The drive to my home was a short one. I opened the door, set down my laptop and dialed Dine-One-One for some Chinese delivery. Then I powered up the laptop and checked my email.
I saw a message from Kaylani using her FalNAngel moniker. It was short. It said she was delighted to hear from me and she gave me her phone number. Thus started an email correspondence that lasted several months – one in which neither of us mentioned the incident in Honolulu. Then, she suggested if I ever got to the City I should look her up.
I knew I had to see her. Any pretext would do. The next day at my office I began rummaging through the mail bins. “Looking for something?” Jacquie asked me.
“Yes – are there any trade conferences coming up?”
“You gave me standing orders to shred any trade conference promotions.”
I sighed. “Okay – that order is countermanded.” I returned to my office and began looking for official websites of trade organizations.
Jacquie poked her head in the office. “This just came in,” she said and handed me a brochure.
I scanned it. It was a three day trade conference in New York City, and it was coming up in two weeks. “Yes… Yes, this will do. Jacquie, please make travel plans.”
I read them from the brochure. “Oh, Jacquie – I’d like to fly out on Saturday … take a three-day weekend in the Big Apple … see some sights.”
“You the boss,” she replied.
I sent a message to Kaylani that I would be in town and hoped we could get together. She replied that she’d meet me at LaGuardia. She also informed me that her apartment had a guest room.
“Jacquie,” I yelled, “cancel the hotel. I’ll … find something on my own.”
“Yessir whatever you say…”
I walked from the concourse at LaGuardia and into the terminal. My heart was pounding. I felt like a teenager on a blind date. Kaylani said she’d meet me at the airport.
I scanned the crowd and saw her. She was wearing a yellow floral sundress that showed off her cafe-au-lait skin. Her hair was shorter than the last time I saw her. I made eye contact and waved.
She ran over to me. “Hi,” she said.
“Hi.” I set down my bag and laptop, opened my arms and embraced her.
“How was your flight”?
I reached into my mouth, plucked out a wad of chewing gum and tossed it into a nearby waste bin. “I’m trying to unplug my ears. I didn’t realize Jacquie booked me on a turboprop.”
“You know,” she said, “when you sent your note … I knew it was you right away. I didn’t have to read past the first line.”
“How did you know?”
“You’re the only one in my whole life who’s ever called me Kay.”
“What do most people call you?”
“What do you prefer?”
“From you … Kay.”
“You’ll always be Kay to me. Shall we take a cab?”
We headed toward ground transportation. I touched her hand. She accepted my invitation and we laced fingers. We passed a food court. “Hungry?” I asked.
She pressed her hand to her stomach. “A bit. I missed breakfast. How about you?”
“I’m not in the habit of eating lunch.”
I ordered a burger and fries for her and a large soda for me. We sat across from each other. “Eleven dollars for a burger and fries,” I remarked. “I think the last one I bought for you cost a buck fifty.” I regarded her face and drank in familiar features – the almond-shaped mahogany eyes and the bhindi birthmark on her forehead. “You haven’t changed, Kay. You’re as beautiful as ever.”
“No, I’ve changed. You’re the one who hasn’t.”
“I think I have.” I touched the thinning spot on the top of my head and then patted my stomach. “Done here?” She nodded.
She gave the cabby an address in the DUMBO section of Brooklyn. We snuggled in the back of the cab as the driver worked his way into traffic – heavy, I thought, for a Saturday.
She held my hand. “What have you been up to?” she asked.
“I have my own business.”
“We’re custom metal shop. We do specialty short-run fabrication.”
“Reasonably,” I replied.
“What about your personal life?”
“Not much to tell.”
She turned my hand over and looked at my finger. “No ring.”
“It wasn’t your fault.”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Not at the moment – unless it’s you. You are a girl and you are my friend. What have you been up to?”
“I don’t know where to start so I’ll try the beginning. I graduated high school at the top of my class. I was accepted at every college I applied. I decided to go to NYU. It’s how I ended up here.
“Then, midway through my freshman year it fell apart. My father’s business, I learned, was a sham, a fraud – a pyramid scheme … a house of cards. It began to collapse. Rather than spend decades in prison, he killed himself – and, he took Mother with him in a murder-suicide. The official account is auto accident, but I know better.”
“Oh, my God, Kay… What about the estate?”
