The Arrangement Ch. 03byQuietmahoganystorm©
Hello all! This update unfortunately does not have an editor...(sad face). So I've been wanting to get this out & get this lovely little twist out there for you all to read, comment, like, love, hate, make snarky statements about, etc. LOL.
I have some issues with this one, but i'll let you all let me know how you feel about this update. I hope it is worthy of the last two in the series
As a warning, there is an element of nonconsent/reluctance in this story that happens outside of the two main characters of this tale. It happens to two different sets of characters related to the main character, Peter.
Thanks for all feedback -- It's nourishment to my soul to find out how I'm doing as an author. Without further ado, here is Chapter 3 of "The Arrangement".
Peter knew he fucked up when he heard the mumbled "Hmmm? Who's Josephine?" issue from Julianne's sweet lips. He silently cursed himself for his stupidity. Fully awake, he slowly removed his body from Julianne's side and walked into his study.
He sat down heavily into his chair as he tried hard to not remember the face of his first love.
He could easily remember her face. He chose Julianne because she looked exactly like his Josie. He remembered her laugh, the easy smile she wore, and their time spent in his family's garden. Tears crept at the outer edges of his eyes before he blinked hard, cleared his throat and called his friend & financier, Mitchell to arrange for another deposit into Julianne's bank account.
Forty years ago...
She smelled like sunflowers the day he remembered falling in love with her. Her mother Millie worked as the maid for his father & mother. Millie helped raise him from the time he was a year old until his current 21 years of age. Millie was the mother that he always treasured -- strong, tough and always showed him right from wrong.
His family could always afford the best and finest of luxuries, but it was his "Momma Millie" that saw his report cards first, went to his polo games and attended the school plays he starred in rather than his busy parents.
Growing up he knew that Momma Millie had a daughter, but she never came to work with her mother. It was only on rare occasions that she would join her mother. He always thought she was a pretty girl, but the few instances that they came across one another, she was busy helping her mother clean for an event, or tending one of his family's gardens.
It was a gorgeous summer day, bright and warm at 11:00 or so in the morning. The day was in full bloom and he was on summer vacation before his final year at Harvard. Just as he walked downstairs on a leisurely wednesday afternoon, he saw her coming through the foyer from the french doors that led to the gardens. The little girl that he only noticed in passing over the years was an 18 year old woman. Peter stopped dead in his tracks when she graced the room with her presence.
Her long kinky hair was rolled high on two sides that came down into a thick bun at the nape of her neck. A large yellow sunflower and some pretty little oxalis decorated the space above the bun. Her long full figure was shrouded in a light yellow dress decorated with little purple flowers, with delicate little white heels that clicked on the marble floors of the entry way.
He watched her glide down to the hallway to the foyer, barely noticing that her unjeweled left hand held a large basket filled with a wide variety of yellow and white flowers. Peter carefully crept down the stairs to chase another glimpse of his quarry. He came to the hallway, and peeked around the doorway to watch her. She was graceful in her movements -- quick, and decisive - as she put orange tinged yellow roses, sunflowers and sweet alyssum into a large vase on the mahogany and inlaid tile circular table in the foyer of his family's estate.
Quickly mesmerized by her, he studied her features. In so many ways she looked like his Momma Millie -- even skin, bright brown eyes, high cheekbones and adorable little ears. The similarities between mother and daughter ended there, because Josephine had a slightly larger nose than her mother's cute little button nose. Josephine's skin was much darker than her mother's caramel hue. Her lips weren't as full as Momma Millie's, they were slightly smaller and looked like a plump heart. Her face was oval in shape, and came down to a small delicate chin. Her jawline was visible and he imagined tracing it with his fingers while he tasted her beautiful lips.
She continued working, completely oblivious to the audience that she silently entertained. His eyes traced the visible portions of her figure that weren't hidden behind the large vase she studiously decorated. The front of her dress dipped down invitingly, and Peter was treated with a view of the column of perfection that was her long neck.
