Sex and Crafty Actions

Sex and Crafty Actions

Status: In Progress

Genre: Erotica

Details

Status: In Progress

Genre: Erotica

Summary

They went to the beach for a dirty weekend and argued, leaving her fuming that they were acting like a married couple and yet hadn’t even had sex for the first time. Ah yes, all turned out well and she became more than happy with him and secretly sold her investments from inheritances and reinvested that suitcase-full of money in the company he planned as a takeover target. Soon, that financial investment in her man would prove to be vital in clinching the takeover bid.

Summary

They went to the beach for a dirty weekend and argued, leaving her fuming that they were acting like a married couple and yet hadn’t even had sex for the first time. Ah yes, all turned out well and she became more than happy with him and secretly sold her investments from inheritances and reinvested that suitcase-full of money in the company he planned as a takeover target. Soon, that financial investment in her man would prove to be vital in clinching the takeover bid.

Chapter1 (v.1) - Sex and Crafty Actions

Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 04, 2017

Reads: 459

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Chapter Content - ver.1

Submitted: February 04, 2017

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Chapter 1

Happy Dale he was supposed to be, and looked it, grinning broadly when greeting his parents Alf and Brigit and his sexy sister Stella at the airport.

Beneath the surface though, Dale Allen (26) was very unhappy, being dragged home like this to take over the largely-owned family business following his father’s heart scare.

He’d been working in Western Australia, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland and then England casually (and often illegally for someone on a tourist visa) for good money and was only a fortnight away from touring Europe for a month with three similar-minded guys who were interested in a little scenery and history along with the other necessities of life such as beer, hot women and sleeping away their sins.

“Oh darling,” Brigit his skinny mum cooed. “You are so thin – let’s get you home and fatten you up.”

“G’day,” his dad said, misty-eyed, and smiled with relief when told his son thought Alf was looking great. “Thanks mate for responding to the SOS.

Stella threw her arms around him and kissed him passionately, on the lips, making their mom frown. Stella pulled back and whispered, “You’ve had too many women too frequently – that’s why you’re thin.”

She winced and muttered ‘Bastard’ when he tweaked a proud and braless nipple. They looked at one another steadily, pleased that the old familiarity was there.

Brigit led Dale to his room. “There, just how you left it?”

Was that so? Then why wasn’t it untidy and where were the poster of centerspread babes on the wall? He’d bet his collection of thoughtlessly abandoned panties would no longer be in the bottom drawer of the dresser because ‘Just as you left it’ confirmed that his mother was one of those women who lied as if it were the truth, and believed it.

After admittedly enjoying a great family breakfast, Dale yawned, his eyelids drooped and his mum bulldozed him back to his bedroom to sleep off the effects of his 25-hour flight with one brief stop in LA.

Six hours later he was sitting on the toilet of the shared bathroom when Stella walked in, without wearing a stitch.

“Hi.”

“Wow – you’ve become classic.”

“Is that good?” she pouted, anxiously awaiting affirmation.

“Great tits – in fact they are magnificent. Flat gut, great shaving, not too much new weight at the hips and I imagine tight cheeks on the butt. Not only are you beautiful Stella but you are body beautiful.”

She beamed.

“Thanks bro, I’ve always valued your opinion. Rex worships my body.”

The reaction was no unexpected. His lip curled and he dared her to say it: “Not Rex Worthington?”

“Yes,” she smiled defiantly. “I’m surprised you remember his name. Mum adores him.”

He said sourly, “Yeah, easily deceived is mum. Are you going to stand there watching me wipe my arse?”

His younger sister tossed her head and left, allowing her backside to sway as she walked to her room, but she had no audience.

Dale angrily pulled at the toilet roll but it failed to shear and he ended up with three yards of paper and had to re-roll most of it. His mood darkened at the thought of Slimy Worthington heaving between his sister’s thighs.

They had two females in the house with no taste and blind to deception!

Well, if sycophantic ‘Worthless’ put Stella up the duff and failed to marry her, Dale would shoot him as if dealing with a wild dog.

No, no good – that would make Stella and probably the Police suspect he’d gunned down the fucker. Best to blow up Slimy by remote control when Slimy was alone driving down a country road – the cops would find the tanks of the gas-fuelled vehicle had blown and would deduce they were the cause of the accident and not call in forensic to make a thorough examination of the wreck and what was left of the driver.

“Omigod, call that droopy thing a dick – it’s a pile driver!” Stella said, coming back into the bathroom and heading for the air freshener spray can.

“It’s three years since you last saw it; you have a poor memory.”

The almost 25-year old brunette grinned and said she only remembered things that mattered, producing a grin from him.

“Dale it’s lovely you are home again; I’ve really missed you and mum has too. I’ve occasionally seen her at her dresser crying, a photo of you in front of her.”

“That would make anyone cry.”

She laughed and bent over to put the plug in the bath. Dale turned away as if shot, colouring.

He thought he must avoid being in the bathroom with his brazen sister – little sister she wasn’t anymore She was now at the cabinet preparing to floss her teeth and that was more like it.

“I have to become used to you being my boss.”

“I would have been happy for this not to happen.”

She smiled and said it wasn’t his fault and she accepted the change. “We need a bastard in charge; dad has become rather soft over the last few years and even worse since the virus.”

“You often moaned about that in your emails.”

“Thanks, Mr Charming.”

Dale slid back into favour with, “Those interesting emails from you kept me from feeling homesick.”

“Will you allow Rex to come and work for us?”

“What!” Dale said, reacting as if he’d just been booted in the backside

“Calm down, he’s no longer the asshole you remember. You always were muttering about killing him, especially after he weaselled Dolores Hopkins away from you. That’s why you abruptly left for Perth, wasn’t it?”

“I went there to earn more highly-regarded qualifications,” Dale muttered, knowing that was half true. He scratched nervously behind his left ear, waiting for some acid tongue.

“You saved yourself there, buddy; Dolores has a kid and now weighs about one-eighty pounds and has a drinking problem.”

“You’re kidding,” Dale said, shocked.

“Oh, so you were listening. She finished with Rex the first time he attempted to make out with her arse and she had to fight him off. I occasionally see her around, never with a fellow so I wonder if she’s gay? She hasn’t changed but I’m telling you this if you think I’m beautiful, just you wait until you see one of your former fucks.”

Dale grumbled that he had no interest in what any of his former girlfriends looked like and returned to his room calling, “Don’t flood the bathroom.”

“Oh shit,” Stella cried, lunging to turn off the taps before realizing she’d been hoaxed by an adolescent who hadn’t grown up. although she admitted he’d been deceivingly subtle on this occasion.

Stella found him beside the pool and stretched out on her sun-loafer after handing him a white wine.

“Thanks, and apologies – I didn’t answer your question about a job for Rex. Why does he wish to leave his parents’ firm?”

“He didn’t – they gave him a golden handshake to allow the merger between Worthington Ad Inc and Bennett & King Media Services Ltd, which pushed us back into Number Two position in both billings and personnel. Dad wouldn’t allow me to engaged him without your approval.”

“Fair enough and you know why. Call him over.”

“What, now – it’s Sunday and he’ll be in the clubhouse enjoying a drink after playing golf.”

“Not if he wants a job badly.”

“You mean bastard, oh please Dale, ease off. I’ll invite him to dinner tonight.”

“On your bike, Stella, and listen: you have a foul mouth; if you want to continue to work for me, ease back into ladylike language.”

Stella appeared ready to blow her top, but was saved by a re-think.

“Pass me the fuck… please, Dale, pass me your phone.”

She walked off to make the call and returned three minutes later, probably taking time to thoroughly brief her lover.

Smiling beautifully at her bossy brother, Stella said Rex was on his way.

“Thanks. Do we have a new business manager?”

“No.”

“What was Rex’s salary?”

“One sixty-one plus bonuses.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, although we don’t live together we go away most weekends and so are intimate in most things; he still lives at home as I do for the same reason – the amenities are superior.”

“What are you on?”

“One-forty plus bonuses.”

“Okay, thanks. Scat after meeting him at the door darling. I want to talk to him alone.”

*  *

Rex came into the sun-room where Stella was skimming through fashion magazines, He appeared rather shell-shocked.

“Are you okay darling?” worried Stella, jumping up and kissing him. “I’ll grab us drinks.”

She returned and sat beside him on the sofa. His smile lifted her heart.

“He’s one cool dude and as tough as titanium.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yep – he said he wanted this sorted in five minutes and I’d still have time to return to my buddies in the golf clubhouse.”

“But you were over an hour with him.”

“We had agreement within five minutes and I just stayed on chatting; he’s not the dickhead I remember. I must say I wouldn’t like to try to punch out his lights these days.”

“He’s impressed you that much?” Stella asked, wide-eyed.

“Her sure did babe. He has boss written all over him. What was his job in England after he left here?”

“He had spells in advertising, three agencies in Perth, Jo-berg (Johannesburg) and Dublin. But until he shifted to England three months ago, he worked on an oil drilling platform in the North Sea, first as a roughneck and then as a gang pusher. He’d become fascinated with the work while producing a TV commercial on a rig out of Aberdeen when working in advertising.”

“Well, that would have hardened him up. He offered me a position up to one year as new business manager on $140K flat, but a 15% bonus if I succeed in the single mission he’s given me. Then I would be offered the position of director of new business with a seat on the expanded board as an executive director.”

“What sort of job is that?”

“Mind-boggling,” Rex said. “He doesn’t want A.F. Allen Advertising Ltd in second place; my job is to facilitate a full merger with Benson, Benson and Hale. Dale wants me to investigate such a proposal for three months, then to work up a merger proposal to put to BB&H and then to join their representative on the strategy of merger to allow the respective boards to set the target dates.”

“But none of this has our board’s approval.”

“I made the same point but he doesn’t require it at this stage. He’s entitled to recruit without referral and the nature of the work is ‘new business.’ He says if the deal is blocked by BB&H he’ll find me other work to allow me to complete a full year working for A.F. Allen.”

Stella said it sounded a rather ambitious task with the likelihood of coming to nothing. He would also be taking a hefty salary cut.”

“Dale didn’t blink when I said that; he said it was better than having no salary. I tried to push him but all he said was, ‘Five minutes is up – is it yes or will you tell me to get stuffed. Call me within the next seven days.”

“I said I accepted the offer. He laughed happily, we shook hands, and he said no screwing you on the premises of A.F. Allen.”

“The bastard,” Stella snarled, flushing and flushed again when Rex said at least one knew where they stood with him and he added, “Your brother as boss mightn’t like you using foul language.”

She said she couldn’t believe Dale had added $140K plus to salaries and expenses before he’d even stepped into the offices as still un-elected managing-partner.

“He doesn’t even know if we have appropriate office space and support staff for you.”

“Oh, he has that covered. He said he’ll ask you as director of operations to determine where I slot in and make someone within that bracket redundant to provide office space, a PA and vehicle available to me and you’ll reallocate that unfortunate person’s work across the board. Quite efficient thinking I must say.”

“Yes, and I’m left with the thankless task of identifying the weakest link to send on his or her way.”

“Like the man said babe, it will help toughen you up.”

“He actually said that?” Stella asked, cheeks flaming.

“Yeah, but don’t go bellyaching to him about that; he’ll then think you and I are unable to keep confidences.”

“Oh, fuck or whatever I’m supposed to say; let’s go to a movie. Mum is expecting you here for dinner.”

*  *

Later that afternoon Dale asked his father to take him on an inspection of the offices.  Dale was to take over Alf’s office and Alf would work a month in the departed VP’s office and then retire but remaining on as chairman.

“You stay in your existing office for that month dad; it’s no big deal and confirms to staff I am the apprentice. Where did Guy go?”

“To Worthington Partners, head-hunted.”

“Treacherous bastard.”

“I almost told him that but remembered I’m an advocate of across-industry transferring – ethically of course.”

“Yeah, well let’s sit down in your office.”

Dale said he wanted his dad to take everything easy as his heart was still repairing itself.

“I have a couple of tasks for you to proceed with at your pace and under no pressure. The first is to arrange for the head-hunting of a very senior PA from BB&H – my pick would be the PA to the operations manager.  The second task is to look around for an eminently suitable building with a little over twice the amount of space we have here, but lifting the standard of accommodation up a notch or two.”

Alf cocked his head and smiled. “Ah, you want us back into Number One position?”

“Yes dad, but you let me worry about that. BB&H is the logical target and would require the lower capital expenditure in merger costs.”

“The lower capital expenditure? Then there is another possible target.”

“Worthington Partners.”

“Jesus!”

“Now keep your pulse rate down. Please say nothing to anyone about this, not even to mum. At present, it’s on a need to know basis and the only one who need to know at this point are you, me, Stella and Rex.”

“Rex – why does he need to know?”

“Because he’s only the payroll as from tomorrow as new business manager, and you and I know what business that is. Stella being directors of operations needs to know as she’s his boss.”

“Bad move son – make him to report directly to you, divorced from Stella; she’ll be relieved about that as it removes domestic politics.”

“Good thinking dad. Look, I think I need to make another change – let’s include mum with you emphasizing she must keep her mouth shut. That way whenever Rex is at our place we can boot around this project without having to wait till she leaves the room or poolside and then talking in whispers.”

“Good idea – I only need to tell her shares will drop in value if she shoots off her mouth.”

“Actually, they would be more likely to rise in value.”

“Of course, dumb-head; don’t you think I know that but she doesn’t?”

“Ah, got you. It appears deviousness permeates my entire family. I thought you’d be able to teach me things dad.”

