THE GIRLS' NIGHT OUT:
They decided that it's what it would be: a girls' night out. They had their monthly meeting and everyone of them reported progress in their department. It left them glowing.
They were certainly a strange business but the boss, Judy Cousins had wanted to try it this way. She'd looked around, at her startup time and simply picked women to run every one of their departments. She picked, of course, women that she trusted and believed could do the jobs assigned. She had had a large group to choose from and did the choosing on a one on one basis. She was also very persuasive. Judy Cousins was that way.
It had been a family business, and not doing well under Gerald's half hearted management. That's when the trouble with Gerald had started, and Judy had taken over the business. Then with the new restructuring, Judy was determined to turn it around. She had money enough from her Momma and Poppa set aside to effect the restructuring and went ahead with it.
All of this came, after she'd shed Gerald, 'the buffoon', as she called him. He was that, sure enough. He was convinced that he knew 'the business' and 'the market' and would brook no backtalk from anyone, least of all from Judy.
That had all gone bad and soon enough 'the buffoon' simply lost interest. She'd seen it time after time during their 12 years together.
She'd told her friend Alicia that, when they were talking about the business and the future of the business. She'd told Alicia that she'd just 'wait out' Gerald, the buffoon, and when he was gone, as he was now, she'd do it her way.
That was the key to the future, as she saw it. She'd also decided, during those months of planning, that she wanted the company to be a model for the industry, and a show piece at that. That's why she went about the reorganization by hiring only women executives.
They were out and celebrating tonight because they'd proven that this experiment was right on. It was the second anniversary of the reorganization that they were celebrating, and the reports that they'd digested at today's meeting showed that they were increasing market share and simply establishing an unassailable position within the industry for themselves.
They were almost giddy about it. They sat, after getting their drinks at the favorite watering place: 'Kern's'.
"Here's to the 2nd birthday of CWays, Inc," Alicia Higgins said, raising her glass high.
The others, Judy, Cindy Lofton, and Marcia Wilsey raised their glasses and toasted themselves and the company.
They drank their toast and all were smiling, in fact grinning.
"Congratulations, Boss Lady," Cindy said, raising her glass for another toast.
Judy smiled and accepted the toast. Then she said: "But this is for all of us. Look at what we've done! It's been our work, on our terms, in our way."
"Yes, and we have kicked ass in the market," Marcia said, getting giggles from all of them.
"Know what I'm gonna do?" Alicia said.
"What?" they all wanted to know.
"I'm gonna go home and grab Alfred by the neck and have my way with him!"
They were all giggling then.
"What a great idea!" Marcia said, "Though I might just grab Jeffery by the dick and waltz him into the bedroom."
There were more giggles from all of them then.
"Yes," Cindy said, "I'm gonna make Mike my sex slave tonight; maybe do something to him that's fairly painful!"
There was open laughter then.
Cindy chimed in next with: "But poor Judy! Doesn't even have the Buffoon any more."
"Don't you poor Judy me!" Judy said. "I know what's gonna happen in each of your houses tonight. You'll each end up on the bottom with your husband on top making the moves!"
"But won't that be fun!" Alicia said. They all agreed that it would be.
"And don't mind about me," Judy went on. "It's enough for me to know that I don't have to worry about the Buffoon any more, let alone let him get into my pants!"
That caused another spate of laughing and giggling from them.
THE GUITAR GUY:
Just then an announcer told everyone that a musician was there that night to play and sing for them for a while.
"Okay," Judy said, "Quiet, you jerks. Let's listen to the man sing."
They stuck their tongues out at Judy but they did calm down and listen to the guitarist.
Rick Slocum, the guitarist, had in fact gone to the owner and offered to play and sing for nothing.
The manager was a bit skeptical but had heard Rick, in the back room, sing and was surprised at how good he was.
"How about," the manager said, "If I announce that there will be a tip jar there for you?"
