Sex stories

Erotic fiction and short sex stories




"Little" Sister Pt. 03

Chapter 12 – Storming Hanover

After the meeting with the local powers of Siemens, Lars walked me to the car. I had the Mercedes, with Russell driving. Loaning me Russell was the sort of generous gesture I learned to expect from Sheila. I was also glad she sent Christine, who makes a great human comforter. It was good that I did not yet know about Lars' transfer. I would have worried all the way to the garage in Manchester.

God must have been paying attention, because the clerk at the garage was the same clerk that would not let me pick up the beater car two years before. He did not recognize me, again. To add comedy, I no longer looked like my ID photo. He had a small point, which made living proof that having a point does not make you sharp. Christine shook with laughter, but I think I was the only one who noticed. Before the clerk could really embarrass himself, again, the owner came out to see who the Mercedes had dropped off. I winked at him, as he shouldered the clerk aside. Even his eyes widened when I pointed to several half healed piercing holes.

I once counted the piercings. Including ears, my face had 27 separate holes. By then I was down to nine, seven in the ears. Check all my photos. My hair may cover the earrings, but there will always be discrete studs in the left eyebrow and right nostril. I liked the one in the eyebrow. Reasons for keeping one in my nose are more obscure. For that matter, I could not explain why my left ear kept two, but the right ear kept five.

That was the sort of thing I was pondering when the exit to Hanover came up. In a heartbeat, my thoughts jumped to all the feminists, lesbians and activists that might think I went mercenary and sold to the highest bidder. In truth, I did sell out. I sold out to the idea that I was not a freak. The philosophical content of that statement would take some chewing.

I had a more immediate issue. I needed to let everyone know I was back without favoring anyone. Once again, Sheila came to my service. She broke the news of her engagement by walking into the HR office and letting them announce it. At Richards Enterprises, HR is grapevine central. Suitably modified, I could use the same approach.

Deans are politicians; it was probably written in the job requirements. My Dean's office could substitute for HR. With this battle plan, I walked up to the Dean's secretary. "Hello Anne. I see Karol is in. I'll only need a minute."

As I walked toward the open door, Anne Wilson sputtered, "You can't just walk in. Wait...Who are y... Oh my Sainted Aunt. Dr. Krelinov, Dr. Richards to see you."



Dr. Karol Krelinov, Dean of Anthropology, was not one of my fans. He looked up from his work, did a double take, then rose to extend a hand. "Good afternoon, Dr. Richards. You are looking well. What can I do for you?" I liked that. Even for a politician, it was smooth.

I said, "Nothing at the moment. This is a courtesy call. I just returned to campus and wanted to let you know I was back."

Dr. Krelinov nodded, "Thank you. The courtesy is appreciated. You have been the source of much talk. It will be useful to let a few people know you are about. Anne can assist you with that. Shall we meet Monday at four?" This foreshadowed improved relations within my own department, which was not a bad place to start.

I thanked Dr. Krelinov and turned Anne loose on the rumor mill. The whole event took less than five minutes. I spent more time walking to and back than anything else. The impact was hard to gauge, but substantial, so I have used the protocol ever since. Powers That Be always like being first to know, so the courtesy is never wasted. Sometimes, as in this case, it is useful to let them tell everyone else.

Returning to my car, I reflected how much different it was to drive Shadow. My never named econobox could stand an upgrade, maybe a ten year old Lexus or Infiniti. I would get more comfort and have this car to donate to some organization. Pulling up to my apartment complex, I anticipated more of the same. This would be a more difficult transition, but I could start with a house cleaning. Better yet, a house cleansing. I was an anthropologist. Ritual is central to my course of study.

Gift economy concepts were trendy. I would have to address the potential issues in my thesis. Though I respected Malinowski's work, on gift economies in the South Pacific island people, I preferred Mauss' position in their debate. Some of the ideas could be taken to radical extremes. For example, the International Feminists for a Gift Economy. They had some good ideas, but it was mostly another group that wanted to run the world. Their problem was the denial of the efficacy of naked force.

I liked Mauss and those that followed him. My situation was an opportunity for an experiment testing his theories. Even mercantile societies like the USA had sphere's of gifting. Blood and organ donations are often cited, but community service also fit the description. Scout leaders and softball coaches gave up large amounts of their free time and often their money. I was embarking on a new life path. I could do worse than to begin with some generosity.

To that end, I went to my office and created an invitation.

Chrysalis

Siobhan Richards invites

you to a celebration of

change and regenesis

7:00 PM

22 July

Marbury Hall

Tea will be served

I printed twenty copies. The small number was to force me to be selective. Two went to Drs. Krelinov and Steele, my dean and thesis adviser. Two more went to my graduate assistants. A fifth was for the editor of the department newsletter. That covered the academic side.

The social side was more complex. Two would go to supportive faculty from other departments. Three would go to the heads of campus organizations that I had found helpful. One would go on the bulletin board at the house. That left nine for the students that helped me with the wedding. My eyes went misty when I wrote out their names. The first was to Elspeth.

I was glad Sheila had loaned me Christine, but Elspeth was much more practical. She, among other talents, was a gifted researcher. She was also tied into the entire network that is New England, of which Dartmouth's campus was a small part. I could give her the job of tracking stray people down. I left Christine sorting my things into piles—keep, donate/gift, burn. I went back to campus.

As before, I began with Dr. Krelinov. He was out, but Anne was a suitable surrogate. Dr. Steele was in. Back in New Jersey, Gerald told me to savor the first look on my adviser's face. With that in mind, I had my phone on video record when I knocked on Dr. Steele's door. His expression was everything I could hope for. I forwarded the clip to Sheila, asking for a couple of stills.

Once over his initial shock, Remmy invited me in and made small talk. After a few minutes I began to wonder if he was ignoring the envelopes in my hand or stalling for time. It was the latter. Dr. Harrigan walked up.

Glancing at me, he said to Dr. Steele, "Remmy, what's this about? She was sighted at the Dean's office an hour ago, but there is nothing since. I already promised to let you know as soon as I saw her."

Dr. Steele smiled, "A promise you have already broken. But, my manners. Dr. Harrigan, I would like you to meet Dr. Richards." I was recording again. James Harrigan nearly collapsed from shock.

People would stop using that expression if they ever saw it happen. Dr. Harrigan's blood drained out of his face. He stopped breathing. His eyes bulged in his head. He staggered to a vacant chair and dropped into it. Soon he was gasping for breath and fanning his face like he had run the 400 meters.

This all happened in under ten seconds. The silence was filled by the sound of heels coming up the hallway. Elspeth came around the corner, saying, "Dr. Steele have you seen her? Anne said she was..." I was recording this as well. There is another another expression—surprised by joy. I had just enough time to brace before Elspeth slammed into me.

I needed a hug, so I gave Elspeth one of my best. She reciprocated. For several seconds I held her close and stroked her hair. Presently I became aware that Drs. Steele and Harrigan were staring. I can be slow, but it dawned on me that they thought Elspeth and I hated each other. Truthfully, I did not expect this big a reaction from Elspeth. We had only been apart about five weeks.

Rather than explain, I extended to Dr. Steele his invitation. While he opened it, I dug in my bag for Elspeth's. Dr. Steele was succinct, "What's this?" For some reason my prepared remarks had fled.

