Handsome James

The Other Side of the Lake

The other side of the lake…

(Continued from Lucky James-Mrs. Fortescue)

“Here we are” said Fat Red pulling up in front of Finnegan’s Wake, a place so far off the beaten track across the lake that it had no know reputation back in town. Red craned his neck out the passenger side window to give the place the once over. “So”, he nodded appreciatively, “What brings you all the way out here to Bumfuck?”

Getting out the back door James handed the fare over. “I heard they do some interesting things with gin”, he said. “The botanicals, y’know?”

“Bout the only interesting thing they can do with gin in my book is pour it in me glass”, Red laughed. James waved him a quick smile and Red yelled at his back driving away. “I’m off the rest of the night-so just ring me up when you’re ready.”

He pushed the open door and was instantly covered and drawn in by the comfortable, boozy, smoky blanket that he knew and loved so well. As his eyes adjusted to the dim he returned a couple of nods and winks. An older fellow sporting threadbare tweed discretely raised a glass to him.

There weren’t many places around the lake-in the county for that matter-that James could go into and not be recognized at least by some. A cynical man-and James was far from that-might say that these folks made a lot of money off of James in the day. Which would probably be a bit of an overstatement. Many made some, but those who made a lot were long gone. But to these blokes, a little was a lot. So what the hell.

It was not all bad being recognized over here at The Wake because the townies that saw him were hiding out just like him. Some from wives, some from girlfriends, mothers, fathers, bosses. It was easier to drink when you knew-at least the odds were long-that someone that might be looking for you, would walk through the door.

He moved to an empty seat at the bar next to a large man who pretty much gave him his back as he spat words at a woman to his right who couldn’t have looked more bored had she been in a contest. “JC”, said the barkeep pouring three fingers of clear into a short glass with a single small ice cube-the way James liked it. He squeezed a lime wedge into it-didn’t drop it in-then backed discretely away so as not to interfere with a man and his gin.

James closed his eyes and allowed the first sip to sit on his tongue exuding a welcome warmth before letting it slide down his throat. One thing that Caitlin’s partial personal Prohibition had done was to make every drink an artwork to be savored. Very seldom in his latest posting at the Manse had he slammed one drink as the quickest way to get to the next as was his typical drinking style.

Even so, when he finished the first, he needed do nothing more than slide the empty glass a scant inch away from himself and Blind Tommy was there to refill it. (And no, Tommy had perfect vision and two beautiful hazel eyes-so don’t ask. It’ll make you seem a tourist).

It wasn’t until he was halfway through his second drink that a few seldom used doors of perception opened and James noticed the formidable pile of cash in front of the hulk next to him. The money didn’t interest him-although it had to be what kept the woman on the other side absorbed in his braying prattle. No, what James noticed was the envelope at the bottom of the stack. It was a small yellow envelope seemingly identical to the ones that Caitlin used to transfer cash. Maybe identical-all Goosington stationary had a stylized goose head printed on the face. Problem was that the scattered bills covered most of the envelope and he couldn’t see to be sure.

It wasn’t long before Blind Tommy refilled his glass a third time and after the first draught, James reached over as if the pile were his and pulled the envelope out from under. Sure enough, there was the line drawing of the goose seemingly winking at him. And it was still heavy-stuffed with bills that weren’t scattered on the bar. James had known from the first that this was no doubt one of the men contracted-and paid up front-to do the work on the dock that had never been done. Why the idjit was still walking around with the money in a Goosington envelope was anyone’s guess.

He wondered if Mrs. Fortescue met with this hulk? But the thought of Jane brought him straight to the memory of her kicking over Caitlin’s lap absorbing swats from her paddle. The reddening cheeks appeared in his mind’s eye, then the whiff of sweet vanilla….he slid happily to another place. He wasn’t gone long though-and experienced no more than a tickle down below-when the large man turned in his stool to face him.

“Excuse me little man. D’ye mind?” Said the large one, reaching to pluck the envelope from his fingers. The general hub-bub of the room settled to a hub. Or bub. Pretty James Cook had just been called “little man”. James heard whispers in the deadened din; “Little!” “He called him little man!”

He wasn’t little actually. He was average size, maybe even a tad tall for his weight which made him look slender. He had fought as a middleweight but even being little over his fighting weight he was still giving away close to a hundred pounds to the looming shadow beside him. If he had looked closely, the ape might have noticed that the only imperfection on Pretty James’ face was a slight bump and almost imperceptible offset to the bridge of his nose.