Her arms were delicately curved with muscle, but didn't look overtly muscular. They tapered down to slim wrists and long fingers which expertly arranged the flowers. They were painted a vibrant shade of orange that raced to the top of his list of favorite colors. He couldn't see the way her large breasts strained slightly in the front of the material before tapering inward to her smallish waist before flairing out to her ample hips.
She had a build that was legendary for black women -- so many curves and built for a man's worship and pleasure. With great effort, Peter pulled his mind out of the thoughts that began with slowly peeling that enticing outfit off her body to explore her vast treasures properly -- since his thoughts were making his rather large erection cause noticeable discomfort in his khaki trousers. He pulled himself out of his reverie and up against the wall he was peeking from. His eyes slid closed as he focused on anything that would make his cock go back to it's normal size. When he opened them, his breath halted in his chest.
Momma Millie had somehow slipped into the hallway behind him and saw his distress and the cause of it. Her normal smiling, gentle nature was gone. Her usual soft brown eyes looked like stones. The laughter that was usually on her lips was replaced by a solid line of disapproval. She didn't have to say anything for Peter to understand that her daughter, Josephine, was off limits to him.
Before he could say anything to assuage Momma Millie's fears, she spoke to him. "Peter. I better hope and pray that that there thing of yours isn't directed at my little girl. Boy, I love you like my own, but you can't have my little girl. Keep your eyes and everything else of yours away from her. You hear me?" spoke Millie in a deadly whisper.
"But..." stumbled Peter.
"No buts Peter. Leave my baby be. All you'll do is cause her pain. Just leave her be, now." replied Millie.
Before Peter could say anything, Millie walked past him into the foyer and spoke quietly in urgent tones to her daughter Josephine. Within a few moments the two women walked past a still stationary Peter. Josephine's upper arm was in her mother's firm grasp as she practically marched her down the hallway back towards the servant's back entrance.
As the two women passed by a stunned Peter, Josephine graced him with a glance. He thought he would pass out from the look of wonder and confusion in her brown eyes. He watched the hurried sway of her hips as her shoes click clacked on the marble floors and out the backdoor of the estate.
He wouldn't see her again for another three weeks. During that time Momma Millie spoke very little to Peter. She went about her duties around the house without so much as a smile in his direction. Peter was almost beside himself wondering if Josephine was okay, and if she was seeing any boys in town. He didn't know where Momma Millie lived, since she practically lived at the estate, but he knew that she didn't live on the estate with him, at least that's what he figured.
Peter woke up each day bright and early to shower and dress so he could check the grounds to see if his Josephine would be working in one of the gardens. He hadn't thought much of his impending return to Harvard in the coming months, or his internship at one of his father's companies. His thoughts were entirely consumed by the beauty that had stolen the breath right out of his lungs.
During one of his early morning pursuits he finally saw her again. She was in the south garden pulling up weeds. She had on a large hat, long sleeves and long pants & some comfortable shoes on her feet. He figured that since Momma Millie wasn't really speaking much to him that talking to Josephine wouldn't hurt his standing with her mother. He didn't understand why she took a sudden dislike of him, but put his feelings on the subject aside as he approached the object of his desires.
"Hi Josephine. How are you this fine day?" asked Peter as he walked up behind Josephine's bent, upturned form. Her back stiffened, as she heard the male voice behind her. The playful lilt in the speech meant that whomever this man was was enjoying the view of her backside lifted in the air. She straightened up as quickly as possible and turned to see the handsome son of the family, Peter Baker.
She refused to notice that his blue eyes seemed to sparkle down into her own brown eyes. She turned away from his face and politely replied, "I'm doing well Mr. Baker. How are you? I really hate to be so short with you sir, but the vases in the foyer and the parlor require fresh flowers & I've been a bit too careless with these beds, as you can see here. So I'd like to finish this all up before the sun becomes completely unbearable, if it's alright with you."
Her voice was light and soft and caressed his senses. She could have told him he was a devil out of the pit of hell and he would have smiled as he reveled in her whispery soft voice.