“Lovely to have you home son,” Alf grinned.

*  *  *

Dale noticed an extra place set at the table and asked who was coming to dinner.

“Guess,” said his mother, beaming. He saw Stella scuttle back through the door to re-join Rex and Alf.

He sighed. “Don’t let her do this to me mom; it’s pathetic.”

“She has lots of lovely friends and not all of them are married. Coming tonight is Bella; her husband is in America completing a doctorate in engineering. They have no children and she’s such a sweet girl – lectures in English at the university.”

“Ah, black hair cut with a salad bowl over her head, white-faced and bandy with bad breath.”

“You’re just saying that hoping she’ll be a blonde beauty with a big chest and gorgeous smile and very horny.”

“Mum, where did you learn that ‘h’ word?”

“Well, I asked Stella this afternoon to remind me what Bella looked like and she said…”

“A blonde beauty with a big chest and gorgeous smile and very horny.”

Brigit gaped. “Yes, how did you know that – you weren’t even here when Stella gave me that description?”

Dale tapped his nose and said extra-sensory perception.

“Did you learn that art as part of your media studies.”

“No, as you know London is full of witches but Scotland is even more so?”

“Witches or prostitutes, son?”

“Mother, that is coming close to character assassination.”

“I’m sorry, I’d not wish to mar your reputation. Borrow my car to take Bella home but return it before you go to work as Monday is supermarket day for me.”

Dale thanked her and said no problem, he’d be home by 11.00 pm at the latest.

His mom replied mysteriously, “I bet.”

 

Chapter 2

Brigit lowered her book as she heard the car arrive quietly and the remote-controlled door rattle up. “Alf, wake up – he’s home.”

“It’s the right place for him to be, clever boy; he lives here.”

“No, you fool. It’s only 10.45 – they couldn’t possibly have done it in that time; he’s only been gone fifteen minutes and she lives at least five miles from here.”

“Perhaps those European women have taught him there’s a faster way to get off.”

“Don’t be so crude; I’m worried.”

Alf yawned and suggested Bella might not have liked their son.

“Good God Alf, are you blind. She all but pulled up her dress and saying ‘Take me.”

“Not to me she wasn’t”

Brigit had to smile at that.

She pulled her glasses up from the end of her nose and continued reading, wondering when this so-called hot romance seemed boring in dialogue compared with the conversations she’d just had with her husband about sex that obviously hadn’t happened – and why not?

*  *

 “Oh God!” Stella said, trapped under heavy weight on her bed.

“What, am I in too deep?”

“Don’t be a fool; you have to go – he’s back already. They couldn’t possibly have done it in that time unless he did it while driving.”

“I can see the headlines now: ‘Brother of famous Stella Allen caught…”

“Shut up, can’t you see I’m troubled?”

“Can’t see anything with the lights off.”

“Well get up and lock and bedroom door and get back here – you can’t leave me like this.”

Rex had just inserted when Stella’s phone went.

“Don’t answer it.”

“I must, it will be Bella the poor darling.”

“Oh Christ, I may as well go home.”

“Then go,” Stella snapped. “Bella will get me off with some phone sex. Leave by the window.”

“What?”

“You heard. Hello Bella, why are your weeping?”

“We didn’t do it and (sniff) there was me, positively writhing to suck him into my depths.”

“Ooh, Bella. That’s so graphic – please tell me all.”

“It was done with the skill of a surgeon’s knife – decisive and incisive. This is what he said: Sorry Bella but I know what you are expecting from me but I don’t have sexual union with any married woman.”

“Sexual union, for God’s sake. Your brother (sniff) sounds as if he’s just off the Ark.”

“The bastard, after working you up all night.”

“Yes, and this is why I’m so flummoxed. He’s so manly, so handsome and powerful looking. I was prepared to go anyway, which way and absolutely full on. (Sob) But Stella?”

“Yes darling?”

“Actually, he gave me no encouragement throughout the entire evening.”

“The bastard.”

“Yes, the bastard. Is he gay?”

“I wouldn’t think so darling, not according to reports. This is enough to put a girl off sex. I was just getting warmed up when I heard him arrive home and I began to worry about you. I’ve gone right off sex.”

“Me too (sob).”

“Good night darling (sigh).”

“Thank you for listening and being so supportive Stella (sob).”

Stella yawned, stretched and went to the bathroom. She then called into Dale’s room to scold him. She turned on the light and found he was sound asleep, looking like a young boy. She felt so motherly and proud that he was not going around plundering married women.

Stella went to breakfast and found her mom watching morning TV and her father buried into the morning newspaper but no sign of Dale.

“Hi guys, where’s Dale – out running.”

“He went by cab to the office at 6.30.”

“Why?”

“To sharpen his pencils. I suppose,” her mom said vaguely.

“Dad?”

There was no answer.

Why had Dale’s arrival home made life so complicated?

Stella fetched from low-fat yogurt from the fridge and ate some, her face contorted in the ‘Yuk’ shape.

Chief receptionist Maxine Clough unlocked the office entrance on schedule at 8:00 and frowned – someone had left the lights on. She switched on the two computers at the reception desk and went into the stationary room behind the desk and confirmed that the backup disk was indicated a successful backup and then searched for two random files as a double check by opening them.

The 25-year old had returned to reception scratching under her bra strap when she heard a scuffling noise in vice-president’s vacated office. Someone was there, reading through files by the sound. She thought of calling office security but decided to handle this herself – it was probably someone from another agency attempting piracy of some kind. She went to the kitchen and picked up the largest carving knife and crept to the VP’s office door and entered, saying in a very firm voice, “Stay where you are; I have you covered.”

What was supposed to happen next, she had no idea but it became an unnecessary thought anyway.

There was a blur as the guy in the chair with his back to her had turned and leapt at her, took the knife from her and the maniac dropped to one knee and had her back bent over his other knee in his crouch. “Who are you, bitch?”

She was petrified.

“Talk bitch,” he said, and she almost gagged when her sliced the top button off her shirt – her straining shirt because of the way she was bent over his knee.

Oh God, he wasn’t a criminally-inclined rat from another advertising agency: he was a rapist.

“Talk bitch.”

Another button pinged off on to the carpet.

“D-don’t rape me.”

“Ha, fancy your luck, do you? Why are you invading our office and are armed?”

“I-I’m Maxine.”

She watched horrified as another button was sliced off revealing her white bra that was beginning to fray. Oh God, her mother had always said to never wear old underwear, as it could be embarrassing.

Maxine heard the main door open and knew she was saved – it would be her junior receptionist Phoebe, late again.

“Well Maxine, I guess we best call security and hand you over unless you can give me a damn good reason for your armed intrusion into our premises.”

‘Our premises’? This guy was a nutter.

Come, come in here Phoebe, Maxine prayed, drumming her heels on the carpet.

“Hi there…oh oops, I am so sorry Maxine. I promise I’ll say I never saw anything.”

“Phoebe, come back,” Maxine screeched. “I’m been raped.”

“He’d be pretty hard put to make connection from that angle,” Phoebe laughed, poking her head around the door again. “Oh God, he has a knife.”

“What’s all the fuss?” the office manager said, coming in behind Phoebe.

“Oh, hi Dale. Goodness Maxine, I know you consider yourself a hot number but to go for Mr Allen on his first day at work…Oh God, is that a knife?”

Her eyes rolled and she slumped against the startled Phoebe who screamed and yelled ‘Murder!’

“Oh, save me, I’m going to pee,” Maxine yelled.

“Maxine, do you work here?”

“Yes, I’m chief receptionist. Oh God, too late…oh mummy.”

Dale handed Maxine the knife and said he’d attend to Beth Macdonald.

“You know Mrs Macdonald?”

“Yes, she was my immediate boss when I first worked here in accounts.”

“Beth! Come on, you’ve just had a wee shock, that’s all. No big deal.”

“Oh, hello again Dale, Beth groaned. “It’s nice to have you back.”

“Dale?” chorused Maxine and Phoebe, wide-eyed.

“Yes, Mr Allen’s son who is president of this company as from today, Mrs Macdonald said, looking at her protégé proudly from her position in his arms.

“Take the knife back to the kitchen and clean up Maxine – no one will be aware if you remove your panties,” Dale said. “Come back here and we’ll sort this out to the satisfaction of all three of you and then I’ll have someone take you home; take the rest of the day off.”

Looking at Maxine’s gaping shirt, Beth said dryly, “You’ll find two small safety pins in the paperclip container on my desk. Maxine.”

They all laughed helplessly as Dale assisted by Maxine pieced the story together.

“Other people will be arriving any minute now,” Beth said. “I suggest we keep this little incident to ourselves. Maxine?”

“Yes, quite and I feel such a fool. My apologies again Mr Allen.”

“You were just being loyal to the firm, taking rather a major risk I have to say.”

“Yes, reluctantly I agree to say nothing about this,” Phoebe sighed.

When Maxine said, she didn’t want to go home, Dale instructed Beth to give $150 from petty cash to buy a new shirt and underwear; it should be recorded as ‘office accident expense for replacement clothing for Maxine.

“What time do you go to lunch Maxine?”

“One o’clock.”

“I’d like to take you to lunch where I can inspect your new clothing.”

Noticing the looks on the faces of Beth and Phoebe, he added calmly, “At our table inside the crowded restaurant, of course.”

Asking Beth to stay, Dale thanked the two receptionists for their understanding and coping well under the circumstances. He apologized again for unintentionally frightening them.

He said to Beth, “You have the whole story. Please summarize it in the Incident Book and have Maxine and me read it and sign.”

“I thought you would be brushing the incident under the carpet; potentially it is so embarrassing for you. So be it and I’ll abide with your request.

Dale smiled and said it was worth mentioning that nothing gets brushed under the carpet when he’s in charge of running the agency.”

“Impressively said Dale.”

Stella arrived, wearing a beautifully tailored black pinstripe jacket and skirt. Dale stared, smiling at the frontal curves.

“I love it when you look at me like that,” she said. “You really know how to lift the spirit of a woman and mum agrees.”

“Women who take the time, trouble and expense to dress immaculately deserve to be noticed appropriately.”

Stella grinned “It’s a rather hot look for a sister to receive.”

“You’ll learn to cope; mum has.”

She laughed and said, “Let’s tour, acting managing partner, and meet your people.”

Many personnel knew Dale as he’d worked at the office during his university studies for a double degree in business studies and creative arts (advertising) and during the next nine months when he studied computer graphics before leaving for England.

During the tour, Stella over-heard a graphic artist sneer, “He won that major British advertising award for a gift of a campaign to lure more people to visit the UK in off-peak months for a resource-rich client. He’d have no idea how we work at real world levels in the retail sector.”

While Dale was out for lunch Stella put a small presentation together and posted it on the internal network under her name and titled, ‘Introducing my Brother’.

The extended film clip began with a few photos and brief bio and then launched into one of the film ads of his ‘Visit the UK Off-Peak’ campaign plus the presentation of his award and the citation being read out. And then followed a retail film ad and a newspaper ad with no comment other than, “A sample of two Dale Allen Ads:

 

Head Cold?

Then Put on a Hat

Alternatively, Perkins Pink Cold Relief Pills, registered as a natural remedy, will relieve the head cold. Available at all good pharmacies. People wearing hats obviously haven’t tried the alternative remedy. Which alternative will be your choice? Think Pink.

 

The voice-over on example of a TV film-clip ad was distinctly Dale Allen’s voice:

 

Working in a gale like this on Platform Alfo-1328b in the North Sea out from Scotland’s East Coast, a quarter of these drillers and roughnecks will be thinking about being in the warm kitchen at home with their family. Wow, look at that wave break – a boomer. A quarter will think about being in a pub, yarning while looking into a blazing fire. These guys are salt of the earth, working like this, aren’t they?  Now for the big secret.  Many of the other half will be dreaming about being at a summer holiday camp, a Wilson & Kettle Holiday Camp. But they better hit the website of Wilson & Kettle and book as soon as they get off this shift – places this summer are filling fast. Wait too long and POOF! That’s a summer dream gone. Wilson & Kettle. Right.

 

Stella then went to the café and consumed two pieces of celery, a small slice of cheese, a small tomato and some slices of cucumber, washed down by iced tea.

After Dale returned from lunch she sat in his office and asked, “Nice lunch?”

“Yeah, poached salmon washed down with Chablis.”

“I saw you escorting Maxine from the office. Did you take her to lunch?”

“Yep.”

“Are you attempting to nail her?”

“Nope.”

“Then let’s get on with this, shall we. Here is a list of eight people, all female, capable of being an excellent PA for you. All of them have tertiary qualifications and, as you will already have guessed, have been handpicked by me. If you wish, take one as a temp and I’ll commission a personal agency to find your heart’s desire.”

“Let’s see the list.”

Stella said she’d included a photo of each candidate so to help with recall as he’d met all eight women that morning. “I’ll give you a couple of hours to…”

“No need, I flicked through and can see we have a fine body of women. But I have another choice.”

“Who?” Stella asked, looking at him disbelievingly.

“Maxine.”

“What?”

“The receptionist at the front…”

“I know who Maxine is. Are you out of your head?”

“No, I had lunch with her to inspect her shirt and new bra.”

“Dale, this isn’t funny. I’m attempting to help run a business and you the new acting chief are being an idiot.”

“That’s one way of describing in. Excuse me for a second.”

“Beth, are you able to give me three minutes now?”

“Yes, Mr Dale or do you prefer Mr Allen? “

“When you return to your office put out a memo that I am to be known by all staff at all times as Dale. Now bet your pretty butt over here.”

