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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 21 The Circus Has Left Town

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 21 The Circus Has Left Town 

…here comes the parade, to start the show

and then the jugglers, with the little they know;

the mighty and vain are there and fierce

but they know their place for

with the sting of the whip

they sit;

and as the daredevils so careful, arrive,

(for a slip may be fatal, the end)…

but then;

they’ll send in the clowns

to gather, and…strange it is,

we’ll laugh at their frowns!

But it’s all show biz, after all;

at least until,

the curtains

fall...

****

Emily sat in the cell; they called it a holding cell. She had not, her lawyer said before he left, been formally charged yet. As always, he cautioned her against saying anything without him present. They could question her, but she didn’t have to answer without his counsel.

The door opened and Detective Hardwicke came in with a female police officer who unlocked Emily’s cuffs and led her to the table in the center of the room. The officer stood by the door as Hardwicke settled himself in the chair opposite.

“Where’s my lawyer?” Emily asked without emotion.

“He doesn’t need to be here for this; it’s only some information questions.” Hardwicke muttered.

Emily laughed out loud at this, “Bull shit,” she said, looking directly at the man; mid-forties, average height, light brown hair cut short; neatly trimmed moustache; brown suit and brown shoes. A cop.

“I would reconsider your attitude if I were you, Ms. Hawkins. These are murder charges we are dealing with,” he said, authoritatively.

Emily smirked, “And you’ve charged me, have you?”

Her attitude grated on Hardwicke intensely. Rich bitches like this were the worst, to him. He’d resented them as he grew up, a working class kid attending a school with the children of the wealthy. He had dealt with girls like this his whole life, and he wanted more than anything to teach them, and her, a lesson.

“You think you’re pretty hot, don’t you, Bitch?” The officer at the door jerked in response to this, while Emily looked at this man with obvious contempt.

“You wouldn’t know hot if it came up and sucked your pathetic cock,” she responded.

Hardwicke’s face slowly reddened. If he were a cartoon, puffs of smoke would be seen coming from his ears. “Has she been searched, officer?” he asked the woman standing guard.

The officer regarded him with some alarm as she said, “No, because she hasn’t been…”

But he halted her with a raised hand. “Do you have your gloves, officer?” She swallowed hard and nodded her head. “Get them on,” he growled.

If he had hoped this would intimidate Emily, he was mistaken. She simply sat. With a sudden move, he grabbed Emily by her arms and pulled her forward so her torso was on the table. “Ok, get those dungarees down,” he ordered the officer, who came around and gingerly pulled down the grey slacks Emily had been issued. “The underwear,” Hardwicke grunted, and the officer hesitated, then slowly pulled the black lace panties down, revealing Emily’s lovely tanned ass. “Ok, search.” Hardwicke grunted out.

The officer stood and stared. “No,” she said.

Hardwicke looked up at her as he held Emily’s arms, even though she wasn’t struggling, “What did you say?” He asked through gritted teeth.

“I said I won’t. This is wrong. She hasn’t even been charged. You can search her if you want; I won’t.” The officer stood and stared defiantly.

Uttering an oath under his breath, Hardwicke stood, grabbed his folder and stormed out. He knew he had already gone too far and he needed some air. After he had gone, the officer gently pulled up Emily’s panties and pants. “I’m sorry,” she said, simply.

Emily stood and looked at the woman, “Thank you, officer,” she looked at the name tag, “Olesky. I won’t forget that.”

“I need to do this,“ Olesky said, placing the cuffs back on and sitting Emily down, then moving to the door. She looked down at Emily, “If you are a killer, you deserved that and more. But we don’t know yet.” She left and Emily sat alone, tears beginning to leak down her cheeks.

****

Across town Carman, driving a rental car, came along Prairie Avenue and then pulled her vehicle into the reserved parking space at Hawthorne Muni Airport.

****

Back at the jail, Detective Hardwicke was madly doing damage control. He had assigned a different female officer to watch Emily’s door; “Make sure no one sees her and nothing happens, are we clear?” he had emphasized to Constable Ruud.

Word came to him then that Hawkins’s lawyer had succeeded in getting her case before a magistrate today. And now it appeared the two young women (he checked his notes, Raisha and Brianna) were telling different stories.

Damn, he thought. He didn’t need more bullshit; he was already up to his neck in it.

****

Carman left the keys to her rental inside the car, took her briefcase and then walked toward the Hawker 900 private jet that sat waiting on the tarmac. She moved quickly up the stairs and entered, gazing upon the luxurious interior, with its ivory-hued leather chairs.

Folake sat in one of the chairs now, and greeted Carman with a warm smile, before rising and coming to embrace her. They made their way to two opposing seats, separated by a walnut table and both sat.

“So, is it done?” Folake asked, quietly.

Carman looked out the window, calming herself. She nodded, unable at the moment to speak. Folake waited patiently. In the plane the attendant was bustling about, getting things ready, even though there would be only the two passengers today. Finally Carman spoke, “They’ve arrested her, or taken her anyway, so yes, that’s, mmm, done.”

“You don’t fear that will actually go anywhere, do you?”

Carman dabbed her eyes with a tissue and sighed, “No, I really don’t, and I’ve arranged for an excellent lawyer, and Ross is involved as well, but it’s still hard to think of her like that. I saw them putting her in the cruiser; she was hand-cuffed, it was…hard.”

Folake looked on with some sympathy, “She was responsible for two people’s deaths, Carman. She’s not totally innocent.”

“I know.” Carman nodded. “I understand. Still doesn’t make it any easier.”

At that moment, the attendant came around to ask them to fasten seat belts, etc. Calmer now, Carman looked across at Folake and asked, “So, what have you, um we, done with all the money?”

Folake smiled. “I’ve parcelled it into three chunks and put two in the bank in the Caymans and one in the bank in the Bahamas. One hundred sixty million is significant,” she chuckled, “But it’s all stashed away. I moved two million into our account in Cairo….”

“Cairo?” Carman asked.

Folake smiled, “Oh, yes, I didn’t mention, that’s where we’re headed. I have an apartment there, under my husband’s name, and we will be able to lay low for a while, as they say. I think you don’t touch any of the other money for six months; after that I think we, you, should be good.”

Carman nodded, “You are organized; I didn’t know anything about, well, anything beyond your…basics.”

****

“Ms. Hawkins.” The officer said. Emily looked up with hostility in her eyes, but said nothing. “They’re taking you for a hearing.”

Emily rose. At least something was happening. She hated being in this cell more than she could say.

****

Folake smiled across at her partner. “Yet even though you really know little about me, you trusted me.”

Carman nodded, “I trusted you. Although I’m still unclear why you continued to give information to Stafford Hawkins?”

They were now in the air and the attendant came to ask them about refreshments. In a few moments they each had a glass of wine and plans to eat later, probably after their first refuel. Folake sighed and then responded. “Mr. Hawkins was my client, I owed nothing to his daughter, whether I liked the man or not.”

Carman sat in thought. “But what of me?” she asked.

Folake reached across the table and touched Carman’s arm. “I would never, never have betrayed you. I only gave Hawkins enough information to maintain his trust.”

Carman smiled, “And in the end we walk away with his millions. Some of his millions, anyway.”

“You walk away with his millions,” Folake smiled.

“We are together,” Carman said, quietly.

Folake nodded, “Hopefully, for a long time. But I have moved the two million for now and that is it. I am a wealthy woman, Carman. My husband left me very well off and I do what I like and have for a long while; and I earn very good money. But I do not need to work. And I do not need your money. Wait six months, and then have fun. I will be with you.” She smiled.

****

Emily entered the court through a back door. Word of her detainment had already spread and there was a throng at the front. Melanie was in the court and waved to Emily; it was clear she had been crying. Emily smiled back and was brought to stand beside her counsel. She noticed Ross was there as well; he gave her a quick ‘thumbs up’.

Everyone looked up as the judge entered.

****

After touching down in Hawaii, the plane was back in the air when Carman’s cell phone chimed. Folake looked at her, “I’ve kept it on,” Carman said simply, then, taking a breath, she answered the call. “Hello Emily.” She paused. “I take it you, are out?” She said quietly, then waited as there was silence on the other end.

“Why Carman?” Emily finally asked, her anger apparent.

Carman took a deeper breath. “I did it for me, Em, okay, but I knew you would be…all right…”

“I was arrested, you fucking bitch. I was in a fucking cell. They…oh, shit!” Emily snarled into her phone.

Carman calmed herself, “I knew you would be taken in, and so I got you a top lawyer. I knew there was no way they could hold you, Emily. I’m guessing they didn’t actually charge you…”

“No, but it doesn’t change the fact that you betrayed me, Carman. And you’re a Goddamn thief.” Emily’s voice dripped with bitterness; Downing had informed her of the money transfer; she quickly found that the secret accounts had been emptied.

Carman gathered herself, tears beginning to fall from her eyes. “Emily, you have gotten rid of your father and Tad; you are still sitting on an empire of around two hundred million dollars and you can do whatever you wish. That’s the bottom line.” There was silence, apart from Emily’s breathing, before Carman continued, “I would say I’m sorry, and I…oh fuck, Em…” Carman was openly crying now and unable to say anymore. On the other end, Emily was as well, but she wasn’t going to let Carman know.

Finally Carman was able to at least put some words together, “Mmmm, damn it, damn it, damn it Emily. Damn it! Forget the damn money and what went down. I cared for you Em, I really did, whatever else you think, that’s a fact. That’s a fucking fact!…There.” Carman’s voice had risen and now she sat, breathing hard.

“Goddamn it Carman, why didn’t you ever say anything?” Emily yelled into her cell.

Carman shook her head. “Why Emily? Why? What fucking difference would it have made? You are you and you’ll never change; I was just another stop along the road; I couldn’t stay; you would have destroyed me, and you know it.” Both sides sat quietly.

When Emily began again she was calmer, “So, some of it was real?” she asked.

Carman sighed, “Oh Jesus Christ, Em. All of it was real. I’m not that good an actress.” Silence again.

“And all the sneaking around? You had to have snooped into my devices and shit; that’s pretty gross…”

Carman sighed, “It didn’t hurt you, Emily. Your father’s empire was large enough for the both of us. How much money do you need, anyway?”

Silence followed for thirty seconds, then Emily murmured, “Where will you go?”

Carman sighed again, “Not sure. Will you come after me?”

After a long pause Emily finally spoke, quite softly, “Probably not. Like you said, it’s true, I have more dough than I know what to do with. Daddy-kins was buying a seat on a shuttle to the moon, you know. I’m not fucking kidding. One hundred million bucks it would’ve been; but I have most of that back, or I will have. Christ.” Silence again.

“You’re okay, Em? You can deal with, um, what you’ve…done?” Carman asked quietly.

“Yeah, I’m good, kid. Really. I plan to sleep just fine tonight.” There was another pause. “I hope to see you again, Carman. And not just to wring your neck.”

Carman chuckled softly. “Yeah, that’s good. I’ll never forget you; you know that?”

“Yeah.”

“Em…”

Then the line went dead.

Folake looked at Carman and smiled warmly, nodding her head. The attendant had waited until the call was over; she now brought their food, a look of concern on her face as she glanced at Carman.

As they enjoyed their meal, food on a private jet being pleasantly different than a commercial airliner, Carman commented. “So, how will it be, with the two of us? Now, I mean?” She asked.

Folake paused in consideration. “Well, our, relationship hasn’t changed, has it? You certainly could do what you want now; do you wish to leave, try other things?” Folake looked at her and tilted her head to one side in a way that Carman had always found agreeable.

“I am happy, very happy, with us.” Carman said, feeling the emotion rising. “Life changes, but I want to be with you. That hasn’t changed.”

“But do you still wish to belong to me, my love?” Folake was focused on her food as she said this.

Carman paused. She really did have the world at her feet, but what did that matter? She trusted her gut and her feelings. She said quietly, “I wish to belong to you, Mistress. I can’t explain it, but I feel, complete. Content.” She considered. “I am just, oh, curious I guess, of your plans. This, relationship, is still new in many ways. Obviously, I no longer need to work; you can take me and do what you wish.”

Folake smiled at this, “Well, I do have plans,” she said, her eyes held a twinkle.

“Anything you want to share, Mistress?” Carman asked, now with a grin on her face. It suddenly occurred to her that she smiled a lot more these days…

Folake took a mouthful of pasta and drank some wine, before continuing. “Well, I do want to take you to a slave weekend. In London, actually. I still have friends there who do that sort of thing.”

“Friends with slaves?” Carman asked, eyebrows raised.

Folake laughed, “Exactly. Most of the people I know in London are in this, em, lifestyle. I have missed it, but for the longest time I have not had a slave I felt proud enough of to share; until now.” She said quietly.

Carman paused for a moment, amazed at the arousal this conversation was producing. How had she lived so long without this? Maybe it was always there, waiting. “And now you…do.” She finally said, her voice husky.

Folake looked back with a loving gaze. “Yes.” She maintained her gaze. “That excites you, the thought that I can now use you as I desire?” Folake asked, a smile on her face.

Carman looked up. Her face showed contentment as well as desire. “It drives me crazy.” She thought for a moment of Candace, why she didn’t know, but carried on. “It, um, slays me,” she said, and laughed. They raised their glasses to each other.

The plane banked, then levelled off. Below them, as far as one could see, was the darkening blue of the Pacific.

****

(Six days later.)

The police had not proceeded with any charges, and likely would not. Detective Hardwicke had been suspended. Life had moved on.

Emily had now made the decision, not at all difficult, to get rid of her father’s collection; she certainly had no use for it. But rather than just packing it up, Melanie had suggested they get it appraised (I think there’s some, oh, unusual items, Em, she had said.)

So Emily had contacted a firm and they had sent out an appraiser and his assistant, who were currently hard at work and had been for a while. Emily had decided to see how they were doing, and was talking now with a short, be-speckled fellow, who was in charge.

He spoke, “So, this is an amazing collection…” he began.

“Yeah, yeah, right, but let’s cut right to it. What are we lookin’ at?” Emily replied, wanting this done with.

“Well, there are some rare pieces, and then there are the paintings…”

“So, like, where are we…?”

“You do realize there is a Picasso in there, and a Dali?”

“Yeah, sure. Whatever you say. What’s it all worth?”

The man adjusted his glasses and consulted his notes, “If you sold everything individually and got a fair price, well, we’re talking…”

”C’mon, my man, spit it out.”

“Well, possibly as high as; thirty million dollars?” The man looked up, his eyes were large and round behind his spectacles.

Emily nodded her head and smiled. “Yeah, but what if your company just took the whole load?”

“W-well, that is different, I would have to consult the partners…”

“Well, you do that, what’s your name again?” Emily asked. They had begun the walk down the hallway.

The little man, dressed in a spotless grey sports coat and bow tie, hair neatly parted and combed, looked up at her. “Dapper,” he said.

Emily suppressed her laugh, but a smile did manage to break out, “Your name is, um, Mr. Dapper?”

“Yes, Ms. Hawkins, that is correct, why?”

Emily regarded him, afraid any second she would lose it, “Is your first name, um, Richard, by any chance?”

“No, it’s Steven, why?”

Emily looked up, knowing if she looked down and directly at him, she would laugh and probably not stop, “Well, it’s just that if it was Richard, you could be…Dapper Dick, right?” She focused on the man’s assistant, who was measuring one of the brass clowns, stifling a growing guffaw.

“Um, I’m afraid I don’t understand…”

Emily turned and started to walk toward the staircase, the little man tagging along. “Do you, uh, sing, Steven?” She continued.

The man did smile broadly at that, “Yes, I am in a men’s barber shop quartet.”

Emily stopped and looked down at him, before continuing, “Of course you are; and like, um, you know, that’s too bad. I was thinking more of, you know, rap music.” She actually chuckled here.

“Oh no, no, that’s not for me…”

“Yeah, I get that, Mr. D. But it’s too bad, ‘cuz then you could be Dapper the Rapper, hey?”

The man paused, “Well, I don’t really see…”

“It’s ok, Mr. D.” Emily said, hurrying down the stairs. “Talk later.” She needed to get out to the patio. She needed to laugh.

And have a smoke.

****

(One week later)

“My God, can you believe how much stuff there is?” Melanie asked, as she and Emily stood observing a half dozen workers carry boxes out to the waiting truck. Emily simply shook her head in response, then said, “Oh, look, here comes our little man now.”

Steve Dapper, true to his name, was hurrying toward them. “Good morning, Ms. Hawkins, we should be finished soon and on our way.”

“Great, Stevie Ray Gun.” Emily smirked.

Dapper looked up at her, “Ray Gun?” He asked.

Emily chuckled, “You know. Dapper and Zapper. Zapper is a ray gun, like in the sci-fi movies,” She glanced at him, “It’s okay, Steve; you got somethin’ for me?”

Mr. Dapper smiled and reached into his leather pouch and brought out a check which he brandished with a flourish, “For you, ma’am.” He grinned.

“Thanks,” Emily murmured, taking the check, “But don’t call me ma’am.”

“We’ve made it out as per your request, all certified and everything’s ready to go.”

“Good work, Stevie D. Nice doin’ business with ya’” They shook hands and the energetic fellow bustled off. Emily looked at the check; eighteen million dollars. She snorted.

Melanie came up to her then, “Wow, still can’t believe it’s all going.” She said quietly.

Emily snorted again, “Well, are you going to say it or am I?”

“Say what?” Melanie asked.

Emily looked at her, “Well, the circus has left town, of course…” Emily actually giggled, then handed Melanie the check, which she had requested be made payable to her.

“It’s not really the circus, Em, it’s just the clowns. What’s this?” Melanie asked, staring at the thing.

“That, my dear, is for you.”

“But, um, Em, this is…”

“Eighteen million, I know. And it’s yours.”

“But I can’t take this…”

“Why? Why the Hell not?”

“Emily.”

“Look, you’ve earned it; take it, do what you want with it, go wherever you want…”

****

Glendale, California, 1999

It had been a month since Melanie had moved in, and she and Emily had bonded. Since the little girl had, surprisingly, few toys, Melanie had used part of the meager allowance Hawkins provided to buy a few, and Emily was now sitting on the carpet in her room engrossed in a conversation between two of her new dolls.

Looking up, Emily blurted out a question, “Auntie Mel, did you like my mommy?”

Melanie still got a little choked up whenever Emily talked of her mother. “I, um, never met your mommy, Em. But I know she was very pretty and very nice. I’m sure we would have been friends, little one.”

“My mommy would read me stories,” Emily said quietly.

“I bet you liked that, hey? I could read you some stories, I don’t know why I haven’t. Where are your books.”

Emily walked her two dolls along, like they were going somewhere, “My daddy put them in a box,” Emily said, matter-of-factly.

