The Brass Statuettes--ch. 7, a short story by Autumnwriter. Date added: 2009-10-07. Times viewed: 1127.
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- Intro: Changing the Rules of the Game
The Brass Statuettes
By: Autumn Writer
© Copyright 2007, 2009
Chapter 7- Changing the Rules of the Game
Gloria lay prone on the massage table; Raul worked over the backs of her thighs with the rolling pin. After her nighttime workout with her husband the exercise session exhausted her even more than usual, so the massage felt extra good. After a minute or so she felt him shifting the pressure upward, toward her private zone and she knew what he was leading up to
"Would you like the Deluxe Workout today, Señora Warner?" he asked as his hand accidentally grazed over her buttocks and he bent his head close to her ear.
"I think I'll pass today, Raul," she replied. She felt his pressure on her legs lessen and the enthusiasm drain out of the back and forth strokes of the rolling pin. She thought for a second and considered a change of mind. It could be an error to disappoint him, and good help was hard to find. But, her night with Alvin was on her mind, too.
"In that case, Señora, I think we are done for the day," he said after a few finishing passes with the rolling pin.
Gloria realized that she had, indeed, disappointed him. She so seldom refused him, but Raul was a man, after all, so she knew that once a man became infused with certain expectations, rejections were not taken lightly. It was true of any man, and Raul, although an employee, was included. It was she, after all, who always admonished her girls to enjoy their work.
Raul backed away from the massage table and Gloria eased herself off and to her feet. He looked away from her as he folded his things and replaced them in his gym bag while he waited for his payment.
"I'm sorry, Raul," she apologized. "It's only because..." She paused in the explanation because she suddenly realized that she had started to render one without knowing what she would say. She took a deep breath, "It's kind of embarrassing..." she started to say, but that was just a play for a few more seconds' reprieve. Raul stopped folding his towel and looked at her with an expectant look.
"It's just that it's my time of month," she blurted out. It was a boldfaced lie, face-saving for both of them, with the impossibility of contradiction. She wondered if Raul knew. He might, but would never say so-and that's what mattered at the moment.
"I'm sorry, Señora Warner," Raul answered. "If you were not feeling well you could have called me and cancelled for this week."
His answer alarmed her. She wasn't sure if it was the patronizing way he said it, or the ease in which he was willing to forego her. Either way, she could not let it stand, but instinct told her that anger was not the way.
"I was going to call you," she said in her most feminine voice, "but I knew you'd be disappointed." She rubbed herself on him, being sure to crush the ‘best tits in town' on his chest.
"No problem, Señora Warner. We'll see about it next week." He was smiling again; all was repaired.
Juana noticed that Raul looked uncharacteristically glum as he trod through the house on his way to the car. She smiled to herself-mostly for Señor Alvin, but also for herself. Her hunches were correct.
"I'm going upstairs to take a shower, Juana," Gloria called from the stairway. She skipped the customary display of her sweaty leotard still in place under her terrycloth robe. Her mind was on other things. The shower would be a good place to sort things out.
As Raul's car was leaving the Warner's drive, another was taking its place. This car was a newer model and a little more expensive. Juana saw it approaching and recognized it after a moment's thought. "Señora Trudy," she whispered aloud. Gloria had said nothing about expecting any guests. She wondered what would bring the tall, smiling lady out before the lunch hour.
Trudy was dressed more casually on this visit. She wore khaki slacks and a white cotton tee-shirt with sandals. When she got out of her car and approached the front door she carried a file folder, but no purse.
"Good morning, Señora Trudy," Juana gushed as she opened the front door as Trudy drew near to it.
"You remembered my name," Trudy smiled and seemed a little surprised. Juana knew that the gesture had pleased her. "Buenos dias to you."
"Dee Señora, chee ees een la ducha," Juana said.
"La ducha?" Trudy asked
"Si, chu know, la ducha," Juana repeated and raised her hands over her head and slowly lowered them with her fingers wiggling.
"Oh, you mean the shower," Trudy laughed.
"Si, dey are dee sem ting," Juana laughed along with her.
"Can I wait?" Trudy asked. "She's not expecting me, but I have to talk to her about something important."
