| The following is a work of fiction regarding sexual relationships. If you
feel that it is illegal, immoral, or otherwise improper for you to read
this, then *Don't Read It.*
* * *
*Copyright (c) By Morgan, 1991, 2001*
Please note the original copyright date. This was basically
written ten years ago. As a result, you will likely find obsolete
references. I'm afraid you'll just have to live with it; it's too tedious
trying to keep up with the latest and greatest.
This book is part of the Ali Clifford saga and is a sequel to -- and
much longer than -- _Call Girls._ If you haven't read it, I urge you to do
so. Without having read it, the actions in the first few pages will not
make any sense.
Incidentally, you will find occasional entries, _word_. The reason for
this is that MS Word's Auto Format function puts a word preceded and
followed by an underscore in italics; that's my intent. Similarly, *word*
results in the word appearing in bold face. If you use Word's Auto Format,
it will take care of things; if you don't, you at least know why it's
More of my works are posted on my site <www.asstr.org/~Morgan> If you
like it -- or if you don't -- please let me know at <firstname.lastname@example.org.>
My books are now also being posted on <www.storiesonline.net> although at
this writing there are fewer of them than on my site.
* * *
It was a Monday in mid-October when Jan's phone rang. Cindy answered it
and found it was Jennifer Chapman trying to reach her. Jen was both
excited and upset. Without any preliminaries, she said, "Cindy, you have a
Chinese working for you who has an extraordinary language capability,
"She's Kathy Chang. She's astounding! I don't think even _she_ can
keep track of the number of languages she speaks. But why do you ask?"
"Honey, I need to borrow her. I'll fix it with your father, but it's
terribly important. Have you heard of Connie and Chip Cartwright?" Cindy
said the names were familiar, but she couldn't place them. Jen said,
"Connie is my stepsister. She's to Chip Cartwright who may be the
wealthiest in the world. It seems Chip has a younger brother,
Bill, who was only eighteen when he was sent to Vietnam. He was captured
late in 1974 and was never heard from again. There are a whole mass of
medals waiting for him, starting with the Medal of Honor.
"Chip never gave up looking for him. He finally found him and got him
out of Vietnam. The Army has just released him from the hospital, but now
Chip is in worse shape than when his was a prisoner. Bill says
nothing. Not a word. Not to anyone. The psychiatrists at the Army
hospital had microphones in his room. They kept the tape recorders running
twenty-four hours a day. The only thing they ever heard sounds like some
Asian language. The problem is that not even the experts at the Foreign
Language School at Monterey could identify it. Everything has been tried
including high-speed re-taping, computer analysis... everything!"
Jen was crying now as she said, "Cindy, it's very important. Chip is
the nicest guy in the world as well as my brother-in-law. I know it's one
hell of a long shot, but could you please ask Kathy to go out to Los
Angeles? There is no price Chip Cartwright will not pay. None! He'll pay
Kathy absolutely anything she asks. He knows it's less than one chance in
a million, but he wants to take it. Could you persuade Kathy to go out?"
Cindy said she would call Kathy immediately and did. She reached her
and quickly explained the situation. All Kathy did was ask when the next
plane to Los Angeles left O'Hare. She would be on it. She was leaving
When Kathy got the call and heard what Cindy had to say, her heart
leaped into her throat. _Bill. Bill Cartwright. His name was Bill, too,_
she thought. _No, it's impossible. But maybe I can help someone._ She was
wearing her uniform, but now because of the cold weather, was also wearing
a leather jacket. She raced out to the airport and just had time to call
Cindy and give her the flight information. Cindy said she would be met at
Los Angeles International Airport.
As she cleared security in Los Angeles, Kathy saw a tall silver-blonde
who was dressed the same way she was. The came running up and said,
"Kathy? Kathy Chang?"
Kathy extended her hand but the took her in her arms and kissed her
warmly. She said, "I'm Connie Cartwright, Chip's wife. We can't thank you
enough for coming out. Can I have your baggage checks?"
Shaking her head Kathy said wearily, "This is it, I'm afraid. Cindy
said it was important so I didn't take the time to go back to my apartment
to pack. Could we stop somewhere so I could buy a toothbrush? I have some
Connie looked at the closely and whistled softly. "My God, you're
beautiful!" Then she frowned and said, "Forget your money. If Jen and
Cindy didn't make it clear, this is the most important thing in the world
to my husband. We never had a chance even to talk, but would $5,000 a day
for your time be adequate? I understand you have a language capability
that surpasses human understanding. Maybe that's not enough? $10,000?"
"No money! I wouldn't hear of it. I'll let you buy me a toothbrush and
toothpaste, though. And could you also call Mr. Martin's office and ask
if I could take my week's vacation this week? I'm just leaving the bank in
Connie was using Bill Clifford's limousine and driver. She picked up
the telephone, made a quick phone call, and then told Fred, the driver,
they were going to the hotel.
Kathy was utterly exhausted. She had been working eighteen-hour days
for weeks. Although they had more analysts in the unit and she now had a
car of her own, the business was growing far faster than the three lending
officers could handle it. As the limousine sped towards Los Angeles, Kathy
fell asleep and was awakened by the sound of the car door being opened.
Then she heard Connie being greeted by name by the doorman at the Beverly
Wilshire Hotel where Ali and Bill Clifford lived and which they now owned.
She was taken up to a suite by Connie, who rang the bell. The door was
opened by a woman about her own age, who looked very familiar.
Connie hugged the woman and Kathy heard her say, "Hi, Mom! You're
looking great, as usual." Kathy saw a woman who looked very much like
Janice and Cindy. She was deeply tanned, with golden hair and brilliant
blue eyes. The wore no makeup and needed none. She, too, was wearing
skin-tight Levi's and a chambray shirt.
The looked at her, then took her in her arms, hugged her, and
kissed her softly. "Welcome, Katherine Chang." She held Kathy at arm's
length and said, "Don't the stores sell any other clothes for women these
days? Do you realize we're all wearing the same thing? I'm Ali Clifford,
by the way. Come on in and meet my husband, Bill. Chip Cartwright will be
here any minute. We're going to get acquainted, have a couple of drinks
and then eat. You can start work tomorrow."
They were seated after Kathy was introduced to a tall of about
thirty-five who was prematurely gray at the temples. Like Ali, he was
deeply tanned. He made martinis for the other three and asked her what she
would like. Kathy had never had a martini, so she decided to try one.
When she had a sip, she found it was very strong, but she liked it
nonetheless. A few minutes later, another very big, tall arrived. She
didn't know why but he reminded her of someone. He made himself a drink
and they all sat down.
Ali said, "Kathy, I apologize to you. There is one problem in this
group that you'll soon recognize. We're all hopeless when it comes to
teasing people. While you were coming in from the airport, Bill was
talking to Dave Chapman. Among us we own 96 percent of the stock of
Chicago Trust Company. I'm the of Connie, Jennifer, and Janice. As
far as Don Martin is concerned, there will be no talk of vacation. This is
a short leave of absence at the request of the Board of Directors -- Jen is
chairman, of course. Your pay will be $5,000 a day."
Kathy was just shaking her head slowly from side to side. _This is
impossible! She's Connie, Jennifer, and Janice's *mother?* It's
impossible,_ she thought. She said, "But you can't be! You're not as as I am and I'm only twenty-five! No woman can give birth at the age of
Ali laughed, jumped up from her seat and pounced on Kathy, giving her a
kiss full on the mouth. She said, "Katherine Chang, I love you! I may
adopt you, too." She grinned and said, "Kathy, I'm thirty-seven years old.
The are not my natural daughters... I wish they were, though.
Jennifer is Bill's by his first wife. The love of my life is past
fifty. I try to make sure he gets his rest and plenty of exercise."
Bill interjected, "The problem is, Kathy, she wants the exercise when I
want the rest. The only exercise she really likes is on her back with her
legs spread. The woman is insatiable!"
Ali stuck out her tongue and said, "It hasn't killed you... yet!
Clifford, you really don't look half bad, either."
Kathy was utterly aghast. "But that means you're William H. Clifford?
But you're... you're..."
"You have a couple of bucks, Dad," Connie interjected. "I'm pretty sure
that's what she's trying to say. And I guess that's true, too." She looked
at Ali and said, "Are you really sure Kathy is good with languages? She
seems to have some problem with English." Connie shrugged and added, "Oh,
well, I guess I read somewhere that it's a very complex language. Maybe
she does better with easier ones."
Everyone laughed at Kathy's expense. Kathy just giggled until Bill came
over and gave her a check. It was made out to her for $35,000. Her eyes
widened and she gasped when she saw the amount. Carefully, she tore it
into small pieces and put them in an ashtray. Bill just shrugged, took out
his checkbook and wrote another check. This one was for $70,000.
When he gave it to her, she looked at it and then looked up at him.
Tears were in her eyes and she said, "Please stop, Mr. Clifford. Maybe
I'm tired, but I can't really take this. Why are you doing this to me?"
Bill took a chair and pulled it close to the girl. He took her hand and
looked into her startling green eyes. He said softly, "Kathy, I'm sorry.
You were warned about our teasing, though. You see, the problem with us is
we kid with money. Ali, along with everything else, is probably the
world's finest money manager. Try as we might, our money just grows like a
weed. Please help us out and take some? I'm very serious. Please?"
Kathy reached out her arms and Bill folded her in his. As he held her
he could hear the crying. He just held her close, then lifted her
from her chair and sat her across his lap. The slowly stopped crying
and grew still. She had fallen asleep.
He lifted her up in his arms and carried her into the second bedroom.
Ali followed him in and pulled down the bedspread and then the covers.
Bill put her on the bed and went back to the sitting room. Ali undressed
the girl, pulled the covers up to her chin, and kissed her goodnight.
When Kathy awakened the next morning, she didn't know where she was.
She was naked in bed and it was the most luxurious bed she had ever slept
in. It reminded her of Cindy's bed in the "slave quarters." Getting out of
bed she went to the bathroom and found everything she needed laid out for
her. After taking a shower, and washing her hair she returned to her room.
There was a note on the dresser saying clothes were in the drawer. When
she looked she found more chambray shirts and stone-washed jeans that fit
her perfectly. After dressing, she went out to the sitting room where she
found Ali and Bill, wearing white terry robes, eating breakfast.
She said, "When do I meet the patient? I'm sorry I missed breakfast.
But why didn't you just awaken me? What happened last night, anyway?"
Bill grinned and said it must have been the martini. Ali glared at her
and said, "You're eating breakfast, lady! Why the hell do you think
we bought the damned hotel? First, I can't cook to save my life. Second,
they cook when I want to eat. Now order!"
She passed her the room service menu and Kathy ordered a huge breakfast,
realizing she hadn't eaten since breakfast the day before. She had slept
through the meal service on the flight out from Chicago, too.
After eating, Connie came by and drove her to a private hospital where
they found Chip in the lobby looking very nervous. They went up to a
private suite of rooms and were met by a nurse on duty who merely shook her
head. Going into the next room, Kathy was surprised to see that it looked
more like a hotel than a hospital room. Even the bed was a normal one, not
the mechanical marvel normally found in a hospital room. The room was
dimly lighted but she could see a in the bed. She knew why she was
there so she tiptoed to the bed and saw that he was asleep.
When she got a good look at him, she almost fainted. She quickly sat
down on the edge of the bed to keep from collapsing on the floor. Then,
ignoring the others, Kathy stripped off all her clothes and slipped into
the bed beside him. She found he was wearing pajamas, so she carefully
eased them off his body. When she got to his groin, she was shocked. His
penis and his testicles had withdrawn up into his body. Only the tip of
his penis showed. Then she remembered how they loved to torture his
genitals with wires and flame while she held him and was forced to watch.
She winced as she remembered his screams of agony. Bending down, she took
the tip of his penis in her lips and sucked. Dimly, she was aware of the
others withdrawing from the room.
With her mouth encircling the tip of his organ, she gently on it.
She heard him moan and then start to speak. Moving up in the bed beside
him, she just lay with her body partially on his. She could feel the hair
on his chest chafe her nipple and it was exactly the way she remembered it.
His free arm came around and held her as she fell asleep on top of him.
Later, she awakened and could feel his eyes on her. He whispered to her
in the obscure Laotian dialect they had discovered they both knew but which
no Vietnamese spoke or understood. She looked at him and pulled herself up
so she was lying on top of him.
He looked in her eyes and she could see the pain that was in them. He
said, "When are they coming, Little Flower? How much time do we have this
"Bill, we have forever, my darling. They're gone for good. You're
home. You're safe. Darling, you're in the United States and I'm here with
Then she carefully lowered her lips to his. The kiss was the one for
which she had been waiting for almost fifteen years. Never did they allow
her to kiss him. For that matter, they regularly put a red-hot blade
between his lips to be sure he couldn't kiss her anyway. She could feel
the remnants of the scar tissue still on his lips and started to cry. "My
darling, they've you so badly! But you're all right now."
Then her eyes glowed as she said, "Bill, you haven't looked at me yet. I
was a child when you took me before. Now I'm a woman. Do you like me
now?" She was still speaking Laotian.
He went to lift her from him and saw his eyes widen. Then he eased her
back down on top of him; he seemed to enjoy the feeling of her lying on his
body. She lifted herself up again and whispered, "Bill, my name is
Katherine now, or Kathy. Do you like my new name?"
He whispered, "Darling, you're a dream come true."
She moved down on his body to his tortured sex organs. She took his
penis in her lips and began to kiss and suck it and used her fingers gently
to manipulate his balls that were retracted up into his pelvis. She heard
him cry out in Vietnamese, "Don't! Not again! Please don't!" and then he
began to cry.
She moved up on his body and kissed him softly again saying, "Bill, it's
over, darling. It's over! They aren't coming. I adore you, Bill. I
He murmured softly and looked at her. She heard strange sounds in his
throat and then heard him whisper in English, "You're beautiful, my
She hugged him close and cried on his shoulder. She whispered, "My
darling, you'll be all right! You will, darling, you will! May I play
with your cock again? Do you remember what it was like? I was only ten
years and so tiny for such a huge organ. Darling, you were the only
man who has ever taken me. Ever! And you took my virginity at the age of
twelve! But I'm a big now. Do you like my body? My are far
bigger than I thought they ever could be. When I took you, dear, I didn't
have any. Do you remember?"
Bill had been running his hand over her hair and smiled gently. He
whispered, "You were just a small child... Kathy? Is that your name, now?
"Yes, darling, it's Kathy. May I work on you again? Could you make me
He looked at her and nodded. He even smiled and said, "You were always
persistent. I love you, Kathy. You kept me alive all these years. And
now you've found me. When do you have to leave? When will they take you
"My darling, I'll leave when you tell me to leave. I'm your woman,
Bill. I exist for you to use in any way you wish, for anything you wish.
Anything, Bill. May I try again?"
He grinned and the grin was becoming real, now. She went down on him
and massaged his penis with her mouth, as hard as she could. She
was prying his testicles down from his groin with her long slender fingers
and could feel them start to loosen. Whichever muscles were holding them
in his pelvis started to lose their grip. She could feel his prick start
to emerge. As gently as she could, she dug his testicles out; it was not
gentle enough. Bill screamed in agony and she stopped.
Then she saw his hand moving, indicating for her to continue. She
looked up at him and he grinned in spite of the pain he was suffering.
"Darling, you always caused me pain, but God, it was worth it! Please
She continued to work and could feel sweat pouring off his body. It
reminded her of Vietnam, too. Suddenly, the adhesions or whatever it was,
let go. Bill screamed in agony and fainted, but his cock and balls were
back in their normal position. She went back up on his body and held him
After a while she could feel him stir and she kissed him again. She
whispered, "Are you ready for your Eurasian cunt, my darling? You haven't
even felt it. I'm hurt. I thought you liked my tiny cunt. It's still
hairless because you liked it so much that way. I have never forgotten."
His hand moved on her body and she could feel his finger gently enter
her. It was utterly exquisite. She could feel herself come to life under
his hands. Then she went down on him again. This time she took his
now-liberated cock in her mouth and tenderly kissed it. She could feel it
swell under her touch and again Bill screamed in agony. It was his first
erection in years.
She didn't stop. She continued to move her mouth up and down on his
organ and then up, as hard as she could. He was getting bigger and
bigger and she took him deeper and deeper into her throat. Then she could
feel it start to vibrate and he screamed his release. Kathy and
swallowed his as fast as she could. When his pulsations stopped, she
licked it off carefully, and moved up to kiss him on the lips. "Darling,
that was one of the things they would never let us do. I was so small, my
darling, I'm not sure I could have done it if they had let me." She grinned
at him and said, "I sure would have tried, though."
He laughed softly and kissed her. Then he said, "That's for sure! I
never knew a braver person than you, Kathy. And you were just a child!"
She pouted and said, "I was a woman!" She grinned and added, "A
Then she slid down his body and was delighted to find he had regained
his erection. She closed her eyes. This was what she had waited fifteen
years for! Raising her pelvis, she took his now-raging cock and placed it
at her entrance. Lowering herself, she could feel it start to penetrate
her still-very-small vagina. Kathy moved her body in a series of rotary
motions and could feel Bill's magnificent weapon enter her.
She looked down and could see his eyes were closed, although his hands
were groping. "Would you like a tit to suck on, my darling? I could never
give you one before. I didn't have one to give." She leaned over and
managed to bring her tit to his lips. He took it in his mouth and started
to gently bite it. She just moaned with pleasure. Then she kissed him on
It was better than she ever dreamed. She could feel electricity flow
between them, causing her to flood as she felt him penetrate even
deeper into her. "Oh, Bill, you're so good, my darling."
She concentrated on the cock inside her and was amazed to find she had
it all the way in to its root. She squeezed the iron-hard rod with her
internal muscles and leaned forward to kiss him again. As she did, he
cupped her and pinched her nipples between his fingertips. Now she
screamed as her nipples were so sensitive to his touch and suddenly felt
her hips jerk with her first orgasm.
She moved up and down on him as he smiled with his eyes closed just
savoring the sensation. She took herself to one peak after another, cuming
each time, while she felt the pressure build in Bill's glorious cock. She
tried to remember what Dan had done to her and finally reached the level
she had been searching for. Cuming continuously, she was only
semiconscious, moving on instinct. Finally, he could take it no longer and
released what seemed like quarts of hot semen into her raging cunt. She
screamed and collapsed on top of him, unconscious.
Bill carefully pulled the covers up over the and gently stroked her
satin-smooth skin as she lay on top of him. Kathy finally stirred and
opened her eyes. Bill was so glad she had those improbable emerald-green
eyes. The Vietnamese used to make fun of the gangly with the
green eyes. She had changed so much, but those lovely eyes were just the
He smiled at her warmly as she asked, "Darling, was it good for you?"
"No, it wasn't," he replied with his face impassive. He saw the look come instantly to her eyes and he hugged her tight. "Since I just
died and went to Heaven, it's no better than I expected." Then he grinned
as she beamed at him and said, "I have two questions, though. First, where
are your wings? Do you keep them in those glorious tits? Second, I never
heard of a green-eyed Oriental angel before."
She just grinned and held him tight. Finally she pushed away from him
and asked, "Darling, how are you feeling now? Are you up to meeting a
couple of people?"
He kissed the tip of her lovely nose and said, "Honey, I can take on an
army right now. What do you want me to do?"
"I want you to take a shower with me first. Darling, all I remembered
were the foul smells because they wouldn't let you wash or go to the
bathroom. You were just chained to the wall whenever they sent me in to
you. Do you remember?"
He got out of bed, moving easily. He was still thin, but recovering.
They went into the shower and delighted in playing with each other's body.
Kathy kissed each of the scars she could find on his body. There were
many, reflecting fourteen years of torture. For his part, Bill delighted
in just running his hands over her soap-slick beauty. When he put a finger
up her rectum, she yelped and then melted. She kissed him and said,
"Darling, it's still virginal for you. You can take at least some of my
He kissed her nose and said, "I will have taken it all. I love you,
Kathy." She just grinned and kissed him.
They returned to his room and she got dressed. Bill looked baffled for
a moment, so she gave him back his pajamas with a grin saying, "Bill, you
need a keeper." Then she tilted her head and grinned impishly, "Can I apply
for the job?"
He looked skeptical and asked, "Do you have any qualifications besides a
"I have a talented mouth, and I bet I have a great ass. You'll love to
ream it, Bill. Is that enough?"
She went to him and kissed him warmly and then with increasing passion.
He held her tight and just stroked her silken hair. It was enough. Much
more than enough. Bill loved this with all his heart. Kathy went to
the closet and found a beautiful new cashmere bathrobe and a pair of
slippers. She held the robe for him and then knelt on the floor to put the
slippers on for him.
She looked up at him and asked, "Does my master approve of his Eurasian
slave girl? Does she please him?"
He lifted her up and melted her with a kiss. She went to the door with
his arm around her shoulder and hers around his waist. When the door
opened, she laughed. Connie and Chip were pacing the floor like two people
waiting for the birth of a child. Kathy said, "Bill, do you remember this
"Chip! Oh, God, it's you! Chip!" Chip had spun around when the door
opened and was looking hopeful. When Bill recognized him, he gathered him
in his arms in a bear hug. Bill could hear his crying and he
pushed away. "Chip, what's wrong? What did I do?"
Chip Cartwright couldn't speak, he was so happy. He just clutched his
brother with tears streaming down his cheeks while his younger was
just baffled. Then Bill said, "Can we get something to eat around here?
I'm starving to death!"
Before that morning, Bill had slowly regained some weight. Although he
had been awake, he was in the equivalent of a coma. He didn't recognize
anyone nor done anything. Most of his nutrients had been administered
intravenously because it was so hard to get him to eat. Connie ran for the
nurse and told her the great news.
Chip had finally regained control. He said, "Bill, I want you to meet
your new sister-in-law, Connie. Even though she doesn't look it, she's
carrying your first niece or nephew inside her. Do you approve?"
Bill looked at Connie who was a vision. She had silver hair and
emerald eyes exactly like Kathy's. He spread his arms and she ran to him.
Then he could feel her tears on his cheek, and could feel her mash her body
to his. "Hey, what's wrong?" he protested with a grin. "Why does everyone
look at me and start to cry? Do I look that bad? Should I change my brand
Connie moved away and beamed. "Darling kid brother, Bill, I'll tell you
something about women. We always cry when we're happy. Of course, we cry
when we're sad, too. That's principally to keep you jerks off balance!"
she said with a grin. She squealed when he reached out and started to
tickle her. In no time she was huddled on the floor in a ball with Chip
Connie said, "Chip, make your go back to bed. He's safer that
way." She got up, brushed herself off and stuck out her tongue. Bill took
her in his arms and kissed her softly on the lips and then on the tip of
her nose. She wiggled it like a rabbit, and he kissed it again.
"You're cute, Connie Cartwright. But Charles always did have
Kathy had been hanging back, quietly rejoicing in their happiness. Bill
took her by her hand and pulled her close so he could put his arm around
her. He asked, "Where, in Heaven's name, did you find Kathy? She's the
girl who saved my life in Vietnam. She's the whose memory kept me
alive for fifteen years." He turned and kissed her passionately, then
looked back at the others who were looking on in utter astonishment. "I
took her virginity in a prison when she was only twelve years old. Her
love has kept me alive. I just adore this girl."
Just then the nurse had a table wheeled in with food for all of them.
Following Connie's suggestion, they served hamburgers. She was delighted
when she saw Bill's eyes light up. He ate his in no time and Kathy gave
him hers, so Connie ordered three more. Bill ate two of the next three as
well. After they had eaten, he pushed back from the table and said, "Where
am I, anyway? And when can I get out?" It was explained that he was in a
special convalescent hospital and he could leave at any time. "Is right
now soon enough?" he asked.
Chip picked up a phone, and in no time an orderly brought in underwear,
pants and a shirt. The pants were very big on him, but Bill just grinned.
Chip noticed his almost never let go of Kathy, and she seemed happy
just being held close. He still couldn't get over what had happened. A
phone call from the front desk announced that their car had arrived. They
walked out to the front door. In spite of all the time in bed, Bill found
he could move all right, and his movement seemed to get easier with each
step he took.
When they got in the car, he insisted on having Kathy sit on his lap.
She just grinned and sat on him with her arms around his neck. When they
reached the hotel, they went right up to the Clifford's suite. Kathy was
in Heaven. She was in Bill's arms again, and he was in one piece. He
still had his arm around her when he was greeted by the Cliffords.
She sat on the sofa with his arm around her as he told the others how
they had met: "There was no one as brave as Kathy. I remember once they
were doing something to my testicles. I was screaming like a baby. I
think the Vietnamese had the idea I would lose face in front of a by screaming. She never looked at what they were doing. She just
focused her eyes on mine and poured out her love. She was saying she knew
it was agony, she understood, and she loved me." He looked at Kathy and
asked, "Do you remember?"
