It Just Happened Ch. 06byREGade©
Chapter 6: Miss Nadine Spencer
"I hope you like New England style clam chowder," Beverly said, "It was delivered this morning, from Boston." She wore what I considered an excessive amount of eye makeup.
After two hours of showing her our plan to make her home warm and friendly, I was ready to give up. While she had listened to my pitch, her level of interest was detached, like she had something else on her mind. I found the way she looked at me distracting and her constant bumping into me as I moved around the house, kept me on edge. Was she serious about having the work done or not?
"Yes," I lied, not sure if I liked New England style clam chowder. Now I was going to have to eat lunch with her.
"That makes me very happy," she smiled.
We were half way through the main course, wild Alaskan salmon, when the telephone rang. It was Jen, wanting to speak to me.
"Answer with one word, yes or no," Jen said. "Is she listening to us on an extension?"
"No" Beverly was right there, watching.
"Is the contract signed?"
"You didn't get the deposit then, did you?"
"Has she shown you her bedroom?"
"I told you to answer with one word, yes or no," Jen said, sternly, with a hint of a snicker.
"There's an emergency. Dan's not going to be able to paint the gazebo after all. I'll pick you up in ten minutes."
"Emergency? Can't it wait until next week?" I asked, more for Beverley's benefit than Jen's. Her timing couldn't have been better. It offered the perfect excuse for me to escape.
"Benny...the weather...you know you can't depend on another nice day like this," Jen said, sounding convincing.
"The weather, right, I'll need..."
"I have everything," she said, cutting me off in mid sentence.
I explained to Beverly about the emergency; making it sound like a turn in the weather could delay NASA launching an international trip to outer space.
"I'll leave the displays here so you can show your friends how your kitchen is going to look," I offered.
"When will you pick them up? Soon, I hope."
"Yes, soon," I assured her as I stepped through the door.
Jen was driving the van and had everything I would need. Well, almost. I hopped in the back, looking for the paint overalls and my work boots, thinking I would change clothes in route.
"Thanks for coming to my rescue," I said, sitting on the floor in the back of the van and watching her scowl. "Where are the paint overalls?"
"False alarm, Dan called, wanting to know if he should prime the surface before painting. I gave him Ed's cell phone number and then I thought of you being held hostage."
"Ingenious!" I exclaimed, approving of her quick thinking. Her smile made me forget my hatred for her, for a few seconds.
When we got home Ed was there. I told him I had struck out with Miss Beverly Worthington.
"I'm not surprised. Women that age have a hard time deciding what they want."
"I heard that," Jen said. "I'm that age."
"Especially single women can't decide what they want," he amended his comment.
She hugged him and they kissed with no regard for my presence. I went upstairs to my room without finding out why Ed had gone with Stew to look at building sites.
Over the next few days I took two of Beverly's telephone calls and Jen helped me dodge the other two by saying I was out, lying really. Heavy rains forced us to take Tuesday off and since Jen was at work, I was forced to take Beverly's call.
"I'm off for the holiday and have some questions. When can you be here?" she asked.
Ed let me take the van.
"You're soaked," she said as soon as I came through the door. "Give me your clothes. We'll put everything in the dryer."
I had to remove my boots to get my pants off. "Your socks look wet, too," she said, actually falling to her knees and touching my socks. "They are. Give them to me," she said, looking up at me. Her face was inches from my cock and for a second I thought she was going to touch my shorts to see if they were damp.
"Is that a bulge?" she asked, taking her eyes off my jockey shorts to look into my eyes.
"I'm twenty-five, not twelve. I know a bulge when I see it. Do I arouse you, Ben?"
"No," I answered without thinking.
Beverly rose to her feet, a sullen look on her face. I considered apologizing for the way I had answered, but since it was the truth, almost, I felt compelled to let it stand.
She started the dryer and for the next fifteen minutes I walked around the house in my shorts answering her questions. She was well prepared, asking things I didn't know. "Who are your sub-contractors? Are these the only colors this tile comes in? Is it premium grade?"
"I'll have to get back to you," I admitted.
"I can call you later today."
"I prefer to see you in person."
"Okay, I can come back tomorrow if it rains. Otherwise, are you free tomorrow night?"
She batted her eyes, nervously and I willed her not to cry. "I'm an old maid school teacher. I'm free most every night, except tomorrow night I have a family engagement I must attend."
We heard the dryer stop running. Beverly felt my pants, testing for dampness before handing them to me. She was watching me put them on when she got the idea to invite me to her family's gathering. "It's only the immediate family. You know most everyone."
"Thanks you, Beverly, but we have something like that planned," I said, as if I were suddenly remembering a family commitment.
She watched as I zipped up my pants. "Ben, my father is a very influential man in this town."
