by Lubrican

Chapters : 1 | 2 | 3-10 Available On

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Chapter Two

A secure house has small windows, and I'm a private guy, so my small windows are covered most of the time. I have nothing against sunlight, but I can go outside to experience it.

Samantha squealed, and her mother gasped.

"Hang on," I said.

I don't smoke, but I carry a lighter. It's probably the cave man in me, cherishing fire or something. Who knows. But I was really glad, just then, that I had that lighter on me, because within a few seconds it wasn't so oppressively dark. There was an old fashioned oil lamp on top of my refrigerator. I left it there just for situations like this.

"Cool," said Chip as I lit the wick, replaced the chimney and trimmed the wick.

"I'm really going to have to get me a backup power supply," I said. "Then again, it wouldn't do to be the only house on the block with power. That has a tendency to make you stand out a bit."

"What happened?" asked Valerie.

"Rioters, most likely," I said. "I'm sure it will come back on soon."

But it didn't.

An hour later, with three lamps burning, and two kids yawning, she put them to bed. I have a natural gas stove, and that was working fine, so I'd made coffee the old fashioned way. I was finishing up the last cup of that when Valerie came back out. I don't know if she'd planned on going to bed too, and changed her mind, or gotten hot (those lamps put out more heat than you'd believe), but she'd taken off the modesty shirt I'd given her. I'm pretty certain it wasn't for my benefit, though I benefited all over the place. Her nipples weren't stiff, but those dark circles fired up my imagination. Normally, I do okay without a woman. I can handle things myself, if you get my drift. But that only counts when there's not a drop dead beautiful woman in a thin T shirt sitting across the kitchen table from me.

"Thank you," she said.

"No problem."

"Seriously, you've done way more than most people would have."

"I have a nefarious plan," I quipped. Then I was sorry I'd said it, because she had no place to go and had finally relaxed. I started to tell her I was joking.

"No you don't," she said. "I only met you five hours ago, but I can tell you're a gentleman."

"The curse of the Boy Scout," I sighed.


"Boy Scouts," I said. "I'm an Eagle Scout. And they demand a high level of moral straightness that is what results in being a gentleman. Unfortunately, we often die virgins, because women expect us to be faultless and pure, and would never even think of doing something nefarious with us."

She didn't crack a smile.

"Yes they would," she said.

Now it was my turn to show confusion. "Beg pardon?"

"Don't beg," she said, folding her arms over her chest and hiding those dark spots. "It isn't seemly for an Eagle Scout to beg."

I blinked at her. Suddenly, we were talking about something ... else. The trouble was, I wasn't sure what that was.

"Thank you," she said again. "Good night."

"Night," I said, automatically.

She turned to go back to her children, and then stopped after two steps. She looked over her shoulder.

"I looked through your things. I'm sorry."

Since I couldn't think of anything to say that wouldn't hurt her feelings, I stayed quiet.

"I just wanted to see what kind of man you were." Her brow furrowed briefly. "Are."

"And you can tell that from a man's sock drawer?"

"I looked at the pictures on your credenza. The kind of pictures a man has says a lot about what he cherishes. Some men have pictures of themselves with their dog, holding up the birds he just murdered. Others have pictures of family, people who are important in his life."

"I see," I said. I knew she hadn't looked in the gun safe. She'd have seen the shotgun I murdered birds with if she had.

"Anyway, I'm sorry I violated your space."

"Did you get into the medicine cabinet?" I asked.

She looked startled. "No."

"Go through all my drawers? Find my stash of girly mags?"

Even as far away as she was, and as dim as the light was, I could see her blush.

"No. I just looked around and gave the kids a snack."

"Snack? I have snacks?"

She turned to face me.

"Cheerios," she said. "You have Honey Nut Cheerios. They love those."

"So all you did was walk around soaking in the ambience that is ... well ... me," I said. "No harm done."

"I felt like I should tell you. You've been very kind to us."

I stood, and bowed at the waist, looking up at her from that position.

"You are forgiven, milady," I said as formally as I could.

She blushed again. She'd dropped her arms when she started to leave, and those firm, round breasts were no longer covered.

