I disliked my boss, Nathan O'Brian--hell I hated him. He walked into my cubical. "Denton, my daughter needs an escort to the dance at the club Saturday night. It would be nice if you could find the time to take her. Here is her phone number. You can call and make the arrangements."
The son-of-a-bitch had the power to make me do this. I needed this job (until yesterday) and as I was the next one for layoff without any excuse, it was all he needed to make sure I complied. Just before I made the call I went back over what he had said. He said his daughter. I'm sure he didn't say which one. Wheels turned in my mind. I knew he meant for me to ask Elise and ordinarily I would have made sure that was the one I made a date with. Fuck him, I didn't need this job that bad.
I called upstairs. "May I speak with Miss Fern O'Brian please?"
"This is Fern. How may I help you?"
"Fern, this is Denton Boyle. I called to see if you would like to go to the country club dance. To be honest, your father suggested it or I wouldn't have called."
"Denton, I don't believe you. Oh I believe he suggested you ask his daughter for a date, but he must have meant for you to take Elise."
"I know he did, but I would rather take you. When is the last time you went to the club and danced? You would like to go wouldn't you?"
"Yes I would, but you know Daddy. Where his girls are concerned it is always Elise."
"It is time that changed, don't you think? I dared to ask you, so won't you dare go with me?" There was silence on the line while the girl I had asked thought it over. I tried to lighten it up a little. "I promise to shave and comb my hair. I'll wear a tie and white shirt. My suit has holes in the knees, but they don't show much unless I sit down, so you'll be out on the floor dancing with me all night. If I'm holding you close, no one can see where there is a button missing on my shirt either. I'll even promise to not beg for more than three kisses when I say goodnight. Soooo is it a date?"
Fern was giggling by the time I had finished. "Okay I'll go with you, but Daddy will be pissed. That will leave Elise without a date and that will make him all the more pissed."
"I'll chance it. I'm going to be laid off soon anyway. This way I'll get to have a date that I want for me, not one I'm pressured into."
"You're sweet. Pick me up at seven. I will be ready."
Fern was the ugly duckling in the O'Brian family. The chance never had come about for me to get to know her, but I had seen her around. She worked in the same building as I did, but on a different floor. She always smiled when she and I passed each other as we were moving around in and out of the different offices.
Fern had always worked as her father suggested. Elise, though, was the apple of her father's eye and he called her Princess. She believed him and that's where she got the idea she was one. Apparently princesses didn't work.
You may wonder why I put my job at risk at this particular time. This insurance agency was a franchise for one of the national companies and they sold the whole range of products. They catered to mostly the over fifty-five age group. They sold life insurance, car, homeowner, liability and long-term disability. One database in one section was used by those in every other one. When I had been hired out of college, I assumed I would be heading up the ladder within months. Two years into my stint here, and I was squiring the vice-president's daughter to social functions. What the fuck!
I don't know how to describe Fern. I was six feet and a couple of inches more and I was hoping she wouldn't be wearing more than three-inch heels. You get the picture. I wasn't sure what her figure was like under the clothes she wore in the office, but I did know she had ample of everything that counted. She had mousy brown hair and it swooped down to the top of her shoulders--square cut and she allowed it to hang as it wished. Her face was pleasant when she smiled which didn't seem to be too often. Otherwise it was plain and with too generous lips. I had never been close enough to see her eye color. At one time they seemed to be gray and others, hazel.
Just before I left for the day, Papa O'Brian came by to verify I had called his daughter. I confirmed that I had. "Good, I'll see you at the dance." I chuckled when he went down the aisle. He was in for a surprise.
I had been approached by a company located in a small town of twenty thousand. This was in reply to a resume I had sent out when the possibility of a layoff got too close. It helped when the owner found out he was a friend of my fathers. It had been hinted that eventually I might buy the firm in a few years. I hoped the hint would pan out better than the promise I had received when I was first employed here.
At lunch time Saturday my cell phone rang. It was Fern. "Hi Denton. I just wanted to ask you to not hurry about picking me up this evening. Please make it nearer to eight, if you would. I'll explain when you get here, okay?" What could I say? The lady asked me and it was reasonable, so I agreed.