"Chu may seet on dee veranda and I weel bring a café," Juana said.
While Trudy waited for Juana she ventured onto the grounds to admire the gardens. There were many beds, each with its own theme. The best were the roses.
"Dee gardens, dey are dee work of my hosban'," Juana said to her. Trudy remembered that Juana had told her that once before, but didn't correct her because she detected the pride in the older woman's voice. The maid left the coffee on the veranda table and joined Trudy in the garden.
"These are truly beautiful," Trudy said. "Your husband has great talent. I wish I could make my yard look like this."
"José say, ‘chu must teenk like dee flowairs'."
"Well, he must be reading their minds," Trudy replied.
Juana let Trudy observe the garden for a minute, and then she spoke again. "All of dee señoras," Juana began, "dey love dee flowairs, but no to work in dee garden. All dee plaisure ees for dem-dee work ees for o-thairs. Ees dee reason dey are so sad." Juana stole a glance at Trudy and saw her glancing back. "Eet ees taking, but no geeving."
Trudy turned and looked at Juana. "Is that how you think of us?" she asked.
"I dun' know. I wose talkin' about flowairs," Juana replied.
"Maybe so," Trudy said and then grimaced as she looked away.
"I go to dee house now and tell dee Señora dat chu are ‘eer," the maid said. She abruptly turned and left Trudy by herself in the garden.
Before Trudy returned to the table on the veranda she had quite a few minutes to herself to finish perusing the gardens, enjoy her coffee and think about what Juana had said to her.
"Not all the smart people went to college," she thought to herself. She could feel the rising sun's growing heat, but it hadn't reached its noon apex so the morning was still pleasant; the brightness showed off the roses' colors.
"Trudy, I didn't expect you," Gloria appeared at the French doors leading to the veranda. She called for Juana. "Bring me some coffee, please and refill Mrs. Bennett's, too."
"I'm sorry to barge in like this," Trudy apologized. "I was on my way to the Post Office to check the box and I thought I should speak to you."
"You already opened a Post Office Box for the Foundation?" Gloria asked with a note of surprise in her voice. "That was really efficient. I knew that we chose the right person as the Corresponding Secretary."
"That was the easy part," Trudy cautioned her. "There are a lot more details that I think need taking care of."
"What do you mean?" Gloria asked. "I thought that we were doing just fine. We just completed the financing of the Preschool..."
"That was when you were doing it by yourself," Trudy explained, "and that was fine. There are five of us now and it will mean a lot more activity and doing things a different way."
"Like what? I'm unclear about what you're talking about."
"For example," Trudy explained, "we have no letterhead to write letters on. Any letter we write should go out on official Foundation stationery. Another thing, I think we need a phone line for the Foundation and an answering service, instead of using your home phone. And then there's a possible website on the internet..."
"I see-I see," Gloria conceded. "None of those things seemed necessary before."
"Frank said that the directors should be covered by special liability insurance; and look, here is the list you gave me of everyone that you wanted to receive announcements. There are over a hundred-and I thought of over twenty-five more. That means sending all those and receiving a hundred possible replies. That will lead to more letters. There will be filing and..."
"Are you saying that I created a monster?" Gloria asked.
"No," Trudy answered, "it's just proving to look a lot more complex and we want to do things the right way."
"So you want to hire some staff?" Gloria countered.
"That's not up to me," Trudy admitted. "There would be even more complications if we take on employees, not to mention the costs."
"But you don't think you can do it alone?" Gloria probed.
"Not for long," Trudy replied. "I can put my finger in the dike for a while. We need to get the others involved and help with some of these details."
"That will never work," Gloria scoffed. "The others aren't in this to be secretaries. They have better things to do. So do I."
Trudy frowned at the insult. As hurtful as it was, she realized that Gloria had a good point. The mental image of Ashley or Darlene, or even Brenda breaking their manicured nails while stuffing envelopes and typing letters was hard to believe.
"I know that didn't come out right," Gloria consoled her. "I didn't mean it the way it sounded. You're saying that you can't do it alone, right?"
"That's right! This is a volunteer job. I can't work at it full time while the others just get dressed up once a week and schmooze with someone over an expensive lunch at a downtown café."