I don't know what emotion she was feeling, but those nipples popped out like they were whack-a-moles, just daring me to whack them.

I was glad she turned and actually did leave, because I was thinking about how delightful it would be to whack those moles with my tongue, and help her forget her troubles for half an hour.

I got one last look at them when she stopped again and turned, standing in profile. Her nipples looked even better from that angle.

"Where are you going to sleep?" she asked. "I didn't find any other beds anywhere in the house."

"Couch," I said. "I've fallen asleep on it before. It's comfy enough."

"Oh," she said. "Okay, then."

Ten minutes later I settled on my back on the couch in my living room. I draped a blanket over me. I had a natural gas furnace too, but it wouldn't come on unless the fan was spinning, and the fan was electric. It was going to get cool if the power stayed off a long time. I really did need to think about getting a generator or something. I'm not a prepper, but I do like to be as independent as possible.

But the primary reason I spread that blanket over me was because I had an iron hard penis to deal with before I could get to sleep.

And it would be just my luck for Valerie, or worse yet, one of the kids, to need something and catch me spanking the monkey right out in the open.

I confess, I thought of the woman thirty feet away from me as I jetted into a tissue.

Then I slept. Chances were I was going to have a full day too.

I did, in fact, have a full day. It turned out one school had been vandalized, and the others were closed. Valerie's babysitter was also one of the unlucky people whose house had burned. She was staying with a friend when Valerie called her. The friend still had power, and they had all the information that was being broadcast by the local news station. The rioting was over, but cleanup was going to take a while.

"I have to go to work," she moaned, as she hung up. "My boss is an asshole, and if I don't show up, he'll fire me for sure."

"Where do you work?" I asked.

"Milford-Watson," she said.

"The sweat shop?" I asked, raising one eyebrow.

"The garment factory," she corrected, gently.

"Not according to the labor unions I've heard mention it," I said.

"They're unhappy because the employees didn't vote to have a union," she said.

"Why didn't they?"

"Because Mister Milford said he'd close the factory if we did," she said. "He said he'd sell the property and move the equipment somewhere where people recognized, and appreciated his benevolence. He used that actual word."

"I see," I said.

"I hate to ask this ... but could you watch the kids?"

"I don't mind that at all," I said. "They seem like good kids, and I have a Play Station. But how are you going to deal with the insurance company and all that if you're making garments?"

"We get breaks. That's one of the benefits they gave us for not voting for the union."

"How benevolent," I said, dryly.

"We get one every two hours. I can make some calls while I'm on break."

"Maybe the factory is closed," I suggested. "Other places are. Isn't that what your friend said?"

"You're right!" she said. "I'll call in."

She did. Milford-Watson was open for business. She was warned not to be late. I could hear that part from five feet away.

"You need to find a new job," I said.

"I know, but you can't find a new job when you're busy working at the one you have."

"Hmmmm," I said.

She looked nervous.

"I need a ride to work."

"Look," I said, resisting the urge to reach out and take her chin in my gentle grasp. "You're in a difficult situation. I work when I feel like it, and I have the resources you need. I really am an Eagle Scout, and I have a whole year's worth of good deeds that sort of didn't get done. Do not worry about this. We're going to do whatever you need to get back on your feet. Okay? No more feeling bad about needing a little help."

Her cheeks got pink, but she nodded. She was wearing one of my shirts again, so I couldn't see other evidence of her emotions.

I got them all into the car and promised to go buy car seats as soon as I dropped her off.

"Booster seats," she said. "That's all they have to have now."

"Booster seats," I repeated. "Got it."

"And I'll pay you back," she said, earnestly. "I promise."

"Oh, you'll pay," I said with a gravelly voice, twirling the right end of my moustache, pretending there was actually enough moustache to twirl.

"Stop it!" she said.

But it was the first time I'd seen her smile since I met her.

Milford Watson had guards flanking the employee entrance door. They were armed with cudgels. I'm not shitting you. I hadn't seen a night stick since an episode of M * A * S * H, where an MP threatened somebody with one. The factory was in a section of town that had completely escaped the mobs, or any damage. They were checking employee IDs.

Valerie, of course, didn't have one.