"Great!" Rick said, and went on with tuning his guitar.
The manager went on with his announcement: "Tonight we have a new talent among us. It's Mr. Rick Slocum. If you like what you hear, then Rick's tip jar will be right here for you to show your appreciation."
They clapped for Rick and he went on.
His style was not quite country and not quite pop. He played very well and sang some old standards.
Almost as soon as he started to play and sing, the girls looked at one another and nodded. They were impressed.
They settled down to listen. This was, in fact, making their night out a startling success. They were enjoying it.
Rick played a long set for about a half hour and then took a break.
The girls designated Judy as the one to take their tips and put them in his jar.
He was standing there and just putting his guitar down, when she approached. Each of the girls had donated $20 for his jar.
He noticed and smiled, saying: "Thank you."
"You are spectacular!" Judy said.
"Kind of you to say so!" Rick answered.
"Can I ... and my friends buy you a drink?" she asked next.
"I'd enjoy that," Rick said, as Judy led him over to the table where the girls were.
She said to him, as soon as she'd got him to the table: "I'm Judy Cousins and these are my friends and partners in crime: Alicia Higgins, Cindy Lofton, and Marcia Wilsey."
Rick said 'hi' to each of them and then the waitress brought the glass of ale that Rick had ordered.
"Put it on mine!" Judy said, and then he thanked her.
"So, ladies," Rick said, smiling, "What's the occasion!"
"We're a success!" Alicia said, and then she talked about their company CWays. She told him about Judy's determination to not only reorganize the business but to do it using only women executives.
He was surprised and said so. He wanted to know then about the company. They talked about it then: Judy as CEO, Alicia as CFO, Cindy with inventory and Marcia in shipping.
He simply shook his head. "You ladies must be the buzz of your industry!"
"We are!" Alicia said.
She drank up then and said: "But we have plans tonight."
"At least three of us do," Cindy said and they giggled.
"May I ask?" Rick asked.
Alicia was the forthright one and said: "Yes, Cindy, Marcia and I are going to go home and grab our husbands and get laid in celebration of the company's success."
They all giggled at that and Rick grinned, and raised his glass to them. They drank in response to his toast.
He said then: "But what about you, Judy?" And hastened to apologize for asking. But the carnival mood prevailed.
"She's gonna go home and smile because the Buffoon isn't going to be there!" Alicia said, getting smiles and giggles from all the girls.
"The Buffoon?" Rick asked. Then he said quickly: "Don't tell me, if I'm being too nosey."
"No," Alicia said, "We're all friends and we don't mind telling. The Buffoon is Gerald, Judy's ex. He thought he could run the company and we watched him almost destroy it with his attitude and crap."
Judy stuck out a hand then and put it on Alicia's arm. "'Licia!" Judy said and Alicia nodded and was silent.
"Okay, children," Alicia said then, "I'm outta here."
Marcia and Cindy said the same thing.
Alicia looked at Judy and Judy said: "I'm going to listen to more music for just a bit and then go home."
They left, with Alicia kissing Judy on the cheek and telling her to call, if need be.
Judy nodded and Alicia said, with a grin, "But not when I'm in the saddle!"
That got a grin from both Judy and Rick, as Alicia wandered away.
"Quite a group," he said.
"Yes, but their attitude simply reflects how good they are at their jobs," Judy explained.
"You picked them?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "Following a kind of dream of mine. It was Momma and Poppa's company and Gerald took it over for a while. He wasn't good at it. Really not good at anything. That's when he left and I took over. I had had so much good training from Poppa. Couldn't fail!"
"Hey," he said, "I need to get back up on the stand."
"Okay," she said.
He turned to her then and said: "Any requests?"
"Oh," she said, without much thought: "'The Second Time Around' can you? It's a favorite of mine."
"Ah," he replied, "A friend of Frank's. I can do any of Frank's stuff. It'll be for you"
That's what he sang first: Frank Sinatra's 'The Second Time Around'.
