The storm came in, and though expected, settled in with a fury that surprised even the veteran weather people. The squalls of snow were pushed by howling winds and the conditions were terrible.
Actually, the conditions were exactly the kind that Duncan Wright fancied the most. He whistled for his constant companion, Kelly, his German shepherd, and said:
"Come on, kid; let's go play in the snow!"
Kelly gave an approving bark and, faster than Duncan could manage, was ahead of him on the way to the garage, where Duncan's huge 'toy' was parked. It was a gigantic Ford pickup truck, complete with all the bells land whistles and a rear seat. He'd had it equipped with a snow plow, so that he could clear the parking lot at the office, where he worked, which he also owned.
They were bosom companions those two, Duncan Wright and Kelly. At 41, Duncan had already been through the mills of life, so to speak. He had already suffered the loss of a child right after birth, which took the life force of his wife along with it, and subsequently lost his wife also. It was after that, in his brooding time, when only the business and the building up of the business into the conglomerate that it was today, were his solaces, that and Kelly, the Shepherd that he'd gotten for himself.
Duncan and Kelly contentedly lived together in the very large house that he'd inherited from his Mom and Dad, gone also these many years. They made do with only parts of the house but Duncan made sure that other parts of it were kept up, cleaned and in good condition. But his needs and Kelly's too, were fairly simple.
But playing in the snow with his 'beast', as he called the big all wheel drive Ford, was one of his pleasures.
"Who knows, Kelly pal," he said to the raptly listening dog, "We might meet a snow maiden this time out."
Kelly barked and Duncan laughed and scratched the big dog behind the ears.
Despite the amount of snow that had fallen in such a short period of time, they made their way to the lot at DW Industries, where Duncan worked and was the actual owner.
He began to make runs across the parking lot with his blade down and was making good progress, almost finished plowing the lot, when from a side street a older model Pontiac made its way into the lot.
Duncan drove over to where the Pontiac was and stopped, getting out to go to the Pontiac. He was met, before he got there, by a tall Afro-American woman, who peered at him through the snow.
"Hi!" Duncan said.
"Hi!" she returned, not moving and casting an eye at Kelly, who was kind of jumping around,
"That's Kelly," Duncan said, "He's my pal; he's also the world's gentlest dog!"
"Hi, Kelly!" the woman said.
She was wearing a kind of trench coat and driving gloves.
"I'm Duncan Wright," Duncan said.
"Grayce Williams," she said, extending a hand, yet still very wary.
"Can I help you?" Duncan asked then.
"Well," Grayce explained, "I've come here because of a job that I'm supposed to begin with DW; but never counted on a storm of this magnitude. We've come farther today than I thought and we were planning to get a motel or hotel room tonight but the storm has closed down those possibilities it seems totally."
She looked around worriedly, and Duncan just listened.
"I was hoping that the building might be open so that we could at least stay here," she said then, shaking her head ruefully.
"Wait a minute," she said then, the thought finally striking her, "What did you say your name was?"
He grinned and said: "Duncan Wright," he answered.
She paused for a moment and said: "Not, um, Duncan Wright as in DW?" she asked.
"The very same!" he said with a laugh, "They let me run the place, well, I mean I own the place, but they let me run it, although what I really like doing is getting out in the storm with my faithful companion Kelly and playing with the beast here."
He indicated the big truck with the plow, when he mentioned 'the beast'.
She gave a kind of laugh.
"Pleased to meet you, boss!" she said then.
"But I see that you're not alone," he said.
"No, I have my Suziebell with me!" she said in a happier voice.
Just then, hearing her nickname mentioned, the little girl, 8 years sold, leaned over in the front seat and said: "Momma? Where are we going to stay?"
"Suziebell," Grayce said then, "This is Duncan; he's the man that I'm going to be working for."
"Hi, Duncan!" Suzanne, Suziebell, said.
"Who is that?" Suzanne asked then.
"That's my pal Kelly," Duncan said.
"Is he friendly?" she asked.
"The friendliest!" Duncan said.
Suzanne was out of the car then and struggled through the snow to greet a very pleased Kelly, whose tail was going a mile a minute at the time. She knelt a bit and Kelly raised her chin to be scratched under the chin.
