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Samantha and Bruce Turner

He had far more to offer than anybody realized, especially her!
CHAPTER ONE (of two)

I've not done much of anything in my fifty years; well, other than read books and work. That formula has worked for me till now but no more. I've finally decided to make a change. Oh me? My name is Bruce Turner more about me later.

Working, I'd become a major success; Well, if a hundred million in liquid assets can be considered success. My job? I'm self-employed. I buy and sell foreign currencies, not an occupation for the unlettered or the faint of heart. Me, I'm lettered as hell and for damn sure not faint of heart. And, I'm smart.

Hell yes I'm smart. Yeah, well, but maybe not smart enough to actually know how to really live. But, I am intending to change that little reality. All I have to do is figure out how to go about it. The catalyst for me wanting to make a change? A lady who calls herself Lana, no last name.

It hadn't been much, what she'd said, but it'd stung. "Bruce, you've got to get out more. You need to get a life. You've got enough money; start using it to live," she said.

"I don't know, Lana. Sometimes I think you're right about that stuff. I mean, but when would I have time," I said.

She gave me a look that screamed, get with it imbecile! And, then went back to work. It was real hard trying to concentrate on lifestyle changes; I mean with my cock in her mouth and me twitching on the love seat in front of her. Jesus, she knew how to do that.

Lana was a very talented lady of the evening. I'd purchased her services any number of times. We were, if not actual friends, at least friendly acquaintances. That was the prime reason that I was taking her advice seriously. Physically, Lana was five-four, maybe one-ten, 34-25-34, thirty-nine years old, longish brown hair, eyes to match, and possessed of an ass that could stop traffic. Oh, and a personality that could bewitch a man. Hell, she's bewitched me all to heck.

******

As I sat peering into the bottom of my wine glass, I was drinking port, I had decided to do a one-eighty in terms of my lifestyle.

"One more, Gilbert," I said. Gilbert Misguez was my favorite bartender; he’d been pouring drinks for me for damn near twenty years. He was the owner and chief barkeep of Panza's Bar and Grill.

My man delivered my third of the day and leaned kind of side-angled against his side of the bar looking at me. "You look like you've got a load on your mind," he said.

I looked up at him, and it occurred to me that bartenders knew everything about the social stuff, right?

"You could say that," I said. "Gil, can I ask you a question?"

"Of course," he said.

"Gil, I need to know just how big of a social loser that I am. I mean, well, I mean do you think that at my age I could start doing stuff. You know social stuff?" I said.

He looked at me and kinda stepped back as though appraising a potential purchase. "What are you? Fifty?"

I nodded.

"Yeah, you could, but you'd wanna be doin' some changin'," he said.

"Changing?"

"Yes, new clothes. Maybe a different ride."

"A new car?" I said. "That's a three months old Eldorado sittin' out there. Why would I need a new car? And my clothes . . ."

"No, no, not a new car, and old one, Maybe a pickup," he said. "And, yes new clothes. You dress like an undertaker. But, there's more to what I'm saying than just that shit."

"Huh?" I said.

"You look dull, Bruce, well off, but dull. Unless you want to be taken to the cleaners by some broad assed gold digger, you need to dress down and a little more colorfully; and, not be so obviously upper middle class. That's my thinking anyway," he said.

"Oh!" I said.

"Yes, oh," he said. "You know how to dance? Anything like that, that kind of stuff?

"No, no, not really. Never had much time for dancing."

He nodded. "Well, Whaddya do for fun?"

"For fun? I make money," I said. "That's lots of fun."

He snickered. "Yeah, maybe." 

We talked a little while longer, but then he got busy, and I was left to thinking about what he'd said. He was right about the gold diggers. That was one of the reasons I got my rocks off with pros like Lana. I'd learned in high school that one couldn't trust the softer sex. Devious didn't even begin to describe them as a group; the occasional exception to the rule notwithstanding. I took stock of myself.

Fifty and rich and dumb looking: pretty much described me. I wasn't tall or handsome or anything that women were likely on the lookout for. Well, at least I wasn't fat; that was something. But again, I was just kinda dumb and nothing looking; I knew it, and it bothered me, a lot.

I needed to change the dumb looking part. New clothes, the man'd said. New clothes but cheap and colorful new clothes. Okay, no problem. I was not at all miffed that Gil had denigrated my three-thousand dollar suit; he was right, I did look like an undertaker. And my car screamed old guy, boring, and unimaginative. So, next stops? Stan's Used Cars and Walmart. But, and then what?

I had it! Marge's Dance Studio. It was but three blocks from my office. I passed the damn thing every day. My socialization could start there, maybe.

