The Proposal Ch. 02byRattlesnake1775©
It was simply called The Club, something that the members often joked about. It was a total lack of creativity, just the thing one would expect from an organization founded by mining engineers well over a hundred years ago now. Then the bankers had taken it over, eventually joined by lawyers and doctors, until The Club was the premier social organization in the city. You had to be invited in by another member, and then screened by a board. The fee was exorbitant, but the connections, access, and perks it bought were well worth it. Or so everybody that was a member tried to convince themselves.
Jonathan had been a member for years now, and the price did not even register anymore. Years ago, he had written it off as a business expense, but it was more of a social thing, since most of his friends were members as well.
One such group of friends meet every two weeks, usually for golf and lunch. But today it was only lunch, the late winter weather not really supporting the whole golf thing.
"We should go to Hilton Head or something, get out of town for a long weekend." Randy had made his money in trees. With a city ordinance that required trees to be planted according to a complicated formula based on square footage of building space, he was guaranteed to be in business for a while. The city was growing.
"I don't know. If we are getting on a plane, lets go all the way to Arizona, Mexico, something really good." Markus was a lawyer as well as a doctor by trade. He was also probably the smartest man at the table, something he would deny if you asked him. The devout Catholic was the father of six, and the only one here to have never been touched by the cold hand of infidelity.
"South Florida. I was watching the weather channel this morning; it was 80's down there. Unfucking real. If we go, I want to bring the toy." Morrison had made his money in real estate, working closely with Randy. The two were peas in a pod when it came to money, but total opposites in most other things. The toy was his current mistress, instantly drawing a scowl from Markus. He rarely said anything about his friend's habits, but everybody here knew that he did not approve. But he also firmly believed that they would all just burn in hell for it. His priest had told him so.
Jonathan listened to the conversation, his mind turning over the things that his brain and his heart were telling him. The Duty Brain cell had been swamped along time ago, so he had turned down the normal glass of wine he indulged in at these meetings, trying to work through how he felt. The sudden silence at the table ripped him out of his thoughts, as he realized that everybody was looking at him.
"Boca?" Randy rolled his eyes. He couldn't stand it when somebody did not keep up in conversation.
"Golf. Boca Raton?"
"Fuck, let's go to Vegas."
"Vegas?" Markus was not a big fan of the gambling. But he salivated at the golfing offered there. He didn't like South Florida, either, convinced that it was a cesspool of sinning, so he was surrounded by bad choices.
"Yeah, Vegas. Markus, you know your wife wants to go to that stupid spa again. Wives or girlfriends, no toys. Be a good time." Jonathan made the finger motion for teeing off with his right hand.
There was more silence as everybody looked at the man that was their unspoken leader. Jonathan was the richest amongst them all, but that was not why. He was the most aggressive, and when many of them were still thinking about angels and consequences, he was plunging ahead. And amongst a group considered some of the most forward leaning businessmen on the east coast, that meant a lot.
"You fucking crazy? That's racing. We'll go in two weeks, after we hit the big laps here, and stay in that new place they just opened. Read about it in the Robb Report." Morrison was also a true redneck, no matter how rich he got.
The meeting broke up shortly thereafter, lunch all but forgotten in the decision to head out west. Markus waited for everybody head off, then him and Jonathan headed upstairs to the lounge that took up the top part of the four story suite that The Club occupied in the office tower.
"So what's going on? You've been giving me the eye all afternoon."
"I don't know. You know that girl I'm seeing?"
"Your call girl?" He said with a smile on his face. Jonathan had explained his arrangement to the group last golf outing, to much ohhs and ahhs. He was still conflicted about how he felt about it. Paying for it definitely did not help the karmic balance.
"Yeah, her. You know Robert Enders, right? He asked if he could call her some time, and I about choked his lights out." Despite the fact that Robert Enders, Jonathan Games, and Michael Robinson had started a very profitable and wildly successful Venture Capital firm together, they were not what one might call best friends. They were freaky brilliant when they put their minds together, able to look at raw data and brain storm out which company would make it, which would fail, which could be salvaged, and which would go big.