Instead, I said, "It's a ceremony of sorts. Many things have changed." This produced three coughs of laughter. "Since I cannot return to the cocoon, I wish to pay suitable tribute to my time there. I gave an invitation to Dr. Krelinov, for the whole department, so you are also invited Dr. Harrigan. Elspeth, I have nine invitations. I think you know who those are for. Would you help me run them all down? It would be greatly appreciated."

It is sufficient to say that I dropped no more unexpected invitations. In fact, I made no calls. They called me. I never tried to be popular. For some reason I was anyway.

Christine stayed three days. It was comfortable, but I came to realize she was out of place. Rather than send her off, Jason Porter showed up to collect her. You should have seen the chaos on campus. In six weeks, Jason had gone from nobody to Justin Timberlake in terms of popularity. Fall semester was still weeks away, but he could not go anywhere without a string of girls following him.

It was sweet to watch their faces when he wanted to talk to me, but more satisfying to see his face when Christine caught his attention. They never married, but Justin fathered all of Christine's children. Other than a possible threesome with Sean and Sheila, Jason may have been the only male in Christine's love life. Half the young women and girls on the East Coast wanted into Jason's bed, but Christine had a standing invitation. Make of that what you wish.

For me, it was another learning moment. Much as she suited me, Christine belonged elsewhere. The House in New Jersey—I might as well start calling it the Residence—was her home. Sheila was there. Soon the baby would be there. Christine might as well have been born to be a nanny or a mother. Here she could be neither. Nor could I, but that was a less urgent issue.

Sending Christine off became a production. Jason had driven Sheila's Volvo. There were things in it for me, which he had neglected to mention. Nothing much—some Halston silk shirts, two pair of heels, a dozen pair stockings and an array of silk scarves. The scarves were probably Gran's, but the rest was from Elizabeth or someplace similar. I was thinking of how to phrase the thank you email, when something clinked. Knotted in one of the scarves were earrings, tied in pairs with ribbon. Sweet.

There was more. A suit bag lay on the floor behind the passenger seat. Inside was a school teacher costume—dark skirt, back buttoned blouse with a cheat zipper in the pleats, faux early 20th century shoes, also with zipper, wooden pointer stick, metal edged ruler, even a couple of grammar school texts. There was also a note.

Siobhan,

Please do not thank me for any of this. After all your help, it is little enough. Much of it was already yours. However, there is something a little more personal. Check under the passenger seat.

SR

The suit bag was on the floor behind the passenger seat, but Sheila said under the seat. I went fishing. When I felt something like hair, I gasped. There were two floggers or lashes. I was not sure of the technical term. Wound through the strap of one flogger was a string, with a piece of paper attached. It was a baggage claim ticket for a bus line.

It was not what I wanted to do right then, but that's life. We drove to the bus depot to pick up the bag, which proved the correct term. It was a large gym bag. The zipper was locked, but Christine had the key on a string around her neck. Alarm bells were sounding. I asked Jason how he felt about a little tie-me-up before the trip home. There was no need to ask Christine. She was bouncing like a kid in a candy store.

Since we were going to do it, I decided to do it right. I called Elspeth and told her to get two enemas and bring them to my room. We were back in my apartment with plenty of time to spare. Jason and I cleared the living room floor and put out towels. Jason and Christine stripped. I posed Jason for Indian meditation—lotus position, hands palm up in the knees. Christine dropped into second position—kneeling on heels, knees apart, hands clasping elbows behind the back. They both looked ready to wait an hour, if necessary.

I am not so fortunate, but I could move. While we waited, I went through the contents of the bag. It was everything the suburban housewife might need for weekend entertainment, except some form of flogger. I now had two of those. I selected a gag, two belts and two blindfolds. For costume, I needed only remove clothing. I did this quite well in heels, stockings and corset. Panties and bra are optional. I elected to keep them, since this was a friendly session.

Elspeth knocked on my door. Whatever she might have said died when she saw my attire. Instead, her nostrils flared as I let her into the room. She paled when she saw Christine and Jason, but there was a question in her eyes. To answer, I smiled.

I said, "This is being recorded. Take Christine to the shower and see to each other." I handed her the two blindfolds, the gag and indicated the enemas. "Jason has enough children for the moment. We will not risk any more." I have to hand it to Jason. Even with a shot like that, I managed only a small smile.

Ten minutes later, we were deep into the scene. Elspeth was gagged and blindfolded, with her ankles belted to her thighs. Christine, also blinded, was on knees and elbows, eating Elspeth. Jason was on his knees, pounding away at Christine's ass. I held the lighter of the two lashes, flicking as close to randomly as I could manage. That was when the phone played Sean's ring tone. He would love this.

"Hey Sean. What's up?"

Phone: Hi sis. Have Jason and Christine left yet?

"Not yet. We're making a porn video right now. Keep it short. It looks like Elspeth may drop her ball."

Phone: Oh. That's good. That's very good. Of all the women that want to make porn videos with Jason, you have a lesbian.

"Be nice. Elspeth is not a lesbian. She's bisexual. Right now Christine is attempting murder by stimulation, because Elspeth does not have permission to cum. As soon as she does, Jason will collect one of her cherries, while I try this lash thing on Christine. One second."

I spoke to my video subjects, "Five, four, three, two, one, blast off. Jason, when you are ready, roll Elspeth over and have another go. Feel free to play with her til then. Elspeth, once Jason rolls you over, no touching below the waist. Come if you can. If not, I can help with the lash.

"Sorry, Sean. Jason was close and I wanted everyone to cum together. Then we needed to reposition everybody. Christine, you may get your favorite plug if you wish. Sean you were saying?"

Phone: Sheila wants an ETA. It's every bit of six, more like seven hours. That's if the traffic in Connecticut cooperates. Get food in them and get them on the road. I'd say send the video, but I know Christine will anyway.

"Yes sir, Mr. Bossman, sir. Ten more minutes tops. Then we can hit Murphy's. Christine will love the mac and cheese. Has Sheila's diet changed yet? I'm not sure how long that takes."

Phone: Right. Christine would get mac and cheese at a place like Murphy's. I could go for the steak tips myself. Sheila wants to hire the winning chef from the rehearsal dinner. He's too important to have at the house full time, but we may work something out. So far, he just does Sunday dinner and the food ordering. I think I might have him train a nutritionist. We'll see. Talk to you later.

"Bye Sean. Thank Sheila for her gift."

I turned to Christine. "Your Mistress wants you home safely. So we will cut this short. You may come any time you wish. Then we'll go to Murphy's for dinner. Elspeth, do you want to come along? They do vegan. Jason, pull out and slap her pussy. She's ready."

Even with clean up and dinner, Jason and Christine were on their way by seven PM. As I drove Elspeth home from the restaurant, I realized she was laughing. When I asked her why, it took her a moment to regain her composure.

Wiping a mirth tear from her eye, she said, "My first hetero experience was with Jason Porter, it's anal and I came buckets. Which part of that is least believable? I came over to check on your metamorphosis night. Mercy be. The Goddess has a strange sense of humor." I had come to that conclusion myself.

A thought occurred to Elspeth which sobered her. She asked, "She's gone, is she not? Christine. She went home to New Jersey and will not be back. I was so glad to see you, but she was there. I could never compete. Now I'm here and she's gone. I do not know if I should laugh or cry."