Judy was pleased.
(At this point in her life, Judy Cousins was 48 years old. She was petite, 5'3", but tended to be big in the bust. She was a work out person and kept herself in shape. She had straight blondish-brown hair that was, just then, frosted. She also had a very nice fanny, for anyone who might notice. Of course, with the Buffoon gone, no one was getting any chance to notice these days, or for a relatively long time. A fact which Alicia, her friends, reminded her of frequently.)
But just then Judy was having a lovely evening. She became good, over time, at being alone and at home with her thoughts.
Her time with Gerald, her former husband, had gone bad already about 5 years ago and the few years directly after that were painful. But she was over that now. She never heard from him and had molded a life for herself that was quiet and very good for her.
It had been somewhat different for Rick Slocum. For him it was always, for such a long period of time, the music. He quipped often enough that music was his 'mistress'.
He had begun to play the guitar at a very early age, though he was not motivated, as so many were, by thoughts of stars and a successful recording contract. For Rick it was just playing and the music.
He had, early on, begun to sing to accompany himself and discovered that he enjoyed the singing with the guitar, about as much as he liked the guitar playing itself.
His Mom had died, when he was just out of high school. There had never been a 'Dad' figure for him, and he always had a so-so relationship with his Step Father.
The one thing that Rick wanted from that man was that his Step Father would be good to and for his Mom, which he was, as far as Rick could tell.
Rick grew up through the teen years and a bit beyond always enjoying singing for his Mom. Whenever there was a chance, especially when the two of them were alone, he'd sing to her. She loved it.
Cancer took her much too soon, as far as Rick was concerned, and then it was only he and his Step Father. They had had a talk and Rick told him about his plan to travel and sing when and where he could.
His Step Father thought that it was a fairly chancy idea but Rick had indicated that he wasn't so much asking permission as simply passing on information.
His Step Father had accepted that and then Rick left. He went on the road, traveling in the beat up car that he'd been able to buy and singing where he could, such as his appearance at Kern's, where he ran into Judy, Alicia, Cindy and Marcia.
When he got back up on the stand, he announced that the next song was dedicated to the lovely Judy. Then he sang 'Second Time Around'. She watched and listened almost in a kind of rapture. His singing was lovely.
She told him that, when he came back to where she was sitting, after his next set.
"Girls all gone home?" he said, with a chuckle.
"Yes," she said, "As Alicia said, they all have plans for tonight!"
"Yes," he said, chuckling again, "They indicated that much.
He had another glass of ale, which she'd ordered for him.
"I guess I should drink to the success of your business too!" he said, raising his glass.
"Thank you," she said. "This is a real treat for me."
"How so?" he wanted to know.
"Oh, I don't go out very often!" she said. "Since the marriage breakup, it's been the business."
"Yes," he said, "The Buffoon!"
She grinned at him and he held up a hand: "I will begin right now to behave myself."
"You're being fine," she said, "I'm not that sensitive about it anymore. It's just part of the past that's gone away."
"And," she said, after a moment, "I have to go soon. I need to get home to Georgia!"
Rick's eyebrows shot up in surprise and Judy began to giggle.
"Sorry to say it so boldly," she said, "Georgia is my chocolate lab! She keeps me company."
Both of them laughed and he said: "I apologize for thinking strange thoughts."
It was when he said that, that she realized what he'd been thinking.
She laughed and said: "No, no men for a long time but certainly not ever women!"
"No," he said, "Just Georgia!"
"Yes, just Georgia!" she agreed.
"Might like to meet this Georgia!" he said. "Always been a dog man, and chocolate labs are among the very best."
"Well, my Georgia is!" she said.
She finished her drink then and said to him: "Well, I'm off."
She thought for moment, after he'd said his 'goodbye' and she began to walk away. Then she turned and went to him.
"Here," she said, handing him a card. "Call me or contact me, if you need to."
