Copyright © 1993, 2005, 2013 by Morgan. All Rights Reserved
Sex Story: Chapter 34 - Kathy is married to a hero, but now she learns how truly heroic he was. Part of the Ali Clifford saga, parallel in time with Allison. The later chapters -- those recently posted -- are, in effect, a book within a book with its own characters. The reasons for not making it a freestanding book are two. First, it uses many of the same characters. Second, and more importantly, it will clean up some loose ends regarding Kathy Carlson.
"Put that medal back on this instant!" Judy Jeffries exclaimed.
Mike Morris was sitting beside her in her convertible as they sped north on the freeway towards Los Angeles. It was the day of the Clifford & Jamison Christmas dance and Mike was wearing his dress whites. With a grin, Judy had earlier made "a big concession" by not insisting that he wear his sword, too. Because uniform regulations require that medals be worn with the full-dress uniform, Mike had miniature medals pinned to his breast beginning with the Navy Cross. However, there is no miniature for the Medal of Honor which is worn on a blue silk ribbon around the neck. Mike had intended to take it off and put it in his pocket, but Judy would not allow it.
Both of them were looking forward to the weekend. First, it was a Firm celebration. It was a gala because the period shortly before the dance had been the worst time of Judy's life. A few weeks earlier, she had received an emergency phone call from Bill Clifford who was in Austin, Texas. He needed to get in touch with Ginger as quickly as possible on a matter of life or death. When she first spoke to him, she didn't recognize his voice: it was as grim as death.
Bill stayed on the line while Judy called Boeing in Seattle where Ginger was working that day. On an emergency basis, the Boeing people located her and put her on the phone. After patching the two lines together, Judy almost dropped when she learned that Ali had left Bill.
The situation just got worse. The following week Ginger and Sandy Harris were in the courtroom with Ginger representing Bill Clifford while Sandy represented Ali. Ali was filing for an immediate divorce. Kathy Carlson and Judy were sitting in the back of the courtroom holding their breath. First of all, both Ali and Bill looked like death. Moreover, the two girls knew that it was a matter of life or death. They knew — as did everyone who knew the Cliffords — that the two people could not live apart. They would quite literally die.
They silently cheered as Sandy utterly took apart Jennifer Clifford, Bill's daughter who had triggered the split, on the witness stand. She had called Ali a dumb, cheap, gold-digging whore. Sandy established that Ali was a Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Kansas and graduated number one in her class from both the UCLA business school where she received her MBA and then from the UCLA law school. She also established that Ali had generated hundreds of millions of dollars in portfolio gains for Bill due to her investment acumen. Finally, she established that Ali had had sexual relations only three times in her entire life before she met Bill, with the most recent prior event being seven years earlier. Moreover, they had been married for three months before they ever had sex together.
The divorce action ended suddenly when Ginger was cross-examining Ali. Previously, on direct examination, both Bill and Ali had said that they loved the other "more than life itself." Ali had been shocked at Bill's appearance in the courtroom and her resolve for a divorce was weakened. When Ginger asked if Ali thought Bill was lying, she replied that he was incapable of it.
After reminding her that he had testified that he loved her more than life itself she asked, "Ali, do you really want a divorce?"
At that point Ali broke down on the witness stand. She couldn't even talk. All she could do was slowly to shake her head from side to side. In an instant Bill was beside her, taking her into his arms.
From their perspective, neither Judy nor Kathy knew whether to cheer or cry. On the one hand, they wanted to cheer the fact that Bill and Ali were back together. On the other hand, they were torn up by the agony that they had just seen their best friend and mentor go through.
And it wasn't over yet. The next morning was possibly even worse. First thing in the morning, in the conference room Ginger and Sandy told the others that they were resigning from the Firm effective immediately. Kathy and Judy almost died minutes later when Sandy told them she was turning herself in to the District Attorney for criminal prosecution for deliberately subverting her client's wishes.
