Ali's Art Ch. 08byharding©
It was a week before we all got together again. Sandy called to see us Monday, but did not stay long and we remained clothed. She sat at the kitchen table and drank a glass of wine while explaining how she had managed to find a group of people that could help us, and would Sunday be OK for a meeting.
Ali said she would make food, get some drinks in and we could make it a party as well.
Sandy gave her a look, one I had seen before, and knew she was thinking we didn't take this seriously enough, but she just shrugged and said, "Fine. Whatever you think, Ali."
Sandy finished her wine, gave us both a quick kiss and left. I went down to the studio area and started on some new sketches. Ali went out, claiming to have a hot date and promising not to wake me when she came in.
The week went on more or less the same. Wednesday Ali introduced my to her hot date, a pretty, short girl with definite North African ancestry. Thursday Ali told me it was all off. Charlie (maybe not her real name, I thought) hadn't liked the idea of me sleeping in the bedroom next door to her and Ali.
Saturday afternoon Ali spent four hours preparing snacks, called me to help and I dipped chicken strips in breadcrumbs, followed her recipes for Chili sauce, stirred something strong and red and generally got in the way.
She bumped me with her hip as she passed, slapped my shoulder, came and stood leaning against me, her lovely breasts pressed into my side as she looked at what I was doing. She was in that kind of mood again, and I reveled in it.
Sunday we slept in. Ali came through in her robe and sat cross legged at the foot of my bed and let me look down the front at her breasts, knowing exactly what I was doing and not caring. I thought about moving a bit and letting her see my half erect cock, but thought she would be getting the worst of the deal so behaved myself and eventually she sighed as though I had disappointed her and went to shower.
I waited till I heard the water stop and her door open and close then went in and cleaned myself.
I was still in the shower when Ali came back. She did that a lot, more as time went on.
"Forgot to brush my teeth," she said, in explanation. "You don't mind, do you, Tom?"
"Go ahead," I said.
I turned around so I was facing her. Ali leaned over the sink, using her electric toothbrush, her ass wiggling deliciously as she moved her arm, the short robe riding up to display the lower curve of her butt.
My cock was filling again and I made no attempt to hide it. I saw Ali look in the mirror and move to get a better view, but she continued cleaning her teeth.
The buzzing of her toothbrush stopped and I turned sideways, soaping my cock and balls, being deliberately provocative.
Ali turned and crossed her arms, watched me for a moment and said, "You getting yourself off there, or are you really that dirty?"
"Just making sure, Al."
"Can you manage, or do you want some help?"
"I've got it covered."
She glanced down and grinned. "Not all of it," she said.
I took the shower head and rinsed myself off, played the water around my cock, washing soap away. Ali watched, unconcerned and unembarrassed.
"I'm gonna come in and watch you shower tomorrow," I said.
"Cool," she said.
I laughed and turned off the water, stepped out and towelled myself down.
"I've been thinking, Tom, what should I wear this afternoon?"
I looked at her, confused at the sudden change of direction. "For the meeting?"
"Yeah. Usual jeans, or something more formal?"
"I don't think it's like a business meeting or anything. Just what you usually wear, I guess."
I finished drying myself and went through to my bedroom to find clothes. Ali followed and sat on the edge of the bed, watched me open a drawer and pull out jockeys and slip them on. I heard her sigh as I covered up, but she was smiling.
"I guess we wear whatever we like."
"I guess," she said.
"Are you worried?" I asked. I turned back and passed her, found a clean shirt and pulled it on. As I passed by she traced her fingers down my back, over my ass and along my leg before I moved on.
"Not worried... just unsure. It feels like things are moving too fast for me. Like we're losing some control."
"That's a good thing," I said. "I don't think either of us knows what the fuck we're doing from the business side of things. We're artists, Al. Sandy's made such a difference in a week. I feel happier knowing she knows what she's doing."
"Yeah, I guess..."
I sat beside her on the bed and put my arm around her shouder, pulling her to me.
"What is it, Al?"
She shook her head. "Nothing. Nothing at all. Just me being stupid, is all."
"If you don't want this thing just say. We can carry on like we have been. We'll manage, if we have to."
She shook her head again. "Not that. No. I don't want to have to manage stuff. I want someone to take it all off me. But it feels like we're losing control."