******

Stan was actually an old high school friend of mine. He the prototypical nerd; me, the other prototypical nerd. We’d had each other's backs at Crutchfield High. We'd both skipped college and been successful anyway; he owned four car dealerships, two for used cars and two for new Fords. Me, as earlier described made my money in, well, money. He sold me the ten year-old Silverado for a grand: Faded green, no dents, and a sound drive train. Perfect.

I'd spent a grand to get the pickup, and then I'd driven it to Walmart and spent another grand on clothes. Two days later, I found myself nervous and doubtful of my sanity in front of Marge's Dance and Music Academy.

"Can I help you, sir?" said the rail thin thirty something woman, as I entered the largish room.

"You Marge?" I said. She looked like a dancer.

"No, no sir. I just work here," she said.

"Oh. Well, I'd like to take lessons," I said. "How do I go about that?"

"Classes or private," she said.

My defenses automatically went up. I didn't want to tip her to my cash position. But, I did want private at least at first; I decided to hedge my bets.

"I don't know," I said. "How much would the private lessons cost?" I figured that if I had to ask that question that the woman would figure I wasn't wealthy. I congratulated myself on my cleverness.

"Private is $7.50 an hour per person. Classes are $25 monthly for three half hour sessions a week," she said.

I breathed a sigh of relief. The private lessons weren't that expensive. I could do those without arousing undue suspicion.

"Okay, I'd like to sign up for two private lessons a week," I said.

"Okay," she said. "But evenings are kinda full right now. Would you be able to come in during the day? Mostly housewives during the day and we do have openings then, you know, people have to work."

Oops, another unexpected problem.

"Uh—yes," I said. "I work mostly evenings, so days would be okay."

She smiled. For the first time, I smiled. I appraised her. She was kind of frowsy looking, I decided, but could be pretty with the right kinds of female stuff. Even her voice was pretty.

"Wonderful," she said. "Tuesday and Thursday, say 11:00AM be good for you then?"

I nodded. "Yes, that would be perfect."

We talked a little bit longer about the dance teacher that I would have and the kind of dancing that I was interested in, and then we said our goodbyes.

Just talking to the woman, I didn't even know her name, tipped me that I had to do more than buy myself an ancient pickup and don generic duds. I had to have a job. I had to have workmates, a life, any life, other than the one I had. But, what kind of job. All I ever did was talk on the phone to brokers and drink really fine port wine. Shit! I was virtually without any marketable skills in a social sense.

Back to Panza's. I needed to talk to Gil a little more, maybe a lot more.

******

"So whaddya think?" said Gilbert.

I was slowly nodding. "Partners, me a silent partner?" 

"Yes, and you'd actually be working in the new one, and maybe occasionally here," he said.

"Let me get this straight. I'd front you the money for the new place. I could make my money back since I'd be half owner of the place. And, I'd get to work there as a bartender. That about it?" I said.

"Exactly it. I've wanted to get that place over on Plumber Avenue, Sancho's B&G, for a long time but two-hundred grand is a little beyond my reach," he said. "But, between us we could do it."

"But, me a bartender?" I said. I sounded dubious.

"I'll put Bill Philips in there with you for a few weeks until you get a handle on things. Between him and the workforce that's already there you'll be fine."

"Okay, it's a deal. But, no one is to know that I'm part owner. No one. We cool on that?" I said.

"You know we are," said Gil.

We shook. I was feeling really good. I didn't even care if the place made money. I had my cover, my job. My lawyer would be making sure I was insulated against any untoward downsides, i.e., being sued or somebody setting me up to rip me off. I trusted Gil, but a hundred grand can cause good folks to go bad.

Oh yes, this was a good deal because I was going to see to it that it was.

******

My first dance lesson was an eye opener. I found out that I not only had two left feet, I also had two broken ankles; well, figuratively speaking at least. Talk about a reclamation project, I was it!

But, Samantha Rubens, the girl's name that had signed me up the week before, didn't laugh at me. Turned out she was pretty good at this stuff, and was willing to be my partner for purposes of my private lessons with Mark Hodges, our common instructor. I couldn't have been happier. Mark was a great guy and, as I soon discovered, more than competent to teach a nothing like me the ropes, but he was definitely not a girl! Samantha was skinny and pretty in spite of her dowdy clothes and minimal female appurtenances. And, she was also a girl!

For the next several weeks we worked on the chacha, the foxtrot, and the swing. Gilbert, my new business partner and social mentor, knew what was going on of course, but had no inkling of where I was at in terms of my newly acquired dance skills. That truth was about to change.

I'd just come on my shift at Sancho's. "How you doing there mister Turner?" said the man who'd come up behind me. And, yes, I was using my real name; no reason not to.

