Sex stories

Erotic fiction and short sex stories




"Little" Sister Pt. 06

Author's note -- Minimal sex, and nothing graphic. Work. Work. Work. It's what you do when your fiancé is halfway around the world.

Chapter 26 -- Hiding in Clouds

One nice thing about wealth is the ability to throw money at a problem, til it sinks. From my first meeting in the Nashua Alderman's Board, I had been going slowly crackers. Through long experience with my moods, I held things together for a few weeks. It was long enough to get some spadework done, such as creating a de facto board of directors. Then I had to get away from everyone.

In the past I had taken Shadow for long drives in the hills of Appalachia, but that would not be enough this time. I wanted to get off the grid for a while. Given time to plan, I acquired a pile of stuff for wilderness use. Not being a former scout, Cloudrest was close enough to wilderness for my purposes. Mostly it was camping gear, food, lanterns and fuel, a solar power battery charger, wifi booster, water filter and things of that nature.

It started the previous fall. At my urging, two Boy Scout troops had a weekend camp out on Cloudrest's clearing. I personally gave them a tour of the various buildings. As a project, the boys hauled a ton or so of small rocks to the river bank. It was a troop vs. troop contest, with weight limits on the rocks, for safety reasons. A pair of wire mesh cylinders were set in the mud about six feet off shore. Most of the stones filled the cages, forming columns. The remaining rocks made a shelf on the bank. Some beams and planking completed a temporary small boat pier.

The boys were very proud of it. The Nashua paper ran an article with a group photo. Sheila made them all a nice folder of images and would not even consider accepting payment for her time. The scout troops more or less adopted me. Oddly, while I was considered unattractive by most standards, I made a great maternal image. Go figure.

In any event, I was invited to the ceremony where the (many) merit badges were distributed. Sean said Sheila watched the whole video, with tears running down her face. I did better, but I had more experience putting on a good front. The images made great discussion topics at Christmas.

After my FDC summit, I drove to the Residence. In addition to dropping off video and still images, I picked up one of the Amish girls, Sarah Beiler. Mother Lapp was loaning her for a week. Sarah was the most tomboy of Sean's staff and I needed company, for safety if nothing else. I also figured an Amish girl would be better at coping if the situation went sideways. Cooking over a wood fire was a bonus skill.

Among my other purchases was an old Ford Explorer, trailer and boat with motor. Before loading up, I took the empty boat across to check out the pier. The winter had taken a toll, but not too bad. There was a noticeable tilt, from one rock column settling, but the structure seemed sturdy enough. Without further ado, we set off for a week in the woods. I was glad the house was not far from the pier. All that gear was heavy.

Generally, I did not know what to expect. I grew up near wooded areas, but never spent time in them. Some camp gear, like sleeping bags and foam pads are pretty self explanatory. Have you ever tried to start a Coleman lantern from directions, while the light is failing? We had campfire light the first night. In the morning I decided to set up the tent, inside the building. It was fucking cold, even indoors.

This is where bringing an Amish girl proved brilliant. At first light Sarah was up, building the fire and preparing breakfast. All my attempts at help were met with disapproval, except pouring water into the filter. That she found interesting. During the campout, an Eagle Scout candidate collected water samples and had them analyzed. The spring water was safe for drinking in a pinch, but not for long term. I told Sarah the water might make us sick, unless we filtered it or boiled it. This was good sense as far as she was concerned.

After breakfast I set up my computer apparatus. The solar collectors were spread on a sunny rock. They would recharge my spare battery when it was drained. The antennae clamped as high on the main house as I could manage. George promised the battery on the modem would be good for twice what I needed. There was a sunny parlor. I set my laptop on a table the scouts made. If I did not need to write, it was good enough. I turned everything on and checked it, then powered down.

That done, I went to find Sarah. She was making a broom from a fallen branch and some evergreen boughs. That was one thing I forgot. A clipboard was another. I hoped I would never find out if something was missing from the first aid kit. I also brought a digital camera, but no charging cable. At my apartment I always used the docking cradle.

Packed with the computer material, I found a three-in-one book of New England plants, animals and birds. I bought it as a reference for the trip, but I decided to give it to Sarah. Since I also brought binoculars, she could do some bird watching. She was delighted. In her gear was a pad of paper and a box of pencils. Sarah drew. It was news to me.

We set out to explore my hilltop meadow. The main house I knew well by this point. There was another largish building of uncertain purpose. Firewood storage? Maple rendering? Workshop? Whiskey still? It was a single large room with a massive fireplace. There were two spring houses (why two?) and what was likely a root storage. A fallen building might have been a smokehouse. Two buildings were nothing but charred stumps and foundation stones, probably the hay barn and stable.

Further out was the apple grove run wild. Sarah was very excited about that. We spent an hour scavenging small, wizened apples. Nearby was an impassable brier thicket. Sarah said they were berries. Every few minutes she would stop and open her drawing pad. She would draw the leaf or plant, then try to find it in the book. I told her to collect the leaves. She could spend her evenings doing drawings. Sarah sighed and agreed.

By the time we returned, it was late afternoon. I was tired and my feet were soaked from snow melt. No waterproof shoes. I had my leather raincoat, but nothing truly waterproof. Sarah made dinner, including a salad of greens she had collected, tossed with apple bits. The greens were strong and bitter, which contrasted well with the sweetness of the apple. I loved it. The beef jerky stew, not so much.

That evening, I dug into the stack of accumulated email. After less than 48 hours, I had over 200 business related messages. It was not hard to spot which of my people had significant corporate experience. They were less chatty, more likely to include relevant prior messages and much more likely to copy other people. Headings were very useful, but easily lost or changed.

I sent Elspeth a note, telling her to find some email training materials. One particularly clean string I sent to everyone, asking them to note how things hung together well. I commended the senders and asked everyone to emulate their work. It was much like passing back the first paper of a new term, with grades and comments. As I worked, familiar rhythms started to take over.

This was what I was good at doing. I could step back and sort out the tensions and dynamics. It was not a section of a large city, or generations of people returning to the city, but it was a problem of a sort I recognized. Basically it was about allocation of resources, specifically my time. There were things only I could do. We needed to focus on making those possible, even if I was unable to do some other things.

The list was not difficult:

・ I was an elected official. I needed to attend scheduled meetings.

・ I was founder and managing director. That meant I dealt with higher powers, such as the Governor or the IRS.

・ I handled the tough decisions. Like it or not, I asked for it.

・ I was the Big Bad Wolf, when necessary.

・ I was our only lip reader. This one would be tricky. There are times when information is life, but I could not spend all my time gathering it.

Everything else was a distraction.

Put in those terms, some things were obvious. Driving myself had been a waste of time. Using Johnson, I could work in the car, but I needed a bigger car. I needed to be firmer in my delegations, but lighter in my supervision. Elspeth was worth her weight in gold, but she could not be my only contact. I needed to plan further growth.

I was less than two years out of college and I employed almost thirty people full or part time. It was past time for a formal plan. To that end, and some of the ones above, an MBA or CPA was becoming necessary. I knew just the place to find one—my little old lady circle. Something to do next week.

I powered down, changed the battery, hooked the old battery to the charger and went to find Sarah. We spent the rest of the evening discussing her drawings. They were good, but not professional. Suggesting lessons would not give good results. Sarah's Amish heritage would consider it excessive. However, I thought she and Sheila could do something together. As far as I knew, Sheila had no drawing skills, but no one had a better eye. For the moment, I showed Sarah what little I knew of using perspective in drawings.

That night I slept like a rock, perhaps because I had already made my decision. The company would learn to service itself. It was a simple idea, but one that would influence everything. For one thing, I was not the only one who would have responsibility, so I would need to delegate authority. On the other hand, I could let the company serve me, as well as me serving it. That alone was a weight off my shoulders.

