Charmed to the Tenth Ch. 03byGrumpyGamby©
She was warm. A limbic, peaceful warmth that, had she any memory, sensory or tangible, of being cuddled and swaddled as a babe, this would be what it would feel like. But then something changed. Something was moving, something that should be still, was moving. The warmth of her slumber was slipping away as the movement continued to creep into her consciousness.
"Oh Bingo, No, no, no. Go lie down." Bingo, the old, white muzzled, golden retriever was standing on the other side of Eva's bed, looking at her and wagging his tail with far too much vigor for this time of the night or morning. "Bingo Down."
She rolled back over determined to ignore him. Anytime anyone even looked at him that tail went off and didn't stop for at least five solid minutes of ignoring him afterward. Bingo should have been named Happy; it would have been more appropriate for him. Bingo didn't settle down and, instead, became more agitated. Agitated, why was he agitated? Eva thought.
She heard the loud thunderclap at the same time she saw the lightning. The powerful storm from last night was still making its way across the county, or was this a new storm front?
"Am I missing all the pretty lights? Is that why you woke me up?" She got out of bed and, with a glance at the clock and a grimace at what she saw, she headed toward the bathroom. Bingo followed, tail wagging and tongue lolling. She stepped over Sammy, the young golden, in the hallway and as she entered the bathroom she heard water. She stood stock still and cocked her head to locate the source. Not the bathroom, and not her grotto; she could safely eliminate those two places. She used the toilet and then went to investigate.
Making her way down to the kitchen, she could still hear the running water and still didn't know where it was coming from. By now all four dogs were up, escorting her as she checked each window and door. When she opened the door to the basement, all four dogs alerted to something. Ears up, tails up, chests puffed, heads erect, they listened for a second or two before Ruffian charged down the steps first and the other three bounded after him. Eva grabbed Bellyboy, the Rottweiler, by the collar; his job was to stay with her. This was a perk for having her own pack. Send the beasts to flush out the bad guys but keep the fiercest warrior for personal protection.
Eva was not the least bit afraid of the barks and other noises the dogs were making and reacting to, she had her Bellyboy and like all good Rotties, Bellyboy stood in front of Eva, studying and waiting to be released in the fray. The barking tapered off and Ruffian came bounding up the steps, dripping water from his haunches and tail.
"Oh, nooo. You found the water?" At that, Ruffian went right back down the steps.
"Alright, go off." Permission granted, the huge Rottie and his wagging stump of a tail went charging down the steps, no doubt hoping for a piece of the mysterious threat. Eva followed with much less enthusiasm.
The carpet squished, a sodden mess under her feet, as she ventured to the source of the sound.
"Oh No. No. No." Eva muttered running toward the far side of the basement. The rain was slashing against her house, running down the sides and seeping in through cracks in the molding around the window and door.
"Son of a gun. He was right, dog gone it." Mr. Surgie had strongly suggested she forgo some of her fancy renovations and tend to replacing the window and door in the basement. Checking the sash on the window she saw nothing she could fix or fiddle with to make the water stop coming in. She went to the door and opened it, then shut it. Again, it seemed to be working fine, other than the gushing water, as far as she could tell.
She closed her eyes, breathed in and out a few times then stood straighter. There was nothing she could do, and at this hour, no one she could call. When she reached for the door again, there was another lightning burst and for a split second she thought she saw someone outside. Eva quickly pulled her hand back and closed her robe tighter. Heart pounding, she reached for the door again, to make sure it was locked. As her fingers began to turn the lock she heard a whimpering sound.
She glanced at her gang, her great and powerful barometer of any given situation's potential danger, and noticed all was well, but all were curious. It would have been good if the spotlight worked, she thought, but that too was on the list of repairs.
"I will never go against his recommendations again, I promise." She said to the ceiling. She rummaged through a drawer, then went back to the door with the flashlight.
A soaking wet dog stood just outside the door. "Oh, poor thing. Why do people do this? When will they take care of their animals?" Another dog had found her.
