They had been married for six years and went together for a year before that. After all that time she knew her husband inside and out. He wasn't going to like it. Still ... she had to try. It was such a worthwhile cause. Even if he didn't like it, it was for charity; really ... how could he say no?
She'd been rehearsing ever since her friend told her about the event earlier that day. She had it all planned out. She waited until after dinner and everything was quiet. His stomach was full and he should be a little mellow from the wine; the time was right.
"Jerry, do you have a minute to talk?"
"Yeah, sure, honey. What's up?" he said while putting the TV remote down on the coffee table. With a pat of his hand, he scooted over to give his beautiful wife room to sit next to him on the couch. "You have my full attention," he said with a smile.
Marcy sat down and flashed her big green eyes in his direction. "Well, you know ever since mom died of breast Cancer last year, I've wanted to do something for charity."
"Yeah, honey, and I think it's a good idea," he responded.
"Well, I've got a chance to raise some money for Cancer research next month. Emmy, my friend from work, did it last year. She raised eight hundred dollars and said it was a lot of fun. She's going to do it again this year and I'd like to do it with her, but I'm afraid you won't like it."
"How much is it going to cost me?" he asked with caution.
"Nothing, honey; not a cent."
"I like it already," he joked. "If it's not going to cost me anything, why wouldn't I like it?" he asked with a slight chuckle.
"It, ah ... it involves going on a date," she sheepishly replied.
"A date; what do you mean, a date?"
"Um, well, it's not really a date, date; it's just dinner and maybe some dancing."
"You lost me," he said, looking a little confused. "We go out to dinner, then go someplace to dance ... how do you raise the money for the charity?"
"No, no, honey," she quickly replied. "It wouldn't be us. I'd be going out with someone else."
"Someone else ... who?" She was right in the first place; Jerry suddenly wasn't liking this at all.
"Whoever bids the highest," she responded. "It's an auction, a charity auction."
It didn't take Jerry long to put two and two together. "An auction; you mean you'd be up on some stage, strutting your stuff while a bunch of strangers bid to take you out for the night? Sorry, honey; you'll have to come up with some other way to raise money. There's no way I'm letting my wife do something like that."
He knew how hard his wife took her mother's death. She was way too young to die. Ever since, Marcy had been talking about doing some charity work, but this... ?
"I can't believe you're even considering this, Marcy. Hell, it's demeaning," he continued as he cut her off. "Would you really stand up there while a bunch of horny guys bid for you like a side of beef? No, absolutely not," he said again, this time even more emphatically. "I'm not putting my wife on the auction block; I don't care if it is for charity."
Again, Marcy started to say something but he still wasn't done yet.
"Honey, it's not only demeaning, it's downright dangerous. You could wind up with a rapist or some psycho killer. How the hell can they even get away with setting married women up on dates, like that? I thought that kind of thing was only for single people."
Marcy was disappointed. She knew he wouldn't like the idea but she wasn't expecting his reaction to be quite so strong. She was hoping to use a little friendly persuasion to talk him into it, but her hopes were rapidly diminishing. Still ... nothing ventured, nothing gained.
She finally got a chance to speak. "When they first started, it was just for singles, but then a few of the married women wanted to volunteer, and of course the more women they have, the more money they make. So they opened it up to both married and single people. It's all for charity, honey."
"Yeah, I know; you said that before. The answer is no, Marcy. We'll put our heads together and figure out another way to give to charity. I'm sure there are things we can do together to raise money. I'm not letting you go out with some total stranger. I'd be worried sick the whole time you were out."
"Jerry, it's all very platonic. Last year the guy that won Emmy took her out for a nice dinner and a little dancing. He was a perfect gentleman and had her home before midnight."
"Honey, that's not the point. It isn't that I don't trust you. What if the guy who wins you is NOT a perfect gentleman? What the hell am I supposed to do while you're on this date that's not really a date, sit home twiddling my thumbs?"
"Jerry," she responded, "all the guys bidding are registered with the charity council. They have all the pertinent information on everyone. They even run them through credit checks. Most of them are big shot CEO's and business owners who contribute to several charities throughout the year. This is just a little more fun than simply writing a check. In addition to their donation being tax deductible, they get to spend some time with a member of the opposite sex, that's all. It's all very innocent, honey."
