The Party Favor
Chapters : 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | Epilogue
Her cell phone rang half an hour later, while she was parked at a
convenience store, trying to figure out where to go. It was Roger.
"What the hell is going on?" he yelled into the phone. "Tiffany
is in tears and says you screamed at her and said you were leaving!"
"She did the screaming," said Jennifer. "But yes, I left."
"Why? I don't understand! What's going on?"
"Apparently she hasn't told you everything she said she was going
to. She wanted me to approve letting her do something no sane
mother would allow her fifteen-year-old daughter to do. I refused
and she tried to blackmail me, Roger. I'm not going to live under
the threat of blackmail. Maybe the two of you can discuss
that. I'll call you in a few days." She hung up, and then turned
her phone off for good measure.
She decided to go to the shelter, where she had volunteered dozens of
times, working in the soup kitchen, until Roger had made her
stop. She didn't think of herself as homeless, but she might be
soon. Claudette was on duty. It was late enough that the
doors were already locked, so she had to speak through a speaker
system. Claudette unlocked the door, looking worried.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
"I can't go home right now," said Jennifer, holding it all inside.
"No problem," said Claudette, hiding her surprise. She knew
people came to the shelter from all walks of life.
"Can you log me onto the internet?" asked Jennifer.
"I need to make a donation to the shelter ... while I still can," she
"Don't do something stupid," said Claudette. "Sometimes these
things blow over."
"This one isn't going to blow over, Claudette."
"That bad, huh."
Claudette took her to the office and put in the password for access to
the internet. Jennifer tapped keys and asked Claudette for the
information needed to do an electronic transfer to the shelter's
account. She kept it to ten thousand dollars, because she was
pretty sure Roger wouldn't notice a small amount like that until their
CPA asked him about it.
"Good Lord, girl!" whispered Claudette, looking over her
shoulder. "Are you insane?"
"You need the money, don't you?
"Well sure ... but ... Jennifer, honey ... that's burning a hell of a
"I don't know about community property laws in this state," said
Jennifer. "I never needed to until now. But I figure I'll
have a lot more than ten thousand dollars coming to me when it all
shakes down. And I'm going to need a place to stay."
"Stay here as long as you want, honey!" said Claudette. "You pick
any bed you want and it's yours for as long as you need. In fact,
you want one of the private rooms?"
"Those are for families," said Jennifer.
"Well yes, but ..."
"Those are for families,
"Yes, Ma'am. Do we need to call the cops?" She started
looking Jennifer over.
"No. He didn't hit me. He doesn't even know he's going to divorce
me," she said. She looked at her watch. "Well ...
maybe he does by now."
Claudette had been called away, so Jennifer had made one other transfer
of funds, another ten thousand, into a bank account she'd had when she
got married, and had never closed. She expected Roger to cut her
off, and she'd need something to survive on until the courts worked
She made one trip back to the house the next day, going at ten in the
morning and hoping that without her there Tiffany had still gone to
school. She took only clothing, enough to last her a couple of
weeks. It had been a long time since she'd had to wash her
clothes in a Laundromat, but she made sure to take things that would
stand up to that kind of treatment.
He found her in five days by the simple expedient of reporting her as
missing to the police. She suspected he knew detectives, and had
called in favors. The patrolmen who located her car, and traced
her to the shelter, though, wanted nothing to do with a domestic
dispute, in which the wife denied physical abuse, and just said she was
an adult and didn't have to go home if she didn't feel like it.
Roger arrived an hour later and demanded to see her. Rather than
make a scene, she walked outside and leaned against the building.
"What the fuck is wrong with
you?" he asked, his voice harsh. "You can't live here. It's
making me look like a fool!"
"You are a fool, Roger," she
"While you've been hiding here, the shit has hit the fan," he
hissed. "I personally know of at least ten men who are filing for
"That's nice. I won't contest it when you file."
"Tiffany has gotten death threats,
you stupid cow!"
"I told her there would be consequences if she decided to expose all
this. She's never listened to me. She always ran to you and
got whatever she wanted. You're a lawyer. File complaints
against the wives who are threatening her."