My experience was that projects could become all-consuming. To some extent, that was acceptable—in a project. Witness, for example, my first dissertation. Such maniacal devotion was less suitable as a lifestyle. During her decade long pursuit of stability, Sheila had almost forgotten to live. For that matter, she was missing her true objective. What she really wanted was a safe place to raise children.

I had charged full speed into my adult life. What had I forgotten to do along the way? To mark a mental reference point, ten years before I had been a high school junior. My proudest achievement, then, was finally gaining some freedom from my tormentors.

That was what really let me sleep. In another year I could attend my tenth year reunion, with something to show. There was an article about me in a national magazine. I could wear a power suit like no one else. I had letters after my name. I had a company that called me boss. I held elected office. I had a standing invitation to visit the most sacred address, in the most honored city in the country, and call the hostess by her first name. What the fuck did I have left to prove?

Instead, I had time to spend with Sarah. She was, by the standards of most high school students, dreadfully naive. That said, she knew all about the physical realities of sex, even though she learned by watching farm animals. She knew about flock rams and herd bulls. She also knew that cats and bitches submitting to any male. She know that geese were monogamous. Humans fit in all the above, and none.

I think I could have seduced her. After all, Sarah was a horny teenager. Instead, I taught her about erogenous zones. Christine once forced me to cum, touching only my hand and ear. I did not take things that far. Instead, I taught her about sensuality, with a bit of fantasy thrown in. The Song of songs did not hurt.

Victorian Christianity gives many people the wrong idea about Biblical Hebrews. Desert garb covers everything, yet under it is naked flesh. Underwear is a western thing. In Genesis, Jacob saw two sisters, Leah and Rebecca. Leah had muddy colored eyes, while Rebecca's eyes were beautiful dark brown. That was the standard of beauty because that was all you could see. Yet, getting naked involved only one layer of clothing.

In King David's old age he could not sleep at night, because he became cold. His courtiers brought a young girl to sleep with him, for warmth. It says expressly that they never had sex. However, she was technically his wife. After David's death, the girl was the prize that brought the kingdom. The tradition was that the new King needed to marry and bed the old King's wife, any wife.

Solomon did exactly that, to cement his claim to the throne. As it happened, they were both young and horny. Their marriage of State was not a burden to either of them; far from it. Solomon was clearly infatuated. He wrote her a book of poems, The Song of songs. You will find it in the Bible, right after Ecclesiastes, which Solomon also wrote.

Modern scholars teach that the Song is about Christ's marriage to the Church. I can allow that. However, it is also a fairly graphic depiction of a man and a woman's love for each other. That was the point I made to Sarah. Marriage was of two parties, side by side, both benefiting. She completely understood the idea of bulls or mules yoked together, side by side, pulling as a unit. She also understood that pairing mattered. The irony was how well I understood the traditional role of wife submitting to the husband, from the role of the husband.

I also showed her a bit of that. The Biblical roles of Christ and the Church are similar to the roles of Dom and sub. In both cases, trust is the most important element. Take away trust and D/s play becomes torture. Compare being subject to Church discipline if the Church did not have your best interests at heart. Movies have been made on this theme. Sarah knew Sheila and Christine, so she paid close attention. Of such examples, traditions are born.

Christine was the most biddable person I knew, yet I would pity the fool that tried to force her. She also knew that Christine would then ask Sheila to do to her the same thing the attacker tried. Sarah knew Christine's pranks and how subtle they could be. Christine could humiliate anyone. If a higher power was needed, Sheila could utterly destroy someone, and that she would on Christine's say so. Yet, she was the sub.

Christine could be like a glove on my hand, and that paled beside how close she was to Sheila. Christine got off on Sheila taking hours to tie her into an elaborate knot, using a dozen colors of rope, all on video. Lord Almighty, Sheila was good with rope. Christine also got off on playing the video for me, giving tongue service as it played, followed by a lashing and more tongue service.

I did not shock Sarah. She knew everyone too well. However, no one had spelled things out so clearly, so Sarah was moved. As I said, I could have seduced her. Instead I taught her about masturbation.

I love the word. It will quiet an entire room. In the English language, no word is more loaded with sexual content. There is only one meaning, yet the number of euphemisms is astounding—jacking, jilling, stroking, pumping, amusing, abusing, spanking, etc. Whole sentences are devoted to not using the word aloud.

I took Sarah's hands in mine. I stroked her palms with my thumbs, while I told her to be aware of her body, to focus on the sensations of her cunt (though I did not use that word). I told her that there were connections to what she felt on her breasts, the nape of her neck, her lips, her ear, even the back of her elbows and knees. This was normal. When a man and a woman made love, it was not like animals rutting. The whole body was involved.

By this point Sarah was red and sweaty. Her hands continually jerked as she sought to touch herself. I prevented her, giving her a different sort of stimulus. When I released her hands, Sarah sat back, wide eyed and panting. I told her that the Bible did not prohibit touching oneself in those places. Sarah stumbled to her feet and ran from the room.

Mother Lapp allowed Sarah to come with me because there would be no men. Sucker. Sheila could have warned her. I did not know where Sarah went, but I could hear her release—three times. I was already in my bag when Sarah came in for the night. In my mind's eye, her expression was reproachful. In the morning, she was up before dawn, with the breakfast over the fire.

That day I kept my distance. At first, Sarah was also distant. As the day wore on, the spacing dropped, til we were closer than normal. I pulled back. Sarah looked irritated, but did not seem to know why. Instead of spending time talking, we explored a great deal more of Cloudrest's hill.

Our spring ran down the slope for some distance, almost disappearing at one point. When it grew, it was soon joined by other streams. Before long the stream grew wide and the going difficult. I guessed that we were close to the river. A short climb to a rock knob, proved me right. We were just above a river inlet, almost a cove. I could see at least two other streams running to the inlet.

The rock knob on which I stood was worth remembering. I took several pictures and asked Sarah to draw Knob Point. It would take a bit of work, but the inlet would make a good permanent place for boats. I resolved to return in the morning by water, but that was for later. Sarah and I skirted around the cove. At each stream we recorded landmarks above the stream heads, I with camera, she with drawing pad. I was fairly sure it was all my land, but it would have to be checked.

Noon had come and gone, so we stopped for lunch on the knob. Clear a few tree branches and it would be an ideal picnic spot, with a beautiful view of the river. I resolved to return when the trees turned autumn colors. After lunch we moved sideways to the next stream. We followed up its course til it was a mere trickle. Above us was a saddle, so we continued that far. As views go, it was disappointing—all trees.

Since we had come to the stream from the right, we circled to the left, trying to maintain elevation. In short order, we were stuck. The slope continued up, but the level path was heavy trees. Compared to Cloudrest's hill, this was impenetrable. Even after two hundred years, there was a noticeable difference between virgin forest and trimmed land. I had contour maps, but they told me what I already knew—home was through the trees.

Feeling like Sam and Frodo on the Emym Muir, we forced our way through the thicket. It was nasty. Branches clawed at us. Roots tripped us. I will never know how far we could have gone, because we suddenly broke through into tall trees. Heavy shade kept the low branches and undergrowth to a minimum, though roots still jutted up. We circled left to a dry bed, then around another hill, to another dry bed.

Afternoon turned to evening and home was nowhere in sight. As we skirted the hill, the undergrowth was getting thick again. I was thinking we would have to force our way through another thicket of brush, when Sarah cried out. Before I could speak, she was dashing down the slope. I brought a country girl so that she could find her way in the woods, so I followed. Not five minutes later, we were standing by one of the spring houses on Cloudrest's slope.

Never had running water looked so good, but we didn't drink. Instead, I dropped my canteen cup in the cold flow and we splashed the water on our faces. It's funny. On the hillside, I was hot and thirsty, but I never thought to drink from the canteen. After the cold water cooled us a bit, we both drank from the canteen. It was warmish, but it tasted great. Sarah stepped back, so she could draw me sitting by the water's edge. I still have that one.