"Oh, I love her!" Suzanne said.
"Well, you seemed to have made a fast friend pretty quickly," Duncan said.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Mr Wright..." Grayce began but he slipped in: "It's Duncan, please!"
"Duncan," Grayce said then, "Can you direct us to a good place to stay? We're travel weary I'm afraid, especially since I've been fighting this storm for the past hour or more."
"Well, everything is closed or sown up around here, I'm afraid but I'd be pleased to put you up at my place. Kelly and I are batching as usual and we'd love to have the company, and the compound is large enough that you two will have all the privacy that you could possibly need," he said.
"I know," he said, "If I were in your shoes, I'd hesitate too but this might just be the only possibility for you tonight, I'm afraid," Duncan went on.
"It seems like such an imposition," Grayce said.
"Not to us!" Duncan said.
"Well, fine," Grayce said then and turned to Suzanne and said: "Suziebell, we've been invited to spend the night with Mr Wright and his companion Kelly."
"Oh, goodie!" Suzanne said, still not leaving the dog's side.
"Well, let's get your things," Duncan said. "We'll go in the beast. The streets are fairly closed right now."
"Yes," she said, "Fine, we'll go in the beast!" She grinned at him, when she said it.
He had a large cap on the back of the truck's bed and they put all of Grayce and Suzanne's luggage in the back. Then Duncan helped Suzanne get up into the back seat of the truck, with Kelly clattering up beside her. He also gave Grayce a hand getting into the front of the truck.
He watched, giving her a hand, as she got into the truck and noticed a silky thigh, where Grayce's skirt hiked up, as she got into the cab of the truck.
"Sorry," he said, "I do have a normal car at home, when I don't need the beast."
"I'll just have to call and tell my Momma back home that I've met the beast!" she said, giggling by the time she got to the end of the sentence. He joined her in a laugh.
"Please don't scare her!" he said.
When they were all loaded, he got into the driver's seat and said: "All ready?"
"Yes," Grayce said, followed by a 'yes' from Suzanne and a bark from Kelly.
"Homeward then!" He said, driving out of the lot to take them all home.
He drove extra slowly, so as not to frighten Suzanne but they made good progress through the streets, despite the piles of snow all around.
Eventually, on a secluded street, he pulled into the circular driveway of a rather large house. He took the circular drive and a straight drive off of it to get to the garage.
"My, my, what a house!" Grayce said.
"The business was my father's pride and joy," he explained, "The house was my Mom's."
"They are?" she asked.
"Both gone, unfortunately," he said. "She first and he had little will to live after that it seemed. It was a difficult year or so to get through."
As he said that, as though recognizing what he was talking about, Kelly put her head on his shoulder.
"Yes, pal," he said, "You helped get me through those times!"
"But, yes," he said, addressing Grayce again, "It's gigantic. Kelly and I certainly don't need all of it anymore but I have no intention of letting it go. It fits so well and all."
"Well, it's lovely!" Grayce said.
(Suzanne was still astounded by the size of the house and how it looked.)
"Well," Duncan said. "I'm going to put the beast into the garage. I might get out later to plow out some of my neighbor's driveways but we want to get you settled in now."
"Yes, thank you," Grayce said.
"I'll see about some supper," he said, "Any requests?"
"Not really," Grayce said.
"Italian?" he asked.
"Oh, goodie!" Suzanne said, "I like Italian."
"So do I!" Duncan said, "That makes it almost unanimous! And it's dog food for her majesty!"
The garage was a huge one into which 'the beast' fit very comfortably. There was also a sheltered walk that enabled them to get from the garage into the house. They entered via the hallway outside of the kitchen.
Grayce and Suzanne stopped, once they were inside the house.
"This is lovely!" Grayce said.
"Oh, it is, Momma," Suzanne agreed.
"My Mom's major work!" Duncan said. "It was her pride and joy; I've been pleased to keep it up. But, hey, I'm sure that you want to get your things settled and then we can have the grand tour, if you like."
They both indicated that they would like to see the house. He took them to a separate wing of the house, across the house from his own part of the house. There they had their bedrooms and bathroom and various other rooms, sitting rooms etc. He was carrying one of their cases on the way to the bedroom and Grayce noticed that, as they walked along toward their room/rooms, Suzanne insisted on holding Duncan's hand.