I said, "Neither. Just be glad you met her. She has gone to be domestic with Sheila. You met the bride. You saw how that worked. How would Christine fit in on Beacon Hill?" Elspeth shuddered. "There is someone I want you to meet, but it will take some time to arrange it.

"For the moment consider this. Angela Molinari is married to Pedro de la Garza. Whenever she attended an award night, she almost always came with Edith Dryden, two beauties together. Who did Pedro escort? You know her face." Elspeth did know the face.

"Her name is Deirdre Walters. Multiple degrees from Columbia. Speaks several languages. I'll introduce you, then the two of you can do tea. I asked how Christine would do on Beacon Hill. Deirdre would make points with your persnickety grandmother."

It can be hazardous to drive when someone is trying to hug you.

Chapter 13 – New Beginnings

I did not think through my coming-out ceremony before I wrote out invitations. It simply seemed appropriate to have a ceremony of some kind. Humans do rituals. Anthropologists study them. I even did a little reading on the gift economies, but that was not really the way I was pointed. I leaned toward giving thanks to those who had paved my way. The gifts would be tokens of appreciation.

Since I did not plan things, there were a few kinks that would have been avoidable. Marbury Hall was the building that I lived in. I was vaguely thinking of having it in the common room. It quickly became clear that I needed more space. Dr. Krelinov suggested a meeting room or auditorium. As Dean, he could reserve one, though I was surprised he wanted to. I also considered using the all faith chapel. In the end, I rented the meeting room at a family steak house. They even provided tea, coffee and cheap cookies.

I borrowed a mannequin and dressed it with my ratty jeans and a favorite Clash concert shirt. Underneath I taped nipple rings, with a bell hanging out through a tear in the shirt fabric. On the floor I placed my Army boots. Next to this I set a picture of me wearing it all. That was as close as I wanted to come to any of it. Funny how that works. Images can be powerful, but change is more powerful.

Elspeth helped by pulling the corset tight. Sheila found the clamp reassuring. I could not say the same, but it did something for me. My suit intentionally mimicked the colors of the jeans and T-shirt. The heels, not so much. I was set, so I needed to wait for my cue.
And wait.

And wait.

We had a projector and screen set up. During the entry period, it was set to cycle through images of me with friends and colleagues. Elspeth greeted everyone while I fidgeted. I thought of all the people I had invited. Would they be disappointed. I wanted everyone to have something iconic, but how many iconic things did I own? Maybe money would work. If it's what you have, then...

Elspeth raised her voice to say, "...Doctor Siobhan Richards." Show time.

I turned the corner to enter the room. What had been a quiet buzz of conversation stilled abruptly. I was glad I was in a tight laced corset, because it forced me to keep breathing. I had prepared some remarks, but they went out the window.

Instead, I said, "When I first saw this version of me in a mirror, I asked Sheila why? She told me I was not pretty. Before I could protest that this explained nothing, she said, 'Think it through, Doctor.'" No one laughed, but there were several winces. As quiet rebukes go, Sheila's was major league and several people in the room could truly appreciate it. Almost everyone could follow the reasoning behind her directive. I gave them a moment, then went on.

"You have all seen images of Sheila in the Irish sod green dress and white lace cover. You have likely seen her on the dance floor. With that as an example, how could I aspire to less than this?" I waved a hand at myself and shut the fuck up.

I let them think...

...for a while.

It was a lot to follow, but Dartmouth does not employ buffoons or hand out degrees like candy. When eyes started to widen and heads started to nod, I knew my evening was a success. As Sean says, never overplay the hand. I only needed to tie a bow on things.

I said, "I asked you here tonight so I could pay tribute to what has gone before. As much as the future may be different from the past, the past is the foundation. Dr. Lancaster..."

Emilia Lancaster was Dean of Woman's Studies and one of my supporters. Her head jerked when I called her name. I went to the mannequin and extracted the bell from below the T-shirt. I handed it to her with the promise of two images. Dr. Lancaster bowed her head in acknowledgment.

Things went quickly. I gave the ratty pants and torn T-shirt to the heads of the Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Society and CGSE, along with the two nipple rings. Several items of no longer worn body jewelry went to the my teaching aides, the newsletter, supportive faculty and Triangle House. That left Drs. Krelinov, Steele and my nine wedding assistants. I started with the Dean.

"Dr. Krelinov, my gift to you is intangible. A collection of family documents is coming to the library and history departments. To the extent that goodwill accrues to me, I assign it to the department and its projects. Dr. Steele, as my taskmaster, I bring you work." I raised a document box. "These are the raw notes and early commentary from two summers in Boston. Take them in trust for all the social sciences." There was appreciative murmur to that one.

"There are nine more. You know who you are. Please come forward."

My nine assistants for the wedding came up. To seven I gave rings I removed from my ears. To Evaine, I gave the eyebrow stud. For Elspeth I had worn the large nose ring. If Veronica could do it, so could I. Everyone accepted their small token, Elspeth with wide eyes. One thing left to do.

"Everyone, I ask you to bear witness." Eight of my assistants stood at my sides. Elspeth opened a small box. From them I removed the ruby studs. I concluded, "These studs are a family heirloom. They represent the past, but also continuity. They have endured for generations already." I placed one stud in my left ear. "They also represent my place within my family. This I acknowledge, for myself and for generations to come." I placed the second stud in my right ear. "I present myself to the future. You are my witnesses. Thank you." There was generous applause.

I honestly had no idea what to expect. I initiated the evening because I had debts to pay. As an eyesore, many persons and institutions had defended me and supported my position through the years. I hoped my tribute repaid them in small part. If nothing else, I hoped they would not feel betrayed by my unfamiliar visage. Judging from the faces and comments, I had succeeded at least in part.

Above that, I received appreciation for making the gesture. Many people called it moving. Several offered congratulations on my statement of responsibility. This was common among the most senior faculty present. I asked everyone to sign my guest book and promised a commemorative image via email. The Dean of History chided me for giving Dr. Krelinov too big a stick.

The line was almost done when Morgan Robertson came forward with a guest. Senator Robertson was wearing her political hat openly, so her guest was either another politician or a potential donor. She did not keep me in the dark.

She said, "Jo, that was lovely. Had I not seen the pictures, I would have trouble believing it. It had to have caused you trouble, which I suppose is the point to the gathering. It went well I think. But, I did come to talk shop.

"Allow me to introduce Marc Brunner of Sylvania. He represents one of New Hampshire's leading employers. Their headquarters are overseas, so the Beacon Light project is of interest to them. Since you seem to be spearhead for the startup fund raising, I brought him to meet you."

Mr. Brunner said, "I am glad she did. Most impressive. Such transformation is worthy of Kafka, though I do not see you as a, ah, what is the word?"

Morgan and I chorused, "Cockroach." We did not burst out laughing, but it was a near thing for me. Germans take Kafka's Die Verwandlung very seriously. Usually translated as The Metamorphosis, it is the story of a man turning into a giant bug and dying. Herr Brunner, seeming to realize his reference could be easily misconstrued, became embarrassed.

He spluttered, "Frau Doktor, please do not offense take. Die Transformation ist sehr beeindruckend. Most impressive is..." I held up my hand.

I said, "Herr Brunner, be at ease. I take no offense. What you said is almost exactly what Herr Karl said a few days ago. In fact my fiancé calls me Frau Doktor. What did you wish to discuss?" He was not ready to go there.

