The Engagement

It had once been a storage room but now was empty and strangely well kept. As if someone came up every week to sweep and dust. She noticed such things. The ceiling was twice as high as downstairs in the bar and windows made up almost the whole wall opposite the door. Would have been impressive had they not looked directly across the alley to the blank brick wall of a building that reached three stories above. The late afternoon sun bounced off the brick and tumbled to the alley below. The only furnishings were a chair and a desk-really a long table with a drawer-against one wall and an old leather sofa under the windows.

Her bag and clothes were arranged neatly across the end of the sofa in the order she had taken them off, red panties on top, her short, scuffed boots parked neatly in front. He had discretely turned his back and stared at the door while she undressed. But he listened. He heard it all-the clump of the boots coming off first. The zipper, then the rustle of her jeans. There was no real sound as she pulled the black t-shirt over her head, but he heard it. He would have heard butterfly wings at that point. He heard her move-her muscles twinge and stretch as she bent and arranged, then finally the padding of her bare feet as she took position in the middle of the room.

“You can turn around now”, she said.

When he did his eyes were pulled first to the blonde page-boy wig. It was atrocious but served to round a face that would have been severe in someone larger. She was not tall; would easily fit under his chin with a thick book to spare. Slim without being skinny, lines of muscle and cords of tendons traced along her shoulders and down her arms. Her breasts were firm demitasse cups riding high above the soft ridges of ribs that tapered to a flat belly. The tiny manicured dark patch could easily be overlooked. But he didn’t.

“We never set a time limit did we?” she asked.

“No…no…whenever’s comfortable I guess. Are you thinking you’re done already?”

“No, no…it’s fine.”

She didn’t look at him, rather let her eyes float over his shoulders to the room, the walls. They could use a coat of paint she thought. Something natural-like sand-to offset the brick outside.

“Thank you for this. For doing this,” he said.

“You’re welcome. But the hundred bucks was a fine incentive.”

“There are probably easier ways to make a hundred dollars.”

Her first smile of the afternoon split her face like a razor.

“Not really.”

He went silent again and she could feel his eyes, a damp breeze over her thighs and feathering her middle.

“Do you like my wig?”

“No.”

“No?”

“Not at all.”

She pulled a sad face and stroked the faux hair over her ear.

“It was very expensive”, she said.

“Then you got robbed. Plus I love your hair-the color.”

“Really?” she said, pleased. “Not too mousy?”

“You kidding?”

Hmmm, she thought. “Wait a minute”, she said. “Time out.”

She looked at him then. “Turn around. Don’t look.”

He turned his back and she slipped back to the couch. A quick flip and the wig flopped atop the pile of clothes. Shaking her head, she pulled a small hairbrush out of her bag. Squinting to see herself in the window she worked her matted hair as best she could to give it a little life.  There was a part, and it lay over her right ear and caressed the top of her neck. She padded back to her place in the middle of the room.

“You can look now.”

He turned and smiled. “Ah, that’s nice. Thank you.”

“Stop thanking me. It’s fine.”

He moved close and looked down where the hair was thickest. “There is a touch of auburn”, she said then let his gaze leak down over her shoulder to her nipple. Suddenly startled by her proximity he moved a step backward then slipped to his right, out of her sight line. She stayed still, letting air in through her mouth and out through her nose. That’s all she remembered from an old mediation lesson. His shoes must have been new because they squeaked as he shifted his weight behind her.

“Can I touch?”, he asked weakly-afraid of the answer.

“That wasn’t the deal.”

“Of course. I know. I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay”, she said quietly but firmly. She cocked her head only a little to the side. “What do you want to touch?”

He was behind her and she well knew what he wanted to touch.

“Your bottom.”

Of course. She grew up hating her bottom-she imagined it to be a boy’s backside: flat with none of the curves that her friends had. As she got older it filled out a bit, but still didn’t curve enough. The gym had made it firm and muscles gave it some shape, but she thought it rode up her back. He liked it though.

