At What Cost Friendship
There is no sex in this story. Suggest you look somewhere else if that is what you want.
As always constructive comments, good or bad, are appreciated. Thanks and enjoy.
I watched the bartender and caught his eye. Holding up my empty glass, I gestured for a refill. This will only be my second bourbon in about two hours. I'm not a light weight when it comes to drinking; but up until one month ago I had way too many mornings wondering what I did the previous night.
My problem had been that lately the more I drink, the more I drink. So I restrict myself to just two drinks now. Anyway, I am sitting here waiting for a friend to come through the door and rescue me.
This is the story that will bring you back to me here on my bar stool.
My name is John Henry Kelly. I am named after two of my great grandfathers. Not really important to some maybe, but I'm proud of my heritage. At 6 feet 2 and around 210, I'm just a little bigger than average. I guess the story really starts as a senior in high school.
By my senior year, I had a reputation as being a little bit fast where the young ladies were concerned. In fact my nickname was Slick. The reputation was justified I might add and I did date, love, and leave a lot of the young females in and around our school.
In today's words, I was a player. Normally most of the young ladies I ran with were players also. There was no harm done to the general population. The one exception to that is the whole reason I'm telling this story.
The county fair opened on the same day as my graduation from high school and a bunch of the graduating seniors went to the fair to celebrate. Lesley Ann Bennett was at the fair too. She was the daughter of Thomas Bennett the minister of the largest Baptist church in own town and I met her coincidentally at the fair. She was and is a very attractive young woman in a wholesome kind of way.
Wholesome until you saw the gleam in her eye and you just knew there was a devil in her waiting to get out. I thought I was just the one to release that devil.
We spent most of the evening together at the fair, but she had to go home with her cousin Jenny. I made plans to meet her again the next evening at the fair. When we met the next night, we just walked past the fair on down to the river. We had already seen the attractions of the fair and I wanted to see the attractions that Lesley had to offer.
Walking together, holding hands, we found a very quiet little beach. It was very secluded and well off the path. We stopped to talk and get to know each other better. Certainly did that, get to know each other I mean. We spent better than two hours hugging, kissing, stroking, and caressing each other. Somehow during those hours, I managed to release the devil residing in Lesley Ann Bennett.
When we left the river bank, Lesley was no longer a virgin. I had lived up to my bad boy reputation and seduced the young lady. Now this part is important; I DID NOT FORCE HER.
I actually tried to slow things down at least three times. I really did try to behave myself. I know it's hard to believe but it's true. Lesley was not one of the typical girls that I ran with. She was a nice young lady and a preacher's daughter. However, the devil had been released and neither of us could resist the temptations he offered.
As usual, by the next day I had pretty much forgotten the words of love I had whispered to Lesley. That was my normal modus operandi. I would say things the girls wanted to hear but I didn't necessarily mean them.
Oh, at the time I might, but it was usually just a way to get closer to certain young ladies. Most of the girls I ran with knew that I was a player and didn't believe all the bullshit I would spout. That was not the case with Lesley Ann Bennett.
Lesley believed my lines and thought she had found the love of her life. She called me the next day and started to babble about when we would see each other again. Lesley also mentioned something about meeting her family, an engagement, and some other very scary ideas. At least they were scary to me.
I tried to be gentle with her. I really didn't want to hurt her and neither did I want or plan to get married right then. Finally she got the message that I wasn't her knight in shining armor and we were not going to ride off into the sunset together.
The next day, the excrement hit the revolving cooling device (or Thethe shit hit the fan). Mr. Bennett came to see me at the garage where I worked part time. He wanted to know if my intentions were honorable concerning his daughter, in other words was I going to make an honest woman of her.
I told him I had no intentions honorable or otherwise concerning Lesley. Mr. Bennett informed me that financial arrangements would be made if I were to marry Lesley. He said a house, car, and good paying job could be provided.
"Mr. Bennett, Lesley is a very nice young lady and we had fun together but that's all it was, a little fun time," I told him.
"You took advantage of a young, impressionable, and innocent girl, John. I intend to see that you live up to your responsibilities young man." Things went downhill from there. He left mumbling something about vengeance, thou shall not fornicate and some other wonderful things.
One week later my boss called me into his office. He told me he was letting me go. I asked why and he said he couldn't afford to keep me. I told him I would take fewer hours or a smaller hourly wage if he wanted.
I wanted to work on cars and this was good experience. Finally he broke down and told me that Mr. Bennett was putting pressure on him. Bennett was on the board at the bank. The bank held the mortgage on the garage, ergo the pressure.
I sat in the office for a minute digesting that information. "Don't worry about it boss, it's time I moved on anyway. You have been good to me and I have learned a lot. Thanks."
The next morning, I packed my few belongings into my truck and headed west. I thought I can always get a job fixing cars and support myself. That's exactly what I did. I found a job in Arizona at a used car lot. Cars would come in needing some work and I would fix them so they could be sold. I was able to fix most of them cheaply, increasing the profit to the car lot.
About eight months after starting at the car lot, one of the owners and I opened our own car repair place. He provided the money and I did everything else. The split was 60-40, the 40 being me. Becoming a partner in this business was quite an accomplishment for a 20 year old boy. Our garage was a big success.
Things went great for about a year and a half; then my share of the profits began to shrink. I talked to my partner about the reduction in profits. He said cost had gone way up and business was down. It didn't ring true. We had so much work that we were booking three weeks in advance.
I ran the garage and knew some things now cost more, but we just passed the increase on to the customer. The increased cost did not justify the shortages my partner claimed. I did some snooping around and I found out that my good old partner had a gambling problem. That's where the money was going.
I showed him the results of my snooping and he confessed. He offered to buy me out when I threatened to get an attorney to get my money. The business was worth more than the 100 thousand he offered, but I just wanted out. I have no idea where he got that money and didn't care. I took the money in cash and ran back to my home town.
It was discovered a couple of years later that my partner borrowed the buyout money from a loan shark. My old partner ended up with broken legs and no business at all when he didn't repay the loan on time.
There hadn't been much change in the old home town. A few businesses gone, a few new ones had opened up. One of the new ones was ice cream parlor and it was the favorite place for the non drinking set and the kids. I don't know why but I stopped by the place because I didn't really care for ice cream that much.
I liked bourbon, but alcohol had been a small problem for me so when I started the car repair business, I had quit drinking and didn't think an ice cream soda would push me off the wagon. The first person I saw as I came through the door was Lesley Ann Bennett. She was sitting on a stool at the counter and had her back to me.
Lesley was with her cousin Jenny. Jenny was the first to spot me and must have said something to Lesley. Lesley turned around and saw me. Her face went red, I thought she was blushing. Wrong again, as usual.
I walked over and said, "Hello Lesley, Jenny. How are you guys?"
The next thing I knew my face was burning and I had a ringing in my ears. Lesley had smacked me so hard; I think my dad got a head ache. Wow, that girl packed a punch. I raised my hand and Lesley sort of flinched. I guess she thought I was going to hit her. I just rubbed my face and looked at her.
"Well there is nothing wrong with your arm anyway," I said. "That's good; see you around ladies." I left the store without getting that ice cream soda. It was an embarrassing situation and that was the only way I knew to handle it. Actually thinking back on it I probably got what I deserved.
The first thing to do was to find somewhere to live. I found a small two bedroom condo to rent. I needed a base of operations until I could figure out what I was going to do. On my third night in my new place my door bell rang. I was just finishing my second and last beer of the day and was talking on my cell.
Who could that be at my door? I opened the door and was shocked; Lesley was standing there. I ended the call and looked at her for a few seconds.
"Can I come in?" Lesley...