Humble Beginnings - Chapter 1
Caution: This Romantic Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Romantic, Fiction,
Desc: Romantic Sex Story: Humble Beginnings - Chapter 1 - Evolving story of a rich man and a worthy candidate for US Senate. Event-driven, rather than character-driven. Sex will come in the sequel.
It all started with an e-mail invitation to a fundraiser for Barbara Roberts, Democratic Senate candidate in my district. I usually didn't pay too much attention to politics, but I knew the Senate hung in the balance this election, and we were faced here in state with a three-way race: Roberts, Dufus (That's what I called him, the Republican), and Stanton, a so-called Independent. He had been governor of the state many years back as a Democrat, but was now filthy rich so who knew where his loyalty lay. Well, I was filthy rich as well, so what am I bitching about? I guess it's all where your loyalties lie.
It was many weeks to the election. I just had to check this out. I had made a lot of money in the high tech biz, and sometimes it was fun to play around with a few of those bucks.
The address for the event was in a swash neighborhood, Cape Mary, close to the Atlantic. I was familiar with the area as I loved to cruise on my Harley through the rich neighborhoods to appreciate the architecture. Many of the homes had been built in the very early 1920's, some even older.
It began to feel like this might be a nice way to spend a Saturday night. I didn't go out often, and worked at home, so a little break would be welcome. I clicked the RSVP link on the e-mail and completed the form that popped up after that. $50 seemed reasonable for the price of admission, and I filled out the credit card info and was done. And committed. I never waste money. I was going to be there Saturday night. Supporting a Democrat.
I'm an Independent. My mother brought me up that way. Vote for the candidate, not the party, she would say. My father, being a machinist, was a staunch Democrat and would never vote any other way. I early on asked my mother how she voted in an election, and she would say, "That's my private privilege. My vote is my secret." I now suspect that my mother and father cancelled each other out on some elections, but that's the way it was. And is.
The little attention I had paid to the elections had touched on Barbara Roberts. Dufus was just a total retard, and I didn't think she had anything to worry about him. Stanton was another matter. Roberts was pro-women's rights, and supported the state ballot measure to legalize gay marriage. I was cool with that. Stanton wasn't.
He had begun running some very nasty t.v. ads, sort of intimating that Roberts wasn't totally "straight" about all of this (hint hint), and what the people of the state needed was a person of objectivity, and foresight (guess whose?). The polling numbers, which had been favoring Roberts, had started to reverse. It was the least I could do to show up at the party.
Saturday, I went into the garage to decide what I would take to the ball, so to speak. First was a '57 Thunderbird, Cherry Red. Second was a MGA '62, British Racing Green. Third was a Hyundai Sonata, Silver, top of the line. Hmm ... choices, choices. What was I trying to convey when I got there? That settled it on the Sonata. Classy, but not show-off-ish. Much.
I drove across the Lee River Bridge toward Cape Mary and thanks to GPS found my way to the location of the fundraiser. I'd say "home," but the place was huge. More like a hotel or very large B&B. It was an Italianate design, with a lovely tower rising from the front façade. This layout provides substantial open space inside, and I was anxious to see the interior.
I pulled up in front and a valet took my car as I walked up to the broad entrance. There were likely over 100 people there already and it was still early. At the door, an attendant checked my name off against a roster and gave me a pass to keep handy should anyone question my presence.
He explained that the bar was in the left chamber, the buffet was in the right, and the assembly hall where Ms. Roberts would be speaking was directly ahead.
"And what time will she speak?"
"Thank you. I look forward to her remarks."
He gave me a half-smile, as if to both reward me for my compliment and warn me to not get too complimentary.
After I had walked on along the hall, I decided to take a left turn to the bar, and asked for a gin and tonic. There were a number of couples in the room, chatting and sipping. I stayed at the bar and nursed my G&C, just observing. Someone nudged my shoulder. "Peter! What are you doing here? I thought political shingdigs were at the bottom of your bucket list."
"Well, Walt, what a surprise. I'd always taken you for a conservative, yet here you are!" Walt was an acquaintance from the Continental Club, a private gathering place for the city's elite. He and I had had many interesting conversations there during social events, bantering about our different political persuasions, economic views and general social outlooks.
