A Castle of Sand by LongDarkRoad
Chapter 02 Hot Fun In The Summertime
“…end of the spring and here she comes back, hi, hi, hi, hi, there; them summer days, those summer days…”
The plan for Christine today was that she would ‘sit-in’ with the ‘crew’ and observe the kinds of tasks they normally did in-office; then around three-thirty or so she would go with the group back to the house they all lived in, which apparently was about a ten-minute drive away, and there she would find her clothes for the evening.
“We keep a few dozen evening dresses, even some formal gowns, as well as shoes and some under clothing right at the house, so the girls never need to run around looking for ‘what to wear’. We actually decide what you’ll wear, depending on the event and the time of year, etcetera. You’ll also get to see the house,” Gibbons had explained.
Despite already meeting all the crew, Christine was nervous as she arrived and entered the main room. The area she and the others worked in was past this main area and to the left of Gibbons’s office. Each girl had her own desk, typewriter -a new IBM Selectric- and telephone.
The small kitchen and the water cooler however was communal and all the staff used them. The kitchen was in a separate room next to the main office, with the washrooms next door to that.
The girl who had helped her yesterday smiled as Christine approached and held out her hand, “Arlene,” she said pleasantly and Christine gripped the hand and said “Hi there,” The girl of course already knew her name. “First day, good luck,” Arlene said as Christine moved past her and headed inside.
* * * *
Anne Kasey released the nipple she had been sucking on and rested her head back on the pillow, looking into
Beverly’s eyes. “So, why do you want me to, uh, meet your mom?”
Beverly laughed, “What’s with the hairy eyeball? No big deal, hey? She’s horny, basically, and I like the idea of you turnin’ her on.” Beverly gave Anne a look. “And then she’d owe me a favor, and that never hurts.”
“Yeah, but doin’ a mom, shit, freaks me out, man.”
Beverly chuckled, “Yeah, yeah, I know she’s my mom, but she’s not old-old; she’s like in her mid forties. An’ she looks after herself. Plus, she’s not bad lookin’, hey. After all, she’s related to me, right.”
Anne snorted and returned to sucking Beverly’s breast, her hand now immersed in the foliage between her younger partner’s thighs.
* * * *
“Okay.” Gibbons looked around the table at the six attentive faces. “Everyone’s had a chance to look over their info?”
All the faces smiled and the heads nodded. It had been a busy first day for Christine. All the other women had spent time this week preparing a summary of information on Romania, with each one looking at some different aspect: exports, imports, history (very brief, this isn’t high school, Gibbons had cautioned) customs, etcetera. Just enough info so that they would not be completely clueless with the members of the delegation tonight.
Christine had been given time this morning to look over all the information and felt comfortable with it. She knew there would be at least three interpreters at the event, which was to be held in a conference room at the Churchill Hotel and would include cocktails and dessert-type foods; no meal.
The members of the Romanian delegation would be meeting personally with Director Silverberg Friday for talks; tonight was for the pleasantries.
As the meeting ended, Gibbons motioned for Christine to follow her and they went to the office Christine had already been in; it was just as crowded as the day before and Gibbons moved some folders off the chair Christine was to sit on, before plunking herself down behind her imposing desk.
“Okay, so I’m sure the gals have filled you in on the whole deal, hmmm?” Gibbons adjusted her spectacles and for a moment looked a little like an owl.
Not exactly certain what the ‘whole deal’ was, Christine smiled and confirmed that ‘the girls’ had told her what tonight was about and what was expected of her.
Gibbons nodded and adjusted her glasses, “The Director’s car will be at the house at seven-thirty, so you need to head back there after work; we’re shutting your group down before four. There’s a van that shuttles the crew back and forth and you’ll go with that and have a light meal at the house. We have a cook who does the dinners over there, nothing else, right? Okay, any questions?”
When Christine announced that she was good Gibbons beamed and shooed her out the door. When she went back to the crew’s room, she found all five women sitting around the table and chatting. The discussion ceased when she entered, although everyone seemed pleasant.
“Come and join us, kid,” Connie O’Hanlon offered and Christine smiled and sat down, looking around, before saying, “Okay, can I try going around the table with names?” She asked and then did that as everyone nodded and encouraged her, she needing only Margie’s last name of Taylor to complete the circle; general chatting followed this.
“So,” the tall (and beautiful, Christine said to herself again, looking at the face) Lana Gallo announced after a few minutes of this chit-chat, “it’s three-thirty, and we need to be ready to leave at four, and tomorrow we’re not in ‘til eleven, so make sure everything is packed away and locked.”
The crew set off to do just that.
* * * *
The large, black Cadillac cruised gently to a stop in front of the stocky, two-storey house that ‘the crew’ lived in. Christine, looking very attractive in her black evening dress, a light, dark shawl around her bare shoulders, her brunette tresses done up in a swirling mass atop her head, came down the stairs to find Douglas Silverberg standing beside the open rear door, his uniformed driver standing behind him.
