Kate Pt. 01byMoogPlayer©
Here's a story that I wrote while I was out on the road this last time. I hope you all enjoy it; and as usual, it is pure and total fiction. God bless you, each and every one... and please don't forget to vote.
"Long is the way and hard, that out of hell leads up to the light..."
taken from "Paradise Lost"
"Dammit," the young woman hatefully spat, "Why don't you watch where the hell you're going?"
"Oh, my gosh, I'm terribly sorry," I apologetically replied, trying to help her recover the armful of papers that she'd been carrying before I accidentally ran into her, "It was an accident, I swear."
"Why don't you try getting a fucking haircut, asshole?" she venomously hissed, pushing me away from her, refusing my help in recovering her paperwork, "Maybe then you can see what's in front of you."
"Look, I said I was sorry," I suddenly, yet defensively growled, "Why don't you try being a little nicer, you might even get a date? God knows you sure as hell need one."
"Kiss my ass," she quietly hissed, "You long haired son of a bitch."
"Then why don't you mark off a chunk?" I sharply replied, "Because from what I can see, you're all ass."
As opposed to saying anything further, she very hatefully glared at me, and after gathering all of her papers from the floor, she stood up, and then turned and stomped away. I watched as she walked away from me. Granted, she was very beautiful and very nicely built, no doubt about it; but her actions made her as ugly as they come, at least in my eyes anyway...
"Jeez," I said, to no one, "What a bitch."
After gathering my own paper work, as well as retrieving my briefcase, I stood up and made my way toward the elevator so as not to be late for my appointment.
Hi, my name is Mark Powers; I'm originally from Key West, Florida, but I attended college on an athletic scholarship at the University of Houston, in Houston, Texas; but I now live and work in Nashville, Tennessee. I'm six feet, four inches tall, and I weigh a solid two hundred and fifty pounds, with long shoulder length, dark brown hair, and pale blue eyes. I'm fifty-two years old, but what your about to read took place when I was twenty-five. I'd gone to college and gotten my Master's Degree in Architectural Engineering & Design, and because of my aptitude for it, I ended up graduating at the top of my class.
Before I begin the story though, I think a little of my personal background might be in order first. I came, not so much from a broken home, but I grew up without a father, as he was killed when his fighter-jet exploded after taking a surface-to-air missile in the skies over Hanoi during the Vietnam War. I was only six years old, and because I was an only child, I had no siblings either. I remember telling Mom when I was a teenager that she needed to get out and meet someone new, and maybe even re-marry.
However, Mom would always smile and tell me that I was the only man in her life, and I guess when it came right down to it, I don't think she ever really got over the death of my Dad, because she lived long enough to see me graduate from high school, but she passed away in her sleep one night during the summer after I turned eighteen.
I was lost for a little while after that, but because I inherited my father's strength of will, I finally got myself together and went to college. Still though, I had not only my Uncle John, Mom's younger brother, and his wife, Aunt Lisa, but I two girl cousins, Karen, and especially Tabitha, (whom I'll talk about later) their daughters, as well as my maternal grandmother (Grandpa was killed during the Korean War); all of whom were always there for me, which made my turbulent teen aged years a lot easier to deal with.
They were very wonderful people whom I felt blessed to have in my life back in those days, and it's because of not only their teachings, but also because of their influence that I became the man I did, a responsible adult who believes in doing the right thing at all costs, regardless of the consequences to myself. I also believe that principles don't mean a thing unless you're willing to stick by them even when they're inconvenient for you. Now, back to the story...
Once I graduated college, I was recruited by a headhunter for an Engineering firm in Nashville, Tennessee. The name of the firm was Linder & Dodge, and they started me off at $68, 200.00 per year. I thought that wasn't too bad for someone just coming out of college; plus, they paid for my moving expenses and found me a very nice house to lease in a very nice neighborhood as well. The only thing I had to do was drive my car from Houston, Texas to Nashville, Tennessee. It took me roughly fourteen hours, because I chose to be safe and take my time; driving it over a period of two days as opposed to trying to do it all in one.