She nodded with tears in her eyes and said, "Yes, my darling. That's
exactly what I was trying to communicate."
She smiled at the others and explained that the language Bill was
speaking was an obscure Laotian dialect. "Bill was working with the
tribesmen who spoke it. That's how he knew it. I have no idea how I knew
it, but I did. It was the way I could talk to him to try to give him
strength while the guards were there torturing him. I guess they
originally wanted to learn the location of the tribal village. Later, they
just wanted to break Bill. They never could," she finished simply.
She saw there were tears in the eyes of all of the others. Ali
brightened, and Bill looked at her carefully. Finally, he said, "You
aren't Ali McGrath, are you?" She smiled and nodded. "But you can't be!"
he protested. "I loved your and once I saw you in Vietnam
entertaining the troops. That was years ago, but you look younger now than
you did then."
"It was me, Bill. Did you like the show?" she asked.
Tears came to his eyes and he said, "I wouldn't have made it without
you, Ali. When Kathy wasn't there -- and she was only there when they were
torturing me -- I thought of you. I thought, 'That cares about us and
what we're doing. With her caring, damn it, I will make it!' And I did.
Thank you, Ali, for everything you did."
Tears were streaming down her face now as Ali said, "Thank you, Bill.
You have just made a great deal of personal suffering worthwhile. I
appreciate it very much." She went to her husband, sat in his lap and
snuggled. Kathy thought she was an extraordinarily beautiful woman. She
still couldn't believe Ali was thirty-seven, but obviously she really was.
Chip said, "Bill, I know it's only been hours, but what do you want to
Bill smiled and shook his head. "I don't have the first clue. I don't
have a dime, and I have a to support. Or I will have as soon as I can
get Kathy to the altar."
Kathy spun her head around in amazement. "What did you just say,
William Cartwright? Did you say something about marriage? To _me?"_
He squeezed her tightly and said, "You always did have sharp ears,
darling. That's exactly right."
"No way!" Kathy exclaimed. "Bill, I'll be your mistress, your whore,
your concubine... anything you want me to be. But I won't be your wife.
You need a beautiful girl, who is educated, smart, from a good family...
You need a Caucasian girl, Bill. There are millions. When you find her,
then we'll decide. I have some friends..."
"My wife!" he insisted.
Connie hadn't said much, but now she entered the conversation: "Bill,
you haven't seen this in years. But let's take the list she just
recited: Beautiful? It's self evident. She's utterly stunning. Educated?
University of Chicago and an MBA from University of Chicago. Smart? Phi
Beta Kappa and number one in her class at the B school. Good family? How
is the Clifford family? She's going to be adopted and then she'll really
be sorry. Caucasian? What in hell for? Genetically, the best thing to do
is breed out, not breed in. What would she give your children? Not a lot
besides brains, beauty, courage... and love! There's more, though.
Sensitivity, compassion, warmth, love, humanity... Bill, I could go on,
but is there any need to? I think you're the luckiest in the world,
Bill Cartwright, to find the you lost halfway around the world. What
do you think?"
"I think my beautiful sister-in-law just said it all. In fact, Connie,
you said it so well, it almost made me feel sorry for tickling you
earlier." Bill grinned and said, "Notice, I said 'almost'. It gives me a
good chance to fondle a pregnant woman. Incidentally, they're sure making
pregnancies different these days. I can remember in the days when
women used to bulge."
Connie glared at him although her eyes were dancing. "Okay, buster, I
gave all the reasons why you should marry her. Can you give me one reason
why she would want to marry you? You're old, beat to hell, and not good
for much. Why in hell would she consider you?"
"Because I adore him and always have," Kathy interjected with tears
starting to stream down her cheeks. "Because I watched him bleed for me.
Because I've seen him suffer agony. Because I've seen him tempered in
fire. Because he's the strongest, kindest, sweetest in the whole world.
Because I can't possibly live without him. Because I will have him on any
terms he'll accept me. Because there is absolutely nothing I won't do for
this man!" Kathy said, and then repeated softly, "Because I adore him and
There was not a dry eye in the room when she finished. Bill turned her
face to his and kissed her softly, then passionately. It was like nothing
that had ever happened to either of them before. Suddenly Kathy's loins
were on fire and her nipples had hardened.
He whispered, "Will you marry me, Kathy? Please? You said there's
nothing you wouldn't do for me. Please marry me and be the of my
She looked at him with adoration in her eyes. She said softly in their
Laotian dialect, "Are you sure, Bill? Are you absolutely sure? I can be
the of your children without marrying you. Darling, I'm frightened.
What will people say? It will be awful for you."
He replied in the same dialect. He hadn't forgotten it. He said,
"Awful? How awful can it be, my darling? Is it as awful as having my
balls squeezed with red-hot pincers? Is it as awful as being made to put
my lips on a red-hot knife blade so I couldn't kiss you? That awful, my
darling? Or worse? Having you watch me live in my own filth? Having you
wipe the shit off me before you could find my skin to touch? How awful,
She had no answer. _What can I say? He loves me! Oh, God, thank you!
Bill loves me!_ she exulted.
It was as if he could read her mind. He whispered, still in Laotian,
"Thank you, my darling. You have just made me the happiest in the
world. Now shall we tell the others?" She kissed him and nodded, then
buried her head in his shoulder. He said to the others, "It took some
doing but Katherine Chang has agreed to become Katherine Cartwright. Could
we get some champagne? I guess I have some back pay coming, if someone can
loan me a few bucks until I get it."
Bill Clifford scrambled for the phone. While he was ordering, Chip
said, "Bill, I've got bad news for you. You're already rich... Stinking
rich, I guess." He smiled warmly at his younger and said, "Bill,
Mom and Dad were killed a year or so after you disappeared. They never
recovered from your loss, so I guess they didn't mind dying very much.
Anyway, I was the executor of the estate. I guess my net worth now is
around half a billion dollars. Since I couldn't be bothered running two
investment pools, I kept it simple. Whatever I bought for me, I bought for
you. Actually, though, you have more money than I do. I have a to
support; you haven't spent a thing. You have well over $500 million. It
will buy a couple of bottles of champagne. Even the good stuff!"
"Oh boy," Kathy murmured, "a rich husband! Just what I've always
wanted." Then she kissed him softly again and said, "Darling, I have some
time off from work. What would you like to do now?"
Before he could answer Ali said, "Spend two weeks on Maui with you,
Kathy. Soak up the sun on the nude beach, swim, eat, make love. How does
it sound? I think Bill needs some rebuilding, don't you? I booked a suite
down the hall for you. I thought you might like some privacy. By the way,
Kathy, I have a couple of forms for you to sign, if you would." She went to
a drawer, pulled out a couple of forms which the signed where Ali
The champagne appeared along with a tub of caviar to celebrate the
engagement. Before long, Kathy could see Bill start to wobble. She looked
at Ali who made a quick phone call. A minute later the manager on duty
appeared to show them to their suite. Minutes later, they were together in
Kathy did what Cindy had mentioned to her. She lay on Bill's right
side, rested her head on his shoulder, put his arm around her and put his
hand on her boob. She put her hand on top and turned out the light. After
snuggling as close to him as she could get, they were almost instantly
Kathy woke up when she felt a pressure on her breast. She looked up and
found herself looking into Bill Cartwright's blue eyes. "Good morning, my
darling," she whispered. "Are you ready to make love to me yet this
Bill kissed her passionately and then rolled over between her legs. She
positioned his cock and soon she could feel him moving inside her wetness.
It was better than it ever had been. Soon she had her first orgasm, and
then more with increasing frequency. Finally she could feel the iron-hard
shaft start to vibrate and then she felt his hot flood her insides.
The sensation was almost more than she could take, but she retained
consciousness as Bill collapsed on top of her. Gently, she ran her
fingertips over his back. As she did, she could feel marks from the
tortures he had undergone. He pushed himself up a little to see her better
and whispered, "Darling, I'm out of shape!" Then he smiled and rolled off
her body, placing her head gently back on his shoulder. He looked into her
incredible green eyes and shook his head. "That was the most marvelous
night I have ever spent. All night long I could feel the most exquisite
body next to mine. If I moved my hand on your you did the same
thing every time."
"What did I do?" she asked with worry in her eyes.
"You snuggled even closer and made the most wonderful happy sounds. It
must have lasted at least twenty minutes each time. I guess I woke up
frightened. _They_ were coming back. Darling, you were wonderful! And I
can have this for the rest of my life?" She kissed him softly and watched
his eyes close again.
It was only six o'clock, but it was already eight in Chicago. Kathy
eased out of bed. After washing, she slipped on a hotel robe and went out
to the sitting room to call Cindy and reached her as she was about to leave
She started to explain what had happened, when Cindy interrupted.
"Kathy, I know all about it. Connie and Ali called Jan last night. I
can't tell you how happy we all are for you and for Bill. How is he and
how are you? Did you have a good night together?"
"Oh, Cindy, I couldn't imagine a better one! Last night I did what you
suggested: I slept with my head on his shoulder and it was wonderful. Bill
loved it too." She grinned ruefully and said, "But guess what? I'm another
Chatty Cathy doll. Bill said I kept him awake for at least twenty minutes
at a time making happy noises. But he loved it... at least the first
night. Cynthia Martin, what are we going to do?"
"Buy them ear plugs?" Cindy replied. "Kathy, everything is under
control here. The owners of the bank adore you. What you did with Bill
and for him is utterly beyond belief. I didn't know just how bad it was
until last night. You did something in two hours the doctors didn't think
could happen in less than ten years! Honey, Ali says you're going to
Hawaii. Have a wonderful time." They talked about loans Kathy had in
progress and then she hung up.
As soon as she did, the phone rang. It was Ali. She said, "I have you
and Bill booked on a two o'clock flight to Maui. All the arrangements are
made. He's still sleeping, isn't he?" Kathy was baffled. She said he was
but asked Ali how she could possibly know. With a small chuckle Ali said,
"Honey, there are a couple of advantages to owning the damned hotel. When
I ask for something, it happens. I asked them to let me know as soon as
you used your phone. Knowing Bill's condition, I knew it had to be you.
Look, I made an appointment for you this morning. Can you eat and be ready
to go in thirty minutes? Your breakfast should be there right about now."
As soon as she said it, there was a knock on the door. Kathy said she
would be ready, hung up and opened the door for the room service waiter.
A short time later, Ali Clifford came by the suite. What followed took
Kathy by surprise. Ali asked her to strip and then used a tape measure to
take all kinds of measurements. She was on her knees and looked up at the
nude Eurasian girl. She said, "Bill is a very lucky guy. Kathy, you are
gorgeous!" Standing up, she asked Kathy to dress again while she made a
quick phone call during which she referred to the notes she had taken on
the measurements. Kathy followed her down to her car and they went to a
Kathy was surprised when she was taken to a hair stylist who was
introduced to her as Henry Hall. Then she remembered something that Cindy
had said: He was the one who had been flown out to Chicago. Henry looked
at her hair and just shook his head. "At last, Ali, you found one! A true
brunette with the most beautiful hair around." Ali spoke to him quietly for
a moment. He smiled and began to work. A short time later, he whipped off
the sheet and spun her chair around so she could see herself in the mirror.
Kathy gasped. Her hair looked the same, but different. She thought she
had never looked so good and said so. He just smiled. While he was
working, she had also been given a manicure and a pedicure.
As they drove back towards the hotel, she asked Ali about it. The woman
just smiled and said, "A should look her very best on her wedding
day." Then she told Kathy about the small church where Jan and Pete had
been married, and the priest there, Collins. She said, "You're
going to get anyway, so how about this Saturday? You can have the
wedding in the middle of your honeymoon."
Kathy agreed, but was not happy about it. She had begun to think of a
church wedding with her friends around her, particularly Cindy and April.
Ali knew what she was thinking and said, "It's just a start, honey.
Marriage is for always. I'm sure they'll love you just the same."
When they reached the hotel, they found Bill waiting for them. He had
one small bag and Fred was waiting to take them to the airport. Suddenly,
Kathy's eyes widened. She said, "My God! I just remembered. I have
nothing to wear! I'm wearing everything I brought out with me."
Ali said, "Some of my people got a couple of things together for you.
They're already at the airport and Bill has the claim checks. Now move it!
You'll miss your plane."
They were driven to the airport and found they had first-class sleeper
seats to Maui. When they arrived, they were met by another limousine and
driven to their hotel. Their suite was spectacular with a view of the
ocean. When her luggage was delivered to the room, Kathy's eyes popped as
she found a full collection of resort wear, none of which she had ever seen
before, but all of which fit perfectly.
They checked with Collins at the church and found arrangements
for their wedding were all set for noon on Saturday. When he asked about
Janice and Pete, Kathy told them they were more deeply in love than any two
people she had ever met. He smiled warmly and asked to be remembered to
The next days on Maui were glorious. She found she could tan after all.
_It must be the European part of Eurasian,_ she thought. Taking a tip from
Jan, she gloried in spreading sun protection on Bill's body when they lay
on the nude beach. She took up golf and found she liked it; she and Bill
were both good at it. They played tennis, they ate, but mostly they made
love. By Saturday morning, she had a glorious tan that Bill adored.
She was looking at her new dresses trying to decide which one to wear
for her wedding, when there was a knock on the door. She opened it and
squealed with delight when she found April and Cindy standing there, with
Cindy holding a white gown on a hangar. Then she saw Chip standing behind
the grinning. Chip took Bill away for a short bachelor's party while
the came into the room.
Cindy said, "You didn't for one minute think you were going to get
married without us, did you? We couldn't decide who is going to be the
bridesmaid and who is the maid of honor, so it's up to you."
There was another knock on the door. This time it was Ali, along with
Janice Stewart, Jennifer Chapman, Connie Cartwright, and a smaller Kathy had never seen before. She was introduced as Billy's wife, Joan.
The looked like a pixie. Kathy was dumbfounded and just stood there,
Ali took charge saying, "Honey, I could see you were disappointed
because your friends weren't going to be with you for your wedding, so we
brought a couple of people out with us."
"And how, exactly, did you do that?" Kathy asked suspiciously?
"How else would do it?" Jan replied airily. "She chartered a plane
in Chicago that made a stop in Los Angeles. You wouldn't believe how hard
it can be to get a few seats on short notice. So she just gets her own
Then she shook her head and smiled wryly. "I'm surprised at you,
Katherine Chang. You're a banker and yet you sign blank forms! For
shame." Kathy just looked blank. She didn't know what Jan was talking
about. "Young lady, you signed blank adoption papers. But don't worry
about it. I did, too, so now we're sisters. You're now the legally
adopted of William H. Clifford and Allison M. Clifford. I
thought I ought to tell you, though. You'll be going down the aisle on
Dad's arm. I hope you don't mind." Jan took Kathy in her arms and kissed
her warmly. "Welcome to the family, darling. Your new couldn't be
Kathy was stunned. Before she could even move, Connie gathered her in
her arms and kissed her. She was beaming with happiness. "Now I have a
sister who is also my sister-in-law! Bill is a very lucky guy, sis."
Kathy was in a daze as the stripped off her clothes and then
slipped the gown over her head. She was seated in a chair while her
sisters fixed her hair. Finally, she stood up and saw herself in a mirror.
She couldn't believe her eyes. The white wedding gown was magnificent. As
she stood at the mirror, Ali put a triple strand of priceless pearls around
her neck, then kissed her. "My darling, they are also pearls from the
Orient. They're exquisite, but I'm sure they look much better on you than
they ever did in the oyster. It's just a small token from your and
Kathy laughed when the tried to decide whether measures
were called for. She looked at them, not understanding what they were
talking about. Then she realized they were discussing whether or not she
should wear lipstick. She settled the issue by carefully putting some on.
When she walked down the aisle, Kathy couldn't believe her senses. She
was on the arm of her new father, Bill Clifford, realizing she didn't even
know who her real was.
He whispered in her ear, "My daughter, you can't believe how proud
you're making me today! I can't believe that I could possibly have a
daughter as beautiful as you are."
At the altar, Cindy lifted her veil and she looked into Bill's eyes as
Chip stood in the background.
In no time she heard the words she never dreamed of hearing: "Do you,
Katherine, take this man, William, to be your lawful wedded husband?"
She replied as fervently as she could, "Oh, Father, I do!"
Moments later, she heard, "I now pronounce you and wife."
Bill took her and she melted in his arms. She was so happy, her tears
were flowing and she needed his arm on her elbow to guide her down the
At the reception, everyone she knew was there. Don and Mary Martin
kissed her. They looked marvelous, having only recently returned from
their own honeymoon. There was April, and her new brothers and sisters.
Finally, Dan Burke was standing in front of her asking softly, "May I kiss
the bride?" She nodded shyly, and he kissed her solidly on the lips. He
whispered, "Kathy, it couldn't happen to a nicer girl. I can't tell you
how happy Cindy and I are for you. Now will you introduce me to your
Bill and Dan shook hands. It was the first good look Dan had had at
Bill Cartwright. Bill looked at him and simultaneously each recognized the
other. Dan grabbed Bill in a bear hug and shouted, "It's you! My God!
You saved my life!"
All of the people -- only the closest friends and were there --
turned as they heard Dan's cry. He put his arm around Bill and said, "It's
a very small world. This is the who saved my life and the lives of all
my men. We were about to be wiped out when this guy appears with a bunch
of Laotian irregulars and started to wipe up the floor with the North
Vietnamese. We couldn't call for help because all of our radios were out.
"Bill set up a landing zone and covered us while the choppers he called
in pulled us out. He wouldn't come out with us. I saw him take a couple
of hits, but I saw him kill a bunch of the enemy. It was the last time I
saw him until today. I never even knew his name. It was just 'Bill in
Special Forces' until now."
He looked at Bill and said, "There's a medal waiting for you at the
Presidio when you get back, Bill. It's the Medal of Honor." By now tears
were streaming down Dan's face as he said, "'Greater love hath no than
he who lays down his life for a friend.' That's exactly what Bill
Cartwright did that day so many years ago. He gave his life for me and my
men. I didn't know who he was at the time, but on the way out to Maui, I
learned some of the ways he was tortured for so many long years.
"Bill, if there is anything I can ever do for you or your --
absolutely anything at all -- I'll do it. I can't tell you how wonderful I
feel right now. I heard about a small who helped you. That small
girl is one of the finest human beings I have ever met. Since you're the
guy to whom I owe my life, I couldn't be happier or prouder for you both."
He raised his champagne glass and said, "Please join me in a toast to
the bride and groom. I know it's the best man's prerogative to offer it,
but I'm taking his place. Katherine and William Cartwright: Never have
there been two people so deserving of every happiness. Never have I seen
two people so deeply in love. Never have there been two people who have
suffered more on their way to the altar. Kathy and Bill, thank you, and
may God bless your marriage with every happiness and many children. If
your children have the tiniest fraction of the courage and bravery of both
of their parents, they will be credits to you, to the and to our
country! May God bless you both!" He raised his glass as did everyone else
in the room.
The next day, Kathy and Bill were lying on what they had come to think
of as their spot on the nude beach. They were just recovering from their
best lovemaking yet, when a shadow fell over them. They were lying in each
other's arms with their eyes closed. Kathy opened her eyes and saw Ali and
Bill Clifford standing in the sun. She gasped as she saw Ali's nude body.
It was utterly exquisite and she said so. Her father, who she first
thought to be thirty-seven, looked to be Bill's age when she saw his
Ali saw where she was looking and casually cupped his massive balls in
her hand and said, "He is kind of nice, isn't he? I guess it keeps us
young. And yes, Kathy, a can have a tanned cock. Do you like your
To her amazement, Ali dropped to her knees and took it in her mouth. In
moments she had it in a raging erection. Kathy could see he was close to
cuming when she dropped on her back, lifted her pelvis, and smoothly took
him inside her glistening cunt. Soon, Ali reached a massive orgasm and
Kathy could see Bill cuming into her mother's gaping cunt. After resting
on the sand for a few minutes, Bill withdrew and Ali began to lick off the
love juices from his cock.
She started to get up when Bill said, "Not so fast, lady!" She
just grinned and lay back with her legs spread wide. Bill knelt between
her thighs and licked the juices from his wife's lovely cunt. When he was
finished, she pulled him up to her and they kissed lovingly, exchanging the
fluids they had absorbed. Finally, he got up and helped Ali to her feet.
"In case you're wondering, that's just to show you that you didn't
invent anything new. If you look up and down the beach, you'll see there's
a lot of it going around. We love watching Don and Mary Martin. They are
newlyweds and so deeply in love, we could put them on stage making love and
I don't think they'd know the difference." With that, Ali and Bill walked
off down the beach hand in hand.
"Darling," Kathy whispered to Bill, "will we ever be like that, do you
suppose? Could you believe what you just saw? They are so in love and so
attuned to each other! I thought it was beautiful."
Bill just smiled at her and kissed her softly, assuring her he would
* * *
When their plane landed at O'Hare, they were met by Cindy and Dan and
driven into Chicago. Kathy had only mentioned briefly the fact that she
worked at Chicago Trust. She never told Bill that she lived in a very
small one-room apartment. Although Dan and Cindy knew where she lived,
they were driving a different route. As he drove the car he rented for the
occasion, Dan asked Bill what he planned to do.
Bill just shook his head and said, "I don't have the first clue, Dan.
First, though, thank you for being at the Presidio last week. I was
surprised but very pleased to see you there, particularly as a part of the
Bill had received the Medal of Honor, as well as the Silver Star, the
Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart at a ceremony in San Francisco. Although
he had been an eighteen-year-old staff sergeant when he was captured, he
wore the uniform of a master sergeant when he received his award. At his
insistence, Kathy was by his side when the awards were made. Dan had been
present, too, representing the marines whose lives he had saved in the
action for which the Medal of Honor was being awarded. Bill was now a
master sergeant, U.S. Army (retired), being retired on a disability
pension. He joked that if he stayed in a couple of more years, he would
qualify for a twenty-year pension; all his time in prison counted as active
service. He also joked that all he had to show for his time in captivity
were a couple of medals and big-time tax problems.
With respect to his future, all he knew was it centered on Kathy. He
told Dan that since it was clear she liked what she was doing, she was
going back to work while he figured something out.
Dan asked, "Bill, I know you don't need the money. (We would like to
have you as a depositor, though.) But would you consider working with us?
Working in Cindy's group with your wife?" He smiled warmly and said, "I see
a little of you dying whenever she's out of your sight. Would you like to
work with her? I talked to Don Martin, the president, and he said he'll
agree to any arrangement you wish."
"It's a deal, Dan," Bill replied. "Right now I feel like I'm
freeloading on my wife. Let's do it!"
Dan had driven into the garage of an apartment building close to both
the lakefront and the bank. As they passed the parked cars, Kathy saw a
red one that looked exactly like hers. They parked in a space and took the
elevator up to the lobby and another to the top floor. Kathy didn't know
what was happening, but she knew Cindy had an apartment around here
somewhere that she had sold and was redecorating for the new owner. Cindy
opened the door to an apartment and walked in. Kathy and Bill followed and
Dan brought up the rear. The apartment was large and airy with a large
balcony overlooking the lake. The view of the lakefront was spectacular.
The unit was the most beautifully furnished apartment Kathy had ever seen,
and she said so to Cindy. Cindy showed the couple around and Kathy made
Bill said, "Honey, this is exactly the sort of place we ought to have.
Chip wasn't lying about my money. I guess we can afford it, too. Would
you like to look for one like it?"
"Oh, darling," Kathy exclaimed, "Could we? Cindy, you have another
career as a decorator. I don't know who the owner of this place is but he
or she is going to love it! Could... Would you do ours when we get one?
Your taste is just perfect!" While she was talking, she was opening
cupboards in the kitchen and found the apartment was completely equipped.
Cindy reached out her hands to each of them. Looking puzzled, Kathy and
Bill held out their hands and Cindy dropped gold keys in each of them.
"I'm glad you like it. Since you like it so much, this one is yours. It's
a wedding present from your new sisters, Jen Chapman and Jan Stewart. You
two own it; the papers will be delivered tomorrow. I did the decorating
because I needed some practice before I do the other apartment for real.
There's a fee, though. You have to give me a list of the things I forgot.
Now don't forget. You owe it to me as my decorator's fee."
_"Ours?"_ Kathy exclaimed. "Bill's and mine? All ours?"
"It sure is, honey. And that was your car in the garage. You have two
spaces down there. The other one is empty." She looked at Dan and said,
"Come on, Burke. These two are newlyweds. Kathy is desperately trying to
get us the hell out of here so she can christen her brand-new bed."
Kathy blushed prettily, but Cindy and Dan left quickly.*Chapter 20*
Shortly after Labor Day, Emily Amelia Hardwick made up her mind to go
down to her bank. Emily always thought of Chicago Trust Company as her
bank. After all, her great-grandfather was one of the original investors
when it was founded, and the Hardwicks had been banking there ever since.
