Healing Hands of Time
Copyright© 2010 by Joe J
The favor Amber wanted was a big one.
She needed a sort of body guard for a private party she was working. She thought I might be interested in doing the job, because the men who hired her were junior associates at the law firm of Crossman, Fielding and Blakemore. The lawyers were throwing a bash to celebrate their large year-end bonuses, and wanted Mary Margaret to perform her lawyer routine. She turned down the job at first, but when the men offered to double her normal rate, she decided to do it.
I was wavering about whether or not I'd help her, when Amber threw in the kicker.
"Josh, the guys told me the party is at a cool house on Lemon Bluff road that a couple of them are leasing from their boss, sound familiar?"
"I'm in," I said.
Not long after Amber called, my cell went off again. This time I glanced at the caller ID before answering. I hesitated taking the call for a second, because it was from Lee Poon. Then I took a deep breath and stabbed the talk button. If Lee wanted some of my ass for defiling his wife's niece, I had it coming. I just hoped I hadn't ruined our friendship.
"Hello Lee," I said cautiously.
"You good friend Josh-u-ah," he yelled excitedly. "Joi tell Ling you very nice to her last night and show her good time, now Ling happy, so Poon happy."
I held out the phone and looked at it in surprise, then put it back to my ear.
"She is a lovely young woman, Lee, and it was my pleasure. In fact, I had such a good time, I'd like to spend tomorrow showing her around."
Poon said Joi was hoping I'd ask her out again, so the women would be even happier. Go figure.
I had a task to accomplish that Friday afternoon that was one I relished, so I dug out the report my bookkeeper had prepared. I smiled as I read the column of numbers. The report was a trial balance for the Fuller Group's first annual statement of net worth. Even though the numbers were for only part of a year, they were pretty impressive.
I whipped out the Mont Blanc fountain pen my parents gave me when I graduated from college, and started writing bonus checks for my employees. Once bonuses were out of the way, I wrote checks to Mitzi and Frank for their share of our profits. None of the checks were huge, after all, some of our employees had only been there a few months and we only had three months profits to divvy up. Next year would be a different story though, if the last quarter was any indication.
I put the checks in envelopes, wrote the recipient's name on the outside, and walked out of my office, feeling very much like Santa, as I prepared to deliver them.
My Saturday with Joi consisted of one hour lying out at the beach, three hours of Sex-Ed for yours truly, and lunch.
Cousin Joi looked as good in a tiny bikini as any woman had a right to; if she'd looked any better, it would be illegal. Joi was tall and slender, like I said before, but she wasn't skinny and her suit wasn't baggy. She had slim, yet well defined hips, a shapely rear-end, and small but perfectly shaped conical breasts. Her best feature, though, was her legs. They were impossibly long, and because they were slender, they looked even longer. Looking at her walking on the beach, I decided that I was taking her somewhere she could wear high heels. She would stop traffic in a pair of four inch pumps and a miniskirt.
We talked at the beach while we basted in the early morning sun.
"How long are you going to be in town?" I asked.
She tipped her big Ray Ban aviator shades up and peeked at me from under them.
"I'm here for another six weeks. I have a translator job with the Chinese Trade Commission, starting the first of February. I hope you are not asking because you want something long term Joshua, because I am not ready to settle down. This will be the first time I've ever been out from under my parents thumb, and I plan on enjoying myself."
I held up my hands defensively.
"I was just asking. I'm just coming out of a bad marriage, and a serious relationship is the last thing on my mind," I replied.
"That's good," Joi said. Then she smirked and added. "So do you think you can keep me amused for the next month and a half?"
"I'll take my vitamins," I replied.
I went Christmas shopping Sunday, and spent a good portion of my share of our profits on gifts for my family and friends. I put some thought into what I bought each person, and I'll admit that I might have gotten carried away on a couple, but what the hell, it was only money, and money didn't drive my train.