“Well, I’ll find them, Emily. Or I’ll look anyway. And if we can’t find ‘em, Auntie Mel will get you some more.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.”

Emily put her dolls down and climbed up on Melanie, laying her face against the woman’s shoulder. She stayed like that, then asked quietly, “When is my mommy coming back?”

Melanie felt the tears and the emotion, but she pushed them down; it wouldn’t help her niece. “Oh, I’m not sure, little one. Don’t think about that, ok. Let’s just have a hug,” which they did.

As they were hugging, Emily spoke into the ear her face was beside, “Are you going to leave me, Auntie Mel?”

Melanie clasped the little girl to her in a mighty hug, until Emily said in a little voice, “I can’t breathe, Auntie Mel,” and Melanie released her and Emily looked at her aunt. “Why are you crying, Auntie Mel?” she asked innocently.

Melanie hugged the girl again, less forcefully this time, “You can have tears of joy, Em. That’s what this is, ‘cause I love you so much. And listen…” Melanie held Emily by her shoulders so she could look right into the lovely, little face, “Listen to me. This is a promise. I will never, never, never leave you. I promise with all my heart.”

Emily smiled, showing the gap where she had lost her first tooth just this month. She held up a little hand, “Pinky swear, Auntie Mel?”

They hooked pinkies and Melanie laughed, a few tears still exuding reluctantly from her eyes.”

****

Melanie looked at her niece, more like a sister really. “I’m not going anywhere, Em. You know that. I promised you that a long time ago. You’re stuck with me, kid.”

Emily looked at the only person who ever really mattered to her, then quickly looked away as tears stung her eyes. She said quietly, “I know, I remember. I was playing with my dolls…” Melanie took a step forward and the two women embraced, both crying.

After a few moments, Emily whispered into Melanie’s ear. “But, you should still have some fun with your money, Mel.”

“Yeah sure, but we’ll think about that later.”

There was a pause. Emily took a step back, the smirk returning to her lovely face. “I was thinking, you know, that you could hire some like Chippendale dancers, that would be fun.” The smirk grew into a grin. “With all that green you’ve got, you could be stuffin’ cash down their shorts with both hands…” Emily laughed out loud.

Melanie looked at her niece and was about to say something, but in the end, only a single word, as she shook her head gently.

“Emily.”

“That’s me, Kid.”

A Gathering of Clowns By LongDarkRoad

The End

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 20 And With The Rising Of The Curtain The Final Act Begins

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 20 And With The Rising Of The Curtain, The Final Act Begins 

A Gathering of Clowns

it’s a three-ring world and all the while,

we’re the ones to make you smile;

so grab a grin and come on down;

it’s a gathering of clowns.

****

Another early June morning, only now it was 2016.

Tad Allan was crouching behind the largest tree in the back area of the Hawkins’s home; really the only place of concealment. He was thinking back on the conversations and the decision; Emily, or ‘the bitch’ as he was now thinking of her, offering him an escape from the debt load he was dying under.

Borrowing money from those guys at the strip club was a bad, bad idea; he knew they would carry out their threat of cutting off fingers if he didn’t do something about the money he owed them; on top of the money he owed ‘the bitch’; though at least the six grand she gave him bought some time.

The bottom line was that all of that would go away with one little act; one swift, decisive plunge of a needle. And he, of course, was very familiar with needles.

At this moment; however, he was feeling so agitated and nervous that he expected to puke any second. He jumped as his cell buzzed. It was the bitch, with the message that her father was just heading outside.

After sending the text, Emily left; climbed into her Camaro, put on her shades and roared off, leaving her cousin to his task; in a few minutes she would be on the freeway, with her car stereo blasting out Sharon Van Etten’s You Know Me Well.

****

Before heading into work, Carman, with last night’s late call from Emily in her mind, decided to pay a surprise visit to Raisha Douak. Carman learned one lesson, people like Raisha are not at their best first thing in the morning. But she was able to discover something interesting; Tad was already up and gone, and he was meeting Emily or doing something for her this morning.

“The guy was up at fucking five o’clock, sorry; anyway, he was out of here twenty minutes ago and whatever he was doing he wasn’t talking, but I know he got a text message, and that phone he used is strictly for the lady. When he was in the can I looked at the messages.”

“And?” Carman asked.

“Nothing, like, specific; just said get over here now.”

“And it was from Emily, er, the lady as you call her?”

“She gave him that phone to use with her only. So, yeah, it was her.”

Carman nodded and left. What on earth could he be doing this morning for Emily, at her place. She called Ivy and told her she wouldn’t be in until later. She needed to check this out. But when she got to the house, Emily’s car was already gone.

Strange. And where was Tad?

Carman sat in her car for a few minutes, and then made a decision. Five minutes later she was in the house and heading up to Emily’s room, having giving Chantico a convincing story. The girl was easy to please and wasn’t going to question someone like Carman. Feeling guilty and excited, Carman entered Emily’s room and was delighted to see her laptop just sitting there.

She took out her notebook as she started the device, then entered the password she had written down from watching Emily one night. It worked and she was in. This was good; it would be necessary for moving the money, but it wasn’t quite time for that just yet.

What Carman was interested in was Emily’s browsing history and she was not surprised to find that the girl had deleted nothing. Of special interest, and what froze Carman before the screen, was the browsing of drugs that mimicked a heart attack. She called Emily, but the call went to message.

****

Tad, heart beating furiously, maintained his crouch behind the tree as Hawkins came from the house and wandered over to sit on the series of steps that were like a little set of bleachers. To Tad’s mind, the man looked thin and old, and he was looking off into the distance at something.

Chantico now came into view, walking over to her boss. She did her thing, and in a few moments his injection was complete and then Hawkins just sat as Chantico went back inside; he hadn’t even put his jacket back on; it was a warm day. Tad waited.

****

Carman then went down to the kitchen and saw Chantico, who had just come in from the back. Their brief conversation revealed what Chantico had just been doing, that Mr. Hawkins was in the back; no, she hadn’t seen Tad Allan; she didn’t know where Emily was and that was odd, her being gone this early in the morning; and finally that Ms. Da Costa could look out at Mr. Hawkins, if she wanted to.

Chantico then led the way to a hallway and showed Carman the back stairs.

****

Finally, summoning his nerve, telling himself it would only take a moment and then he could be free, Tad moved with stealth as he came up from Hawkins’s left. When the man, deep in thought over something, became aware of him, moving his head slightly to look, there was only a moment of surprise before Tad plunged his hypodermic into Hawkins’s left arm. The solution, whatever it was Emily had given him, acted rapidly.

The look of surprise on Hawkins’s face changed to fear, and then the man clutched at his heart and then his throat, and then just wildly in the air, clawing at nothing. Tad looked away, unable to watch this grotesque pantomime.

Hawkins then collapsed to his knees; the look on his face now a combination of fear and also bewilderment. Then he began to fall, almost in slow motion, down the series of small steps, his body jarring with each one, his blond hair jouncing with each jolt, until finally coming to rest at the bottom, in an obscene tangle of long arms and legs, with a face whose eyes lay open and staring at the clown fountain. Emily would have found that an amusing touch.

****

Carman stood, frozen, unable for a moment to comprehend what she had just witnessed. Coming to her senses, she hurried back down the stairs, to the hallway by the room that Emily used for her ‘fun’ and then around the wall and into the kitchen, where Chantico was preparing a meal.

Fighting to appear and act ‘normal’, Carman asked how one got out to the back area. “This way,” the girl smiled, and led Carman to the other side of the kitchen  and behind this wall was another hallway which one could only see when you were here. She pointed to a solid and imposing door; “That leads out,” she said.

“So, that is how, um, Mr. Hawkins comes and goes?” Carman asked; for some reason this seemed odd.

“Oh no, Miss; on the other side of that wall is Mr. Hawkins’s elevator. There is another door outside; this one and that one.” She smiled again.

Carman was confused for a moment. “But I thought Mr. Hawkins could walk directly from his car to the elevator?”

Chantico smiled again, “He can, Miss. The back area is completely fenced; you can only get to it through this door or the elevator door. But there is another door, on the other side of the fence, that opens to the elevator as well. Mr. Hawkins did not want to, um, run around much, I guess. It seems like too many doors for me.”

Carman thanked her and headed out the front. She needed to get away from here. How Tad got in and out was not her concern, probably jumped the high fence; but Carman was now in danger. She was on site, and when they found Hawkins’s body, she could be suspected. But with the entry to the back area restricted, Chantico would be her alibi.

She had never gone out that door, or any of the ‘too-many-doors’.

****

Tad waited and then looked around in fear, but he was alone, at least no one was near him. He didn’t want to look at Hawkins, but finally he moved over to the body. The face was white, the lips blue. Tad felt for a pulse and found none.

He put the syringe in his pocket and then bolted, moving quickly up and over the fence and then down the alleyway, for a block, two blocks, just running madly until finally stopping behind a fence, where he fell to his knees and began vomiting.

He rested there, kneeling, desperately trying to regain composure while fighting the urge to scream. He had murdered someone! Panic seized him for a moment and he fought madly to control his breathing.

It seemed to take forever, but when he had regained control, Tad took out his cell and sent the message that should free him.

He had done his awful part.

****

Emily Hawkins was on Ventura Highway, not going anywhere, just driving, her top down and her blond hair blowing wildly, waiting for news. She was amazingly calm.

As she drove, she heard her cell buzz and looked down, as it was sitting on the passenger’s seat. The message was simple: “It’s done,” was all it said, but Emily let out a shout, and then pressed down the accelerator, blasting along the freeway. Holy Fuck!!

After a few moments she exited, and when she had slowed to a more reasonable speed, she sent Tad the address of the place she had found for him. She’d give him a while to get there and then follow up.

Right now, she placed a call to Ryland Ross, and pressured him into contacting the doctor Hawkins had used all those years ago, to sign the death certificate for Sarah. The man, now in his late-fifties, was still practising; Emily had already confirmed that. Whatever Hawkins had leveraged him with back then was still of use, and Ross would do what Emily wanted and the Alex Vargas information would go away.

“But why is this necessary, Ms. Hawkins. And why will he need to go to your house?” Ross asked this with a sense of foreboding.

“You’ll know soon enough, Ross-o; just get on it.”

****

Tad was now sitting on a cement block in an alley five or six blocks from the Hawkins’s residence. He had vomited again, even though there was nothing left, and now he felt like he might pass out. Having sent out his message to ‘the bitch’, he had waited, and now came the reply; an address. He’d need to take a cab.

Twenty minutes later, Tad paid the fare and looked around the unpleasant part of town he had been sent to; he followed the directions on his cell and five minutes later was reaching under a fence and finding a key, then unlocking a graffiti-covered door and heading down the stairs to a dingy apartment. Turning on the light, he looked around at the sparsely furnished room and then noticed what was on the coffee table: a syringe, a packet of powder and a note. The note said, “Thank You.”

“Fuck you,” he said with feeling, pulling the strap out of his pants pocket and binding his arm.

In a few moments, as he lay against a wall, the drug hit him and he smiled and closed his eyes. After a few more minutes, however, an odd feeling overcame him; something he had not felt before. He tried to stand but was unable. He thought he might be sick again, but nothing happened, just a slow wave of darkness that seemed to rise and overtake him.

He felt very tired now, and needed to close his eyes. He needed to sleep, just for a minute. Sleep. But then his breathing became rapid, and he hyperventilated briefly and then it slowed again.

It then slowed even more. Finally, it stopped, as Tad’s eyes opened slightly, and he stared unseeing at this cold, stark room, his final space.

****  

Carman made one stop on her way back to the office; back to Raisha’s. She wanted to see if Tad returned there. After waiting out front for a while, she went to the door and knocked, with Raisha coming again to answer.

In response to her query, Raisha surprisingly answered that Tad wouldn’t be returning. “Emily found him a place, a few miles from here. It’s a dump, but he doesn’t plan to be there long.”

Carman looked for a long minute at this young woman, before saying, “We need to talk.”

****

Emily parked her car, convertible top up, on the street in front of a restaurant; it was a little less sketchy than the alley she now headed for. A couple of buildings down the alley she went through the broken gate, then the nasty-looking door, down the stairs and to the rooms she’d rented for Tad; or at least, had Raisha rent on her instructions.

Entering cautiously, Emily quickly surveyed the dimly lit and sketchy room. Tad was slumped against a wall, the needle still in his arm. Emily looked at him; what did she feel? A little nausea, maybe? Certainly no guilt, at least not at the moment. She picked up the empty drug packet, then reconsidered and placed it back down, but took the note she had left. She glanced around until she spied Tad’s cell. Picking this up, she stood; and with one last look at her cousin, left, leaving the lights on.

She would let someone else discover him.

After leaving the place, Emily walked back up the alley and around to the front. Walking down the street, she removed the cell’s SIM and dropped it into one garbage bin. She bent the cell phone as much as she could, and then dropped it into the next bin.

Turning down another street she picked up her pace and soon was at her car. Then in a few minutes, she was again speeding along the road, heading for the ramp onto Ventura Blvd.

She had done it. Or, at least, it was done. She felt exhilaration.

****

At Adams Hill, Chantico had been alarmed to see Mr. Hawkins lying strangely on the ground when she went out for a break. She had tried to rouse him, but then realized it was very serious and ran in to retrieve Melanie. In a few minutes an ambulance was heading their way.

And a little while later, the paramedics arrived, surprised to find a coroner already there and heading in with them. “I was close by,” he answered their questions. Soon he was informing Melanie that Stafford Hawkins was dead, and it looked like a heart attack.

Although alarmed greatly, Melanie was not grieved and she was able to sit with her cell and contact Documart, informing Drew, Ross and Da Costa of the news.

For some reason, Melanie was unable to reach Emily.

****

Ryland Ross put down the phone and sat staring off at the news that the body of Stafford Hawkins had been found. So that was it, damn. How’d she do it, he wondered? Damn. Damn. Damn.

Ross then felt a wave of both nausea and sadness rise within him. Hawkins was not a loveable, even a likable man, but Ross’s relationship with him had been lengthy and very rewarding, in several ways. Ross might in fact be the only person involved who at that moment felt sadness of any kind. He was also alarmed. He called Emily.

Still later, he would also be surprised when Hawkins’s will was opened, showing that it had recently been changed, leaving Hawkins’s Documart shares to Ross. Did Emily know that? Did she set him up?

Drew Downing heard the news, thanked Melanie and asked how she felt, then sat, his mind in a whirl. What did this mean? What would this mean? Had Hawkins left a will? Had it included anything for his sisters? What would happen to the company?

Carman received the call, having just made it back to her desk. She immediately called Folake and passed it along, giving her all the information she had in fact. Damn.

Considering for a moment, she proceeded downstairs and then to the building next door; one of the few that still had pay phones on the wall.

She called the police from one.

****

Emily felt she had covered her bases and her ass. Her father’s body was on the way to the funeral home; whatever Ross and her father had on the coroner, it was for sure good stuff.

****

The anonymous tip that the police received had sent Detective Grant Hardwicke to Raisha Douak’s place, where they found ample evidence that one Tad Allan had been staying there; he was Emily Hawkins’s cousin and Emily was connected to the residents. The two women, without a lot of pressure, caved in and began ‘singing like canaries’, to reference an old crime theme. The twenty thousand in cash that Raisha had received from Da Costa, meant that she at least was singing a certain tune.

And that tune directed the police in the direction of one person. Raisha explained how Emily Hawkins had hired her to befriend Tad Allan. How she had supplied drugs to him. How Emily had sent Tad on an errand today, and where Tad could be found now.

The police discovered his body shortly afterwards, and although it looked like an apparent suicide, Raisha’s testimony made Hardwicke consider everything in a certain, different light.

Hardwicke’s partner looked at him across the desk. “You are seriously going to pursue this?” He asked.

“Damnit, Jay, look at what these girls are sayin’. It looks like Hawkins set this whole thing up. With her father dead she’s worth millions. That’s motive in my mind.“

“You gonna’ arrest her?”

Hardwicke tapped his pen on his desk. “I’m waitin’ om the lab results from the Allan guy. I’d start with that, and then look at her old man. We’ll see.”

“You know she’s going to have a hot shot lawyer, if you go where I think you’re goin’?” Jay Crandell noted.

Hardwicke smoothed his moustache; he had definitely thought of that. “Yeah, I’m aware of that. Big deal. Lots of people have pricey lawyers. She’s young; we get her in the cells she’ll crack. She’s one of them privileged twats. She won’t want to spend an hour here. She won’t be hard to break, trust me.”

Crandell regarded the senior detective; it wasn’t his place to question him. “So, you goin’ tonight or what?”

“No, I should have all I need by tomorrow.”

****

The discussions about funeral arrangements and services had ended; Emily had not informed anyone that in a few hours Stafford Hawkins would be just ashes. They would find out when necessary.

She sat now alone in the darkened living room; everyone else having finally wandered off to bed. She was sitting and drinking Tequila; she sucked a lime slice and tossed it toward the garbage can. It bounced on the carpet and lay there. “That’s for you, Daddy-kins.” She murmured.

Her cell buzzed; it was Ross. “Yes?” she whispered.

“Ok, it’s set. The body will be cremated tomorrow, early. I stalled the police order to hold the body for autopsy; it won’t be heard until after ten; by then, your father will be, um, ashes.”

Emily nodded her head. “Ok, we’ll have a swap. You get me the urn and I’ll give you the notes on Vargas. They are not easy to find, unless you know where to look. Your secret will be safe.” She said softly.

Ross stood for a moment in thought. “They might still arrest you, Emily.” He said quietly. Emily did not react; that seemed unlikely. Ross continued, “They found Tad Allan’s body. Did anyone tell you?”

Emily weighed her options while considering her response; she hadn’t heard this. It was quicker than she expected. “Where?”

“Some dump; I’m not sure. Were you involved? I’d like to help you but I need all the facts.”

“Thanks,” she said quietly, “I’ll get back to you tomorrow.” The call ended. She poured herself another shot and licked the salt. She closed her eyes. “This one’s for you, mom.” She said, and downed the glass.

****

Two officers and Detective Hardwicke arrived at the house in Adams Hill just after eleven; the lab results on Tad Allan indicating he died of an overdose. Hardwicke had a statement from Brianna saying that Emily (the blond woman as she called her, but firm on the photo) would prepare the drug packets for them to give to Tad. Raisha, on the other hand, now refused to talk to anyone this morning; Hardwicke would deal with her later. He wished he knew where the anonymous tip had come from.

Once inside the house and after informing Emily of her rights, and that they would be back to search the premises when the warrant arrived (something was holding it up) Emily was placed in hand-cuffs.

