be more filling.
Her wish came true when the staff brought out the next course. A plate was carefully placed in front of her and she looked down at steaming helpings of beef and lobster. The lobster tail had been thoughtfully opened and displayed and a light creamy sauce was drizzled onto it. A wedge of lemon was to the side if she wanted to add it. The beef was quite thick and without cutting it she knew it would be served medium with a hot, but pink, center. Crisp asparagus stems filled the last area of the place, wrapped in crispy bacon.
JP lifted her utensils and was almost drooling. "Come to mama," she whispered.
The diners happily dug in while keeping up a running conversation with people. JP thought she was finally satisfied until dessert was being served and she decided there was definite room to spare somewhere. The servers placed small dishes of panna cotta in front of everyone. The creamy cooked pudding had dark chocolate drizzled over it and decorated with raspberries and powdered sugar.
"We should have brought Pam and Eva with us," Cierra whispered. "Then Eva might have put on a few pounds." JP swallowed and pressed her lips tightly together in attempt to stop laughing.
The servers finished off the meal with coffee and tea and allowed everyone's meals to settle. Shortly later people began milling about to socialize once more. They spotted Robbie, as she seemed to keep an eye on everyone and joined her.
"Food was better than I thought it would be," JP mentioned to Robbie.
"Yeah, but I still want to get at that basket Sharon packed for us. I hope our suite has a microwave."
Cierra shook her head. "Why is it that tall women are all bottomless pits?"
"Blame mother nature. It's not our fault. Have you seen Laura and Kelly lately?"
"Nope, they were sitting at another table."
"Damn, I hate it when people do that. Now I gotta find out where they are or go nuts."
"They're probably hiding from all the people who are trying to sweet talk us into some deal or another."
"Wait, I see them," Cierra said, pointing across the room. Their friends were chatting with a woman who looked familiar.
Robbie gasped and grabbed JP's arm. "Is that who I think it is? I thought she retired?"
"She did? I wonder how she snuck in?" Cierra asked.
Kelly looked their way and waved them over.
The woman with their friends smiled and held out her hand. "Ladies."
"Janice," Cierra smiled, "What brings you here?"
The former Coast Guard Captain looked sheepish and looked towards Laura. The older woman suggested that they find a different place to speak. They found a quiet corner away from most of the party guests and Janice took a deep breath.
"I have an idea but it's going to sound wild at first. As you know I've retired from the Coast Guard and living in New Britain." The three women nodded and Janice continued. "Well, I was reading about this shipyard in Europe. They were building a luxury sailing yacht for a company and the buyers suddenly declared bankruptcy."
"So they're stuck with a big boat," JP added, not understanding why this was important.
"Yes, exactly." Janice realized that she needed to get to the point. "The ship is double the size of the Asimov and made for cruises. I had this idea. I know you're allowing scientific teams to go to Mother Earth to study and explore but why use tiny ships? This ship can be refitted at this point for research labs and carry upward 500 people. Even families if the crews are unwilling to go because it would separate them for long periods of time."
Cierra grinned knowingly. "You miss the sea and want to captain it," she stated.
Janice nodded. "I know you hated the idea of so many military personnel on Mother Earth. I could gather up a civilian crew and train them. We might still need a few soldiers for security reasons but that's it. I thought we could travel to one site, study it for a while then return to the BOC for shore leave and to have you exchange crew if needed."
"And who would foot the bill?" Robbie asked.
"That's where it gets sticky. If you let the US pay for it they will consider it theirs and try to interfere. I know you are making quite a bit off the aloe research."
"Yes, but is it enough to pay for this ship and supply it?" JP asked.
"I doubt it. I spoke to the shipyard and they gave me an estimate of 54 million dollars."
JP almost shouted it out then hissed, "Fifty-four million? Are you out of your mind?"
"Probably, but I think we could get funding from different countries who want us to take along their scientists. The point is that your colony will own it and will be in charge. You won't have to worry about it being used in ways you would disapprove of. The ship is three quarters finished and they haven't brought in the expensive stuff like the hardwood floors and marble. They can make it a working ship instead but we'd have to contact them soon. They're looking for buyers and will take the first offer to re coop their money."
The women looked at one another then Cierra told Janice to give them a few days to think it over. Janice thanked them and told them details on the ship were waiting in Kelly's office. She thanked them again and left.
"Granny, get the kettle, we're broke again."
Robbie escorted her friends to their rooms and noted the security in the hall. Satisfied they had plenty of guards nearby she headed for her own suite. She opened the door to the darkened rooms and started reaching for the light switch when she heard something. Suddenly a body pushed her against a wall and hands grabbed at her. She recognized the scent of touch of her wife and knew she was in trouble. She should have never left her alone to brood and think. Now she was gonna be ravished. That was the last coherent thought she had as a hot mouth surrounded a nipple and took control.
