LaPorte Caves – Chapter 5
Written by circes_cup :: [Monday, 06 July 2015 14:41] Last updated by :: [Wednesday, 11 November 2015 12:15]
SYNOPSIS UP TO THIS POINT
Julia and Howard took a wrong turn in a Kentucky cave and tumbled out into world of amazon women. At first, Julia was disgusted by the size and strength of the amazons. But curiosity got the better of her, and she soon found herself drinking the transformative elixir.
This story contains adult sexual content. If you are not of age to read this stuff, don’t. No resemblance between these characters and real people on Earth is implied or intended.
Julia awoke to the heat of Mindy’s breath against her neck, and the warmth of Mindy’s naked body against her own. Comforters were piled high on top of the pair. The pink of dawn was gone from the windows: it was already mid-morning. Julia felt a happy glow between her legs. What in the world did I just do, she wondered to herself? Did I just fuck a girl – and one half my age? Am I a lesbian now? A lecherous woman who cavorts with ninteen-year-olds?
“Hey lover girl,” Mindy whispered, squeezing her tightly.
Something about Julia’s body felt different. The taste of Nourishment was still on her lips. Oh no, she thought. “Did I …?”
“Ssssshhh,” Mindy chided. “It’s ok that you don’t remember. That happens when you Nourish for the first time.”
“How much did I drink?”
“Seventeen, eighteen gallons,” she grinned. “I finally just relocated you to the bathtub so that you could piss as fast as you drank.”
“Am I going to be OK?”
A devilish smile crossed Mindy’s lips. “What was your least favorite part of your body?”
“My thighs,” Julia complained. “My huge and flabby thighs.”
Mindy grabbed the woman’s hands. Julia felt her hands being guided down to her thighs. What she encountered there was hard and smooth. Julia’s fingers spread wide over the ellipsoid curves. Oh my gosh, Julia thought. This Nourishment – it did something …
“And my ass,” Julia offered. “I’ve always hated my ass.”
She felt one of her hands guided, sliding between the sheets, to her ass cheek. No longer droopy, it was a firm globe.
“And my tummy.” Julia was breathless. “It’s always been round and flabby.”
Mindy’s fingers steered Julia’s palms to the woman’s tummy. The round shape and flabby flesh had been replaced by six hard bumps. They rose and fell with every breath: they were a part of her!
“Holy shit,” Julia whispered. “And …”
“Yes?” Mindy’s breath was sweet and inviting.
“My tits. So small. And always so droop—”
Julia couldn’t finish her sentence. Mindy’s hands had guided Julia’s upwards. The mounds they had encountered there were firm … and immense. Julia was moving her own fingers now, trying to circumscribe to entirety of her swollen bust. She was huge! She had never thought about what it would be like to live in a body so exaggerated, so extreme. The thought was jarring.
“Anything else you didn’t like about your old body?”
“I can’t even think right now.”
“How about your lack of erogenous sensitivity?”
Mindy’s head disappeared beneath the covers. Julia felt a pair of lips on her nipple – gentle, at first, then more insistent. She felt Mindy’s tongue rake across the flesh. Julia released an involuntary groan. Then the suction of the girl’s lips returned with exuberant force.
“Fuuuuuuuuck,” Julia moaned. Her body exploded into orgasm – or maybe it was multiple orgasms. It was more powerful than anything she had ever experienced with Howard. She bit her lip to restrain the pleasure. I shouldn’t be doing this, Julia thought. I love my boyfriend.
Mercifully, Mindy’s ministrations ended as fast as they began. “That was just a taste.”
“I’m not going to be huge, am I? I don’t want to be a giant, to tower over Howard.”
“Blissfully, beautifully huge.”
Oh no, Julia thought. She bolted off the bed and found herself naked in front of a full length mirror. Or better said, she found a phenomenally muscular body at the height of athletic perfection standing in the full length mirror. But it was her face, her shocked expression on the top. Her neck, formerly skinny, had thickened with sleek cords. The dramatic slopes of her trapezius muscles lead her eye down to powerful shoulders that must have been three feet wide. Biceps that had been small balls of dough before Nourishment were now the size of footballs, with the rest of her arm growing in proportion. Her thighs reminded her of steel beams. Even her calves were carved with an intimidating mass of muscle. Her midriff was everything her fingers had detected, an expanse of six chiseled balls of power.