Emily made up her mind to see Donald Martin and find out what was going on.
Over the last few weeks Emily had noticed that she received particularly
good treatment from small merchants whenever she gave them her check on
Chicago Trust. Many were immigrants, she knew. Yet they spoke of "their
bank" and "the twins who aren't." _Clearly,_ she thought, _something very
strange is going on._ She asked Charles to bring the car around and she set
off to see Donald Martin. Donald had been her banker for years. Emily had
almost started a revolution when she heard he might be fired. She liked
Donald Martin, even if his daughter, Cynthia, was a snippy little pill.
Emily Hardwick was sixty-eight years and the last of the Hardwicks.
As a spinster, she realized that when she died her would cease to
exist. This inevitability didn't bother her. What did bother her was the
money. Normally, when money was made, it was dissipated by the
pyramid-shaped structure of generations, with each generation far more
numerous than the one before. Even the largest fortunes could rarely
survive the combined onslaughts of inheritance taxes and proliferating
Not the Hardwicks. Its tree had been diamond-shaped. It began
with the fur trade in the early eighteenth century and became most numerous
around the middle of the nineteenth century. Since then it had been
contracting. She had grown up in the mansion on Chicago's Near
North Side, but a few years earlier had sold the property on which now
stood a huge office building. People in Chicago had wanted her to make the
family home a museum but she would not hear of it. It had served the
family and she didn't want strangers traipsing through it. Now she was
amused by the extent to which the land sale had added to the fortune, now greater than $200 million.
The reason the money bothered her was she had no one to leave it to.
Her lawyers advised her to establish a charitable foundation and name it as
her beneficiary. She considered the idea but didn't like it. She knew of
too many foundations devoted to "good works" which translated into
supporting all of the trendy and with-it causes. Moreover, too often these
were causes and organizations whose purposes were antithetical to the
source of the money supporting them. She knew of one foundation in
which a senior member resigned because of policy disagreements with
the foundation's Board of Directors.
Emily was different from most of her social friends. Unlike them, she
had investigated her family's background in depth. This provided her with
an awareness of the risks that had been taken to amass and build the fortune. She realized that, had any of a wide range of events unfolded
differently, on a number of occasions over the years the would have
been financially wiped out. Her research surfaced the names of dozens of
people associated with her ancestors who had taken different tacks and had
been financially destroyed. This went back to financial panics in the
nineteenth century. It was nothing new.
Emily Amelia was gray-haired and gray-eyed. Her eyes were her most
striking feature: they were as sharp and piercing as an eagle's. Her
carriage was erect and her body appeared spare. She was a person who knew
who she was. Arriving at the bank, she asked a guard where Mr. Donald
Martin could be found. Upon being told, she took the elevator to the
executive floor and marched up to the receptionist.
Jean Robbins saw Miss Hardwick marching up to her desk. _Oh, oh,_ she
thought, _Here's trouble! Miss Hardwick hasn't been here in months._ She
smiled and said, "Good morning, Miss Hardwick. May I help you?"
"I'm here to see Donald Martin. Is he in the bank this morning?" she
asked politely. Emily was always polite to everyone.
Jean buzzed Mary Thomas. _Oops!_ she thought, _It's Mary Martin, now._
"Mary," she said, "It's Miss Hardwick to see Mr. Martin!"
Mary knew Don had no visitors so she ran out to the reception area. Her
hand was outstretched in greeting as she approached Emily Amelia. "Good
morning, Miss Hardwick! It's so good to see you again. It's been such a
Emily looked at Mary and her eyes widened. She said, "Why Mary Thomas,
what has happened to you? You're beautiful! I haven't seen you look so
good in... my heavens, it must be twenty years now." She took Mary's hands
in hers and looked at the woman and saw the love in her eyes. She asked
softly, "Who is the lucky man? I can see the love shining in your eyes."
Mary didn't even blush. She said, "Thank you so much. I'm very glad it
shows. It's Don. I'm Mary Martin now."
Emily beamed and then frowned. "Mary Thomas, why was I not informed?
You two are my most favorite people in this bank. I must send you
something nice. Now, shall we see Donald?"
Emily was pleased by Donald Martin's appearance as well. He and Mary
both looked so much younger and so vibrant. She congratulated him and then
immediately went to the business at hand. Emily Amelia didn't beat around
the bush. She demanded to know what was happening between the bank and the
small merchants. Why was she now being greeted so warmly?
Don smiled and told her very briefly about the bank's new lending
program. He didn't mention that Cindy was in charge. After he completed
his explanation, Emily said nothing. She just asked if an officer in that
unit was in the bank.
Don looked at Mary who left the office. She was back a moment later to
say that Miss Jefferson was in her office. Emily nodded firmly, asked
directions to Miss Jefferson's office and then marched out. Mary asked if
she should call April and warn her. Don smiled and shook his head saying,
"Darling, six hours wouldn't be enough time to warn her about Emily Amelia
Hardwick, and two minutes would only alarm her. Let's just keep our
April was working at her desk when her secretary buzzed and said there
was a Miss Hardwick to see her. She didn't have an appointment, but Mr.
Martin had suggested she talk to April. She was ushered in and April came
around her desk to greet her. In spite of her protests she had been
promoted to vice president and her office had been enlarged. She shook
hands firmly with Miss Hardwick and offered her a seat on the new sofa that
was part of her new vice-presidential office.
Emily studied the woman sitting attentively in front of her. She
was surprised. First, the was a Negro; then she remembered they were
now called blacks. Donald had said that she was a vice president. _A
black female vice president!_ she thought. _My, how things are changing._
But that wasn't all. The was sitting upright in her chair with her
hands folded in her lap. _It has been years since I last saw that! I
wonder who raised her? Clearly, her trained her to be a lady. And
even though she's only wearing blue jeans and a work shirt, she sits in
that chair like a queen._
She asked the about the small merchants and was told quickly and
lucidly about the lending program and on whom it was focused and how it
worked. Emily nodded her head quickly. Then she asked, "Are you in charge
of the program, Miss Jefferson? You appear... rather young."
The smiled brilliantly and said, "Oh, no, Miss Hardwick. The
program is run by our division head, Miss Martin. She's a very experienced
Emily asked, "Do you mean that ninny, Cynthia Martin? If that's true,
then why are you dressed the way you are? If she saw you, she would fire
you on the spot. That doesn't care two hoots for people. She just
plays to images and impressions. Well?" she demanded.
April replied, "I didn't know Cindy... Miss Martin... before I joined
the bank. She says she was awful and should have been drowned at birth. I
can't say. I can only say she hired me, trained me, taught me everything I
know, and promoted me. As for the uniform," she said with a warm smile,
"it's the uniform for our division, by the way -- it's all she ever wears.
When she's wearing clothes at all, which isn't often." Suddenly, Emily saw
the girl's naturally warm brown eyes grow cold. She said, "I would give my
life for Cindy Martin. I adore the girl. I worship the ground she walks
on. Am I making my feelings clear?"
Emily made a mental note to see Cynthia Martin again. Clearly she
inspired loyalty, and the Cynthia could never have done that.
Then she asked, "Tell me about yourself, Miss Jefferson. Do you live with
"I live with my and my son, Miss Hardwick. Why do you ask?" The
coldness was out of her eyes now.
Emily mentally nodded, realizing what a beautiful woman this was.
She had an idea which she put into action immediately. She said, "Miss
Jefferson, I would like you to have lunch with me. I'm sure you have no
idea who I am or why there might be any circumstance by which you would
care to dine with me. That's neither here nor there. If I could presume
to use your office for a moment, would you please call Mr. Martin? Then,
when he tells you to join me, please see if your and your son could
join us for lunch, too." She gave April the address and the left the
office to use another phone. Emily called her apartment and told the cook
there would be four for lunch at twelve.
April called Don Martin's office and Mary answered. The woman said,
"Congratulations, April! I'm glad to hear you're still alive. What did
you think of Emily Amelia Hardwick?" April exhaled loudly and asked who she
was. Mary filled her in quickly, ending with the admonition that she was
the bank's single most important customer. "April, the rule in the bank
is, 'What Emily wants, Emily gets.' I'm sure there is a reason for the
question, though. What is it?"
April told her about the luncheon invitation and Mary whistled softly.
She said to do it if it was humanly possible, adding that Don Martin was
the only person from the bank to dine with her in living memory. After
hanging up she called the apartment and quickly told her about the
invitation. Her said she would get Ronnie dressed and would meet
them at twelve.
She went back to her office and made quick excuses to Emily, then took a
hanger from behind her door and went to the ladies' room. When she
returned a few minutes later, she was the of a female banker on a
warm September day. She was wearing a simple, beautifully-tailored dress
that set off her face and showed off her beautiful figure. Emily looked at
her and thought to herself, _Better and better!_
When they returned to her apartment, Emily asked that dry sherry be
served. She chatted with the woman and was increasingly impressed.
The was very well informed, very smart, very beautiful and very
ladylike. Emily found herself liking her more every minute.
The butler announced Mrs. Thomas Jefferson and Ronald Jackson, Junior.
Emily rose to greet Mary Jefferson and again was impressed. _Clearly, this
is the woman who trained April,_ she thought. The little was handsome.
Although April had said he was not yet two, he was already walking.
Moreover, it appeared that training pants had already taken the place of
diapers. Mrs. Jefferson whispered to Ronnie to say hello.
Ronnie toddled over to where she was sitting and put out his hand.
Emily took his tiny hand and carefully shook it. The little stood
there in front of her, studying her face carefully. Emily could feel the
sinking feeling in her stomach again. Normally she terrified small
children. This little just stood studying her face carefully. Then he
pointed to her and turned to his saying, "Lady!" Then he turned back
and smiled the warmest smile she had ever seen on a child's face. He said,
"Nice lady!" He came closer and held out his arms.
Emily picked him up and found him wrapping his little arms around her
neck and giving her a big kiss. When she put him down again, he backed up
a little and said softly, "Nice lady." He wanted to sit down and she lifted
him onto her lap, where he gently fingered the beads she was wearing. Then
he just leaned back against her arm to listen to the grownups.
Emily looked at the other women. They might have been nervous about
Ronnie's behavior but they didn't show it if they were. Emily asked about
Mr. Jefferson. Mary said, "He died defending our country, Miss Hardwick.
He left me with April who has been a wonderful to me. I still
miss him terribly, though," she finished simply. April explained the
circumstances surrounding her pregnancy and Ronnie's birth. She spared
herself nothing as she told of the contest and serving punch from her tits.
As she did, Emily noticed, she didn't lower her head nor turn away from her
Emily knew about her own reputation. She knew that she was for
her piercing gray eyes that could see through steel. In fact, she
cultivated both the look and the reaction. She was increasingly impressed
with this family. When luncheon was announced, they went into the dining
room and were seated. In spite of his diminutive size, little Ronnie sat
in a booster seat at the table. He waited for the others and ate as neatly
as a small child possibly could. Emily watched for a few moments, then
picked him up and sat him on her lap. She helped him with the rest of his
When they were nearly finished, she turned to Mary who was sitting at
her right and asked, "Mary Jefferson, I am very impressed. 'Manners' is a
term that's nearly extinct. Nonetheless, you display an elegance and a
breeding I haven't seen in fifty years. What did you do?"
Mary Jefferson sat up even straighter in her chair, or tried to. Her
backbone was already ramrod straight. She said, "Miss Hardwick, I began
working when I was eight years old. My served a in
Virginia... a very family. They were members of the First Families of
Virginia -- the FFV -- on both sides. We were never told how to behave. I
just watched. I saw what ladies and gentlemen did and how they behaved.
I've tried to raise my the same way. I tried to get her to
understand what the term, lady, really means." She looked at Emily straight
in the eye. Emily realized Mary's brown eyes were every bit as piercing as
her gray ones were. "I believe I have succeeded. I'm very proud of April,
and I think my husband, Tom, is very proud of her, too." Suddenly, Mary's
face started to crumble. She murmured her excuses and fled from the table.
Emily gave Ronnie back to April and went after her.
She found Mary in the living room trying desperately to muffle her tears
with a dainty little handkerchief. Emily went to the powder room, grabbed
a hand towel and returned to the living room. Pulling up a chair, she sat
down next to the woman and said softly, "Mary, that tiny thing is useless
at a time like this." She gave her the towel and drew her into her arms.
It was as if a dam had broken. Mary's body was wracked with sobs while
Emily comforted her. Finally, she regained control and looked up at her
with tear-reddened eyes. Then Emily realized how truly beautiful this
Mary said softly, "I'm terribly sorry. I apologize. I'll leave at
once! My behavior is inexcusable." She tried to smile as she added, "Ronnie
makes his grandmother so proud of his behavior, and then she comes apart
like... like... I don't know what."
"Like a widow who is missing her husband at a very important moment for
the family. It hits you like a knife blade, doesn't it? It cuts into you
utterly without warning," Emily said very softly.
Mary looked up in surprise. "But... but how did you know? It is
'Miss', isn't it?"
"Yes, it is, and my virginity is still intact. His name was Mike...
Mike Casey. I met him during the war. He was a Navy pilot and I loved him
so very much. He... He asked me to marry him. He had his whole leave
ahead of him. He had just completed advanced pilot training and was going
out to the Pacific to join his carrier. But I wanted a big church wedding
and a white gown and the full array, so I said we should wait. He was
killed in action." Suddenly, Emily's face crumpled and she began to cry.
She began to sob and tears began to pour from her eyes. Now it was Mary's
turn. She held the woman close. April came running from the dining
room. Still holding Emily, she told April to get the butler.
The came in and carried Miss Emily to her bedroom and laid her on
her bed, still weeping uncontrollably. Mary shooed April away and
undressed the woman, slipping her under the covers nude. She was amazed at
the beauty of the elderly woman's figure. She stripped off her own clothes
and got into bed with her. She took her in her arms and just held her
close. Finally, sheer exhaustion caught up with her and Emily fell asleep
in Mary's arms.
It was nearly six o'clock when she awakened. Emily was shocked. She
was undressed in bed and in the arms of another woman. She looked at Mary
Jefferson and remembered. Then she took her fingers and gently stroked the
lovely body beside her. Mary's eyes opened quickly. She smiled at Emily
and suddenly looked startled. She jumped out of bed like she had been
stuck with a pin and started to look around for her clothes.
Emily said softly, "Mary Jefferson, get your lovely black ass back in
this bed this second. You'll catch your death!"
Mary got back in the bed but remained as far from Emily as she could.
Emily grinned and moved close to her to hold her in her arms again. She
whispered, "That does it! Mary Jefferson, I have a proposition to make to
you. You have a small apartment. I have a very large one. It's too
large, really. I want you, April and Ronnie to come and live with me." She
pretended to glare and said, "And if you call me Miss Hardwick one more
time, I'll kill you! The name is Emily."
With that she slipped out of bed and went to a jewelry box. Opening it,
she took out a tray revealing a cavity below. She scooped up the contents,
brought them back to the bed and turned on a light. Then she gathered up
armfuls of pillows and with a grin threw them at Mary's head.
Her eyes were full of love as she said, "Mary, I haven't done this in
nearly fifty years. I was in college. I would get a letter and my
roommate would climb into bed with me while I read it to her. May I?
Please?" Mary looked and again was startled by Emily's figure. Remarkably,
it was almost girlish, with skin that was still as smooth as satin. She
climbed into bed and Mary came close.
She carefully unfolded the first letter and began to read. There were a
series of letters from a going to war. He described daily
activities and told her what it was like to serve aboard an aircraft
carrier -- in Mike's case, the _Enterprise._ In each letter he recalled
caressing Emily's full and telling her that he couldn't wait to
take her to his marriage bed. Each letter had an intimate detail of their
very short time together.
She came to the last one. Mike told her that a major battle was in
prospect. "The brass say it's one we have to win." They were gathering
near a small island he was sure she had never heard of if he told her its
name nor would she ever hear of it again. "Darling," he said, "If anything
happens to me, I'll wait for you, dear Emily. I'll wait for you forever.
You are the love of my life." It was signed, "With all my love, forever.
"He was wrong about one thing, Mary," Emily said softly with her voice
breaking. "The island was Midway. I was named as the next of kin in his
will." She took out three small boxes. "This is what the Navy gave me.
The boxes contained the Navy Cross, the Air Medal, and the Purple Heart.
She looked at Mary and said, "Please help me, Mary. Will you?"
"Help you? By living with you?" Mary asked, puzzled. "How can that
The woman looked at Mary and shook her head. There was great warmth in
her eyes as she shook her head saying, "That's not it at all, Mary. The
truth is, it's the money. There is only one thing left for me to do, and
that's to make arrangements for an heir."
As she sat there resting against the pillows, Mary realized what a
beautiful Emily Hardwick must have been. There would have been
no problem now, but for events in 1942 off Midway Island in the Pacific.
Emily would have had many children by the love of her life, Mike Casey, but
it was not to be.
Emily continued: "I have been advised to create a foundation but I don't
want to. I've searched for years for an individual. I even ran
advertisements. I've talked with women of every conceivable kind and
description. All were bright, well-educated, and wanted me to create a
foundation so they could direct it and do good works." She grinned -- an
improbable event, making her look very cute in spite of her age -- and
said, "It translates into supporting all the trendy causes.
"I want someone to enjoy the money and use it with judgment. I want
someone who will add something to the world. Mary, I think you're the
person I've been searching for. Please tell me about Tom. That's what
triggered the water works for you."
Mary told her about a career soldier who loved his country. He had been
killed in the early days in Vietnam saving a trapped patrol. "All I have
are some letters and some medals. Tom won the Distinguished Service Cross
along with the Silver Star, the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart." She
smiled warmly at Emily and said, "I think the DSC and the Navy Cross are
equal in rank." She looked at Emily and said, "What would you like me to
Emily gave her a brief outline. The next day the Jeffersons moved in to
Emily's apartment. April was skeptical about Ronnie but she found that
Ronnie loved Emily. He finally settled on calling her Aunt Em. When April
returned from work, she usually found Ronnie and Aunt Em playing on the
floor. She soon decided that the woman loved her son dearly.
Emily found Mary Jefferson to be a perfect companion. She insisted that
Emily get exercise so the two women joined a health club. In no time,
Emily was feeling better than she had in years. The real fun came with the
charitable and artistic organizations. Emily was a board member of all of
the most prestigious arts organizations in Chicago and was avidly courted
by many others striving to move up in rank. Mary began to accompany her to
all of the meetings, concerts, recitals, and openings. Emily was utterly
delighted. She found that Mary had even less tolerance for nonsense than
she did. The two women quickly developed a shorthand. One would raise a
thumb, the other would nod, and they would both get up and walk out.
What passed as modern art was the worst of all. They joked that they
had never seen even half of an exhibition and more commonly only about
one-quarter. One day they went to a gallery opening. Mary took one look
at pictures of coupling and she turned around and walked
out. On the sidewalk the two women encountered a sketching. He looked
at Emily and his charcoal started to fly over his pad. They were walking
down the street towards where their car was waiting. when he came running
after them with his sketch in his hand. He said, "Ladies, I have something
for you. It's a gift. Please at least look at it."
Mary looked at him, prepared to tell him to leave them alone as their
chauffeur-bodyguard ran towards them. Mary glanced at the sketch and then
looked at it more closely. She then looked at the who was tall and
thin with sandy hair and warm brown eyes. The sketch, done in just a few
strokes, caught the look of eagles in Emily's eyes. Mary showed it to
Emily and asked the man, "Do you do anything besides sketches?"
He grinned and said, "I try. Unfortunately, people aren't too
interested in what I do. If... If you could give me a dollar or so for
the sketch, I would appreciate it. It's not necessary, though."
"Where do you live, man?" Mary asked. He told her and she gave
him her address. Then she gave him twenty dollars and said, "Please bring
your tools over to the apartment. I would like to commission a portrait."
He thanked them profusely and said he would be there in about an hour.
The two women returned to the apartment. Almost exactly one hour from
the time they separated, the receptionist in the lobby announced two
visitors for Mrs. Jefferson. They came up and the butler showed them into
the library where Emily and Mary were playing gin rummy. It was the artist
along with a female companion. Mary looked at the closely and rang
for the butler. She ordered club sandwiches to be served to the guests
The butler was embarrassed to tell her that the cook was off for the
afternoon. Mary excused herself and left the two people talking with
Emily. She went to the kitchen and returned in a few minutes with two
crocks of French onion soup. She set places for the guests at the card
table and held the by her shoulder. When the smelled the aroma
of the soup, she almost fainted.
She returned with refills and then with two massive ham and cheese
omelettes with soufleed potatoes, a salad and a loaf of french bread. She
noticed that the food just evaporated.
When they were finished, the stood up. Emily and Mary could see
tears rolling from her cheeks. She said, "Thank you so much. We have not
been introduced. I'm Kerry Casey, Jim's model. He's Jim Vance, who I
think is the finest artist in the world." She smiled wryly and added,
"Unfortunately, I may be the only person alive who holds that opinion. We
were starving to death when we arrived here today. I like to think that
Jim is perceptive. Clearly, he's not the only one." She held out her hand
to Mary and asked, "To whom do I owe my life?"
Mary introduced herself and Emily. At the mention of the name,
Hardwick, Kerry's eyes widened. "Are you Emily Amelia Hardwick?" she asked
Emily nodded and looked at the strangely. "Are you Jack Casey's
girl?" she asked. The said she was. Emily continued, "Mary, Jack
would have been Mike's nephew if he had lived. Just think: I would have
had this lovely as a grandniece." The was about five feet six
with and lovely blue eyes. She was wearing blue jeans and a
While they were talking, Jim had been studying Emily. He moved her
chair slightly and began to sketch. Kerry went around behind him and the
two spoke quietly. He continued working for four hours until six o'clock.
As he began to put away his materials, Emily stretched and came around to
look at the canvas. Her eyes widened and she gasped. Although it was not
nearly finished, the outline of the painting was very clear. She was
sitting in the chair with shelves of books behind her, the way they
appeared in the library. There were things in the painting, though, that
were not present in the room. On a bookshelf Jim had sketched in a small
shadow box. In it were a naval officer's cap device, gold Navy pilot's
wings, the Navy Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart.
But sitting next to her on the table in his was a book of
matches. There was nothing on the table she had been sitting beside. She
looked at it closely and gasped, then ran from the room. Mary was amazed.
Jim had caught the piercing look in her eyes, but so much more.
Mary whispered, "Jim, it's perfect! She is a lady, isn't she?" Jim just
nodded and Kerry held his hand tightly.
Emily reappeared in the library with a matchbook in her hand, still
visibly shaken. She said softly, "Maybe you should use the real one." She
put it in his hand and then broke down in tears, going to Mary who seated
her on the sofa and comforted her. Finally she regained control and said
softly, "Jim Vance, how could you possibly know? That matchbook in your
picture shows the logo the Pump Room used in 1942. You showed this match
book. Open it, please, and look at it." He did as she added, "Mike was
educated as an engineer. I used to tease him about his very neat
printing." Inside the cover of the matchbook was neatly printed, "LTJG
Michael P. Casey, USNR, Scout Bomber Squadron 8, FPO, San Francisco,
California." She said, "He used this matchbook to write his address for me
the last day we were together."
Suddenly the anguish disappeared and she looked at Mary with excitement
in her eyes. She looked like she had shed fifty years of age as she said,
"Dear Mary, Mike is so close to me now! I can feel him and hear him. I'll
be with him soon, I just know it!" Her eyes sparkled as she asked, "Can I
lose my virginity in Heaven, do you suppose? Oh, God, I love him so!" Mary
just held the woman tightly and then suggested she take a nap before
dinner. Emily left the room, leaving Mary alone with the people.
Mary said, "Do you two drink? I believe we're finished for today,
aren't we?" They said they did, and she relayed the order to the butler who
served them drinks along with a platter of canapes. Jim looked at Mary and
saw tears flowing down her cheeks. She said, "We haven't talked about a
fee, Jim. How much do you charge for a portrait?"
Before he could answer, Kerry said, "It's five hundred dollars, Mrs.
Jefferson. If it's possible, we would like an advance payment of one
hundred dollars with the balance when the commission is accepted." Mary
nodded and went to the desk drawer. One of the first things Emily had done
was to make Mary a signatory on her bank account. She carefully wrote out
a check and gave it to Jim. It was for $1,000.
He looked at it and choked. Finally he was able to say, "Mrs.
Jefferson, there has been a mistake. This check is for one thousand
Mary replied, "You're right, Jim, there has been a mistake. The mistake
was Kerry's. The fee will be five thousand with 20 percent in advance.
Jim Vance, that portrait is priceless. Frankly, I'm sure Emily is going to
be angry at me for you so badly."
