The Beach House – Chapter 16

I awoke to the smell of coffee wafting from the kitchen. Mia was already up and going. I grabbed my robe and headed to the kitchen. Mia was wearing a new white robe that was just sheer enough that you knew she was naked but not fully see-through. I couldn’t believe that I would be waking up to that vision from now on. Life was good.

“Good morning ,sleepy head!” She was extra cheerful. I thought she might be a morning person, God help me. She poured me a cup of joe and set it on the counter. “I hope I didn’t wake you. You looked pretty comfy in bed.”

“Nope. That robe looks really good on you.” I grabbed my cup and smiled. Mia twirled around.

“Why thank you Mr. Tomlinson.” She smiled back and grabbed her own cup of coffee.

I looked at the clock on the wall and saw it was after eight. I sat down and yanked my phone free of its charger. “No time like the present.” I said. Mia sat down next to me. I dialed up Bob Farring.

“Good morning Bob, it’s Dale Tomlinson. I got you on speaker with Mia Perez.” Mia smiled at me. She liked that I wasn’t excluding her.

“Is Monica not well, Mr. Tomlinson?” He was once again confused as to why I was talking with him directly. Mia covered her mouth, trying to hold back a chuckle.

“No, I am sure Monica is just fine. This doesn’t concern her.” I paused a moment to let that sink in. “I am considering an investment in a small chemical company called Gem Works. I was hoping I could get you to run point to see if they have any interest in new capital.” I knew they would beg, borrow or steal if they could.

“Of course. What kind of timeline are you looking at.” I wish I was there to see his face.

“Today.” I think I heard a cup hit the floor.

“That is not a lot of time for our due diligence Mr. Tomlinson.” I could hear the panic in his voice. He didn’t want to be a party to some failed venture of mine.

“Bob, I’ll be honest with you. I’m really not interested in the viability of the company although, on the surface, it does have strong possibilities. I want to purchase leverage over an employee of the firm.” I let that sink in. “He treated someone I love very badly, and I want to make sure he never does it again.”

“I don’t know if I can be involved in some blackmail scheme.” I have honest lawyers. Who knew?

“It’s my fiancé, Bob. It’s pretty personal.” I heard other things fall to the floor. Mia choked back another laugh.

“Mr. Tomlinson, this is kind of a surprise. A person of your stature should have contracts drawn up before considering a commitment like marriage.” I would never insult Mia with a pre-nup. I would rather she just kill me off if that was her will.

“Sorry Bob, I’m winging it on love alone.” Mia blew me a kiss. “Bob, meet my fiancé Mia Perez.” I heard more stuff falling to the floor.

“I’m sorry Ms. Perez. I didn’t want to insinuate you had any bad intentions.” He fumbled his way through the whole sentence. It was becoming a bad morning for him.

“I wouldn’t expect you to advise him any other way Bob.” Mia chimed in perfectly. “I for one appreciate your loyalty.” She paused for a moment. “This employee Dale was speaking about has a habit of tricking women on to his boat and forcing them to engage in sexual activity with numerous partners. I barely got away myself.”

“Ms. Perez, this sounds like a police matter. Possibly a lawsuit if he has any assets.” He was a good man and wasn’t interested in a roundabout route. I looked at Mia and shrugged my shoulders, informing her I didn’t care how much she told him. She sighed.

“Can I tell you something in confidence Bob?” She was looking intently at the phone.

“Yes. As your lawyer, you are entitled to my confidence.” I really wished I was in his office.

“A week ago, I was a prostitute addicted to heroin.” She didn’t even flinch. Our love was solid as a rock. There was silence on the other end. Not even breathing. “Bob?” Mia asked.

“Um… ah… I can see why involving the courts could be a bit problematic.” He started to recover. “May I ask what your intention is with respect to this employee?” He was trying to gage how deep he would have to go.

“I intend to hold his job over his head. He either stops these parties, or his family finds out why I fired him.” I took a breath. “He tricked me into purchasing the boat that Mia escaped in under the threat of grand theft. I will expect him donate an equivalent sum to a charity of our choice.”

“Legally, you can fire him for his illegal acts on or off the job. The forced donation is pushing into a darker realm of the law.” He paused, obviously thinking. “You say he has done this before?”

“He calls them ‘water bang parties.’ Frank Talbot researched it for us.” I thought adding Frank might ease his mind a bit.

“Well I never knew Frank to be incorrect. Is it possible for you to refer to the donation as a suggested repentance or some other similar phrasing?” Wow!, He’s good. Trying to stay just this side of the law.

“Now I know why Monica trusts you so much Bob. We will take your advice and make it a suggestion.” Mia was smiling. I think she liked Bob also. “Will you be able to run point?”

“I would be happy to.” He was satisfied we weren’t going to break the law.

“I don’t want any control, just a straight percentage interest in the company. I will speak to the CEO personally about the other issue. There is no need for you to get involved directly in the aspect. Just get me a phone call with him.” I was afraid Gem Works wouldn’t take me seriously if I cold-called them.

“I will call you back in an hour or two, Mr. Tomlinson.” He hung up and went to work. I took another sip of my coffee and looked at Mia.

“Having a lot of money is kind of exciting.” She smiled and sipped her own cup.

