Charles & Claire Ch. 28bySchuppinzigh©
We were all up and eating breakfast, when Annie's phone rang. It was Dolores Standhope, our Realtor. Apparently, within fifteen minutes of the house going on MLS, three different Realtors personally wanted to make an offer to buy the home. It seemed they were all looking to move to our side of town, where the streets are wider and the yards are lush with mature trees and greenery.
She put Dolores on speaker.
"Hello, Dolores?" I said.
"Hello Charles -- did your Mom tell you, there are three Realtors who have each made an offer on your home; they're for $299,500 the listing price, $303,500, and $297,950?
"Are any of them wanting a cash deal?" I asked.
"As a matter of fact, the $299,500 offer is for all cash, while the other two want you to carry back some paper."
"Just a moment, Dolores, I'm putting you on hold?"
"Mom, a cash deal is what we want. I looked it up on the Internet last night, and cash deals can close in less than seven days a lot of the time."
"Sounds good to me, dear," Annie said, filling me with confidence.
"Find out it any of them would be interested in a ten-year-old Ford Land Rover, it's a deal breaker -- call us back." I disconnected us.
"Charles, what did you just do?" Annie said, with her hands on her hips.
"Just wait less than five minutes, Mom. Sarah, look up what a private party ten-year-old Ford Land Rover is worth; please?"
"Sure Loverb...Charles, lets see, as a trade-in $2,600, Dealer Retail $5,000, here it is, a private party sale, $3,440 -- yours looks in better shape than this one, ask for $4,000 Charles?"
Sure enough the phone rang and it was Dolores.
On speakerphone, I said, "So Big D, what's the dealio?"
We all heard a big boisterous laugh on the other end. After getting herself together, Dolores said, "Charles, nobody has called me Big D, since I was the tallest girl on my volleyball team. Anyway, the person with the cash offer, only wants the house, but the person with the high offer, wants the car. What's your price?"
"Just a minute, Big D?" I put her on hold.
"Sarah, a five-year-old Land Rover, please?"
"Low end $6.8K, high end $8.2K, Wow. Value stays high, doesn't it Charles?"
"Dolores, you've got a deal on the house. The price on the Land Rover is $7,950 cash only. We're heading to do some errands later, so could you come by ASAP and my Mom will sign off on the house deal?"
"Sure Charles, I can be there in fifteen minutes, give me the address where you are?"
Mom picked up the phone and gave Dolores the information.
I asked Sarah to set us up an appointment to take a tour of the American Whistle Factory, about fifteen minutes north of us. I had everyone change into appropriate clothing for an event such as this.
As usual, I was done first, then K, CC, Sarah and Annie. Less than ten minutes later, our doorbell rang -- it was Dolores, who had the papers for Annie to sign. Dolores was also who wanted the Land Rover, so we showed it to her and we consummated that deal right then and there, also. She said that we'd have the house deal money by the end of the week. She'd been dropped off, so she got in the Land Rover and drove off, waving at us as she left.
I'd always wanted to go on the Tour at the American Whistle Factory. Due to Charles & Claire's newfound fame, we got our own tour, for free. It usually costs four bucks a head and they want a minimum of fifteen people, but they waived their requirements.
I originally heard of them because the metal whistles you get from the Boy Scout office are stamped with their logo. I looked it up on the Internet, and found out that their main manufacturing facility was right here in Columbus. Both the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America have chosen a model called the 'American Classic' as their official whistle.
The Tour was quite informative; we saw how they were made, from the raw material to the finished product. We learned the science behind how a whistle works. We each got a free whistle as we left. Everyone was quite kind to us all. We even stopped and signed a number of autographs for the employees there.
We decided to get something to eat, while we were out. I thought of going back to the mall, where we shopped and danced. I asked Mom if she had our repertoire with her. She smiled and said, "Of course!"
Sarah was driving, and took us back to the Eastland Mall. We parked on a different side this time. I looked up and saw the name "Claire's" and pointed it out to CC and K, who squealed as we parked, and walked into the Mall.
We found the store; it carried Jewelry, Hair Accessories, Beauty products, along with Rings, Scarves, and more, catering to 'Teens and Tweens.' All the employees and the people in the store screamed and shrieked when they saw us enter.
They didn't appear to have anything for guys.
