The houses were on neighboring lots. They were both older victorians. They were both in fairly good condition, though the one on the right was being worked on, a little at a time by the owner.
The people who lived in the houses, living, at that time, very different lives, knew each other. They had been neighbors for a while.
On the right was Jeremy Wilcox. He was, at the time, 27 years old. He stood 6'2", rather tall like the men in his family, and kept himself around 200 lbs. He had short, dark hair, that was wavy and naturally curly. Jeremy Wilcox was a good looking young man.
For Jeremy things were not just going well, that would have been an understatement. For Jeremy, things were fantastic.
He was finished with school, at last! (At least that's what he said to himself.) He had passed the Bar exam and was now a lawyer. He had been offered a job by an old friend of his Dad's and had accepted the offer.
Growing up, Jeremy had been the very apple of his Dad and his Uncle Vince's eye. He was their special boy, and they both had an active hand in his growth and education.
Both Jeremy's Dad, Wayne, and his Uncle Vince had been successful business men. They worked together; they diversified, and they prospered.
The unfortunate part of the tale of Jeremy's Dad and Uncle was that they both suffered from the very same heart problems. Those heart problems took both of them, one at a time, fairly early in life: Jeremy's Dad was 57, and his Uncle Vince was 62.
Their deaths from heart disease was not totally a surprise to either of the, for both were doctoring for a while for such problems.
They also decided, early on, that they would need to take care of Jeremy's future, in case their own future was to be cut short. That's the way that they were. They made plans.
Those plans called for Jeremy to have his inheritance from his Dad and his Uncle, when he arrived at the age of 27. They both thought that such an age would herald maturity for Jeremy, and in that they were right.
It was one of the major pains, actually one of a series of pains in Jeremy's life that he suffered the loss, over a three year period of his sainted Momma, then his Dad and finally his Uncle Vince.
Vince hadn't been married. For him it had always been the family, especially Jeremy.
Jeremy had now passed his 27th birthday. His future seemed open and bright ahead of him. He was a lawyer and had gotten a job and he'd recently had a meeting with Mr. Caruso, the lawyer entrusted with the working out of the financial plans that both Jeremy's Dad and his Uncle Vince had for him.
They'd never really been secretive about those plans, either. They'd told Jeremy, when he was out of High School and preparing for college that they had made plans for his future. They'd also told him that those plans would come to fruition, when Jeremy passed his 27th birthday.
It is to Jeremy's credit that he never let the thought of those plans impact his living or his outlook in a negative way. He always had in the back of his mind the thought that among other goals for his life, he wanted to live in a way that would make his Dad and his Uncle Vince proud.
He anticipated the meeting with Matt Caruso, as he moved into his middle 20's but none of his thinking prepared him for the way that the accounts, set up for him by his Dad and Uncle Vince, had prospered.
He was still in a little bit of shock, as he thought of it. During the course of that meeting, Matt Caruso had gone over with Jeremy the accounts, investments and annuities that were being held for Jeremy. It amounted to, these days, over 9 million dollars.
Jeremy was fairly 'blown away' by the knowledge, and had even asked Matt to give him a number of days to simply internalize that kind of information.
When they made a further appointment, and he went back to talk to Matt, the lawyer had gotten ready for him a credit card that would draw on a huge liquid account.
Jeremy didn't have words, when the transaction was finished. He simply stood there and hugged Matt, who had been a long time best friend to both Wayne and Vince.
"Make them proud," Matt had said. "I know that you've already done that but just keep on."
"Thank you, Uncle Matt," Jeremy said, using the words that he'd always used with this special man.
Jeremy took himself out to dinner that night and simply tried to give himself time to think about it. It was difficult to get his mind around all of it.
In addition to his work, beginning work as a lawyer, Jeremy was a health devotee. The shortened lives of those men whom he'd loved, was a message to him.
He converted one of the various second floor rooms to a workout room for himself. He stocked it with an elliptical machine and a setup for free weights. He worked out regularly and seriously. He also had checkups frequently, working with the cardiologist who'd been a doctor for his Dad and Uncle Vince.