“Oh Dale, comments like that could land you before the Complaints Committee.”

“Who chairs that?”

“I do.”

“I’m in the crap then, aren’t I?”

“Shouldn’t I be in your office?”

“Oh yeah. On your bike, Mrs Macdonald.”

Stella eyed him. “You are nearing the borderline of being out of control. However, I have to admit the women will love you.”

“Hi Miss Allen, Dale.”

“It’s Stella; I’m surprised you have forgotten Beth.”

“I’ll put an all-staff reminder out Stella.”

Dale drew a finger down the side of his nose and said, “What you two are on about I have no idea.  Beth, please relate your unexpunged version of what happened in this office earlier today.”

Beth lost her smile. “Are you sure?”

“Definitely. I have been accused of being an idiot, funny and my motives have been questioned. I would like you to proceed.”

Beth retold the story, as she knew it, beautifully and at times Stella had to slap a hand over her mouth to avoid screaming with laughter.

Beth finished and Stella said “Wow! before turning serious and saying, “You could be answering a charge of assault, threatening behaviour and goodness knows what else…

“Attempted sexual violation,” Beth suggested, raising an eyebrow.

“Yes, in all probability.”

“I agree,” Dale said with only half a smile. “Then wait for two days before approaching Maxine about her interest in becoming my PA. If she’s going to the police or makes an official complaint she’ll do in within the next forty-eight hours.”

“I’d go along with that,” Beth said.

Stella sighed. “I gave Dale this list of eight candidates with great potential to mould into a working relationship with him.” She handed Beth the list.

“What do you think?”

“The cream of what’s available in-house of women on our total staff of ninety-three excluding executives but why the list is only females suggests sexism.”

“Do you think a male PA would suit Dale.”

“Oh no, but there is a need to be seen to be even-handed.”

“Yes, you’re right in ethical issues as always. The question is, which one would you pick for Dale?”

“Not pick. I could however say I’d really think he and Maxine would be a perfect fit.”

“How can you say that?”

“Experience plus intuition and believing my own eyes. Now, who does this remind you of: Sexy, pushy, dedicated, will take no crap from anyone, strives for perfection, is great looking, likes men and manages to cope with women, is ambitious…well that will do. So, who does that remind you of?”

Stella blushed. “I rather not say.”

“But we would rather you say, wouldn’t we Dale?”  He nodded.

Stella’s blush deepened. “Me,” she said in a small voice, and then almost audibly muttered.”

“Excuse me, speak louder,” Beth urged.

“Maxine Clough.”

“Yes, the girl who came to us straight from high school with little else but keyboarding skills, a beautiful voice and a lovely personality. Since then she’d completed more advanced training courses but has no higher academic qualifications. Had she had higher qualifications she would have been on that list and would be my deputy, would she not.”

Stella nodded.

“If that a yes?”

“Yes.”

Beth said then in three days’ time, Dale ought to have a reasonable expectation that Maxine would be approached by a very persuasive Stella and then it would be up to her brother to mould Maxine to his requirements for a PA.”

“Beautifully done, Beth. You certainly haven’t lost your touch. Although you looked nice you scared the crap out of me when I first started working in this office. Now on you bike and once again thank you. You are on promise for a lunch and I’ll won’t attempt to look at your bra.”

“Why thank you and you may look at anything you like Dale.”

“God, that was embarrassing. Did you have to put me through all that?”

“I judged it to be for your own good, babe – you are too ready to jump to conclusions. That was an exercise to show you everything is not always what it seems and you need to wind that brain up faster and to analyse information faster on the fly so when your mouth opens you remain on track as adeptly as humanely possible. In the main politicians are great at this. The other thing to develop is to ask more questions – penetrating and fact-building questions and if you hit the wall admit at least to yourself you’ve hit the wall and decide your next move on the fly.”

“God, I need counselling.”

“Bullshit, you need more frontline experience and more effort to be analytical. Remember, we are both young for the positions we hold. I have a higher education and far more experience than you but don’t worry about that: you have the appropriate tools, use them.”

“So, your choice of Maxine because she’s a risk-taker – like going in with that knife – and yet has the usual human frailties – like wetting herself when everything comes unstuck? And then when it was all explained she didn’t run off to mummy when the offer was made and then had the guts to go to lunch with you, knowing she was out of her league insofar as office pecking order goes?"

“Further and significantly, I believe she’s your kind of woman – good looks, good body, great smile, great arse. I’m able to state that now, because I have more information and the will to draw it all together to impress you, sincerely thank you for this informative lesson, asshole – an affectionate alias for you in this case.”

“Very impressive. You best be off to settle in Rex. Don’t forget to use your brains and get him a cold bitch as his administrative assistant; it’s the best way to eliminate competition.”

“Already done, big brother.”

“My compliments Stella. By the way, I’ve decided I like him. Don’t some of us change?”

It had been a long time since he’d seen his sister smile like that, probably not since her graduation from high school.

*  * 

Dale felt rudderless: his father hadn’t arrived at the office, no one had come into consult with him, he’d received no mail and had no PA to keep busy. It was almost 2:00 and he felt almost as useless as tits on a bull.

He thought about his best mates in England looking for the fourth guy to take his place on the tour of Europe and sighed, deeply, exposing his emotions a little too deeply. Christ, he was beginning to feel like a woman – kick butt would get him out of that. But whose? He decided the best target was his and grinned. How the hell does one kick…ah, there was a grin; he felt better.

He accessed the internal network on his laptop and made a likely selection on the menu, ‘New’. Forty items were listed. Ah – very good, designed so that the latest forty added items were automatically listed according to time of entry, the very latest being item one. Someone here in IT obviously was clued-up.

Dale grinned. Item one had a familiar ring to it: Why the F is Creative charging for Fisher Account? B

B stood for Beth and within minutes folk in Creative would be in a panic completing charge-out details and banging detail off to Beth to avoid her roaring into that department and treating them like wayward children. Some things never change.

He ran his eye down the list and mutter, “What?” and selected the file, Introducing My Brother.

Why bother with this crap? Dale wondered.

No need to include examples from his portfolio…and then he got it, noting the time the file was logged on to the network – the time he was out looking at the top of Maxine’s pretty new bra, the sloe-eyed teaser daring him with those eyes to ask to see what lay under it.

He’d heard that spaced-out looking dozy artist in computer graphics create a snigger with the throw-off about Dale taking the easy road to peer-recognition for extraordinary achievement. The guy had mentioned ‘retail’ and here was Stella giving it to the slob, both barrels, completely unemotionally, only she did it for the benefit of everyone rather than elevate the guy as a successful office ego crusher.

Stella’s choice of the pink pill ad was superb – it had won no awards but anyone checking up ‘history’ would find it almost put that firm out of business through an avalanche of product demand that overwhelmed production. The director of marketing had called Dale to complain, for fuck sake, and to order the ads be pulled.

Dale however suggested the company go to the press and bleat about its over-success problem and in the meantime, license another pharmaceutical company with idle production capacity to pump out pink pills on contract to Perkins.

Dale received a first-class trip for two for a week in New York from Perkins for solving that hiccup in its success story.

To Dale’s astonishment. the box was ‘Comments’ extended to two pages which was rare.

Good to have a boss who can craft. Peg.

Nice work Dale – really inspirational in fact. Paul.

Maestro. Bevan.

‘Like to hear about your experiences on that oil drilling rig. Why don’t you come up and see me sometime, like 10:00 at night and carrying a bottle of champagne? Anonymous. No, dammit. Cheryl.

Cheryl – could we join you two?  Babs and Julie.

Flustered, Dale stopped reading at that point.

He opened ‘Personnel Profiles’ and looked through the panel of thumbnail photos until he found the skunk he was searching for – the pasty-faced untidy chump in graphic design who’d rudely made that spiteful comment. He’d probably find a reason to fire the mug – certainly at his next fuck-up.

Dale read the guy’s name and received quite a jolt: Bevan Masters, author of the one-word ‘Maestro’ comment.

Well, well, Dale thought, patting his temples where he hoped balding wasn’t being engineered. He opened the file on Bevan Masters and went straight to Recently Completed Work in his portfolio.

He stared as he flicked through the electronic pages – the worm was a fucking near-genius. Dale smiled and thought well, that’s creative advertising for you. Fortunately, he’d done some research before moving to deal with the very creative Bevan Masters who wasn’t a blot on the office landscape after-all.

Well, with that drama behind him, what else was there? God, he was bored – come on dad, arrive at work and begin my intensive briefing. His idle fingers made a casual selection of Cheryl Johns, author of the ‘Come up and see me sometime.’

Hello baby, he grinned, looking into the violet and almost bedroom eyes of Cheryl’s facial image; he thought he recalled the body. Hmmm. What a great office to be working in – such talented personnel.

His phone went. “Hi Dale, the voice purred. It was Maxine. “Your mom is calling you on landline – she complained she doesn’t have your mobile number but I attended to that.”

No way was that young woman about to lay a charge of sexual impropriety against him, smiled Dale.

Maxine was cutely signalling with her voice that she looked forward to some not too rough sexual violation from him. Well, if she put the hard word on his he could think about giving her what she wanted although a good boss doesn’t work sexually through his or her personnel.

His mom said his father was on his way to the office. They’d been to the heart specialist and some concerns remained but over-all he was very pleased with Alf’s progress. He went to Stella’s office to relay the good news and found her with Rex totally immersed at a whiteboard detailing staff structure, with Rex able to save all notations to computer before the board was wiped.

“I’d appreciate you sending me copies of these extensive briefings Rex and I also have to get up to speed.’

“Sure boss.”

Boss, oh yes. Thanks for the reminder Rex, Dale thought, wondering how to bring up the delicate subject, suggested by his father, that Rex should report directly to Dale.

“Dale, I have made a suggestion to Rex and he thinks it has merit. Why don’t you place him directly under your wing because it’s the perfect fit – you and he will soon be working together closely, far more than he and I will. Secondly, he’s been engaged on a special project and…”

“Smart thinking guys. Put out one of your famous in-house emails, this time labelling it Introducing my Lover, and explain Rex’s role and his direct connection with me.”

Dale watched Stella’s beautiful lips form almost into a pout and had a great desire to kiss them – she was so damn attractive and it wasn’t their fault she was his sister. Rex broke his rogue erotic thought.

Introducing my Lover posting Dale? I don’t think so,” Rex said aghast. “Look, if my connection with Stella is bugging you…”

“It isn’t Rex, in fact I see your guys as made for each other. Just don’t allow her to roll you over her desk; well, at least not during normal work hours. If she weren’t my sister…”

“Dale!” Stella cautioned, running her tongue over her top lip, watched by both mem.  “Sorry, why are you here?”

“Mum just called, dad received an encouraging report although he’s still not out of the woods.”

“That’s brilliant, but why did she call you?”

“It’s cool; she’ll be worrying about my first day at the office, wondering if I’m coping.”

“Oh yeah. Will you tell her about your day over dinner tonight, about how you started it with a near rape.”

“As Phoebe said, it would have been impossible to achieve penetration from the position in which she was being held.”

“Ah guys,” Rex said nervously, “Shall I leave?”

“No stay Rex, you’ll become so use to the confrontation between me and my brother you’ll soon accept it as normal behaviour. Come to dinner tonight and dear Dale will have us howling in laughter about the so-termed near rape.”

“Okay on the condition you two come to dinner at my home tomorrow night. Mum is complaining that I’m hanging out too much at your home. She said this morning she loves you Stella and adores your parents but she’s not at all sure about you Dale and can’t believe anyone can totally change. She reminded me about our younger days when you were going around muttering you’d kill me.”

“Well, we all know Dale was the difficult child; every community has at least one,” Stella grinned.

“I don’t believe you understand Stella – no mother wants to hear about someone threatening to kill her son, even if at I were at that time, a bully, conniving fucker insanely jealous of Dale because most of the girls couldn’t keep their eyes off him.”

“But I didn’t kill you, nor did I attempt to,” Dale protested.

“True, so tomorrow night you have your chance to impress my mother. Please Dale, make a good impression, for Stella’s sake. She probably never heard the rumour that you and Stella were having it off.”

“I think you mean we bonded so well, unlike most brothers and sisters,” Stella said dryly.

“The rumours didn’t make that distinction.”

“Don’t we know it,” Stella sighed. “The first-time mum heard the rumour she died a thousand deaths and stayed in bed three days and nights, sobbing and allegedly lost 10 pounds of blubber much to her delight.”

“Yes, the community knows for a fact that the Allen Family of Glenvale Close is not your normal run-of-mill family. Are you two aware that your father shafted my mother in the last year at high school?”

With satisfaction Rex watched the eyes of his two listeners bulge.

He grinned, “Perhaps we will also have a rollicking time at dinner at my house tomorrow night?”

“Yes, can’t wait,” Dale said weakly, glancing at his speechless sister. “Right, on with the good work.”

*  *

Maxine came and took Dale to the rear parking lot, saying his leased Lexus hybrid utility vehicle had arrived. “I’m so excited for you, it looks so classy and is good for our company’s image because it can be called a ‘green’ vehicle.”

“It’s black,” Dale teased.

Her eyelids fluttered. “Will you consider allowing me to ride in it one day.”

“You will be riding in it quite regularly, driving it as well.”

“Oh God,” Maxine said, whooshing out air. “You want me for your PA don’t you – but that’s impossible.”

“Why is that? Because of what I put you through this morning?”

