a Short Story
Copyright © June, 2002, Kellis
“Why do you let yourself look so bad?”
The girl, kneeling to ply her scrub brush among the half-dried streaks of chocolate ice cream, raised her head as if he had jerked it up by the chin. Her employer’s gaudy garrison cap partly restrained the unkempt brown hair. Her face was unmade. A large yellow zit adorned the point of her chin. Her body was concealed in a loose-fitting uniform. Yet the lines of her face and her figure, revealed by the garment stretched tight for kneeling, were appealing.
She looked over her shoulder at the managers behind the far counter, then back at him. Her face tightened for a savage retort, but her eyes flicked from his patent-leather shoes, up the pin-striped pants leg, lingering briefly on the matching suit coat and maroon silk tie, to a clean-shaven face and the still sufficient hair on his head, white but well-combed. Her face lost its fierceness as she visibly reconsidered her answer. Her eyes sparkled. “If you trade jobs with me you’ll know.”
He smiled inwardly at this evidence that clothes do make the man, at least when he’s over 60, doubting that even youth would obtain the same moderate response to such an impertinent question.
He inserted sympathy into his voice. “Is it hard for you?”
“Not hard,” she countered, “just stupid. They argued for 30 minutes who was supposed to clean up this spill before they told me to do it. It’s almost dried and ten times harder to get up. I don’t see how this place makes enough money to —”
Her voice choked off. She glanced around, noticing that at this hour of the afternoon only two other customers remained in the dining area, and none nearby. She turned back, eyes flashing suspiciously. “What are you, some kind of company inspector?”
He laughed gently and shook his head. “No, my dear. What I am is a man with a problem, and I think you could help me with it.”
“I could help you?” she demanded incredulously.
“You. I note that you have a problem, too. We can help each other. Sit down and let’s talk about it.”
She blinked at him. “They’d fire me.”
“So?” He cocked an eyebrow at her. “I suspect a large part of your problem is that you think you need this job.”
She straightened up, still kneeling, and took a deep breath. A curious mixture of expressions chased across her face. She swallowed. “I’d lose my place to stay if I didn’t have a job.”
“Is it such a nice place?” he asked.
“There are many places to stay, my dear.” He wiped his face with his napkin. “I look at you and realize we’re at opposite ends of the same problem. A beautiful woman is hidden in you, while somewhere in me hides a passionate man. I’d be willing to bet we can find what we want in each other.”
“You ... you mean ...”
He smiled and gestured at the floor. “Finish cleaning this up, if you wish, but think over what I’ve said and how you feel about it.” He got to his feet. “I’m in that metallic blue Cadillac just outside. I’ll wait a few minutes.”
He turned on his heel toward the main door.
“Gail!” barked a voice behind her. “I’m not paying you to goof off.”
She dropped the brush in sudden decision and rose to her feet, abandoning brush, bucket and wet floor. “You’re right, Mr. Johnson,” she said, walking around the end of the counter toward her locker in the rear. “You’re not paying me.”
* * *
Waiting in the car with engine and air-conditioner running and the cell phone in his ear, he made the necessary calls, reasoning that if his judgment proved poor he could always cancel them. He was pleased with himself, even if he had to start over. Such a mixture of fear and hope on her face! He had to chuckle with anticipatory delight.
Soon he saw her come around the building, head down, a slattern in dirty canvas shoes, ragged jeans and a T-shirt stained in spots but well-filled with pointy young breasts. The front of it proclaimed, Don’t let the bongs bang you! He unlocked the doors. She reached the car and fell into the front seat. She was breathing hard.
“Any trouble?” he asked.
She looked up wide-eyed. “They offered me a raise to stay.”
He nodded. “It’s so annoying to train a replacement, not to speak of the mountain of paper-work. You turned them down, I take it.”
“Yeah. Guess I was a fool, huh?”
He chuckled. “No, dear, you’re no fool. Buckle up and we’ll be off.”
She snapped the belts over herself, asking, “Off where?”
“I’ve made several appointments for you, which by and large I think you’ll like. Your name is Gail?”
“Do you want to leave it at that?”
“As you wish. I’m Perry Fyffe, 61 years old. How old are you?”
He laughed. “As you wish, Gail, who is 21 when not 19. Are you a virgin?”
“That’s none of your goddam — No, I’m not.”
“You think so?” She sniffed. “According to all the jokes, you dirty old — I mean, middle-aged men want virgins.”
“This is no joke, Gail, as you’ll see.”
The car ducked into the busy traffic.
He could feel her stare. She asked, “Oh, god, what have I let myself in for now?”
She sniffed. “The last guy who told me that wanted to rent me to his buddies the next day.”
“Did you agree?”
“I was stoned.”
“But did you agree?”
“I walked out as soon as I figured out what he was doing.”
She asked with a note of surprise, “You don’t have that in mind?”
He glanced around at her with an amused chuckle. “Thinking it was possible, you came along anyway?”
She sighed. “You caught me at the wrong moment, I guess.”
“I hope not. Gail, don’t make up your mind yet.”
She sniffed. “I won’t jump out at the next stop light.”
