Caution: This Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Consensual, Romantic, Heterosexual,
Desc: Sex Story: Chapter 1 - Christmas time brings a man full circle. From heartache and tragedy to love and happiness. Enjoy this heart warming tale and hopefully a few of your other body parts will be warmed as well!
It'd been a strange day from the very start. Actually, it'd been a pretty damn strange year for me. At the beginning of the year I was saddled with a large house payment and seven nearly maxed credit cards courtesy of my ex. If you've ever heard of a story where a women works to put her husband through school and then, after he obtains his degree and gains some success, he runs off with another woman - then you've heard my story only reversed. If you've heard a story where the husband thinks his wife might be "sleeping her way to the top" - that's my story too.
When I first encountered Amanda she was working nights as a waitress at Bernie's, a restaurant in town. I'd finished my Bachelors degree and was just getting started on my career. I'm not certain exactly what I'd thought I'd seen in her; but later on I found out for sure what she'd seen in me. She was trying to work her way through college and support her six year old daughter at the same time. Dad was not in the picture and not paying any child support. Of course I didn't learn all of this in one night, but I took the time to talk with her each time I stopped at Bernie's.
I guess it's time I face it. She was hot, she was smart, and she was determined. I admired the energy she faced her challenges with. We'd gone out as much as her schedule would permit for over a year and I was pretty smitten by her. Amanda's daughter Stacy had quickly stolen a hunk of my heart as well. Sometimes when I look back on things I swear I'd do things differently - until I remember Stacy; but now I'm getting ahead of myself.
I decided I wanted more of her time; but knew she couldn't afford to give it the way things were. I also was positive that I'd found true love and that things would surely work out. In any case, I proposed, Amanda accepted, and we were married soon after. We certainly had our good times; but even from the first year I found Amanda quite willing to be manipulative now that she felt she had her hooks in me. I was paying all of the bills, and willingly so I might add. I thought if she didn't have to work to pay for her schooling that Stacy and I would see more of her, which was true, but only to a certain extent.
I remember shortly before she graduated with her Bachelors Degree how she informed me that she would be heading straight to graduate school at one of the more expensive university's in our area. I'd hoped we'd actually have a year or two without the rigors of her study schedule, but I knew this was important to her - so I kept my disappointment to myself for the most part. Amanda insisted that we pay for her education without taking out any loans. She persuaded me that although it would crimp our lifestyle quite a bit we'd be better off when she finished without having more loans to pay. So for the next two years I worked my ass off to make ends meet and to meet the extra financial obligations her Masters Degree program required.
It seemed that almost as soon as she graduated and passed her bar exams she landed a job. I knew I should be excited for her, but somehow it seemed just like more of the same to me; in this I wasn't wrong. Amanda worked long hours while assuring me that this would only be necessary for the first year or so and that once she had secured her position in the firm she'd be able to cut back. I loved her and I wanted to believe her - so I did. For the seven years we'd been married I had pretty much been paying the bills and raising her daughter. Stacy was the only real bright spot in the whole picture.
I'd arranged my schedule so that I'd start work early and get off by four in the afternoon. At four thirty I'd arrive at the soccer field in time to catch the last fifteen minutes of her soccer practice. If she had a game, I was the one who cheered her on. Twice a week I took her to her dance class. I remembered just how proud I was of her at her recital; I also remember how upset she was that her mother hadn't made it.
One year passed and then another. It was in Amanda's third year at the firm that I found the invitation to her firm's Christmas party in a stack of bills on the desk in the den. "Well it's about time we get invited" I thought to myself as I looked it over. Then, as I was reading the letter accompanying the invitation, I saw a line that really bothered me a lot: "As we do each year at this time, we are pleased to invite each employee and their spouse or significant other to attend our happy festivities..." They'd invited her before? And me too? Why hadn't she said anything? If I hadn't found the invitation, what would she have said this year?
I decided not to say anything about it and see what she'd do. I hid the invitation and waited. Nothing happened. The day grew closer without a single word. Then, the evening of the party, she called to say she had to work late. I guess I should have known. After all, it's what she'd probably done every year before. Was she ashamed of me? I just didn't know about her anymore.