“OK”, she said. “But only the cheeks. Nothing funny.”

“No, of course not.”

As soon as his palm touched her, she pushed slightly backward trying to create a curve, or some kind of contour anyway. And she softened as best she could. He was thorough, palming the right cheek, sliding down to the thigh then across to the other side. She felt his hand lift away then touch her again, palming her fully. Then again.

“I know what you’re doing”, she said.

“Mmm?”

“You’re spanking me, aren’t you? That’s what you’re imagining. Isn’t it?”

“Maybe you’ve been bad…”

She bent imperceptibly and arched her back giving him a truer target for his pantomime.

“Bend me over and spank my ass. That’s what you really want to do, isn’t it?”

“I…” His mind, having been somewhere else, struggled to answer.  His hand cupped her bottom and squeezed gently in lieu of words. She was still offering out.

“I mean, more than fuck me, right? You’d rather spank me than fuck me…”

He didn’t answer as his palm grazed across her backside.

“Well you can’t.”

He drew away, at the first negative she’d uttered.

“No…” he said.

“At least not now… What time is it?”

He coughed lightly and looked at his watch. Told her.

“My shift starts in twenty minutes. I gotta get down there.”

“Oh, sure. I know. That’s time then.”

“Yeah, time.”

“OK”, he said while haltingly heading for the door. “Again, thank you…”

“Wait. Don’t run off.”

He paused and turned, surprised and at a loss. She beckoned to the couch as he watched her move to her clothes.

“Sit….”

He did, not expecting to watch her dress. He crossed a leg.

She stepped delicately into her panties. “Why’d you stop asking me out?”

“You kept saying no.”

“You weren’t very persistent.”

“I asked a thousand times.”

She pulled her panties up and slipped her arms through a red silk undershirt-all the bra she needed.

“You give up too easy.”

Her jeans went on smoothly and he lost himself in the workings of her fingers zipping, snapping and buckling. The t-shirt followed and hung loose. She held the wig and glanced at him.

“No. If you’re asking.”

She left the wig on the couch and picked up her bag. “Are you coming down for a drink?”

“Absolutely.”

She smiled, opened the door and slipped through.

“See you down there”, she said over her shoulder.

He sat stiffly listening to the clippity-clop of her boots fading down the stairs.

© TDR-2019

Breaking the Old Ennui…

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“What?” she said looking up from her book.

“Nothing.”

“Why’d you turn it off?”

He didn’t answer right away and she didn’t ask again. Finally, without turning his head, “Tired of it. Wasn’t watching anything-just staring.”

She pulled one ear bud. The new white-noise app she’d downloaded made it possible to sit and read in the same room where he watched television. Evenings passed this way for most of the last few weeks-each in their own bubble, doing their own things.

“But now you’re just staring at nothing. That’s weird.”

“I’m thinking.”

“That can’t be good.” Her phone pinged a text and she glanced at it. “Don’t get too deep. Theresa’s stopping by.”

“What? Now?”

“Apparently.”

“Why?”

“Don’t be mean.”

“How can she drive with that sling?”

“She maybe can’t. But she says she’s been cooped up for weeks and it’s time.”

“Great”, he said meaning the opposite.

“Come on. She hasn’t been here in months and you only visited her the one time when I made you.”

“Okay. Not that I have any choice. I’m back and forth on Theresa and right now I’m not feeling it.”

“You’re still pissed that she wouldn’t kiss you at the bonfire last month. Christ, get over it!”

“There’s a difference between ‘not kissing’ and pushing you away with two hands!”

“Not everyone is turned on by a mouthful of bourbon and cigars.”

There was a knock at the door.

“Already?!”

“Shhh!” Karen shushed him. “She was just down the street when she texted…”

“Christ” he grumbled convinced that this interruption would kill any chance of any sort of sex tonight though they hadn’t needed people coming by unannounced to kill their amore lately.

“Be nice!” she ordered as she strode out of the room. He couldn’t help watching Karen’s lithe butt swing in her jeans in perfect complement to the blond ponytail. He felt something no doubt, always did watching her move but lately it faded quickly-a guttering match in a breeze.