What the hell was that suppose to mean? I left without asking, getting wet twice more on the way home.
Beverley's questions pissed Ed off. "I always use the same electrician and plumber, but who knows which tile setter is going to be free. We may have to do some of the specialty jobs ourselves. Tell her you can plaster as well as any skilled professional. If she needs a demonstration plaster her ass."
Thinking my brother needed to calm down, I told him about the dryer incident.
"Did you have a bulge?" he laughed.
"Maybe, a little one," I sheepishly admitted. I didn't know he was going to tell Jen about it at dinner.
"Beverly took Ben's pants off and accused him of getting a boner," Ed said, embellishing what I had told him. Who would believe such a wild story? Jen did.
"What happened?" she asked, looking shockingly remorseful.
"Nothing happened. Beverly asked if I was getting a budge in my shorts and I said no. Nothing happened," I repeated, unconvincingly.
"This has gone too far. Let's forget about getting that job, if there really is one," she said, suspiciously.
"We're not going to forget about the job. Ben's gaining her confidence. She's testing him, that's all. He took his pants off for her," Ed said, breaking up in laughter. I laughed with him until I saw the serious look on Jen's face.
She became unusually quiet, saying very little until the telephone rang and she came to tell me it was a conference call. Representatives from all four credit card companies were on the line, wanting to talk with me. "Stall them. Don't commit to anything. Remind them of the approaching national holiday. I'll listen on the extension," Jen said, handing me the receiver.
Three men and a female were on the line. They began by saying sixty cents on the dollar was their best offer. I tried appealing to the female. "Nadine, are you having Thanksgiving with your family?"
"Cut the bullshit, Mr. Crumbly. Don't try to make this a personal phone call. Miss Spencer isn't here to chat," said one of the male members, obviously the leader of the group.
"Can I interject one point to this negotiation?" Jen asked.
"Who are you?" the same male voices asked.
"I'm Mrs. Jennifer Crumbly, Mr. Benjamin Crumbly's sister-in-law."
"There's nothing to negotiate. We're united with regard to our final offer for settlement, sixty cents on the dollar."
"We understand you're position. What we're asking is that you suspend charging interest while we consider our options."
"What options would that be, Mrs. Crumbly?"
I heard Jen clear her throat. "I believe you know those options."
All four voices tried to talk at once until the leader of the group said they would call us back in fifteen minutes. We hung up and nervously waited for the phone to ring. Ten minutes later, the leader told us they would give us thirty days to consider our options. Jen gave them our fax number, asking that all four companies send a signed document stating that interest charges would be suspended for thirty days. They agreed.
"Mrs. Crumbly," the leader began, "I've been authorized to speak for the group. We will settle for fifty cents on the dollar."
"Thank you, Sir. That's a step in the right direction. My brother-in-law is prepared to pay you virtually everything he earns until he has repaid forty cents on the dollar. May I remind you that you have our final offer?"
Several seconds of silence followed. "I hope you have a pleasant holiday, Mr. Crumbly," the female voice sounded frail.
"Thank you, Miss Spencer. I wish you a pleasant holiday, too," I said, hearing the conference call end abruptly.
I was ecstatic, thanking Jen, giving her credit for the way the negotiation had gone. She was ambivalent, saying we had accomplished nothing except to buy some time.
"Now he's getting chummy with one of his adversaries," she quipped to Ed when the fax from Miss Spencer's company arrived. At the bottom of the page was a hand-written note. "Mr. Crumbly, I hope you didn't think me too forward when I wished you a pleasant holiday? Nadine Spencer."
Ed thought it was hilarious that I would cozy-up to someone I had never met. "Work on her. You have her fax number. Tell her you picture her as sexy."
"She does have a sexy voice," I observed.
"He will do nothing of the sort. Fax messages are not private; everyone in the company reads them," she said, going upstairs in a huff.
"I didn't mean anything," Ed said as he watched her go.
"I know you didn't," I sympathized with him.
Secretly, I was enjoying the discord between the lovebirds. In the privacy of my room that night I resolved to:
1. Watch from a distance, not take sides in future disputes.
2. Become Millie's buddy; get her to tell me when my brother made his move on my girl friend. Or, find out exactly when Jen made her move on my brother.
3. Take Ed's advice; answer Miss Spencer's fax.
I saw myself as a one man army, intent on making Ed and Jen pay for their transgressions against me. Would watching them suffer the way I had suffered even the score? I knew the answer; nothing would reverse the way they had treated me. I also knew that living under the same roof with them, seeing them together, was not good for me. I decided to stay long enough to pay my debts and move on.
God, I was horny. Where was the Iowa farm girl when I needed her? I went to sleep with a new resolve: the next time it rained I would let Beverly dry my shorts along with my pants.