"Just curious. Always good to know what the other side's doing," he said.
"Well, treachery in the trenches, as they say."
We small talked about the surface of our current lives. He was working for a political firm, and I told him I was reporting freelance as a cover i.d. Just to give him a bit to think about. I was, really, there just because I was interested in Roberts as a candidate and had no other agendas. Walt obviously did so I would have to keep an eye open.
I noticed it was getting close to seven, so I suggested to Walt we head toward the main reception hall for Roberts' talk, or speech, or whatever she was going to do. He grudgingly agreed and we turned out into the hall to our left toward the main room.
The room was already crowded with Ms. Roberts' followers. There was a podium up front and the local mayor stepped up to the microphone.
"Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being here with us this evening. We're here to celebrate and support Barbara Roberts' campaign for the U. S. Senate. We're getting down to the wire here, with just a few weeks to the election. Let's pull out all the stops and help Barbara win this election! Folks, I give you Barbara Roberts!"
The mayor stepped back and I got my first full-face view of Ms. Roberts. She was stunning. Maybe five foot ten, late-thirties perhaps, blond hair swirled around a beautifully sculpted face, setting on an awesome body, with nice boobs, sweet hips, and long sculptured legs. One totally package, as they say.
She stepped up to the mike.
"My friends, I thank you for your warm welcome. I am here to ask your support in turning our country back around in good directions. We need to reform our tax code to balance how we pay for our government. We need to protect the rights of all classes, bring the lower classes up, help the middle classes, and encourage the upper classes to invest in our future!"
The room roared their approval.
"My friends, I need your help. I need your endorsements. If you can get a union or a business or whoever to endorse my campaign, I would be thankful.
"I need your guidance. If you have ideas on how to improve our country, let me know.
"Finally, I need your dollars. It takes a lot of money to run a Senate campaign, and even one or two dollars from you will make a big difference.
"Thank you for your time, your energy and your support. With you, we will win!"
The audience broke out in loud applause as Roberts raised her hands, clasped together, in a victory salute to the crowd.
The gathering broke down into people headed either for the bar or the buffet, or hanging around to get a chance to say hello to Ms. Roberts and remind her of how they had either helped her in the past or could help her in the future. I observed how she respectfully shuttered off the obvious offers without offending anyone. A statesman, or more appropriately, a "statesperson"! I like that.
The crowd was winding down a bit so I took my chance and approached the candidate.
"Ms. Roberts, I'm Peter Hancock. I was impressed with the passion you had behind your remarks to us tonight. You obviously feel strongly about your campaign for the Senate."
"Mr. Hancock, I am pleased to meet you. And yes I am totally committed to this campaign. What brings you to our gathering tonight?"
"The power of the Internet. I received an e-mail invitation and it made me stop and ponder where I stood in this election. I decided I should come hear you out, and I'm glad I did."
"Well, I'll have to thank my communications manager. What are your concerns regarding the country and what needs to be done in the Senate?"
"The deficit. That's number one for me. Peace in the Middle East would be nice, but I don't see that happening in my lifetime, and I don't think we should spend a whole lot of resources over there until they learn how to get their act together.
"Getting America back to work would be my second priority. And if we could do that quicker by fudging the deficit, I'd be all for that. More people working means more folks contributing to the tax base. Makes sense to me."
"And it makes sense to me, Mr. Hancock. How do you think you could help my campaign?"
"I'm still mulling that over. Let me assure you, you'll get my allowable contribution, and I won't do anything more than that without your blessing."
"Bless you for that. I am running an honest campaign, and any outside interference would be hard to handle."
"I respect that, and respect you for that. Some candidates would be suckering me into setting up Super Pacs or whatever."
"No Super Pacs for me," she replied. "If I can't get elected the old fashioned way, then I don't deserve it."
"And what's the 'old fashioned' way?"
"County fairs, Grange Hall meetings, farmers' markets, doorbelling in the towns and cities, chamber of commerce breakfasts, Kiwanis, Rotary, rubber chicken dinners, it never ends."
"But those give you the window to talk with your constituents, get a real sense of the people's needs, doesn't it?"
