It All Started With a Suitcase Full of Cash (#iaswasfoc) Chapter 9 - What do you do if you don't have sex?

2019-01-01T02:53:18.000Z Honest Cash

I walk into the main dining room and J.R. is already there. He nods hello and notes, “I see, as expected, Dominique spent all night with Archer…I need to ask you—as her assistant, you have to know what the fuck do they do if they don’t have sex?”

“You’re right, it’s not a complete mystery to me. Although you should be grateful you haven’t been forced to watch the video…trust me when I say—you don’t want to know. Even if I thought you wouldn’t be scarred by the images, (but you would be)…I won’t do that to you—I’m actually quite fond of you. Even then, unfortunately, I’m contractually obligated to keep their secret. (Not that you would believe me without seeing the video yourself.) What I can say is—even though she always spends at least one evening alone with Archer when they’re together, the rumors are true…they never have intercourse. (Although I don’t particularly believe her claim that they never had sex.) I suggest you take Sebastian’s approach. He speculates that her night with Archer is her “night off’ from excitement. It’s not exactly the truth, but it is definitely a change from her usual, busy sexual routine.”

I turn toward the open double doors because I can hear them talking in the hallway, “But why don’t you ask them yourself?”

Dominique and Archer enter the room hand in hand and head directly to the other end of the table where Dominique takes her position at the head of the table (of course.) He flinches as J.R. slaps him on the back in a joshing sort of greeting as Archer walks past us on his way to his assigned seat at her right hand. “What’s wrong old man? Did she do you a little rough last night?”

“I’m sore…just sore from my workout—I lifted at the club before flying over and I guess I overdid it.”

J.R. continues to kid Archer about being a middle-aged man, “Why workout so hard? At your age it’s ok to have a little pot belly. I’m assuming that’s why you always leave your shirt on—isn’t it? Unless you want to compare abs…but I’m pretty sure I’d win that contest.”

(Someone must have gotten a good night’s sleep last night, he’s a bit cocky.)

Being (mostly) sober, I decide to sidestep yet another discussion about whose abs are the best—(it does seem to be the theme for the weekend) by asking, “What I really want to know, barring Archer’s “soreness” today, is how it is you two always look refreshed and rested?—I know neither of you slept at all last night. Did you make some sort of deal with the Devil to always look good?”

Without missing a beat, Dominique replies, “Actually, the Devil is a devious fellow—if you do your research you’ll learn—everyone who decides to do evil, manifests ill health and disease in themselves, and often even in their loved ones…There’s a reason why the archetypal villain is a scarred individual, psychologically, and often physically as well…Conversely, Archer and I spend time in meditation which is the physical equivalent of suspended animation—it’s why you quite often hear stories of gurus and saints, especially in the yogic traditions, who don’t appear to age. It’s also a more restful state than sleep—as is self-hypnosis, which is another key component to our…well, for lack of a better way to describe it, I guess you could call it, our ritual pursuit of the metaphysical.”

I don’t know why I ask questions I don’t actually want to know the answer to—I suppose it’s the same reason why people are compelled to gape at a car accident. At least the answer, although somewhat cryptic, was enlightening as far as I don’t have to be concerned about her having ‘gone over to the dark side,’ so to speak. Unless the misdirect was part of the plan. (I should really start reading something other than books about magicians—and find someone else to do research for her on radical Islam.) Perhaps I should clear my head with an erotic business novel or two—it would at least be entertaining and potentially educational…and the library is, of course, fully stocked with stacks of the books Dominique’s written throughout the years. She’s rather prolific…publishing on average two books a years, in addition to training materials for her girls, her health and wellness blog along with every word of the advertising for all of her companies. (She doesn’t trust anyone else to get the messaging perfect.)

I can’t help but think that J.R.’s sales dog is definitely a bulldog as he quickly redirects the conversation back to his original, burning, dying to know question, ”Why don’t you two just have sex?”

Archer replies this time, “It’s a little more complicated than that. ”We read, meditate, discuss life, love, and art (Among other, more interesting things.) Sometimes Dominique helps me walk through a difficult business problem I’m having. Basically, it’s my chance to discuss anything I like, with someone I trust implicitly, without any judgment. That and there is some fun…there are things Dominique can do for me that my wife can’t.”

“Let me try to explain it in terms you might understand,” Dominique interjects, smiling coyly at Archer while holding his hand across the table, “You have to understand that my main sexual need is for control, and Archer’s key sexual proclivity is anticipation, and when those two things are put together, they form a perfect storm for the transmutation of sexual desire.”

