Eco-"Friendly" CleaningbyTx Tall Tales©
The high cost of success in her business.
This is an entry in the EARTH DAY STORY CONTEST 2013. A sad, dark story of ambition, redemption, a love betrayed, and the lives affected.
It started as a good deed. I swear. Makes you wonder sometimes.
My best friend Nick was on his honeymoon. Twenty eight years old, he was on his second marriage. In my opinion he hit the jackpot with this one. Alice was attractive, had a good job, and was an absolute sweetheart. Good for him. He deserved it after the first miserable go-around. At least that cheating bitch had moved away, and we didn't have to be around her anymore.
I was responsible for watching over his house while he was gone. Not much to do, really, no pets to take care of, or plants to water. I had a key for emergencies, and I checked his mail. That was about it.
I knew that his new wife would be moving in with him upon their return, and letting go of her apartment. Nick's place was a bachelor pad, and he wasn't the cleanliest person in the world. I looked around, after emptying his mailbox and checking for any packages left on the front stoop. He'd made an effort to neaten it up, but it really could use a woman's touch, and a thorough cleaning.
I knew just the people for the job. Intimately as it were.
My wife of six years, Brenda, had started a cleaning service a couple of years earlier. She was a real neatnik. Our home was always spic-and-span and I wasn't complaining. Her friend Gail was similarly cleaning compulsive, and over some beers one evening they came up with the idea of starting their own service. I was happy to sit in on the discussion and add in my two cents where appropriate. I knew a little about starting your own business, since I'd done it twice. The second one stuck, and had been paying our way ever since.
The conversation had entered the realm of differentiation. How they could make their business stand out.
"So much of the commercial cleaning products are crap," my wife argued, somewhat intelligently for the amount of alcohol she'd imbibed.
"Full of poisons, too," Gail added. "I stopped using most of them. I'm using the Mrs. Meyers stuff almost exclusively now. It doesn't even cost that much more."
"Meyers? Have you tried the Seventh Generation cleaners? So much better," Brenda argued.
They got into an argument over what the best natural and organic cleaners were. Shows how much I know. I'd never heard of any of them. Seventh Generation, Mrs. Meyers, castile soap, Trader Zen, Bon Ami, and homemade solutions with orange, vinegar and other stuff.
I sat back and kept my peace, content to watch them. Neither was hard on the eyes, and I figured as long as I didn't cause trouble, I had a fair chance of getting lucky that night.
They eventually decided their gimmick was to use Eco-friendly cleaning materials, good for the environment, and all that hooey. I didn't think much of the idea, but didn't want to rain on their parade. I worked with them on the business basics, marketing, business plan, bank accounts, etc. I even funded the effort, and we agreed to use our vacation fund that year to give them a start.
Six months in they were getting down in the dumps. Their business was slow taking off, and I was pumping a little more money into it every month it seemed. Not a lot, but the ladies were almost working for free. Brenda seemed to be always tired, and in a bad mood most of the time. I was considering asking them to give up the business. It was rough on our marriage, a drain on our bank account, and didn't seem to be going anywhere.
We were gathered together at our house, on a Sunday afternoon. Just the four of us, my wife and I, her partner Gail and her husband Ron. The conversation returned to the subject of their business, and the issue of differentiation. The 'eco' cleaners didn't appear to be enough.
Ron started the conversation down the slippery slope. "If your customers saw how you cleaned our house, you know damn well they'd all be repeats."
Gail blushed, and I raised my eyebrows in question.
"Panties alone is about the most conservative outfit she wears."
"Ron!" Gail squealed.
Of course the visual that came to mind was not something I would share. Gail was pretty enough, kind of plain-pretty, but her body. Damn! Some serious attention grabbing tits, and a nice round ass. Little thicker around the waist than absolutely necessary, but I sure as hell wouldn't have minded seeing her scrubbing the floor in just her panties.
"It's true. Her birthday suit's her favorite outfit."
I grinned. "I know I'd pay a premium for a maid like that." Stupid, I know in retrospect, but I blurted it out. "Remember that French maid outfit you surprised me with," I reminded Brenda, heading off any grief.
She smiled. "Oh yeah. That got your motor running."