Christine saw a tall, athletic looking man in his mid-forties, short, dark hair just greying at the temples, looking sharp in a dark suit with white shirt and black tie. He smiled at her as she descended and she felt a pleasant inner surge; he was definitely attractive, with his square jaw, high cheek bones and blues eyes.
“Miss Callister,” he said in greeting, his voice warm and mellow, with a hint of a southern accent that years in D.C. hadn’t quite removed.
“Director Silverberg, this is a pleasure,” Christine replied, extending a gloved hand and allowing herself to be guided into the vehicle’s rich interior with its dark, aromatic leather upholstery.
Once seated, the car moved off and Silverberg asked about Christine’s Pennsylvania roots and by the time the car arrived at the Churchill Hotel, the two were chatting like old friends.
* * * *
Anne Kasey, or Anna Kasyanov, if you had known her years back in Bucharest, after she settled there with her Russian parents, looked around and then moved through the revolving door and into the Clarence Hotel. She liked this hotel because the public pay phones were situated around a corner from the lobby, so there was some privacy.
She moved to the booth at the end and entered, noting the others were all vacant. After depositing her coin and dialling, she waited for the expected three rings, and then the voice answered, “Da.”
The conversation that followed was in Russian.
* * * *
Christine looked over at the ornate clock that stood against one wall in this elegantly decorated room and considered; it was eleven-thirty and the discussion earlier indicated that the event would be over not long after midnight. It had been pleasant enough so far; she had consumed one glass of champagne and two of ginger ale and had eaten some hors d’oeuvres, a few crackers with various dips and had even tried caviar for the first time in her life.
Too salty for her taste, although Mr. Silverberg had commented that she just needed to try some more.
She had visited with several members of the delegation, including one man who had patted her rear end twice. Connie had moved over and rescued her and then advised her on how to ‘pivot and shield’ so that you ‘protected your assets, but didn’t overtly offend’.
“That fellow with the beard there, has copped a feel of my boobs twice,” she noted, pointing out a tall, slim man who was at that moment pressing the much shorter Dolly into the corner of the bar, the back of his hand pushing into the woman’s left breast. “Off to the rescue,” Connie smiled, as she headed in that direction.
A tall and exotically good-looking, dark-haired woman, who had been introduced as Flori Hănescu, the only wife in the group, now moved over to stand beside Christine, bringing her a glass of wine. They had spoken earlier and right now it looked like her husband was deep in conversation with Silverberg’s top aide.
“Look at them, gabbing away, like they’re solving all the problems of the world,” Hănescu murmured in her heavy accent, smiling down at Christine. With her heels on, Christine did not need to look up much at many of the people in the room tonight, but she did look up at this woman, who was even taller than Lana, the tallest of their crew.
“Well, I think these talks can be important, don’t you Mrs. Hănescu; hope I’m saying that right?” Christine replied, catching a whiff of the perfume that the woman had on, and which was enticing. Christine thought for a moment to ask her what it was, but knew that was inappropriate.
Hănescu smiled, then said, “You are not married, Miss, um, Callister?”
Slightly taken aback by a personal question, Christine sipped her champagne, even though she did not really want any more to drink, “Um, no, I’m not. Uh, no,” she responded, awkwardly and then felt foolish, for whatever reason.
Hănescu now regarded her and Christine began to feel a little uncomfortable, locked as she was by the dark eyes of the woman. Suddenly, the woman’s long, slender hand reached out and gently caressed Christine’s bare, right arm, sending an amazing shock wave through her, that almost made her gasp.
The tall woman noted the response and smiled, then leaned forward, “How may I reach you?” She said.
“I, um, I’m not sure, uh…”
“I would just like to have lunch with you and chat about America with a small-town girl,” Hănescu smiled, but just then Douglas Silverberg moved to a prominent spot and held up his hand; the chatter quieting down in response.
* * * *
Virginia Silverberg had noted half an hour earlier the closing of Martha’s door. Since then, nothing, so she considered it safe to head down to the den; she preferred her ‘private moments’ in that room, rather than her bedroom; she wasn’t sure why.
Taking her glass of Canadian Club whiskey, she was heading down the hall to the room that sat at the end; Douglas’s office on one side, the den on the other, when there was a quiet rap on her front door. Thinking she was hearing things, Virginia paused, but then it came again. Someone was actually at her door this late in the evening.
She moved cautiously and peeked out to see a blonde, mid-twenties woman standing there. Virginia opened the door a little and asked, “May I help you?”
The woman smiled, “Hello, Virginia, I’m Anne, Beverly’s um, friend. She said if I dropped by you might scare me up a drink?”
