I was lucky enough to own my own business, not too bad for someone who was an art major in college.
It wasn't glamorous, it wouldn't land me in the Fortune Five Hundred, but it satisfied me and I made a pretty decent living. Enough, in fact, that my wife didn't have to work if she didn't want to.
That was exactly what she did for the first five years, but when I started talking about biological clocks, she decided she needed to do something outside the home, something to fill the empty space and give her a sense of fulfillment. I personally thought that was a pretty good description of motherhood, but wisely refrained from mentioning it.
To quote my father, Bree[I still have trouble keeping a straight face, I mean really, Bree? Isn't that some kind of cheese?] was and still is a 'babydoll'. Tall, willowy, with enough curves to not ever be mistaken for a male, long blonde hair, sparkling blue eyes, and lips that I can attest are very kissable. In short, she was the whole package.
Chiropractors should have put her on retainer, every time she walked down the street guys got whiplash watching her come and go. It took a little getting used to, being with her.
I like to think I was no slouch either. Six two, one ninety five, muscled thanks to my gym addiction. Women have told me I'm handsome. Not in the male model type handsome, but real world looks. One woman I dated said I had a face that looked lived in, but that particular life had been very kind to me. Black hair I kept a little longer than Bree liked, and grey eyes. When we met I had a goatee, but she wanted me to shave it off. I didn't really want to, but she offered a compromise. If I got rid of the facial hair, she would do the same with her pubic hair. I've been clean shaven ever since.
We didn't meet in a bar, or at college. Not at church, or a blind date, or at a party. We met when I needed a model, which she did part time. She was too healthy looking to be in the top tier, but made good money doing ads for upscale department stores. She had that glamorous yet real world look. Attainable, but just barely.
To speed things along, we dated after her commitment to me was over, discovered we fit really well. Seven months down the road I asked her to move in, eight months later we were standing in church, pledging lifelong love and fidelity.
She worked for about a year after we married, then decided to retire to help design and build our dream house. And by ours, I meant hers. I really didn't care, as long as there were enough bedrooms and the roof didn't leak. It cost quite a bit to get it exactly the way she wanted it, but her happiness was worth it. And she dangled the carrot of children out to me, saying it was why she wanted a four bedroom house.
My business had been well established by the time we got married, but I made sure the payments were affordable with a large amount down. We had a serious discussion about money before we married, making sure she knew that while I made good money, I had no desire to spend it all as fast it came in. In fact, my lawyer was firm in asking me to get a prenup excluding the business.
We discussed it, and while she wasn't wild about it, she understood. Except for the business, everything was included. She had her own prenupt, stating that all monies she got from modeling was exempt. My lawyer thought it was unfair, but I knew she wasn't going to model forever, so it didn't matter.
My business? Don't you dare laugh, but I printed tee shirts.
It started out as a lot of businesses do, as a hobby. And a bit of a joke.
As I stated, I was an art major. Not exactly a ticket to the fast track of business success, but I was never really motivated by money. I wanted to make it, of course, wanted to live well and provide for the family I hoped to have someday, but vacation homes and jetsetting around the world in private Lear jets was never on my agenda.
It was near graduation, and while my friends had sent resumes and interned, I painted. My work was to put it kindly, eccentric. I saw things most people never bothered to look for, and painted them. I never expected to make money at it, mostly it was for my own pleasure.
We were joking around one night the start of our senior year. Most of my friends were business majors or prelaw, oddly I found artistic types a little flighty. The women tended to be anorexic prima donnas, or earth mother wannabes who never owned a razor. The guys would try to pull off being brooding and enigmatic. Most of the time it came off as whiny and shallow. While they loved art, they lacked focus when it came to real world skills. Many were from wealthy families, where making a living wasn't exactly a pressing necessity.