JP didn't pay much attention to where she was going. She was busy reading the papers Janice had left for them, wondering how in the world such a huge ship could run with sails. Suddenly the papers were snatched from her hands and thrown to the floor.
"I think you forgot what I said earlier," Cierra said with a wicked smile. She slid her hands around JP's waist and leaned upwards, letting the tall woman know she wanted to be kissed. JP's lip quirked before slowly lowering her mouth and brushing her lips across Cierra's.
They broke the kiss after long minutes and JP nuzzled along her spouse's neck. "I think you mentioned something about throwing me onto the nearest piece of furniture," JP recalled.
Suddenly Cierra gave her a push and the bed right behind JP's knees prevented her from staying upright. Cierra chuckled and slid her palms along JP's long legs until she reached the strappy heels. She removed them one at a time and massaged the feet for a moment before kneeling over JP and finding her mouth once more.
Hands began wandering but their clothing prevented the touching both wished for. As much as Cierra liked seeing JP in that gown it had to go soon. She brushed aside the jacket and tugged impatiently on JP's top, exposing the dark nipple that was puckered invitingly. She teased it with the tip of her tongue, tracing the contours of the aureole until JP thrust the breast towards her, silently begging for more as her breathing became rough.
Both women moaned with pleasure as Cierra's hot mouth surrounded the stiff peak and began suckling and tugging, lovingly tormenting the breast. JP's fingers entwined with Cierra's hair and held her there while her body arched in response to the sweet torture. Cierra shifted and pulled down the other side and took the other breast and twirled it between her fingers as she began suckling harder on the nipple within her mouth.
"Oh God, Cierra!"
The shaman hummed and released the breast and pushed off the jacket from JP's strong shoulders. Both women began tugging off their finery before returning to the soft mattress and twinning around each other. They playfully fought for dominance until JP had Cierra pinned beneath her and nuzzled between her breasts.
JP knew Cierra's breasts were still sensitive and carefully kissed the nearest breast and teased it with her tongue. Cierra gasped and pulled her closer. Her nose picked up the milky scent just as her tongue could taste the flavor of warm sweet milk as she gently circled the nipple and caressed it wetly. Cierra stroked her hair softly as she enjoyed the attentions of her spouse. JP's hands were whisper soft along her skin, exploring slowly.
Then JP slid her thigh between hers and cupped her bottom, pulling her closer. The couple groaned from the pleasure of it and writhed against one another. Neither woman would be able to slow down now. JP began moving along Cierra, stroking her own desire against Cierra's strong thigh even as her own leg brushed along Cierra's damp heat.
The shaman felt herself nearing her peak much too fast and didn't want it to end so quickly. She wrapped her arms around JP and flipped her onto her back. "Slow down, hot stuff," she teased, running one hand along JP's side. 'I get to play too, you know." Her lips began traveling along JP's skin, following the curves and planes of flesh. She loved the way her wife's skin twitched under her mouth and how her body gyrated and tried to get closer.
It was much later when the women finally allowed themselves to entwine once more; seeking the ending both sought and avoided. The lovers fell into each other's arms and allowed the night to embrace them.
Robbie knocked on the outside doors to the queen's suite but no one answered. That was unusual. Normally no one from the Napa Clan slept in long except during the winter. She tested the lock and handles opened easily, another habit of living in a safe community. One simply didn't lock their doors.
Robbie peeked inside and saw nothing to worry her so stepped into the room. Maybe the girls were still asleep. She walked over to their bedroom door and slowly opened it. The first thing she saw was papers scattered everywhere on the thick cream-colored carpet. Opening a few more inches revealed clothing in heaps. Robbie grinned and took her hand off the door handle and crossed her arms.
She cleared her throat loudly.
JP and Cierra jumped as a sudden noise disturbed their sleep. They hadn't noticed the sun coming up because of the heavy curtains although their body clocks told them it was late morning. Cierra moaned and managed to push herself off of JP's body and rolled to her back.
They heard a loud 'ahem' coming from the living area of the suite.
"Got it in one. Shall I order you some brunch? Tracy and I ate several hours ago and I could use a snack."
"Yeah," JP said with a gravelly voice. "Give us thirty minutes to pull ourselves together."
"Okay, join us in our suite when you're ready, alright?"
"Yeah, no problem."
Cierra moaned after the sound of the outer door being closed.
"Can you get a hangover from sex?" she groaned.
JP only grunted and patted Cierra's bottom. She didn't care if it was possible; she wasn't going on any wagon if she could help it.
to be continued
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