Stacy was thirteen now, but I really didn't want to leave her alone so I called an older neighbor lady we were close to and asked if she could come and stay with Stacy for the evening. I told her that a bit of an emergency had come up and Helen didn't hesitate to help me out. Instead of being upset with me, Stacy was happy to have a visit from her "Aunt Helen" as she'd taken to calling the kindly woman.
The firm Christmas party turned out to be a formal affair at one of the nicer hotels in town. The letter accompanying the invitation had included details about the menu and the entertainment for the evening. They were going all out. I dressed in my nicest suit and headed out the door with the invitation in my pocket.
When I reached the hotel I asked where the party for Michberg, Laughton, and Connell was being held and they directed me to the Omega Ball Room. I entered the room and spent the next two hours observing and being careful to stay out of Amanda's sight. There was my Amanda, my wife, acting as if she was a single woman with no spouse. Seeing the woman I'd longed to be close to and tried to make a life with acting as if I didn't even exist left me in sheer agony. She danced with any man that asked and I often saw wandering hands which she did absolutely nothing to discourage. About ten thirty I saw her leave the dance floor and make her way to the exit followed by two men. Progress was slow as she moved through the crowd of people and every few minutes or so it seemed that another man had joined her entourage. I was near an exit on the other side of the room so I ducked out and made my way through the hallways as quickly as I could. I reached the door just as she was coming through and barely avoided having her spot me.
I followed her and the nine men as they headed to the elevator. I ducked inside just before the door closed keeping my back to her so she wouldn't see my face. My caution was probably wasted. I heard noises of kissing accompanied by her giggles and the laughter and comments of the other men in the elevator. When I risked a glance over my shoulder I was shocked to find her standing there in just her thong happily being pawed by the men standing nearest to her.
They had pressed the button for the sixth floor and I stayed in the elevator facing towards the corner until they had all gotten out. I followed at the back of the group as they made their way down the hall to room six hundred and nineteen. One of the men produced a key card and opened the door. He held it wide as everyone walked in. When he saw me standing there I expected him to tell me to get lost; instead he said "Come on in pal. The more the merrier!"
I stepped into the room and watched as the man closed the door. He turned to me once again and said "We've got dibs on her first. You'll get your turn, but right now I need you to listen for the door in case anyone else wants in on the action."
"Okay," I said numbly.
"She's really something isn't she? Every Christmas she bangs just about every man in the firm. Says it's her Christmas gift to us. Fortunately for us she doesn't really make us wait a whole year. Our little slut Amanda will let us bang her anytime and any way we want!" he told me with evident excitement.
He wasn't kidding! She took on all comers. It was just like a porno flick. There she was in the center of the bed sitting on some guys cock as she faced the foot of the bed. Another dick was fucking in and out of her asshole. She was sucking a third and giving hand jobs to two others.
"Always knew you could multi-task Mandy Baby!" the guy she was blowing said to uproarious laughter.
The bitch! "I'm working late dear. Not tonight dear, I've had a hard day. No you can't fuck me in the ass! Only a whore takes it back there. How could you think so little of me?" All the lies she'd fed me! Me her husband! The one who'd bent over backwards to make things work for her! For me nothing, while other schmucks could do anything they wanted to her anytime they wanted. She was a bitch to me and a slut for them.
To make matters worse she was taking them bareback while she'd always insisted that I wear a condom. "We wouldn't want to risk having another little one right now honey" was the line she'd always used on me. It was only later that I heard her tell one of the men fucking her pussy "Go ahead and fill me up with your cum, I had my tubes tied years ago. If I haven't gotten pregnant with all the fucking I've done since I never will."
I figured I'd seen enough and wasn't enjoying this eye opening experience very much at all. Better to find out what I could and then make my exit instead of getting violent in a room full of lawyers. "She's quite the slut isn't she?" I asked the man next to me.
"Yup! Mandy's our little deal closer. If the deal isn't making progress, just let Mandy grease the way. Of course most of the grease she uses gets put in her tight little asshole!" he laughed.
So that was how she'd been "securing her position in the firm." Well at least now I knew what her position was; usually on all fours with every orifice chocked full of cock. The bitch had seen me as nothing more than her meal ticket and live-in babysitter. I got to work my ass off while all of the other men around her got to get their rocks off!