Like I said, we were joking around, and it came around to clothes. I tended to wear sturdy clothes because who needed to paint in an Armani? I leaned towards Carrhart, Columbia, LL Bean, that sort of thing. My favorite shirts in the whole world were made by LL Bean, a tee with three buttons. They looked like the top of an old fashioned union suit, especially the gray ones. It caused me a lot of grief, especially among the 'pre' crowd, who were destined to live and die in a suit.
"So, Chris, what kind of a job you gonna land that lets you wear those clothes? Janitor, dock worker, landscaper? That'll make that college degree worthwhile, huh."
The speaker, J. Aston Brown IV[J. Ahole to us], was probably my best friend. Coming from money, running towards money, determined to knock down anything that gets in his way. He was focused to the point of obsession, determined to make Daddy Trey proud. I had met his dad, and could understand why.
J. liked to keep me around because I didn't take anything seriously, and wouldn't let him. I had talked him into a lot over the last three years, some things his Dad even approved of. Plus I took a lot of heat for things that were mostly his idea. We all knew one day we'd be reading about him in the paper, or watching him on television.
"I'll think of something," I said dismissively, wondering the whole time what it would be. I had angled towards something in graphic design, but there wasn't a lot out there.
Then J. said something that set the course of my life.
"Too bad there isn't jobs for a tee shirt designer. You'd make a fortune."
Just for fun, I'd hand painted a tee shirt for him.
"Shreagle" It proclaimed across the top. It was a shark head with bared teeth on top of the body of an eagle, talons extended, as it swooped down on the masses.
"Criminal? Cheater? Politician? When the time comes, and it will, call the Shreagles. We'll rip them to pieces and chew up what's left."
His dad liked it so much I had to paint one for him.
I thought about what he said for a week or so. I had been kicking around an idea modeled on the 'Big Johnson' tees that were so popular at the time.
Taking a chance, I bought a couple dozen tees and painted them as prototypes.
The first one showed a caricature of a doctor on the front of the shirt. He was short, bald, wearing an oversized lab coat and thick black frame glasses. He had jug ears and a goofy grin. He was holding an oversized toilet plunger.
"Dr. Knockers' Patented Breast Expander. Treatment Guaranteed or we'll give your small breasts back," read the logo.
The back showed a small breasted blond going into an exam room in one panel, the doctor straddling her with the plunger in silhouette in the middle, and the same blond with enormous breasts leaving the clinic in the last.
Another design showed the same doctor, holding a double headed, gigantic plunger.
"Dr. Knockers' Bubble Butt Treatment. Ghetto Quality Booty Guaranteed In One Easy Treatment."
You can imagine the images on the back.
I gave them out to my friends, calling them my focus group. Nothing funnier than seeing future lawyers, doctors, and business magnates wearing them to parties and around town.
While I had them together, I probed them for feedback. They were all positive. J. even got his dad involved. They had me out to their small[mansion]home on the cape for the weekend. Sunday found us in his study, presumably to watch football.
"These logos," J. Trey said, "Are they protected?"
I didn't understand and it showed on my face.
"Have you had them registered? Do you own them? If you don't, someone else could print them and you couldn't stop them. I have a friend in the office, he could fill out the paperwork and walk you through it, as a favor to me. For a private individual it's fairly inexpensive."
"Thanks," I grinned. "Inexpensive is exactly what I need. But I need to think about this. Even if I protect them, I have to come up with the money to have them printed."
"Why don't you print them yourself?"
I looked at J.
"Because I don't have the money or the expertise."
"Here," said his dad, handing me a card.
"It's a nonprofit organization designed to help small businesses get off the ground. They're patterned after the micro loan program for women in third world countries. You get a small amount, paid back over a long period of time. I volunteer my legal services from time to time. They're really particular, it's a source of pride than no loan they have given since they started ten years ago has ever defaulted."
I was amazed, and had a million questions. J.Trey held up his hand.
"Ask them, not me. I've spoken to them, you're expected, so call and set up an appointment. And make sure you have a damn good business plan before you meet. Now, let's drink some beer and watch New Orleans kick the shit out of the Giants."