This often involved a fair amount of conflict, and the three had a private conference room that was super sound proof, where they could scream, yell, curse, and throw things at one another. But they accepted their differences, because they were incredibly rich because of them.
"You and Rob have never really gotten along. If it weren't for Mike, that thing would have never worked out."
"I know. Mike reminded him about our rule of not screwing each others women." It was a pact from way back when, three Harvard boys turning the banking world on its head with their use of data and information management technology to pick winners and separate the wheat from the chaff when it came to losers.
"So what do you want?" Markus had decided against another glass of wine, so he popped the top of a Diet Coke, his poison of choice when coffee was not available. He drank coffee like a fiend.
"I told myself after Angelina that I would never put myself through this again. You know how I get. You know what happens."
"But you think it is happening?"
"Yeah. That's why I want to bring her out. Let you guys see it. You and your wife, you guys are my emotional counter weight."
"Glad to help out. Speaking of my darling wife, her next book is finished."
"Send it down, I'll get that puppy published." One of the things that the firm had acquired was a small publishing business, which had become the outlet for a series of moderately successful books on faith and marriage by Markus's wife Margie.
"You're a scholar and a saint, I don't care what the others say about you."
"He's a NASCAR fan?" Tammy looked truly amazed. To her, NASCAR was a redneck convention, with 200'000 inbred motherfuckers watching cars go in circles, swilling beer and fighting in the stands.
"No. But he says they do a lot of business there. His company owns a box at the track."
"They have boxes at the tracks?"
"Apparently so." Amber shrugged. All it meant to her was that he was not around right now, so she was catching up on studying. She was planning on packing for Vegas, as well, so that she would not do it last minute, as was her normal modus operandi.
"Well, it is Sunday, last day off before we have to go back to school from this beautiful weekend, and you should not spend it sitting here." Jessica was trying to decide if she should wear her short hair up or down. It was her first date with Ricky, and she wanted to make a good impression. Finally she just turned to Tammy, who indicated down with a wave of her hand.
"Don't worry about me. I have studying to do, and I've been out like the last three nights."
"You do go out a lot on school nights."
"Yeah, but my baby is not some spring chicken. He has me home early."
"Not that you go to bed when you come home." Tammy shot her friend a knowing grin in the mirror.
"Not to sleep. You guys should be a bit more considerate of other people in the building."
"You didn't say anything about that."
The doorbell rang before either of the girls could say anything back, and Amber slid out of the couch she was sitting on, walking across the hardwood towards the banging noises. Jesus, these people really wanted in. "I'm coming, I'm coming!"
Pulling open the door, her parents threw their arms around her, screaming out loud. "SURPRISE!" They both kissed her, then stepped back, looking at their shocked daughter. "We were on our way down to see your Aunt Elsie, so we decided to stop by and see how you were doing!" Her mother seemed very satisfied with that, as they stepped inside, looking around. They always felt the need to inspect the living condition of their youngest when they came by.
"Glad you called ahead." Shaking her head at her own sarcasm, Amber led them back into the living room. Tammy and Jessica waved from the bathroom, and her parents waved back.
"Want to go to dinner withy our old folks? Saw a new steak place up the road." Her father dropped onto the couch, stretching his legs out. It had been a three-hour drive, and they had two more to go.
"Sure, why not. Let me get dressed real quick." She walked into the back hallway, turned right at the bathroom, and into her room, which had its own bathroom. When they had first moved in, they had played rock-paper-scissor for the master bedroom, and she was the master.
"Nice bed." Her mother had followed her, giving her a questioning look.
"Thanks." She avoided the question by hoping in the shower. But it hung there until halfway through dinner, when she finally broke it to her parents. She had always told them everything, a side effect of being the baby out of five.
"I'm seeing somebody. He's a bit older, and he's the one that bought me the bed."
"How much older?" Such details are important to mothers, but she had seen her dads ears perk up. "Is this the lawyer, Spike, what was his name?"
"Spencer? No. But I meet this guy the night I had my date with Spencer. Who was a total jackass. This guys name is Jonathan…and he's forty two."