After signing autographs, Annie, Claire and Kalista stayed to shop a little. Sarah and I took a walk together to the place where the DJ and kids were before. It was empty but there was a sign that said that things started up in a hour or so.
Sarah and I kept wandering around the place. I saw this as an opportunity to shop for Sarah. We walked up to Kay Jewelers, and we looked through their glass cabinets. I heard Sarah give a big sigh as she looked at some beautiful earrings.
Her birthday is in late March, her stone being bloodstone. I wanted her to have a diamond, so I directed her to the earrings that had diamonds in them and she gave another, deeper sigh. An employee came up to us and asked if she could help. I put my arm around Sarah's waist and said, "My girl here wants to try on those Diamond Earrings, please?"
Fortunately, this older lady didn't know who Charles & Claire was, and simply said, "Yes sir, let me open this for you."
I reached into Sarah's purse and quietly took out the card, and clutched it in my hand. Sarah whispered, "What're you doing, Charles?"
I whispered back, "Getting something for my girl, you deserve it for all the work you've done for all of us."
"Which pair do you like best, sir?" the clerk asked. Sarah and I chuckled over the double entendre the clerk didn't know she made.
"Sarah, honey -- pick one, we've other places to go," I said.
She looked at me and pointed to the one she wanted. I handed them to her and with her red hair, the diamonds shined like the sun.
"We'll take them. Is there per chance a matching necklace?" I asked.
"Yes, there is. I'll be right back?" she said.
"Charles. Thank you so much, how can I ever thank you for this?" she said, with as much seductiveness as she could.
"This is Charles gift to Sara Rollins, for being such a wonderful person in my life."
I gave her a nice kiss, just as the clerk came back, smiling. "Here's an exact match, in both cut and clarity." I picked it up, and put it on her as she looked at it in a mirror the clerk had provided.
"It's beautiful," Sarah said as she softly touched it.
"No dear, this is just... bling. You're beautiful, with or without it on your neck." She smiled at me.
"We'll take it. Here's the card to put it on."
She came back and handed me the card and receipt and thanked us for shopping at Kay.
We walked out and Sarah was beaming like I never saw her before. I could tell she wanted to give me one of 'those' kisses, but we saw everybody coming at us, with Kalista leading the way yelling, "Charles, Claire and I just got our ears pierced. It hurt for a little bit, but now it feels fine. Where did you and ..."
Annie cut in saying, "Sarah. Those earrings are so stunning and that matching necklace. Where did you get that?"
Sarah responded with the beginning of a tear in her eye, "At the Kay Jewelry store. I didn't get them... Charles got them for me. Aren't they the most gorgeous earrings you've ever seen?"
I'm glad Sarah was getting all the attention. I just backed up and watched, as my girls were going gaga over Sarah's new bling. A tear came to my eye as I watched Claire and K touching their ears, and showing Sarah their new bling as well.
I may have just spent $3,000 on Sarah, but I'll declare to my dying day, how much she deserved getting something really nice.
Mom saw me, and came over to me, saying, "Charles, those diamonds you bought her, are just the right thing to help her climb out of the depression that John put her in."
"Mom, I did it because I love her, not for any other reason. Does that make me a cad? Sometimes, when I'm around her, the things I feel; make me feel tawdry and sick. Tell me you don't hate me for saying all of that, please?"
In the background I heard music starting up.
"Charles, young men like yourself have been falling in lust with women like Sarah for thousands of years. Just use that common sense that I know you have. If you feel you may be losing the battle, come to me and I'll do what I can for you."
"Thanks Mom, you're the best."
"I know," she said, with a bit of a glint in her eye.
Walking up to Claire and grabbing her hand, I said, "Claire, lets go dancing, OK?"
"All right, Honey-Buns."
"IT'S CHARLES & CLAIRE!" someone said.
"AND KALLIE TOO!" another person voiced.
The three of us walked up to the raised platform, and indeed the same young man from before was there. The opportunity before me, gave rise to creating... a perfect storm.
"Kick off your shoes, ladies," I said.
Mom handed me the 'For Good' CD, as I walked up to the DJ asking if I could please announce something. He handed me a wired mike and I handed him the CD; that had a single song on it; that could change people's minds about Charles & Claire, and Kallie... Forever.