"Welcome to Eva's home for unwanted pets." She said through the door's window as she sized up the new dog. This one looked bigger than Ruffian, but smaller than the retrievers and the Rotty. Through the door she spoke to the dog, "Hang on Sweets, gotta calm the beasts first." She turned to her gang and held out her hands, she stood relaxed and calm, and waited while the dogs sniffed her, gazed at her and finally followed her lead. Their ears relaxed as they lost interest in what was behind the door. They walked away to find something interesting; except Bingo who, as usual, stood with his tail ready for takeoff. Bellyboy walked away entirely disinterested and perhaps a little disappointed there was no threat after all.
She opened the door and the poor wet thing came slowly into the basement. It was filthy and smelled horrible. Matted fur all over; it looked like some kind of spaniel type, only bigger. She knelt on the ground to allow the new one to sniff her. Then she went to her dog bathing tub and grabbed a handful of towels. The other dogs were greeting the new one, when she heard another whimper.
"Pain? Just ...get you dried off a little." As she leaned down to wrap a towel around the dog, it began to turn in circles, trying to bite its hind end, panting and circling, then more biting. "Hurt down there? Okay, be still. I won't hurt ..." She stood up in shock, this couldn't be real. No, this wasn't something she could deal with at all. Her gift would be too overwhelming; it would be too much for her.
"No, no, no, that's too much, I can't do puppies. I can't do labor. Huh uh, not for me." As she wrapped the towel around the dog Eva, saw the teats dripping milk, felt the abdomen clench and saw the birth canal swollen and white, pulsing and oozing.
"This night just gets better and better." Resigned to the ordeal ahead, she looked to her gang for support and noticed they all had backed up a good five feet. "Cowards."
Eva circled through the basement grabbing two paper sacs filled with old newspapers, every towel she could carry and an old blanket. She called for her gang to follow her as she bounded up the steps. At the top of the steps she turned around and, sure enough, the new one was trying to get up the steps too. Eva ran up to her grotto and dropped her supplies, then ran back to the basement.
She carefully gathered the new one in her arms and carried her up to the grotto. Placing the new dog on the tile floor, she turned to the pile of blankets and towels. The blanket went down first, then she shredded the newspapers and let them fall all over the blanket, she kept the towels off to the side for future use. She stood in the middle of the heap and called for the Mommy, who slowly sniffed her way to the pile of bedding.
"You're the first girl who's ever found me. Poor thing, were you on your own for long?" Eva spoke in murmurs to the agitated girl. After more cursory sniffing, the girl began to dig into the blankets, turn circles and dig some more. Finally she lay down and the panting of hard labor began.
"You get started, I'll make some tea. I'll bring you some food, though I doubt you'll eat. We're going to need our strength."
Several hours later, the sun was high, strong and warm and Eva was beyond exhausted. Last night, when she went to bed, she had four dogs; now she had thirteen. Eight puppies. What was she going to do with eight puppies and a girl dog that needed a bath and a shave in the worst way?
She ran the water for her cleansing soak. In a fog of fatigue she dragged her aching body down the stairs, fed her gang, took them out to potty, and then told them to go to sleep.
She sank in her tub with a sigh and waited for the peace to enter; the pain and fear to exit. She had always protected herself, and stayed away from situations that would be overwhelming to her emotions. But last night was so much more than overwhelming, she simply couldn't find words. The fear of being alone and needing another, the loud noises and bright lights, being cold and weary, everything being new, not being sure if she was safe, the pain and not being sure what it meant, more pain and more sensations followed until Eva felt she would faint.
Then the first pup came out; just popped right out. The elation mixed with relief was incredible, indescribable; never had she felt such joy. But the agonizing pattern repeated and repeated until Eva, couldn't take any more; she prayed they were done. She was done; but she couldn't leave Mommy.
Two more pups had arrived, taking Eva from complete emotional exhaustion to the very brink of total physical exhaustion. The body can keep going and keep going long after the brain gives up. But now her brain and body were done, just done. Bleary eyed she turned the water on to fill her tub. She cleaned up the soaked and bloody bedding, then laid down the new stuff.