Gloria called Juana for more coffee. An interlude of silence interrupted the conversation; they sensed the impasse.
"Your gardens are beautiful," Trudy complimented her hostess in an effort to break the tension. "Juana showed me the roses." She thought of quoting Juana and her metaphor about gardening and giving. She was tempted because it fit so well, but stopped herself to keep Juana out of trouble.
"I wish that I had more time for them," Gloria sighed. "They're really the gardener's gardens. They make the grounds look nice, but there's not much satisfaction in them without putting a hand in."
"Why don't you tell him that you want to do part of it? Ask him to save one of the flower beds for you."
"I should," Gloria replied, "but I couldn't. I gave that life up long ago. I wouldn't even remember how to do it."
"Juana told me her husband says that one has to think like the flowers."
"She never told me that," Gloria said. "It seems that you're better acquainted with my help than I am." Gloria's eyes darkened and Trudy knew she had said too much. She was glad that she'd held back earlier. "Anyway," Gloria continued, "you can see how inscrutable these Mexicans can be. Only they would know what that's supposed to mean."
"I just thought that it was an interesting..."
"I know just the thing to solve our problem," Gloria interrupted suddenly. "We'll get our husbands' secretaries to help us in their spare time."
"I don't think we can..." Trudy started to reply
"That talk about the roses inspired me," Gloria said, with determined enthusiasm. "We'll get Alvin's secretary, and your husband's, and there'll be Brenda's husband's secretary and the rest."
"I can tell you what Frank will say when I ask him to twist Jeannette's arm," Trudy warned.
"You can get men to do things if you ask them-you know, the right way," Gloria insisted.
"I know what you're talking about, Gloria. I've never done that and I won't..."
"We'll have to discuss that another time," Gloria went on, undeterred. "I have a plan to take care of it without getting our husbands involved, anyway."
"What plan?" Trudy asked. "I think we have to be careful about this."
"We'll invite all the secretaries for a pool party, right here at my house," Gloria announced. "Alvin was just saying how they all forgot to do something for them on National Secretaries' Day. It'll be a make-up for that-just the secretaries and the five of us. After a few drinks..."
"You've got to be kidding," Trudy scolded.
"This will work, I know it will. Even if they see through it, they won't dare refuse."
"I don't think it's fair..."
"Would it be more fair for you to do all the work?" Gloria asked. "Because, that's what it'll be if we don't do it this way." Trudy paused, unhappy with either choice. "C'mon, the party will be great fun and if they all agree, they can all share the load and no one will have to do too much."
"I'm glad Trudy had no part of it," Frank thought to himself as he rounded the corner into the underground Executive Parking Garage. He inserted his keycard into the reader.
Over breakfast, Trudy had told him of Gloria's plan for the pool party for the executive secretaries. The excuse was to be billed as a make-up for the forgotten Secretaries' Day acknowledgement.
"They were doing just fine without it." He didn't know why he was so against it-instinct just told him to be that way. Then, he realized that Trudy was involved even though it was all Gloria's idea. "Guilt by association," he deduced, and then cut the subject off. He had more important things on his mind.
It seemed like everywhere he turned he was surfboarding on quicksand. He told himself it was surfing Texas-style. As the elevator opened onto the Executive Suite, he was glad to encounter one of the few constants he could count on in his business life.
"Good morning, Mr. Bennett." Floyd's familiar greeting was as soothing a balm he could hope for. "In early again-as usual," he turned with a grin at Frank as he escorted him down the hallway to his office.
"Floyd, you're getting to know me better than my wife," Frank quipped. "Does this mean we're engaged?"
It brought a belly laugh from the security guard. "I don't believe we're ready for that big step, sir," he bantered back. He pulled the skeleton key from his pocket and unlocked Frank's office door.
"Thanks, Floyd," Frank said as he entered his office and sat at his desk. Floyd disappeared and Frank took a glance to review his calendar. He had several calls to make that morning. The New York bankers were coming around to the idea of the R&D financing plan, but it looked like a syndicated package with either Chase-Morgan or Citigroup taking the lead. So, Frank realized he didn't need to feel so bad. Things were hectic, but looking up. "I've got to start thinking about the ‘how, not the if'." To him, there was a wide array of possibilities. He figured if he kept at it... "Then everything would turn out just right."
