From Bathing Suit to LawsuitbyISawYourMommy©
The forty-five-year-old oak towered thirty feet above the finely manicured lawn, its myriad branches lost in the glorious red and brown leaves that had flourished through the wet months of spring.
Buried deep in its branches, the man, unshaven and short in stature, brought the viewfinder on the Canon EOS to his right eye for what he hoped was the last time. He flexed his right index finger only briefly and the telephoto lens captured thirty-six, tight, high-resolution images of the events occurring fifty yards from the base of the old oak, on the other side of a seven-foot privacy fence.
He lowered the camera, checked its digital display and found the memory card nearly full. "That ought to do it," he muttered. He then unscrewed the lens and deposited the two pieces of equipment into a hip-sack that had been secured around his bony waist. A crooked smile -- more of a smirk -- deformed his thin lips as he carefully descended the tree's trunk and scurried across the backyard, into the tree-line, and toward the lime green 1989 Chevrolet Impala that he had parked on a nearby street.
* * *
Her career was in shambles. Her marriage, too. Though "shambles" might have been too generous. "Over," on both accounts, might have been more appropriate.
Annie Davidson had worked long and hard to achieve what she had now lost. A graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism, she had immediately entered the broadcast arena. Her concise and incisive reporting had kept her for not long in smaller -- but increasingly larger -- markets such as Des Moines, Iowa, Mobile, Alabama and Denver, Colorado.
After five short, ladder-climbing years, Annie found herself renting an apartment in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, having been hired by one of the major networks as sort of a roving reporter. Annie's ascension continued after she settled in Chicago. The market appreciated her largely objective reporting of local events, and she earned increasingly meaty assignments, as well as accolades from her peers.
Certain aspects of that market -- men, mostly -- also appreciated her from a physical perspective. She stood nearly six feet tall. Blond, nearly platinum, tresses flowed over her shoulders to below her shoulder blades. Her body was lean and perfect posture thrust her significant breasts forward. For this part of the market, she was watched intently -- but not always heard.
After six or seven years in Chicago, she felt that she had reached the height of her career in that market and began to set her sights on a more national forum, positioning herself for a transfer within the network that employed her to a posting in Washington, D.C. or New York. While she bided her time, she continued to push larger and larger stories and to rack up awards and honors.
In the meantime, Annie maintained an active social life. She could often be found after work at Tavern on Rush and similar venues, enjoying a few cocktails with friends. Through it, she met and married Jim Angelo and over the next few years two children were born of the couple.
But in a matter of hours, her career had shattered like so much fragile glass.
* * *
The weasel's assignment had been to observe -- and capture on film -- visitors to the home over the course of several weeks. Who they were, how long they stayed. During certain deployments, he had brought with him a parabolic microphone and thus: what was said.
Six times he had secreted himself in the old oak tree. On three other occasions, when he had determined that the subject's neighbors were vacationing, he had gained surreptitious entry to their home and lain upon a small balcony off the master bedroom, which had afforded him an obstruction-free vantage point of the subject's backyard.
Through these visits, he had captured nearly 3,000 still images and four hours of video (two of which were accompanied by an audio soundtrack). For the most part, the images were of little value to anyone. His subject had received family members, friends of his children, various maintenance personnel, his lawyer (the weasel was prohibited by his principal from using the parabolic during the lawyer visits). Not receiving any value for his investment, his principal had called off the surveillance, instructing the weasel this last shoot was in fact the last shoot.
When the twitchy, unkempt man entered his principal's office that final afternoon and laid the memory card on the news director's desk, he shrugged. "Don't worry, Alex. Turns out you got your money's worth." He paused, a nasally chuckle emanating from this throat. "And then some." He then turned and left.
The news director watched him go, the memory card untouched on his desk. When the door clicked shut behind the weasel, he picked up the memory card, turned it over between his fingers. Swiveling in his chair, he inserted into a port on the face of his computer, transferred the contents to his hard drive, then deleted the files from the memory card.
* * *
The images, captured at the noon hour, were the lead story on one of three Chicago news broadcasts at 5:00 that June evening. They were soon picked up by a second local service and hit the national wires within the hour. A collective gasp rose from the local community -- fans and detractors of Annie alike -- as images of her flashed across television screens from Lockport to Zion.