Last of all, she took in sight of her breasts. They had gone from unremarkable and demure to something beyond magnificent. Formerly a B-cup, they were now bigger than volleyballs. Free of encumbrances,her “girls” pointed their nipples slightly skyward in blithe unawareness of their former sagginess. They were so full and firm, Julia couldn’t imagine she would ever need the support of a bra again.
Mindy was in the mirror now, too. She had wrapped her arms around the Julia and seemed to be estimating her dimensions.
“Nice, girl!” Mindy extolled. “You’re probably 22 inches on the arms, 29 or so on the thighs, and 54 around the tits. Sometimes the Nourishment takes a whole week to get women to this point. Looks like it took you about a day.”
“Uh thanks.” Being assessed like this was new for Julia and it made her uncomfortable. She found herself pulling a terry bathrobe off a hook and wrapping it around herself.
“Let’s get going to the beach. Speaking of Howard, he’s probably dying with curiosity about what’s going on with you.”
Fuck, Julia thought. Howard is going to kill me. “I should call him now. I should break the news to him about this before he sees me like this.”
“Whateva,” Mindy shrugged, pulling the phone receiver off the wall. She punched in a number, told the person on the other end to get Howard, and then handed the receiver to Julia.
“What the FUCK?” Howard’s voice barged through the telephone line.
“I’m sorry honey, I really am.” She motioned Mindy to leave the room. The girl responded only with a smirk. She thinks this is funny, Julia realized. Julia gave her a kick in the rear and then swung the door closed behind her. “I don’t know how it happened, Howard. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about the fruit since I was eating it in the wood. It had sort of effect on me.”
“The effect is called addiction, Julia. And if the fruit was a little bit addictive, the shit you just drank is a lot more. Sixteen times the addictiveness of heroin.”
“I know that’s what they say, but I can stop any time.”
“All addicts talk like that.”
Julia was hurt. She had never been labeled that way before. “Trust me, please. I don’t want to end up like the women here. Being that huge – that’s no way to spend your life.” But then Julia looked again at the mirror. Her sloppy knot in her bathrobe was already coming undone. Her surface covering of plush terry separated to reveal the stoney bedrock of her body beneath it. Her tits, too, were coming into view – twin volcanoes of feminine sexuality slowly separating the clouds of white cloth that had tried to obscure them.
“Julia? Did you hear me?”
“I’m sorry, Howard. What did you say?”
“What you did was incredibly reckless. You have no idea what sore of physiological differences may exist between you and them. It’s safe for them, but is it going to make you sick? It is going to kill you?”
Julia cupped a hand under one of her breasts. The voluminous felt firm to her hands, and yet soft and natural as well. “Maybe it will make me sick, Howard. I don’t know. I sure don’t feel sick.” She gave her breast a gentle squeeze. A thrilling sensation coursed through her body. “In fact, I feel good.” That was an understatement she realized. Just the gentle squeeze of her breast – it had felt GREAT.
“Julia, I can’t tell you how disappointed …”
There was a knock on the door. It was Mindy, still naked. Julia temporarily lost track of Howard’s recitation of his disappointment. Mindy was pouting, and it was … damn sexy.
“I’m bored,” Mindy announced. “Half the morning’s already over. Let’s go to the the beach.”
“Howard, I have to go. I’m coming over to the beach house now. I’m really sorry about everything. I wish I could make it up to you. We can talk about it when I get there – long as you want. OK?” Julia hung up the phone without waiting for an answer.
Mindy was already stomping her way down the hallway, and Julia went after her.
“We need find ourselves some bathing suits,” Mindy declared over her shoulder. “I’ve got tons of them you can borrow.”
Julia followed the girl to her bedroom. Mindy yanked open a small drawer, packed with brightly colored strips of cloth. She slowly thumbed through the options. Julia watched her bare breasts rise and fall with each calm breath. She isn’t bashful about her nudity at all, Julia realized as she pulled the terry robe back togther.
As long last, Mindy extracted an imperial blue-colored scrap of cloth. She stepped into it. The bathing suit – to the extent that this garment was anything at all – consisted of tiny bikini bottom with string ties connecting the front and back panels and an equally revealing top. The top formed an x-shape in the front: from the neck, a think strip of cloth crossed over the nape of her neck, over one breast, straight across the back, and then over the other breast before circling the neck again. It seemed to offer little coverage – and even less support.