Gail was taking the whole thing more seriously than I expected. "Maybe something like Hooters? Shorty shorts and a tied off ultra-tight t-shirt? Think that would have them ringing the phone off the hook?"
"Every red-blooded single male in the area," I laughed.
"Most of the married ones, too. If they could get away with it," Ron said.
Brenda was catching on. "You really think so? Would they pay extra for it?"
I looked over at her and Gail, who seemed to be seriously considering the idea. "You would do that?"
She shrugged. "No worse than going to the beach, really. Maybe a bikini top and tight shorts."
Gail leaned forward eagerly. "We could give them choices. Sexy maid, lingerie, bikini. Different price points."
"All your staff would do that?" Ron asked.
"Don't know if all of them would, or if we'd even want them to. I imagine for the right price we could find plenty. Get a raise from $9.00 an hour to $15.00 and raise our prices by $10.00. I know I could find the girls, the question is would it really work?"
A week later, after endless discussions they were determined to try. I wasn't feeling 100% comfortable with the idea, and made sure that Brenda knew it.
"It's just an outfit, Dave. We'll make sure it's very clear there's no touching, no solicitation, nothing of that sort. I've looked it up. There are lots of companies doing something just like it. In most major metro areas. We'd be the only ones around here."
"I'm still not sure I like all those guys ogling my wife," I insisted.
She laughed, climbing in my lap and hugging me. "With the girls I'm lining up, I doubt they'll be doing much looking at me. There's a lot of young hard-bodies looking for work. Looks like we can pay them as much as $20 an hour and still make a nice profit. College girls, single moms, underpaid liberal art majors, there's a lot of them out there."
"Maybe the management should wear more conservative clothing. More professional."
She shook her head. "No way. That's the big secret. We show up looking sexy at that initial meeting, lay out all the ground rules, and set the hook. Then the cleaning crew does the real work."
"What if I said no?" I told her.
She looked disappointed. "I wouldn't fight you on it. You've been so supportive so far, I have no reason to complain. Please don't. I think this could be the key. We've got the experience now, and the infrastructure. The costume part could be the beginning of something big. You know nothing bad would happen. I'd never allow that. Let us at least try? Please?" She went into her sexy routine, kissing me, wriggling sweetly in my lap. "I can never thank you enough for all you've done so far, but I promise, I'd try really hard. Really, really hard."
How do you say no to the woman you love chasing her dream, when all you have is a niggling little worry? I couldn't.
I went into support mode once again. I found a college kid to do an improved website for them, with interactive online reservations. Choosing the outfits, adding gallery of photos. A little search engine optimization, some paid ads, and business picked up a little. They had two cars, and we added fancy 'wraps' advertising their business, for impressions and word of mouth referrals. Their staff was four underpaid 'undocumented' ladies they had working with them for about $9 an hour. Two weeks later they had replaced two of their four, and added four more, at anywhere from $15 to $20 an hour. They almost doubled their prices. It was working. They were finally getting to the point that both teams were busy about 30 hours a week.
Brenda's mood improved, and our sex life, which had almost died off in the previous six months, was finally off life support. We were getting intimate at least twice a week. Not all I was hoping for, but a big step in the right direction. We were still pretty young, and my wife was always a looker. Giving her foot massages, back rubs, and taking care of her aches and pains was starting to pay off a little. Thank God, 'cause each rub down left me horny as hell.
I was lying beside her, after a particularly enjoyable weekly lovefest. "Things look like they're getting better for your business," I mentioned.
"Better, but not great," she admitted. "I had no idea it would be this difficult."
"How's the repeat customer business?" I asked.
"Not nearly what I was hoping for. I thought by now we'd have a few dozen weekly or at least bi-weekly regulars. I know we do a great job. The costumes are bringing in the new business. I wonder why they don't use us more often?"
"Have you thought about an incentive program? You know, multi-level memberships, VIP customers, that type of thing."
"Why? We clean all the places the same." She sounded a little irritated that I had the temerity to tell her how to run her business.
I leaned over and stroked her flat belly gently. Damn, she was a fine looking woman. "Maybe you could give them a discount for being a weekly customer, or preferred scheduling times. A choice in cleaning crews. Provide bonus cleaning activities that you only do for VIP members. The kind of things people never want to do, windows, blinds, dishes, silver polishing, even ironing."