He chuckled. “But you’ve thought of it, haven’t you?”
“Yeah.” She looked out the window. “And I’ve also thought how I just burned my bridges.”
They rode for a minute or two before she finally asked, “Where are we going?”
“I noticed your T-shirt. Do you use drugs, Gail?”
She snorted. “On that salary?” She took a breath. “I don’t any more.”
“Good. Do you smoke?”
“Are you healthy?”
In the corner of his eye he saw her lip curl. “I don’t have AIDS, if that’s what you mean.”
He smiled. “We’ll soon find out for sure. You have an appointment, two hours from now, with a Dr. Meyers, for a complete physical.”
“A what? A physical? I don’t need —” But her argument was interrupted as the car lurched over a traffic bumper. “What’s this, a motel?”
“I thought you might want a shower before you saw the doctor.”
“Take me home first. I can’t go to the doctor looking like this!”
He smiled knowingly. “Don’t worry about that. You’ll look fine, I promise you.”
A black maid, bent over her equipment cart, raised her head as they walked down the corridor from the side entrance. She looked from the frowzy girl to the business-suited man, grunted and shook her head. Gail raised her bezitted chin and marched on.
Perry let her into the standard room with a single double bed. She paused at the foot and watched him close the door. When she only stood waiting, he gestured toward an interior door. “Get your shower.”
She drew a deep breath. “What do you want from me, Perry?”
“I want you to take a good shower, but don’t squeeze that zit. Let the doctor fix it.”
She almost chuckled. “You sound like a father.”
“Well, I’m certainly not yours.”
Her lip curled. “I suppose you’ll get in the shower with me.”
He shook his head. “I’ll dry your back, if you ask.”
She sniffed skeptically. “All you want is for me to take a shower?”
“And wash your hair. They told me they would put a hair dryer in the john.”
She said nothing more. Never taking her eyes off him, she proceeded to strip herself naked. Under the shirt and jeans she wore only a threadbare brassiere and panties. She evinced no modesty, proceeding as quickly and methodically as if she were alone. His judgment had been correct: her body was slim but well shaped. Indifferently she exposed unshaven pubes and the high-riding, conical nipples of a very young woman, suggesting that she had overstated her age.
She piled her clothing, shoes and all, on the foot of the bed and pointed to them. “I guess I can trust you not to steal my wallet.”
“Even if it’s full of money, Gail.”
She snorted. “Money! I just don’t want to lose my driver’s license.”
“I’m glad to hear that you have one.”
She grinned. “Don’t you think I’m old enough?”
“Your breasts suggest otherwise.”
She frowned. “What’s wrong with my boobs? Everybody else loves them!”
“I didn’t say I don’t love them. But they’re sharp enough for a fourteen-year-old’s.”
“Not so full and round as they will be in a few years. May I look at your license while you shower?”
She shrugged and turned away before answering over her shoulder, “You will anyway.” She passed through the door and pulled it closed behind her. In a moment he heard the spray of water.
Her wallet held a picture of an older woman, eight dollars in cash and a driver’s license. The picture on the license matched, aside from better grooming. The name was Gail Enid Larson and contrary to the tit evidence, she had reached her twentieth birthday two months earlier. The older woman resembled Gail only slightly in mouth and chin. Even her hair was a different color.
She was almost a half hour in the bathroom, the last ten minutes accompanied by the roar of a hair dryer. She emerged with a white bath towel wrapped around her. Her face was shining and her hair fluffed prettily around it in natural waves.
He smiled. “Discovered modesty, Gail?”
“I thought I heard you talking — What’s that?” She stared at the colorful plastic-wrapped clothing on the bed beyond her own dingy discards.
“Something to wear to the doctor. Try them on. The woman said they should fit you as well as what you took off.”
Her lip curled. “Some woman went through my stuff?”
“Only to verify the size.”
Off came the towel, thrown over a chair, but instead of reaching immediately for the new clothes, she paused at the foot of the bed as she had before, her fists clenched. “I shaved, too,” she told him.
Indeed her pubes were narrower.
He nodded. “Good, though I didn’t intend to buy you a bikini right away.”
She sniffed impatiently. “I mean my legs and underarms.”
Her eyebrows rose. “Is that all you have to say?”
He smiled slightly. “And you used the motel’s cologne. That’s fine.” He gestured to the clothing. “Better try it on.”
Her eyes narrowed. “What do you want, Perry?”
“You, of course.”
“Well, here I am. I even used some of their K-Y.”
He studied her thoughtfully. “Try on the new clothes.”
She sniffed, but bent to the plastic wrappings. The new brassiere proved a bit tight but usable when she had turned her back for him to adjust the clasp to its widest setting. The rest fit well enough: panties, a translucent black slip, a white silk blouse and a knee-length skirt.
She held up a package of panty-hose then dropped it back to the bed. “My legs don’t need this.”
He nodded. “You’re right. They’re perfect.”
“I’m glad you noticed something! ... They’d just get in the way. The first thing doctors want is to poke you, like all the other guys.”
“This is a woman doctor.”
“Huh! You think I’d rather be poked by a woman?”