The streets outside the home were quiet; no word had gotten out yet of this development. The police led Emily out the front door, her hands behind her; but already waiting for them was Drayton Holding, regarded as one of the top defense lawyers in California. He’d had a call early this morning, plus ten thousand as a retainer.

He was already deep in conversation with Emily even as they made their way to a waiting patrol car. After a moment to load the young woman in, the vehicle pulled out, heading for the county cells. Holding confronted Hardwicke, “I would be very careful with how you handle this, Detective,” he said bluntly.

“Yeah, sure. Thanks councillor; you’re welcome to tag along.” He climbed into his car and headed after the other vehicle.

Carman, waiting and watching from down the block, sat in silence, fighting emotions. A few minutes later a taxi pulled up and Melanie climbed in and drove away. Carman then made her way to the door and entered.

She went to the kitchen and found Chantico, weeping. Carman talked with her and consoled her and then went upstairs to Emily’s room, the housekeeper not concerned about her actions.

Carman opened Emily’s laptop and then put in the password she had used and hoped had not been changed. Emily did not seem the type to worry about passwords and that proved true; in a moment Carman was once again into the device and googling the first of the bank accounts. Working efficiently and steadily, in twenty minutes she was finished.

She called Folake, and when the melodious voice answered, Carman simply said, “The money has all been transferred from my end. You are good?”

“Okay, I am good. You wish to proceed as we discussed?” Carman hesitated for a moment but then confirmed the plans. Folake now paused, then asked, “How are you doing?”

For a moment, Carman could not answer; she swallowed hard then was at least able to say, “Okay.” Then she ended the call and sat, sadness welling up within her.

She had timed things well; thirty minutes after she left the police arrived and searched as they warned, and they confiscated both Emily’s cell phones and her laptop, with certain files recently erased.

Half an hour later Carman was at her office, gathering up a few things which she put then into her briefcase. She stood for a moment and looked around the office. Nothing left here was hers; not the art on the walls or the equipment or the odds and ends on her desk and cupboard. She had removed everything that was personal.

The office was deserted today out of respect for Stafford Hawkins, so Carman did not have to face anyone as she left. She did notice that Ross was in his office, but she had no plans to see him; heading downstairs and to her car; then driving off.

(End of Chapter 20)

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 19 We Cry That We Are Come To This Great Stage of Fools

A Gathering of Clowns By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 19

We Cry That We Are Come To This Great Stage Of Fools 

Riverside, California, Spring 1986

Shy, attractive, fourteen-year-old Sarah Donnelly is at home on a rare occasion; she is alone, her mother having gone out to a meeting of some sort.

Sarah is enjoying this, drinking coke and eating chips and watching The Love Boat and any other stuff she gets to choose (rare occurrence). She is relaxed and dozes off on the couch.

When she awakens, after a disturbing dream, it takes her a moment to realize her hands are bound. With a rising sense of panic, she realizes someone is in the room with her, but she is unable to make much noise as her assailant has just finished wrapping a scarf around her mouth as she stirs.

The man suddenly looms over her, wearing a ski mask and smelling of sweat and cigarettes. His pants are down and his erection is standing out in a threatening way to a girl who has never seen a penis of any sort, except in diagrams.

Grabbing Sarah roughly by her blond hair, the man flips her over so she is face down on the couch and with her knees on the ground. He then literally tears her clothes off.

The attacker rapes Sarah, a virgin, repeatedly over the next two hours, including anally, before viciously punching her unconscious and leaving her bleeding in a heap on the floor, where her mother finds her an hour later.

It will take months for Sarah to recover physically, but much longer emotionally and mentally. At age sixteen she is placed in a psychiatric facility, where she will spend several months undergoing treatment. It will be years before the dark dreams finally dissipate.

At age nineteen Sarah Donnelly, amazingly, emerges into the world, completes a diploma program in marketing at U. of California, Riverside and takes her first job with a growing and aggressive young company in Glendale, California, a company that would one day become Documart.

And within a couple of months, Sarah Donnelly would meet Stafford Hawkins (the shy, eccentric owner and creative head of the company) one afternoon in the main floor restaurant, and feel a strange kinship. Perhaps it was simply loneliness.

****

Riverside, California Spring 1993

“So you have considered my, proposal,” Stafford Hawkins asked of Natasha Donnelly as they sat in the modest but pleasant sitting room of her home. Sarah, Natasha’s daughter, had gone to work just three months earlier at Hawkins’s new company, as part of the marketing team. She had done very well, all things (especially her past and health issues) considered. More than well, really, as she had caught the eye of the young, millionaire entrepreneur owner of the firm, who was arrived here today, and now sat talking. Even though Sarah was an adult, she left many decisions up to her mother.

Hawkins continued, “I know Sarah is greatly influenced by your counsel, and would follow your advice. I will provide and care for her, and of course…love her. She will want for nothing and will be safe. And of course, I will provide the medical care you, personally, need, clearing away your debts in the process. The doctors say with treatment you have an excellent chance of full recovery and I do not see how you will receive that care without the…funds.”

Hawkins sat quietly now. Natasha Donnelly’s mind was awhirl. She wished she knew more about this odd, young man. Sarah seemed to feel positive about him and considering what she had been through, the fact she was even considering being near a man was incredible.

And what would Natasha do without this support he was offering? She had exhausted all her other options; her bank account was in arrears; her home mortgaged to the maximum, debt collectors had begun showing up right at her house to harass her, and she still needed at least six to eight months more of treatments; and that was if they were successful.

She would talk with Sarah; she would counsel her to accept this man’s offer of marriage; despite a nagging doubt lying at the back of her awareness.

****

Glendale, California Summer 1993

It had been a week since the marriage, and Hawkins had made no move to consummate the nuptials. Sarah for her part had mixed feelings; on the one hand, she wanted her and her husband to be together; while they had separate rooms in the/his large house, they certainly could at least lie together.

But that of course was the other side of her coin; she had been with no one, man or woman, since her brutal assault. She wanted to experience consensual sex; she wanted to experience sex with a man differently than the only way she had known it; violently, and Stafford was so shy about this that Sarah actually felt at ease.

Finally tonight they were together in a room with only the light from the moon allowed in, leaving them to seek each other in shadow. Hawkins was clumsy and hesitant, but in time both were naked and then in a rush, Hawkins was inside her; taking her by surprise and causing her momentary panic.

It passed quickly; however, as Hawkins lasted barely thirty seconds before shuddering and crying out, then withdrawing in haste, apologizing and actually weeping with some unnamed shame. The two lay together for perhaps five minutes, then Hawkins withdrew. It would be the only time in their marriage that they would lie together, at all, or have physical contact of any kind. If Sarah had been worried about meeting a man’s sexual desires, she needn’t have worried with Hawkins; he had none, apparently.

But that one time had been enough, in one way. A month after the brief event, Sarah noted her period was late; a month after that it was evident that she was pregnant. Seven months after that, in a labor that was very difficult and exhausting, a baby, Emily Natasha Hawkins, emerged.

The birth trauma would prove costly, though, as the doctors informed Sarah she would not be able to conceive again. But this amazing baby made it worthwhile. From the moment Sarah laid eyes on her, she fell in love with the beautiful and precious child.

For the rest of her short life, Emily would be the reason for Sarah to get up each day and deal with an increasingly erratic and hostile husband; and it seemed the more she came to love and cherish her daughter, the more distant and unpleasant became her relationship with Stafford Hawkins.

****

Glendale, California 1997

Sarah stood looking in amazement at the first rose, her rose, a red Intuition that had opened on her first bush. Earlier in the year she had gone to Stafford with the idea that she would like to turn the back area of their yard into something more; something for her. The front area was landscaped neatly and maintained by a local company, but the back was mainly patchy grass and a few trees. Since no room in the house looked out on it, it had become a forgotten space.

Sarah had become interested in roses and asked her husband for some money, a few thousand, to get a garden started. She was startled and pleasantly surprised to find seventy thousand dollars show up in her personal account; well, she could certainly do something with that!

She had a landscaper come in and remove a u-shaped section of grass approximately eight feet across around the edge of the property against the fence. She had then filled this area in with quality top soil, planting four rose bushes to start.

Now, seeing her first flower actually appear, filled her with wonder; she now had something, besides young Emily who was currently playing on the grass by her feet, to interest her. Something living.

****

Glendale, California (Fall) 1998

By the summer of this year, Sarah’s rose bush ‘hobby’ had grown, no pun intended, to where she needed to hire some help. Stafford was happy to throw money her way if it kept her out of his blond hair, and she had enough in her account to hire someone to put in one day a week just to keep things under control. Her house staff, the Bennetts, had heard from a friend about a young man, excellent with roses, who worked part time at a home only a couple of blocks away, and he was dropping by today to check things out.

****

Glendale, California December 1998

Alex Vargas came up the front walk but before he could ring the doorbell, Sarah had answered the door and let him in. Mrs. Bennett was bathing Emily and would put her to bed, then alert Sarah. Mr. Bennett was watching television in their room, and by watching that usually meant sleeping. Stafford Hawkins was in New York for a meeting of some kind, so the coast was clear and Sarah was determined.

The two young people moved quietly up the stairs, down the carpeted hallway and into Sarah’s room. Sarah put some music on as background and poured some wine; they sat and drank the wine and talked in whispers. As it turned out, they had many common interests: old-time westerns, Vivaldi, American history. The quiet conversation continued until a gentle rap on the door followed by Mrs. Bennett’s announcement, sent Sarah off to kiss Emily goodnight.

Upon her return, Sarah dimmed the lights and led Alex to her bed. They took their time, undressing each other slowly, enjoying the moment as each article of clothing came off until they lay naked and entwined.

The doctor’s had assured Sarah there was no chance of her conceiving, and she accepted Alex’s hard brown erection into her with surprising desire, the two bodies moving carefully and slowly, and making no sounds. The horror of her assault all those years ago finally faded away in that wonderful and amazing moment.

Two hours later, Sarah led Alex as they tiptoed down to the front hall, soundlessly opened the door, kissed warmly and said goodnight.

It would become a relationship that would be rekindled at least twice a week as the year slipped into 1999 and then into the spring; the happiest time in Sarah’s life.

****

Glendale, California late April, 1999

Stafford Hawkins had planned this out. He would leave, drive down the block a little way, then come back quietly. The housekeeper would have Emily off to the park, and the lazy husband of hers would be dozing up on the third floor, pretending to clean.

Then Hawkins would be able to watch what his wife was up to, although the bile he tasted would undoubtedly hold true; still, he needed to know, for sure.

He now slipped quietly in through the side door and made his way to what were called the back stairs; then he waited. As he watched through the small window, the young gardener came into view, fussing with his roses. Those fucking rose bushes! If Hawkins had his way they would be gone; bull-dozed to nothing. The gardener seemed to simply be poking around, almost as if he were just biding his time.

He’s waiting, Hawkins told himself, a sliver of ice stabbing his insides; it was doubtful if he was capable of true love, but Hawkins was still an intensely jealous person.

But if Hawkins had felt a sliver a moment ago, he now felt a ripping gash, as his wife Sarah came into view from the left, going to the gardener and gently touching the man’s brown arm. Hawkins could not see his young wife’s face, but he could see the gardener’s; it broke into a wide and warm smile. Both individuals looked around quickly and then headed off to the right of Hawkins’s view and out of his sight.

Hawkins sat frozen on the stairs. His anger was coursing through him, bitter lava through a volcano, but he maintained control; rushing out like a maniac was not the answer. He quietly exited the side door and made his way around the front of his large house, coming up along the side that was fenced off, but would still allow him to get close to where the two had likely disappeared. The heavy fence boards nailed close together provided privacy, but sound would still travel over them.

Crouching behind the fence and slumped against the wall, Hawkins could hear voices, but they were low, a man and a woman, and he could not really make out any words. But in a few minutes he heard the sounds that he remembered all too well from his youth; the unmistakeable sounds of love-making, the slap/slap of skin on skin and the moans and grunts of exertion.

The muffled cries of passion were definitely his wife’s. Hawkins made fists of his hands and brought them to his face to stop him from screaming out. Finally, unable to stand any more, he quietly retreated, and walked back to his vehicle, then drove in a rage to his office, where he spent the afternoon in planning. This would not go unpunished.

****

Glendale, California, May 1999

Hawkins knocked on Sarah’s door and waited a few seconds, then entered to find her seated before her dresser mirror, a brush in one hand and a startled look on her face.

“Yes?” she asked, looking wary.

“Good evening, my dear. Please pardon the interruption.” Hawkins stood, working hard to control his emotions, wanting retribution but on his terms. He knew his intentions; this part, this face-to-face, in many ways was unnecessary; but he could not deny himself. Hawkins needed to confront this woman; his wife.

“Well, what would you like Stafford?” Unsure why, Sarah felt a growing sense of alarm. As time had passed, Hawkins’s eccentricities had evolved from slightly endearing to concerning, to disturbing, to threatening;  the man standing before her now was frightening.

“So, my dear, just wondering, how your roses are doing?” Hawkins stood, asking a simple question; but his face and his manner said something else. It was as if he were an actor and this was a role.

“My roses? What interest have you in my roses?” Sarah replied, quietly.

“Well, I have given you the money to, um, start your hobby and now maintain it.“ He said, his high voice rising slightly in volume. “I believe I can ask of its status, if that’s not too much trouble,” he added.

Sarah put her brush down and regarded him as calmly as she could. “My roses bring me pleasure; thank you for helping with that. I have five varieties now and some delightful, well, specimens.” All this was true; she now sat, waiting, having given him an answer and not wishing to talk with him more than necessary.

“And you have enough, help, to deal with your project,” he asked, advancing a step? Sarah, being seated, had no retreat, yet inwardly she withdrew a pace, Hawkins’s manner becoming more alarming.

“I, uh, I have a part-time gardener, which I guess is what you are referring to. He now works two days a week.” Her breathing was increasing, despite her efforts at control. The mention of Vargas alarmed her greatly.

“Your gardener, he has been helpful, his two days sufficient for your…needs?” Hawkins asked.

“Y-yes, Mr. Vargas is very knowledgeable about roses; he has won awards, or helped his patrons with contests. He is skillful…” she said.

Hawkins stood for a minute, staring, his face white, one fist now clenched. “I am certain he is skillful, my dear.” Hawkins stated, and Sarah looked away, his face was hurting her. “I’m also sure that he can be of comfort to you during those hours you spend together,” he added, his voice now louder. In her room Ivy Bennett heard the rising voice and nodded. She had wondered when Hawkins would tumble to the reality.

“What are you saying, Stafford?” Sarah replied, her voice rising now as well.

“I’m saying, my dear, that your gardener gives you more comfort than just with roses, yes?”

“What are you implying?” Her voice stopped, choked off with emotion and fear.

“I must, like a whore, unpack my heart with words,” Hawkins shouted quoting, oddly, Shakespeare.

Sarah did not reply, simply sat staring in fear; Hawkins stood glaring, then turned and stormed out, afraid he would strike out and ruin his plans. When he left, Sarah buried her face in her hands and wept. What would she do now?

Two hours later, Hawkins lingered in the second floor hallway, waiting for the housekeeper, what the devil was her name? Benson? No. Barnett? No. Bennett? Yes, damn it, Mrs. Bennett, he declared to himself as he saw the woman come to the top of the stairs and begin to make her way to her mistress’s room, carrying the tray and her evening warm milk.

“Oh I say, Mrs., er, Bennett,” Hawkins declared, stepping out, “let me assist you.”

Bennett looked up with alarm; she found Hawkins alarming generally and here he was, appearing suddenly out of nowhere.

“Oh, um, good evenin’ Sir, You startled me, you did, Sir.”

“Yes, yes, quite so, my good lady, But, let me relieve you of this; I will take it to my wife. We have had a, em, disagreement, and I wish to say good night more, um, pleasantly.” He smiled down at her, but even his smile was alarming.

“As you will Sir, thank you I’m sure,” Mrs. Bennett murmured uncertainly as Hawkins took the tray and headed off. She watched for a minute in wonder, and then turned and left. Pausing before his wife’s door, Hawkins balanced the tray and removed a packet from his jacket pocket, emptying its contents into the warm milk and stirring. He then knocked gently and entered.

Sarah was startled but Hawkins was apologetic, saying good night graciously and leaving the tray. Sarah watched his retreating form, wondering, then drank her milk, deep in thought. She needed to get away and Alex had come forward with a plan. She took out his letter again and read it. Then feeling drowsy, she lay her head down. She was quite drowsy, really. The letter slipped from her hand and fell by the bed.

Half an hour later Hawkins returned quietly and looked down at his sleeping wife. He managed with some difficulty to get her under her blankets, then he noted the letter lying on the carpet and picked it up, reading it with growing anger. When he had finished he tore the letter into pieces and let them fall, covering his face with his hands.

Acting quickly so as not to lose his nerve, Hawkins took the syringe out from his jacket and injected its contents into his wife’s neck. Breathing heavily, he then bent down and frantically picked up the pieces of the letter. Then he left, without looking back at the woman who was now dying in her bed.

Half an hour later, as he drove to his plane, he called Ryland Ross, catching him as he was just preparing for bed. The two talked for fifteen minutes. When the call ended, Ross sat down on his bed, deep in thought. He spent a restless night, getting up at five as he could not sleep.

At eight o’clock his ringing of the front bell brought an alarmed-looking Ivy Bennett out. The discussion led to the fact that Mr. Hawkins was gone but yes, Ross could speak with Mrs. Hawkins if, as he said, that would do, since it was urgent.

Ross then followed Bennett upstairs and waited, heart pounding as the woman knocked, entered, then reacted with panic when she could not wake her mistress, allowing Ross to take over.

The egg-headed man, in his most efficient manner, placed a call to the doctor Hawkins controlled (just how Ross didn’t know and didn’t care to know). The doctor arrived, declaring Mrs. Hawkins dead of a heart attack and signing the death certificate. The body was removed and taken immediately to the funeral home, where it was cremated the next morning.

One day later, a keen-eyed reporter spotted Stafford Hawkins leaving the parlor and walking to his waiting limo, and took a photo.

It would be days before Ross would be able to sleep much; weeks really before the memory and the guilt ebbed. He had liked Sarah Hawkins; liked her and felt sorry for her, but the two hundred and fifty thousand dollar bonus deposited into his account eased his conscience slightly. His loyalty did not fail.

In his efficient manner, Ross had the Bennetts relocated to San Francisco with a sizable sum of cash to help their transition; then he brought in a new housekeeper.

Hawkins himself contacted his younger sister, Melanie, who was desperate to get out of the family home, and offered her the job of looking after Emily, which she

readily accepted. He would pay her an allowance and leave the girl’s care completely up to her.