"Here's some coffee to get you started." Floyd said. He set the styrofoam cup on Frank's desk.
"This will really hit the spot," Frank acknowledged. He took a sip of the steaming, black elixir. "Floyd, the only thing that stays the same around here is that you bring me an early coffee in a styrofoam cup and I say that it will hit the spot."
"And then you hustle to get rid of the evidence before Miss Jeannette sees it," Floyd completed the thought.
"Do you think she doesn't know, or do you think she pretends not to know?" Frank asked.
Floyd scratched his head. "That's a tough one," he sighed. "She's never let on to me, but thinking about Miss Jeannette not knowing about something is hard to believe."
"My guess is that she knows," Frank told him. "There've been too many close calls."
"You're probably right," Floyd chuckled. "I've never known anyone who could keep track of things the way she can."
Frank nodded with a wry smile as he began to turn to his day ahead.
"For example," Floyd went on, "look at all the goings on in the office over the past week."
"What d'ya mean, Floyd," Frank asked as he scrolled through the e-mails on his computer screen.
"Everyone looking nervous all the time, and such," Floyd explained, "and that new young man in the Controller's office."
"That's temporary," Frank clarified. "He's doing a special job for me and I need him close at hand."
"Right, right," Floyd agreed. "Do you think he'll be up here permanently someday?"
"Maybe someday, but he's too young and still has to learn some things."
Frank picked up his cup of coffee. "I better get working on this before Jeannette comes in here and sees me with it," Frank said. Floyd nodded and turned to leave. "Have a good day, Floyd," he called after him.
Frank finished the coffee that Floyd gave him and then, as if on cue, Jeannette arrived at the office to start her day. "Would you let Aaron know that I want to see him, and his work papers, as soon as he gets in?" Frank asked. "He can have coffee here with me. It'll save time."
About ten minutes later Aaron was sitting at the work table in Frank's office. Jeannette brought them coffee. "Where do we stand on getting the forecast wrapped up?" Frank demanded.
"I met with Dr. Lowell on late Friday afternoon," Aaron recounted. "We went over all the projects and the timing. I worked the weekend to put it together."
"Good so far," Frank nodded.
"He made a lot of changes to the original plan," Aaron continued. "He did a lot of shuffling on projects, and some of them had effects on current-year revenues. It changed a lot of things. Some of his assumptions didn't sound realistic. It echoed right through the forecast."
"Show me what you're talking about."
"I did an analysis showing the effects, reconciling the last forecast version to the present one."
"I see," Frank said as he paged through the pages of numbers. "There are a lot of plusses and minuses. What did you do with the capital spending?"
"I didn't do anything. I thought that I would talk to Mr. Hart. On some of Dr. Lowell's aggressive assumptions, I scaled things back a bit."
"No, you can't do that!" Frank scolded. "Is this Lowell's forecast or yours?" Aaron gave an embarrassed shrug. "You did right to analyze the changes. You should have stopped there. You'll have to redo it with Jason's pure numbers. Send me a copy and show it to Mr. Hart. There will have to be a redo of the capital spending, too."
"I don't understand..." Aaron began to speak.
"Because whatever happens to the product development stream has an effect on the capital spending to support it," Frank explained. "Look Aaron, you've done a superb job on this so far. Don't drop the ball in the ninth inning."
"I...I won't," Aaron promised.
"If you do, we'll have to put you in the outfield for the Astros-you'll fit right in," Frank joked. "You get started on fixing your numbers. I'll talk with Blake and let him know what's coming, and ask him to clear some time for you. Call his secretary when you have a better idea when you'll be ready."
"The Astros are pretty good this year," Aaron said as he turned for a moment on his way out of the office, showing Frank that he had recovered from his scolding.
"I'm getting soft," Frank scolded himself. "In the old days, he'd be licking his wounds right now, not joking about baseball."
Aaron left the office and Frank picked up the phone and called Blake Hart. "You might have to bring a few of your guys in on this. Jason's made a lot of changes and I think he might not be realistic in his thinking. I can see at a glance that he hasn't even thought about the loss of the Wertheim R&D effort."
