Hey there everyone! My name is Jonas Lots. I hope you’ve been reading about me and my uhhh ... investments ... in A Better Option. It’s an intriguing tale, and one that I think you should read, especially if you’re interested in this tale. It might help you to understand some of the background for the story I want to tell you today. However, I suppose I can try to keep this story as independent as possible.
I can start by telling you that I am 35 years old. I stand at 5’8”, and I’m kinda slim only weighing 130lbs. I have gray eyes, short auburn hair, and a goatee. I only have one living relative, and that is my estranged sister. I hold an Associate’s Degree in computer science. [It was a wasted effort as I knew more about the damned things than most of my professors did.] I then went on to create and grow a network security company of my own. It was so successful that I ended up being bought out by a corporate giant, and I retired as a multi-millionaire at the age of 35.
My current interests, aside from my beloved computers [they are evil, evil machines], is a unique and maybe a little bit shady, investment. You see, I have a homeless family that I am currently funding, and intend to... , well... , take under my wing. To do this though, I would need privacy. I’m currently living in the city, [well near-city suburb]. But it is still a fairly populated area, and as my new pastime would be heavily frowned upon, I would need a very large wall, or at least neighbors that I couldn’t hit with a balled up tissue.
The only other thing I could say about myself is that I am a recluse. I was a reasonably well known hacker. It’s the reason my company made so much money. I won’t tell you my handle, that would bring all kinds of nastiness down on me from both sides of the law. Maybe it’s a bit stereotypical, but I love the privacy of a nice dark room lit only by my computer screen [sigh]. Think Neo in the beginning of The Matrix.
Alright, with the boring bit out of the way, here is my adventure in house hunting...
Thursday, Jul. 6:
I had called up a realtor in the town of [redacted]ville. He went by the name of Lawrence Moore. I explained to Mr. Moore that I was in the market for a large house, in the neighborhood of 3 beds, 2.5 baths. But I also explained that privacy was at the top of my list. I also told him that I would need to buy quick, I was hoping to be free to move into my new home within a month.
Somehow, I could hear the dollar signs roll in his eyes. His voice was excited, and from the tone I could just picture some hot shot, grease slicked hair in a cheap suit, sitting with his feet propped on the desk.
“OF COURSE! Of course we can handle that! I have a couple listings that I’m sure would suit your needs perfectly! When would you like to see them?”
“I can plan to be down there on Monday and stay overnight to check out your listings. I have four in particular that I’d like to look at as well.”
“Sure, sure. Just give me their addresses, and I’ll see what I can find out for you. I’m sure I’ll be able to get the ball rolling on something for you.” I could hear a fake smile in his voice that made my neck hairs tremble.
I gave him the addresses, and he told me that he’d have all the information ready for me when I showed up Monday morning. I hung up the phone, and after that call, I needed a shower.
Monday, Jul. 10
It was 8AM when I pulled my Chevy Camaro into the realtor’s office. It was a local privately owned place. I always shunned franchises where I could. A wooden sign stood out front reading Prentice Real Estate. As I stepped inside, I was quickly taken in by the warm touch of the decor, the quiet peaceful atmosphere. The place had a nice feel about it. I was quickly greeted by a tall, solidly built man. He was maybe 6’2” and 240 lbs
“Welcome! You must be Mr. Lots. I’m Blake Prentice. Please call me Blake. Len told me that you were coming. I make it a point to greet all of our new customers.” Blake held out his hand. I politely accepted a very firm handshake from him. “My father John Prentice, God rest his soul, founded this company sixty years ago. Now I run it. It’s still a little early. We normally open for normal operations at 9. But I expect Len will be here shortly for your appointment.”
At first glance, I took Blake to be a big tough guy, not to be trifled with. I quickly amended that. I don’t think my first assessment was wrong, but he carried himself with a sense of pride and honor that could only mean...
“Please excuse me if I’m being too personal, but were you by chance military? It’s just the way you carry yourself.”