I was mad! I was also so numbed by the shock of it all that I'm afraid I was quite stupid. The smartest thing I could have done would have been to run down to the twenty four hour drug store on the corner and buy a couple of disposable cameras before heading back to the room and catching the slut in action on film. Unfortunately, that's not what I did. I left the room before she saw me alright; but I didn't come back with a camera.
The rest of the whole mess is damn painful for me to recount, not that this wasn't! To make a long story short - it's damn hard to win out in divorce court when your bitch of a wife has fucked every legal dick in the county! I had no credible evidence and she must have known the jig was up somehow. The bitch actually filed for divorce two days later!
I ended up with a shit load of bills to show for the seven years I'd been faithfully supporting her and some other man's kid. I offered to pay child support in the hopes that I'd still get to have time with the girl I considered my daughter. Sometimes the boneheads who run the courts can be pretty damn stupid. They gave me no custody rights or visitation privileges since I wasn't Stacy's biological father. I was given a few minutes to say good bye to the only meaningful bright spot in the last seven years of my existence and it just about ripped me apart when the bitch took Stacy away. I at least avoided alimony payments since Amanda clearly didn't need me for support and I'd been able to prove that I had in fact paid her way through school and pretty much been the sole provider throughout our marriage.
It's hard to believe that all of that happened last Christmas. I must say I hadn't enjoyed my little "Christmas Surprise" as the bitch had put it and that was putting a serious damper on my spirits this December as well; but, as I've been told that some wise person somewhere probably said at sometime, "once you hit bottom things can only go up from there."
The divorce was over and done with faster than I would have believed possible. Three weeks after I had the final papers in my hand I stopped in at a gas station, fueled up my car, and went inside to grab a soda. The fella in front of me asked the clerk if it was too late to buy a lottery ticket before the night's drawing. It was Saturday so the clerk looked at the time listed on the machine's LCD display before answering. There were still a few minutes left so she sold him his tickets. I don't know why I did it, it was really just on a whim, but as the she rang up my drink I asked for three dollars worth of lottery tickets. I dropped my change in my left pocket, stuffed my tickets in my billfold, picked up my drink and walked out.
Once I had put the tickets in my pocket I pretty much forgot about them for a few days until Thursday when I overheard one of my co-workers talking about the unclaimed lottery jackpot. I still wasn't paying close attention until another person said they'd heard the winning ticket had been sold at a local gas stop. That gained a bit more of my attention. Then another guy named the gas station that had sold the ticket. "Hey," I thought to myself "that's where I bought my ticket."
I left the break room in such a hurry I left my coffee cup on the table. On my way back to my office I remember thinking "it's just a coincidence; there's no way I'd ever win." I'm no power computer user by any stretch but I do alright and know my way around the Internet okay. It didn't take long to find the website for the Lottery and call up the winning numbers. I pulled the ticket out of my wallet and checked the three separate sets of numbers I'd purchased. The first was wrong and so was the second; but as I checked the third I realized that they all matched! I actually had the winning ticket from the March 2nd, 2002 drawing!
I'd bought the ticket on a whim without even knowing how much the jackpot would be worth if I'd won. Now I found out that I'd won fifty seven million dollars! Of course it'd probably amount to significantly less after taxes but it'd be more than enough for me I knew! Now, how should I do this?
I managed to keep my voice normal as I arranged with my boss to take the next few days off of work. I called my buddy Cliff, the only lawyer I still thought of as a friend and asked for his silence and his help. The state lottery headquarters for Arizona is in Phoenix. I was living in Tucson and Cliff calls Flagstaff home. He agreed to meet me in Phoenix for brunch and we'd talk more there. I asked him if he knew of a good tax specialist in Phoenix that might be able to join us and he said he'd take care of it. Cliff asked me to meet him at the Einstein Brothers Café at the street level in the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown.
The next morning I left my house early in the morning and drove the two hours to Phoenix. I was waiting at the café that fine Friday morning at nine just as Cliff had asked. He came out of the hotel a few minutes later. "Hey Brad it's really good to see you!" Cliff said as he gave me a hug.