I turned to my focus group for help, and of course they competed with each other to make sure I had a good plan and answers for the expected questions. J. and Leslie, who was soon off to Wharton, came with me for moral support.
The interview went well. I answered all the questions as well as I could, thanking my friends mentally for their prep work. In the end, I was given forty five thousand dollars, to be paid back over the next fifteen years, starting when the second year of the business was concluded.
We had done a lot of research, and determined that internet sales would be my primary focus, along with two 'retail outlets' at local flea markets. It was the perfect venue for me. Open only on the weekends when I was available to work without interfering with my school work.
I had rented a small building, where I installed a few pieces of equipment to premake some of the shirts for the email business, and to stock the flea market stalls. Both locations were set up with small transfer presses, allowing the customer to get the color and print they wanted. We would also do custom work, for a slightly larger fee.
The 'Dr Knocker' series really took off. I sold more than twenty thousand of each of the first two designs in the first year. I was netting just over two fifty for each tee. Between that and my internet sales, I cleared close to a hundred fifty grand the first year.
I'd like to say I partied and blew the money, but my own conservative nature and my friends kept me in check. I did take my focus group on a nice weekend trip to a Texas beach, where we let loose and howled at the moon for three days. The highlight of the trip was sharing my room with Leslie. She was hot, energetic, and more than willing.
I had never been with an Asian girl before. She was Korean, with that timeless beauty some Oriental women had. Unless she let herself get out of shape, she'd be just as beautiful at sixty as she was now.
"I'm not going to fall in love with you, Chris, but you are cute and I've always kind of had a thing for you. So, let's just have some fun, all right?"
The fact that she said that while wiggling out of her tiny bikini didn't leave me with a lot of blood flowing to my brain, so I was more than all right with it.
Her breasts and nipples were small, but after I sucked on them for a few minutes they swelled just a little, and her nipples were hard enough to cut glass with. I slid down her tummy, licking her navel a second before I got to my destination.
Her pubic hair, what little there was of it, looked and felt like shiny black strands of soft silk. I probed with my tongue, finding her tiny little clit and lashing it with enthusiasm until she wrapped her legs round my head and tried to drown me. I never stopped, even when she tried to pull me up, and before five minutes were up she was screaming my name again. I rose straight up and slid into her. She was so tight I don't think I would have gotten in if it hadn't been for the abundance of lubricant she had produced.
My sudden entry had taken her breath, and she didn't get it back until almost five minutes of steady pounding, managing to scream my name again as she came for the third time in twenty minutes. Ten minutes later she was begging me to hold on so we could finish together. I did, but it was a close thing.
We spent a lot of the weekend in bed. She gave me a big kiss as we were packing to leave, sighing.
"This weekend was great, Chris. I'm glad I'll be leaving soon. You're a very good lover, and I could easily get addicted to you."
I didn't know what to say so I just kissed her back and thanked her for a weekend I'd never forget.
I set aside thirty grand to live on, and put the rest back into the business.
My first year after graduation saw my business steadily growing. J. Treys' firm decided to sponsor some little league teams, one at each of their four branches. He had me design the logo and print the shirts for his team. After viewing my work the other branches gave me their business also. Word of mouth advertising worked well for me, and soon I was doing high schools and a few small colleges. It meant I had to put in newer, more sophisticated equipment to meet their needs, and I had to hire two people to help me keep up.
By the third year I had to lease a bigger space for my expanding business. I now had sixteen full time workers, and a mini shift of six college kids.
That didn't count the girls I got to run my stalls at the flea markets. At one time I thought about closing them, but they were just too profitable, and it still gave me a little thrill to see one of my products being worn around town.
I was always thinking about new designs for shirts. Some flopped, many did just so so, but some were big hits.
Some were just shirts with a slogan.
"I KNOW WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED," and "THE RUMORS ARE TRUE" were very good sellers. So was one that featured a set of female eyes across the chest with "AT LEAST WE'RE MAKING EYE CONTACT".
But my best seller ever was 'The Bitty Cocker Bitch Off' series.