"You think anyone would pay for that stuff?"
"Sure. If I wasn't married to the perfect wife, I'd be happy to pay to have my shirts ironed once a week. Light bulbs changed, especially the hard to get to ones. Window cleaning is a pain, but maybe you could team with a window company and give each other business. I don't know, you're the expert, I'm just trying to brainstorm. Some way to get people to sign up and use you exclusively."
She grinned. "Isn't that your job, to use me exclusively?" She reached down and gave my alter-ego a little rub, teasing me.
"Sign me up for the VIP," I told her, leaning over and taking her nipple between my lips. "You can clean my pipes any time."
"Yes sir! One for the ultimate cleaning experience. I trust you'll be satisfied." She surprised me by leaning over and taking my semi-hard cock in her mouth. She didn't do that very often, without a lot of cajoling and near outright begging. I moaned my appreciation, and after only a minute or so, she had me ready for a second round.
She straddled me, sliding my rod into her naughty bits, and leaned over. "You're the best, you know, Dave. Never complaining, always willing to help, supporting me completely. Even with the costumes. I don't tell you often enough how much I appreciate that. I'm sorry I haven't show it more in the last several months."
"It's a difficult thing, starting a new business. I'll admit it's been a little hard on us for a while, but I think it's getting better, and if it's what you want to do, I'm behind you 100%." The tender look in her eye, the loving way she spoke, had me wanting her more than ever.
She was rocking back and forth slowly, deliciously. "Thank you, baby. I'm going to make sure you know how much it means to me a lot more often. You deserve it."
* * *
A little over 9 months ago they seemed to finally turn the corner. They were constantly busy, and had added a third team. It meant longer days, and busy Saturdays, but I could see how happy my wife was, and she did her best to make sure our time together was quality. Brenda was contributing to the household account, and I was pleased to see our coffers slowly growing. Three months earlier she had surprised me with a check repaying our original investment. We had Gail and her husband over for big steaks, and I bought my first bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate. We got toasted, and Gail cornered me in the kitchen, letting me know how much she appreciated my support for their effort by tickling my tonsils.
Things were looking up.
Our sex life had gotten much better, which I attributed to Brenda's new success. We were active at least a few times each week. She always took Sundays off, and made sure that Sunday mornings were a time for us to get reacquainted in the bed. From that turning point months earlier, she would give me oral almost every Sunday. In the last couple of months she even continued it through completion.
The night of our big celebration, she let me go down on her, and afterward she blew me until I came, and even swallowed. God, I was living the good life. Our sex had taken a 180. There were still things I'd like to try, anal was one of them, but it looked like they were still off the menu. I wasn't going to complain, and didn't pressure her, since it seemed the menu was slowly growing. New positions, oral, even using toys. After two years, our relationship seemed even stronger than before she'd started her business.
The only downside was kids. Or lack thereof. We'd talked about it extensively while dating and the first few months after we'd married. We both wanted children, but we were young and wanted to get established first. I felt like we were there. We had a nice home, I made almost 6 figures a year, and we had money in the bank. Brenda kept putting it off, saying she wanted to make sure her business was going strong before hitting it with a pregnancy. We were both in our late 20's by this time. Not in a hurry physically, but it sure seemed to me like the time was right. I decided not to push her, but still had a date in my mind, where I wanted us to move in that direction, or duke it out.
Of course, her business was where I turned to do Nick this favor, even if he were absent and wouldn't enjoy the view. I was sitting in his study, after looking over the place and determining what he needed. I decided to go online and set it up. It was a last minute decision, and I scheduled it for the day before he was supposed to arrive back home.
I brought up the cleaning website and was surprised to see the message, "Welcome Back, Nick." Nice little touch. He was automatically logged in, as a VIP guest. I was a little surprised that he was a regular user of the service. His house certainly didn't look like it had been cleaned recently. Maybe he'd stopped using it, with the expenses of the wedding.
I hadn't been on the website for almost a year, and was amazed at how good and professional it looked. I hit the button to schedule a cleaning, and was brought to the VIP page. I was more than pleased that I was able to schedule the cleaning with such short notice. It did mean scheduling a morning appointment, starting at 8:00 am.