Cliff and I went way back. I'd known him since I was in grade school and we'd stayed in touch ever since though somewhat sporadically when he moved to Flagstaff just after passing his bar exams. "It's good to see you too Cliff. How'd you get here so quickly though?"
"I cheated. You called at two so Pam and I used this as an excuse to enjoy an extended weekend here at the Hyatt. She's probably already out spending whatever it is I'm going to earn on your business!" Cliff joked.
We both went in and ordered a simple breakfast of bagels, cream cheese, and orange juice. There didn't seem to be too many listening ears nearby; but I decided I would wait for a more private setting to explain why I'd asked him to come. Instead I asked him to tell me how his kids were doing and enjoyed the stories he regaled me with concerning their exploits.
After we'd finished our bagels, Cliff led me into the hotel and up to the suite he and Pam were staying in. He ordered up some coffee from room service and then sat on the couch while I stole the comfortable chair. "So Brad, what do you need my help with?"
Cliff already knew that Amanda and I were divorced along with a few of the painful details. His practice in Flagstaff was far enough away from her antics in Tucson that he'd not known about any of it until after I did. When I told him I possessed the winning lottery ticket, Cliff congratulated me and said he could probably guess at least part of what I needed him for. He was right. I wanted to find some way of remaining somewhat anonymous but lottery winnings in Arizona are public record for large jackpots.
Cliff sat there thinking about if for a few minutes and then came up with an idea that while not completely fool proof should do a pretty good job of protecting my anonymity. He said we had a window of one hundred and eighty days from the time of the drawing to work things out. His plan was that I would legally change my name prior to claiming my winnings. He told me that since I was no longer married, had never filed bankruptcy, and had no outstanding court judgments against me I wouldn't need to publish any notifications. Before changing my name I would first need to sell the house and then quit my job; good thing I had six months!
Changing names was a little weird for me to even contemplate at first. I'd been Brad Crawford as long I'd been alive. I was the only child of Jim and Eliza Crawford and they had both died in a car accident during my second year in college. My mother had been an only child and my dad's brother had died before I was born. From the stories I'd heard, my Uncle Phil was a cop who died after being shot while on duty. My grandparents were no longer among the living either. I was engrossed in this line of thought for a few minutes and Cliff just sat quietly with me as I pondered things.
"You know Cliff - this whole idea of changing names gets you thinking about breaking ties with family and friends," I said as I looked in his direction. "Now that I'm pondering it, I realize that except for you, I've pretty much already done that in a way. I don't have any living family left and I'd been pouring so much of myself into raising Stacy and dealing with Amanda that I haven't developed any other close friendships. Even the people I work with are people I'm pretty detached from."
"Brad it doesn't matter what name you go by, you'll always be my friend," Cliff said reassuringly.
"I appreciate that very much Cliff."
I started thinking about a scene from the movie Men In Black. The one where Will Smith is sitting on a park bench in deep thought as he is faced with the choice of severing ties with everyone he knows. The whole thought just made me burst out laughing and Cliff wanted to know what the joke was. When I shared my train of thought with him he started laughing to.
"I'm going to do it Cliff. In a way I probably should've done it even if I hadn't won this money. I really could use a fresh start. Right now I can't even walk down the street and see another man passing me by without wondering if Amanda hasn't whored herself out for him as well."
So that was what I did. When my dad died I'd inherited a large block of stock in the company he'd worked for. I sold it to use for working capital. I spent a few days packing up the things I intended to keep, which didn't turn out to be a whole lot, and then hired two movers to pack up the rest of it which I donated to a local charity. I walked through the house with a realtor and asked them to make a complete list of things that could be done quickly that would make the house more attractive to a buyer. The list was short: clean the carpets and paint the bedrooms. I guess all of my diligence at taking care of the place had paid off.
I really wanted the house to sell fast, so in addition to the bedrooms I had the painters do all the rooms. I also had the garage floor and the concrete drive re-sealed. I had a small crew from the local nursery come out to trim the trees and bushes and add a few flowering plants here and there. The exterior of the house was in very good shape already so there wasn't much to do there; but I thought that having the yard look its best might make things move along a bit faster.
