Sheila stood at my office door smiling at me. “Pardon me for making an observation, but you are very different today. I don’t know what happened to you over the weekend, but … well, you’ve changed — in a good way, of course.”
I tried to sound gruff, my usual business-as-usual demeanor; “What’s that supposed to mean?” I frowned in her direction to discourage any derision.
She laughed, confident that she was one of only a very few people that could get away with laughing at me, “Well, you’re smiling more, you’re easier to get along with, and you seem to have noticed at least a dozen nice things about me and the others in the office since you arrived. Now, THAT’s unusual, and very nice, I might add. The whole time I’ve known you I don’t think you ever complimented me six times in one morning until today.”
I confessed, “Well, … I had another date with Elsa. I’m seriously interested in her … and this is a ‘no tease’ zone.” In the eight years since I’d hired Sheila she had become so much more than a vital aide; she was my confidant and source of wisdom, especially when it came to interpersonal relationships, be they with men or women.
Sheila knew I dated occasionally, and even knew from my throwaway comments that I’d had a couple of disastrous relationships in my early twenties. Other than those, this was the first time I’d mentioned any kind of a love interest. I’d even studiously avoided second or third dates with women.
Sheila grinned, “Well, it’s about time. You two seemed so nice together when I first met her, although she was sad about her breakup.”
“Oh, she’s better than fine now. I think I’m in love with her, and the feeling seems mutual.”
She teased, “And you’ve screened her for gold digging, of course?”
I frowned. “I did; Andy and Lucas helped. Now that I know her, she’d never do that. Besides, right now, she doesn’t even know I’m who I am.”
Sheila frowned, “What do you mean?”
“I haven’t even hinted that I have money, or that I am anything other than a mid-level guy who works for this company.”
Sheila rolled her eyes, “Oh boy! You are on very thin ice, Boss,” Sheila stated coldly with her head cocked to one side. “A relationship is built on trust and openness. You’re hiding things from her. She won’t like that.” Sheila’s use of the term ‘Boss’ was a signal about her unhappiness with what I was doing.
I shook my head, “No, I think she’ll understand why … that I had to be sure it wasn’t about my money and status.”
Sheila headed for the door, “Well, you’d better tell her very soon.”
I was left thinking about that for a minute, but then I had a video conference call with our Silicon Valley plant about some quality control issues and a lot of finger pointing.
I got Andy, my chief of staff and aide, to find me a great resort on the river and to outfit the place in a way that would make it a romantic hideaway for a day-and-a-half. He filled me in on the details on the flight back to our headquarters from Toronto on Friday night. Security had gone down that morning to check the place out and secure a perimeter.
Once on the ground, I traded cars and drove Andy’s son’s Jeep to my condo, so I’d have it the next morning. I liked the car and decided I’d make them an offer for it. Driving the open car would frustrate my security detail, but I was getting tired of hiding away. I wanted some fun. I deserved some fun. I had worked sixteen to eighteen hours a day for twenty years. Something had to change.
When I got to my condo, my butler-valet had already prepared a roll-on suitcase for me filled with casual clothes and some beach attire. The valise sat open for my review on a chrome luggage rack just outside my walk-in closet. A number of the items were brand new. After swapping a couple of things, I was set for the weekend.
I picked Elsa up Saturday morning at nine o’clock, per plan, and at noon we were a hundred miles away sitting in a riverside dive called the Fish Shack having fish and chips. She loved the accommodations, but worried about the price of things. I assured her that I could afford the fried fish, knowing that she had been referring to the rental mansion and not the food. I further told her that I was good for the money and not to worry, but she did. I figured I’d tell her about me later in the day when we weren’t in public.
We walked the riverside beach path back to the rental house, changed into swimsuits and went back out. We laid out towels in the sand and then went frolicking into the chilly water. Back on the towels, we started to canoodle, and that led to some discreet petting, and then we went inside the rental house and made love for the rest of the afternoon, even falling asleep in each other’s arms for a short nap.