Clearly not versed on the concept, J.R. counters, “But why bother transcending sex?”

Archer chimes in again, “When I was younger, I witnessed too many of my friends get in trouble for doing what they shouldn’t be doing, especially with women they shouldn’t be doing anything with. My father warned me about Dominique, although I still don’t know how he knew we were dating. We were beyond discreet. It doesn’t matter though, ultimately she turned me down.”

Dominique, looking uncharacteristically upset by Archer’s explanation, quickly counters his assertion, “Hold on a minute, it’s not like I just wasn’t that into you…OK—so it’s exactly like that, just not for the reason you think.”

“What reason do you think I thought?” Archer did not seem amused either. Not a good sign. Nor a great way to kick-off a party.

“It doesn’t matter. The only real reason I wasn’t with you was because I never wanted children.”

“It can’t be that simple? There’s so much more to the story.”

“You’re right—there is more…but it’s irrelevant. The only thing that mattered was I was never going to have children—and you not only wanted a family, but you were obligated to produce a male legacy who could carry on the Taylor name.”

“I always thought there was more to it than that. It seems pretty petty to turn someone down, just because you don’t want children. I mean, what really would have been the harm if you had?” I couldn’t tell through his perfectly calm exterior if Archer was irritated, upset, or something else.

“I knew I could never be a parent without being abusive. I hadn’t learned to control my anger yet. At that point in my life, to be honest, I wasn’t sure I would ever be able to subjugate my anger. Unfortunately, as I saw it then, the only logical conclusion to the ‘get married and have children’ scenario for me was—I grow to hate you—my husband, resent our children—and eventually kill myself…Hopefully, if you were lucky, I’d only take myself out, but I couldn’t guarantee it.”

“That’s terrifying.” I can see fear starting to show through a crack in Archer’s veneer.

“Imagine how I felt…I couldn’t tell you the real reason we couldn’t be together—it would have been cruel. I thought it was more humane for me to flat out reject you…and hope you just blamed my immaturity. I was still pretty young at the time.”

“That’s why you always said, ‘I’m just not that type of girl? That’s what you were referring to?” It was painful watching Archer, who was always composed, quite obviously go through a whole range of emotions, I can only imagine that none of them were particularly pleasant.

“Now you see the truth. I’m sorry, I should have been more specific, or at least have given you an explanation—but I didn’t know how to articulate it at the time.”

Just as it was about to come crashing to the floor, Dominique gently takes the coffee cup from Archer’s beautifully formed but shaking hand where it remained delicately suspended in the air halfway between the table and his mouth…I’d never seen a man look so broken before. We ate for a while in silence and eventually Archer was able to compose himself. Dominique notices the shift and scoots her chair over next to Archer and playfully nudges him on the shoulder until he grabs her and pulls her into his lap.

Dominique laughs and squirms and doesn’t settle down until he finally kisses her long and hard on the lips. (The first time I’d ever seen them do it in public!) I’m pretty sure J.R. has the same awed and confused look on his face as I know I do, but I’m too captivated by Archer’s uncharacteristically casual demeanor that I simply can’t look away. Eventually Dominique straightens up and pulls down her skirt which had hiked all the way up her thigh during all that wriggling around on Archer’s lap. Smiling not-so-innocently, she looks Archer in the eyes and asks him, “Remember our first date?”

“Of course I do!” He beamed back down at her, “How could I ever forget?”

“Poking him carefully with a pointed finger in the chest, she playfully replies, “Hey—that’s my line!”

They kiss again and Dominique asks Archer, “Is it OK if I tell them the story?”

“Sure, I’m not sure why it’s such a secret, after all these years…and after your confession earlier, it’s the least interesting part of our public discussions so far this week.”

After witnessing what I can only describe as some sort of breakthrough, (or, breakdown?) I’m relieved Archer’s willing to lighten the mood by letting Dominique tell us the rather ridiculous story of their first date…but first, I couldn’t help but comment, “You two have a very…’unusual’ definition of the term ‘interesting’…don’t you?”

“Oh, Milton, you sound like you’re jealous. Everyone’s relationship is weird from the outside, what would people think of what you, J.R. and I do on a regular basis? Besides, Archer’s been part of my life since I was practically a baby and he’s sweet enough to still indulge me in some of my childhood fantasies.” Dominique flirted with both of us, simultaneously, but somehow in a way that didn’t evoke jealousy. There was enough of her for all of her men…or at least for the three of us at the table today. J.R. stays out of the conversation—he’s learned not to ask questions he doesn’t want to know the answer to…and to not get into no win situations with her. I don’t think it would’ve been helpful or healthy anyway for either J.R. or I to ask about what she meant by ‘childhood fantasies’…I have to remember to stay away from that topic in the future.