After the painters had finished I had the carpets cleaned. With the place in such nice shape, the realtor was happy to list it and wanted to ask for top dollar. I told him that my goal was to move the place quickly and listed it for thirty percent below the appraisal. That would leave me with enough cash after paying off the house, the credit cards, and the realty fees to last until the name change was complete and the lottery winnings were available to me. The realtor was resistant to this at first, probably since their commissions are paid on a percentage basis, so I told him I'd pay twice his normal fee if the sale of the house closed within three weeks. If it took longer than that I would only pay the normal commission fees. Needless to say, the house sold very quickly.
I used the proceeds from the sale of the house to clear every remaining debt I had obtained as Brad Crawford. One last piece of business here and then I could put my existence in Tucson behind me. I drove my two year old car from the hotel I'd been staying in over to Helen's house.
"Oh Brad! Come on in! It's good to see you. I've missed talking with you and Stacy," the elderly woman said as she gave me a friendly hug.
"I'm sorry about that Helen. I enjoyed visiting with you as well and Stacy thought the world of you too."
I saw a tear trail down her cheek as she thought about what had happened to Stacy and I. Reaching up as gently as I could, I wiped her tear away and suggested she and I go for a ride and get a bite to eat if she was up to it. Her whole face lit with the smile I had become accustomed to over the years as she usually had it on her face whenever she was with Stacy. I realized Stacy and I weren't the only casualties of Amanda's choices.
While the house was being taken care of I'd had the car in the shop as well. It was in wonderful condition and had less than forty thousand miles on it. After Helen had locked the door to her house, I offered her my arm and walked her to the car. Instead of taking her to the passenger side, I opened the driver's door and asked her if she'd mind driving.
"Are you feeling alright Brad?" she asked with concern.
"Yes Helen. I just don't feel like driving right now. I've ridden with you before and always felt safe riding with you - so would you mind driving?"
"I guess not - as long as you can take an old woman's driving," she teased. "I've always liked driving anyway."
"Good. Let's go eat!" I suggested.
We had a nice meal and when it was over we walked back out to the car again. "Helen, would you mind driving again? I've a few more errands I need to run this afternoon."
"Sure. I'll drive. Your car's a lot nicer to drive than mine is these days."
I had her drive me to the nearest Department of Motor Vehicles office.
"Now Helen, how are you feeling right now?" I asked her before we got out of the car.
"Why would you be asking me that Brad?"
"Well, I don't want to shock you too much in the DMV."
"Did you get into some kind of trouble with the law Brad? Did they revoke your license?"
"No Helen. Nothing like that at all. It's just that I'm going to be moving away from here. Seeing Amanda or the snakes she works with is too hard on me; especially since I can't even see Stacy. I've got to leave here and get on with my life."
"Are you sure about this Brad?" Helen asked with concern.
"Yes. Very sure. My parents are gone and I have no family around here. My only regret is to be leaving a good neighbor and friend like you Helen."
"You can't worry about an old woman like me Brad. You've got enough troubles of your own."
"Well that's true enough in some ways Helen, but it doesn't mean that I can't do a favor for a friend; you've done quite a few for me through the years."
She looked at me with misty eyes and said "You've never asked me to do anything I wasn't perfectly happy doing for you Brad Crawford. You don't need to do me any favors. I know things have to be hard for you right now."
I smiled at her and said "I'm going to be alright Helen. Now, the reason we're here is to get this title transferred into your name. I want to give this car to you Helen. It's paid for and I won't be needing it where I'm going. I want you to have it."
"I can't take your car Brad! It's worth a good deal of money! You should sell it and use the money for yourself! I can't accept this!"
"Hold on there Helen. Think about it for a moment. I have no parents to take care of, but if they were still alive and needed some help - would it have been okay for me to give the car to them?"
"Yes, but that's different."
"Is it really so different? You've been as much family to me and Stacy as anyone Helen. I really want you to let me do this for you. Your car isn't going to be reliable for much longer, but this one would be. Please, I'm begging you Helen, please accept my gift."
It took a little more convincing, but I got the job done and soon the car was transferred into her name. I had her drive me to her insurance agent and we had the car added to her policy. When she went to the restroom I paid her agent for three years worth of insurance so she wouldn't have to deal with it in the near future.