“Not at all!” He beamed. “I know I can be a bit intimidating. We Prentice men have always been big people. I did indeed serve two tours patrolling along the Berlin Wall with the US Army.”
“You are right about the intimidating. Look at me, I’m a computer geek. When I was growing up, if I saw someone your size, it usually meant that I was going to end up inside a locker. But I was actually referring to the dignity you seem to carry with you.”
Blake was taken aback. He invited me into his office and to have a seat and made us both some coffee while we chatted away. “For a computer geek, as you claim to be, you seem to be able to read people well. To be able to pick out military from the way a person carries themselves is impressive.”
I’m not sure what it was about this man, that I felt I could open myself up so easily to him. But his warmness emanated from him in a way that left me so at ease.
“I’ve always been the quiet loner. I’ve had ample opportunity to sit back and watch people and how they operate. It is a useful skill at times.”
“You know what Mr. Lots? I think I like you. You seem pretty perceptive, and my gut tells me you are a good person. If I had met you earlier, I wish I could be taking you out there myself. As it is, I’m stuck here playing the evil boss role.”
How ironic to find a kindred spirit in this man. “I know what you mean, I sold off my company about a year ago when I tired of being ‘The Man’ instead of one of the workers. So now I get to retire to a quiet life in the woods. That’s what brings me to you.”
“Well, I’ll be happy for the new neighbor. And where is that damned Len at?”
“I’m sorry, you keep saying Len, but I thought my appointment was with a Lawrence?”
“Yes that’s right. He insists we all call him Len, but he advertises under his proper name Lawrence. He says the regal sound of it draws customers or some such hooey. A fucking load of confusing pompousness is what I say, and I’ve told him so. If you’ll excuse my French?” I wasn’t going to bat an eye at a little swearing, and he knew it. I was just surprised that our familiarity had grown fast enough to let himself relax in front of me already.
The door chimed, and when we both looked we could see a harassed looking, mousy haired girl being chatted up by a handsome man.
Blake stood up. “Lawrence! Get in here! You’re LATE!” I was shocked to look and see that it was already 8:30. I had lost half an hour in such a pleasant conversation. “You had an 8 o’clock with Mr Lots here! Now you’d better get a move on.”
Lawrence, or Len, or whatever, stepped in. “I’m sorry, just a few last minute details I’ve been trying to cover with the other agents for today’s viewings, to make sure I had all the information. Hello, I’m Lawrence, but please, call me Len.” He held out a hand to me. I noticed his other hand held evidence of his ‘last minute details’ in the form of a Starbucks cup and a half finished newspaper crossword. I did at least take the proffered hand.
Len was as I had pictured him. Slender built, about my height. He had his blond hair greased back to accentuate his angular face. He was wearing a cheesy sports jacket that probably came off of someone’s discount rack. He had that 80’s sheister vibe, and I didn’t like it. In fact, I couldn’t figure out how he could fit into the homey environment of this company.
Len led me out to a desk in the main office where he pulled a folder out of a drawer, and opened it for us both to look through. “Here is all the information on the listings you wanted to see,” he pulled out three small packets, “and there are a few more of my own listings which I believe you will find comparable.”
What I want to know, if all of the information had been sitting in his desk drawer, then what could he have been trying to find out from other agents? I asked him that.
“Well, you see, it’s just a bunch of housing market stuff, and legalities, and nonsense. You don’t need to worry yourself about any of that.” He tried to put me off with a pearly grin.
I decided to let it go for now, and just get a move on. I wanted to get through the details and hit the road as soon as possible. As it was, it was around 9:30 when Lawrence led me to one of his own listings first. I followed behind, not wanting to ride in the same vehicle as that man. I was worried about grease stains on my clothes. It was a large Victorian residence, and looked like it had been around for a while.
I immediately got out of my car and walked over to his. “No.” I said brooking no argument.