On Christmas Day, I delivered my gifts. I did it that way so no one would feel obligated to get me something. Of course, everyone did anyway.
My first visit of the afternoon was to the home of newlyweds Shelby Jean and Archie Paulson. Shelby and Archie were nice to me, but I arrived as they were scurrying around, preparing to go to Arch's parents for Christmas dinner. Since my parents were in Hawaii for another one of their mini-honeymoons, Shelby and Archie invited me along. I'd only met the Paulsons the one time at the wedding, and I didn't want to impose, so I begged off.
My visit to the Morrison's was a shocker. I expected Gil to be there, he and Mitzi were pretty much joined at the hip now. Seeing Dallas with her guy was no surprise either, they'd been dating for months. It was seeing Dakota sitting on the couch all lovey-dovey with some handsome college guy that startled me. I gaped for a minute then smiled and greeted everyone.
I had known that Dakota would find a guy someday; I just hadn't expected it to be so soon. I also figured she'd go for some nerdy brainiac. Instead, the guy she was with was blonde-haired and handsome, in that surfer dude style you see in commercials. You know, tousled hair, sparkling eyes, perfect gleaming white teeth, tanned, fit ... yada-yada.
I greeted everyone and Dakota introduced me to surfer dude.
"Nate, this is my mom's boss and a family friend, Josh Fuller. Joshua, meet Nate Rippon."
Nate stood up and stuck out his hand.
"You're a mechanical engineer, right sir?" he asked.
I nodded and shook his hand.
"That's cool, I'm an EE major myself, but I have a lot of respect for you old school guys," the little shit said.
I ignored his left handed compliment and excused myself to bring in the gifts I brought. I passed out the gifts as everyone drank eggnog in the living room. Gil received a spiffy deep sea fishing rig from me, and I gave Mitzi and Dallas a couple of gift certificates for all-day spa treatments at a trendy health club. Dakota received the spa gift certificates, plus tickets to the Orlando visit of the Kirov Ballet's touring troupe. I hoped young Nate enjoyed it.
I received some nice gifts in return. My favorite was a set of drafting tools and a slide rule from the early twentieth century that the Morrisons gave me.
After we exchanged gifts, I sat and chatted with everyone for a few minutes, then said my goodbyes. Everyone seemed surprised I wasn't staying for dinner, but I gave my apologies and said I had other stops to make.
I dropped by Mister Poon's next. The Poons were Buddhist, so the restaurant was open. I knew they didn't celebrate Christmas, but I bought them some little things anyway. I lucked out and the entire family, Joi included, was working. Lee Poon had a number of Christian employees, and he'd given them the day off, so the family was filling in.
Ling seated me, so I handed her the antique silver hair combs I'd found for her. Ling was much younger than Lee, and had beautiful long black hair that she was semi-vain about. She opened the gift right there and cooed over the combs.
I had to laugh when Joi sashayed up to take my order, dressed in the standard waitress' uniform of black skirt and white blouse. She gave me a look and whispered in my ear.
"Keep laughing and no Christmas nookie for you!"
She changed her tune when I handed her a rather large gift certificate for Victoria's Secret. Joi didn't wear jewelry of any type, but she sure loved lingerie.
I gave Iris and Rose gold ankle chains, and when their parents weren't looking, slipped them smaller gift cards to Victoria's. They loved both and made me blush when they said they would model for me what they bought any time I wanted.
I had to take Lee out to my truck for his gifts, because I'd gotten him a complete set of carpenter's tools and a four piece eighteen volt cordless Dewalt kit. Lee, who was about the most unhandy guy around, was overjoyed. He gave me a spontaneous hug, then reached into the pocket of his jacket and pulled out a foil-wrapped box.
"You are good friend to Poon and Family Josh-u-ah, so we get you something too."
I was blown away when I opened the box and found a Rolex Submariner watch. Those things cost a mint. Lee beamed at my surprise.
"Real deal, no fake," he declared.