An hour and a half later Bob called back. “Brian Fitzgerald is waiting for you call, Mr. Tomlinson. He is looking for a five million dollar investment and he has agreed to a 30% ownership, which after a cursory look at the books seems to be proper.” He paused. “You will be the second largest holder. Mr. Fitzgerald will hold 42% after the sale.”

“Bob, you are the miracle worker we were looking for. I am going to close the deal, then you can finalize the paperwork.” I was very pleased with the results.

“Monica called this morning. She has gotten wind of you dealing directly with us. I suspect she is friends with the receptionist.” Bob seemed a bit strained by the change in protocol. “I haven’t called her back yet. Is she aware of what is happening?” Mia started giggling. I had to look away so I didn’t catch it.

 

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Sabrina – Surprise Visit – Part 2

I take her back to the Versa Spa spray tan machine. I show her where to put the barrier lotion. (Between the fingers, beds of the nails, palms, between the toes and soles of the feet.) That’s where you don’t want the solution to go. I show her how to wear the hair net. (Above the hairline so you don’t get a weird crescent on your forehead below your hairline.) Then I show her the four poses you have to do while getting sprayed. It looks like we’re “Vogueing” in the hallway together.

I tell her there’s a woman’s voice that will guide her through the whole process.

“How long is the process?”

“The whole session is only four minutes. If you can follow directions, you can get a great spray tan. Any questions?”

“I think I got it.”

“Then go to it Sabrina.”

In she goes, and I head back up to the front of the salon. I’m thinking how great Sabrina looks. She’s come a long way at thirty-four years of age. I remember she told me she was addicted for ten years! How did she survive and look as good as she does? That’s fucking heroin! I’m so proud of her!

Fifteen minutes later, lovely Sabrina emerges from Room 8 and approaches the counter. I tell her she has to stay dry for the next 6 hours. She thanks me profusely and gives me a hug.

She’s so sweet to me and tells me that she wants to go to Gran Caffe L’Aquila for dinner for her 1 year anniversary of sobriety.

I’m honored to be the man that will sit across the table from this beautiful woman on that day. (God, my blog has gotten so much better and so have I!)

Sabrina heads out and I wish her a Happy New Year and I remind her she must stay dry for the next six hours for the tan to develop.

——————————————————————–

Later Update: Sabrina wrote a glorious 5 Star Yelp review about me and our salon. (Better than money!)

I text her and thanked her and wished her a Happy New Year. She texted me back that she had done something bad.

I was terrified. Had she re-offended with drugs?

“What happened?”

“I slept with my ex.”

Oh… But technically you’re not divorced yet so you just slept with your husband.”

Oh yea.. Thank you for that. But now he’s not texting me or anything.”

“I know you said the sex was fire between you guys and I get that, but if you guys hooked up, I think that’s all it was.”

“Oh.”

“You’re relationship was toxic and dangerous for over 10 years. If you slept with him I think that’s all it was. I’m sorry. But steer clear so you don’t re-offend. He’s not going to get back to you because you can never go back to that toxic relationship that destroyed you. ”

“But…”

“No. Resist and stay sober. I hate the holidays.”

“But I…”

“I know Sabrina. Go forward. I know it’s hard, but let go of the bars of your addiction and walk out of your cell. You’re doing great.”

“Thank you! I love you and value our friendship! Hope you know I plan on being in your life for a long time.

What a lovely person.

“Promise? Because that’s what I want Sabrina!

“Thank you… Hey, I know what I did was wrong but because of my awesome spray tan I looked awesome naked thanks to you! (And thank you for that delicious visual, Sabrina!)

I love Sabrina and I would love to see more of her because she’s a beautiful person. Not just on the outside.

I can’t wait to see her again.

 

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Sabrina – Surprise Visit – Part 1

Sabrina texts me out of nowhere and wants to cash in her free spray tan.  She lives out-of-town but works down at Penn’s Landing at a marketing company. She loves her job and is doing great. I’m happy she’s doing well and has been sober for over 9 months.

She sees her kids every Saturday and is trying to get on better terms with her sort of ex husband. (They’re still legally married but have been split for over a year. But she refers to him as her Ex) According to her their marriage was toxic and she can’t be with him anymore. She lives in the house they own together but he pays the mortgage and I’m assuming some sort of support.

This is a woman I met at the salon with Jill. (See Jill – 2016 to Present – Client) Jill is an ex stripper/escort that can’t stop drinking. Sabrina met her in a halfway house and they have remained friends. Jill is a full-blown alcoholic and Sabrina is a drug addict. Jill told me Sabrina’s drug of choice was heroin but she’s done an amazing job rising from the ashes of her own destruction to live anew as a sober person.

Sabrina once told me that if she even took a sip of beer she’d be right back into it again. That’s addiction. But I know a few addicts that come in the salon that have been sober for decades and they are incredibly great people who have risen above and sustained their lives. Many are professional people like doctors and lawyers. Addiction doesn’t care who you are. It just tries to steal who you are and sledgehammer your life.

Jill is the one that told me that Sabrina wasn’t an alcoholic. She was heroin addict. But like I said, addiction is an insidious force that doesn’t choose between nationality, race, or social status. It just takes some of them.