Gingerly she stepped into the tub filled with hot water and lavender scented oil. She laid her head back and closed her eyes, allowing the tears to flow. When they stopped, she would get out. The peace was slowly arriving, filling her tired body and mind with the warmth and comfort that true contentment brings.
The tears were beginning to slow. A job well done, she thought. Grateful it was Saturday and that she had no appointments with clients. She could sleep the day away. Sleep, sleep, it was all she could think about. She wished she could just sleep in the tub. Maybe just a little nod....
"Why were you crying?" Her Other arrived. She could hear him as clearly as if he was there.
"Took care of Mommy. So long a night. So tired, just need sleep, just sleep." She yawned so much through those few words it was amazing Jeff understood a word she'd said. She was gathering the strength to get up and dry off.
"Eva, how do I reach you?"
"I'm right here silly man." She almost had enough energy to get up now.
"I want to see you. How do I do that?"
"So tired," She yawned. "Just look and you'll see. Have to sleep now." Eva placed her hands on the edge of the tub.
"No, in person, how do I get in touch... what's your phone number?"
But Eva was already climbing in bed, far too tired to think of numbers, or Others or connections or even puppies. The only connection she could focus on was the one with her pillow.
"Son of a Bitch." Jeff swore, as he gripped his charm in frustration. He'd been trying to reach her all damn day; trying to time things so he was relaxed when she was relaxed. He finally got through and he discovered she'd been crying, could feel her exhaustion, but couldn't get two words from her that made any sense.
Jeff began to pace; if he paced he could get rid of some of the nervous energy. How did he miss his chance? He never missed a chance when he wanted something and he really wanted to make contact with Eva. Did she not want his contact, this connection they had, this supposed fate they shared? That thought made him pause.
Could it be he felt a stronger draw to her than she toward him? No, that couldn't be, he concluded. His confidence in the rightness of their connection was not just based on that... that bond thing created in the elevator. It was firmly rooted in his experience of life for the last dozen or so years.
It's like he was born with luck or something. Things just worked out for him, worked out very well for him. As a kid he took it for granted; this was how life is for everyone, right? But when he got older; as his life became more the consequence of his actions than the preparations provided by his parents and other adults in his life, he noticed he was different. Countless times a kid in his school would look at him with wonder; "God you're so lucky."
His senior year in high school proved to be so fortuitous he became convinced there was something lucky about him. He had the three most grueling, difficult, and (many claimed), sadistic teachers the county had ever hired. At first, this signaled an end to his luck, a comeuppance that had been secretly predicted by many of his peers.
The assignments he completed zeroed in on what his teachers were looking for, but never alluded to. The tests, that covered a broad range and difficult depth, were designed in such a way that only the most studious, only the most gifted and brilliant student could score more than a passing grade. Jeff was neither brilliant nor studious. He just knew where to place his focus when he studied. He aced every test and twice had to retake tests to prove he hadn't been cheating.
"God, you're so fucking lucky." Jeff heard from several boys in school when word got around he was banging the head cheerleader with huge tits. The only boys who didn't wank off each night thinking of Priscilla would eventually come out of the closet.
"I am so fucking lucky." He said back to those same boys when three months after he stopped banging Priscilla, and started banging her cousin, Priscilla got knocked up and had to leave school.
Jeff asked his mother, half in jest, if he'd been born under a horseshoe or something. She smiled and spoke of gratitude, debt to others less fortunate, and the perils of entitlement. He hadn't noticed that she hadn't answered.
He went to college with his heart set on bedding every buxom babe he could and becoming a police detective. He majored in criminal science and spent all his time checking out the sorority girls. The professors were hostile to him. The only girls he was meeting were pretty flat chested.
After his parents died, he couldn't get into the classes he wanted. He couldn't even get a hand job. Life stopped being smooth and easy for him. He was convinced his luck had deserted him.
On a whim, he signed up for a finance class, where he learned of the stock market game. Students formed investment groups and competed against each other to bring in the largest returns, on a hypothetical basis. His team took his suggestions and they made a killing. While his team played with hypothetical money, following Jeff's hunches, Jeff contacted a broker and played with real money. Jeff followed his gut and made a small fortune, but failed the courses. He couldn't explain his reasons for choosing one stock over another given a certain degree of parity. Hunches were not allowed. Decisions were to be made based on factual information.