We did dinner at an upscale restaurant we could walk to. When I’d talked to Andy about this place, he suggested I advance order our meals, so when we arrived we just sat down, and the wine and other courses just arrived per plan. Elsa was pleased and impressed, plus I’d had the chef prepare her favorite beef dish — a beef bourguignon in a red wine sauce that just made the meal melt in your mouth it was so succulent.
Elsa had stars in her eyes, when we finished and went back to the house. We made love twice more, and then slept together for the first time. In between, there were a lot of words about love and forever from each of us. I could have sworn that our hearts started to beat in time with one another we were becoming so close to each other.
I doubted I could love anybody more than I felt about Elsa, and she told me the feeling was more than mutual. This train was speeding down the tracks. We even teased each other about who loved whom more. I felt everything was heading in the right direction.
Sunday morning I awoke with my cock halfway down Elsa’s throat as she honored me with a wakeup blowjob. I tried to get her to sixty-nine with me, or change to a fuck, but she declared between superb sucking that she wanted to do this for me.
She told me, “You should know that I am not a goody-goody all of the time. I was naughty on and off in the past — mostly on. I am highly sexual, but we haven’t talked about that. I want to be exciting for you. With you, I want to mate and fuck and make love all the time. I’ve never felt this way about anybody. I want to be so romantic and slutty for you at the same time. I want you to take me every way you want that pleases you. Now, lie back and let me suck you off. You have a beautiful big cock and you taste good.”
Elsa amazed me, bringing me to the brink of an explosive orgasm and then backing me down. She’d toss in a little dirty talk — something about my wonderful cock, or the taste of me, or how she eventually wanted my shaft up her VJ or ass, and then repeated the action. Eventually, she devoured everything I had, and I nearly blasted her off of the bed I was so horny and ready by the time I climaxed. She was truly phenomenal. I’d had blowjobs before, even by some very high priced escorts, but Elsa was superb in her skills and technique bar none.
We had the makings for breakfast, and a joint effort produced some French toast, scrambled eggs, and bacon, along with juice and coffee. She was amazed the house had been stocked so well for us. I had always been a stickler for detail and so was Andy; he’d done a masterful job for me.
We walked the river after breakfast, hugging and kissing every fifty feet, and then spent the rest of the time in bed until it was time for us to leave.
Back at Elsa’s apartment, I helped her in with her suitcase, and then we made love yet again. We were insatiable for each other.
Knowing we both had to get to work the next morning, I reluctantly left her bed at midnight.
Sheila accosted me Monday morning as she gave me my coffee. “So, how did Elsa take the news that you’re a multi-billionaire and the head of Worthington Industries?”
I mumbled, “I didn’t tell her. The time just went by so quickly, we were busy, and I never found an opening.”
Sheila scolded, “Mark! The longer you wait, the harder it’ll be, and the worse her reaction. Can you tell her tonight?”
I shook my head, “You know my schedule. I’ll be in Denver by bedtime, and then from there on to Tokyo again until I get back on Saturday.”
“You HAVE to tell her on Saturday.”
“I will. I will. Now, get off my back. You’re not my mother. Where’s my seven o’clock?”
I floated through the week on Cloud Number Nine. I was so elated I don’t think my feet ever touched the ground. I could barely wait to see Mark again on Saturday. He even sent me flowers — again! — and kept sending me little ‘I’m thinking of you’ messages all week. I knew he really must be thinking of me. I sent back lots of ‘ILY’ messages to him too, and even some sexy ones promising another great blowjob and hoping to have his cock so far inside me that he could see it when I opened my mouth. I hoped he liked dirty texts and slutty talk. I was only scratching the surface of what I could say and do.
He brought dinner to me on Saturday, when I thought we’d be going out. I’m not sure how he got it all to my front door, but after he knocked and I opened the door, I found him there with several bottles of expensive wine, a carafe of coffee (my favorite blend), and a tray with two covered dinners on it — hot and ready to serve.
I helped him get everything inside, and then I jumped into his arms and smothered him in kisses. We gulped down our food and drink, and then rechristened my bed. We were exhausted by midnight, but I did get him to sleep with me. We were so in love with each other. I thought the world was perfect, and he was at the center of my universe.