Virginia moved back to allow the slim, attractive woman to enter and murmured, “Do you drink whiskey?” She smiled.
Anne stood, quickly appraising the older woman. “I drink anything that goes well with, pussy,” she replied with a smirk, putting her arm around Virginia’s shoulder; the women being the same height, about five-five.
“Well, that sounds like something I can handle, step into my, um, office,” Virginia smiled as she moved down the hall to the den, Anne Kasey’s arm now comfortably around her waist.
* * * *
“So I take it we’re headed back to the hotel you’re staying in, not the house?” Douglas Silverberg asked as they sat in the Cadillac.
“Yes, thank you Sir. Sorry for the bother.”
Silverberg gave the news to the driver and then turned to the young woman, “Oh, no bother, Miss Callister. Uh, how did the evening go for you? I saw you in conversation with a number of people.”
They chatted conversationally, both commenting on what had been a pleasant evening. As they approached Christine’s hotel, Silverberg murmured, “So, I know the crew goes in later tomorrow. Will you be meeting with Miss Gibbons to discuss your, position?”
Christine paused, her heart beating now with sudden anxiety. “Um, yes, I will be. Um…” They sat in silence as the car pulled to the curb.
Silverberg chuckled, “It’s just that we have a dinner event on Saturday and I will need a date again. Any thoughts on what you might decide?”
Christine looked into the handsome face and felt a distinct pull; this was an attractive man who had power, and someone she would like to spend more time with. “This has all happened so quickly, Sir, my head is spinning. I haven’t even discussed salary or, um, anything. But, I am excited with what’s happened so far. You’re in meetings tomorrow I hear?”
Silverberg nodded, then leaned in and placed a soft kiss on Christine’s cheek, “In case I don’t see you again.” He murmured, smiled and got out. Motioning for his driver to stay behind the wheel, Silverberg opened the other rear door.
Christine stepped out. “Thank you so much, Sir. This was lovely. I hope to, um, see you again. I do.”
Silverberg smiled a warm smile in response, one that lit up his blue eyes, his face illuminated now by the street light. Then he walked back around and climbed into the big car, and it drove away, with Christine standing and watching it.
* * * *
“Ooooo, oh, oh, mmmmm, damn, aaaahhhhhh…” Virginia moaned and then chuckled, keeping her voice low.
Anne propped herself up on one elbow and looked into the contented face from her position between Virginia’s thighs. “My pleasure, sweet Virginia. You’re the first mom I’ve like done, so; glad I made it happen, captain.”
Virginia chuckled again, then looked down at the shadowed face, “Will you be seeing Beverly, uh, later?”
“Mmmmmm,” Anne murmured, lighting her Newport Menthol and blowing the smoke over Virginia’s stomach, “maybe; we hang out at our friend Paul’s; he has a nicer television. But she usually comes back here, right? Now I’ve seen your digs, I know why.”
Virginia smiled, “Well, which ever one of us sees her first, we’ll make sure to thank her. This was great; for me anyway.”
“Hey,” Anne said, standing and doing up her jean’s zipper, the cigarette hanging from her mouth. “It was a slice, as we say.”
“Not, um, groovy?” Virginia smiled.
“Please Virginia, don’t be lame.”
They headed down the hall to the front doors, Anne turning with a smirk on her pretty face and a flick of her blonde hair; “It’s been a slice and a blast, babe; hey, keep on truckin’, mother…”
“Groovy.” Virginia dead-panned.
* * * *
Christine awoke with a start; her sleep had been restless, with strange dreams. She picked up her watch from the night stand and was able to make out the time; five-thirty. She sighed. She didn’t need to be in today until eleven; this promised to be a long day.
And then of course, there was the future.
* * * *
Virginia lay in bed as well, listening to the shower running. The main bathroom was between her room and Douglas’s; they hadn’t shared the same bedroom, let alone the same bed, in eighteen years, but she was very aware of his movements. She was always there to say goodbye when he headed off; she knew he had a busy day ahead, which was why he was showering at six-thirty.
* * * *
Miss Gibbons stirred her coffee, her mind going every which way as was usual with her; she looked up at the big clock over the fridge in the communal kitchen; seven-thirty. Damn! She thought; where does the time go? So much to do…
* * * *
Amanda Clark counted the portfolios again; fourteen, correct, and placed them on her boss’s desk just as Julia Sullivan, one of Douglas Silverberg’s two chief aides, came in. “The main conference room is ready, Amanda, I’ll take those in,” she said moving to the desk.
“How’d it go last night?” Clark asked.
“Oh, same old, same old; eating, drinking and playin’ nice. We’ll see what happens today, when things get down to brass tacks.” She smiled and adjusted her glasses, then picked up the stack of folders.
