Anticipating ascension, Eppis Banto moves to protect her spouse, Ozbi, by forcing her other spouses into a bond break. She plans to do this by claiming huzkutx (a Femarctic form of impotence) and this requires a visit to a Genbluz. The purpose of the scene is two-fold: detail how sexual therapy works; show how intricate bondships are in Femarctic society; and introduce an character named Ebival Kul. This scene slowed down the narrative and added nothing that wasn’t explained in previous scenes regarding Eppis and her plans. Also, despite Ebival’s importance in the series overall, she doesn’t appear again in this arc collection, so she didn’t need to be in this novel.
Deleted Scene: Episode 5 (Tactical Pursuits Arc)
Characters: Eppis Banto, Ebival Kul
Version: Second Draft edit
Content Warnings: masturbation, non-human humanoid genitalia, same sex intercourse
MATURE READERS ONLY
Sexual Health Clinic
Vanda Exodome – Ramaxia
11 Bamx, 2228 – 0630 Hours
Eppis turned her gaze from the window once they’d entered the dome-edge territories. High above, the atmospheric matrix of the dome’s hull appeared as a shadowy grid behind the clouds.
Warixo guided the transport above the paved path, gliding alongside a massive quarry. Beyond the overlook, a collection of porthole windows dotted the rockface, and alongside them stood bordered doors topped with awnings of stacked stone.
She reassessed her plan as Warixo slowed outside one of the doors; sexual dysfunction would undoubtedly make her the subject of ridicule, but the lives of her pod far outweighed her social status. Exiting the transport, Eppis realized her willingness to endure such derision proved ironic, given how well she’d guarded her monogamist tendencies.
The clinic’s circular door hosted a stripe down its middle, making it look like a large frontal with a defined uzx, a perfect aesthetic for a genbluz entry.
A round glass screen appeared in the strip displaying an illuminated keypad. After tapping out the appointment number, a symbol of Oligax appeared. Its elder-makodonic voice welcomed her by name, and when the door popped, Eppis pushed her way into the scent of quartz-stone powder. Inside contained no reception area, only a bright room on the right, furnished with a desk and a sitting couch. Water churned in a canal where the wall met the floor.
A young subak emerged from a sliding panel door, her voluptuous figure stuffed in a snug-fitting subati suit. Doctor Ebival Kul’s face was a perfect blend of Dyb Kul and Ozbi, unsettling since Ozbi’s sib, Fos Tis, barely resembled her.
“How was the drive out?” Long braids fell when she opened her arms.
Eppis didn’t embrace her. “Are you the resident therapist here?”
“I’m not what you expected, am I?” she asked, lowering her arms.
Eppis tugged at the hem of her suit jacket. “I expected a Tenth-Gen counselor,”
“Citizen Banto,” the subak brought her hands together. “May I call you Eppis?”
“No, you may not.”
“Please come in,” Doctor Kul padded past her and into the bright room.
Eppis cleared her throat. “I must depart.”
“No,” she said. “My time is valuable.”
“Come again?” Eppis said.
“My time is valuable,” she reiterated. “Right now, I’ve earmarked my time for you, so let’s stop wasting it.”
“Pause,” said Eppis, joining her. “I intend to depart,”
“You’re here because I’m the best.” The shapely subak stood with her arms at her side, and the various degrees and honors projected upon the stone wall supported her boast. “Let’s stop wasting my time, please.”
Eppis stepped to the couch and sat down. Doctor Kul sat at the far end and pulled a tablet and stylus from under the cushion.
“I understand your anxiety, Citizen Banto,”
“Are you analyzing me now, Doctor?”
“No, Citizen,” she assured, crossing her legs so that the bottoms of her soft-soled nursing shoes faced Eppis. “This is a conversation,”
Eppis raised an eyebrow.
“Conversations are interactional, not investigatory.”
“You’re right,” she said. “Ask me anything.”
Eppis examined the ID tag above her hefty suzsch.
“I’m not related to the ruling house,” the subak volunteered.
“I’m aware,” said Eppis. “Your kerma is Dyb.”
“Yes, she is,” the doctor’s demeanor brightened. “Were you tribe in Mynu?”