He was startled, but brook he did. He stood up out of his car. “Now as you can see, this is a lovely home. It is in fact superior to the homes you were looking at. It’s got 6 bedrooms and 5 baths. It’s almost 8000 sq feet. And it’s a bargain. The owners are asking $450,000, but I can guarantee they’ll go for 400. You should really come inside and see it.”
I closed my eyes and counted. “First, I am a computer guy. There is no reasonable way for me to network and old Victorian. The walls aren’t built to run wiring. Second, the neighbors are right there.” I pointed to the next lot over which admittedly was about 50 yards away, “I did state that I valued privacy highly. If you look at the houses I asked about, you’ll see that they are all tucked away in the woods. And lastly, even at $400,000, it is still more expensive than the $350,000 asking price of the most expensive one I wanted to look at.”
Len wasn’t too dismayed, and promised I’d like the next one more. He then sat back down into his car and drove me to two more of his own properties. The first one I at least went in with him before deciding that I wasn’t interested. The second house once again had the issue of being too close to the neighbors.
Finally, we then went to view my one of my houses. Only, when we got to the house, there was a woman out front washing the windows. Len and I pulled up into the driveway and Len walked over to me.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, we must have gotten the dates mixed up. Let me handle this.” And without waiting for a response he walked right over to the woman.
The woman who had been watching since we pulled in, stood up to greet Len. Len began his introductions, and it was plain that he was trying to keep it quiet. The only reason that I could see for that, is that he didn’t want me to overhear, seeing as how we were the only three withing shouting distance. The woman just put her hand on her hip and let Len run himself out of breath. When it was her turn to speak, she apparently had no qualms making herself heard however.
“Well I’m sorry Mr. Moore. But I can’t just let you into my house just because you say you are an agent. If you want to see the house, you’ll have to go through my agent just like anyone else. And next time, make an appointment.” She said all of this loud enough to make sure I overheard.
I tipped my non-existent hat, “I’m very sorry madam. There must have been some kind of mix-up between the agencies. We’ll take our leave.” Then looking to Len, “why don’t we go pick up some lunch and we can plan out the rest of the afternoon.”
I didn’t wait for an answer. I just sat down in my car and waited for a defeated looking Len to climb into his car. He led me to a small diner where we both grabbed some lunch. I ordered a burger and coffee, while he ordered some fish and chips [As if he wasn’t greasy enough already.] I stewed over the events of the morning while I ate my burger. I wasn’t happy.
“Mr. Moore,” I decided to use his surname, because I don’t think I could like this man enough to continue on a first name basis, “what happened back there at the last house? If we offended that woman, I may very well not get a shot at one of the houses I was particularly interested in.”
He didn’t even bother swallowing, opting instead to talk around his food. “Oh, well it’s like you said. A mix up between the agencies.” He waved his hand in dismissal as he finally swallowed. “You wouldn’t have been interested in that one in the end anyway. You said that 400 was too high, and with everything tacked on in the end that would have gone over the mark.”
“I didn’t actually say that $400,000 was too high. In I’m willing to pay the 450 that they were asking if it’s the right house. Now, what do you mean, extras?”
This time he stopped and and I could see him picking his words carefully. “Well, you said that you need the sale quickly, so there’s the expediting fee which comes in at a percentage. Then there’s an additional percentage since you’ll be paying mine rate plus the other agent’s rate. Then there would be the background and credit checks to make sure you can really afford the house.” My temperature was rising, and I had to work very hard to not let it show. At last I could see what I had been feeling this whole day. This man was a Grade-A fuckwit of a scam artist. “ ... and when you add it all up, it would come out to be about 68k more than just what’s listed.”
“I see...” I was fighting very hard to control myself. “And how are these additional fees normally handled?”
“Well, normally, you would have one check cut and made out to the seller’s agent to pay the agreed price for the house. Then a second check can be made out to Prentice Real Estate, and we would pay out the taxes and fees from there.”
I pulled out my wallet and set $30 on the table. Then I set my phone on the table as well, and I pressed the stop button.