He spread his hands. “You’re right: this will be an intimate examination. I thought you’d be more comfortable with a strange doctor if she were female. Was I wrong?”
She stood skeptically with hands on her hips. “Perry, you do know this is kind of weird, don’t you? Who needs a doctor? If you’re that cautious, why did you even bother to pick me up?”
He studied her. “Caution has little to do with it.”
“Then what?” She giggled suddenly. “Don’t tell me you think I’m your long lost daughter or niece or something! I know all about my damn family.”
“I wouldn’t tell you that.” He glanced at his wristwatch. “We’ve got half an hour to kill. Are you hungry?”
“I could use a snack.”
He gestured at the telephone. “See what room service will get you. I’ll have a black decafe.”
With the instrument against her ear she regarded him interrogatively while she ordered a medium-rare fillet and overstuffed potato with a coke and a black decafe. He shrugged and commented when she hung up, “A snack?”
She grinned, showing her teeth. “I like the best cuts.”
“Who taught you that?”
Her chin came up. “I wasn’t always a fast-food floor scrubber.”
“No,” he agreed, “I noticed you wore an angora sweater for your driver’s license picture. What happened to you, Gail?”
Grimacing, she turned away and answered with her back to him, “The usual.”
“What’s the usual these days?”
“I mean the usual for a girl scrubbing floors.”
“Do you want me to guess?”
She sighed. “I got pregnant. After he paid for the abortion, my stepfather threw me out.”
“Old fashioned, was he?”
She faced him again, one eyebrow cocked. “He was jealous.”
“What did your mother have to say about it?”
“Nothing. The last husband walked out on her. She was a door mat for the third.”
“But you have a good face and figure. I can’t believe only a fast-food joint would hire you.”
She shrugged with a sniff. “I went the good-face-and-figure route. Nearly got hooked on crack. Got pregnant again with no idea who put it in me. Lost the baby at three months. I couldn’t stand that! Ran away from my ‘boy friend’” — her voice was heavy with contempt — “and took an honest job even if it killed me.” She drew a deep breath. “But I’m no good, I guess.” She shook her head. “I just know I was damned tired of cleaning floors.” She took another breath and faced him squarely. “I thought if I had to work on my knees anyway, it might as well be fun.”
His eyebrows rose above a slight grin. “You want me to believe you think that’s fun?”
“It is when he returns the favor.”
Perry chuckled. “Point taken.”
He urged her to eat quickly when the order arrived. She complied, sitting on the bedside, but around her mouthfuls of food she asked, “What about you?”
“Me? What do you want to know?”
“It figures. What do you do?”
“Nothing. You could say I’m retired.”
“What did you do?”
“I was a business man. My partners bought me out.”
“For a lot of money?”
“And you’re 61?”
She studied him as she chewed, then gestured at herself. “What did you pay for these clothes?”
He shrugged. “I don’t know.”
That produced a sardonic grin. “Not enough to matter, huh?”
“Right.” He regarded his wristwatch. “You don’t have to eat all that, you know. I promise to feed you an even larger dinner. Run and use that toothbrush in the bathroom.”
Her eyes narrowed in resentment at first. She shook her head sadly. “You’re going to pull all my strings, aren’t you?”
“At first,” he admitted, then smiled. “Run along, little puppet.”
She stood over him where he sat in the room’s one padded chair. “You haven’t so much as touched me.”
He regarded her thoughtfully. “This troubles you?”
“It does. I don’t know where you’re coming from.”
He reached out, caught her arm and pulled her down upon him. His hands cupped her head, bringing her face to his. He kissed her lips, a fatherly peck, before releasing her. “Is that any better?”
She sniffed and answered, “Only a little,” before turning away to the bathroom.
* * *
When Gail had dressed after her examination, a nurse conducted her to Dr. Meyers’ private office. The doctor, a businesslike middle-aged woman, asked, “Do you mind if Mr. Fyffe joins us?”
Gail shrugged. “He’s paying for it.”
The woman nodded and remarked tartly, “Indeed he is! Go fetch him from the waiting room, please. Take two rights in the hall.”
When they returned, Gail readily surrendered the patient’s chair to Perry and leaned against the wall, her hands crossed behind her. Her fluffed hair had kept its tidiness during the dressing and undressing. The oversized pimple on her chin was presumably gone, the spot covered by a tiny Band-Aid. She returned the man’s smile of admiration.
But the doctor was solemn. “Our young lady has had some problems and may still have a few. It will be a couple of days before we have results on the cultures and blood work — that is, before I can give you a conclusive report.”
Gail demanded, “What problems?”
The doctor returned her stare. “You have had gonorrhea, Chlamydia and syphilis.”
The girl’s eyebrows rose. “Have had?”
“We’ll know what, if anything, remains after the results I mentioned are received. You have scarring inside the mouth, vagina, cervix and rectum that are consistent with those diseases and with your sexual history, and you have suffered at least one major PID infection.”
“Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, a common and very dangerous disease of sexually active women.” The woman hesitated, then continued. “In fact it was PID that terminated your second pregnancy and not the orgy you prefer to blame.”
The girl’s eyes widened but she did not comment.
