There is no explicit sex in this story. I wish to thank the people who helped contribute to and edit this story, per their wishes, they remain anonymous. No part of this story may be published at any other site without the express permission of the author. © October 2, 2006
"Richard, we are there," Daryl informed his passenger as the limo pulled up in front of his favorite restaurant.
Not surprisingly, as Richard leaned forward to retrieve his cane he was once again captivated by its artistic design. The beautifully handcrafted wolf head created by interwoven gold and silver never ceased to fascinate him.
He had purchased the walking stick years ago to provide others with the perception he was mature for his age. Although the passing of time had cured Richard's problem of looking older, he had carried the cane at his side for so long, he would feel naked without it. He still derived great pleasure from the many compliments it received. Richard smiled as he paused to run his thumb over the handle.
With his overcoat draped securely over his arm his hand slipped down to firmly grasp the dark wood grained staff as he prepared to exit. When the limo door swung open, Richard stepped out, stretching his stiff muscles as he rose to his full height.
Gone were the days of bounding from the limo, charging up the steps and sauntering into the restaurant. His youthful exuberance had been systematically displaced by the cumulative effect of his forty-four years.
A smile, which Daryl easily recognized as appreciation, crossed Richard's face. It wouldn't be Richard without the beacons of his personality, his array of smiles.
Daryl had been with Richard through the better part of his life. While serving as his personal chauffeur and valet he had become Richard's close confidant and friend, standing at his side when needed.
As Richard took a step towards his favorite restaurant a young woman suddenly appeared in his path. Before Daryl could react she requested, "Sir, could I borrow a couple of dollars? I haven't eaten in days."
Daryl immediately moved to intercede, but Richard blocked him with his cane, never taking his eyes off the girl. It was a move to let Daryl know he didn't feel threatened. Daryl stepped back, remaining close enough to intervene if necessary.
Richard took a moment to observe and study the young woman. She appeared to be around twenty, not beautiful but not unattractive. It would be easier to judge if her smudged face and matted hair were bathed and cleaned. A few additional pounds on her too thin frame wouldn't hurt either; it was quite evident she didn't eat on a regular basis.
The one thing that surprised him was she actually appeared to be requesting, not begging, as was the norm for most street people. With an inquisitive smile, he asked, "May I inquire what everyone calls you?"
Hesitating, she looked at him with more than just a little suspicion before relenting, "If you mean what's my name, it's Amber."
"Hmmm, a very pretty name for a young lady Miss Amber," he replied with an unnerving smile that made her feel somewhat uncomfortable.
"Well it's my name. Now are you going to lend me some money or not?" She scowled trying to force the issue. The last thing she intended to do was stand there and let some well dressed, well educated, and well financed jerk make fun of her. She had experienced enough of that on the streets to last a lifetime.
With a smirking grin, Richard hinted with strong suggestion, "And Miss Amber, just what would you be willing to do for a few dollars?"
Her eyes almost glowed with rage as she spat, "FUCK YOU and all the other assholes in the world. I would rather starve than degrade myself for food... or money... or anything else."
She spun on her heel and took a step to leave just before Richard inquired, "I thought you were hungry Miss Amber."
"Not if I have to perform for it," she retorted over her shoulder.
"Miss Amber, if you were willing to do that, I would be the one walking away," he replied. "Now if you are hungry, there is food just inside that door, if you're not, I am. With or without you, I'm going in to eat."
Abruptly she came to a stop, spun around, and came back to stand in front of him. Looking up into his face, staring eye to eye, she inquired, "No strings attached?"
With an amused smile, he said, "None... other than you are required to have an appetite. From the looks of you, I don't think that will be a problem Miss Amber."
Even though his smile made her feel comfortable, she still looked for signs of deceit. The face staring back at her was full of sincerity and strong character molded by years of living. His warm smile helped make her decision.
Richard held out his hand towards the restaurant, she spun and headed for the entrance. He smiled in awe, 'She seems to have that spin down perfect.'