Lawrence Moore went white. That was the last bit of evidence I needed to see for myself. I walked out and got into my car. I drove as fast as I could over to Prentice Real Estate and was happy to see that there was a small leading behind the building. I parked right next to the dumpster. Maybe we’ll be able to scam the scam-artist.
When I walked in, Blake looked surprised to see me there without Len. He quickly changed his surprise into a jovial grin. “Jonas! Did you get separated from poor Len?”
“Can I speak to you privately?” He could tell from my demeanor that something was wrong.
We went back to his office and took the same seats where. I couldn’t help but think that just this morning the two of us seemed completely lost in such wonderful conversation. I had been happy. That was before Len.
Blake sighed, “It’s Len right? The customers he works with never seem quite satisfied. So, spit it out, what happened.”
So I started by first explaining the three houses that he insisted on showing me and how none of them matched what I had told him previously on the phone. Then I told him about the botched showing of one of the homes that I wanted to see. Blake’s face was growing sour as I relayed my story.
There was a knock on the door. Blake stood.
I quickly whispered, “I’m parked around back. He shouldn’t know that I’m here.”
He walked over to the door and cracked it open. There was some mumbling then, “Give me a minute, I need to wrap something up.”
As Blake was sitting down I hit play on my phone and Blake froze halfway down to his seat. He clearly hadn’t been prepared to hear recorded evidence of Len’s misdeeds. Only when the recording finished did he sit himself down fully in his chair. He closed his eyes, thinking hard. Or maybe he was hurt inside.
When he looked back up at me, there was a quiet desperation in his eyes. “I am deeply sorry about this. I ... Oh lord, help me ... I need to make this right.” He took another second, “if you would be kind enough to agree, I will make sure you get proper treatment. If not by our company, I can hand you over to someone that I trust implicitly. Would you be willing to wait outside in the lobby for a minute though? I think I need to handle this next nastiness sooner rather than later.”
I nodded and stood. When I stepped out into the lobby, Len was standing there, leaned over the desk of same mousy haired girl from this morning. She definitely seemed uncomfortable. I couldn’t blame her. I managed to walk around him and sit down in the front of the lobby without his seeing me. I have no idea what this guy’s issues were. He’d just had a client walk out on him with evidence of his committing a felony, and fifteen minutes later, he’s horning it up over some girl who is was to young for him. I’d be scared shitless if I’d been in his position. Not that I ever would be in his position [I’ve always covered up my tracks.]
“Lawrence Allen Moore! Get your ass in here!” Len stiffened at Blake’s full use of his name, but he stood and walked as coolly as he could into the office and shut the door.
I made a decision, but if I wanted it to work, I would have to work fast. I pulled out my laptop [I never go anywhere without it] and cracked my way into the nearest cellular hub, and began a back-trace on active phones. I put the phone numbers into a table, and with a little more cracking, associated each number with a name. I scrolled through the list, and found Blake Prentice. I then pulled out my phone and sent the audio file to him.
Finding the number wasn’t hard in itself, but to do it over the thundering noise coming from the office? The real challenge was performing my quick hacking while trying to listen to what was being said ... here let me rewind for you.
The door to the office closed. Five seconds later... “WHAT THE HELL WERE YOU THINKING!” [Alright, just assume the rest is Caps locked], “What is this bullshit I hear about you trying to fleece out customers! That is a felony in any state! You’ve been on my shitlist for some time now! The customers never seem happy after one of your sales, and now I know why! I feel humiliated! You’ve disgraced this company, you’ve disgraced me, you’ve disgraced my father’s name!”
It got quiet then. I waited for about two minutes. Then the door opened, “Jonas could you come here please?” It was amazing how he switched from the bellow to such a polite tone.
I stood and walked into the office, choosing to stand this time by Blake’s desk.
Blake kept a calm demeanor, “Len here has just told me that you’ve been making up lies about him. He said you’ve been a difficult customer, and when you weren’t happy with anything at all that you must have made up your story to get rid of him.”