"Babe, I'm sorry but I just don't like the idea ... not at all. I'll check around. I'm sure there's something you and I can do together to raise money for Cancer research."
"Honey, please; let's drop it, okay? I'm just not comfortable with the whole idea."
"So ... what did he say?" asked Emmy, the next day at work. Marcy hadn't even had a chance to sit down at her desk with her coffee yet.
"Nix," she replied. "He shut me down, cold."
"Why? Did you tell him it was to raise money for breast Cancer research?"
"Yes, of course I did. He just doesn't like the idea. I told you he wouldn't like me being out with another man. He said he'd be sitting home worrying about me all night."
"Shit, Marcy, is he really that insecure?" asked her friend.
"It's not that, he's afraid the guy will turn out to be a rapist or something."
Marcy took her first sip of coffee and thought about her friend's question. "I don't know, maybe you're right. Maybe he just doesn't trust me. Maybe he believes I'm going to sleep with the guy who bids on me."
"But that's ridiculous, Marcy. Have you ever given him cause to think like that?"
"No, of course not. I've never cheated on Jerry and he knows it. Honestly, I'm not sure what he thinks but he was adamantly against it."
"You think it'd do any good if I talked to him?"
"I don't know ... maybe, but I doubt it." Marcy thought for a moment. "Actually, it might be better to have another man's perspective. Do you think Stan would talk to him?"
"Yeah, I don't see why not, but you think he'd listen to Stan. They only met once."
"I don't know, Emmy. I don't see that I have anything to lose."
"You have a point. You want me to have Stan call him at home tonight?"
"Yeah, I guess ... no, wait a minute. I think it'd be better if Stan talked to him in person. How about if I ask you guys over for dinner? After we've eaten you can come in the kitchen with me to help with the dishes. We'll leave Stan and Jerry together in the dining room."
"Yeah, good idea," Emmy confirmed. "Hey, I have something here that might help as well," she said, digging in her purse. She handed Marcy a brochure. "Here's some literature about the auction. It tells all about the whole thing; how it's organized, the sign up process, how the bidders are vetted ... everything."
Marcy took the pamphlet and looked it over. "Yeah, this is good. I'll leave it on the coffee table tonight, right under the remote. He's bound to see it there. Thanks. Between this and your husband, maybe we can get him to change his mind. I really want to do this ... for my mom," she said as her eyes gazed over a little with moisture.
Later that evening, Marcy anxiously kept glancing at her husband who was sitting on the couch in the living room. "Come on," she urged under her breath. "Come on. You must see it. It's sitting right in front of you. Come on, pick it up."
Almost like magic, Jerry started reaching for the bro- "No, damn it," she silently cursed. He picked up the TV cable guide, instead ... wait ... he's hesitating. I think he sees the brochure. YES! He has it in his hand. He's opening it.
A big smile stretched across Marcy's face as she started to load the dishwasher. Maybe it won't change his mind, she mused, but at least he's reading it. She took that to mean he hadn't completely ruled things out. It gave her just the slightest bit of hope.
Jerry was still reading it when Marcy finished in the kitchen and joined him in the living room.
"Is this what you were talking about last night?" he asked refolding the tri-fold piece of literature and setting it back down.
"Yeah, honey. Emmy gave that to me to look over."
"Why? Didn't you tell her you couldn't do it?"
"Yes, of course I did. She ... well, she gave it to me for you, actually. She thought that maybe if you knew more about it..."
"That I would change my mind," he interjected.
"Yeah," she sheepishly admitted. "Honey, it's for..."
"I know, I know; it's for charity. That doesn't mean everybody involved in this thing is a saint, honey."
"Did you read the brochure? Did you see all the precautions they take?"
"Yeah, I read it. I'll admit, it seems very well organized, but this is only the third year for this thing. If you ask me, they've just been lucky something hasn't happened."
"Honey, some of the registered bidders are in their sixties or seventies."
"Never heard of a dirty old man?" he countered.