Mark was up at six a.m., apologizing about having to leave. He had another trip and had to catch a plane to Europe. He even mumbled something about a late dinner that evening in London with Lord Somebody or Other. Suddenly, he was gone, and I was left in a huge romantic fog. I smiled all day. I called Cindy, and she came over. The two of us gossiped and compared notes all day long. She milked every last detail about having sex with Mark from me too, and I was more than willing to share. Cindy and I were both oversexed, plus we’d had a number of shared fantasies that involved each other and various men who’d come into our lives.
After sending me two-dozen pink roses again, he called me on Thursday evening and asked if I had a formal gown. I didn’t. I owned various cocktail dresses, but no ball gown. The last time I’d worn one had been to my high school prom over a decade earlier. Since then I’d changed shape a little with a nicer ass, larger tits, and a thinner body thanks to my exercise regime.
Mark asked that I go to a boutique store in the city called Serendipity. He specifically requested that I be there at five o’clock Friday afternoon, and I agreed but wondered why. After work, I took an Uber car across town, and walked into the store right at five.
An older clerk named Elena expected me, and to my surprise led me right to the back of the store for a private fitting. There near the changing rooms on a large screen TV in the waiting area was Mark. He was in some distant European city in Holland; whose name I brushed aside because I was so glad to see him. He explained more, since he had time to talk.
On Saturday evening, he wanted me to accompany him to a charity ball. The dress was black tie for the men, and ball gowns for the women. Since I didn’t have a gown, he was going to help me buy one that pleased both of us. I was all for it, but wondered aloud about the cost. Mark told me it was a business expense, and not to worry; I was not to spend a cent, but he did want to be sure I was happy and appropriately dressed for the occasion. I frowned a bit as I tried to figure out the implications of that statement. I’d sensed he was a bit of a control freak, but this seemed an extension of that line of thinking into my territory.
Elena diverted my attention, leading me into a fitting room. I stepped into a strapless watermelon colored floor length gown that fit me like a glove. This had been Mark’s selection, but Elena told me there were others I could look at. The dress was positively beautiful. My boobs were just the right size to carry off the cleavage without looking like I was trolling for cock, as I was fully capable of doing in some of my cocktail dresses. The empire waist made my hips look perfect and not a bit as I thought of them as needing to shed a few inches. The hand-stitched embroidery on the gown was magnificent. Elena also produced some matching shoes. The heels were high and I worried, but they fit perfectly and felt heavenly to wear; I could dance all night in them without blisters — unlike many of my shoes.
Elena paraded me back out in front of the video conference set up. Mark was reviewing and signing some papers with someone when I looked at the screen. Elena announced me to him. “Mr. Worthington, your young lady is ready, I believe.”
I heard the name, but figured I’d heard her incorrectly since Elena had a Slavic accent. Mark seemed more important than I had realized, at least that was how he appeared on the video link. My radar was all screwed up because this whole shopping scene was so unusual and with Mark on the teleconference, it was bizarre.
Mark raved about the gown and how I looked in it. He mentioned a strand of pearls and a tennis bracelet. The items appeared instantly.
I asked, “How much?”
Elena blushed and avoid the question. “It has all been covered, even the jewelry. Don’t even think of asking me again.” She glanced furtively at the TV screen as she answered. I felt she’d been schooled to avoid saying anything about the cost of any of this. I wondered why.
I turned to ask Mark, but I saw Andy beside him talking in a low voice I couldn’t hear and pointing to some of the pages on the table. I asked, “Mark, what is this all about? How can you do this? What’s really happening?” I guess in asking those questions I knew something was amiss; I just couldn’t put my finger on it.
Mark looked up at his TV screen obviously. “Elsa, I’m so sorry I have to run. The plane is waiting for me. I will pick you up at your apartment Saturday at seven o’clock. The cocktail hour at this event lasts until eight, and then we have a sit down dinner. There’s dancing afterwards. You will be the belle of the ball. I’m so glad you’re coming with me.”
Mark teased with a broad smile, “You could even call this is your coming out party.” Andy nudged him in the shoulder. “I have to run. Sorry to break off. I love you. Good night darling.”