I grinned at Len, “You should have known that your story would fall through with even the slightest check. Blake, check your phone, you should have a message waiting.”
Blake was startled, but he pulled out his phone, and when he opened it, I got to hear Len’s fraud for the third time today. Blake let it play in its entirety.
“Mr. Moore, no more first names. You don’t deserve it. Your father and I are old war buddies, and I took you on only as a favor to him. I do owe him my life after all. So I shall do him one last favor. You will leave this town. I don’t care where, as long as it is not ******ville, and you will stop committing fraud. If you can get your self-centered ass to do that much, I will not turn this recording over to the authorities. I will be telling your father though. Now get your slimy ass out of my office and clear out your desk. You’ve got fifteen minutes to get off the premises.”
Len stood up and glared first at me then at Blake. I rather think Blake wanted Len to say something, but Len had enough sense to cut his losses and walk out. He didn’t even stop at his desk. He just went right out the front door.
“Jonas,” Blake’s voice sounded weary. “Would you be kind enough to close the door?”
I closed the door and took a seat.
“Jonas ... No, Mr Lots. I am deeply sorry. I hope you won’t think too badly of me. I never liked him, but as I said, I owed his father. That’s the only reason I’ve kept him around for as long as I have. Is there anything I can do to convince you to stay?”
“Blake, you don’t need to be so formal. Feel free to call me Jonas. As far as I can tell, you’ve done nothing wrong. So far the only thing I’ve lost, is the half a day I wasted with that slime. In return though, I see an opportunity to cement a friendship in a new town that I don’t know much about.”
Blake’s eyes grew moist as a huge grin spread across his face. “Well said!” He was back to his jovial tone, but he volumed it down as he continued. “I think we can both agree that today is kind of a wash. But I promise, I will pull every favor I can to make sure you get a chance to view your other houses ... By tomorrow if you want.
He became lost in thought for a few seconds. Then he stared at me hard, as if truly trying pass judgment. Then he relaxed. “Alright, you’re a good person. I’m sure of it, and you’ve done me a huge favor in getting rid of the piece of shit. So, I’m gonna do you a favor, I hope. There’s a property I have not yet listed. Now I’ve seen what you’re looking for, and I know your price range. I think this house might actually be of interest for you.
“I guess I’ll just tell you. I’ve got a buddy who runs a construction company. A couple years back, he was commissioned to build a house. Well, it was a really strange arrangement. You see, the buyers first provided the blueprints, and commissioned for him to construct the house. But they had separate companies to do the designing, the surveying, and the excavating. It’s built on and into to side of a mountain you see. It seems a little unusual, almost like compartmentalizing. Well the point is, half the work was done and paid for before my buddy even began construction. Heck even the foundation was already done.
“When the job was finished, the buyers were nowhere to be found. Now my buddy had enough sense to collect half of the commission up front to help offset the costs, but now he had no way of collecting the second half of the commission. So naturally he placed a lien on the house. Well the rough part is that the house, according to him, was appraised to be a million dollar home.”
I choked. “I’m sorry Blake, but I’m really not looking to buy a home for that kind of money.”
“Hear me out ... You remember that I said that all the work was done by separate companies? Well my buddy was the last stop in the construction, and his is the only company whom didn’t get paid in full.
But he’s now stuck paying taxes on the property, and really he just wants to get rid of it. Well, I’ll tell you now that his stake in the building cost was about $600,000 with half of that paid up front. So he’s down 300 for the construction, and another 16 G’s in taxes.
“So here’s where my favor to you comes in. I cannot legally tell you that he will let property go for $350,000, because the house is worth three times that. But I can arrange for someone to take you over to the house tomorrow. I haven’t seen it myself, but I have seen the blueprints, and a few photos. I think you’ll find it to be worth your time.”
I was starting to have trouble taking all this in. In fact it was starting to sound like a sales pitch. To buy myself time to process, I asked, “When you say you’ll ‘arrange for someone’, you mean you don’t want to take me over yourself?”