“No, you idiot. Oh, sorry. Apart from you no man has ever made me wet myself – ever, but it’s not that. I don’t have a degree or even a study course certificate or two; just training course certificates. I know little about business administration, even less about business law and…”

“But you interface exceptionally well with clients, are pretty… err…rather very personable, have fire, like me and have talents yet for me to discover although we never can have sex…err…I shouldn’t be talking like this to you.”

“Go on, why can’t we have sex…recreational sex I mean?”

“Well, let’s put that on hold. Maxine, I’m not seeking a wife at this moment…”

“Robert Chester and I plan to marry within the next two years, so that’s cleared the air I believe.”

“Well yes, but there are protocols to follow. Also, I have great confidence in you as being the one after thinking about how you coped this morning. Look, we pay people as experts in business administration, have our in-house lawyer and law consultants and that means I don’t require a cold-egghead for my PA. I want someone who is vibrant, fun to work with, who can keep her mouth shut and who will watch over me with, well, I have to say it, with motherly concern.”

“Oh God, I’m near wetting myself: you say I am the one, that you want me to mother you. I’m born to play that role.”

“Keep calm Maxine and the urge should pass.”

“What happens now?”

“You arrange a time to see Beth. I’ll call her.”

“Beth – it’s Dale. Sorry, the opportunity came to talk to Maxine with no complications apparent so I took the chance, hinted and allowed her to guess my interest. She leapt like a gazelle and has come on strong. I’ve asked her to talk to you.”

“You’re impetuous, just like your father when at his peak.”

“It’s no use me apologizing again Beth; you know now I can be a bastard.”

“Steer the ship, Dale; that’s why you are here. The crew don’t tell the master how to do his job; you’ll know what you are doing and I happily accept that. But always remember dear, an apology never goes amiss. Thank you. She may start with you tomorrow – we have back-up for reception.”

“So soon?”

“Well, you young guys seem set on trying to make tomorrow yesterday so why not?”

“You’re a sharp operator Beth; most impressive. Could you please arrange basic tutoring for Maxine – I’d think Monday and Friday afternoons, 3-hour sessions for four weeks should do it.”

“As good as done, but allow me to decide when to cut the coaching, huh?”

“Naturally, how could I think anything else.”

“You brat, you even have a silver tongue,” Beth laughed.

 

Chapter 3

Stella was in her underwear in the shared bathroom flossing her teeth when Dale came up behind her, cupped her breasts and licked down her back.

“God Dale, you really know how to work up a woman. You can’t blame those people who were sure we were doing it – just control yourself.”

“I’m attempting to keep calm he said, standing back and snapping the elastic of his boxers. I desire to make the best possible impress this evening for my darling.”

“Hah, you’ll stuff up for sure and Ivy will ask Nick to throw you out of their house.”

“That’s not relaxing me; what should I wear?

“Suit, white shirt, no tie, clean shoes.”

“I was thinking of going casual, perhaps smart casual.”

“Please yourself.”

“Then again a suit might be more appropriate.”

“Piss off, Dale – can’t you see I’m nervous. All you are doing is winding me up even more.”

“As you wish princess.”

Ivy Worthington was waiting at the door as Stella and Dale walked in off the driveway. Dale noticed she was dressed as if going out to a formal dinner, with diamonds for heaven’s sake.

“Hello darling,” she said, hugging Stella affectionately,

Dale thought the hug was to preserve her make-up applied to hide the ageing signs.

“Ivy, this is brother Dale – you may have forgotten what he looked like.”

“No, I’ve not forgotten that nor his behaviour,” Ivy said coolly. “Hello Dale.”

“Hi Ivy,” Dale smiled, ignoring her outstretched hand. “You guys appear to have an amazing upgrade done to your home.”

“Oh, do you think so?” Ivy said, brightening.

“Indeed – the classical lines have retained in the new extensions with nip and tucking, giving an overall more sophisticated appearance.”

“Nip and tucking – is that architectural or surgical terminology? I can see you have a good eye.” She called, “Rex, come and collect your darling. I wish to show Dale through the house.”

Nick (Nicholas Worthington and Dale’s father, business competitors, disliked one another) greeted Dale warmly. “Good to see you back but don’t try to put us out of business, eh?”

Laughter eased the slight tension.

“How’s the merger going?”

“Makes me cry seeing the waste of money and the pettiness of people, but that’s life.”

Nick looked at Dale with interest when Dale said, “But one takes the longer-term view, of course.”

“Yes. And thanks for picking up Rex with a post he seems to be wrapped with – being the opposition I don’t ask questions. Ivy and I battled over that demand for him to go but I wanted the merger so I had to be ruthless on poor Rex but he’s used to that.”

“Perhaps your treatment explains why he was a bully in his younger days and almost in danger of going out of control?”

“Hey, steady on,” Rex said.

Ivy, glancing at her husband and turned to Dale. “You speak the truth and obviously, you have gained wisdom as well as education. It was bad in those days but I thought it had disappeared until this latest confrontation cropped up over the merger.”

“Well, Rex appears unharmed and is still living at home, which says something for you guys as a family,” Dale said, allowing Stella’s momentarily strained face to slide into a smile. “We are lucky having Rex agree to join us to boost senior management.”

“Rex has a senior position with you company?” Ivy asked looking uplifted. “He won’t talk to us about his new job – he just taps his nose and winks.”

“Rex and Stella are the only two people in our operation who report directly to me Ivy.”

Ivy smiled and looked at Dale with new respect, not that the euphoria would endure. “Nicholas, fetch champagne darling; this calls for a celebration.”

There was a lull in the conversation over dinner so Dale decided to wind things up. “Ivy, my understanding is you and my dad were great buddies as seniors at high school.”

“Y-e-s,” Ivy said carefully, reaching for her red wine.

“In fact, you had it all – my father and Nick practically fighting over you.”

“Yes, that’s right Dale,” Nick grinned. “And guess who ended up with the trophy girl?”

Dale chuckled and said history proved that claim to be indisputable.

Rex and Stella were sidelined, not wishing to become involved, both looking increasingly anxious.

“Tell me Ivy, who partnered you to Grad Ball?”

“Time to talk about the present,” Nick said, a little grimly but without losing his smile.

Ivy ignored him.

“Alfred, your father.”

“Well, well,” Dale smiled encouragingly. “And did the traditional shafting take place later that evening?”

“My God, I ought to throw you out of my house,” Nick thundered and Ivy looked as if she’d been shot.

“Oh, come on,” Dale urged, all this is history, of no real significance. “I’m only interested to find the answer to a question after my current question is answered.”

“Ivy, you don’t have to answer – please don’t Ivy,” Stella urged.

“Stella is right,” Rex said. “If you answer it could antagonize dad – we don’t have to know the answer. Please mom, back off.”

Clutching at her throat, Ivy whispered, “Yes, we adhered to tradition, one hundred percent.”

Nick glared at Dale: “Get out of my house – now!”

“Okay Nick, keep your shirt on,” Dale said, standing and calmly folding his napkin and asking, “My final question Ivy: Why did you choose Nick over Alfred?”

The silence seemed a prelude to an execution.

“He drove the nicer car.”

Nick’s head dropped, Ivy began to weep almost silently, Stella clutched and Rex and Dale said cheerfully, “Good night everyone, a lovely meal and great hosting. He left without looking back.

Two hours later Dale came out of sleep by Stella’s fists raining blows on to his face and chest; she was almost hysterical. Their mother came racing in crying, “For God’s sake, what’s the matter?” 

Stella turned and sank into her mother’s arms crying, and that sent Brigit into tears until bringing herself under control she turned to her son and asked, “Have you killed Rex?”

“Mom, of course not – I’ve just left him and his fucked-up family thanks to your ox of a son.”

“Darling, please – your bad language. They are in fact a lovely family – well, one has to make allowances for Nicholas.

They moved out to the kitchen for coffee where Alf joined them and assumed the role of chairman. Gradually the parents heard the full story from a still sobbing Stella. Dale kept his mouth shut.

“Why oh why, Dale,” his mother cried. Dale looked at his father who nodded.

“Stella – I want you to swear to secrecy,” Dale said, the tone indicating her promise had to be absolute.

“I swear.”

“Mom, I want to place our company back into number one spot. Someone has to occupy it so why not us?  Rex has been brought on board to prepare us to try to execute a full merger with Benson, Benson & Hale but if that doesn’t come about we require a contingency plan to fall back on and if that occurs we go after Worthington Partners either as a full merger or as an acquisition.”

“An acquisition?” Brigit raged. “Are you crazy? That merged group could eat us for breakfast without a burp.”

“Dale,” Stella said icily. “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

“I don’t think so.”

“My wedding – how can I have a happy wedding if the two families are at war?”

Brigit commanded: “Alf, say something.”

“Christ, you two, give the boy the chance to explain. You’re at him like a couple of hyenas.”

“Alf!”

“Err, lionesses?”

“Yeah, shut up you two and listen.”

“Dad accepted the merger attempt with BB&H makes business sense. I’ve just sprung the Worthington Partners on you all and haven’t heard any objection from his corner, which must tell you something. What I was attempting to do this evening was to try to drive a shaft between Mr and Mrs Worthington. She’s already pissed off at the way Nick caved in at merger talks to those who wanted Rex dumped and now I’m preparing to had her a silver bullet – to get Nick’s company taken from him. If our target becomes Worthington an absolute condition will be that Nick is not part of any deal; he’ll be history.”

Stella whimpered, “But using Rex to orchestrate the way to merge or takeover Worthington pits him against his parents and his old family company.”

“Oh. right Stella,” Dale said heartlessly. “We give Rex the chance to shaft his ex-company and those new interlopers who shafted him and the chance to shaft his father. So being spineless and gutless, I wonder if he’ll says he can’t do it and resign. Get real babe.”

“He won’t do it if I tell him not to,” Stella said defiantly.

“Oh yeah, please have that out with him in front of me – I like seeing a good scrap.

“Bastard!”

“Just relax Stella and remember, Worthington is the fall-back option. I’d go for it now but the risks are too high – the disruptions and leakages through to the bottom line as the result of merger will take months to manifest. To plunge in now could be suicidal for us.”

“There you go ladies – Dale has spoken to you like a true champion – go in for the king-hit when the bastards are against the ropes, almost down.”

“Language Alf,” Brigit snapped. “I don’t like this one little bit and another thing, I am scandalized that it’s admitted you were into Lily Anderson’s pants on Graduation Night when you know I was in the wings waiting for you. You always denied you had sex with her.”

“We that’s the answer you were praying for, so I delivered,” Alf smirked.

“You fucking bastard,” Brigit said, wiping both eyes.

“Language!” Alf and Dale chorused.

Sometime during the night Stella climbed into bed with Dale. He felt the tiny kisses and heard her whisper, “I forgive you and admit you talk sense.” 

They were both nude and she backed in, wriggling her butt. Dale telegraphed an urgent message to his penis: Flaccid all night and that’s an order!”

 

Chapter 4

Dale agreed with his father to an office accommodation re-shuffle. Rex would take Stella’s office, Alf would set up in the boardroom, Stella would shift into the vice-president’s office and Dale would move into the president’s office and mid-morning Alf and Dale would announce to Stella over coffee that she’d been elevated to vice-president subject to confirmation of the board at its next meeting.

None of the partners who were creative people with no administrative experience were considered likely to pushy strongly to push to become v-p ahead of Stella.

Alf had already sounded out a majority of the outside directors and they agreed that despite her young age Stella was ready for that elevation.

“Bastard,” Stella hissed at the family meeting. “You are buying my silence and loyalty.”

“Your elevation was only a matter of time,” Dale said carefully. “You were being shifted into the VP office so dad suggested why didn’t we bring forward the promotion.”

“Dad suggested it?”

Alf said, “Yes, baby, in my role of senior consultant.”

“Oh, you gorgeous men,” Stella cried, leaping up to lip-smack her father’s cheek and then gave her brother a sultry kiss and embrace equal to anything one might expect to see in a bedroom. 

Alf, being quite used to them, just grinned.

 “I take it that’s direct injection of loyalty.”

That earned an embarrassed laugh from them in tribute to his wit.

Dale found Maxine Clough waiting in his office. She opened her arms dramatically and sighed, “I’m all yours if you want me.”

He grinned and ensured she saw he enjoyed the theatrics. He lingered a little longer than intended and she flushed slightly at the direction of his stare although probably realizing with her arms thrown back and her chest thrust forward she had presented him something on which to focus.

“Welcome home Maxine,” he smiled. “Look around the office, taking your time, and then tell me how you’d like everything re-arranged to suit you because you will be looking after our environment.”

“Once we have agreement I want you to contact building tenancy services to get the changes made. I want your workstation outside the door brought in her and placed in that corner. Whenever I have people in here talking I want you seated just behind me on my left, taking notes. If anyone wants you out of the room you don’t move to leave unless on my say-so, which I would think would be rare. Any questions?”

“Yes, why is my workstation being brought into your office?”

“If you work outside the office, you are providing secretarial services. Work inside, being privy to everything, you are my personal assistant – an extension of me.”

“So, when you are not here I can conduct non-contractual work on your behalf.”

“That’s it; I knew a good motor lay under your curls.”

After a light lunch of fish fingers and fries, Dale went on a stroll along Pankhurst Avenue, named after the explorer Colonel Lionel Pankhurst who established an army outpost on the site of the city one hundred and nine-two years ago.

Half-way on his intended walk he blinked and against saw a vision of loveliness walking towards him – his old heart-throb Dolores Francis. Only when they neared did he notice the stroller.

