The Making of a Gigolo (8) - Felicity Chumley
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Chester wasn't in the bedroom. In fact, Felicity couldn't find him anywhere. She felt helpless. As maddening as he was - imagine the nerve of the man, calling her 'darling' and correcting her in front of the servants! - she had to admit that he was a strong, confident man. She had hoped he'd just give up and go home when she made it clear she didn't like him. She'd been fine, as long as he was clear down the table from her. But, both when she'd gone to him, and when he'd come to her, those blue eyes seemed to be pools of endlessly deep water, that she could drown in if she wasn't careful. She was trying to hate him, but it was hard! If he'd be a little hateful in return, it would help, but he wasn't cooperating. Not only was he being civil to her, he was being nice to the servants too.
She stormed through the house, looking for her husband, with no success. And, to make things worse, the servants all seemed to have vanished into thin air. She turned a corner and saw the source of her problems sitting in the parlor. He'd worn the same clothes as before ... a work shirt and jeans, with boots. He had looked ridiculous, sitting at the formal dining table dressed in those clothes, but at the same time, he looked at home in them, like they belonged on him. They wouldn't do for the reunion, of course. She'd have to dress him up a bit for that. She felt a sinking sensation as she realized that would mean she'd have to go shopping with him ... probably to Wichita, since she certainly couldn't take him anyplace around here, where people knew her. That would mean riding in the car with him ... all that way ... both there and back.
She didn't want to feel like she felt already, and with dismay, she somehow knew that it could only get worse. He had treated her with respect, mostly. It would have helped if he'd have leered at her, or been coarse. But he wasn't. And he was sitting there, costing them money, while she ran around like a chicken with its head cut off.
Squaring her shoulders, she took the first tentative steps toward the parlor.
She sat down and looked at his shoulder, instead of his eyes. That helped a little bit.
"Look," he said, before she could speak. She didn't know what to say anyway, so she just listened. "It's obvious you aren't interested in doing this. I have nothing to lose, because Mr. Chumley said he'd pay me even if it didn't work out."
She looked at his eyes then, frowning. Chester hadn't told her that.
"I'm not going to hold him to that," said Bobby. "I'm not interested in torturing any woman, not the least you. I've been here about an hour and a half, and was here an hour last time. How about you just pay me twelve dollars and fifty cents for my time, and we'll call it even. I'll go back to work, and you can relax."
She pulled her eyes away from his with an effort. She had more conflicting feelings. He was being a gentleman about it, that was plain. And he wasn't gouging Chester either, when he could, technically, if he wanted to. He had given her a way out of this horrible situation. All she had to do was give him twelve-fifty.
She frowned. Was that all she was worth? Twelve and a half dollars? She did some calculations in her mind. She was good at math. At a thousand dollars a week, for say, fifty-six hours - that would be seven eight hour days - he would be making almost eighteen dollars an hour. Of course, the three days and two nights they'd be going to the reunion would be twenty-four hour days, so that would be only about six or seven dollars an hour then. And he was willing to settle for five dollars an hour to endure her presence.
"Well?" he said, interrupting her flow of thought.
"Hush," she said. "I'm thinking."
She didn't look at him. That was too dangerous. He was too pretty, with those eyes, and that smile, and that hair. Her eyes went to his hair against her wishes. He'd need a haircut. For what he did every day, this was fine ... delicious, in fact ... but not if he were her husband. She frowned. How could she think about him as her husband? She should just give him the money and be rid of him.
She found herself on her feet, ready to go get her purse and pay him, when she thought about Chester. He wanted her to do this. That seemed so strange to her. She loved him. She didn't need a young man to feel passionate. Some place in her mind asked the question: "Why does he bother you so much, then? Why are you so afraid of him?"
"Because he's gorgeous!" she answered in her mind. "He's strong, and tall, and I know it would feel so good to be in his arms!"
"Isn't that what Chester wants for you?" asked the part of her mind she wished would go away.
"Yes, but ... what if I can't resist him?"
"Does Chester want you to resist him?"
"No, but ... it's not right!"
"Chester seems to think it's fine."
She closed her eyes and put her fists in them, ruining her makeup, as tears came. She didn't know what to do! A sob escaped her throat, and she felt shame, crying in front of this stranger.
"Hey," came his soft voice from right in front of her. "Don't cry. I didn't mean to hurt your feelings. I didn't know you were that disgusted by all this."