“Take anything you like out my drawer. Most of it should fit you fine.”
Julia thumbed through the drawer. Her thumbs came across traditional bikinis with triangles smaller than her palm, a bandeau top no wider than four fingers, a one piece arrangement that featured more string than cloth. “Don’t you have anything else?” Julia asked.
“Else?” Mindy was offended. “I’ve got like, fifty, suits in there.”
Julia stared down into the drawer. It was perhaps two feet wide and six inches deep – the size of two shoeboxes. And it contained fifty bathing suits. That’s how tiny everything was. “I’d … I’d just feel comfortable in something with more coverage.”
“You don’t need it. Only men need bulky clothes.”
Julia crossed her arms instinctively. “I’d just feel better that way. Maybe I can just wear my old clothes for now.”
And so she did. Slipping on her old panties was no problem. Getting the bra around her new bust was pointless: that was instantly discarded. Jeans – they came on only with the utmost care, with both girls tugging gently upward until the pants were around Julia’s generous hips and backside. They resembled not a garment but a thick layer of blue paint. Her t-shirt stretched over her breasts, barely. But on her new body, it had become a crop top. Its hem, which had been intended for her waist, had now ridden up to the underside of her breasts and was straining against the breadth of the mass it contained.
“You look totally ridiculous. And that outfit is never going to last. But have it your way. Ready for fun in the sun?” It didn’t appear to be a question: Mindy was already halfway down the stairs.
Before opening the front door, Mindy extracted a metal armlets from a hook on the wall and fastened it over her bicep. The armlet consisted of several parallel metal bars connected periodically by crossbars, like a fence with its posts. On the bars were fastened beads, some brass in color, others various colors such as gold and turquoise and celadon. Julia had seen other adult women wearing these as well, but had never figured out their purpose.
Once outside, Julia had expected the girl to step toward the cars in the driveway. But Mindy was walking the other direction, toward the bike path out back.
“We’re not driving?”
“Too many stoplights,” Mindy explained. “Faster if we go on foot,” she said, pointing to a dirt trail that lead into the woods. “It will be nice to get some exercise today.”
“But how far is it?”
More than a marathon, Julia thought to herself. I’ve never run more than two miles in my life, and those were at a miserable 10-minute pace. It will take us hours – and painful ones at that.
But Mindy seemed not to notice her acquaintance’s concern. She stepped briskly into the bike path and started a slow jog. Julia followed. The path was much like the ones at home, but was divided into a number of different lanes. Mindy selected the path marked “Female Pedestrian” and kicked up her pace a bit.
Before two or three strides, however, one of the metal armlets on Mindy’s arm began to vibrate and buzz. Mindy removed a metal kernel and stuck it in her ear. “Hey Mom,” Mindy said.
Julia suddenly realized that these particular beads comprised a cell phone of sorts. She listened to Mindy’s side of the conversation.
“Howard told you? … Yea, she did … no, she looks good … yea, everything normal …”
As the conversation proceeded, Mindy picked up from a jog to a run, and then from a run to a sprint. Men who were running in the adjacent “Male Pedestrian” lane were huffing and puffing, sweating as they ran as fast as they could. But the girls were passing them effortlessly, with Mindy on the phone the whole time.
Mindy wasn’t wearing any shoes, and Julia wondered whether the slapping of her feet on the pavement would be painful. But, belatedly, Julia realized that she herself wasn’t wearing any, either. The impacts were painless.
As the pair increased their pace steadily, Mindy continued to talk on the phone. Before long, the wind on Julia’s face was so intense, it felt as though she had stuck her head out of a car window. Her surroundings were zipping by.
My joints should hurt, Julia thought. They always do when I run. But now they don’t. And my tits – even my old B-cups would have hurt without a sports bra, right? But Julia detected no pain. And I shouldn’t be breathing heavy, like I always do? But she wasn’t.
“OK, we should be there before lunch,” Mindy’s conversation continued. “OK, see ya in a bit.” Mindy turned reached back to the armlet-phone-whatever and turned it off.
“How fast are we going, anyway?” Julia shouted over the wind.
“30 …” Julia gasped. “30 miles per hour?”
“I know, lame, right? But your crappy ass clothes are going to explode if go any faster.”