“We resided in the same residence cluster.” Eppis shook her head. “We socialized beyond that time through Pitasa,”
Young Kul’s cheery demeanor wilted.
“Apologies,” Eppis murmured.
She raised her head high. “You’re allowed to mention Pitasa Jyr.”
Still, Eppis wished to make amends.
“How are your makers, Doctor Kul?”
“They’ve recently gone through a bond break,” she replied.
Eppis wished to make better amends.
“Their bond had always been shaky after Pitasa died,” she added. “It was, as you might say, never destined for permanency.”
“I appreciate your candidness,” said Eppis, suddenly cursing this plan to destroy what permanency bound her to Ozbi Tis.
“I keep in touch with my kerma,” Doctor Kul said. “My mak isn’t fond of my choice in careers, so I limit our interactions.”
“How did you acquire my case?” Eppis asked.
The subak set down her stylus. “When Counselor Cristi discharged you, your name went to the manager of patient affairs.”
“Yir Avi remains Prime of Hizaki Therapeutic?”
“You can discuss Prime Avi’s career choices with her,” she said politely. “It has been impressed upon me the need for your sessions to remain hidden from the Prime of the Citizenry Intimacy Counsel.”
Eppis folded her arms. “We’re speaking of Prime Delot?”
“Prime Avi enlightened me on her former sexual relationship with your kerma, CM Banto,” said Doctor Kul.
Despite her best efforts, Eppis had tried limiting her and Ozbi’s interactions with Tee. Her kerma had complained that pod Tis was full of laborers, bluzsh-bellies, and bruisers, far beneath the likes of House Banto. Ozbi’s social standing had become moot once Eppis agreed to a bond with Acari Tol and Ibur Grik.
“CM Banto doesn’t have former sexual relationships,” Eppis said.
“Oh, I know,” young Kul forced a smile.
Clearly, she was aware of her mako’s dalliance with the elder Banto.
Eppis took a breath. “I must thank Prime Avi for her discretion,”
“Having the Prime in Hizaki Therapeutic as a friend,” Doctor Kul’s lips formed into a smile that looked too much like Ozbi’s. “Is that what helovx call a French Benefit?”
“No, that is called a fringe benefit.”
“French is a culture and a language?”
“Pre-impact, long dead,” Eppis said, nodding.
“I’ve learned something new today,” said the doctor.
“Returning to my situation,” Eppis said. “You discussed my exact issues with Counselor Cristi?”
“In our line of work,” young Kul said. “We never discuss shared patients for fear that preconceived notions will affect our initial interactions,”
“That’s implausible,” Eppis balked. “Citizen’s consult,”
“Not the Tenth,” she assured. “Your Gen invented most of the privacy laws we’re obligated to follow.”
Eppis relaxed. “Are you bonded, Doctor Kul?”
“No,” said the subak, too quickly. “I cultivate my sexual excursions carefully,”
“So carefully that you’re alone?”
“Right now, yes.”
“When is your twenty?”
“I’m a True-Eleven,” she boasted. “I got a couple of years before my twenty,”
“Eleventh Gen,” she said. “Born in twenty-two Eleven,”
Eppis knew this, of course, having heard it from Fezil.
“No close peers worth a romantic effort?”
“My best friend is a lifeform handler with World Oceans,” she volunteered, moving her head from side to side. “She’s bizak, and I’ve known her since we were donats.”
“You maintain a platonic relationship with this bizak?”
Doctor Kul nodded. “Bizaki don’t arouse me, Citizen Banto,”
“Call me Eppis,” she crossed one leg over the other. “You’ve never engaged friends?”
“I’m not prone to groups,” said the doctor.
Eppis marveled at the casual admission. “Prone to groups?”
“One lover is all I need,” she said, shrugging her shoulders.
“Your illness hasn’t barred you from treating others?”
Doctor Kul appeared to bite back her words as she collected the stylus and began writing on her tablet’s screen.
“What are you noting?”
Ebival stopped writing to read verbatim: “When you stopped grouping up with your spouses, did your bondship end?”
“Why didn’t you ask me that?”
“You haven’t agreed to be my patient,” she said. “Yet.”
