But before any of us can reply, the conversation and our late lunch end because suddenly there’s a great bit of commotion happening throughout the house, with an alarming amount of yelling and running about by security…Dominique sits quietly and asks, seemingly into the ether, “Ceci, did security not get the alert?”
From the ether, we all hear Ceci’s reply, “They did, but just now—he’s an hour early—sorry, I just about had everything locked down…with this one exception noted.”
“Got it. Thanks.” Dominique replies. Apparently signing off…The commotion comes to an end, just as suddenly as it had commenced. We all stare at Dominique and wait for her to do something. She sits, with her head cocked slightly to the left, and once she hears what she must have been waiting for, the sound of a helicopter coming into range, she stands up, excuses herself from the table, and heads out toward the helipad…Us four men follow her like a pack of trained dogs…Dominique’s our packleader, and we’re good little doggies, each and every one of us.
Sebastian arrives with a lot more luggage than most guys need for a weekend getaway. None of us would’ve been surprised at the quantity and size of the suitcases if Sebastian’s wife Eve was along, (she’s the queen of overpacking.) But he, (for obvious reasons) was alone—this was definitely not the type of party where plus-ones are invited along for the ride.
“What’s in the suitcase? A body?” I joke as I almost lose my footing lifting an unexpectedly heavy and oversized piece of luggage out of the helicopter for Sebastian. He assumes I’m still on duty…I don’t bother to correct him quite yet as Ceci’s nowhere in sight.
“Funny…No, it’s something way more interesting.” Sebastian calmly replies, ignoring my attempt at a joke.
OK, now I’m definitely curious—so I try to draw out some additional information by teasing Sebastian, “Really, I thought J.R. was the only one who traveled with interesting things in his suitcase?”
“Sorry to disappoint you Milton—it’s not as kinky as J.R’s things, but it is more interesting…It’s a special request. Dominique asked me to hand-deliver the package myself.”
Archer follows-up with, “So you’re not going to tell us what’s in the bag?”
“Not until she gives me the green light.”
“OK. So, anyway, why are you here today?” I ask Sebastian, still wondering about the change in his schedule…He’s very particular, it’s out of character for him to change his schedule. “We weren’t expecting you until tomorrow.”
Obviously irritated, he replies brusquely, “Eve threw me out. I’m homeless again.”
“Well, I guess that would explain why you’re here a day early. I’m assuming Ceci knows you’re here?”—Subtly letting him know I wasn’t technically a servant, but one of her men, equally.
“Where is she?” He demands.
None of us had realized that Dominique had made her way back to the house until we hear the music. We instinctively turn toward the house, and instantly realize the answer. She’d slipped away and most likely taken the stairs to her fourth floor retreat where we see her waving and blowing air kisses from the wrap-around balcony. The strains of ‘What Lola Wants’ drifting down on the breeze, to meet us boys at the helipad. Both Archer and Godfrey laugh. J.R. immediately heads back to the house on foot and Ceci (finally!) arrives with a golf cart to take the rest of us, and Sebastian’s luggage back to the house in comfort. I’m not sure what type of game Dominique’s playing, but I’m pretty sure Sebastian’s her new victim…
Sebastian was the last to arrive, but apparently the only one prepared. It’s his suitcase full of cash that starts the whole thing. To give you a little background on him, he’s a first generation Italian-American soccer star. He was born in Italy, but raised in the States. His father was a lifelong civil servant attached to the Italian consulate in Chicago. Sebastian’s also a retired Olympian, who now makes a living as a sports agent. Dominique met him a few years ago when he was setting up offices in the U.S. (Miami, Los Angeles and NYC.) She helped him open the offices, and entertain clients. In case you were wondering, when it came to clients, she just entertained in public, she only “entertained” Sebastian privately. He helped her acquire homes in Miami and Santa Barbara. To this day, he still pays for her estate in Florida.
You’re probably wondering, (as I am) how he knew something was up. I’ve unearthed the following information since the end of that weekend…I’m sure it’s not the complete picture, but it at least gives us a glimpse into what really happened….Oddly enough, Sebastian’s the only one of her boys (at least of the five of us there that week) who’s active on social media.—Aware as we all are of her proclivity for playing games, and especially playing her men against one another—Sebastian did some planning of his own. You would’ve thought that J.R. (as the youngin’) would’ve been more active online. However, his main business is real estate, and those clients aren’t particularly internet savvy—so J.R. didn’t bother (until recently) to be either. He’d only just started to step up his online game—ICO and institutional investors are a different breed and completely new territory for him. J.R. needs to raise some serious cash from these new investors so he can level up.