I can drink wine every day and not lose my shit. It loosens my mind to write, kills my anxiety and depression, helps me sleep and is a social lubricant. But some people’s wiring just can’t take any foreign substances.

I could drink with someone who is an alcoholic and drink the same thing pound for pound all night long. I will maintain my buzz and go home and go to bed after a fun night.

They will in turn change in mood and personality. Lose their sense of time, sense, verbal ability, motor skills, and eventually black out and do bad things and never remember them. They will not destroy themselves. They’ll destroy everything and everyone around them. That’s addiction.

We’re all different. We all have the same chemical make up that makes us human, but all of our chemicals react differently to introduced to outside forces. Sometimes stimulation… sometimes absolute destruction. Booze is probably the worst because it’s legal and beloved by so many. Nobody high on marijuana ever aggressively hit a cop. A drunk guy who’s losing his shit with his wife would. The worst thing that happens when I’m around people who smoke pot is a boring endless story and I want a drink to get through listening to them.

Here’s the difference between weed and booze. I was friends with a great sensitive drummer named Rich back in the 80’s. He loved weed. I like booze. Here is the conversation when we’re banged up on our substances of choice walking down the street:

Rich: (Stoned) “Hey man… what if the color blue to me isn’t the same color blue to you?”

Me: (Whiskey) “I don’t fucking know. Check the crayon box, asshole.”

See the difference?

 

Anyway, my girl Sabrina wants to come in and get a spray tan. She’s middle eastern and is as brown as a penny and hot as hell, but her legs need color. I tell her we can help her. We can help anybody!

I’ll make all of you girls beautiful and tan. Leave it to me!

She says her legs are always covered and she wants to even out her look. I tell her the best way to do that is to go in a UV sunbed. Cover up the parts you don’t want tan and bake up your legs to match the rest of your delicious self.

Long term that would work for her. Her legs could catch up with the rest of her pretty brown skin.

But Sabrina wants to do a spray tan to just to even herself out and look good. I tell her it’s a temporary fix, but she’ll look great.

She comes in and we have a lovely chat. I tell her about my recent date with Bailey on Christmas Eve and how I’m seeing her again tonight  for some wine and Gelato when I close the salon. Sabrina is surprised and delighted that I’m going on a second date with Bailey. (See: Bailey – From Texting to Connection) 

She doesn’t know about Cherie so I tell her I adore her. “I can’t wait forever for you, Sabrina.” (Only half joking because I would totally love to date Sabrina and haven’t completely ruled out accomplishing that goal in the near future.)

“You’ll have to text me how it went! Have you kissed Bailey yet?”

“No. I hope to this evening.”

“You’ll have to text me if you do!”

She looks amazing and gorgeous. I wish she lived closer to the city so I could spend more time with her. I tell her how great she looks and how amazing her luxurious hair looks. She thanks me and attributes it to being sober.

I love that.

She tells me that Jill is about to be kicked out of her current residence because she’s drinking oceans of vodka and sleeping around. Jill is out of control. Sabrina tells me that Jill wants to come live with her.

I tell Sabrina the following: “You’ve been sober for 9 months. You see your kids. You have a great job now. You’re doing well. You can not bring Jill, the broken drunk into your house. EVER. You have to cut her off.”

Sabrina tells me that she can’t bring that shit into her house after finally getting clean and moving forward with her life. She’s going to have to have the “Talk” with Jill.

It’s sad because in Sabrina’s phone, Jill is still listed as “Roomie” from when they were in a halfway house. Sabrina has been an elegant Phoenix that has risen from the ashes of her own destruction, whereas Jill started drinking and whoring once she got out of rehab and the halfway house.

Jill is being kicked out of her present living situation because she can’t stop drinking and whoring.  Jill plows vodka and jumps from guy to guy. Screwing them and staying at their cribs until they kick her out. I’m sure she cares for her son but her behavior screams she doesn’t give a shit about him because she’s always loaded and riding cock somewhere, blackout drunk.

“The best place for her is to go back to the halfway house.”

Sweet Sabrina’s words ring like lovely bells on New Years day. The words from a mother that is struggling everyday to make her way in this life.

 

I’ll continue this story tomorrow…

 

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Tales of Rock: Elton John: I insisted ‘Rocketman’ film be honest about sex, drugs, rock and roll

Music icon Elton John says he insisted that the musical-fantasy biography “Rocketman,” opening Friday, be honest about his life’s sex, drugs and rock and roll.

During the movie’s long gestation, wrote John in an article Sunday for The Observer Magazine of the U.K. newspaper The Guardian, “Some studios wanted to tone down the sex and drugs so the film would get a PG-13 rating. But I just haven’t led a PG-13 rated life. I didn’t want a film packed with drugs and sex, but equally, everyone knows I had quite a lot of both during the ’70s and ’80s, so there didn’t seem to be much point in making a movie that implied that after every gig, I’d quietly gone back to my hotel room with only a glass of warm milk and the Gideon’s Bible for company.”

The film, eventually rated R, stars Taron Egerton as John and Jamie Bell as his longtime songwriting partner Bernie Taupin, whose numerous hits together include “Rocket Man,” “Daniel,” “Bennie and the Jets,” “Candle in the Wind” and “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.”