Dominique continued, “I received an invitation to an art gallery opening in Madison, so (as I usually did) I, of course, went. Besides, it gave me the opportunity to visit my friend Phillip who I hadn’t seen in a while. He was one of the few of my friends who would meet me when I would drive into Chicago to go shopping and Phil was also almost always up for a road trip. He’s a bit of a philosophy nerd, so it was fun to hang out with him. Plus, he’d tolerate my shopping, as long as I treated him to lunch, (and he got to choose the discussion topics.)”

“Wait, how old were you? Didn’t you two date when you were a teenager?” J.R. asked, astutely noticing an inherent inconsistency…How many teenagers do you know that get invited to art gallery openings?

“I was sixteen…Why do you ask?”

“You went to art galleries when you were sixteen?”

“Yes. My grandmother was a rather famous artist, regionally at least, so I had been attending shows since I was a kid. I didn’t think anything of it at the time, although I have a feeling my darling Archer here, may have had something to do with the invite, (not that he’s ever admitted it…I’ll just leave the conspiracy theories up to you two.)”

“But Iet me get back to the story…As I said, I drove up to Madison with my buddy Phillip and went to the opening. What I didn’t know, and here is where things get interesting, what I didn’t realize, until I was inside the gallery and looking at the exhibit, was that I was featured in one of the photographs. I didn’t realize the other photographer in the show was one I had done some modeling for the year before. She’d recruited me the previous summer when she was taking street scenes of my hometown. I was curious about photography and noticing her professional equipment, I introduced myself and we chatted for a while. Eventually, she asked me to do some studio work, which although I was never really great at, I was happy to do…I never much enjoyed being an actress, and that’s basically what a model is…Anyway, imagine my shock, when I came face to face with a near life size vision of myself on the street, from the day I had met the photographer…It was disorienting, to say the least. I didn’t know the photograph was in existence. On top of that, it was during the period of my life where I had just started purchasing and destroying every photo I could find of myself—even family photos. I didn’t want to ever reminisce about how ‘I used to be so beautiful,’ as both my grandmothers did regularly. So of course I had to have this one—but before I could put in my bid for purchase, guess who sauntered up to me?” Dominique took a quick break from telling the story to glance at Archer who was, for once, the one with an evil grin on his face…”What was the line you used?” She asked Archer directly.

I believe it was, “What a beautiful piece of art. I want it.”

“And then you turned to me and asked me what I thought. I know you didn’t like my reply, not that it mattered…because in the end, you won.”

“What did you say?” I have to ask, knowing that if I don’t get them back on track, we’ll never get to the end of the story.

Dominique replies, “I told Archer I’d like to destroy it.”

“What’d he do?” J.R. could barely wait for a response.

“Well, Archer had quite a response to that. He emphatically stated that ‘I couldn’t do that!’ And reintroduced himself by his full name…thinking, perhaps, that would have some gravitas, as I obviously hadn’t recognized him….I surprised him though when I responded, ‘I know.’ Seeming a bit off his game he simply responded, ‘you do?’ Knowing I had the upper-hand, (now that my initial panic attack triggered by unexpectedly seeing both the photo and Archer, had subsided.) I couldn’t help but tease Archer a bit by responding with the truth, ‘How could I ever forget you?’—Well, that worked.”

I couldn’t help but comment myself, “Oh, boy…and Archer thought he was the one with the winning line.”

“Yes, occasionally I do surprise my men.” Dominique says with a wink and some sarcasm.

“Although Archer did talk me into a lot of things that night…He can be very persuasive when he wants to be…The whole charismatic youngest sibling thing and all (I get it, I have a younger brother.) Which, speaking of siblings, is (I’m assuming) how Archer knew about the photos…his sister is friends with the photographer.

“I’m not sure I believe that your brother Dominik is more charismatic than you…I haven’t met him, but that seems a bit far-fetched.” J.R. states.

“Actually, he’s three years younger than me, and until I left my hometown, unless I knew someone through Archer or Godfrey, most people knew me as ‘Dominik’s sister’…We’re both very charismatic, just in different ways. I prefer to be more private than public.”