Frank listened as Blake told him that he would help sort it out. Then he asked him how the Financing was proceeding.
"There are some good things happening," Frank replied. "I've got a meeting with Alvin in fifteen minutes to fill him in. I think I'll bend his ear on Jason at the same time."
Frank sat back in his chair thinking about Jason Lowell. Sure, he knew all about his big reputation in academia, and that was great. This was business and Jason didn't seem ready for it. He considered his sandbagging Aaron as unprofessional and he was sure Blake Hart felt the same. It would have to wait, however; Jason was in the job that he was in and even faint rumblings of a lack of confidence would have a seismic effect on Wall Street. Maybe Jason would be a fast study-maybe not.
Frank found himself in Alvin's office reviewing the status of the R&D financing efforts.
"There you have it," Alvin. "I think we can do it with a series of laddered debentures. We can draw funds as needed and the first principal payment won't be due until five years after the first draw. After that, it will be termed out from seven to ten years. Until then, we just pay the interest."
"Sounds real good," Alvin acknowledged. "What about the interest rate?"
"Probably prime, or a nip under. There are also commitment fees for the undrawn portion. The best thing is that the R&D effort will go forward irrespective of the status of the stock offering."
"I think it will be better that way," Alvin agreed. "And the Wertheim people can't dangle their R&D like a big carrot on a stick."
"So, it will be either Chase or Citi in the lead," Frank continued. "They'll lay off about half to several smaller banks. They're just waiting for our 10-Q to hit the Street and they'll need a forecast they can rely on."
"When does the 10-Q go public?" Alvin asked.
"Day after tomorrow," Frank said. "SEC is reviewing it now. The forecast is the rub."
Alvin looked at Frank harder. "Whadd'ya mean?"
"Jason is rearranging his R&D priorities and cost estimates," Frank explained. "It's going to have a big impact on Operations, and that means on everything."
"I told you to keep me informed on this," Alvin barked. "He's not going to do this. I'll stick my size ten up his ass, if I have to. None of that should be changing. He just did a major plan, for crissake."
"You're right, Alvin, I should have come to you sooner. I had a one-on-one with him last week and I thought we were straightened out. It was just this morning I found out he'd jerked our chain."
"Unless I miss my guess, he's rearranging the projects so that the guy he brought in from MIT gets first shot at the money. He made a couple comments to me on Friday, but I didn't know what he was up to."
"Geez, Alvin, if we could go back to the original..."
"Take Jason out of the loop and stick with the original plan," Alvin commanded. "I'll speak to him."
"We should wrap this up by tomorrow morning," Frank promised. "Then we'll prep you for the investors' teleconference."
"Call Jim Sweeney and get him up to speed," Alvin said. "I'll speak with Jason."
"Why're y'all so quiet tonight, Sugar-Plum?" Darlene asked her husband from across the dinner table.
"Bad day at work," Jason replied. "Things just seem so complicated right now."
"What kinds o' things are they?"
"It's complicated-you wouldn't be interested," Jason voice trailed off.
"Maybe Ah could help straighten things out," she drawled in her softest voice and unfastened the top button of her blouse.
"I can't think about things like that right now." Jason stared past her, to a random spot on the wall behind her. He continued chewing his mouthful of food.
"Ah jus' thought that some lovemakin' would help relax you," she explained with the hurt just barely hidden below the crest of her voice.
"Maybe later-but not right now," Jason brushed her off again.
Darlene's eyes welled with tears, but she wiped them away before he could see them.
"There was a time when you wouldna' said that," she protested. "You'd not've said a word. We'd be runnin' t' the bedroom right now."
"We're older now, Darlene," Jason answered. "I've got important things on my mind."
"Well, one o' them things sure ain't me! I may be olda', but Ah don' think Ah'm so undesirable," she pleaded.
Jason winced as the realization of her hurt feelings dawned on him. "I'm sorry, it's not you, Darlene" Jason recanted. "You're just as beautiful as you always were-better, actually. It's just that in this new job all my problems are so much bigger now."