I presented myself at the O'Brian residence at precisely eight o'clock and walked into a raging battle between the sisters. Elise was the one that was doing the raging while Fern was letting it go right over her head. Both met me at the door. The only thing that Fern did, which set Elise off even more, was to kiss me as she opened the door. Elise landed all over me. "You must be Denton. Daddy said you were taking me to the dance. How come you asked Fern instead of me? Why would you want to go with her anyway? You know if you take her there will be no chance of you getting lucky tonight. You might have if you had done as Daddy asked."
"Sorry about the misunderstanding, Elise. Your father asked me to ask his daughter to the dance. You blew me away once, so as long as I had a choice of who to take, I chose Fern. I'm sure your father won't mind will he?"
"Yes he will and I will see that he does. Denton, when did I ever blow you away? I don't know you and I don't ever remember you asking me for a date."
"No I don't suppose you would. You were pretty busy when I asked you. It was three years ago at a fraternity party. It was early evening before you got drunk and went upstairs to party. I saw you again the next morning, and I thought about asking you then. I saw what shape you were in and decided I wasn't interested."
"Oh my god! Don't you dare tell Daddy. You better keep your mouth shut."
"I will. Remember I was there too. Those day are best forgotten."
"Well thank you for that. What am I going to do about tonight? I can't just go without a date." She looked so distraught. I winked at Fern.
"It just so happens I have a spare date in the car. A friend of mine said he would come along and said if he was needed he would take you. I bet this is the first blind date you've ever had. Why don't you go out and meet him?"
"If you won't take me, I guess I'll have to settle for whoever you fixed me up with." She wasn't happy but would take what she could get at this point. She went out. I could have made it easier for her with an introduction, but I knew she could cope.
When the door closed, Fern looked at me. "You know that was the nicest thing you just did. I was actually feeling sorry for my sister. Usually it is me feeling sorry for myself. I think I'm going to have a wonderful time tonight."
This was the first chance I had to look closely at my date. I could see she had gone all out to make herself look good for me. She still was worried though. "I'm not too tall for you am I? I can put on some flats if you want?"
"No you are perfect. Did you buy that dress just to wear tonight?"
"Yes. It is okay isn't it?"
"It is beautiful. A beautiful dress for a beautiful lady."
"Keep that up and I'll prove Elise wrong."
"She said you weren't going to get lucky. She could be so very mistaken."
"Come on, let's go dancing. It's getting warm in here."
"Yeah, I know."
Wouldn't you know, we met Papa and Mrs. O'Brian as we entered the club. Papa was surprised to learn that Fern and I were together. Elise, always at ease with any man, introduced Mike Hanify as her date. She was already clinging to him. Mike had given me a thumbs up by the time we reached the club and was well satisfied with Elise. She seemed to be happy too.
I had time to get drinks for everyone before the dancing started. When the first number was played, a few couples went out onto the floor. "Would you care to dance Fern or would you like to wait awhile?"
"Wait until the floor gets crowded. Then people won't see what a whale you have for a date."
"Fern, look at me. Do you want to have a good time tonight? I asked you for a date, because I wanted to. You cared enough to make yourself beautiful which I'm taking as a 'thank you Denton for asking me.' I can't wait to get you in my arms, but I will wait if you want. I just don't see anything wrong with you. Let's see, you are about three inches taller than the average woman here tonight. That works for us and you have already found that out when you walked up and kissed me at the door. Our lips came together without any trouble and neither one of us had to bend over.
"You have a long beautiful neck and I'm just aching to nuzzle it. Your breasts are large, but just right for your stature. Look at that woman just dancing by. She is flat as a board, but look at her and her husband. They look happy with each other. I'm sure before they were married she probably worried about her lack. She doesn't look like it bothers her now.
"From what I have seen of your legs they are long and smooth and I know where they end. They end right up there where your beautiful buns begin. What I'm trying to say is I'll be so proud to have you out on the dance floor with me."
"What you are saying is you really did invite me for myself and not just to piss off my father?"