Hours later, after dark, Sarah and I retraced our path on the map. It was barely as long as my pinkie was wide. The dry beds were tiny bumps in the contour line. The distance was under ten miles, counting the hike to the knob. It had been a difficult and frightening afternoon, yet we had done nothing wrong. Almost nothing. We overestimated how fast we could move and underestimated how far we needed to go. Of such things, people have died.
In the morning, we went down to the boat. It was a very basic flat bottomed boat, with a small motor. Sarah did not like the motor, but liked rowing even less. We went down to the inlet below the knob, then came back to the pier. Two thirds of the time, or more, was coming upriver, against the wind. We barely made it back indoors before the rain came.

It was another sobering time. Had the rain come a day before, we would have been caught on the knob. Had it come three hours later, we might have died. Perhaps not. I did have rain ponchos and emergency food, but getting back before dark would have been chancy at best. There were no lights to serve as a beacon. Perhaps we could have found shelter. "Perhaps" was not comforting.

Sarah was comforting. While I had been doing business things, Sarah had stacked an impressive pile of firewood. We went through a chunk of it that afternoon. Still, I was able to show her something. She had heard of marshmallows, but not the kind I meant. Her marshmallow was a wetland flower. I dug out a rather mashed bag of the white kind. Sarah quickly caught on to the idea of toasting them in the fire. We stuffed ourselves on marshmallows and wound up skipping dinner.

The next day was our last full day. The sun was out, but everything was soaked. Next time, rubber boots. It was my first chance to check my laptop and other gear at the main house. I was lucky that the wind had blown away from the window, because there was no glass and the shutters were wide open. The trip was becoming a catalog of stupid. As it was, the laptop was just a bit damp.

Crossing my fingers, hoping that sleep mode would have prevented any real damage, I unhooked from the cat five cable and took it to sit near the fire, but not too close. I forced myself to wait an hour before I tried to start it up. Sarah made us a big breakfast to make up for skipping dinner, which passed the time. Once I determined the laptop was functional, I took it back to the antennae. I finally could check the weather. An hour later, with much of our gear still in the small house, Sarah and I boarded the boat and headed for civilization.

What kind of idiot did that kind of thing for fun? Chapter 27 -- Ticking Clocks

Since I was back a day early, a lot of people did not know I was back in town. What was interesting was patrolling the exceptions. They came in three flavors—in-company senior, in-company junior, not from FDC. Since I had administrator privileges, I read the email stacks of some that had not messaged me.

For example, Vivian had several queries when I would be back. She replied that she understood her job, so she was good for a few days on her own. Veronica would query back, asking what they were doing that would get them in trouble. One of Sean's people, Howard Cockerham, was completely out of his depth. The other, Richard Harold, was running his area as if I did not exist. I was unsure which was worse, but neither was good.

Sean talks about the expressions on his manager's faces, when they are put to the test. Often the test is unfair and there is no winning action. Trekkers know this as the Kobayashi Maru scenario. There is no winning play, unless you cheat. Captain Kirk cheated, which is an event of its own. It appeared that I had plucked one of Sean's people from both sides of the scenario. That was food for thought.

Personnel decisions are one of Sean's major strengths as a businessman. He grades at genius level for selecting people from the field, Sheila being just one example. I did not target that high. Decent results would be enough. So far Veronica was producing them for me. I decided to trust my feelings at least that far. This meant giving Veronica her head. While this was twenty degrees of scary, I went with it.

The other side of Boston's coin was Security Services. Richard Harold was a retired Military Police First Sergeant. All of my military people deferred to him habitually. To some degree I liked that, but he was taking things a bit too far. When I got back to Boston we would see eye to eye, or he would be walking home.

In Concord, I had the opposite problem. No one wanted to take charge. No wonder both sides of Boston was growing faster. Howard Cockerham was an excellent record keeper, but he could not decide which fork to use. I needed someone to tell him what to do, all day, every day. In other words I needed someone like Veronica, but with a Granite State accent.

All this was first impressions, from a single week of sabatical. Still, I was fairly confident of my ground. Of the two, I expected Concord to take longer, so Johnson and I heading for Boston. I hoped for a quick fix, because I could at least hope that First Sergeant Harold would recognize me as his command authority.

On the road, I contacted Gerald. He was full of theory, but not so much practical help. This was a common issue between us. Finally he said, "Stop worrying about it. Channel Sheila and you'll be fine. Most people I would tell to channel Sean, but you've been doing that all your life. Sheila is the one you need to focus on."

That made entirely too much sense. Gerald once said that Sheila could deliver a thirty minute briefing in fifteen seconds. She could verbally cut you to ribbons, without raising her voice. You might not get her sharpest point for a week. In a way, it was complimentary. Stupid people would never get it all. Gerald also said that soft handling fools was not one of Sheila's skills.

Put like that, what I needed to do was obvious. When I arrived in Boston, I spent an hour with Veronica. Mostly she told me what she wanted to do, and I told her what resources I could let her have. As I left, I told her that I liked the direction we were going. Then I corrected myself. I said I liked the direction she was steering.

My meeting with Richard Harold took almost as long. Rather than talk about what we were doing in Boston, I picked his brain about how to get things rolling in Concord. Not only did he have a ton of leadership training, he also knew Howard Cockerham. I always have my phone on dictation. This was one occasion where I was very glad I did.

Richard's perceptions reinforced most of mine, but his were more structured and systematic. He gave me several signs to watch for and tips for when they happened. It was time well spent. As I left, I told him I had the right man in his job. He could stop trying to impress me. If that did not compress a long conversation to two sentences, I did not know how to do it.

For everyone's morale, I handed Veronica and Richard a couple of gift cards to Gino's Deli. They could get lunch catered in. It was the way Sean would have handled it. He was fond of paying for a round he did not stay to drink. Instead, I indulged in a chocolate shake. What I had just done was easy, relaxed, almost fun. What waited in New Hampshire was going to be work.

Since it was already afternoon, I decided to sleep over in my Nashua apartment. This presented a problem, since I had a driver. I tried to put Johnson up in a Motel Six, but he refused. I had to suppress a smile, because I expected him to do exactly that. He slept on my sofa and I promised to find an apartment with a guest room.

This proved remarkably easy. I called the building manager. She told me she had a couple that wanted to buy a house, but had five months left on their lease. She was willing to let me move to that apartment, provided the paperwork costs were covered. Reading between the lines, she wanted to give the newlyweds a break. She could eat six months on my lease, because I would be signing a twelve month lease on a higher rent unit. Lost in all this was one detail. It was a penthouse apartment.

Two days later, in Concord, we went through a lot of this again. I took over four months of a graduating student's lease, decorated in Early American Garage Sale. She was a Criminal Justice major, so I gave her Richard Harold's number in Boston and thought no more about it. More time was spent on restocking the pantry. I sent Johnson back to Nashua to supervise the change of apartments.

Suddenly, it was Friday night. Elspeth was in Boston on a family thing. I had nowhere to go, nothing to do til Monday and no one to spend time with. For me, this was uncharted territory. During seven years of college and grad school, Friday was a study night. If I went out, it was on Saturday, and the "if" was a big one.

On a whim, I called Adele Cabot. You can imagine the conversation, "It's Friday night, my guy is overseas and I have nothing to do." Adele was amused. She promised to have someone call me. Call me gullible, I never expected it to be the Governor.

That was how I acquired an invitation to a Republican fund raiser. Go figure that one out, since the Governor was a Democrat. The guest speaker was my old friend Ann Coulter. There was an almost electric shock when our eyes locked across the room. About five minutes later, a polite young man came by and asked what I had been doing for the last three years.