She smiled at the two people and asked, "Could you stay for
dinner? I have a feeling you don't have much to eat and we have a very
great deal. It would be a favor to us if you would." She smiled and went
back to the desk. Opening a drawer she took a small sheaf of bills and
gave them to Kerry. "I think this is about a thousand or so. Consider it
a gift to Mike Casey's grandniece. We would appreciate it very much if you
would bring some of your other paintings with you. We don't dress for
The two left the apartment in a daze. A few minutes after they left,
April returned home and Mary told her what had happened. April played with
Ronnie for a while and then went to her room to shower and change. At
seven-thirty Jim and Kerry returned. Jim was now wearing a jacket and tie
while Kerry was wearing a lovely dress that was quite loose on her.
Clearly, she was now much thinner than normal. They were each carrying a
stack of canvasses.
April and Ronnie came out and were introduced to them. After Jim looked
at the Jeffersons and Ronnie, he asked them to sit in the living room. He
posed them with April sitting on a chair with Ronnie on her lap and Mary
standing behind. He worked with his charcoal and sketch pad for a few
minutes. While he was sketching, Emily came up behind him to watch. Her
eyes widened as she saw what he was doing. He finished and smiled.
The butler brought more drinks and they started to look at his oils.
The first was a figure study of Kerry, but it was so much more. April
looked at it and said softly, "I didn't think a could love a woman that
much!" She looked more carefully at the painting and then at Kerry.
"You're incredibly passionate, but you're still a virgin, aren't you? Once
I saw it in the portrait, I can see it in you. It's true, isn't it?"
Kerry just nodded. She said, "I guess we would have been eating more
regularly if Jim wasn't so good. He sees people. Would you like to see
his sketch of you?"
April instantly agreed and Jim shyly opened up his sketch pad. She saw
the charcoal and gasped, "My God, Jim! What did you do?" In just a few
strokes he caught Ronnie's intelligence, warmth, and friendliness; he
caught Mary's sadness, intelligence and determination and the fact she was
a lady. April looked beautiful, elegant, sexy, intelligent, and hurt.
April murmured, "Dorian Gray! You see it all, don't you?"
Jim just shrugged. Most of the other pictures were of Kerry. As a
group, they displayed love and appreciation for the woman whose
body was utterly exquisite. She appeared completely at home with her
nudity. At dinner Emily asked, "Why aren't you two married? I have seldom
seen two people who are more in love."
"My forbids it," Kerry said quietly. "He's convinced Jim can't
possibly support me. Jim won't let me support him, so we starve together.
He won't let us marry, so we just live together. I adore the and it's
agonizing for him to sleep with me without touching me. I think it's even
worse for me. Can you see that in the pictures? My wanting?" April kissed
the and hugged her close, feeling the tears of frustration flowing
down her cheeks.
* * *
Before they had moved in with Emily Amelia, Cindy had been dropping in
at the Jefferson apartment with increasing frequency. The visits stopped
when they moved in with Emily until April assured her she would be welcome.
One day she had to see April about a loan and called at the Hardwick
apartment. When she asked for April, the butler showed her in. Only then
did Cindy realize she was still wearing her Levi's and work shirt. _Uh,
oh!_ she thought, _I guess it's too late to change clothes now._ He showed
her into the living room where the was gathered.
As she stood at the archway into the living room, Ronnie saw her and
gave a little yelp. He ran over to her with his arms outstretched crying,
"It's Aunt Cindy!" He gave her his usually beaming smile as she scooped him
up in her arms and gave him a very warm hug and kiss. She had come to
adore this incredibly handsome little boy.
As she carried him in her arms into the living room, she began to tickle
him. It was something Ronnie loved. He began to laugh uncontrollably as
she gently set him on the carpet while continuing to tease him. She was on
her knees as he got up on his sturdy legs and came back into her arms. It
was only then that she realized Emily Amelia was sitting in a wing chair
watching her with her very stern eyes.
Standing Ronnie on his feet, she jumped up and squared her shoulders.
"I'm terribly sorry! You must be Miss Hardwick. I'm Cynthia Martin and I
want to apologize for my disgraceful behavior just now."
Emily Amelia just looked at her with her hawk-like gaze, the one that
could see through steel. Cindy stood there with her hands at her sides
feeling that this woman was looking right through her. Finally, Emily just
nodded. Turning to April who was also wearing her Levi's she said, "April,
would you mind standing beside Miss Martin?"
April went to Cindy and stood with an arm around her waist. The two
girls just looked at Emily who finally murmured, "Of course! 'The twins
who aren't'!" Then with a small smile she said in her normal voice, "It's
so clear, now. You're the same height, the same weight -- except for the
color of your skin, eyes and hair -- you _are_ twins."
In just the few days the Jefferson had been with Emily, April had
come to love her. She knew Emily had a remarkable sense of humor so she
said, "I beg your pardon!? Her twin? Emily, this is flat as a board
while I have real tits! Pretending to frown she added, "I'm... I'm...
Improbably, Emily grinned and asked Mary to tell the butler she wanted
privacy for a few minutes. Mary Jefferson rose and took Ronnie out of the
room with her. Then turning back to Cindy she said, "Would you mind taking
off your clothes?"
Although she looked puzzled, Cindy slipped off her jeans and her shirt.
Gracefully stepping out of her bikinis she was now bare. While she did,
April did, too. Again the black put her arm around Cindy's waist.
This time she smiled warmly at Emily and said, "That was a terrible lie
about Cindy, wasn't it?" Both girls' were full and very firm
although April's were very slightly larger.
"Would you come closer, please?" Emily asked Cindy. When she did the
woman lightly ran her fingers over the scars across her and belly.
Turning around in response to another request, Emily let out a low gasp as
she saw Cindy's badly scarred buttocks. The woman whispered, "Does it
still hurt, Cindy? It must have been agonizing!" She motioned and the
girls dressed again and took seats. Mary looked in, saw the were
again dressed, and asked the butler to take their drink orders.
"They don't at all, Miss Hardwick. But it's very thoughtful of you
to ask, though."
"How did it happen?" Emily persisted.
"I was disobedient, arrogant and stupid. I did it to myself," Cindy
replied softly. Emily raised her eyebrows in disbelief, but Cindy
insisted. Then April, over Cindy's strenuous objections, told what had
happened. Going backward in time, Emily wanted to know about the slavery
in the first place.
Cindy, sitting up straight in her chair but with tears streaming down
her cheeks, told her about the Illinois Technologies loan, its sale, and
the aftermath. Then she said, "I understand, Miss Hardwick, that the first
time you met April you indicated I was a nasty little bitch who cared
nothing for people. Of course, you were absolutely right. I really should
have been drowned at birth. But, Miss Hardwick, I am trying. Really, I
am. The scars you were looking at remind me of what I was and could easily
become again if I'm not very careful. I know you consider my a
friend. I would appreciate it very much if you would keep an eye on me so
that I don't forget who I am and how I got to be the bitch I was. Miss
Hardwick, I have come to love April, Ronnie and her very much.
Please try to believe me when I say it is sincere."
For the first time, Emily smiled at Cindy with love in her eyes. She
said, "Miss Martin, I do believe you. I believe you have changed
dramatically for the better. You see, there is one person whose judgment
of people I have come to trust completely: Ronnie. He never misses in his
judgments and he loves you. You can't know how happy I am now, because
your and your new are people I have come to love very much. I
hope you'll allow me to love you as well. Finally, I want to thank you for
what you have done for April."
When Emily held her arms out, Cindy went into them, hugged the woman and
kissed her warmly.
* * *
Jim Vance completed the portrait of Emily in only a few days of
intensive effort. When it was finished, they had a small party in the
evening to celebrate. The next night, Emily said she was tired and was
going to retire early. At nine o'clock, Mary heard her call out and went
to her. The woman was in bed lying with her head on her pillow. She
looked very and very beautiful. April, sensing something was
happening, picked up Ronnie and went into the room, too.
Emily said softly, "Goodbye, dear Mary. Please kiss me. I'm going to
Mike now. He came for me and is now waiting. May I kiss you all?
Please?" Ronnie went to her and kissed her warmly, followed by April.
"Take care of your and Ronnie, darling. They are both wonderful
people. I only regret I won't see what a wonderful he'll grow to
Finally, Mary went to her and could see Emily's eyes glistening,
"Darling Mary, it's happening. I even became a Catholic for Mike. Now he
has come for me..." Her eyes closed and her face formed a beatific smile.
April went to call an ambulance while little Ronnie said softly to his
grandmother, "Pretty lady, Grandmom. She's so happy now!"
Tears were streaming down Mary's face as she agreed that she
The funeral for Emily Amelia Hardwick was held in the Cathedral the week
following Kathy and Bill's return from their honeymoon. They had heard
about Emily very briefly from April when she came out for their wedding.
At the wake Mary was the next of kin receiving condolences. While they
were there, April introduced them to a couple, Jim Vance and Kerry
Jim looked at Bill and recoiled. Then he looked at Kathy and said, "My
God! May... Please may I do your portrait? Never in my life have I seen
"...suffering, darling," Kerry finished. "Jim is an artist. He
completed the portrait of Emily over there a week ago. Would you sit for
him? Please?" The Cartwrights went to the casket to pay their respects.
Then they saw the portrait and looked at it, stunned. Jim was still at
their elbow when Bill turned and asked, "How much do you... Forget it.
You have a commission. Do we give you a deposit? Kath, you're the banker.
Give the nice a check. A big one."
Kathy took out a checkbook and wrote a check for ten thousand dollars
and gave it to Kerry. She looked at it and almost fell over. Then she
handed it back saying, "You don't understand. Jim wants to do you as a
study. Never have we seen two people who have undergone greater torture to
achieve their happiness than you two. It's his gift. Please accept it."
Kathy was puzzled and looked it. She insisted that they accept the
check which Kerry did, reluctantly. Then Kathy asked, "How do you know?
It's not true for me, of course, but it's true of him. But how do you
Jim put his arm around Kerry's waist and she turned her face up to his
for a kiss. Then the two people began to speak alternately yet as if
with a single voice. It was almost like two people sharing a single brain.
They said, "No, Kathy, you weren't tortured. Much! As a very -- about ten years old? -- you held Bill while he was being tortured.
They made him put his lips against a red-hot knife blade to prevent him
from kissing you.
"He doesn't know that they did it to you, also. He doesn't know that
you volunteered to be whipped unmercifully to try to spare him some agony.
He doesn't know you saved some of your food and tried to smuggle it to him
while you were starving. You went through the jungles of Southeast by
yourself when he was moved to Hanoi and you couldn't follow. You swam to
Hong Kong... about ten miles, wasn't it? You almost starved to death
rather than sell your body." The two people were looking at Kathy who
was aghast. No one knew what they had just said, but it was all true.
Then they looked at Bill and said, "And you, Bill: Chained to a wall for
fourteen years. Tortured daily. Red-hot pincers frying your testicles.
Constant whippings. For what? First, to find out where your Laotian
friends were. That was good for thirty days or so. Then it was to confess
that America was using germ warfare and waging genocide. Everyone signed
that garbage, but you would not. Then it was just to defeat the American.
They could not. They tried everything. And it didn't end until just a few
weeks ago, did it?"
Bill was pale under his tan. He said, "But how could you possibly?..."
Then he turned to Kathy and said, "Honey, whatever you made the check for,
double it. This is a painting I really want to see!" They made
arrangements to meet later and then parted.
After the funeral, Emily's will was read. Aside from $250,000 bequests
each to James Vance and Kerry Casey, and bequests to her staff, the entire
estate was left to Mary Jefferson, who was now the wealthiest woman in
When Bill and Kathy met Jim and Kerry in their apartment, Jim looked at
them and asked, "Could we do two portraits? Sort of two for the price of
one? I would like to do one with the two of you nude. Would you mind?"
Kathy was startled and looked at Bill. He said softly, "Honey, we've
spent most of our time together naked. I don't mind. Do you?"
She smiled warmly and started to strip off her clothes. Jim posed them
with Kathy seated in a chair with Bill standing behind her. Kathy's body
blocked his genitals from the picture. He put his hand on her shoulder and
she gripped it while Jim started to sketch.
Because of the work with Jim, the Cartwrights now took an interest in
art. One Wednesday they were near city hall and saw a group of ten men,
apparently artists, arranging an exhibit, so they walked across the street
to take a look. When they got close, Bill's stomach started to turn over.
They were urinating on one flag, burning a in another, and desecrating
a third with a Viet Cong flag. This was more than Bill could take. He
went up to them and asked what was going on.
The apparent leader asked, "What's it to you?" Looking at Bill he said
with a sneer, "You must have been one of those Americans who were
terrorizing the poor Vietnamese. You murderer!" he screamed, swinging at
Bill with a piece of heavy lumber.
Bill sidestepped and the missed. Suddenly, several of the came
at Bill from as many directions. One was about to hit him over the head
from the rear when Kathy kicked him as hard as she could in the balls.
Bill turned just as the leader hit her behind the ear with the club he had
first tried to use against Bill.
As Kathy collapsed to the ground, he went berserk. Dimly he heard
police whistles, but he took the who had hit his with a karate
knife to his midsection. When the folded, Bill killed him with a chop
to the side of the neck. He waded into the others like a possessed.
When the police finally arrived in force, all of the were on the ground
and three of them were dead. Bill cradled Kathy's head in his lap, while
he checked her pulse and found she was still alive.
A policeman had observed the entire event from close range. Because of
the numbers involved he had radioed for help that finally arrived. Kathy
was taken to the hospital while Bill was taken to headquarters. The
assailants were taken to the prison ward in an ambulance, while a few were
headed to the morgue. At the station he called Jennifer and found her at
home. She said she would get a lawyer down to the station right away.
But because of the policeman's statement, Bill was treated as a hero by
the police. While he was giving a statement to the police, a lawyer
appeared and introduced himself. Bill went before the magistrate who heard
testimony from the police officer that the leader, now dead, had swung at
Bill's head with a club. When Kathy saved him from being struck down from
behind, the leader had hit her. He described how Bill became a berserker
and put all of the attackers on the ground in one way or another.
Bill was released and immediately went to the hospital where he found
Kathy in bed with her head bandaged. She smiled warmly when he arrived and
said, "That's the last time I try to be a hero for you, Bill Cartwright!
All I got out of it was a headache. I'll let you be the hero in the
family. Now can you get me some clothes so I can get out of this dump?" The
attending physician said there was no danger and signed a release, so they
went home together.
Later, a grand jury indicted the seven survivors on counts of aggravated
assault, flag desecration and a host of other counts the district attorney
was able to come up with. While awaiting the criminal trial, though, Bill
received a civil summons. He was being sued in Federal court by the seven
survivors and the estates of the three dead for damages! Joining in
the suit was a well-financed left-wing organization always identified with
court cases for radical causes. He told Kathy who then called her new
When she reached Ali Clifford on the phone, she told her about the
recent events. Ali asked her to wait a moment. A few minutes later, she
was back on the phone. She said, "Our litigation partner, Sandy Benson,
will be out there at once. She's probably the best trial lawyer in the
state of California. She wants to represent Bill. Please allow her to. I
think this is going to be fun!"
When Sandy arrived at their apartment, Kathy and Bill liked her at once.
She was a beautiful tall with a sparkling personality. Bill reviewed
the events and showed her the legal papers that had been served. He looked
at Sandy and realized there were tears in her eyes.
She said, "Bill and Kathy, before I go any further, there's something
you need to know about me. My husband, Jack, insists I tell you. As
usual, he's right. I used to be one of those people yelling, 'Ho, Ho, Ho
Chi Minh! The Viet Cong is going to win,' and similar bullshit. While I
was doing that in the cozy confines of a campus, those bastards
were torturing you daily. I was wrong. I know it. But Bill, it doesn't
make up for what I did, or for the torture you suffered. You should tell
me to get on the plane or a broomstick or something, but get the hell out
of your life." She sat there with her head up straight but with tears
running down her cheeks, waiting.
Kathy spoke before Bill could reply. She said, "Bill, there are a few
things you should know about Sandy. First, she's the finest trial lawyer
in the State of California. That's not a shabby recommendation. Second,
my filed for divorce against my father. You know how desperately
they're in love? Jennifer told me how she tried to break up their marriage
and almost succeeded. Ali refused to come between a and his
daughter. She was prepared to destroy her life for the she loved.
"Sandy Benson handled Mom's case and deliberately lost it. She resigned
the next day from the firm. She was going to resign from the bar and go to
prison because she protected my from her own actions. Bill, she was
going to go to jail. You were, weren't you Sandy?" The just nodded
Bill said, "Sandy, what can I say? I never heard of any one-girl
demonstrations. If you were involved, I'm sure you had a lot of company. I
would like you to represent me if you're willing."
The girl's face lighted up. "Willing? Oh God, Bill, thank you! This
is the best thing that's ever happened to me."
Bill asked, "Sandy, what are your fees? How big a retainer would you
like to start?"
Sandy shook her head sadly, "I'm sorry, Bill. I wasn't clear. There
will be no fee. This is a very small effort on my part to try to make
amends. I'm also covering my own expenses. Now let's go to work."
They fought about it, but Sandy was adamant. She refused to accept a
penny for the work. Then she explained what she was going to do: As a
first step, she was filing a counter-suit alleging infringement of Bill's
civil rights. The organization financing the action against Bill was
included as a defendant in her complaint.
The case was quickly scheduled for trial. The plaintiffs' attorney, a
notorious defender of far-left causes, tried to establish for the jury that
his clients had been assaulted by Bill and Kathy. It was clear to Sandy
that the jury was skeptical. Sandy introduced the testimony of the police
officer-witness that the leader, now dead, had swung a club at Bill's head.
It was only after Kathy had been knocked out that Bill went berserk.
Plaintiffs introduced testimony that Bill had been in Army Special Forces
and was therefore a highly-trained killer. The attorney argued that it was
all Bill's fault.
Sandy called Kathy as a witness. She told how she had tried to keep
Bill from being clubbed from behind and then was struck down. Then Sandy
changed her line of questioning. She asked, "Kathy, when and where did you
first meet Bill Cartwright?"
Kathy told how she had been forced by the Viet Cong and later by the
North Vietnamese to participate in Bill's torture. She told how they
learned to communicate in an obscure Laotian dialect while he was being
tortured almost every day. Tears were rolling down Kathy's cheeks as she
told how it had gone on for three years with her watching. Bill was living
in his filth but would not give in. In response to another question, Kathy
finally said she was only ten years when she first saw Bill Cartwright.
Then Sandy said, "With the Court's permission, I would like my client to
take off his shirt. I would like the witness to show the jury some of the
things that happened to him."
Bill was taken completely by surprise. He took off his jacket and tie,
then took off his and went to stand by the witness box. Kathy
pointed out a mark on his chest where he was pinched with hot pincers.
She showed the traces of scars on his lips where they used a red-hot blade
to sear his lips to prevent them from kissing. Sandy said, "They did that
to you, too, didn't they?" Kathy admitted they did, but only once.
She described in detail some of the ways he had been tortured in her
presence. Once, the court had to recess suddenly. A juror had become
violently ill listening to her and seeing Bill's scars. Finally,
Kathy said that most of the scars didn't show with Bill dressed because
they concentrated on his genitals. She described how he screamed in agony
but never broke.
"What were they after, Kathy?" Sandy asked quietly.
"For a short time, it was to find out where his Laotian friends were.
After that, it was to get him to admit to American war crimes. Bill
refused. He would do nothing against his country or its flag."
Tears were streaming down her cheeks as she told of making her way
overland, swimming to Hong Kong, and finally reaching the United States.
When Sandy asked her why she had come to the States, she replied with tears
streaming down her cheeks, "Any nation that could inspire Bill Cartwright
to endure years of agony in its name had to be a wonderful place. I had to
come to America. It's very simple, really."
"So Bill Cartwright fought and suffered for the flag he saw being
desecrated that afternoon? He saw it trampled, urinated on, and defiled
with the flag of the Viet Cong he had come to detest. Is that right?"
Kathy agreed that it was. "Then these attacked you, is that correct?"
Again, Kathy agreed.
Finally, Sandy asked, "What happened at the Presidio in San Francisco a
few weeks ago when you were there, Kathy?"
Kathy sat up straight in her chair and said, "I saw the government of
the United States recognize my husband, Bill, for what he had done. I saw
the President of the United States award him the Medal of Honor, the
highest award for valor our country can give. Everything I have and all I
ever hope to have, I owe to him. I think the nation still owes him a great
debt of gratitude."
Plaintiffs' counsel immediately objected and the objection was
sustained. Sandy smiled and agreed that the reference to the nation's debt
to Bill should be stricken. She had no further questions.
The opposing counsel didn't ask any questions. In summation, Sandy
restated what had been elicited in testimony: Bill had served his country
and defended its flag. He suffered agonies for fourteen years because he
wouldn't say anything against it, even to save his own life. Then he was
attacked by a group of thugs who were defacing that very flag. The case
went to the jury.
Bill asked her how it looked and she whispered, "It's a big win for you,
Bill. I know it. The only question is how big it'll be."
It took the jury only ten minutes to reach a verdict. The judge
addressed the foreman of the jury and said, "Ladies and gentlemen of the
jury, have you reached a verdict?"
"We have, Your Honor," the foreman replied.
"What is your verdict?"
"On plaintiffs suit, we find unanimously for the defendant. On the
countersuit, we find for William Cartwright. We adjudge damages as
$100,000 real and $10 million as exemplary punitive damages, your honor.
Further, we assign the damages jointly and severally to all of the
plaintiffs. Finally, we humbly wish to thank William Cartwright for all he
has done for his country, Your Honor. There are no words to describe our
admiration and respect for this and what he has endured for this
The judge thanked the jury and dismissed it. He immediately endorsed
the verdict and the damage award.
Sandy took Bill in her arms and kissed him solidly. "Bill, thank you.
This has been my very best day in court. Ever! It couldn't happen to a
nicer guy. Ali will be so pleased! You're one of her most favorite
sons-in-law." Bill tried to get her to take a fee but she refused. She
looked at her watch and said, "I have to dash. There's a plane at O'Hare I
can just make." She grinned and said, "My real sacrifice wasn't giving up a
fee... Ali sees to it that I'm very well paid. The real sacrifice has
been being away from my husband, Jack, for so long. My has been
aching for days!" She winked and ran out of the courtroom for a cab.
That night Kathy prepared a gourmet meal for Bill and they spent the
rest of the night making love in their bed. He found he could not get
enough of Kathy's beautiful body.
* * *
In a couple of weeks, both portraits were finished. When Jim and Kerry
came to present them, Kathy and Bill just held hands and looked at them.
Finally, Bill said, "Jim, I can't look like that. I just can't. That's
not the guy I see in the mirror shaving."
Kathy said quietly, "It's the guy who makes love to me every day,
though. It's the who is the problem. No human can look like that.
It's just not me."
Bill said, "To paraphrase a good friend of mine, it sure looks like a
girl I make love to every day, though. Isn't that you?"
They looked in each other's eyes and, moving almost in a trance,
embraced tightly. They turned to the couple agreeing it was the
finest set of portraits they had ever seen. The nude version was hung in
their bedroom while the clothed one went to a place of honor in the
entrance hall.*Chapter 22*
Jan came racing down the stairs reacting to the smell of smoke and the
banshee scream of a smoke detector. Running into the kitchen, she found
Cindy crumpled on the floor while eggs were turning to carbon in the
skillet. She turned off the range and put the smoking pan in the sink.
Ignoring the scream of the detector, she knelt beside the unconscious girl,
now very pale in spite of her tan. By this time Pete had come down, too.
He opened windows and turned the exhaust fan to its highest setting to draw
off the smoke. While Jan called the doctor, he carried the up to her
room and put her to bed.
The doctor arrived only minutes later. By this time Cindy was reviving
and trying to get up. Pete wouldn't hear of it. He said, "Young lady, you
were sprawled on the floor, trying to burn the damned house down. Are you
still trying to get us into the new house next door?" She just smiled
After examining her the doctor looked at her and demanded, "How much
sleep have you been getting, lady?"
Cindy looked guilty, but tried to hide it. She replied weakly, "Lots
and lots, Doctor. Honest."
"What's a lot? Two hours? Three? I'll bet you ten dollars you haven't
averaged as much as three hours for the last three weeks, have you?" Cindy
just looked guilty and her eyes closed. Exhaustion had taken her again.
The doctor left the room with Pete and Jan and went down to the kitchen.
He said, "The good news is there's absolutely nothing clinically wrong with
that lady. She's in perfect physical condition, _considering!_ No
one can operate on _no_ sleep, and that's what that has been doing.
What's going on?" Janice just shook her head but said she would find out.
Pete left for the office. At eight o'clock, a car drove up followed a
few minutes later by another. Jan welcomed first April and then Kathy.
Alerted by what had happened to Cindy, she looked at the closely.
Both looked worn out; both were going on nerves and determination, and each
carried in arm-loads of files. Janice ordered them both to bed in spare
bedrooms. She found it very significant that neither had the strength
left even to argue, and both were asleep almost instantly.