The models for my first shirt were my Mom and Dad. I didn't think they'd go for it but after I explained what I wanted they thought it would be, in the words of my father, "a hoot".
I used stuff from thrift stores to create an accurate depiction of a kitchen from the sixties.
A formica topped table, green appliances, old cabinets. My dad sat at the table in a 'wifebeater' t shirt, reading a paper with a cup of coffee beside him. He was bald, a trait that so far I hadn't inherited.
My mom was wearing a dress appropriate to the era, her hair wrapped in a kerchief, holding a rolling pin, a scowl on her face, mouth open.
The caption read 'Champion, Senior Division, Bitty Cocker Bitch Offs, 1965'.
It took off like a rocket. Soon I had them done in junior and regular divisions, using the correct age models. The one for people in their thirties featured a woman standing at a kitchen counter in a nice dress holding a martini glass and pointing her finger at the man, sitting on a bar stool with a phone pressed to his ear. The young one showed a girl in her late teens waving an Iphone at a boy wearing earbuds and holding a skateboard.
What really helped was I had picked up the right equipment, and for an extra ten bucks you could email the faces you wanted put on the figures, AFTER we got a signed release.
I had to dedicate three people to the project to keep up with demand.
This idea came up right after Bree decided to go back to modeling. I had always used the agency she was with for my models. We had a good relationship, established when Bree worked for them the first time. She was to be the model for my 'Bitch Off' series. She suggested we use one of the male models she worked with, even though I wanted to be in it.
I didn't like the guy. Brandon was tall, blonde, blue eyed, with a rock hard body and an attitude. I put him in a suit and slicked his hair back, to match how Bree was dressed. He complained, wanting to take his shirt off.
The people doing the shoot were serious professionals, used to dealing with prima donnas and difficult people.
"Fine, Brandon. Take the suit off. You're done. This isn't the showcase Brandon shoot, this is a give the customer what he wants shoot. I'll have Mack come in."
Mack was his biggest rival in the agency and there was no love lost between them. When I would see them together in a print ad, they would be smiling, acting like they were best friends. Often Bree and a couple more of the women would be in them too, often on one arm or another.
Brandon immediately stopped whining and the shoot continued.
"Is he always this whiny?" I asked Bree that night. She giggled.
"Mostly. But he's a decent guy, when he isn't trying to hog the spotlight."
She had been back to modeling about six months, and was doing a lot of print ads for local department stores. Twenty eight now, she wasn't the willowy teen she was when she started out. Her body was more filled out, 'lush' is the word that came to mind. They put in a lot of ads as a young mom, paradoxically.
She seemed a little nervous, and I knew from experience all I had to do was wait.
"Honey," she said, "I have an opportunity to do some work for a major chain, something that would get me national exposure."
"What's the catch?"
There had to be one or she wouldn't be so nervous.
"They do all their shoots in Atlanta. I'd have to go for at least a week every quarter to shoot the next seasons' layout."
"And part of it is lingerie. Nothing too risque, teddies, bras, bikini panties. What do you think?"
She had done underwear shoots while we were getting together. I wasn't fond of it but learned to accept it. I actually went to one. It was interesting, there wasn't a lot of modesty, models were running everywhere, stripping bras and panties off as they went to hurry into the next set. I asked her later if she did the same when I wasn't around. She admitted she did.
"You saw it. There's nothing sexual about it. Those guys had seen more naked women than a strip club owner. All they're interested in is getting set up for the next shot."
Then she giggled.
"You can always tell the new guys. They look like they're in shock for the first few days, before they get used to it. And remember honey, all they get to do is look. You're the only one allowed to touch."
I learned to live with it.
"All right. It'll a good opportunity for you, and every time I see an ad, I'll grin, knowing what's under those sexy things."
Judging from the loving I got, it was a good answer.
And it wasn't like I was a prude. We went on vacation at least twice a year, and squeezed in a few weekends. We almost always hit a nude beach, no tan lines for us.