He cringed at the ecstatic greetings he heard from the kitchen. The high-pitched “Hi Girlfriend…Look at you! No look at you…!!” He sighed and turned the TV back on.

Theresa was shorter than Karen, and rounder. Not fat by any means but not hiding the couple pounds a year she had put on in the last six or seven. Her hair was cut short to simplify styling during her rehab from rotator cuff surgery. She wore a sling attached to a block across her chest that kept her left arm immobilized across her chest. It was the same surgery Karen had two years previous, further cementing their goofy sisterhood.

Karen led her to the couch, passing behind Tim’s recliner. “Hi Timmy”, she said tousling his hair. “Happy to see me?”

“Always happy to see you love”, he said with an overwide fake smile.

Karen sat her at one end of the couch and she flopped down at the other end. “So you’re getting around now?”

“I still shouldn’t be driving but I was going stir crazy.”

“Getting better?”

“Every day! This is the first day I actually put on a bra. A real one-not a stretchy one I could step into.”

“You should have called Tim. He would have helped you-isn’t that right honey? He was a sweetheart when I got mine done.”

“Whatever I can do to help…” he smiled a less affected smile.

“Honey”, Theresa said, “With your titties you don’t even need a bra. These girls”, she shrugged and her breasts, round as ripe grapefruits, nodded in affirmation “They need all the support I can give them.”

“All the better to call him. Maybe he needs more than a mouthful now and again.” She ducked but caught the pillow he threw. Then they settled into comfortable small talk that friends of a decade can have. Tim was able to stay in and out of their conversation as called for. He was content watching a Bar Rescue rerun with the sound off.

“…Plus I think I’m sick”, he heard her say.

“How nice of you to come over and infect us”, said Tim without looking.

“I don’t know”, Theresa said. “Maybe it’s nothing.” She leaned toward Karen. “Do I feel warm?”

Karen reached over and put her palm on her forehead. Then the back of her hand on her cheek.

“I don’t think so. Tim?”

“I’m no good at that-my hands are always cold.”

“Really”, said Theresa. “Do you have a thermometer?”

Karen froze when she should have just said “No”. Tim, his eyes still on the set said, “We only have a rectal.”

“A…what? Really?”

She cut her eyes to one, then the other. Karen was engrossed in the grain of the coffee table and suddenly the morons going broke owning a Tiki Bar were fascinating beyond words.

“You guys”, said Theresa smiling and shaking her head. They’d been friends too long for her not to know a little about how they played. Or played when they were playing which they currently were not.

“Couldn’t you just wash it real good?” asked Theresa

“How good?” asked Tim.  “Sure, I’ll do that…be my guest.”

“Yuck”, said Karen her face wrinkled. “You can’t do that.”

Theresa smiled. “I’ll swing by Walgreen’s on the way home. You guys…” she repeated and shook her head.

“Well, we offered”, Karen said.

“Yes, you did. And I appreciate the gesture. I just can’t lay on my belly with this…”

“You could lay on your side…” Karen said lightly without looking at her.

Theresa did something that sounded like a snort-almost a laugh-then sat back. Tim flipped through the channels and found a rerun of American Pickers that he stayed with for a moment hoping to see Danielle. Nobody spoke and when he stole a glance at Karen, she was looking at him, a tiny glint in her eyes. He looked toward the other end of the couch and let his eyes settle on Theresa. “So?” he asked.

“Sad truth, it would be the first time anyone’s touched my ass in months.”

Tim caught his wife’s quick grin and he felt a buzz in his crotch.

There had always been something going on with the three of them; a stolen kiss here, a drunken feel there, never secretive and never pushed beyond the realm of friendly naughtiness. This felt different. They were all sober for one. Theresa had been miserably unattached for months, and Tim & Karen had become, for the first time in the marriage, sexually unmoored. Neither had made a thing of it when Tim began sleeping, with increasing regularity, in the spare room. There were reasons: he snored, she was a light sleeper, he wandered about at night…all valid but only true on the face. The fact was they were spending more nights apart than together. Theresa was cutting her eyes from one to the other.