"You say Herr Karl. Who this is?"

I answered, "He is Lars' ultimate superior here in the United States. Lars Gunter is my fiancé." Herr Brunner started at Lars' full name.

Thinking aloud he said, "Lars Gunter mit Siemens. Herr Karl? Mein Gott! Georg Karl höchsten Vorgesetzten mit Siemens. Wer war ich im Gespräch mit?"

Morgan was taken aback. I tried to follow the muttered German and caught the part about Georg Karl, Senior VP. The last part seemed to be wondering who I was. I cleared my throat, which usually works with Sean. Herr Brunner looked up, a bit sheepish.

I said, "Yes. I met Georg Karl a few days ago, along with several other Siemens managers. We wanted to get their blessing for the marriage. Herr Karl also used the words 'most impressive.' He also said Lars, young Gunter, had good judgment. Is that sufficient endorsement?"

"Ja, Frau Doktor. Ganz gut." That much German I can handle. Morgan pulled me aside.

She asked, "He looks like you hit him with a rock. What happened?"

I answered, "It was just some shameless name dropping. You met my fiancé Lars, who works for Siemens. Lars and I met with the senior managers for Siemens USA, to get a variance on their fraternization policy.

"Lars is on a multi-year training program. They do not like the participants to be distracted, so we had ruffled feathers to smooth. I sort of took over the meeting. Lars said exactly three words. Georg Karl, the senior manager for US operations said, I quote, 'Most impressive. Young Gunter good judgment has.' There was more, but it was clear we have a go-ahead. Herr Brunner was much impressed with Herr Karl's name." He was not the only one. Morgan's mouth dropped open.

"Holy shit. Excuse my language, but holy fucking shit. Even I know the name Georg Karl. He endorsed you, as in you personally?" I had not thought of it that way.

I bit my lip, which I never do, "Yeah. When you parse it out, it is a personal endorsement of me. Hmmm. There is another shoe coming. I can feel it. But, for the moment, you have it exactly right. Who'd a thunk it?"

"Sister, you don't know your own strength." The comment came from behind. I turned to find Dr. Hiller, one of the three faculty to receive a personal invitation and body jewelry. For both my years on campus she had been one of my ardent supporters. I was relieved to see that her support would not be lost. If anything her look was invitational.

I said, "Dr. Hiller, I am so glad you could come."

"Call me Susan. I suspect we will be seeing a lot of each other. By the way, I am in awe of the way you are playing Dr. Chernikov and Dr. Lang. These papers, if my sources are good, will be a major addition to the Library and right from under Princeton's nose. A major New Jersey find and Princeton doesn't get it. Weeping and gnashing of teeth. Adding Dr. Krelinov was a master stroke. Setting the Russian against the Ukrainian. Genius." Wow. This was high praise from a master.

I said, "I will not deny some of that was planned out, but not the last. I owed Dr. Krelinov, like I owe you." That brought a peel of laughter.

"Oh, my goodness. Siobhan, my dear, one thing you must learn is that you never owe anyone for doing their job. Thanks are appropriate, since it is rare enough, but you owe the employer. You pay by making Dartmouth proud."

My face must have shown something. She said, "What?" In response I went to my bag and pulled out my current workbook. At the top of the first page was the line, Make Yale Proud, attributing Dr. Eisenmann. Dr. Hiller's eyes widened when she read it.

She said, "Donald Eisenmann. I can accept him as good company, even if he is a Yalee. He would be, by the way. Proud. I'll give him a call. He should see your presentation." She smiled, "I feel like I have been monopolizing the bride at her wedding. Do not neglect your other guests."

She was right, of course, though by then most had left. I gave hugs to eight of my grad students. The Anthropology newsletter wanted a quote. I let the editor watch as I added You pay by making Dartmouth proud and Dr. Hiller's name to my notebook. After a moment to flesh out the quote, I turned to the only person left.

Elspeth had done her best to channel Christine and be the invisible aide. It made me proud for both of them. Christine is truly gifted within her range, but she had none of the usual hallmarks of success. I was proud that an accomplished person like Elspeth would choose to emulate her. I was proud that Elspeth could recognize Christine's strengths for what they were. For a Boston brahmin, it was doubly impressive.

I went to Elspeth and gave her my best hug. She clung to me like a child. Since it is important to say such things, I told her what I had just been thinking. Elspeth shuddered. After a moment I realized she was crying. Perhaps Susan Hiller was right. Perhaps I did not know my own strength.

I was never sure the impact my little ceremony had, but some envisioned troubles never occurred. The lesbian community was not overjoyed that I was switch hitting, but it was a minor thing compared to their adoration of my new fashions. It seems that Elspeth was not the only one who had wanted to give me a makeover.

The grunge side of my life had a similar reaction. They were sorry to lose me as a member in good standing, so to speak, but they acknowledged how well the new look worked. Many of the relationships cooled, but there was no hostility. The same was true of the faculty and staff. A few were cooler, but there was no venom.

On the other side, my access to senior people greatly expanded. Before long, that access expanded to alumni and benefactors. The prior year I had received exactly three luncheon invitations. I received that many the day after my ceremony. I quickly realized I had moved from academic asset to public relations asset. Sean refers to his time in the Army as being a trained seal. I grew to sympathize.

In my personal demesne, things were the the same, but different. In several ways, it reminded me of my second summer in Boston. I had a new set of graduate assistants to ride herd over. They were exactly what I had come to expect. The big change was me. I had matured between my two summers in Boston. My new look may not have been maturity, but the results were much the same.

On another front, I was dealing with a familiar topic—my dissertation had run off in a new direction. Originally, I had intended to recast my Yale dissertation to an anthropological viewpoint, dealing with the evolution of halfway houses over recent generations. My first thesis would give me a current day reference from which to expand.

Or so I thought. My time dealing with the Amish led me to focus more on the transition into an urban environment. Transitions were still the key, but the groups were very different. I would not focus on the Amish. I would let Evaine do that. Instead I would focus on the broader question of how the rural to urban migration had changed in the information age.

Much of my research was still useful. Going back into my Boston notes, there were several cases that could continue to serve. Their fathers or mothers—or grandfathers or grandmothers—had done it before them. That still left a lot of new research to do, plus my teaching and supervisory duties. On top of that was my new found status in campus society. There were at least two obligatory functions a week. Once again, I had no life of my own.

The irony was that Lars was not around to distract me. I learned of his transfer the day after my ceremony. I barely had time to get to the airport to see him off. From that point on, we were ten, or fourteen, hours out of synchronicity. Our communications became email oriented, with weekend chats. My written German became almost as good as Lars' English. I even absorbed a little Japanese.

Chapter 14 – Roast Turkey

Sheila asked me to come home for Thanksgiving dinner. I sent my things ahead. Tuesday after class I drove down in Shadow, to find the whole house had been rearranged. In many ways it was as much of a shock as my time before the wedding. I was lucky to have an established bedroom, because George's room now belonged to Christine. Next to it, in what had once been Greatgran Sparks' room, was the nursery.

The whole third floor was again ready for occupation, with three rooms taken. One was by an Amish widow, Mother Lapp, who served as cook and unofficial head of all things Amish. At opposite ends of the hall were the men's and women's quarters. So far only two girls and three men. The girls were cleaning and laundry staff. The men were working on Sean's yacht, though that project was nearing completion.