Marcy could see he was still devoutly against it and thought it was better to drop it until she had backup. She wanted so badly to do what she could to raise money for Cancer research, but she wasn't going to let it jeopardize her marriage. She'd give it one more shot on Friday, if he was still dead set against it, she'd give up and hope for next year.
The next day Emmy asked if she got him to read the brochure. She said she had but it didn't seem to make any difference. She told Emmy to tell Stan not to push too hard on Friday. As much as she wanted to do it, she didn't want to make him mad.
Other than the brochure still laying on the coffee table, nothing more was said about the auction until Friday. Jerry thought she'd given up on the idea until he came home from work and saw the dining room table set for four.
"Are we having company, honey?" he asked, joining Marcy in the kitchen.
"Hi, honey." She greeted him with a smile and a big kiss. "Yeah, I invited Emmy and Stan over for dinner," she reported after breaking the kiss.
Jerry still had her in his arms as he closed his eyes and let his head drop at the news.
"Honey, don't be like that. She's my best friend at work. I just thought it'd be nice to have them over socially, that's all."
"Marcy, you're as transparent as cellophane. Don't give me that social crap; this is another attempt to get me to change my mind on that damn charity auction. How many times do I have to say no?"
"Okay," she retorted, "maybe it is. I'm sorry. I just really would like to do this, Jerry."
From the look on his face, he wasn't happy. She knew, without a doubt, this was her last hoorah.
"Alright, I'll stop. Just be nice to our company, okay? Emmy is my best friend at work. I've only met her husband a couple times but he seems nice, too. You met him once."
"I did? When?"
"At the company's anniversary party a couple years ago."
"Geeze, Marcy, I met a lot of people that night."
"I know, I'm sure you'll remember when you see him. Please, just be your own sweet, personable, charming, and funny self, tonight." She reached around his neck with both arms, looked into his eyes, and pressed herself against his chest. "If you're nice to my friends," she said in a sultry voice, "you could possible get lucky tonight." She knew that would bring a smile to his face; she wasn't wrong.
"You don't have to bribe me, gorgeous. I'm always my sweet, personable, charming, and funny self. However, I'm not about to turn your bribe down," he said just before kissing her again.
Just as Marcy felt something growing in his pants, the doorbell rang. He sighed as they broke the kiss.
"Keep that thought in mind," she told him, patting her hand on his chest.
Together they went to greet their guests. Jerry did remember Stan as soon as he saw him. He remembered, out of all the people he met that night, Stan was one of the few he liked. He had seen Emmy when he'd sometimes pick his wife up after work or taken her out to lunch.
Dinner was very pleasant. Jerry kept his word and had everyone laughing with his sharp wit and charm. Not one word was spoken about the auction until the girls cleared the table and retreated into the kitchen.
"I understand you're not too keen about this charity auction thing," Stan said, seizing the moment.
"Not really," Jerry replied. "Don't you worry about Emmy's safety? I mean, you have no idea who she's out with."
"This is a pretty hoity-toity event, Jerry. Hell, some of the girls have gone for as much as two grand. As pretty as Marcy is, she might even bring in more than that. The guys that sign up to bid are all pretty well off. They're bankers, lawyers, business people..."
"Lawyers," Jerry interrupted with a chuckle. "Now I know the answer's no."
It was a joke and Stan knew it. Maybe it was a clue that he was spreading it a little too thick. "You know what I mean," he replied with a laugh. "Anyway, I don't worry about it. I figure the group that puts this thing on every year would be nuts not to take every precaution for the girls safety."
Stan made sense. There was another question Jerry wanted to ask, but if he did, he knew it would get right back to Marcy and he didn't want that so it remained unasked. Stan's pitch was short and sweet. They continued to talk, but about other subjects until Jerry was called.
"Honey," he heard his lovely wife's voice coming from the kitchen. "Could you come and open the wine for us?"
"I'll be right there," he answered. He excused himself from Stan to go play bartender.
The rest of the night was filled with great conversation and lots of laughs. If nothing else, thought Jerry, they had a great evening and gained two new friends. As for the charity auction ... well, Stan had him thinking about it.