Eppis held the subak’s gaze. “I’ve more questions before I commit.”
“That’s what this time is for,” young Kul assured. “I won’t interrupt you with my questions, so I write them down for a later time.”
“Do you know a citizen named Obiz Banto?”
She thought about it. “I’ve never met her, no.”
“You want to know if I’ve been erotically social with your donations.” The doctor laughed. “I know Fezil in passing, never met Obiz. I want to add that I don’t involve myself with hizaki.”
“Why an aversion to hizaki?”
“I’ve been hurt so few times in my life, each time it was by an hizak,” she looked Eppis in the eye. “After Mynu, I steered clear.”
“You reason that I’d wound you?”
“Are you interested in me sexually?”
“Then why would I view you as potentially hurting me?”
“Context,” Eppis countered.
Doctor Kul began writing on her tablet.
“What’re you noting now?”
“Citizen feels that I’m immature,” she read. “She’s asked about my sex life, and asking about sex tells me that physical intimacy still occurs in hers.”
Unnerved, Eppis stood. “I’m ending this session.”
“You have a standing appointment with me once a week,” the doctor declared. “If you show up or not, that’s up to you.”
“Talking won’t correct my issue.” Eppis walked to the door.
“You have no issue,” the chubby subak rushed past her, braids tapping. Her dimpled hide jiggled through the smooth fabric of her subati. “You haven’t spoken of any issue.”
“You’re plump for a subak,” Eppis said aloud.
Doctor Kul blinked at the awkward utterance.
“Ozbi became plump after we’d collected Obiz. She often sat with the newborn on our roof garden, enjoying her much-needed naked time amidst the fragrant blooms she’d had planted there.”
“Those must’ve been peaceful times,” said young Kul.
“One evening, she mentioned our birther’s stress at our unborn donat being underweight. I expressed concern, but she explained that bizakidoe were always lightweight in the womb.”
Ozbi had been delighted with the idea of collecting a bizak. Once walking and talking, hizakidoe craved constant input; they toddled about hanging onto their nestors every word, asking why-why-why. Bizakidoe entertained themselves for hours before needing their mako.
“I assured her that if the donats ever proved too much, I’d be there to help. She snickered in that gentle way of hers and reminded me that assignment to the OHA meant living between the poles.”
“You lived apart from your donats?” the subak asked.
Eppis nodded. “Faced with this fact, I took little Obiz into my office that night and held her tight, crying softly enough that Ozbi wouldn’t hear me.” She crossed her arms over her chest. “When assigned to the Office of Helovx Advocacy, I resided at Nazca Base those first years of my donations life.”
Unconcerned by the shift in subject, young Kul responded.
“Did Ozbi visit you?”
“Taking the donats outside Ramaxia wasn’t a reasonable consideration,” Eppis shook her head. “Ozbi assured me all was well when we spoke daily. Upon my return, I campaigned for Citizenry Representative of Vanda, and this victory kept me in Prime Dome most days.”
Doctor Kul remained between Eppis and the door.
“Did Ozbi experience donapx?”
Eppis nodded, recalling how her work schedule in Utama had enabled her to deal with the disturbing lack of arousal that subaki experienced while saddled all day with donational age femmar.
“The year I transported Obiz to Mynu, I became proactive in Cloister politics, so there was little time for sexual congress. I spent many long hours at my Cloister offices. When Ozbi’s libido returned, she reconnected with our bond partners.”
“Did you ever try to join them?”
“I came home most nights to find she’d gone into Vanda and spent the evening with Acari and Ibur,” Eppis said, heartbroken by the memories.
The subak’s warm hand found hers.
“When was the last time you had sex with your bonds?”
“I haven’t engaged Ozbi in over ten years.”
“Ozbi?” the young doctor smiled. “That explains your assignment to me,”
“Come again?” Eppis asked.
“I’m the best therapist,” she said. “Given your predilection.”
Eppis straightened up. “My predilection?”
“I’m an admitted waxamist—”
“-My sympathies, Doctor Kul, but my issue is not your monogamy.”
The doctor stared at her. “What is your issue, exactly?