"Do ya really think Ah'm more beautiful today," she asked, recovering her mood and batting her eyelids at him.
"Without a doubt."
"An' why's that, might Ah ask?" she cooed. She moved to the chair beside him and unfastened the next button on her blouse.
"C'mon, Darlene-don't make me tell you. You know how that kind of thing embarrasses me."
"Please tell Darlene, Sugar-Plum. Y'all know how Ah love t' hear it."
"Well, you know," Jason stammered, "like I said, you know-it's because when women are in their twenties they're beautiful by default; when they're older it's because they choose to be beautiful."
Darlene leaned close and stretched out her hand behind Jason's head and played with his hair. "Why don't we go upstairs and let me show you the whole package," she whispered.
Jason said nothing, but Darlene knew that he was mulling the offer. "Ah find these clothes so...confinin'." She reached with her free hand and smoothed it along his thigh, making certain that his erection was blooming under his slacks.
"What about the dishes?" he asked.
"They'll wait," she whispered. She had already stood and started walking toward the stairs.
Jason followed her. She just kept marching to the bedroom, not looking behind her. When they arrived there she made a detour to the bathroom. "Get undressed and wait fo' me," she bade him. "Ah'm goin' to get mahself ready for you."
Jason did as ordered. In the bathroom Darlene didn't need to peek out the door to know what scene she would find. Jason was nude, lying on the bed. His penis would be flying at full mast, a flagpole looking for a flag. He was there waiting on the bed in the dusky light. He pulled a sheet over his lower half-some sort of weird modesty-and a little tent sprouted over his groin. She knew because the scene never changed.
She kicked away her shoes and stripped off her knee-high nylons. She removed her slacks and folded them. Her special perfume in a bottle with a misting top was in the cabinet. She brought it out and puffed a little behind each ear, and then bent to apply some on the soft skin behind her knees.
As she straightened up she caught sight of the image of herself in the mirror. She smirked a little. She truly was still beautiful. It wasn't the girlish pulchritude of her beauty pageant days, although with a just a trace of imagination one could envision it. Her face still had fine features and those thighs hadn't even a hint of growing together. In those former days, it was gratuitous beauty for the taking. In the evening glow it was hers for the giving, for the years had given her knowledge to add to her looks.
There were only a few remaining preparations to perform before her entrance. She dropped her panties to her knees and misted her vulva with the magic perfume. The pubic hair was darker than that on her head from lack of sun exposure, but naturally blonde.
There were a few things that she had brought out of the cabinet along with the perfume-secret things known only to Jason and her. One was a bottle of clear, lubricating fluid that she poured over an elongated silicone object. She reached down and behind her, easing it past her sphincter with practiced fingers, and then pulled her panties back up. She stood straight up and relaxed herself, to let her inner body embrace the marital aid. The filling was beginning to feel like pleasure already.
The last step was to unbutton her blouse the rest of the way, except for the button in the center, which straddled the thin line between alluring promise and hiding what was yet to be given. She put some lube on her fingertips and spread the liquid on the insides of her labia-in case Jason wasn't willing to wait. She took a last look in the mirror and fluffed her hair. She was ready to go to him.
She could see him easily, even in the half-light of dusk. It might have been as simple as the mere physical act of seeing, or it may have been what her mind told her to see-like being able to read a road sign from a great distance-after having repeated the act so many times. It was a distinction she didn't ponder. The sight of him lying on his back, motionless beneath the sheet was familiar and good. She started to self-moisten.
There was the little tent raising the light sheet in the spot that covered the business end of him, as she would have predicted. She didn't question the ritual, but she never really knew if it was a false modesty or if his lack of confidence prevented him from lying in gross display. It was a question better saved for later.
"Is Mommy's li'l boy all covered up?" she cooed in her deepest saccharin drawl as she walked slowly to the side of the bed to commence the rite. She stood over him, hovering as she gazed down as he gazed up at her. "May Ah see?" she asked; a question to which she expected no reply.
She stepped closer to the side of the bed. Her bare thighs pressed against the mattress. She watched him turn his head to the side toward her and breathe in a gulp of air, laden with the perfume she had sprayed in her most private place. He closed his eyes and returned his face upward, not exhaling, trapping the aroma as if he could make it his own. She took a corner of the sheet between her index finger and thumb.