"Gil, Mister Misguez," I said. "You startled me."

He laughed.

"Sorry about that, Bruce. But, really, how are you doing?"

"Good. No complaints," I said. "Mister Philips has been more than patient."

He nodded, and handed me a card, an invitation.

"Company party at my house, next Saturday. Chance for our employees, and their significant others to socialize, have a little fun," he said. He put extra emphasis on the word socialize.

I nodded my understanding. "But, I don't have a significant other?" 

"Then you can come and hopefully meet somebody," he said.

"Okay. I can do that, I guess," I said.

He could see I was nervous. "Bruce it'll be good. You'll see."

I nodded.

We talked for another minute or two and then he was off to pass out some more of the invitations to the employees. I stood there looking at the card. It would be my first foray into the world of play. I was already nervous and it was still five days off.

******

"A party? A party with you?" said Samantha.

"Yes, it's at my boss's house," I said.

She looked at me kind of, what, sympathetically.

"I mean it's okay if you have something else to do. I'll understand."

Samantha and I had gotten to know each other in general terms over the previous weeks. She had a ten year-old daughter, Lindsey. She was a native of Florida and had moved to Ohio just two years previous. And she lived within walking distance of the studio.

"Bruce, no offense, but I'm at least four inches taller than you, and . . ." she stopped. She could see I was already feeling rejected, down.

"Oh what the heck. It's not like I get a lot of invitations to parties these days," she said. "Okay, it's a date."

"Great," I said. "Would you like to get a cup of coffee? I mean right now. There's a Winchell's across the street.

She looked askance at me. "You know, Bruce, most guys ask a girl to go for the cup of coffee before they ask for a full blown date. You actually intrigue me," she said.

"Let's go," I said.

We settled into the worst seats to be found in any restaurant fast food or otherwise in the whole world. But, at that moment, my mind was on one thing and only one thing: how to get this woman who was way out of my league looks-wise and too young for me to like me a little, and to not tip her to who I was other than what I wanted her to be tipped to.

Okay, that was two things.

"So what do you do for a living, Bruce?" she said.

"I tend bar," I said, proudly.

"A bartender?" she said. "Figures."

"Figures?" I said.

"No, it's fine. I'm sure you're good at what you do. I was just hoping that you might be a movie star prepping for your next role," she said.

I gave her what I was sure was a confused look. "Oh, you mean the dancing. No, no, not a movie star, I'm afraid. Sorry to disappoint you there." 

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to demean you or what you do. It's just . . ." she started. "I know it's silly of me. You know. But, I came north thinking to meet some rich guy who would sweep me off my feet. Just a little girl's dream?"

I ignored her fantasizing and interrupted her. "Tell me, Samantha, what do you do? I mean I know you work part time at the studio. But, well, how do you get along otherwise? I know you're not married. But otherwise?" I said.

She sighed. "Welfare, me and my daughter, Lindsey. It's hard, but we make do. Lindsey's only ten; be eleven in a couple of months."

I know my face clouded over. "Like I said I know you're single, but no daddy in evidence to help pay the little girl's way?" 

"No, he hightailed it when he found out I was pregnant. That was ten years ago. Sad story that," she said.

"I can imagine," I said.

She smiled, but it was a wan smile.

"So, a party then?" she said. "Haven't been to one in a while, actually, quite a while."

"Yes, definitely, this Saturday. Barbecue at my boss's house. Anyway, if you'll give me your address—unless..."

"Unless?" she said, looking me askance.

"Well we don't know each other very well. I mean I'll know where you live . . ."

She laughed. "No, no, it's all right. I'm a pretty good judge of character." She took out a slip of paper from her purse and wrote down her particulars and handed it to me. "There."

I nodded. "Looking forward to it."

She looked momentarily thoughtful.

"You know, I am too," she said.

I felt good.

We talked two-donuts-each long, maybe half an hour. I was able to learn more about her life and times, hard times. She learned a lot about me, mostly bogus stuff, at least in any true sense of the word.

Talking to her made me know that I had one thing to do that couldn't be put off. I'd be taking care of it as soon as we split up to go home.

******

I was a trifle early to pick her up, and when I did I was very much surprised. She was very pretty and very ready to go to a party informal or not. Long tawny locks, understated and well done makeup, a pink sun dress that stopped a couple of inches above the knees, exposing legs that were pretty near perfect, and high heels. She towered over my five-six frame and I loved it.

The barbecue was in full swing when we arrived. The food smelled good too.

"Hope they have some of that good smellin' food left over for us," she said.