After I got settled into what I thought would be my home for the next few years, I was given about two weeks before I had to report to work. That gave me enough time to basically learn my way around town; well, from my house to work, and of course to places like the area stores...as well as all of the places I would have to go in order to pay my utility bills, that sort of thing. And once I was finished moving in and getting settled into my new home, one of my bosses, a man named Michael "Mike" Dodge, came over to see me the Friday before I was to report to work on the following Monday.
"Hello, Mark," he jovially replied, shaking my hand when I answered the front door, "I'm Mike Dodge and I thought I might come by so that you and I could talk before you came to work on Monday. Is this a good time for you?"
"Yes sir," I smiled, happily shaking his hand, "Please, come on in and make yourself at home. May I offer you something to drink? I've got soft drinks, tea and coffee. I don't really drink a lot, but if you'd like, I can go to the store and get you a beer or something."
"No, not at all," he widely grinned, "I think a cup of coffee would hit the spot right about now, if that's alright."
"Yes sir," I smiled, "One large cup of coffee, coming right up."
I'd just brewed a fresh pot of coffee only moments before he arrived, and while I was pouring him a cup, I took a moment to get a good look at him. Michael Dodge was a man in his early to mid fifties, with a full head of dark hair which was the same color as mine, only his had a touch of gray at the temples, but he had dark eyes. He stood roughly the same height as me and probably weighed maybe ten pounds more than I did, but my gut instinct told me that while he was a different sort of man, I would at least enjoy working for him.
"I wanted to be the first to welcome you to Nashville, Mark," he smiled, "And I think you're going to fit in well with the rest of the team at Linder and Dodge."
"I'm glad you think so, Mister Dodge," I respectfully replied, "And I wanted to thank you for giving me this opportunity, sir."
"Please, call me Mike," he grinned, "Mister Dodge is my father, and I want you to call my partner, David Linder, by his first name as well."
"Thank you, Mike," I smiled, "It's just that I was always taught to address the people above me by, Mister, Miss, or Missus."
"And that's good, too," he happily replied, "Because we definitely address our clients that way."
"Speaking of which," I began, "What is it that you want me to do for the firm?"
"It's funny you should ask," he chuckled, "I spoke with your teachers where you went to college in Houston, and they all told me that you have a surprising affinity for design, and that your ideas are some of the freshest, innovative, and most modern that any of them had ever seen."
"Really," I asked, "So, I guess you're going to put me in the design department then?"
"I knew you were a smart guy," he laughed, "My partner and I both agree with your teachers, especially after having seen some of the projects that you handed in; and I think that you have the potential to take Linder and Dodge to new heights, Mark."
"Thank you," I gratefully replied, "I appreciate this opportunity and I'll do my very best for you, sir."
"I know you will, kid," he chuckled, and then changing the subject, he smiled and told me, "I'm having a get together at my house this evening, and I was hoping that you might want to come over and join us."
"I'd be more than happy to," I smiled, "How should I dress, where do you live, and what time should I be there?"
"Dress casually, blue jeans and a nice shirt will be perfect," he grinned, and after giving me directions to his house, which were very easy to follow, he stood up, extending his hand, and then right before he left, he smiled and told me, "I look forward to seeing you tonight. Try to be there around seven this evening, okay?"
"Sure, no problem," I smiled, shaking his hand, "But I do have one question before you leave, Mike."
"Of course," he grinned, "What is it?"
"It's about the length of my hair," I apprehensively asked, "I'm not going to have to cut it before I come to work on Monday, am I?"
"Are you kidding me?" he laughed, "Wait until you meet my partner, David Linder. I think you'll have the answer you're looking for. In the mean time, I'll see you tonight, Mark," and then he left, smiling as he closed the door on his way out.
After I showered and shaved, I put on a pair of Levi's 501® blue jeans, with a nice long sleeved shirt, and my favorite pair of black, Justin® Roper boots. After I brushed my hair and stepped in front of a mirror to make sure everything was in place, I locked my house up and stepped into my garage.
My grandmother bought me a brand new Chevrolet Corvette Stingray as a graduation present from college. It was painted a deep shade of metallic Midnight Blue, and had the classic Slot Mag Wheels, as well as a white leather interior with all the bells and whistles.