“What do you think, Nurse Karen?” Tim asked. This was going to be her call and how the balance of the evening would be spent hung on her answer. His wife waited then lay the back of her hand against her friend’s cheek again. “Hard to tell” she said playing at trying to figure something out. “But you do look flushed. We should check it out.”

“Alrighty then”, said Tim, then fumbled about, deferring again.

Karen stood and took Theresa’s hand. “Let’s go back to the bedroom. More comfortable for you to lay on the bed than the couch.”

(Continuing…)

Beth

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(Continued from Maddie – 4)

They were downstairs in the library. He was leaning against the desk and Duke was moving-not exactly pacing but almost a box step-in front of the fireplace. Before both of them, on a couch that faced away from the door, Beth Barton lay face down, twisting her neck to see them.

“Jesus, Duke”, she said, trying to follow his wanderings, “Would you settle where I can see you?”

“Sure…Sorry”, he said and moved more completely into her field of vision.

“Thank you”, she said feigning exasperation.

Beth was naked from the waist down with two ice bags on her swollen bottom. There were swaths of angry purple showing where the ice didn’t cover. She was up on her elbows.

“You’re sure they weren’t military?” Duke said pulling on his lip.

“Military?” she asked.

“Well…ex”, he replied.

“I don’t think so,” Beth said. “They were too loose…didn’t have a real plan. Didn’t know what they were after…What do you think?” she asked turning her head.

“No”, he answered still leaning laconically against the desk. Beth thought it an affectation-trying overly hard to look cool and nonchalant.  “The one on the road was a mook”, he said.  “A nothing. But they knew they were after something…”

“He-the one with the paddle-kept talking about money…” Beth said.

“Never mentioned gold…” Duke chipped in.

“No”, he agreed. “If they knew gold, they’d have said gold.”

“What about Best?”, Duke asked. “You think he had anything to do with it?”

“Naw”, he answered after giving it a short ponder. “He’s semi-retired. Happy with his life on the lake…”

“What about Angela?”

“Angela? Christ no. What would be her motivation? If I had half of her money I’d throw mine away.”

“Still, we could reach out to see if they know anything. Send one of your operatives…” He said it with a smile and he laughed along.

“Operatives. That’s funny.”

“What about your girl?” Beth asked. “She’s gotta be military.”

“I honestly don’t know…but it seems right.”

“Helluva shot”, said Duke.

“Not just the shots”, he answered thoughtfully pulling at his lip. “She has the moves…the carriage…smooth as silk.”

“Not just another pretty face”, said Beth.

“No, I guess not.”

Out in the hall Chelsea walked lightly trying doors looking for the library. Damn house was bigger than it looked. She heard low voices inside and knocked lightly.

“Come in”, called Beth’s voice.

She opened the door tentatively and poked her head in face to face with the men.  Beth’s disembodied voice came from the couch. “Is this my hero….?”

She slipped through the door and closed it quietly behind her.

“Come around so I can see you.”

Chelsea stopped short when she stepped around the couch. “Come on, come on…nothing you haven’t seen before”, hailed Beth holding a hand out. Chelsea took it and squeezed. She had a difficult time keeping her eyes on her eyes. Beth was older than she was, certainly but exceedingly and determinedly well kept. There’s no denying the calendar and genetics, she’d spread a bit back there, but Chelsea wanted a closer look. Wouldn’t take one-but wanted one. Maybe Beth read her mind.

“Boys”, Beth said. “Go and enjoy the party. Make sure everyone who’s still here is having a good time. Let me get acquainted with my savior, here.”

Chelsea didn’t notice any firmness in her tone; nothing that would indicate that she was giving them an order. But they agreed that they needed drinks and he, with a wink and Duke, with a quick squeeze to her bicep, slipped out the door beyond Beth’s field of vision. She waited a moment after the door clicked shut.