I figured all this out because I had been waiting for her to go inside before I left. When she didn't go inside, and was obviously arguing with the guards, I told the kids to stay where they were and got out. I walked over to them.

"Problem?" I asked.

"Who are you?" asked one of the men, gruffly.

"I'm just a concerned citizen, who dropped off a Milford Watson employee so she could go to work, and who noticed she's having a hard time going to work."

"You can fucking leave," said the man, aggressively.

"Ahhh," I said, holding up one finger. "Let me correct my previous introduction. I'm the man who's going to kick your ass if you aren't more polite."

He lifted the nightstick and moved toward me.

When I didn't move, he swung it. Somebody must have put the fear of God in him, or told him that rioters would show up any minute, because he was clearly freaked out. So all I did was catch the stick in my left hand, and punch him gently in the stomach with my right fist. He flew backwards and ended up in a heap on the sidewalk. His friend looked at me, terrified.

"How much do they pay you here?" I asked Valerie, who looked horrified.


"Doesn't matter. I'll double it. Come work for me. You don't need this shit."


"I need an executive assistant," I said. "There's all this paperwork I have to deal with, and I hate it. Come be my executive assistant and these nice gentlemen can harass someone else."

"I can't quit," she moaned.

"Why not? I'm paying you double what these assholes were."

She blinked. I could tell she was rattled, but was actually thinking about it.

"Do you provide health insurance?" she asked, suddenly.

The standing guard moved. The other one had been groaning ever since I socked him, but the other guy had been like a statue. I looked past her at him.

"Don't do anything stupid," I said, casually. "I only hit him for threatening me. If I think you're threatening me too, I'm going to use this on you." I held up the night stick I'd taken away from the other one.

"No problem," he said. He held up the night stick in his hand, but I could tell it wasn't a show of force. He just didn't realize it was in his hand. "I don't want any trouble."

"Neither did I," I said, dryly. I looked back at her.

"Of course I provide health insurance. And if you want to join a union, you can."

She looked wary, suddenly.

"What do you get out of this?"

"An executive assistant," I said. "I told you. I hate paperwork."

"You're lying."

"Okay," I said, shrugging. "I'll just go get the kids some car seats. Call me when you get off work."

I turned and made it all the way to the car before she yelled, and ran to catch up with me.

"Do you mean it?"

"Of course I mean it. Why would I torture you with something like that when you're already having a tough time?"

"It's just so ... generous."

"You haven't worked for me yet. I could be like Simon Legree, for all you know."

"No you're not," she said. "It's just that ..."

"Just that what?"

"Men usually want something in exchange," she said, softly. She winced. She probably thought she was offending me.

"It's human nature," I said. "I just try to be a little more human, and a little less nature."

"I don't know what to do," she said, but I don't think she was talking to me.

"I'll give you time off to deal with the insurance company, and the utility company and all that," I said.

Her eyes widened.

"But then it's back to the salt mines with you!" I growled. "I have dozens and dozens of pieces of paper cluttering up my desk, and I want them gone!"

Her face got red. She blushed a lot. There was a lot of emotion in this woman, and it was of all sorts.

"If this isn't for real ..." she started.

"I know, I know. You'll cut my balls off," I said. "Come on. I don't want to be here when the cops show up to investigate what will surely be reported as a mugging."

She looked at the night stick I still had in my hand. I think that was the first time I realized I was still holding it too. I thought, for a split second, about keeping it. Kind of a trophy, you know? Plus, I didn't have one. I had tons of lethal weapons, but nothing like a simple night stick.

Then I realized that, if I kept it, the Milford-Watson goon would probably call it a robbery, instead of an assault, and the police might actually do something about it. I was pretty sure they were too busy to worry about a simple assault, but I didn't want to take the chance. Unless, of course, he described me well enough for them to connect me to the asshole who'd gotten away with owning a shotgun and using it to defend himself. They'd just love getting another shot at me. I turned and flung the stick, bouncing it off the street so it skittered over to the curb where the guy I had taken it away from was getting to his feet.

"I hope we don't have to ever see each other again," I said to the one still holding his own club. "Like in court or anything."