"I trust Sandy," I said. "I've only known her a week, but I trust her."
"That's because you've had your tongue up her ass, Tom."
I laughed. "Not just that. She knows what she's doing, and I don't think she's going to rip us off."
"I know. It's me, that's all."
Ali pulled away and went to the bathroom door.
"Ignore me, Tom. I'm up for it."
She swirled away, deliberately showing me a flash of butt as she went and it was my turn to sigh.
Sandy and Jack arrived first, just before two and we kissed all round, except Jack and I who shook hands and bumped shoulders. Ali had changed three times, finally settling on a denim shirt and blue jeans, her hair tied up, showing her long neck. Sandy and Jack were also dressed in jeans, as was I. Jack helped me move the other two sofas so they formed a loose triangle with the old one and the girls put plates of food, dips, glasses, wine and beer on the large coffee table.
We were just finishing up when the doorbell sounded and Sandy let in the remaining two people.
"Tom, Ali, this is Tu Lai and Marty Collins."
We all brushed cheeks or shook hands then arranged ourselves on the seats, some kind of unspoken arrangement placing me and Ali at the centre of the large sofa, Sandy with us, Jack on another and Tu and Marty on the third.
Marty was a slim guy, a couple of inches shorter than me, with black framed glasses and straight dirty blond hair that fell just over his ears. He wore torn blue jeans and a Knicks sweatshirt.
Tu was extremly short, and I doubted she reached five feet. Slim and lithe, she was the most conservatively dressed, wearing a dark blue skirt that looked as though it formed part of a business suit and a white blouse buttoned almost to the neck. Her skin was a warm honey shade and her hair deep black, so black it glinted blue in the light from our windows, long so it fell almost to her waist. She had pushed it all back over her shoulders to keep her face clear. She had a small mouth with full lips, a delicate nose and dark eyes. She smiled politely when we were all being introduced, but sat now, her face a calm, emotionless mask.
There was no special reason for it, but I found her incredibly sexy. Maybe the exotic coloring, maybe the miniature nature of her, whatever it was I found myself frequently glancing in her direction.
Sandy looked at Ali and me and said, "Can I start?"
We both nodded.
"OK." Sandy sounded confident, sure of her ground. "I guess you all have some sort of idea why you're here. And I think you all know the kind of website that Tom and Ali operate?"
She glanced at the two newcomers. Obviously she and Jack did. Tu and Marty nodded, Tu's face still showing nothing. Marty was trying to supress a smile.
"And we're all OK with the kind of material that's on it?"
Again she looked at the new pair, who nodded once more.
"Fine. Ali and Tom have done pretty well so far, but they need help now. I want to suggest a proposal that is fair to everyone, and a roadmap of where this thing should go."
Sandy looked at me, turned to look at Ali.
"I've not said anything about this to either of you yet. Are you happy for me to continue?"
"Sure," I said, and Ali nodded her head.
"What I'm going to put forward might seem as though we're trying to take something away from you, but that's not the case. Remember that as I talk."
"We both trust you, Sandy," Ali said.
"I've been through your books now pretty carefully, and the first thing I need to say is that this is one hell of a business you have. It was a mess, and you both know that, but it's bringing in a significant amount of money. Somewhere in the region of $30,000 a month."
I think I looked shocked. Ali smiled at my reaction. Jack was leaning back, drinking from a bottle of beer, and I guessed he had heard all this before. Tu was leaning forward, listening, watching us for our reaction. Marty seemed as relaxed as Jack.
"However," Sandy continued, "I consider thirty K to be peanuts. The potential is unbelievable. But more than that, I think you need to seriously consider just how attached to the business you are."
She looked at us again, and we waited.
"If someone came along in, say, a couple of years, and offered to buy the website off you, would you consider that?"
I looked past Sandy at Ali, waiting for her reaction. This whole thing had been her idea to start with, I was just along for the ride.
Ali seemed to be considering, then nodded slowly. "I think so, yes. It's the drawing I like, I want to keep doing that. The website was just an idea for getting them out there. We could keep drawing, no-one could stop us doing that."
"What if whoever wanted the business inserted a clause that you couldn't draw for anyone else, couldn't sell your stuff independently?"