I nodded gravely. Not that it mattered to me. Even if it was a fake, it was ten times better than the forty dollar plastic Casio I wore.
I was sitting in my condo that evening, wondering if Joi was going to keep her Christmas nookie promise, when Dakota called me.
"You didn't stay very long," she said.
"I explained why," I replied.
She changed the subject abruptly.
"So what did you think of Nate?" she asked.
"He seems okay. Is dating him going to interfere with your school work?"
Her voice took on an edge.
"I don't see why it should, if being your arm candy for the last three months didn't."
"Anyway," she continued, her voice softer, "thanks for the ballet tickets."
I said, "No problem." And bid her good night.
At eight in the evening, two nights later, I felt a momentary wave of Déjà vu as I stood with Amber and two other dancers at the front door of my former home. All three of the women from the Kit Kat were dressed casually and carrying garment bags. I was dressed in a rented tuxedo over a tight black t-shirt, and carried the dancers' make up case and boom box. To avoid the chance someone there might recognize me from a Crossman function, I had my hair moussed up and slicked back. I also sported a three day stubble, and wore wrap around shades. I thought I looked appropriately menacing.
A thirty-something guy in a loud Hawaiian shirt opened the door. He had a bunch of leis in one hand, and a drink with a paper umbrella in his other.
"Aloha," he said brightly.
The party had obviously already started.
Amber answered for us. She was all business.
"Good evening, we're the entertainment, and this is Ralphie Lombardo from the club. Big Vito sent him to keep an eye on us."
Jodie Foster couldn't have delivered that bunch of tripe any better.
Aloha boy frowned at me but showed us in. He hung leis around the girls' necks, but when he approached me, I waved him away. Ralphie Lombardo don't wear no stinking flowers around his neck.
I was slightly surprised to see that all of the men had dates with them; I had been under the impression it was an all-guy party. Some of the dates might be legit, but Amber said she recognized one of the girls as a former dancer from another club who quit so she could work in the less strenuous escort industry. My, my, hookers and strippers and booze, the Crossman boys were really celebrating.
I stationed myself in an out of the way corner so I had the cavernous great room in front of me, as the girls enjoyed a cocktail and mingled.
At nine, one of Amber's compatriots ducked into the bathroom to change into her costume. When she came out a few minutes later, I queued up her first number on the CD player and hit play. As the music blared, she hopped up on Lindsey's oversized cherry-wood coffee table that the fellows had dragged into the middle of the floor, and started gyrating away. I had to smile as her stiletto heels left deep furrows in the expensive tabletop.
After three dances and lots of ribald comments, the dancer jumped off the table and scampered back to the bathroom. Not to be out done, one of the girlfriends leaped on the table and took her place. By ten, three or four of the dates had tried their hand at dancing, and most of the women, and a few of the men, were in various stages of being undressed. The party was fast deteriorating into a free for all. Amber was standing next to me by then, to keep the letches at bay, but the other two girls were working the room, selling lap dances to males and females alike. I patted under my arm as if I had a shoulder holster there, and pointed my cocked finger at them to keep some of the friskier patrons in line. I was getting into this mobster act.
The guests kept sneaking away a couple at a time and retreating down the hallway to the master suite. I thought they were down there to get it on, until I noticed some of them were glassy eyed and rubbing their noses when they returned. I figured out they were probably snorting cocaine with hundred dollar bills, just like in the movies.
At ten-thirty, Amber slipped away to change into her costume, and I moved locations so I could keep an eye on the door of the room she was using. While I stood in my new spot around the corner, I overheard a conversation between three of the lawyers that made my day.
"Oh boy," one of them said, "Mary Margaret is getting ready to do her thing. She reminds me of that cold bitch Lindsey Clark, for some reason, and that drives me wild."
One of the other men snorted.
"I'll bet she isn't so cold when Wild Bill is putting the wood to her."
The third guy laughed and nodded.