“My issue is that my gashcol no longer functions,”
“I commend you for seeking help, Citizen Banto,” the subak spoke without an ounce of judgment. “But I can’t diagnose you with huzkutx at this time.”
Eppis followed her back to the couch. “We agreed you might call me Eppis,”
“Then I’d like you to call me Ebival,” she countered.
“I don’t want to discount your professional opinion, Ebival,” Eppis said. “But I’ve not touched my partners in over ten years,”
“Can you sit down, please, Eppis?”
When she sat, Ebival joined her on the couch.
“Before you visited with Counselor Cristi last month,” she asked. “Did you try interacting with zaxiri at a citbluz?”
“I cannot patronize a citbluz,” Eppis stated. “I’m bonded.”
“Plenty of bonded hizaki visit the citbluz.” Ebival grinned. “Elder subaki call it an essential perversion,”
“Though I’m essential,” said Eppis, humored. “I’m not a pervert.”
Ebival brought her thick thighs up and hugged them.
“When did you stop being intimate with your partner?”
“The second day of Yulitat, 2217,” Eppis said, then narrowed her eyes. “I’m aware that you neglected to employ a plural.”
Ebival continued, undaunted. “The alleged absence of a physical response with Counselor Cristi stems from your unwillingness to engage anyone that isn’t your partner. Back to topic, true huzkutx works oppositely.”
Eppis slid away from her. “Refrain from this waxam diagnosis,”
“Let’s pollute the subject,” Ebival returned to her end of the couch. “You took classes in illustration. Did you major in architecture or aquatecture?”
“Neither of those,” said Eppis. “I’m a Citizenry-Representative.”
“That’s your vocation,” she countered. “I asked about your education.”
“I have a Prime-Degree in habitation-design.”
“That’s an unusual path since you can’t see color,” said Ebival. “What drew you to the field?”
“My mako specialized in residential interior plant life.”
“When I was a donat, she’d take me to hothouses and cold pools beneath the Prime Ramax,” Eppis said, memories of her maker flashing behind her eyes. “I admired the aromatic blooms and the many varieties of leaves.”
“Was horticulture a form of healing for her?”
“Yes,” Eppis said. “She became a new citizen out in the fields.”
“Does she still plant and pick?”
Eppis stared at the subak, whose face reminded her so much of Ozbi.
“My nestor is deceased.”
“I’m sorry, Eppis,” she said, shoulders up.
“That’s what most citizens say when they hear such truths.” Eppis smiled. “Or they claim to know how I feel, though I suspect your awareness might be sincere.”
Ebival shook her head.
“Not entirely. Ebi’s the only nestor I’ve known, and I can’t imagine my life without her. I feel nothing for Pitasa until I encounter her makers,” she moved closer. “When did you lose her, Eppis?”
“My nestor died the week I departed for Mynu.” Scenes of the night Eppis had returned and snuck into her kerma’s bathing room struck her like an unwanted gust of wind. “Her elders cared little to contact me,”
Ebival let slip, “Or, they didn’t feel like dealing with your kerma.”
“You’re a skilled observationist,” Eppis said, smiling again.
“My kerma says I lack an edit button.” Ebival aimed a thumb over her shoulder. “Your ancestral home is that large estate overlooking the white cliffs of Prime Dome?”
“My kerma resides at that estate.” Eppis crossed her arms over her chest. “I designed a residence for my pod on the southern shore of Vandox.”
“For them?” said Ebival. “Do you not live with your pod?”
“I live with Ozbi and our donats,” Eppis said. “Ibur and Acari live in Greater Vanda,”
Ebival hesitated. “Did you lose your elders to the Suicides?”
“All the Tenth lost our elders,” said Eppis.
“That must’ve been hard on you, without your mako—”
“-Yes, I’m a waxamist,” Eppis uttered. “Concealment is my talent.”
Ebival quieted and tucked her tablet and stylus under the cushion.
“I wish to cease this dialogue,” Eppis demanded, then softened, “How many instances can I say those words before I cannot?”
“There are no limits to the boundaries you wish to set,” Ebival replied, a distracted look on her face. “Still, any diagnosis requires discovery.”