Sean and Sheila still lived in the new wing. Sheila confessed that she did not want to give up some of the modern niceties. Sean said it was just his computerized shower. Sheila conceded a point without agreeing. I could see both sides. In addition to the bath, the bedroom was just up the hall from the private gym and their home office suite. Since Sheila was close to the end of her second trimester, it mattered that there were no stairs.

Sheila herself was a major shock. I had grown used to her being impossibly thin. Twenty five weeks into a pregnancy, Sheila's middle had expanded to match the size of her breasts. At first glance, she looked slightly overweight, rather like I used to look. It was a shock to see her with a "normal" profile, though she still moved like no one I have ever seen. The other shock came at dinner, when she ate more than I did—then had dessert.

Avocado, lime, ginger sorbet did not sound particularly appealing. When I asked if it was a pregnancy craving, Sheila introduced me to her nutritionist, Loren Smith. He was out for a weekly weigh-in and profile. He told me that Sheila was one of his more challenging clients, partly because morning sickness and her eating habits combined to make weight gain difficult. Avocados had been a key. Sheila loved them and they were loaded with healthy fats. Mother Lapp quickly developed a range of ways to serve them, including as a sweet.

Francine was also pregnant, though about a month less far along. She called. Francine and Sheila constantly texted about their progress, but the weekly weigh in was occasion for an actual call. Sheila brought me into a three way. Francine, as always, was in full educational mode. I learned more about having a child in ten minutes than I wanted to know, though the information might prove useful at some point.

As it turned out, we had found one thing that would slow Francine down. After a mere twenty minutes, she was yawning regularly. Sheila was also flagging, though not as much. From Francine's monologue I learned that both of them were having difficulty metabolizing enough iron. While her tiny size was not causing problems, Francine had other issues. It was a good thing she was rich enough to stay home, because her last few weeks might be in bed.

We said our good byes, then Sheila hugged me before she went to join Sean. As she left, she said that Christine had missed her blanket. I thought nothing of it, until my bedroom door opened that night. Christine crawled in and snuggled back into my belly. I could understand missing this. Nor was that everything. I had almost forgotten how much I liked having a wake up call.

Wednesday was so much different from my routine, that I almost felt relaxed. Christine woke me up. We played chase and tickle until I had worked up a sweat. Showering was a different sort of fun. Then we had juice, coffee and biscuits in the little kitchen. It was a good way to start the day, but we had to get dressed and go be grownups. That proved both interesting and unexpected.

I had gotten out of the habit of wearing the corset. When I closed the busks, it was surprisingly easy. While not paying attention, I had lost weight. Perhaps it was the work outs. Perhaps I developed new habits during the month or two I did wear it daily. Perhaps it was because of my better self image. Christine merely nodded and ran her hands down my sides. I shivered at the contact. It may have been the most erotic thing of the morning.

The day continued at a leisurely pace. Christine showed me her room and the nursery. There was a reference shelf three feet long. It covered pregnancy, newborn care, infant care, adolescent care, nanny law, poison treatment and first aid for children, cradle teaching, baby and child psychology and yoga. I asked about the last one. Christine said, "Sharon." That explained it. Sharon was a yoga instructor, whom Sheila trusted with her fitness clients. If Sheila trusted someone, so did Christine. Hell, so did I.

On the subject of Sheila's clients, I had several messages requesting Dr. Richards' services. I wondered how Sheila and Richard would take my accepting a session. I asked Christine. She equivocated with her hand. Either she was unsure or there would be mixed reaction. I made a mental note to check. Then I spied a certificate.

Christine was registered as an In Home Child Care Specialist with a well known nanny placement. service. I glanced at her. Christine tried to wave it off, but I could tell she was proud. I would have to look into this for my thesis. Basic nanny was a job with few legal hurdles. References were more difficult. I gave Christine a hug and told her I was proud.

From there we went into the guts of the renovations. The old house had over fifty rooms. Installing forced air heat and cooling was impractical. A storage room had been converted to a boiler room, which heated the big first floor rooms. Outside were several compressors. The old brick flues and chimneys held an insert. On one side was a double wall vent for the gas room heaters. On the other side was a line for liquid coolant. The exchanger, which looks like the vent of a window AC, was mounted above the fireplace mantel and covered by a decorative screen.
Next to the boiler room was the new laundry. I found our two Amish girls folding sheets. They both recognized me from the wedding. They curtsied and refused to look up. Lord Jesus, had I been that high and mighty? I asked them their names—Miriam Lapp and Sarah Beiler. The older woman that served as cook and chaperon was also named Lapp. I learned that she was an aunt to both girls, but had no surviving children of her own. On that sobering information, I thanked the girls and went outside.

The yard was another jolt. Just having the merry-go-round missing was discordant, but the real change was in activity. There were no crowds of workers. For that week, the yard was my personal demesne. Now, it was just winter brown grass. Still, some things were left. During the wedding party, we had an area for child care. That had been formalized into a fenced playground.

One of my small contributions to the party was seating. I had ordered dozens of bench kits. Many of them were set near the sand box, swing set, jungle gym and under shade trees. Off to one side was what appeared to be a dog park, which was a nice touch. Nearby were two croquet courses, one flat and one hilly. Further on I expected to find horseshoe and bocce lines. Closer up was a basketball goal and a new shed. I suspected it was where the balls and equipment now lived.

Looking it over, I recognized the basic plan from in May. Some things were moved. Others were new, but the layout was familiar, only it now centered on the playground. It gave me a nice sense of continuity, but one thing was missing—a play house. I knew where to find carpenters. The noise from the boathouse had been nonstop.

Going inside, I could see why. Sean's yacht, The Other Shoe, was nearing completion. From what I could tell, there seemed to be a rush to finish something. Presently, Clayton Roberts, aka CR, came over. He was the man in charge of getting the yacht float worthy. I suspected he was well beyond that point.

He said, "Miss Jo. Ye're looking fine. What can CR do for ye?"

I answered, "How's she doing. She looks fit enough, though I have no eye for such things. This seems a lot of activity for this late in the day."

CR snorted. "Right ye are. She be fit as they come. She'll test out right enough, but the finish wood is another story. The cabinetry is a work of beauty, but that makes fixin' slow goin'. These Amish folk know their stuff, but... You, of anyone, knows about deadlines. I never saw such a work as you pulled together. Mr. Sean wants her to sail this week. I was hoping for the holiday. Then it was Friday. Now I'm thinking Saturday.

Why didn't he just ask for permission? Sometimes it's easier to ask forgiveness. "CR, you should not try these tricks on me. I know Sean is busy, but he would make time for this. Plan on having her wet right after Thanksgiving dinner. Organize everything you cannot finish into one job. That, you set aside. Pull those people to finish the rest. Any man that knows boats, knows the work is never done. Can you do that?"

CR looked a little shocked, but he nodded. "Aye. That I can do, and make her look good with the cabinets closed. I'll make a list of unfinished things for Mr. Sean. Mostly it's the closet in the captain's cabin. We tears it all out to replace a tension beam. Ye're right. Any boatman would know it be a big job, but one that needed doin'. Thank ye. I can see why the help thinks so highly of ye."