"It isn't the fucking wives!"
he yelled. "It's her friends
at school!" He hit the wall with his hand, and
winced. "She had to close down her Facebook page. I
couldn't even let her go to school today!"
"And all this because she wanted to go see a concert and shack up with
her friends on the way back," said Jennifer. "She just couldn't
stand it that I told her no, and to spite me, she went to you.
And you went to the rest of
"Of course I went to the rest
of the husbands!" he exploded. "Their wives were attending
"Well, just for the record," she said, "you're the only man who's ever
had intercourse with me since we got married. I knew she wouldn't
believe it, and I doubt you will either, but it's true. I was
there at the party, but I didn't let any man fuck me." He started
to yell but she put her finger on his lips. "And before you go
all high and mighty on me, just remember this. The
children in this community have
known about what was going on up there for who knows how long. It
was one of them who told your
daughter I was there. They've been keeping it a secret
too. Why? Why are they threatening Tiffany? You can
bet it's because they were doing the same thing Tiffany tried to do ...
She saw the look on his face, which was red now, and stepped away from
"You need some help, Miss Jenny?" asked a hulking black man named
Clarence, who appeared as if by magic. Jennifer knew Clarence
wouldn't hurt a fly ... but Roger didn't.
"No, thank you, Clarence," said Jennifer. "This is my husband,
and he just got some bad news, that's all."
"I won't be your husband for long," growled Roger, his voice low.
"Hey, dude," said Clarence, his voice casual. "You might want to
move on out of here. This is a bad part of town. People
wearin' suits like that been known to get roughed up around here.
People have accidents, you know, man? And I don't know if that's
your Beamer around the corner or not, but if you want anything left of
it to drive home, you prolly ought to get back to it. I mean if
it's still there and all."
What had top priority in Roger's life at that point in time was made
quite clear in the next few seconds.
And it wasn't Jennifer.
It was a sometimes resident of the shelter who handed Jennifer the
paper as she stood, ladling out food. The old woman, known only
as Bessy, grinned a toothless smile and said "I seen your name in there
and figgered you'd want ter see it."
It turned out to be the society pages of the Sunday Times. One
page listed all the divorces that had been filed for, and there was
story after story on the other pages, where women or men had been
interviewed about what had been dubbed "The Silver Lake Scandal."
She was surprised to see that Roger had agreed to an interview, since
he spent so much of his time telling his own clients to shut up.
She understood, when she read how devastated he'd been, and that he'd
had to enter therapy, and that their daughter was also in
therapy. All he was doing was setting things up so he could leave
with her nothing, if at all possible. When she read the part
where he said he tried to get her to come back home and save the
marriage, only to be chased away from the soup kitchen she was eating
at, she tossed the paper and went back to serving food to people who
Two days later Barney Fisk, general manager of the Goodwill store in
town, came by with his weekly truckload of clothing, which people in
the shelter could go through and take things from. While that was
going on, he wandered over to where Jennifer was supervising six small
children's use of paper and crayons.
"You might want to come by the store," he said, giving her a hug.
"I have a whole bunch of stuff that might fit you."
"Yeah. Came in the other day. Big donation from a single
source. Angry man. Said his wife had taken off, and
obviously didn't want the stuff any more. Suggested we give it to
people who frequent this shelter."
Her eyes widened. "My
He smiled. "I'll hold onto them for a while, at least until you
can come by and take a look."
She nodded. "Thanks, Barney," she said. "I'll come by and
pick out some things. The rest can go to whoever needs it."
She went the next day, and got some of her favorite things. It
was good she did, because she ended up filling up the back seat of the
car, and she had just unloaded it all when a man showed up with the
title of the car, which Roger had signed over to him. The sale
price was listed as one hundred dollars. The man was very
nervous, his eyes darting this way and that. He kept saying he
didn't want any trouble, but a deal was a deal, and that he'd go get a
cop if he had to. Jennifer told him to cool his jets, cleaned her stuff
out of the car and then tossed him the keys.
It was two days later when a nervous looking woman, dressed much too
well to be in the shelter, came through the line. There were two
children with her, but none of them had a tray.
"Are you Jennifer Windham?" she asked.
Jennifer blinked, and was suddenly wary. Very few people at the
shelter knew her last name.
"Yes," she said, carefully.