“It was all liquidated – everything, to satisfy the creditors. I got a small benefit from a life insurance policy they couldn’t take away, but it wasn’t enough. I had to drop out of NYU. Here I was … on the street … no way to go home … no home to go to. Mother taught me how to behave in society, but neither of my parents taught me how to survive.”
“What did you do?”
“I tried to find work and discovered I had no marketable skills. Finally I landed a job with an escort service.”
“Did it involve…” She nodded. “Oh, God, Kay… I’ve heard sex work does a number on your self-esteem.”
“It sure does. It takes someone with a strong sense of self-worth to survive. A stronger sense than mine.”
“How did you cope?”
“Drugs. Drugs to dull the pain and counter the self-loathing.”
“You’re not still…”
“No. I’m out of the business and I’m clean. Now I’m a receptionist at an auto dealer in Queens.”
“How’s your sense of self-worth?”
“It’s fine … most days.”
“How did you … pull yourself out of it?”
“I didn’t. I had some … help. You see I was busted in a sting. Now, if it had just been prostitution, it wouldn’t have been such a big deal. I’d have been let off with a slap on the wrist. There was, however, a small matter of some illegal substances.
“The police woman who arrested me took pity on me. She said I didn’t look like your average hooker or junkie. She intervened – found me a public defender who cut a deal. Testify against my procurer and dealers and I’d get rehab, a minimum sentence and probation. The judge went along. I went to a locked-down rehab clinic – spent a year there. They counted that time toward my prison sentence. I never spent any time behind bars. In two weeks is a big day for me – my probation will be over. I’ll have officially paid my debt to society. I owe that police woman my life. I send her a thank-you card every year on the anniversary of my bust.”
I looked toward her feet. “You’re not wearing one of those tracking anklets.”
“I had one for the first year.” She looked into my eyes. “Look – I wanted to be straight with you. If what I told you changes your opinion of me … if you don’t want to have anything to do with me, I’ll understand.”
I continued to gaze into her eyes. “You said you’re clean?”
“For three years.”
“And out of the business?”
“Done with the law in two weeks?”
“I can’t wait.”
“Then, it’s behind you and that makes it behind us. I wish I had known, though. I’d have done something – anything to have helped you.”
She snuggled against me. “I know you would’ve. And, I knew you’d be okay with it. I told Mother I knew you were the one. You still are the one. I still know it.”
The cab stopped in front of a renovated brownstone. Kaylani unlocked the front door and motioned me inside. We climbed the stairs to her apartment.
“Very nice,” I said. I looked out the tall front windows.
She pointed down the block. “That’s the brownstone Bob Vila rehabbed. It was on T.V.” She took my bags. “I’ll take these.”
I looked around the apartment. “This is a very nice place, Kay.”
“I know it is. This building is owned by a charity. They rent apartments to recovering addicts. The rent’s low – just to cover taxes and expenses. It lets me keep more of my paycheck and helped me get on my feet. Next month my lease is up and I’ll have to find another place. I’ll miss it here, though.”
“Where are the facilities?” I asked. “I shouldn’t have had so much soda at lunch.”
I stepped into the bathroom and did my necessaries. I started washing my hands and saw on the vanity a pair of Fleet enema boxes. I picked one up and read the instructions. That last time in Honolulu came back to me, and I was getting stiff in my pants. I smiled and carried it into the living room.
“Is Saturday still enema day?”
“Whether I need it or not – and I usually need it.”
“Have you had yours this week?”
“Would you let me give it to you? For old time’s sake?”
“I thought you’d never ask.” She nodded toward the bedroom. I followed her. She turned her back to me, reached under her sundress and removed her panties.
“Kay – I want to apologize for what happened last time.”
“It’s all right.” She giggled. “Mother grounded me for three lifetimes – to be served consecutively. If I died, was reincarnated, died again and was reincarnated again – I’d STILL be grounded. I had a LOT of explaining to do… I finally convinced her you were just trying to help me…”
“Which is the truth.”
“Mostly the truth. She lifted the grounding. Then, I learned you moved away. I was sad all summer. And then, school started in the fall and I…”
“You got over me.”
“For the most part.”
Kaylani lay on the bed on her left side with her right knee drawn up. I opened the box, withdrew the bottle and pulled off the sheath. Then, I spread her buttocks with my left hand.
“Make sure you take off the cap,” she said.