"Ah'll just lift this sheet off an' see fo' mahself."
She did, with a delicate lifting, peel the sheet away. He was nude, as she knew he would be. When the sheet was removed, she paused and looked down at him. Jason didn't move, at least voluntarily. There was the raising and lowering of his chest as he panted. The depth of his breath crescendoed as he waited for her. The erect penis bobbed up, perhaps inflated just slightly more. In all other things he was disciplined in not moving a limb, or even a facial muscle.
She waited a little longer. It may have been cruel, she knew, but was necessary to achieve the full effect. Finally, as the impatient penis bobbed up it happened. The clear droplet of fluid appeared from the slit on the top. "Oh, mah dear, you're leakin'," she sang in feigned surprise. "You're always so messy. Mommy will clean this raht up."
She bent from the waist over his organ. Her mouth was wide open as she prepared to engulf it. It stood straight up to assist her and she heard him gasp as her long tresses brushed his thighs and her face drew closer to his groin. She bent lower and felt the plug of silicone buried in her, which served as a reminder to see the whole ritual through to conclusion. She abruptly closed her gaping mouth flicked out her tongue. Just barely touching him, she snatched the droplet, rolled it over her taste buds and pronounced it good to herself. She heard him moan-whether in disappointment or anticipation. She turned her face toward his and treated him to an evil grin.
The insistent penis continued pointing at her and she bent low again. Pursing her lips in a kiss, she touched them to the crown, allowing them to linger softly on it for a few delicious seconds. She raised herself as he gasped, and then abruptly stood.
The quick motion made the plug shift within her and she felt her own sensations sharpening. She retreated several steps away from the bed. "Would you like t' see me without mah clothes?"
"Yes!" he gasped, as she knew he would.
"If her li'l boy is good, Mommy'll strip fo' him," she cooed. "Are you a good boy?" She didn't wait for the answer; his silence was enough. "What would mah baby like t' see first?"
"The pussy," was his whispered reply
She hooked her thumbs into the waist band of her panties and pushed them down to her knees. She watched his eyes burn holes in her pelvis. It was bare, but the bottom of her blouse covered what he longed for in a cruel peek-a-boo, save in the mind's eye. She lifted a leg and the undergarment fell to the floor.
With the silky band removed from around her knees she could spread her legs, which she did. The act released the greatest part of the mixed aroma and it tumbled out into the air, filling his nostrils, and the room. She clenched the muscles in her buttocks to ensure that the plug would stay in place. The tightening made her more impatient, but she was resolved to skip no steps. She wet the middle fingers of her right hand with her tongue and reached down and smoothed them over her clitoris. It felt very good.
She gave him an impish grin. "Would y'all like me t' go the rest o' the way?"
She took the last button of her blouse between her slender fingers and released it. The blouse fell open. In doing so, what he sought came into view; she had one final promise to keep. Without further ceremony she pressed back her shoulders and the blouse fell to the floor. Only the lacy bra remained. She took a few steps to the bed. "Want me t' finish, Sugar-Plum?"
She reached behind her and undid the clasp. It was imperfect, too ungraceful to complement what had gone before. "I must remembah t' buy some that close in the front." She held the bra in place and then drew it away slowly, down her shoulders and then her arms.
She was the beauty queen he had won for himself. Long and slender, and a natural southern blonde, with proud breasts just the right size; she stood still so that he could view her and her perfumed aroma could invade him. She loved it when he looked at her that way. It reconfirmed her glory, not yet lost. She was excited because she knew it made him want her. She would use her body to please him, but not quite yet. She cupped her breasts and raised them up in offering.
"Do you want to feel them?" He grunted a hoarse ‘yes'. "You shall-all you want-but not for a few minutes." She was in desire, herself-a bit over-stimulated from the marital aid and her appreciation of her own artistry in seduction. So, she deviated from the script-which she sometimes did at her option-and decided to see to her pleasure first.
She dipped her fingers once again to her fold and verified her ripeness. She traced the slickened fingers along his lips. "Lick them clean," she commanded, and he did.