"That's right. Just for you--well and me too. Look. I'm twenty-six. I'd like a family someday. I date different ladies and I know someday I will find the one I want to settle down with. You know it is possible I might even get married before I have sex with the woman I choose for my wife. I believe I'm am an accomplished lover so I don't have to prove myself in that regard. I don't feel a woman has to either, for if a couple are in love they will work that part out for themselves.
"There are some things in a woman I don't want. Take your sister for instance. Sex seems to be all important with her. I don't doubt Mike will get lucky tonight. I have a feeling that Elise will be always looking for a man that can give her a better orgasm than the last one she just had. Knowing that, I don't want to be the next one she has had or definitely not the last one." I paused. "The floor is full of couples. Shall we dance now?"
Fern arose and took my hand and led me out onto the floor. We were a little awkward at first. When we got used to each other and to make it a little more comfortable for Fern, I guided her to the corner with the least light. I was surprised as we danced set after set how accomplished she was. I never figured she would be a smooth dancer. She must have read my thoughts for she said, "You know I have never been to too many dances, but if someone like you asked me, I was going to be ready so I wouldn't embarrass myself. I took lessons." I just hugged her a little closer.
I danced with Elise once, while Mike danced with Fern. My partner talked all the time we danced. "You know Denton, I'm glad you asked Fern for a date tonight. I never thought how she must feel when I could date almost every night if I wanted to, and she had to watch me go out the door. Thank you again also for thinking about me and my predicament. I could have ended up without someone to come with. I don't suppose you would consider dating me sometime?"
"No, I don't think so. I think we are too different."
"You mean because you know too much about me, don't you? Because you know I'm a slut."
"To be honest that is some of it. It is just that I've put my wild days behind me and am looking to find someone to start a family with. I'm sure we could date and have a great time together, but eventually you would get bored with me and do something I wouldn't tolerate. We'd be bound to hurt each other and I don't need that to look forward to."
"You are right, but I think I could give you a wild ride until we ended it."
"I'm sure you could and to tell you the truth it is tempting. I think I will stick to my plan though."
"I know one thing, the woman that gets you is going to be one lucky person. Has my sister got a shot at being that person?"
"Too soon to tell, but I'm going to keep dating her until I find out."
As I left Fern off at the door, I asked if I could call for another date? "Yes, please do. I had a wonderful time and I will be looking forward to going out with you again. I will be seeing you around the office anyway."
"I'm going to be out of the office through Wednesday, but I will see you at the end of the week. You weren't the only one that had a nice time. I really enjoyed myself." I kissed her and said goodnight, promising again I would call.
On the way back to my apartment I thought to myself, one date and I think I have found someone I could love and would love me. Shit, I was ready to quit and start somewhere else. What about Fern? Would she be willing to follow me if I pursued her long enough to make her fall in love with me? She might--she just might. I lay in bed later and remembered how she felt when I kissed her. How I felt when we danced--hell we weren't dancing, we were gliding. Just gliding over and above the floor.
I drove up country to see Mom and Pop on Sunday afternoon and stayed overnight with them. Mom as usual wanted to know when I was going to find a girl and settle down and start giving her grandbabies. I gave her my standard answer about how I was working on it. There must have been a different inflection in my voice, because Mom wanted to know who the girl was. She kept at it until I admitted I had met someone I thought I could love. I ended it with, "Mom, I have had only one date with her." She had to be satisfied with that.
I told Pop what I was in town for and what I was planning on doing. The job I was looking at was only about fifteen miles from here. "Good, you work there and we can get back to doing things together again. I haven't had anyone to go hunting or fishing with for four-five years." I laughed, for Pop never had said much, but must have missed my companionship.
He continued with, "Your mother can watch your wife and play with the babies. You and I can do all that important stuff like putting food on the table, like man was supposed to do." Pop should have been born two hundred years ago.
Monday morning I went over and was interviewed for the new job. The owner of the insurance firm was nearly sixty-seven and wanted to retire at seventy. His only son had been killed in 'Nam several years before, so he didn't have anyone to take over. He admitted he had not gone after all of the clients that the area contained. "I like selling insurance and that's why I am still doing it. Someone younger with ambition could do well here and make a really good living for himself. It is a great town for raising a family in too. You're not married, I take it. Well, there are a lot of nice women around here."