"Hmm? I'm sorry, I didn't catch that. Could you please repeat what you said?" replied Peter after shaking his head to clear his thoughts and focus on what she was trying to convey.
"That's quite alright sir. I was just letting you know that I need to finish up these beds before it gets too hot and gather some more fresh flowers for the vases in the foyer & parlor." replied Josephine as she nodded towards the flower bed she was weeding and some further flowers in the distance.
"Don't let me keep you hostage or anything, Josephine. And it's Peter. Please call me Peter. I'd like that, if you would do me the honor." said Peter to an increasingly flustered Josephine.
"I don't think it's such a good idea, sir. My mother and I are in the employ of your family. I was instructed by her to call you and your father Mr. Baker." replied Josephine in the hope that it would make this ridiculously handsome white man who couldn't take his damn eyes off her go away.
"Well, you can call me Peter anytime that no one else is around. I like the sound of your voice and it would be a pleasure to hear you call me by my first name. If you want, you can think of it as our little secret." assured Peter as he stepped closer to Josephine.
Josephine took a step back away from Peter, and replied, "Sir, I'll call you Mr. Baker out of respect for my mother, and your family. I really don't want to be sent away for being out of place or in any manner untoward and unbecoming of a lady. I need this job to pay for college, as I'll be starting in the fall, so I will not make any moves to ruffle the feathers of your parents, who are my employers, and my mother." replied Josephine in a dignified way. By this time her chest was heaving slightly because she was getting a bit angry with Peter.
Before Peter could respond she had turned and bent back down to resume her work. He realized the dismissal and chuckled lightly at her spirit. He bent down right behind her and whispered, "Call me anything that pleases you sweetheart, as long as we're together when you do it." He watched her back stiffen suddenly at the closeness of his body to hers. She flinched when she felt the heat of his breath on her ear, and was stunned into silence at his words.
Satisfied that he had accomplished the task of getting under her skin, Peter stood and took a parting glance at her ass again before turning away and walking into the house. Unbeknownst to him their interaction was viewed not only by her mother, but his father as well.
When he got back inside he went into the kitchen and noticed that no one was there. He went into the fridge & pulled out a pitcher of freshly squeezed orange juice, cashew butter, wheat bread and fresh strawberry preserves. Millie came into the kitchen just when he was starting to make the PB&J sandwich on the center island, and paused slightly when their eyes met before looking away and continuing on to the counter adjacent to the fridge.
The airy white & black tiled kitchen with sunny yellow walls felt cold in the wake of their silence. The once easygoing banter that carried them through the years of disappointments and joys was replaced with unfamiliarity and resistance. Peter was in a place that felt all too familiar -- lost. His parents weren't the best in showing affection, unless it was for appearances to their society friends. He was expected to be position 3 of the polo team, he was expected to be class valedictorian and student body president for his high school and college.
He was supposed to be the lead in every play that he participated in. He was supposed to excel, because that is what the Baker name stood for: excellence in everything. Unfortunately, it didn't make for excellent parents. His father, Stephen Baker and mother, Maryse Baker were two people who lived like roommates rather than as husband and wife. Maryse put up with most of Stephen's dalliances, as long as she was provided with a few of her own.
Their provision of not developing feeling for anyone outside of their open marriage was the overarching deal. They both knew that this was not a lovematch. It was practically an arranged marriage -- one that brought business to both sides of the deal. They never argued, and they never openly showed anyone anything other than contempt, derision or open scorn.
Unbeknownst to Peter, that all changed when Stephen developed a long standing crush on Josephine's mother, Millie. Millie only stayed on with the household because she fell in love with Peter. She had been mostly successful in thwarting the numerous advances of the older Baker, only to see the same treatment being shown to her only child, Josephine.
Maryse for her part adored Millie because of a long held family secret. The fact that Millie was so wonderful to her only son, Peter, was a bonus that she enjoyed immensely -- even if she didn't go on about it openly in front of others. The two women spent time together chatting and quilting in the evenings when the rest of the household was in bed. As hard as Maryse Baker was, she could never tolerate any wrongdoings to Millie & would fight anyone who wronged her.
