Wolf Creek Ch. 15bysr71plt©
In many ways, the six years Ada spent with Stanfield in diplomatic service in tropical Kuala Lumpur were the happiest of her life. As rich and official Americans they lived like royalty, and every whim was seen to by someone else. Although they were physically closer to the gathering world war than anyone in the United States was, in terms of its effect on their lives, they were as far away from trouble and concern as they possibly could be.
Still though, Ada had some reason to regret that she wasn't home. In the spring of 1937, she became a grandmother. She didn't feel like a grandmother, certainly, and those in her community certainly didn't see the raven-haired beauty as a grandmother. But Hugh and his wife, Beth, had produced a son nonetheless, who they named John, after both Beth's and Hugh's fathers. Not being able to be there in person, Ada pursued her life as a grandmother through a series of exotic gifts for the child, exchanged with photographs his parents sent her as little Johnny grew from a baby to a toddler. The photographs were both delightful and disturbing all at the same time. The baby, of course, was sheer delight to behold. And by seeing photographs of Beth, showing her down-to-earth beauty and the way she wore the western clothes so comfortably as if she been raised in them and the way she looked at and responded to both her child and her husband in the still poses, Ada gained confidence that this, indeed, was a fine wife for her son and mother for her grandson and that perhaps the marriage would hold after all. But then she looked at her son, Hugh, in the photos and she became concerned all over again. It wasn't that the photos revealed any lack of love and affection toward his wife and his child. It was that he looked so haunted and confused. Ada could not look at her son in this photo without the visage of the other photo, the photo she'd found on J. Harvey Kincaid's nightstand, rising up out of the ether to float alongside it. And her heart stopped beating, if just for a second, each time she looked at one of the photographs of her son's family.
But then Ada would simply tuck the photograph back into her scarf drawer, give a little sigh, and return to her fantasy world. She had longed to be out in the greater world, to be playing on a much grander scale than Natoma, Kansas, or even of Warsaw, Indiana, or the Wolf Creek valley. Washington, D.C, had suited her dreams just fine in this regard, but now she truly was out in the world. As isolated as they were, it seemed like the whole world passed through Kuala Lumpur and their dining room—but at a pace that Ada could easily cope with and savor.
And Ada's art flourished as well. Whereas her fame in the States had come to rest on her winter scenes of the Colorado mountains, in Malaya she was using bold colors to capture the vivid beauty of the tropical jungles. She was shipping paintings off to the Chicago and New York galleries and had become the darling of a whole new generations of art collectors, many of whom beat their way to her remote paradise to worship at her feet and to share with her the continuing sagas of her literary and artist friends at home. In all she did, Ada's husband indulged his wife and presented her to his world with pride and affection. This was an ideal marriage for him.
Although Ada loved and respected her husband dearly, this wasn't at all the ideal marriage for her. But it wasn't long before Ada had met a man who took all of the tension out of her lack of a bedroom relationship with her impotent husband. She encountered him at one of those interminable cocktail parties at the French embassy. And he was about the last person on earth she would have expected to sweep her off her feet.
Sun Li was a Malay of Chinese extraction, and he was nearly twenty years Ada's junior. To the Americans and Europeans, he was primitive, a tribal warlord from the wilderness of the isolated Genting Highlands, in central Malaya, northeast of the capital city. But to the Malay, he was a truly Renaissance man. He had been educated at the Sorbonne in Paris and was an accomplished violinist. Conversely, he was a warrior, the leader of a fierce, untamed tribe. And to his people he was a god. When Ada first met him in the drawing room of the French embassy, he was wearing a tuxedo—and wearing it quite well—and was the center of an obviously erudite conversation in French with a small, select group of diplomats and Malay government leaders. If it hadn't been for his Chinese features, dark bronze skin, and the pony tail that his black hair was pulled into, Ada would have assumed he was yet another European ambassador. But, no, she had thought. He was much too powerfully built to be anything but the leader of men in battle.
Ada didn't even realize at the time that she had made an impression on Sun Li, but obviously she had. He started appearing at whatever party or event she and Stanfield appeared at, and, after they had been introduced and had engaged in several chit chat conversations over a couple of months, she was telling him of the beauty of the wilderness of her Wolf Creek valley in Colorado and he, in turn, was telling her of his own paradise, the Genting Highlands.
"They sound delightful," she said. "I'd like to see them someday." She was thinking of the area in terms of a setting for her painting.
"And so you shall, my dear, so you shall," the tribal chieftain responded, with a patient, but knowing gleam in his eyes.
The opportunity came a few months later, in the fall of 1937, when Stanfield had been called back to Washington for consultations on the increasingly disturbing political and military moves the Japanese were making in the southern Pacific.
Ada had chosen to remain in Kuala Lumpur, if for no other publicly acknowledged reason than that the trip back to the States was becoming so much more dangerous with each passing day. But Ada didn't fool herself. She and Sun Li had become closer and closer, each knowing what was happening between them and not wanting to deny it, and with Ada becoming more and more frustrated for sexual release in the never-ending months of living with an impotent husband. Sun Li had been honest with her; he had three wives up in the Genting Highlands, and he fully accepted that Ada's residence in Malaya was short-lived and she would return to far-off America soon. But he was smitten with her and he wanted to couple with her—and tribal warlords in Southeast Asia were not given to subtle courting. Most Malay men in his position would have just taken her—and, truth be known, this power—as well as his restraint—were part of what drove Ada toward Sun Li, and there were moments in the dance around that they did in public that she wished he would just do that—sweep into her garden and take her roughly and fully against the wall, as Peter Fair was prone to do.
