A Castle of Sand by LongDarkRoad
Chapter 03 Suspicious Minds
“…so, if an old friend I know, stops by to say hello, would I still see suspicion in your eyes…”
Christine had tried to reach the numbers that she had been given, but both women were not available, so she had begun going through the task assigned her for tomorrow’s dinner and event. She was just looking over the sheet Lana had given her when Margie came up, adjusted her glasses and said quietly, “Hi, um, rookie, grab your pen and paper and follow me.”
Christine did as instructed and soon the two were heading down the hall before turning into a room that was filled with books, “Our own library,” Margie announced, “to help us find the info on our sheets.”
Christine loved libraries and needed no further prompting and soon the two were hauling out encyclopaedias and books on Korea. The next time Christine looked at the clock it was twelve-thirty, and she realized she was hungry.
* * * *
Julia Sullivan was the senior of Douglas Silverberg’s two top aides, although at a youthful-looking thirty, she hardly seemed senior. She was however the one currently showing Gary England, new arrival, around. She never knew how or why people came and went from their staff; she was well aware that the Commerce Group was political in every way and she had her own belief that intelligence of some kind used them, but she never questioned things; this was a bureaucracy and it was not her place.
So, if the new Gary was really who his profile said he was didn’t matter to her; she would give him the tour and assist with assignments when asked and then keep her head down. She trusted her boss and wasn’t about to make even small waves; she had learned in her seven years working for the government that the less you asked, the longer you survived.
Sometimes literally, according to capitol myths.
* * * *
“England starts today?” the voice at the end of the line asked.
“Correct, we wanted him at least on site before the meeting with the Koreans begins,” Cliff Eagleton replied.
“Have we confirmed that the fellow, um, Ran is the likely connect with the North Vietnamese?”
Eagleton paused, a survival habit he had developed over the years. He had learned silence was of value when dealing with certain individuals, including the man he was talking to. “We believe that this Ran, Ji-Hoon, is actually Nan, a North Korean in fact, but I cannot state that with certainty; we’re still pursuing the trail back to Vietnam.”
“Hmmm,” the voice murmured, “cards close to the vest hey, Cliff?”
Eagleton paused again, “When you get something from me, Sir, you can run with it. You know me.”
Eagleton sat looking at his telephone; it was good that he could deal with Douglas Silverberg; with him there was no bullshit.
* * * *
“So you and Anne are chums now, hey?” Beverly smirked at her mother as the two sat on lawn chairs in the back yard; it was a west-facing space so the sun was not beating down on them. Virginia paused as Martha came out with their coffee. No one noticed the ‘eye-roll’ she did after glancing at the bikini Beverly had on. Being a servant, she was mostly invisible.
Virginia waited until she heard the screen door close. “She spoke with you?” She replied, non-committedly.
“Oh yeah, said it was outta sight; she’d like to hook up again, how’s that, ma?”
Beverly regarded her mother with a grin and Virginia smiled; she didn’t know if the girl was pulling her leg; Beverly had always been a tease, even as a child. “Well, she has our number.” She paused. “I can’t imagine she’d want me phoning her though.”
Beverly reached down and pulled her pack of cigarettes out of her bag. “Well, she’s tough to get a hold of anyway, but I see her most days. I’ll just let her know.”
Virginia regarded her attractive daughter for a moment, thinking she wished she’d do something with her hair, but knew better than to suggest anything. “What are you doing these days, anyway? You’ve been out a lot, during the day I mean.”
“Yeah, well I’m workin’ for my buddy Paul, doin’ gardening and shit when he needs a hand. Pays not much but I like bein’ outside and I like workin’ with growing stuff, right? It’s cool, much as work can be cool, hey. We’re all working for the man, ma.” Beverly smirked, lighting her smoke.
Virginia grimaced slightly as Beverly blew smoke at her, “Don’t call me ma, dear,” she smiled, remembering Anne’s body and how excited she had been exploring it.
* * * *
It wasn’t until two that Christine was able to reach Julia Sullivan, who wanted to touch base about Saturday’s dinner. After that brief but pleasant chat, Christine tried again to reach Flori Hănescu, and was surprised when a man answered “Hello”; it wasn’t Hănescu, clearly, but the man went off to fetch her and in a moment her exotic voice answered, with Christine quickly giving her name.
“Ahhh, my small town American girl,” the woman chuckled. Christine waited awkwardly, unsure of how to proceed, but the older woman got to business, inviting Christine to lunch on Tuesday, “I’ll arrange everything, my darling, even with your boss. Leave it all up to me and I will see you in a few days.”
And then the line went dead, with Christine sitting in thought, still a little unnerved, and strangely excited with the word ‘darling’, and fighting off some long-time memories.