Blake looked a little abashed. “Well... , I ... uh ... okay I’ll be straight with you. The house is, I’m convinced, exactly what you’re looking for. The photos I’ve seen are phenomenal, and it meets all the requirements you’ve laid out. But I’m kinda trying to resolve another issue I have at the same time.
“You see, that girl you saw out in the lobby. She’s new here, just graduated high school last June. And well she’s a little shy. She hasn’t been able to make any sales yet. I keep telling her that confidence is everything in this business, and she just needs to speak up a little. I can tell that she’ll do just fine someday ... If she would stop acting like a scared little mouse.
“I can see that you know what you want, and that when you find the right home, it won’t take much selling. I’m hoping that you could break her cherry, and that maybe it will boost her confidence a little.”
“And you’re sure I can trust her? I’m not making any accusations, but at this point I know I can trust you. Aside from that, I’ve had enough shenanigans for one day.”
“I give you my word. If you’re not 100% satisfied with her, I’ll buy your home for you out of my own pocket. I’m that sure.”
At my nod, Blake stood and came around his desk. He cracked the door open and called out, “Amelia, would you come here, dear.”
Blake returned and stood behind his seat, while Amelia came and stood just inside the the office door. I stood as she entered the room.
“Jonas, this is Amelia Prentice, my daughter. Amelia, Mr. Lots.”
“Please, Jonas.” Then something clicked into place, and I burst out laughing.
When they both looked at me a little shocked, and Blake maybe even a little upset, I had to explain, “Well if she’s Amelia Prentice, then Blake, that would make her your ‘A Prentice’” And I had to let out one more chuckle. It took them a both a second, then Blake let out a huge guffaw while Amelia went red and bowed her head in embarrassment, but there was a little smile there as well.
Once Blake caught his breath, he began, “Amelia, Mr. Lots- Jonas here, wants to buy a home. Unfortunately, Mr Moore, who is now no longer with this company, tried to scam Jonas out of quite a lot of money. Now, Jonas has very kindly agreed to give us a second chance, and I want you to help him find his new home. I know you can be trusted to treat him well. I’ve given him my word on that, and you know what that means.”
Amelia’s eyes got big and round, “Yes daddy.”
“Amelia, what did I tell you about when we’re in the office?”
She looked down in embarrassment, “I mean, yes sir, -er, Blake.”
“Close enough, I guess. Here...” He rummaged through a drawer and extracted a folder which he handed to Amelia. “I want you to start by showing him this home tomorrow morning. He also has three other homes he wants to try to view, you’ll find...” he opened up another folder already sitting on his desk and picked out a couple packets of paper, “ ... yes, these three are the ones he wants to look at.” He handed her the sheets.
Amelia blanched when she looked down, “umm, Blake? If he wants to buy a house this, ummm, nice, shouldn’t he be talking to Jackie, or Ste-”
Blake stood up and cut her off, “Nonsense, I want you to do it. It’s time for you to learn how to make a sale. Show a little backbone. You need to step up and do whatever it takes to show you are committed to the customer. If you can do that, the rest is spelled out for you in those packets you’re holding.”
She barely managed to whisper. “I’ll get right on it.” And she left the office.
Blake sighed and shook his head, “That girl ... Maybe I was a little too strict in raising her. She never really came out of her shell. But I will at least see her make her way in this job, even if I have to drag her through her paces. But let’s not sweat that for now, I’ll make the arrangements, and do you have a number I can reach you at with viewing times?”
We spent about five minutes rounding out the conversation and I left with a hearty handshake.
Before he released my hand, Blake made one more request. “I know I’ve asked a lot of you already, but just last thing, please? If you do decide on a house, at least make Amelia earn it a little. She needs broken in on this sale, not a free pass.”
I really did have a good feeling about Blake and his daughter. So I agreed. Then I spent the rest of my day checking into a small hotel and grabbing a steak dinner at a nearby restaurant. Blake did call me in the middle of my dinner to set up my appointment for 9AM the next day [I thought I’d get to sleep in more now that I’m retired, oh well.]