"Yes it does, and it's both rewarding and very humbling, to have a direct touch of what our people are going through, and it's not nice."
"Well, you have my respect for your commitment and you have my support. We'll just have to try to figure out the best way I can provide that."
"That sounds both interesting and arresting. Would you like to discuss this further with me, my campaign manager, or both?"
"Perhaps both would be best. Here's my card. Let me know what is convenient for you and your manager."
"Scheduling is usually arranged the other way around," she smirked.
"There are two of you, and one of me. Get your end together and let me know."
"You are a ... what do I say? Sly, manipulative, direct, clear? All of the above?"
"Most likely, all of the above, and more. We should find out together. I look forward to hearing from your 'camp.'"
"I will look forward as well. Goodbye for now Mr. Peter Hancock."
"Likewise, Ms. Barbara Roberts. Adieu."
I turned slowly and then strode out of the ballroom, leaving her with a couple of her aides, who were whispering to her while watching me leave.
It was a couple of days later that I had a call from her "chief of staff," as he referred to himself, Rob Brady. That set me off a bit. It was in reality her campaign manager, but I checked a box in my brain about his call to greatness. He wanted to schedule a meeting at their campaign headquarters at 3:00pm the next day. I told him I wasn't available at that time, and that it would work better if we could schedule a meeting here at my place.
Well, that didn't set well with him. Loss of control, I suspect. He said he would confer with Ms. Roberts and get back to me. Fine by me.
Later that afternoon, Brady called me back with a somewhat contrite tone asking when would be convenient for Ms. Roberts and he to meet, at my place. I said I was here most of the time, and to suggest a convenient slot for her. 9am the next morning was agreed to and I gave him directions.
My place is not palatial, but it's nothing to sneeze at either. 4,000 square feet, in-ground swimming pool, large Great Room – basically impressive but not ostentatious. Well, not too much. I answered the doorbell at 9am, and welcomed Ms. Roberts and Mr. Brady into the Great Room, where I already had coffee and hot water for tea prepared, along with fresh cooked croissants with all the trimmings. I think I made a favorable impression. We made pleasantries while noshing on the croissants.
"Did you make these, Mr. Hancock?" she asked. "I did indeed, just for you," I replied. "Well then you are certainly a force to be reckoned with," she replied with a smile. "That I am," I smiled back.
"I thank you for taking the time to meet with me, Ms. Roberts. I have thought about your campaign, and I am concerned that you are losing your margin to your opponent day by day. He is outspending you 4:1 on advertising, and it's all negative."
"It's the result of the Citizens United decision," she said. "I cannot and will not give into that kind of hidden financing."
"I understand, and I agree. In light of Citizens United, I'd like to suggest that you're putting your public time into the wrong places. The chicken lunch circuit won't cut it under these circumstances. Let me ask you, what do you care the most about in your state?"
"The poverty, the conditions of our roads and railways, our schools. If we can fix those, we'll be well on our way to recovery."
"Then that is where you should spend the rest of your campaign. Forget the rubber chicken. Go out and demonstrate your commitment to our schools, our infrastructure, our neighborhoods, and you will most likely prevail. You have to put a human face to your campaign."
Barbara put her face in her hands for a few moments, then looked back at me.
"You're right. I've missed the forest for the trees. But where do you fit into this?"
"I've done a lot of tech work for schools in this state, and have a few friends among the superintendents. I think we could set up a few "fact finding tours" that will garner some facetime. There's a few other things I can think of that would give you media time without undue attention."
"Let's set it up. Time's a'wasting." Brady had sat through this whole discussion with a blank stare on his face, as if he couldn't believe this was happening. His whole canned campaign strategy was going down the tubes.
A day later, we (Brady, Barbara and me) were meeting with the superintendent of the Sulpher Springs School District. The district covered over 200 square miles, with schools scattered throughout the region. Communication between schools and district headquarters was mostly non-existent. I had briefed her on the tech problems with the district aforehand, so she had a good idea of the issues at hand.
I started the meeting. "Fred, I'd like you to meet Barbara Roberts, and yes, she's running for office, but she's sincerely interested in the tech problems of your district, as well as anything else you'd like to share with her regarding challenges and opportunities."