The woman just looked at her for a few seconds.
"I'm Susan," she said. "Roger said he was divorced when we
met. So I didn't know he was married to you when I accepted his
proposal. We've been married ten years." She blinked and
then turned to the boy and girl with her. "This is Timothy and
Deborah. They're his children." She turned back to
Jennifer. "Now he says there was never a marriage license ...
that he made it all up. We got married in a park, and now he says
he just hired a man to play the part of a preacher. He swears he
wanted to marry me for real ... except he was already married to you."
Jennifer had thought that Susan's reason for coming to the shelter with
Roger's ... other ... children, was to rub it in her nose. That
would have been horrifying enough. But there was more. When
Roger confessed his lies to Susan, he also told her that Jennifer had
betrayed her friends and started the whole scandal, which was why he
was finally divorcing her. The problem was, as he said it, that
he could no longer afford to support two households, because Jennifer
was fighting the divorce and costing him tens of thousands of dollars
in attorney fees. The house was in Susan's name. She was going to
lose it. And Roger had stopped taking her calls.
She asked Jennifer to stop fighting the divorce and let him go, so he
could be happy ... so she
could be happy. She told Jennifer it was "the right thing to do."
And that was what drove
Jennifer Windham back to Christy's Puppet Palace.
The first thing she noticed when she got there was the extra
security. And it wasn't dancers who were doubling as
bouncers. These were hard-faced men who blocked the door and
wanted to see a photo ID.
"Surely you aren't saying I look like I'm under twenty-one," she
laughed. "I haven’t been carded in decades!"
"You got an ID or not, ma'am?" asked the one wearing sunglasses.
"No. I brought money, but not my purse. It's only a bother
when I come here."
"What's your name?" asked the other one, lifting a clipboard that had
what looked like a list of names on it.
It never occurred to her that her name might be on that list.
"Jennifer Windham," she said.
His finger ran down the list and then the clipboard dropped.
"You got to leave," he said. "You can't come in here."
"What? Why not?" She was upset, both because she wanted to see
Josh, and because she didn't like anyone telling her what she could and
could not do. This was America, after all.
"You're one of them dames whose husbands are suing the Puppet Palace,"
he said. "Tryin' to close it down. You're trouble, lady,
and we don't need no more trouble around here. Now beat it."
There wasn't anything she could do. She gave a very brief thought
to trying to sneak in the back or something, but gave that up
immediately. They would have all entries covered.
In the end, she caught a cab, and went back to the shelter, where she
had a very rough night.
The next day was a roller coaster for Jennifer.
In the morning, her blue mood was brightened when she got a phone call
from a man who wanted to hire her in her capacity as a CPA. He
had gotten her name from Barney, at the Good Will, who knew the quality
of her work by virtue of her having done their books for the previous
three years. It was a half time job, and the company provided an
office to do the work in. It wasn't enough for both an apartment
and a car, but everyone she worked with at the shelter told her to get
the car first. They said mobility was more important, since she
had someplace to sleep. What they didn't tell her was that her
presence at the shelter was worth a lot to them, and they didn't
want to lose her. Her presence on the food line brought smiles
and laughter to the place, and those were scarce things in a shelter.
Around two thirty, she was served with two legal documents, one the
petition for divorce, and the other a court order denying her both
custody of and visitation with her daughter, on grounds that she was an
"unsavory influence on the impressionable minor."
At five thirty, while she was handing out grilled cheese sandwiches,
Tanya Phillips, the volunteer coordinator for the shelter, stepped up
beside her and said "I have a new volunteer, Jen. I want you to
show him the ropes, okay?"
"Sure," said Jennifer. "I think I'm capable of teaching him how
to put a sandwich on somebody's plate."
"Don't count on it," said Tanya. "He's kind of cute. I know
I'd get distracted." She stepped back and made the
introduction. "Jennifer, this is Josh. Josh, Jennifer will
keep you busy tonight."
"I sure hope so," said the voice she knew so well. "I'm looking
forward to it."
With her heart thundering in her chest, she turned to see his Oriental
features, and that maddening inscrutable smile.