He left them there to get settled in, saying: "I'm going downstairs to start fixing us some dinner. It won't be terribly long."
After they'd gotten their things settled a bit, Suzanne said, "Momma, I'm going to the kitchen, okay?"
"Yes, Suziebell," she said, "I want to clean up here and change my clothes."
She did in fact take a quick shower, loving the luxury of where they were staying.
As she approached the kitchen later, she heard Suzanne laughing and both her and Duncan talking animatedly. When she entered the kitchen she just stopped and stared. There was Duncan at the range working on the dinner and Suzanne, clad in an apron that covered her from her armpits to her shins, setting the table in the kitchen alcove.
"I'm helping, Momma!" she said with joy in her voice.
"Thanks for sending the work force," Duncan said but fell quiet, when he saw the way that Grayce looked.
"Duncan?" she asked.
"Sorry, stunned by your beauty!" he said, and she put her hand over her mouth and giggled, joined in the laugh by Suzanne.
(She did in fact look stunning; she was wearing a knee length tee shirt and a pair of tight black running capris.)
"Meant every word!" he said. Then he nodded with his head and said: "A glass of red on the table for you. Suzanne is already too drunk to have any more."
Suzanne started giggling then, and winked at Duncan, who winked back.
They sat then and had a very pleasurable dinner, talking during their dinner. Duncan got some information about Grayce's background. She mentioned that she was anxious to leave her home area in Mississippi because of a bad relationship with a boyfriend there.
"He abused my Momma!" Suzanne said but Grayce was quiet. Duncan told about losing the baby and then his wife shortly after that from complications.
"It's been me and Kelly since then," he said.
Kelly, hearing her name, thumped her tail along the floor.
They all participated in the clean up, after the dinner was done, and then it was a tv movie in the family room, which was down the stairs from the living room. By the time that the movie was finished, Suzanne was nodding. They went quietly to their room, with Duncan carrying Suzanne the second half of the way.
"If this is okay for the two of you tonight," he said, "Tomorrow we'll do a search and suss out a room for Suzanne."
"I'd like that!" she said, and Grayce was quiet about it.
"You can get settled, we won't open the offices until the roads are clear of some of this snow," Duncan said.
"Should I check in or something, so that they know I'm coming?" Grayce asked.
"Consider yourself checked in," he said smiling. "We know that you're here."
"Oh, thank you!" she said and insisted on a hug before he left them. Suzanne lined up for her hug also before letting him go.
Then Kelly and Duncan left. He intended to do some reading, he told them, in his den/library, and indicated which room that is, in case they'd need him. He also told them that his bedroom suite was on the first floor next to the family room and across the hall from the den/library.
Grayce was really tired, by the time they were ready for bed.
"Oh, I like him, Momma!" Suzanne said.
"I know, Suziebell," Grayce said, "I like him too; he's a wonderful man."
Grayce slept as soundly that night as she could ever remember. When she got up in the morning, she noticed that Suzanne was already gone. She put on a robe, did her teeth and went to find Duncan and Suzanne. They weren't in the kitchen, where she expected to find them. But there was a note:
Coffee in the pot! We're doing some serious architectural work!
She had simply no idea what the note meant until she heard Suzanne's giggling outside. She went to the window and then saw them, she just stood and stared. They were outside, all bundled up, laughing for all they're worth and in the process of building a huge snowman. In fact, they seemed to be almost finished.
Grayce put on her coat and went outside onto the large porch.
"Hi, Momma!" Suzanne called out.
"Hey, Suziebell!" Grayce said.
"Grayce!" Duncan greeted her.
"Duncan!" Grayce said. "Who's the team leader?"
Duncan pointed to Suzanne and they laughed.
Grayce then fetched a camera a took a photo with Suzanne standing on one side of the snowman and Duncan standing on the other.
"I'm for a morning bath," Grayce said.
"We're off to McDonald's for breakfast," Duncan said, "If that's okay."
Grayce saw the look of supplication on Suzanne's face and, smiling shook her head 'yes'. The two of them headed toward the garage, with Kelly bounding around them.