"Why that's so nice of you!" he said. "'Hi' to Georgia!" he finished.
"Yes, the queen of the house!" she said.
"How can that be," he said, turning to her, "Since you're so pretty!"
She blushed, as he smiled and walked back to the stand to sing another set.
When she got home, she was met at the door by a chocolate brown hurricane. Georgia was wiggling in ways that it didn't seem possible for a dog to wiggle. Judy went down on one knee and submitted to face licks and gave Georgia a good going over with her hand. The dog simply slumped down onto the floor and turned over to let her belly be rubbed.
Then Judy walked outside into the back yard with Georgia to give her a chance to do her thing.
When they were back inside, Judy was talking to Georgia, and scratching the dog's stomach again, as she helped herself to a glass of ice water.
"Yes, love," Judy said, "I know how good that would feel; just have to find someone to do it to me!"
Judy got Georgia something to eat then and had a snack herself, as she settled in.
Then, after a short time, the phone rang. Judy answered it and it was Alicia.
"Done already?" Judy said in a conspiratorial tone.
Alicia laughed and said: "Only round one." Then Alicia went on: "So, how was tonight, after we left?"
"Oh, I stayed and listened to him. He began to sing Sinatra for me," Judy said.
"Uho!" Alicia said, "Are you on the prowl, woman?"
"No!" Judy said, with a giggle. "I just had a nice evening!"
Then she giggled again and Alicia said: "What?"
Judy told her about what he'd thought about 'Georgia', when she mentioned the chocolate lab.
They both had a laugh out of that.
"No," Alicia said, when the laughter was about to subside, "If that were the case, then I'd be in front of the line to get into your pants!"
Judy's giggle then was almost manic. "Stop it," Judy said, "Or you'll make me pee myself!"
"Love to see that little action!" Alicia said. "Oh, got to go now; round two about to begin!"
"Go get him, sex fiend!" Judy said.
"Going to!" Alicia said, with a kiss, signing off.
Once she was off the phone, Judy sat down, with some music on, and talked to Georgia about the evening.
"He was handsome and sang so well," Judy said. "It was a treat to listen to him and he sang all that Sinatra stuff that I love so much."
Georgia joined in by barking several times.
"Yes," Judy said, "You're right. It was grand, but now it's time for a shower for me. You can come into the bathroom and watch. You'll be the voyeur dog."
Georgia barked again and followed Judy to the shower in the master bedroom, where she lay down on the bathmat and simply stared at Judy with unfeigned love.
A FRIEND IN NEED:
After her shower, Judy dressed in a thin, white nylon nightgown. It went barely to her knees. She wore a simple pair of white panties under it. She did her teeth and went into the bedroom to settle down. Georgia was already up on the bed waiting for her.
The phone rang.
"Hello," Judy said.
"Um, is this Judy Cousins?" the man's voice asked.
She recognized his voice right away, and said: "Is this Frank Sinatra?"
He chuckled and said: "As close as you'll get these days with the Chairman of the Board gone!"
"Rick," she said, "How nice to hear from you."
"Um," he began then. "Did you really mean what you said about calling if I needed anything?"
"Well, yes!" she said, wondering what it was that he needed.
"My car won't start," he said.
"Oh," she replied.
"I sleep in the car," he went on quickly, "And tonight I needed to go and do some laundry and the darn thing is simply dead."
"Okay," Judy said, "I'll be right there."
"Thank you," he said, "I appreciate it."
"Just wait for me," she replied.
"Not going anywhere," was his reply with a wry chuckle.
She put on a pair of sandals, and a coat over her nightgown and went to the garage. She got into her car —-Gerald, the Buffoon, in his leaving, had left 'his' truck behind, since it too was in her name and she refused to allow him to have it; 'his' truck was still in the garage—-and drove off to Kern's to rescue him.
He smiled and waved at her, when she arrived at Kern's.