“[S]ome studios wanted us to lose the fantasy element and make a more straightforward biopic,” Rock & Roll Hall of Famer John continued, “but that was missing the point. Like I said, I lived in my own head a lot as a kid. And when my career took off, it took off in such a way that it almost didn’t seem real to me. I wasn’t an overnight success by any means … But when it happened, it went off like a missile: there’s a moment in ‘Rocketman’ when I’m playing onstage in the Troubadour club in LA and everything in the room starts levitating, me included, and honestly, that’s what it felt like.”

During that tumultuous period, he wrote, “I’d also lost my virginity, to a man — John Reid [played in the film by Richard Madden], who later became my manager — and come out as gay, at least to my friends and family. This all happened in the space of three weeks. To say it was a lot to take in is a terrible understatement.”

 

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The Beach House – Chapter 14

“It was a harbor boat. I was hired to take care of a guy on his yacht anchored in the harbor. I fucked him, and then we went to the deck for a break. I was naked and pretty stoned. There were six of his friends waiting for me when we got up there. He told me I had to take care of all of them, and I refused.” She sighed. “He got a hold of my purse and clothes and told me I wasn’t getting them back until they were all satisfied. When I refused again, he threw them overboard and told me they would just take what they wanted. Luckily, they were more drunk than I was stoned. I was able to get on his harbor boat and break away. That was my lowest point, Dale. When I knew I didn’t want to go on anymore.”

“Now I know everything. I don’t want you to leave me.” I was afraid she hated herself so much that happiness was hell for her.

“I don’t have anywhere else to go.” It was a cop out. My frustration was rising, and I knew it wouldn’t help the situation.

“If you want to leave, I will give you whatever money you need to start over. Do you love me or not?” I couldn’t believe I had just drawn a line in the sand. I was angry, frustrated, and scared of how she would answer. She turned back to me with wet eyes and nodded.

“Yes, I love you. I just don’t know how you could love me.” I smiled as a warmth filled my soul. I hadn’t lost her. I wrapped her in my arms and pulled her lips to mine. She responded slowly then added passion to match mine. I rolled her onto her back and held her face in my hands.

“For now, just accept that I do love you.” I smiled and kissed her face all over. “No more secrets, no more lies. You are mine, and I am yours.” I was back at her lips as she folded her hands gently around the back of my head and engaged my tongue. She ran her thigh up along mine and quickly separated her lips from mine.

“You’re covered in sand.” There was desire in her eyes. “How about the pool?” She was breathing hard. I had no idea how she moved from “don’t touch me” to “how about the pool.” All I knew is that I wanted her badly. My arousal was evident as I pulled her to her feet. We almost ran to the pool, trying not to let the mood weaken. I dropped my suit and dove in. I turned and watched the most adorable striptease. She had to peel herself out of her suit which required a few sexy shimmies and made her all the more desirable. I gave a wolf whistle as she finally pulled it down her legs. I received a sexy runway pose before she dove in after me.

Our lips met again in the shallows. Her breasts pressed into my chest as I ran my hands over her body not knowing where to touch first and not wanting to miss a part. My inexperience was evident as I explored. Mia tenderly grabbed my hand and moved it between her legs. “This is yours.” She whispered in my ear. “I don’t want any other man but you to touch it ever again.” It felt like my dick was trying to grow larger. As I let my hand explore between her legs. The folds were sensual, soft and slick. I ran a finger along the slit carefully feeling for the entrance. She opened for me and I slipped my finger into the warmest and most inviting embrace.

“You feel so beautiful.” I was mesmerized with her pussy. I had never taken the time to enjoy a woman so completely. Mia moaned as I explored her with my finger. I liked being the cause of the moan. I felt her hand around my hard-on, and my hips jerked a bit.

“I want you in me,” she said, looking into my eyes. I felt a twinge in my groin at that and knew I wouldn’t last long. I didn’t want to disappoint her, but she was just too damn hot. I removed my hand and fumbled my dick into position. I was a bit over excited and had trouble finding my way in. Mia smiled, and I felt her grab my cock and guide it toward Heaven. Her feet left the bottom of the pool, and she encircled my hips with her legs. The most wonderful sensation enveloped my shaft. She slowly took all of me while watching my eyes. I was trying desperately not to explode. I never wanted it to end. She looked so gorgeous hanging on my shoulders. Her hips moved to meet mine.

“Do you love me, Dale?” She knew the answer to that. She just wanted to hear it again.

“I love you, Mia.” I felt her hips grind into my groin. Her head tilted backward, and her smile warmed deliciously. My experience was irrelevant. My words were her aphrodisiac. “I want you more than anything.” Her hips were grinding involuntarily. I was trying desperately to hold back just a moment longer. “You are in my soul. I will love you forever.” Mia’s whole body began to shake, and her muscles tensed. I saw the veins in her neck enlarge as her hips ground harder and more sporadically. A sexy growl came from her lips which sent me over the top. I emptied into her again and again. I thought I would never stop as pleasure coursed through my body into the love of my life.