I was a little taken aback. Christine was grinning ear to ear, the scamp. We went back in through the ballroom. This was not an area that had many visible changes, though the lighting was up to modern standards. I wanted to see the kitchen. There the changes were quietly dramatic. The cabinets and stone counter tops remained, but everything else was new.

Professional grade ranges and ovens were the most obvious. What had been an outside door was now walk through refrigeration. The dish sinks were gone, replaced by a door into a dish washing room. A muscular bread kneading machine was in one corner. An ice cream freezer was in another. It was all spotlessly clean and empty. I could see that this was the entertaining kitchen. That said interesting things about future chef competitions.

Just as I was about to go through the rabbit hole, to the new house, Sheila came through. It was ten AM, but she looked wiped out. I had to ask, "Morning sickness?" Sheila nodded and waved me through. I followed her back to the music room. Soft piano music was playing. Sheila sat next to a cup of colored ice cubes and stuck one in her mouth. It had to be Gatorade, or something like it. Nice trick. Cold liquids stay down better.

Sheila said, "Most days are not this bad. I need a favor. I was supposed to meet someone at the airport. They understand Sean will be tied up. Barbara's a nurse. Just tell her what I look like. She'll explain it to her husband, Don. These are good people, but plain. I do not want to send a limo to pick them up. Since I cannot go, it would good if it was family." It had been such a slow day.

Elspeth was driving down. The trip is about five hours from Boston, on a good traffic day. I text her that I was going to the airport and would not be able to greet her at the Residence. A few minutes later, I realized I had adopted Sheila's name for my childhood home. As Spock would say, interesting.

We have a functional regional airport, but a surprising number of people prefer to use the hub airports in Philadelphia, Newark and New York. Silly, but true. Sean, unfortunately is one of those. He had booked the Micellis into Philadelphia. I climbed in the back of Sean's Mercedes and tried to ignore traffic for an hour. It was not easy, but Dr. Richards could cope with small distractions.

About three quarters of the way there, my text message ring tone sounded. Sheila said there were three to pick up. The third was Kiku Toda. That seemed a coincidence, until I noticed that she was an airline employee. Sheila's messages need to be parsed like statutory language—every word matters. I wondered if the Micellis even knew Ms. Toda existed. Then I remembered Sean's comment on competent people—they ask difficult questions.

I started by assuming Ms. Toda (she had to hate her surname) was competent. I picked up the Micellis and took them to baggage claim. Don Micelli reeked of military on unfamiliar turf. Barbara Micelli gave off supportive military wife, but also other things. Interesting. She was the one to talk to.

I said, "Hello. I'm Siobhan, but you can call me Jo. Sheila sends her regrets. She has a bad case of morning sickness. If I understand correctly, you know more about that than most. Sean, as you know, is buried in the office. I'm his little sister. Since neither of them could make it, they sent me. Don, you can call me Dr. Richards. It might be easier." I was not Sheila, but I tried to cram everything in.

The reaction was gratifying. Don stared a moment, then relaxed. Barbara watched Don, then relaxed. I was picking up more than the usual husband-is-in-control vibe. Barbara was demure, though not on Christine's level. She was going to love me. Don, clearly, was already fixated on Sean. We could make this work. That was when Kiku introduced herself.

Sean has good taste in people. Sheila has good taste. It can be a fine distinction, but there it was. Kiku was a Sheila person, though Sean would approve. For me, damn Skippy. I wanted to take Kiku somewhere and investigate her toenails and everything above them. Wow. It took a conscious effort to reign in my libido, but Dr. Richards does not lack for control. Instead, I introduced her to Don and Barbara Micelli.

The ride home was stressful. I put Kiku in the front and sat with the Micellis, sitting next to Don. This was entirely necessary. Kiku needed to be as far from me as possible. Barbara needed to be on the other side of her husband. Heaven help us if we were unchaperoned. I might eat them both. What would I say to Elspeth?

Still, a tense ride is only a tense ride. In a reasonable time, Russell was turning into our drive. At the motor pool, we met Sheila, looking much the worse for wear. Barbara ran to her, relieving me of that burden. That left Ms. Toda, who showed patience worthy of Christine. As if on cue, Christine appeared with refreshments. This was the garage. Why serve refreshments here?

The answer, as with many answers, was Sheila. She should have been up in the main house, taking it easy. Where she went, Christine would follow. Hence, refreshments in the garage. I urged everyone into the house. On the way, I made a mental note to consider wheelchair access. It was enough of a concern that I almost missed the Micellis staring at me.

Don spoke first. "At the airport I almost didn't believe it. I would not question what Mr. Richards tells me, but you didn't look at all like him. Now I get it. You have the same guard dog mentality, the same command presence. It's just that you're spit and polish and he doesn't give a damn." That cracked me up.

They wanted to know what I found funny, but I waved it off. Sheila would show them the whole thing in pictures soon enough. Instead I focused on Barbara, who was being very quiet. Christine quiet. That was the clue I needed. No wonder Sean and Sheila got along with them. Don understood Sean at a basic level and Barbara was submissive. Rather than ask rude questions about their love life, I gave Barbara a wink when Don was not watching. Bingo.

Everyone was in the music room. Sean and Sheila both love classical music, which irritates me. Still, soft piano music can be soothing. At least it was not John Tesh or some such. I wanted Sheila to have some girl time with her friends, so I offered Don a game of 8-ball. Playing a decent game of pool is almost a job requirement in the military. Don did not disappoint me.

We split two games and were working on the third when Sean walked in. It was only three o'clock, so he must have bailed early. I left to let them to catch up. In the music room, Barbara was all Registered Nurse. She had Sheila lying in the recliner, with her feet propped above her heart. It was the perfect opportunity to steal a march. I walked up, removed one of Sheila's slippers and started massaging her foot. I was right, because Christine turned pink.

The conversation was about diet and exercise. Barbara was impressed with the first and should have known better than to raise the second. Perhaps she was trying for an area of comfort. Knowledge is like that. It feels good to know. The interesting part, for me, was watching the plus one in the room, Kiku.

We established at the airport that Kiku did not know the Micellis, but knew about them, and vice versa. She seemed to have her measure of Barbara, which is not surprising. Barbara was not a complex person. Christine was being invisible, so that left me. Kiku seemed to find me fascinating, though not in a sexual way. She was pretty interesting herself. I wondered how she would take Jason Porter.

All that was cut off by my phone buzzing. Security was letting us know that Francine had arrived. This I had to see. I made eye contact with Kiku and tossed my head at the door. She gave a trace of a smile and followed.

For a multi-millionaire, Francine travels in junk cars. Part of this may be her dreadful driving, but she also does not care about appearances. Fortunately for the people of New Jersey, she had a driver. Roxanna was Sheila's personal assistant, but also a former employee of Francine's. I was guessing this was more than just a visit, since both were dressed to go out. I gave them each a hug, then introduced them to Kiku.

I did not bother to ask about the clothes, because Francine would soon tell me. She did. Later in the evening, we would be going to a sneak preview of a new movie. Francine was a producer and Sheila had done some of the film editing. Rather than listen to her talk for the next hour, I led Francine to the kitchen. After a small snack, I led them to the music room. Barbara took one look at Francine and told her to sit down. I was hoping for a mercury thermometer, which would quiet Francine for a couple of minutes, but no joy. Things were just settling down when Security called again. Elspeth was at the gate.