"Forty two? He's twice as old as you!"
"I know that." She shrank back a bit, knowing fully well what was about to come.
"Where did you meet him?"
"Just like that slut Kelly, huh? I told you, hang out in bars, you meet people that hang out in bars! I take it that he is…"
"Karen." Her fathers voice cut the stream of in mid sentence. He knew fully well that once his wife got going on the wife of their oldest son, it was time to step in. For one, he did not share his opinion of their daughter in law, but also he was pretty sure that berating their daughter would not do a lot of good. "What does this gentleman do?"
"He's a venture capitalist, or something like that. Don't worry; I'm not dropping out of college or anything. School is very important to him." She related how he had gotten her into the class she needed, only editing it slightly.
"Well, that's good enough. Do we get to meet him?"
Amber was about to respond when her jaw went into neutral. This was a safety switch that most children have when looking their parents in the eye that keeps them from moaning out loud from sexual arousal. She did manage to close her mouth before the second wave hit her, and excuse herself from the table.
She rushed to the bathroom, locking herself in a stall. It was coming on fast and powerful now, and she slammed her hand into her pants, finding the thong she was wearing vibrating out of control. It was the one he had given her, she realized for the first time. Her legs shook as she fingered herself, combined with the vibrator pushing against her clit.
She almost bit through her wrist to keep from screaming out, and sweat covered her brow before it released its grip on her, he body wracked with the feelings it had given her. She took a second to compose her breathing, then fixed herself in the mirror before heading back out.
"Sorry. Girl thing." She smiled graciously, and her fathers face turned sour, settling the whole thing for her. Her mother nodded understandingly. "Well…ahhh, I don't know." She knew for a fact that meeting the parents would fall into the category of relationship bullshit that he would not want to deal with. And for the first time, she realized that she wanted him to meet her parents. What did that mean?
"What do you mean?"
"Well…ahhh, you know. He's older, so I don't know how comfortable he would be with that."
Her dad nodded, as if that made perfect sense. Her mother did not seem convinced. "Well, I mean, if he is that age, doesn't he have kids of his own? I'm sure he would understand if you ask him." Amber nodded slightly. Did he have kids? He had never mentioned anything about it.
"I'll talk to him about it."
The BMW hit the interstate well ahead of most traffic. He was no fan of NASCAR, or any type of racing for that matter, so he rarely stayed the entire race. Nothing happened until the wreck, and unless you were watching the entire thing, you would only get to see that in replay. Screw that. But there was a lot of business done, so he went and suffered in silence. He had considered bringing Amber, but he knew that there were a lot of sharks in the water, and he did not want to put her into that. Would he have been possessive? And would that have been in keeping with his role?
He shook his head, trying to clear the thoughts away. Already the Duty Brain cell had organized his current predicament into a clear list he could work down and attack. First, how did he feel about her? He deferred that one until later. Second, how did she feel about him? He didn't know, and had no way of knowing. But reasonable estimate of the situation said that she felt some connection to him, after all, he was paying her. Probably the same kind that Madeline felt, a kind of symbiotic, platonic connection. Yeah, she flirted with him a lot, but how much of that had he bought? A lot, based on what he was paying her. It was a lot of money, even though she had cut it in half.
Next, what was his role in this thing? And how would he keep playing it? That's what this weekend is for, he told himself. Damn it! A chirping sound interrupted his deep thinking, telling him that somebody was trying to call him. He glanced down at the screen mounted in the dash, seeing her name. Tapping the button, the speakerphone came to life.
"Hey baby." Even through the ether, her voice sounded like smoked honey, making him weak.
"Ahh…my parents just left, they stopped through on their way to see my aunt. And ahh…"
He knew what she wanted before she even said it. He fired off an internal curse, his mind turning in on itself as he tried to head it off, say something that was not harsh but slammed the door shut. Nothing came out in time.
"…well, they wanted to meet you. I think I stiff armed it."
"Good. You know how I feel about that shit." That came out a bit angrier then he wanted it to, but he didn't even realize it.