I touched her anus with the tip, rotated it to penetrate her and slid it in, up to the hilt. I squeezed, folded, squeezed, folded and squeezed again to get it all into her. I pulled it out and slipped the sheath back on the tip.
“Now I wait ten minutes,” she said.
I sat on the bed and caressed her flank, savoring her creme-brulee skin. “The box says two to five minutes.”
“Mother always said ten.”
“Back in Honolulu – why did you say yes when I asked if I could give it to you?”
“Why did you ask to give it to me?”
“Answer my question first.”
“I don’t know. I guess I was in the mood to try something different. I knew I had to do it anyway, before Mother would let me have dinner. The thought of you doing it to me turned me on a bit.”
“To this day, I don’t know why I asked. I remember, once, glimpsing my mother giving my sister an enema and how stiff that made me.”
“I didn’t know you had a sister.”
“Two years older than me. When my mom moved out, my sister went with her and I stayed with my dad. I don’t see her much and we never talk about enemas. The thought of me doing it to you turned me on and more than a bit.”
“I thought it did…” She grimaced. “This one’s working fast. It’s making me have to go already.
“My mom said pant like a dog.”
Kaylani panted and resumed breathing normally. I continued to caress her upper thigh. “Mmm – that feels nice. Takes my mind off of it.”
“You said it’s easier when I help you.”
“It is. I liked it when you help me then. I like it now…” She began panting again. “Ohhh… I’m going to have an accident. Another…” She panted.
I grabbed her buttocks and pressed and held them together. “My mom used to do this, too,” I said, “if she thought I couldn’t hold it long enough.”
She gasped. “That helped. How long has it been?”
I looked at my watch. “About six minutes.”
“Another…” She panted and I pressed her cheeks together. “That’s it – I’m going.” She climbed off the bed and made a brisk walk to the bathroom.
I stuffed the spent enema bottle into its carton and tossed it in the wastebasket. Kaylani was in the loo for a long time. I rapped on the door. “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she grunted “I’m almost done.”
I heard the toilet flush and she stepped into her living room holding her hand to her abdomen. “There’s still something in there,” she said.
“Do you want a clear water flush?”
“Do you have what we need?”
She opened a drawer and pulled out a flat box. “This is my sole inheritance from the estate in Honolulu,” she said and handed it to me.
It was the same red bag we had used all those years ago. The rubber was a little harder but it still looked sound.
“Do you use it much?” I asked.
“No – I just keep it for old times’ sake.”
I carried it to the kitchen and began running some warm lukewarm water. I remembered the last enema my mother gave me before moving out of the house. I asked her how much water and she said about a quart for someone my size – a full bag for an adult. Kay was an adult, I reasoned, so I filled the thing, installed the stopper, hose, clamp and tip. “Kay,” I called, “do you have any Vaseline … or, Crisco?”
“I definitely have Crisco,” she said, “and, Vaseline.”
She brought a jar from the bathroom into the bedroom. I held up the bag.
“Oh, no – there’s no way I’m taking all that water.”
“This is an adult sized enema,” I replied. “You’re an adult.”
“I don’t care. There’s no way…”
“We’re not going to have a water fight this time,” I replied. “We’re both too old for that. When you can’t hold any more, just tell me and I’ll close the clamp.”
She smiled. “Why didn’t we think of that before?”
She got on the bed on her hands and knees. I lubed the tip, lifted her skirt, spread her and slid it into her rectum. Then I held up the bag and clicked open the clamp.
“Oh,” she said, “It’s that lawn-sprinkler sensation. I like how that feels.”
“How does it feel?”
“Cool… sort of refreshing.”
“Remember – pant if it starts to cramp.”
She began panting, then stopped, then panted more. “I can feel it moving up my side,” she said. “Now, I can feel it inside above my belly button.”
“What’s it feel like?”
“Coolness.” She panted more. “I’m getting full.”
I closed the clamp. “Rest for a minute. Maybe you can take more.”
“Okay… Yes – it’s feeling better, now.”
I opened the clamp and could hear the fluid flowing through the hose. The bag emptied with a faint gurgle. I closed the clamp and pulled the tip from her anus.
“Why’d you stop? I’m not full yet.”
“You took it all,” I said. “It’s empty.”
“I took it all?”