The afternoon soon turned into evening. Dinner was served in the new dining room. Deja vu again. The last time I was there, we had a competition of chefs. This time it was modern prenatal diet, prepared by Mother Lapp. I ate too much for the corset, but spent most of my time watching the others talk.

Kiku was still watching me, joined by Roxanna, while Elspeth watched both of them. That was odd. I could understand Elspeth. Roxanna and I were once lovers and my interest in Kiku was probably transparent. Kiku and I had just met and she was as straight as straight gets. Yet Kiku also watched me. I could almost feel Dr. Richards take over.

In The Last Dragon a kung fu fighter searches for "the Master". At the end of the movie, he realizes that he is the Master. It was like that. Words came back to me: Christine, "Strong."; Sheila, "raw pulsing power"; Dr. Miller, "you don't know your own strength."; CR, "I never saw such a work as you pulled together." There was even a line from the Bible, "he spoke as one who had authority." Whatever caused people to follow, I had it. I was a leader, whether I liked it or not.

The first irony was that my looks would not be a hindrance. Some of history's great leaders were ugly—Attila the Hun, Martin Luther, Abraham Lincoln, Andrew Jackson and Winston Churchill, to name a few. Hell, Eleanor Roosevelt. Not everyone can have the Kennedy nose or the Reagan hair. Distinctive was also good and I had distinctive in spades. At the time we were about to go to watch a movie. The second irony was that I was thinking about Reagan and his Hollywood looks. That closed a loop in my head. Although I did not notice it at the time, that was when I decided to go into politics.

The movie showing was surprisingly low key. There was no press or fanfare, not even a poster. Francine told us the special showing had some radio ads, but nothing else. That said, there was a nice crowd.

Francine had reserved seats for everyone. We trouped down to a roped off row. The theater manager brought us complimentary drinks and popcorn, which made me think (correctly) that Francine owned the local franchise. As soon as we were settled, the lights went down. There were two trailers, then Will Smith jumped out of a third story window into history.

What can I tell you about Hard Time that you don't already know? Movies that are nominated for Best Picture and make a gazillion dollars get a lot of ink. This I can say. Ten seconds into the movie, I knew what Sheila had contributed. That is how long it takes for the first still image to pop up. Every few minutes, something would happen, which earned a still image enlargement.

Halfway through the movie is the first fight scene. Still images isolate the weapons before they are picked up, the lackeys before they interfere, the bad guy's getaway exit and, of course, the key piece of evidence that gets lost. This all happens in fifteen seconds of screen time.

That was what got everyone. We know that many things happen quickly. There are dozens of expressions that refer to the fact. The genius of the movie is that you never doubted the witnesses that claimed they never saw anything. It only took fifteen seconds. You were there. You watched in real time. You understood.

I was looking over, to congratulate Sheila and Francine. I saw something that still makes my blood run cold. Sheila was miming a fight, but it was not the one on the screen. This was a flash back to Sheila's fight in Hawaii. Christine picked up on it, no surprise, but so did Barbara Micelli, which was interesting. As Sean says, simple does not mean stupid.

The moment passed and we went back to the movie. According to Francine, the original cut was nearly an hour longer then this one. I believed it. The last thirty minutes flew by. Simultaneous action was done split screen. One nice touch was stills of both cell phones whenever a connection was made. The big fight and the big chase scenes took only five minutes, but probably cost half the budget.

Will Smith jumped out of his window again. The first time it was ten seconds into the movie. The second was with ten seconds left. The camera pulled back. Other shots joined and merged. Still enlargements multiplied. Everything froze for a heartbeat, then a cropping block appeared. The images outside the crop faded away. Those inside transferred to a computer screen, under the LA Times banner. A caption appeared under the image as the frame enlarged. Under the computer screen credits started to roll in silence.

The silence was not just the soundtrack. There was an uncanny hush in the crowded theater. As the theme music came up, so did applause, followed by whistles and yells. When the half lights came on, Francine jumped up on the arms of her seat and faced the crowd.

"Thank you all for coming. That went well, I think. Do you think it might make me some money?" She got a few laughs. "When I go west again, I'll tell Will and Ben that you liked it. Good night. I think I need to throw up."

I could see it coming so I was already moving. I picked Francine off her perch and put her on the floor. Christine handed me a popcorn bucket, which was immediately full of nasty stuff. I told everyone it was morning sickness, which brought nods and looks of sympathy. After a half minute or so, I passed Francine a lidless drink and told her to wash out her mouth. Instead, we endured some dry heaves. I noticed Sheila looking away, probably trying to control her own stomach.

Everyone else was looking at me. Why was I in charge? Doh! I was in charge, because I took charge. Sean looked amused. Don looked impressed. Roxanna, Elspeth and Barbara looked, for lack of a better word, adoring. Just what I needed, groupies. Kiku looked alert and she was near an aisle. I motioned toward the door. She got everyone moving.

A few minutes later, while Sheila and Francine were in the washroom, I asked Roxanna what she thought of the audience reaction. She probably expected a question about the movie itself, so she needed to switch gears.

She said, "That's a very good question. The answer is, I'm not sure. Silence before applause is always good. It means the audience is waiting for more, which means you have their full attention. This is a good reaction, very good. How good is the question. Of that I'm not sure. Let me make some calls." I never heard back from her, but the movie buzz was everywhere the next day. I decided to keep my ticket stub. It went in a drawer and I forgot about it.

Instead, I was back in my old role as supervisor. Thanksgiving dinner would be for about thirty people, so the ballroom was being dressed up again. It was like coming home. Michael and Mitchell Gilbert welcomed me back. Later I would meet their families. The Chef Johnson and Mother Lapp needed some boundaries set. Mostly I just said, "Keep going. It's fine."

Fortunately, both Sheila and Francine looked much better. Sheila said the morning sickness came and went. Yesterday was her worst day in a week. Today she was almost normal. I flicked a look at Francine and told her I was glad to hear it. Sheila made no sound, but her lips fought a smile.

I sent Christine to fetch the boombox. If all went well, we could have some dancing later. I tipped Roxanna, so she could partner with Francine when the time came. Until then, we forgot everything in a traditional Thanksgiving dinner. There was roast turkey, ham, four styles of potatoes, two bean casseroles, dressing and gravy, cranberry sauce from fresh berries, succotash, fresh baked rolls and a dozen relishes. I had elected to skip the corset, so I watched my helpings closely. I still ate too much.
Plates started to slide forward and chairs back. Sean stood and rang his water glass for attention. "Thank you all for coming. This is a year for which I have much to be thankful, so I am pleased to have you all to share this small repast with." Sheila must have used that turn of phrase. Sean is not that eloquent. Never mind. He was working up to something.

Sean continued, "I have a new wife and soon to be child to be thankful for. I just wish she could enjoy the food more. I think Francine also has much to be thankful for." Really Sean? Stilted much? "She is expecting a child and appears to be part owner of a hit movie." Applause. "For Sheila and I, we have a wealth of new friends." More applause. "But I am most thankful for my sister." Wait. What?

Sean held up his glass. "To my little—or not so little—sister, Jo. Six months ago she saved my ass. For the week before the wedding, I expected a dozen calls an hour, asking me to sort something out. They never came. To those who have never been in charge, you do not know how much a manager appreciates a silent phone. I have no one who could have done it better, including me. I have very few that could have done it at all. Along the way, she chose a much nicer look. Here's to you, Jo." This time the applause went on and on, while my face kept getting hotter.