Clark nodded her head and then paused as she heard Silverberg’s voice from out in the corridor. She looked at the desk clock; eight o’clock.
* * * *
Christine awoke again with a start; she noticed light now glowing behind the drapes of her windows; she had drifted off again. She remembered, even as they were dissolving, the bits of dreams; Douglas Silverberg’s smiling face, and the face of Flori Hănescu, also smiling down at her, and then leaning forward for a kiss. A kiss! And there was the face of someone she hadn’t thought of for a while: Elizabeth Devers.
Christine threw off the covers; it didn’t matter what time it was, she needed to get up and shower. If she had checked her wrist watch, she would have seen it showed eight-thirty.
* * * *
The two senators, one a democrat and the other a republican, sat on the ornamental park benches, back to back. The small park they were in was a ten-minute walk from the capitol proper, and early on a June morning, they had the place to themselves. “So, any more on what Laird has up his sleeve?” The democrat asked, referring to Secretary of Defense, Melvin Laird.
The republican snorted, “Besides getting the hell out of Vietnam you mean?”
The democrat rattled the newspaper he was pretending to read, “Well that’s the deal, isn’t it? Here we are waging a Goddamn war that’s costing millions and taking hundreds of American lives each week, supposedly to fight the ungodly communists, while we’re meeting with them here, eating and drinking like we’re best of friends. It stinks I say.”
The republican lit his pipe, the aromatic Cavendish floating to his companion. “You’re talking about the Romanians?”
“Well, Bill, that, as we say, is politics.”
* * * *
When Christine, ten minutes early, entered the main office, Arlene immediately waved her over. After greetings, she handed Christine a note with two numbers on it, one from Silverberg’s aide Sullivan and one from Mrs. Hănescu, “But Miss Gibbons said to have you go in to see her as soon as you got here.”
“Thanks,” Christine said, heading through the door, her heart pounding and her mind racing. No one needed to remind her that today she was at a crossroads in her young life. She had just rapped once when Gibbon’s distinctive voice hailed her and she entered to the usual clutter, sitting on the one free chair.
“So, young lady, down to business, lots to do. Spoke with the boss and I know you need some info,” Gibbons began in her machine-gun method, with Christine simply sitting and taking it all in. “So, as for pay, the gals at level one make forty-two dollars a week before deductions, level two makes forty-eight. The gals in the crew make eighty-four, but of course their job is a lot more than typing, filing and answering phones, hey?”
Christine nodded, considering that her current job in Williamsport was paying her thirty-five a week.
“Now, as well of course, the crew lives rent-free in the house. You do some shopping, ‘cause we just provide a cook and she only does supper and it’s your food. Lana is in charge of the house, assigns rooms and collects money for the shopping and keeps an eye out. No gentlemen callers, absolute. You’re immediately fired if you have a man in there, that’s all she wrote folks. Now, any questions?”
The two women now just sat and regarded each other; Christine had questions, tons; that was the problem. What she asked was, “What, um, happens if I want to just accept the level that I applied for, one or two, or whatever the classified said?”
Gibbons regarded the young woman now with a mixture of concern, pity and scorn. “Sorry, kid, that boat’s sailed.”
“I, um, don’t get it…” Christine said quietly, anxiety rising and her heart beating more furiously, if that was possible.
“Well, it’s simple, sweetie, you’ve seen us, sat with us, been out with us. You know now what we earn, which we keep absolutely confidential. Like they say, you can’t go back.”
They sat in silence, before Gibbons took out a legal-size piece of paper. “This is the standard contract, one year, either side can give notice with thirty days, or less if mutually agreed.” She signed it. “I’ll leave it with you, but you can’t sit on it. I’m getting a coffee. When I get back, either the paper’s signed with your John Henry and you’re in the pit with the crew, or you’re headin’ back to your hotel, and back to Glen Ford or Falls….”
“Rock…” Christine said quietly.
“Or Rock.” Gibbons got up, picked up her cup and walked off.
Christine regarded the paper; was there really much choice? She wasn’t going home. She signed and dated the sheet; June twentieth, 1969.
When she entered the crew’s office, all five girls were sitting and looking at her. Lana smiled, “Welcome aboard.”
“But how, do you know?” Christine asked, amazed.
“’Cuz you’re here, chick. Can you dig it?” Dolly replied with a grin, then jumped up and began a dance, singing, “Hot fun in the summertime, hot fun in the summertime…” she sang out in her strong alto.
“And everything, it’s true, oh yeah,” Connie joined in, using her best Louis Armstrong gravel voice, as Margie clapped and did a little dance move and hip shimmy herself, with Lana and Gerry grinning at the reception. They both liked this newcomer.
Christine smiled; oh yeah, she said to herself.
It could definitely be some hot fun, or something, for her this summer.
That would turn out to be true.
(End of Chapter 02)