Dominique pauses for a second then continues, “OK, enough about my private life. Let’s get back to how extremely adept Archer is at persuading me to do things…Other than Dominik, he’s the only man I’ve ever had a hard time saying no to.”

I had to challenge Dominique on that statement, “Based on your earlier confession, I thought you didn’t have a problem saying no to Archer.”

“Just because something is the right thing to do, it doesn’t automatically make it the easy thing to do. You know that, Milton.”

“You’re right.” Dominique knew I wasn’t about to pursue that line of questioning. “So what did Archer talk you into doing, on that fateful day.”

“Not to be as dramatic as Milton, but the first thing Archer did to me that day was convince me to, rather than destroy the photo, to let him have it and all the negatives for his ‘private use.’ (Whatever the hell that meant.) I, of course, agreed—Archer is very charming, and I do adore him, even though I do also enjoy torturing him, just a little bit…because I can.”

Dominique pauses to smile at and kiss Archer before continuing, “The only mistake I made that day was I didn’t stipulate that he couldn’t share the photos with anyone. But, to be honest, I never thought he would. I wasn’t concerned…I didn’t know what he was going to do with the damn things. I assumed maybe he’d put the photo behind a piece of furniture, or maybe in the archives along with other negatives in the family’s library, I never considered he’d keep the negatives in his desk drawer and put the photo on display in his office.”

I had to confirm, “So, that’s where the famous portrait came from?”

“Well, it’s not a portrait, but, yes…you’ve both seen it—so you know what the 15-year-old version of me looked like.”

“I thought you were sixteen?” J.R. again, thinking he’s really on the ball today.

“Not when the photo was taken, it was from the summer before—remember.”

Recovering quickly from his misstep J.R. asks, “So, what you’re sayin’ is that now we all know Archer keeps kiddie porn in his office?”

“It’s not kiddie porn. It’s art. By an established artist…and I was older at the time than many models are today…It’s only creepy because he still has the photo on display…I guess it’s hard to give up the ghost of the one who got away.”

“I never stopped loving you, even though you flat out rejected me.” Archer interjected.

“This sounds like every wife’s worst nightmare—having a husband still in contact with his one unrequited love.” J.R. mentions before realizing what he’s said. ‘Sorry, Milton, I wasn’t thinking. But, wait, Dominique, wasn’t this the story of your first date with Archer?” Thank God. I have to give it to J.R., he does know how to move a conversation along….I was getting curious too…But, I also know Archer and Dominique’s relationship is the definition of complicated so I wasn’t particularly surprised that there’s a detour or two along the way. I just really didn’t necessarily need the gory details.

Dominique picks up the story where she’d left off, “After Archer purchased the photo (and I’d checked the paperwork to ensure that it included ‘all related works, negatives, and other works in progress,’) he asked me if I’d like to go somewhere for coffee after the show. I (obviously) replied that I would, because (for some reason) I did everything he wanted me to do that day…I told Archer that I just needed to check with Phillip, because we had driven up together…and here’s the point in the story, where I started to get a little suspicious…Phillip said he’d be happy to hang out. He even offered to just wait in my car if I gave him the keys so he could listen to a few new mix tapes that he’d brought along…Something he’d never done before, not even on long road trips…So, I was slightly suspicious, not that I really cared, nor was I willing to dwell on the oddity of it because things were working out really well for me as far as Archer was concerned. I was also thrilled because I was under the (mistaken) assumption that no one besides Archer would ever know what I’d looked like as a 15 year old, without having to go through the effort of digging up an old high school yearbook. This was before the digital era, so you would’ve had to actually go to the school library or track down a classmate to find a copy.”

Fortunately, Dominique only pauses to take a breath, and not to stop and kiss Archer this time. Their sudden, newly found need for public displays of affection is starting to get on my nerves. “Things were going really well…until the gallery was about to close, anyway. About fifteen minutes out from the doors closing, Archer comes and finds me and asks, ‘Can you give me ten minutes?’ I’m like, sure. Of course. No problem.’…and then he tells me, ‘I just have to dump my girlfriend.’”

“What!” J.R. and I exclaim simultaneously.

“Yeah, so I’m like—’um…don’t do that, I mean we don’t even know if we like each other that way, we haven’t even been on a date yet.’ (I didn’t want to be a homewrecker.”)

We all turn to look at Archer. He shrugs, but doesn’t comment, so I ask the obvious question, “Ah, since when have you NOT been a homewrecker?”

“Since I was a good girl back then—Archer ruined me.”

“I ruined you!” That got a response. “Do you realize what you did to me? You’re the only one I ever wanted—and I couldn’t have you.”