I looked over at her. "We're not late. I'm sure that there will be plenty left when we decide to eat. Wait, You mean you're hungry? I mean now?"

She looked embarrassed. Right then, I knew. This woman was really really hard up. And, if she were hard up, her kid at home must have been too. Well, that was something that Bruce Turner, newly become entrepreneur, albeit a secret one, could fix muy pronto.

"No, no, I was just kidding," she said.

But, I knew she wasn't kidding.

"No problem," I said.

I led her to where Gil was talking to a couple by the makeshift bar. "Hi, Mister Misguez. I'd like to introduce you to a friend."

He turned and smiled.

Gil took us on a people tour, maybe forty folks mostly gathered in small groups scattered around the patio and yard. Done, we headed for the tables where some folks were already chowing down. We got plates, served ourselves and did the same. Sam didn't exactly wolf her food down, but she did pile her plate a little higher than most of the other women did.

We'd just finished eating, when someone put some music on, and I challenged her to dance on the space evidently provided for it, as two other couples were already so engaged there.

"You two do pretty good there," said some guy we had not yet been introduced to as we headed back to our table after a fast paced chacha.

"Thanks," I said.

"Mind if I borrow your lady for a dance?" he said.

I frowned, but looked over at Sam. She was smiling.

"Sure, I guess, if it's all right with the lady," I said. My tone was not real enthusiastic.

It turned out that the man's name was Michael Hoerter. He was actually the boyfriend of one of the bargirls at Panza's. He was some kind of salesman, didn't catch what kind. At any rate, his significant other not being present, Michael, the player Hoerter was on the prowl. He kept my date on the floor for some three dances in a row. I watched from the table where we'd set up base for ourselves. He did bring her back, eventually.

"Whew! That was nice," she said.

"Nice?" I said.

She must have discerned, from my tone, that I was not thrilled. "Bruce? Are you, we, okay here?"

"Oh, yeah, sure. I just missed you. You were gone kinda long, but it's fine," I said.

She nodded, but it was a slow nod.

The rest of the party was good. Hoerter did dance with her twice more over the course of the afternoon, not in a row, and we did our thing too. Anyway, I had no call to be jealous or possessive, or whatever they were calling it these days. But, I didn't like Hoerter; too pushy, too much of an in-your-face kind of guy. No, I decided, I didn't like him.

It was quiet for the fifteen minute drive back to her place to drop her off. A little small talk of the, "Wasn't it a nice party?" variety. But, apart from that, not much. I did get a small kiss from her when I walked her to her door, yes on the lips, but it had no passion in it. Well hell, I hadn't expected any at all. It'd be Tuesday before we saw each other again at the dance studio. I had a plan.

******

"So, Mister Gates, do you think you can handle it then?" I said.

"Sure no problem. I'll be getting back to you in a couple of days, he said. "He" was Norman Gates. Norman Gates was supposedly the best PI in the city. And okay, yes, I was butting into her affairs. And, I was butting into the affairs of her daughter's sperm donor of a father too. After what she'd told me at the donut shop, I'd made up mind to butt in.

******

I arrived a little early for our dance lesson. Mark was all business. And, I was getting better; hell, I thought a lot better. But, Mark wanted more. Sam smiled at my attempt to do the grapevine during our Swing run through. I was getting it, well I thought so, but I guess I looked a little clumsy early on. Well, whaddya gonna do.

Lesson over, I pulled Sam aside. "Hey, Sam, interested in maybe getting a bite to eat?" 

"Uh, Bruce, I. . ." she started.

"Hey Brucie," came a voice from behind me. I turned to see Michael Hoerter, walk up to us. "Ready, babe?" he said.

"Sorry, Bruce, maybe another time?" she said.

I nodded.

"Okay," I said. Childish, I know, but I was starting to break up: I could feel tears forming in the corners of my eyes. I just walked over to where I'd parked my stuff and pretended to tend to them, just hoping that two of them would just leave. I got my hope. Mark noticed.

"Hey guy, don't let it get to you. There's lots of fish in the sea. You'll catch yours. You're a good guy, and your dancing is getting a lot better," he said.

"Yeah, I guess," I said. But I got out of there as fast as I could.

It was illogical as hell. I knew it. But, what was also true was that her turning me down and going out with Hoerter broke my heart. I hadn't realized it, but I had fallen for her, hard. I decided that I'd had my last dance lesson. I wouldn't be going back. I'd email Mark of my intention to stop when I got home. I was sure Mark wouldn't miss me, he'd fill the time spot easy enough. What was also apparently true, Samantha wouldn't miss me either.