They kissed and Dolores said excitedly how wonderful it was to see him again.

“Coffee?” he asked, and she accepted.

With his mind in a whirl he found himself being introduced to her niece Chloe. They exchanged chatter and phone numbers and only when they were parting did Dolores correct him when he said ‘your baby’. My sister’s baby,” she said, sending his heart soaring and his searching eyes found no wedding or engagement ring on her fingers and that was promising.

They kissed like old friends and as he pulled away, he said they must meet for a drink sometime.

“Yes, why not – I’m tomorrow evening. My sister Pauline arrive homes tomorrow just after noon.”

“Fine – do you know Kate’s Bar?”

“Yes, it’s still there.”

“Good – 6:00 and then to dinner?”

“How lovely.”

“Wear something sexy.”

“Is that an indecent proposal,” she giggled, almost melting his heart, and yet something felt not quite right. She was married; either that or she wasn’t married but Chloe was her child. Well, there would be time to find out. Usually the class of women like her required more than one date before dropping their defences.

He returned to the office humming a military marching tune. He wanted to tell everyone he’d met the gorgeous Dolores Francis but thought people would find out for themselves in time, probably quite soon. He entered his office and found Maxine right in front of him bent over a sofa sorting books, the back of her dress raised high. His mind went black in inexplicable desire; he tripped over a box of books and butted Maxine in the butt, she half-turning just in time to half-see him coming at her like a missile.

“Sorry,” he croaked. “The box.”

She climbed up saying “Silly me, we really must stop meeting this way” and helped him to his feet.  “I was sure that box was not in the direct path to your desk.”

“I lost direction – the backs of your legs were very exposed, high up.”

“Ah, my legs. So, they are to blame. Long dresses from now on.”

“No, even shorter skirts would be fine.”

“Mr Allen, what are you proposing?”

Oh shyte, he was in trouble, being her superior although no way could that be called her intellectual superior or even her behavioural superior. He knew he had a creative mind and he called on it to save him.

Maxine stood waiting, an eyebrow arched high. Thank God, she didn’t have her hands on her hips but exactly at that moment Maxine placed her hands on her hips, becoming a mother dealing with a wayward child.

Dale’s mouth opened and out came words designed to pierce the frosty heart of any woman if she were forgiving by nature and understands a man can have a lighter: “No person with an artistic sense and a sense of adventure covers up a pretty picture or prevents it being admired.”

“Sweet Jesus,” she sighed. “See if you can manage to struggle to your desk unassisted while I fetch us coffee.”

They faced across the big desk, sipping coffee, so far without a word being exchanged.

Finally, Maxine took the leadership role.

“Dale, I’d be a liar if I said before this latest incident there is chemistry of some sort between us – I’d call it spontaneous flare-up for want of a better name.

Dale sipped coffee, waiting.

“We are in a professional relationship and we ought to maintain professional standards,” don’t you think?

“It is an option.”

“Dale, please be a good boy. This is not easy for me.”

There it was – boy; not man. Some women could pull this motherly thing out of thin air at the drop of a hat and achieve virtual castration, rendering a guy practically helpless but thank goodness, the spell was short-term.

“What are the options but not for a minute do I believe there are any.”

  • You go back to reception.

  • You resign and marry Robert Chester.

  • I return to the UK.

  • We sit back and just let it happen.

  • I confess I’m a sexual predator and have accidentally fixed on you as one of my targets.

  • You castrate me.

  • Instead I opt for a lobotomy.

  • You spread yourself over my desk right now and our problem is history.

“Wow, I’m impressed. But first how do you know the name of the janitor of my apartment building?”

“You quoted it when saying you and he planned to marry within two years.”

“Ohmigod, I did. How stupid of me and you have now identified me as a liar.”

“Oh no, you felt you had your back to the walk and quoted that to lesson tension between us.”

“Did I, oh how clever of me,” Maxine said to fudge the situation further.

“Which of those other options I just gave you appears most acceptable to you.”

Her face froze as her mind ticked over them, one by one. The boss had yet to find she had a fabulous memory. “Hmmm, I guess the two most appealing are you accepting lobotomy procedure but then again spreading over your desk does have considerable appeal. But because one of us has to be responsible about this spontaneous flare-up existing between us, may I suggest we adhere to professionalism and just sit back and see what happens?”

“A very astute suggestion Miss Clough.”

“Thank you, Mr Allen. Now why don’t you look for some real work; I do believe your father is in the boardroom.”

This professional approach, which both of them assumed was how ordinary people or even practically all people managed their working relationships, would continue for several weeks.

*  *

Dolores waited in the bar until 6:30, dressed in a little bit of white and her blonde hair re-vitalized. She was about to leave when he arrived, a little breathless. She wasn’t to know that Dale was halfway home before remembering he had a date with her; it wasn’t the sort of thing a guy shared with his gal, no matter how intimate they were.

She wasn’t sure he would kiss her so she grabbed and kissed him.

“Wow!” she said.

He looked surprised. She lost a little confidence thinking perhaps a hotel room wasn’t on the menu; she’d been a little while without a man and Dale was a target: A-class.

They drank, the barriers fell away and Dale seemed impressed she was an interior design consultant. Her confidence was back; she kept playing with hair strands and shifting her butt, which necessitated her opening and closing her legs – her long, long legs.

Soon she had him anticipating her next butt wiggle, his eyes zeroed in on her knees.

Two hours later the hotel room door closed behind them and she decided to allow him anything he wanted. From that point their relationship seemed to turned to custard.

First, she made the mistake of laughing, laughing like a whore, when he asked, “Should we be doing this so soon?”

“It’s six years since I last saw you and you didn’t fuck me then so it’s been a long, long wait.”

Too late, she saw him wince.

Christ, he liked his women to be lollipop cuties who never use upfront sexual terms. Where has this guy been?

She waited, almost tapping a shoe but managed to resist and hello! When she opened her lips, his tongue almost flopped in – quickly withdrawn of course.

She pulled up his hand on to her left boob, wondering if that would be withdrawn. It was but to her surprise and she found the back of her bra being undone with no sign of fumbling.

Dolores could see the disappointment as he looked down to her diminutives; Christ, he was a big tit fanatic. Really, she should be home feeding her cat. Dolores reached for his bulge and her interest leaped.

“Come on, unzip me and ram this into me.”

That embarrassed him.

 He looked at the bathroom door and excused himself. Two minutes later – well it seemed that long – he re-emerged, took one look at her stripped, arse in the air waving at him and he retreated.  She was giggling into the pillow when she heard the outer door open. Christ!

She sat up to hear him call, “Bye Dolores; sorry our date didn’t work out. The room is paid for, stay all night if you wish and order two breakfasts.”

Then he was gone. Dolores sighed and decided to stick to guys on dope or something that charged them up with all-night erections.

Walking to the car lot Dale almost bumped into a real woman. Unfortunately, it was Ivy Worthington and her face was less than friendly.

“Hi Ivy – movies?”

“Yes, with too regular girlfriends. Great movie but neither wish to go on for a meal.”

“Come and have supper on me.”

The expression was if he’d just invited her to fornicate. 

“Ivy, come on love; don’t have the hatchet out for little old me. I remain angry about Nick being prepared to dump his own son for a pocketful of more dollars and a lift in community prestige.”

“You do?”

“Fuck yes.”

“Talk nicely please Dale.”

As soon as she used his name Dale knew he was in – err, not the fornicating. He held out his arm and said, “Supper ma’am and she smiled beautifully and held the eye contract to show he’d been forgiven.”

They had a few drinks and he decided to become daring.

“Ivy, when you were eighteen who was the better screw – Nick or Alf?”

She giggled into her drink.

“In all honesty, I can’t remember but until his heart scare Alf held an edge.”

Dale fought not to react and knew she was eyeing him. He eyed her back.

“You didn’t know that little secret, did you.”

He said, “It was a secret and good on you; what consenting adults do is none of my business.”

“I rather like you Dale; you’re much smarter than most men and you have an adorable sister. Play whatever game you have in mind for Nick but do nothing to blow Rex and Stella apart.”

“No, I’d never do that – they look made for one another. What game are you talking about?”

“Never mind, just remember Dale – I don’t look dumb and I’m not.”

“Let’s drink to that Ivy, well said. We’re driving, so no more drinks after this one eh.”

“Very responsible, Dale. I really feel you are looking after me. What do you want from me?”

Dale laughed, trying to keep calm; he hadn’t expected this and didn’t think he’d get away with a fob off.

“Tell you what Ivy,” he said, smiling and patting her arm. “If I ever need your help I’ll give you a call clarion clear. In the meantime, keep things smooth for little sister; she has a mindset on you becoming her mother-in-law.”

The flush of pleasure on Ivy’s face gave Dale the impression he’d just scored well.

He later drove home thinking he’d done better than he’d hoped with Ivy but the warning was there: Ivy was no pushover and was not one to double-cross.

He smiled, wondering how on earth could he turn Nick into a double crosser. Well, it was too far out to be thinking about that and a pitch on Worthington might never eventuate.

Focus on what’s in front of you, he urged, enjoying the smoothness of his new vehicle.

The next three weeks had him really under pressure, his father dragging him through the business from A to Z and pinpointing a huge list of past foul-ups and action that should have been taken, to either avoid the foul-ups or to reduce the downsides.

He admired Alf’s stamina until he realized what was happening: he was on edge, wanting to do it all, anxious to take it all and desperate to succeed.

In comparison, his knowledge-brimming father remained relaxed throughout, no doubt mindful that he had a heart problem but it Dale knew he was receiving a salutary lesson. He also recalled being at university lecturers on negotiating – being well-prepared and relaxed but sharp were a winning combination.

Hmmm.

“Take Friday off and get away for a long weekend, you look bushed,” his father urged. “I’ll fill in for you Friday.

That afternoon, Wednesday, Dale returned to his office to whittle down some of his workload. Department heads were now loading him with work, he was now personally signing off work with a billing tag of $100,000-plus and he was directing Rex who was up to his eyeballs. He and Maxine had taken to sitting in armchairs, a coffee table between them.

Maxine said, “You are showing signs of fatigue.”

“My tuition from dad ends tomorrow – that strips two three-hour sessions a day off my back.”

“I’m leaving early Friday for a friend’s remote-located beach house – a bit of a dump really, but comes close to paradise.”

“Sounds wonderful.”

“Come with me for the weekend.”

Maxine put down her coffee mug. “What sort of weekend.”

“Dirty.”

“Oh God, here we go again.”

“It’s your choice,” Dale said a little touchy, standing up.

“Sit down.”

The tone told him mummy was back.

“Why me? There are better fucks all round our offices if you bothered to look.”

“Why are we having this conversation?” 

He grinned, seeing the alarm on her face at the lobbing of that question. Well duck that one mummy who wasn’t expecting a debate.

“Dale,” she squawked. “This is putting unreasonable pressure on me.”

“That’s a cop out, and you know it.”

“I have a tuition session on Friday afternoon.”

He said he knew how to weasel Beth Macdonald to avoid pulling rank. He’d get that tuition changed to tomorrow.

Maxine’s chest was heaving, Dale noticed. She really was under pressure. Well, he tried. He stood to move back to his desk. He reached his chair knowing the time lapse was against him but just as he was about to sit down she said all right, she’d accompany him.

“Girls need sex too,” Maxine said, the mummy voice gone.

Dale gave her the thumbs up and called Beth to negotiate um to wheedle.

*  *

At 9:00 on Friday morning, after a bit of a sleep-in, Dale arrived outside the apartment to find Maxine waiting on the sidewalk.

“Christ,” he said, alighting from the vehicle and scratching his head. “Should I hire a trailer?”

She smiled and thought a reply was unnecessary, wondering if he’d kiss her.

He didn’t.

“The two carry bags are clothing, that’s my make-up kit, that bag contains my tramping gear, that box is wine and a selection of cocktail mixes and those two cartons contain food and that pile is sheets, pillow cases and towels. I hope I haven’t forgotten anything.

“The kitchen sink?” muttered the driver, loading the vehicle.

Entering the vehicle where Maxine was already belted in and checking her face, he pouted. “You didn’t kiss me when I arrived.”

“You are old enough and aggressive enough to know to help yourself.”

“I was shy.”

Maxine hooted with laughter and off they went, a sense of happiness and adventure filling the vehicle. “Thanks for bringing all those creature comforts – very generous and enterprising.”

“Thanks, but you know I’m that kind of woman. I must say I didn’t appreciate that kitchen sink comment.”

“You weren’t supposed to hear it.”

“Oh yeah?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, I’ll give you the benefit of doubt,” she said. “I didn’t hear you say it.”

Feeling good, Dale reached across and slapped Maxine’s knee.

“Ooh Dale, I think you better wait until we arrive there.”

He pulled his hand away as if she’d threatened to cut off his fingers, mortified and thinking, Persecution of the Innocent; it’s so unfair.

“Coffee?” she asked, pulling a flask from the bag at her feet.

He smiled and she smiled back at him, her eyes big and full of promise.

He eased off the gas pedal, telling himself to relax, there was no hurry to get there and he’d wait till Sunday before he had sex with her. Yeah? Yeah!

“Here you go sweetheart, I mean Dale.”

“Sweetheart is fine – thanks. That was lovely of you to bring coffee.”

It was raining when they arrived and the place looked a dump and its location lonely and desolate. Maxine kept her mouth shut rather than complain; she was so disappointed.

“What do you think?”

“Um, not quite like I expected.”