"Hi!" he said. "I'm Josh. But I guess you already know
that. Pleased to meet you. Did she say Jennifer? Is
it Jen? Or Jenny? Or do you prefer the more formal
"Stop!" she said, her voice breathless.
He glanced over his shoulder. No one was paying attention to them.
"I heard you came by the club," he said softly, touching her shoulder
"They chased me away!" she said.
"They had to. It's been a zoo ever since the word broke. After
two of the husbands showed up waving guns around, they hired real
security. The lawyers made them ban all the women who were ever
at any of Brandi's parties."
"I guess I understand that."
"So ... are you okay?"
"I've been better," she said, but it was an automatic response.
She recognized it as such, and thought about that. In the space
of only a few seconds, she identified the most recent time she was
"better" as when he was lying in the back of his truck, moaning while
she sucked his juice out of his penis. She realized he'd said
something that she'd missed.
"What? I'm sorry. I was distracted."
"I said this nice man has been standing here waiting for a sandwich for
quite a while."
She saw Fred, a regular, standing there, shuffling from foot to foot,
like he always did, his surprisingly good teeth shining through a
scruffy beard and mustache. She knew he loved to look at her, but
felt guilty when he did. She served him a sandwich and said "Wait
She went to the back and got out a Hershey's with almonds bar.
They weren't on the menu tonight, but she didn't care. She
returned to the serving table, where Josh was chatting with Fred and
put the chocolate bar on his tray.
"That's for having to wait," she said.
He bobbed his head and trundled off to eat his meal.
"What are you doing here?" she asked Josh as she handed him plastic
gloves to put on.
"Well duh ... I'm volunteering," he said.
"Is that the only reason you're here?"
This time all he said was "Well duh."
"What do you want?" she asked.
He looked at her. "You know what I want."
He handed a sandwich to a woman and told her she had a beautiful
smile. She hadn't smiled until he said that. "See?" he
said, as her face lit up.
"I heard your husband filed for divorce."
"He did that almost a month ago," she said.
"And I was hoping you'd come see me," he went on. "Except you
didn't, and I thought that meant you weren't interested."
"Don't be insane," she said softly. "You're the only other man
who's touched me in sixteen years. Surely you don't think I did
that without thinking about it first, or that you were the lucky guy
who just happened to be there when the slut in me came out."
"First, I don't think of you as a slut." He served another
customer. "Second, you were under a lot of stress, and everybody
knows that stress sometimes makes one do things that one wouldn't
otherwise do. And sometimes, when one has time to think about
that, one decides those were foolish things to do, and maybe vows never
to do them again, or something foolish like that."
"My humble opinion," he said, in a self-deprecating tone. "I've
gotten kind of attached to you, and I'd rather you didn't decide I was
a foolish thing to do, and decide not to do me any more."
"You're doing him?" asked a girl, about sixteen or so, who had walked
down the line while they were talking.
"No!" said Jennifer. "He's speaking in analogous terms, about an
"You mean like in science fiction," said the girl.
"Exactly!" said Jennifer. "Enjoy your dinner." As soon as the
girl was gone Jennifer hissed "Stop that!"
"Stop what?" asked a man who looked to be in his early forties.
His wife and two kids were in line behind him.
"Nothing!" said Jennifer. "I mean I wasn't talking to you.
"This guy bothering you?" asked the man, looking at Josh.
"Constantly," said Josh. "I'm her boyfriend."
"Really?" The man looked interested.
"Quit flirting with her, Harold!" said his wife from behind him.
"I'm not flirting!" he complained. "How could I be
flirting? That's her boyfriend standing right beside her!"
"He's your boyfriend already?" asked Tanya, who had returned to see how
Josh was doing. "Good Lord, woman, you sure work fast." She
held up a hand as Jennifer started to object. "None of my
business, baby. And everybody around here knows you deserve some
happiness. More power to you." She grinned and shook her
head. Then, looking at Josh, she said "Careful, Tiger.
She's a handful. Trust me on that." She turned away to move down
"Now people think I'm your girlfriend!"
"Then you must be," he said, handing out two more sandwiches.
She was a wreck by the time their shift was over. He had been
cool as a cucumber. As a performer, he had developed the skills
needed to interact with customers, and he used them to his advantage
with the clients at the shelter. They all loved him.