The doctor grunted and shuffled some of the papers on her desk. “You were hospitalized when you lost the fetus?”
“Afterwards, because I bled a great deal.”
“Yes. I’m sure they detected your problems, even if they didn’t tell you, and prescribed the antibiotics to stop the disease. I’ll do the same if the lab reports a recurrence — that is, if you remain with Mr. Fyffe.”
Gail shrugged. “That’s up to him.”
“Then you’ll remain,” the man declared flatly. “Dr. Meyers, I take it Gail shows no present symptoms of disease.”
“That is generally correct. Her genital and lower digestive tracts exhibit scarring, as I said, and evidence of some structural damage is present, especially to the Fallopian tubes, but she reports regular and normal menstrual periods. Unless I hear something contrary from the lab, I must pronounce her in good health with strong sphincters and probably fertile.”
“Then thank you very much.”
“She is not presently on birth control. I have written a prescription for contraceptives, but they will need a few days to become effective.”
“Ah, yes, ma’am. Thank you for your concern.”
* * *
In the car Gail groused, “Doctors aren’t supposed to tell all that about their patients.”
“Even to the one who’s paying the bill.”
“Normally that’s right, too. But I am also Dr. Meyers’ patient.”
“You are? A woman doctor?”
He grinned. “I much prefer a woman’s hands on me than a man’s.”
“Oh.” After a moment’s thought she continued, “Even so, she shouldn’t have told you about all my diseases.”
“They don’t make any difference to me, Gail. You heard her. She thinks you’re cured of them. How long have you been ... keeping away from men?”
“I quit hooking five months ago.”
“Hooking? You thought of it that way?”
“Well, maybe not.” He saw her grin from the corner of his eye. “It’s not as if they were lining up to get at me. Jarvis only got me a john when he needed the money for a hit.”
“How often, Gail?”
“Two or three times a week, sometimes more.”
“Well, if you stay with me your hooking days are over.”
He felt the weight of her gaze. She asked sweetly, “You mean with more than one john?”
He chuckled. “A bigger difference than that.”
“You won’t get paid by the trick.”
“Oh.” She sniffed. “I never saw any of the money anyway!” She looked around. “Where are we going?”
“We could go to dinner,” he said, “but you’re not hungry, are you? Let’s go look at something, then we’ll go to dinner.”
“Look at what?”
She chimed in simultaneously with his answer. “You’ll see.”
He grinned and explained, “I guess I like to surprise you.”
“So far they’ve been nice surprises — except for the doctor’s needles. She’s in cahoots with you somehow, isn’t she?”
He flicked her a glance away from traffic. “You’re a smart girl, Gail. How the hell did you ever get under a pimp’s thumb?”
She shook her head. “Guess I’m a sucker for men’s thumbs. Other parts, too. Of course the doctor good as told you I’ve had men all over me.” She sniffed. “‘Strong sphincters!’”
He grinned. “Important muscles, sphincters.”
Again he felt the weight of her gaze. “Because it means I’m still a good lay?”
“More than that, smart girl. I told you I have a problem, too. Dr. Meyers and I have discussed how to solve it.”
Gail laughed. “She prescribed a girl, did she?”
He chuckled. “You can’t get those at the drugstore.”
“Huh! Don’t the taxi drivers still know how to find them?”
“Gail, that kind won’t work.”
“Oh. Then you admit you want me for sex?”
He grunted. “Don’t forget companionship.”
She sniffed and said nothing more. Each time he glanced in her direction he found her studying him.
* * *
“But this is a regular house,” she noted as he unlocked the front door, “402 Mebane Street. Who lives here?”
He grinned, opened the door and stood back for her to precede him. “You do.”
“Wh-what?” She hurried past the small foyer into an obvious combination den and living room. “It’s furnished!”
“Only with the usual stuff, Gail. The bedroom closets are empty. Go ahead. Look all around.” He plopped down into a recliner. “I’ll wait here.”
In a few minutes she was back. “Pretty nice place, Perry — I mean, Mr. Fyffe!”
“Do you like it?”
“What’s not to like — three bedrooms, each with its own bath and a kitchen with everything? Lots of families don’t have such a nice place.”
“And a laundry room. I’m glad you noticed the kitchen. Did you ever tend bar?”
“I helped out for awhile.”
“Good. You’ll find a bottle of Bombay in the freezer, Vermouth in the fridge and martini glasses in the cupboard over the sink. Make me one, please.”
She blinked but turned silently away.
“And help yourself to whatever looks good,” he called after her.
He sat stolidly, listening to the noises from the kitchen. After a few minutes she returned, bearing a small serving tray upon which in solitary splendor sat the inverted cone of a thin-stemmed martini glass. She had even found an olive to float in the pale liquid. She stood beside the arm of his chair, holding the tray patiently.
He took up the drink, tasted it sparingly and raised his eyebrows in grudging approval. “Not bad. Did you have something?”
“I’m not thirsty. Is that it, sir? Am I to be the maid?”
“No, Gail: the mistress. And you don’t have to ‘sir’ me.”
She took a breath. “Mistress. Doesn’t that mean, like I was to Jarvis?”