"Don't know what's wrong with it," he said, "Beside old age and decrepitude."
"That'll do it almost every time," she said, "I know all about old age and decrepitude myself from personal experience."
"Don't you say it, Judy Cousins!" he said, finality in his voice. "You are just lovely and those kinds of words don't describe you at all."
She smiled and said: "Why, thank you! But you said you'd been sleeping in your car?"
"Yes," he said, "It's what I often do."
"Well, you get your chance now to meet Georgia!" Judy told him. "I'll take you home and get you straightened out; I'll even do your laundry, and feed you a late night snack."
"Angel!" he said, "An angel is what you are."
She had him put his stuff, laundry, guitar and items, into the trunk of the car and drove off to take him home.
Their welcome from Georgia was as happy and semi-frantic as Judy's always was. Georgia went from person to person, wagging her tail and back end and making throat noises.
"This is what it is to have a dog," Judy said, once Georgia began to calm down.
"Okay," Judy said then, "First, let me get you something to eat. Hungry?"
"Yes," he said.
She gave him a bottle of beer and showed him where the sandwich fixings were. In the meantime, she took his clothes and went to the laundry to wash them.
When she came back, he said: "This is awfully nice of you."
She smiled. "My payment for the Sinatra tonight!"
Then she smiled and said to him, feeling it was necessary to make their situation plain: "Rick, I suspect that, as good looking as you are, you get all sorts of invitations from, especially older women to spend time with them. I mean sex."
"Yes, I know what you mean," he responded. "Does happen now and again," he admitted.
"I just wanted you to know," she said softly, "This isn't that kind of situation."
"I know," he said right away. "I'm good at reading people and there is nothing suggesting a mature woman out on the prowl about you. Nothing at all."
"Well, I'm glad to hear that!" she said with a small laugh. "But I will help you get things to right."
"Thank you," he said, "I appreciate the laundry especially."
"Is fine!" she replied. Then she had a thought and asked: "What is your schedule for the time coming up?"
"I have a few gigs coming up in Colorado," he said, "I was going there next."
"Okay," she said, "When Gerald, the Buffoon, left, he left behind his truck." She hesitated and said: "Well, actually, it's always been in my name. I bought it for him and it was left behind, when he became a part of history around here. So, why don't you just take his truck?"
"Really?" he asked.
"Yes," she said, "I'll take care of having your car towed and looked over."
"Thank you!" he said, and went to hug her.
It surprised her just a bit but she found herself so completely pleased by it that she just clung to him.
They went into the garage then so that they could look over Gerald's pickup truck. It was a newish Ford 150, the kind that Gerald had liked.
"This is fantastic," he said. "Are you sure about this?"
"Yes," she said with a laugh.
"This will make such a difference," he said, "I mean not to be worrying all the time about the car breaking down."
"Must make you tense," she said.
"Does!" he said.
"But there's no reason for you not to take this," she repeated, and it was settled. She thought for herself that the worst that would happen is that Gerald's truck would go to someone who needed it, and if it didn't come back, that was also okay.
She got his laundry done then and showed him to the guest suite. She got him towels and showed him where the bathroom was, in case he wanted to shower. He did.
Then she went to get the house all closed up and said 'good night' to him. They shared another hug, when they'd said their 'goodnights'.
She went off with Georgia traipsing after her.
She got into bed and had a talk with herself for a while. She wished that she could call and talk to Alicia but she knew what kind of night Alicia was planning and refused to stick her nose into Alicia's business. "Tomorrow at work would be soon enough," she thought.
The other issue was one that wouldn't go away for her, however. She thought a great deal, before sleeping, about having him there and wishing, wanting to go to him and have him make love to her.
What held her back was the sense that it was a kind of cheapening thing to do that. She just didn't like the thought of the scenario of 'the older woman and the younger man'; she didn't like the feel of that at all, and refused to do it.