"Fuck 'em, then," Ali said.
Sandy gave a little grimace. "I guessed that's what you'd say. But that just might come up." She glanced at me.
"I'm with Al," I said. "Fuck 'em."
"OK. Maybe we may have worry about that if it happens," Sandy said. "Putting that aside for the moment, are you OK in principle? You'd be willing to sell up?"
"I guess," I said.
"You need to be sure. I don't want the rest of us getting into this if you change your minds down the road."
"Sandy, tell us what your proposal it," Ali said, "We'll listen and then make up our minds."
Sandy looked at Ali, her face serious, then nodded. "Right. I've run this past everyone here in the room, and we're all willing to work with you, for a salary. Initially we'll take a percentage of the profits, until we can build things up. I'm suggesting a pretty small cut, 5% each, with a cap of $50,000 each if it really takes off. That's 5% of the net profit, so expenses and costs come out first."
She looked around the room. We were all sitting forward now.
"And you need to set up a Limited Liability Company, registered here in New York. I've drawn up the papers. You and Ali need to sign them and then I can get it arranged. With this I would draw up what are known as Interest Certificates. These give each of us a share in the company. They will be allocated to everyone. You have 40% each, the rest of us 5%. I think that's fair, and gives us all a share in anything we make at the end of all this. But it gives both of you the majority holding between you.
"Then," Sandy continued, "If and when we sell up, everyone comes out of this with something, as well as the salary we have been paid. Are you both OK so far?" She looked at us.
"I'm with Al," I said. "To be honest, I don't really understand what you're telling me, but I trust you." I looked into her eyes as I spoke, looking for some sign of deception or guilt but saw only her beautiful clear blue eyes.
"The two of you continue what you have been doing, because you are the real heart of what the business is about. I'll do the accounting. Jack's going to do marketing. There's a lot he can do to get your name about, and which is not going to cost anything other than his time, and maybe a few subscriptions to some websites. Marty is going to rewrite your website and set up dedicated hosting. That'll cost you a few grand a year, but will give you more control and a much faster site. Tu is going to manage the business and cover the corporate side of things."
Sandy stopped and sat back, crossing her legs. She looked at Ali, looked at me.
I could tell you we had a long discussion, went into all the details, batted it back and forward until all the kinks were ironed out, but I would be lying. Ali looked at me, I looked at her, and we nodded.
"Do it," Ali said.
And that was it. We left everything up to them. Sandy and Tu registered the company and we all signed a bunch of papers without reading them.
Over the following months one or other of them were often in the apartment, sometimes all of us together. Tu dropped by and looked at what we were working on, looked at the backlog of sketches piled carefully for release. She came back a few times after that, and I got the impression she got off on looking at them. Tu didn't give out any vibes saying she was available, to either Ali of me, and she dressed conservatively, maybe because of the job she did.
Somehow, though, something came through, and I continued to find her sexy as hell. She was attractive, her Vietnamese ancestry showing in the silky tone of her skin and the color and shape of her eyes.
She wore a thin gold band on her left hand, and over the months as we chatted I discovered some of her history. She was born in the States. Her parents came over after the fall of Saigon. She had married three years, and I had the distinct impression it had been an arranged marriage. She had studied Business at NYU and now worked for a large Accountancy firm.
Marty called in almost as often. He worked on the website at his own place, but wanted to show me the progress he was making. We had signed a contract for a dedicated server, hosted in New York and though none of us ever saw it, Marty assured me it was sitting in a bunker deep underground with a thousand other servers for company and the occasional wandering technician.
He had been right, and the new site he developed was faster, cleaner and more user friendly.
On the Sunday we turned off the old site and switched to the new one, making sure our url still worked, we had another party at our place.
We tried to make an event of the switchover, but really it was Marty tapping away at a laptop then saying. "OK. Try it now."
I typed in the url and the site came up. Everyone cheered and slapped palms, but it felt like an anticlimax.
Now we had better control of the selling process, cutting out the middleman and removing their 5% take on all sales. We were also able to monitor sales in real time, and we left the stats on screen so we could watch as the money came in. We cheered to begin with when the numbers clicked up, but as the afternoon slipped into evening we grew bored, and even the racking up of real money lost its interest.