That was about as loaded as a question can get and still be innocent. I gave it to him in time line version—Dartmouth grad student, wedding preparations, wedding, Dartmouth trained seal, starting FDC, paroles and pardons, Beacon House, South Boston, Nashua Alderman, Cloudrest, investigative services. As I spit it out, I was thinking, "Damn girl. Busy enough?" The young man had a similar reaction, "I only wanted three years." I don't think he believed me when I told him it was only the highlights.

After that is was cold Chicken Kiev, with limp salad and cheap Chablis. Before the coffee and deserts came out, the New Hampshire Republican Chairman rose to make the introduction. I zoned out. Ann Coulter rose and gave her speech. That lasted through coffee and dessert. I was beginning to think of leaving when I heard my name.

Ann was introducing me to the guests. She mentioned both my degrees, the famous wedding, my Alderman position, both my companies, even Cloudrest. She concluded that I was a frequent guest on Sean Hannity's show and asked me to stand. Blushing like a virgin girl in a boy's locker room, I rose.

Ann said, "Imposing isn't she? How about a debate?"

The clapping would not stop til I was at the podium. When I could ask for silence, I said, "I have no idea why Governor Sheehan suggested I come here. I'm not a Republican. On the other hand, I'm also not a Democrat. Maybe she expected Ann to scare me into the Democrat's arms—she's done that more than once, you know. Maybe she was expecting you to run me for federal office and keep me out of the Court. Lord only knows what she does now, with both houses against her." That bought me a few laughs.

I continued, "Ann and I met backstage at the Sean Hannity TV studio. Our segment was canceled, so we had an hour to talk. I did what comes naturally. I stuck my silver foot in my mouth." More laughter. I could play this crowd. "In any event, my fiancé is overseas, so I had nothing better to do than bore all of you. What do you think? Is a lesbian-leaning bisexual entertaining?" That brought no applause and little laughter.

Ann took the microphone. "She has two Doctorates, with honors, from two of the best schools in the world. She orchestrated the most famous wedding in a decade, not involving Royalty. She started a company, which two years later employs over thirty people. Her bother did four years in the Army, as a grunt, and now runs a billion dollar corporation. Face it gentlemen, she is what both parties want, but rarely get.

"To business, five questions. Snaking reply. I'll give her rebuttal on the first question. You."

The five questions could have been better. Ann was asked about Islamic expansion in the Middle East. I was asked about Obamacare, which I corrected to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I would accept ACA, but give it some respect. Ann was asked about Republican Presidential chances in Florida and Ohio. I was asked about Title Nine, which has to do with women's sports.

Before the final question I called a pause. I asked Ann whether she wanted reply or rebuttal. She said to flip for it. So, with full formality, we had the MC toss a coin. I won reply. As a preamble, I was asked which Congressional District I was in. That was not a simple question. With appeals to some of the lawyers in the room, it was determined I could claim either of the two, but not both. After that was settled, the question was simple—would I consider running against Ann Custler?

I had to hand it to the guy, it was a question worthy of Sheila. Ann Custler was a not unpopular first term Democrat Representative. In the coming midterm election, she would be one of the Republican's targets, but a tough one. For one thing, she had beaten a three term Republican to get the position in Washington.

The question assumed many things—that I might run as a Republican, even though I had never registered as one, that I was electable and that the Party would throw it's weight behind me. To give credit to the people in the room, no one missed the implications. There was dead silence while I thought things through. In the end, it was obvious.

I said, "Sure. I will consider running. No promises." All hell broke loose.

Chapter 28 -- Course Change

The Concord Monitor Sunday edition ran my picture on the front page of the local section. The caption was, "No Promises", sub-captioned, "Dr. Richards will consider running." The story detailed my surprise appearance on stage at the fund raiser, connections to Ann Coulter and Sean Hannity, my college and business background and my status as Alderman in Nashua. I have had worse coverage.

I mentioned before that New Hampshire is a very politically aware state. Monday morning I was besieged by attention, only about half from the press. It quickly became apparent that I could no longer walk the Halls of the Capital in relative anonymity. If I spied a conversation across the room, three times in four it was about me.

I called Governor Sheehan. Rather than the switchboard, I was put straight through to her desk. To make a long conversation short, it was not her idea to push me toward elected office, but she wished me luck. On a more urgent subject, she promised her endorsement on a bill declaring Cloudrest a State Historical Site. More money for my growing non-profit restoration fund.

In related news, PBS was trying to contact me. Their long running show This Old House wanted a piece of the restoration project. That was a bit of a problem, since the main house was already parceled out for design competitions. Still, there was the odd single room building. They were interested in that.

No one had ever come up with a satisfactory explanation for the big room. The show's producer thought it would make a good wood crafter's shop. The big fireplace could be used for a wood drying kiln. It was not exactly period, but it fit the original use of the land, plus it would be useful in the main building restorations. Several large trees had already been marked for cutting. Sawing them into boards and curing them on site would add to the drama of the reconstruction.

Dr. Singh at Yale thought that this was an excellent plan. He also suggested that the largest marked trees be girdled (a strip of bark removed all the way around) and left standing. In a year they would be ready for rough cut use. That was all very period to the house. Smaller trees could be thinned for building and finish wood, using more modern techniques.

Rather than give a full course in frontier house construction, it suffices to say that load bearing timbers would be needed. These timbers might have a two foot square cross section. They could be taken from the heart of, say, a two hundred year old native hardwood. Five such trees were already marked for removal on the future path from house to pier. Reluctantly I gave approval. About a dozen smaller trees would also be harvested. Those I reserved for future use.

Elspeth actively enjoyed the dance of the many, sometimes competing, interests in Cloudrest. I left things to her while I went back to Concord. There, once again, I was confronted by a problem. I had several very good order takers on site, but no order givers. In The Devil wore Prada, Miranda Priestly gave orders with a wince, a frown, a pursing of the lips. I may have worn Prada, but Miranda Priestly was no role model of mine. Instead, I looked for someone with the drive and gumption I needed to run the office.

My problem was that, for the first time in my life, I was popular. In Concord, New Hampshire, I was recognized as a person of influence. If I called the Governor, she took the call. If I told the Republican Committee so-and-so, they would make it happen. Everyone wanted to be the one that made me happy. Mostly it sickened me. I knew toadies and ass kissers from high school and loathed them. It made no difference that it was my ass they wanted to kiss.

I wasted three weeks wading through the soup of wanna-bees and sycophants. The time was not wholly unproductive. If nothing else I was the source of decisions the office needed. The next full legislative session was in September. The chaotic state looked like it might continue til then.

When I received a call from an old friend, Morgan Robertson, it was like water in the desert. Morgan was a three term State Representative and two term State Senator. Short of Governor, there were no more rungs for her to climb, at least in New Hampshire. I had a good idea what she wanted.

Among the perks of being in politics are easy reservations at popular restaurants. I reserved a table in Morgan's name at Angela's, a better than average Italian restaurant. I could have tried for a reservation in my own name, which probably would have worked, but I would be guaranteed a gallery of reporters, lackeys and information brokers. As a State Senator, Morgan was ensured a place, but without as much fanfare. It sort of worked. She also had spotters watching her movements.

I had pre-ordered chef's choice antipasto, pasta prima-vera with shrimp and chicken diavlo. The agnolotti créma rosa was coming to the table as we were seated. This was fortunate, since it is considered more impolite to interrupt actual dining. As long as there was food in front of us, we had a buffer.

We nibbled on seafood half moons, while the staff brought us iced tea and diet soda. Morgan gave off the impression that she wanted a cocktail, or two, but was restrained by the public setting. Before long, I offered her the choice of chicken or seafood. She chose the shrimp, so I took the chicken diavlo.

Morgan made her confession over coffee and cannoli. She planned to retire from state politics. My first instinct was to offer condolences. My second was to inquire why. I went with the third impulse. "Do you have anything lined up?"

Sheila would say, "Listen for the Maestro's tap." She means look for the driving motivation. Morgan was putting out frustration. My first impulse was that she was leaving blind. Morgan had called me, which said something. She may have been fishing for a job. She may have been turning to the only sympathetic voice in a hostile town. She may have been following her instincts blindly. Whatever the reason, I was the answer.