Suzanne and Duncan brought some McDonald's breakfast back for Grayce, who was bathed, and dressed by the time that they were back. Suzanne was positively glowing.
They sat and talked, while she ate her breakfast.
"We need to go out to find a place to live," Grayce said. "We had a lead on a place before coming here but it didn't pan out and I was depending on it."
Duncan said softly then: "Why not stay here?"
Grayce simply look at him, while Suzanne was shaking her head in a very happy 'yes' gesture.
Duncan held up his hand: "Your part of the house is set off. I will give you kitchen privileges and make sure that I don't intrude on your life. If it doesn't work out, then finding a place in Spring will be easier."
"Momma?" Suzanne said plaintively.
Duncan turned to her and said: "Suziebell, give your Momma and me a moment or two to talk about this."
Suzanne shook her head 'yes' and went off with Kelly, while the adults talked.
"No nefarious plans or schemes here!" Duncan said, holding up his hands.
"I know," Grayce said, "It seems like such an imposition."
"It's not really!" Duncan said. "And my promises are firm."
"I know that but wouldn't want to deprive us of your good cooking!" she said, breaking into a grin.
He rose and grabbed her for a hug. "It's settled?"
"Yes," she said, "We'll try it."
Suzanne came back into the kitchen as they were hugging.
"Oh, goodie!" she said. "We can stay!"
"We can!" Grayce said to her and got a hug then from Suzanne too.
They spent the day on their 'setup', as they called it. Duncan gave Grayce a detailed tour of the kitchen and all the cooking equipment, the pantry, cold storage and freezer etc. They both spent some time with Suzanne in selecting which room was to be hers. She was positively excited by the fact that the room she choose had its own bathroom.
Then Duncan insisted on some shopping. They went, in the morning, to the Apple Store. There he bought a wiggly and emotional Suzanne an iMac computer and an iPhone for both of them.
"The phones will simply be added to the company's AT&T account," he told them, getting hugs again.
Suzanne looked at Grayce then and said: "And, Momma, I promise not to abuse the phone!"
"Right," Duncan said, "Not too much porn!"
Both Suzanne and Grayce giggled at that.
Then it was home to get the computer set up, while Grayce and Duncan got some lunch ready. They also planned a grocery shopping trip that afternoon, so that Grayce could get the items that she was comfortable with for the kitchen.
The next order of business for the following day, since the streets were plowed by then, was getting Suzanne settled in a school, and getting Grayce introduced at DW Industries, where she was going to work in the payroll and accounting section.
Duncan and she talked about it and decided that it would be better if she simply showed up on her own, instead of having Duncan introduce her around. It worked that way well.
That evening Grayce made a pork roast for dinner. They sat and talked about their day. After dinner and clean up, Duncan said that he had some work to do in the library. Grayce and Suzanne opted to watch a movie in the family room.
"Oh, Momma," Suzanne said, after the movie was done. "I love it here!"
She rubbed Kelly's head, as she said it.
"Yes, honey," Grayce said, "I do also. It's strange but it's also feeling less strange by the day. I just don't know about the long run is all."
"I understand, Momma," Suzanne said. "It's making such a nice new life for us, I think."
"It is, honey!" Grayce said. "Now let's get you bathed and ready for bed."
"Can Kelly sleep with me tonight?" Suzanne asked.
"Don't see why not," she said.
Before she went to bed, Suzanne and Grayce went to the library and knocked. Suzanne then went in for a hug and a kiss from Duncan.
Then they went off to tuck Suzanne in, announcing that Kelly was being invited to sleep with her.
After a bit, with Duncan still in the library, there was a knock on the door, and Grayce went in.
"Sorry to be anti-social tonight," he said. "Had some things to do here."
"No problem at all," Grayce said. "We had a lovely evening."
Grayce got kind of misty eyed then and said: "Duncan, I have to tell you how special all this is for us. Suzanne had a terrible time of it, while I was trying to deal with that Paul back in Mississippi. You've made things so bright for her. I don't know if this will work out in the long run but it's being so nice, getting new footing and all."
"Seems to be working out fine," he said, "The old place hasn't had this much life in a long, long time, and I, Kelly and I are enjoying it. There's no reason for it not to work for us."