That was the lone remaining souvenir of his victory over Short Gene Poach for the county middleweight championship years before. He was a decided underdog in that fight and bets on Pretty James-or Handsome James (the name he fought under) paid handsomely.

The man, sitting still taller than James, blinked his watery eyes, surprised that the envelope wasn’t in his hand by now. Still held by this little peckerhead with a….was that a smile on his face? Is this little pud laughing at me? He raised off his stool and loomed over James casting a wide shadow.

As typical in these situations, everything slowed for James. A gentle hum closed over him and his breath settled to an almost imperceptible in and out. Heartbeat wasn’t a thump-just a little bubble. If he knew what blood pressure was he would be pleased to know his settled in to a child’s level. A child sitting in a field of daisies. Playing with a puppy. Then it came.

“Then”, as Brown Duffy, the oldster in the tweed would tell the story later, “This big Ginger-the size of a house-lays his hand on Handsome James Cooke-and that rung the bell.” James felt the ham sized hand grab hard at his shoulder trying to pull him to face his fate. The big man’s intention was to petrify the little man with the strength of his grip, then turn him to face him. Then smash him-which he was sure would impress the swish at the bar. She was a hard one but he’d have her, he was sure. Everyone nearby snatched up their drinks and leaned away when the hulking stranger laid is paw on the former county middleweight champ.

The punch James threw would have been a straight right cross had he been standing but since he was still on his stool only on the way to rising, it came as sort of an uppercut. No matter though. He hit him square in the mouth and the big donkey went down as if gravity was a new discovery that he couldn’t wait to try out.

It was quiet enough in The Wake to hear the chit-chit clatter of bone across the hardwood like a tiny roll of dice. “Em’s my teef!” the big guy sputtered, stunned into childhood, sitting on his arse on the floor. James heard the scattered laughter muffled around the bar. Choked chortles and gleeful whispered repeats of “Em’s my teef!” James stood and waited but his once and never-again assailant sat seemingly confused at the proceedings. A blood pink spit bubble covered his mouth for an instant before popping.

James gathered the stack of cash off the bar leaving enough to cover a round of drinks and a good tip. He even slipped a bill to the woman who now saw her perceived payday disappearing. What the hell-she had earned it. “This” he said holding up the cash and the envelope “belongs to Caitlin Milan, of Goosington Manor”. Off is the dark recesses of the bar a choked laugh “Goosington!” set off a round of honking. “Anyway, I’m returning it to her”, he declared slipping it into his back pocket.

“Whatever you say, JC”, Blind Tommy nodded.

As he was walking out the door Brown Duffy called his name. James turned. “’Em’s my teef!” Duffy imitated while all around him stifled giggles. James smiled tightly but winced as he stepped out the door. He hoped this wouldn’t be a new nickname for him. Truth is, he was partial to Pretty James Cooke, but didn’t think he would cotton much to Pretty Teef Cooke.

(To be continued….)

Naughty James – The Fence Post

Pretty much immediately follows Lucky James-Mrs. Fortescue

He knocked gently at her door, not really sure what he was doing. He had a fairly decent idea-an overall plan-just not sure of the details. Almost immediately Jane Fortescue opened the door a crack. He could see nothing but her clear eyes and flushed cheeks below a shock of bangs loosely fallen.

He didn’t know if he expected to see a distraught tear stained face or what. She was a toughie, he guessed and maybe took a step back-if not literally at least in his head.

“James?” she asked-expecting an answer. Funny. A moment ago he thought he might control this meeting.

“Oh…I”, he stammered having expected a warmer greeting. “I was just checking to see if you were alright.”

She opened the door just wide enough for him to enter and he stepped just inside. She didn’t close it.

“If I’m alright? What? You think a spanking by the Lady of the Manse might put me in hospital?”

“It looked like it hurt”, he said trying to recover.

“Hurt? Of course it hurt you dunce!” She smiled crookedly. “Still does you want the truth. In an itchy burning sort of way. But I’ll be OK. She needed to get that out of her system. As did I.” She trailed off a little at the thought and touched her backside. “But Jesus….”

James leaned against the open door and conjured up his most fetching smile.

“I thought maybe, if you’d like, I could rub some lotion on it…to cool it, you know?”

“Oh, you want to rub lotion on my bum, do you?”