“Are they gone?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

“Good. Do a girl a favor, would you? Get this ice off me. Duke is sweet and wants to help but giving my ass frostbite might not be the best idea. I’m fucking freezing!”

Chelsea lifted the ice bags leaving her bruised cheeks puckered, goose-pimpled and wet.

“There’s a sink behind the bar”, Beth told her. “And a clean towel.”

Chelsea dropped the bags in a sink and brought the towel. Beth, head laying on crossed arms, was pointedly not moving. “Do you mind?” she asked. And when she felt the slightest hesitation, “I’m going out on a limb and assuming mine wouldn’t be the first woman’s ass you’ve touched, right?”

Chelsea allowed half her face to grin unseen.

“Maye not even the first one tonight…” That got a bigger smile that Beth couldn’t see. “That’s OK…” she went on. “Hoping everyone has fun.”

Chelsea dabbed slowly, careful not to rub or in any way abuse or aggravate the bruises. Once dried, she brazenly allowed herself a pat, then a touch of the cool tight flesh. “How’s that feel?” she asked.

“Numb”, Beth answered. “You could probably bite a mouthful off and I wouldn’t notice. Not that I’m inviting…just saying.”

“Looks sore.”

“It will be. Here,” she reached back. “Help me up…” Chelsea pulled her arm and helped her up onto her hip, then to a sitting position. She wriggled slightly. “Oh, yeah…I can feel that.”

Beth’s short hair was died jet black but she allowed her neatly trimmed southern foliage to color itself a more appropriate salt and pepper. Her thighs were thick and firm up top and slimmed at the knees. Chelsea couldn’t help thinking that she could be comfortable across that lap. She grinned slightly, amazed at her state of arousal given the session she had just finished upstairs.

“What?” Beth asked, seeing her lips flutter.

“Nothing…Dumb.”

Her heart jumped, as if her unbidden fantasy was about to come true when Beth patted the cushion beside her. “Sit”, she said.

Chelsea did, careful to leave at least a sliver of space between them. Beth took her hand and closely inspected it-the back then the palm. Chelsea watched along with her as if about to discover something about her own hand she never knew.

Then she sat eye to eye as Beth looked over her face surely counting every dim freckle and that hideous bump on her nose. The examination wasn’t uncomfortable though-it felt natural, even intimate.

“What’s that scent you’re wearing?” Beth asked.

“I’m not…wearing any…”

The older woman leaned closer to her neck. “So, it must have rubbed off of someone.”

This time Beth was treated to a full, twisted smile and hint of a blush.

(To be continued…)

The Visit – 8

(Continued from The Visit – 7)

Her mouth fell open as she slid down onto Jake’s stem, pinioning herself, working her pelvis to accept him in full. She thought that of her growing stable of suitors: William, Jimmy Ripple, even Mr. Parsons who was such a bigger man, nobody filled her wall-to-wall, end to end as completely as this.  Maybe it was because they were typically on top-in front or behind-setting the pace; working to meet their needs instead of hers. This was different. Very different.

She rose and fell, rose and fell, her thighs clenching and her knees clicking with each soft thrust. Her easily flowing juices ensured there would be no chafing as she caught a rhythm. His hands were busy, in love with the feel of her hips-and his arms could reach around to her bottom and did. “Spank me.” She whispered feeling his hands back there. “Slap my ass…” She fell forward hoping to create a better target.

He did as instructed, but they were light, glancing blows. His carnal abilities and reflexes were unrefined, and he found concentrating on one thing at a time more reasonable. Squeezing her butt cheeks while she rode him was more in his limited wheel house. As her speed increased she got lower, covering him, hands on both sides of his head. Up close her eyes were bright-less reflective of the dim nimbus around the streetlight outside and more luminous-generating a fire of their own.

“You have to kiss me now”, he said tightly, feeling himself building. “You have to.”