At that the screen went blank and the video call ended. I was speechless; standing there in what I knew was a very expensive piece of clothing with quite a few questions. I still loved Mark, but questions had emerged that I needed answers for.
I turned to Elena. She firmly instructed, “Change back to your clothes. We will have this wrapped and ready to go in only a few minutes. I’m to get you safely home with this, so relax. We have a special sedan car waiting for you.”
I went back to the dressing room and changed back to my office garb. I went from feeling special to feeling mundane. Maybe it was what Cinderella felt a few seconds after midnight when her ball gown changed back to the rags her stepsisters insisted she wear. I wondered how Mark could afford this, or even get it written off at his place of work.
I waited a few minutes at the front of the store while Elena packed up the dress. I looked at some of the other merchandise. This was the most expensive dress store I’d ever been in. The least expensive dress I could find was over two thousand dollars. I really had questions.
I emailed and texted Mark as I stood there, at first hinting and then bluntly stating that there seemed to be a number of things he hadn’t told me. I wasn’t sure what they were, or even how to frame the questions to find out.
I didn’t hear back from him, except a couple of brief texts: ‘Thinking of you,’ and ‘I love you.’
Saturday afternoon, my sister Cindy had come over to visit and help me get ready for the ball. I opened up the wrapping over the dress that had been hanging in my bedroom since I got home the night before. I told her about my strange feelings about Mark and his buying me the dress, and she agreed that something was weird.
As we unwrapped the gown, I found the pearl necklace and tennis bracelet, along with an expensive matching clutch purse in a genuine Gucci accessory bag also on the hanger. I hadn’t even seen the purse at the store, but it complemented the dress perfectly.
Cindy looked at each item in shock and then studied the dress. She let out a low whistle. “Sis, this dress is an original Oscar de la Renta — Holy shit! I mean this thing is handmade, like this is the original, one and only. I bet this thing cost over ten thousand and probably a lot more. The tennis bracelet is real diamonds, and given their size and cut, I’d say that’s worth about five or ten grand. The purse is quite a few hundred, and the pearls are real too — I’d say another five grand.”
I plopped down on the bed with a deep frown, “What the hell?” I’d felt that there was money wrapped up in this ensemble, but I had no idea of the amounts involved until Cindy said something. How could Mark justify this as a business expense, and even if it was this was way over the top? As the thought unfolded, those expensive dinners with the outrageously priced wine came to mind.
Cindy said, “Oh, wait, I forgot the shoes — Good God, they’re Jimmy Choo’s. Add in another thousand or two. They’re top of the line.” She studied the items and added, “These are either hot or they’re the best knock-offs I’ve ever seen.
“I can’t wear this stuff. My God, if I lose something, I’ll be paying for it for half of my career, and what if I spill something on the dress?”
The more obvious questions then started to come to me, “Moreover, what is Mark trying to pull off with me — on me? He said this was a charity ball of some kind. This is like high society stuff — the highest society. I’ve never even dreamed of anything like this.”
Cindy leapt across the room to my computer. “I’ll look it up.”
I stood in front of a mirror trying on the pearls and bracelet and admiring myself in them, but worried about more and more each second. I wondered if Cindy had been right about the prices. Couldn’t they make costume jewelry look like the real stuff these days? I held up the tennis bracelet and admired the sparkles in the real diamonds. I’d never held something so expensive.
A couple of minutes later, Cindy whistled again from in front of my computer. She said over and over at least a dozen times, “Holy shit,” and then in a very loud voice, “HOLY FUCKING SHIT, SIS, YOU’RE DATING A BILLIONAIRE!”
I whirled across the room to her side, “What? What do you mean? Show me.”
Cindy flipped back a page on the computer’s browser, “Tonight’s ball is to benefit Doctors Without Borders International. The attendees are the high rollers of society in the state, not just the city. My God, Bon Jovi is performing as part of the entertainment … and then Billy Joel. Wow! This is a really serious high-end event.” She jabbed her finger at the screen, “Look! It’s $15,000 a seat minimum.”