But Sun Li was trained in Western ways enough to be patient and to not go beyond what Ada said she wanted as well. His patience paid off when Stanfield departed for Washington. Ada's husband would be well out of the way and on the other side of the world for at least three months. Sun Li asked Ada if this would be a good time for her to journey up to the Genting Highland as his guest, and Ada told him it would be a perfect time. Both knew full well what would happen in the Genting Highlands.
The distance between Kuala Lumpur and the mountain fastness of the Genting Highlands wasn't far at all in physical miles, but it was separated by centuries in cultural differences. As Ada rode into the mountains, first by car, then by horse-drawn carriage, and finally on the back of an elephant, she sensed the years of progress—not always healthy progress—melting away, so that, when she arrived at the sprawling palace of interconnected wooden decks and open pavilions meandering around cliffs above deep, jungle-infested ravines that Sun Li called home, she had been transported back a century or more. There was no question from the moment they were helped off the elephants at the entry arch into the complex that Sun Li was both ruler and god here—that whatever he wanted would be done and was quite all right with all of his subjects.
Ada was met by a line of twittering young women, among whom she knew Sun Li's wives lurked, who bustled her away to the women's pavilions and bathed and perfumed her and wound a brilliantly colored sarong around her naked body. Appearances were deceiving, however. The more Ada talked with these young women, the more she realized that several of them had lived in the West and had been well educated. They had chosen to return to this remote fastness and to live with Sun Li in the old ways.
That evening, as the sun was setting, Ada ate alone with Sun Li on a wooden deck, one corner cantilevered out over a chasm. Across the ravine from them, a waterfall fell a hundred feet or more from an even higher promontory from where they were sitting. While they dined, kneeling on colorful straw mats on either side of a low lacquered table, attendants moved in delicate, fluid motion between them and one of two pavilions abutting the deck against the rising mountainside. The soft sounds of lutes and flutes wafted from the other pavilion; both structures were draped in curtains so that, when the meal was over and the dishes and table had been cleared away, Ada and Sun Li were virtually alone, enjoying the lilting of the music and the sinking of the last pink, red, and lavender bands of the sunset. As they had departed, the attendants had lit tall torches at the edges of the decking, and those cast soft light across the deck, creating interesting contrasts of light and shadow. Idiotically, Ada found herself noting that she must try to achieve this effect in a painting or two.
Sun Li was draped in a heavy brocade robe, which rustled as he moved closer, without rising from his kneeling position, to Ada across the straw matting. He was whispering his love for Ada and the honor she had done him by visiting him here in his home. They were very close together now, facing each other. Sun Li took up a lotus blossom that had been in a vase on the table and had been left beside him when the table had been cleared and brushed the fingers of one hand through Ada's long, raven-black hair—still black with only the hint of gray strands at her temples—while he threaded the stem of the lotus into her hair.
They were very close together now, their foreheads touching, and Ada watched, her eyes downcast, as Sun Li unfastened her sarong and opened it and dropped it to where it lay in folds around her naked hips. She was naked and completely open to him. Taking considerable time, he kissed his way down her body, along the hollow in her neck, around each of her nipples and heaving breasts in turn, and down toward her navel. She arched her back toward the decking as he moved his face down her torso, his arms encircling her waist.
Ada felt Sun Li take the lotus blossom from her hair. He was kissing her navel and then moving his lips lower. Ada arched back farther, her shoulders touching the straw matting, and her eyes locked on the cascading waterfall across the ravine, itself magically illuminated by torches set down the mountainside around it. She felt his strong lips on the ones she had between her thighs, and she began to moan and sigh, the dreams of so many sexless nights lying beside her husband being fulfilled beyond her wildest expectations. She felt a pricking sensation at her entrance and she rose far enough to see, when she looked down the long, trembling line of her torso, that Sun Li had inserted the stem of the lotus there He was kissing and licking all around the blossom at her opening. He had his lips and teeth planted on her clitoris now and he was tonguing and sucking her. He held her pelvis steady with his strong hands on her hips as he was making love to her here, and she writhed in ecstasy below him. She wanted him inside her now, fucking her deeply. But Sun Li was relentless in his attentions to her clitoris. He just kept holding her still there and tonguing and sucking her until, with a cry and a lurch, she erupted in orgasm and then collapsed back onto the mat.
Sun Li was telling her how much he had enjoyed that and hoping that she had as well, as he opened his robe and revealed himself fully naked, a dark bronze god, underneath the robe. His cock was in full erection and curved up toward his body. He gave a little laugh as he inserted yet another lotus blossom in the slit in the glans of his penis. Ada watch this blossom, mesmerized, he lowered the head of his cock to her entrance, below her own lotus blossom, and then she both watched and felt as he fed his member into her flowing opening, crushing the lotus blossoms together. She felt the lotus blossoms being pulverized between their lower bellies as Sun Li pulled her pelvis into his and raised her breasts to his chest. The flowers released a strong, intoxicating scent in their joining and bruising. As Sun Li's lips went down to Ada's breasts, he pulled the robe around both of them, and they made long, languid love within their brocade cocoon.