“I happen to like my crappy ass clothes. What do you mean, ‘explode’?”
RRRRIIIP. Julia felt air on thighs that should have been covered. She looked down to see that her bulging quads had split the denim, opening it wide from the hip to the knee. Julia slowed to a halt. Those were my favorite jeans, she silently lamented! She bent over examine the damage, running her fingers over the tear.
RRRRIIIP. This time it was the back of her t-shirt, splitting wide as she bent over. It tore from the shoulder blades to the bottom hem.
“You’re a disaster,” Mindy declared as Julia scrambled to hold her ensemble together. “There’s a beach shop a mile or two down. Come on, I’ll buy you some real clothes.”
Embarrassment consumed Julia as she traveled the bike path in shreds. The chime on the door of the beach shop, signaling that she had finally made it to the privacy of the store, was the best sound she had heard all morning.
But the relief of being inside the store was short lived. Whereas the men’s side of the store had the usual array of swim trunks – heavy swaths of loose material that would cover everything from the waist to the kneecaps – the women’s side of the store was something different entirely. That side was like Mindy’s drawer writ large: rack after rack of tiny cloth strips. Julia extracted a few plastic hangers and examined the garments that hung from them: in all cases, the largest element of the ensemble was the hangar itself.
“Maybe … maybe this one?” Julia suggested, selecting the largest garment she could find. It was olive, with a silvery sheen.
“That’s a great suit,” the man behind the counter agreed. “It’s a popular style. Heat treatable. And it’s got a great Martindale rating as well. You could probably go ten thousand miles in that thing and not wear it out.”
Julia looked to Mindy for an opinion and got a nod in reply.
“Feel free to try it on,” the attendant offered.
Julia did, stepping into a changing room and discarding her tattered garments. The suit was slingshot style: just two strips of cloth that rose vertically from the crotch to cover the nipples, then darted down her backside to her rear. There were some small connecting straps, not thicker than strings. As she snaked her arms and legs into it, she wondered how it could possibly stay on.
“It seems loose,” Julia admitted as she pulled the dressing room curtain aside.
“We can fix that. It’s supposed to be loose until we treat it. Do you like it otherwise?” He motioned Julia to a full length mirror.
Julia looked at herself. Her physique was a study in sculpted lines. Her hips and her breasts her overall hourglass shape had been enhanced to a degree that earth girls could only dream about. They were an unapologetic advertisement of femininity. Moreover, the iron-hard curves of her muscles did not seem not so grotesque to her anymore. They were generous and exuberant, somehow complementing her feminine curves.
“Yes,” Julia said, feeling her grin widen. “I do like it.”
“OK, then let’s treat it so that we can get the fit right.”
The shop attendant led the two ladies to a corner of the store that was separate from the rest. Cinderblocks lined the floor and the the walls. A smoke hood – something one would normally find in an industrial kitchen – was installed above. The attendant donned a welding mask and a jacket that would have been suitable for a firefighter. He picked up a contraption that resembled a leaf blower, but was metal and blackened with burn marks. He flipped a switch. The contraption roared to life, spewing a yard-long column of flame. The heat turned the air wavy, and Julia could feel its burning power against her face. The attendant adjusted a knob, causing the yellow column to shorten and turn blue.
“Mindy, what the fuck is he—” Before she could finish her sentence, the contraption was pointed at her, and she was covered in the inferno.
Mindy misinterpreted her concern. “He’s wearing all the shit because fire can really hurt men,” Mindy laughed. “Do I have to explain everything to you?”
The flame crossed her chest, and a metallic smell tickled her nose. The metal of my necklace is softening under the intense heat, she realized. This flame was super hot – every bit as hot as a blowtorch back home. It should be hurting me, she thought. It should be killing me. She watched as the torch followed the cloth of her suit down over her collarbone and then onto her breast. Her nipple stiffened happily at the incinerating heat, oblivious to the pain and blistering and death it should have caused. Her suit made a crackling sound as it tightened around her. This is like heat-sealing something in plastic, Julia realized. It’s being molded to fit my body.
The realization sent another happy thrill through her. All her life, she had been trying to get her body down to the right size. She had been trying to fit into clothes that would make her feel sexy. But this was the opposite. In this new world, she was sexy – period. She wasn’t molding herself to fit the clothes. The clothes were being molded to fit her!