Just as her hand reached out to open the door, Richard leaned around and pulled it open for her. She looked up into his face as he said, "Miss Amber, a lady never opens a door in front of a gentleman, if she does, she's not a lady. If he doesn't open it for her, she needs to be with someone else because she's not with a gentleman."
She only grunted her acquiescence as she slipped through the door thinking, 'Who cares what nonsense he spouts as long as I get to eat, I'm starving.'
Although never forward or arrogant, Richard had always had a distinctive but intangible quality in that his very presence demanded the maitre d's attention. Amber beat him to the punch this time.
The maitre d' spotted her immediately as she came through the door and moved to intercept before she could enter the dining room. It was quite apparent she was in the wrong place.
Richard could see Amber brace for what was coming. This scene had become part of her everyday life in recent years; having been thrown out of several places of business, not just restaurants.
As the maitre d' was about to confront Amber by blocking her path, Richard spoke, "Joseph, this is Miss Amber. She is my guest and will be dining with me tonight. Amber, this is Joseph, the finest maitre d' you will ever have the pleasure to meet." Richard smiled confidently, knowing Joseph would grant his request.
Joseph stopped, looked from Amber to Richard, then back to Amber before saying, "Of course, my pleasure to meet you Miss Amber."
Wide eyed, Amber was impressed with the unspoken display of power she just witnessed.
Joseph continued, "Your normal table Sir?"
Richard's nostrils picked up a slight whiff of Amber before he thoughtfully replied, "Not tonight, I think we need the privacy of one of your more secluded tables."
Joseph cocked an eyebrow as he detected the same odor, "I understand, this way please." He led them to an isolated corner table.
After pulling out her chair and seating Amber, Joseph hustled off with a slight shake of his head. Richard took a seat beside Amber but sat with his back to the wall... he didn't sit across from her. With all that had just happened, she didn't feel rejected. Amber liked that.
She looked around and discovered everyone was staring at her. Amber knew she looked a mess, it was so embarrassing.
Richard was watching and knew instantly what she was feeling. He stood up, moved to the other side, pulled out the chair and said, "Maybe you would be more comfortable sitting on this side Miss Amber." She slid to the other chair in a fluid and graceful move.
Richard switched to her previous chair to maintain his proximity to her, again making her feel at ease. With light hearted merriment Richard smiled, "Now Miss Amber, you no longer have to stare at those ugly people."
His witty comment caused her to smile. While leaning slightly forward, she modestly dipped her head and softly whispered, "Thank you."
Although he had switched chairs, Richard still kept his back to the wall. He evidently was cautious and liked to observe what went on around him. After living on the streets, Amber considered that a very good trait, even though he still seemed kind, courteous, and... generous.
She felt compelled to ask, "When we were outside, why did you ask what I'd be willing to do for money? It's easy to tell you don't have any real desire or need for me."
"Simple," he said. "If you were just hustling for money, I had nothing to offer. If you were truly hungry, then it's my pleasure to try and help, Miss Amber. By the way, never mistake gentlemanly behavior for a lack of desire."
Amber immediately knew she liked this man. Thanks to him, she was going to eat all she could. After all, she never knew when the next meal might be.
Richard adamantly said, "After the waiter takes our orders Miss Amber, I do insist you make a trip to the ladies room to wash your face and scrub those hands before we eat."
"No problem," she stated while cocking her head and raising an eyebrow. "Now tell me what everyone calls you, more simply, what is your name?"
"Richard... that is my name... and what everyone calls me," he replied with a warm smile.
"But why does everyone call you Richard? They should be calling you Mr. whatever your last name is."
With a knowing smile, he enlightened her, "I have always insisted that my friends call me Richard. It creates a more relaxed atmosphere... better for the digestive system. Something we are both going to need tonight Miss Amber."
His lighthearted attempt at humor caused her to laugh. Richard smiled at her amusement, but enjoyed the sound of her laughter more.
.... There is more of this story ...