The only fly in the ointment was that the gardener had slipped through their grasp.

Oh well, Ross told himself, we will find him.

****

Glendale, California, May 1999

Stafford Hawkins watched as the cleaners left with two boxes of things; all the stuff his wife had given to his daughter, was being removed. All the toys and books; he would eventually get rid of all her clothes too, but one thing at a time.

He wanted nothing left to remind him.

****

Glendale California June 1999

“Here,” Melanie said, handing Emily a book. She had been disturbed when she arrived to find Emily had so little; it was strange.

Emily looked at it. It was ‘Love You Forever’ by Robert Munsch. She opened it up, “Will you read it to me, Auntie Mel?” she asked, and Melanie agreed. She enjoyed reading, but she had a hard time saying no to Emily about anything anyway.

Twenty minutes later, Melanie tucked Emily in and tried to take the book, but the little girl held fast. “I wanna’ keep it, please.” She protested and Melanie could not say no; she tucked her in and left.

A few minutes later, Emily got up quietly and went to her dresser, opening the top drawer and reaching under some clothes. She pulled out the tiny slip of paper that she had found in her mother’s room. She could not read the words yet, but that didn’t matter, the paper mattered. She would keep it. She put it in the back of her new book, unaware of the irony.

****

Glendale California June 1999

Ryland Ross stood, looking down at the plaque embedded in the well-manicured lawns of the cemetery. It was a tranquil setting, and although he hadn’t known Sarah Hawkins well, he imagined she would approve.

Looking around, as he battled conflicting emotions, he noted the numerous trees gave the area a park-like feel; and he had always liked Mimosa.

But the sense of guilt did not seem to dissipate with the peaceful view. He had not been directly involved in Sarah’s death; he still did not know all the details; he didn’t want to know. But he had to believe it was not above-board; and he had assisted Stafford Hawkins with this whole, distasteful affair, and that was something he would have to live with for all his life. He would do the best he could.

Ross bent down and placed some flowers in the urn.

They were, of course, roses.

(End of Chapter 19)

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 18 Observe The Lion Tamer, With Delusion As A Shield

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 18 Observe The Lion Tamer, With Delusion As A Shield 

At home in his office, Stafford Hawkins watched, scrutinized really, the video of the whipping. Ms. Da Costa would be sore, that was for certain and probably angry. Quite angry, he chuckled to himself. He would speak with her, not because he was concerned, but because he couldn’t have her leave…just yet.

But he had learned what he needed; Alvarez had chosen the cane that, while it would mark and certainly hurt, would hurt the least. Her allegiance was to Ms. Da Costa, and he needed to be very careful with any information she gave him.

He was already fairly convinced she had not told him all she knew. Damn them, he thought. He was aware of the treachery of jesters to their kings; it was all too common. Disloyalty. Deceit. Deception.

And tomorrow, no, today actually, it would be his daughter’s turn.

Of everyone, she was still the one who troubled him the most.

****

Carman’s cell chimed at around ten o’clock. She was up and just relaxing on the couch. Considering what she had endured the day before, she was feeling okay; Folake was a very experienced sado-dominant, and her knowledge and skill showed in Carman’s rapid recovery.

The call was from her office and she answered it, “Da Costa here.”

“Ms. Da Costa, I’m sorry for calling you at home,” it was Carman’s assistant Tia, and she sounded genuinely apologetic, “but Mr. Hawkins has instructed me to reach you and say he needs to see you this afternoon before three. Is that possible, are you feeling better?”

“Thank you Tia, it is okay. I am feeling better and will be in this afternoon. Let Mr. Hawkins know.” After the goodbyes, Folake looked at Carman with one of those looks. “Don’t give me that, mistress, I am not independently wealthy, just yet.”

“What do you think is up?” Folake asked.

“With that man, who knows.” Carman said, heading for the shower.

In a moment Folake joined her saying, “I am assisting you today, my pet, so give me the soap.” Carman smiled as she passed her the bar.

****

Emily regarded her face in the mirror. Was she nervous? No, excited perhaps. Yeah, she admitted to herself there was some excitement; she had not been face to face with her father in…years.

What were her memories of him? Her last memory, or at least one that arose, was a good one actually and the only one she was able to dredge up. It was of him taking her to the circus, how odd was that, she thought. It was the only place, the only time she could remember, with the two of them going anywhere. She had no memories at all of her and her mother and father together, even eating meals.

Obviously her father had a thing about clowns, but she was unaware of that until now. Perhaps the whole clown thing had triggered this? They had gone to a Ringling Brothers circus; one that still had elephants in it, that’s how long ago it was. She remembered being very close to the ring and looking up at the elephants as they paraded by; she could see that memory clearly; she could remember her excitement.

Of course she remembered clowns, specifically the group of them emerging continuously from a little car. Her father had bought her some peanuts (how original, she thought) but she had emptied the bag in the sawdust for the elephants. But then they had left before seeing if the elephants ate them or not. What the Hell was with the clowns?

Now into the past, for some reason she remembered the day she was sent away to her first school, with Melanie standing and crying as Emily climbed onto the school bus with seven other girls. “You’re coming back in three months, Em, and I’ll be here for you.” Melanie had said as she waved. That’s how it was; most of the memories she had were of Melanie, or school; and those ones were a blur of sameness.

Although now that she had been reminded, she did have memories of roses and a cloudy vision of playing on the grass surrounded by bushes in bloom.

Clowns and roses; her father and her mother. She laughed.

****

Carman stood behind the line, looking at the back of Hawkins’s blond head as he did something on one of his laptops. Then he spoke. “I trust you have recovered from yesterday, Ms. Da Costa?” Hawkins remarked without apology or emotion, or looking at her directly.

“Well enough Sir, although that was a little excessive, wouldn’t you say?” Carman asked, keeping her tone even but unwilling to just let things go.

Hawkins actually chuckled, “You do have a point, Ms. Da Costa. Please look on the desk there, you’ll find an envelope with your name on it.”

Carman looked and did notice the envelope which she picked up. “You may open it.” Hawkins said. Carman did and removed a cheque made out to her for twenty thousand dollars. “I believe, as I’ve said, that employees who go beyond the expected should be, rewarded. I have never been cheap with my wages. I put you in a difficult spot yesterday and caused you suffering, and for that you need to be compensated. I trust those funds will ease your, anger, perhaps a little.” Hawkins murmured.

Carman considered this. “I appreciate the gesture, Mr. Hawkins. I’m not sure what the point of yesterday was, however.”

“Nothing for you to worry about, Ms. Da Costa; I knew Ms. Alvarez was skillful enough to not do any real damage to you; and I know she has had experience whipping your ass,” he chuckled rudely, “so there’s that. Now, my daughter is coming in today, I know you are aware of our meeting. Any last minute news?”

Carman paused again, taking this in; Hawkins was blunt to the point of rudeness, as just shown, but he was also pragmatic. Carman replied, “She will have questions about money, sir, but you know that. She believes her aunt is still supporting her in any dispute with you, and; she has found her mother’s resting place and knows she had an interest in roses.” She stopped with that.

Hawkins paused. He knew there was more, but he also knew enough, for now. He would need to dismiss Da Costa soon; her loyalties were with his daughter, no matter what she said. But the woman was a good manager so he did not want to act in haste; it was interesting about those damn roses. “Thank you, Ms. Da Costa,” he said, and Carman knew she was to leave.

She headed back to her office and checked her schedule; she had a few minutes of time to herself, so she went into the rogue bank accounts; she had spent considerable time deciding how to deal with these. She decided that Emily’s computer would be the first choice for anything involving this money, if it could be arranged; and for that, she would just need to wait and see what…happened.

****

Emily arrived shortly before four; Ms. Prendergast greeting and fussing over her, then settling her into one of the leather chairs outside the hallway to Carman’s office and facing the windows of Ross’s office.

In a few moments, her reception phone buzzed and after answering it she came, smiling, to Emily, “Please follow me, Ms. Hawkins,” she said respectfully and the two started down the hallway past Ross’s office and ended at two substantial, imposing oak doors, which Prendergast opened revealing a second, private waiting area.

Prendergast then approached the inner doors, black, likely ebony and opened them, then held one for Emily to enter. The room she had come into was fairly large and circular. There was a desk before her, and then there he was, her father, sitting with his back to her in front of a bank of four monitors. Prendergast closed the doors behind her and Emily forced down a feeling of apprehension.

“Welcome, my daughter. Please come a little closer,” the familiar high pitched voice, which actually sent a chill down her spine, beckoned Emily and she moved several steps forward until coming to an actual line on the carpet. This made her snort and broke the ‘spell-like’ feeling that had crept over her.

“Good day, Father. Thank you for, um, seeing me.” she said to the back of his head. Then, to her surprise, he turned.

The two gazed at each other for a long moment. He thinking it was very wise of him to distance himself from this definitely whorish young woman, off-spring of his or not. Although dressed in a conservative powder-blue jacket / pants outfit, completed with a white blouse, her pure sexuality simply oozed from her being. She would be a perfect candidate for a good paddling on her knees, he pondered.

For her part, Emily was interested that this man’s face still matched her memory. He had never been a handsome man, but when younger there was a rakish attractiveness to him, with the high cheek bones and blond hair he now wore long. But time had not been kind to Stafford Hawkins and certainly illness had played a role.

His face had a meager, fragile quality to it now, despite a definite outward hardness. It was like a thin marble mask, brittle and lacking substance and rigid to the touch.

It was also…menacing. Emily wondered at her mother, confronting this man, much as she did now; her beauty conflicting with his emptiness.

“I see you are not impressed with your father,” Hawkins spoke, with a smirk; they did, after all, share another common trait.

Emily sighed, then gently shook her head. “I didn’t come here to be impressed, Father.” She said quietly.

Within the room there was a hum, perhaps from the computers. It was the only sound right now. “Well, then what have you come for? I am interested.”

She stared at him, then said in her same quiet voice, getting immediately to the point. Why linger? “I want you gone. I’m wondering what it will take to have you give up your shares in the company?”

He regarded her now with renewed interest; perhaps she was more than a simple whore. She had certainly caused him some problems. “Why would you be interested in this, all that I have built? What would it matter to you?”

Emily, right at that moment, would have loved to light up a Lucky Strike; clearly that wasn’t an option. She replied, “I simply want to take what you have, no other reason. You took a life from me that I cannot get back. I guess it would be…revenge.”

He regarded her, his eyes narrowing. “I gave you all the advantages one could have. You have graduated and are pursuing opportunities. You have wealth; and a certain, beauty, I might add. Just what have I taken from you?”

Emily was tempted to just blurt out what she knew, but something held her back, so she changed tracks. “Melanie will vote with me, by the way, despite your threats. We’ll give you a chance to think things over, and then we’ll force you out. In the meantime, stop moving money around until we figure out what exactly belongs to…us.”

Hawkins face hardened more, but within him he felt a grudging appreciation for this human he had, unbelievably, created. Melanie was silly; he would deal with her. But his daughter had a ruthlessness he appreciated.

“You haven’t considered that, possibly, we might work together?” He asked, and there was no smirk.

Emily stared. She had expected several things; comments, accusations perhaps. She hadn’t expected an offer of partnership; but she had a very hard time believing this man was sincere. This was likely another delaying tactic; that was just his way. “A little late in the game for that, isn’t it, Father?” She replied, evenly.

Hawkins grimaced, his stand-in for a smile. “As we say, my dear, business is business; personal issues should be put aside. My sister is not interested in business, we both know that. She is caught in the middle and this could hold us up; shareholders do not like uncertainty. If I had any idea what you really wanted we could reach some agreement; but I will not simply leave. My, um, departure would cause panic, it’s as simple as that, and the millions we three hold in stocks would drop like a stone. That’s bad business.”

Emily looked at him; now was the time to play her ace. She snickered softly. “Actually, you’re right, Father. This has been fun but I’m already bored. Let me think of a number that could get me out of your, blond hair.”

Hawkins now stared. “As easy as that?” he asked, his eyebrows rose in surprise. What was the game?

Emily continued. “But for the next couple of days, stop shifting the damn money around. If you agree to leave things alone for, say, a week, I think we can have a deal.”

“And then what would you do?” He asked quietly.

“Oh, who knows, L.A. is too hot in July. Maybe the south of France. I’ll have lots of dough, right?”

Hawkins snorted; she was as he suspected all along, simply a whore. “Yes, daughter, you will have lots of …dough, as you say.”

With a smirk, Emily turned and left. In her mind she was thinking that things had gone as well as she could have hoped.

Hawkins meanwhile sat in contemplation, the fingertips of his hands pressed together, as if in prayer.

He wasn’t praying, of course. Stafford Hawkins did not believe in any power higher than himself.

****

Once back in her car, Emily headed off; she had a number of things to look after. In time she was driving into one of the ‘seedier’ parts of town, before parking in an alleyway. She looked around cautiously; this was not a safe place for a woman alone, but she didn’t plan on being here long.

Jumping out of her car, she hurried into the ramshackle building, emerging in a minute, where she moved quickly to the side, and placed something under the fence. Then she was back in her car and gone; it had taken three minutes at most, but her heart was pounding.

Next, after a visit to her bank, she raced back across town for a meeting with Tad the loser. She saw him, sitting on the park bench as she had instructed. She didn’t get out, just rolled down her window as he came, looking tired, haggard actually, to lean against her car. She handed him the envelope, “Look, that’s six thousand and that’s all the fucking money you get until the job is done. Tell those assholes they’ll get the rest tomorrow.”

Tad looked at her and his eyes grew. “Tomorrow?”

“Yes, that’s the new deal. It gets done tomorrow, you get the rest of your dough and we don’t need to see each other again. Everybody’s happy,” she sneered.

“Fuck. Tomorrow. Are you sure everything is ready?”

Emily sighed. “Nothing for you to think about, Tadster, just be at the house as we discussed and it’s tomorrow, so not a lot of time to worry about anything. Have your fucking cell phone with you and the, uh, things I gave you, and it will all be over and you can get lost.”

Tad hesitated and Emily said. “Fuck,” and handed him a packet of white powder. “It’s enough to get you through tonight, asshole. Just. You need to be clean tomorrow morning, are we clear?”

Emily looked at him as he stayed leaning on her car, “And just keep in mind, I’ve hired one of the boys who messed with you before; he will put a fucking bullet in your head if you try to back out now. I’m not kidding, asshole. Get some big dough and blow town or end up in the dessert. Your choice. I will text you tomorrow. Early. Look at me.”

Tad looked, his eyes having little life to them. “I’m good,” he said quietly. “Just make sure you have the money. And you got me a place to lay low?”

Emily smiled, “Yeah. I got you a place. It’s swell. You’ll love it. Now get off my car.” He did, and she drove away.

“Bitch,” Tad said quietly. But he knew he had to go through with this.

He was at the end of this road, and he’d run out of roads.

****

After Emily had left, Hawkins considered things for a few moments. Did he really need to stall for all that long? He went into his private emails and found the file from the cryogenics people; they needed the next ten million early in August; he only had to stall things for a few weeks.

Clearing out that file, he texted Winters, who was never far away. The confrontation with his daughter had aroused old feelings; he now directed Winters to find him a young blond for tonight, and she needed to meet all the requirements. Thirty minutes later, when Winters notified him that a girl had been secured and would be brought to his office at seven, he called Alvarez.

“I thought our contract was finalized, Mr. Hawkins?” she murmured.

“Quite so, my dear. But this is a new project, one night only, and of course, a new payment.”

Folake Alvarez did not need the work, but she was interested. People’s obsessions always interested her. “See you at seven-thirty, Sir,” she said in her melodious voice.  

****

In their apartment, Carman sat drinking some wine; Folake having now gone out. Carman had received word that Tad had met with Emily today and Carman was fascinated at what might be planned. It was helpful having Emily watched, but being able to hear the conversations would be incredible.

Money was certainly a motivating thing; Carman pondered. Raisha Douak had served Emily, keeping ‘tabs on Tad’, and feeding him drugs, but she was quick to offer her service to Carman; all it took was money. Tad was being groomed for something, and although he wouldn’t divulge it to Raisha, the young woman was astute enough to know it was weighing heavily on the man’s mind. “He’s goin’ fuckin’ nuts,” was her thoughtful analysis.

What, what, what are you up to, Emily, Carman wondered, then thought of the other plan; how to get to the young woman’s laptop. It shouldn’t be too hard, Carman considered. All she needed was probably fifteen minutes.

****

In his office, Stafford Hawkins watched with fascination as the young woman on her knees before him received another lash from Alvarez’s leather flogger. Alvarez, naked tonight and wearing a pink colored strap-on (my fees double if I’m naked, she had reminded Hawkins, who brushed that thought away like a gnat) looked up at Hawkins. She had been at it for almost thirty minutes.

“Let me see her face,” Hawkins directed quietly from his chair.

Alvarez lifted the young woman’s tear-stained face up for Hawkins to see. Winters had done an exceptional job tonight. The girl looked remarkably like Emily Hawkins. The intense whipping would cost him, but Hawkins did not care. Soon he would not concern himself with money matters at all; soon he would go into a deep sleep, waking (hopefully) fifty years from now, when a cure for his illness would be possible and his daughter (if alive) would be older than him! What a laugh.

“That is good, Ms. Alvarez. Please check the video and then pay the girl. The envelope is there on the shelf. Your check is there as well.”

“Very good, Sir,” Alvarez replied and finished things up; she looked at Hawkins who was just sitting. She didn’t think he had an erection. Why did he do this?

Clearly tonight, this girl was a substitute for his daughter.

But why?

****

Carman looked up as Folake entered. They looked at each other for a moment, Folake weighing the value of truth. She said quietly, “I have been with Mr. Hawkins, whipping one of his…girls.”

Carman gazed back, “He whips other people besides me?” she smiled, ruefully, thinking of her welts.

Folake hung up her coat and began her walk to the couch. “I remember you saying he wanted to punish his older sister?” Folake murmured, sitting down.

Carman turned to her. “Yes, and he did.” She confirmed.

“Well, he’d also like to punish his daughter.” Folake said quietly. Carman was not surprised.

****

In Downing’s room at the house, Chantico watched as Downing walked; he was getting much better with heels and tonight Chantico had him wearing ones three inches in height.

“Lift your dress, bitch.” Chantico directed with a smile, as Downing stood with his back to her. When he lifted the blue evening dress, his black garter appeared seductively above his bare ass, dark nylons attached.

“Bend forward, slut.” As he did, Chantico thought, not for the first time, that he was actually pretty hot as a woman.