Every girl in his finance classes had large tits and they all hung out with other girls who also had large tits. Different heights, different weights, different colored eyes and hair, but they all had much, much more than a handful.
"So this is where they've all been hiding." He said to a few male members of his investment group.
"Hell yeah asshole. Big tittie girls want big bank accounts. This is the major for big tits."
For Jeff, everything, including his cock, was looking up.
His professors, quietly impressed with his success in the game, secretly asked Jeff to make some suggestions. Again, he got lucky. Everyone invested more; and more people, some he didn't even know, began contacting him to ask his advice. The attention he was drawing set off warning bells in his head. He withdrew from college and moved to Maryland, where Kate was going to college.
After his third night of sleeping on the futon in Kate's apartment, he went in search of his own place. He saw an ad for a waterfront warehouse. He checked it out and liked what he saw. He wanted to buy it, but someone had already outbid what he could afford through his investments and inheritance.
Three weeks later two things happened on the same day; Kate's roommate moved in with her boyfriend and the warehouse property made front page news in the local paper. It had been condemned due to a discovery that it was used as an illegal repository for toxic chemicals. The new owner was left with the bill to clean up the property and was crying foul at the top of his lungs.
Sitting in a coffee shop, reading about his averted financial disaster when he was supposed to be hunting for a job, Jeff overheard a conversation in which a carpenter spoke of hiring an assistant. The pay was not good but the kid would learn a trade. On a whim, Jeff asked for the job on the spot. The carpenter was in his late fifties, at least. Jeff could tell old man knew his trade and wanted to learn from him. They shook hands and agreed to meet at 6:30 a.m. the next morning.
Jeff went back to his coffee and paper, this time with the confidence of the gainfully employed.
"Well I'll be damned." He muttered. Another ad for another warehouse had caught his attention. This one bigger, less run down, and had more property to it. It had no history to worry him. He bought it.
Three weeks later the carpenter broke his arm. Instead of Jeff carrying tools and cleaning up after everyone, the carpenter stood next to him as Jeff did the actual work, and taught him everything he wanted and needed to know. Jeff and the carpenter worked side by side for the next two years. From sunup to supper Jeff learned from the carpenter. Then Jeff went to his warehouse and worked for as long as he could. Weekends were spent at the warehouse too. While Kate finished college, Jeff renovated his warehouse with all of his spare time.
The year after Kate graduated, they both moved into their own loft units. Jeff had done most of it on his own, but the times he needed help he called Denny, his old carpenter boss, who arrived with a crew of apprentices. Jeff had turned the building into five separate units. He and Kate took the top two, while he rented out the bottom three. The rental income provided the finances to build a five slip marina. Two years later, the entire project had been completed and Jeff was enrolled in boating courses to follow his subsequent whim.
Since the moment he had awakened that morning, all he thought about was Eva and reaching her. He'd tried that first time at about 6:00 a.m. when he normally wakes. He got nothing. He tried again half an hour later, nothing. He went for his morning run and came back filled with confidence this time it would work, nothing. He showered; there it must work it worked so well before. But it didn't. Nothing, nothing, and more nothing.
Jeff had been pacing his loft again when his cell phone rang.
"Guess what. Oh, never mind, you'll never guess. You are talking to the first female head trainer of a division one football team."
"No shit. Really? Does that mean I get free tickets for Terps game?"
"Not only that. They are giving me free rein with the entire defensive squad. Free Fucking Rein. I am so excited."
"Me too. They better make it to their conference championships next year. You always know just how to reach every single one, bringing out the best of everyone you work with. Every team you've touched has reduced injuries dramatically. "
"Not just that, although that is pretty fucking cool. I can get the dead weight to step it up, the third string to push the second, and the second to push the first. Maybe I should write a book on how to influence people?" "Okay, then get your ass over here so you can influence Eva."