The flame wandered across the other collarbone. The necklace lost more of its shape. Howard bought me that necklace, she reminded herself. It had meant the world to me at the time: not just the fact that it was a gift, what he said when he draped it around my neck. “This is a symbol of what you mean to me. As long as we’re together, I’ll make sure that you are provided for. I will protect you, and keep you safe.” He certainly did that, too – found me a job, bought me a car. But the car is sitting in a parking lot in Kentucky. And until we get back to it, he won’t be able to protect me. That’s not how it works here.
I used to enjoy being knowing that he was looking after me. But now, I’ve become something … she watched the searing heat blast harmlessly off her enormous muscles … something greater.
At long last, the heat was too much for the necklace to take, and the chain melted entirely. Julia watched with fascination as superheated blobs that should have left blisters instead left rivers of satisfying warmth as they rolled harmlessly over the large swells of her bust. The red-hot beads of molten metal then disappeared, harmless, into the depth of her cleavage.
“Sorry bout your necklace,” the attendant offered.
“It’s ok,” Julia replied. “It didn’t mean much to me anymore.”
“Can we run 30 miles per hour again?” Julia asked as the shop door closed behind them.
“No, we most certainly cannot,” Mindy replied. “If you make me run at that pace again, I am going to fall asleep. Now that you’re wearing a real suit, we can run a real pace.”
“You mean, we can run faster?”
Mindy rolled her eyes. Her legs kicked up, and she took off like a shot.
“Wait up!” Julia shouted, not wanting to be left behind in this unknown land. She concentrated on pumping her newly massive legs, and she felt herself accelerate dramatically. Soon, she was alongside Mindy again, their legs a blur beneath them.
Their surroundings shot by. The girls passed male runners like the men were standing still. The long tresses of Mindy’s hair were blown so hard, they flapped nearly horizontal in the rush of air. She knew that their speed must be phenomenal – perhaps faster than anything she had ever experienced in a car.
A group of male cyclists appeared ahead, muscles straining as they urged their bikes forward. When Julia first saw them, they were several hundred yards ahead. Seconds later, they were several hundred yards behind. The girls were clearly moving at a ridiculous speed. And she didn’t feel tired or winded at all. I could run like this forever, Julia reveled. These bodies – they are simply incredible!
After only a few more minutes of running, the exercise trail came to an end. Mindy slowed to about a quarter of her previous speed, zipping through a parking lot at stopping them at the foot of a sand dune.
Julia was thrilled that her bare feet didn’t ache in the least. “How fast did we go?”
Mindy screwed up her teenage eyebrows in concentration. “About 100.”
100 miles per hour for three minutes and nineteen seconds, Julia thought. “That’s five-and-a-half miles. In my old body, that would have taken an hour!”
They climbed a short trail to the top of the sand dune. The beach spread out before them, miles upon miles of sand. It was crowded, mostly with men.
“This is the Men’s Beach. It’s a public service, since single men can’t afford their own beach houses,” Mindy shrugged. “It’s kind of lame.”
“But your family can afford a beach house?”
“Of course we can,” Mindy shrugged her massive shoulders. “We’ve got much more money. After all, we have me and my mom on the family.”
“Women make a lot more than men?”
Mindy laughed, the imperial blue of her top straining to constrain the heaving of breasts. “Yes, dummy. I just got hired for a summer internship, and I’ll be making five times more per month than my dad ever made. Although we told him it’s only three times, to protect his feelings. We let him have a career only because he’d feel worthless otherwise.”
“Why do women earn so much more than them?” Julia asked, looking over the sea of men.
“Because we’re not just strong and fast. We’re better than them at EVERYTHING.”
“I can see how we would be better at construction and stuff. But writing and financial analysis?”
“Sure. Men can’t even do long division.”
“Neither can I,” Julia admitted.
“How far did you say we just ran?”
“Five and a half miles.”
“How do you figure?”
“Well three-minutes-nineteen-seconds is 3.316 minutes. So, 100 miles per hour times 3.316 divided by 60 is five-and-a-half.”
Mindy returned a knowing smile, the ocean breeze causing her perfect hair to billow in the wind. “Carry it to four decimal places.”
“5.5278,” Julia replied, her eyes widening. “Wait a minute. How can I do that?”
“Because girls are smart!” Mindy chirped. “You have the processing power of several dozen men. A man can only read one book at a time.”