Stephen bought Millie anything she hinted at desiring, just to see her happy. It put Millie in a terrible position with her own husband enough times to where she had to stop accepting presents and gifts left by Stephen to preserve her marriage.
Millie couldn't let what was beginning to happen between Josephine and Peter continue. She didn't want her daughter to worry about dark corners, or being caught alone in a room where a white man's hands and body could cause her serious trouble.
Millie was drawn out of her thoughts when she accidentally sliced open her palm while deboning a chicken for the family's supper. She hissed suddenly and Peter was right there holding her bleeding palm under cold running water to rinse the chicken off the open wound. The two stood together, the younger Baker man holding his black maid/mammy's hands in a caring fashion.
He wished that their relationship wasn't as strained as it was. He wanted to tease her for her unusual bout of clumsiness, but figured that she must have a lot on her mind to not want speak to him, let alone cut herself. Without preamble, he began his earnest plea for understanding.
"Momma, I know what you saw a couple weeks ago, and I know it looked bad. Really bad. But I really would like to get to know Josephine better. I don't want to hurt her. I just want to know who she is. I honestly can't stop thinking about her, how she's doing, what she's doing and who she's doing it with. I would really like your consent so that I can date her. Also, I just need to know what I can do to win back your good graces again, because I miss you momma. I really, really miss you." stated Peter firmly as he gently washed her hand.
Millie stood still and listened to his empassioned pleas. She wanted to trust that the young man she helped raise wouldn't be like his father. She sighed, long and hard and looked into the young man's beautiful blue eyes. He looked so much like his father, it was frightening. Millie steeled her nerves before responding to Peter.
"Peter, sweetie, I know you mean well. But it's like I said earlier. Nothing good will come of it. I'm sorry, but this is just the way that it has to be." she replied.
Peter stood and listned while still washing her hand. He grabbed a towel wrapped it around Millie's bleeding palm. He was confused. It was the early seventies, and the civil rights movement was in full swing. He was an empassioned follower of the freedom riders, and participated in the heated discussions on campus in about the plight of blacks in America.
He celebrated with friends when the supreme court erred on the side of justice for all rather than for some. So Millie's reticence about his obvious affection for her daughter didn't make sense to him. He knew it was something deeper, and he told her as much.
"Momma Millie, why are you fighting this? Why won't you let her even talk to me? What is the harm in us getting to know each other?" responded Peter.
"Because it can lead to places that would be difficult, complicated and result in more heartache than you could even imagine Peter!" shouted Millie. Tears began to prick her eyes, and she turned her face away from Peter.
Peter watched her for a moment, stunned that she had yelled at him. His Momma Millie never yelled at him, even when he did things that got him in trouble. He started to ask her what she felt was so wrong about him when it came to her daughter, when he caught the subtle shake of her shoulders. She rarely ever cried in front of him when she did it always broke his resolve, and his heart.
He walked close to Millie and wrapped his arms around her. He towered over her 5'3" frame and gently kissed her plaited slightly graying hair. He whispered, "I'm sorry for upsetting you momma. I'll try my best to stay away from her, if it makes you happy."
Millie patted the arm wrapped around her chest and, "Chile, the problem is that no matter what happens, nothing happy can come from it." She sighed heavily and he took that as his cue to move away from her. She looked into his eyes, and put her free hand on his cheek. He closed his eyes at her touch, and a moment later he exhaled and turned his head so his lips made contact with her open palm. He placed a gentle kiss there before taking her hand in his and guiding her to a nearby bathroom where the first aid supplies were kept so he could patch up her palm.
Neither saw Stephen who stood silently in the doorway, watching his son touch Millie in a way that he could never touch her. He would never get Millie alone again for long enough to touch her in the tender manner that his son was able to. He listened to their conversation, and realized that his son was a strong willed young man who would make the family proud. He also realized that his son had it bad for Millie's daughter, in the same way that he had it bad for Millie.