“I thought it would make you feel better.”

“Oh, to make me feel better. I understand. And tell me James, how would rubbing lotion on my poor hot bottom make you feel?”

“Like a fence post, Ma’am.” He said looking her square in the eyes. “Like a concrete fence post.”

“You are a bad boy James”, she said tapping his chest for emphasis. “Very bad. Naughty even. But we knew that, didn’t we. When the lady let it be known that she was thinking of bringing you on, and what did I think, that’s what I told her. ‘That Pretty James Cook is a naughty one.’”

The smile in her words brightened on her face. With one hand she pulled James inside while with the other she pushed the door closed. It occurred to James that he maybe didn’t have to think about what to do next.

She took a step backward and began unbuttoning her shirt which she rolled off of her shoulders and tossed aside onto the chair. James barely had a moment to enjoy the sight of her cleavage rising out of the black bra before she reached deftly behind, and unsnapped letting it fall to the floor between them. Released to play, her full grapefruit sized breasts bloomed toward him, hanging just enough to appear ripe and succulent. “I think we’ll let my bum alone right now James…it’s had enough attention.”

“Whatever you say”, James agreed

She made a move to cup his head-to pull it down to the nearest breast-but James was quicker, dipping his head to kiss then kiss, then kiss again. He circled the left breast with his tongue then the right. Mrs. Fortescue, quietly humming in the back of her throat, guided his suckling head with both hands.

“Here, wait”, she said pushing him away gently so she could reach down, unsnap and lower her pants for the second time in the hour. Now she pushed them all the way off and tossed them with the shirt. Then, watching James’ face closely to track his eyes, she rolled down the pink panties and kicked them away. His earlier view had been from the glorious rear but this time he gazed hungrily at the heavy thatch of silver streaked black hair.

He reached out and enveloped her naked body flexing his strong arms as he pulled her tight to him. He buried his face in her hair, then her neck, luxuriating in the smell and feel of her. His hands rubbed across, then down, her back-tracing her spine downward to cup her still warm bottom cheeks.

“Easy there, bad boy…” she whispered into his chest.

She backed away slowly and James followed in lock step-their tango taking them to the bed. She sat and wriggled as her bruised backside touched the chenille. Jane pulled at his belt as he quickly unbuttoned and discarded his shirt onto the growing pile. He felt his chinos open and fall, allowing his handsome little fence post to spring free.

“Hello there James”, Mrs. Fortescue said admiringly. “I’d wager you had a difficult time keeping him contained in the library.”

“You have no idea.”

“Well, he’s free now”, she said taking hold of him with her left hand and rubbing his hip, then around to his firm bottom, with her right. “And I get to see what all the girls sing about.”

She looked up at him with a naughty smile that-in an unexpected turn-fairly melted him. For a moment he saw the nude woman before him as she once was, a girl-sweet, rounded and innocent-that he wanted to please. He was so easy, this one, Jane thought pleasantly, letting the smile dim only slightly. If he had the feeling deep in his brain that this was playing out to someone’s plan besides his own, he let it be. Typically, a naked woman holding his cock, trumped all thought.

She let him go and scootched uncomfortably up the bed. Before he could follow, she rolled over onto her belly exposing her pink and crimson mottled bottom to him. She sighed heavily into the pillow. “There you are James”, she said. “Have at it…”

He knelt beside her and lay his hand on the back of her thigh. Were it possible for his dick to get harder it would have. As it was, he wondered if he might not burst through his own skin like a chrysalis becoming something larger and harder. Maybe even with wings.

“No lotion?” he asked, running the hand up her thigh to the warm sit spot at the bottom of her bottom.

“No. Make do with kisses”, she said.

He guided her legs apart and settled between them, lowering himself to gently kiss her bottom. One cheek, then the other. He kissed the milky dimples at the top, then the pink glow high. Then down to the red hue in the center and bottom. The heat was subsiding but the skin was dry and scratchy until he dampened it with his sweet lips.

She moaned softly and he reacted by fingering her cheeks open and darting a tiny tongue exploration into the darkness between them. She answered his wet probe with a louder moan and a pull toward the pillows raising and splitting her bottom toward him. He pushed his tongue deeper into her crevasse and caught the sweet scent of vanilla.