I took the time that Bree was away the first time to paint, something as a business owner I didn't get to do as often as I would like. I'd go into work, make sure everything was going smoothly, and leave for the day.
My friends told me I looked at the world through different eyes. As I said before, I saw things others never noticed. Once, when we were traveling, we stopped to get gas and I had to use the facilities. The floor was painted gray, a long time ago. It was worn, the paint gone in many places. I looked down, idly, and before I knew it had my phone out taking pictures. It became one of my favorite paintings.
A silhouette. Of dogs.
They were sitting on a hill. A large hound with its' head thrown back and mouth open, obviously howling. Beside and below it was a bulldog and a Scottish terrier. It was done in blacks, greys, and deep blues, with a yellow full moon hanging in the top right corner. A few cacti and undulating hills as background. It was quite soothing to look at, in my opinion.
I was working on a portrait of an ogre. It was actually a piece of driftwood I had picked up while at a friends' house. He had some river frontage, and we walked down to play with his dogs. I saw it sticking out of the sand, and pulled it loose. A stump of a small tree, the roots twisted in all directions. The water and sand had smoothed and shaped it. Luckily it was small, about twelve inches around and two feet long. It sat in my studio, staring at me.
One large horn and several smaller ones, the tangled roots like coarse hair obscuring one eye, the other the hollowed socket of a dead branch. A mouth from a gouged out bit of bark, a severe, slanting gash. I gave his skin a bark like texture because it fit. Instead of looking frightening, it came out with a look of sadness. Maybe he wasn't happy being an ogre. Who knows. I just painted what I saw.
I finished it in two days, and started on my next. Got the idea from a huge plastic container that had contained a piece of equipment I bought. It was medium blue, old, scarred, battered.
As I looked at the swirls in the plastic, a pattern emerged. A huge owl, with large eyebrows. Perched on one eyebrow was a wizard, at least in my eyes. The owl ended up looking fierce, the small wizard, long beard flowing, equally fierce. I did it in muted blues and greys, except the wizard had a white beard, and his staff had a emerald, translucent tip.
Bree came home, happy with her trip, and horny as hell. We lived in the bed for two days, something we hadn't done for a while. She was an excellent lover, giving, demanding, in equal amounts. We had done every position we could think of, or read about. She really liked being tied up, and while we did anal once in awhile, it was not a favorite. She really liked reverse cowgirl, if I spanked her occasionally while she rode me. I liked doggy, reaching around to play with her breasts, tugging on her nipples from time to time. She orgasmed almost every time I pulled. Sometimes I think she would have liked it a bit rougher, but it just wasn't me.
I got my next idea for a shirt while we were at our favorite nude resort in Florida. We had just finished making love. I was spent, but for some reason good sex seemed to energize Bree.
She was bouncing around, standing on the balcony looking down. She had leaned over the railing, and I knew her thirty four c breasts were hanging almost straight out. I almost got another erection, despite having just gone three times in two hours.
I was watching her heart shaped ass, the evidence of our lovemaking still plain, when I had a vision. Hopping up, I walked out, pulled her upright, cupped her breasts, and gave her a huge kiss. She responded quite nicely, then pulled back.
"What was that for?"
"For being my muse. Come on."
I pulled out my laptop, and went hunting for what I wanted, explaining to her as I went. After she stopped laughing, she couldn't wait.
I went to a costume suppliers, and ordered a dozen sets of large bunny ears in pink, and a matching number of large, puffy tails. Called her agency and explained what I wanted. After SHE stopped laughing, she said she'd line everything up for next week. It wouldn't take long at all to shoot it.
I also ordered a dozen thongs in hot pink.
The agency had the set ready. A large picture of the ocean, with a wooden fence placed in front of it. The models came out, and it was impossible to keep a straight face. Six attractive women and five buff men, in pink thongs and huge bunny ears, the large pink cottontail at the back of their thongs. Everybody just looked at each other and burst out laughing, everyone except Brandon.