Fred Peters was a no-nonsense kinda guy, ran a great administration under challenging conditions, and wasn't slow to look for wherever help might be found. His first commitment was to his students and faculty, second to the school board.
"Ms. Roberts, I am grateful to meet you and than you for taking the time to visit here. We're a poor school district, not much tax base, but spread out over a lot of territory. In this time of high tech learning, we're not able to provide much support for our students. We have no Wi-fi, in fact, most of our schools are only connected to the Internet through basic modems. Very slow. And we have some schools not connected at all.
"That hampers our ability to help prepare our students for life on the outside. I say that because there are few job opportunities within our district, and we know that for students to do well in the future, they will have to move out. Without good technical education, they won't have much opportunity for either work, or scholarships to get them into college. So what ideas do you have that might support our goals?"
"That's a huge challenge you're facing, Mr. Peters," she started with. "First off, I think we should get some legislation in order that provides some equalization of tax funding for poorer districts like yours. It sounds kind of 'Robin Hood, ' but there should be some sort of formula to more equitably distribute the state's revenues between richer and poorer districts. A lot of this state's school funding comes from timber sales, and your district has a lot of timber. So I suspect a good argument can be made for diverting more of that revenue to the rural districts, such as yours. Much of that funding formula was set up at the Congressional level, so there I might be able to help. The rest is up to your state legislature.
"Second, I think there's an opportunity to work with the Internet and cable companies to develop better Internet access to this region. We have a rural telephone service tax already that everyone pays for, and it's dollar or two on everyone's bill every month. We could try to gain the support of those companies to add another dollar for rural Internet access. Again, that's something within the purview of Congress.
"Third, I know that companies like Apple have grant programs to provide equipment to underserved communities, particularly schools. Some aggressive pursuit of those opportunities might well bear fruit, as well as encouraging other high tech companies to participate.
"That's all I can think of at the moment off the top of my head, but I'm committed to investigating all options even if I'm not elected to office."
"Well," exclaimed Fred, "that's a pretty impressive "off the top" starting list! I can't wait to see what you might come up with if you had another fifteen or twenty minutes!" he said with a big grin. "If you'd like to make the time, I'd appreciate it if you would meet with our school board, perhaps in a town meeting setting, since we like those up this way, and share your thoughts."
"I'd appreciate that opportunity, Mr. Peters. When is your next meeting?"
"Next Tuesday evening, 7pm. I'll make sure there's a place on the agenda for you if you can make it."
"I'll be there!" Brady grimaced but accepted his boss's direction.
Driving back to our fair city, Barbara talked about the meeting with the superintendent. "How do you think that went, Peter?" "Very well, " I replied. "You were honest, direct, had good ideas, and didn't overextend yourself. Now what you say at the Town Meeting Tuesday will be the meat in the gristmill. You should put some time into your remarks for that."
"Oh, that I will, I can guarantee it! So what other great ideas do you have, Mr. Hancock?" I loved how she shifted back and forth from first to last name.
"Well, there's a meeting in two days of the regional transportation planning board. I'd suggest you show up, sign up for public testimony, and give them your thoughts on improving both passenger and freight service in the state."
"Oh my, that's my weak point, I'm afraid. I don't know as much as I should about railroads."
"I can help with that," I said. "I've done a lot of computer work for the railroads in this area, and have a pretty good handle on their issues."
"Can we consult on that?" she asked.
"Most assuredly," I responded. "How about coming over to my place for dinner tomorrow and I'll give you a good briefing."
"I will be there. Brady, I don't have any conflicts tomorrow night, do I?"
"No," he said, "but I do, and I should be there."
"Oh posh, I'm a big girl. You go do what you have to do, and I'll fill you in afterward." He has not happy with that, but let it go.
The next evening at 6pm, Barbara showed up at my place, and gosh did she look nice! I'd love to have this woman as my Senator anytime! In both meanings of the word. I invited her in, and we sat in my dining room and were served by the caterers I had engaged.
"I thought you were going to cook, Peter!" she smiled at me. "I would have but I had too much business today to make the time. Perhaps another occasion I can do that for you," I replied. "I look forward to it," she replied.