Jan called Dan Burke at the bank. When he came on the line she said,
"Burke, what's going on? I've heard of killing their wives with
overwork, but usually they marry them first. Furthermore, Cindy is my
slave. You're only borrowing her. It's pretty damned clear she's working
two jobs for you and about one and a half for me. Since that takes
twenty-eight hours, it's a little hard to do it all in just twenty-four!"
Then she told him what had happened, as well as the condition of Kathy and
April. He promised to check and call her back. Jan stayed home that day
to keep an eye on the three girls.
He was as good as his word. At noon, Dan called and said, "Jan, you
were right. Good heavens, how could we be so dumb! Those three have
processed two-thirds of the total loans the bank has made in the last three
months. They're doing the work of about thirty people! How are they now?"
"They're all sleeping like babies, why?" she asked.
"Because Don is coming out there this afternoon. He'll be there with
Mary about five. Bill Cartwright will be driving out with them to drive
Kathy home and Mary Jefferson will send her chauffeur to drive April back
along with someone to bring back her car. There will be a staff meeting at
your house at five. Finally, I've told our personnel people to get them
more help _immediately._ I think they got the message this time."
At four-thirty the started to drift down the stairs. Since it was
Jan's house, they came down wearing their usual attire at the Stewart's:
nothing. Jan looked at the three fondly. In spite of the sleep still in
their eyes and their woebegone expressions, they were beautiful girls. Jan
gave them coffee and shooed them upstairs to get dressed because they were
meeting with the president of the bank in twenty minutes. The just
nodded and disappeared. She heard the showers running and a few minutes
later they reappeared with their hair still wet, all wearing their Levi's
and work shirts.
Don and Mary Martin arrived with Bill Cartwright. They gathered in the
kitchen with Don sitting at the head of the table. The three sat like
schoolgirls who had just been sent to the principal's office. All of them
sat quietly, just looking down at the table top. Bill looked at his and his heart turned over. She was so cute but looked so
Don looked around the table and said, "I guess it's time to review the
results of the first three months' operation of our Special Lending
Division. It's a pretty simple review, really. There is a question the
bank examiners raised, though, that I'll take up at the end." When she
heard her mention "bank examiners," Cindy's heart leaped to her
throat. He continued by listing the number of loans made and their total
dollar value. Then he said, "Now, loan performance: loans classified as
non-performing, none; loans delinquent, none; loan payments late, none;
loans paid in advance of contract, 45 percent. This brings me to the
examiners: they questioned why we're reserving anything at all against this
portfolio in view of the payment record. We gave them some double-talk.
"Then the senior examiner said it's obviously the result of our bank's
focus on rich individuals exclusively. He asked why we don't participate
in the community lending pool with the other banks. Our participation is
supposed to be $1 million. I told him we would pass. Our exposure -- the
term doesn't really fit in this case -- is now north of $50 million and
Then Don smiled and turned to Mary and said, "Mary, you have been around
the bank for twenty years. What do you think?"
"It's unheard of, darling!" Then Mary grimaced and punched him lightly
on the arm. She said, "Donald Martin, my time in the bank is our secret."
She grinned and said, "Yesterday there was a new receptionist filling in
for Jean. She asked me when I started at the bank. She said she had been
at the bank for six months herself and thought she knew all the new people.
Then she told me about a new singles bar for people in their twenties
that's supposed to have some really neat-looking men!" She looked at Don
and said thoughtfully, "I wonder how much I could get for you on a
Don was now looking very young. He grinned ruefully and shook his head
saying, "That's what I get for marrying a who is forty going on
eighteen!" Mary stuck out her tongue and then kissed him softly. Cindy
clapped her hands in glee.
Then he looked at her and said, "That's the problem, Cin. Your is now looking younger than you do. You three are killing
yourselves. If it hadn't been for Jan's call this morning, no one would
have realized how much work you people are doing." He winked at Jan and
said, "This morning the Board of Directors approved the payment of bonuses
to your group. Each of you will receive a cash bonus of 100 percent of
salary, payable immediately."
Cindy looked puzzled and asked, "Dad, how can I get a bonus when I don't
get a salary?"
He looked at her quizzically and replied, "Cindy, aren't you the who was first in her class at Chicago's business school? What's 100
percent of nothing?"
"Nothing," she answered.
"Then what's your bonus?"
Cindy just grinned and shook her head sadly. Then she looked at Jan and
said, "I want to apologize for this morning. I guess the doctor's bill
will just add to my indenture like the rest of the stuff, won't it?" Jan
just smiled. Then Cindy started to rise from the table to start dinner.
Jan said, "Slave Cindy, what are you doing?"
The was startled. She said, "I'm preparing dinner, Jan. It's my
job. I really can't afford any more time added. I want so desperately to
be and be a mother!"
Jan's heart turned over as she heard the girl's words. Clearly, this
slave thing had already gone much too far. But since it was early November
already, it would soon be over. She told her to remain seated.
Then Jan glared at the and said, "Slaves, your assignment this
evening is to try to act like guests. I want to see if you know how. As
for dinner, I think I can cope with a little help from Mary." Then she
turned to Don and asked, "What are we going to do now, Don? How does the
story come out?"
He replied, "Good question. Our personnel people have an incentive to
hire some new officers for Cindy's unit... three to start. The incentive
is they get to keep their jobs. Cindy, there will be candidates for you to
interview in the office at nine o'clock tomorrow. Be there! This meeting
is adjourned." Then he looked at the and asked, "Could you get a
jacket and take a walk with your dad?"
Cindy Martin slipped on a jacket while he put on his coat, and then they
went out the back door. Without even thinking, she went to the left
towards the new house under construction next door. Work had begun in late
September and it was now framed out. She and Dan went through it every
weekend and Cindy adored it. It was a rambling house with six bedrooms,
what was shaping up to be a formal living room along with a huge room with a fieldstone fireplace. Her held her hand as they walked.
Finally he said, "Cindy, are you happy?"
She turned to him, startled. "Dad, I almost couldn't be happier.
Things are really working out. I've changed. I think I'm a much nicer
person now... at least I like myself a lot more. I'm loved by a I
adore. Our sex life together couldn't be better. The only thing I want is
for Dan to get some recognition. He's the best banker alive with the
possible exception of you. The only other thing is it's getting harder and
harder on me for us to be apart. I so want to marry him, live with him,
and bear his children."
She stopped and looked up at her father. "Dad, can you believe it?
Hearing from your liberated that all she really wants is to be
pregnant? God, now I finally know what a is for. I know what a
uterus is for. I know what are for. They combine with a you
love to create and nurture children. I want it so badly!" She looked down
at the ground and said softly, "I guess it sounds pretty dumb, doesn't it?"
Don took his in his arms and held her tight. He whispered,
"No, honey, it doesn't." He kissed her softly and said, "I am regretting
the whole slavery idea, though."
She smiled warmly and shook her head. "I'm not," she said firmly.
"Just think, Dad, where I would be if this hadn't happened. First, I would
still be an insufferable bitch dating a fairy, for Christ's sake. Dan
wouldn't be speaking to me. I would be hanging out with those Lakefront
airheads. I would be looking down my nose at my dumb who doesn't
understand what's new in banking."
She smiled and continued, "On the other hand I wouldn't have an ass
that's covered with scars and I wouldn't have a circumcised clitoris.
Circumcision with a whip is not the way to go."
She hugged him tight and said, "What I do have is a who loves me,
at least in part for who I am and what I am, rather than in spite of it. I
have a who is my idea of perfection: smart, big, strong, funny. A who makes my gush with fluids just talking about him. I have a
wonderful new and a group of new friends any one of whom is worth
more than that whole pack of idiots I used to hang out with. Dad, a couple
of scars is a very cheap price to pay."
She grinned and added, "I'm also an excellent housekeeper, cook, and
mother. I find I love babies." Then she looked at her and said,
"Dad, am I strange? I don't want Dan to be in the labor room when I
deliver. Giving birth is really a woman's work. I would like Mary or
April with me to hold my hand, but I want Dan pacing the floor outside, not
in the labor room feeling guilty. Is that dumb?"
Her kissed her softly and they started back towards the house.
He said softly, "No, pumpkin, it doesn't sound at all dumb to me. Can I
tell you a secret? Mary came into my office a few days ago in tears. She
had just been told she couldn't have a baby. Can you imagine? She's over
forty, but she wanted desperately to have my child. She says it's what our
lovemaking is all about. Do you really like her, Cindy?"
"No Dad, I don't," she replied and saw his face fall. She squeezed his
hand hard and said, "I adore her. Dad, I can't tell you what it's like to
have a with a sex life as active as my own. Would you believe it?
Do you know what she asked me? She and I compared notes on anal
intercourse. She's always thinking of new ways to take you. She talked
about making her bigger so you could put your cock between them. I
talked her out of that one. She has enrolled in a school for strippers,
though. She's planning on putting on a show for you alone. She was so
funny! The instructor rates her as the top student in her class; she can
get her work professionally. What do you think about that?" Don just
smiled and shook his head.
That night the three were guests for the first time at the
Stewart's. When Don and Cindy returned to the house they found Janice and
Mary nude and serving the others in the living room. Mary was as
unselfconscious in her nudity as Jan and looked exquisite. When Janice
presented Cindy her martini, she was on her knees with the tray resting on
her beautiful breasts. Cindy casually placed the frosted glass between
Jan's and saw the involuntarily shudder. Jan winked and said, "I
think milady will find it sufficiently chilled."
At eight-thirty the next morning, Cindy parked her car in the bank's
basement garage. She noticed she had an assigned parking space with the
senior officers and was amused to think of a slave as a senior officer.
She went up to her office floor and saw her corner office for the first
time. April and Kathy were with her as she looked at it. All she said
was, "Wow! Just like a real banker. Maybe someday..." The secretary
brought coffee and the chatted. They all looked better after having
spent most of the previous day sleeping.
At nine o'clock they went to the conference room. Cindy chuckled to
herself thinking of the three of them -- all senior officers -- in blue
jeans. As they walked down the hall she asked Kathy where Bill was. The
girl grinned and shook her head. She said, "Do you know what that bum
said? He said he survived fourteen years with the Vietnamese, but he's
wearing out after just a couple of months of me! He said he prefers me
worn out. When I'm exhausted I'm not as tough on him! Then this morning,
the bum takes me and then rolls over and goes back to sleep!" The licked her lips as she said it.
"What was that lip-licking bit, Mrs. Cartwright?" Cindy asked with her
"That was thinking about the meaning of the phrase, 'taking me,' Miss
Martin. Of course, being single, you couldn't possibly understand!" She
daintily stuck out her tongue and rubbed her groin.
When they arrived at the conference room they met a tall woman who
had her hand out in greeting. She said, "Miss Martin? How do you do? My
name is Kelly McBride. I'm the personnel officer temporarily assigned to
Cindy thought the looked very harried as they entered the
conference room. The three from the division sat on one side of the
table while, one after the other, candidates appeared for interviews.
Kelly was sitting in the corner behind the applicant's sight line.
Cindy found a monotonous sameness to all the candidates. All were well
educated. All had MBAs and most had majored in banking. Yet all were
airheads with no apparent knowledge of people coupled with near-religious
belief in numbers produced by analysis. The took turns questioning
candidates. When specific loan applications were discussed, without a
single exception they focused on the wrong points and came to the wrong
conclusions. Cindy had been watching Kelly. It was apparent the had
the correct answers in mind. She saw the cringe as she heard the
candidates give answers to the questions and shake her head in dismay.
Cindy was amused to see the draw a line across her pad, usually after
the second or third answer.
At twelve o'clock, she looked at her watch and said, "Let's take a
break. April, isn't there a senior officer's dining room in this dump? How
about if we eat there? Then the bank can pay and you know where I stand on
money. Can our make reservations? Kelly will be joining us."
The was shocked. She was used to being treated on a par with the
janitors by the banking officers. April left to check on reservations,
first calling Dan Burke to be sure he wouldn't show up in the dining room.
They went up to the officer's dining room and were being shown to their
table. When Cindy appeared, every officer in the room rose to his feet and
began to applaud. The applause continued until they were all seated.
Cindy, who had blushed beet red, asked, "What was that all about?"
Kelly said, "Miss Martin, it was a tribute to the officer who has done
more for this institution than almost anyone else. They are impressed."
Cindy looked at the and said, "The name is Cindy, unless you prefer
Slave. I answer to that, too. When you say Miss Martin, I look around to
see who you're talking to." She looked at the thoughtfully and asked,
"Why don't you apply for the job, Kelly? Aren't you interested? And by
the way, why are you our _temporary_ personnel officer?" Kelly was a
beautiful with wavy auburn hair and brilliant green eyes. She was
very tall at five feet ten.
The looked at Cindy and shook her head sadly. She said, "Miss
Martin... Cindy... as for the job, I don't have qualification number one!
I'm sorry. As for being temporary, it's a battle that I lost. Like all
the Irish, though, I never know when I'm beaten so I keep fighting anyway.
As a result, I'll be leaving the bank on Friday."
"Why?" Cindy asked.
The girl's green eyes flashed and she replied, "I thought that was
standard procedure when one has been fired." She smiled ruefully and added,
"To show you how dumb I am, the head of the department asked for my
resignation. I refused. I told him he would have to fire me, so he did. I
guess it's a first for the bank."
Cindy excused herself and went to a phone. She called her father's
office and found him in. "What kind of idiots do we have in Personnel
these days, Dad?" she demanded. Then she quickly filled him in on what had
Don Martin just sighed and said, "Why can't I have an airhead like all of my friends? Why does she keep finding more problems for
hard-pressed top management to handle? Cindy, why can't you just spend
your time roaming through the dress shops like normal girls?" Then she
heard his quiet chuckle and he continued, "Okay, pumpkin, there will be a
new personnel director this afternoon. Happy? Does your Miss McBride want
"I'm not going to give her the chance, Dad. I'm hiring her for my
division, if it's all right with you. Maybe she has a couple of friends."
Cindy paused and sighed, "I guess we really do need some help. I'm sorry
we're costing you so much money, though. I'll try to make it up to you,
"Damn it, girl, don't you ever hear what I say? You and your unit are
absolutely minting money for us. If you _tripled_ your damned spending you
would be spending one-half of what everyone else does. Are you starting to
get the picture? Or should I get Jim Vance to paint one for you?" She said
she understood and returned to the table.
The were waiting for her and a waitress was at the table. April
had just said they were not drinking when Cindy said, "Oh yes we are! I'll
have a Bloody Mary. We're celebrating, girls. You too, McBride. I trust
you imbibe on occasion? This is an occasion." The looked surprised
but all joined Cindy in Bloody Marys. When the drinks came, Cindy lifted
her glass and said, "Kelly, to your last days in Personnel!"
The looked puzzled but drank to it. Then Cindy asked her about her
plans. The sat up straight and said, "I have a couple of things.
There's an opening for a waitress here in the dining room I'm going to
apply for. Then I have a job lined up as a cocktail waitress that tips
well, and I'll go back to another job I work at from time to time."
Cindy noticed the sparkle in her eyes faded as she mentioned the third
job. She asked, "Why so many jobs?"
Again Kelly's eyes flashed. "You probably don't know about them, Cindy,
but there are things called education loans. I have a pile. I guess I
made a blunder and now I have to live with it. I'll make out," she said as
her voice cracked. She excused herself and ran from the table.
April went after her to the ladies' room following a signal from Cindy.
As they both expected, she found the standing in a corner crying her
eyes out. She took the in her arms and held her closely, murmuring in
her ear. As Kelly regained control, she looked into April's eyes. All she
saw was warmth and compassion. April said, "Kelly, there are a
couple of things you should know. I'm telling you because Cindy never
would. First, she has been working free! You complain about low pay? How
would you like no pay? That's what she gets. I think you got some idea
this morning of what we do and the way we work. Do you think she could do
that if she had no feeling for people? She's the warmest, loveliest person
alive. She's also a lot of fun. I think I know what's coming, and I'm not
going to spoil it for her. But I just want to warn you about one thing.
You know Dan Burke, don't you?"
Kelly said, "You mean the executive vice president? No, I don't know
him. Are you kidding? He wouldn't even know I'm alive!"
April shook her head sadly and said, "Don't bet on it. Dan is Cindy's
lover. She thinks he's a credit analyst which is all he was just six
months ago. Dan knows almost everyone in the bank, _particularly_ the
little people. Ask the elevator starter, a cleaning woman, an operations
clerk. Pick anyone. Ask about Dan Burke. If they have ever had a serious
personal problem, they know him. He takes care of people and they all love
him. All I ask is one thing: don't even _hint_ that he's a top executive."
April's eyes were blazing now as she said, "If you haven't gotten the
message yet, we love that girl. There is absolutely _nothing_ we will not
do for her. But we don't want her to learn about Dan. Understand?"
Kelly saw the look in April's eyes and knew she meant it. Carefully,
April cleaned up the girl's face noticing that, like the rest of them, she
wore no makeup. They returned to the table where the waitress was waiting
to take the rest of their order. Cindy ordered a salad with the wry
comment that they couldn't screw that up too badly. Kathy commented that
just because Cindy was a gourmet chef was no reason to knock the poor
peasants who had to make do with normal food.
Kelly was much more cheerful now. She asked, "Food? You mean corned
beef and cabbage with boiled potatoes, don't you? What's a salad? What's
The laughed and Cindy looked at Kelly and said, "Just before you
turned on the waterworks, you were telling us about your plans. Why do you
want to leave the bank?"
Kelly looked at her intently and saw a gleam of amusement in the girl's
eyes. She had also seen that the were always kidding one another.
Still, she had no idea what Cindy was driving at. She replied with a wry
smile, "I thought that was the expected behavior when one has been fired?
Of course, I never went to business school, so I can't be sure."
"Where did you go to school?" Cindy asked softly.
"I graduated from Notre Dame. Unfortunately, I majored in English and
philosophy. There isn't much call for that." Cindy asked how she did
academically and Kelly replied, "Summa laude and Phi Beta Kappa in my
junior year. I guess I did okay."
The waitress had taken the drinks away but Cindy had ordered a bottle of
white wine. She shook hands with each of her colleagues noticing their
nods. Turning back to Kelly, she raised her glass and said, "To Chicago
Trust's newest assistant vice president, Kelly McBride! Congratulations."
Kelly sat in her chair, thunderstruck. _Assistant vice president?
Me!?_ she thought. She said, "Is this a joke, Cindy? Frankly, I'm not in
shape for any jokes today."
Cindy reached across the table and took Kelly's hand. She said warmly,
"It's not a joke, Kelly. I guess there are a couple of things you should
know about me. First, my runs the bank. Second, I'm enslaved to
the owner of the bank. When I left the table earlier, I called Dad and
told him what I was doing. You saw the hostess bring a slip of paper to
the table a few minutes ago? Maybe you should see what it says."
She passed the note across the table, and Kelly looked at it. Her eyes
widened as she read, _Kelly McBride has been unanimously elected an
assistant vice president with an approval authority of $500,000. Are there
any others?_ She slowly shook her head. "What does this mean," she asked.
What is this authority?"
Cindy said, "That's the size of loan you can make on your own authority
without checking with anyone else." She smiled and said, "By the way,
Kelly, what's the total of your education loans? How much do you owe?" The
girl replied that it was nearly fifty thousand dollars. Cindy said, "Fine.
This afternoon, pay them all off. Chicago Trust will refinance them for
you at 3 percent interest. Our Oriental genius here will tell you what the
payments will be and we'll set up a payroll deduction, if that's all right.
If you owed an even fifty thousand, I think the payments would be a little
less than three hundred a month over twenty years. Is that all right with
The girl's jaw dropped. All she could do was nod vigorously. They left
the dining room and returned to Cindy's office. She grinned at the and sat in her chair for the first time. It was a high-backed executive
swivel upholstered in leather. Cindy spun around in it with her legs out
straight like a little girl. Kathy and April grinned while Kelly was
"Having fun, boss?" April asked sardonically.
"Sure am!" Cindy replied cheerfully, bringing the spin to a stop. The
girls took seats with Kelly sitting in front of the desk. Cindy asked her,
"How many more people are we scheduled to see?"
"I have ten more, Cindy, but forget it. I already called the office and
canceled the interviews. They're just like the ones you crossed off this
morning." She shook her head and said, "You need help in this division
desperately. I know it and so does everyone else in the bank with half a
brain. Of course, that excludes my former colleagues in Personnel...
Excuse me: Human Resources. Regardless of the name, they're just as dumb."
Kelly was warming to her subject now. She continued, "Cindy, have you
ever heard of a zero-pass filter? It's a filter nothing can get through.
That's what we have here. Personnel won't let you see anyone you would
seriously consider hiring, and you wouldn't touch one of the people that
clear their filter with a ten-foot pole. The result is what you have:
You're killing yourself with work, and can't get a drink of water in spite
of being afloat in a freshwater lake. There are lots of great people
coming into Personnel all the time. They just get turned away with
"Before we get in deeper, Kelly, how much do you make? We'll be taking
over your salary now."
"It's not a big number. I make $15,500 a year," she replied.
"That's impossible!" April exclaimed. "I was hired as a relief
receptionist at eighteen. You can't make less than that."
"I sure can... and do," Kelly replied with chagrin. I remember when
you were hired." She grinned and said, "I know the job well. I applied for
it but was turned down because I was over-qualified. Over-qualified, hell!
I needed the extra money."
"Two questions, Kelly," Cindy said. "First, do we have anyone in this
circus competent to run Personnel. Second, are there some candidates in
Personnel's reject pile we should be talking with?" Kelly gave her the name
of an experienced woman and answered the second question in the
affirmative. She left the office to see if she could get a few of them in
that afternoon. When she returned, she said three people would be coming
in with the first expected in an hour. Cindy called her father, gave him
the name Kelly recommended and told him what she was doing. She mentioned
salary to him quietly with her back to her desk so Kelly couldn't overhear.
She hung up and spun around again. Then she shook her head sadly and
said, "Kelly, we may be getting ahead of ourselves, though. You haven't
taken your physical yet." The looked puzzled and Cindy looked at
April, while Kathy got up and closed the office door.
April said, "Kelly, there are some tough parts to this job. You see,
Cindy is Janice Stewart's slave. Since she's our boss, that makes us
junior slaves. Since we use the Stewart's home as our office -- Cindy
never saw this one until this morning -- we have to perform every once in a
while as assistant slaves. It's sort of fun, except for the uniform. You
see, Cindy's uniform is nudity. I don't know how long it's going to last,
but you have to be prepared. Are you willing to be bare-assed?"
Kelly started to take off her clothes. When she was naked, she put one
leg in front of the other and struck a model's pose, holding her head up
straight. She was utterly magnificent. Her body was as good as any of the
other and she still had a beautiful all-over tan. There were no suit
marks showing anywhere.
Cindy asked her about it and the light in her eyes died. She replied,
"My boss insists." She dressed again quickly and appeared to be ready to
leave the office. She said, "I said I applied for a job as a waitress
here. It's true. As a cocktail waitress, I'll be working topless. That's
okay, because as my third job I'm a stripper. The manager doesn't like the
girls to show suit marks. I've been doing it for years."
Tears came to her eyes and she almost choked as she said, "Thank you so
much for your confidence in me, but I'm sure you can see why I don't belong
in a bank like this one. I _will_ give my resignation to you, Cindy
"Where in hell do you think you're going?" Cindy demanded. "You know
how desperate we are. lady, come back here and sit down!"
She then told Kelly about April's background and then about Kathy's.
When she told her about Kathy finding Bill again, tears were streaming down
Kelly's face. Finally she said, "I spend most of my time nude, Kelly. I
certainly don't mind your being a stripper." She looked at the and
said softly, "It's not the nudity, it's the leering, isn't it?"
The looked startled, but then smiled, "You're right, of course,
Cindy. I like my body and like to show it off, particularly to..." She
stopped and started again. "I don't like the leering and the innuendos,
though. As for being a junior slave, I would love it! Now, when do I
Cindy shook hands and said, "You already did. You have been making
$60,000 a year since this morning. I'm sorry."
The was astonished. "Cindy, that's almost quadrupling my salary.
Are you crazy?"
"No. And the reason I apologized is you're still the lowest-paid
assistant vice president in the bank," Cindy said. Then April pointed out
that she just missed a divisional bonus of 100 percent of salary but
assured her there would be more opportunities.
That afternoon two more women were hired. Cindy called the Mazda dealer
and ordered three more Mazdas. Then she took Kelly to meet Mary Martin
and to give her some tips on stripping for her father. Cindy noticed that
Mary took very careful notes.*Chapter 23*
Susan Bradford went to the reception desk in the lobby of the posh
apartment house and asked to see Mrs. Jefferson. She thought that it must
be the most deluxe building in Chicago if they could afford a receptionist
in addition to a doorman. The woman smiled, pointed out the penthouse
elevator, and told her to go right up. She took the elevator to the
penthouse and was greeted by the butler who showed her into a room that
appeared to be the library. Walking through the apartment, she was
impressed with both the excellent taste and the money evident in the
furnishings. Then her heart sank as she saw that there were three women
already seated and obviously waiting to be interviewed. She checked her
watch and found it was after four o'clock; she had to be at work by six.