At the end of the night, Jerry and Marcy said goodbye to their company with a promise of getting together again, soon. Marcy never said another word about the auction, but instead, took Jerry's hand and led him up stairs to collect his reward for being so nice to Emmy and Stan.
Jerry was already hard by the time they reached the bedroom. He took his sexy wife in his arms and drew her up tight for a kiss. She felt him immediately and looked up with a smile.
"You don't waste time, do you," she said in a throaty whisper.
He slowly pulled down the zipper of her dress. Marcy felt goose bumps as it fell to her feet.
Enough of the slow seduction, she thought, it wasn't necessary. She was worked up and wanted it now. Almost frantically, she reached down and unbuckled his belt, rapidly followed by the fastener and zipper of his pants. He moaned as she shoved her hand down his underwear and wrapped her fingers around the stiff shaft inside.
"Look what I found," she chuckled. "You know what they say ... finder's keeper's."
"It's all yours, baby," he breathed, "anytime, anywhere."
Within seconds they were both naked and on the bed. He knew every one of her hot spots, and touched on every one; behind the ear, under her chin, and of course the nipples.
She groaned, screamed, pleaded, and yelled, "Oh God," more times than he could count ... and he hadn't even stuck it in yet.
When he did, she dug her nails into his back, wrapped her legs around his waist, and pushed her hips back and forth to coincide with every thrust of her man's love tool.
She felt her passions rising with each stroke. Every nerve stood on end as her body stiffened and waves of ecstasy washed over her.
Jerry's body became rigid. He climaxed, shooting again and again, until he was completely spent.
Exhausted, he collapsed next to his panting wife. As they both fought to breathe, Marcy curled into his side and sought the comfort and protection of his strong body.
Jerry wrapped his arm around her small frame and gave her a big hug, bringing her even closer.
The following Monday morning, Jerry was sitting at his desk when Bob Knoll poked his head through the doorway. "Hey, good buddy, have you seen Carl's new secretary? Smokin!" he said in his best Jim Carrey imitation.
Bob was Jerry's best friend at work. They played golf together almost every Sunday and hand ball at the "Y" on Wednesdays. But, unlike Emmy and Stan, he and his wife, Susie, knew both Jerry and Marcy very well. The four of them had been friends for years. In fact, Bob knew Jerry so well he could tell something was wrong just by looking at him.
"Uh oh, what's the matter, good buddy? You look like you just missed a six inch putt to break eighty."
Jerry sighed and sat back in his chair. "Do you have a minute?"
"Sure." Bob wandered the rest of the way into Jerry's office and sat down. "What's up?"
"I guess I'm feeling a little guilty," Jerry replied. "Would you let Susie go out on a date with somebody you didn't know, if it was for charity?"
Bob looked at him a little strangely. "Ah ... I don't know. I guess it would depend on the circumstances. What ... ah..."
"Marge wants to volunteer for this charity auction thing," Jerry went on to explain. "It's supposedly just a lot of good natured fun. Women volunteers get on stage and they're bid on by guys in the audience. The money each girl raises goes to Cancer research. After the auction each woman goes out with the guy that won her with the highest bid. Supposedly all they do is go out to dinner and maybe go dancing afterward. Marge has a friend who did it last year and said the guy was a perfect gentleman the whole night."
"Ah, but you're not sure the guy who wins Marge will be such a perfect gentleman..."
"Exactly," confirmed Jerry. "There's another factor here as well, her safety. What if she winds up with some ass hole who beats her up, or rapes her?"
Bob silently sat thinking for a moment. "So what is it that you're really worried about; that she's going to get raped, or that she's going to cheat on you?"
"I don't know," he grumbled back. "Both, I guess." Jerry looked over his friend's shoulder and stared out the window behind him as he recalled..."I had a steady girlfriend in high school. Her name was Michelle. God, I was in love with her. All through my senior year all I could think of was graduating, getting a full-time job, and earning enough money to buy her a ring. Then a month before graduation, I found out she was screwing one of the guys on the football team. I was devastated. For a while I didn't think I'd survive. I did of course but it left a scar. I've had trust issues ever since."