“Yep, two quarts. Here – sit on my lap and let it do its work.” She sat on me. I put my hand on her abdomen. “How’s it feel in there?”
“It feels fine. Just a little bloated, I guess.” She guided my hand to her stomach just under her ribcage. “This is where I could feel the coolness as it flowed in.”
I put my hand on her knee and ran it along her thigh up under her skirt. Her skin was still as smooth as silk. I massaged the muscle in her thigh.
“Mmm … that feels nice…” I could hear faint gurgles coming from her stomach. “It’s working. I think I can go now.”
She headed for the bathroom. I drained the remains from the bag and disassembled the apparatus. I put the end of the hose to my lips and blew surplus water from it.
Kay came from the bathroom smiling. “How do you feel?” I asked.
“Really good. The irritation is gone. I feel great.”
“You know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking, if you need this treatment weekly, you should forget the little squeezie and just take a bag of tap water.”
“I’m thinking the same thing. Feel me now. Feel how flat I am.”
I put my hand against her stomach. Through the fabric of her sundress I explored the muscles in her abdomen. I ran my fingers down and found her navel. “Very nice,” I said.
Kaylani put her hand on mine and guided it lower. “Here…” Through her sundress I could feel the top of her pubic patch. She led my hand lower and pressed it against her mons. I could feel the dent where her slit began. “Last time,” she said, “if Mother hadn’t come home early… I was ready to do stuff with you.”
“Stuff? What stuff?”
“You know … more than we had been doing.”
“How much more?”
“I don’t know.”
“All the way?”
“Did me giving you the enemas make you feel like that?”
She nodded. “It made me so horny, then. Like now.”
I threw my arms around her and we kissed. We kissed again, and again, our tongues touching. I worked mine into her mouth. I was breathing her breath.
“I love you, Kay,” I said.
“I never stopped loving you,” she replied.
I kissed her again. “I’m so happy I found you. You were my first love. I always say, your first choice is your best choice. And, I missed you so much.”
“I missed you, too. When I saw your note – when I saw, ‘Dear Kay,’ I knew it. I knew we found each other and we’d be together again.”
I sat on the sofa and held her on my lap. She unbuttoned my shirt and slipped her hand under it onto my bare chest. I reached up and began to loosen the tie that held up her sundress halter top.
“Wait,” she said, “before we go any further… I need to know your HIV status.”
I looked at her agape. “Why, negative of course. I’ve never been within a hundred yards of anyone with AIDS.”
“Are you so sure of that?”
“Of course I am.”
She gazed at my face. “What’s that look for?” she asked.
“Well… I thought it a bit ironic that an ex-prostitute and drug user would ask ME about MY HIV status.”
Right away I wished I could take back the words. An expression of hurt and betrayal washed over Kaylani’s face.
“Oh, Kay… I’m so sorry – It didn’t come out how I intended it.”
“How else could you intend it? How else could you? Don’t you think MY health matters?” Her eyes filled and a tear ran down her face.
“Yes, Kay… Kay I’m so, so sorry.”
“Have you ever known anyone who’s died of AIDS? Do you know what it looks like?” She sniffed and wiped tears from her eyes. “Yes, you’re right. I deserved that. I deserved to be reminded that I’m nothing but a dirty, filthy, disease-infested whore. It’s what I am, after all…”
“Kay, please.. I’ve never dealt with someone with your … experiences … much less fallen love with them. It’s going to take me a while to learn how…”
She buried her face in her hands and sobbed.
“Oh, Kay… Kay – I’ll tell you one thing for sure. To know you overcame what you faced… To know how you slew the dragon that was devouring you… I respect you more than anyone I’ve ever known. It took incredible courage and strength to do what you did. I admire you for that. Please forgive me. I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t mean to hurt you and I don’t want to lose you.”
She wiped the tears from her face and looked into mine. “Do you really mean it?”
“Really, really … with all my heart.”
“I’ll forgive you.”
I kissed the tears from her face. She slipped her hand back under my shirt.
“You okay, now?” I asked.
“Yes.” She sniffed. “It was just a momentary lapse in my sense of self-worth.”
“What is your HIV status?” I asked her.
“I’m antibody positive … but they can’t find any active virus. They’ve looked every six months for five years and can’t find virus. It means I was exposed but my body threw it off.”
“Does it mean you’re immune?”
“Maybe. I’m not taking the chance to find out. Do you know what it feels like to be told you’re HIV positive?”