“You could have kept me, just not as your wife. I was comfortable with being your mistress—you were the one who needed more from me than I could offer. I know I was the first one you asked to marry you….and I appreciate that you waited for me. But you know just as well as I do that without negative, life-altering compromises, it wouldn’t have ever worked out well for either of us—I could never do that to you. I love you too much.”

Without noticing that two of us are, after this revelation, in shock, Dominique simply continues on with the story, “Archer, the sweetheart that he is, quickly reassured me by saying, ’It’s OK, she‘s not someone who’s important to me.’ Which I later learned was guy code for ‘This is the chick I’m sleeping with…but I can’t really stand to be around when we’re not in bed.’ Who knew she wasn’t really human?”

I would comment on that comment, but I’m speechless.

“Back up!” J.R. commands. “Did you just say Archer asked you to marry him?”

“Well, yes…I thought everyone knew that by now.”

“No. That’s not actually common knowledge.” I reply, regaining my ability to speak.

Archer asks Dominique, “Do you remember what you asked me in reply, to my proposal?”

“Of course, how could I forget?” Of course, how could she reply otherwise. “I asked you, ‘But why me?’”

“Because you’re so beautiful.” Archer replies in real time, and I assume this was his original response.

Dominique immediately confirms my suspicion when she replies, “The funny thing is, if you’d given me any other answer, I may have given you a different answer in return. It was the last thing I cared about…My beauty is inherited, I have no control over it…and as we all know…I need to be in control. I discounted my beauty as an asset because it wasn’t something I had created myself. This was before I understood the correlation between beauty as a proxy for brains as the means for signaling to men with means, this is the type of woman you want to marry. If you had tried one more time—I would have said yes—I’d changed my mind within the week…But fortunately you didn’t, because it would’ve also been a mistake. Our relationship would’ve ended—badly—within the year you proposed we spend together during our engagement. I wasn’t mentally prepared…I thought I was too weak to handle everything, time has proved, I wasn’t too weak to handle anything (this was just a year before I was kidnapped.)…But I also couldn’t ever live under your father’s rules for the next 25 years until you took over Taylor—not without eventually snapping.”

All of her men were silent, so Dominique went back to her original story, “Archer and I left the gallery, and he left her there. I asked him about it later, and he told me that she had friends in the area. So it’s not like he just completely abandoned her somewhere in the middle of Wisconsin to go off, wandering the streets of Madison, in search of coffee with me.”

“No.” J.R. has to call BS. “It’s exactly like you left her there, to go in search of coffee with Dominique. Not that I blame you, Dominique may claim you’re the persuasive one Archer, but…I know that move is closer to Dominique’s M.O. than yours. I thought you were a better person Archer.”

“You didn’t really just leave her there did you?” I ask Archer directly. I had to confirm this bit of the story for myself. Even Dominique doesn’t bother to harass other women…and I’d never heard of Archer being anything other than a gentleman.

“Actually, I did. She was annoying…and frankly not that great of a piece of ass. I was heading home before returning to school on Monday, and I didn’t want to be stuck with her for the entire weekend.”

“Oh, so I did you a favor. I think you owe me one.” Dominique posits, never one to miss an opportunity.

“I think you, young lady, are all caught up on favors.” Archer responds, kissing her lightly on the forehead.

With a pout, she replies, “Can’t hurt a girl to ask?”

Dominique jumps up out of Archer’s lap and says with a flourish, “So that, my friends, is the infamous story of our first date. It’s also why any woman Archer is with freaks out when I show up. It’s been his M.O. since that day to come and find me whenever he’s ready to end the relationship he’s in…even billionaires need a back-up plan.” Finally—they were back to acting like their normal weird selves again.

“So, by ‘getting coffee’ you really mean making out, right?” I’m glad J.R. asks the question I was thinking.

“Well, not exactly. We did consider making out in his Beemer, but that would’ve been illegal. We did do some things that are way more ‘interesting’ in the greater scheme of life…and we did actually go for coffee that day—well, technically Archer had a cappuccino and I had an Italian Soda—it was the last year before I quit sugar. I guess nowadays it would have been an americano for me…I didn’t start drinking coffee until I moved to Chicago when I was 18…Godfrey was a bad influence on the teenage version of me.”

“So, coffee bad, but underage dating, OK?” I ask, just to clarify.

Dominique replies, “The age of consent back then was 18, which is RIDICULOUS…As for the coffee, I used alternative means of acquiring caffeine up to that point…It’s not like now where there’s a Starbucks on every other corner, even out in the country.”