"Hey Everybody -- How are you today?" I started.
As a group they said, "Great."
"Get your smartphones out, because you're going to get a brand new routine, performed by Charles, Kallie and Claire for the first time... anywhere."
There was a rumble through the crowd, as they were getting out their smartphones.
"If you haven't already, you can get our posters at our website for only $5 a piece. Buy one, or buy them all."
I handed back the microphone, as Claire and Kalista took their positions. The crowd got very quiet, as the music started, and Kalista started to jeté... and the crowd completely hushed to hear the song, as my girls were moving... no - gliding across the stage. Claire picked up on Kallie's energy and was just as effortlessly dancing. I entered the number, and saw that there was a sea of phones recording us.
The song went on, and the girls were in perfect tempo, with Kalista dancing on point, without any shoes on. The transitions from girl to girl were simply fabulous. Our 'closed' moves were tighter than before... I guess a live audience makes us better.
The ending was coming, and the girl's pirouettes were magnificent. They offered their hands to me and then we walked off, and it was over.
The sound from our audience was thunderous, emulating the sound just before a lightning strike; maybe it did! We stayed and signed autographs for anyone who wanted one. Young boys, wanting her autograph, immediately surrounded Kallie. I wonder if we should get ourselves a bodyguard?
Everyone who came up to me said how amazing the dance was. I thanked them and told everybody I could, to look out for our SST Tour schedule. Some people had our posters and were asking us to sign them. That was a lot of fun.
They all wanted us to stay and do another number, but this time I said no thanks. I handed the girls their shoes, getting a kiss from each. We walked over to Annie and Sarah.
Sarah asked, "Why didn't you stay and do another number Charles?"
"Sarah... Ladies, a very great man once said, 'Always leave them wanting more,' and since we start our Tour in three days, I also think that we should take it easy. We don't want to overdue."
"Who said that, Charles?" asked Kalista.
"K, have you ever seen a Disney Animated movie, like Snow White, Cinderella, or Pinocchio?" I asked.
"Yes, I've seen all them, why?"
"And when they were over, did you wish they weren't? Didn't you want them to keep going, because you loved something about the movie?"
"Yeah, Charles -- there always was at least one likeable character, usually more," Kalista said, giving a big sigh.
"Well, K -- A very smart, talented and visionary, named Walt Disney was in charge of making those movies and he's the man who said, "Always Leave Them Wanting More."
We got back to the house and changed into comfortable clothes, than I got the laptop and couldn't seem to open YouTube. A very deep glow of satisfaction came over me.
I looked instead at Google entertainment news, and there was a story that over forty people uploaded the same video to YouTube and it crashed within twenty minutes.
Claire came to join me, and said, "I can't get on YouTube, Charles. Do you think..." She noticed the story I'd been looking at, turned to me and said, "Charles, you dog -- you expected this didn't you?"
"Claire, I realized our putting it up, might not get the hits, so I planned early this morning to do this. I'm sorry you girls had to do it barefoot, but both you and Kallie were over the top fantastic. She even did some pointe work, barefoot. I've never seen that before, I'm suitably impressed, by both of you."
She got up on my lap and we just held each other for a little while. After a bit, I realized she'd fallen asleep, so I picked her up and started to carry her to her room. K came up to me and I said, "Shhh, I'm taking her to her bedroom. We're gonna nap, tell Annie please?"
"OK," K whispered back, as I went up the stairs to Claire's room. I realized I was going to have a tough time getting her door open, carrying her this way. Fortunately, Sarah came out of her room and opened the door for me.
"Thank you," I nodded to her, "We're taking a nap, she's all worn out," I whispered.
Claire made a noise with her mouth, but didn't wake up. I got into her room and lay her down on her bed. She seemed so peaceful, so gorgeous, and in a couple years we turn sixteen.
I found out you can get married at sixteen in Ohio, with a parent's permission.
Since she was on the covers, I went under the covers, per 'the usual rules' and I fell asleep holding the hand of my future wife.
I awoke and Claire had rolled over on me, at least partially. Her left leg was on top of my two legs, and her arm was across my chest. There was a faint knock on the door, and Annie stepped in. She saw how we were interlocked, but only said, "Dinner in twenty minutes," and walked back out again.