******

Norman Gates sat across from me. Sancho's wasn't busy it was still early, not yet 4:00PM. "You had it pretty well pegged, at least in broad terms. She's thirty-five, dirt poor, living on food stamps and in government subsidized housing. The kid's, eleven years-old, okay in school but nothing extra. Mom's tried to get a job where she'd be off when the kid got out of school each day, but so far no luck. All in all, she, they're, surviving but barely," he said.

"And the father?" I said.

"Yes, well he evidently was the sperm donor. The two of them were not married. And he did up and cut out when she informed him that he was going to be a daddy. And, before you ask, an abortion was not happening: she's a bible beating Catholic. Anyway, the guy's name is Elton Parker age forty, unemployed at the moment: drinking on the job. Lives a couple of towns over, just east of here. The address, if you want it, is in the envelope." He nodded toward the manila envelope on the table between us.

"I see. I want to thank you for being so quick to get this done. I appreciate it. If I ever need a PI again, you'll be the one I call," I said.

We said our goodbyes; he left, and I went back to work. I was a bartender after all.

I had the information I'd asked for, and now I didn't know what I wanted to do with it. Had Sam and I become an item, I intended to do something, but now . . .?

******

It was two weeks later that I had a visitor.

"Hi Bruce," said Samantha. "Kind of a long time no see."

I was speechless for what seemed forever, but it was likely something more like thirty seconds.

"Well, hi to you too," I said. "You look very nice tonight."

"Thank you. Miss you over at Marge's studio," she said.

"Nice of you to say so. But, I just, well, I just figured I'd gotten as much as I hoped to out of it is all. It was time to do something else," I said. I was hoping she wouldn't push it. I hoped in vain.

"Oh, and what else might that be, Bruce?" she said.

Okay, I guess I had to lay it out there. I hadn't gotten to where I was, in real life, being a pussy.

"Look, Sam, the truth is that that da . . ."

"Michael asking me out kinda messed us up. Huh?" she said.

"Well, since you put it out there. Yeah," I said. "I mean I'm not blind or stupid. He's young like you, not bad looking, and knows how to be with, well, the ladies. I, on the other hand, am considerably older than you, not very good looking, and a klutz when it comes to the ladies. What's to choose? It's gotta be him coming in first. Me? A distant second in that particular two horse race."

She gave me a smile that screamed disgust.

"Jesus, this is worse than I thought. What are you, Bruce, a sophomore in high school!" she said. "You never gave me reason to believe that you felt so strongly. Yes, you invited me to a company barbecue. Did that equate with feelings of love eternal! Please tell me. Because if so, I've been doing this all wrong for the, well, my entire life, and, my mother lied to me! So, yeah, please tell me."

I felt like an idiot. Everything she said made sense.

"Well I . . ." I started.

"Look I could be way off base here, Bruce, but I'm going to take my shot. I'm going to gamble. Okay?" she said.

"Okay, I guess," I said.

"You're not a kid. Okay, and yes, you are quite a bit older than me. And too, the fact is you're not real expert in the boy-girl thing," she said.

"Okay, so?" I said.

"And you are looking to get a bit better at stuff like that, right?" she said. "That's why the dancing."

"Okay, and again so?" I said.

"And, you think of me as yours. Your girl, right?" she said.

"Uh-well . . ."

Right or wrong, just get it out, Bruce," she said.

"Okay, I guess so, kinda. I mean before. Well, I mean you asked," I said.

She sagged back against the wall and looked at me. I'm sure I was sporting puppy dog eyes. She nodded slowly her understanding of the situation.

"Okay then. You'll have to get me a ring," she said. "Don't make it too expensive. I mean I'm sure you make good enough bucks as a bartender, but I'm not necessarily into showing off, and I want a honeymoon. Okay?" I stood there and stared.

"Huh?" I said.

"You want me to be your woman, right?" she said.

"Yeah, I guess so," I said, regaining a fully conscious state.

"Okay then . . ." she started.

"Samantha, will you marry me?" I said, as I fell to my knees in front of her.

She smiled.

"Finally," she said. "Yes, I will marry you, Bruce." Then as if she were talking to herself, "A fucking bartender. Well, you're honest and passionate and employed. And not too bad a dancer."

I gave her a look that showed my confusion at her words.

"Come on, get up off your knees, young man. I might be your woman, but you are also my man. So, get up here and kiss me and act like it," she said.

I did as she commanded me and that was that. I was engaged and I didn't even know for sure if I wanted to be. But, I was, and, well, I was feeling good. So, I guess I did want to be.

But, now I had a problem. She was definitely marrying me based on my temporary persona, but how, when, and should I even tell her about the real me? 