Her tanned, bikini-clad body caught in still-frame as she strode across the deck of the pool toward a hot tub.
Easing herself into the hot tub -- her breasts high and firm on her chest, a diamond pendant resting snugly in her substantial cleavage -- the man across from her raising his glass to her.
Annie sliding around the edge of the hot tub toward him, her nipples blurred but impliedly erect, and his smile broader, toothier, than it had been a few frames earlier.
Their lips meeting, a peek of her wet pink tongue slipping into his mouth, her hand disappearing beneath the frothy waterline.
The man putting his arms behind him, lifting himself out of the hot tub.
A blurred image of his bathing suit mid-way down his hairy thighs.
And then a shot of Annie from behind, her face buried in the man's crotch, one hand resting on his thigh, the other tweaking his bare nipple between manicured nails.
Annie's adultery was not newsworthy in and of itself. Infidelity is not what made her the lead story for the two competing networks during the 10:00 broadcast later that evening. But the man whose house she had visited -- the man she had been caught fellating -- was the suspect in an ongoing, high profile police investigation into the disappearance of his business partner. He had been the subject of much reporting in the local media, some of it undertaken -- incredibly --by Annie herself.
Not to put too fine of a point on it, but Annie had been caught on film with a mouthful of cock belonging to a murder suspect that had been the subject of her own investigative reporting. And the implication was clear: she had given up her mouth and vagina and who knew what else to get the "interview."
* * *
The aftermath had not been pretty. Whatever she had gained from the "interview" never saw the light of day, all semblance of objectivity now having been blown out of the water. Annie was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. But that didn't last long. In a few short days, as the story continued to be reported in local media, her leave became unpaid and, soon after, permanent. The network to which she had devoted the better part of a decade had abandoned her: she had been terminated.
In the months that followed, she sought in vain to secure a new position in the broadcast world. She interviewed for jobs in larger markets like Boston, Atlanta and Seattle, then in Minneapolis, Tampa Bay and Raleigh, and finally in Lafayette, Indiana, Grand Rapids, Michigan and Durango, Colorado. No one would touch her. She was, as one anonymous source had so indelicately put it, toxic. Her career in broadcast journalism -- any aspect of reputable journalism, really -- was effectively over.
Her marriage had fared little better. It had, thus far, survived, but that survival gave new meaning to the phrase "hanging by a thread." Initially, Jim had sought to stand by her. He remained stoic in public when approached by the reporting masses, and when the two were seen out they were holding hands, playing with their children in the local park and otherwise seeming the perfect couple whose largest concern was what to cook for dinner that night.
But as Annie's attempts to secure new employment in the journalistic world fizzled, the strain on their marriage increased. She was depressed, which led to expressed discontentment in her life. Each rejection letter brought about fraternity-style binge drinking followed by inconsolable hang-overs. She began withdrawing from Jim, from the children, into her own dark world permeated with self-loathing.
And while Jim had at first given her wide latitude, the months took a toll on him, as well. To begin, while he had maintained a positive public attitude, his wife's infidelity -- so shockingly caught on film and so publicly displayed in the mass media -- had been humiliating. And though he loved her and sought to provide for her the emotional support that one offers a loved one, he knew deep down that he could never forgive her betrayal.
That led, of course, to a distancing between the once happily-married couple. Intimacy subsided, to say nothing of their sex life. Not that she was terribly interested, wallowing as she was in misery and booze. But Jim could not help but wonder, every time he looked at the outwardly beautiful woman, where she had been touched. And by whom? And how many times? How many of them had there been? His pride did not allow him to ask these questions and his resentment of her -- of the unknown -- grew consequently, deepening the divide.
They were soon leading largely separate lives. He moved her into the guest room of their spacious Lincoln Park home and soon thereafter filed for legal separation. They rarely ate together. They didn't socialize as a couple -- he had his events and she hers. And over time, Annie began to suspect that Jim was having an affair, and the suspicion was reciprocal. But Jim's thoughts weren't as civilized or so kindly put -- he simply believed that Annie was a fucking slut.