* * * *
“So, I gotta think Papa dear has some government buddies with nice places who could use some occasional yard work; not a full-time freakin’ gardener, just, you know, basic stuff, hmmmm?” Beverly asked, as they were now back inside.
“Oh,” Virginia pondered, this being something new, her daughter talking about work. “I’ll ask him. Obviously he knows tons of people, but you know he’s never been the biggest um, schmoozer, dear. At least away from work.”
“Hey, whatever, no great shakes, mommsy,” Beverly crooned, walking past her mother and patting her round, slacks-covered behind.
The girl just laughed as she headed upstairs.
* * * *
“Hey,” Connie O’Hanlon greeted her, leaning onto Christine’s desk, with a generous amount of cleavage showing. She sniggered, “Go ahead and look, babes, I don’t mind. I know I have large coconuts, so no big deal. You’re gonna’ see ‘em lots at the house.” She smiled; she was an attractive woman, tall (taller than Christine) and heavier, with a mass of curled, light-brown hair and the prominent and afore-mentioned ‘coconuts’. “So, it’s Friday night, nothin’ shakin’; some of the crew are goin’ out for a drink. You comin’?”
“Um, sure. I’m not much of a drinker, hey, but I really want to get together. Um, when, where; you’re the boss, right?” Christine replied.
Connie moved her bosoms a little closer to Christine, almost like she was challenging her, then said, “Well, Lana runs the house, hey, and she and I work as go-betweens for ol’ Gibby and the crew here, but I usually organize stuff like this. So, we’ll split this joint at just after four. We’re goin’ to Melvin’s Bar, just over on Pennsylvania. We’ll just walk and then cab it back to the house.”
“Okay, thanks; I still need to get my things from the hotel.”
“Oh, yeah,” Connie considered, “we’ll just have the taxi take us to your hotel and grab your stuff.”
“Um, I can, uh, dig it,” Christine smiled.
Connie laughed as she walked away, hips swaying, “Nice try, babe, but we know you’re a country girl. But we’ll bring you up to speed real quick.”
* * * *
Anne strolled through the park, looking like another aimless young person, but she was actually counting the benches she passed; when she reached the sixth in the row, she stopped, sat down and lit a cigarette, then calmly smoked it. When she stubbed it out on the ground, she quickly reached under the seat and found the paper that had been left for her.
Standing, she continued her stroll down the walk and out of the park and then down a street to a ‘greasy spoon’, where she ordered a coffee and then unfolded the note. On it were seven women’s names; the wives of either government department heads, top aides or military commanders. One wife on the list was even married to an aide for a four-star general.
It was up to Anne to check the women out; she would start tomorrow.
* * * *
Dolly, Margie, Connie and Christine were seated around a fairly small table in the smoky and noisy bar called Melvin’s. Christine had ordered a Tom Collins, like Connie, even though she wasn’t sure about it but it was gin, which she knew. A Side Car and a screwdriver rounded out the list, as everyone went for a cocktail.
“So, you know I really want to pick your brains, hey?” Christine called over the Friday din. The other three smiled and nodded.
“Figures, kid. It’s the way, right, you need the low down and we’re the gals in the know,” Dolly laughed and everyone nodded agreement.
Twenty minutes later, her head full of comments and ideas, Christine asked the question she really wanted the answer to. Everyone had finished their first drink, (even Christine) and were on their second, so the group was beginning to feel mellow. “Okay, gals, I need to know. Are we, the crew I mean, expected to, um, be, you know, intimate, with the men at the events we host?”
The women all looked around at each other, knowingly, each with their own situations and memories. Then Connie began, “So, by intimate, do you mean have sex?”
Christine blushed slightly and looked down, “Yeah, sure. You know; anything.”
“So, goin’ all the way I guess you’re thinkin’; but what about heavy petting or making out, are you asking that?” Dolly added, remembering two men in particular.
“Yeah, and what about dick-licking?” Margie chimed in and Connie laughed, with Dolly exclaiming, “Margie! Whoa;” although she had her own stories.
Christine laughed self-consciously; although she was limited in partners, she was not a sexual novice; yet there was no way she could ask these things publically if she hadn’t had a drink. “Well, I guess I need to know if we’re expected to go along with what these men want. How friendly are we, um, expected to be?”
Connie patted Christine’s hand, “You’re not expected to do anything but be pretty and pleasant. You’ll get your rear end patted and they’ll try to feel your boobs, especially yours ‘cuz they’re great, but no one expects you to sleep with anybody.” Heads nodded around the table, some with more conviction than others. Why alarm a new recruit needlessly?
“But that doesn’t mean you can’t get chummy with a guy if he tickles your, um, fancy.” Dolly laughed and the heads nodded again. “And maybe you’ll actually let him tickle your fancy,” she added and the group howled.
