Daze in the Valley
Copyright© 2010 by Jay Cantrell
Drama Sex Story: Chapter 95 - Adam Walters is a 19-year-old farm boy going to college in the big city. Reeling from the deaths of his parents and struggling with the financial hardship those deaths bring, he takes the advice of a friend and enters the porn world. With the aid of his pals - and some exceptional young women - Adam helps to transform a business known for wicked excess and questionable integrity into a stable, profitable enterprise. Note: Codes represent only physical acts between main characters
Adam wasn't surprised to find the living room empty when he left what now appeared to be Mary's room. He locked the bedroom door and the front door before he exited. He considered leaving the front door unlocked because he wasn't certain if a resident from here had brought a key. Then he locked the door anyway.
He had a pretty good idea where he'd find Walt, Sean and Rachelle and he still had his old key if they were locked out. Sure enough, six pairs of eyes bore into him as he walked into the lower apartment. He put on his best cheerful face.
"Hey, guys," he said. "I'm getting a water. Anyone need anything?"
The room was silent but everyone still stared at him. He quickly glanced down to see if perhaps his fly was down. It wasn't.
"Do I have a booger?" he asked as he checked his nose. Finding nothing, he walked to the kitchen, pulled out a bottle of water and took a long swallow. Adam wasn't a drinker but he started to understand why his Dad would have a beer or two after a particularly long day. Adam pasted the cheerful smile back on his face and walked back into the living room.
Every flat surface was occupied – despite the fact that Erin, Leslie, Trinity and Karlie were smart enough to be somewhere else. Adam wished he had been that smart.
When a lack of seating had arisen in the past, there was a spirited contest to see who got to sit on Adam's lap. Now no one even flinched so Adam went into the spare room and pulled out a lawn chair. He could have brought a kitchen chair but those things hurt his butt after a few minutes. They were fine for smaller people like the girls but Adam wound up with his butt sitting lower than his knees and his knees almost hitting the bottom of the table.
He unfolded the lawn chair in an open space and sat down.
"Anyone up for a game of Monopoly?" he asked.
Allie broke the silence. She didn't speak but let out a snort, rolled her eyes and threw her hands up in the air. Adam took a deep breath.
"OK, outside of your frustration with me, is anyone here angry with anyone else here?" he asked.
The group exchanged puzzled looks but shook their heads one by one.
"So why are we acting like we're waiting to see who'll go for their gun first?" Adam asked.
"I, uh, we were sort of expecting you to offer an explanation," Sean said. He looked around the room for confirmation of that fact and got nods.
"OK, I'll explain," Adam said. "I've explained this 'ad nauseam' to the occupants of this apartment but I got the distinct impression they weren't listening to me. So, I guess one more time won't kill me."
He waited for one of his girlfriends – Allie, in fact – to jump his ass over his statement but she didn't say a word.
"I have been Mary's friend since a few days after I moved in up there," Adam continued when he found he didn't have to defend himself. "Like the rest of you from that apartment, she was a true friend to me when I needed a friend. Although I am disappointed and hurt by her actions, I do genuinely care for the person I know is on the inside. So I will do what I would expect my father to do in this situation – he would be a true friend to her when she has no one else."
The looks on the girls' faces didn't change but Sean's visage softened and he nodded slightly. Adam turned his gaze to Walt.
"I hope you know that this is not intended to make you believe I value Mary more than I do you," he said, "because that is not the case. I don't value her friendship more highly than anyone's and I value it less than most of yours. Actually, I probably put a higher emphasis on my relationships with everyone here. But I still trust Mike and I've come to agree with him."
"I trust Mike," Sarah said softly. "But I don't trust Mary."
"And no one is saying that you should," Adam pointed out. "Do you trust me?"
Six heads bobbed at once.
"Then I ask that you trust me enough to let me lead on this," Adam said. "I don't know if it will work. I believe Mary understands what she's done and she's sorry for it."
"Or she is sorry that she got caught and branded a pariah," Rachelle said.
"That, too," Adam said with a slight nod and a sad smile. "That's how it usually plays out – for all of us. I know the times I got caught doing something I knew was wrong, my initial reaction was self-pity. It would usually take a few days before real remorse set in. If you think about how you've handled situations where you made large mistakes, you might agree with me."