“I thought I’d told you it was a bit of a dump.”

“Yes, but not quite like I expected. There’s no beach.”

“Yes, there is – look.” He pulled the drapes open and they looked partway down into a treed gully and into a thick mist.

“Well, there is a beach down there.”

“If you say so. I think I’ll read.”

“Good, I’m hitting the sack.”

Off he went with the sheets without kissing her.

 She thought well, he’ not getting what he wants until he began treating her romantically; now, let’s see if there’s anything decent to read in this motley collection of books.

Dale didn’t appear so Maxine waited until 1:00 and then went in to talk about lunch.

He was sound asleep and looked so cute she had a great urge to snuggle up against him. But she’d found the owners had some great books and returned to the living room, opened a bottle of red wine and kept on reading.

At 6:15, heaving rain now drumming on the iron roof, Dale bounced into the living room, showered and ready to go. He found Maxine on a rocking chair, mouth wide open and sound asleep, a book on her lap and an empty bottle of red wine at her side. He carried her to bed, removed her top, sneakers and jeans and put her to bed and went back to begin unpacking their supplies and tidying up the place.

He mixed a cocktail, spat most of it down the sink and what was left in the glass followed down the drain pipe.

“Girls’ piss,” he muttered. “Far too sweet for me.” He checked through the eleven bottles of white wine he’d put in the fridge from the selection he and Maxine had brought with them and chose a dry white.

“How fucking boring,” he said, peering into the darkness outside.

He picked up the book Maxine had been reading. He later opened another bottle of wine and just before 2:00 a.m. when finishing the book put the two-thirds emptied bottle back into the fridge and padded off to bed, feeling tremendously relaxed. Maxine was on her back, mouth wide open, and still looking totally pissed. He grinned and slid in beside her, noting she was hogging more than her share of the bed.

Dale was almost asleep when he thought he’d not eaten anything since breakfast. He decided he was on a diet and went to sleep, smiling at his wit.

Maxine staggered out in bra and panties just after 8:00 a.m. with a screamer of a head-ache.

“Dale?”

No answer.

“Oh God, he’s pissed off not getting sex and has gone back to the city,” she wailed, holding a hand to her forehead and walked to the windows.

With relief, she saw the SUV and then the figure of Dale dressed only in a wide-brimmed hat and shorts came out of the mist. He was carrying a rod and a fish, quite a large fish.

Fish for breakfast?

She rushed to the bathroom but only dry-retched.

“Oh God, he’ll never look at me again,” she cried, looking into the mirror. Wailing she rushed back to the bedroom and locked the door. The next think she knew some maniac was thumping on the bedroom door.

“Come on and rise lazybones – it’s lunchtime but I’m calling it late breakfast as I’ve been waiting four hours to cook fish.”

“Coming,” she said, surprised her voice sounded quite musical. And where was the headache?”

She rose and felt, well, renewed. Maxine was elated to find she’d slept away her hangover.

“Sexy, sexy – I must look sexy,” she thought, so hurriedly showered and slapped on make-up and put on a sweet sundress.

“Hi darling,” she cooed, smiling at him and resisting the temptation to pirouette for him.

“Glad to see you survived the night,” he grinned. “Go back, get that much off your face, let your hair down, dress in cut-offs and a halter top; dammit, we’re at the beach.”

“What beach,” she glowered, ready to get mad.

“That beach,” he said, pointing to behind her back.

Maxine turned and was slain; she couldn’t believe it.

A darling little curved beach lay below her, less than 20 yards away, drenched in sunshine and beyond it lay the sparkling ocean with gulls over it and two fishing boats on it. It was just like a painting.

She whooped and rushed back to the bedroom to follow the commands of his Imperial Highness. She returned to hear fish sizzling and to be handed a glass of icy cold Chablis.

“Oh God, this is so romantic,” she sighed.

His grin was worth a thousand words.

As they finished breakfast she pulled up her number one smile. “Let’s do it now.”

He smiled and shook his head; she could have killed him.

“No, pack and all day picnic hamper – it’s ready for you on the bench; the wine is already packed. I’ll make the bed and clean the bathroom.”

He must be gay she thought, quite sure he wasn’t, but perhaps he only did it with his sister – she’s seen the body language between those two. God, what must their parents think of them.

Actually, it was very strange as their relationship seemed to go beyond sex as if they were born lovers, born to be together –they acted very much like bonded twins although being born two years apart. She packed them enough food to last two days.

Dale carried the wine and hamper and she carried the beach umbrella and two folded deck chairs and he’d strapped a small folding table to her back and he carried their additional beachwear in a backpack. She thought talk about an expedition…

“Under the trees.”

“Out in the sun.”

“Under the trees, I say.”

“Why not in the sun?”

“Because I say so.”

God, thought Maxine. They were acting like a married couple; this was their first argument.

“Be logical, tell my why.”

“Because it will become too hot under the sun.”

“We have brought a beach umbrella in case you didn’t notice.”

“Great when you’re wet from a swim but an oven when dry and ready to eat. Over-handing trees attract breezes and usually its cooler in natural shade.”

“Right, under the fucking tree then.”

“Why do you become foul-mouthed when you don’t get your own way or become mad about something.”

“Dale, shut up.”

“Sorry. I rather like you having a bit of fire.”

“Really?” He was capable of being so cool, she thought, and hurried over under the tree, unloaded and then grabbed and kissed him, slowly and pressing against him. She grinned when she had a feeling he was becoming interested in her as a sex object.

“Wear a hat,” he commanded, when she went to walk down to test the water. Wearing a hat was the sensible thing to do but she wasn’t feeling sensible right now, so she flicked a couple of fingers at him, making sure to smile.

He called “Rude bitch” but she didn’t turn to look for the smile. It didn’t matter, she knew she was capable of being a very rude bitch.

She scampered back to him crying, “The water is lovely or will be once we’re in.”

“Great,” he smiled, handing her a glass white wine. “Just relax, there is no hurry – we won’t be going back to the beach house until around 9:00 apart from toilet visits.”

“Okay,” she said obediently. Then looking demure, she asked, “When will we do it?”

“When the mood takes us,” he said mysteriously.

She sat back in her chair, rolling wine around her mouth and thinking what a wonderful thing he’d just said to her. He was such a nice man. Was she nice? Well she thought so.

Maxine had just used the bathroom when the house phone went.

“Hello?”

“Hello dear, Amy Macdonald speaking. Ashleigh and I are expecting you for dinner at 6:00.”

“Oh, I’m afraid you must have the wrong number.”

“I don’t believe so; you are Maxine Clough and work with our daughter Beth Macdonald.”

“Yes.”

“And you and Dale are staying in Tim and Beth’s beach house.”

“Oh God, are we?”

“Are you drunk or on drugs?”

“No, of course not and I certainly don’t do drugs.”

“Pleased to hear that dear. Walk north along the highway for half a mile and you’ll see the name Macdonald on a green letterbox. Walk down the drive and you’ll find us waiting; that’s 6:00 sharp.”

“Thank you, Mrs Macdonald. That is a lovely invitation.”

“Now, that sounds more like the lady Beth said you were. Goodbye dear.”

Maxine returned to the beach ready for a punch-up. She held out her glass for a re-fill.

“Look it all happened so quickly I said yes before realizing the consequences.”

“Oh yes, and we are talking about what?”

“What? Oh yes, sorry. The phone went and a Mrs Macdonald virtually ordered me to bring you to their house for dinner at 6:00.”

“That’s fine.”

“What?”

“It’s okay – Beth told me they’d want to put on a meal for us.”

“Oh. Why didn’t you tell me we would be staying in Beth’s beach house?”

“I said a friend; I thought that would be sufficient.”

“Well it wasn’t.”

“I get the message; sorry.”

“I would have rather stayed on the beach. Now we’ll miss having the mood take us.”

“How can you say that; neither of us knows when that will happen.”

“Really?”

“Yes. But if that means so much to you then you should not have accepted the invitation. You seem so desperate to have sex then why lessen the chances of getting banged?”

“I acted as a very nice person because Mrs Macdonald seems a lovely person and don’t you dare describe sex with me as a bang; that’s disgusting boys’ talk. Oh God!”

“What.”

“The Macdonald’s will be one hundred years old; we’ll have a boring evening.”

“Beth is either fifty or fifty-one and that suggests the Macdonald’s are likely to be in their early to mid- seventies and still probably bang away themselves. They couldn’t possibly have reared a daughter like Beth without having some of her passion and worldliness.”

“Beth is so old it never occurred to me her parents would still be alive.”

Dale, stretched back on his chair, opened an eye and said, “That’s revealed you possess a shallow side to your personality.”

Maxine’s free hand opened and shut like that of a strangler.

They were having their third swim, in temperatures still short of summer, when ‘the mood’ consumed them.

They’d just finished a short swimming race when she turned to him, puffing, mouth open and tongue clearing salt water off her top lip when he moaned, “Oh God”, and seized her.

His weight pushed her under and she came up spluttering and saw his eyes and melted. She moved in and her hand slid down the inside of his beach shorts and squeezed his nuts, gently.

“Let’s head back to the beach,” she whispered.

“No, push back here on to the reef.”

The rock would damage her skin, she frowned, but then decided who cares – she was on the verge of getting what she wanted. He floated on his back, making her provide the propulsion be she didn’t mind because he used the opportunity to lift up her bikini top and take a breast into his mouth.

She began kicking faster and using one hand to paddle, the other to hold on to him to lock him to her. Delicate little feelings were sweeping her as the mood took its grip. She was anticipating he’d be a great seducer, even in difficult conditions.

“Watch out,” she called, and he aborted his nipple licking to paddle with his hand to avoid his head hitting the rock. They climbed up.

“Short and sweet to minimize abrasion?”

Maxine nodded, not caring, although it seemed sensible comment. She gasped when he pulled down his shorts and she removed her bikini while he gingerly lay on his back and held out his shorts and told her to put them under one kneed; her bikini wasn’t much use under the other knee but it was something.

Dale encouraged a lube flow and used some on himself.

“Ready?” he asked, his face already reddening and his breathing rate increased from his arousal.

She didn’t need to answer, just lowering herself and managing the docking with just one hand, keeping her eyes open looking at him, his head raised to look with a big smile as the connection was made. His hands cupped her butt cheeks and they were away. She groaned to attract his attention and leaned down and he stretched up and they had their first very erotic kiss, with many more to come, she hoped.

Maxine telegraphed her urgency so he pulled his hands free to grab her breasts and squeezed. She screamed in triumph, downing out the noise of the circling gulls and immediately had the satisfaction of hugely feeling pulsations from him and squeezed her muscles to assist him to full-out completion.

Elated and feeling fulfilled, Maxine carefully stood and held out her hand. Let’s return to the water to rest; tie my bikini to the strings of your shorts and then tie your shorts around your neck.

“I can put my shorts on in the water,” he said, still puffing.

“No, you won’t,” she said, looking at him wickedly and being rewarded by a huge grin.

“When the mood takes you, it takes you,” he said.

Maxine fancied she’d remember that comment for a very long time.

They walked to the Macdonald’s house like lovers after a correction: Maxine had turned to walk south. A rocky outcrop had been blasted level as the platform for the compact concrete home.

“My father built it as our summer home,” Ashleigh told them. “Our farm not far from here then covered seventeen thousand acres, but is now reduced to just over one thousand and I run dry stock on it. These days the authorities won’t allow you to blast out a building site like this – it’s bureaucratic and weasel Greenie madness.”

“That is one valid point of view,” Maxine said diplomatically, and Ashleigh grabbed her around the waist to walk her inside and said, “Young lady, I’m really going to enjoy you company.”

“Unhand that lady,” snorted the fine boned but sun-wrinkled faced hostess.

“He can’t, he’s my prisoner,” Maxine said, pinning Ashleigh’s hand.

They all laughed. When kissing Amy, Dale had earned elevation when saying – “Lovely and sweet, just like daughter Beth.

They were taken through the dining room to the run room. The visitors gasped at the laden dining table, set for what appeared to be half a dozen courses.

“We don’t entertain much these days, but when we do we make the effort,” Ashleigh said, pouring French champagne.

After dining on champagne, red wine and finishing with brandy, the inebriated guests stood on the roadway uncertain in which direction to walk. “Ah, I distinctly remembered walking downhill,” Maxine said, and she led them home safely.

 

Chapter 5

Returning to the city slowly in the Sunday night congestion as tens of thousands of other city dwellers were on the highways after their weekend at the beach or in the countryside, Dale and Maxine had plenty of time to chat.

“I’m thinking about buying an apartment overlooking the city marina. If I do, would you move in with me?”

“Yes,” Maxine said without hesitation. “I’d need to give the women I share with time to secure one or even two replacements.”

“Yes, there would be a huge amount of space once you shift out your truckloads of possessions,” he joked.

“I am adjusting to your teasing and weird humour,” Maxine said, arm resting on his arm at the wheel. “You won’t find me biting so often.”

Before long Dale was talking to under her acceptance of confidentiality about the proposed merger and then revealed something she’d not yet learned about because there was nothing recorded about it – Worthington being a fall-back option.

“Which do you really prefer as the merger target.”

“Worthington Associates,” Dale said.

Only then did he accept it was the first time he’d voiced that preference.

“Then why mess around?”

“What?”

“Why not make Worthington first priority?”

“The BB&H option would be easier to achieve and involve a much lesser outlay of resources and less disruption in absorption.”

Maxine made a pretence of clearing her ear.