"Now, about rail transportation," I started as we ate some delectable scampi hour 'ours. "The biggest problem a rural state like ours has is aging infrastructure. These rail lines were built back as late as the 1850's. They have gone through a series of mergers and acquisitions, often by unscrupulous mega-financial firms, not interested in their service to the state, but how quick they can turn a buck. They don't invest in improving the lines. That results in a lot of low-speed track that passenger trains, or freight, can't effectively run on. My suggestion would be legislation to create regional rail authorities that, with federal backing, could acquire key lines, improve them to suitable speed levels, and they then could provide adequate passenger service to our major communities. Make the state pay for operating subsidies of the passenger service. After all, the Feds have stepped in to build up the infrastructure. The state should then shoulder the responsibility of providing the service. Make sure you have the state's commitment for that support before investing in the track upgrades. It will also provide more efficient freight service. It's a win-win for both. The TIGER grants program the Feds initiated should be expanded. I know we have major Interstate highway funding needs, but rail needs to be part of the overall strategy. Think how many trucks would be taken off the highways onto rail, and trucks are the biggest cause of damage to the Interstate."
"Wow, that's a lot to process," said Barbara.
"Just wait, I'm just getting on the roll here. Let's talk about rural airport service. We used to have some good subsidies from the Feds in past years to provide air passenger service to rural airports. That's dimmed a lot in the past decade or so. Now major municipal airports have a large tax base supporting their operations. Small rural airports do not. So why are we taking from the poor to give to the rich? Rebalance that and start up again subsidies for regional airlines to serve our rural communities. Rural medical flight service is also a critical issue. In January up here, it might take seven or eight hours to get a patient to a regional medical center by highway. That's life threatening. They need to be flown out pronto if they're going to live. That should be addressed as well."
We paused to move on to our main course of Veal Scaloppini served with fresh Asparagus, with a side Caesar salad to be munched on between bites and a nice dry Italian white wine.
"Let's talk about highways for a minute," I offered. "Our gas tax is a set amount per gallon. When gas was, say, $1.50 a gallon, we collected maybe 10 cents. When gas hit $3.50 or more a gallon, we were still collecting 10 cents. Index the tax the same as a sales tax, a percentage of the sale price, and you would double or triple the amount of revenue to rebuilt our highway system. And don't blanche at the tax impact. European countries pay three or four times the amount we do for gas and they survive. And their roads are maintained."
"That would be a bitch to sell to the Republicans," she sighed.
"Ya, well a lot of those folks are from states with the lowest gas taxes around and are bitching about the state of their highways, and that the Feds need to do something about. They got gripes, but no solutions they're willing to accept. I agree it would be a hard sell, but some brainstorming might come up with some ideas for them to accept it. That's why I have faith in your campaign. I think you are bright, a good negotiator, and cute besides. That can swing some votes, don't you think?"
"Well, you're more than that. You're quite beautiful, but it's your intellect and drive that attracts me. I think you've got the Moxie to make it into office. Otherwise I wouldn't be wasting my time, and this fabulous dinner, on you."
Barbara blushed, then stared right back at me. "Are you flirting, Mr. Hancock?" she asked.
"Barbara, I would be lying if I didn't say I see you as a very attractive woman, but I'm not flirting. I may be courting, but that remains to be seen."
"Well, this has been an enlightening conversation in many ways. I suspect it would be good judgment on my part to skip dessert, and be on my way. I will give good thought to what you have imparted tonight, in ALL respects. I look forward to our next meeting. When you cook," she said with a sly smile.
I escorted her to her car, got a brief kiss on the cheek and she was on her way. "Well," I thought, "that went rather well!" I was really getting to like this woman, in a major way.
I had connections with our major regional railroad, since I'd saved their sorry butts from major computer problems and they loved me for that. I called up the president of the company and shared my hairy-assed idea. I knew they had a private company passenger train of four cars.
"Frank, Peter Hancock here. How are you doing?" "Peter, great since you fixed our systems. And I'm much obliged, even though we had to pay through the nose for it!"
"Oh, Frank, I gave you basement prices for that work. You know how much I love railroads." "Ya, you're probably right on that," he replied. "So what are you calling about? I didn't call you."