Eschewing kissing he graduated to lapping and licking, dragging his tongue across one cheek and over to the other pausing to flick at the spot between that always elicited a moan or grunt. She pushed open further and he took the invitation to reach between her legs and rub a finger along the swollen wetness that opened easily to him. “James!” she coughed. “Oh, James…” The way she splayed and thrust made her clit easy to reach and he rubbed the swollen nub gently flicking his tongue against her tight little button. He opened her with a second finger. “Wait!” Jane fairly growled.

In a surprisingly nimble move she tossed her leg up and over him flopping onto her back. Her breasts heaved fetchingly and her belly button-deep and wide enough to hold a fat ripe cherry-winked at him. He made a move to crawl up onto her but froze when she pressed a hand firmly to the top of his head. “Down, James. Down” she breathed, giving two separate orders with the same single word.

He crawled backward as she spread her legs and lifted them toward her chest. Judging his position and angle correctly James executed a perfect tongue first head-dive that landed him deep in the syrupy tangle of Mrs. Fortescue’s vanilla flavored forest.

“Mmmmm” growled James as he filled her with his tongue and, nibbling, massaged her with his lips.

“Ahhhhhh” she answered pulling her knees further apart, brought almost to tears by the thought that she was about to come in Pretty James Cook’s mouth…

Sweet James – The Letter

Our story started here

“Dear James”, it began…”I trust you remember our previous dealings, if not fondly, at least warmly enough to continue reading. I’ve heard (yes, one can never travel far enough to out-distance tales of home!) that you are currently without engagement. If that is true (and if it’s not I’ll have to give my sources a good talking to!) I have need of a man with your considerable talents and temperament. The man that I entrusted with the responsibility of the grounds at Goosington…”

James snorted and almost lost a mouthful of Scotch. He couldn’t believe she hadn’t changed the name of that pile of bricks. Around town they simply called it ‘The Manor’, ‘The Manse’ or the less charitable ‘Duck Town’…’The Asylum’…the names went on.

He went back to the letter. “…the responsibility of the grounds at Goosington has fled. As far as I can tell from here he’s completely run off-absconded with the money left him for the rebuilding of the docks and gone. As to the money, I say ‘Pish!’ but my concern is for the grounds. I trust you remember the gardens and lawns that are so dear to me. I don’t know what state of disrepair the place has been left in or what he has been doing in the six months that I’ve been gone. Indeed, two of the house staff are gone as well and I have to assume that they were in some sort of cahoots! But no matter now. Mrs. Fortescue-who I’m sure you’ll remember-is still there (though I might have a little chat with her upon my return.)”

He leaned back and drained the glass. Mrs. Fortescue. Of course he remembered her. Handsome woman-not young but not old either. She had seemed frozen forever near the top of her forties but in truth could be 10 years younger or older.  He remembered her dancing green eyes and glistening dark hair with only streaked with gray falling in waves to her shoulders. The idea of Caitlin Milan “having a little chat with her” truly gave him pause.

“There is no phone at the villa where I’m currently ensconced”, the letter continued. “Telegraph is down in the town (where I never go) and the post takes forever. Thus we have no time for back and forth correspondence. I will assume that you have accepted my proposal and as soon as you finish your coffee (see, I remember you can’t abide tea!) you will go straightaway to Goosington…”

He chuckled sotto voce like a boy in back of class, “Goosington….”

“…and begin to set the place to right.”

His eyes scanned to the bottom of the page where he found what he was looking for. He glanced at the sum and thought it appropriate-generous even-for the work he imagined having to do. But then he read the line more carefully and realized she had quoted a weekly rate. He would earn this sum times three or four if she took a month coming home?! “Sweet sweat!” he proclaimed.

“You okay over there, James?” Mrs. Sully asked.

“Oh, yes. Very much okay.” He said drilling through the last paragraph.

“Mrs. Fortescue will have an envelope for you with working capital. You will stay in the boat house-the small one, below the main house. It’s compact but has the advantage of being closed to the weather. More a house than boat house. I’ve enclosed a task list that I’d like you to review. Get back to me on the status of these projects by week’s end. Needn’t wait for me. Not for approval. Just get on with it and keep me informed…”

He was so engrossed in the letter and the list that he didn’t notice Mrs. Sully until she was at his elbow. Before he could look up the bottle floated into his vision and settled above his empty glass.

“Just half, Mrs. Sully…”

The woman made a big show of a gasp. “Are ye dying, Sweet James?”

“It seems I have an engagement at Goosington.”

“Ye mean Honkington?” she mocked.