“Lie on the bed.” When Downing had complied, Chantico bound him, wrists and ankles, to the four corners, then put a blindfold on him. She then lifted the dress again and smiled at the erection that stood rigid and waiting. She ran her tongue up and down the shaft, and Downing shuddered. “Does the little pussy girl want to feel good?” Chantico murmured in a wonderfully seductive voice.

“Ohhh, gawwwd, oh, please, please Mistress!”

Chantico laughed and lowered her lovely warm mouth down on the demanding phallus, as Downing squirmed, lost in this enchantment.

****

In her room, Emily too lay on her bed, unable to sleep. She could see a sliver of moon through her open curtains. The house was quiet, menacing. She knew it was her imagination, but it was there, just the same.

Tomorrow would be a turning point in her life; if Tad did his job. She could sleep lots then. For now her mind was a whirling mass of images and conflicting emotions.

She got up and went to her dresser, finding the book she still kept stashed there, the one from Melanie all those years ago. It was in this book that she kept the fragment of that note. The note that would not give her peace; not until the circle was closed.

She read the note again, for the thousandth time. “only two more days. All My Love, Alex.”

Her mother and Alex had plans, but those plans were ended by a jealous, narcissistic man. Did he ever have regrets? Emily pondered that, and believed that no, she doubted he did. He had removed all the things that had any connection to Sarah; he had even removed Alex. Or had him removed. There was no regret there. And what of Ross; did his conscience trouble him at night?

Well, her father had plans, and Emily had her own to sabotage them. Would she be able to sleep once this was over? She suddenly felt overwhelmed, here alone, with no one to share any of this with.

She dialed a number and Carman answered, with hesitation. “Emily?” she said quietly.

“Hey, sorry for calling so late. I’m being selfish. I can’t sleep.” There was a long pause. “I know I can be a bitch, Carman.”

There was silence on the other end now as Carman battled emotions; Folake lying beside her, listening with interest. “Don’t say that, Emily.”

“Why not?”

“What does it, solve? What does it change? You’re too young for, this.”

Emily laughed softly. “No, Carm. You’re wrong. I’m old. It’s like I’ve been alive for a long, long time. But, I can finally see myself, for what I am at least. ‘night Carm.”

“Emily…” But the call had ended.

(End of Chapter 18)

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 17 Jesters Do Often Prove Prophets

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 17 Jesters Do Often Prove Prophets 

It being Saturday, Drew Downing was hanging naked from a hook in the transformed spare room, a dozen clothes pins attached to his testicles. Emily, however, was definitely growing bored with this thing, as was her nature, but she remained reluctant to let the man sense freedom.

“Why do you still punish him?” Melanie asked as they sat in the June sunshine on the patio.

“I need to be able to trust his intel, Mel.” Emily had replied with a smirk, looking at her cell and sipping her orange juice. She was actually leaving the session today with Downing up to Chantico, who turned out to be quite good at this sort of thing. And, she seemed to enjoy it.

“Trust his what?” Melanie had asked.

Emily snorted, and looked up at the innocent face of her aunt. “The information he provides me, Sweetie. If he thought he could bullshit me; sorry, he might. Right now he is still very aware of my, um, reaction if he starts screwing with the info.”

Melanie nodded her head. That actually made sense to her. ‘Intel’, she’d remember that. She looked up, for at that moment a very attractive young woman came in, hesitantly, to be greeted warmly by Emily.

“Melanie, Candace; Candy-girl, Mel-bel.” Emily grinned.

****

Ryland Ross awoke. He had fallen asleep in his chair, and was being awakened by the nuzzling of Jackson. He woke and stroked the soft, black fur of his pet, “Bet you want some grub, hey pal?” He asked, and the feline arched its back and rubbed himself against Ross’s leg.

As he got up and headed for the kitchen, yesterday came back like a run-away train. Maybe he should let Mr. Hawkins know? Although if Emily released the information, it was Ross’s pudgy ass that was on the line. “Stay away from women,” Ross warned Jackson, as he spooned some shredded chicken onto a saucer.

He knew there was a reason he had avoided them all these years. Apart from the obvious one.

****

Chantico carefully dripped the melted wax down over Downing’s balls as the man squirmed in vain. He was now attached to a bench that featured multiple straps; thighs, above the knee, ankles, waist, shoulders, neck and head. The victim wasn’t going anywhere. With Chantico’s thong stuffed in his mouth and duct tape layered across, not much noise was coming from Downing either, although he was clearly trying.

As Chantico poured her wax, she noted with satisfaction that Downing had been shaving himself as she had directed him; she actually did more with him now than Emily. Chantico had dressed him in his dress once on her own; she liked it and he liked it, but she told him he had to be completely bare, and he had obeyed. She decided she would dress him again tonight.

Chantico noted Downing’s sack and penis were well-coated, so she kissed him on the forehead and left him, as per Emily’s instructions. She would return in fifteen minutes, clean him up and give him a reward. Or maybe she would wait until tonight for his ‘happy ending’. She smiled.

Despite what was done to him, Downing always appreciated his reward; and everyone now knew how effective Chantico was with her rewards.

****

“Hey.” Carman said, answering her cell, “So, how’d it go with Candace?” she smiled, although she still felt a quick, small stab of jealousy.

“Well, hun, considering she’s still here, I’m gonna’ say it’s gone well.” Emily smiled.

Carman chuckled, “You know I’m jealous. For both of you.”

Emily laughed out loud then, before adding, “Hey, I’m actually calling because I have some hot news from Mr. Egg.”

“Ross?”

“That’s the man.” Emily replied, then related the news of the situation with her father and his illness, his decision to turn to Cryonics and the trail of the missing money.

Carman sat and listened in silence, before finally uttering, “Wow, I mean, holy wow. Jeez, Emily, what can I say; that’s unbelievable. But it does explain a lot.”

Emily agreed and then Carman asked the key question, “How the Hell did you get Ross to give up that info?”

Emily decided to keep a little to herself, answering that she just had some dope on him which she would share later.

“Wow. Just freakin’ wow,” Carman stated again. “Hey look, don’t wear Candace out all right, let her save a little for others.” Carman offered.

“Yeah, and would the others be you, kiddo?” Emily smirked.

“Well, maybe,” Carman laughed. She didn’t really know exactly what she felt right now. She had a muddle of emotions going through her. When the call ended, Carman turned to Folake and related the details.

Folake nodded her head. “That does explain some things. I had a feeling the man was not well, but, dying, that is something else. Do you think this will push Emily one way or the other?”

Carman shook her head slightly. “I don’t know. She tells me lots, but I also think she keeps some cards up her sleeve.” The two women sat in silence for a moment, contemplating.

Folake spoke. “So, my new cleaning woman-girl,

I think she’s Jamaican, very pretty, who was in on Monday is coming back today to do the bathrooms. I’ve promised her a special treat when she’s done, and that will be you, so please go and shower. I know you will be very diligent with your, um, personal scrubbing, yes my slave?” Folake grinned broadly.

“As you command, oh my queen,” Carman murmured, smiling, and rose, heading for the bath.

****

“You like doing stuff to Drewsums, don’t you Chant-baby?” Emily asked, a smile on her face, as Chantico poured some tea for her.

The girl blushed and laughed, “I, um, what to say, Ms. M? I like you and I like Miss Melanie. Very much, both of you. I want to make you so happy, yes. Do whatever you want.”

“Yeah, yeah, right, kiddo. But you like the other stuff as well. Come on, say it. It’s okay. I like doin’ stuff like that, too?”

“Miss M, can I ask you why?” Chantico said, sweeping a strand of dark hair behind one ear and looking young (and very pretty).

“You’re lookin’ good, by the way, Chant-girl.” Emily smiled. “I don’t know why I like stuff. I like spanking girls on their nice, round asses. Don’t know why, exactly, just do. As for guys, and some gals, I like having control; do you get what I mean by that? I like making people do stuff, doesn’t even matter what stuff. But just to please me or obey me. I’m down with all that, like, dominant shit.”

Chantico now looked puzzled, and Emily continued, “Hey, that’s okay, girl; I’ve probably given you too much info.” She smiled again. “Look, go get Unca’ Drewsie, okay, and bring him here. Normal-like; it’s going to be a chat, his, um, stuff is done for today. Unless you want to do more to him?” Emily raised her eyebrows and grinned; Chantico giggled and went off to retrieve Downing.

****

“Thanks for inviting me,” Candace said, sipping on her latte.

“Well, I wanted you to know my, um, thoughts, I guess, first hand.” Carman, said, then drank some of her expresso. “I heard from Emily that you two had a good time.”

“Does that bother you, Carman, because I really want to stay on good terms, like you know, this time with you has been life, really. TBH, I’ve never felt anything like this.”

Not exactly sure what that meant, but believing it was positive, Carman added, “So, how does Emily fit in?”

Candace looked disturbed for a moment, “I don’t know what to say. I like you, I mean being with you is winning, for real. But Emily, she’s so crazy hot that she slays me. I can’t focus when I’m near her; does that even make any sense? I’m destroyed, Carman, but I’m, like, high on this. I can’t say no to either of you. That’s pretty messed, hey?” Having run out of breath, Candace stopped and just smiled.

Carman smiled in response, suddenly feeling old; it wasn’t like Folake hadn’t warned her. “Well, you um, slay me too, if that is any consolation and I can’t say no to you either. So there.”

Candace nodded her head, “I guess we’re like, um, fucked, hey?”

Carman had to laugh; out of the mouths of babes, she thought.

****

Downing came hesitantly and sat at the patio table.

“It’s ok, Drewster, nothing’s going to happen to you. I’m actually going to give you some dope.” She paused. “Not real dope you goof.” She laughed, as his face had shown alarm. She then gave him the information about her father and the money trail. Downing sat in deep thought.

“Well, that’s crazy. I’m at a loss, I need to wrap my head around this. And there’s no way you have any pieces missing or anything?”

“Hey this is from the most reliable of sources.” She hadn’t told him that Ross was the source; not yet. She didn’t want to go into everything.

“So, what are you going to do?”

“We need to stop the leak, accountant person. And I also need to get in to see the man himself. Work on an angle, Drewsie, I’m going to talk to him, one way or another. And it looks like we need to step on it, ‘cuz he’s running out of time.” Emily chuckled, which Downing thought inappropriate, considering they were discussing her father’s death.

Downing shook his head. He was still in shock.

****

Monday morning Ryland Ross made a point of getting in to see his boss early. He had spent the complete weekend in thought, going from panic to resignation and back, but in the end he would present as his usual, thoughtful self.

“Ross, what is it? News?” Hawkins looked up, bushy eyebrows looking like a couple of angry caterpillars.

“Well, your daughter has begun asking questions about um, Wyoming, sir, of all things. And Downing has followed the money trails to places I don’t know about. I, um, feel like I’m fighting shadows, sir, if I may be so bold. I want to be as effective as I can, but honestly, I don’t believe I have all the information.”

Hawkins sat for a moment in thought. He had avoided thinking of where all this might go, hoping his daughter would just give up and go back to her hedonistic lifestyle and leave him in peace; or at least, time to finish his plans.

“You know me, Ross. You know I only provide what I think is necessary.”

“I understand sir,” Ross said, stroking his nose with an index finger. “How much time do you think you need to, um, accomplish your, em, goals?”

Hawkins sat, looking a little like a marble statue. “No more than a month. Can you keep her at bay, Ross?”

Ross sighed. “Mmmmm, that’s a stretch. Is there no way you could…meet her, sir? I believe a meeting would slow her down, possibly even make her change direction.”

“You believe that necessary?” Hawkins asked; it was not what he wanted.

“I do, sir.”

Hawkins gently drummed his fingers on the padded arm of his leather chair. “Fine. Set something up, for tomorrow. Here.”

Ross stared; he wasn’t expecting, this, exactly; but Hawkins was a man of surprises. “Very good, sir.” He said, quietly.

****

Miami, Florida Early 2016

“So that’s essentially the deal, in point form of course,” Commander Halethorpe clicked the mouse and the screen went to ‘Home’, a saver showing our galaxy in animation. “It’s basically just the same shuttles the government used for the program, with our updates and improvements, and of course, the addition of the eight ‘Life Pods’. He nodded his white-hair fringed head.

“The total cost, again?” Hawkins asked.

“One point three billion, sir, give or take,“ the commander grinned.

“But we’re not covering all of that, surely?”

“No, no,” the commander shook his head. “We have a Chinese satellite to launch, we get four hundred fifty million for that, and it gives the mission a reason to be up there. Then of course, and please keep this under your hat, we’re also delivering a satellite for North Korea. Obviously, our government would shit themselves, pardon my French, if they knew, but it’s a lot smaller and simpler than the Chinese one and we’re still getting over two hundred million from those bastards.“ He chuckled. “Then of course, the eight passengers at one hundred million each, and there you go.”

“Or so you hope,” Hawkins said, a rare smile on his gaunt face. “Go, I mean.”

****

Carman’s cell buzzed just as she was packing her things into her briefcase; it was Emily, so she answered. “Hi, Boss; what’s up?”

“Hi yourself. Got some news, Madame Da Costa, about Herr Hawkins. Got a minute?” Carman stifled a snort and replied she did. “I’ve been summoned into the inner chamber.” She chuckled.

“When, Em?” Carman asked; this was news.

“Tomorrow, my dear. How’s that for a quickie response, hmmmm?” She declared.

“So, are you, well, ready? Anything I can do?”

“I think I’m cool. Maybe you can lend me some garlic to like wear around my neck.” She smirked.

“Emily…” This time Carman did not stifle her snort.

****

Downing entered in his unassuming way, standing behind the line. He didn’t know why Hawkins had ended the practice of the wearing of the masks, but he had and Downing was fine with it. He was, in fact, good either way, and now he stood and waited, regarding the blond head and hunched shoulders of Stafford Hawkins.

Finally Hawkins turned (he’s lost weight, he looks pale, Downing pondered, then admitted it was imagination), “Ah, Downing, and another of my jesters comes to announce, what, exactly?” Hawkins smiled, his lips pencil thin.

“I believe Mr. Ross has mentioned the money that was moving out of accounts and into other accounts and bypassing my control; I just need to know if this affects my work, sir? What I need to report on.”

Hawkins looked at the man who he had placed under his thumb years ago, and considered if his control was slipping. Had Emily gotten to him? Or had he just been diligent in his work? Hawkins had always, or at least once he became a multi-millionaire, maintained a number of accounts, often in different banks.

From a strict accounting sense, all the money flow needed to be accounted for; money laundering was a major criminal activity and the F.B.I. as well as other government agencies were on high alert for questionable occurrences; Hawkins was well aware of that. He just liked having his secrets; especially now that his daughter had emerged and his illness had progressed; he didn’t like having to discuss his actions.

“I can see your point, Downing, I can. And I’m sure you are feeling some, um, pressure, from my daughter. But I can assure you I have done, am not doing, anything illegal. I’m guessing the concern is…am I diverting Documart funds into other holdings?”

Downing nodded his head, “That’s it, exactly sir. We, including your daughter, are aware there is the money associated with the parent company and its subsidiaries, and then there is other money which you use and have invested in things separate from Documart. There just needs to be a way to make sure of, well, what is what.”

Hawkins nodded his head, wondering how much Downing knew. How much his daughter knew? Having a meeting with her actually now made sense; he just needed to get all his ducks in a nice row. “Thank you, Downing, that will be all.”

After Downing had left, Hawkins messaged Tia Graves to ask her superior to come for a meeting; he needed to ask Da Costa a few things. But he also placed another call, because he also needed Alvarez to be present; he was really interested in them both.

****

Melanie regarded Emily for a moment before beginning, “You seem to have stuff on your mind, dear,” she said, as evenly as possible, not wanting to provoke anything. She was just interested; she had watched this woman grow from a child and knew her moods.

Emily looked over and grinned, “Yeah, not a carefree kid anymore, hey?” She said.

“Anything you want to share?”

Emily lit a smoke and stretched her legs out; how much should she tell her aunt? “Well, I’m going in to talk with the man tomorrow,” she said, quietly, with a little smile tugging her lips.

Melanie actually gasped, a small intake of breath, anyway. “No way. How’d this happen?”

“Not really sure; but I have been pushing, leaning on Ross and Carman. I think Daddy-kins knew that he’d have to see me at some point and figured ‘what the Hell’.” She grinned at Melanie, then turned serious, “I want to be able to tell him we, you and me, are together on things; that you won’t be intimidated by him.” She looked at her aunt, knowing what this meant.

Melanie twisted her fingers together for a moment then looked up. “You know I will always stand by you, Em.”

“I know Mel; and that dick of a man will have to go through me to hurt you. You know that.”

Melanie got a far-away look on her face, looking out to the city. “No, you won’t sacrifice yourself, Emily. I won’t let you. He can hurt me if he will, but he won’t hurt you.”

They sat together in silence, as neither knew if they could speak without breaking down.

****

Folake Alvarez was shown into Stafford Hawkins’s office by Ms. Prendergast. Unusual for him, Hawkins stood and greeted the woman, in his fashion.

“Ah, you’re here, good. Please follow me,” and he

started off across his room and then opened a portion of the wall, revealing it to be a doorway. Alvarez followed him in and then the ‘door’ closed.

This inner room was dimly lit, but in a moment Alvarez saw clearly that a naked woman was standing with her arms above her head; her wrists were strapped together, and then hooked into a metal rod that extended from the ceiling.

The woman was Carman, and she was blindfolded and gagged. Hawkins went to stand to the left of her, while Alvarez moved to the right. Hawkins indicated a shelf on the wall and Alvarez observed the interesting items sitting there; several nipple clamps, labia clamps, weights and butt plugs; while a half dozen whips or canes sat below the shelf, leaning against the wall. Not one’s regular office supplies, Folake considered, but very familiar to the dark woman.

“Apply the clamps, Ms. Alvarez,” Hawkins said quietly, as Carman jumped slightly at the sound of his voice.

Alvarez took the large, black pair and, squeezing Carman’s modest breasts, placed them, watching with concern as the nipples were squashed with the pressure. Carman moaned and twisted slightly on her straps.

“Below as well,” Hawkins said, his high voice sounding almost disembodied.

Alvarez had anticipated this and knelt, clipping two shiny metal Japanese Clover clamps onto Carman’s dark, meaty outer labia.

“Now the weights,” Hawkins said, as Alvarez turned back to the shelf, Carman’s moans stabbing her mind.

Alvarez lifted four metal balls from the shelf, noting they were standard eight ounce weights, designed to attach to clamps. She placed two on the nipple clips and two on the labia and watched as Carman’s flesh was stretched down.

“Insert the number three plug; I’m certain you know where. There is lubricant in the grey bottle.” Hawkins voice was becoming softer, almost as if he were fading away.