Mia pulled forward as her spasms subsided. My legs collapsed, and we fell backward underwater, her lips locked on mine. I thought she was going to smother me to death, she was squeezing so hard. She separated from me, and we rose back into the air. It was the single best experience of my life. “I really love swimming with you!” I couldn’t even attempt to shrink my grin. Everything about her was so exciting. Mia laughed and wrapped her arms around and through me.

“You were beyond perfect!” She kissed me on the lips. “I am yours, you know.” She kissed me on my nose and moved to my forehead then my cheeks. I held her close and whispered in her ear.

“No more doubts?” I didn’t want to ruin the mood, but I had to know.

“None at all.” I felt her smile against my cheek. My plan had one more step. It was an insane step, but my life had always been a bit insane.

“Marry me.” I said it clearly. I didn’t whisper. I wanted her to know I meant it. She pulled her head back and looked me in eyes.

“You’re serious.” It was a statement that didn’t require a response. I gave her one anyway.

“Absolutely serious.” I didn’t let my eyes drift away from hers. Without blinking, the word formed on her lips.

“Yes.” Her expression didn’t change. I felt she was waiting for me to withdraw the offer. I just smiled and gave her a tender kiss which she returned.

“Mia, my wife… I really like the sound of that,” I said when our lips parted. I think it hit her right then. I wasn’t pulling her chain. I had no fear of her past and no fear of our future. She melted into me and screamed into the air. She released all her fears with mine, and we emotionally entwined our futures.

The sliding glass door slammed open and Dr. Williams came running out. He had heard Mia’s scream and thought the worst. He slowed when he saw a naked entwined couple in the pool with smile-laden faces. “Whoa! not quite what I expected.” He said trying to cover his eyes. I could see a grin hidden behind his hand. Mia started laughing. What a wonderful laugh.

“You want to be really blown away?” Mia said with sparkling eyes.

“Nothing you two do will shock me anymore.” He sat on a pool chair which allowed the side of the pool to provide the necessary modesty.

“Mia has agreed to be my wife.” I watched his expression go through three or four emotions and then settle on happy.

“That is many levels of insane, but with you two, it just seems to fit.” He was smiling at both of us. He started laughing to himself. “Monica is going to shit when she hears this.” He started slapping his knee. “She was so pissed at you for screwing up her anniversary. She made me promise to make you do the heavy lifting, and she gave the clinic a lot of your money to make sure it happened.” He was having a hard time trying to control the laughter. “She said you wouldn’t last a day.” He was hysterical at this point. “She’s been waiting for your apology. Called me twice wondering why you weren’t begging for forgiveness.” He pointed at me. “What I wouldn’t give to see her face when she hears about this.”

“Honey, we really should do something nice for her and her husband. After all, you did screw up their anniversary.” Mia pulled me close smiling. I was fine with her being my social compass.

“We certainly owe her something for putting us together.” I squeezed Mia. “We’ll put our heads together and dream up something special.” I looked back at the doctor.

“Well, my work is done here. It’s been an absolute privilege working with you two.” He smiled as he stood up. We had drifted to the edge of the pool so he didn’t have to hide behind his hand. “I am truly happy for both of you. I just never saw it coming.” He held out the palm of his hand. “I’ll show myself out.” He was still chuckling as he walked back through the house. Mia shouted thanks as he disappeared inside.

“Well Mrs. Tomlinson, or Perez if you prefer, would you like some dinner?” I was steering her toward the stairs.

“Mrs. Tomlinson is indeed hungry.” She smiled at me as she followed.

We had a wonderful dinner of frozen crap. Mia and I decided that grocery shopping was first on the list for tomorrow. As we were cleaning up the plates, my phone buzzed. It was Frank.

“Frank, I am going to put you on speaker.” I wasn’t going to hide anything for Mia anymore. I placed the phone on the table. “Mia Perez is here with me.”

“I’m not sure I understand Mr. Tomlinson.” Frank was a bit confused. He didn’t expect to be talking with anyone but me.

“Mia, Frank is the one who I had looking into your past. I suspect he has information about the boat incident to report.”

“Hi Frank.” Mia smiled at me. I think she was happy that I didn’t take the call privately.

“Hello, Ms. Perez.” Frank stuttered a bit.

“Frank, I hired you to clear up some issues between Mia and myself so I could talk her into marrying me.” I heard a cough on the other side of the line. “She has already told me what happened on the boat and has agreed to be my wife.”

“Ahh, congratulations!?” It sounded more like a question.

“I think we may have caught you off guard Frank. I told Dale everything. I am sure the gentleman on the boat may spin it a bit differently but, the gist will be the same.” Mia scooted next to me and gave me a peck on the cheek.

“Sorry, I am not used to working for couples with so much trust. Kind of comes with the job.” He was getting on his feet again. “The yacht is owned by a Walter Patterson. It was his son Thomas Patterson who hired you, Ms. Perez, for his evening’s entertainment.” He paused to make sure that I was fully aware of the events. “It seems that Mr. Patterson has a habit of renegotiating his agreements with his entertainers once he has them on his father’s boat. You are not the first one he has done this to.” He coughed a bit. “I apologize, Ms. Perez, but he calls them his ‘water bang parties.’ He has some like-minded friends who frequent the events.”