Kathy and Judy were clutching at each other's hands when Ali entered the room and Ginger and Sandy slid their letters of resignation down the table to her. Kathy was losing her closest friend, the girl who had saved her marriage and saved her life. Moreover, both girls were overcome by Sandy's demonstration of personal goodness and her love for Ali by going to jail willingly as a result of the things she had done to save Ali's marriage and thus her life.
It was all over in moments, though. First, Ali pretended to glare at the two women and wouldn't let them leave the room. Then she slid Bill Clifford's check for one million dollars down to Ginger. Then she gave Sandy her own check for $500,000 with the promise of an immediate additional payment of millions more. Finally, she dropped to her knees beside Sandy and begged her to please stay.
In moments everyone was dissolved in tears and hugging and kissing one another. Shortly afterward, Ali passed out bonuses to everyone in the Firm. Judy had received $20,000, an amount equal to one year's gross salary. Finally, Ali agreed to pay for the Firm dance out of her own pocket.
Judy was looking forward to the weekend. In addition to attending the dance, she and Kathy had reserved a suite at the Beverly Wilshire, the hotel where Bill and Ali lived. Moreover, she was looking forward to being able to introduce Mike to her friends as the love of her life.
As they neared the office — the dance was being held in the restaurant on the top floor — Judy mentally rechecked her appearance. Knowing Mike would be wearing his dress whites, Judy was wearing white, also. Her dress was the one that Kathy referred to as "Clifford & Jamison formal standard": white silk with a neckline that plunged to her waist and a back that plunged even deeper, exposing the top of the crease between her buns, and with a short chiffon skirt that would stand out straight in a spin.
As a reluctant concession to modesty, she and Kathy had agreed to wear bikinis although they were the smallest possible and made of lace. Because of their gloriously tanned legs, they were wearing no stockings or anything else. Finally, all the girls had visited Henry Hall and their hairdos were spectacular. Even Judy — who would admit to being her own harshest critic — thought that she looked very good.
As they entered the top-floor lounge where their party was to be held, the band leader saw them. He signaled to the band and then, to Mike's embarrassment, began to play the Marine Hymn. Mike just stopped dead in his tracks in shock! Although the entire staff of the firm was present, they only numbered eleven: Ali and Bill Clifford, Ginger and Charley Conrad, Sandy Harris, Jack Benson, Kathy and Ken Carlson, Mike and herself. Joan Frederick was there, too, but without a date. Since the place was very large and crowded at the holiday season, the overwhelming majority of the patrons had no connection with Clifford & Jamison.
When they finished the march, the bandleader said, "Ladies and gentlemen, it is our great honor tonight to welcome one of our country's greatest heros, Marine Major Michael Morris. The medal he is wearing around his neck is the Medal of Honor, our country's highest award for valor in combat. Then, on his chest are two Navy Crosses and an Air Force Cross — the second highest award. In other words, people, the major has four awards of the two highest medals for valor in existence. Could we give him a warm round of applause?"
To Mike's acute embarrassment, everyone in the room rose and began to applaud and cheer while Judy led the way to the Firm table. When they reached it, the other people in the room sat down but the Clifford & Jamison people remained standing.
Judy beamed up at him and said, "Folks, I would like you to meet my fiancé and lover, Mike Morris. I trapped him fair and square. Isn't he cute?"
By the time the introductions were finished, Mike's head was spinning. First of all, he was utterly dazzled by the beauty of all the women around the table. For the first time he began to understand what Judy had been telling him about the women and their firm. When Ali Clifford kissed him, all he could feel was the most intense and purest love he could ever imagine. But the experience was repeated with Ginger and then with Joan Frederick.
When he met Kathy Carlson, her eyes were flashing with joy. "Mike," she said softly, "you're a very lucky man! Judy Jeffries is the finest woman on two feet and she utterly adores you. Now, may I have a kiss?"
He reached out, intending to give Kathy a light peck, but that was not what she had in mind at all. Instead, when he put his arms around her lightly, she wrapped her arms around his neck and melted her lips against his. While the flow of pure love was identical to Ali's, the way she worked her lips on his was not. By the time she released him, his head was spinning to such a degree he could hardly stand. It was only then that he realized that her kiss had been pure love with no passion at all.