We talked some more over the next few days. And the decision was made. I mean, we were planning on getting married in three months. Her family in Florida had been alerted, and they, mainly her grandma, wanted us to get married down there. They were poor people, but evidently good people. We'd have to be seeing about that. And a prenup? Common sense said yes. But is that any way to start a life with one's life's partner? Talk about a mess. All because of my money.

Being engaged brought about three results. One, our dancing lessons resumed and we, read me, did improve. Two, Samantha became more or less of a fixture at Sancho's. And three, I was introduced to Lindsey, who seemed more interested than pleased that I had been added to the mix.

I had dates with several different people over the few days following my engagement to Samantha, but not women, well except one. Number one was Gil; he laughed so hard he almost cried.

"So, you lasted, what, three months before some gal put a collar on you?" he said. "Well, she is a pretty thing, a little on the skinny side, but good looking."

"Yeah, I guess," I said. "Gil, I want to do this, right?"

"Probably not a good idea to have gotten involved so soon, but looking at it, I'm of the opinion that you could've done worse," he said.

I nodded.

"Well, I've got a few months to undo the plans if I decide not to go through with it," I said. "I mean if I can be that big of an asshole."

He nodded.

My second meet up with was with Lana. No, not for sex, but for advice.

"You're kidding right?" she said. "At your age, you're looking for a housemate? Forget it, stud. Take it from a pro who knows all facets of the game, for you it's a mistake. Some guys need a full time woman, but you are most definitely not one of them. You've gotten along for more than half of your life without it. Get real. If you want to marry somebody, marry me."

"You? You want to marry me?" I said.

"Sure. I know what you do for a living, and I know you make enough to support me. And, I'm actually fond of you. You're considerate and sweet, and more, you're not boring. So sure. Give me a call when you've got me the ring," she said. And, then she laughed long and hard.

My third meeting was with Lou Goetz, my all-purpose lawyer: aged, experienced, connected, and ruthless; my kind of guy.

"You let me worry about the prenup, and yes you’re definitely going to have one. I insist on it," he said. "And, don't worry about her thinking you're being indelicate. I know how to do these things; it's all a matter of timing. I'll give you a heads up when I want you to bring her in."

I nodded. At least Lou didn't laugh; he only smiled kinda big.

The fourth in line for a meeting was Norman Gates, my very favorite PI. "Yes, I need to know who she's talking to and what she’s saying about me. I have no illusions, Norm. She's marrying me for security, and I'm marrying her because she's attractive and interesting. Do I love her? I don't know. And by that I mean that I don't really know what love is. If that makes any sense," I said.

He nodded.

"Consider it done," he said.

I looked him askance.

"What no laughter?" I said, and I was being half serious.

"Huh?" he said.

"Everybody else is laughing at me for proposing to the woman. Well, except my lawyer; he only smiled. But he's a hundred years old and my story probably bores him," I said.

Norm finally smiled and settled back into his at least $1,000 desk chair.

"No, I'm not laughing. Do I think you may be rushing things? Yeah a little. But, I've checked her out remember, and she came up squeaky clean, hard up, but squeaky clean. You could have chosen much worse," he said.

"Thanks," I said. "I kinda needed to hear that little bit of encouragement if that's what it was."

He nodded. "It was."

******

"So you're going to marry the guy?" said Michael Hoerter.

"Yes, You won't marry me, and he's a good guy. So yes," said Samantha Rubens.

"What about us? We still gonna be able to get together from time to time?” he said.

She went to her knees in front of him. She undid his belt and pulled down his zipper. "Does this answer your question?" she said, as she pulled down his pants.

He leaned back against the credenza as she pulled his underpants down exposing his nine inch penis, to her view.

"I never get tired of seeing this," she said. Taking hold of it, she let it slip between her lips. She began sucking on it slowly, teasingly.

******

I didn't exactly have a date with her, but since the engagement, she'd always come in on Friday nights, And when I'd gotten off work, usually around eight, we'd gone either to her place or mine to play. But tonight she didn't show.

But he did.

"You said you wanted to be kept up to date on what was going on with her," said Norman.

I nodded, and my look must have cued him.

"Sorry man, but she just went into a motel room with that interloper, Hoerter," said Norman.

"Fuck!" I said. "Well, I guess it's better to find out that shit now than after the fact."

"Yeah, I guess," he said.

"Too late to get evidence?" I said.

"My boots on the ground are taking care of that as we speak," he said.

"Thanks, Norm. I owe you. You saved me from making a big ass mistake. I guess when it comes to the boy-girl stuff I really am an amateur," I said.

He laughed. "Guy, all us guys are amateurs when it comes to the ladies."

I just nodded, slowly.