Rachelle had returned to looking at the carpet as Adam replied but she jerked her eyes to meet his with his last sentence. Her mind flashed back to the day her father found her in the pool house with one of his employees. She had reacted with anger and defiance. She moved from anger to self-pity and from pity to planning how to do it better the next time. It took almost a month before genuine sadness for her actions to arrive. If her father hadn't continued to show his love for her as she served her punishment – grounding in her case – she wasn't sure if she wouldn't have moved right back to anger and defiance.
"Damn it," Rachelle said, frustration written on her face.
"No one says you can't be angry with her," Adam continued. "No one is saying that Mary won't have to take the first step – like a sincere, personal apology. And no one is saying that everyone has to agree with this or that it will make a bit of difference in the end."
"I'm not going to go back to being her boyfriend," Walt said.
"No, I didn't suspect you would," Adam answered. "In fact, I would think you were being a fool if you did."
Walt's face eased.
"You're buying this?" Allie asked the group, her mouth agape.
"As in, 'Do we think it will work?' No," Sean said. "But I find I agree with most of his arguments. I don't hate Mary. Like Adam said, I'm disappointed and hurt. But I still care about her. I think I can find enough caring in my heart to show her how a true friend reacts."
"Because she was such a loyal friend to us," Shelly spat.
"No," Adam said softly, "because she wasn't. She was willing to push us aside for her own benefit. We're willing to keep her around for our own benefit. No one gains anything – as I've said before – no one gains anything by casting her aside. At least no one sitting down here. If you can't find any other reason for trying it my way, think about this: Mary is the one who benefits the most by disassociating herself from us. She gains the ability to do her projects solely for her benefit. We lose a valuable member of this team and we lose someone that at 5:59 p.m. this evening we all considered a dear friend. This way we can keep a close eye on what she's doing and make sure it is for the group's benefit. If we shun her or push her away, we lose that ability."
Allie closed her eyes tightly as Adam spoke. He could see her fiery temper was on the verge of exploding. He only hoped she took it out on him instead of spreading the wealth to anyone nearby. She opened her eyes slowly.
"You had better be this fucking forgiving when it's me who has dicked you over," she said. "Because I will remember this little episode and I will expect the exact same consideration."
Adam gave her a small smile and a wink. She rolled her eyes at him.
"Fine," Sarah said. "But I don't think I can be all chummy with her. I want to kick her ass – mostly for what she did to Walt."
Walt offered a sad smile. His personal pain had been overlooked by almost everyone during this drama and he appreciated that Adam and Sarah had at least recognized what had happened to him.
"I think Walt will be fine," Adam said, smiling at his friend. "You know, in my mind, I've always pictured something like this happening. I knew when Walt and Mary broke up; it would be in a ball of flames."
"Well, you nailed that one," Walt lamented. "You know, I knew it was over even before she revealed the reasons behind her actions. I knew when she started her little rampage against you and Sarah – and then tried to drag me into it on her side – that we couldn't co-exist as boyfriend-girlfriend and business partners. I don't see how you guys manage it."
"As you might have heard from the names I was called before I got back, not very well sometimes," Adam said, glancing at his girlfriends with a smile. They blushed slightly and looked away. "Oh, don't worry; you called me the same names to my face before I left. It's all good. You might be right."
"We have to figure out where she is going to live," Rachelle stated firmly.
"We'll have Steve Rayburn's house closed in a week," Adam answered. He had considered this question while sitting with Mary. "I can probably get it done earlier if I need to. She can use my car and live out there."
"Why does she get your car?" Sarah asked.
Adam considered the answer for a moment but decided on the truth.
"Because it's my car and I decide where it goes," he said. "In my opinion, which sadly is the only one that really counts, she needs it more than we do. We have other options and we have a bus stop 100 yards from us. The closest bus stop to the new place is only three blocks away but it is uphill on the way back and Mary has night classes. I wouldn't ask even someone I don't like to walk through an unfamiliar neighborhood after dark."
Everyone could see the answer didn't sit well with the occupants of the lower apartment but they couldn't refute his assertions.
"We'll have the Subarctic SUV here," Rachelle said. "I was supposed to pick up a car for my personal use today. It will be here, too."
"Next you'll ask us to help her pack and loan her money for groceries," Shelly said bitterly.
This was going to be harder than anything Adam had attempted in his life, he decided. He pulled Sean aside for a private conversation and to apologize for taking control of the meeting.