"Come on, man; has Marcy ever given you a reason not to trust her?" Bob asked.
"No. As far as I know she's never even looked at another guy. I know- I'm being stupid but I can't help it. I also worry about her safety, too. I'd feel a whole lot better if I knew who she would be going out with."
Bob had a brainstorm. "Why don't you go and bid on her yourself? Problem solved, right?"
"I thought of that but I don't have that kind of bread. I talked to one guy who said some of the prettier girls can bring in two grand. Shit, I can't afford that. We just bought the house. That took almost everything we had saved."
"I could loan you a little," offered Bob.
"Thanks, old buddy, I appreciate it but I think I'm just going to stand my ground and not let her do it. I know she's disappointed but I told her we'd find some other way to contribute. I'll find something that she and I can do together."
"Okay," Bob said as he rose to his feet, "but the offer stands."
Bob walked to the doorway then stopped and turned back toward Jerry. "What if she went out with someone you could trust?"
"What do you mean ... who?"
"Susie has a cousin; I don't think you've ever met him. He's in a higher tax bracket than we are," Bob said with a chuckle. "Every time I see him, he reminds me of that by telling me how much he's always donating to some charity. I guaranty Marcy would have no trouble with him. He's so pussy whipped he wouldn't dare look at another woman."
"You think he'd do it? You think his wife would let him do it?" Jerry asked as an afterthought.
"I can ask."
"Yeah, if he's willing to do it, I'd be okay with it. Make sure you let him know though, it could cost him a couple of grand, maybe more."
"I will, but that's really no problem for him. I think he'd jump at the chance. I'll have Susie talk to his wife. They get along pretty good with each other."
"Thanks, pal," Jerry acknowledged. "If this works, I owe you big time."
"Nah," he responded. "What are friends for?"
Marcy had given up and said no more about it. Two days after their conversation, Bob triumphantly strolled into Jerry's office. "It's all set," he announced. "Jack said that auction thing sounded like fun; he's in."
Jerry's eyes brightened and a broad smile reached across his face. He really had been feeling guilty. Truly, he was concerned with his wife's safety, but in reality, thought the chances of her getting raped or beat up were very, very slim. No, he felt guilty because, even though she'd never given him cause, he was still worried about her cheating on him. Of course he couldn't tell his wife that, so he emphasized his concern for her safety, but he knew the truth. He also knew how much she wanted to do her part. Thank God for his friend; Bob to the rescue!
"Bob, that's great! I'll tell Marcy tonight. I might even get lucky," he joked.
"Glad I could help, good buddy. I'll need info on this thing; how he signs up, where it's going to be held, all that. I'll also need a good head shot of Marcy so he knows who to bid on."
"Yeah, that would help, wouldn't it," chuckled Jerry. "I have a brochure at home. Everything's in there. I'll bring it in tomorrow. He can have that. I'll also bring a good head shot of Marcy."
Jerry stopped to think for a moment. "Maybe I'd better wait before telling Marcy. They do a background check on the bidders. I have no idea how long that takes. It might actually be too late for him to register. It's only three weeks away."
"Okay," Bob countered. "I'll run over to Jack's place tomorrow night and give him the brochure. I'll tell him he needs to register right away. It might be a good idea to hold off before telling Marcy. You don't want tell her she can go and then have to back out. She'd really be pissed. It'd be months before you got any nooky," he laughed.
The next night Bob made a detour on the way home and stopped off at his wife's cousin's house. He sat and had a cup of coffee while they discussed all the details on the charity event. He saw Jack's eyes widen when he gave him the picture of Marcy. Between her strawberry blond hair, green eyes and sharp features, she really was a stunning looking woman.
The following Monday, Bob had more good news for Jerry. "You can tell Marcy she can go to the auction, when you get home tonight."
"Already? That didn't take long."
"No; to tell you the truth, I don't know how much they actually check everybody out. I think all they really do is run a credit check on everybody ... just to make sure their checks don't bounce."