Normally, I would have gone to her place before midday Saturday. We always did stuff together on the weekends. Today was Saturday; I didn't go and I didn't call.

I did get a couple of voicemails from her that I didn't respond to. I think she must've gotten the message because she showed up at the bar on Monday afternoon just as I came on.

"Bruce? What's going on?" she said.

Well, if nothing else, my so called fiancé was not one to beat around the bush.

"You tell me?" I said, putting the ball in her court.

"Huh? Whaddya mean?" she said.

"You didn't show up Friday night. I took that to mean you were breaking up with me," I said.

"What? What are you talking about? Did we have a date I wasn't aware of?" she said.

"I thought we did, but I guess I was wrong. I mean about me having a date. But of course you had one. Right?" I said.

"Huh?"

"With Hoerter, at the Palms motel. Right?" I said.

She paled, but recouped quickly.

"Oh my. You think, you think that I am leaving you for someone else. That's it right?" she said. "Well, I'm not. You're my guy, not Hoerter, not anyone else. Now, does that clear things up between us?"

My state of incredulity had to have been obvious. She took on an exasperated expression.

"Come on, Bruce, you didn't think that that man could have any hope of taking your place did you?" she said.

"Looks to me like he has, at least between your legs," I said.

She sighed. "You men. Yes, I let him screw me. Have since that day at the barbecue. But it's nothing but meaningless sex. Fun, but utterly without commitment. You need to get your head around that, my man."

"Huh? My head around—what?" I said.

"Look, Brucie, you and I are great together. But, well, I'm still young. I need a bit more on the sexual side of things than a man your age can give me. Add to that that I never deny you when, you know, you want something. You always have first dibs," she said.

"What the hell? First dibs? Aren't married people, and engaged people, supposed to be exclusive when it comes to sex?" I said. "I swear I've read that somewhere."

Now, I was being sarcastic. That exasperated look again.

"Bruce, get this, there-is-no-threat-to-you in anything I am doing on the side. No threat, Bruce. Get that. Oh, and I know you get off at eight. I want to go to the Hyatt for a late dinner. Okay?"

"The Hyatt?"

"Yes, it's our six month anniversary," she said, and smiled.

I stood there stunned, as she turned and walked off.

She was going to be unpleasantly surprised. I'd be going out for a late dinner right enough, but not at the Hyatt and not with her. I gave Lana a call.

******

"So, you get me my ring yet?" said Lana.

"You have to prove to me that you're not just after my money," I said, laughing.

"Well, fuck you," she said, also laughing. "I'm bettin' I've got a lot more money than you."

"Well, then if that's true, maybe I'll marry you for your money," I said.

The food came and we had a ball telling each other lies and laughing and kissing the night away. And then there was the after dinner sex. Oh my, and that was something.

She swayed in front of me. I was more than glad that my apartment's front room was spacious; she needed it for the dance she was performing. I was so horny when she was done that I grabbed her and all but threw her down on the floor. I ripped her panties off and pushed a finger inside of her. She mooed.

I lay half on top of her, kissing her as I fingered her pussy. "You gonna get serious, little man?" 

"Woman, you just condemned yourself to one cruel as hell screwing," I said.

"Writing checks your dick can't cash," she laughed.

That got me. I aimed, struck home, and drilled her with everything I had: hard, fast, and well maybe not so deep. But, no one could fault my enthusiasm. And, I did last. Her face took on a shocked expression as an orgasmic typhoon swept her away.

"How about that," I said, more than satisfied with my performance.

"Indeed. And your fiancé finds fault with that! Excuse me. You maybe lack something, darling, but fuckmanship ain't it," said Lana. "Still, I will say that that was maybe your best performance ever, at least with me," said Lana.

"Thanks," I said. "My ego needed that even if I didn't."

She smirked.

Afterwards we nibbled on cheese crackers, sipped port wine. We went to bed satisfied and, something, happy maybe.

******

I expected it of course. She was at Sancho's before I even came on.

"Can we talk?" she said.

"I don't see why. If you think I'm going to put up with your nonsense you have another think coming," I said.

She shook her head slowly from side to side.

"Brucie, Brucie, Brucie. What do I have to do to convince you that sex with Hoerter is no threat to you whatsoever? He's nothing compared to you," she said.

I had to smile inwardly at just how totally right she absolutely was.

"He gets your pussy; that's more than a threat to me, that's a declaration of war, as far as I'm concerned, Sam. You want him? You got him. You just can't have me too," I said.

"Bruce, how about if I give him up. Would that solve our little problem?" she said.

"Why?" I said.

"Why what?' she said.