Reaching over his head to the headboard, she grabbed it with both hands and planted her left knee along side his ear and slung her right leg over him. She sank down, wondering and hoping that he had a chance to catch a breath, and adjusted herself until she knew that her labia pressed against his mouth.
She began a rocking motion, using the headboard as a brace until she felt his hands on her hips and his tongue probing for her pleasure. She let him take over, concentrating on the dual pressures from in front and behind. She took a chance and let go of the headboard to grasp her breasts. When orgasm approached, she opened herself, accepted it. The tensing and release took possession of her-for only a minute-and then she was satisfied. Without waiting she slid lower to be face-to-face with him.
"Take me!" she demanded. He let her slide onto him. It felt good to have him inside her. She knew he wanted to come soon and that suited her, so she tightened herself, and it felt a little better, yet. Soon he had finished taking her. The lay satisfied on the bed side-by- side.
When the glow had nearly worn off, she propped herself on her elbow and stroked his temples, which she knew he liked.
"Are you still tense, Sugar-Plum?" she asked.
"A lot less than before," he admitted with a smirk.
It wasn't the perfect answer. She halted the massage. "Whatevah could it be at that office?" she demanded.
"You wouldn't understand."
"Why don' you try me, Sugar-Plum?" she pleaded.
"It's just that my budget for all my plans has gone up in smoke," he blurted. "Frank Bennett promised to get the money but I know he won't deliver. He wants me to do it piecemeal. He sent some little Jew from downstairs to tell me."
"Ah thought ev'ryone liked Frank," Darlene replied.
"I heard through the grapevine that he's got Jim Sweeney on his side."
"Who's Jim Sweeney?" Darlene asked in puzzlement.
"An influential director-and he's got Alvin wrapped around his little finger, too. Alvin called me in his office and leaned on me out this afternoon."
"Didn't you tell him?" Darlene asked.
"They don't understand," Jason snapped back at her. "They think they can pass out the money in little pieces and-presto!-a new product comes out like putting money in a vending machine. Scientists are special human beings. Only I know how to handle them. I've got to get the grant money to MIT first thing, or they'll pull the plug and sign on with someone else."
"Jason, honey, Ah'm sure if you explain yourself to..."
"I'm wondering if it's all worthwhile," he said. "I heard there's an opening for a Dean at Georgia Tech."
"You mean goin' back to the college life?" she demanded, her voice full of alarm.
"Well, yes," he replied, "the money isn't as much, but..."
"Well you got that all wrong, Sugar-Plum," Darlene leaned down, her face inches from her husband's. Her breasts crushed into his chest, but she didn't notice. "Ah'm not goin' back t' that life-not with what we've got right here."
"I know it's not as much, Darlene, but the salary would still be good," he pointed out.
"You think that's all it is?" she shot back. "What about all the pretendin' Ah'd have t' do all ovah ag'in?" she demanded with tears welling in her eyes.
"Why yes!" she insisted. "Pretendin' that overalls are fashion statements and that Ah give a damn about all the stupid little causes that the professors' wives come up with an' they think Ah've got all the time in the world to devote to ‘em. And then there's pretendin' I acshully injoy ridin' in those tiny li'l cars. I can't take it ag'in."
"Darlene, I didn't know..."
"Ah didn't know, either, ‘til Ah got here. Ah like bikinis and swimmin' pools an' ev'nin' gowns. Ah want a chauffer t' drive mah car so Ah can get soused at Gloria's pool in the afta-noon." She looked sternly at him. "Ah love all those things. Ah won't go back t' that otha' life."
"I was just thinking out loud, Darlene. Why don't we make love again?"
"Ah don't think Ah'll be in the mood-not until you promise me..."
"I promise," he swore.
"Don' lie to me," she warned him.
He smoothed his hand over her shapely backside.
"Promise!" she demanded.
"I do promise," he repeated.
She paused for a second, looking into his eyes for proof. She let him fondle her buttocks some more and she was reminded of the plug that remained deep inside. She let her hand trail down his chest and past his belly. He was hard again, and that, she told herself, meant that he thought that she was still beautiful. That, in turn, meant that he loved her, which proved that he was sincere.
TO BE CONTINUED
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