“How many can I read at one time?”
“Oh.” Julia surveyed the expanse of men enjoying the men’s beach. There must have been thousands. Not a single one of them is smarter than me, she realized. A volleyball game was in progress, and Julia gazed at that, too. Nine men on each side of the net, she counted. I can read books faster than all them – combined.
“And how do you know we ran for exactly three minutes and nineteen seconds?”
“I guess … I guess I just do. Was I right?”
“Yup! Your internal clock is more accurate that those wristwatches the guys wear.”
“This … this isn’t possible.”
“Sure it is. Brain cells need oxygen to grow. Our lungs are better, so they deliver more oxygen to our blood. And our hearts are stronger, so they deliver more blood to our brain. So, yeah, our brains can grow more brain cells – lots more.” Mindy began to tick items off on her fingers. “Better depth perception. Better pattern recognition. Better fact retention. Better processing speed. Greater analytical power. Better hand-eye coordination. Faster typing, and with greater accuracy. More creativity. Better vocabulary. And not just a little bit better. You’re, like, way, way better. Superior by a long shot.”
The realization was almost too much to take. Julia watched the waves crash on the shore, upending everything in their path, turning it upside down, rearranging it. “That’s pretty fucking cool,” she finally whispered.
Mindy pointed across the bay to some minuscule dots on the far side. “Our house is the third one from the left. It’s only about six miles as the bird flies.”
Julia stared across the water at the distant squares.
“We could run around the bay. That would be about ten miles. But the Men’s Beach looks pretty crowded today. Running through a crowd of men is a real drag: you can really hurt them if you collide with them, and zig-zagging really slows you down. It would be better if we swam.”
“Across? Across the bay? Six miles?”
Mindy shrugged her shoulders. She skipped and hopped across the sand until they arrived at a rock jetty. The jetty protruded straight into the water, a length of about one hundred yards. Mindy began to pick her way over the rocks. At the far end, waves broke across it in violent somersaults, creating menacing swirls at its base.
“I’m not that strong a swimmer.” Julia smoothed her hands over the swell of her thighs. “Or, I wasn’t.”
Mindy seemed confused. “Back in your old body, did swimming six miles take … effort? Was that like … exercise?”
Julia only looked at the churning water. She didn’t like being all the way out at the end of these rocks. The water seemed powerful and angry.
“Be sure to watch for jet skis out there,” Mindy advised. “The guys don’t always look where they are going.”
“Jet skis? Is it dangerous?”
“You bet. One of them collided with me at full speed once.” Mindy crouched for her dive. “He was in the hospital for three days. Come on, I’ll race you to the house!”
Julia wanted to ask more, but her companion had already sprung out over the water. Her massive body crashed through the surface like a bomb, spraying water across Julia’s face. She watched as Mindy carved up the water with powerful strokes, leaving the jetty quickly behind. If I don’t follow her, Julia realized, I’ll be stuck on this beach alone.
So follow her she did. Julia scrambled down to the water, took a deep breath, dipped her body in, and pushed off. For Julia, swimming had never been a pleasant experience. She was accustomed to being thrown about by the waves. She was accustomed to gulping water where there should have been air. She was accustomed to a burning feeling on the surface of her eyes as she peered underwater into impenetrable blue gloom.
But now it was different. Her sturdy arms and legs clawed through the water with unflagging power. When she opened her eyes below the waves, it did not hurt. The underwater realm opened itself up for her with stunning clarity. Other swimmers, jet skis, fish and rocks below – she could see it all. Nothing here could hurt her, she realized, nor even make her uncomfortable. She felt just as much a sense of belonging here, in the open ocean, as she had felt in her walled garden back home. Julia came up for a slow, deep breath, then submerged. She adopted a crawl stroke. Her limbs rejoiced as they filled once again with their inhuman power. She began to tear through the ocean waves as though they were nothing more than ripples in a bath tub.
Howard would be so proud of me, Julia thought to herself! But then she realized that wasn’t the case. He was disappointed in her, concerned for her, and upset about her breaking of the promise between them.
That’s ironic, Julia realized as she powered ahead. I used to get a nervous flutter in my stomach when I faced ocean waves. Now, I’ve got the same nervous flutter, and it’s not because I have to confront the waves. It’s because I have to face what – or more specifically, who – is on the other side.