“I can’t imagine.”
“I don’t have it. I don’t have AIDS. I’m not contagious, and I intend to keep it that way. I’m not going to expose myself again – ever. And, believe me – the nicest, straightest, most Republican looking guys can have it. I always ask.”
“Then, I understand completely.”
“There’s nothing for you to worry about … and I’d never hurt you.”
“I know, Kay… We understand each other…” I ran my hand along her thigh. “I hope this little exchange wasn’t too big of a mood-killer…”
“I’m still game if you are,” she replied.
I kissed her. “I do love you, Kay…” I untied her halter, let it drop into her lap and gazed at the most perfect pair of breasts I had ever seen. “Kay – you have a beautiful body…”
I was almost afraid to touch her. I smoothed my hand along her breast, my fingertips brushing the edge of her dark brown areola. Then, I spiraled my fingertips along it until I brushed against her thick, fleshy nipple. She closed her eyes and drew in a breath.
I scooped her up and carried her to the bedroom. She stood before me and I lifted her sundress from her. She slipped my shirt from my shoulders. I unbuckled my belt, dropped my trousers to the floor and stepped from them.
She put her hand on my erection and gave me an approving nod. I sat on the bed and held her my lap.
I wished I could touch all of her at once. She had what seemed an acre of delicious brown skin. I fondled her breasts, tongued her nipples and covered her chest with kisses.
“Mmm,” she said, “it feels good. Too many guys don’t understand how important good breast work is. Mmm … they’re too eager to move down.”
“I love your breasts,” I said. “They’re beautiful. Kay – you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever known.”
I lay her on the bed and began kissing her up and down her body. I tongued her navel and worked my way down her sleek legs to her feet and back up again. I kissed her knees and up the insides of her thighs, alternating from leg to leg.
I reached her labia and let her scent fill my nostrils. She rolled her legs apart. I slipped my tongue into her slit and dipped it into her vagina. It was bubbling with her juices.
I pulled back, parted her labia and gazed at her long and erect clitoral shaft. “Kay – you’re pretty well endowed down here.”
“You’re not the first to have remarked on it.”
I lay flat, my face between her thighs and slipped my arms under them. I worked my tongue between her lips and explored her clit, found her glans and stroked it. Her body jerked.
We’ll take it slow, I thought. I began a back-and-forth on the glans of her clit with the tip of my tongue, applying the lightest pressure. To establish a rhythm I counted under my breath.
“Mmm… that feels good,” she said.
I was using a four count: 1,2,3,4,1,2,3,4… On the count of one I stroked her clit hard, on the others no pressure – just to maintain the rhythm. I could feel each one-count reverberate in the muscles of her thighs.
“Mmm … mmm … mmm” she sang to me as I stroked. I gazed at her face through her thicket of straight pubic hair. Her eyes were closed and she and rolled her head to one side.
I was worshipping her body with my hands. I ran them up and down her torso, then along her arms, down her torso again. When I reached her abdomen I caressed it, slipped my finger in her navel, squeezed her hips and then moved up again.
I reached her breasts, ran my fingers along them and brushed her nipples with the tips of my fingernails. I squeezed her breasts from her chest wall up to her nipples and rolled them.
“Oh,” she said, “just do that for a while. Feels so good … so good…”
I pinched and rolled her nipple in synch with my tongue. I could feel her heart pounding through her breast.
She lifted her arms and grabbed the headboard. “Both sides like that… mmm…”
Meanwhile, I switched my tongue to a three-count. 1,2,3,1,2,3… Again on the count of one I applied pressure to her glans. Her breathing was growing heavy and she lifted her ribcage to press her breasts against my hands.
She touched my hand. “More,” she said. I pinched harder. I felt her fingers running through my hair.
It was time to switch to a two-count. Her thighs were trembling with each stroke and her breathing became panting. “Oh… oh… oh…” she gasped, “oh, don’t change anything.”
I did change one thing. I went back to a four-count, but this time applied pressure with each count, stroking her clit as hard as I could with my tongue. Her heart began racing.
“Let it happen, Kay,” I thought. “Just let it happen.” I knew she was a hair’s breadth away from orgasm and I didn’t want anything to frustrate her. I kept up the pressure and tried to maintain as consistent a rhythm as possible.