I spent the afternoon and had a beer with Pop when he got home. "Did you take the job?"
"Not yet. He is going to hold it open for me for a month. I'll let him know before then."
"What's the hold up?"
"I guess the girl I took out Saturday. I want another few dates with her. That should tell me if I want to go any further. That is if she will have me. Maybe I'm just dreaming, but I don't want to make any mistakes with her until I know her better."
"That's pretty good reasoning. You can always find work, but if she is the one for you, you might lose her."
I went home Tuesday morning. Was it too early to call Fern for a date? Oh, what the hell. "May I speak to Fern O'Brian please?"
"Certainly--one moment please."
"Fern. How may I help you?"
"Hi Fern, it's me, Denton. I said I would call. Maybe it is too soon?"
There was silence. "No, it isn't too soon. I'm glad you called. I just wasn't expecting it that's all."
"Look, I got back into town earlier than expected. I was wondering if maybe you would like to go out for a beer tonight? Not on a formal date or anything, just a drink with a friend."
Again there was silence. "Denton, I can't. Elise has asked me to go out with her and some of her friends. She has come to realize she has a sister and wants to include me sometimes. I'm sorry. I wish I had known you were going to call and I would have said I was busy. I hate to disappoint her."
"That's fine, Fern. You didn't know. I thought I would call and just hope you were free. Think no more about it. I'll call again, and maybe we can get together this weekend."
"Please do. I'll be looking forward to hearing from you. Again, I'm sorry it didn't work out this time. I had such a wonderful time last Saturday, I'm looking forward to a repeat. Bye now."
In one way I was happy for Fern. Elise for the first time had seen how difficult it had been for her tall, Amazon sister to go out and enjoy an evening with a man. Apparently she was doing something to correct that. Then a little grain of concern popped into my head. What if Elise wanted to get Fern involved in her crowd? Would she try to turn Fern into the same kind of slut she was? No sister could be that mean could she?
Would I dare to follow Elise and Fern tonight? I reasoned that I liked Fern enough to protect her if I had to. If Fern looked like she was having a wonderful time and was going along with the crowd willingly, I wouldn't interfere.
I saw Elise and Fern leave their house and I followed at a discreet distance. I didn't think they would recognize my car, but I wanted to take no chances. Damn. Elise was driving down into a rough neighborhood. She parked her car in the rear of the lot and I watched as they went towards the dance club. There were as many blacks going in as whites. Fern was hanging back and looked reluctant to go inside. Finally after an argument and much urging, Fern did go in with her sister.
I had the feeling this wasn't going to turn out well for the woman I was interested in. Two hours later, two blacks came out with both Fern and Elise. The two men were almost carrying Fern. She looked as if she was either very drunk or drugged. Elise got to her car and unlocked the door. One man got into the back seat while Elise and the other man held Fern until he got settled. Then they tipped her in. They finished by grabbing her exposed legs and shutting the door. Elise was laughing as she and the man went off to the club leaving Fern and the black man in the car.
The guy was undressing her when I stepped up beside the car. "Hey man, that looks like a good-sized piece of woman you got there. I'll give you a hundred for her."
"Nope, go get your own. Get out of here, this is mine." The guy stuck his head out the window to see who he was talking to. I don't think he saw my fist coming. I hope it didn't kill him. Not my fist but the door post that his head slammed into. I opened the door and he flopped onto the ground. I grabbed Fern and carried her to my car. The man hadn't got very far undressing her, although he had her top off and was apparently working on her underwear when I interrupted him.
When I got to my apartment and was ready to take Fern in, I couldn't find her blouse. It must have dropped out of my hand when I was carrying her. I managed to get her inside and onto the bed. Now what to do? I finally got her undressed and into some of my pajamas. It was impossible to not admire this bountifully stacked woman. She was beautiful. How was she going to feel about me seeing her naked? Well, I would explain the best I could.
Fern was sick during the night. When she started retching, I managed to make it as far as the bathroom door with her. I was sure now that she had been drugged. GBH most likely. How could one sister set up the other to be given a rape drug? Elise's time was coming!