Easily forgetting her earlier proviso, she dropped her mouth onto his and slipped her tongue roughly inside. He swallowed it whole and sealed his lips against hers clumsily banging teeth. She tasted of gin, sand and spearmint gum with just a touch of sourness that flashed once then was gone-easily forgotten. She began to gasp into his mouth, the ratcheting of her hips bringing her off faster than she had expected. She broke and arched her back and ground him hard.

He wouldn’t last much longer and dug his fingers into her thighs. “My ass…” she gasped. “Grab my ass…!” She was up again, then down, on all fours then spread. Her ass was two wooden globes that he squeezed at but couldn’t open. She wished his arms were longer-or better, that there was someone else in the room-someone behind fucking her in the rear…then another- a third in her mouth. As she was carried pounding away she wanted all her holes filled at once…she…wanted…wanted…!

She came with a growl; her body tightening in a long spasm, her flat chest heaving and her legs squeezing as he hissed then barked, finally painting her insides with the thrusting heat of the first orgasm he had shared with anyone. Together they were frozen stiff and twitching until she began collapsing in stages, like a blasted building. First onto her hands, then her elbows, finally onto him entirely, every inch of her fused to him, slippery with sweat and not heavy at all. The intimacy of the two bodies, rising as one with every breath he took kept him from entirely softening.

“That wasn’t so bad was it?” he asked.

“I’m going to hell”, she muffled, her head in his neck.

“Then take me with you….”

He could fall asleep easily like this-wearing his Mom’s baby sister as a cover.

 

The Visit – 7

“No. In here.” She tapped her temple.

(Continued from The Visit – 6)

She rolled onto her hip, prodded by his insistent burrowing in the furrow of her backside. He slid his palm under, squeezing her lightly, a fantasy of years becoming a fleshy reality. When she next looked down on him the regret on her face was fading, subsumed by a hunger, a lust that had been kept at bay if just barely. His touching, his desire for her this way, had opened the door a crack and that’s all it needed.

She pulled back the bedclothes and slid his boxers down quickly, eliciting a hiss as they passed over this hard cock. She looked away from it for a moment, the last pang of propriety melting like cotton candy on the tongue. His hand, not satisfied with the bum cheek, wandered and grasped, digging deeper, a finger finding her tight anus.

“What are you doing with that, you brat?” she grinned, wriggling her bottom against his probing for a moment allowing him a hint of the dry entry, that she enjoyed so much, before pulling away and sliding down his body.

He groaned loudly as she bent and covered his dick with her open mouth, thin lips slipping from top to bottom. Since lubrication, not titillation, was her aim, she didn’t tarry long nor bring the whole of her talents in the mouthy arts to bear; simply a wet swipe down then up leaving him glistening. If he was disappointed when she disengaged it didn’t last as she clambered up his body and rose before him squatting, then kneeling, balancing above his pulsing member.

(Continuing…)

The Visit – 6

“You’re goofy”, he said breaking and laying back.

(Continued from The Visit – 5)

He slid his hand down her back wanting to cup her bottom but she was firmly planted, again caught in a wave of thinking and rethinking. His hand explored along the small of her back and as much of her butt as he could get, searching for ingress of any kind. He slid his finger into the top of her crease and wriggled it pushing in.  Again, he remembered that pull from years ago sitting next to her as she read ”Where The Wild Things Are” to him. He thought he remembered his head on her lap and put it there again.

This time there were no madras shorts between his cheek and her thigh and when he turned his head toward her, he caught a scent that was new to him but unmistakable. Like that French guy who ate the cookie and remembered his life; Jake knew that every time he caught this scent in the coming years, it would bring him to this bed, to his bed, in his parent’s house on this Friday night.

“You have to do something for me”, she said patting his head gently.

“Yes”, he said knowing he would have agreed to anything.

“When we’re done, you have to whip me. You have to beat me bloody. This is bad and I have to be punished for it.”

“I’m doing it too.”

“No. I’m the one doing it. It’s my fault, not yours. If you tell anyone I’ll be the one in trouble. You get that right? This is me doing this to you.” Feeling her words running away from her, she stopped then said, “I wish I wasn’t in here.”