Then, it happened. She cried out, gasped and panted. I let go of her breasts, moved my hands to her abdomen and continued stroking. She moaned and arched her back.
She was over the peak. I let her coast down: I maintained my rhythm with no pressure at all on her glans. I wondered if she was multi-orgasmic. There was one way to find out.
I went back to a four-count, with pressure on the first count. She gasped with each one.
“Stop!” she cried. “It’s too much. Oh, God… Stop.”
I came up from between her legs. She was panting. Her face was ruddy and her neck and upper chest glistened with droplets of perspiration. Two wet lines ran from her eyes to her temples. I held her and she peppered my face with kisses.
“That felt so good,” she said. “It’s hard for me to come. Can you believe it? Despite everything, it’s hard for me unless it’s just right and you made it just right. Where did you learn that kind of oral technique?”
“I was taught by an expert – my ex-wife. She had definite ideas about what she wanted in bed.”
“If I ever meet her I’ll thank her.” Kaylani lay on her back and opened her thighs. “Come inside me.”
I knelt between her legs. “Wait – are you on the pill?”
“No… They don’t agree with me.”
“Sponge? Cream? Gel? Foam? Diaphragm?” She shook her head. “Do you have any condoms?”
“I figured you’d bring some. Didn’t you?”
“I never anticipated doing this with you, Kay. I thought we’d get together as old friends. I was married eight years and I’ve been divorced for three. I’m not into the dating scene. It’s been a long time since I thought about condoms.”
“I want you to come inside me. I don’t care if I get pregnant. It’s a risk I’ll take.”
“It’s not one I will,” I replied. “Are you ready for a baby? I know I’m not.”
“No – but I’ll cherish one of yours.”
“No, Kay. You’ve got too much going. When you’re ready – maybe. Not now. Just blow me for now. We’ll get condoms later.”
“No – I want to feel you inside me. Ever since I got your note I’ve been longing to feel you inside me. Go in the back way, then. I can’t get pregnant that way.”
“The odds are pretty low, I’ll admit.”
“Doggie or missionary?” she asked.
“Whatever’s best for you.”
She got on her hands and knees. I dipped my finger into her vagina, lubed her anus with her own copious juices, spread her and then pressed my glans to it.
She opened and admitted me easily. I slid all the way in. “I’ll take my pleasure on the draw,” I said, pulled back and gently pushed in again.
“Ow,” she winced. “That’s going to make me sore… Push in and I’ll show you something…”
I pushed in. She began pulsing her sphincter around me. “Feel that?”
She began contracting other muscles in her pelvic floor. “Feel this?”
It was an unbelievable sensation – as if a velvet hand was stroking me. “Mmm … very good… “Oh, God Kay – this is unbelievable.”
I looked at the lovely rear view and realized what sexy shoulders she had. She kept up the rhythm of the muscles in her bottom, making little grunts from time to time.
I grasped her waist and ran my hands up and down her ribcage, savoring the sides of her breasts. Then I slid my hands down, caressed her thighs and her buttocks. My breathing was getting heavy. I reached up and pinched my own nipples. My heart was beginning to pound. I felt a tingling deep in my pelvis that told me my climax was moments away.
I held her hips, pushed in deep and ejaculated. “Kay,” I grunted, “oh, Kay.”
I pulled out and grabbed some facial tissue to clean off. Her anus was now a gaping hole and I could see the ruby lining of her rectum. “Kay – you should see what I did to you.”
“Don’t worry – it’ll go back to normal in a few minutes.”
I lay on the bed and held her, stroking her black hair. She kissed my chest. “How did that feel?” she asked.
“It was amazing,” I replied. “It felt so good. It sneaked up on me and the next thing I knew – I was coming.”
“That’s how I come – when I can. I can feel myself getting close but I never know when I’m actually going to.” She pulled herself against me. “Mmm…”
“Kay – I’ve been thinking about something. I have a proposal for you. I don’t want an answer now and I won’t accept one until you’ve thought about this for two weeks. When your lease here is up, I want you to come live with me. It’s a nice house – not quite like the one you had in Honolulu, but very nice. And, I want you to come work for my company. The pay’s good – twenty-five to forty percent above local mean for equivalent skills. We have great benefits, including one hundred percent tuition reimbursement. You can finish the degree you started at NYU. SUNY Buffalo isn’t the Fighting Violets, but it’s a good school. I’m sure you’ll do well.”