She took her hands away and looked at him. This was okay, because she was looking through tears, and he looked all wavery. He had something white in his hand, and he pressed it to her left eye.
"Don't worry," he said. "I'll go away and you'll never have to see me again, okay? I don't want you to cry, Felicity."
She stood, helplessly as he dabbed at her eyes. Finally her hands came up to take the handkerchief from him, and she touched his hand. Her name sounded so strange on his lips. As her eyes cleared, they were captured again by his. There was concern in them. He actually cared how she felt! With an agonized sob, she fell against him, her arms going around his neck, as she sobbed, heart breaking heaves wracking her body. His arms came around her, holding her. He was strong. His arms felt like steel around her. All he did was hold her, and pat her back.
She got herself under control. She didn't have to push him away. He sensed, somehow, when she was strong enough to stand on her own.
"I don't want to be ... intimate ... with you," she whimpered.
"Then we won't be intimate," he said. "That's not a problem. I'm not here to make you do anything. If I can help, that's good, but I don't want to make you unhappy. This isn't worth that, to either of us. It's just play acting ... that's all."
"Just play acting?" she said, the whimper still in her voice.
"That's all," he said. "You tell me how to act, and that's what I'll do. If I think you're wrong, we'll talk about it. We'll just be two actors, performing a little play for your friends, okay?"
"You're being very decent about this," she moaned.
"No I'm not," he said. "I didn't come here intending to try to take you away from Mr. Chumley, or anything like that. I just don't know what you want. If you want me to leave, I will. If you want me to stay, I'll do that too. If you want me to bark like a dog, we'll have a little spat, while we work that out."
She couldn't help but giggle, hiccuping as she reacted to his goofy comment. He really was nice. Part of her brain pointed that out. "He's gorgeous and nice! Her nose notified her that he smelled good, too, even dressed like that! Danger, Danger!" But he'd said she was in control, and that made her feel better. Chester had said the same thing. She was in control. It would be all right, because she was in control.
"We need to get you some clothes ... and a haircut," she said.
"Clothes and a haircut," he said firmly. "When? Today?"
"I'm worn out from all this right now," she said. "How about tomorrow? We'll go over to Wichita and go shopping."
"What time do you want me here?" he asked, his voice businesslike.
"Eight?" she said, not sure if that was too early for him.
"Eight it is," he said. "Your car or mine?"
"Mine," she said, laughing. "Yours looks like it might break down at any minute."
"Awwww," he moaned. "And I was all ready to stop out in the middle of nowhere, and tell you I was out of gas." He looked positively sad, but she knew he was teasing her. That was okay. She'd acted horribly toward him today, and she knew it. He was flirting with her too, she realized. She couldn't believe how good that felt. There was the dim murmur of "Danger, Danger!" in her mind, but she pushed it away again. She was in charge! Everything would be fine.
The next day went better, depending on how you looked at it.
Felicity answered the door herself, in a pair of Bermuda shorts and a cotton top. Her hair was pulled back and held with combs and clips. Sandals completed her outfit. She looked critically at Bobby, who, as usual, was in jeans, and a faded blue work shirt. This time, though, he was wearing tennis shoes. Felicity glanced at his face, but nothing more.
"Ready?" she asked.
"Ready!" he announced.
They took her car, which was a 1971 Mercedes 280 SL convertible. It was beige, with a chocolate interior, and, probably, a chocolate top under the boot, which was covering the folded down roof. Bobby felt like he was soiling it when he got in, even though his clothes were clean.
She drove with skill that said she knew how to handle the engine, which had a throaty purr, and let the passengers know it was powerful. He wondered if she'd chosen it because the wind noise would make it difficult to chat. He found out differently when, at seventy-five miles an hour, he had no trouble hearing her.
She didn't say much, in the beginning, so he started drawing her out, asking her about Kansas City, and the place she lived when she went to the school they would be going to. She described it in some detail, and talked about the public swimming pool she had spent hours each day at. It was built among a group of caves, and the caves were used as dressing rooms. She talked about the school too, and the pep club and her cheerleading. They were "The Indians", she said, and they had good teams all the years she went there.
"Any chance you'll be running into any old boyfriends?" he asked.
She shrugged. There had been four or five, none serious. The squad had taken most of her extra curricular time. In her last year she'd worked at a little corner store, tending the counter part time.