"Oh, you're so nice!" she said, going to him and hugging him.
His mind was then being invaded by thoughts that he'd been holding at bay for all these days, thoughts about her physical beauty. He'd been chastising himself about thinking those thoughts and had been keeping them away but now they were there in spades, as he felt her large breasts pressed against him and her thighs.
She noticed it too and said a quick: "Ohhh!" as she moved from the hug but still leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Nightcap?" he asked.
"Yes, very nice!" she said.
"Don't have to worry about inviting you up to my place for the nightcap and etchings!" he said, grinning.
She grinned back at him, and said; "Don't you be seducing me!"
"Wouldn't think of it!" he answered her banter, still grinning.
They sat and talked for a while. She gave her impressions about working at DW and he talked a bit about the history of the company.
It was a few days later. They were settling into their living arrangement nicely. That evening Grayce had opted for an early bath and, after her bath, put on her nightgown, a lovely floor length pink, nylon gown, and a robe and went looking for Suzanne, to get her read for bed.
As she got near the library, she heard shouting coming from the room next to the library, which was called 'the game room'. It was Duncan raising his voice, shouting: "You cheated!"
"Did not, loser!" Suzanne yelled.
Grayce, appalled, hurried to the game room. When she entered the room, she found the two of them grinning and laughing like a pair of bad children.
"She cheated!" Duncan roared at Grayce.
"Did not!" Suzanne yelled next, causing Kelly to walk around and bark. "He lost the Parcheezee game and is a loser!"
"Am not! Cheater!" Duncan yelled back at Suzanne, both of them grinning from ear to ear.
"I think that Kelly is the only one telling the whole truth!" Grayce said, and smiled as Duncan and Suzanne folded into a hug, still laughing.
"That was fun!" Suzanne said.
"Yes, it was, Suziebell!" Duncan said, kissing Suzanne on the head.
"It's bath time and getting ready for bed for at least one of the combatants!" Grayce said and Suzanne left with her Momma with a grin on her face.
Later both Grayce and Suzanne went to the library, where Duncan was busy with his computer. Suzanne gave him a hug and kiss, and went to the door with her Momma. Just as she slipped through the door, she said over her shoulder to Duncan: "Did not!"
She made sure that the door was closed then, as his futile roar filled his library.
He heard both Grayce and Suzanne giggling as they went along the hall to put Suzanne to bed. Kelly trotted along with them, having gotten into the habit of sleeping with Suzanne.
AT WORK AND A LUNCH:
Grayce settled into work at the accounting department of DW Industries. She liked it there; liked the atmosphere; liked the friendliness of the people there. She worked with three other women in the accounting department. In a very short time she was simply part of the crew. It was grand.
She never said anything to anyone about her living situation; she assumed that Duncan never said anything also. It was not so much a secret as it wasn't really anyone else's business.
It was a Friday and the day was a bit slow. They were past the end of the month, when they had a number of reports to do and various kinds of end of the month tasks.
They were sitting and talking at that moment, when the door opened and Duncan walked in. There was silence immediately. The women in accounting all thought that Duncan was gorgeous. They said as much any number of times but he was, of course, the big boss.
"Ladies!" he said.
He was answered by a chorus of "Mr Wrights" from the women, including Grayce.
Then he pointed at Grayce and everyone froze. He had a reputation of being kind, fair but severe, when there was a problem or anyone was out of line at work.
"You," he said imperiously. "Lunch?" He broke into a telltale grin, as soon as he'd finished.
The other women in the section were agog.
Grayce smiled at him and said softly: "Now, Mr Wright, didn't your Momma teach you about asking a woman to lunch politely?"
Now the other women were aghast, at what Grayce had said to him. But Grayce was matching his grin with one of her own.
He smiled and said: "Of course, she did. I apologize. Ms Williams, will you consent to have lunch with me?"
"Of course, Mr Wright," Grayce answered. "How polite you are!"
The other women were now giggling into their hands, as Grayce got up and retrieved her purse to go to lunch with Duncan.
"We're off, anyone need anything for lunch?" he asked.
One of the other gals said: "Yes, desserts!"