It felt like a fifty pound weight had been lifted from Jerry's shoulders. Now he could let his wife feel good about her contribution to Cancer research, and he could rest easy. "Man, I'll tell you what, one of these days I'm going to take you and Susie's cousin out for a steak dinner," he told Bob. "I thank you so much. Marcy's going to be thrilled."
"No problem, good buddy. Now there's a, ah ... like a mixer where the girls and bidders can socialize a little, for an hour or so before the auction starts; make sure you get her there in plenty of time for that. I really doubt that Jack would have any trouble picking out your wife but he wants to meet her beforehand, just to make sure he bids on the right woman."
"Will do," replied an elated and relieved husband.
For the rest of the day, Jerry couldn't wait to get home and tell his lovely wife. She had gotten home just minutes before he did and was changing clothes when he walked into the bedroom, wrapped her in his arms, and kissed her.
She noticed the grin on his face as their lips parted. "Wow, you're in good mood," she acknowledged.
"Yup," he replied without losing his grin. "I've been thinking, you still want to go to that charity auction?"
Marcy couldn't believe her ears. Her eyes sparkled with delight. "Yes, of course. Have you changed you mind?" she asked, her voice filled with optimism.
"Yeah, I thought more about it today and decided I was being silly. I want you to go and have a good time."
Marcy turned slightly to one side but never lost him with her eyes. "What are up to?" she asked suspiciously.
"Nothing, honey. I know how much you want to do this and I don't think I should stand in your way, that's all."
"MMMMwah," she said verbally as she put her hands to the side of his cheeks and kissed him. She wasn't going to look a gift horse in the mouth so she decided on no more questions. She didn't care what his reasons were as long as she could go. "I love you."
"Does this mean I might get lucky tonight?" he asked with a smile.
"No question about it."
That night, Jerry was treated like the Prince of Wales. He felt good that he was able to give his wife what she wanted so badly and not have to worry about her safety ... OR, about her cheating on him.
Over the next three weeks things couldn't have been better. Marcy's gratitude was on display as she made passionate love to her adored husband, almost nightly.
On the day of the auction, since their boss knew of their involved with what he considered a great cause, both Emmy and Marcy were able to get off from work a couple hours early.
On the way home, Marcy stopped in at her favorite beauty salon to see if they could quickly work her in. At first they said no, but when she explained what she was doing later that evening they showed her to a chair right away. By the time Jerry came home, she was just stepping out of the tube.
"Wow," he said having to catch his breath, "you look amazing. New hair style?"
"Yeah, you like it?" she beamed. "They let Emmy and me off early, today, so we could get ready for the auction. I stopped at Toni's on the way home."
"Well you look fantastic, honey."
"Thank you," she said walking over and giving him a peck on the lips. "I didn't have time to cook, honey. Would you mind if we just ordered a pizza tonight?"
"No, not at all," he replied. "I'll call right now." He did a little quick figuring; forty-five minutes for the pizza, twenty minutes to eat ... yeah, that gives us plenty of time.
Jerry wanted to make sure his lovely wife got there in time for Susie's cousin to identify her. As gorgeous as she looked, he knew there would be several guys bidding on her and he didn't want to take any chances of something going wrong.
She was all ready when Jerry called her down to eat. He was standing at the bottom of the stairs when she started her decent. Marcy's long, shapely legs came into view first. His eyes continued to travel upwards until he finally found the hem of her tiny, black cocktail dress. That was new, too. It had been a while since he'd seen his wife so dressed up. He had almost forgotten how beautiful she really was.
"What do you think?" she asked with a knowing smile.
"I think you and I need to go out more often, so I can show the world what a lucky man I am," he boasted.
She smiled and thanked him with another kiss, making sure she didn't smear her lipstick.
Jerry felt a little silly walking through the plush lobby of the down town hotel. He was dressed in casual slacks and shirt while the creature on his arm looked like she had a date with a king. When they reached the banquet hall where the auction was to take place they were stopped by a young, good-looking gentleman in a tux.
"Good evening," he greeted. "Sir, may I see you invitation?"
"Yes, sir. Are you a registered bidder? If so, you should have received an invitation," he explained.