Christine then sipped her drink and went on. “Well then, have any of you, and I guess this is prying, but have any of you, um, got…real chummy?” This was greeted by winks and laughter. Christine would find out soon enough that ‘the crew’ would all deal with sexual pressure, and with the exception of Connie, all (even Lana) had given in to someone.
It was just something that no one talked about.
“Okay Chris-baby, here’s my deal, and I’m the next newest after you. I’m in just over a year now, and I’ve made out a couple of times but heavy with only one guy; he was with that delegation from France. But he was French, for crying out loud!” Margie exclaimed, and everybody laughed; they knew the story. “And we didn’t go like all the way; he made it to my panty-girdle and that’s it.” Margie smirked as murmurs and chuckles greeted this public disclosure.
“Okay,” Dolly began, “Connie knows this story, and keep in mind this is my fourth year doin’ this. So it was a couple of years ago, and this happens once in a blue moon, you understand, where we do a weekender. Four of us, including Connie and Marilyn, the gal who just left and another girl, Cheryl, and then there were two other girls from some other department, were included. Anyway, we all trucked up to Annapolis and a really swell place right there by the harbor. A swank place, I mean it.
There were five men with us and they weren’t the usual trade delegates, but some lobbyists who worked for the Democrats. You’ve all heard the stories about President Johnson and the bags of money that were always showing up?” Heads nodded around the table, apart from Christine who had never heard much, stuck in her little town or at college.
“Well, anyways, I guess these fellows had done a bang up job and were having a little reward, so we had a weekend at this lovely beach house, with steaks and lobster brought in and the whole nine yards. And it was great. There was this one fellow, Allan, from Houston. Really sharp looking, I thought he looked like Robert Redford. Anyway, me and him hit it off and we ended up sitting out on the porch looking at the moon…”
“That was your problem Dolly, you should never look at the moon with a man,” Connie kidded and everyone laughed.
“Yeah, well, I was a dummy I guess, but did I mention the champagne? Well, there was lots of the bubbly and I had my share and more. But we started making out and it was hot and heavy, and then Allan goes off to one of these little cabins, there were six, for guests or something, off in the trees. Anyway, he comes back with a blanket and we camp out right on the freakin’ beach. All night ladies, and you know the deal.
He had brought rubbers so he was prepared. Well, we did it right on the beach, more than once, watching the sun come up on my back as they say.” She laughed.
“But it was great, okay? Great. Nobody made me do anything, Christine. Allan came back to Washington later and we hooked up at his hotel once and he asked me to marry him, but I would have had to move to Houston.” She sipped her drink and everyone just looked at her, considering.
“Anyway…I didn’t go there!!” She announced dramatically and Connie cheered and Margie and Christine laughed. “But it was a gas, I can tell you. But here’s the thing, Christine, it’s up to you. No one expects you to even French a guy, let alone sleep with him.”
Connie noticed the look on Christine’s face and added. “Dolly means suck his cock.” This brought a mini-uproar from the ladies.
“Yeah, you got it; sock it to me and all that. But no, no getting to even second base if you don’t want it, that’s the deal, so don’t sweat it, kid.”
“Well, nobody’s puttin’ his Johnson in this mouth,” Connie declared, ending the discussion.
Christine sat and considered this as the chatter continued around her. She knew she was very inexperienced when it came to dating and being intimate, and this was the big city; the real deal. She’d need to keep her wits about her, or as Maggie reminded her, “Keep those elbows up, Chris baby.”
But also within her there was a tingle of arousal, which, for now, she ignored.
* * * *
“So you want me to hook up with your mom again? Why, exactly? You’ve made your point, babe,” Anne asked with a smile, before running her tongue up the side of Beverly’s face, then kissing her.
Beverly chuckled and continued to fondle the labia of her partner, almost abstractedly, enjoying the feel. She had always liked this part of a woman’s body; she didn’t know why.
“Well, you’ve opened the door. Mommsy enjoyed it for sure, so keep it goin’, hey? Come over tomorrow night. Daddy-kins will be off at some function and the doe-eyed house-keeper has Saturdays off and goes to the flicks.”
“Hmmmm,” Anne murmured, grinding her hips slowly against Beverly’s hand, “Saturday night and makin’ love to my friend’s mom. How choice is that, Clyde?”
Beverly laughed. “Yeah, but then there’s more of me later, Bonnie.”
Anne laughed and pulled her partner on top of her.
* * * *
With Friday curfew at their place being midnight, the four ladies had Christine back to her hotel and her suitcase packed before nine, then off to ‘the house’.