But back to Dominique—she dropped hints to the puzzle throughout her media blitz for months, perhaps years. I’m under contractual obligation to not disclose the actual clues (I know about a few but I’m sure there were more…as one of her boys, I wouldn’t be privy to everything she’d planned.) She wasn’t playing checkers, chess, or even 3D chess as the men were. She was playing a wholly new game, devised specifically to meet her wanton need for control over the most powerful men in the world.
Dominique meets us at the bottom of the stairs, but only greets Sebastian. After the traditional European double air kiss, he looks at her disapprovingly and scowls, “You cut your hair!”
She replies with an obviously rehearsed answer, “It makes me look younger, wouldn’t you agree?” Sebastian just shakes his head. Speechless, and frankly too tired from travel and arguing with Eve to argue with Dominique, he allows her to manipulate him. He can always be himself, and even a little bit vulnerable around her. That’s why their relationship works. What she likes about Sebastian is he’s 100% man—testosterone fueled and dominant but not in a creepy “do as I tell you to do” way. Regarding their relationship, she once told me “it’s nice to let go sometimes—in a safe place—with someone you can trust. It’s wonderful to feel fully feminine.” Apparently she trusts Sebastian implicitly and completely.
In typical cocktail party mode, Godfrey comments, “Your break-up is surprising Sebastian. From what I understand, you’ve always been faithful to Eve…at least when you’re not separated.”
Dominique corrects Godfrey’s assumption, “Except for that one night in Wisconsin.”
“Oh, so there was a night in Wisconsin?”
“Just one, it’s all he ever needed to decide he really wanted his marriage to work. Sebastian is not the type of man to make a mistake more than once. It’s true, other than that one night, we only ever sleep together when they’re separated.”
Archer asks for clarification, “So, you’re the only woman Sebastian ever cheated on Eve with?”
“Yes…actually, I am…and—Yeah—I do have that effect on men. He’s certainly not the first married man to get in trouble because of me.”
“What were you doing in Wisconsin anyway?” This time it was my turn for a question.
Very sincerely Dominique replies, “Not paying taxes in Illinois.”
Loudly and with a good humor, Godfrey responds, “Ha! That’s hysterical. I suppose, what’s the difference—everyone knows you register your car at your summer residence.”
“Yep”…She laughs with obvious amusement, “Me, every other smart person, and every politician in the area do it. The only difference between the move the populace and the politicians make is the politicians have to first put the vehicle in a relative’s name so it can’t ‘technically’ be traced back to them…You know, the Jesse Jackson Jr. model. After living in Illinois, and especially in Chicago for awhile, you realize just how corrupt the crooks in Springfield are so you no longer feel morally (or is it ethically?) obligated to follow their laws—If the people making the laws don’t believe in the Rule of Law…why should I? When your third governor in recent history is sent to prison, you just kind of give up on assuming anyone in the government is acting on anyone’s behalf (besides their own.)”
“Understandable…Is that when you became a Libertarian?” Godfrey asks, “I know you’re registered to vote in several wards…So I’m assuming all those Gary Johnson votes were yours.”
Dominique makes a face at Godfrey and replies “It’s so adorable, that you think you’re funny…But to answer your legitimate question—There’s a list of reasons why I became a Libertarian. It’s true, I was still living in Chicago when I became a big “L” Libertarian, so I guess you could say the corruption sent me over the edge—I joined the LIbertarian Party of Illinois only months before my move back to Wisconsin.”
I ask, noticing a pattern for the first time. “Why does everything come back to Wisconsin with you?”
“Why, whatever do you mean?” Dominique asks, batting her eyelashes at me.
“Your first date with Archer was in Madison, and now we find out your first date with Sebastian was in Milwaukee…Not to mention you just admitted that you avoided paying taxes by living in Wisconsin…It just seems like a bit of a coincidence, and I know you know Gibbs’ Rule #39.”
“There is no such thing as a coincidence.” She answers, before I could get the quote out of my mouth. “I know…And there isn’t…and just for the record, I wasn’t avoiding paying taxes, I just decided it was unnecessary to pay considerably more, to live 80 miles southeast of the lake house.”
I press Dominique for an answer, “So, what is the deal with you and Wisconsin?”
“You’re not going to tell me?”
“No…But, maybe I’ll let you beat it out of me—the next time I’m really naughty.”
“Gaaah!” She can be so frustrating. Sometimes I wonder if she just can’t help herself, or if it’s part of her strategy.
“OK everyone,“ Dominique exclaims, “off to bed!…I want everyone rested and recuperated for dinner tonight.” As ordered, we all disburse to our assigned suites.