When she let go, Judy put her arm around him and he realized that it was for his support. "See what I mean?" she whispered softly. "It's no wonder Ken Carlson is so damned big. If he weren't, he would just be a glob of warm mush on the floor. Darling, can you imagine love like that coupled with the most intense passion you could imagine? That's what it's like for those two day after day after day!"
Then Mike was introduced to the men who all shook his hand warmly. The last person to be introduced was Ken Carlson. As Mike extended his hand, Ken drew himself up to strict attention and gave him the most meticulous salute Mike had ever seen. Withdrawing his hand, Mike as meticulously returned it.
Then Ken took his hand and said, "Major, I am very proud to meet you. I'm also so happy for Judy who is one of God's most perfect people. I know she will make you very happy!" He paused and added, "And Major, you certainly deserve it!"
When they were finally seated, Mike found that Judy was sitting between Ken and him. Shaking his head he said, "Captain Carlson, I just want you to know two things: First, compared to what you did in 'Nam, these awards might as well be good-conduct medals. Second, Carlson's Rangers — although still only a company — have been running my reconnaissance battalion ragged. And sir, a number of those guys are the same ones who served with you.
"My people are absolutely in awe of that outfit — and we're not in awe of very much. They tell me there are corporals in that company who could be senior master sergeants but they refuse promotion because it would mean they would have to leave the unit. All I can tell you is this: My men can't believe that you're human. They know how good your troops are! Yet when they say anything about it, all they hear is how the unit is just a shadow of what it was when you led it.
"Sir, you could think of it as an algebraic equation: My men are in awe of yours; your men are in awe of you. Where does that put you in the regard of my men? All I can say is we would be delighted to have you visit our unit at any time. My men would consider it to be the greatest honor they could possibly achieve." Then with a smile he added, "I certainly hope you will consider our invitation. We're really very serious about it."
The dance was the best that any of the people from Clifford & Jamison had ever attended. First of all, they were the focus of attention for all of the other guests in the room. When they learned from the restaurant staff that the women were all in a law firm, the people could not believe it. Then they just watched them move with the grace of trained dancers and just marveled. When they saw them in the arms of their men, they were awed.
For his part, Mike still suffered some trepidation about dancing. He knew he could dance — and dance well — with Judy, but he was sure he would destroy any other woman. However, when Kathy Carlson asked him to dance with her, he couldn't refuse. To his amazement, she fit into his arms and moved with the same fluid grace that Judy did. Moreover, the experience repeated with each of the other women.
Actually, he had the most fun dancing with Joan Frederick. First of all, she was as cute as a button with her dark hair and brilliant green eyes. Second, she was funny as she pretended to look up and down his uniform, apparently looking for something.
When he asked her what she was looking for, she replied very seriously, "The 'down' button."
"The 'down button'?" he asked. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"You know, Mike!" she replied with a straight face. "The button you push to get you down to my size."
Mike howled with laughter at her straight-faced joke. Then he responded by lifting her up and holding her in his arms with her feet completely off the floor. The others around the table began to laugh as Joan made funny faces while he danced by himself with her in his arms. Then he let her down and held her normally.
Before he could resume dancing, though, she pulled his head down and utterly melted him with a kiss. Then she whispered, "What a stinking shame! Mike, I'm just too short. I can't even give Judy a decent fight." In spite of the one-foot difference in their heights Joan still moved in his arms like a dream.
When they returned to the table, Judy was still laughing. Then Joan stuck out her hand and said, "You win. I'm out of the competition. I'm just too damned short!"
For the first time in his life Mike Morris decided that maybe he could dance after all. When Jack Benson asked Judy to dance, he rose to his feet and asked Sandy Harris. As he asked her, he was looking into her eyes and saw a flash of surprise followed by a flash of ... something else.