J.R. follows up with, “If you didn’t make-out, what did you do that was so interesting?”

I grab his arm and squeeze hard…”Don’t ask questions you don’t want to know the answer to.” I then turn back to Archer and asked point blank, “But you had met her before…that wasn’t the beginning of the story.”

Dominique answers for him, “Oh, no. Not by a long shot. We first met when I was fourteen, and not even interested in doing much with boys besides sparring with them, either physically or mentally (we only did one of the two…guess which.) To be honest, I didn’t even remember meeting him when he approached me at a party the following summer, but apparently, I’d made quite an impression on him.”

“That you did.” He confirms. “You always made me work for your affection. You were a little vixen, even back then.”

”Whatever do you mean?” Dominique coyly replies, batting her eyelashes at Archer.

Archer simply replies, “The Breadloaf Bookstore.”

“Oh, yeah, that…that was fun.” Still smiling that wicked smile, she teases Archer, “You have to admit, you did enjoy the chase.”

“Yes.” He replies with an equally wicked smile, “Yes, I did enjoy the chase, to the very end.”

“All right, if you’re going to talk about chasing Dominique, you‘re going to have to tell us the whole story.” I interject, wondering just what the hell those two are talking about. Sometimes, I swear, they’re not only on their own wavelength, but speaking their own version of some secret language.

“Well, the summer after grad school, Archer came to find me. Knowing that I would be downtown on Tuesday, because I always was, he drove around until he spotted me walking down the street, (I’m assuming he did anyway because that’s what he usually did.) He pulled over, and tried to talk me into getting in the car.”

She stops to assess Archer’s reaction. He doesn’t respond. He did, of course, know what happened next so that wasn’t particularly surprising.

“Let’s just say I wasn’t in a particularly accommodating mood that day. I hadn’t seen him in ages, and was rather annoyed by the way he always managed to just show up when he wanted to see me. I’d just be walking down the street one day, and he’d pull up and just expect me to hop in the car with him—like I was a hooker…So that day, I decided I was going to make him work for it. I guess it helps to reiterate—from a psychological perspective, Archer prefers anticipation…It’s all about seeing how long he can wait for what he wants, delaying the final release into desire is his deepest need, and for me—my dominant sexual aspect is control…If I could, I’d tie that part of our relationship up in a box and put a bow on it—as the perfect gift for myself…with a duplicate for Archer. That, and it was the first time I’d seen him since I turned eighteen, so there’s that.”

“What does any of this have to do with the bookstore?” I ask, not really wanting Dominique to delve too deep into their weird, sexual, “supposedly” non-intercourse, thing again…or ever, for that matter.

“The bookstore was my ultimate destination that day. I had errands to run, bills to pay, the library to visit, and finally a visit to the bookstore to pick-up a book by Anaïs Nin a dear friend had ordered for me.”

I roll my eyes at Dominique and comment, “Because that’s what all teenagers read.”

“Actually, and I know it’s been a few decades since you’ve been on a college campus Milton, but even though I’d already left college to go make money in the real world, (but still a few months before I moved to Chicago,) I was still in that age group, and erotica is one of those things that will always be popular on college campuses…it kind of comes with the territory…It’s naughty, but in an ‘adult’ pseudo-intellectual way.”

“I stand corrected.”

“Not that you should be surprised, given my collection of nudes.” Dominique comments, before continuing, “But back to the story—even though Archer’s usually very persuasive, I wasn’t going to let him win this time, not without a fight. Especially if it was going to be our first time together. I also wasn’t going to give in to him that easily—a girl’s got to have some fun and a little anticipation (especially in Archer’s case) is always an aphrodisiac. So I went about my errands and Archer, after following me down the street and parking his car, simply followed me around, from spot to spot, waiting outside for me at every location.

“So Archer was your first stalker?” I point out the obvious, or at least what I thought was obvious, or would have been, if not for their particularly bizarre idea of what ‘play’ is.