Alvarez lubricated the plug, and then poured some of the gel onto her fingers, which she then pushed into Carman’s anus, stretching and greasing the tight hole as much as she could, before slowly pushing the black, rubber four inch plug in; it had a small flange at the end that rested below the hole, preventing it from disappearing.

“Now begin whipping her, Ms. Alvarez. You choose the device.” Hawkins instructed.

Alvarez finally spoke, “What are we doing, Mr. Hawkins, if I may ask?”

Hawkins grinned, a wolfish leer, “Conducting an investigation, my dear. Something you are good at, because we are going to start on Ms. Da Costa and not stop until I’m satisfied. Are you good with that?”

Folake hesitated for an instant, then replied, her voice uninflected, “I am good, sir.”

“This is a sound proof room, Ms. Alvarez. No one will hear…anything. Please begin.”

Folake looked at the array of instruments and made her choice quickly. Stepping just behind Carman, she brought the cane down across the round buttocks with a sickening swish and a clear thwack. An angry welt appeared across Carman’s skin.

****

Tad sat, in contemplation; Raisha watching him through half-closed eyes. It would be so easy, Tad considered, to just increase the dose and end it all. After all, what was the point? In a couple of days he would be forced to do something that could end him.

In time, Tad just chose to get high and go on living; for now.

****

“What is it?” Hawkins asked, impatiently.

“She’s passed out sir. I will not be responsible for anything permanent, that is not my job.” Folake looked at him unflinchingly; it had been over twenty minutes of continuous punishment.

“Fine, you take care of her.” Hawkins said and left without anything more. Folake waited until the door had closed and then unbuckled the straps and carefully laid Carman on the ground; she wasn’t really passed out, but she was not in good shape. “Lie still, lie still (she whispered into one ear) there may be cameras. Let me take care of this; follow my lead.”

Forcing her mind to get through the throbbing pain, Carman lay still and let Folake remove the plug (the weights had been taken off a short while back) then dress her in her clothes which were simply piled against a wall.

Helping her to her feet, and trying desperately not to show emotion, Folake supported and guided Carman out the secret door and then to Hawkins’s private elevator, which took them to the basement parkade where Folake found Carman’s car, helping her into the back seat.

Twenty minutes later, Folake was helping Carman again, only this time it was into a warm, Epsom salts bath, followed by a cool bath, followed by Folake gently and thoroughly covering Carman’s welts with soothing ointment, before cradling her to her body.

It was when Folake finally had Carman dressed in a silk robe and lying against her on the couch that she broke down. Great wracking sobs shook her body as she clung to Carman, begging her forgiveness.

An hour later, after a second glass of scotch, the two women sat side by side. “It’s beginning to feel better already…Mistress,” Carman murmured.

Folake simply shook her head. “I tried to make sure I did not overlap any strokes. I used the cane that made the most noise but actually does the least damage. I don’t think Hawkins really knows that much about them, or he wouldn’t have left me that choice.”

“What do you think that was about?” Carman asked  quietly, and Folake then lied, saying she believed Hawkins was becoming paranoid and not trusting anyone.

“He is meeting his daughter, tomorrow. Actually today,” Folake noted, seeing it was past midnight.

“I know,” Carman said. “But I won’t be there. I plan to take tomorrow off.”

Folake hugged her partner, “And your mistress will wait on you, as penance for my…deeds,” she said quietly.

 (End of Chapter 17) 

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 16 And What, Ask We, May The Fools Do?

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 16 And What, Ask We, May The Fools Do?  

Wednesday morning.

Morris Deans, short, stocky, fifty-ish L.A. head of Archer films, was shown into the library by Chantico.

“Hey, hi there, Morris. Can we getcha’ anything?” Emily asked cordially. Deans had come to Adams Hill to update Emily on the status of their movie, Night Secrets.

“Hey, I’m good Ms. Hawkins…”

“Emily, please.”

“Emily, right. I won’t keep you long, Emily. Just wanted to let you know we’ve sold the streaming rights for Night Secrets to Netflix for three point five million, and a percentage. For every 100 views we, and you, earn a buck twenty-five, so the thing makes money going forward. We are also allowed to produce two hundred thousand DVDs, and market them worldwide, with Archer and your Documart subsidiary splitting profits sixty forty as per our contract. There, any questions?”

Emily smiled; this was not the original nine million, but there was a tax write-off and some cash back and more coming. “I like how this has gone, Morris. I, um, might be looking to get involved again with a project or two.”

“Absolutely Emily, and I will echo what you’ve already been told, you should seriously consider being on the other side of the camera as well. C’mon, don’t tell me you haven’t thought of that?” Morris smiled.

Emily laughed and rose to show the man out, “Well, yeah, okay, maybe I’ve thought about it; just a little.”

They both laughed, and then Deans handed her a check for one million dollars. “So the shortfall is covered, all is good, I’ll be back in touch.”

“Thank you, dig ya’ later.”

She closed the door, and was already thinking of Tad; she needed to see him. Today.

****

New York City, November 2015                  Northwestern Savings Head Office

Stafford Hawkins had been shown into the richly appointed office of Melvin Burke, CEO of Northwestern Savings, who was also the chair of the Living Tree Foundation, an organization with almost seven billion dollars in assets. The head office reflected that, from the lush carpet, to the mahogany panelling to the imported Italian leather chairs. 

The tall and very attractive young woman who had shown Hawkins in and offered some lemon Perrier looked as if she had just descended from the cover of Vogue. The lanky American Burke greeted the equally lanky Hawkins warmly.

“You’ve made your decision, Stafford?” he said in an accent that still showed his Boston roots.

“Yes, Melvin I have, and I will begin moving funds into the account your representative opened for me. You understand, I will do this gradually, over the next few months, as I do not wish the money transfer to become known.”

“Understood, Stafford, understood. But the one hundred million is feasible.”

“It is, Melvin, absolutely. I want one of those pods on the shuttle to have my name on it, and your associate said my first instalment would guarantee that?”

“That is correct, sir?”

“And the, uh, launch date, as it were?”

“Approximately one year from now, sir. Things are on schedule and lookin’ good.”

“Excellent.” They raised their Perrier.

Burke smiled. “And your suite is to your liking?”

Hawkins nodded his blond head, “It’s first class, thank you, everything I need.”

Burke smiled more broadly, “And we will be providing a couple of, um, helpers of our own, shall we say, for when you head back to your rooms. They will be waiting and will meet the expectations your assistant outlined for us, I believe.”

It was Hawkins turn to smile, “Thank you, again. I’m certain they will be excellent.”

Now both men smiled together and raised their Perriers once more.

****

Although Tad was nervous, he agreed to meet Emily at a spot, ‘where they could talk’. If one were watching from the distance, one would have seen some agitation from Tad, and then the man marching back and forth, clearly more agitated. One would have seen Emily, sitting on a bench, calm and under control.

One would, at one point, have seen Tad fall to his knees and pound the ground with his fists, then kneel with his head in his hands, then vigorously shake his head from side to side, while all the while Emily simply sat, and talked.

In the end, one would have seen Emily give Tad an envelope, as he stood staring at her, and she said something to him that ended the conversation. Then they would have seen him walk away, a man in a daze.

Finally, they would have seen Emily light a cigarette and smoke it, clearly in thought. Then they would have seen her head to her car and drive off.

She had a plane to catch.

****

Today, the three sat in their meeting around Ross’s desk with a certain air of caution apparent. All three had their own thoughts, all three needed to consider their words.

Da Costa opened, “So, what do you both believe is happening?” She said, maintaining control.

Ross and Downing regarded each other, Ross nodding his head slightly. Downing turned his pale eyes to Da Costa.

“Mr. Hawkins is clearly siphoning funds into some unknown account for some unknown purpose. As Emily, um, Ms. Hawkins has said, since we don’t know for sure if these funds are from Documart or one of its direct subs, we don’t know if the money is being taken, well, inappropriately. The money may in fact be from any of Mr. Hawkins’s other holdings, but since we don’t know what they all are, things are…murky.”

Da Costa considered this. Clearly, Hawkins liked his secret plans; her gut feeling was this money was his to control, but Emily and her aunt had the right to ask the question. She didn’t believe Hawkins would tell them anything, but who knows? “From a legal perspective, what is our position?” She looked at Ross, who was gazing intently at the blank pad of paper on his neat desk.

He looked up, there was, to Carman, something in his eyes. Fear? Maybe Emily was right, and the man had been covering up some nasty business for a long time. Ross spoke, as always, with caution. “Legally, the shareholders have the right to see the financial statements and ask questions arising from these.”

“But it would be Drew who would be held to answer them?” Da Costa interrupted.

Ross smiled, grimaced actually. “Correct…”

“So, Drew here is the one to ask Mr. Hawkins, if there is something to ask…” Da Costa left that hanging, as Downing fidgeted slightly in his chair, Ross grimacing again, adjusting the pad of paper slightly to the left.

****

“So, you want to come back to my place?” Carman asked as she and Candace walked to her car. It had been a pleasant meal shared together; the restaurant was nice but not high end; they’d had burgers and fries; just a couple of girls out for dinner.

“Um, yeah, uh…” Candace began.

Carman stopped and looked at the girl. “What is it?”

Candace looked uncomfortable for a moment, before saying, “Carman, I really, like really, want to be with you, but do we have to be with your, um, partner. I would, you know, just like to be with you. Don’t get me wrong, Folake is neat and it’s, um, exciting to, you know…”

“Have sex with someone watching?” Carman added for the girl, who was struggling to express herself.

Candace laughed, “Yeah, like that. It is, and it’s cool, but can’t we also, you know, just us?” She smiled, looking quite young.

“How about if we went back to your place? Is that, um, cool; I don’t even know your living arrangements?” Carman chuckled as well.

Apparently Candace’s living arrangements would work well, because five minutes later they were on their way to her modest one-bedroom apartment.

****

“Mmmmmphff! Ummmph! uuunnng!” Carman cried out and groaned, as well as she could, into her gag, as Folake laced one stroke after another against her naked buttocks, now criss-crossed with welts.

Satisfied with her work, Folake then stepped back and tossed her strap aside, before spreading Carman’s sex apart with both hands and gradually inserting the black dildo into Carman’s wet hole. She began pumping, and within a few seconds had developed a strong rhythm, even grabbing a handful of Carman’s hair as she now slammed her pelvis against the woman’s ass.

Carman actually climaxed first, but Folake kept up her stroke until she too felt the shuddering release. After untying Carman, Folake lay with her, Carman murmuring her apologies, “I am sorry, Mistress, for having sex with another woman without your approval.”

“You are forgiven, my slave.” Folake kissed Carman’s face and throat, then smiled at her. “Now, tell me all about it. I want all the details.”

Carman murmured softly, “Yes, Mistress.”

****

Friday. Ivy Prendergast looked up as someone approached her station, only to jump at the sight of Emily Hawkins. “Good morning, Ms. Hawkins. I had not heard you would be paying us a visit.”

Emily, sunglasses still in place, nodded, “No worries, Ms., um, Prendergast, right? I like to just show up. Would, uh, Ms. Da Costa be in?”

“Absolutely, Miss, let me just announce you.”

“Great,” Emily called as she headed down the short corridor to Carman’s office. Knocking on the door, she entered, just as Carman was hanging up the call from the front. Emily immediately noticed the very attractive young woman sitting in the chair facing Carman’s desk.

“Hello, Ms. Da Costa, and…”

She looked meaningfully at Candace, who blurted out, “Candace Eiermann, and you, oh my God, you’re Emily Hawkins, I’ve seen you in the news. Oh, wow.” Candace had stood and was now looking a little like a school girl with a crush.

“Emily lifted up her shades and smiled at the young woman as they executed an awkward fist bump, then turned chuckling to Carman. “You know how to pick ‘em, Ms. Da Costa.”

Carman chuckled in response, “Candace has just started with us, Ms. Hawkins. She is one of the receptionist slash assistants; and she’s just heading back to her cubicle.”

Candace and Carman shared a quick glance and then Candace left, enthusing, “So cool to meet you, really, Ms. Hawkins.”

“Emily.”

“Wow, um Emily.” Candace hurried off.

“Nice,” Emily commented, coming to stand behind Carman and placing her hands on her shoulders, Carman focusing on her desk. “We haven’t talked since our, um, session,” Emily whispered into Carman’s hair.

“Yeah, I thought of calling, but I’m kind of leaving things in your court.” Carman replied quietly.

“Yeah, okay, but how are you feeling?”

Carman swivelled around to look up at the other woman, standing with her usual smirk in place.

“I’m thinking I prefer the old Emily and Carman, um, scene.”

“You didn’t…enjoy last time. I think I remember some serious moaning going on?” Emily smirked.

Carman smiled, “Yes, there was that. I’m not saying I don’t become aroused; that would clearly be a lie. I’m just saying I would rather have dinner and drinks with you and go somewhere and make love. No scene. No role play; just us doing, well, it.” She smiled and raised her eyebrows.

“Hmmm,” Emily replied. “Well, I’m here to see Mr. Egg, so we’ll put this deal on hold. Talk soon, kiddo,” She waved her hand as she sauntered off.

****

“Turn it off,” Tad growled from the couch. He had been laying in the dark until Raisha came in and turned the light on.

“What the fuck’s with you?” she replied, a little annoyed. It was her place, after all.

“I don’t want any lights on.” Tad mumbled.

“Well then go in one of the other fucking rooms. I’ve got shit to do and I need the light.”

Tad got up and slouched off, mumbling under his breath.

Raisha simply shook her head. It was good that soon she  would be done with him.

****

As Emily left Carman’s office and swung past the reception area, across the corridor she could see the first row of four staffers, and sitting there, looking  back across at her, was Candace. The young woman smiled a wide smile, almost of wonder. It was clear that meeting the infamous Emily Hawkins meant a lot. Emily smiled back and then winked, before turning at the corner of the wall and seeing Ryland Ross, standing and awaiting her.

“Ms. Hawkins, so very good to see you. Please…” And he stood aside gallantly to allow Emily to pass, before following her in and closing the door. “Now, you needed to see me?” He asked, settling himself behind his desk.

Emily regarded him for a moment; he was always the same, so placid. Maybe today she would shake that a little. “So, Mr. Ross, I’m concerned that money is still movin’ around and you guys aren’t sure about, like, where. That’s weird, doncha’ think?”

Ross rubbed his nose for a moment, “Well, Mr. Downing, er, your uncle, is pursuing that.” He said, unemotionally.

Emily smiled, “But from a legal perspective, what would be your advice?”

Ross paused. “This is where it gets, um, sticky, Ms. Hawkins. I would rather another of our team advise you, my first loyalty being, of course, to your father.”

“Of course,” Emily murmured. “Does that mean you see a conflict here, between my father and me; us? The company?”

“I’m afraid I really couldn’t say, Miss.” Ross murmured again; you could almost see him disappearing behind a cloak of noncommittal.

Emily stifled a chuckle. “Ever been to Wyoming, Mr. Ross?” She asked, quietly.

Ross’s eyes popped open for just a second, before the veil returned, “Um, I believe I have, at some time. That is, may I say, an odd question.” He chuckled, trying to appear nonchalant; it was clear this had rattled him, at least to someone as observant as Emily.

“Yeah, well, that’s why it’s always good to go old-school and snap a few photos, hey, just for…mementos. Now, with cell phones, geez Louise, it’s a breeze.” Emily smiled and Ross made a noise approximating a chuckle, while Emily sat with a small smile on her plump lips.

“Or maybe there’s a news reporter around to help you out with some shots.” She grinned at the man; his smile, meanwhile, had morphed into a grimace. “Like these, for example.” She laid the two photos of Ross from Rock Springs on the desk so he could clearly see them; he handled this shock pretty well, just a very brief intake of breath, but Emily had caught that.

“What is this you’re showing me, Ms. Hawkins?” he asked, innocently.

Emily couldn’t hold this in any longer and she guffawed at that, “Wow Ross-the-boss, you’re good, that you are. It’s you, ya’ can’t hide that famous egg dome of yours.” Emily smirked, but Ross held his ground.

“I’m, um, not the only human with, eh, a head like, well, that.” He said mildly.

“Aren’t you interested in what’s s’posed to be happenin’ in these shots, Rossy?” Emily persisted.

“Well, since it doesn’t concern me, why should I care,” he said, as nonchalantly as possible.

Emily just grinned and nodded her head. “Well, ya’ see, (she tapped her finger tips on one photo) this here’s Sheriff Tobias Martin of Sweetwater County, the man to call when ya’ find, oh, say, a body. See?”

Ross continued to hold firm, the weird grin plastered on his mug.

“And on this particular night, well, Lordy, Lordy it was hot times in Rock Springs, baby, ‘cuz they did find a real dead body, in this motel, doncha’ know?”

Ross looked at Emily, maintaining his placid outward calm, while inside his guts were churning.

“Now, Sheriff Tobias, he has a fine memory. He recalls you, sir, and the generous dough you gave him. I know that, Ross-boy ‘cuz I paid the man a visit.” She now showed a photo she had been given when she saw Martin the day earlier. She had broken him down very quickly with threats and then bought his support with cash of her own.

On the night in question, he had had his deputy snap a photo of Ross handing him the fat envelope. He wasn’t sure what he would do with it; it was just an idea he had. Emily happily took the photo off his hands. “See, Mr. Egg, that’s you fer shure. There’s also the affidavit Martin had you sign about finding the body, and then didn’t destroy, like he said he would. Tut tut, such dishonesty,” she smirked.

Ross at this point just sat; he wasn’t going to admit anything, so silence was the golden rule. “Now, here’s where it gets extra special interestin’, Ross my man. It said in the report that the body was of an unidentified man, right?”

Ross just blinked, looking owl-like. “But we know the truth, don’t we, kid? We know that dead man was Alex Vargas, who you had been searching for (she placed three different copies of the info sheets Ross had sent out, complete with the Documart phone and email, on his desk) and we know that ‘cause Sheriff Tobias doesn’t like to throw stuff away. Especially wallets.

Now, good ol’ Sheriff Tobias also has this good ol’ gamblin’ problem, combined with the fact he likes the ladies and he’s done gone through all that cash you gave him; long ago; and he was real interested in some new cash, and so he gave me…stuff.” She grinned.

“Looky here.” Emily now took a worn, brown leather wallet out of her bag and placed it on Ross’s desk. She then slipped a card out of the wallet and read it, “Says here it belongs to one Alexander Vargas. It is of course, his S.I.N. card. So, what’s the scoop?” She looked at Ross, her blue green eyes bright.

Ross sat for a moment, not even rubbing his nose, just sort of frozen, before he spoke, “So, what do you want, Ms. Hawkins?” He said quietly, blinking his eyes.

Emily looked back and smiled.