I had a private car service pick me up at Helen's house. Cliff's dad owned a cabin in the White Mountains and I was going to hole up there for a while and had arranged for the few boxes of belongings I'd decided to keep to be sent there along with my clothes. This would allow me to incur no new debt or expenses as Brad Crawford that couldn't be paid for with cash while the name change was being processed.
It wasn't too long of a wait and then the name change was completed. I remember the look on Cliff's face when I had told him what name I wanted him to use. He'd made the comment that soon enough I was going to be one rich bastard. But then when I told him that would be my new name he had a hard time believing I was serious. Now the name change was completed and from now on I'd be signing my name as Rich B. Ard; however, my official name was Richard Bast Ard. Somewhat humorous and probably a bit stupid, but it fit my sense of humor.
I had some qualms about what he suggested next, but he talked me into it by reminding me that lottery laws allowed the names and photos of winners to be posted and used for publicity. So, with a bit of help from Pam, I altered my appearance quite severely. Pam volunteers as a makeup artist for two summer theater productions every year and as I found out - she's quite good at her work. She died my hair until the predominant color was silvery gray with streaks of white. I don't know how to describe everything she did with my face; but it added at least thirty years to my appearance. Then she "dressed me fat" as she puts it. When I looked in the mirror I didn't recognize myself at all.
The three of us drove into Phoenix. With the name change, I had a new birth certificate which was used to obtain a new social security card. Cliff then took me to a tax specialist and I largely listened as he detailed my wishes quite accurately. We'd talked about my intentions quite a bit over the last two days that they'd spent with me and he knew what I wanted as well as what I was concerned about. I signed some paperwork with the man and instructed him to take directions from Cliff from here on out.
Next we went to the State Lottery offices on University Drive. It was a good thing I had Cliff there to represent me as I was a bit overwhelmed by everything. I elected to take the thirty year payout which amounted to 1.9 million dollars a year minus taxes. The next stop was the bank which would be the last stop before I was done with the paperwork and the disguises. I didn't worry about how they got it done so quickly, maybe Cliff had given them enough of an advance warning, but I left the bank with a credit card and checks in the name of Rich B. Ard. The checks were probably produced on site in small numbers on a laser jet printer since they were on blue safety paper and included the address and phone number of the tax specialist. All of my account statements would be mailed there as well.
All of that had taken place in the beginning of the year. It had kept me thoroughly occupied, but now, with the trappings of my old life behind me, money enough to do whatever I wanted, and plenty of time on my hands, I determined to make the best of the new opportunities that became available to me.
I flew to Mexico and stayed in a luxury hotel in Puerto Vallarta for about six weeks. The entire time I was there I was working with a personal trainer trying to regain the six pack I'd had ten years earlier. My weight wasn't the problem but I wasn't at all in shape either. This was going to have to change and I was willing to put the necessary effort into it.
I took scuba lessons and went on quite a few outings. The concierge at the hotel could seemingly arrange just about any kind of sightseeing or recreational trip I wanted and I found it all very engaging.
After Puerto Vallarta, I visited Cancun and the surrounding area. I loved the fact that I could be out scuba diving or snorkeling one day and be traveling inland to examine ancient ruins the next. After four months in Mexico I flew to Hawaii for a three month stay where I enjoyed almost as much time in the water as I did on land. In late November I flew to San Diego and from there to Aspen for an extended vacation; I was hoping to get some skiing in before I left.
I knew the holidays would be tough, and they were. I got through Thanksgiving okay, but Christmas was really hard for me. Most of the time I was able to keep thoughts of Amanda at bay, but Stacy was another matter entirely. It seemed that everywhere I looked there were families enjoying the winter activities together.
Three days after Christmas had past, I checked into the Manchester Grand Hyatt in downtown San Diego. Having grown up in Arizona and then spending most of my adult life there as well, I'd been to San Diego quite a lot. It wasn't too bad of a drive from Phoenix or Tucson so it made a nice place to get some surf and sun without a lot of hassles.
There were a lot of things to do and see in the area and I had the time now. After a day of sight seeing and then a walk along the beach, I made my way back to the hotel. I'd made my excursion on foot since everything was pretty much within walking distance anyway.