“In my room?”

“No. In here.” She tapped her temple.

(Continuing…)

Maria

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(Continued from The Halloween Party)

Maria Monello checked the large clock whirring over the counter. And that’s what it felt like it was doing: whirring, not ticking, skipping seconds altogether to gobble minutes. She had closed the shop at noon to devote totally to the Barton party preparations knowing exactly how long everything would take. The candy apples, cool and shiny on the sideboard were done and should have been delivered by now. By rights, she should have kept Shea around for the afternoon to at least deliver. But she had other plans so here she was, late and alone.

The petite fours, all 200 of the little bastards, were in process. Nothing but the final icing then the pumpkin, or skull, or bat flourish on top. Another thirty, forty minutes at least. With a puff of her bottom lip and the back of her hand she blew her bangs back off her forehead, then stood softly trying to regulate her breathing. Her heart was not so much beating as flipping as she looked at her flour-dusted phone on the table. She had to make the call. She knew she had to make the call. Her hand almost shook as she reached for the phone then pulled back.

It was like being at the top of Wildcat back when she was a skier. That slope was at the very, very, veriest edge of her capabilities. Every time she stood at the top, tips over the edge, she felt this same way. Wanting to, not wanting to, afraid to, needing to. Once she pushed off, handed control over to the mountain, she was in control by only the thinnest razor’s edge. An exhilarating and terrifying feeling all at once.

She picked up the phone and moved back toward the office where the reception was better, stopping to stand in front of the mirror wall. She caught her own eye and smiled ruefully, “You’re a simple bitch”, she whispered to herself, then slowly, turned to look at her backside over her shoulder. It would be black slacks and tuxedo shirt later but now it was jeans and a t-shirt. Yes, the jeans-worn and torn like the kids wore them-were tight. They got tighter every year, but she still could rock them, even if she said so herself. And the way the seam ran up her middle every time she moved? That was nothing she could take out in public.

She caught her eye again; it was good that she wasn’t a poker player. They had softened allowing the vulnerability that she tried to constantly cover to leak out.  Her knees almost dipped as her free hand slid over her backside. The buzzing that she’d felt distantly and intermittently in her crotch for a week now, was louder, undeniable and pert near deafening.  She watched herself press the call button and lift the phone to her ear.

Things were coming together at the Barton’s. There were at least a dozen people there already and Beth could hear another car as she spoke on the phone to the pastry chef. “This is unacceptable, Maria”, she said sternly into the phone. “You should have been here by now…”

Duke sauntered in to listen to the one side of the conversation. Beth held up a finger. “Mr. Barton will be there within the half hour and…yes. Un-Huh. Well, they had better be ready. Yes, we will work this out.”

She disconnected with a sigh. “OK, Maria is ready. Late as usual. You have to go pick up the candy apples.”

Duke sighed in turn. “She knows I’d be happy to paddle her ass without needing an excuse right? She knows this.”

“It’s her process. She’s late with the pastries, you have to pick them up, she comes later with the second batch, apologizes, begs you not to punish her in front of everyone then….”

“She’s a sweetie. I’ll go now…”

“Yes, but don’t diddle too long…”

“Don’t you mean dawdle?”

She looked at him with raised eyebrow.

“Right, right….”, he said heading for the door.

“Duke”, she stopped him looking out the window onto the patio, “That couple over by the fire.” She nodded at two men huddled off to the side in animated, if muted, conversation. One was slight and wispy with thin blonde hair. The other pretty much the same but a head taller and thicker.

“Yeah, don’t know them. They came in on Buzzy’s invitation.”

“Is Buzzy here?”

“Not yet-they said he’d be here later. Nine or so…”

At that moment Buzzy Wagner was trussed up with zip ties and a ball gag in the trunk of his Audi deep in the bowels of his condo’s parking garage. He had regained consciousness and seemed fine. But he was a bad bet for nine o’clock.

(Continued…)