"Why would you give him up if he's so much better in bed than me? I mean, you said it yourself; I'm too old to service you properly," I said.

"Yes, and to be honest that's the reason I let him have me. You're okay, Bruce. But, Hoerter can go three and four times a night. I get maybe twice from you on a good night. But, all of that being true, and it is, it is not worth losing the love of my life over. Okay!" she said.

She'd just said the one thing, maybe, that might convince me to take a chance. "Love of your life?" I said.

"Yes. I know what I've got in you. A guileless, hardworking, and gentle soul who will take care of me and treat me well," she said.

Guileless? Well two out of three ain't bad, I thought.

"How do I know I can trust you?" I said.

"How about this, I give up Hoerter and sign a prenup, that if I ever cheat, you divorce me, and I walk with only the stuff I bring into the marriage?" she said. "How about that?"

I nodded.

"Okay. I guess I have to take a chance. Just one chance, Sam. And Sam, I'll know if you do cheat. Count on it," I said.

She smiled, but there was something in the smile that bespoke arrogance: I'd seen it before from traders, and usually the ones that ate the weenie big time. But, I let it slide.

******

"Okay, I'll bite. Why are we here at the lawyer's?" Samantha was looking right at Lou when she said it, but I answered her.

"To put together that prenup you mentioned the other day," I said.

"You're really going to ask me to sign one of those then?" she said. "I mean I thought that after last night that maybe . . ."

"It was your idea Sam, and it does remove a ton of doubt about the wisdom of trusting you. Especially after all of the things you said about my sexual inadequacies," I said. "Are you saying now that you didn't mean the stuff you said the other night?"

"Well I, okay, never mind. Let's do it," she said.

"Yes indeed," said Lou." Sam, it's the one big thing that Bruce couldn't recover from, I mean a cheating wife. He'd likely be over the hill by the time it happened to him. As his friend, I don't want to see him ruined financially as well as destroyed emotionally," said Lou.

"I see," said Samantha.

"Probably not," said Lou. "There are some things you don't know. Lou isn't just a bartender at Sancho's; well, he is, but not only that. He's also part owner of the place, and he has outside money. That's how he was able to buy into the bar. Are you with me so far, Sam?"

She was nodding. "I think so. So, the prenup, if I go for it, what will it do?" 

"It's pretty simple actually. Bruce wanted it that way. If you stay married for life, it does nothing; it becomes void. If you cheat, whether you divorce or not, you end up with nothing but what you brought into the marriage. If he cheats whether you divorce or not, you get his interest in the bar, and half of everything you accumulate during the marriage.

"Any children, including your daughter, Sam, are also provided for as you will see in the documents: education, health, the usual. Bruce is asking you to take the papers to a lawyer of your choice and have he or she look at it. Additionally, there are other stipulations in the docs you'll want to consider. Again, mostly standard stuff dealing with abuse of various kinds and the like. Like I said, you need to have your lawyer look over the papers and get back to me." 

"Sound okay?" he said.

"I guess. I didn't know Bruce had other money. I really didn't. I mean I knew he was employed. But frankly, such is certainly not a deal breaker for me. And, Bruce, I will not be cheating. I'm afraid you're going to be stuck with me," she said.

"Good," I said. I had managed to keep my mouth shut, on Lou's orders. Of course with what Lou'd already revealed, I knew that she and I would be talking, probably talking long.

******

"Well, it looks like I'm marrying me a Tycoon," she said somewhat facetiously.

"Damn straight," I said.

She laughed. She thought I was kidding. I was not about to disabuse her of her beliefs.

"And, I was worried that I might be making a mistake marrying a bartender. Goes to show one, doesn't it?" she said.

It was not a question.

"Can I ask, just how rich are you?"

"It's relative, but very," I said. I would not give her an accurate figure; I knew she couldn't handle numbers like that. But, I had to at least imply it in order to cover myself in the event of, well, a bad eventuality.

******

"So how did it pan out, your investigation?" I said.

"Okay. She has quite a few friends, many of whom you’re slated to meet before the big event. The friends are both good and bad," said Norm.

"Bad?" I said.

"Well, party animals. The kind that often end up causing divorces and cheating and all the usual. No drugs though, so that's a positive."

"How about Sam? Is she a party animal?" I said.

"Not in recent times, but evidently there had been a day. It was when she was a lot younger, mid-twenties." He said. I was feeling good. The data was supporting my hopes.

And then we were married. And I did bond with my stepdaughter. And the sex was excellent; well, it was for me. I hoped it was for her. I tried my best. And for two years, my best was good enough; and, then I guess it wasn't. Why would I think that? Because I heard her talking smack about me.

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