Cindy flipped a couple of browser pages and said, “But … look at this.” She flipped forward another web page, and there was a photograph of my Mark, only his last name wasn’t Worth it was Worthington. I choked and teared up. She pointed to the paragraphs beneath. I read the first couple of sentences of the accompanying article:
One distinguished guest at the DWBI Ball will be multi-billionaire Mark Worthington. He has already pledged ten million dollars to DWBI this year, and is encouraging his business associates to match or exceed his generous donations. Blah Blah Blah.
Mr. Worthington will be escorting Ms. Elsa Conners to the Ball. Ms. Conners comes from upstate New York, and works at Darwin Architects.
I ignored the rest of the text and paced around the room; my temperature rose WAY past the boiling point. I’d been mad at Malcolm, but this FAR exceeded how I’d felt about him. I started stomping around the room as I cursed and cussed like I’d never done before; seasoned sailors would have blushed I was so angry. Every other word became fucking this or fucking that, mostly dealing with Mark’s character.
Further, I felt burned by another asshole guy again. Malcolm had done it so he could go find himself. Mark had kept the truth from me. Obviously, he thought I might be a gold digger, so he’d kept himself behind a veil of lies and misrepresentations. And, FUCK ALL, I’d slept with him. I’d had sex with him — a lot. The lying bastard! I’d even let myself fall in love with him. I thought we had a future together.
I turned to Cindy and curtly said, “Put everything back in the packaging, and help me wrap the gown up just the way it was.”
She asked, “What are you going to do?”
“Well, when Mr. Mark-Fucking-Billionaire-Worthington comes to pick up his date, he will find I’m not here, but his dress and accoutrements are. I’m giving them back and I never want to see him again.”
Fifteen minutes later I hung the dress and the accessory bag from my front door on a make shift hook from an old wire coat hanger. Pinned to the wrap over the dress was a note:
Dear Mr. Worthington — you deceitful bastard,
You lied and misrepresented yourself to me. Well, fuck off and take your dress and stuff with you. I told you the truth and most everything there is to know about me, but you didn’t think enough of me to do the same. A little selfish and egotistical, don’t you think — not characteristics I like in a man, and I believe I told you that several times. I hope I made you squirm in your lies.
Go find someone else to wear your gown, and to be your dress up toy. It’s not me. I am not a kept woman. I don’t need you, and I can’t be bought for any amount of money. I regret our ever meeting. Please do not contact me again.
Cindy and I dressed in dark clothes and a few minutes before seven o’clock we went and sat on the darkened doorstep of a vacant building across the street three doors down from my apartment building to watch what happened. We couldn’t be seen.
Exactly at seven o’clock, the longest, shiniest, blackest stretch limousine I’d ever seen pulled to a stop in front of my apartment complex. The driver raced around the car and opened the door, and Mark emerged from it, and walked into my building. He was wearing a tuxedo and carrying a corsage in a clear plastic box.
Cindy and I counted off the seconds it would take him to reach my door and find the dress. She narrated the scene that was probably taking place. “He’s walking up to your door, puzzled because he can see the dress hanging there in the bag. He’s read the note twice by now, and is knocking on the door. He sees the remnants of the flowers he sent you yesterday trampled on the doormat. He’s worried now. Of course, he can see through the peep hole that all is dark inside. He’s not sure what to do about the dress and bag. You’re cellphone will now ring.”
Right on cue, my cell phone rang. The caller ID read ‘Mark Worth’ and I realized it always had. The ‘ington’ of his name was too long for the caller ID display, so it truncated his name. I silenced the phone.
A moment later I got a text: ‘Elsa, please talk to me. Let me explain. I love you.’
I texted back, ‘What part of Goodbye don’t you understand? There is no adequate explanation you can give. Don’t bother calling or texting again.’ I waited a second and sent a second text to him, ‘I forgot to tell you to go fuck yourself.’
Mark appeared a moment later at the door, and stood and scanned the street in both directions. He looked up at my windows from outside, and could see that there were no lights on inside. The chauffeur was right there, and accepted the flowers from Mark. He turned and went back inside, and returned a moment later with the dress and accessory bag. The driver took them and carefully put them in the trunk of the car, and Mark got in the limo. The long car slid away as we watched from the shadows.