****

Emily had invited Carman and Candace over for a drink after they got off work. Carman was a little uncomfortable with this, but Candace was very enthusiastic. They had had a look around the house (except for the third floor) and now sat in the living room, having their refreshments. Emily and Candace were drinking Tequila, complete with salt and lime.

“Not for me, girls, I’ll stick to wine.” Carman commented, feeling more relaxed now. After a while, Chantico came in with a large plate of Nachos covered in everything, and the women realized they were hungry and dug in. Emily invited Chantico to join them and the party got merry as they drank and made short work of the platter.

“We should relax in our hot tub,” Emily now suggested.

Carman looked at her, “I didn’t know you had one of those. Why didn’t I know that?”

Emily shrugged, she was feeling good. “Guess it just never came up, sweet Carman.” Emily teased, leaning over and kissing her full on the mouth, then announcing, “C’mon, gals, follow me.”

So they all trooped behind Emily to a room just off the kitchen and right beside her father’s elevator. It wasn’t a huge room but the tub itself fit eight comfortably. They had just crowded into the room when Emily stripped off her clothes in a flash, and with a suggestive wiggle of her lovely ass, climbed into the tub, followed by Chantico, then Candace and then Carman.

Chantico had brought both bottles and glasses and soon everyone had another drink. It was clear that Candace was feeling no pain. Before long, she and Emily had begun deep kissing and Carman found Chantico snuggling up to her. Things progressed nicely from there. Everyone eventually paired up with everyone and at around midnight all four women were lying side by side on Emily’s bed, before Chantico excused herself and went to join Melanie.

Carman considered, then decided to head home, and after several minutes of goodbye kisses with both women, she was able to make her exit, leaving Candace with Emily.

“This is, like, unreal,” Candace murmured to Emily, as the two lay naked and pressed closely together.

“Why’s that?” Emily murmured.

Candace giggled. “I’ve had like, a major crush on you, like, for two years. When I saw you hang with Alhambra at the Emmys, I googled you and printed off your picture. But back then I was hanging with a group; there was no, like, boyfriend girlfriend thing, we all hung together and had sex with like, whoever. It was totally like bad ass, but I still used to, you know, fantasize about you a lot; geez, that’s crazy hey? And now I’m lying beside you. Mmmmmm, this is fucking unreal and also un-be-live-able. Geez, I’ve eaten your pussy.” Candace sat up and thrust her arms into the air, “I’ve eaten Emily Hawkins’s pussy. Geez…”

Emily laughed and pulled the girl back down to her. “You’re not, like, going to Instagram-this or tweet anything, are you Candy-girl?” Emily smiled.

Candace chuckled. “No, nope, no way. I’m not going to do anything to fuck this over, except whatever you want. I’m totally your bitch.” The two shared a kiss; long, slow, ending with Emily taking Candace’s fat lower lip and tugging it.

“You’re going to let me crash tonight, aren’t you, Emily?” Candace whispered.

Emily snickered, “You’re kidding, right? You think I’m going to let you leave.” They caressed and kissed some more, before Emily asked quietly, “You like Carman though, don’t you?”

Candace replied easily, “I like her, like really, really like her. I’m not lyin’. But that doesn’t mean I can’t hook with you, right? Carman has, like, a lover, so there’s that…”

“Yeah, I know. That kinda’ sucks, but it’s the way it is. C’mon, let’s brush our teeth; then if we drift off, it’s cool.”

****

Ryland Ross had treated himself to an extra-long bath and massage session tonight; he needed it. “You arrrre verrry tense, Mr. Rrrross.” Ida had lectured in her strong accent, before she pounded him like pie dough.

And now he sat in his darkened room, his cat Jackson on his knee and a rare glass of scotch in his hand; Ross didn’t drink much at all. Damn! He said to himself. Damn. Damn. Damn. He had really got himself into a pickle this time.

The first payment on that pickle had been paid this afternoon in the form of information that Ms. Hawkins wasn’t aware of, and would keep her quiet, for a while at least.

The information was that Mr. Hawkins had been in contact with a company that put people into a nitrogen frozen sleep with the intention of reviving them down the road; something he himself had only found out this week. (That was most likely where all the missing money was going, although it had to be more than that.)

And Hawkins had done this…because he was dying.

****

Emily moved gently off the bed, as Candace snored very quietly beside her. She gazed for a moment at the wonderful, young body. Fuck she’s beautiful, Emily pondered, and from her that was something.

She moved quietly to the window and then out to her more spacious than common Juliet balcony, large enough for her to stand comfortably and look at the night sky.

So, Daddy-dearest was fading away; that was outstanding; but it didn’t really change her plans. Nope, the wheels were in motion, and now she just needed to stay focused, and stop him from spending all the cash.

And she had been right; her father had ended her mother’s life; although exactly how was still unclear. A drug injection of some kind; who knows? She tiptoed back into her room and found her cigarettes; she would smoke out on her balcony.

She wondered what her father was doing over in his room, on the other side of the house. Was he sitting in his tub, counting money? She laughed at that image, blowing smoke out into space. It drifted off slowly, there being little breeze tonight.

Smoke, she pondered. Smoke and lies.

Was that all life ever was?

(End of Chapter 16)

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 15 The Jugglers Amaze, Tossing Torches Of Flame

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 15 The Jugglers Amaze, Tossing Torches Of Flame

“Hello.”

“Carm, it’s Em. Got a minute?”

“Of course I do, what’s up?”

“Just thinkin’ about all that stuff you laid on me Saturday. Shit, like we say, that’s heavy sister.”

“Don’t go all L.A. street gang on me, Em.” Carman chuckled as Ivy entered and put some papers on her desk.

“Hey, if I wanted street thug, my posse would like take you down and haul your butt to my place. But seriously, you know I wouldn’t have let the freaky father fire your lovely ass, right? He couldn’t have threatened you, really, you know that, right?”

Carman paused. “Well, that’s it. I don’t know. I certainly didn’t want to stick you in the middle of my business. Running to you for help.”

“So you got naked on your knees and let him have you whupped?” Emily sneered in a strong southern drawl.

Carman chuckled, “I told you it wasn’t that bad, Em.”

“Well, you know I got your back, Carm.” Emily said quietly.

Carman sat for several moments, watching the second hand of the wall clock slowly move. “Yeah, it’s complicated, Emily. In many ways, you know, to me at least, you’re a lot more dangerous than your father.”

****

Rock Springs, Wyoming, 2011

The big Lincoln Town car ate up the miles between Casper and Rock Springs in style; Ryland Ross checked his watch; they should be at the motel before nine, as planned.

He thought back to earlier in the day and the unexpected call that had sent him here. Ever since Alex Vargas had left in the night years ago, Ross had been after him. The man was the last loose end, and Ross had trailed the man all over the western U.S.A., one time missing him by just an hour.

Today, a bus driver with the latest (one year old) bulletin in his unit had noticed someone that fit the picture. As indicated on the Wyoming version, Sweetwater County Sheriff Tobias Martin was the man to call with info, which happened, and he in turn had called Ross; once he had seen the man himself and knew where he was staying.

And that would be at the Rock Springs Double D Motel, with air conditioning in all the units and cable television! That was where the Town Car was headed, with Winston Stiles, black, six-four, ex-military, ex-CIA and the man Ross turned to for any ‘heavy lifting’, at the wheel.

Half an hour later, darkness settling in, the car pulled into the wide expanse that served as a parking lot; currently it held but three cars, including the Lincoln. The man thought to be Vargas, registered as ‘Brown’, was in room two-thirty, the last unit on the second floor. The motel had one other guest and the night manager. It was pretty much ideal.

Having quietly moved to the unit, Stiles rapped gently, “Mr. Brown, I just need to bring in the towels, buddy,” Stiles said to the door; one that conveniently carried no peephole. When the occupant opened, Stiles easily pushed his way in and calmed ‘Mr. Brown’ down with two punches to his gut, settling the man on the worn bedspread. Ross looked at him; it was unbelievable.

“Alex, it’s been quite the chase. Twelve years, sir. You’ve caused us some problems.” Ross said with just a hint of emotion. He paused as the young man looked up at him. “Why’d you run, Alex?”

The man shook his head. “Why’d I run, are you nuts? Sarah and I are having an affair; then she is dead; I don’t need a map to see which way this is goin’. I’m sure if I’d have stayed you and Hawkins would have given me a kiss and a promotion, right?”

Ross nodded his head; the man was right. “I’m sorry,” he said.

The next thing that happened, happened quickly. Stiles moved slightly to his left, then brought a revolver out from somewhere and the gunshot echoed through the small room. Vargas was driven off the bed to lie on the floor, dead immediately.

Stiles, wearing gloves, used the man’s right hand to handle the gun and then dropped it beside him. Ross was already out the door; the sight of blood upset him. In a few moments Sheriff Martin was on the scene and the body moved and the room sealed off. The only hitch was that the one and only town reporter happened to hear a dispatch call and arrived just as the body was being hauled out. He managed to get three pictures before he was chased off.

Ross spoke with Martin for a moment. “Here, Tobias,” he said, passing a fat envelope. “Use what you need to see the man gets buried, etc., the rest is yours.” The envelope contained fifteen thousand dollars.

“Thanks, Mr. Ross,” the sheriff said with enthusiasm. “They’ll be no problems, you have my word.” With that, he put the dead man’s wallet and a couple of items from his pockets into his jacket and climbed into his vehicle. His car went one direction, and the Lincoln Town car went another, back to Casper and the flight back to L.A. The death would be ruled a suicide; victim unidentified.

“You tellin’ Hawkins how it went down?” Stiles asked as they hit the highway.

Ross stroked his nose thoughtfully. “I don’t think so. What he doesn’t know can’t be used against him.” He said, in his quiet voice, various emotions within him.

Ross then closed his eyes and said a small thank you; finally, it was over.

****

“Hi Emily. It’s Becky, you know, from the Times.”

“Hey, of course. Old Beck-beck. How’r things, Beckster?”

After a little chit chat, Becky Flagg brought up the reason for the call. “So, just ‘cause I like you, Emily, and also ‘cause, well, you got me interested, I’ve kept looking for things related to Mr. Hawkins and that Ryland Ross fellow and your mom…” There was a pause as the girl took a breath and collected her thoughts, Emily staying quiet with a sense of…something.

“And I’ve found an odd set of, well, photos with info, from just a few years back, and I wanted to show them to you, like.” She finished.

“Absolutely, Beck my girl, how about tonight? I can come and get ya’.”

“Oh sure, you remember my place?”

“I do sister, I do. Be there, what, seven?”

“That would be perfect, Emily. See you at seven.”

The call ended and Emily sat, looking at her cup of tea but her mind was going all over. What could this be? She should have pressed Becky for more details. Damn. Well, she would just need to wait.

She’d waited a while so far.

****

Ross went back into the third account again. This was one of the accounts Downing did not have access to. After a moment, Ross decided he would share this information with Downing, despite his misgivings.

****

“Good morning my pet,” Folake spoke warmly into her cell.

“Hello, woman who, emm, owns me,” Carman snickered softly.

“I think sometimes I am too soft with you, my dear. I feel you need a, what shall we say, a tune-up, hmmm?”

“Yes, my mistress, but you do know my devotion.”

“I do,” Folake paused, “why have you called, from work. That usually means something, oh, important.”

Now Carman paused, “I needed to say this. I need to talk to you. Tonight. I just wanted it out there so I wouldn’t change my mind.”

“Hmmmm. Sounds serious, sweet one, but now I know and will hold you to it.”

“Okay. Um, okay. See you later. I will be as respectful as possible,” Carman smiled.

****

“Right there,” Ross directed, standing behind Drew Downing and looking over his shoulder.

“Damn,” Downing murmured, “yeah, that’s definitely four million moved out of there and to where, who knows, can’t see.”

“So, what do you think it means?” Ross asked, playing his cards carefully.

“Well, probably the same as you, Ryland. Mr. Hawkins is moving money somewhere that he doesn’t want us to know about.”

The large egg nodded. “Yeah, that was what I thought.” They both looked at the screen as if the information sitting there would suddenly wake up and do something. “The question is, why?”

Downing simply nodded his head; Ross rubbed his nose and left, heading back to his office. With his cell in his pocket, Downing went out and took the elevator to the main floor, then walked out the front to the open area with a few benches, trees and the sculpture of ‘Justice’, which Hawkins, strangely, had donated and installed. Sitting on a bench, Downing called Emily.

“Drewsums,” the voice replied languidly, “what’s up?”

“Um, I wanted to alert you to the fact that Mr. Hawkins has just moved four million dollars out of one of his hidden accounts, but I don’t know to where, at least not yet.”

“Hmmm, Drew-boy, that’s good dope, dude. Keep those peepers open like that and sweet Chantico will show you some lovin’, hun.” Emily smirked, but she was actually impressed with Downing. Maybe he had come out from the darkness, after all.

****

Carman closed up her case and headed out, giving Ivy a gentle pat on her shoulder as she passed. She had rounded the corner of the reception area and was headed for the elevators when she saw Candace leaning against the wall. The girl smiled broadly and approached her. “Walk out with you?” she asked.

“Of course,” Carman enthused, looking around quickly before giving Candace a quick kiss on her cheek. There was another person in the car as the elevator headed for the basement, so the women had to behave themselves.

In the parkade, Candace walked with Carman to her car. “So, you’ve been, like, busy,” Candace said, “and I can’t believe it, so hard to get away from my desk. I’m like, dude, it’s totally non-stop; but the day went by fast.”

Carman looked at the girl, “How about we plan to do something after work on, say, Thursday. Grab a bite, take it from there.”

“That would be sick,” Candace smiled.

“I take it that’s good. Here, let me give you a ride.” Carman offered.

“Oh no, Carman, that’s totally out of your way.”

“A little, not, um, totally. We can at least have a little chat.”

Candace smiled again, “Okay. Sweet.”

****

“So, Becky-baby, what am I lookin’ at, exactly?” Emily asked. The two women were in the ‘library’,(Emily had searched and concluded the room wasn’t ‘bugged)with a folder and its contents spread out on a coffee table. On the top of the pile were three ‘photos’.

Becky took a breath; they had not even had any drinks, Emily wanting to be sharp, with the result that Becky was nervous and more hyper than usual. “Well, okay, first of all, this was in like a weird file.” Emily resisted the urge to interrupt; she wanted the girl to get to the good stuff, so she just nodded. “Somebody a few years back had obviously started looking into your father.”

This was too much to resist. “Okay stop there. Do you know who or why?”

“No, at least not from this, but I could look deeper. I just thought you would want this info.”

“Yeah, yeah, okay, sorry. Go on.”

“Okay, so as well as your father they were obviously looking into his lawyer, Mr. Ryland Ross.” Emily nodded vigorously. “So my search engine had Hawkins, Ross and investigation and I stumbled onto this. But look at these photos…”

Emily now regarded them more closely, when she suddenly said, “Hey, that’s Ross, in this photo for sure. And that‘s I think the back of his egg head in that one. What is this?”

Becky at this point looked like she might explode, “Okay, okay, this was taken five years ago, in Wyoming at a motel, where the police had been called to investigate a shooting.”

“A shooting. What the Hell would Mr. Namby-pamby Rossy be doing in Wyoming, at a shooting?”

“That’s just it. Look at the info.”

The photo was actually from a newspaper clipping and below it read, “Sheriff Tobias seen leaving the site of a homicide at the Double D motel.” The tag line was Rock Springs.

Becky continued. “I looked into it further, and apparently an unidentified man committed suicide in the motel that night.”

“But, again, why was Ross there?” Emily stared.

“Exactly. Unless, you know, that unidentified man was someone he was, you know, like interested in.”

Emily stared. “Holy Fuck,” she exclaimed. Someone like… Alex Vargas, immediately jumped to mind.

And that expression was definitely becoming a habit.

**** 

London, England November 2014

Haeners/During/McRae Clinic

The nurse, not the same one as before but similar, white outfit, red lipstick, led Stafford Hawkins into the office. Even though this was in England and not Switzerland, the office seemed just the same, albeit with no view of the Alps. The Thames River was below them however, along with a splendid view of the city.

Dr. Haeners came once again from behind his desk, his hair shorter than before, looking a little older (it had been five years after all) and he was today wearing a wool sports jacket and looking quite, academic. “Ah, Mr. Hawkins, it is goot to see you. Please, have a zeat.”

Hawkins sat and then passed an envelope to the doctor, who opened it, removed a letter, read it, put the letter back and then removed and wiped his glasses. “Zo, your illness vorsens?”

Hawkins nodded his head. “Yes, as you can see, and I have the same opinion from three physicians, all specialists, so I believe their conclusions.”

The two men sat for a moment in thought. “Zo,” Haeners continued, “How can ve now be of assistance?”

Hawkins took out a sheet of paper that was almost completely covered in text. “I’m hearing your Cryonics program is working with the Stottlemyre group; that there is a project involving space travel. It all sounds very science fiction. But I wanted to hear the details from you, personally.”

The doctor smiled. “You are, as always, vell informed Mr. Hawkins. And yes, ve have been working with several large corporations and at least four billionaires, not to mention five governments, on a project that has been kept completely under zee, as zey say, radar; and yet you have heard zomething.” He shook his head, “Amazing. Ah, but here is Annette vith our Echinacea, sweetened vith natural lemon. You vill enjoy zees.”

Hawkins actually smiled; he did like tea.

****

“So, that’s my thinking,” Carman murmured. She was lying pressed against Folake on the couch. She had just spent the last twenty minutes describing her plans for the rogue accounts of Stafford Hawkins. Ever since she and Folake had unlocked the final one, their existence had sat like the elephant in the room. It needed to be discussed.

“And how much do you think there is again?” Folake asked.

“It changes, but around one hundred sixty-two million.” Carman said quietly.

“Hmmmm,” Folake purred, “that’s a lot of money, my sweet. A person could start a whole, new life with that. Maybe two lives,” she smiled.

Carman spoke into Folake’s neck. “I know.”

They lay then for a little while longer, before Folake took Carman into the bedroom and had her put on her slave collar. She then tied her face down on the bed, after stuffing her thong underwear into Carman’s mouth.

Using a small, leather paddle, Folake then delivered twenty blows to Carman’s round buttocks, with the woman pulling against her bonds by the end.

Folake then rubbed some cooling Aloe Vera lotion onto Carman’s reddened buttocks, forced a small vibrator into her anus and a vibrating egg into her vagina; set them both to low, and left the woman bound and moaning.

Going out to the living room and closing the door, Folake went to her CD player and put on an early Rolling Stones disc, December’s Children. She had seen the Stones in England as a young woman and became a life-long fan.

As Mick Jagger was singing about blue turning to grey, Folake was making a call to Stafford Hawkins’s private cell number.