"Oh. No I'm not one of the bidders. This is my wife; she's going to be one of the girls to be auctioned." As he said the words, he didn't like the sound of what he was saying. He was thankful for his ace in the hole. Without it, he'd never let her do this.
"I see," responded Mr. tuxedo. "I'm sorry, sir, but only those with invitations are allowed inside. Rick," he called out to another young man just inside the doorway. "Would you escort this lovely lady inside, please."
Marcy turned to face her husband.
"Nervous?" he asked.
"A little," she replied with half a smile.
"You have your cell?"
"Yes. It's in my purse."
"If you're not comfortable for any reason, you give me a call, hear me?"
"I will," she said, feeling not quite so nervous. She carefully kissed Jerry again, then took the arm of the young man who was waiting to escort her into the banquet room. She looked back at her husband as they walked through the door and into the mingling crowd of supporters and philanthropists.
As soon as he got back into his car, Jerry felt doubt creeping into his psyche, once again. He just couldn't help it. The memory of his girlfriend's betrayal was as vivid as if it had happened yesterday. Maybe it was because she was his first love; in any event, it taught him a lesson. Now, no matter how hard he fought it, that lingering insecurity was buried deep inside of him.
There's nothing I can do about it now, he told himself; might as well go home and find something to keep my mind off it.
Once inside, the young gentleman walked her over to the sign-in table. After Marcy introduced herself, a young female volunteer wrote a number next to her name then gave her a stick-on badge with only the corresponding number printed on the front.
"During the social period, we'd appreciate it you just introduced yourself by your number instead of using names," said one of the volunteer workers in a pleasant voice. "That's the way you'll be introduced on stage ... by your number."
Marcy nodded her head in agreement and made sure she was all registered, then immediately started looking around for Emmy.
Marcy looked over to see if someone was talking to her. It was a very pretty, young woman.
"I'm sorry, were you talking to me?" Marcy asked.
"Yeah, you're a knockout. My name is Cathy," she said holding out her hand. "I had the highest bid last year; twenty-two hundred bucks."
"Wow, congratulations," replied Marcy while shaking the pretty woman's hand.
"Listen, if you want to drive the bidding up, do some flirting. You know, bat your eyes, touch their arm, laugh at their jokes. Tease them a little. I guarantee you'll bring in more money. Some of these guys will naturally assume that you'll put out. Of course you don't have to if you don't want, but they don't know that.
Marcy was a little shocked at the woman's 'helpful hint.' She wanted to make as much for charity as she could but she had no intention of given some guy the idea she was going to have sex with him.
She turned and saw a nice looking man who looked to be in his early sixties. "Hello," she answered.
"My name is Talmidge, Barry Talmidge. Are you going to be one of the prizes tonight?"
"One of the prizes?" she questioned. She hadn't really thought of herself as a prize.
"Yeah, you know, one of the ladies we'll be bidding for."
"Oh, Yes," responded Marcy, suddenly feeling a little cheap. "I'm number twenty-three," she said, pointing to her badge.
"Twenty-three, I'll remember that," he said stepping back and blatantly scanning her with his eyes. "Can I buy you a drink?"
"Ah, well actually I'm looking for someone," she told him. "Will you excuse me?"
Jack had found a spot by the bar where he could see most of the area. He spotted Marcy cutting through the crowd, looking as if she was in search of someone. Just to make sure it was her, he pulled the picture Bob had given him, from his pocket and examined it one more time. Yup, he thought, it's definitely her and she looks even better in person. He started moving in her direction. He wanted to get her number before the bidding started.
Just about the time he caught up with her, Marcy spotted Emmy. "Hi girl," she blurted out, being relieved to be with a friend. "There's more people here than I thought there'd be. It's kind of a madhouse, isn't it."
"Yeah," responded Emmy. "There's a lot more here than there was last year.
"Hello ladies," said Jack as he approached and interjected himself into the conversation. "I'm Jack," he told them as he first shook Emmy's hand and then Marcy's. "You're both very lovely. I..."
Before Jack could finish his statement, they were joined by a tall, good-looking man who appeared to be in his early thirties; considerably younger than most of the other men. "Well, it looks like I found my date for tonight," he said as he stood next to Marcy and put his arm around her waist.