He grunted. “I take it you supported him.”
“He got a check from somewhere every month. Of course that was gone in a week.”
“Forget Jarvis, Gail. Your life here will be unlike that one in every respect.”
“I promise I’ll never rent your sweet body to another man.”
She blinked and smiled almost for the first time. “My sweet body?”
He waved a hand negligently. “What’s a little wear and tear?” He laid the barely tasted drink on the coffee table and cocked his head at her critically. “How well do those duds fit? Are they the right size?”
“Not bad. It depends on what you want the clothes to do. For bar-hopping I need something tighter.”
“You’ll get what you need, but bar-hopping is not my style. Do you have anything in your old apartment that you want to keep?”
She shrugged. “Some grungy clothes. If you’re gonna buy me more, I say, ‘Let ‘em rot.’”
He stood up. “Then let’s go buy you a wardrobe.”
“Don’t you like the martini?”
“Next time use half as much vermouth. Get your wallet and come on. The first thing we’ll buy you is a purse.”
* * *
They returned to the house on Mebane Street after the malls closed, needing two trips to transfer her boxes and bags from the car trunk to the bed in a guest bedroom. Her eyes sparkled in the light from the nightstand as she delved into the pile for a particular garment. It turned out to be a sheer nightgown. She held it before her and turned to face him. “Let me put this on, Perry, you wonderful man. I’ll only be a minute.”
The room contained one straight chair that he spun to face her. Taking his seat, he said, “Go ahead.”
Her eyebrows rose. “You mean you want to watch?”
She chuckled wryly. “That surprises me. You’ve been so distant all day.” But she kicked off her pumps. Her hands went behind her to the blouse buttons. She proceeded as methodically as she had in the motel.
When she stood nude before him, she asked, “Want me to take another shower?”
“Not now.” He glanced at his wristwatch.
She blinked. “You in a hurry?”
“Sort of. Are you feeling grateful, Gail?”
He grinned. “Reminds me of a story. Did you hear the one about the young girl who happened to see mamma sucking daddy?”
Gail’s lip curled. “I’ve heard a lot of stories like that.”
“Later she told mamma, ‘I saw what you were doing. Is that how you get a baby?’
“‘No,’ said mamma, ‘that’s how I get a new dress.’”
Gail sighed. “Yeah, I’ve heard it.” She crossed the room and dropped to her knees on the carpet before him. “Guess I don’t need the nightgown.”
He parted his legs. She slipped between them, hands going to belt and zipper. He twitched when her fingers captured him and again when her mouth closed over him. After brief tonguework she lifted her head, bright eyes regarding him speculatively. “You don’t get this very often, do you?”
“I can hardly remember the last time,” he admitted. “It won’t take you long, I think.”
She lowered her head and resumed, bracing him between thumb and forefinger until he was firm. She continued with long strokes from glans almost to base. He stared down at her and shivered. Soon he gripped the sides of the seat bottom and slid his hips forward. She froze momentarily then withdrew to the glans, a white rivulet flowing over her chin. He groaned and sagged in the chair.
She backed away, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, and would have risen to her feet except that he suddenly leaned forward, caught her head in his hands and pulled their mouths together in a passionate kiss.
When he finally released her, she stared at him. “You wanted to taste yourself, is that it?”
“Maybe I’m grateful too.”
She sniffed and turned away to the adjoining bathroom. He rose, closed his britches and followed her to the doorway. She drew a glass of water and rinsed her mouth.
He said, “Before I leave we have a thing or two to discuss. Come into the kitchen and bring your wallet.”
She paused to don a robe and slippers before following him into the kitchen.
He said, “Try that martini again, will you? And make one for yourself, if you care for them.”
“I’m not legal for booze,” she muttered, opening the freezer.
He chuckled scornfully as he took a seat, his own wallet in his hand. “In this house anything you want is legal, Gail.”
She used a tiny measuring spoon on the wine, stirred the mixture with a glass rod and dropped in an olive before setting it before him. “There. Half the vermouth.” She took a breath, staring at the money now spread on the table. “What’s that?”
“$500,” he answered, “mostly in twenties, mad money for you. I have to be gone for a few days. This is for taxi fare and extra groceries if you fancy something we don’t have. I hope you have sense enough not to look up your old crowd and give it to them, but I’m putting no restrictions on it. It’s a gift to you, free and clear.” He sighed. “I hope it helps you decide to be here when I return.”
She fell into a chair across the table. Her face was white.
“What’s the matter, Gail?”
“You ... You’re going to strand me after one little blowjob?”
He pushed the stack of currency toward her. “Strand? I may leave you alone at times, but you’ll hardly be stranded. This is enough to buy a ticket for anywhere in the country.”
Her chest heaved in a deep breath. “But I thought ... thought you would spend the night.”
“Not tonight, Gail. I’m sorry to disappoint you. And thank you. You’re quite an accomplished little, ah —”
“Yes. I’m impressed with you.”
“Thank you,” she said dryly. “How long will it be?”