Sean took both parts with his usual aplomb.
Walt stayed down at the lower apartment that night. Karlie and Erin spent the night with Trinity, deciding a lumpy couch and a shared bed was better than whatever they might find at their respective domiciles.
Erin was relatively cheerful when she popped over to see if anyone wanted to go the Y with her. Allie was going to her Tae Kwon Do class but Shelly and Sarah decided she would try the Body-By-Erin method. Walt had not arisen yet.
Adam kicked himself for offering his car for Erin's use then he headed up the hill to see if someone could take him and Allie to the bank at 11. He found the apartment empty and remembered that everyone but Walt had an early morning class on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Walt's first class wasn't until 10:30 but he usually went in with the rest of the group.
By the time Adam made his way back down the hill, he was left by himself with only a sleeping Walt for company. Karlie was still hiding with Trinity and both were making themselves scarce.
Adam was on his second piece of toast when Walt came out. He looked better than the night before but not by much.
"Breakfast?" Adam asked.
"Coffee," Walt said, pouring a cup, taking a drink and then grimacing. He immediately noticed Adam was drinking orange juice.
"Allie has many wonderful traits," Adam said. "Making coffee is not one of them. I think she uses a dirty diaper as a filter."
"Tastes like it," Walt muttered. He poured half the coffee in the sink and filled the cup with water.
"I usually wait until she is gone, pour it out and start another pot," Adam said. "But I decided you needed to get a firsthand look at how difficult my life is sometimes. You know, so you recognize that other people have problems, too."
Even as crappy as Walt felt, he still chuckled.
"Where is everyone?" he wondered.
"There are times when I never ask where they've gone," Adam said. "I only appreciate the silence and am thankful that they are. Of course, I'm happy to see them when they come back."
"Did you wind up sleeping on the couch?" Walt asked with a slight smile.
"Just barely missed it, I think," Adam answered. "Did you sleep OK?"
"When I slept," Walt said. "I was tired but I had trouble. We were good together, you know?"
Adam tilted his head.
"There were times when you were excellent together," he said. "And there were times when you were not so good together. I'm just sorry it came to this. You don't deserve this."
"I know I don't," Walt said. "But I thought about some of the things you said last night. People do stupid things when money comes along."
"Particularly when you're talking about that amount of money," he admitted. "Who knows? I might have done the same thing. Thankfully, I didn't have to take that test. But I do know that I was willing to do things I found distasteful for money. I've overlooked some of my beliefs in the pursuit of money. I've gone to lengths that I never thought I would go to make money. I might have failed the test as badly as she did."
"You recognized that early, huh?" Walt asked.
"Hell, no," Adam replied. "I was as mad as the rest of you until I called Mike for advice. He explained things to me in a way I understood and pointed out a few facts from his life to help me along."
"What facts?" Walt wondered.
Adam explained about the rift at Mike's first purchase and how it drove the value of the business down.
"I can see that," Walt said, a smile crossing his face. "So, if I understand this correctly, you used the argument you knew would work on each person. But you're doing it for the purpose of keeping the rest of us from losing out."
"I believe each of the things I said last night," Adam said. "I wasn't pulling stuff out of my ass to manipulate anyone. Yes, some of what I think is correct applied more to Rachelle or Shelly than to you or Sean. If I happened to look at the person I thought it applied to, it was pure coincidence."
Walt laughed aloud.
"If the time ever comes where I'm between a mama bear and her cubs, I want you there to handle the negotiations," he said. "Hell, I might just walk away with my own skin and one of the bear's, too. So, do you think this will work? Do you think we can stay friends and partners with Mary?"
"Theoretically? Yeah," Adam said. "In practical application? Not a prayer in Hell. The best I hope for is to forestall the end long enough 'til we can all part amicably and long enough for us to find someone else to do what Mary does."
"I sort of figured that out, too," he said, then laughed again.
"If it works out any better than the worst, I'll be completely surprised," Adam admitted ruefully. "But I think the worst is what we should expect."
Adam was put right through to Celina Gomez, which surprised him.
"Hi, Adam," Celina said cheerfully. "How are things over there?"
Adam gave a mirthless laugh but didn't answer.
"Is there anything I can do to help?" Celina replied. Adam had been so friendly and cheerful each time she had seen or talk to him.