“I’m not sure I heard right; it’s very unlike you being balked by something a little more difficult. You are a man keen to face challenges – look how long it took you to nail me, but you got there.”

“Yep, against formidable odds although that very first time I met you I had the feeling I was in an ace of you giving it to me.”

Maxine coloured, thankful the darkness hid that from him but her voice gave her away. “I was not,” she almost stuttered.

He skipped on to talk to her about business risks, that in a merger the greater the complications the greater was the chance of coming unstuck.

“But that’s why you have strategic planning as an aid, isn’t it?”

“Well yes, has your tuition touched on that?”

“Yes – Beth took me through the principles of strategic planning and development of a resultant business plan.”

“You obviously must be giving her encouragement.”

“Me – haven’t you gotten that the wrong way around?”

“No, strategic planning is pretty advanced stuff; she can’t be regarding you as just a pretty face with little theoretical knowledge.”

Maxine said she’d picked up a great deal of information over the years and he said Beth would have discovered that.

“I have been playing with the thought of going after the bigger fish but there is a problem.”

“Of course, Stella and the Worthington family. I’d overlooked the ramifications. Although it’s a matter of company versus company you could severely dent Mr Worthington’s pride if his associates accepted your offer but then again he could launch a reverse merger proposal.”

“What, you know about that?”

“Yes, what’s so surprising?”

“Nothing. I’m just happy that you can talk business.”

*  * 

Next day after work Maxine was in the office of her financial adviser, drinking wine.

“You could lose a packet if this thing came unstuck. On the other hand, you could make a bundle.”

“Safely down the middle with your advice Gary?”

He looked at his client nervously. “You know enough but in finance and financial investment, a little or even more than a little knowledge can bring you unstuck.”

“Enough of loose talk. Advise my professionally on the specifics.”

“Yes, of course. But first, I sense you are holding something back. Care to unload?”

Maxine unloaded and Gary told her that mixing emotional linkages with investment strategies was a risky mix.

“He’s not your husband.”

“And perhaps might not even be my lover six months out from now; who knows.”

“Then, why do it?”

“Because he’s given me the thrill of the chase and now I see huge excitement in being part of his very ambitious plan.”

“But he hasn’t yet decided to go the Worthington way.”

“My money says he will.”

“Your money – yes, indeed. I’d think carefully on that if I were you.”

“There’s no way I could lose all my money is there?”

“No, but you could take as much as a 20% loss if the company profitability faltered and it downsized accordingly to re-establish a strong base.”

“But then it could be expected to become more profitable again.”

“That’s a strong possibility.”

“Well then Gary, you dug into company records earlier today. What have you found?”

“It’s a private company; there are only two outside stockholders and both are substantial investors. Here is my estimate, on taking outside advice, on what you would have to pay to acquire either of those parcels.”

Gary pushed across the print-out and would have noticed the lift in Maxine’s eyebrows. He waited patiently and then, “I recommend you go for the smaller parcel.”

“I want it all, the larger one please.”

“I strongly recommend against that Maxine.”

“So, noted but rejected Gary. Now be a good boy (Gary was in his fifties) and liquidate my assets and send in the right person to have that larger parcel transferred to me.”

Gary sighed and said he’d do as instructed.

“In selling out now we may fall short of the amount you require.”

“Well, look for a larger investment client who will buy my entire portfolio, at a premium.”

“It’s quite likely we can do that easily. I handpicked those investments for you.”

“Good, so for my new investment of $2.42 million, what estimated proportion of Worthington will I possess?”

Gary looked at his notes: 33.7% estimated. It can only be an estimate; private companies are not required to fully disclose financial information on the public register but we did do inside work and received confirmation that 33% is about right.”

“Good, now for the timeframe and legalities. You may have up to three months to find a buyer for my portfolio and up to six months to obtain that parcel in Worthington, but no longer than six months.”

“Understood.”

“Gary, I have no wish to be identified as the holder of that company.”

“Acquisition of that transfer under a nominee company will mask you but not necessarily totally conceal your involvement.”

“What about my grandfather’s nominee company through which my inheritance via my grandmother came to me? They were my maternal grandparents so the paper trail becomes more difficult.”

“Excellent, I will have that checked out and find if we can inject more impediments to foil a full-blown pry made on behalf of Worthington. As there is no reason to know who its phantom investor is because nothing affecting the company has changed, their pry into company records may be aborted.”

“Maxine praised Gary and said she’d leave management of her new investment in his hands so that he would continue to draw an administration fee. She urged him to ensure sufficient remained over in her cash reserves from the two transactions to guarantee his future income from her without the need to dip into earnings from Worthington & Partners.

Gary looking at a file asked, “This name of your late grandfather’s nominee company, ‘Shingle Bottom Nominees’. Any idea where that name came from?

Maxine laughed and said it was the name of the creek running through their beef and sheep ranch.

The weeks went by. Stella, Rex, Maxine and Dale were now a regular foursome and everyone within the company knew Maxine and Dale were an ‘item’.

Maxine was recording notes at a meeting between Rex, Stella and Dale where Rex said he had a full understanding of the dynamics of the company, its business model and assets. He suggested it was time to go underground and learn as much as he could about BB&H.

“Change of plan Rex. Go underground and learn as much as you can about Worthington and Partners.”

Rex looked at Dale shocked and turned to Stella and saw her, now white-faced, staring at her brother, mouth open.

“Worthington was to be the secondary target,” she said darkly.

Rex covered and said to Dale such a bid could damage the relations between the Worthington and Allen families and shatter any chance of Stella being accepted into the Worthington family as a future daughter-in-law.

“Not necessarily,” Dale smiled. “Let’s constantly review the personal aspects, shall well? But in the meantime, let’s focus on the pragmatics of good business.”

Rex and Stella exchanged glances and Rex muttered to her, “Keep calm.”

As soon as that meeting finished, amicably, Maxine went up to the roof garden for privacy and called her investment consultant; she wanted that shareholding in place now, before hint of a merger launch was floated.

“I have good news and bad news,” Gary said.  “I found a foreign client who remarkably is interested in buying your investment portfolio – and I quote ‘well-balanced and productive’ end quote, portfolio for $2.1 million.”

“Oh Gary, wonderful. Kiss, kiss. Now the bad news.”

“The party with the biggest parcel wants another $400 grand. It’s a little high but they’re in the driving seat.”

Maxine dabbed at her top lip knowing she was a business novice and a beginner in financial investment, but it was her money. “What is the state of the stock market Gary?”

“Down almost 1% in this morning’s trading; it’s been looking little fragile for the past week and columnist are writing about the likelihood of a minor correction.

“Right, and they will know that. Tell the party my offer of $1.98 million stands, unchanged, until noon tomorrow; after that I totally withdraw.”

“Increase that by say $300,000 and they may be tempted.”

“No – you have your instruction Gary, Good luck.”

Shaking, perspiring slightly, Maxine returned to the office to find scowling Dale.

“Where have you been?”

“Wheeling and dealing if it’s any business of yours.”

“More likely window shopping,” he said, and managed a tenuous grin. “What are we going to do about Stella?”

“Let me talk to her.”

Dale rubbed his chin and Maxine’s phone went.

“It’s Gary; the seller has accepted.”

“Excellent work, call me when you are ready for me to sign both deals.”

“Buying stockings by the one hundred now, are we?” Dale said. “Where were we?”

“You wanted me to talk to Stella.”

“You mean you…Oh, does it matter. Go talk to Stella.”

Maxine called Stella and arranged to meet at the nearest coffee shop in fifteen minutes.

Stella looked concerned. “Darling, are you pregnant?”

“I guess no more than you are.”

“I’m not sure – two days late; could be nothing.”

“Oh Stella, what if it’s a strike?”

“I’d be deliriously happy. Then why are we here.”

“Well, that meeting an hour ago – your brother’s conscience is stricken.”

“That doesn’t sound like Dale; he’s nice but not that nice.”

“Oh fuck, caught out. I lied. He needs you onside because of the high risks involved. If you are not into this 100% he may have to pull the plug.”

“He wouldn’t do that, not even for me.”

Maxine took a gamble. Rather than lying she said, “I share that thinking; he’s treating it as a big game but a game that he must win. Except…”

Stella waited but was forced to ask, “Except what…are you attempting to bushwhack me with spin?”

“No, you are too clever for that. Except he may capitulate when right at the wire if he thinks it’s either Worthington or you.”

Stella turned white and her eyes hardened.

“Are you one of these numerous persons who think Dale fucks me?”

Maxine’s face colour faded. “The truth is I have wondered, the body language between you two is so intense at times. But I avoided coming to any conclusion.”

“Well, for just for your information we’ve played around a bit but never inserted – just games, if you know what I mean. He is so lovely.”

“Don’t I know it. May I say a confession either way would have made no difference to me. I like you and what I see in you, if you know what I mean.”

“Yes, I know exactly what you mean. That’s also my approached.”

At the counter, Maxine went to pay but Maxine said, “Let my pay on my card; that was company business.”

“But then I can’t feel I’ve taken you out for coffee.”

Stella gave Maxine a penetrating look as she withdrew the company credit card.

In the short walk to the office Stella said, “Tell me, in recent weeks you seem to have jumped out of your skin to become a different person, a business person.”

“Really? Well, I’ve been pulled from lethargy. I have suddenly found my niche: I am where I want to be, doing what I want to do, and being with a person I want to be with. I guess it had triggered something in me. I’m pleased you have noticed; I’ve noticed it as well. I am sated in business talk; Beth is so inspirational as an educator and Dale and I talk business half the time we’re together.”

“And groan and gasp in half the time you’re together?”

The both laughed, and held hands.

“I’ll be telling my brother I’ll be giving the project 100% and damn the consequences thought he must expect to see emotion from me at times.”

“Oh, that’s wonderful. Go tell him now – I’ll mess around in the library.”

*  *  *

Stella had made her decision after deciding she’d have a good 50% chance of managing to come out the other end, whatever happen, still onside with her future mother-in-law. She’d reasoned Ivy was intelligent, had a head for business, was only a Worthington by marriage and above all didn’t particularly seem to like her husband.  Make that 60% chance of repairing any damage to her and Lily’s relationship, she thought after thinking about the body language between the Worthington seniors.

Dale jumped to his feet, looking slightly defensive, Stella thought. He sat as soon as she did. “Maxine has been talking to me and makes sense. I’ll back you 100% but don’t but surprised if I become a little emotional at times because it just could be the end of Lily for me.”

“Darling that’s great.”

 She sighed, seeing the boyishness in him that Maxine now shared. As soon as you go I’ll call Rex to up periscope.”

“Oh, one other thing. You ought to empower Rex to second people for specific tasks – this is a major undertaking.”

“Good thinking – I guess I was waiting for him to ask.”

“You should also give him a full-time assistant to make sure we really do prospect for new business.”

“Rex and I talked about that a couple of days ago; he’s drawing up a work place and writing an advertisement.”

“Give him Maxine and promote her to deputy manager, new business and premium customer liaison and get a 50-year old replacement to keep Maxine calm because she knows what you do to your PAs.”

Dad didn’t grin.

“You’re serious about this, aren’t you?”

“Yes, she’s ready for bigger things.”

“Agreed. Could you kindly brief her, emphasizing this was your idea; I don’t want my eyes scratched out by a woman who thinks she’s been abandoned.”

Stella had the answer to that, twitching to be unleashed.

“Then go out hunting with her for an apartment this afternoon – you’ve been all talk and doing little.”

“Brilliant – you are thinking creatively today. Walk out and let me watch that butt.”

“Pervert.”

“Takes one to recognize one. Now that’s a very unladylike gesture Stella Allen.”  Dale called and old girlfriend in realty he knew specialized in apartments. He briefed Felicity to keep their former intimate association to herself.

Maxine flew into the office and on to Dale’s lap, kissing him excitedly. “When does, the promotion take effect?”

“Ask Stella.”

“Oh yes. She lies so beautifully, she had me almost convinced it was her idea.”

“It was her idea, entirely. It made sense. You impressed her and did such a good job on her I’m also impressed. I’m aware your time has arrived.”

That night in the pool-house at the Allen’s home, now acknowledged within the family that’s where the couple had the majority of their sexual relations, Dale and Maxine were both rather emotionally aroused over business dealings, Maxine’s promotion and the start to apartment-hunting.

They’d inspected four – Maxine was sold on all four but Dale liked none of them. He reckoned they all would be better than her present apartment so it was natural for her to like them all. He instructed Felicity to find four more to inspect next afternoon but all to be in the next price bracket.

After the warm up, feeling almost ready to burst, Maxine turned and lifted her hips, knowing he preferred Doggy. As he slipped into her very moist vagina she regretted she had decided not to tell him about her stockholding in Worthington Partners, her strategic move that had left her dizzy in excitement. She’d decided to tell him at a more appropriate been a great time. As she felt her release coming she fancied when he was about to climax would be a great time.

She experienced a great rush of excitement and as that surged through her she began squealing and humping back at him as if she had a firecracker burst under her.

“Sorry, I’ve been rather excited today,” she said.

Dale looked down the sofa in awe.

“All this from only you?  Wow! You know, I had the distinct feeling I was riding a wave.”

Pleased at that tribute, Maxine was unaware she had passed on her intention to tell him about her financial dealings.

Almost on nightfall Dale, Maxine and Felicity the real estate salesperson returned to the second of the four apartments they had inspected.  The two women was looking at the fading remains of the sky-hosted sunset and discussing summer fashions while Dale completed his minute and boring inspection.

“Shall we go?” he asked.