“What a bastard!” Mia had grim look on her face. “I thought it was a spur of the moment thing. You say he planned to share me with his friends?”

“Yes ma’am. A rather distraught young man, Kyle Gladstone, filled me in. He was on board and had no idea that you had not previously agreed. Mr. Patterson controls his job prospects. He spent a good twenty minutes telling me how ashamed he was for not telling the police.”

“Tall blonde kid, funny glasses?” Mia asked.

“That describes him pretty well.” Frank added. Mia looked at me.

“He got in the way of the other guys when I made for the harbor boat. I think he got in over his head,” Mia injected.

“That was my feeling also. Both Mr. Patterson and Mr. Gladstone work for a small chemical outfit called Gem Works.” Frank sighed, “I don’t think you should have bought him a new boat, Mr. Tomlinson. They would have dropped the charges just to keep the incident quiet and avoid jail time themselves.”

“How much did I pay for the boat?” I was beginning to devise a bit of payback. I heard paper shuffling on the other end.

“$33,781 according to the invoice Bob sent me.” I wrote down the number and a few other notes.

“Thanks, Frank. Your service has been very valuable to me.” I was getting use to thanking people.

“Thanks, Frank. I appreciate your careful choice of words.” Mia smiled at the phone.

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, Ms Perez. Congratulations on your engagement.” He disconnected. I really liked Frank. He was a no bullshit guy who seemed to care for his clients. I was hoping I could use him again in the future.

“I suddenly don’t like Mr. Thomas Patterson.” I said with a mischievous smile. “What do you say we try to put an end to his water bang parties.”

 

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The Beach House – Chapter 13

“I’m not going to like what you did, am I?” She was holding back tears. I could see pain forming in her face. I thought she was going to let it drop. She fooled me with her smiles during the climb back to the house.

“I’m really hoping you don’t hate me for it.” I was getting scared. Why did I have to hit that asshole?

“Are you going to tell me if I ask?” She was looking down at the floor. Her voice was becoming halting as she sensed the direction things were going.

“Yes. It will hurt us, though.” Maybe she will let it slide for awhile longer. I really thought it would come out better later. She was shaking a bit.

“Where were you?” Today was not going to be a good day. I just prayed that we would survive it.

“Your stuff from you old apartment is in my car.” I couldn’t say it directly. I figured if I spoke in generalities it would sound milder. I was wrong. She let go of me and covered her eyes. I could see her cheeks reddening as the tears began to flow. I reach out to her and she slapped my hand away. She didn’t leave, which surprised me.

“How much do you know?” She wanted everything right now. I wasn’t sure my heart could take her pain. I hesitated and pulled away from her a bit. “How much?” she repeated. I wasn’t going to lie.

“Just about everything.” I said it slowly with as much compassion as I could muster. I knew it wasn’t going to be enough. She dropped her hands from her face and stood up away from me. I looked into the most pained face in the world. Tears were pouring out of her eyes.

“I never wanted you to know me like that.” She was screaming at me. “That stupid boat was supposed to blow up.” She was pointing to the beach as she got louder. “Why didn’t the fucking thing just blow up?” She yelled as she started to back away. I reached out toward and she slapped my hand away again. “Don’t you fucking touch me!” It sounded evil and hurt my ears. “You’re just looking for you own private live-in whore, aren’t you?” I tried to answer, but she interrupted. “You couldn’t buy this whore for all your money.” She ran towards the back of the house. “All you fucking assholes are the same.” I heard the bedroom door slam. I had lost her.

It took everything I had not to run and hide on the beach. I knew that if I let her leave the house, she would be dead within a week. I called Dr. Williams and told him everything.

“Don’t let her leave. Tie her up if you have to. I should be there in thirty minutes.” He never said I told you so. I had to respect him for that. Luckily, Mia never left the bedroom.

“Where is she?” Bob didn’t even say hello.

“In the bedroom. I think she locked herself in.” He started running.

“Anything sharp in there?” He was clinical. I was horribly panicked. We reached the door and it was locked. Bob knocked on the door loudly. “Mia, it’s Dr. Williams.” There was no answer. He didn’t knock again. Wally took a few steps back and shouldered the door with all he had. I heard the frame split as the door flew open. Mia was on the bed in a fetal position. He grabbed her hands quickly and checked the wrists and felt her pulse. “Did you take anything Mia?” He was speaking forcible.

“The only things in this God-damned house are vitamins!” She yelled back at him. He stood up and walked back to me.

“She’s fine. Go outside and stay away for a while.” He gave me a compassionate smile and pushed me on my way. I went down to the beach. I couldn’t believe I had screwed everything up. I would never find anyone like her again.

The umbrella was only half shading the lounger. It needed to be moved again. I really hated that umbrella. I yanked it out of the sand and throw it toward the rock wall. It wasn’t enough. I leaned the shaft against one of the rocks and jumped on it. The wood snapped in half. I pulled the metal spines backward over the top and ripped the fabric. I found I was able to break each half of the shaft into smaller pieces. I tore the fabric completely off the spines and threw it into the water. I bent the metal spines into crooked ball and tossed in after the cloth. I still didn’t feel better.