"Noted!" Duncan said and opened the door for Grayce.
They could hear the chatter of the women in accounting, as soon as the door was closed.
She grinned at him, as soon as they were in the hall. "You're so bad!" she said.
"Thought that might get a rise out of them!" he said, matching her grin, "Give them something to talk about for an hour or so."
"For an hour or so?" she said, laughing, "More like for a week or so!"
"Good!" he said, "Makes it interesting at work."
"I guess that's true," she said.
"But I want to talk to you about something," he said.
"Okay," she answered, once we get settled for lunch, "And don't forget about their desserts."
"Won't!" he said, putting his hand in the air, "Promise."
They were settled at a small deli eating.
"You wanted to talk to me?" she asked.
"Yes," he said, "It's about your Pontiac."
"What?" she said, wondering.
"It's in terrible shape!" he said.
"I know!" she said a bit wary now.
"I want ... I want..." he sighed and said: "I don't know why this should be so hard."
"What is it, Duncan?" she asked.
"I'm trying to say that I want to get you, give you or buy you a new car!" he said.
"Ohhhhhhh!" she sighed, putting her sandwich down. "I don't know what to say!"
"Please say 'yes'!" he said. "It'll please me so much."
He shook his head then and said: "Grayce, I'm not trying to buy you or anything. I simply like you, and want to help. And I just love that ornery little girl of yours!"
Grayce grinned at the mention of Suzanne. "She's got your number!" she said.
"Afraid so, but the car!" he said. "You can have my Lexus, if you want or maybe you just need to buy yourself a new one, any kind, I don't care."
She got misty eyed. "Duncan," she said fondly, "I've never met or associated with anyone like you in my entire life. I don't know what to do!"
"Do what Suzanne would tell you to do!" he said.
"And what's that?" she asked softly.
"She'd probably say: 'Momma, let him; it's okay!' And it is!"
She shook her head, trying to let the reality sink in.
"But what do we do? How do we do this?" she asked.
"Oh, there are a couple of ways," he said. "You and Suziebell go shopping and let me know; we'll just arrange payment. Or you and Suziebell and I will go shopping and we'll arrange payment."
She was silent but there were tears on her cheek. He brushed one away.
"Oh, Grayce, I'm not trying to make you cry!" he said.
"It's just that you take such good care of us!" she said.
"Yes, I enjoy that! And Kelly loves the two of you passionately!" he replied.
"I think you and me and Suziebell should go car shopping!" she said, holding and kissing his hand.
"Goodie for us!" he said, "Saturday outing?"
The girls had a million questions, when Grayce returned, as they sat and ate the pieces of apple pie that Duncan had brought for them. She shared merely the basics of his having lunch with her, and didn't mention the reason for it.
They were sitting at dinner that evening. They were having burgers and fries, that Duncan had made.
"Honey," Grayce said, "I need to tell you; well, Duncan and I need to tell you something."
"Yes, Momma!" Suzanne said.
"We're going to go this Saturday and buy a new car!" Grayce said.
Suzanne was clapping her hands immediately. "Oh, won't that be fun!"
Their Saturday was planned. It needs to be admitted though that at the beginning of the day, Grayce was kind of shell shocked about it.
At breakfast, when Suzanne had already left the table, Grayce said: "I'm still at sea about this, Duncan."
"I know," he said softly, "I'm really not trying to cause you problems, Grayce, or make you feel bad in any way. We're friends and I have so much. It seems like a shame to me to not be able to share!"
"Yes," she smiled, "Good, share! Let's get ready and go car shopping this morning."
"Any ideas?" he asked.
"Well," she answered, "I really like your Lexus."
"Let's go there then!" he said, "And you can look around."
They were ready after only a little bit and Suzanne was extremely excited.
"Where are we going, Momma?" she asked.
"I think we'll go to the Lexus dealer and look at cars," she said.
"Can we afford that?" Suzanne asked, in a conspiratorial voice.
But he heard her ask her Mother that.
"Yes," he said, "We can!"
"Goodie!" Suzanne said, heading for the garage.
"Besides," he said then to Grayce, "I'm the silent partner in the dealership; they'll take really good care of us there. I'm sure of that."
Grayce got a grin on her face at that news.