While I was getting her and the mess cleaned up, I sat her on the toilet. "Pee," I said, and she did. My last set of pajamas went onto her. I figured she would now be able to sleep the rest of the night, so I hunched on the couch. When I heard her feet hit the floor in the morning, I opened the bedroom door and handed her a glass of tomato juice doctored with Tabasco sauce and also gave her three aspirins.
"I would guess you don't feel very good. Why don't you take a shower? I set out a pair of boxers and a tee shirt. You can put on a pair of my dungarees and one of my shirts if you want to get dressed. You lost some of your clothes last night, so you will just have to make do. I'll have coffee for you soon."
"Oh my God, it is you. Denton tell me how I got here. The last thing I remember I was being pawed by some blacks and Elise kept saying to go with the flow."
"Take your shower and then I will tell you about it."
"At least tell me who put me in these pajamas."
"I did. Two different pair to be exact. You were sick in the first pair. So I got a chance to undress and dress you twice." Fern started to cry. "Fern, I just did what had to be done, no more." I grinned, "Maybe I'll give you a chance to do the same for me someday." I turned and went out into the kitchen and started the coffee.
When Fern finished in the bathroom, she came out and sat at the table. "I don't think I had sex with anyone last night, did I?" She was in my boxers and a tee. She was sexier in those than when I had seen her naked.
"No, but when I barged in, you weren't very far from being forced into it. I'm hoping you don't mind my interfering. To be honest, I think you were drugged and weren't aware of what was about to happen."
"Was it one of those blacks that was going to do me?"
"Why would Elise do this to me? She set me up, I remember enough to know she had to have. How did you get involved? By the way, thank you. From now on I'm yours all the way for anything. Just ask--no don't ask, just take."
"The only thing, I don't think anyone knows I was around, so if you don't say anything, we'll both be okay." I told Fern of why I was there to rescue her and how. I told her that this made up my mind to take the job near my parents. I wanted to get as far away from Elise as I could. I surmised that she was getting even for me not taking her to the dance Saturday and she was taking it out on her sister.
"I wondered why she had become so friendly in the last couple of days. I even told her last night that you had called. She said she would show me a better time than you could. I will never speak to her again."
"How about getting even? I have had all night to think about this."
"What have you got in mind?"
"Why don't you disappear for a few days. That ought to worry her. When she came out to her car last night and you weren't in it getting fucked, she must have been shocked. I wonder what happened to the guy that was molesting you? I hit him pretty hard."
Fern was grinning from ear to ear. "Where can I hide where no one will find me?"
"How about going and staying with my parents? They would love to have you. I can take you up there this afternoon. I'll come back and go to work tomorrow and I'll play dumb. Mom can outfit you in some new clothes. How much will your parents worry? They will know you are gone if you don't come into work."
"Hey this is part their fault. If they didn't cater to Elise so much this wouldn't have happened. She can do no wrong in their eyes. Don't worry about them and I won't."
"Okay. Then, I'm not even going to call Mom in case someone checks my phone."
Fern was dressed in my clothes when we left the apartment. I even had her wearing a baseball cap of mine. With her size and my clothes, no one would suspect she was a woman. Mom and Pop were tickled over having a house guest. We told them everything and it was agreed we did the right thing.
We decided that Fern was not really a fugitive. She was twenty-eight and although she lived at home with her family, there was no reason she had to inform them where she was. If she lost her job I said she could find something in the same town that I was headed for. She might eventually work with me, if the potential at the place was as good as promised.
I was at work Thursday morning right on schedule. Friday afternoon I called upstairs. "May I speak to Fern please?"
"Who is this and why are you calling?"
"This is Denton Boyle. I called Fern for a date Tuesday. She said she was going out with her sister and for me to call today to make arrangements to go out this weekend."
"I'm sorry she is not in today. Would you like her home phone number?"
"Yes please. She must be sick. I can talk to her anyway."
Ten minutes later Papa O'Brian was beside me in my cubical. "You talked to Fern Tuesday?"
"Yes. I called for a date. Why?"
"Fern has disappeared. What did you talk about?"