For some reason, I flashed on a Tom Selleck episode of The Rockford Files. Selleck's character, Lance White, is written as being too good to be real. He always spots the important clue. Everything times out exactly right. If something is missing, he walks right to it. So, he solves the impossible cases. Selleck is a good enough actor that you get a sense of weariness at all the adulation.

It was weird for me to be cast as Tom Selleck, but there it was. For me, the timing could not have been better. I consoled myself with the thought that Sean had recruited his corporate attorney in the DMV offices. Shit happens the way it happens. Before midnight, Morgan Robertson was not just a retiring state senator. She was also the prospective head of my Concord office and my new Chief of Staff. All I had to do was make it work.
Morgan said, early in our conversation, "It's hard slogging it out for years, then you make it look so easy." That was Rockford's take in the episode. Hearing it about myself was really irritating. What did I make look easy? Politics? Senator Robertson came to me for aid on one of her pet ideas. I threw time, resources and people at the project. It now was complete, except for the ribbon cutting. Morgan, not myself, would receive the bulk of the political credit.

Was it business? In less than three years I had invested well over a million dollars of my inheritance. In all that time I could count breakeven months on one hand. Cloudrest represented another half a million dollars spent money. If I did not have donors lined up to Sunday, there would be no way to do the restoration.

Heaven knew Morgan could not envy my personal relationships. I had a devoted assistant and some loyal associates, but my chief romantic interest was on a different continent. Physically, my relief used 110 volt AC current. What had I done that an accomplished professional politician should envy?

I started cataloging the people I relied on and the contacts that I had made. That was when it hit me. They say you can tell a person's character by his friends. If that was true, I had a damn fine resume.

No one can control their family, but mine was a significant asset. I had people like Francine Martel, Governor Sheehan, Pedro de la Garza and Adele Cabot on speed dial, not counting the ones in academia. The Rolodex included half the money men on Manhattan Island, Sean Hannity, Ann Coulter, most of the powers that be in both City of Boston and State of New Hampshire politics and a solid cross section of Hollywood.

I was traveling in the express lane and never noticed. Dr. Steele already told me that I had a tenured position, at an Ivy League University, available on request. I knew without thinking that MBC&L would offer me a mid six figure income, plus another for Elspeth, just for my contacts. Governor Sheehan had hinted at similar things. Indeed, I was out of her price range. The New Hampshire Republican Party wanted to groom me for Washington.

No wonder Morgan Robertson was a bit jealous. Washington was probably a dream of hers, one which she was giving up as lost. I knew what I could do about that. As I thought it, the whole patchwork of my life shifted. The decision to run for Congress was already made. What lay in front of me was the implications. I had been angling toward this moment, without realizing it. It was why I was here, now, in the place where the work needed to be done.

My reward, for working like a dog for ten years, was more work. Life's a bitch that way. I toasted life, one bitch to another.

Chapter 29 -- Capital Capital

Decisions often simplify other decisions. Mine certainly did. Once I decided to let myself be seduced by the Republicans, my driving objective was to find a competent person to run the Concord office. Morgan Robertson was ideal, if I could get her to take the job. In this I had an advantage and a handicap.

The handicap was that I was not going to offer the money others might. The advantage was that Morgan clearly thought my star was rising. She might want to hitch her cart to my horse. Lacking anything concrete, my gut said she was making me an offer, contingent on me finding suitable compensation. In this case, money was low on the list, but I could not ignore it.

Fortunately, I could find out what New Hampshire was paying her. That would be the baseline. Everything else would stack on top of it. For example, I could give her a 5% slice of FDC. That would leave me with 60%. Another carrot would be freedom to take speaking engagements and the contacts to acquire them. As a sitting Senator, her hands were largely tied.

Still, the biggest selling point would be my future. Morgan wanted to be involved, but only if I was headed up. With that in mind, I returned some calls. None of them were decision makers, but they were somewhere in the ranks. Word would work its way up the food chain. The call came from an attorney, no surprise, that Donald Erkfurt wished to meet with me.

Mr. Erkfurt was a former prosecutor for the City of Manchester. He had moved on to a series of law firms, all of which represented one political entity or another. After ten years as a lobbyist/campaign worker, he graduated to running mayoral campaigns in Manchester, Nashua and Concord. He managed Donna Lee's most recent election. At a guess, he was delegated to give me the sniff test. More investigative vetting would surely be done behind the scene.

We met for drinks at the local artisan brewer, the Barley Malt Pub. One point in his favor. It was the most authentic Irish style pub I had yet seen in New Hampshire. Sean would love it. To make the evening short, I had ale poached fish and a pint of red ale. Mr. Erkfurt had fish and chips, with at least five pints of stout. Our table was observed from at least two others, possibly more.

The low-light came when the waiter brought a bar tab for all but one of Mr. Erkfurt's beers. There had been a discussion about what to do about his drinking on duty, so I saw the showdown coming. This gave me the opportunity to watch the other tables. The most obvious pair were laughing at Mr. Erkfurt's reaction. At another table, the man facing me leaned back with a big grin. The other man was deep in a cell phone conversation. Coincidentally a man on the far side of the room was also in a deep conversation. Hmmm.

I thanked Mr. Erkfurt for his time and rose to leave. Sure enough, both cell phones went down together. I walked across the room to the third table. I said, "Thank you for an excellent meal. Perhaps we can talk face to face next time."

Turning to the door, I caught three shocked expressions. By far the most shocked was Mr. Erkfurt, who turned ashen. While I was exiting the parking lot, a boy came running out of the restaurant. He gave me a business card and went back inside. The card was for a local car dealer. On the back was a number. I drove home, changed clothes and brewed tea before calling it.

The short version was that I passed the audition, not that this made things easier. The next day was a constant reminder that I am easy to spot. Everywhere I went, I was followed. Where I passed, heads turned and conversations stopped. It was both flattering and annoying. When I arrived at the office, Howard Cockerham came in, asking what I had said last night. It seemed I had pushed the latest school shooting off the top of the gossip list. I told him to shut the door and pull up a chair.

Once settled, I said, "Howard, I came to Concord to make some changes. It has been very clear that more gets done when I am in house. I do not intend to be 'in house' permanently, so I will be putting someone in my place, meaning over everyone else. That someone will not be you."

I watched him closely. In my opinion, he expected exactly this conversation. He tried to work up wounded indignation, but his relief was palpable. I waited for his expression to settle down, then continued, "I appreciate all your hard work. I think the next manager will appreciate it as well. You have many skills and admirable qualities, but I do not think being the boss is one of them. If it is any consolation, I am going to try recruiting a veteran Concord insider. He or she will need your help."

It says something of Howard that his reply was, "Morgan Robertson?" There was approval in his attitude.

I said, "She's my first choice. Be aware that I intend to give her a lot of rope. If she wants to take speaking engagements, write a book or take up bridge, she can. All I will care about is building from our base. Also, I may be..."

He broke in, "...running for Congress. You do make things interesting. If I did not already know your relation to Sean, I would be asking, 'Do you plan to marry your workout coach?'" There was a definite twinkle with that quip. I told him to go back to work.

An hour later I had much the same conversation with Morgan Robertson. All that was left was detail work. I spent most of the summer tracking down issues. The September session of the Court was a goldmine of business. I was an interesting new face, but Morgan Robertson was well known and respected. Nothing was official before October 1st. By then Morgan was essentially running the New Business side of the office. On October 15th I went back to Nashua semi-permanently. Things had changed there as well. After two days I decided to visit Cloudrest.

Lest one misunderstand, I still spent at least one day a week in Concord and another in Boston. That said, I wanted to focus on my coming race, not on the renovations to Cloudrest. For that, I took a break. In hindsight, I should have let my people know in advance.