It sounded like an ordinary life, for a girl who would end up marrying a millionaire, and he said so. She darted a glance at him, her eyes invisible behind sunglasses.
"I didn't marry him for his money," she said.
"I didn't say you did," he answered.
"People think so," she said.
"People are stupid sometimes," he observed.
"I love him," she said.
"I can tell ... and he loves you too."
She looked over at him long enough that he reached out to push the wheel gently to the left. They were about on the shoulder. She looked back at the front.
"He does love me," she said.
"It's obvious," said Bobby. "He grilled me up one side and down the other before offering me the job. He wasn't about to just send you off with some guy, if he wasn't sure you'd be treated well."
"You could have lied," she said, feeling guilty immediately for saying it. She forced herself to go on. "You could have told him what he wanted to hear ... to make him trust you."
"I had no idea what he wanted with me until he was done," said Bobby. "I thought he was just making sure that he wasn't letting a ne're-do-well into his house. How was I supposed to know he was going to entrust his wife to me?"
She felt even worse then, and drove quietly for a while.
"Why do I make you so nervous?" he asked.
She bit her lip. She couldn't tell him the truth - that he was so gorgeous she wanted to throw herself at him. She frowned, as she admitted that to herself, and jerked her conscious mind back into control.
"You've heard about some of the others," he said, misinterpreting both her silence and her frown. "Haven't you?"
"Others?" Her curiosity was piqued.
"Oh, boy," he sighed. "I just blew it."
"What others? Have you done this before?" She looked over at him, but he was looking at a passing field.
"Not like this," he said, still looking away.
"What are you talking about?" she asked. "Tell me!"
He looked back at her. "You might not like what you hear," he said. "Your husband seemed to know about it. That's why I thought you might too."
"What others?!" she yelled.
"Calm down," he said. "I'll tell you."
He waited until she got less agitated and then started.
"There have been some women ... women I worked for. Some of them had problems. They needed ... help with things."
"Help?" she asked. "With what?"
"Emotional help," he said. "They were worn out, or neglected, or just hopeless ... whatever you want to call it. They didn't have husbands who loved them, like you. Some of them didn't have husbands at all."
"You're a therapist?" she asked, her voice rising.
"I guess you might say that," he said. "I don't have any training. I just sense what a woman needs. If I can, I give it to her."
Felicity felt flip flops in her stomach.
"Sex?" she asked. "Did you give them sex?"
"Some of them," said Bobby. "Not all. Just some."
Felicity remembered the way Millie had mooned over this man.
"Did you have sex with Millie Vaughn?" she asked, her voice rising even higher.
"I'll answer that question," said Bobby. "But, you have to understand that I will not answer any further questions about individual people. They deserve their privacy, and I intend to honor that."
She looked at him again, her mind grappling with what he'd said. He went out and had sex with women, to make them feel better, but he wouldn't brag about it. He wasn't like any other man she'd ever known. That was for sure.
"No," he said.
She was confused by his interruption of her thought process.
"No what?" she asked.
"Millie didn't need me. Not for that."
"Oh," said Felicity, feeling better for some reason. The thought that this man might have made Millie feel better ... in that way ... made her want to ... She frowned. She had been about to be jealous! No ... she was jealous ... before she found out she didn't need to be, anyway. She felt a tremor in her arms. She couldn't be jealous like that. That would mean she wanted ... She stopped that thought. No! She did not want that. She tried to think about what his life might be like, being with women ... like that.
"Don't the husbands want to kill you?" she asked. "You can't keep something like that secret. It just doesn't work."
"Actually, sometimes, you can," he said, easily. "But most of the men found out, one way or another."
"And they didn't come looking for you?" she asked.
"One of them basically approved it, after the fact," he said. "It was a very unique situation. I confronted another one."
"You told him yourself?!" she gasped.
"He was being a prick." He looked away. "Sorry. Sometimes I get a little emotional about things. He was being a poor excuse for a husband, and I told him, to get him to get his act together. He needed to make big changes in his life, or he was going to lose her."
"You make love to women ... and care if they want to leave their husbands?" She was flabbergasted.
"You don't understand," he said. "These are rare and different circumstances. She loved him. She wanted him. But he ignored her. She was frustrated, and dying for some attention, so I gave her some. But what she really wanted was her husband back. So ... I got him back for her."
"How in the world did you do that?" she asked, still stunned.