As he moved out on the dance floor he found that Sandy felt the same way in his arms that the other girls did. Then suddenly she stopped. Looking down he saw tears rolling down her cheeks and then she just shook her head and cried, "I can't do it!"
Mike looked at her in amazement and asked, "What can't you do?"
"I can't possibly be so close to a real hero. I feel so filthy and dirty..."
"Come with me, lady," he whispered and led her off the floor. Taking her by the arm, he went into the cocktail lounge off the main room which they found to be nearly empty. Escorting her to a small table in the corner, they sat down and Mike said softly, "Do you want to tell me about it?"
In spite of the tears still streaming from her eyes, Sandy Harris looked beautiful. She said softly, "Mike, you remember all those antiwar demonstrators from years ago? I was one of the leaders. There, in the nice safe, warm confines of our ivy-covered campus, I was bewailing how nasty our people were being to those wonderful agrarian reformers. Then I met the Trang sisters — and saw the 'agrarian reformers' work first-hand."
As she looked into his eyes Mike now knew what he had seen when he asked her to dance. It was fear. She continued, "Do you know something? I've never been able to look Ken Carlson in the eye. Never! Kathy knows about it, so Ken stays away from me, but maybe Judy doesn't know, or if she does, she forgot to tell you. It's why I was the only woman not to kiss you when you and Judy arrived.
"I'm one of the great shits of the Western World, Mike. I should have been destroyed at birth."
"What about Jack?" Mike asked softly. "He thinks you're pretty special, and heaven knows he is."
With a wry little grin Sandy replied, "He's a pilot. I'm sure he was at altitude a couple of times and ran short of oxygen. That's what it does to a guy's judgment. What in hell does he know? He's blind." Looking into his eyes she began to cry again and wailed, "Michael Morris, I'm a shit!"
While she had been talking, Mike had ordered drinks for both of them. The waiter brought them and Mike reached for his wallet but the waiter said, "I'm sorry, sir, but your money is no good here tonight. You are a guest of the management and we are all delighted to have you."
Mike thanked him and offered him a big tip, but that was also refused.
"See, Mike?" Sandy said softly. "Everyone knows what it takes to earn that medal around your neck. Even I know ... now!" With the pain visible in her eyes she wailed, "How can you stand to even be near me?"
"Now you listen to me, lady!" Mike said softly but with the power of command very clear in his voice. "Do you know what I did? I can't tell you the details but basically I went berserk. When the dust settled a few minutes later, a bunch of bad guys were dead and my guys were okay. The whole thing took a few seconds. That's basically the story of the two Navy Crosses, too.
"Now let's look at what you did: Over a span of a full week you planned to sacrifice your professional career and go to prison to try to save the lives of Ali and Bill Clifford. And you did it. Lady, that is a level of bravery and courage I can't even dream about.
"Look at your appearance: Judy tells me how you're always saying you're ugly, but its just that Jack's too blind to see it. Bullshit! Aside from having a body that's a duplicate of Judy's — and I think she is female perfection — you just radiate goodness, purity and kindness. It's like a halo around you. You are one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen because of who you are."
Sandy's mouth had dropped open while Mike was talking. She was hearing something that Jack and her friends had told her but she had never believed. Now she was hearing it and more from a man she had just met for the first time. Then Mike said, "Now give me a kiss, lady, and then let's dance."
Leaning towards her he took her head in his hands, tipped it to the side and gently brought his lips to hers. Then Mike did something that had been done to him by all the women that night. He concentrated on conveying his love for this beautiful but troubled young woman. When their lips met, he let his love flow while he gently worked his lips on hers. Finally he eased away and held her gently.
Sandy was in a state of shock. The kiss Mike had given her was like no kiss she had ever had in her life from a man before — a kiss she would have considered impossible from a man: a kiss of the purest love but with passion totally absent. Now her eyes were bright and glistening as she said, "Thank you, Michael Morris."
Then she added, "I am so happy for you! I'm sure Judy will make you very happy and now I'm certain that you are the man for her, too."
Then with a little grin she added, "Could I have that dance now?"