"This is fucking embarrassing."
"Relax," said the photographer, "We're doing back views, nobody will see your face. You knew what was going to happen when you agreed to do it. You're getting paid, remember? Now relax, we'll be done in half an hour."
The girls had matching strapless tops on. The photographer had them line up boy girl boy girl, and took a few shots. Then he did a few of the women alone, then the men. They all put robes on while we checked the work.
Bree was holding my hand, watching.
"You know, it'd look sexier if the girls were topless and the thongs were a little tighter on the guys."
I agreed, but was reluctant.
"This isn't what they signed on for."
"Explain it to them, up their fee twenty five percent. I bet they'll go along with it. Besides, it's back views, no one will ever see our faces. I'll go ask."
Before I could stop her she was talking to the girls. A few giggled, then casually dropped their tops. One, newly married, refused, but the rest were all in. Bree looked me in the eye, then dropped hers. Her nipples, in fact all the nipples, were hard. I don't really think it was because the set was cool.
The photos were more erotic, I had to admit. The thongs on the men had been pulled up so tight you almost couldn't see the strap.
Then Brandon dropped his thong.
"This'll really look sexy."
Bree was right behind him. Soon they were all naked. I made absolutely sure her face could not be seen in any of the pictures, although there was some shots where the sides of her boobs were plain to see.
In for a dime, in for a dollar, I thought.
"All right, turn around."
No one hesitated but Bree.
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, but hold on."
I had bought some pink bunny masks before deciding not to use them. The models for the most part didn't care, although a few of the girls seemed grateful, especially after I told them I was doubling their fees.
We all collapsed into laughter again when they had to glue the bunny tails on.
Bree dragged me into an office as soon as the shoot was over. She threw open her robe. It was all she was wearing, except the cottontail. She bent over the desk.
"Do me! Now!"
She was almost dripping and I was hard as a rock.
There was no love, no finesse, no words of endearment. Just grunts and moans as we slammed into each other as hard as we could. She just barely made it when I felt it coming.
I almost screamed, it was so intense. I ended up draped over her, holding my weight off of her, barely. Bree was panting like she had just finished a marathon.
"That was the most intense thing I've ever felt." she gasped.
"Yes it was. Let's go home and continue this."
We left, holding hands. Five days later I got a bill from the account manager for office cleaning. I paid it without comment.
'Beach Bunnies', took off immediately. All four versions stayed hot for months.
The nude beach we frequented found out I was behind the shot and owned the company that printed the tees, and we got a visit from management the next time we were there.
"Is it true this is yours?" he said, holding up the nude tee.
We admitted it was.
"I have a proposition for you. We're starting an ad campaign promoting our beaches. We have five in three different countries, and we want to use your shirts in the campaign. You'll have to do some more poses to advertise, bunnies on the beach, in our clubs, that sort of thing. Can you handle it?"
I was surprised, but immediately saw the value.
"Let me get the head of the ad agency we use in the loop. She does all my work and I trust them. Can you get the decision makers to meet here next week?"
He seemed agreeable, but said they had their own ad company.
"Then don't bother. Part of the deal will be them doing the work. I owe them."
It was true. They had given me some really good deals, and I wasn't that big a customer. Sherry, the owner, had always liked me, and I trusted her instincts. And I wanted my lawyer and new business manager in on it, to make sure I didn't screw up.
Ah. My new business manager. An old friend.
Leslie had come back into my life a few months back. She had graduated, gotten a good job, gotten married. We went to her wedding. J. and I were ushers. We both agreed we didn't like her hew husband, but it wasn't our life.
Two years later her company went bankrupt following a near Ponzi like venture, and she threw her husband out after catching him with another woman. And man.
Disgusted, she came home, living with J. and his wife for a month.
"Beach Bunnies" was so popular we had to expand into a larger building and hire more workers. We now had forty full time and twelve part time workers, again not counting the flea market stalls. The business had outgrown me and I knew it.