"No problem, man," he said. "I didn't want to do this shit in the first place."

The first one started to get up.

"Good," I said.

I hustled my new executive assistant into the car and drove away.

When we got to WalMart, the nice associate there informed us that, in New York, only children under eight were required to have a car seat or booster seat.

"Are you sure?" asked Valerie, worriedly.

"I'm sure," said the woman. "I don't think they even make them for kids as old as yours."

"I have some," said Valerie. "I had some. They got burned up."

"How old were they?" asked the associate.

"I don't know, four or five years."

"Well, you needed them when you got them, but you don't need them anymore," said the woman. "Is there anything else I can help you with?"

"Clothes," I said. "All her clothes got burned up too."

"That's over there," said the girl, pointing. "There's another associate there who can help you."

She objected so much to what it was going to cost to outfit them that I finally had to tell her what I do, and how much I earn. Like most people she didn't think three percent sounded like much, until I explained the scope of the kind of money I was saving the company.

"So you're rich," she said, finally.

"Filthy," I said, as Sam brought me more clothes. Her kids didn't worry about where money came from. They were just excited about being able to pick out new clothes.

"This is bad," sighed Valerie.

"Why?" I asked. "I told you, you can pay me back later."

"I could never pay you back for everything you've already done, and who knows how much longer I'm going to have to depend on your generosity."

"There are many, many Halloweens in the future," I said, alluding to my earlier suggestion that she could make installment payments.

"What is your girlfriend going to say when she finds out her space has been invaded?"

"You don't have a husband. Why would you think I have a girlfriend?"

"This is really, really bad," she moaned.

I thought I understood where she was coming from. Her world had been turned completely upside down. Everything she owned had gone up in smoke, including the priceless, irreplaceable things, like family photos, and heirlooms and all that.

"Look," I said, patiently. "You've lost a lot, but your kids are safe, and you can start over. Yes, it's going to be painful, but I can already tell you're a strong woman. Seven or eight years from now, when the kids head off to college, maybe you'll be able to look back on all this and decide it wasn't the end of the world."

"That's not what I meant," she said.

I just looked at her. I had no idea what she was talking about. But she didn't say anything else. She just looked away. Finally I had to prod her.

"You want to enlighten me?"

Chip brought me three pairs of shoes to put in the cart. His mother instructed him to take one pair back.

"Two pair is plenty," she said.

"Mom," he moaned, complaining.

"You don't need three pairs of shoes, Chip."

"But Bob said I could have them," he said.

"And I said you couldn't." There was steel in her voice.

Chip looked at me, beseechingly. I held up both hands, palms outward.

"Don't look at me, buddy. Your mom calls the shots."

Valerie turned to me then, the shoes and her son apparently forgotten.

"Is that really true?"

"Is what true?"

"Am I really the one calling the shots, here?"

"Of course," I said.

"And this isn't just to indebt me to you so much that you can demand some other kind of payment?"

I got her point immediately. And I understood why she might think that. We hadn't shared much about her background with men, but it wasn't hard to figure out it wasn't a happy one. In fact, I felt a little sad that it must be so unhappy that she'd just assume that I intended to take my payment in flesh.

But it also pissed me off. I might be an asshole, but I'm not that kind of asshole.

"I'm sure the insurance company will give you something to live on while your house is being rebuilt," I said, a little stiffly. "As soon as you can make whatever arrangements you feel comfortable with, I'll take you there." I stepped away from the cart. "I'll wait up front by the registers. And, for the record, the only services I'll require from you are as my executive assistant."

I saw the shock come over her face.

"I'm sorry, Bob. That's not what I meant."

"It's what you said," I pointed out.

"I know, but I shouldn't have. I know that. I'm just so scared. I feel so helpless."

"Why do you think I'm helping you?" I asked. "No ... wait ... you already expressed that."

She actually hit me on the right side of my chest.

"Would you stop that? I told you I'm sorry. It was stupid. I shouldn't have said that."

"Why did you say that? Have I done something that suggested I have any ulterior motives?"

She threw both hands up in the air.