I moved to the edge of the ocean and lay down half in, half out of the water. I let the late afternoon sun attack my skin as I waited for the tide to come in and wash me out to sea. It was an hour before I realized the tide was going out. I prayed for a school of jellyfish instead. It hit me then. My life before Mia. To never see her in my house again. To be alone again. I curled into a ball and wished for death. Not even the waves could sooth me anymore.

I felt and heard someone sit down next to me. I was afraid to roll over and look.

“I killed my family. I am a heroin addict. I am a prostitute. I tried to kill myself on your beach, and I screwed that up to.” She was speaking quietly, saner, although what she was saying sounded insane. “In the movies, the boat always blows up when it hits the rocks.” I rolled over and I knew there were tears in my eyes.

“You’re going to leave me, aren’t you?” I tried to sound like I was in control of myself. I am sure I failed.

“You killed the umbrella.” Why wasn’t she answering?

“I hated it. Are you leaving?” I asked again. I hadn’t received the “yes” I was expecting.

“Doc says you love me. How can you love what I am?” She hasn’t made her decision yet. At least there was still hope.

“You’re asking me to care about who you were. I only care about who you are.” I sat up in the sand. “I have no idea why I love you. I just do. The moment you curled into my chair on the beach, I was yours.” I threw a handful of sand into the water. “I liked that you were alone too. It’s sad, but I was attracted to that.”

“How did you hurt your hand?” She kept moving the subject around. She was trying to think.

“Your landlord said something rude and I swung without thinking.” I didn’t think she needed to know the whole conversation.

“What did he say?” She wasn’t going to let me hide anything.

“He told me that you didn’t pay with money and he didn’t want a blowjob from me.” It felt really bad telling her the truth. It sounded worse than when he said it. She looked away from me for a second. I think she was trying not to cry.

“Why didn’t he kill you?” She was under no illusion that I would win in a fair fight.

“His greed overtook his pride. He now has a completely different opinion of you.” I knew what the next question was and I didn’t make her ask. “Five grand.”

“I won’t let you go broke trying to fix my past.” She really had no concept of my net worth. “You don’t have enough money to buy off everyone I ever screwed.” Yes I did, but I kept it to myself.

“I just wanted you to have your stuff back. You must have pictures of Adrian which are worth more than a lousy five thousand.” I hoped I didn’t just buy back garbage. She wiped a tear that leaked out of her eye.

“Thank you. There are some things I didn’t want to lose.” I was glad it wasn’t a total wasted trip. We sat in silence for a while. There was one more thing I needed to know and I preferred for her to tell me.

“Why did you steal the boat?” I looked at her, and she didn’t even flinch. She looked out into the ocean where the fading sun meet the waves.

“Are you sure you want to know?” She didn’t really want to tell me anymore than I wanted to discuss the landlord.

“Someone is looking into it for me, but I would prefer if you told me.” She closed her eyes and let out a long breath.

 

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The Beach House – Chapter 10

I woke before Mia. I felt much better than I did when I crawled into bed. Mia was still there, and she had slept all night. I carefully pulled my tingling arm from under her neck. She smiled in her sleep, but the even breathing continued. I rose slowly, quietly donned some boxers, and left the room. What I needed was some coffee and space to think. Mia thought her secrets were going to come between us. She could have raped and murdered the pope for all I cared, but it was her thoughts that counted, not mine. The only way past this was to find out what her secrets were and prove to her that I didn’t give a shit. It was past eight so I grabbed my phone and headed outside out of earshot.

“Hi this is Dale Tomlinson. I would like to talk with whoever handles my account.” The receptionist sounded pleasant enough.

“No, I am sure Monica is fine. I just need to know who handles my account.” I guess letting Monica handle everything was a bit extreme.

“Then Bob Farring is who I need to speak with please.” This type of conversation used to piss me off. Today I empathized with the receptionist’s confusion.

“Hi Bob, this is Dale Tomlinson.” Finally I had the right person.

“No, Monica is just fine.” I guess Monica was pretty ingrained into my business.

“You guys use investigators, right?” Now we were moving in the right direction.

“Good! I want you to do a discreet background check on someone for me. Her name is Mia Perez, and I believe she lives somewhere in downtown Capersfield. I know she used to be an RN.” I waited for Bob to write it all down.

“No, not a whole life history. Just her current address, employment, what she’s done for the last few years, etc.” Her long past was probably cleaner than mine. I just needed the more current data.

“Bob, no one but you and the investigator will know about this. Bill it any way you want, but keep it private.” I wasn’t shocked by his next question.

“No, Monica doesn’t need to know about this either. Send me a text when you have what I need, and I will call when I can.” Bob was still a little surprised to deal with me directly.

“Thanks, Bob! You have a good day too.” I wasn’t sure why I felt the need to be pleasant. I went back in the house and started to make some coffee. I knew I had to keep this from Mia. I was betraying her trust and digging into what she wanted hidden. Love makes you do some really fucked-up things.

Mia followed the smell of the coffee into the kitchen. She was again wearing my robe. I was beginning to hate that robe. “Would you like a cup of coffee?” I asked as I sipped from my cup. She thought about it for a moment, then shook her head no.

“I don’t think I’m ready for java just yet. Maybe tomorrow.” She pulled up a stool and sat across the counter from me.