“Clinical application?” Eppis said, shocked. “If Cristi failed to entice a physical response—”
“-Don’t underestimate me.” Ebival stepped into the darkened portion of the room, triggering a door. “Come on, Eppis, we’ll give it the old Mynu try.”
Eppis rolled her eyes. “Must I unmold my hair?”
“There are hair wraps in the drawer,” she said, thick arm extended. “I want you to bathe and then flatten out on the rocks. I’ll retrieve you when ready.”
“Cristi required none of this,” said Eppis, walking past her.
“This is a genbluz,” Ebival said. “Since we’ve determined you have nowhere to be by your willingness to unmold your hair, you can take your time in the pool, allowing me more than the allotted ninety minutes.”
Eppis turned to protest but found the curvy doctor gone.
The changing room held a wall of open shelves topped with stacks of neatly folded turbans and towels. Bottles of aromatics covered another, along with individually wrapped hairbrushes. Hanging her jacket on a clothing peg, Eppis set her discarded shoes under a sitting bench.
Naked, she let down her hair. Her stylist managed to tie it up in elaborate bows and knots without using molding spray or too many bands. Her dark locks required a trim every three months, and stubborn Eppis insisted on it staying one length.
After unwrapping one of the brushes, she raked it through the long tresses, strategically avoiding her reflection in the nearby mirror. The ideal hizak owned a handsome angular face, and if lucky, a natural frown. Born a Banto, she suffered the indignity of delicate beauty; her power realized when she spoke.
Beside the mirror stood a wheeled three-tiered cart, its glass top cluttered with tiny bead-shells. Ozbi loved to gather such shells, overtime accruing thousands to line the bottom of their foyer-fountain. After collecting their donats, Eppis had voiced concern about them eating the shells, but Ozbi assured her their donats were smart enough not to eat pebbles. Still, after Fezil began toddling, their volume noticeably declined.
Through the chamber and into the darkened pool room, the scent of sea salt and glacial melt put her mind at rest. Water gurgled within the kidney-shaped pool, beckoning her as she walked the large plates of blackened stone along its border. Sliding into its biting chill returned her to those post-graduate nights on the surface with Laxum, the one hizak capable of talking Eppis into such excursions.
Head underwater, Eppis relished the freezing water. She broke through two hair-thin plates of ice, her uzxi hardened, and the wind ticked her hide. Floating on her back, she studied the vaulted ceiling, unable to discern the colors of its stained glass. The design looked simple enough; two zaxir swimming, their bodies rendered with thick yet subtle lines that accentuated every roll of fat.
After the swim, Eppis twisted and tucked her wet hair up into a turban before reclining on the cold, slick rocks. A gentle breeze stole each cloudy exhale until her eyes closed and the world vanished into memory.
A door opened somewhere beyond her.
Eppis, have you seen Obiz?
“Of course not,” she whispered. “Obiz doesn’t take to the rocks with me.”
I can’t find her anywhere.
“Join me, Ozbi,”
A presence stood over her.
“Are you ready to come out, Eppis?”
Eppis opened her eyes and stared up at the subak’s curvy silhouette. Slow to move, she left the comfort of the rocks and entered a dimly lit therapy room. Under the light of a faux-glacial ceiling stood young Ebival, naked beside a waist-high massage bed. Her enormous suzsch hung perfectly over a thick waist. Moving closer, she smelled of a familiar hide cream.
“What’re you wearing?” Eppis asked, groggy.
“It’s called Barkay Shell,” the subak smelled her arm, then grabbed a bottle from the counter. “I can choose another scent?”
Barkay was Ozbi’s favorite.
Eppis shook her head., “No, it’s fine.”
“I’d like you on your back, Eppis,”
She stared at the narrow bed. “There’s not enough space for us,”
“We’re not riding, Eppis,”
She sat down and then reclined back.
“What are we executing, Doctor?”
Light-headed and tingling, Eppis huffed a quiet laugh. She’d seen many erotic markees featuring bellies pretending to be nurses, rubbing each other to climax.
The subak then clarified. “It’s not like what you see on the interHive,”
“I don’t understand your meaning,” Eppis assured with a grin.