I asked Leslie for help, and since she didn't have anything else to do[nobody was hiring]she jumped right in. After thinking about it and talking it over with Bree and J., I offered her a job. General manager and chief operating officer. Seventy five thousand a year, with promises that if she stayed, as the business grew her salary would reflect it. She surprised us by accepting. It was about half what she had made, but it was the best offer she'd gotten, and she loved a challenge. If she grew us, it would look good on her record later.
I was going to handle the creative aspect, designing the tees. That wouldn't keep me busy all the time, but I would try to fill the time with new projects.
The next week Sherry, Leslie, J. and his wife accompanied us to the meeting. I had warned them beforehand it was at a nude resort, but I don't think they really expected that much nudity.
We had gone down two days early, so Sherry could tour the facilities and get a feel for what they wanted. At first they all wore bathing suits. The clients and staff knew who we were, and left us alone.
Leslie took one look, grinned, and packed her bikinis up. She still had a killer body. I think it made Bree a little nervous.
"She's cute. Have you ever..."
"Bree, have I ever asked you about past relationships? Respect that I'm loyal to you, I'd never betray you. Isn't that enough?"
She agreed it was, but I saw her and Leslie together later, and they were laughing.
"So, I heard you rode more than horses when you were in Texas."
They both burst out laughing at the look on my face. After that, Bree and Leslie were almost inseparable. I was glad she had someone to hang with, I was tied up in meetings. Leslie had to attend, but Amy, J.s' wife kept her company. She could never quite work up the nerve to drop her bottom, but she was topless the rest of the time we spent there.
J. and Sherry were the last two holdouts, but when we hit the club that night and the alcohol flowed, inhibitions flew out the window. Sherry called us the next morning wondering if we had rescued her dress from the night before. After I stopped laughing I told her we had. When we knocked on her door to return it, she answered it naked. I had to admit for forty six she had a really good body.
J. got naked, drank too much to cover his nervousness, and passed out that afternoon, ending up sunburned. He was quite uncomfortable on the flight home.
Besides expanding my friends' horizons and views on nudity, we made a very nice deal. Sherry got the contract, Leslie looked out for our interests, and Bree was the unofficial coordinator.
They had shots of the bunnies frolicking on the beach and in the water, dancing in the clubs[Bunny Hopping, what did you expect]and hiking one of the nature trails in Costa Rica. I wanted to call that one Jungle Bunnies, but got voted down. I did come up with one that sold well out of the country, but because of child nudity laws couldn't be used in this country. And they all wore elaborate satin masks, no one ever saw a face.
It featured Bree and Brandon surrounded by ten children around three with tiny ears and tails. Baby Bunnies was a smash. The logo was "See What Happens When You Come To Our Resort? You End Up Like ... Well The Picture Speaks For Its' Self"
And their mothers and fathers, members of the resorts, were all on set, just to keep the peace. Both Bree and Brandon had to pose for pictures, and both got groped. The parents got a nice check.
The campaign took two months to shoot. Sherry and crew became gypsies, spending all their time flying about setting up shoots. I got to see Bree four times, and I had to fly to each shoot to do it.
The first three times she cried in my arms, and we made love most of the times she wasn't on set. They got the occasional day off, but spent it doing PR for the resort. They were paid handsomely, but they didn't get any rest.
The last time I flew down, I was shocked. She had lost weight, and went to sleep as soon as we got into our room. After two days, she revived a bit, but seem withdrawn. I had a fit, threatening to pull my permission unless they slacked up. They were almost done, so they did one more shoot and gave everyone three days off. I had already flown home by then.
They came home tired and subdued. It was four days before Bree was back to normal. She seemed tentative the first time we made love. I asked her afterwards if something was wrong. She said she just hadn't recovered yet.
Her star was ascending in the modeling world. She was too old and well developed to ever hit the top and knew it, but catalog and print models make pretty decent money, and she got picked up by a national chain, and they had her doing television ads seen all over the country. I was glad for her, but she was gone a lot more, something I didn't care for. She laughed.