"I'll tell you, but you might not like that answer either," he said.
She waited, and he finally spoke.
"I told him I'd kill him if he didn't straighten up."
She made it to the shoulder safely, but only barely. She slid the last six feet on the gravel and grass beside the road. She almost got out of the car and ran, but he was just sitting there, looking straight ahead. He looked so normal, sitting there. He didn't look like the kind of man who would do something like that at all.
"If it's any comfort," he said softly. "I don't think I'd have been able to do it. I had to convince him I would, though. It worked. I hope I never have to do anything like that again." He looked over at her. "I'm not dangerous. I wouldn't hurt a fly if I could help it." He barked a laugh. "Well, maybe a fly. They drive me crazy."
They got into town, before she spoke again.
"Why did you tell me that?" she asked.
"You wanted to know," he said.
She thought about that for a moment.
"Would you tell me anything I wanted to know?" she asked.
"That depends," he said. "I already said I wouldn't break confidence with the women who trusted me."
"I'm not talking about that," she said. "If I asked you how you felt about something, would you tell me the truth?"
"Probably," he said. "I can't think of anything I wouldn't, but I won't promise you something I may not be able to honor."
"Do you find me ... attractive?" she asked.
He looked over at her and grinned. "Of course," he said. "You already knew that."
She blushed faintly. She'd assumed it ... but she hadn't known it.
"If you had to ... if the situation called for it ... would you kiss me?" she asked.
"I thought you wanted to know something interesting," he said. "I was hired to play the part of your husband. I'll do anything a husband could reasonably be expected to do ... Darling." He grinned again.
This time, she smiled faintly.
"Can I ask you a question?" he asked.
"Go ahead," she said.
"Why are you so afraid of me?"
She thought about that, while she negotiated her way onto Kellog street. Traffic was fairly light, this time of the morning, but she wanted to pay attention to that, rather than answer his question.
"Let me guess," he said, finally.
"Okay," she said, relieved that he'd let her off the hook, after she had questioned him.
"You find me attractive," he said.
It was like he could see into her brain, and she got anxious again.
"You love your husband, but there's a part of you that wants to be with me ... to explore what that might be like. You're curious ... and a little horny."
"I am not!" she said, her voice tight.
"Okay," he said, dropping it.
She pulled into the parking lot of the store she wanted, and parked where no one would open a door and hit her car. Then she turned to him.
"Okay," she said, her voice low. "Maybe I think you're interesting. But you're right. I love my husband, and that takes priority."
"And yet, your husband, who loves you - there's no doubt about that - hired me to do this. Do you think he knew you'd find me ... interesting ... when he did that?"
"Yes, he knew. He even told me I would." She frowned. "Do you think he's testing me?"
Bobby smiled. "No," he said. "I don't think he's testing you. I think he wants you to go to your reunion and knock all your old friends' socks off, and have a good time, and come home and tell him all about it."
"I don't want to be tempted by you," she said.
"Look, Felicity," he said. "Other women have reacted the same way to me. I understand that. I understand how you can want something, and not want it at the same time. All I can tell you is that I'll only do what you need me to do."
"Do you want to make love to me?" she asked.
"That's a question you don't want me to answer truthfully," he said.
Her first thought was that he would say no, and that hurt, for some reason. Then she thought about what she knew about him. She'd caught him looking at her like a man looks at a woman. He wasn't obvious about it, but he did it. She knew what the answer would be then, and her stomach did flip flops again.
"Thank you," she said, very quietly.
"My pleasure," he said. "Now, I need a new pair of jeans, for the reunion."
She laughed, then, not sure if he was serious or not. She got out of the car and, when he offered her his arm, she took it ... gingerly ... but she took it, letting her hand hook lightly under his arm, to rest on his biceps. She felt the muscle there, and moved her hand to his elbow, as her stomach acted up again.
"Where we're going, there are no jeans," she said. "I'll pick the clothing, if you don't mind." It wasn't really a negotiation.
"Fine by me," he said. "Please just don't make me look like one of those guys in New York and places like that, where you can't tell what sex they are."
Her laughter was genuine, this time, and the instinctive urge to pull his arm against her breast was done, before she realized it. She wasn't used to that feeling. When she took Chester's arm, she had to reach down a lot farther, and it just wasn't situated to pull his arm against her breast. This man just felt like he fit better. She pushed that thought aside too. It wasn't quite so hard, this time.
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