"Let's see," she said, her voice frustrated. "You took us in without blinking an eye. You've been generous to a fault. You're handsome, and rich, but have no girlfriend. You're obviously not gay. I know what men want from me. At least what they've wanted in the past. Why is it such a stretch to think you might be interested in the same thing?"

"You think I'm handsome?" I arched my right eyebrow. I tried to make it seem like that was the only thing I'd heard her say.

"I'm being serious," she said.

"So am I. I can't remember the last time a woman thought I was handsome."

"You are also full of ..." Her lips formed to say the word, but she stopped herself. After a short pause, she said, "crap" instead.

"Guilty as charged," I said. "About the crap part, I mean."

"Please!" she groaned. "I'm being serious, here."

"I know you are. I'm just unhappy that you think I'd take advantage of you. Of course I recognize you're a beautiful woman, and like any other man, I'd love to have you on my arm. But there are things that are more important than simple lust, and those things mean a lot to me. They are what I base my life on."

She groaned again.

"That's what I'm talking about! How can a woman find a man like you, and then resist if he acts like a man? I'm not scared because my house burned down. I'm scared because I've known you less than twenty-four hours and I'm already in trouble with my feelings."

"I can live with that," I said. "I don't mind being adored."

"You better not be running a game on me, Mister Masters," she said, darkly.

"I know, I know," I said. "Perhaps we should go over to the sports section and find you a suitable knife."

"If what I've seen of your arsenal is anything to judge by, you already have plenty of knives."

"Yes, but those are my knives. You can't cut a man's balls off with his own knife. It's just not done."

We did not end up in sporting goods.

But at least she left off complaining about how much I was spending on them.

We had lunch out, and then, when we got back "home" I pointed her to the phone. She had to go online to find the number to call, but eventually she reached her insurance company. They were already aware of the situation in Niagara Falls, and told her an adjuster was already in town. They took her number and said they'd have the adjuster contact her.

That only turned out to take half an hour, and she made an appointment to meet the man at what was left of her property. I said I'd either go with her, or watch the kids, her choice. She decided to go alone.

It was the first time the kids had been left alone with me, but by then I was okay in their book. It's easy to like the guy who spends lots of money on you. I tried to find them some chores to do, but there wasn't much in disarray around the house, so the only things they could clean up were their own mess.

Valerie was gone for an hour. She said most of that was to fill out paperwork. The damage was obvious, as was the cause, so the proceedings were routine. She had a check in hand for what the insurance man thought would cover living expenses and getting a contractor hired to start work on rebuilding the house. After that, the contractor would be in direct contact with the company. I assumed that was so they could try to control costs.

"So things are looking up," I said.

"For us," she offered. "Not necessarily for you."

"Oh, really?"

"He gave me money to go to a motel," she said. "But what I'd really like is to stay with you."

That right eyebrow climbed toward my hairline.

"Oh, really."

"Yes, really," she said. "But I can pay you back for the clothes, and pay you rent ... if you'll let us stay."

"I thought you were worried about my nefarious plans," I said.

I got another thump on my chest. It wasn't hard, but it communicated her unhappiness.

"I told you I was sorry for that. I trust you."

"And I told you I'm a completely normal man," I reminded her.

"The point is that you're a good man, a man who actually cares about somebody besides himself. And I'm going to have to go do things, like talking to contractors and all that, and I don't want to drag the kids off with me. Plus school will start up again, and I don't want them coming home to a motel somewhere when I'm not there. Please. I'll pay you rent."

"We'll talk about rent later," I said. "I'd be a cad to take advantage of a woman in your situation. Besides, if you're going to work here, then it will save time commuting if you just live here too." I actually liked the idea of her being there a lot. Maybe too much. I frowned. "Temporarily, of course," I added.

"Of course," she said, jumping up and down on the balls of her feet repeatedly. So help me I didn't mean for my eyes to drop and watch her breasts bounce, but they did. I jerked them back up to her face and, again, realized I was busted.

"I told you I was normal," I said, somewhat lamely.

"I forgive you," she said, too happy to be unhappy about something like that.

"Thank you so much," I said, sarcastically.

"You're welcome," she said, so relieved that the sarcasm sailed right over her head.


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