I glanced at my smartphone and set a timer for fifteen minutes and fell back asleep. The marimba woke me up, and I turned my head to Claire's and started a great big kiss. I heard a 'Mmmmmm' sound from her, and kept kissing her until she opened her eyes. She climbed directly over me, and we kept kissing.
Annie must've sent Sarah up to check on us, and she knocked, opened the door and just stood there for a minute, apparently just watching her daughter and her future son-in-law making out.
"Kids," she said in a regular speaking voice, "Dinner's ready."
Claire wouldn't stop, so I pulled apart and said, "Didn't you hear your mother?"
"I've already got what I want for dinner," Claire said, causing Sarah to laugh.
"CLAIRE," I said, "We've got to go downstairs."
"Oh, all right -- Mother, we'll be right down."
"OK," Sarah said, leaving the door wide open, sending us a clear signal.
Claire got up off me, went into her bathroom and combed her hair. I walked in and she combed my hair for me, giving me one last kiss, and we headed downstairs together.
"There you are?" said Kalista, "Sarah said someone may have to go up and throw some water on you two, although I don't understand why?" Claire and I both chuckled at that; you could hear a snort from behind us.
"We've got marinated chicken with baked potatoes and a salad bar," Annie said. We walked over to the salad bar that had been created, and we made ourselves a nice tossed salad. This was a nice change of pace, instead of our usual fast food.
Our group of five has really bonded; Mom and Sarah have become best friends, Kallie and Mom have a wonderful relationship together. I've never felt closer to my mother. Claire and I seem to be hurtling towards... being together. What's going on between Sarah and me... isn't yet clear in my mind?
After dinner, I decided to look at posters sales and we were now at 360,515 sold. The last five days have averaged just fewer than 50,000 copies a day. I see there's a sixth picture, so the one with my two mom's kissing me, has been added, and is doing well.
In the blogs, I noticed that there seemed to be a demand for each of us, like Kalista does, to have our own poster, so I got Ken's number from Sarah and called him, asking him to come by in the morning to take some additional pictures. He was willing to come out right then, but I told him it was all right to wait until tomorrow.
I set up the poses for tomorrow, asking Claire to wear her halter dress, and the Moms to wear their black dresses. Worried that she was being left out, I asked Kalista to wear her favorite dress. These plans generated a good deal of discussion amongst the ladies.
The next morning there was a buzz in the house, with all the ladies primping. There were four bathrooms, but you would think there was only one, with the amount of noise these gals were making.
I was in my dark blue three-piece suit; Kalista came down looking great; Claire was a knockout in her shimmy dress, as it was now being called. Mom looked terrific in her black dress, showing a lot of leg, while Sarah was the belle of this ball, in her tight black dress she must've re-hemmed to be at least three inches shorter. She had on the new bling that I bought for her, and she walked down the stairs in what looked like 4-inch heels. WOW. She also didn't appear to be wearing a brassiere, due to the amount of shake going on above the waist.
These posters are going to sell like hotcakes, I'm quite sure. Ken and his brood showed up again, took a look at his mother and actually blushed, which is what I believe Sarah wanted to happen. He also whistled at Annie, which caused Sarah Jane to slap him on the shoulder. We started with Claire, who was trying to show off her 'new and improved knockers.' Ken got some really good pictures. He then went through the rest of us, taking his mother's picture last.
I told him to get close enough so the shot was of her upper body only. He took about a dozen pictures having her turn all directions.
After everybody picked out his or her own favorite shot, Ken and Sarah Jane left.
"Sarah," I said, "Your son was actually drooling over you today. You came close to a nuclear problem, but the girls stayed in place didn't they."
She gave them a shake, making us all laugh. We went back up to change into our regular clothes. I changed into a swimsuit and went into the spa, with Claire joining me after a bit. This time, it appeared, it'd only be the two of us.
With nobody else in sight, we decided to make out a little.
Having brushed up on all of our routines the past couple of days; we were ready to begin rehearsals for the US Something Special Tour.
We made our way to the Battelle North Room at The Performing Arts Center in Columbus and found Michael there, along with his twenty-nine-piece orchestra and the Arts Center Staff working together to get ready to rehearse. Michael waved at us, as we came into the room.
"So, Charles -- did you really create a routine to ALL of my recorded music?" Michael asked with a chuckle in his voice.