I guess that with all of the physical activity I'd been engaged in for the last six months or so, nine or ten miles of walking broken up by interesting sights and points of interest just didn't seem that far any more. With all of the walking I'd been doing, the skiing, the swimming, the focused workouts, and with the care I'd employed in selecting only the best of foods to fuel my body - I was in better shape than I'd ever been before. I hadn't "bulked up" with muscle since I didn't want to carry the extra weight electing instead to achieve strength and muscle definition while maintaining agility. I'd dropped off all excess body weight and was well on my way to the toned and chiseled physique I desired.
I'd always worn glasses before since my eyes were just a bit to dry for contacts to be comfortable, but a few months ago I'd had Lasik surgery and dropped the glasses. With the physical changes, the advice that Pam had given me regarding my hair, and without the glasses I looked quite a bit different than I had before.
Just before I reached the hotel I decided on a whim to stop for a few minutes at Pantoja Park and relax there while I planned my activities for the evening. I don't remember precisely when, but several years ago Amanda, Stacy, and I had driven to San Diego for some convention or another that Amanda needed to attend. While Amanda was off doing whatever, I took Stacy out on a short whale watching jaunt one morning. During the afternoon we'd enjoyed ourselves relaxing and horsing around in the park near the hotel - Pantoja Park.
Being at the park brought back many memories of Stacy. For me, remembering times with Stacy was both pleasant and slightly painful at the same time. Pleasant in that I still loved the sweet girl who I'd had the joy of spending time with; but painful in that I could no longer have her in my life. As I sat there on the bench I thought about the afternoon she and I had once shared right here. I remember playing tag and pretending that she was too fast for me to catch, giving her a boost up so she could climb a tree, pushing her on the swings, and laughing together. My life with Amanda had been a lie; but life with Stacy had been real.
What brought me out of me reverie was the sight of an apparently homeless person sleeping on a bench some distance from me. I wondered what their story was. The plight of the homeless had been on my mind more than once and I'd tried to help several before. My efforts had no long lasting effect, but maybe they'd been a bright point in an otherwise difficult existence - so I'd been happy to part with the money. It's true that many of the homeless have arrived in their situation by actions of their own and that some do not wish to put out the effort to escape their situation; but that isn't the case for everyone. Every year I donated money to programs that offer food, shelter, and rehabilitation to the homeless. This past Christmas I'd been able to donate quite a bit more, but maybe this time I could offer some help in person.
I stood and began slowly walking towards them. Their tattered clothing was so dirty, I thought the pants might have been red at one time but I couldn't really tell. A dirty jean jacket pulled tight and held shut by crossed arms, its hood pulled up over the head and partially obscuring the dirt streaked face. Two mostly worn out athletic shoes completed the ensemble.
As I drew near I could see they were rousing so I asked "Excuse me, my name is Rich. Are you hungry?"
The face that looked up at me was younger than I expected and clearly that of a girl. The eyes still had some life left in them and I could see what might be a small spark of hope at the thought of a meal; but there was hesitancy there too. This young one had seen some hard times for sure.
"I was just sitting over there planning on what I might do with the rest of my day and thinking I'd like to get a bite to eat when I noticed you sitting here. If you are hungry, you're welcome to be my guest for dinner - no strings attached," I told her.
"You're name is Rich?" she asked.
"Yes. And what do I call you?"
"Lynn. My name is Lynn. Why would you want to be seen eating with a homeless person?"
"Lynn, I can eat with anyone I like. I really don't care what everyone else thinks about me - so why should I care if I'm seen eating with some Hollywood starlet or a homeless person? What business is it of theirs?"
She turned her head so she could look me directly in the eyes. It was like she was searching for something there that would tell her what to do. Finally she asked "You really mean that don't you?"
"Yes Lynn, I really do mean that."
"Wouldn't it be better if you brought me something from McDonalds or Burger King?"
"I'm not sure Lynn. Do you find the thought of watching me eat to be so awful?" I asked with a chuckle.
"No," she answered with just a hint of a smile on her tired face. "It's just that I haven't had a bath in a while. I don't have any clean clothes and I feel just filthy. You seem sincere and all; but I still don't want to embarrass you."