While she waited, four more women were ushered in and took seats.
Reflecting on the ad she had answered several weeks earlier, she was hoping
against hope. She needed the job desperately. Waiting on tables paid the
rent but that was all. She was already behind in repaying her student
loans, and she just had to earn more money. With a lot of luck, the
schedule might permit her to work both jobs. Periodically, she saw a very
attractive black woman come to the door, call a name and then disappear
into another room.
While she was waiting and wondering if it would be appropriate to take
out a book, a little entered the room. He was the most handsome little
boy she had ever seen. His skin was the color of chocolate milk, but his
hair was wavy rather than kinky. He walked from one woman to the next. At
each woman he would stop, look into her face, smile and then move on to the
next one. Some of the women smiled at him, one just looked at him
impassively, while a couple ignored him. Finally, his tour of the room
brought him to Susan. He repeated his procedure. He looked up at her and
appeared to study her eyes. Susan always felt her appearance was very
plain. When she was feeling down, she considered herself ugly. She had
wavy brown hair and brown eyes. Often, she had considered tinting her hair
blonde but had always rejected the idea. The continued to study her
and then he smiled. Susan smiled back.
His behavior changed. She realized he had a drawstring cloth bag
clutched in his left hand. Instead of moving to the next woman, his smile
changed to a beam of sunshine. It was the brightest smile she had ever
seen -- the little was joyous! Then he said, "Pretty lady!" Susan
beamed back at him. He held up his bag and asked, "Pretty lady play with
me?" He sat down on the floor in front of her chair and emptied the blocks
in the bag out on the carpet.
Susan went down on her knees on the floor and watched as he played with
his blocks. Although Susan didn't think he was even two years old, he told
her the colors and the alphabet letters on each block. After stacking them
he started testing Susan, asking her for blocks by letter. It was obvious
to her that he really knew them because he caught her instantly when she
tried to trick him. He grinned infectiously when she did. Getting to his
feet, he came to her with his arms outstretched. She was kneeling on the
floor with her weight back on her heels. In that position he was almost as
tall as she was.
He wrapped his arms around her neck and gave her a big kiss, saying,
"Nice lady!" Susan was thrilled. She held him tight and kissed his
baby-soft cheek. He beamed at her again and murmured, "Ronnie likes pretty
Meanwhile, it was growing late. Susan was dismayed to see that some of
the women who had arrived later than her had already been interviewed.
_Oh, well,_ she thought, _They're undoubtedly better qualified than I am
anyway. I guess I was made to be a mother._ Then she thought wryly, _All I
need is a to be the father._
The only other woman waiting had been called. Susan was now alone with
the little named Ronnie. Remarkably, when he grew tired of playing
with his blocks he carefully put them all back in his bag and held out his
arms to her again. She took him in her arms and sat back in the
leather-covered armchair. The snuggled in her shoulder and just went
right to sleep. She was still holding him when the woman she had been
seeing came for her. Carefully, she lifted Ronnie from Susan's arms.
As soon as he was moved, his eyes opened and he reached for Susan. He
wrapped his arms around her neck and gave her a big kiss on the cheek.
Then he said, "Goodbye, pretty lady. Thank you for playing with me."
The woman stood him on his feet and he took his bag and toddled off
while the woman watched him fondly. When he left the room, the woman put
out her hand to Susan who rose from the chair and took it in a firm grip.
The woman led her into another room off the library obviously used as her
office. It was almost like the library, but it contained a desk. She
said, "Welcome, Susan Bradford. I am Mary Jefferson. You applied for a
job as my secretary. You're white. Do you have a problem working for a
Susan was startled by the woman's directness. She said she did not.
Then the woman said, "Susan, you minored in art at Smith College. I want
your opinion of this painting." She indicated the portrait of Emily and
said, "That's Emily Amelia Hardwick. What do you think of it?"
Rising to her feet, Susan looked at the portrait and gasped. She said
softly, "It can't be! It just can't." Mary asked her what she was seeing.
Susan replied, "I see a lady. I see a woman who appears elderly but at the
same time very -- about twenty. She's a virgin." Then tears came to
her eyes as she saw the medals in the background. She went close to it and
studied its details carefully. Then she returned to the chair in front of
the desk. Holding her head up straight she said, "Emily had dinner at the
Pump Room in Chicago, probably during the second World War. She ate with a
naval officer, a pilot. He never came back. He was awarded the Navy
Cross, the Air Medal and the Purple Heart, probably posthumously. She was
madly in love with him but they never slept together. When that portrait
was done, she was still a virgin. Yet she was waiting for him, and felt he
was very close." She looked at Mary whose face had been utterly impassive
and said, "That's what I see, Mrs. Jefferson. I have never seen such a
fabulous portrait in my life. Whoever did it defines the term, artist. He
or she found the person under the skin. I'm sorry if I sound like a fool,
but that's what I see in this portrait."
Mary nodded and said quietly, "Emily went to Mike. She asked me if he
could take her virginity in Heaven. She was beaming when Mike came to take
her." Tears were flowing from her eyes when she finished. "He was killed
at the Battle of Midway, Susan, defending our country. His name was Mike
Casey and he swore he would wait for Emily forever. She went to him less
than a month ago." Mary smiled and said, "There is another one, Susan.
What do you see in it?" She took the to her portrait.
Susan looked and gasped, then she looked at Mary. She said, "You lost
your husband in the service of our country, too, didn't you? I see a woman
standing... No! I see a lady standing. A lady with honor, dignity,
strength and integrity. I see a woman who deeply grieves, even today, the
loss of her husband. It's been years, too. Then I see the most beautiful
young woman I've seen in years. She has been badly hurt. She did things
-- degrading things -- that she regrets. She's a lady, too, in the of her mother. Finally, I see the most beautiful little I have ever
laid eyes on. He has a smile that lights up a room. Mrs. Jefferson,
you're very fortunate. Will your marry Ronnie's father?"
Mary whistled softly and shook her head. "I don't know about you, Susan
Bradford. You see too much. The answers to your questions are, first, I
don't know if April will marry Ron. She will if he changes enough. As for
me, I do still miss Tom terribly. At times my loins ache because he's not
between my thighs." Mary looked at Susan and asked, "Does that sound
The shook her head and said, "The difference between you and Emily
is you had Tom in your bed. You gave birth to a who would make
anyone proud. She, in turn, gave birth to the most wonderful little I
have ever seen. I know she has to love him, and you do, too."
"Come back and sit down, Susan. I have some dictation for you. Do you
take dictation?" Mary asked.
The girl's head was up straight as she said, "I lied, Mrs. Jefferson. I
fake it with a form of speed writing I used in during lectures.
I'm not a trained secretary. I apologize for wasting so much of your time.
I enjoyed talking with you and hope to be able to see the portraits again
somewhere, someday." She rose to leave.
"Sit down, Susan!" Mary said sharply. The was startled, but she
sat down. "Why were you leaving?" Mary asked with her kindness now audible
in her voice.
"Because I'm a fake and a fraud, Mrs. Jefferson," she replied with
tears starting to stream down her face. "You need a good secretary. I am
not one. I already apologized. Do you want me to get down on my knees? I
must go now or I'll be late for work. I need the job to pay the rent."
"You have a job," Mary said, checking her watch. It was almost
five-thirty. She said, "You're now my secretary. Come on, Susan, we're
late. Move it." The was baffled, but followed the woman out of the
room to another equipped as a gym. To her surprise, Mary stripped off her
clothes and stood there nude. Susan was astonished to see the woman's
figure was essentially perfect. Mary waited impatiently for her to strip.
Blushing beet red, Susan did.
When she was naked, Mary walked around her looking at her body
carefully. Finally, she shook her head and said, "Bradford, you have all
the raw material, but it sure needs a lot of work! Let's go."
While they were side by side using weight machines, Mary said, "Two
things, Susan: First, the name is Mary. My daughter's name is April and
you were playing with Ronald, junior, or Ronnie. He hired you, you should
know. You had the job before we ever shook hands. That little has an
uncanny instinct for people. He never misses. You saw him today: He
smiled at all the women which means no one failed. He beamed at you,
though. Ronnie fell in love with you right off the bat. I have never seen
a your age as good with him as you are except possibly his mother.
And notice, I said possibly. I'm not even certain of that.
"Second, I have taken the liberty of telling the restaurant you won't be
working there any longer. Our working hours can be a bit strange
sometimes. Finally, get that flabby ass of yours in gear. I can't stand a
flabby ass on a girl." She grinned and added, "Maybe it's a black
prejudice. We tend towards round firm buns, at least when we're young." She
looked at the straining with the weights and said, "Bradford, you have
not even begun to work out. My handles five times the weight you
have and she hardly breaks a sweat. My secretary is going to be in shape,
By the time they finished in the exercise room, Susan was reeling with
fatigue and her body was slick with her sweat. Mary took her in her arms
and kissed her saying, "There's a long way to go, but I think you'll make
it. There's no sense in buying you a wardrobe yet because your sizes will
change a lot and change fast. I think you'll be pleased with the results,
though." The women shared a shower and got dressed again. Going back to
the office, Mary showed her a computer that caused her eyes to pop. It was
the most powerful personal computer she had ever seen.
Mary said, "One last thing: I would like you to do a letter. Why don't
you start up the computer and do it right on it." The started up the
machine and found it used the word processing software with which she was
most familiar. Because of the speed of the computer, however, it ran far
faster than any she had ever seen before. Mary said, "The letter is to Mr.
Donald Martin, President, Chicago Trust Company." She continued with her
dictation telling him that Susan was hired, provided her social security
number and finished by saying she was earning $60,000 per year to start.
When Susan heard the number, she just stopped and looked up at Mary
aghast. "But that's impossible," she protested. "That's more than three
times what I'm worth!"
Mary corrected her. She said, "That's incorrect, Susan. It is correct
to say it's three times the market. It most assuredly is not three times
what you're worth. I'm paying only a fraction of what you're worth, and a
small fraction, at that." The laser printer hummed and the letter was
finished. Susan thought it looked good and Mary did, too.
As they were finishing up, the beautiful from the came into
the office with Ronnie in her arms. Ronnie saw Susan and said, "Pretty
lady play with me, Mommy. Pretty lady is nice lady."
The extended her hand and Susan took it in a firm grip. She said,
"I'm April Jefferson. I gather you have met the love of my life, Ronald
Jackson, Jr. As he just made very clear, he likes you, and that means you
like him. Thank you for playing with him."
Susan looked at April and said, "The portrait is very accurate. That
artist is fabulous. Through the portrait, I saw things about you that I
now see in your flesh. But they are things I would never see without
having seen the portrait first. April Jefferson, you're the most beautiful
young lady it has ever been my pleasure to meet. And I want to stress the
That night Susan was invited for dinner. It was served by the butler in
a formal dining room. She was impressed at the way the Jeffersons took it
in stride. Clearly, they both were ladies with impeccable taste and
manners. As she was getting her coat on, April quietly gave her a small
roll of bills and said, "You'll need some money to get going on. The
chauffeur will be out front with the car to take you home. If it fits your
schedule, he'll pick you up tomorrow morning at eight. I hope that's not
too early." Susan just shook her head and went home in a daze.
For Susan the next weeks went by in a rush. She found she spent most of
her time exercising and swimming. Mary would exercise with her for a while
and then drive Susan harder and harder. There was also a tanning room that
Mary insisted she use. The woman joked that hers was permanent, but since
Susan wasn't so lucky she needed to work on hers.
After three weeks, Susan was again increasing the exercise machine's
weight loading again when Mary asked, "What are you doing that for? Take a
look at yourself in the mirror." There was a full-length mirror used for
checking on exercise technique. She looked at her image and gasped.
Looking back at her was a she had never seen before. Her shoulders
appeared broader, her were a bit larger but much firmer, and her
figure was perfection. She now had an all-over tan and there were golden
streaks showing in her hair. Susan smiled at the image in the mirror.
Finally, Mary took her shopping and purchased a wardrobe for her. Susan
had never had such beautiful clothes in her life. She had also given up
her apartment and was now living with the Jeffersons. She had an exquisite
room and bath to herself, and found she loved the small with whom
she was now living. Wherever Mary went, Susan accompanied her. They
attended concerts, gallery openings, plays, and the openings of new
restaurants. Wherever Mary went she was courted because, as Susan quickly
learned, her employer was the richest woman in Chicago.
One morning, Mary asked Susan to sit in on a meeting she had reluctantly
scheduled. It was with Horace Washington, director of SHOVE, ostensibly a
civil-rights organization organized to empower the poor of Chicago. When
Washington was shown in, Mary rose to greet him. As he entered the room,
Susan could see instantly that Mary didn't like this black man. He was
under six feet in height, quite heavy and was wearing a lot of jewelry
including a very ostentatious diamond ring. He sat in an armchair in front
of Mary's desk and almost overflowed it.
After cool initial pleasantries were exchanged, Washington came right to
the point. He said, "Mrs. Jefferson, I want you to contribute $50 million
to SHOVE. It will make up for the injustices black people suffered at the
hands of the Hardwicks for so many years. We were delighted to hear that a
black female will be handling the money now." He smiled conspiratorially
and said, "Soon, of course, we will want it all signed over to us. We have
big plans for you, too, of course. We can get you on the lecture circuit
to talk about the abuse you suffered at the hands of that honky bitch. We
will also consider it reparations for that Oreo-cookie of yours."
His eyes were cold as he continued, "Imagine! A black working in that
disgraceful bank, Chicago Trust Company. She's tokenism at its worst!
Pretending to be an officer!"
Mary's eyes were cold as ice. She turned to Susan and said, "You
investigated SHOVE, Susan. What did you find?"
Susan replied, "SHOVE has received over $20 million in Federal money
alone over the last four years. There are records of less than $2 million
going to the poor, and almost all of that in the form of loans carrying
interest rates of 20 percent or higher. There is no record of the other
$18 million, but it's gone. The total income, including donations, is
unknown. There's a consortium of Chicago banks that assembled a loan fund
administered by SHOVE. The total amount of the fund's lending and its
recipients are also unknown."
"She's a honky! What can she possibly know about bloods?" He rose to
his feet and said, "Enough of this bullshit, sister! We want the money and
we want it now. We can cause a lot of trouble and will if we don't get it
right now!" Turning to Susan he said, "Who in hell is this bitch, anyway?
Why don't you have a black in this job?"
"Because Miss Bradford is the best-qualified person. She's also my
friend, confidante, and a member of my family. Mr. Washington, you are a
disgrace! You have been stealing our people blind and I will not give you
one dime. Good day, sir!"
The remaining shreds of Washington's facade collapsed. He screamed,
"You can't do that to me! I'm a civil-rights leader. No one talks to me
like that. Now for the last time, give me the money!"
As he was about to move towards Mary, a hand came down on his shoulder
and gripped it like a steel vise. He couldn't move. Washington heard a
low-pitched voice behind him say, "It is time to leave, Mr. Washington.
You are no longer welcome here. I will see you to your car." Horace tried
to turn and saw a black giant standing behind him. He was marched to the
elevator and then out to the street. The giant opened the door of his
limousine and shoved him in, slamming the door behind. Without a backward
look, he returned to the apartment.
When John Smith returned to the office, Mary Jefferson smiled a
greeting. He said, "I'm sorry, Mrs. Jefferson. That will never happen
again." Then he murmured softly, "Trash!" He turned to Susan and said, "On
behalf of my people, Miss Bradford, I want to apologize. That is a
disgrace to his race."
John Smith was a former All-Pro defensive end with the Green Bay
Packers. He was six feet seven, weighed 265 and had been hired on the
recommendation of a halfway house where he was recovering from cocaine
addiction when Emily's butler retired. His coke habit had cost him all the
money he had made in pro football. Susan had seen him exercise in the
weight room. He loaded all the weight the machines had and moved it
effortlessly. Mary had patiently trained him until now he was the finest
butler in Chicago. He also worshiped the entire family, now including
Mary called April at the bank. She was amused when she heard the call
being transferred to the mobile phone in April's car. When the answered, Mary told her about Washington's visit and his capacity to cause
trouble for the bank. She ended the call by saying, "He hates Chicago
Trust Company. I'm not sure why, but he certainly does." April immediately
relayed the warning directly to Dan Burke.
Ron Jackson was scheduled to come to dinner that evening. April thought
of him with a smile. A few weeks earlier she had received a letter from
him and immediately noticed two things. First, his handwriting had
improved dramatically. It used to look like an uncoordinated fourth
grader's. The second was the politeness of his note to her. He enclosed a
copy of his grades. Although it was the middle of the football
season, he was taking four courses and had A's in all of them. She was
pleasantly surprised to see they were all good courses. _Maybe,_ she
thought, _just maybe we may make it again._
April was now acting as agent for twelve members of the Bears defensive
unit. Already past the midpoint of the season, the team had only lost two
games, and was in first place in the division with the best record in the
NFC. Jim Clancy gave her the credit. He claimed the defense was working
harder and playing better, both individually and as a team, than it had in
memory. He said the players were really focused on football now because
she handled their personal problems and finances. When she invited Ron to
dinner, he had asked if he could bring a guest with him. He told her it
was an offensive player who was looking for a new agent.
Promptly at six, two guests were announced. Smith showed them to the
living room where April, Mary, and Susan were waiting. That evening Ronnie
was dressed up in anticipation of seeing his father. But Susan noticed
that Ronnie was reserved with him. Remembering Mary's comment about his
unerring instinct for people, it seemed he was withholding judgment. Susan
was surprised at the identity of Ron's companion. It was Mike Cassidy, the
Bear's quarterback. As they were shown into the living room, both were
awed by John Smith looming ahead of them.
Cassidy looked up at him and said, "Wow! Did you ever play pro ball?"
"Green Bay for nine years," John said softly.
Cassidy grinned and put out his hand saying, "You had to be a defensive
end! I know the look. You look at a quarterback like he's your next
meal!" He looked at Smith intently and said, "John Smith, isn't it?" Smith
nodded. "I remember you. You retired just about the time I came to the
Bears. Frankly, I'm glad you did." He looked puzzled and said, "But
"Two things, Mr. Cassidy: cocaine and a thief for an agent." He smiled
and said, "I think Miss Jefferson can do a lot for you. Now, may I take
drink orders?" He did and withdrew. Immediately after, April, Ron and
Ronnie disappeared in the direction of Ronnie's room, leaving Cassidy alone
with Mary and Susan.
Mike Cassidy looked at Susan but didn't know what to make of her. She
was wearing a plain green wool dress shaped to her figure. He thought he
could see her nipples but couldn't be sure. Her only jewelry was a gold
circle pin. During and after, he had bedded more women than he
could count, usually thinking of them as trophies for his wall. He decided
that Susan would make an interesting plaything for a day or two, so he
turned on his charm.
However, he realized he was at a disadvantage. First, because he was
wearing a suit and tie, he was uncomfortable. Second, he was in an
apartment such as he had never dreamed existed. He was often invited to
appear at functions of all kinds, many given by wealthy people in Chicago
and so was accustomed to very expensive decorator-modern furnishings. This
apartment was completely different. Trying to figure out what was
different about it, he was looking around the room.
Susan looked at Mary who smiled warmly and nodded. She said, "Mike, I
think it would be easier if you just let me show you around. Would you
care to see our apartment?"
Startled, he looked up at the who was now on her feet waiting for
him. Then he realized what it was. Susan had the same quiet elegance the
apartment had. He rose and they left the living room. He realized she had
a perfect figure and a beautiful face. What was so different was that she
was treating him like... like... a guest! She wasn't making a play for
him at all. This had never happened to him before. She ushered him in to
Mary's office and stopped at the painting of Emily.
Mike glanced at it, then looked again. Usually, one was like
any other to him. In general, art was a giant con job as far as he was
concerned. This painting was very different. He looked at it closely and
then murmured, "She's beautiful! And she's a virgin, isn't she?" Then he
noticed the medals and pieced the together.
"You're remarkably perceptive, Mike," Susan said softly. He loved the
soft, musical quality of her voice. It was a pleasure just to listen to
her. Then he was jolted by her next comment: "Maybe I've been too harsh on
you. I thought your only feelings were in your groin and in your passing
"What are you saying?" he asked, genuinely shocked.
She grinned wryly and said, "Mike, if you get me in your bed you would
have no idea where I would number among your conquests. First, you
couldn't possibly remember all the you've slept with, and second, I
don't think you can count that high."
Cassidy was utterly stunned. _She's right of course, but how could she
As if she was reading his mind, she said, "Women know, Mike. At least
some of us know."
She showed him the of the Jefferson's and he whistled softly.
He said, "Ron can't forgive himself for what he did to April. She still
feels it, doesn't she?"
"How would you feel playing milk cow to a bunch of animals? Of course
she feels it. The worst of it is, she blames herself. April knows she
could have refused, but she didn't. He made her degrade herself."
"The poor kid," he murmured.
Cassidy found he loved the apartment. For the first time he was getting
a glimmer of the idea that there was money and money. This was established
money: Money that did not need to make its existence prominent to make its
presence felt. He studied the but couldn't figure her out.
Her eyes were dancing with glee as she said, "There's one more I
want to show you." He followed her back to the living room and she showed
him a painting over the fireplace. There were two women: one was Kerry
Casey and the other was Susan herself. Both were nude.
He looked at it and shook his head, murmuring, "Two virgins. That other
girl is wanting so much, she hurts. She wants him terribly. Who is he?
The artist?" Susan nodded. She and Kerry were posed with their shoulders
touching in a semi-reclined pose The were holding hands; Susan could
remember Kerry gripping her fingers tightly and later apologizing for it.
She said posing for Jim was becoming harder for her. She could feel his
love but could get no relief herself. When his pressures mounted, she
would take him in her mouth but there was no relief for her. Susan's body
was perfect. Jim even caught the tight curls in her pubic hair and its
golden highlights, as well. Her were full and perfectly shaped
with tiny pink nipples.
"If it will save you a lot of wondering, Mike, it's a good likeness of
my body. Do you like it?"
He looked at her and saw glee in her eyes. To his surprise, she pulled
his head down to hers and kissed him softly. Then she said, "Thank you,
Mike. I've dreamed of doing that for years."
"You _what?"_ he asked, amazed. "What are you saying?"
"When you were playing for Illinois, Mike, I was in high school in
Bloomington. We went to all your games. Once I got within a few feet of
you when you were walking off the field after a loss. You looked so sad! I
wanted to take you in my arms and make it better." She smiled and said, "If
I remember, I had braces on my teeth and all the curves of a straight
stick. You would have just walked over me." Cassidy, utterly baffled by
Susan's behavior, said nothing.
John announced dinner. Mike was sitting at Mary's right with Susan
beside him while April was at the other end of the table with Ron on her
right and Ronnie sitting next to him. Susan smiled as she saw John subtly
indicating which of the many items of tableware to use with each course.
Mike looked at the women and was amazed. The dinner was more formal
than any he had ever eaten, yet the women maintained the conversation and
appeared to enjoy themselves. Even little Ronnie sitting across from him
was eating carefully sitting on the chair in his booster seat. Mike
thought the looked very handsome in a blue suit with a white and
an Eton collar.
He heard Susan ask him with a giggle in her voice, "Are you all right,
Mike? You look very uncomfortable. I'm sorry if you are. The food is
really very good." He continued just to watch. He was amazed to hear the
women's discussion ranging across the widest variety of topics, from local
politics, to national events, to international affairs. The conversation
swung to art, to music, and finally to football.
At that point, Ron said, "April, I want to do something for Ronnie. I
would like to increase his support to $500 a month." He looked down at his
plate, and Mike realized he hadn't been eating. Ron continued, "There is
no way I can make up for what I have done to you. I know some of my
teammates wrote you letters to apologize for their behavior. They did,
April nodded and smiled, remembering. Most of the were not even
adequate writers, let alone good ones, yet they wanted to tell a woman who
behaved like a queen that they had behaved like and were ashamed.
She said, "Most did, Ron. Some of them are my clients now, too. It's
funny. Charley Hodgins is a man-mountain and a client, but he can't bring
himself to look me in the eye. He says he's still too embarrassed.
They're awfully nice, Ron." Then she looked at him and asked, "Can you
afford it? It will be out of your allowance."
"I'll make out," he said softly. Then he looked at her and tears were
running down his face. He said, "I didn't give you anything when you were
starving to death and I was rich. Now, your is the richest woman in
Chicago and $500 is like five cents. I give it to you when you don't need
it. Please accept it, April. I need you to, even though you don't need
He tried to smile as he continued, "There's something else I want to
say, though. You and your and Miss Bradford are so at home in this
setting while I don't even know which fork to use. Even my baby son makes
his look like a fool, completely by accident of course."