“How can you afford to do that?”
“It’s my company and I can do what I want. I don’t have shareholders or venture capitalists to answer to. I believe in hiring top talent and paying top dollar. My dad taught me to live modestly. Since it’s my own company I can do with the profits what I think is best, and that is to invest them in the assets that make my company great – my associates.
“What would I do?”
“I’m sure we can find something. Think about it and get back to me in couple weeks. Agreed?”
“Agreed.” She kissed me. “And Mother thought you’d never amount to anything.”
“Kay – I just remembered. I brought a gift for you. Where did you put my bag?”
“It’s in the guest room.”
I climbed out of bed and went into the spare bedroom to retrieve my bag.
“Kay,” I called, “this room is empty.”
“I told you I had a guestroom,” she replied. “I never said I had a guestroom bed.”
I unpacked my laptop. Jacquie poked her head into my office. “How was the conference?”
“Great,” I replied.
Actually, the conference was only so-so. Kay was great. The first evening I bought a big box of condoms and we made love morning and night ‘til it was time for me to leave.
“Jacquie,” I said, “How would you like to have an assistant?”
“An assistant? There’s hardly enough work now to keep me busy. Why do you think I need an assistant?”
“Someone to help out.”
Her eyes narrowed. “Do you mean assistant or replacement?”
“Assistant, Jacquie. You’ve been with me from the start. I love you like my own family. I’d never replace you.”
“Who you thinking of hiring?”
“I’ll see if I can find her photograph.” I brought up the blog and opened the personals section. I searched for FalNAngel but came up dry. “She must’ve deleted her profile.”
“Are you telling me you met some gal on a weblog, went to New York to see her and now you want to hire her?”
“No, no, Jacquie. I knew Kay in high school but lost track of her. I found her again in the personals.”
“Well, that’s a relief, ‘cause otherwise I was going to tell you that you’re off your rocker.”
Jacquie returned to her desk. The phone rang and she answered it. “A Ms Kaylani on three,” she yelled to me.
“Hi,” I said into the phone.
“Hi. I have a question about your proposal. Is living with you part of the job description?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do I have to live with you to keep the job?”
“Oh, no, Kay. They’re totally separate. If you don’t want to live with me – that’s fine.”
“I’m relieved to hear that – because if it WAS in the job description … well, I had that kind of work once before.”
“I understand. No, Kay, you’d be free to live anywhere you want. There is no quid-pro-quo. I’d hope you’d want to live with me.”
“Your job offer sounds too good to be true,” she said. “I’d be nuts to pass it up.”
“I’m delighted to hear that. I’m very proud of how we treat our associates.”
“I also think it’s a bad policy to be dating your boss. It’s not fair to the others – they suspect favoritism. There were a couple incidents like that at the dealership and they turned out real ugly. I don’t think in good conscience I could accept the job and live with you.”
“I think we can make it work. We’ll need to be discreet, that’s all.”
“No,” she said. “I don’t want to live that way.”
“Think about it a while longer. I’d hate to lose you.”
“Would you rather have me as an employee, a friend or as a lover?” she asked.
“I’d rather have you as all three, but I’ll take you however I can. I want you in my life, Kay. But, it’s more important that you’re happy and successful in a career you love.”
“I understand. It means a lot to hear you say that.”
“This is an opportunity for you to make a fresh start. Use it to get your foot in the door … finish your degree … after that, we’ll see what happens. If what we had this week is all we’ll ever have … well, at least we’ll always have it. It’s more than we had before. Think about it for another week and then call me back.”
“No – I’ve made up my mind. I’ve given notice at the auto dealership. I’m making arrangements to move to Tonawanda.”
“That’s great, Kay. I’m sure you’ll do very well here. You’ll be a fine addition to the firm. Let me know if you need help finding a place to live.”
“I have a place lined up already,” she said.
“That’s the girl – hit the ground running. If there’s anything else you need, just say the word.”
“I figure that you must be pretty well connected in the Buffalo area.”
“I’ve left my mark.”
“Then, maybe you can use your influence to help me find a job. You see – given the choice between living with you and working for you – I choose living with you. There must be thousands of jobs in Tonawanda – tens of thousands in the Buffalo area. There’s only one you. I might be crazy passing up your job offer – but I’d be crazier to pass up you.”