"Honey, in three or four years I'll be down to doing stuff aimed at middle aged women, with saggy boobs and big butts. Let me enjoy it, and make as much as I can while I can."
"All right, just make sure your biological clock doesn't run out. We agreed on two, remember?"
She was pushing thirty, just out of the danger zone.
She never really answered me.
I really couldn't complain. I was just as busy as she was.
The best thing I'd ever done was hire Leslie. She was smart, motivated, and a great negotiator. All our standard lines were doing well, and she had gotten us into licensed printing. Thanks to an old contact she had in the television industry we were doing shirts for a few of his shows. We had a hundred ten full time employees, and were looking for a larger location.
She had located and purchased a three story office building close to the factory, had it renovated, and had two floors up for lease. It was a good investment. We kept the top floor. Leslie got the big corner office, and I had the opposite corner made into a combination office/studio.
Things were going great. I was successful beyond my wildest expectations, Bree was doing well in her career, we had a tight group of really good friends, I was happy.
Then I wasn't.
It was an accident I found out, but that's usually how it happens. Very few spouses come to you and say "How was your day, honey? By the way, I'm fucking other people, but just while I'm away. You don't mind, do you?"
It was an impulse stop, I was near their offices so I stopped in to see Sherry, I needed her for a few days to do some new stuff. Normally I would have just called, but I thought I might catch Bree and have some lunch.
Her office was at the end of a long corridor, past the sets. They needed new space and she was looking, but in the mean time equipment lined every hallway.
I could hear the loud voices through the open door.
"You've got to stop this! It'll kill him if he finds out. You're not just risking your marriage here. Besides being a good friend, he's a client, and he's brought us his friends when they needed something. Think about what you're doing here!"
Wow. Sounded like trouble in paradise. Then again, models had a notoriously high divorce rate. I don't know if it's because all models are a bit narcissistic by nature, or the travel schedules and pressures inherent with the job, but it happened far too regularly. Bree was always telling me about one of her friends splitting from their spouse.
"Relax, Sherry. It only happens when I'm out of town, and it doesn't mean anything. It just helps relieve the stress."
Then she giggled.
"And it's a lot of fun. He'll never know."
I knew that giggle, and that voice. Bree.
"It's not right, Bree. You know how much he loves you, if he does find out, it'll be bad, really bad. I can't believe what you're risking for a little physical gratification."
"Again, there's no way he'll find out. But in the almost impossible chance that it happens, he loves me to much not to forgive me. Oh, I'll have to kiss his ass for awhile, be a good little wifey, but eventually he'll calm down, he knows he can't live without me. And of course, I'd stop immediately."
She giggle again.
"Besides, it's not a little gratification, it's a lot."
I heard Sherry sigh.
"I hope you're right. But I deal with him as a business person, and he can be quite rigid at times. The best thing you could do is stop. But, Bree, if you don't, and he finds out, don't be surprised if he puts you out on your ass. Plus, I'll have no choice but to drop you to keep his business."
"Oh, Sherry, you won't drop me. I'm one of your best. This means nothing. I still love him heart and soul. We're going to grow old together. In a year or so I'm going to retire, give him a baby. He'll get what he wants, I'll still have a husband I love, plus some memories I can secretly treasure. I'll have the best of all worlds."
I knew better than to go into that office. I could feel the rage building in me, and it would be very, very ugly if I confronted her now. I could still hear them arguing as I walked away.
I passed Sherry's assistant. When I saw him, I pulled out my phone and started talking.
"Yeah, yeah. I'll be right there. I wish you'd have told me sooner. Bye."
I looked at him.
"Hi, Allen. Do me a favor. I was going to take Bree to lunch, but something came up, something I have to take care of. Tell Bree I stopped by, and I'll see her later."
"Sure man, not a problem."
I hopped into my pickup, the big V8 making the tires squeal as I pulled out. A pickup isn't something most artists of businessmen drive, but my dad had always had one and I liked them.