At the top of the page were three pictures of preferred outfits. Sexy maid, lingerie, and bikini. The Sexy maid was the cheapest, and since there'd be nobody to see, I went for that one. Even so, the $10 an hour upgrade for the other two outfits seemed like a bargain.
When it came to the actual cleaning, there was a long list of check-box items to choose from. I saw she had taken my suggestions to heart. I decided to go all out, and ran down the list, checking most of them, each with an additional charge.
Some of them were typical weekly cleaning items, others were the specials I had mentioned. The kind of things you might only do once a year.
I started with checking the full-service weekly cleaning box. I checked Mattress Flipping, and was surprised it had two choices, top down, or bottom up. Weird. Seemed like the same thing to me, so I checked the first one, bottom up. Baseboard, bathroom detailing, vent cleaning all seemed like useful items. Blinds seemed like a no-brainer.
There was even a check box for Decorative Arrangements. Like I said, it felt like the place could use a woman's touch, so I checked that one as well.
It was a little more expensive than I thought it would be, amounting to over $300. No wonder my wife had been able to pay back the original loan. I accepted the charges, and was surprised that there was no way to pay for it. On the final confirmation page, it stated it would be paid from the active account. Damn it! Now I was going to have to pay Nick back when he returned, and he'd know how much I'd spent.
Oh well. He'd appreciate it. Even if he didn't, I'm sure his new bride Alice would.
* * *
Two days later I took the morning off for the cleaning. It was my business after all, ownership had some side benefits. I set up in his study, doing a little work that I could do remotely. I was waiting for the doorbell to ring, so I could let in the cleaners.
I was on the phone to one of my East Coast clients, when I realized I could hear a vacuum running. I finished the call, and opened the door, to see a team of scantily clad whirling dervishes cleaning like mad. A short, curvaceous Latina woman walked up to me in her French maid outfit, abundant cleavage on display.
"La señora está lista en el dormitorio principal."
If my high-school Spanish was right, the Mrs. was smart in the principal's bedroom. I followed the pointing finger, to figure out why she was smart.
I opened the door to Nick's bedroom and my heart almost stopped.
There was a beautiful naked woman lying on the bed, belly down, legs spread and tied to the bedposts. Her hands were handcuffed and attached to the headboard. She was blindfolded. A pillow lifted her hips in invitation.
She giggled, and I almost lost my breakfast. "You're back a day early. I thought you said you were done with our service, Nicky? Being married and all. Couldn't give it up, could you?"
I felt my body quivering, a cold sweat breaking out on my forehead. My wife Brenda was lying on the bed, naked, waiting to be used. Apparently a common situation.
Her little laugh, always so cute, now sounded like fingernails on a chalkboard. "I know you're there, Nicky. Why so quiet, cat got your tongue? I can't believe you finally opted for the bottom-up service. What's the matter, sweet Alice won't let you play in the back door? And Blinds? Getting a little kinky, are we? You said you always liked to look into my eyes. What's changed?"
I could feel my heart pounding, my blood rushing into my head. Sadly, I also felt it rushing into my lower appendage. The bitch would never let me in her 'back-door' but it looked like any one of her customers could get that privilege for the right cost. I moved closer, and saw the glisten of lube already applied to her forbidden hole. I was furious!
She started thrusting her butt into the air. "C'mon, lover. I know you want it. What's with the silent treatment? Is this part of the game?" She shook her legs, and rattled her handcuffs. "Decorative Arrangement? Is that what it is? You want a little role-play? 'Oh, sir, please don't hurt me'," she whined in a high-pitched young girl voice. "I'm so helpless, use me if you must, but don't hurt me."
Fucking slut. Our marriage was over, but I'd use her. Hell yeah. She'd deprived me of that ass for far too long. I stripped off my shoes and pants, and climbed up on the bed behind her.
"Oh no!" she giggled. "Not my hiney, mister! Please, not in my bottom! I'm still a virgin back there."
Right. I aimed my cock between her cheeks, guiding the head in, and pushed mightily. She groaned, and pushed back as I slowly sunk in.