The building was an older, solid two-storey. The main floor had a very large kitchen and eating area and an old-style living room as well as a den, and a two-piece bath. At the end of a hall was a room for the ‘help’ to stay in. The lady who cooked dinner for them also did some light cleaning and would sometimes stay over, but she didn’t live there.
Upstairs were three bedrooms, a larger bathroom with a shower/tub, a small den or library and a fairly large storage room (where all the committee clothes were in fact housed). The women slept two to a room, and Christine moved into the room occupied by Margie.
The young woman, twenty-two, had just then come in to their room, a towel wrapped around her. Christine was sitting on her bed; the two beds were at either sides of the room with two desks and two chairs and then the door between them. Apart from the small wardrobe, a mirror and two paintings, that was it. The women’s empty suitcases were in the shared storage room.
Christine looked over as her shorter (five-four) roommate stood drying herself off. Margie then tossed the towel on a chair and flopped, naked, onto her bed, with Christine studiously avoiding observing her.
“It’s okay to look at me, Chris. Can we call you Chris? Anyway, it’s going to be real awkward if you keep trying not to look at me. There are six women here and we parade around in panties and bra or the all-together like this all the time, so you can’t lose your cool, Eddie.”
“Eddie?” Christine asked, eyebrows raised, focused on Margie’s face.
“Aw, c’mon, don’t they have television in that little burg you’re from? Seventy-seven Sunset Strip; Eddie Byrnes? Man, I thought I was from nowhere.” She sang a bit from the theme song.
Christine laughed. “We, well, there was television in Glen Rock. We didn’t get ours until sixty-five or so. I was a tom-boy, until I started, um, changing, so I was always outside a lot anyway.”
Margie came over and sat on Christine’s bed, lifting her chin. “Look at me.” Christine smiled grimly, but looked. Margie was pretty; like girl-next-door pretty, not a knock-out by any means but pleasant. Modest breasts, cute little rear end. There was a curling mass of very light, red/blonde pubic hair sitting between her thighs.
“Okay, now you.”
“Now me, what?”
“Clothes off, c’mon, we need to get over this. Don’t flip your wig, cousin. I’ll get the other gals in here and we’ll strip you if we need to. But then we’d have to tickle you, so just cooperate. Here…”
“Okay, okay, hold your horses,” Christine protested and then removed her blouse, skirt, bra, and pantyhose, before pausing at her white cotton briefs.
“C’mon, silly,” Margie teased. Christine pulled the underwear off and sat, self-conscious but, oddly excited. Margie noticed the hardening of the two pink nipples that topped Christine’s fabulous, round breasts.
“I think you like this,” Margie crooned, gently squeezing one nipple and eliciting a gasp from Christine, who started to raise her hands, then stopped, for whatever reason.
Margie laughed, then leaned forward and kissed Christine gently on the mouth, before straightening up and heading back to her bed, Christine focused now on the round buttocks moving away, slightly swaying, her heart pounding. For a moment she considered asking Margie to come back, but how weird was that?
The woman pulled on pyjama bottoms and grabbed her toothbrush and headed out, leaving Christine to sit and ponder. She also pulled on her sleepwear, a nightie, and lay on top of her covers, as the evening and the room were both warm.
She was bothered, a little, but mostly amazed at how nice, more than nice really, the kiss from Margie had felt. How different it was from the kisses of long-time high-school steady, Brian, the boy who had been her first and only sexual partner. His kisses were hard and urgent, leading as always to him wanting to put his ‘thing’ in her ‘thing’; something she rarely wanted or allowed, and never if he wasn’t wearing a condom.
Margie’s kiss lingered in her mind now, as the girl’s lips had lingered on her own. It was confusing, mostly because she felt again the sin of arousal, and her mother’s endless warnings about damnation and her soul, returned, fighting their way through the feelings of pleasure; just like back, then; at home.
Did God really care about her vagina and what she did with it? Christine pondered; it was all very confusing.
* * * *
Beverly came up quietly behind her mother who was standing at the sink, and placing a hand on each arm, whispered into an ear, “Gotcha!”
“Beverly!” Virginia exclaimed in a fierce whisper, not wanting to alert Martha.
“Mmmmm, we can’t go on together, with suspicious minds…” Beverly sang into one ear, gently kissing her mother’s neck as the woman struggled (mildly) to get loose.
“Beverly, stop this. I’ve told you, it’s not going to happen…,” Virginia whispered.
Beverly chuckled and gave her mother’s neck one more kiss, then said, “Just letting you know Anne is coming by tomorrow night and she’s feelin’ frisky, lover. Says she has a glove full’a Vaseline, just for you. Whatever that means.”
She then glided away, leaving her mother concerned but aroused, and still standing by the sink.
(End of Chapter 03)