“Until I come back? I’m not sure. Today is Tuesday. Probably by Friday, Monday certainly.” He took a hefty draught of the martini and passed a slip of paper to her. “That’s a number where I can be reached if you really need me — but please, only for a real emergency.”
She studied him searchingly. He bore her scrutiny as he finished the drink. He smiled. “This one is right.”
“Why, Perry? Mr. Fyffe?” She gestured around her. “Why are you doing all this?”
His eyes narrowed. “Do you think it’s a lot, Gail?”
“Of course it’s a lot! It’s too much!”
He chuckled. “And there’s more to come, a lot more, if you’ll hold still for it.”
Her eyes flashed. “And stop asking questions?”
He shook his head. “I don’t mind questions. I’ll answer them in my own time. But think about this.” He pushed the chair back and got to his feet. “If I’m doing a lot for you, maybe I want a lot in return.”
She sniffed and shook her head, gesturing around her again. “You’ve bought and paid for me ten times over.”
“What if I want more than that?” His hand opened and dropped one other thing onto the table: a brass key. With that he spun on his heel and marched through the house toward the front door.
The girl sprang up and caught him with his hand on the knob. “Kiss me good-bye!” she demanded.
He kissed her lingeringly though chastely. She melted against him. “Oh, Perry ...”
Strong hands under her arms straightened her up. “Until later,” he told her before passing into the dark night.
* * *
The eastern sky was beginning to brighten when he let himself into the house on Saturday morning. He closed the door quietly and proceeded through the den into the kitchen, leaving a briefcase under the table. Up the hall enough light came around the blinds to reveal her asleep in the smaller of the three bedrooms. She had kicked off the covers and lay on her back in a translucent peignoir, breathing evenly.
He undressed completely and swiftly, draping his clothing over the dresser chair. The inevitable bumps and jingle of keys and coins in his pockets failed to disturb her. He stood at the end of the bed for a moment, savoring his anticipation. Kneeling on the bed between her somewhat parted legs, in one motion he spread them further while throwing up the peignoir’s skirt. Her breathing stopped as his mouth descended around the clitoris.
She gasped for breath then screamed slightly. Predictably she tried to rise, leaving space for his right arm to encircle her hips from behind. His left forearm across her breasts forced her back down. She struggled briefly, writhing against the restraint under her hips, raising her heels to dig his back. Then his tongue made itself felt.
“P-Perry?” she hazarded, beginning to relax.
He stroked her relentlessly. “Oh, god!” she cried. Her breast heaved. “If you make ... make me come — oh, god! I’ll piss on you. I can’t help it!”
His answer was to thrust two fingers into her under his chin.
“Please, Perry, let me — god! — go to the bathroom. It’ll embarrass me to death and I’m already dribbling.”
With a sigh he released her. Immediately she swung lithe legs to the floor and fled to the adjoining room, shrugging out of the peignoir.
He called after her, “That’s not piss,” and followed her to the doorway, retrieving the fallen garment in passing and tossing it in a ball across the bed toward the dresser.
She sat on the stool, her discharge rattling in the water. Her grin was visible in the dim light. “You don’t think this is piss?”
“This may be, but what you dribbled wasn’t.”
“Come here,” she commanded, putting out her arms.
Now her hands caught his hips, pulling him close beside her. Her mouth enclosed the turgid organ. He endured the bobbing head until her stream ceased. His hand on her forehead gently disconnected them.
He caught the arm that was around his hips. “Come on back to bed. Old men have to be careful on their feet.”
Her hand stroked his hairy chest. “You don’t feel so old, Perry.”
“Wait till the light’s better. Have you started your pills?”
When she had wiped herself, she snuggled against him for the return to bed. There he laid her on her back, parted her legs and again knelt between them.
“Oh, come up!” she demanded. “It’s pissy down there!”
But he ignored her protest. He found her already aroused. A few seconds’ ardent tonguework produced a groan, then a scream. Her legs clamped on his ears. Her hips heaved under him. After a moment of screaming and thrashing she forced his head away with both hands.
“Now I’ll come up,” he commented, wiping his face on the bedsheet. She accepted him eagerly. Her groans shortly resumed.
* * *
She awakened the second time to rich smells of coffee and bacon in the house. Throwing on robe and slippers, she hurried down the hall to the kitchen. Perry, wearing a blanket draped like a toga, was just laying a platter of golden eggs and sizzling bacon on the table set for two.
“Perry, I just realized — you came back!” She swept around the table and hugged herself against him. Chuckling at her obvious delight, he took her in his arms and kissed her with probing tongue.
Raising his head, he said with a smile, “I was hoping you’d be glad to see me.”
But she did not release him. “The sex was like a dream. I wasn’t thinking until just now. You came back!” Tears welled in her eyes.
“I told you I would.” He took her shoulders and stood her apart from him. “My god, let me look at you in this bright light! Your complexion is clear as a baby’s. And you were right: that light blue robe sets off the color of your eyes perfectly.” He added with an uncomfortable smile, “Even when I make them cry.”
A tear rolled down one cheek. “You came back!”
“Did you think I wouldn’t?” His face grew solemn. “I’ll always come back to you, Gail.”