PBS had finished their project. This Old House had proven a difficult partner. While they supplied expert workers, I supplied the materials. Since I was paying, I wanted input on which materials they would use. They thought this was unreasonable.

Basically, they wanted to use cutting edge building supplies. I wanted the to use materials suitable for the original construction. We compromised. They used solid wood beams and boards, but were allowed to redesign the big fireplace and construct a wood drying kiln.

During the planning, we took to calling it the Woodshop, which would be our first use for the space. The following year, main house projects would need a sheltered place to build frames and fabricate pieces. From that basic understanding much discussion arose. Power, for example.

I went along with the show on this one. All electric power was generated on site and would be for some time. The show wanted to showcase alternate methods. Instead of electricity, compressed air powered the shop tools. This came from a diesel compressor and 500 gallon air tank. There was a whole show dedicated to running the high pressure lines throughout the building. More importantly, it worked. Almost all the necessary woodworking tools were available in a compressed air version.

One section of the building was rigged with racks for cured wood storage. That all looked very lumber yardish, but normal. So did the big fireplace, though it was almost anything but normal. Sure it had fire dogs and a screen, for normal use. If you looked more closely, over the flames were heat exchange pipes. These were for the drying kiln on the other side of the wall. From the outside it looked like a shed, built lean-to style against the stone wall. In this I sidestepped the show a bit.

You could also see pipes leading to the roof. George (my brother) assured me the rooftop solar collectors were state of the art. Evidently it was much easier to get solar heat than solar electric power, though we did both. Solar electric current ran the ventilation fans. The whole rig used cutting edge temperature controls and safety cutoffs. It was so efficient at heating the kiln, that the fireplace would only be needed during winter, if then.

Nearby was a small stone building, the new smithy. I had to look twice, because it had not been there before. Though it was not for This Old House, the same crew did the work. It was planned as a three part special on PBS, possibly leading to a new program.

Everyone knew I had affiliations with the Amish. This smithy was designed so that an 18th century blacksmith would be at home. A portion of the stream was diverted to fill a large cistern. The smith needed a ready source of water, but the main reason was a water powered forge fan. It was a very Amish solution.

This all sounds rather static, but it was nothing of the sort. When I arrived at the hilltop, there were three different construction crews working, plus another work crew clearing trees from paths. Every work crew had an integrated camera crew. It was all coordinated from the main house, in fact from same room I used in the spring. During the summer the room had acquired electrical power and glass in the windows.

When I arrived, everyone was rushing to beat the winter weather, though there was another crew ready to cover that as well. Work on the main house would mostly wait for the new year, but winterizing the house was worth an episode of someone's show. A master woodcrafter was instructing several apprentices on the fine points of weather shutters.

The county had run a dirt road to the property line, though it was still four wheel drive due to stumps. The county would pull them in the spring. The driveway would be ready. It was already cleared of rocks, trees and stumps. That day a crew was digging drainage ditches and compacting the crown prior to spreading gravel.

The heaviest work I had already seen, at riverside. The little Boy Scout pier was still in place, though it had been shimmed level. Two hundred feet downstream, heavy equipment was driving industrial piers for a cargo dock. Dirt and rock from the driveway ditches was coming here to fill holes left by tree roots. Other trees were marked for later removal. In the spring, another drive would run from house to pier.

Tree removal was a big issue. The apple grove needed to be thinned, by at least half. The crown of the hill was treeless, but all around were thickets which needed taming. Mostly it was the smaller growth that needed pruning, but occasionally a big tree was marked. Often the marked trees were already girdled, so the wood would cure standing.

One row of markings went down a ridge, parallel to the stream. I followed it. There were several tangles, but nothing bad. Before long I recognized the rocky knoll, where Sarah and I had stopped in the spring. As I hoped, an area was already cleared. This would be a perfect place for a picnic gazebo. However, there was nothing suggesting a boat house. I would have to check into that.

The sky had been partly cloudy most of the day. As I walked back up the hill, the gaps between clouds filled in. Before I reached the main house, lights were starting to come on. Where the work used no electricity, light was from gas or propane lanterns. In many cases, this was intentional, to document non-electric techniques. In other places, it was just simpler than having a generator.

I was reminded how electrical power is a constant in our lives. One reason for pushing the construction of a cargo dock was a pair of 36,000 watt diesel generators. They needed to be on site and secured before the really bad weather hit. In the spring, they would provide power for construction, cameras, lighting and support. Even after the house was tied into the county grid, they would provide backup power. Til then it was portable generators or non-electric methods.

Dusk came early. Workers were scurrying to close everything up. As if to urge things along, a cold drizzle began to fall. I buttoned up, glad I had worn my raincoat. The long coat had been overly warm most of the afternoon. For this it was perfect, though my walking shoes were not. I had packed galoshes this time, but they were in the boat. Oh well, live and learn. I pulled a knit cap from my coat pocket and put it on.

The electric light in the main house was a beacon no one could miss. I had almost reached the entrance when the door opened. A man stopped in the doorway, looking surprised to see me. He turned and spoke to someone inside. After a short exchange another man came out.

He said, "This is private property. I am going to have to ask you to leave. How did you get here?"

I wanted to see how much he knew and what his chain of command was like, so I answered, "I have permission from the owner. In fact, I was in Concord last weekend. Call her if you like, but let's get out of the rain."

My reference to rain seemed to surprise him. He was under an awning, so the drizzle was not getting him wet. After a quick glance at my coat, he waved me inside. As I stood in the doorway, several cameras flashed. From the room, a voice said, "The Winter Queen returns."

His name was Simon Garrett, a forest and wildlife photographer. He was familiar with The Queen of Winter from a photo competition. Whatever the reason, it was a great way to open the conversation.

I said, "That was my fur lined sealskin coat, not this raincoat. I never knew what the fuss was about. It was not even twenty below." I extended my hand. We shook. "Siobhan Richards. This is my house."

Sean claims I have a thing for entrances. Maybe he has a point. I certainly played that one up. Unfortunately, it was to a room full of photographers and videographers. There are two video recordings, with sound, from before the door opened. I never counted the still cameras. Clips and prints kept showing up for years.

At the time, my claim to be the owner caused a stir. It did not take long to sort out that I really was Siobhan Richards and that someone named Richards was the owner. That was good enough for most of them, and quieted the rest. From that point I won them over by asking good questions. These men were hands-on types. They recognized someone that had walked the property. Once the ice was broken, they told me a great many things about a great many things.

For example, I was only vaguely aware of the tree survey. My property was unusual, since much of it was once harvested for timber, but was long fallow. Just as important, there were areas of virgin woods for comparison. The US Department of Forestry and the University of Arizona were doing a joint study, which brought Simon Garrett. National Geographic was documenting the survey. Mr. Garrett was their photographer.

It was interesting stuff. I learned that I owned a couple of truly enormous trees. There was an eighty foot American Sycamore in one valley. On a hilltop was one of the largest sweet gum trees in North America, almost a hundred feet. Nearer the house was a very large specimen of black walnut and several good sized black cherry trees. Evidently people were bidding for rights to make furniture from them.

Twelve varieties of oak had been identified. There were groves of native beech and linden, numerous examples of white birch (the state tree) and sugar maple. On the coniferous side, one section of pine trees may have been planted, following a clear cut. While not orderly, the hillside was almost uniformly Eastern white pine. There was also a wetland area, thick with cedar and birch, and the occasional black willow.

All the photographers were drooling over the fall color. Three of them started arguing about the best way to shoot the massive sweet gum. Others wanted to take shots of the river bank, from a boat. The most controversial idea was to make a shooting stand in the branches of a hilltop oak tree. Oddly, that led to a discussion of water for the house.

While there was a spring near the house, it was not a large one. Some of the nearby hills had springs as well. The tallest of the nearby hills—the one with the crowning oak tree—had a spring above the level of the house. It looked possible to build a proper filtration system and still get drinking water gravity fed into the house. HGTV was planning a multi-episode event around the project. News to me.