"Okay, Mr Silent Partner," she said, giving him a quick kiss and a slow hug, "Let's go and look at the cars."
As she walked away, she said: "This will be a totally new kind of experience with me."
"Welcome to my world!" he said softly.
"Watch out," she quipped, "I might get to like it too much in your world."
He laughed, "My only aim!" he said.
They were greeted warmly at the Lexus dealership. When the owner, manager saw them come in, he went out and greeted Duncan warmly by name with a handshake.
"George," Duncan said, "This is Grayce, a good friend of mine, and her love Suziebell!"
"Grayce! Suziebell!" George said, shaking their hands individually.
"We want a car for Grayce," Duncan continued, "Her old Pontiac is ready for the bone yard."
"Oh, it is," Grayce said in agreement,.
"Well," George said with a smile. "We can fix that."
He motioned to a salesperson, a woman named Debbie, to take care of Grayce and Suzanne, while he and Duncan went into his office to have coffee and talk.
He let Grayce and Suzanne do the looking and selecting. It was done with many consultations, a test drive, with Duncan in the back seat with Suzanne and the sales woman in the front with Grayce.
In the end, Grayce's decision was a white Lexus SUV. She was almost beside herself being able to shop with no financial limits involved. They found a model that they liked, all three of them. It had all the new technological marvels that so many new cars had. It positively made Grayce giggly.
"This is so cool!" she said softly to Duncan, once he'd emerged from George's office, "I mean shopping this way!"
"I'd like you to get used to it!" he said.
When the decision had been made, Debbie asked the question about financing. Grayce turned to Duncan, not knowing what to say.
"I'll take care of that," he said. Then he laughed and added, for only Debbie and Grayce to hear: "No, she's not my mistress; I don't do mistresses! She's a valued friend and associate."
Both Debbie and Grayce giggled at that, and then Debbie went off to get the paper work done for the sale.
It was George who finally asked, once the sale was almost finished, what Duncan wanted to do.
"I'll have the funds transferred to you today," Duncan said.
"Good enough," George said, and then shaking hands with Grayce he said: "Enjoy this lovely new car!"
"Oh, I will," she assured him,
"And take good care of this man, he's a gem!" he said.
"I try to do that too!" she said with a grin.
Afterwards, it was lunch for the three of them at a sandwich shop and a return in the afternoon to pick up the new Lexus and drop off Grayce's old Pontiac. By then Grayce was all aglow about the whole incident.
They pulled into the dealer's lot and Grayce turned to Duncan, who was sitting in the front seat next to her. She leaned forward and gave him a quick kiss.
"Duncan, I am so pleased! This is so, so nice of you!"
He grinned and kissed her back.
"Momma," Suzanne asked from the back seat, "Is Duncan your boyfriend?"
Both Duncan and Grayce hooted at the suggestion and Grayce said: "Honey, I'm not totally sure about that. But when I find out, when Duncan and I figure that out, I'll certainly let you know."
Grayce had met Paul in a kind of casual way during a time period, when she was struggling and having a tough time of things. He had proven to be initially rather charming, and Grayce, for a time period, enjoyed his company. When they became intimate, Paul would routinely become rather rough. It wasn't 'playful rough'; it was simply rough. It involved excessive spanking, nipple pinching that was really painful, and when Grayce complained, Paul got really, really mad.
There was even one time period in their relationship, when she complained and he spanked her, really very hard. She refused to see him for a time period after that but eventually took him back, when he returned with flowers, and promises and was his old charming self again.
Then the rough tactics began again. It came to a head on an occasion, when they were just finished with their passion. Paul was praising her for the oral sex that had been part of their lovemaking.
She thanked him and snuggled up to him until he mentioned to her that he had a good friend and wanted her to use her 'oral talents' on this friend.
Grayce was almost frozen with disbelief. It led to a loud argument and that brought out the full potential of Paul's abuse.
Suzanne, in the next room, heard her Momma's cries, as Paul was hitting her and entered the room with a knife.
When he saw her, Paul laughed but he'd moved enough for Grayce to hit him on the head with a heavy object. The blow stunned him but little more. It did, however, give her the opportunity to throw him out of the apartment and she never allowed him around again.