Her eyes widened at that announcement. He released her and turned away to pour coffee and fill the two large dinner plates generously with scrambled eggs, bacon and buttered toast. He sat erect in his chair, waiting for her. She slipped into hers and unfolded the napkin into her lap while returning his gaze tenderly.
He took up his coffee cup to sip. She did too. When he took fork in one hand, toast in the other, and combined eggs, bacon and toast in his mouth, she mimicked him precisely.
He chuckled. “You’re not really a puppet, you know.”
She chewed thoughtfully. “I wouldn’t mind it. I want to learn how you want me to live.”
His eyes twinkled ironically. “What a thing to say! I’m glad you’re no longer a teenager. They’d take away your union card.”
“I hated being a teenager!”
“I’m sorry you had it so tough.” He raised his chin and produced a smile. “Tell me what you did this week.”
“Not much. I went to a newsstand and bought some trashy novels. Then I watched TV and read.” She paused with a hovering forkful of egg. “And thought about what you’re up to. I’m glad you finally gave me a good fuck.”
He smiled. “It was good, wasn’t it!”
She stared at him thoughtfully as she chewed. “You said you have a problem, Perry. Is it your heart?”
“Well, Dr. Meyers has diagnosed incipient arteriosclerosis.” He chuckled. “A very careful girl could be helpful with that.”
“I’ll be your careful girl, Perry. Do you need something special?”
“Not so special.” He chuckled. “I understand old men get kinky, but I’m not there yet, I hope.”
“Then ... why me? Why did you pick me, Perry?” She gestured around her. “All this can’t be just a lark with a fast-food girl.”
“I had a particular reason for picking you. And yes, you can do some special things for me.”
“Go to school, for one.”
“School!” She stared at him and tossed her head. “School? What the hell are you talking about?”
“Think of my motive as a puzzle” — he grinned slyly — “one that I’ll divulge to you after awhile. For now please finish your breakfast.”
“Are we in a hurry?”
“Not really. It’s just that I enjoy watching your face when I please you.”
“You have another surprise for me?”
She finished her toast after smearing it liberally with jelly. He watched her with a slight smile, sipping the remains of his coffee.
She said, “Well, I know part of your motive. You like to fuck me.” She sniffed. “From the way you stare, I could even believe you like to look at me.”
“Oh, yes. I like everything about you except your foul mouth, but since my cock went into it I can hardly complain. You’re a lovely young lady, my dear, eating breakfast before me. And you don’t yet know why that should please me so particularly.”
“Maybe you’ll send me to cocksucking school,” she suggested with a sneer, springing up to transfer the soiled utensils to the sink.
“You’ve already graduated from that,” he retorted.
He produced the briefcase and popped it open. “Leave that for now,” he commanded, gesturing at the sink, “and sit down beside me.”
When she had complied, he handed her a stapled set of papers. Quickly she thumbed through it. “Is this Dr. Meyers’ report?”
“Am I sick or well?”
“Extremely well. Look here.” He pointed from one section to another. “Your red and white cell counts are normal. None of the proteins that respond to infections or tumors are elevated. This number means you have no trace of diabetes and this one that your serum cholesterol is in the safe range. In other words, young lady, I am pleased to report that you are healthy as a horse.”
“I suppose that’s good news.”
“You suppose! I wish I could say as much.”
She responded indifferently, “I’m sure you could when you were 20.”
He shook his head. “Well, if this isn’t enough to please you, go look out the window.”
“Go ahead. Look in the driveway.”
She went dutifully as directed and soon returned. “You’ve bought yourself a sports car?” She grinned at him indulgently. “A lemon yellow sports car?”
“Not me, Gail.” He took another paper out of the briefcase and passed it to her. It proved to be a vehicle title certificate, designating a Porsche of a certain motor number, owned by one Gail Enid Larson.
“What does this mean?” she asked, eyes wide.
“That you have a new car.” He took out more papers and laid them on the table. “Here’s the insurance policy. You need to sign both it and the title, over my signature, where I signed as your agent. The registration and owner’s manual are in the car.”
She sagged into her chair, mouth hanging open. He watched her with glowing eyes.
“Perry,” she muttered. “What ... It’s really mine?”
“Yours, from the road up.” He brought out the small plastic key holder and lock remote and placed it atop the forms. “All yours. When we get dressed, you’ll have to run me back to the dealer to get my Cadillac.”
“My god!” she said softly, still staring at him.
He grinned. “I’ll accept that instead of ‘Thank you.’”
Her face changed. A red spot appeared on each cheek. She surged to her feet and leaned forward, bracing herself with hands on the table edge. “That does it, Perry — I mean, Mr. Fyffe! I’d do anything for a man who acted like I was more than a piece of trash, but nobody treats a whore this good! If you don’t tell me what’s going on here, I’m gonna take off this robe you gave me and walk right out that front door.”
His grin faltered slightly. “Don’t do that. It’s cold out there.”
“You don’t believe I’ll do it? Jarvis didn’t either.” Her hands went to the robe buttons.
He laughed sheepishly. “Hold on, Gail!” She had opened the front of the robe, exposing her breasts. He got to his feet, drew her to him and bent to a nipple. She endured his mouth only a moment before pulling away with a plop. He looked up into an angry stare.