That was her mind set, when she finally fell asleep. She had pleasant dreams and in one of them, someone was indeed singing the Sinatra songs to her.
She woke and realized that outside her bedroom door, he was indeed singing. It was 'Let's Take It Nice And Easy' that he was singing.
She lay there with a smile on her face and just enjoyed it. When he was done, she clapped and Georgia barked.
"We both loved it," she said.
"Good! Glad!" he replied.
She grabbed her robe then and was putting her robe on, just as she opened the bedroom door, finding him out in the hall. He'd just put his guitar down.
He stared at her, as she was just finishing getting her robe on. For a brief moment, she was showing him the short, white nylon nightie, and, through it, her white panties, and dark niipples. She blushed, when she realized it.
"Forgive me, if I'm inappropriate," he said, "But you are blindingly gorgeous!"
"Thank you," she said, "What a lovely thing to say."
They hugged then, with Georgia capering around their legs.
"Guess who needs to go out?" she said, with a laugh.
"Well, I'm fine," he said with a chuckle, "So it's not me."
She joined him in a laugh.
"I'm going to put coffee on now and then I'll let her majesty out the back door. Coffee will be ready in just a few minutes," she went on.
"Thank you!" he said.
"Breakfast?" she asked.
"Yes, if possible!" he said. Then, getting red in the face, he said: "You are taking care of me in such a wonderful way!"
"Like your mother!" she quipped.
His face got serious then and he said: "No, not at all like my mother or a mother.You are just taking care of me and that's a lovely thing between us."
He was holding her then and she said a soft 'thank you'.
"Yes," he said, letting the hug go. "Georgia out and coffee!"
"Georgia out and Coffee!" she said.
She helped get all of his things ready. His laundry was ready and he had Gerald's truck, so that he wouldn't have to worry about getting around.
"This is all being more wonderful than I can imagine," he said to her, when they were getting ready to part. "Thank you," he said after a minute.
"Welcome," she said, standing near him and not knowing exactly what to do.
"I need time to simply digest this," was his next statement.
"Yes," she agreed, "It'll do us both good to think about it."
Then he surrounded her with his arms and was holding her. She held onto him, as though fearing to lose him. Georgia sat nearby and simply thumped her tail, as though she knew that her own bit of cosseting was next.
Then he was gone. He was gone with Gerald's truck, that she'd given him to use. He'd gone but had her number that she'd given him.
For her, for Judy, right then, it was all pretty much confusing.
A SCHEDULE AND HOME:
She talked to herself any number of times about that period that they'd had together. She remembered keenly having him there that night, so near to her. But she also remembered her determination not to be some kind of groupie that would gather him in for a night of pleasure only to see him leave the next day.
She also had a chance to go over it with Alicia, at work the next day, during a break.
Alicia was all concern, when she saw Judy so obviously affected by Rick's having stayed with her.
"Tell me about it," Alicia said, after hugging Judy and just holding her for many minutes.
After the hug broke, Judy smiled and said: "People will think we're lovers."
"If I thought it would do us any good," Alicia said, "I'd make a pass at you but I think that your mind and attentions are elsewhere."
"Oh, honey," Judy said, "I think they are also."
"Then tell me," Alicia said again.
Judy went over it, all of it, incident by incident. She told Alicia about Rick's call and her going to fetch him. She told Alicia about her offering the use of Gerald's0 truck. "It's not doing anyone good just sitting," Judy had said. Alicia said nothing to that.
Then she went on and talked about doing his laundry; getting him some supper that evening and giving him the guest suite for the night.
At that, Alicia's eyebrows shot up. "Really?" she said.
"Yes," Judy mused. "It seemed such a sordid idea for me to try to bed him down like a groupie!"
"I understand," Alicia said. "But I guess it doesn't feel that way to you?"
"No," Judy said, and shook her head in a kind of dismay. "But, honey, here I am. I'm 48 years old and he's only 27. I'm old enough to be his Mom!"