Meanwhile, being so close to him and not being able to touch him ... or
be touched by him ... drove her crazy.
Five minutes before it was time to go she undid her apron and threw it
in the pile to be washed.
He knew by then that she'd been staying at the shelter ... that she was
homeless, and that her beautiful car was gone. She knew that the
club had been hopping, ever since women found out that the men who
danced there had attended overnight orgies. The women's fantasies
were supercharged after that, and the tables were all full every
night. The guys loved it, other than the fact that there had been
a drive by shooting. The gun involved had been a shotgun, though,
with bird shot, at that, and it had caused only minor damage to one
When he said "Coffee?" she hacked out a ragged laugh. She pulled
him into the alley, where the employee entrance was, and pushed him up
against the wall for a long, passionate kiss. When it was over she
"I need a lot more than coffee tonight."
She didn't get the smile she expected. He was quite serious as he
said "Come home with me tonight."
The fact that she was saying "Okay" before he was even finished made
her feel like a slut.
An hour later she was convinced she was one.
She hadn't even stopped to look around his apartment. Once they
got inside the door she was tearing at her clothes, asking where the
bedroom was. Then, knowing she smelled like grease and food, she
barked "Shower!" only to have him pick her up over his shoulder,
growling "No way. I've had to wait way too long for this.
I'm not waiting for you to take a shower. We'll
both take one in a little bit."
She had kicked and squealed, but with his shoulder in her diaphragm, it
was hard to breathe. Then he threw her on the bed, and she
bounced, feeling weightless, until suddenly he was on her like an
animal, covering her, pressing her into the bed, his fingers feeling
between her legs, where she knew she was soaked. She'd been
soaked for over an hour, just being next to him.
Then she felt pressure and she was suddenly filled, not ruthlessly, but
quickly. Not having felt that for over a year, she wasn't ready
for it and when his pubic bone hit hers, and crushed her clit, she
grunted and then felt exhilarating fear as an orgasm stabbed into her
groin. She hardly had time to gasp, and he was thrusting, slowly,
but deeply, as that surprise orgasm tried to figure out if it could
end, or needed to be extended. Each time he crushed her clit she
thrust her hips upward, trying to extend the exquisite feelings she
hadn't felt in so long.
Then he pushed in and rotated his loins against her.
"I love you, Jennifer Windham," he grunted. "I've loved you since
the night I met you. You own my heart. I can't live without
you, and trying to these past months has been torture. Don't ever
leave me like that again. Got it?"
All she could do, though was bite her lower lip and nod frantically,
because his continued rubbing had opened up something in her she hadn't
been aware was even there. It was a whole different kind of
orgasm, one that was deeply rooted in her bones, almost, and which set
fire to her whole body. That cleansing fire, though, only lifted
her, like smoke, to a place where she felt like she could just stay
forever. If life could feel like this, even only for a few days,
then she'd never ask for anything again.
He stroked her again, and she gurgled.
"Stay with me, baby," he whispered into the hair covering her
ear. "I have something for you."
Within half a minute she knew what he had in mind. He was going
to stay in her. She could feel it in her bones. He knew she
was helpless ... available to be fertilized ... ripe. And as a
male, he was about to claim her as his female. His gradual
increase in speed, matched by the huffing and puffing of his breath on
her shoulder, told her he was close. He was going to
mate with her.
Then his face was hovering over hers, his eyes wide, his face tight.
"Let me?" he whimpered. "Pleeeease?"
Her hands came to his face and pulled him down for a kiss. She'd
never wanted a man's sperm like she wanted this man's sperm, right now,
He gasped into her kiss, and slammed hard, twisting his body, mushing
his lips over hers, groaning and then, as his lips slid off hers,
crying out into her neck.
She felt the swelling jerks of his penis inside her, and the wet warmth
of his offering. She wrapped her legs around him and strained
upwards against him. welding their loins together as best she
could. In that instant, not only did she not care if he
impregnated her ... she hoped
he did. Later, she would shake her head at her foolishness, at
the idiocy passion and hormones demanded of her. She would think
of Tiffany, and judge herself unfit to be a mother again.
But in that instant, she wanted what he wanted ... a child ... Josh
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