We talked til well past midnight. When I suggested going to get my things from the boat, three guys dashed for the door. I had the foresight to use a waterproofed bag for the bedroll, but it was not proof against standing water. My bedroll was half soaked. Several guys offered their roll, while two others offered blankets. That was when I realized there was not another female in the house. Doh!

We sorted out who had enough to spare me something. I slept that night in a couple of blankets, on my own sleeping pad, in a room with six guys. I had no intention of taking a cold shower, but several of them commented on getting one. This proved a running joke.
Morning ablutions were from cold spring water. There was a shower tank, but no one used it in the morning, because the afternoon sun heated the water. Warm water showers were scheduled. Those with the winning tickets also had to fill the shower tank for for the next day. Anyone could take a cold shower, but he would still have to help fill the tank.

After a massive breakfast, I climbed back in my boat and headed for civilization. Two guys came with me, to do grocery shopping. I let them keep the boat for the duration, with the understanding that they also maintained it. During the hour at the A&P, I wondered why two men were shopping. It finally occurred to me that they did not want me alone with just one of them. Me, needing a chaperon. Who'd a thunk it?

All in all, it was an educational stop over.

Chapter 30 -- Winter Wonderland

The timing for my trip to Cloudrest proved inspired. The rest of October turned nasty. Sleet and freezing rain do not make for good driving, but boating is even worse. November brought stormy weather, followed by a brief warm spell. At my suggestion, a set of cameras were stationed on Cloudrest's hilltop, giving 24 hour video coverage of things like the main house, the Woodshop and a set of weather instruments.

Vivian wrote program to time track the temperature, humidity, barometer, rain/snowfall and wind speed. She considered it trivial. It was one more detail that was going into the growing list of video and other projects. Another camera recorded the sunsets. I gave them to Sheila. She created a screen saver with the sunsets from November. Sean was giving them to clients as a Christmas Card. I looked forward to one that did the whole year.

My Alderman position had settled into a siege. Every time I tried to use "my" City of Nashua resources to do something, it would be blocked. That meant I needed to be creative. Most of the needed information I could get from the internet or my little old lady circles. I was even learning bridge. Elspeth was already an accomplished cardsharp, but we were both learning mahjong.

I should mention Elspeth's role in Nashua. It goes without saying that she handled all the paperwork and most of the negotiations. She was also a Lady among my ladies. Her Boston breeding was the cause of great envy and, probably, much discussion. It did not hurt that Elspeth loved to gossip.

Naturally, I was a favorite subject. There was a lot of concern when I showed no interest in the various men that the ladies paraded in front of me. I can be dense, because I never noticed until Elspeth pointed them out to me. When Elspeth explained about Siemens, and where Lars had been posted, sympathy gushed out. Several of the ladies were military wives during Vietnam or the Gulf War.

Elspeth was also the conduit for another one of our core team. While I was in Concord all summer, trying to prime the pump, Elspeth was shuttling between Boston and Nashua, acting as my eyes, ears and voice. As the ongoing projects at Cloudrest grew, she started having communications problems with tech speak.

I would have called one of Sean's people or Richard Willingham. Elspeth chose to ask around Nashua. One of my ladies had a nephew attending Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). He dumped a summer job at Target to serve as Elspeth's tech liaison. His name was Leon L. Lusk, a.k.a. Trip.

Trip did not have many obvious assets, other than being a nerd. His high school grades were top notch, but grades at RIT were only so-so. Though still an undergrad, he was already twenty four years old. Worse, his study path was laser physics. However, he understood both computer and communications tech-speak. I figured, why not? He would work cheap, it would look good on his resume and he would enjoy it. So it proved.

The problem was that he wanted to keep working, rather than finish his degree. I had been there, done that and wanted none of it. While I was still in Concord, we spoke on the phone. At my insistence, he went back to finish at RIT. We first met on a cold, rainy day just before Thanksgiving. I almost slapped my forehead for missing the obvious. The short version is Richard Willingham, without the breeding.

I once told Elspeth that I thought she would make an exceptional wife and mother. One look at Trip Lusk told me she could be his wife and the mother of his children. The urgent question was what to do about it, what Sheila calls her inner yenta. I tried to avoid conflict by asking personal questions. Unlike most people, Trip did not react badly. I suspect he had never managed a big date, so he had not been interrogated by a girl's father.

The situation was like something from a romance novel. Trip had a successful father, which I already deduced from what I knew of his mother. While this was good in some ways, it was difficult in others. Trip's father was an account representative for Allied Chemical. As a salesman, he was often away from home. When they were together, Trip was not the sort of boy his father admired—asocial, non-athletic, indifferent to status and not at all entrepreneurial.

It was so much like my own story, my heart ached. I could also see immediately why Elspeth was both drawn to him and repulsed. Elspeth wanted a firm hand. Trip gave directions as naturally as breathing, but no one ever listened. There were many reasons for this, starting with his clothing. They were a male geek version of my own baggy clothes and army boots.

I had another of those moments when many things suddenly made more sense. Sean had a genius for seeing potential under the surface. Once I recognized camouflage for what it was, the person underneath became easy to see. Trip was uncomplicated and direct, because his mind did not process many of the status symbols that others used. A lifetime of peer abuse made him shy, which conflicted with his natural tendency to take charge. Loyalty was both his most valuable asset and the trait he valued most.

I said, "Trip, I am glad we finally meet. If you were in charge of the renovations, what would you do?"

For the next hour he talked nonstop. There were at least twenty ideas no one else had floated. On the other hand, his viewpoint was very narrow. He only knew the things that were going on locally in Nashua. If nothing else, I needed to widen that horizon. The first thing that caused him to falter was Elspeth.

She was as perfect as a male geek was likely to meet. Elspeth was attractive, dressed well, spoke well and never fumbled a social grace. In a sense, though Trip never made the connection, Elspeth was his father's ideal daughter-in-law. More realistically, Elspeth excelled where Trip was lacking.

The symmetry, of course, was that Trip excelled where Elspeth was lacking. The difficulty would normally be in getting them to trust each other. That hurdle was already passed. They already found each other attractive, though Trip did not truly believe it of Elspeth. What they needed was time together. That I could arrange, but first things first. I asked Trip how fast he could get a degree, any degree.

The answer was one I might have given. He could take twenty hours in the spring and graduate after summer session, provided he could get his project done. The trick would be getting the project done, on top of the class overload. Easy peasy. I picked up the phone and called George. Trip would go to California, to develop his project, between finals and New Year. He could tweak the paperwork during the semester. That handled academics.

Next, he would be getting a makeover. Been there, done that, recommend it. In this I conspired with Elspeth and his mother. My rules were very specific. They could do his hair. Everything else he had to pay for. There was an argument, but they both understood the logic. I unbent a bit, by allowing Trip's mother to give him a $100 prepaid card. That would not go far in a mall, but Elspeth knew how to get creative.

Before they left, I gave Trip a box of condoms and the motel address where I had made them a reservation. I was very specific that I wanted Trip to give Elspeth the condoms. She would carry them and she would apply them. They both knew the theory of coitus, but neither knew the practice. To help out, I gave him a checklist of erogenous zones to inspect. If that was not enough of a map, we were in trouble.

Sunday proved my worries unfounded. Trip's disheveled hair looked intentionally disheveled. The jeans were well faded and clung to his ass. The T-shirt was from a concert, not a physics project. All this was beside the point. Trip could not stop smiling, Elspeth could not stop blushing and neither could stop looking at the other. I left Elspeth with Trip's mother and took Trip to a coffee shop.

Coffee is a great way to waste time while someone else fills the silence. Trip gave me a lesson in my own tactics. I was ready for a warm up before he finished adding creamer and sugar. Oh well. When he finally took a sip, I asked if all the effort was worth cold coffee. To give him credit, he caught an extra level to my comment. Baby steps.