Straightening himself, he said, “There’s a key fact you don’t know yet.”
“What?” she demanded belligerently.
He took a deep breath. “Despite the way it looks, I really want you as a daughter more than a whore.”
“What?” Her eyes narrowed derisively but the marks of anger faded. “That’s crazy! Don’t you have a daughter?”
“No. I have a son somewhere, whom I’ve ruined, but no other children.”
Her mouth twisted. “Don’t tell me you’re trying to make up for it!”
“It has a flavor of compensation, but not for that.”
“What are you talking about?”
He sighed heavily. “Get me a coke to wet my whistle, honey, and I’ll tell you a story.”
When they were both seated, she leaned forward tensely with her hands clasped atop the table. He took a swallow of the cold drink and sighed.
“It started in Vietnam. I was 27 in ’68, a lieutenant in the army reserve called up as a platoon leader despite being too old for the job. My platoon sergeant was treated the same. We were in combat together during the Tet Offensive. He and I became very close. He saved my life many times, in more ways than one, and I saved his. One night after a terrible firefight that did in half the company and most of the platoon, we had a long talk over a beer or two in the hooch. That firefight made us realize how poor our chances were of getting home intact.
“By then we were closer than brothers. We made a promise to each other. In the case that only one survived, he would assume responsibility for the other’s family. I had a wife and a son, while he had a wife and daughter. We were both honorable men and meant to keep our promise.
“On our last mission a week later, just days before we were supposed to rotate home, a cliche, he stepped on a Chinese mine that killed him instantly.” Perry sighed. “At least he didn’t suffer.”
“This man ...” she began hesitantly.
He ignored her. “When I returned to the states, I found my own affairs in a mess. My wife had taken up with another man. She told me she’d expected me to get killed. But she came back to me, she said, for the sake of the boy, and we made a life of it. That’s neither here nor there. I had been back about three months before I looked around for the sergeant’s wife. I found her. She had already remarried.” He grinned sourly. “Some women do need men. Any men! But the wife was clearly provided for and the daughter was healthy, so I went on my way.”
He took another swallow of coke. “At my age the obituary columns have become interesting. Two months ago I read of the daughter’s death in a car accident. She had a surviving daughter of her own, no address given. The husband, who also survived, wouldn’t talk to me. All I had was a name. So I hired detectives.”
He took two photographs from the briefcase and laid them before her. One showed a much younger Perry, bars on his collar, grinning at the camera with his arm over the shoulders of another man of high sergeant rank. The second was a close-up of the second man, smiling, with a dark moustache and a military haircut.
Gail took a deep breath. “Is this my grandfather?”
“Yes, it is. You are his only surviving descendant. Go take a look at that picture and yourself in the mirror.”
“I can see the resemblance.” Her eyes rose. “I never knew him.”
“Of course not. But didn’t your mother have pictures?”
“No. My grandma must have, but she and Mom never spoke again after Mom left home.”
He shook his head. “Which is probably another sad story. Ah, the pain families cause themselves!”
Her eyes were interested. “So it was no coincidence, you showing up in that fast-food joint.”
“No. And my problem for Dr. Meyers was only to evaluate your health.”
“Suppose I’d had AIDS?”
He shrugged. “Then we’d have done our best to cure it.”
She sniffed. “And I’d’ve had to suck you through a rubber.”
“You expect me to apologize?” He chuckled grimly. “I don’t believe you were faking this morning, though if you were I don’t care. This may not be what your grandfather expected, but you’re a sexy little tart. Why shouldn’t I partake?”
She sniffed. “Apologize? Not to me. I was glad you wanted to fuck! It made some sense for a change. And I didn’t fake. I never fake when I’m fucking.”
He shrugged. “The trouble is, fucking is just about all you know. When I get through with you, you’ll have a skill that can support you.”
She drew a quick breath. “It’s a deal!”
He grinned and shook his head. “Gail, when I get through with you, you’ll also know not to agree so fast.”
“You think I should bargain? After the abortion my stepfather offered me something very similar.”
“Why didn’t you accept?”
“What did I know?” She shrugged. “I had a lot to learn and life’s been teaching me ever since.”
He stood up. “That’s the story. Now get dressed in something conservative and let’s go meet my wife.”
“She knows all about me?”
The girl sniffed. “And believes I fuck you every time we meet!”
“If so she won’t mention it.”
“Huh! Not while you’re listening, maybe.” She leaned back in her chair. “So! I’m to be your fucking daughter, am I?”
“I wouldn’t put it just that way.”
“But that’s the way it’s gonna be, right?” She slipped her hand into his blanket and gripped what she found.
“I’m an old man, sweetie. You won’t often be pestered that way.”
“Want me to quit this?”
“Are you kidding?”
“As you say, I do know about sex. Maybe I can even teach you a thing or two!” She chuckled thoughtfully. “You’re an old man who keeps his promises — sort of and some time — but who keeps them. I’m gonna like being your fucking daughter, Perry.” She released him. “Let’s get ready for your wife. I think I know how to handle her too.”