The moment I got into my car, I pushed the button on the remote for the automatic garage door opener, and the moment it opened, I started my car's engine, and then backed out of my garage to give it a few moments to warm up. After I pushed the button on the remote again, making the garage door close, my car had had plenty of time to warm up so; I backed out of my driveway and headed out, stopping off at the nearest store, before going to Mike's house.
I was always taught to never come to someone's house empty handed. Therefore I made sure to pick up a small floral arrangement for Mike's wife, whom I hadn't met as of yet, but was looking forward to doing.
I followed the directions Mike had given me earlier that afternoon, and within half an hour, I was in Franklin, Tennessee, pulling up into the driveway of what was clearly an old Antebellum-style house that had been beautifully restored to its previous former glory.
There were several cars parked in the large circular driveway, and for reasons of convenience, I parked behind the one which was furthest from the house. Then I got out of my car, taking the small floral arrangement with me, and made my way to the front door.
After ringing the doorbell, I was greeted by a very pretty lady who was somewhere in her late thirties, or perhaps her early forties. She had long honey blonde hair, and a beautiful complexion, with bright, sparkling green eyes. She stood about five feet, seven inches tall, was very fit and her measurements were proportionate to her height, and she wore very nicely fitting blue jeans with a long sleeved, pink blouse.
"Hello, there," she pleasantly smiled, with a lovely southern accent, "You must be Mark Powers."
"Yes, ma'am," I politely replied, "I am."
"Hello, Mark," she sweetly grinned, "I'm Linda Dodge, Michael's wife. Welcome to our home."
"Thank you," I smiled, handing her the floral arrangement, "These are for you."
"Oh, how pretty," she smiled, smelling the flowers in the arrangement, "I can tell that your Mamma raised you right, boy, come on in here. We've all been waiting for you," and then she gently took my arm and escorted me into the house.
"You have a very beautiful home," I told her, as she led me toward the back of the house, "Whoever restored this place did an excellent job."
"Thank you, sweetie," she softly replied, "We're very proud of it. Michael said that you had a good eye for design, maybe you can think of something it might need to improve it, huh?"
"Hardly," I politely told her, "At least not from what I can see."
"My, my," she lightly giggled, "But aren't you a pleasant young man?"
"Thank you," I smiled, "But it's the company that brings out the best in me."
"Goodness gracious," she continued, giggling, "You really are a charmer, Mark. How refreshing, especially for someone your age."
"Someone my age," I gently teased, "You're only two or three years older than me at the very most."
"Oh, my," she suddenly, but softly exclaimed, a bright smiled spread widely across her pretty face, "You must let introduce you to some of the young ladies around here."
"Uh, maybe some day," I uncomfortably replied, "I should get my career on track before I even think about that part of my life, if you'll please excuse for saying so, that is."
"Of course," she smiled, her hand still gently resting beneath my forearm, "Come on, handsome, everyone is out back."
"Michael, honey," Linda announced, the moment we arrived in the back yard, "Look who I found at the front door."
"Mark," Mike widely grinned, immediately standing up to come and greet me, "I'm glad you could make it. Please, come with me, I've got some people I want you to meet."
"Yes, sir," I smiled, "Lead the way, boss."
I followed him to where he previously was seated, and per his invitation, taking the seat that was next to where he sat earlier. I immediately saw a guy who was the same age as Mike, maybe only a couple of years older at the very most, and he had long dark, mixed with silver, hair, the same length as mine, and piercing gray eyes.
"I'll bet my life savings that you're name is Mark Powers," he grinned, immediately extending his hand to greet me, "My name is David Linder, and please...feel free to call me David as opposed to Mister Linder."
"It's very nice to meet you, David," I smiled shaking his hand, "And I wanted to also thank you for giving me the opportunity to come and work for you guys."
"I told you," Mike chuckled, "Didn't I, Dave?"
"You sure did, partner," David proudly replied, "He's everything you said," and then he looked back at me and told me, "We're very glad to have you here, Mark. I've heard some pretty good things about you, son."
"Thank you, sir," I smiled, "I promise not to let you down."
"We know you won't, Mark," Mike grinned, "We've got faith in you, kid."