Suddenly, Ron broke down completely. He was sobbing and April went to
him and held him close. He said, "Oh, God, April! Please forgive me! I'm
begging, now. There is no reason why you should and every reason why you
should tell me to go to hell. What I did to you was utterly inhuman!"
She held him close and patted his back. Finally he looked up and she
said warmly, "Ron, there's nothing to forgive. I did it to myself. You
just asked. But why don't you ask your son?"
Ron was startled but turned to Ronnie who had been watching his closely. Ronnie had his arms out and Ron took him in his and held him
tight. He heard Ronnie say, "Don't cry, Daddy. Ronnie loves his Daddy."
Ron held the away and saw the baby beaming at him.
Ron saw his boy's glorious smile and smiled back. "Daddy loves you,
too, Ronnie. God, I love you so much!" He hugged the little who had
his arms tight around his father's neck. Then Ron sat him on his lap and
put his arm around him. The baby promptly went to sleep against his
Mary smiled at Ron for the first time since she had first met him. She
said, "I guess that's over. Ronnie just made up his mind. He loves you,
Daddy. If you're good enough for him, I guess you're good enough for me,
He looked at April and saw a light in her eyes he thought had
disappeared forever. He said, "Alleluia! April, will you continue to go
out with me once in a while? Did you get my grades?" She nodded and
smiled. "Honey, I promise I'm going to make myself worthy of you. Then I'm
going to ask you to marry me and... and... April, will you... are you
willing to have... more children?"
Susan saw an intense warmth appear on April's face. She said simply,
"Ron, Ronnie is as good a baby as there is. There's no sense stopping when
you're on a winning streak. Besides, you never tried a Brandy Alexander
and neither did I. I guess I'm looking forward to it."
The conversation shifted and April told Ron she had a new contract for
him with a lot of incentive clauses. Then Mike interjected, "What makes
you think you can represent me, April? You're smart, but I have a
quarterback contract. It's a lot bigger and more complex."
April looked at Mike, smiled politely and said, "I have no interest in
representing you at all, Mike. You're not my type. Why don't you just
stay where you are?"
"But... But I can't. I told the bandit who represents me to get lost.
I... I... I thought you were going to be my agent. I told everyone you
"That's a shame," April said blandly. "I guess I'm not everyone,
because you certainly didn't tell me." She turned her attention back to
Ron, ignoring him.
"What can I do?" he asked, turning to Mary Jefferson. "Why did she turn
"Did you hear what you said? You started by saying she's not competent
to represent you," Mary replied. "Of course, being her I'm not
completely impartial, but I think she's the best agent in the business. On
the other hand, she's killing herself at her regular job so she certainly
doesn't need the extra aggravation."
Mary looked pensive for a moment and then, looking across Mike, said,
"Susan, what about you? Could you help Mike out of his jam?"
"I already have a job that I love, thanks to you, Mary. Why on earth
would I want to work with this egotist sitting beside me. I'm not a
women's libber, but about twenty minutes with this guy would make me one."
She smiled at the woman and said, "There is one thing, though. I
would love to have Jim paint Mike's portrait. It would be the definitive
male chauvinist pig."
"But... But... Sue, you don't know a damn thing about being an agent!"
"Absolutely nothing," she replied blithely. "That's another reason I
have less than no interest in the job."
"Damn it, Susan, you have to take it! You owe it to me and you owe it
to the Bears. I need top-flight representation!"
"I don't owe you one damned thing, Michael Cassidy!" she exploded with
fire in her eyes. "I owe the Bears even less. As far as needing
top-flight representation, go get it. You already said I'm incompetent."
"Why do you have to throw my words back at me like that? You know I
didn't mean it," he said plaintively.
"You damn well better not be as casual throwing a football as you are
throwing out words, Mr. Cassidy. I was educated in an environment where
people are presumed intelligent and are responsible for what they say. If
they don't mean it, they don't say it. Clearly, your education went off
the track somewhere. Incidentally, where do you stand with respect to your
degree? Do you have one? If so, in what?"
He mumbled that he was missing a few courses. It turned out that "a
few" was two and a half years worth. His degree, if he ever got it, would
have been in outdoor activities. Susan hooted with glee while Mike
reddened with embarrassment. Finally she said, "Okay, Cassidy, with Mary's
permission I'll represent you as your agent. My fee is 20 percent off the
"My God!" he protested. "Do you know how much that is? Do you know how
much I make?"
"It's about $300,000 a year if you have a decent year. On the other
hand, that's all I'll charge you. Right now April tells me you're paying
your agent about 60 percent when all the pieces are added up. There are
four conditions: First, you get an allowance of $5,000 a month. Second,
you complete your degree -- a good one -- within the next three years.
Third, I don't pay bills for your whores. Their charges are out of your
allowance. Finally, if you don't get a degree within three years, my fee
doubles retroactively back to today. Clear?" Mike was stunned but slowly
nodded. Susan put out her hand and said, "Fine! Now I'm your agent." Mike
was startled at the firmness of her grip as they shook hands.
After dinner Ron asked Mary if he could take April out dancing. She
smiled and suggested he ask April; he did and she quickly agreed on the
condition that Susan and Mike come and chaperon. John Smith drove them in
the Jefferson limousine while the left Mike's sports car in the garage.
They went to a good hotel that had a combo playing for dancing.
Ron immediately took April out on the dance floor leaving Susan alone
with Mike. She was still glaring at him, or pretending to. Mike was
baffled. He had never met a like Susan in his life and didn't know
what to make of her. He realized most of the he dated were airheads
while Susan was probably much smarter than he was. The other fell
all over themselves to get in his bed; she ignored him. Finally he asked,
"Susan, how did you know so much about me and my agent? It isn't common
"Jim Clancy told April," she replied without comment. "By the way, how
are your auctions coming? Any good action?"
Mike turned beet red. He stammered, "What do you know about my
"I hear you get together all the that are interested in bedding
you. First, they take off all their clothes. I guess a bunch wash out
right there after you see them naked. Then you have an auction with the
ones who are left. The one who will accept the most arrangement
wins. The last one I heard about had the accepting thirty lashes with
a whip administered by the jealous second place before she could come
to your bed. How did that work out, anyway? Could she still perform in
bed for you after thirty lashes?" Susan said it in a completely
dispassionate tone of voice. Her question seemed to be borne of pure
"How could you possibly know that?" he asked bemused. "The fact is I
spent the night treating her cuts. The poor kid could only scream in pain.
They were all over her body so there was no position she could be in
without putting her weight on some of the cuts." He looked at Susan and she
could see his eyes were wet. He said, "You're a very strange person, Susan
Bradford. You seem to hate me, but I don't think you really do."
Susan smiled and changed the subject. What she said next amazed him:
"When did you develop that hitch in your passing motion?"
_"The what?"_ he exclaimed.
"Let's dance and I'll show you," she said. He took her out to the dance
floor. When she was standing, she quickly demonstrated what he was doing.
People were looking at them strangely as Mike moved his arm in his usual
passing motion and realized she was right. There was a hitch in it. He
took her in his arms on the dance floor and found she moved like a feather
on the floor. She also refused to dance close to him. There was a
distinct separation between them and he asked her about it.
"I'm not giving you a cheap thrill tonight by letting you crush my against your chest. You'll live."*Chapter 24*
On Saturday morning, the got a phone call. It was an unusually
warm Indian summer day in November and the Bears were playing at home the
next day. The pre-game practice wrapped up at noon so Ron and Mike asked
if the cared to prepare a picnic.
They went out to a park near the lake front. The had a football
with them and were throwing it around. While sitting on a blanket they ate
the picnic lunch the prepared. Mike was amazed at the change in
Susan's appearance. Today, she looked totally different from the way she
did on their first meeting. The night before she had been poised and
elegant; today she looked like a hoyden. She was wearing skin-tight
Levi's, a Smith sweatshirt, and had her hair tied back in a pony
tail. Mike remembered the magnificent female body he had seen in the
painting. He could see the painter certainly got her legs right. He hoped
the rest of her was as accurately depicted.
When they finished eating, Susan challenged the to a two-man touch
football game. To even it, it would be two hands for the but only one
for the girls. Mike and Ron slapped hands and agreed at once. As a
further concession, they gave the ball to the and agreed the couldn't rush the passer at top speed. Susan whispered to April and she
nodded eagerly. They had marked out the four corners of a fifty-yard field
and put it in play on the twenty yard line.
Mike was up close to the ball while Ron was playing his normal safety
position a little off the line. When Susan centered the ball to April, Ron
was poised on her right. April started to run left and Mike moved to head
her off. Before he had taken two steps, Susan cut him down with a block on
his ankles. He went down on his face. Meanwhile, Ron had slowed figuring
Mike would catch her. He chased her, but April was running like a scared
deer and easily outran him to score a touchdown. Susan sat up and wiped
dirt off her face, laughing. Mike sat up and sheepishly wiped himself off.
"What did you do, lady?" he asked with a sheepish grin on his face.
Susan's eyes were dancing as she said, "It's called a cross-body block,
isn't it?" She rubbed her side ruefully and added, "It hurts." Mike just
grinned and shook his head, then extended his hands to help her up.
On his first possession, Susan gave him fits. On the first play, she
tagged him for a loss; on the second, she batted the pass away; and on
third down he overthrew Ron because he had to throw so high to clear her
upthrust arms. She daintily stuck out her tongue as he punted the ball.
Although he did no kicking for the Bears, Mike was an excellent punter. He
boomed the ball far past the end of the field and was told to go and
retrieve it for his troubles.
Getting the ball back, April centered it to Susan who sidestepped Mike's
rush. She lofted a perfect pass that April took on her fingertips running
at full speed and ran in for another touchdown. By this time other people
walking in the park on the brilliant late fall day were stopping to watch.
Several thought they recognized Mike Cassidy, but no one was sure if it was
really him. When they finally quit, the women were ahead by three
Susan hobbled over to their blanket. In spite of the time of year, she
and April had been playing barefoot. April took four beers from their
cooler and passed them out. Mike collapsed on his back and Susan used his
stomach for a head rest. He looked at her and just shook his head. "Where
in hell did you learn to throw a football? You're really good. God, I
wish I had your timing. For that matter, I would give my left arm for a
receiver like April. How long have you been practicing, anyway?"
"This is the first time I've ever thrown a football with April," Susan
replied with a grin. "On the other hand, I've seen her nude body often
enough to know that she's nothing but satin skin over highly-conditioned
muscles. There's not an ounce of fat on her. I figured she might be fast,
and she sure is, isn't she?"
Mike raised his voice and said, "Ron, you have to marry April. Can you
imagine trying to cover her if some other team finds out how good she is
and drafts her? Isn't there some league rule that husbands and wives have
to play on the same team?" Looking down at Susan, he said softly, "I'll
have to marry you, too. I'm not worrying about another team. I'm worrying
about the Bears. Susan, you're a better quarterback than I am. You're
more agile, you're faster and you throw the ball better. How did you
While he was talking he had put his hand on her sweatshirt and cupped
her in his hand. It was a very firm handful and she was not wearing
a bra. She ignored it except for making a small happy noise deep in her
body. "Aren't you going to say anything?" he asked softly.
"About your hand on my tit? No, not unless you complain about my head
on your stomach. Besides, it feels good." She looked up at him and said,
"If a isn't going to sleep with a guy, she had better learn to run
fast. I do. As for passing, I picked it up by studying my favorite
"Who is that?" Mike asked.
"Michael Cassidy," she replied impassively. "He used to play at
Illinois and is playing in the pros now. He used to be pretty good."
_"Used to be?_ Come on, lady. Let's see if you can catch the
ball." Mike picked up the football and trotted back on the field with Susan
following. Mike was utterly astonished at what followed. She ran pass
patterns perfectly, whether a hook, a post, a fly, or a sideline. She
caught one sideline pass on her fingertips with only the toes of both feet
still in bounds.
Then she said, "Now let's see if you can run with that big beer gut.
But be careful. The quarterback has his image to protect: never getting
his uniform dirty." By this time Susan's clothes were covered with dirt,
leaves, twigs, and a little mud where she slid on a wet spot. She looked
absolutely beautiful. Again, he was astonished at her performance. She
took a pro drop, looked straight down the field and put the ball in his
hands wherever he was. She never appeared to look at him. Even when he
ran fly patterns at full speed Susan put the ball lightly on his
fingertips. Once he took her pass in one hand because she threw such a soft
pass that was so easy to catch. On one pass that dropped incomplete, he
was supposed to take five steps and took seven. The ball was right where
he should have been.
Finally, with Mike gasping for breath, they quit. Mike had his hands on
his knees and was breathing hard. He gasped, "You win. Susan, you are
"Terrific! If I won, you have to carry me back to the blanket." He
picked her up and found she felt wonderful in his arms. She wrapped her
arms around his neck and rested her cheek on his shoulder. When they got
to the blanket, April looked up and said, "What's this? Who is that urchin
you found, Mike?"
He grinned and replied, "I'm not sure, but she's the best damned passer
in Chicago, bar none! Did you see what she was throwing? And catching?
Ron, we should do so well."
Ron's head was on April's lap. He opened one eye and said, "She's fine
with me. I'm defense. We're always in favor of good quarterbacks. Of
course, it's not my job she's taking."
After showering at the apartment the took them out for pizza. At
dinner Mike was moving his shoulder. He said, "Susan, thank you. You
helped me a lot today. You really did. I watched you and saw me when I
was good. It reminded me of changes I have to make. Are you coming to the
game tomorrow?" She said they were planning to. Susan didn't say that they
were guests of the owner and would be watching from his box.
That night at the door of the Jefferson's apartment, Mike took Susan in
his arms and kissed her. It was like no kiss either had ever had. There
was sweetness and warmth, but at the same time there was electricity
flowing between them and bells. When he slowly released her, she slapped
his face hard, glared at him and exclaimed, "I am _not_ in your damned meat
market, Cassidy!" She slammed the door in his face and then leaned back
against the door to try to recover from his kiss. Meanwhile, Mike was
whistling brightly as he walked to the elevator, rubbing the bright mark her hand had left on his face.
The next day at the game, Susan was introduced to Cindy and Dan Burke
who were also the owner's guests. Dan sat in the back row talking quietly
with Mike McCaskey while the watched the game. Chicago was playing
the Vikings; in their first meeting Chicago had won 9-0 on three field
goals. The Bear's record was now 10-2; through the first half of the
season, the team won with its defense. If an opponent scored two
touchdowns, the Bears were in trouble. The offense had been a no-show
through the season to that point.
The Vikings received the opening kickoff and sustained a drive the
length of the field. Dan shook his head; there was nothing the Bears could
do. The play pattern consisted of running plays interspersed with short
play-action passes. The Bears defense was playing furiously, but the
Viking quarterback was six for six in the drive. Before the Bears got
their hands on the ball, they were trailing 7-0. It looked like it was
going to be a very long afternoon.
On the first play from scrimmage at the Bear's 8 yard line -- the Bear's
had been called for holding on the kickoff return -- Mike Cassidy faked
into the line, rolled to his right on a bootleg and completed a pass to his
fleet wide receiver flying down the left sideline. The pass covered more
than 60 yards in the air. The receiver, Sammy Johnson, took it on his
fingers without breaking stride and crossed the goal line untouched. It
was the longest play from scrimmage the Bears had run in more than five
years. Susan was on her feet screaming as soon as Mike unleashed the pass.
She was jumping up and down as Johnson just ran away from the covering
cornerback. The safety had taken the play fake and had come up to assist
against the expected run so the corner had no support.
Mike had his best game at quarterback in three years. He threw for only
280 yards, but completed twelve of the fourteen passes he threw. By the
time the game was winding down Susan was hoarse from screaming. April
looked at her, shook her head, and said, "Susan, you're not behaving in a
very dignified fashion." She turned to Cindy and asked, "Slave Cindy, what
do you think?"
Cindy had been screaming, too. She had come to like Susan very much in
just the very short time they had known each other. Her eyes were dancing
as she said, "I guess it's what I would do if Burke were out on the field.
Of course, April, it is rather unprofessional for an agent to behave that
way, too, isn't it? I'm sure you bruised your left hand. Every time Ron
makes a play, you slam your right fist into your left hand and make
atrocious noises!" April just grinned and Susan shook her head. The game
ended with the Bears winning their biggest victory of the season, 42 7.
There was an immediate impromptu party in the owner's box to celebrate.
After a few minutes, April and Susan excused themselves to go to the
Ron came out looking for April. As soon as she saw him she went to him
and then into his arms. When he kissed her this time, her arms were around
his neck. For the first time there were bells and electricity flowing
between them. April could feel her knees weaken as she held on for
support. When they separated, Ron looked at her with his eyes glistening.
He said, "Is that what I can look forward to if I have a good game,
April had recovered by now and stepped back, saying, "That was an agent
congratulating her principal on a very good game. Ron, you played
He grinned and said, "It's all your fault, you know? Yours and Susan's.
Yesterday afternoon was the best practice Mike and I've had in years." His
eyes became serious as he added, "Honey, I'm really serious. I'm not
kidding at all. Mike said his throwing with Susan and watching her throw
fixed him up. He wants to keep it up, if it's possible." They had walked
away from the crowd milling around the locker room entrance.
By now almost all the players had come out of the dressing room. Now
there was just Cassidy's meat market: a host of women ranging in age
from about eighteen to their early-thirties. Although it was cold, some of
the women started to shed their coats to better show off their charms.
Several surreptitiously pinched their nipples to make them show through
their tight sweaters. Meanwhile, Susan was standing off to the side by
herself. She was wearing blue jeans and a sweat under a warm duffle
coat. Despite the fact that it was very cold and snowflakes were starting
to appear -- a cold front had moved through the previous night -- the in their tight sweaters and micro-minis were anticipating Mike's appearance
and the start of the weekly meat market. This was the first phase of the
competition. Susan counted more than fifty women crowded around jockeying
for position close to the door.
Susan moved farther away from the crowd and pulled up the hood of her
coat. Finally, Mike appeared amid a chorus of squeals and cries from the
women crowded around. The more aggressive ones tried to grab him but Mike
kept them away. Then he held up his hands, the first stage in his market.
Mike surprised them all by saying, "Sorry, girls! The party's over. I'm
out of business and so is the competition. I hope it's permanent."
Meanwhile he was looking around and finally saw Susan in spite of her
face being almost completely by the hood of her coat. Mike pushed
through the crowd and finally reached her. Putting his arm around her, he
said, "I have to meet my agent, my passing coach, and my friend. Here
she is, Susan Bradford."
With that he took her in his arms and kissed her slowly and lovingly.
He felt an instant response from her lips which were so beautifully soft
and warm. He was trying to probe her mouth with his tongue when Susan
backed off and smacked him across the face with her hand. Mike ignored it
in spite of the perfect outline her hand left in on his left cheek. He
put his arm around her and said, "I'm making progress! If she was really
mad, I would be unconscious. Girls, this is Susan Bradford, the love of my
life. Now all I have to do is shape myself up and then persuade her to
One of the yelled, "What does she have, anyway? She's not your
Mike still had his arm around Susan and she was not resisting. He
whispered to her, "Susan, please take off your hood. Let them see you.
Please?" She glared at him but pulled down the hood and shook out her hair.
He said, "She really is. She is my type. I only hope that I'm hers, but
only time will tell. Unfortunately, I have a lot of work to do before I'll
The women looked at Susan and didn't know what to make of her. It was
apparent she was wearing no makeup at all, yet she was beautiful. One
yelled, "Does she have a figure? All I see is a shapeless coat."
Mike said, "Yes, she does, and it's perfect. I've never seen it, but I
did see a she posed for. She's exquisite. But that's not it. I
want her to be the of my children. I hope to become good enough for
her to accept me as her husband. Now why don't you all just go home and
celebrate the Bear's victory?"
Mike looked around as the crowd started to break up as the women left
alone or in small groups. One hadn't moved. She had been on the edge
of the crowd but was now standing all alone. Even from where he was
standing Mike could see she looked forlorn as tears starting to flow down
her cheeks. He went to her and brought her back to where Susan was
He said, "Susan Bradford, this is Kristin." Turning to the girl, he
said, "Kristin, I'm sorry. I don't even know your last name. Sue, Kristin
was the who won the competition and was whipped. Could she join us
for a while?" Susan nodded and the trio walked to a nearby bar. Mike was
immediately recognized and they were given a booth in the back. When they
sat down with Kristin sitting across from them, Susan looked at the and saw tears in her eyes.
"What's wrong, Kristin?" she asked kindly. "Why the tears?"
The held her head up and said, "It's all for nothing. Now Jack
won't have me."
"He's my boyfriend. He said he wouldn't take me unless Mike Cassidy
fucked me first. He was pretty proud of what happened a few weeks ago.
But he was pissed that I didn't get fucked. He said that my blood and the
pain I suffered would have made the fucking even better. He showed me off
to all his friends."
Susan was appalled at what she thought she was hearing. She asked,
"What do you mean, showed you off? What did he do?"
"He had me strip to the waist and show them the whip cuts across my back
and breasts," she replied softly. "He was real nice, though. He didn't
ask me to strip for them and show the cuts in my and on my ass. That
was just for him."
"Is that why you did it, Kristin? Because Jack wanted you to?" Susan
"Of course. He's my boyfriend and I love him, in spite of what Charley
says," the replied.
"Who's Charley?" Mike asked.
"He's just a guy," she said. "He wouldn't let me do what Jack asked and
now Jack is really mad."
Susan began to feel sick as the talked about her sadistic
boyfriend. She was almost afraid of what the answer would be. "What did
The lifted her head and shook it to throw back her heavy hair. She said, "He wanted me to put dirt in the cuts to make the scars
permanent. Jack really liked the ones across my breasts." Tears came to
her eyes as she said, "Now he's going to whip me again and do it himself.
He says no one will know that they aren't the Cassidy scars."
Just then a slightly-built came up to the table. He was about
five feet ten, appeared to weigh about 155, and was obviously very angry.
As he approached the table, Kristin saw him and turned pale. "Oh, God!
It's Charley." Mike got up from the table as the reached them.
"You stay away from Kristin! She's a good girl." With that he launched
a telegraphed roundhouse right at Mike's jaw.
Susan saw it coming and was amazed at Mike's reaction. She knew he
could destroy the much smaller and could easily block the punch.
Instead, he moved his head with the punch and dropped to the floor. In an
instant Charley was grabbed from behind by others in the lounge.
Mike saw a police officer coming over. From the floor he yelled, "Leave
that alone! He's a friend." The who had grabbed Charley were
astonished, but let him go. Mike rubbed his jaw and put out his hand. "My
name is Mike Cassidy, Charley. We haven't really met, but will you join
The was shaking like a leaf as he sat down in the booth. It
was so obvious that he had used every ounce of courage he possessed to
attack the much bigger man. Mike said, "Charley, thank you for taking care
of Kristin. You love her a great deal, don't you?" The just nodded.
Looking at Kristin, Mike said, "Look, will you do me a big favor? Would
you please have dinner with Charley tonight?" The was looking down at
the table, astonished at what had happened.
Cassidy said, "Kristin, look at me!" The looked up at him,
startled. "Kristin, have you ever taken a good look at Charley? You told
Susan and me about Jack. Frankly, he sounds like a sadistic creep. I
suspect he's bigger than Charley, isn't he?" The nodded. "Can you see
Jack doing what Charley just did? I have him by about six inches and sixty
pounds. I suspect I'm in better condition, too. You know what he did,
don't you? He was trying to protect you regardless of the cost to himself.
Kristin, I don't know what you call it, but I see a who loves you very
much. Will you give him a chance?"
Kristin was looking at Charley and saw him blushing as Mike made his
speech. When he finished she asked, "Charley, is that true? Do you love
He looked at her and swallowed hard. Then he said, "Of course it's
true, Kristin. I always have and always will."
"But why didn't you ever say anything?" she asked.
"Because I'm not good enough for you," he replied humbly.
"And Jack Schmidt is?" she asked softly.
"Of course not, but you love him," he said. "It doesn't make sense to
me, Kristin, but the most important thing in my life is for you to be
Mike took out his wallet and emptied it. He had almost five hundred
dollars which he pressed into Charley's hand. "Why don't you two go
somewhere and have fun. And good luck to you both." The two left the place
hand-in-hand and with stars in their eyes.
Turning to Susan, Mike said, "I hope you have a couple of bucks. I just
gave Charley every cent I have. I forgot to keep out enough to pay for our
Susan hadn't said anything. Mike realized her eyes were glistening as
she said, "Michael Cassidy, there might be some hope for you yet. That was
the nicest thing I have ever heard of you doing in your life. Honey, I'm
so proud!" She turned and kissed him softly. Mike returned the kiss with
one loaded with his love.