“It’s not about grinding all over each other,” the bottom of her heavy frontals touched Eppis’ toes. “It’s about me relaxing you and then stimulating specific parts of your anatomy to induce burxol.”
“I’ve quite a bit of backswell to stimulate,” said Eppis, eyes still closed.
Gentle fingers took hold of her arms and set them at her sides. Pleasurably cold hands grasped her ankles and pulled gently until the muscles in her legs relaxed. The sound of whistling tundra winds carried her thoughts to the surface.
“I’m going to take your wrap off,” the subak’s voice whispered.
Eppis hummed her approval before sensing the turban tugged from her head. Talented fingers slipped into her hair and scratched at her scalp. Ozbi always laced her fingers into Eppis’ hair during oral stimulation, and memories of those encounters filled her mouth with the taste of Ozbi.
When finished, the subak bunched her hair up in one hand and expertly pulled the wrap back over it with the other.
“Have you visited the surface?” Eppis asked as fingers pinched her shoulders.
“The Fairgrounds,” she replied. “For games.”
“Between the poles?”
“Oh no, I don’t think I could leave home.”
“The world between the poles is quiet,” Eppis spoke as Ozbi’s aroma danced beneath her nose. “Helovx have no concept of hearing a glacier’s constant hum.”
Something thick and cold spilled over her sternum and slithered over to the crease of her closed gashcol.
“Don’t helovx think glaciers are ice sheets?”
Eppis chuckled softly. “What they believe is inconsequential,”
Slick hands coated her ribs and fronts, stiffening her uzxi as the crease of her gashcol began to spread. When the young subak leaned over to massage her torso, a hanging suzsch touched the tip of her nose. Eppis moved into them, turning her head from side to side, savoring their firmness on her cheeks and chin.
Then, they were gone.
“Can you turn over for me, Eppis?”
Ozbi had requested the same of her that first time they’d engaged. Most lovers held one desire when it came to intercourse with a hizzah; to grind their swollen gashes against their thick backswells.
Eyes clamped shut, Eppis groggily turned onto her stomach.
A colder fluid spilled onto the small of her back, followed by determined fingers that pressed and spread the globes of girsuzsch. Capable hands glided up and down the back of her thighs as her mind drifted into past pleasures with Ozbi.
Asked to turn back over, Eppis found the hefty subak wearing an exquisite black mask. Adorning its right side was a large curl covered with crystals that shimmered under the dull glow.
Fingers rubbed a circle into her spreading gash while a hand found her right frontal and held it firm. After her gash blossomed, her rydok poked out its protruding folds. Slippery fingers found it as Eppis fixated on that glorious black mask and its white painted trim. She rocked her hips against her masked lover’s moving thumb until a knuckle pushed between the folds and went deep.
Eppis spread her thighs, her widened guzshlix hungry for a perfectly shaped hand. She let slip a husky groan and stared at the dull black eyes within the mask’s perfectly cut holes. Her legs trembled when her guzshlix contracted. Biting cold seized her lower back and set off pleasurable waves that flooded her gashcol and thighs.
Her insides pulled on the subak’s hand, forcing her to cry out as pent-up juice fled her body. The beauty’s hand slipped free, spraying Eppis’s thighs with the warm wetness of her climax.
Entirely spent, she laid there a moment in silence.
“Do you need to burn?” asked Eppis.
Ebival removed the mask. “I’m fine.”
Eppis rose from the therapy couch and trudged back to the icy pool, the afterglow quickly abating when the subak began washing her hands and arms. The young Doctor joined her moments later, naked and carrying her tablet.
“You’re using this therapy as a springboard to a bond break.”
Admitting nothing, Eppis stepped from the warm pool and pulled on a robe.
Ebival folded her arms. “You should know that three successful burxolic sessions will prove you’re not a husk.”
Eppis faced her. “A fabricator best sees fabrications,”
“Excuse me?” Ebival said.
“You are aware of fringe benefits,” said Eppis. “You played the idiot to make me feel superior.”
“You underestimated me,” Ebival said, eyes narrowing. “A mistake.”
Eppis nodded. “I agree.”
“It’s obvious you’re still in love with Ozbi.” Ebival wasn’t asking. “So why break your bond to her?”