Disappointment flickered across of face of Felicity but nothing what compared with Maxine’s face. They following Dale out and were only half-interested in going for a drink. That changed when Dale lifted his Martini and toasted, “To our new apartment; sign us up please Felicity.”

When Felicity was leaving, Dale asked her for the entry card to the vacated apartment and the security code for the apartment’s alarm.

“I’m not supposed to do this,” Felicity said, giving Dale what he wanted as she’d done for most of their second year at university.

“I hope you two will be so happy here,” Felicity said, kissing both of them. “You are so right for Dale; please look after him.”

“Only an ex-girlfriend who parted on good terms would say something like that.”

“Ah at university darling…”

“Place that in the she-doesn’t-need-to-know bin Dale,” Maxine said lightly. “Let’s get to our unfurnished bedroom and fuck and then dinner – I’m starving.  Bye Felicity.”

 

Chapter 6

Twenty-one weeks after Rex joined A.F. Allen Advertising Ltd, he was seated at the board table presenting his plan for the company to seek a merger with Worthington & Associates.

The board comprised Alf, his three partners, Stella and Dale Allen and a lawyer and a public accountant as outside directors.

No outburst of surprise was expressed; indeed, the two outside directors who had only just learned of the proposal agreed cautiously it appeared to be a bold move. Five hours later, with the input of the outside professionals strengthening wording to try to keep project expenditure under control and tightening aspects of physical merger of the two companies and the officers of both companies who would form the Grievances and Resolution Committee, Dale was authorized to implement the initiative as planned.

During discussion, Dale had reported that Rex had discovered that discontent was still rife at Worthington’s with jealousies and bad-feeling amongst the two amalgamated teams continuing to flare-up and two key creative people who’d been with the original Worthington’s for several years had put out feelers to Allen Advertising about possible employment.

Of even greater interest, Rex and his small new business team had convinced seven of Worthington’s advertisers to switch to Allen’s including Worthington’s second and fifth largest spenders. They would make the switch within the next two to four months.

Dale appointed himself, Stella and Rex as the committee to initiate talks with Worthington & Associates and asked Maxine to join them as recorder but she surprisingly declined and when asked why not and simply shrugged and said she had an urgent appointment.

“Has she gone cold on the idea?” Stella asked.

“No, quite the reverse,” Dale said, mystified. “Oh well my new PA will take the position.”

Chairman Nick Worthington was only too happy for representatives of the two boards to meet to hear a proposal ‘of mutual interest.’

He checked with deputy-chairman Michael King who agreed and the date was set. Nick and Michael assumed A.F. Allen was looking to merge into the larger Worthington operation.

The exploratory talks were almost ended five minutes after they commence. When it was discovered that Dale Allen was proposing that Worthington & Associates be absorbed into A.F. Allen, Nick Worthington hit the roof in rage, calling it preposterous, an insult and a fucking absurdity.

“Point of order,” called his fellow director, Ivy Worthington.

“You have the floor Nancy,” Nick said, simmering.

“These two gentlemen and lady have come here to present a business proposal. While it may seem ridiculous we have agreed to meet them and are therefore obliged to hear them.”

The mutually-agreed chairman ruled Ivy’s point of order was correct and asked Nick to proceed, much to the relief of two other original Worthington directors and the three original King directors who remained after the merger to form the new board.

Michael King was a lawyer as well as vice-president of the larger advertising agency, being a creative and experienced person in the operation of print and film and now digital advertising.

‘Audacious’ became rather an over-worked work during general discussion.

Dale was invited to make his final address.

He gave new information: It was proposed the merger would spell the end to both existing companies and that the new company be called 21st Century Advertising Inc.

It was proposed that A. F. Allen be chairman, Michael King be chief executive, Dale Allen be deputy chief executive. Shirley Evans ex-Worthington would head the creative digital division and Stella Allen head the print media division.

It was proposed the director of operations in overall control of those two divisions be appointed by a six-person committee comprising three representatives from each of the executive directors of the two present companies with Nick Worthington being offered the chairman of that committee on salary for six months in which time he would also operate as an executive director in charge of managing the merger.

After six months, his association with the company would be terminated.

Dale concluded, “Rex, please hand out documentation of the merger plan you have designed.”

Stella had been watching Ivy throughout Dale’s presentation and knew Ivy was aware of that. What she’d seen had heartened her; Ivy’s little smile had never left her face.

Nick said, “As that completes this business I thank the deputation for coming here and thank my fellow directors for their courteous hearing they gave the deputation.”

 He then left the room, has face still looking thunderous.

“Please everyone stay – I’ll have drinks served,” Ivy called. “Never let it be said Worthington and Associates are not hospitable.”

“Rex darling, it is wonderful seeing you in such a senior position of responsibility after you were so unceremoniously dumped. As far as I’m concerned, this merger will proceed, after modifications no doubt, and as the largest minority shareholder in Worthington’s I shall ensure you regain a senior position in accordance to your ‘worthiness’.”

There was polite laughter but everyone on both sides was still stunned that Ivy had announced her support for the merger at such an early stage but even more astonishing had been her disclosure she was the largest minority shareholder; Nick always claimed he was third largest shareholder and that had been stated in annual reports.

Rex whispered to Dale, “What the heck; why is mum showing her hand so early.”

“My son,” Dale said, patting Rex who was the same age. “That’s because it’s payback time for your mother after the years of being dealt with contemptuously by your father. Don’t think it was because my dad fucked her when they were high school seniors and yet your father lied and denied that. Just regard that recent revelation as the final straw.”

 

Stella had a couple of drinks and visited the toilet. After peeing and making sure other booths were empty, she called Maxine, expecting it only to be a short call.

“We may have done it, almost bowled them over by our audacity.”

“Eeek,” Maxine shrieked.

“But darling, wait; that’s not all. As expected Nick remained hostile and left as soon as he closed the meeting. But up pops Ivy and blithely announces she’s for the merger in principle, and wants a big comeback for Rex.”

“Yeah!”

“But wait darling, there’s more. My fucking darling mother-in-law-to-be Ivy Worthington announced she’s the largest minority shareholder in Worthington & Associates.”

“Omigod, do you know what this means?”

Not waiting for a reply Stella said, “If it’s true it means we have a large foot in the door.”

There was silence.

“Maxine, are you there?”

“Yes, I think you better sit down.”

“I’m leaning against the washbasin stand. So, you’re pregnant.”

“No, please don’t divert me; this is very difficult for me.”

“Oh God, what’s happened?”

“I recently acquired a 21% shareholding in Worthington & Associates.”

“Darling, you’re kidding me, right? Their directors would never sell, optimistic um more or less about increasing their wealth.”

“I acquired the shares of one of the silent partners.”

Stella was shaken and asked Maxine if she were on medication. Told no, she asked Maxine had she flipped because it easily cost two million bucks perhaps much more to acquire the interests of a silent partner.

“It did.”

“Oh, come on Maxine…um, you don’t sound hysterical or stupid. You are telling my something you want me to believe, aren’t you?”

“Yes.”

“And you’re not crying.”

“Not yet but I am now, Maxine said bursting into tears. “Dale knows nothing about this.”

“Oh fuck, you poor darling. I’m coming to be with you.”

Sobbing, Maxine insisted Stella stay and rub shoulders. Come back with Rex as well as Dale – Rex might stop me being hit.”

“Dale will reel but he won’t hit you, that I promise. Ask Mrs Cousins to arrange a mini banquet for us in Dale’s office. Smarten up and we say nothing of this until we’ve eaten. Dale is practically useless on a full stomach of food and drink, doing little more than smile as you will know by now.”

Maxine said her block of shares along with Ivy’s probably meant the merger bid was unstoppable.

“I realize that darling. Chin up. We will be with you exactly one hour from now.”

*  *

At almost 7:00 the foursome was having a lovely time together, full of food and drink. Maxine felt very much under control and Stella told her she looked fine.

Stella said, “Sit back and relax guys, Maxine has something to say to you Dale but take it on the chin. In my view. she had no option but to play it as she saw it.

For Dale, he looked quite nervous.

“Have you had an abortion?”

“No, a thousand times no,” Maxine said quite calmly, surprising Stella who’d been ready for her to scream hysterically, it being about the worst thing Dale could have said to Maxine.

“Just listen please, Dale.”

The three of them listened in increasing wide-eyed wonder especially when Maxine came to the bit when she said she’d spent a little over of $2 million for the acquisition.

“How did you get your hands on that amount of money?” Dale asked quietly.

“I didn’t rob a bank, if that’s what you mean. Mainly through growth of an inheritance from my maternal grandmother some nine years ago, which had been professionally managed for me and that was boosted four years ago, with another inheritance of an old house on land that had become commercially zoned, I liquidated all my investments to acquire that bundle of stock.”

“Okay, so it may have left you with the balance of power in the advent of too much resistance against us, silent partners having a say in final negotiations in the advent of a substantial change to company financial structure,” Dale said. “But what I don’t understand is why you didn’t tell me; you could have trusted me to keep my mouth shut? Further, what you have done borders on tantamount to illegal trading although because you have no pecuniary interest with our company beyond being on the payroll and don’t hold a partnership or executive standing, you should be in the clear.”

Maxine said she had no wish to drop a bundle in switching investments so had sought expert advice and then worked out strategy. She’d reasoned that it was best not to advise Dale once she obtained the stock because she wanted him at his aggressive best, knowing he’d have to fight an uphill battle to achieve his objective.”

“A hungry man fights harder than a fat and fed man,” Stella offered.

The laughter eased tension.

Maxine said she’d often heard booted around that it was necessary to have a backup plan to fall back on.

“We had such a plan went CC&H was the target, but I never heard one mentioned when the Worthington bid was being discussed.”

“We would have been so bloodied had we failed once the word leaked out we would have been the joke of the month in the city and well beyond,” Dale said. “But to be honest, the real reason was early in the piece Rex and I agreed we give everything to bag Worthington and should we fail we’d have to roll over and accept Worthington’s reverse take-over bid should one eventuate.”

“So, it’s all boys’ games,” Stella said scowling.

“Attempted revenge,” Rex said. “I didn’t ask for that but Dale kept building me up on that point saying a father who treated a son like my father did was an arsehole and deserved to be slapped if not killed. I fancied he really meant stopped; not murdered.”

Stella asked, “Stopped or killed Dale. I want the truth.”

“Stopped of course; I’m not a fucking idiot.”

“Please don’t use that work when a lady is present.”

“Ladies,” Dale said, looking at Stella and correcting her.

“Oh darling, how gallant,” Stella sighed, drawing a hand across her forehead.

Dale thanked Stella for her diversion; it had allowed him to cool down.

He smiled at Maxine. “All you were doing was arranging a backup plan for me, uninvited I’d point out, but one which would give is a mighty go-forward boost if the shyte hit the fan. You are an amazing woman and if it weren’t for your money I’d ask you to marry me.”

“Ask!”

“I’m half pissed; you wouldn’t believe it was genuine.”

“Ask,” Maxine insisted.

“Maxine Clough, will you marry me and accompany me tomorrow to buy an engagement ring?”

“Yes, oh yes. Oh darling, thank you for not making me wait ten years.”

While Maxine was buried in Dale’s hug, Rex announced they were out of liquor.

“Coffee is fine,” Maxine said, breaking off a kiss.

“Yes, coffee is fine Rex; it was your suggestion so please go and make it.”

“My suggestion?” Rex protested. “I didn’t suggest coffee.”

“Are you calling a lady a liar,” Stella glared.

“I’m off to make coffee,” Rex said, “but only because you are too pissed to get out of that low chair Stella.”

*  *

The next evening Rex, Stella, Dale and Maxine went out to dinner; Dale had called Ivy and invited she and Rick to a business dinner that evening and named his four companions. Ivy said they welcomed the invitation but when she arrived unaccompanied she scowled and explained Rick had chosen to have dinner at his club.

Over drinks, Ivy began discussing the proposal, saying she’d had a meeting of fellow directors and not surprisingly the chairman found he was unable to attend. Sadly, she learned that she would fall well shy of the necessary two-thirds majority required to carry the proposed merger once negotiated to the satisfaction of all parties.

“Unfortunately, Nick beat me to the other directors last night and won their allegiance and no doubt has been to the two silent investors and wrapped them up. What we must do now is try to pick them off, one by one but leave it until they have digested the proposal fully.”

Dale asked did she think she could swing the deal.

“Yes, if I can win over at least one of the two silent partners. Most of the executive directors will back the side that appears to have the majority; they hold their allocated loyalty stock in the hope of increasing their personal wealth.”

Dale smiled at looked kindly at Ivy.

“If Rex had not been unceremoniously dumped in the initial merger, this probably would never have happed. I was keen to return A & B Allen to number one spot and that would have happened with a merger with BB&H providing if we came out on top in negotiations.”

“But Ivy keep this under your hat. I have been authorized to confirm to this small group here that one of the silent investment companies registered as Shingle Bottom Nominees has confirmed interest in the proposed merger and if that off stands we will have all its voting rights recorded in favour of the proposal.”

“Omigod, we can’t lose,” Ivy screeched, her face red in excitement.

“I’ve won, I’ve secured my revenge and if Nicholas arrives ready to ask forgiveness I’ll happily take him back without asking him to crawl and lick my feet, although on the other hand I may ask him to lick my feet because he used to be very good at that.”

“But now we have other business to discuss,” Ivy said. “By that I mean there are plans for two weddings up for discussion. Let us have details please.”

 

The End


© Copyright 2017 Grigor McGregor. All rights reserved.

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