And, truth to tell, he'd also heard rumors about the next door neighbors.
In another proud old victorian, next door, Carolyn Sherman lived with her Mom, Melinda. Carolyn had not been married, she'd been dedicated to taking care of her Dad, in his final illness and, since then, it'd been her and her Mom living alone.
The house and its inhabitants had a different story from the good fortune that was such a factor at Jeremy Wilcox's next door.
After the rather recent death of Melinda's husband, Carolyn's Dad, Fred, they unfortunately learned that Fred's many business ventures were almost completely a bust.
He wasn't good with money management. He wasn't prudent in investing. He wasn't a dab hand at business in any sense of the word. But he never let on, not wanting to worry the women at home.
In that he succeeded, until he was finally gone and the horrible reality was broken to Carolyn and Melinda by their lawyer.
There was simply no money. Carolyn had been devoted, during the past number of years to taking care of her Dad and then also, after he'd gone, her Mom.
She was, at the time, 42 years old. She wasn't too tall, merely a normal 5'4". She tended to be 'zaftig', as the Germans would say. That is, she had inherited her Mom's tendency to be big in the bust, 37c, and had a lovely rounded butt, which she was convinced was too big. (It wasn't.)
She had worked, in the past, in an office but had left that to take care of her folks, as they were getting up in age.
The shock of their situation was only apparent, after Fred's death. It was then that they learned how terrible their situation was.
They sat many nights, after that revelation had been made and literally cried about it.
Both families had lived in these houses for many, many years, and the relations between the families had always been excellent.
As a matter of fact, Carolyn had been Jeremy's babysitter in earlier days.
THOUGHTS, FEELINGS AND REVELATIONS:
There was also at work, at that precise time, two factors that would become important in the not too distant future.
Carolyn had rather inadvertently notice, one evening, Jeremy working out in his 'workout' room, upstairs in his house. That room was right across from her bedroom.
On that initial occasion, Carolyn was surprised to glance out of the window, when she was getting something from her room, and see Jeremy.
He was in his workout room, dressed only in a pair of brief workout shorts and a tee shirt. He was lifting weights, doing some curls with the weights.
She put her knuckle to her mouth to prevent her crying out. The sight was wonderful.
Carolyn had for years, since he'd grown and matured, had a thing for Jeremy. She'd paid so much attention to taking care of her folks that she had only limited experience with men. She wasn't a virgin but she didn't have any kind of whirlwind social life.
And there she stood, back in the shadows of her room, and watched Jeremy Wilcox work out.
She sighed at the sight of his muscular chest and arms. She noticed that he was sweating and that made her heart race.
Carolyn Sherman had a mental thing, a secret mental thing for sweaty men, and now seeing a sweaty, strong and beautiful Jeremy Wilcox was being more of a treat for her than she could remember.
She continued to watch, in the shadows of her room, until he was finished with his workout. Then, as her gaze was riveted on him across the way, he took off the tee shirt and wiped his sweaty face with it. Carolyn almost fainted, when he did that. It was such a delicious sight for her.
She made a mental note of the time that he did his workout, so that, in the days ahead, she'd be there to watch him workout. It was her secret, and one of her true joys. It was a fairly guilty pleasure for her. As the weather got a little hotter, he began to wear only the workout shorts for his weight lifting. This pleased Carolyn's voyeuristic impulses even more. She was there almost every day, at least every time that he'd be doing the regular weight lifting. A few times, as she watched, and he finished, he even took his workout shorts off, as well as his tee shirt. Then, with Carolyn almost panting, he walked from the room wearing only his jock strap. Carolyn's eyes were glued to the room across the way.
Of course, she spoke to herself time and again about not being that way but it was the moth to the flame kind of thing for her. Watching him was one of the joys of her life.
For his part, Jeremy had also always had a thing for Carolyn Sherman. It was one of the kind of crushes that he'd obtained during his adolescence and it had never diminished.
.... There is more of this story ...