His belief was well-founded.
* * *
(A Year Later)
The cool water felt good on her hot flesh. She breast-stroked toward the ladder at the deep end of the pool atop the East Bank Club. Her long, elegant fingers grabbed at the rails and she gracefully pulled herself out of the pool. She stepped onto the pool deck and water cascaded down her tanned, fit body, erect nipples evident against the hot pink top of her bikini.
As she walked toward her chaise lounge, her large breasts bobbed inside the top, which appeared to be a size too small. She tilted her head to the side and knocked a little water from one of her ears and then reached behind her, wringing water from the locks that were plastered to her skull and the nape of her neck, before settling onto the lounge. A waiter stopped and asked her if he could get her anything and she ordered a vodka-and-lemonade. He gave her a questioning look, as it was barely 11:00 am on that glorious Saturday, but then quickly moved on.
'Its noon somewhere,' she thought to herself as she leaned back, allowing her golden flesh to soak up the heat of the sun, and reached into her bag for a fashion magazine.
Annie tended to spend Saturdays at the club. Jim stopped complaining about it months ago. She'd wake up and, once the kids were out of bed, she'd feed them and watch a little television with them before their weekend sports activities started. Then she'd leave, announcing only, "Be back later," leaving Jim to run around town all day to different parks and sports facilities.
At the club, she'd change into a pair of shorts and a tank top and spend thirty minutes on the treadmill, thumbing through People and US Weekly and, occasionally, Newsweek. She would then run a circuit of machines to tone her muscles before settling into the steam room and a quick shower.
During the summer months, and when weather permitted, she'd make her way up to the pool, situated on the roof, and lie in the sun, swim a little and, more often than not, have a few drinks. 'Just to take the edge off,' she'd tell herself.
The waiter returned with her drink and she took it from him without thanks or even a smile. When she finished it, she ordered another and then another -- "Make it a double this time" -- occasionally sliding her lithe body into the pool to cool her sizzling flesh. Midway through the afternoon, as she was reading the latest People, a voice sounded over her left shoulder.
"Mind if I sit here, ma'am?"
"Whatever you wanna do," she intoned, flipping the page and not even bothering to look up. A bead of sweat, and then another, gathered at the top of her cleavage before coursing down the chasm formed by her breasts.
The man made himself comfortable and ordered an iced tea from the waiter.
After a while, Annie looked up, found her drink and brought it her soft lips, the rim smeared with her frosted pink gloss. Her eyes roamed easily over the man's body before she realized that, if a man, he barely was one. His chest and washboard stomach were well-developed and largely bereft of hair. His legs were equally muscular. But when her eyes rested on his smooth face, she realized that the man, strikingly handsome as he might be, could not be far from his teens. Her previously cool demeanor thawed a little.
"Sorry for being rude earlier," she said, her voice soft and sweet.
"Huh?" he uttered with a slight jerk of his body, startled by the sound of her voice. He rolled his head toward her.
"I said, sorry that I was so rude to you when you sat down."
"Oh. That. Yeah, don't worry about it." He then re-settled into a relaxed state.
Annie took another swig from the pint glass and swallowed slowly, savoring the cool liquid as it flowed down her esophagus, chilling her stomach. Behind her oversized sunglasses, her bright blue eyes again swept over the young man's chiseled body and, despite the heat, her nipples hardened.
"I'm Annie, by the way."
He lifted his head and Annie nearly groaned aloud as the taut abdominal muscles popped along his stomach. After a moment, he leaned up on an elbow, sweat running liberally from his chest, and offered her his opposite hand. "Scott. Good to meet you."
"You as well."
Her hand was soft and warm in his, the pads of her fingers and the tips of her crimson nails dragging along his palm as she withdrew her hand.
A moment of silence.
"Nice day, huh?"
He looked over the pool and nodded his agreement.
"So, Scott, interested in a drink? I feel like a lush drinking alone."
He smiled at her and brushed loose hair from his eyes. "Thanks, but I have this," he said, touching the rim of his iced tea glass.
She cocked her head slightly, flirtatiously, and returned his smile. "Yeah, but I didn't hear a 'Long Island' in there when you ordered it."