Eppis took the turban offered to her.
“Your services won’t be needed further, Doctor Kul.”
“Fusa Kul remains in power because she has a living heir,” Ebival spoke softly to herself as she scribbled on her tablet. “Femtrux, being the logical sort, coded the former Doctor, Sofita Kul, as incoming Primary.”
The clever subak lifted it for Eppis to read.
The Committee won’t willingly let you ascend.
That makes things dangerous for your pod.
Your condition will prompt Acari to file for a bond break. All of this is you giving Ozbi an honorable out by claiming you’ve got huzkutx.
Ebival shook her head and began scribbling anew.
Your bond partner isn’t going to buy your husk story.
Eppis whispered. “I don’t engage my bond—”
“-She’ll turn desperate, and a desperate subak gets aggressive,” Ebival interjected. “She’ll burn you and know you’re lying. You need to find another way.”
“My life is fraught with complications,” Eppis said softly.
“There are other factors at play here, I agree.” Ebival put a comforting hand on Eppis’s shoulder. “In light of your kerma’s intrusive interests, there’s something I want to discuss that stems from your donational years.”
“Tee didn’t molest me.” Eppis sat and pulled on her slippers. “Nor did she beat me. My kerma never did anything unkind. Though she’s never been kind, she’s hizak.”
“The word home causes you discomfort,” Ebival explained in the face of Eppis’s glare. “You made distinctions between her home and your residence,”
“Is there a point to this conversation, Doctor?”
Ebival stood sure. “What happened in the house you lovingly redecorated with your nestor that made you completely disown it as an adult?”
“I’m contemplating relocation to Utama as a means of distancing from Ozbi.” Eppis turned to find the subak writing something on her handheld. “What are you writing?”
“I wrote she’ll tell me when she’s ready.”
Eppis smirked. “Do you know your biological makers?”
“That’s an odd question,”
“Not odd at all, considering you look nothing like Ebi Tat,” said Eppis, stepping to the shorter citizen. “Your session style is conversational, so this is not an interrogation.”
Ebival stared up at Eppis, unyielding.
“Dyb says she’s my kerma, but I know that’s not true. She’s my maker, and my kerma is out there, somewhere,” she smirked. “Your tribal crap won’t work on me, Citizen Banto.”
Eppis felt agitated. “Kerma’s are complicated.”
“I assume your kerma questioned you once rumor had it you were seeing me today,” Ebival moved off and pulled on a robe. “Did you tell her I was seeing Ozbi, and you were meeting me about seeing Ozbi?”
“You’re astoundingly astute.”
“I’m a subak, observation is our greatest skill,” she bragged as Eppis returned to the therapy room. “You think Ozbi doesn’t know you’re a waxamist?”
Eppis grabbed her suit bag without answering and exited to reception.
“The fact that she’s stayed with you this long means that she’s accepted it somewhere in the years you’ve been together,” Ebival said, following.
“If that’s true,” Eppis said, tucking her hair up into the turban. “She’s not indicated such,”
“Pushing her away and moving out will destroy her,” Ebival warned. “She’s accepted you as monogamous, and she might see you leaving as a sign you’ve transferred your affections to someone new.”
Eppis gave a nod. “So be it.”
“No,” Ebival spat. “She’ll see me as that someone new,”
“She’s no idea who you are,” said Eppis.
“Ozbitis knows me, Eppis,” she exclaimed. “She comes to Pitasa’s memorial to pay her respects every year. She looks at me the same way elder Pel does…” the subak paused a moment before looking at Eppis. “She knows my kerma.”
After a moment’s consideration, young Ebival cleared her throat.
“I’ll diagnose you huzkutxic,” she said. “You’ll come once a week for therapy,”
Eppis raised her brow. “That seems—”
“-no more burxolic sessions,” she stated. “We’re going to talk about your dissociating from a nestor you loved more than anything.”
“Pause,” Eppis shook her head. “That’s not going to happen.”
“You won’t find another therapist willing to play along with this ruse,” she reminded gently. “I’ll write up some weekly reports about your physical therapy. CM Banto will love them, I promise.”
Sympatico, at last, Eppis opened her arms to embrace Ebival Kul.