Around ten that evening we had all drunk too much. Ali was stretched out on the sofa with her legs lying across Jack and Sandy, who were sitting together at the other end. Marty was sitting on the floor leaning back against Sandy's feet, his hand gently stroking her bare leg. Sandy's skirt had risen up and bunched in her lap, and she leaned against Jack, one hand lightly tracing the long bulge in his pants, the other stroking Marty's hair.
I was leaning against the entrance to the studio nursing a glass of bourbon over ice when Tu came across and went past me and down the steps. I turned to watch her go, enjoying the way her straight black hair swung against her shoulders, letting myself scan down to where her narrow hips swayed as she descended the three wide steps.
I turned and followed her.
"You like these, don't you?" I said.
She glanced at me. "I do."
"Because they turn you on?"
She smiled, shook her head and nodded at the same time. "Sort of. But not really. I like the quality of them as well. I can tell which are yours and which are Ali's, too. And you've also got work from other people here now. But yours and Ali's are still the best."
"Why, thank you, ma'am."
Tu grinned. "You know you're good, Tom."
"I hope so."
We were standing close together, almost touching. Tu was so small the top of her head didn't reach my shoulder. Tonight she had not dressed in her usual business suit and white blouse but wore a dark gray silk top that clung to her small breasts, and a short blue wrap around skirt, much finer and looser than her normal wear. Her arms and legs were exposed, her skin that warm honey color.
She tucked her skirt up and folded her legs as she sat down and started flicking through a pile of drawings.
"Are any of these of you?"
"Some," I said, squatting down beside her. My leg rested lightly against her thigh, and she didn't pull away. I was drunk, and a small part of me wondered why I was doing this. Tu was attractive, one of those women who don't appreciate their own beauty, but she was also, now, a business colleague - a married business colleague. My body wanted her, the bourbon and wine and beer swimming around in my head and extending down to my balls wanted her. Tu was pretty wasted as well, I could tell, her eyes not quite focussed. I felt her leg press back against mine.
"Which ones?" she asked, still scanning.
I reached past her to another pile, pulled five sheets out.
"These are me," I said.
Two of them were Ali's early studies, showing me naked, my cock hard. One showed me ejaculating. The other three were new pieces Ali had drawn when I fucked Sandy. It was obvious who the models were.
Tu took them off me and looked at each, spent a long time on the second, moved on, spent a long time on the last one which showed me with my cock in Sandy's ass.
"These turn me on," she said softly.
She looked at me. "You know why, Tom. Because they're erotic. They jump off the paper at me they're so alive." Her voice was 100% American with no trace of an accent.
She picked up one of the sketches and held it in front of her, studying it closely.
"Have you really shaved your cock?" she asked. "Or is this what's called artistic licence?"
"What do you think?" I asked. I could feel myself growing hard in my pants. I had always thought Tu was sexy, but knew she was married, knew also if we were to work together it was safer to ignore any attraction I felt. Sandy was different, somehow, maybe because she and Jack were so completely relaxed about sex. Tu seemed more uptight.
Now she glanced at me. "I think you do shave it," she said. Her eyes were sparkling, her full lips damp where her tongue flicked out and licked them.
"We haven't really talked much, have we, me and you?" I said.
She shook her head. Her hair jet black, cut very long so it draped along her back and over her shoulders, moved loosely around her face.
My knees were aching so I turned and sat against the wall, stretching my legs out in front of me. "I'm not comfortable here. Do you want to go back through?"
She glanced over her shoulder. "I'm kind of trying to hide out, Tom. It's just... what they're doing in there... embarrasses me."
"Sex embarrasses you?"
A flush flared under her honeyed skin. "Not sex. I'm just not used to being so open about it."
I glanced at the thin wedding band on the finger of her left hand.
"Do you... and your husband enjoy a good sex life?"
Her flush deepened and spread, and she gave a tiny shake of her head.
"I want to talk to you, Tu, find out more about you," I said, "But I can't sit on this floor any longer. Are you OK if we go into my room? It's private in there."
"OK," she whispered.
I stood and offered my hand, helped her to her feet and walked with her through the living room. She took a route behind the large sofa and averted her eyes from what was happening. I was closer and glanced over.