Both Emmy and Marcy were immediately put-off by his brashness but neither wanted to offend one of the bidders so they kept quiet.
Jack was even slightly intimidated by the guy's cocky attitude.
"What's your name, sweetie?" he asked pulling her a little tighter against his body.
"Twenty-three," she responded with an uncomfortable smile.
Emmy saw her friend trying to wiggle loose from the man's grip and decided to come to her rescue. "Oh, honey," she said holding out her hand toward Marcy, "come with me. I want to introduce you to someone."
Marcy took her hand and was literally pulled from the man's grasp.
"Boy," Marcy commented during their escape, "he's a jerk. I hope I don't wind up with him."
"Well if you do, make sure you lay down the law from the start. You're here to give your date some pleasant conversation during dinner, nothing more."
They still had some time to kill so the girls got their free drink at the bar and started to circulate. Together they talked to about twenty guys, including Jack again. Everyone they met was nice and polite. A couple times, one or the other would spot the tall, good-looking jackass and start moving in the opposite direction. They hoped he got the hint.
"Ladies and gentleman, our charity auction will be starting soon," announced the master of ceremonies. "So, would all our lovely ladies find their way behind the stage, please."
"Well, this is it," Marcy said, suddenly getting nervous.
"Don't worry, hon, the way you look tonight, I wouldn't be surprised if you broke some kind of record," Emmy told her with a calming smile.
Together they walked back stage and found two chairs. They sat and talked for over an hour before Emmy was called. Marcy listened to the bidding and was proud of her friend when she heard the auctioneer accept the final offer of fifteen hundred dollars. "Good for you," she said under her breath. Since the girls were paraded out on stage in the order of their assigned numbers, that left Marcy alone to anticipate her fate for a good twenty minutes.
"Twenty-three, you're on deck," proclaimed another tuxedo clad young man, poking his head through the curtains that separated the stage from the back.
Now she really had butterflies. Marcy stood and smoothed the short dress down her legs and wondered for the first time, if she had made a wise wardrobe decision.
Hearing her number announced, she took a deep breath, held her head high, and strutted out to the front of the stage.
"Gentlemen, I would like to introduce you to number twenty-three," declared the auctioneer, "and as you can see, she is stunning. Who will start the bidding?"
Jack was about to open with five-hundred dollars but before he could even open his mouth he heard someone in the crowd.
"One thousand dollars!"
"I have one thou..."
"Twelve hundred," was heard from someone else.
"Thirteen hundred," yelled Jack, finally getting his voice heard.
"Fifteen," came from yet another voice.
"Sixteen," Jack responded.
"Two thousand," arose a new voice from the crowd.
Again..."Twenty-five," someone called before Jack got his bid in.
Quickly he countered, "Twenty-seven."
"Three thousand," barked Jack.
At home, Jerry still felt slightly nervous, but not nearly as much had he not known his bride was in good hands. Still, he needed something to keep his mind off of the night's events. He strolled in the kitchen and twisted the top from a cold one then looked around for the Louis L'Amour book he'd bought the previous week.
As he stretched out in his favorite recliner, he noticed the wall clock; not even nine-thirty yet, he said to himself. I wonder how late he'll keep her out. I hope she's home by midnight.
Jerry opened the adventuresome paperback to the first page and started to read. He hadn't quite made it to page five yet when he heard his cell phone ring. Who the hell could that be, he wondered. He knew it wasn't Marcy, she'd call the house phone. The display said it was an unknown caller. He paused for a second, figuring it was a telemarketer, but then decided to take it so he could tell whoever it was to take his number off their calling list.
"Yes, who is this, please?"
"It's Jack, Susie Knoll's cousin."
"Yeah." Jerry felt a sense of relief. He thought it was nice of him to report in. "How's it going? Are you guys at a restaurant yet?"
"Ah, well there's a little problem. I was outbid."
Jerry felt a sudden knot in the pit of his stomach. He could feel his blood pressure starting to rise. "What do you mean, you were out bid? You were supposed to go as high as it took!"