“Har, har, hardly. It was part of the game…and to answer your question, no, (unfortunately) he wasn’t my first stalker.—I wouldn’t have minded it if he was.” Dominique deftly dismisses my attempt at ribbing Archer and continues the story, “He’d run up to me as soon as I exited each building, and ask me to go to dinner, to drinks (I wasn’t old enough to drink, I think he might have forgotten that for a minute, or maybe he didn’t care, it’s not as if I never drank when I was underaged…we attended the same parties so he would know) then simply for coffee, for anything, and I persisted in saying no, it’s always been one of my guilty pleasures—denying Archer anything I can manage to, for as long as I can hold out…This went on all afternoon. I even did some window shopping (which as you know, is not something I normally enjoy) but, it gave me the opportunity to make Archer wait, just a little bit more. I do enjoy the look on his face when he’s stretched to the end of his faculties. That’s how I know I could break him, if I wanted. Finally, it was early evening and almost time for the bookstore to close so I had to head there before it was too late. After coming out of the library, I told Archer that ‘I have one last errand, I promise it’s the last’ and headed to the Breadloaf Bookstore where he finally broke down. Not even a minute after I entered the store, before I even had a chance to pick-up my book, Archer burst through the door, called out my name, got down on his knees and begged me to please be with him.—He even promised to do anything—absolutely anything I wanted.”

“What happened?” J.R. couldn’t help himself…I was glad he managed to ask the question. I’m speechless once again and enquiring minds need to know.

“As you know, I can be a bit of a brat, so…I said ‘maybe.’ Archer (apparently) didn’t like that answer very much because he immediately got back up on his feet, marched over to the clerk who was holding my book in his hand—mouth agape, motionless, grabbed the book out of the shocked clerk’s hands—stalked back to where I was standing, said ‘that’s it,’ picked me up by the waist, and carried me out of the store. He eventually put me back down on the ground once we were out on the sidewalk and situated halfway between the bookstore and his car. He then led me back to his car where we finally made out for the first time.”

“You really want us to believe that you waited all those years before you two did anything?” I skeptically ask, finally regaining my voice.

“We did. Like you, Archer’s father is still surprised that he never had to dip into the ‘bad girl’ slush fund to pay me off. The man was positive I would be the one to ruin his son.” Aaah, so that’s where the slush fund came from. I wonder why she has access to it though, and an even better question is, what does Sebastian need seven millions dollars for?

“Not only was it the first time we ever did anything sexually, it was also the first time we discussed awakening the Kundalini and Archer surprised me by disclosing a very well-kept secret.—He opened his glove box, and took out a copy of the Kama Sutra—with the explanation, ‘I keep this in here, because I’m not sure how my father would react, if he knew I was reading it.’”

We all sit in complete silence for quite some time…(J.R. and I dumbfounded because this IS some seriously juicy gossip about Archer.) Dominique and Archer sit spellbound in some sort of secret, silent communication…She gazes up at him and he, down at her—silently smiling. At some point she’d sat back down on his lap, (I didn’t notice when) only this time, she’s not squirming. Somewhere along the way, drinks had also been served, and we’d all started imbibing. It was early, but alcohol and gossip go together better than bread and butter (because seriously, who eats bread or butter anymore?)

Finally, not even realizing we’d talked almost through lunchtime, a note appears in Dominique’s hand and she happily announces, although half to herself, “Oh! Perfect timing! Godfrey’s en route on ‘The Chicago Way.’” (His yacht.) “I’m glad he radioed before leaving the mainland, I’d hate to have a repeat of the last time he pulled up to the dock unannounced.” She just assumes all her men are paying 100% attention to her at all times (which is mostly true—well, I know I’m at least thinking about her 100% of the time, whether or not that is in reality or I’m daydreaming, is another story.)

At just that moment, Ceci pops her head into the room and announces, “Godfrey’s five minutes out—I’ve instructed his captain to dock at the guest pier.”

“Excellent!” Dominique exclaims, hopping off of Archer’s lap, once again pulling her skirt down, before sprinting out of the house toward the docks.

Fortunately we were behind schedule, if we were on time, Godfrey would’ve arrived too late for lunch, but just in time for drinks. And, as we’ve discussed, drinking on an empty stomach, (even for a seasoned alcoholic) can be dangerous. Never one to miss a party, or arrive too early, although occasionally rumored to have overstayed his welcome…Godfrey arrives just on time. Although only having traveled over from the mainland, in contrast to Archer who’d traveled halfway across the world and still arrived in impeccable shape, Godfrey looked like he’d spent the morning (or maybe even a week) standing in line at the California DMV. His hair was long and disheveled, he was unshaven and he had clearly slept in the suit he was wearing. I hadn’t seen him for several months (since the last funeral we all attended for Dominique’s favorite, late dance partner in Chicago) and the change in Godfrey’s appearance was shocking…no wonder Dominique was so concerned about him. If I knew he was that bad off, I would’ve kept in touch with him myself. I like the chap even if he is a bit of a blowhard.