I told him that fussing with coffee, or cigarettes, or personal grooming, or whatever, could be used to allow another person the first word. On the other hand, it could be rude. If he was with another person, he needed to be with them. That's a line form Hitch, which is about paying attention to the other person. Trip did not identify with Albert, but he could see Elspeth as Allegra Cole.

What made things click was when I said Hitch did not mold the parts of Albert that Allegra liked. To the contrary, Allegra liked what other people joked about, spilling mustard, dancing badly, using an inhaler. It was a big leap, but Trip was a smart guy. He worked his way from being picky and exacting about coffee, to being picky and exacting about Elspeth. When the realization dawned I said, "Elspeth likes a firm hand."

I could say that they became engaged at that point and not be far off. Once Trip had a clear objective and reason to believe it was possible, I needed to apply brakes. I told him that he should continue to use Elspeth for fashion advice. He needed to include her in his decision process. Elspeth did not want to make decisions, but she did want to have input.

I told him of Sean's relationship with Sheila. Sheila was one of the most competent people I knew, but she did not have permission to speak to Sean. Instead, she might ask permission to ask a question. If you knew Sheila, that was plenty of slack. For his part, Sean asked for her opinion—a lot.

Since she came up, I called the Residence. Sean was working late, so I called his office. I told him I would be asking Sheila to bring Cindy to Nashua and then to Boston. Sean said, "Sure." This was not purely form. When I called Sheila, I informed her that I had already talked to Sean. Then we discussed a possible trip. Trip drank it all in.

That was the last I saw of him before his graduation the following August, but Elspeth provided me with all the details. When Trip first laid out what he intended to do to accelerate his graduation, Elspeth made it sound like a labor of Heracles. The payoff, for both of them, was that Trip would propose with his diploma in hand. Submissives appreciate a Dominant that can and will self discipline. Judging from the smell, the thought made Elspeth wet. I wasn't ready for what happened next.

Elspeth threw her arms around me and crushed herself to my breast. She kept muttering, "You told me. You told me." I once told her that she should pay attention to men who had deficient social skills. It was ironic, because I needed to know how Trip would feel about me. Sean lets Sheila play with other girls. Until I knew how Trip felt, Elspeth and I would do no more than hug. Sometimes being a grownup sucks.

On the political front, my dance with the Republican party was nearing its end. After months of waffling and false starts, a group of donors agreed to my terms. I signed an agreement with them and began filing paperwork and posting announcements. Violá, I was an official candidate for election in New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District. Be still my beating heart.

I made it as hard as reasonably possible, because I was not sure I wanted the headache of a campaign. That said, I knew I was gold for the Republicans—female, bisexual, double PhD with honors. The Democrats were once the party of the working man. That ended during Ronald Reagan, but the mythos persisted. I was proof that Republicans could be tolerant and educated. Big Whoop.

During negotiations I steadfastly refused offers of "help", from various lobbying firms, media consultants and fund raiser/money managers. Usually these were what I call in-family. While the business or agent was not related by blood, there was a kickback built in somewhere. A couple of the references were to literal family members. One time this fact was disclosed along with the recommendation. I gave the guy a gold star when the cousin turned out to have a good reputation.

Mostly, such recommendations were a form of payback for services rendered. I did not need to pay off someone else's debts. Instead, I consulted the Governor, Sean and Francine. The Governor was gracious. We had a very open and well publicized tea, along with twenty other consultants (read lobbyists). I passed her aide a note. When I left, a different aide passed me a note with several names and numbers. Face to face, the Governor asked me how I had managed to impress Adele so quickly. I replied that I owed her a big favor.

Sean's reply was a list of law firms and consulting firms in Washington DC, with notes on what they did and for whom. He also suggested I call his local Congressman, which was a Good Idea. I arranged a thirty minute meeting, when he was in District, rather than in Washington. That trip to New Jersey was well worth my time.

Representative Leonard was happy to tell me of some of the pitfalls. When we talked about funding, he was impressed with my personal knowledge of the Who's Who of Manhattan banking. By the end of the hour and a half we spent together, I had a solid contact and potential ally in Washington. He personally called his campaign manager to make an introduction. I did not hire him, but he referred me to a young gun, Thomas A. "Tommy" Reilly.

My meeting with Mr. Reilly did not start well. Rather than go to him, I asked that he come to me. He was young and ambitious. I should have known he expected at least a touch of deferral. When he arrived, I offered coffee. He wanted tea. Fortunately, I had recently visited my thesis advisor at Yale, Dr. Gupta. As was his custom, he begged me to take some of the tea his family constantly sent. I think I surprised Mr. Reilly by reacting to his request with enthusiasm. Looking back, he was playing tit for tat. Live and learn.

It suffices to say that Mr. Reilly agreed to take me on as a client. He would review my campaign mail, recommend survey firms, interpret polling data, sign off on advertising and anything else that could be done from Washington. My responsibility was to get him data to analyze. In this I was lucky. New Hampshire (and Iowa) are the mother lode of polling firms. Top drawer statistics work was available very affordably.

Francine did not reply. In her patented fashion, she made an entrance, while towing three recent film school graduates. I was in Nashua, preparing for an Alderman's Board meeting. Francine simply showed up at one of my informal lady's teas. At the door she said, "Where's that too tall bitch that wants to run for Congress?" and swept in without asking permission.

I said, "Ladies, I would like you to meet Francine Martel. Please excuse her language. She's smarter than she sounds." Francine started to reply before she laughed. One for me.

Things unbent enough to give the three film makers their audition. I told them to talk with the ladies for a few minutes, then I would quiz them on what they learned about me. To get Francine in the kitchen, I only needed to mention coffee. After a very sincere hug, she gave me a brutal precis on each of the young men. Francine does not pull punches for anyone, about anything. Unfortunately, that was quick.

Rather than listen to her ramble about other things, I asked Francine for pictures of Michael, her son. That allowed the other ladies to ooh and ah for a while. Before I left for my meeting, I introduced Francine to Trip's mother. Trip would soon be going to California, to work on his graduation project with my brother George. I suspected Francine's people would provide an education of another sort. Don't ask, don't tell.

The Alderman's meeting promised to be difficult. The largest contract for the water quality project had recently gone to a Manchester firm. Dean and Dowd had worked hard to secure it for their own people. They suspected I queered their sweetheart deal. In a sense, the D's may have been right. I made sure that public information was available to the public, in spite of attempts to hide or steal it.

In any event, my three candidates worked out well for me. Having three new people making recordings proved a distraction. They also reminded everyone that I was seeking higher office. The recordings themselves were a goldmine of goodwill. My three candidates had a lot of fun and may have learned something.

Their cheap-enough-to-travel equipment was vastly better than the old video-tape machine the city used. What they could do in a few minutes would impress someone that had never seen Sheila do magic with images. I suspect the losers for my audition would be able to drum up similar business, now that they knew what to look for.

That was the next order of business. The four of us went to an IHOP. I gave them fifteen minutes to crop out thirty seconds of video and a few still shots. Two of them did thirty seconds of me doing very little. The one I chose was by Frank Monomanaluga. Rather than focus on me, he focused on everyone else. His technique was to record a speech and take stills of reactions, time synched to the speech. He absolutely nailed Paul Dean bad mouthing the Mayor.

I thanked the other two for coming, then looked for the table with the most food. Sure enough, Francine was still trying to gain a few ounces. I struggle to lose an ounce, but would not trade with her for the world. Her comment, "It figures. He's a Sheila fan." She may be blond, but she's not stupid. I spent the drive to the motel explaining to Frank that his cinematic idol was my sister-in-law.

Back to work. It's what you do when you want to get laid and your fiancé was on another continent.

"little"   sister  

Mar 18, 2018 in femdom

Tags

Search