"Frank, I've become very interested in Barbara Roberts' campaign for Senate. I think she's the right candidate, even if she's a Democrat. I know you don't swing that way, but she's getting a head on her shoulders about transportation issues in the state, particularly rail. I thought back to Harry Truman's whistlestop campaign in '48, and I'm thinking we could kill two birds with one stone here. I'm limited in what I can contribute to her campaign financially, but you're one of those "Citizens United" corporations. So I'm wondering if there's a way I could pay you, perhaps buy some phantom stock or something, and finance a whistlestop tour for her to go around all the rail lines in the state, most of which you own, so she could see for herself the condition of our rail infrastructure, and well, if she made a few speeches about the importance of rail service in our state from the deck of your private business car, well, that might be a bonus."
"You've got yourself an idea, there bucko. Let me check with our attorneys on the legality of all that, work up some costs, and I'll call you back in a day or two. How's that?"
"Works for me, Frank. Meanwhile I'll run it by Barbara and her erstwhile campaign manager and see if that works for them. We've only got a few weeks to the election, so this has to happen fast. Glad we talked, and looking forward to your call back."
Well, it worked out. We figured out the legalities of financing. I called Mr. Brady and ran the scheme past him. He was nonplussed. He just didn't know what to think about it. He had Barbara scheduled for a number of luncheons and such, but I think he saw the strategy I had was better than his. I had a call back within an hour from Barbara.
"Are you kidding me?" she shouted. "How did you pull this off?"
"Friends in high places, rather than low places," I replied. "We've gotten the legal writeoff. This is a 'fact finding tour' and totally above board. How if your Mr. Brady can get his butt in gear and organize the local communities to turn out and hear you speak, I think you will be well-rewarded. There are 16 towns on the itinerary. Do you think he can cope with that? I'll e-mail you and he the schedule. He's got to move fast, though, since this trip will start in two days if you're willing, and finish up a week later.
Oh, by the way, to sweeten the pot, this is on the railroad's private four car business car train, what we call an 'OCS' in railroad lingo. You'll make your speeches from the rear platform of the last car, just like Harry Truman did to beat what's his name. Dewey, I think. I wasn't born then."
"Oh shit, this is so fantastic!" I'd never heard her swear before.
"So let's do it, sunshine! You'll have a large private bedroom, full meal service on board, and get an opportunity to see what condition our state rail system is in, so you have a better idea of what it needs. The railroad president will be with us to brief you on all issues large and small. And, during your speeches if you slip in a little something about other issues facing the state, I don't think it would hurt your campaign, or get us in any trouble. There'll be plenty of space for your campaign staff to come along, and all the costs are covered, thanks to Citizens United." "So who's paying for this gig," she asked. "Indirectly, I am, but it's going through the regional rail company, and their attorneys have said it's all kosher under the new campaign finance rules."
"Oh. I'm not sure how I feel about that."
"Barbara, you're being beat by candidates using the same kind of shelter. Just bite the bullet and get over it. I think this will put your campaign over the top."
"Well, you're right about the other campaigns. OK, go ahead and set it up and keep me posted. I don't like the taste of it though. But these are different times, I keep reminding myself. Peter, you are a sweetheart, and are becoming the heart of this campaign. I hope I can really express my appreciation to you."
"We'll find a time to do that, Barbara. Thank you for agreeing to this. I think it will be a heck of a lot of fun."
"Me too! A big sweet kiss to you, Peter!"
"I'd rather take that in person, sweetie."
"We'll have to work on that," she smirked and then hung up.
The train was magnificent. The first car was a fully equipped diner that would seat 24. The second was a dome car, giving 360 degree visibility from the upper level, with a bar and lounge in the lower area. The third was a former Pullman car with eight bedrooms. It originally had been what was called a 10-6, with smaller compartments but it had been remodeled into eight very spacious compartments. The last car was a classic former business car built in 1910, with four large staterooms, a luxurious end section with seating, and an outdoor platform at the rear. Frank had mounted a sound system with outdoor speakers just for this trip. The consist was pulled by two locomotives, what were called cab units, built by EMD in the early 1950's. It was all elegantly painted in maroon and orange.