“You slept the whole night. Got to be a good sign.” I gave her a small smile. I was still a little nervous that I might have pushed the envelope too far last night.

“I do feel better.” She smiled back. “Do we have any cereal?” I almost jumped out of my skin. I didn’t think she even knew she used the word “we.” I started looking through the cabinets, trying not to look too ecstatic, not wanting a replay of last night.

“Here! I found Raisin Bran and Cinnamon Chex.” I felt like I had found gold.

“Oh, Chex please.” I went to the fridge, praying that Monica had stocked milk. I found 2%, well under the expiration date. I placed milk and Chex in front of Mia and fished out a bowl and spoon. Why had cereal suddenly become so exciting? Dr. Williams’s conversation came back to me, and I grabbed the vitamins from behind me and placed them in front of Mia.

“Doctor’s orders.” I think I sounded a little motherly. She just smiled and popped the cap and dumped one into her hand. It was the size of a VW. She frowned a bit.

“I’m going to need some water.” She rolled it around in her hand. I quickly retrieved a glass and filled it with water. It struck me that the last person I had ever served anything too was my Grandma. Here I was, grabbing items on command for Mia. I kept the revelation to myself as I watched Mia struggle to swallow the horse pill. She made a horrendous face.

“Do they dip those is shit before they bottle them?” She gagged a couple of times before she took another sip of the water. I laughed at her reaction, which I quickly realized was the wrong thing to do. She pushed the bottle toward me smiling.

“You need your vitamins too, Dale.” It was an obvious challenge. I had no intention of wimping out in front of Mia. I grabbed the bottle with bravado and spilled a pill into my hand. I tossed it to the back of my throat where it immediately got stuck. The flavor began to spread from the back of my tongue to the front. “Shit” was a kind description of the flavor. I guess my expression told the story because Mia burst into laughter. I grabbed her glass of water and drank with gusto. Anything to get that rancid flavor out of my mouth.

“That was horrible!” I exclaimed as Mia covered her mouth trying to hide more laughter. I loved her laughter. It brightened the whole room. I had to find a less disgusting way to generate more. “You have some breakfast. I’m going to clean up and shave so we can go shopping.” I walked around the counter and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. It felt good to share a bit of affection on a whim.

“Aren’t you going to eat?” She seemed a little concerned.

“Naw, never been a breakfast person.” I kept going toward the bathroom. It took about 20 minutes to clean up and locate some sweats that might not make Mia look like a complete fool. I had some T-shirts that had shrunk a while ago. I had no idea why I didn’t throw them away years ago. Good thing I didn’t. They might be the only things that would come close to fitting Mia.

My nose grabbed hold of pleasant scent. I was suddenly hungry, and I smiled my way back to the kitchen. Mia was stirring a pot of SpaghettiOs and heard me walking up behind her. “I have no idea why you and Adrian like this stuff.” I could feel her smile through the back of her head. I sat at the counter.

“It’s packed with memories. I grew up on the stuff.” I waited patiently why Mia filled a bowl and served me.

“Your mom make it for you too?” She leaned on her elbows as I ate the first spoonful. It was as good as ever.

“My grandmother raised me actually.” I smiled, remembering coming home from school with the same scent lofting through the air.

“Tell me about her.” Mia settled on a stool and waited for me to respond. I did. I told her about the most special woman I had ever known. I had never really talked to anyone about my Grandma. Mia listened intently to my words. I left out some of the reasons why I thought of my Grandma’s place as sanctuary. They seemed trivial now. It was so important a week ago, but today, right now, they were just history.

“Is that her on the wall?” Mia was pointing to the small picture hanging above the credenza in the hall.

“Yes, that’s her.” I felt proud pointing it out to someone. She was such a wonderful woman. Mia walked up to the picture and looked at it more closely. It pleased me that someone else would notice the picture.

“I love the butterfly broach she’s wearing.” Mia was touching it with her finger like it was real.

“It was her favorite.” I realized I kind of missed that broach. “Whenever she wore it, I knew she was happy. I think my Grandpa gave it to her.” I wondered where it was now. “I bet it’s in storage somewhere, Monica would know. She is the one who set up the hospice and the funeral and took care of everything.” I had forgotten about that. “That’s when I first met Monica.”

“Your Grandma must have loved you a lot.” Mia stated the obvious as she returned to the kitchen.

“And I her.” I added as I spooned another bit of heaven in my mouth. “It was hard when I lost her.” I didn’t know why I added the last part. I never really shared my feelings about her death with anyone.

“I hope our memories never die.” Mia was staring off into space.

“They never will as long as SpaghettiOs exist.” I smiled and took another spoonful. I could see that Mia liked that thought, stupid as it was. She reached out and caressed my cheek.

“I like the sound of that.” She smiled and started toward the bedroom. “I going to get cleaned up.” I finished my SpaghettiOs.

Mia returned wearing sweat pants obviously too big for her, cinched tight at the waist. She was wearing a pair of my flip flops, the only footwear that even came close to fitting. The T-shirt would never work. It was quite evident that she wasn’t wearing a bra. She went back and returned with two T-shirts on. That was much better. At least her nipples weren’t advertising. Mia thought my concern was silly, but she humored me with the additional shirt.

 

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