"Sorry. It won't happen again, I promise."
"Good." Still with the venom. Stop, he told himself, stop it.
"Yeah. I told you about that." He clamped his jaw shut, almost biting his own tongue off, stopping himself before he threw out more anger. Jesus, what is wrong with me he asked himself.
"You hit me earlier with the thong. Did you do it through your cell phone?"
"You coming over?"
He thought about it for a second, realizing that if he wanted to, the exit was ahead by four miles. Decision time, he would be there in about three minutes his brain told him. Damn it, he had meant to go over there, enjoy her sweet laugh and pussy, get recharged for the week, and make this fucking money. Now he was freaking out!
"Listen, I have to go."
"Nothing!" His finger slammed the kill button, and he floored it, flying past the exit. Damn it!
She stared at the phone in disbelief. What had his ex-wife done to him that he hated relationships so much? Dropping it onto her bed, she sank into the duvet, trying to fight back the tears. What had he done to her that she felt this way about him?
"If you are calling me for conformation that what you did was a good idea, I'm the wrong person." Markus sounded much more intelligent and educated across the phone. It was his preferred medium of communication.
"You don't understand what this woman is doing to me. I can't let that happen."
"You know what I would tell you…"
"That God has a plan for me, yes, I know. Why do I ask you for relationship advice again?"
"Because I'm the only person you know who has been married to the same woman since college, and who has never cheated on said woman. Plus my wife has never cheated on me, and my kids adore you for reasons I do not understand."
"I guess it is not kosher to bring her over to your house for dinner tonight?"
"Be there at seven."
Normal clothes. What the fuck are normal clothes, she asked herself as she stared into the closet. Normal, like what I normally wear when you take me out? Normal, like I'm going to class? Normal, like business casual normal? Normal was not a fashion term for a reason.
"Jeans. Normal means jeans." Tammy was trying to be helpful, but all she got was an angry look from her friend. "I'm telling you, jeans."
"You know how much these damn jeans cost?"
"How did you know?"
"Looked it up online."
"So then, they are not normal jeans."
"Wear the damn jeans, and a t-shirt. I don't care if he spent a thousand dollars on the shirt, it is still just cotton assembled by some underpaid kid in Thailand. Put on the most expensive underwear you have, throw in some closed toed heels, and you're in business. Come on girl, your closet is worth more then my car, and I still need to dress you?" Of course Tammy was a fashion whore, who had made it very clear to the manager of a local Express that his willingness to give her free clothes was directly related to how deep she would let him put his cock down her throat.
"Shut up." She dug into her underwear drawer, then dropped the towel, feeling the satin slide across her skin. The jeans followed, then a white t-shirt that cost more then her accounting 212 books. Both made in Taiwan. "Happy?"
"Jesus, what is wrong with you?" Tammy gave her a look that made it clear that she did not relish being snapped at, and was not above throwing the can of coke in her hand.
Amber dropped onto the bed next to her friend, and almost burst into tears. She didn't, but being a girl, Tammy saw the signs. They sat, silently, listening to Jessica sing in the other room as she cooked.
"I don't know. Something has come over him lately. Since Sunday, he's been a total dick."
"Why does it bother you?"
"What do you mean?"
"Well, if it bothers you, you are invested."
"I thought you said you weren't going to become invested. He's paying, remember. Call girl, sugar daddy."
"I know I said that!"
"Relax, I'm on your side here. Maybe you need to walk away."
They heard the doorbell ring, and she stood, heading outside. He was still in his suit from work, instantly making her feel underdressed.
"You look beautiful."
"Thanks. You said normal, you didn't change yet?"
"I can wear this where we are going."
"Which is where…"
"My buddies house."
That gave her pause as she slipped into the door he held open for her. She had never meet one of his friends before, and it had been a couple of months now. "We are going to your friends house?"
"Yeah. His name is Markus; I think I mentioned him before. Markus, Margie, Markus junior, Sarah, Kylie, Angela, Virginia, and Jonathan."
"What? How many kids is that?"
"And they named one after you?"