"I hope you brought an appetite with you, my friend," David knowingly replied, "We had some barbecue imported here from your neck of the woods, Houston, Texas."
That's bullshit, David," some guy who appeared in front of me drunkenly slurred, "Everybody knows the only thing coming out of Texas is steers and queers."
"Is that right?" I defensively asked, "And you know this from experience, do you?"
Of course my comment made both David and Mike roar with laughter, until Mike told me, "Don't pay any attention to that horse's ass, Mark. He's my wife's cousin, Harold Parker, and the only reason that I haven't thrown him out on his ass is because my wife won't let either of us touch him. She says that he'll end up making an ass out of himself all by himself."
"If that's the case, then why is he here to begin with?" I asked, and then suddenly remembering my place, I quickly replied, "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that."
"Don't worry about it," David laughed, "The reason why he's here is because he's a major stockholder in the company, and we have to put up with him."
"May I ask a question?" I inquired, "If it's alright, that is."
"Of course," Mike knowingly chuckled, "What would you like to know?"
"Does this guy own the controlling stock?" I asked, "Or is he simply a shareholder?"
"He owns twenty percent of the stock," David replied, "The rest of it is equally divided between Mike and me. That way, there's no chance of a hostile takeover."
"I know that I'm just a nobody, and I haven't even started working for you guys yet," I told them, "But if this guy makes another comment about me, or where I come from I'm..."
"I want you to just let him spout, Mark," David gently interrupted me smiling, "Mike and I have great plans in store for you, m'boy," and then he leaned over so that only him, Mike and myself could hear, and softly added, "Wait until you've been here for at least a couple of months before you knock the son of a bitch on his ass...do it for Mike and me, okay kid?"
"Yes sir," I knowingly grinned, "I'll do whatever you guys want me to."
David, Mike and I had continued getting to know one another better, and I was thoroughly enjoying myself, in spite of the occasional jabs Harold would walk by us and throw in from time to time. However, because I knew that he was just another stupid ass as far as I was concerned, I paid him no mind whatsoever.
What I did notice, however, was that, out of the corner of my eyes, I saw Linda talking to two other very pretty women. One of them seemed to be about the same age as her, give or take a year here or there, but the other one was clearly younger than the other two and couldn't be any older than twenty-three, or twenty-four at the very most.. And like I said, all three of them were very pretty, beautiful even; but I could see a look of something in their eyes which, until then, I was totally unfamiliar with.
It wasn't until Linda walked over to where Mike, David, and I were sitting and talking that I noticed that she was up to something...something that I somehow knew concerned me.
"Michael, honey," she knowingly smiled, as she gently took my hand and made me rise from my seat, "I want to borrow Mark here for a little while. You two have been keeping him all to yourselves since the moment he got here; besides, I have someone I want to introduce him to."
"Be careful, Mark," David laughed, "I have the feeling that Linda is lining you up for something that you're not ready for yet."
"He's right," Mike chuckled, "Be careful, kid, or she'll have you walking down the aisle with any one of the local debutants around here."
"Don't listen to those two, Mark, dear," Linda giggled, in her delightful southern accent, "That's not what I've got in mind at all. I simply want to introduce you to someone that I think you'll absolutely adore."
"Okay, then, lead the way," I cautiously, but politely told her, "I'll follow you, pretty lady."
Once Linda took me back into the house, she asked me to take a seat on the couch in what appeared to be a great room of sorts; and also seated in two chairs that faced me were the two females I'd seen her talking with earlier.
"Mark Powers," she softly smiled, taking a seat next to me on the couch, "Allow me to introduce Missus Madeline Linder, David's wife, and her niece, Miss Kara Wilkins. Kara just graduated from Lipscomb University with a degree in Liberal Arts."
I guess now would be a good time to describe the other two ladies. Madeline Linder, you could clearly tell, came from old money, and was deep seated within the tradition of the area. She stood roughly the same height, and was of the same build as Linda, and beautiful in her own right.
She had shoulder length deep auburn colored hair, with blue eyes; and while she was also very pretty, there was something about her that exuded a discriminatingly holier than thou attitude. Don't get me wrong, she was very nice to me, but I could tell that it was somehow forced, and not genuine.