Tuesday, Jul. 11
I arrived at Prentice Real Estate about ten minutes early. I walked in the door and Amelia jumped up a little too hastily. She knocked over a stack of paperwork that scattered everywhere as it fell.
She gave me a very flustered greeting, “Oh- Good morning Mr. Lots ... Oh dear.”
She started scrambling to pick up all the paperwork. Blake had been right yesterday, Amelia was a scared little mouse, accentuated by her light brown hair and small pointed nose on her round face.
I bent down and placed my hand over hers to calm her down. “My name is Jonas, you are free to use it. And you can relax, I’m not going to bite.”
I gave her a grin then began helping her pick up the papers.
“Right.” She said as she stood up and tapped the papers to straighten them out. “Would you, umm like to sit and look over the information I have, or, uh, would you like to go see the houses now?”
“I know most of the information on three of the houses already, why don’t we just head out and see them.”
So she grabbed a folder off of her desk and followed me out to the parking area.
“Mr. Lots, would you like to ride together? Or separately?”
I stopped in my tracks and admonished her, “There’s that name again. Please call me Jonas, it’s not that hard to remember seeing as how they named a band after me.” I gave her a sly smile to show I was teasing. “Why don’t we ride together? It will give us a chance to get to know one another.”
“Okay, -Jonas.” She turned and started walking towards my Camaro and stood politely next to the passenger door.
I shook my head and walked over and opened the door for her. I even held her hand as she climbed down into the very low seat. She was wearing a tight knee length skirt the went well with her jacket and blouse. And I was rewarded with a lot of leg as she positioned herself in the seat. I think she knew it too, as she blushed a little [It’s hard to tell though, she would blush at a simple greeting.]
As we pulled out, I had to know. “So tell me about all the Sir’s and Mr’s and etiquette, and such. It’s not normal, you know? Not anymore at least.”
“Oh well, Daddy, erm- Blake I guess ... I love him very much, and he loves me, but it was ... tough ... sometimes growing up. He used to say ‘You will be a proper lady. There’s not enough of them left in the world as it is,’ and he wouldn’t tolerate anything less. He was very strict. I remember getting a lot of spanki-” She clammed up very quickly and looked a little embarrassed at the admission. “Well, it’s hard for me to try and be like most people now. If it bothers you, I can try to do better.”
“It’s okay, Amelia. I get it. Look, I want to be friends. So let’s agree that we can say whatever. I promise I won’t tell a soul. And as for bothering me? Not really. I’m just saying that it’s a little unusual. And maybe if you relax a little more, it will be easier to talk to other people.”
That was all that was needed. Her body language was still very timid, but she started talking at least. Did you ever have one of those conversations where you could spend hours talking and not really say anything at all. Well talking to Amelia was like that. It took about 45 minutes to get to the first property as it was on the other side of town and then tucked about 5 miles up a mountain and in the woods. But I was shocked when we were there already. At least that’s how it felt.
Blake had been true to his word. This first house was the one that he was trying to sell me on, and at first glance, it took my breath away. I was looking at a masterpiece carved right into the mountain itself. The exposed side of the house showed three stories. But the bottom story was cut into the mountain leaving only the second story exposed in the back. Meanwhile the roof sloped down towards the mountain so that the third floor on the exposed side tapered off about halfway back. It was also maybe only a little over half the length of the bottom two floors. The bottom floor was done in stone that accented the mountain stone. Second floor was done with I golden wood paneling around three sides and an all glass wall looked over the valley below. The third floor consisted three glass walls with the back being closed off by the roof. There were also decks coming off of the second and third floor. The upper deck came out maybe only six feet, while the lower deck stood out at least ten. Looking closely, I could also see a small hot tub sitting on the top balcony.
I was elated. This house called to me. I was miles from the nearest neighbor, it had a view that made me want to bask in its pleasure, and if Blake was to be believed, I could get this place for a monster of a bargain. But I had to see inside, this was too perfect from the outside.