“And it looks as if I might be leaving you.”

“Welp”, she shrugged. “Nothing for me now but to sell the place.”

“You’ll miss me”, he teased lifting his glass.

“More the pitty-pat of little tart feet”, she said sliding back to her perch.

(To be continued)

Pretty James- The Engagement

It would turn out to be an odd engagement that, unsurprisingly, began with an odd interview. The first entreaty came from Caitlin Milan herself in a letter delivered in person by knobby-kneed Mr. Caine the postmaster, directly to Mrs. Sully’s boarding house.

“Good Morning Mrs. Sully”, he sing-songed from behind a walrus mustache sparse enough to resemble nothing so much as a waterfall in drought. “I’ve a missive for James. From Tuscany!” he held up the letter as if just now finding it in his hand. “In Italy.”

Virginia Scully’s glowering squint penetrated the suspended webbing of cigar smoke that encircled her head in the dead air. “I know where’s Tuscany”, she said. “You mook”, she thought. “Leave it here-I’ll put it in his box”. To close the transaction she picked the smoldering cigar from the tea saucer and inhaled deeply.

“Uh…” Mr. Caine dawdled. “I’m sure it’s an important notice. Do you know when he’ll be….”

She looked back at him, shocked he was still in the room. As she opened her mouth to speak, smoke seemed to billow from every open orifice. “There’s twelve boxes here Mr. Caine-twelve boarders who gets their mail through me. All manner of letters, missives and messages. Father’s dying. Mother’s dying. Babies born. Babies dying. Weddings. Divorces. Fortunes made, fortunes lost. All important-all getting to who gots to get them. You can leave it Mr. Caine. It will be attended to.” She popped the cigar back into her mouth.

The little man had begun skittering back toward the door. “Of course, Mrs. Sully. Not for me to tell you how to do your work. I’ll leave it with you…” And he was out the door. She had no sooner settled in for another prodigious huff on her cigar when she was distracted by the clattering of heavy, if tiny, feet on the stairs behind her. Knowing who it was, she continued her smoke without looking back.

“Ewww-I can smell that all the way up in the room” said the florid little brunette. The girl, in her early twenties, was slightly plump and had grown at least a half size beyond the red dress she was trying get one more season out of.

“Since I own the place”, said Virginia Sully puffing like a locomotive, “and you’re only here by the hour, I’m comfortable saying I do as I please.”

“You should have more respect”, the young girl scolded her, “For respectable guests.”

“Find me one under this roof and I’ll lay on the respect like marmalade and honey.”

“Now you’re just being rude. I’ve a mind…”

Virginia Sully pointed the wet cigar butt at the girl. “I’m sure I’ve a large enough wooden spoon back in the kitchen to do the trick if you want to continue telling me what you’ve a mind to.”

“Good bye Mrs. Sully. Until next time.”

“I’ll try to hold my water.”

The young woman was no more out the door than the light dancing tread of James Cooke pattered down the stairs.

“Mrs. Sully-Did you frighten Millicent?”

“Is that her name now? I thought she was born Aileen.”

“That wouldn’t exactly fit her now, do you think?”

She pushed the envelope across the counter. “Letter for you. The pinhead brought it special.”

James looked at it. “Caitlin? From Tuscany?”

“In Italy, don’t you know? Pinhead thought you should know.”

He took a step toward the small round table at the window and stopped. “You wouldn’t have any coffee back there would you?” With elbow on the counter he assumed the pose that brought girls like Aileen Fennick home with him. Not a pose that Virginia Sully had any interest in.

“Don’t you even think of leaning in and giving me that smile, or that twinkle that all the gals fall for. And never while I have a weapon within reach-which I do-throw your hair back like one of those women in the shampoo commercials on the TV. Your dimples are lost on me, Pretty James.”

He smiled slyly. “You know I can’t abide tea.”

“Your failings and perversions are no concern of mine.” She paused long enough for James to begin turning toward the window table. “But I do have something here that you might abide.”

She pulled a bottle of Macallan from under the counter with a small glass that glinted in the sunshine.

“Ahhhh…” sighed James admiringly.

“I’ll pour”, she said filling the glass. “Make it last. The Mister left me some when he went on and I am on ration…” She winked and placed it back behind the counter.

He took the whiskey and the letter to the table by the window where sunlight flowed like maple syrup. He tore it open and began to read.

To be continued…