Scott shrugged his shoulders. "A little early for me."
"A little early?" she chuckled, glancing at her watch. "It's nearly three o'clock. What are you, eighteen? I thought young boys like you drank early and often?"
Scott laughed along with her. "Yeah, I do. Sometimes. But I drove over today. And no, I'm not eighteen. Twenty-two."
Annie shrugged her shoulders and settled back against the lounge. She took a sip of her vodka-lemonade and flipped through a few pages of a new fashion magazine. "You should learn to take cabs in the city," she said absently. "Or do you live out in the 'burbs?"
"No, I live down here. In the city."
"Yeah? Where?" she asked, adjusting one of the shoulder straps of her bikini top and swiping a bead of perspiration from her collar bone.
She frowned at that, lifting the glasses off her eyes. "And just how do you manage that, at twenty-two?"
"My dad bought it for me. He's an asshole, but wants his son to live well, I guess."
"Well, as long as you get the benefits of it," she said after a moment, shifting to her left side to more fully face him. Her breasts squished together in the process and the soft, pliant flesh threatened to spill over the top of the neon pink fabric.
"Yeah, but it's not really for me. It's so he can tell all his friends that he takes care of the family that he left behind when he started sleeping with his whore girlfriend." With that, Scott finished his iced tea.
Annie noticed and prodded him. "Time for a drink with me now?"
"Uh, sure. I guess. Just one, though. I really don't like to drive after I've been drinking."
Annie leaned toward him, her large breasts swelling even more inside the revealing bikini top, and rested her manicured fingers on his muscled forearm. "Well," she began, her nails scraping lightly at his flesh and tugging softly at the blonde hairs along his arm, "drive first, then drink."
He looked into Annie's shockingly blue eyes. "What do you mean, 'drive then drink'?"
She patted his arm. "C'mon. Let's take a drive in your car, and then get a drink somewhere."
He considered this a moment, eyes squinting. "Uh, what did you have in mind?"
She smiled at him sweetly, her straight, white teeth gleaming, and leaned in closer, whispering. "How about the Park Hyatt?"
A smile creased his features. "Like NoMi? Or somewhere else?"
Her bright, flirtatious smile remained. "Somewhere else."
* * *
A few minutes later, Annie and Scott stood beneath the portico waiting for the valet to bring his car up from the garage.
"Sure you can drop me back here after we . . . uh . . . have our drink?" she inquired, her bare shoulder bumping his playfully.
"No problem at all." His tone was confident and he was smiling, but the heat of her flesh against his left his knees weak and caused a stirring in his groin.
"Thought not," she muttered as a silver Porsche came to a stop at the curb and the valet alighted from it.
Scott held the passenger door for Annie and nearly shivered when the flimsy sundress she wore over her bikini slid up her luscious thighs as she eased into the seat. When he closed the door on her, he stole a quick glance down her top, into the dark cleavage formed by her healthy breasts, and then quickly skirted around the car and got in.
"Nice car, Scott," Annie teased, wriggling against the seat and finding a comfortable position.
"Thank the asshole," he said, slipping the stick into first gear and turning right out of the driveway.
A few minutes later, he rolled the car up to the residential entrance to the building, jumped out and opened the door for her. "So, NoMi, or do you still want to go 'somewhere else'?"
She smiled at him and then patted him lightly on the bottom. "Definitely somewhere else."
Scott shrugged and led her through the revolving door into the building's lobby. "Hey, Willy," he said, waving to the doorman.
"And how are you, Mr. Paulson?"
"Just fine, Willy, just fine." Scott nearly bounced past the lobby desk, Annie Davidson in tow. She waved shyly to Willy as she passed and he tipped his hat at her.
Scott and Annie waited for the elevator and the two remained quiet as it rose, exiting without a word when the doors swished open. When they stopped in front of his door, he slid his key into the lock and pushed the door open, following her into his apartment.
Annie walked down the entrance hallway and into a large, open living room with windows for two of its walls. She paused where the two windows met and looked down Michigan Avenue and then across, over the Museum of Modern Art toward Lake Michigan. "Beautiful," she whispered, almost to herself.