So we entered on the second floor from the back of the house. And that is where the first problem arose. Amelia had grabbed the wrong folder from the scatter earlier.
“I am so sorry!” She was near balling. “I can be such a klutz, and Daddy was counting on me, and now yuur gonnaa g-g-get (sniff) upset.” She was quickly turning into a mess. I had to get a handle on this fast.
“AMELIA PRENTICE!” That shook her back to reality. I figured a strict upraising might give me at least a temporary foothold. “This is not a major issue! So there was a mix up with the stack of paperwork. So let’s turn this into an opportunity for adventure. Now we can explore the house together, and maybe have a little fun doing it.” I finished with a smile.
Amelia gave a final sniff and then a half a smile. “Thank you.”
And so we set to our explorations. The first thing that I noticed, was that this place was furnished. I would have to ask Blake about that as I had expected it to be bare rooms. We were currently standing in a spacious living room with a vaulted ceiling. To my right and left were stairways leading up to balcony halfway back from where we were standing. The balcony served as a kind of catwalk, with a glass wall closing off the third floor. There was also on my right, another stairway underneath leading down to the bottom floor. In the back of the living room there were two doorways one leading to the kitchen, and the other a dining room. Light was streaming through both and as I stepped closer I could see that both were laid out to take in the effect of the glass wall view out over the mountain.
From my new angle, I could also see a hallway leading to the left to what must me the bedrooms. I ventured down to see first a spacious full bath next to a large bedroom on the one side with the window exterior, and it opened out onto the lower deck. On the other side of the hallway were two slightly smaller bedrooms with a shared bathroom between them.
I was already suitably impressed. I could have comfortably fit myself and my three soon to be charges into the first floor alone. We next chose to head upstairs.
At the top of each stairway was a frosted glass door leading through the glass wall I had seen from downstairs. What I was seeing now was completely startling. I’ll start by saying that the third floor was set up more like a hotel suite. I was standing in a small living area. Off to my right and towards the back was the master bedroom. It had its own private bathroom with a very large stand up shower. Then there was a door leading out onto the balcony, and finally a door which led into an apparent nursery which was set up I could see with three beds. The nursery also had a door leading back out here to the living space. On my right was another full bathroom, as well as another bedroom (already set up for two).
Oh, I did say that I was startled. I guess I should mention that every wall was made of glass! The entire floor layout as I just described it could be seen from where I was standing. The only obstructions to Amelia’s and my views was furniture, the framework for the glass, and each doorway was done in frosted glass as opposed to the crystal clear walls around them.
I was speechless. And when I looked over at Amelia. Her wide-eyed stare said she was feeling the same thing that I was ... There was zero privacy here.
“Amelia? Umm, how is anyone supposed to live like this?”
She jumped as if she only just realized I was there, and her face went beat red. “Oh, ummm, I think I did read something about this in the notes ... ummm there’s supposed to be some kind of remote control ... Yes! Over there on the bed.” She pointed towards the master bedroom.
Curious, I entered the bedroom, and picked up the device. It looked like a tablet, and when I picked it up, the screen lit up. I was looking at side by side diagrams of all three floors of the house. Every wall on the top floor was colored green, while on the second floor, only the rooms along the windowed side of the house were green. The rest of those walls were blue. The bottom floor also had several green lights spaced along what looked like a small room and one red light at the end. So, I figured what the hell and touched one of the walls for the third floor. Immediately, the light turned red and a humming sound started coming from above. I looked up to see a slightly tinted screen coming down between me and Amelia.
Amelia screamed in delight. “That is so cool! It’s a mirror!” And as the screen came to a stop, “I can’t see you at all now!”
But that wasn’t right, I was looking right at her through the tinted glass. I could see the childish glee on her face. So I stepped back into the main room, and sure enough, it was a mirror! I took a closer look at the wall, and I could see, that there were actually two panes of glass, and in between must have been a sheet of some kind of two way mirror type material.