“With barely a greeting, his first question to Dominique is to inquire into her planned sleeping arrangements for the evening. Godfrey had trained her to a certain extent, so he knew how she thought. Especially given the context, the question wasn’t unexpected, except in the context of his appearance. Their sexual relationship was one of those great big “open secrets”—Everyone in the world knew about it—except Archer. Archer never would admit to himself or allow the fact into his mind that she was not a teenage virgin.

Dominique claims she’s “undecided.” And asks Godfrey, “Short week? I thought bank holidays were usually on Mondays? And since when do you drink vodka? I know you prefer that crazy juice called gin.” Ceci appears at Dominique’s elbow with a tray holding a single gin and tonic which she promptly hands to Godfrey as Dominique quietly turns around and heads back to the house…A string of (now) four men, in tow. On the way back, almost as an aside, she loudly remarks to me, “Why do alcoholics think you can’t smell vodka on their breath?…But, at least he’s not in the captain’s seat—you can still get a DUI on a boat.”

She’d seen Godfrey regularly throughout her teen years and especially when she was working in private security. He was the one who got her the gig (or at least the invite) initially.—Unlike everyone else at these parties, she has practical life skills and eventually became tired of going to a party only to have to babysit or intervene before someone or something got out of control, depending upon the situation. Although she was fully sponsored, in her estimation, if she was working, but not being compensated for her time, she was losing money. Like I said before, these are the type of parties most men would kill to be invited to but in reality wouldn’t know what to do if they actually attended one. The women working or simply attending these parties are beyond extraordinary, they’re the women every man dreams of fucking. (Dominique rarely attends any longer, she has her extraordinary men, all to herself…and their wives. But her employees do attend or work the parties regularly, (with Dominique’s blessing and introductions, they all fit in quite well.) Ceci is a particular party favorite, as is Lucy Wu when she makes a rare appearance.) However Archer’s pilot Connie, is the current belle de jour. At these parties you can do anything you want, for a price. Now, preferably in Bitcoin Cash, but back in the day when Dominique was a regular, (perhaps I should have let Godfrey tell this part of the story, but given his condition, I’m just going to plow forward.) As I was saying, way back in the day, the preferred currencies were cash, nondescript or uncut diamonds (extraordinary ones can be traced) or even better—bearer bonds. Mounds of cash and coke were assumed, but nowhere near a suitcase full of cash (as far as any of Godfrey’s dozens and dozens of stories indicate)…Initially, Dominique started attending these parties—not as a guest or a participant, just as a beautiful distraction. Someone to hold a witty conversation with in between fucking supermodels and bored A-list actresses. Fortunately for the boys hosting these parties, she has a keen sense of awareness and can spot a problem child within seconds. They discovered it’s a lot less disruptive if a beautiful woman convinces an out of control guest to leave the room with her rather than having to call in the muscle. Nine times out of ten, she can diffuse a situation just by separating the guy from the herd. No audience, no reason to react with bravado. It’s also pretty easy (especially when there’s that much alcohol and that many drugs involved) to mistake a 97 pound woman putting a guy in a headlock as her being amorous (which was the point of the party after all.) But if a 250 pound former professional wrestler has to do it, well, it’s a scene to say the least. Nothing begs for bad behavior more than a testosterone versus testosterone match. Eventually, after the fifth or sixth time sobering up a guy in the kitchen, she asked the host to compensate her. She was there to enjoy herself, not work. Granted she was comped. But still, it’s hard to enjoy yourself when you’re the only woman at the party with real life skills. Not to say that Dominique didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. One other thing she had learned from Godfrey was, taking dating advice from an amateur, in any area of life was just plain stupid. So Dominique studied and befriended the pros who worked the party scene. She never worked them herself, (well, as anything other than security or a little too frequently as a babysitter.) Unlike even the males at the party (excluding the staff) Dominique does know how to unclog a toilet which is a useful skill when one too many drunk young chicks puke the free food and drink into the porcelain god—creating a nasty clog…and an even nastier scene as the girl is (not always nicely) escorted out of the party (if she was lucky by her friends, not security) while crying “I just puked in a mansion” over, and over, and over again. Knowing neither she, nor any of her acquaintances would ever be asked to another party again. Every time Dominique told the story, she had to remark, “I’m not sure why all the girls have to be gluttons, they always act as if they’d never eaten or drank alcohol before—most of them were of age, they weren’t all models, and it’s not as if they were actual starving artists although I have a hunch a few of them only live off of the craft tables.”