"Let me say it again Lynn. I'm not easily embarrassed and you don't need to worry about that. If you'd like, you can come with me and pick out some new clothes, get cleaned up, and then we can eat."
I saw a bit of suspicion in her expression when I mentioned her getting cleaned up and she asked "you're not just trying to get me naked are you?"
"Lynn I realize you don't know me from Adam and that you may have seen some really hard times, but honestly I only wanted to help you. If you remember I asked you about a meal; everything else came up because I don't want you to be uncomfortable. I don't even want to imagine how I'd feel if I hadn't been able to have a shower for a few days," I said as reassuringly as possible.
The young woman sat thinking about it for a moment and then seemed to reach some kind of decision. "Okay Rich. I'm very hungry and I haven't had a real meal in a long time. I really would like to be clean again and a change of clean clothes would be awful nice to. If you really don't mind helping someone like me then I'd be pretty dumb to refuse; but it might not work anyway."
"Oh? Why would you say that?"
Lynn looked down at her feet and said "They probably won't let me in the store in the first place."
"Please Lynn. Let me worry about that okay?"
"Good. If you've got everything, then let's go," I said as I began walking towards the side of the park closest to my hotel. "It's about three thirty right now so we have some time to get to a store or two. I'm staying at a hotel near here. You can get showered and cleaned up there. I've got a pair of sweatpants I think will fit you and a sweatshirt as well. They'll be a little baggy, but you'll only need to wear them until we can get a few things in your size."
When I mentioned her showering in my hotel room she looked a bit unsure of things again, but she came along anyway. It doesn't take much walking to get from the park to the hotel and I led her straight through the lobby. We got a few stares from curious onlookers but I really wasn't kidding when I told her I didn't care what anyone else thought. I led her over to the elevator that serviced the floors with the nicer suites and punched the button for my floor.
"So Lynn, while we're waiting, would you mind telling me what types of restaurants you like? Mexican? Italian? Steak? Seafood?"
"They all sound good to me. Whatever you want will be wonderful I'm sure."
"Well we don't have to decide just yet. Think about it while you're in the shower," I said as the elevator door opened.
I had a corner suite with a spectacular view. The view and the amenities were more important to me than the cost and that's what I told my travel agent. I'd been working through a single agency for a while now and they were learning my likes and dislikes and doing a good job of keeping me happy. So though I'd been traveling by myself, I just happened to be in a suite with two separate bedrooms, not because I planned on using the second bedroom, but because the best views were to be had from the corner suites and they just happened to have the extra room. The door to the extra room was closed when we walked in though, so Lynn didn't know about it.
Lynn seemed somewhat awed by the view. I led her into the bedroom I was staying in, pulled out the sweatpants and sweatshirt I'd been referring to and told her she was welcome to borrow any of my sandals if she could fit into them.
"There are plenty of towels in the bathroom as well as shampoo, soap, and other toiletries. When we go shopping you can pick up anything else you might need in the way of toiletries. Now you take your time and make yourself right at home Lynn.
I'll be out in the living room where I've stashed a good book that needs reading - so don't hurry if you don't want to. Okay?"
"Okay Rich - and thank you."
"You are welcome honey," I said as I stepped out of the bedroom shutting the door behind me.
I hadn't been lying about the book. I grabbed a Sam Adams from the bar and sat down in the big overstuffed chair to read while I drank it. I wasn't really paying too much attention to the time. I was nicely relaxed and really enjoying the story when Lynn stepped into the room. The sweats were pretty baggy, but the drawstring was doing its job. The sandals were a little big; but they'd do for now. Now that her hair was clean I saw that it was a lustrous honey blond and even though she'd not been able to use any makeup her face was beautiful.
"Wow! You're a very beautiful young woman Lynn."
She blushed, smiled, and said "Thank you."
"Now I know you're hungry, let's grab a sandwich at the shop down the street and then go shopping. Afterwards we'll get a real nice dinner somewhere. That'll give you sometime to think about what kind of restaurant you want to go to," I suggested.
"What about my things?"
"They'll still be here when we get back Lynn."
"Yes, but the clothes and the shoes smell. I didn't want them to stink up the whole place so I stuffed them into a dry cleaning bag. Is that okay?"
"I'm sure it will be fine. Let's go."