Music came to my rescue. The opening strains of The Blue Danube were coming from my boombox. I saw a hand in front of me. It was attached to someone very tall, Gerald. He was asking me to dance. Oh boy was I out of it. Gerald led me to the open floor and swept me through the rest of the dance. For the second piece, Sean and Sheila joined us. Then several other couples. Gerald and I danced through four Strauss waltzes before he retired from the floor.

I never lacked for a partner, but my last dance was with Elspeth. After an hour, things started to break up, so I announced a final dance. There was a line of candidates, but I chose Elspeth. Afterward I took her to my room, gagged and tied her, then forced her to climax half a dozen times. I never heard Christine enter, but there she was, kneeling naked on the floor. The three of us slept spooned together.

 

Chapter 15 – White Plains

 

In the morning, I chased down Francine. She was doing tea and toast. That had to suck, given her three pot a day coffee habit. Still, Francine was looking upbeat. I assumed the news on her movie was good, so I did not ask.

I said, "You look better. The news on the movie must be good."

She said, "It is, but the real news is that Sheila is feeling better. I don't know why, but I catch her morning sickness. You did not find me to inquire about my health or the movie. What's up?"

I said, "Deirdre Walters."

Francine's eyes flew wide. Before I could say another word, her phone was out. In minutes I was invited to Sunday dinner with Angela Molinari and Pedro de la Garza, at their home in White Plains, NY. Naturally, I was to bring my assistant. I did not need a road map, but Francine laid one out anyway.

"Angela will play hostess, but her health is frail. Don't expect to see much of her. Pedro wants to see you again, which probably means he wants people to meet you. Put your phone on record and make sure the battery is charged. With Pedro doing the introduction, anyone and everyone there will at least read any resume or proposal you send. This is a very big deal, but you can handle it. Just remember the party in Manhattan and you'll be fine.

"Now, can I borrow Little Miss Cums-a-lot? I have a serious itch and Jason is in California." Francine Martel, you have to love her or strangle her.

She went to find Christine, while I went to tell Elspeth. It turned out they were together. Elspeth was trying to learn something about something. With Christine, that is a recipe for frustration. I mimed a keyboard, to which Christine smiled and nodded. I bumped two fists together and nodded to Francine. Same song, second verse. As they left, I heard Francine say something about teaching body language.

Elspeth was worried. I explained that I had arranged a meeting for her, with Deirdre Walters, which caused excitement. As I explained the whens and wheres, she became steadily more excited. When I was finished, Elspeth threw her arms around me and danced. The meeting was for her, but she was excited for me.

Sean was just as bad. He started making calls to see who would be at the dinner. Sheila rolled her eyes. Ten minutes later she produced a list. After an hour, Sean gave me half the names. As usual, Sheila's point was subtle but effective. Sean tried to tap the grapevine. Sheila went to the source. I gave Sean's list to Elspeth as confirmed attendees. I called Sheila's list "possible others". Elspeth just dropped Sean's list to grab Sheila's. I said she was smart.

By late Saturday, I knew enough to be scared spitless, while Elspeth was deeply impressed. The first time I met her, Elspeth was with a mid level accountant for First Boston National Bank. The CFO of Chase Manhattan Bank was on the list. It was a money list. These were not the decision makers; they were the check writers and the bankers. I wondered what that meant, til I realized that this list was for Elspeth. It was the start for her Rolodex. Damn Skippy.

Sean was sending the Mercedes with the bags. That being the case, I decided to arrive in the chauffeured car, with Elspeth bringing the sporty one. I could send Russell ahead if things were going well. When I gave Shadow's keys to Elspeth, I looked her in the eye and willed her to understand how much I loved my car. I think she understood.

It was a gated community, no big surprise. Russell stopped awhile at the gate. As we drove up the lane, he told me he was checking on arrangements for Shadow. I felt like I was smuggling Elspeth in, which in a sense I was.

The dinner was a lesson for me in a number of ways. I was rubbing elbows with some very influential people. In another part of the house, Elspeth was meeting with their staffs. My first lesson was that I had no control over the second part. Elspeth was being thrown in the deep end. I could only hope for the best. The second lesson was that this was about me as much as about Elspeth.

Angela met everyone at the door, but I never saw her again. Pedro was standing beside her. He said, "Encantado, querida. Usted muestra una gran mejora. Come. There are many for you to meet." He was not kidding. These were chief financial officers and leading bankers from all over Manhattan. It put things in perspective to think that I was their entertainment for the day. Certainly everyone wanted to know about the wedding. Pedro was introducing me as the architect and planner for the whole thing.

Lord, it was hard to be humble. Every time I would praise someone, it was taken as suitable deference. The next question was sure to deal with a time that person had a conflict. There were a lot of those. Still, these were money managers, not people managers. They knew the personnel tune and could dance to it a bit, but they wanted to know about funding. I tried my best to give credit to Sean, but one fact was beaten into me—I held the checkbook.

In hindsight, it was true. Sean was the one with the big ideas. I was the one that made the ideas work, using available materials and personnel. 90% of the labor was either from existing staff and their families, from Sean's temp service or from the Amish. I received major kudos for my handling of the Amish, Evaine Schaeffelker not-with-standing. After all, I was the one who said, "I want you so far inside that Sean has to deal with wedding proposals."

We probably spent almost $100,000 on labor, but it could easily have been three or four times that. Consider what a wedding contractor would have charged. Our short time frame kept costs down, which is the reverse of normal. Time crunches mean overtime rates and next day delivery fees. Francine billed at Union minimum, but sent her best people. I was the one that kept her best people happy.

For that matter, I was the one that kept Francine Martel happy. That one shocked me a bit. After all, I did hang Francine out a second story window. Francine told me she more than made up the lost revenue through referrals, plus she met Michael Foxworth. For that she was willing to forgive a lot. I thought she wanted to bear Dr. Foxworth's children, though that may just have been me. The other guests informed me that Francine was billing her services at $250,000, with a waiting list.

Interesting and important as all this was, it paled beside what happened when I mentioned Georg Karl. I swear, all conversation in the room stopped. Herr Karl did not say much, so I could repeat it word for word, "Most impressive. Young Gunter good judgment has. Far he may go, but here he will stay, I think. Most impressive."

They made me repeat it four times, then argued about the way to parse it. It was so much like academia, I almost felt at home. The fact that Herr Karl complimented Lars' judgment was discussed. Several of them had done or considered business with or through Lars. I could tell Lars' name was getting an important gold star. Though he was 10,000 miles away, they noted he would be returning. The fact that Herr Karl had called me impressive, twice, was the talk of the rest of the day.

Hours later, I asked Elspeth how meeting with Deirdre Walters had gone. Elspeth thanked me with an enigmatic smile. Once we were in Hanover, Elspeth produced a ball gag, metal edged ruler and pre-tied rope restraints. I could do better. Pet stores sell these very useful things called figure-eight tug toys. Richard tipped me to them. I had several in Shadow for just such an occasion. I gave Elspeth her spanking on the quadrangle, in full public view. She thanked me for weeks.

I could not remember what we ate for dinner in White Plains. Did we have chicken? It bothered me.

"little"   sister  

Mar 26, 2018 in femdom

Tags

Search