It was precisely at this point that she sought and got the job in accounting at DW Industries, and met Duncan during that terrible snow storm.
It was fairly late in the afternoon. Grayce answered the door. She'd been reading stories with Suzanne and Suzanne was standing behind her, when the door was opened and she saw that it was Paul.
"What do you want?" Grayce asked in cold voice.
"Just to talk to you, babe," he said.
"Well, you can't come in," Grayce said again.
He put up his hands at that point and said softly: "Just want to talk, Babe; that's all."
She stepped outside and they went out onto the porch to 'talk'.
But it had certainly frightened Suzanne who went immediately to the library, where Duncan was doing some reading. By the time that she went in, after rapping on the door, she was crying.
"Hey, what?" he asked. "What is it, sweetheart?"
"It's that Paul!" she said through her tears. "He's back and I'm afraid that he's gonna hurt my Momma again."
"He's here?" Duncan asked in a soft voice?
"Yes," Suzanne said, "She's with him now."
Kelly, sensing the mood began to growl, and as Duncan turned to tell Kelly to 'stay', Suzanne went back into the hall.
By then both Paul and Grayce were back at the door to the house, with Grayce inside the hall and Paul in the doorway.
"There's the brat!" Paul said viciously.
Grayce slapped his face, which turned rigid with anger then.
"So that's how it'll be," Paul said. "All snuggled here with your rich boyfriend, who won't save you now, bitch!"
"You get out!" Grayce said in controlled fury.
"Not gonna happen until I get a blow job from you!" he said, taking a step toward her, "And you're gonna do it with your brat watching, bitch!"
"You son of a bitch!" she said, lashing out at him again, but he only laughed and grabbed her wrist, and began to twist it.
That was when Duncan entered the hallway.
"Well, well," Paul said, trying to sound menacing, "It's the rich boyfriend."
"Let me set the record straight, jerk," Duncan said with a broad smile.
"I'm not the rich boyfriend, only the rich friend," he said, and Paul simply stared at him.
"And I have another friend here that I want you to meet," Duncan continued.
Having said that, he called: "Kelly!" and the big dog bounded into the hall way. Then Duncan said something in German and Kelly began to growl, showing his fangs and walking slowly toward Paul, who let Grayce go immediately.
Duncan touched Grayce's arm and said: "Go to Suzanne and stay with her."
"Now, Paul, buddy," Duncan went on. "Do you speak German?"
Paul shook his head in a 'no' gesture, never taking his eyes off of Kelly, who was right in front of him now.
"Well, I do," Duncan said, "And strangely enough, so does Kelly. You see, Paul, buddy, if I give him a command in German, you're toast. For instance, Paul, buddy, do you know the German word for 'balls'?"
Paul shook his head 'no'.
"Can't hear you, Paul, buddy," Duncan said, and Paul quickly said:"No, I don't know that German word."
"Kelly does," Duncan said, "And if I say it, she's going to go for your balls! Shall I teach you the word? I'll try to say it softly so that Kelly doesn't hear it and get the wrong impression. We don't want Kelly attacking you, do we?"
Paul was stiff with fear.
"Do we, shit-whit?" Duncan growled.
"No," Paul said, still watching Kelly.
"But, Paul, buddy," Duncan began again, using the friendly tone again, "To show you that I'm a sporting man, I'm going to call Kelly off and throw you out of here myself."
He said a word to Kelly and pointed to Grayce and Suzanne and Kelly trotted back and sat directly in front of the two women, never letting Paul out of his gaze, and still growling now and again.
Paul took the opportunity to throw a punch at Duncan, who acted so quickly that Paul hardly realized it. He grabbed Paul's arm in mid-punch and using his momentum against him, pulled him forward, twisted him and had his arm wrenched up the middle of his back in less that two seconds.
Paul was fairly crying out with the pain in his shoulder.
"Now, Paul, Buddy," Duncan said directly behind him. "Your best tactic now, since I have this grip on you, is to get on your toes."
Duncan put some pressure on the arm and Paul was immediately on his toes, trying to lessen the pressure on his arm.
"But I guess, Paul, buddy, that's about as high as you can go now. Is a dilemma!" Duncan said softly.