When they moved apart, he grinned and said, "I'm making progress. You
didn't even clobber me this time." There was great warmth in his eyes as he
added, "Susan, I was being very honest today. You could have decked me out
there if you really wanted to. I also meant it when I called you my
passing coach. That's true, too. Could you do me a great favor? Could
you come out to Anaheim next week when we play the Rams? Please?"
She smiled and said she would think about it.*Chapter 25*
Jack Casey was ill at ease sitting in front of Mary Jefferson. _It is
not that she's black,_ he thought, _It's her eyes! They look right through
you. It's as if she can see through steel._ He had heard of Mary
Jefferson, but had never met her. She was Emily Amelia Hardwick's heir and
the richest woman in Chicago. She had asked to see him, but he still
didn't know why. As the president of Northern National Bank, the biggest
bank in the city, he couldn't afford to take chances. It might be a chance
to take some business away from Chicago Trust which had been the Hardwick
bank for generations.
Finally Mary came to the point. She said, "I'm carrying out an
expressed wish of Emily Amelia Hardwick, Mr. Casey. First, I should tell
you some history. Have you heard of Michael Casey?" Jack slowly shook his
head. _It was such a familiar name, though,_ he thought. She said, "Mike
Casey would be your uncle if he were still alive. Emily finally joined
Mike after nearly fifty years apart. He's the reason she never and
the Hardwick died. In her very last days she met your daughter,
Kerry, and came to love her deeply. Mr. Casey, I invited you over today
to ask you to give your permission for your to marry Jim Vance.
Will you give it?"
"I have no daughter," Casey replied stiffly.
Mary just shook her head sadly and said, "You are so wrong, Mr. Casey.
Your is one of the most wonderful women it has ever been my
pleasure to meet. She is a real lady."
Casey exploded, "Lady? Posing nude? Living with a when they aren't
married? _That's a lady?"_
"Mr. Casey, Kerry lives with Jack and sleeps with him. Nevertheless,
she's still a virgin." She turned to Susan who was sitting off to one side
and said, "Susan, you know Kerry Casey. What do you think of her?"
"Mary, you said it all. She's a lady in the finest sense of the word.
She's a virgin still. Mr. Casey, for reasons that completely escape me,
she loves you, respects you and will not go against your wishes. There's
absolutely no legal reason why she can't marry Jim Vance today, but she
will not marry him nor have they ever had sex together. It's killing that
poor girl. We have been very fortunate in our acquaintances. Many of our
friends are deeply in love. Yet no couple represents the union of two
people the way Jim and Kerry do. It's truly remarkable."
Casey had folded his arms. It was apparent he was not listening and
nothing could move him from his position. Mary said, "Thank you for coming
to see me today, Mr. Casey. There's one more thing I would like you to
do. Would you please accompany Susan and me to an art exhibit that just
opened? It's one Susan is sponsoring and has done all the work on. It's
our first effort and we would appreciate your opinion. The exhibit is
entitled, _Couples and Women._ It should only take a few minutes of your
time and I would be obliged if you would accompany us.
With ill grace, Casey agreed. They all rode in Mary's limousine, with
Casey's following. Mary had been amused at Susan's arrangements for Jim
Vance's first show. She wanted the show to be at a museum rather than a
commercial gallery. Mary had listened to her on the phone and it was all
she could do to keep her giggling from being overheard. When arrangements
were complete at the second-ranking art museum in Chicago, she had said,
"Susan Bradford, for shame! You were lying like a rug!"
While she was saying it, Susan could see the barely-suppressed laughter
in Mary's eyes. In her haughtiest manner, she replied, "I _beg_ your
pardon? I merely said that Mrs. Jefferson would consider it a personal
favor if a museum accepted the show. She's considering her annual
contribution to the arts this week." Susan grinned and said, "What's wrong
with that?" Mary just giggled.
The big car pulled up to a stop at the main entrance of the museum.
Mary was impressed with the size of the turnout. When the three walked in,
the first portrait they saw was that of Emily Amelia Hardwick. Casey
stopped short and looked at it. His eyes widened as he saw the medals and
the expression on her face. "My God! She's a virgin! And... it's Uncle
Mike, isn't it?"
Mary said softly, "She's with Mike Casey now, Jack, in Heaven. She was
so happy. She asked me if I thought she could lose her virginity there.
Mike came for her." She saw that Jack Casey's eyes were moist.
They looked at portraits of the Cliffords and their families. When they
came to the clothed portrait of Kathy and Bill Cartwright, Casey murmured,
"My God! The suffering they have undergone! And yet they look so happy
Mary explained about the fourteen-year separation and Casey just shook
his head. When he saw the portrait of Ali and Bill Clifford, he shook his
head in disbelief. "It's impossible!" he said. "Two people can't possibly
love each other as much as they appear to."
Finally they came to the nudes. There were six showing Kerry. Jack
just looked at them in amazement. He whispered, "She _is_ a virgin! The
poor kid. The wanting! I can feel it." Then he came to a semi-reclining
nude portrait of Ali Clifford. Her slender fingers were on her slit, and
her eyes were focused to the left of the artist. He asked, "What happened
Mary laughed and said, "Bill was standing where she's looking. It was a
long sitting, I understand, with frequent breaks for their lovemaking."
Finally, they came to the of Kerry and Susan, reclining
back-to-back, and next to it, a figure study of Susan. He looked at them
and then looked at the girl. He shook his head and said, "But... But
you're a lady. And a virgin, aren't you? Why did you pose?"
"It's a Christmas present, Mr. Casey. My boyfriend has had more slaps
in the face than kisses. I don't want him to get too discouraged. The
picture is what I think of as incentive. If he behaves, he gets the real
thing," Susan said with a broad smile. "Do you like it? I think it's much
too flattering." Casey disagreed. He thought, if anything, she was even
more beautiful than she appeared on canvas. She gave him a brilliant
As they walked toward the exit, Mary said, "You remember the portrait of
the couple and the woman alone, nude? Do you know who they are?" He shook
his head. "They are Bill and Allison Clifford. You may have heard of
William H. Clifford? I believe his net worth is pushing $10 billion."
Casey's jaw dropped. She continued, "I think you passed over the portrait
of Dave and Judy Chapman. Incidentally, Judy is planning on posing nude
and giving the painting to Dave for Christmas. You have heard of the
Chapmans, I trust?"
Casey was in a state of shock. He said, "You're telling me that Jim
Vance did all of those portraits? You're also telling me that they include
portraits of some of the richest people in the United States. Is... Is he
making a living?"
"Do you remember the portrait of the two people you commented on
as having suffered so much?" Casey did. "They are Bill and Kathy
Cartwright. The painting you saw is one of a pair. The other is the same
pose with the two people nude. It hangs in their bedroom. I happen
to know Bill Cartwright has a personal net worth of about $500 million.
They paid $50,000 for the pair. I think it took Jim almost a month to do
Casey's jaw dropped. "Do you mean to say he can make $50,000 in only
"Sometimes he does better than that," Mary replied. She stopped and
turned to him and asked, "Have you changed your mind about Jim Vance?"
Casey just shook his head in bewilderment. He was utterly stunned. Mary
smiled and said, "In that case, will you please come for dinner this
evening? Cocktails at six?" She looked at him with her piercing eyes and
added, "Kerry and Jim will also be invited." Jack Casey was still in a
state of near-shock and could only nod his head. He went out to his
Promptly at six, Casey was announced by John Smith. When Mary greeted
him he appeared recovered but was still shaken. A few minutes later, Smith
announced Miss Casey and Mr. Vance. Jack rose to his feet as his entered the room. Suddenly, something snapped and he rushed to take her in
his arms. It had been almost four years since he had last seen her. As he
hugged her, Kerry could feel wetness from his tears on her cheek. He
whispered, "Kerry, I'm so sorry! God, I've been such a pigheaded fool.
Can you forgive me?"
Kerry pushed away and Jack saw she was crying but trying to smile at the
same time. "There's nothing to forgive, Daddy. You didn't think Jim could
make it and you were almost right."
They sat down and talked. As they talked, Jack Casey realized how truly
beautiful his was. And she was a lady. He remembered some of the
portraits which showed her very thin. In one, her ribs showed. She just
shrugged when he mentioned it and said, "Waitressing doesn't pay very
much... I had lost too much weight on top to be able to work topless...
and artists' materials are expensive, Dad."
Then Casey remembered something else. He said softly, "Kerry, I just
realized something. You never failed to remember my birthday, Fathers Day,
and Christmas." The tears began again and his voice cracked as he said,
"You and Jim had nothing yet you always sent me something. It was always a
very thoughtful gift, too. And I gave you nothing, ever!"
Jim Vance hadn't said anything. Finally he said, "Mr. Casey, I've
never had the opportunity to meet you before now. Now that we've met, I
would like your permission to marry your daughter, Kerry."
Jack looked at Jim and saw a very good looking man. In spite of
all he had done to the people, there was no apparent bitterness. He
got to his feet and went towards Jim who rose from his chair to meet him.
Jim didn't know what to expect. What he received was a surprise. Jack
took him in his arms and said, "I now know how much my loves you,
Jim, and I can see in your paintings how much you love her. I've been such
a blind fool! Jim Vance, there's no one I would rather have as a
son-in-law than you." The two shook hands, and Jim beamed with
Kerry jumped to her feet and kissed Jim passionately, saying, "Darling,
Then Jack Casey surprised everyone by saying, "Jim, could I commission a
series of paintings?"
Jim looked puzzled but said, "Of course, Dad!" He looked embarrassed and
said, "I hope you don't mind if I call you Dad?"
Casey beamed again and said he loved it. Then he said, "The paintings I
want are a series showing Kerry monthly through her first pregnancy. They
will be the definitive work showing love. I want her nude, of
course. I want to see her belly swelling with my grandchild. Will you
accept the commission?"
Kerry smiled and said, "Dad, we're getting on Saturday. Jim can
do the first painting next week. I have a feeling I'm very fertile and
I've been dreaming for years of carrying his children." Then she grinned
and said, "But Dad, you didn't ask how much Jim is going to charge."
Casey replied, "You're right. I didn't. I assume you'll send a bill,
and I'll send you a check."
After congratulations were exchanged all around and champagne was served
to celebrate, Kerry said she was very serious about getting on
Saturday. There would be only Jack, himself, and a handful of very close
friends. She said, "Dad, I'm asking Mary Jefferson to be my matron of
honor. She literally saved our lives, built Jim's career, and has now
arranged for the wedding to take place. I can't tell you what I think of
this woman. I owe her my life and our happiness."
Jack Casey studied his and liked what he saw. She was a real
lady. From the pictures he had seen it was apparent she was a wanting
virgin. Finally he asked, "Kerry, I was totally wrong about Jim Vance, and
you were completely right. You're an adult. Why didn't you just marry
him? I haven't given you ten cents in years, so it wasn't money. What was
"You're my father," she said simply. "You said I couldn't marry him, so
I didn't. Dad, thank you for giving your permission. Perhaps it's just as
well we waited," she added shyly. "I think my wanting is going to make me
love him even more. Although honestly, I don't think that's possible."
Jack swallowed hard and looked down at the table top. There was nothing he
Then Mary said, "Mr. Casey, I believe one of the Ten Commandments says
'Honor thy and thy mother.' That's what Kerry has been doing."
Jack just shook his head and his tears were now very visible. He said,
"How could I be so wrong about my only child? She's a far better person
than I deserve. It makes me feel so humble."
Later, at dinner Kerry said diffidently, "Dad, there's something else
you should know. We bank at Chicago Trust, not Northern National."
"It's a fine bank," Jack replied, "But why?"
"Because it's Mrs. Jefferson's bank. She arranged it. Also, the
owners of the bank are all clients of Jim's. They have been very good to
"Well, when you're introduced by the richest woman in Chicago, it's no
wonder they're good to you," he commented.
Mary Jefferson started to chuckle and slowly shake her head. "Kerry
didn't explain it quite right, Mr. Casey. I'm not Mary Jefferson at
Chicago Trust, I'm April's mother. Nothing is too good for April Jefferson
or her relatives and friends. I don't think most of the people there think
I have ten cents!"
Kerry grinned and said, "Dad, it's really true."
For the first time, Jack Casey paid attention to April who was sitting
at the end of the table. He had only met her for the first time that
evening and had been preoccupied with Kerry and Jim. Now he looked at her
and realized for the first time what a beautiful woman she was. He
asked, "I gather you work at Chicago Trust, Miss Jefferson. What do you
"Please call me April," she said with a warm smile. "I'm a lending
officer," she said with no further explanation.
"April, if you will excuse me for saying so, with a black female lending
officer, I'm surprised Chicago Trust isn't in the community lending
consortium with the rest of us." He grinned and said, "What's wrong? Can't
you come up with the million bucks?"
Susan entered the conversation. She said, "Mr. Casey, could we
consider this entire evening to be off the record and completely
confidential?" He instantly agreed and asked her to please call him Jack.
She continued: "First, that's the SHOVE consortium you're referring to,
isn't it?" He said it was. "Jack, do you know what they do with the money?
I don't know what they do with yours but I do know there is about $18
million in Federal taxpayers' money that's unaccounted for. Let's face it:
SHOVE is a get-rich scheme... a very successful one, in fact... for
Horace Washington. Frankly, it's a copout for you and the other banks.
The only bank that's really working with the little people is Chicago
Trust. I think their portfolio is above $50 million right now and rising
fast. That's what April does, Jack. She makes real loans in large numbers
to small people all around Chicago. That's why they all love her."
"'The twins who aren't,'" he murmured almost to himself. Then he looked
at April with new respect and said, "It's not a rumor? There really is
such a group... One of them is you! Who is the other?"
Just then John Smith came into the dining room carrying a struggling
Cindy Martin in his arms. She was pleading, "Put me down, you big ape!
I'm not a little kid!" He gently and effortlessly set her in a chair and
she kissed him softly on the cheek. He winked and kissed her back.
April was just shaking her head. As usual, Cindy was only wearing her
Levi's and work shirt. She greeted everyone very warmly and then noticed
Jack Casey. She blushed and sat up straight in her chair. She turned to
Mary and said, "Mrs. Jefferson, I want to apologize for my outrageous
behavior just now. I didn't realize you had company. I'm very sorry and
will leave at once to spare you any further embarrassment."
"You will stay in that chair, Cindy Martin!" Mary exclaimed with a gleam
of humor in her eye. "And quit showing off, too. You know my name is
Mary, and you know you're like another to me. This is Jack Casey,
Kerry's father. He has just given permission for Kerry and Jim to wed."
Cindy went around the table and shook hands with Jack who looked at her
closely. He murmured, "Of course!" Then speaking normally he said, "Cindy,
you're the other twin, aren't you?" Cindy looked apprehensive until Susan
reassured her that everything was completely off the record and in
confidence. Then she smiled and nodded. Jack's brow knitted and he mused,
"Martin? You aren't related to Don Martin, are you?"
"Slightly, Jack. He's my father," she replied with a grin.
At this point April entered the conversation again. "Jack, I think
you're about to make another big mistake," she said. "When Cindy Martin
was elected a senior vice president, she outranked her father. She has the
biggest personal lending authority in the bank and she's my boss and my
division head." She smiled warmly at Cindy and added, "And I love her like
a sister. Except, if she were my sister, we would fight more." Turning
back to Jack she said, "You saw what happened when Cindy came in? Or, more
accurately, was carried in by John Smith? Do you know why? I'm not
supposed to know, but I do. I guess it's okay for my to know, now,
Tears came to the corners of her eyes. She said, "John Smith's was very ill. She died a short time ago. When she was very ill, he called
Cindy at the bank. She's never there, of course, so he just left a
message. First, she returned the call as soon as she got it. Let's face
it, Jack, the name John Smith is pretty common. She called him without
knowing a thing about him. She met him and he told her about his mother.
He said he needed money for her medical bills and needed it fast. Do you
know what she did? She made a loan to him on the spot! She was a little
embarrassed, he told me later. She gave him her personal check for $5,000
and asked if he could pay her back when she got the official check from the
bank the next day."
She looked at him and said, "Do you know why he loves her? Because she
lent him money on a business basis. It was not charity! He knew damned
well would give him the money if he asked her. He didn't want her
to. He wanted to take care of his himself. Would you like to ask
him about Cindy Martin?"
Jack was fascinated and nodded. April called John in and said, "John, I
want your honest opinion of Cindy Martin. What do you think of her? Just
remember, she's a white and you're certainly a black man."
John Smith looked at her as if she had a screw loose. He spoke to her
in a way no one had ever heard him speak before: "April Jefferson, I want
you to apologize to Miss Martin this instant! I'm black. So what? Miss
Martin defines understanding, brains, and compassion. She knows what it
means when a wants to help his mother. Do you know what she did? _Do
His voice was raised and was booming around the room. He was a giant
who normally spoke very softly. "She took me in her arms and comforted me.
She said she would pray for my mother. Then she just asked me how much I
needed. No terms. No cosigners. No nothing! She knows me and knows my
drug record. April Jefferson, I know what she's done for you! How many
people would do for you what she did? I can think of three others... No!
four. There's her father, there's Mrs. Stewart, there's Mrs. Chapman,
and there's Mr. Burke. And they are all connected with that one bank." He
glared at April, and said, "I'm waiting to hear you apologize. Of all the
April rose from her chair, stood up on tiptoe and kissed his cheek. She
said, "I'm terribly sorry, John. But I wanted Mr. Casey to hear your
honest opinion of Cindy. You sure gave it to him. As far as I'm
concerned, John, like you, I worship the ground she walks on. I
apologize." He glared at her then slowly smiled and shook his head,
returning to the kitchen. Turning to Jack Casey she said, "Does that
answer your question?"
He shook his head and said, "It certainly does! But it creates a
problem for me. What I just learned is while the rest of us posture, you
two ladies are out there lending real money to real people." His eyes
became serious as he continued, "It is very interesting, too. Yesterday I
learned of a big move SHOVE is sponsoring to save the steel mill on the
lake. Do you know anything about it?"
"I heard about it," April said quietly. "It's the reason Cindy came
over tonight. We wanted to talk about it."
"If I swear not to do anything without your approval, may I sit in?"
They agreed. April reported on their preliminary investigation. She
and Kathy along with Kelly had looked over the mill. It was a total ruin.
It turned out that Kelly knew a great deal about steel and steelmaking.
Her reaction was to tear it down and start over. Then they walked around
to the north end of the giant facility. The blast furnaces and open
hearths were on the south end of the site. There they found some and
the biggest pile of steel scrap they had ever seen. It turned out there
were a number of and they had an idea.
"What's the idea?" Cindy asked. Casey was impressed by the
professionalism of the two women. Clearly, Chicago Trust didn't
believe in charity under the guise of lending. Moreover, the bank had no
interest in government loans or guarantees. As far as they were concerned,
a loan was good or it wasn't, regardless of who was taking the risk.
April looked at Cindy with her face blank. She said, "Boss, how big a
risk are you interested in taking? Could you see $500 million?"
Cindy let out a low whistle and her eyes widened for an instant. "I'm
listening," she replied quietly.
Swallowing hard, April said, "Boss, we want to finance the start up of
an electric furnace and mill. We will literally dynamite the whole front
end of the plant, replace the iron- and steel-making capacity with an
electric furnace running scrap and process it in the back-end mills.
They're still usable. The problem is the cost of steel at the rollers
right now is ridiculously high. Do you know the United States is in steel
balance? It is. Our scrap equals or exceeds the amount of new steel we
use. In other words, we don't need our basic capacity at all. We could
run the mill for at least five years with the scrap already sitting on the
"Who would run it?" Cindy asked. April had answers and they went into
the details of the financing. Finally Cindy shook her head and said, "The
problem is, April, it can't be all debt. We need $50 million in equity,
"Kathy and Bill will put it up if you'll go for it, Cin," April said
quietly. "They were thinking about seventy-five, though."
"I'll match whatever they put up, to $50 million," Mary said quietly
from the end of the table. "Cindy, it's your decision, lady. If you
say it can work, you can have my check right now."
Cindy leaned back in her chair and wiped her forehead with the back of
her hand. "Has everyone lost _his fucking mind?"_ she demanded. You're
telling me that our closest friends are willing to put up $100 million on
the opinion of a stupid 26-year-old slave who only learned what banking is
all about less than six months ago? Is everyone crazy?"
"Northern National will take a 40 percent participation with Chicago
Trust, if you would accept it. I'm prepared to go higher or lower. It's
your decision, Miss Martin. If Chicago Trust would like company, we will
go with you," Jack Casey said quietly.
Cindy was shaken. She said she would talk it over with Dan. She
reminded April that Dan had said he could spring loose to help out if she
ever needed any special credit analysis. "This sure fits that bill," she
The conversation changed direction and Cindy found herself sitting next
to Kerry. She found she was very fond of the lovely girl. While the talk
around the table continued, Kerry said softly, "Miss Martin, I need your
Cindy was startled. She didn't know the well, but knew a lot about
her. "Of, course, Kerry. If I can, I will," she replied. Then with a
glare she added, "And it's Cindy, or Cin, or Slave, or Dan's cunt, or...
but you get the idea? It's not Miss Martin!"
Kerry grinned and nodded. She said, "Cindy, Jim has a special
commission. He has been asked to do a portrait of you, April, and Kathy
together wearing your uniforms. Will you for us? In addition to
that, though, every time Jim sees you, he tells me he wants to paint you.
You're the loveliest and most interesting he has ever seen."
Cindy was thinking and finally said, "Kerry, would you consider some
sort of deal? I would love to give Dan Burke a portrait of me for
Christmas. But I couldn't pay Jim enough to buy a tube of paint. Could we
do something on the installment plan or something?"
Kerry shook her head sadly and asked, "Cindy, how much do you think I
paid Jim to do all those studies of me?" Cindy just slowly shook her head.
"You have heard of paying models, haven't you? It's done every day," she
said with a grin, "Or at least people say it is. Cindy, Jim wants to paint
you. I'll make a deal with you. He'll pay standard fees and throw
in a portrait for you. Agreed?" Her face fell and she almost whispered, "I
forgot. Jim wants to do you nude. Will you pose that way? The fee is one
hundred dollars an hour."
Cindy just grinned and stuck out her hand. "That's a great deal! I
forgot to tell you that I wanted my portrait to be nude, anyway."
Just then Mike Cassidy and Ron Jackson appeared looking elated. Kerry
grinned and whispered, "Cindy, watch what happens now! It's a riot!"
Susan jumped up and ran to Mike's arms. He put his arms around her and
kissed her soundly. Cindy could see the electricity flow between them and
could see Susan's knees buckle as her arms around Mike's neck supported her
weight. Gently she took her lips away from his and regained the strength
in her knees. Then she slapped him hard across the face. There was a
bright outline of her entire hand on his cheek. Meanwhile, Kerry had
her hand across her mouth to muffle her giggles.
Mike's eyes had widened at the slap. He rubbed his cheek and said,
"Honey, that's not fair! That's a lot harder than usual. Why did you hit
me so hard?"
"It's all your fault, Michael Cassidy. You know the rules. If you have
been very good, you get a kiss goodnight. This is not goodnight. At
least, I hope it isn't."
"But why so hard?" he persisted.
"For causing my knees to turn to water," she answered softly, "And for
making me all wet inside. It serves you right. We're not even engaged,
let alone married. That's the way you'll kiss me when we're married."
Cindy just shook her head. She found she was starting to love Kerry,
and Susan was a delight. The girl's relationship with Mike Cassidy was
Mike turned to Mary and said, "Mrs. Jefferson, do you think that was
fair? Or do you think Susan exceeded the rules?"
Mary's eyes were twinkling. She loved Susan like a and was
coming to love Mike, as well. In fact, Mary Jefferson was already taking
steps to adopt Susan as her daughter. Purely to cause trouble and to see
what he would do, she said, "Mike, I think it was unnecessarily harsh. She
should not have hit you so hard."
Mike nodded, gratified. Then he grabbed Susan around the waist, put her
over his knee, gave her one hard spank on her bottom and then let her go.
She stood up and tears were starting to flow down her cheeks as she slowly
rubbed her injured ass. Her eyes were very big as she said, "You me,
He took her in his arms and just held her. He whispered, "I'm sorry,
Susan. I never want to you. Was it that bad?" He had his arms around
her and was gently stroking her beautiful hair.
Susan just rested her cheek against his chest, then slowly pushed away.
He looked down and saw an impish grin on her face. He grinned back and
kissed her nose. She wiggled it and he kissed it again. She told him he
was forgiven and they went off to find April and Ron.
To be continued...
* * *
Comments and constructive criticism are sincerely welcome. Let me hear
from you. email@example.com
*Cynthia Martin* Copyright (c) 1991, 2001 by Morgan.
All rights reserved. No part may be reproduced or transmitted in any
form or by any electronic means, including photocopying, or by
any information and retrieval system, without the written permission of the