****

“Hello.”

“Carm, it’s Em. Got a minute?”

“Wow, two days in a row I get a call from you, at work even.”

“Yeah, well I don’t want to bother you at home, you know. Wouldn’t know what I was interrupting, hey?”

Carman paused for a moment; for some reason that comment stung; perhaps it was Emily’s tone. “Um, okay. How can I help you, boss?”

“Ooooh,” Emily murmured, “I like that. Anyway, just letting you know that Father Hawkins is spending some serious cash on stuff.”

“How much, um, cash we talking about, Em? Or should it be Ms. Hawkins since this is company business?”

“Ha; no, let’s not go the Ms. Whatever route. Anyway, four million bucks, ma’am. That ain’t chicken, um, feed, as they say.”

Carman paused. “So, what are you worried about, Emily?”

“Well, I don’t want the man draining the pond, so to speak.”

“Well, it’s not Documart money, or related, so…”

“Yeah, who knows? If we don’t know where the money came from and we don’t know where it’s goin’, well, that’s a lot we don’t know.”

“I suppose you’ve already talked with your uncle?”

“Yup, Uncle Drew’s in touch. And he doesn’t know shit. And, he’s the accountant, so…”

“Hmmmm, I see what you mean.”

There was a pause. “Oh, and there’s something else I wanted to show you. Can you swing by the house tonight before heading, um, home?”

“Uh, yeah, okay. Anything you can tell me?”

“No. just swing by. What, like between five-thirty and six?”

“That should work. See you then, okay?”

“Sure.”

The call ended and Carman sat, her mind whirling as it often did with Emily involved.

****

“Gotcha’” Downing exclaimed. It had taken a while and a transaction by transaction comparison, but he had finally found the bread crumbs, and then the trail. The transfer and payments had been slyly hidden behind other transactions, removed and the accounts readjusted.

Downing wondered if Mr. Hawkins had done this on his own; it seemed technical and complicated. But Stafford Hawkins was a brilliant man, whatever else he was. Things, ideas, came to him and he had the uncanny ability to recognize potential or see opportunity.

Well, whatever the story, over the past two years, Downing had found, so far, (who knew, there might be more) forty-two million dollars transferred to  something called the Haeners/During Clinic.

Downing did some more searching and discovered the main trust controlled by the clinic: The Living Tree Life Sustainability Foundation.

This was a mystery of sorts, but also very interesting.

****

Carman and Emily sat with the coffee table in front and the photo Becky had discovered sitting on top, only Emily had her hand over part of it.

“So what’s this you need to show me, it seems kind of, well, cloak and dagger?” Carman asked.

“Here, look at this. Who do you think that is.” She removed her hand and Carman stared.

“That looks like Ryland Ross. What’s this about?” Emily filled her in on the particulars of where the photo was shot and what happened the night it was taken.

“So,” Carman said cautiously, “I’m guessing you think this is connected to your mother, right?”

“Well, what I know is Alex Vargas left and was not heard from again, except by his mom, who got calls and cards at Christmas. Then five years ago, which puts it the same time as this photo and mystery death, the cards and calls stopped.” Emily stated. There was no smirk on her face with this information.

“And you think Ross was involved?”

“Why would he be there Carman?”

“Well, yeah, that is a mystery. But that was just before I began working for your father, so I’m not sure what Ross was doing, um, exactly for him.”

“Yeah, fine,” Emily folded up the information and sat back, looking unsatisfied.

Carman looked at her, “You’d like me to be, um, a little more supportive?”

Emily looked at the woman, and Carman had a difficult time maintaining her gaze; Emily was hauntingly beautiful tonight, but with a harder edge than Carman had seen. There was no kidding around or teasing.

Emily leaned her head back, “Well, yeah, I guess. I don’t think I’m off on some wild chase. My mother dies suddenly; we find evidence of an affair; my father has her cremated as quickly as possible with no autopsy; the man she was involved with immediately disappears but stays in contact until 2011; then one night an unidentified man commits suicide in some little town and Ryland Ross just happens to be there. Fuck.”

She stood up and walked over toward the door, “Look, sorry for bugging you. Thanks for coming by.”

Carman sat for a moment. “Em, I’m sorry, I don’t know what to say. You do have some compelling evidence. I can see why you believe what you do; I just don’t know where you think this can go. I’m…sorry.”

Carman looked up at Emily, but the woman had her back to her so she could not see any facial response. Then Emily turned, looking slightly down; her face was set. “Thanks Carm, you’d best be heading off; I’m sure your friend is waiting.”

“No, Emily, I don’t need to leave. Why can’t we spend some time together?”

Emily looked up, her face cold, “Why?”

Now it was Carman’s turn to look down for a moment, “I still want to, um, be with you, Emily. My other relationship doesn’t stop you and me…”

“There is no you and me, Carman. Dig ya’ later.” With that, Emily turned and started off, “I think you know where the door is, kid.” She said, as she headed up the stairs. Carman stood, feeling an icy fist in her stomach and not knowing why. Wasn’t Folake enough? And Candace? But Folake had also been very insistent that she wanted Carman to keep up a relationship with Emily. So Carman just stood, mulling all of this before deciding.

In a moment she was knocking gently on Emily’s door and then entering, to find the girl lying on her bed, though still clothed. “Couldn’t find the door?” Emily asked, her hand over her eyes.

“I, um, didn’t want to, Em. Please.”

Emily lowered her hand and looked at the other woman. “Please what?”

“Please don’t do this to me.”

“Do what, exactly?”

Carman swallowed hard, her throat muscles tightening with emotion, “Hurt me…like this.”

Emily sat up on the edge of her large bed. “Hmmm. Maybe I want to hurt you.” She said quietly.

Carman remained with her eyes downcast, beginning now to feel arousal, and strangely, shame that this exchange was affecting her this way. “You can hurt me, in other ways. Not like this; not inside me.” She said in a voice just above a whisper.

“You’ll let me punish you?” Emily said, also in a quiet voice.

Carman stood, breathing heavily, a swirling mass of emotions tumbling through her mind; sadness and desire mixing in a strange and compelling way. “If that’s what it takes to, keep something, together. If that’s how, you and me, need to be, I’ll do…” She looked up and angrily swiped the tears seeping out of her eyes away with one hand, then stood defiantly. “I’ll do what you want…” She murmured, then looked down.

Emily said nothing, just stood and walked to a dresser, opening it and retrieving something, which she brought to Carman and held out to her. It was a leather slave collar, red and not as wide as the one Folake had bought her. It had the single word, ‘BITCH’ on it in black letters. “Okay, then. Let’s see if you are true to your word. Put this on.”

Carman took it and rubbed a thumb over the letters, before slowly clasping it around her neck.

Emily smiled, then quietly spoke, “On your knees…Bitch. You did say I was more dangerous than my father, right?”

(End of Chapter 15)

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 14 And The Ringmaster Watches From The Side

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 14 And The Ringmaster Watches From The Side

Emily stood still; it sounded like her father’s elevator was at work. Moving to the front of the house, she caught just a glimpse of a tall, it seemed, woman, before she disappeared around the line of foliage marking their yard’s boundary, and was lost from view.

Now, who could be visiting Daddy-dearest at this time of night, Emily wondered. It wasn’t like the man was social in any way. Maybe she should go up there now and barge in, demanding an audience with his greatness? No, she would wait a little longer. Let Daddy-kins lie quiet; she still needed to think over all that Chantico shared about the needles and shit. And that he sat out in that place every morning. Hmmmm, all that was interesting. And useful.

Emily headed to the kitchen as Downing came in her direction, his eyes diverted in subservience. But as he passed, Downing did something odd, he passed her a note. At first Emily wasn’t really tuned in to the situation but it occurred, suddenly to her, that this might be Downing’s way of alerting her to possible surveillance, going all CIA-mode like this. It would be just like Clown-man to be watching them. All of them.

Downing had continued on and then up the stairs to his room, clearly his purpose was the note. Emily entered the kitchen and took a bottle from the fridge, then poured some wine as Chantico came down the stairs to her. “May I get you anything?” the girl asked, coming close.

Emily pulled her in to kiss and cuddle a bit, before releasing her saying, “No, Chanty baby, you look after Mel-bel. I’m good.” The girl giggled, took something from the fridge as well and headed back upstairs. Emily realized it was almost midnight. Shit, where does the time go?

She proceeded to the library, then thought that if any room was bugged, it would be that one, and decided instead to head for the patio. At least out there she could smoke. She sipped some wine and lit a Lucky Strike, then spread Downing’s note on the glass table. It was brief but interesting, saying simply, “Ross knows about the other accounts.”

So, Emily pondered, Mr. Egg knows more than he shows. Well, maybe Mr. Humpty Dumpty will have a fall, she chuckled to herself, sipping some wine.

****

Ryland Ross settled into his spot in the baths. This was his only non-work activity, and he tried to get it in once a week. He was settled as usual, away from anyone else. He did not like physical contact; didn’t really like even being close to others, which was one reason he avoided elevators and buses. After the bath, he would allow his masseuse, a hefty Romanian woman named Ida, to pummel his pudgy body and that would be it; his physical contact for the week. Then it was a bracing shower and back to his work.

And with what Mr. Hawkins had him working at, he needed to stay sharp. He had never doubted his boss and benefactor, appreciating that his own wealth, and he was comfortably a millionaire, had come mostly through his dealings with Hawkins; who had been his main client for several years before becoming his exclusive one.

No, he knew where his bread was buttered and while he could retire if he chose, he liked his work, and he actually liked working for Stafford Hawkins. And he didn’t like to fail; but he really wasn’t sure what Mr. H. was up to these days. And why on earth wouldn’t he meet with his daughter? He couldn’t avoid it, not for ever. At that moment, however, the imposing figure of Ida loomed over the divider, letting him know it was his time. Ross nodded his egg-shaped noggin.

****

Folake had released Carman from her bonds, but not before giving her a different release, a lovely one; and now they lay together. “We should get ready for  bed,” Carman murmured.

“I know,” Folake said, quietly. They lay, gently stroking each other’s arms.

“I mean, like soon,” Carman continued.

Folake sighed, “I know. Soon.” They lay quietly still.

“You liked Candace?” Carman asked, gliding her hand down the sloping belly and over Folake’s sex.

“Hmmmm, I did. She is, delicious. Too young for you, you know that, but still lovely to enjoy.”

“You think I should not be involved with her?”

“Oh no, no. Be involved. We do not have many opportunities in life to be with someone like Candace. Or Emily, for that matter. As long as you can control your heart, know what is possible and what is not, then you can enjoy. No, I want Candace to come back. I wish to enjoy her, watching you with her, and all of that. But, I know she likes you very much, so you must be careful.”

Carman sighed. “Love wasn’t always so complicated for me. There was a time I never gave feelings a thought; just did what I wished.”

“Ummm, yes, my sweet, the freedom of youth. But time closes us in; we cannot continue like we once did. That is just life. But with age comes understanding, and acceptance, and, even, contentment.”

Carman sighed again, “Yeah, unless you’re Stafford Hawkins. I don’t believe that man can find contentment.”

Folake chuckled. “I would agree; but he is not the only one. Hmmmm? Oh, by the way, you should meet with Emily again; just to be aware of what her plans are.”

“I agree, my mistress.” They both chuckled, then Folake rose and helped Carman from the bed and they headed to the bathroom.

****

Tad lay on Raisha’s couch. His leased Lamborghini had gone back to the dealership so he had no wheels, even if he wanted to go somewhere.

“So whadda’ we s’posed to do with him?” Brianna asked, regarding the unshaven and dozing form.

Raisha took a long hit of hash smoke and shrugged. “Keep him here. Keep him alive. Watch him and report back to the lady. Just like they say, bide our time.”

“Hmmm, what does that, like mean? How’d you bide time?” Brianna commented, Raisha shrugged. Brianna added, “Gimme a hit of that, hey.”

“Sure,” Raisha said, coughing with the strength of the smoke as she passed the pipe over. “It’s some good shit.”

“Maybe we should wake pretty boy and let him enjoy?”

“Nah, somethin’ happened to him; don’t know, but he’s not feelin’ good. Leave the mutha’ fucka’ be.” Raisha pronounced, leaning back on the cushion.

****

Friday morning, Candace Eiermann waited outside Carman’s office, having gotten there as soon as the building’s doors opened. Carman smiled at her as she arrived and motioned for the girl to follow into her office. As Candace closed the door, Carman put down her briefcase and embraced her, thinking she looked amazingly attractive today. They kissed carefully, aware of their lipstick.

“Do I look okay?” Candace asked, dressed in a stylish navy pants and jacket outfit.

“You look absolutely great, kid, Too great. I’d like to take that jacket and pants combo off right now, but I’ll control myself. Would you like to have dinner with me tonight, to celebrate your first day?”

Candace’s face lit up. “Oh God, that would be sick. I’m all yours. TBH.”

Carman just smiled, not sure if having someone as tempting as Candace around was such a great idea. TBH.

**** 

Ross contemplated Downing with his mild gaze. “So, what is it that you are saying again?”

Downing consulted his notes and replied in his own mild way, “It’s just that there is money in Mr. Hawkins’s dealings that goes places I can’t find. I don’t care, one way or the other, but I do need to know, um, why.” Downing had taken Emily’s advice, and looked behind things.

Seven companies were clustered under Documart’s management framework. The parent company did not need to ‘run’ these companies, and they were diverse, from phone apps to electronic mall sales, but the finances were funnelled through the single entity, with Ross, Downing and Da Costa being the final authority.

Only when Downing did an online check, just out of curiosity, he found each of the companies had a separate bank account that was not under his view. It was frustrating that he could see their existence but could not find out anything else, even what branch.

This was not the eleven rogue accounts; Downing had known of their existence and purpose for years. But these new accounts, which he could see existed but could not access, were something different.

“If Mr. Hawkins wishes to have a hundred accounts it is not my business, in the end, but I do need to at least know of them,” Downing maintained, believing that Ross had this information; he just wasn’t sharing it; yet.

Ross rubbed his nose and then his prestigious dome. He of course knew of these accounts; he did not believe his boss did anything illegal with them, he was simply a secretive and somewhat paranoid man who liked to control things. He didn’t, for example, want everything open to the shareholders of Documart to view; and with what had transpired with his daughter, you could begin to understand why.

But Downing had a point; he was the company’s senior accountant, the one who presented financial statements. Why was he in the dark? Why indeed.

****

“Emily.”

“Carman, hey babe, how’s life? Whose muff you munchin’ today?” Emily replied to her caller.

Carman paused, there was a slight edge to Emily’s teasing today, but she wasn’t going to react. She smiled, hoping the sentiment would travel to the young woman. “You know I enjoy munching yours, right?”

“Yeah, if you say so. How can I help you?”

“Well, I’m calling for a date, sweets. How’s that?”

Emily chuckled, “Hey, cool, lemme’ check my calendar. What’s your plan?”

“Tomorrow night?”

“Ooooh, Saturday, big time. You going to put a move on me, hmmmm?”

Carman chuckled for real this time, “You never know. I’ll ply you with some wine first, how’s that?”

“Sounds like my kinda date? You pickin’ me up?”

“Yes, how’s seven-thirty sound?”

“Sounds good to me. Which one of us will be wearin’ the strap-on?”

“Emily.” Carman laughed out loud. “You’re incorrigible.” Then, not knowing why, she added, “I might be wearing a butt plug, though.”

Emily guffawed at that. “Now you’re just messing with my mind, Car-baby, but you have given me somethin’ to think about.”

“See you tomorrow.”

“You got it.”

After ending her call, Emily carried on upstairs. She had noted Melanie out on the patio and Chantico was vacuuming on the main level. Her father had left just before Carman’s call, so the upstairs was hers.

Now she entered the third floor bathroom and opened the cupboard. She looked at the box of syringes, there were at least forty. Wearing gloves, she removed two and took them, moving quickly back down to the second floor and her room, where she hid them with her underwear. So far, so good, she thought. It was just a matter of time.

****

Ryland Ross went back through his list; his numbers were recent, but they showed a concerning trend; Mr. Hawkins was creating some sort of mega-fund, funnelling money from other accounts into it. What was its purpose? He checked the ‘rogue’ accounts and they seemed to have been left alone. Whatever his boss was planning, he hadn’t shared it with anyone.

How much to share with Downing? How much to prod from the man himself? Ross rubbed his nose, contemplating. 

                 ****

“Uhnn; uhnn; uhnn; uhnn;” Carman was grunting rhythmically as Candace drove the dildo into her from behind. Folake was standing beside them, but tonight she was not watching idly. A more accurate description would be ‘uhnn, uhnn whack!’ as Folake brought the small wooden paddle down on Candace’s lovely, round and reddening ass every couple of thrusts.

After their dinner, in a modest restaurant a couple of blocks from the apartment, Carman had brought Candace back here. As Folake had watched, the two women stripped each other and paraded around before the dark, smiling woman, posing as she directed them. Folake then placed a leather harness around Candace’s firm, full, young breasts; they were the perfect type for this harness and Folake stood looking at them in appreciation for several moments.

She then attached a harness around the young woman’s waist and placed a seven-inch, dark brown dildo into it. This phallus also had a three inch stub that was inserted into the harness wearer’s vagina, and along with a protrusion that rubbed the wearer’s clit, this stub provided stimulation with each thrust. So both Candace and Carman were thus each aroused with the act.

Right now, as Folake paddled her ass, Candace’s eyes were closed, her mouth was open and she was in a world of her own and into a wonderful rhythm that clearly consumed her, with the steady, unconscious thrust of her hips against her partner’s ass. Slap, slap, slap, until she cried out, climaxing before Carman, who was close.

“I’m sorry,” Candace moaned, as she slumped over Carman’s back. “Oh my God. Ohhh. Mmmmm.” She mumbled, as Folake came to her assistance, slowly pulling the hard, rubber cock out of Carman and laying the lovely Candace on the carpet. Folake then positioned Carman’s pussy over Candace’s mouth. “Lick her, Candace. Bring her off,” Folake instructed, while unbuckling the harness and gently rubbing Candace’s still engorged vulva, as the girl lay and sucked her partner.

In a few moments, all was brought to a satisfying conclusion, with Candace and Carman then embracing as they lay on the floor; Folake looking on with a smile of benign appreciation, like a teacher viewing a student’s project.

****

Basel, Switzerland (French/Swiss border) – 2009

The wealthy American was shown into Dr. Haener’s office. The doctor, who could easily play one of those mad scientists found in sci-fi movies; mop of white hair and dark round glasses (he was even wearing a lab coat) rose from his desk to greet the man, his mild accent slightly apparent.

“Goot day, Mr. Hawkins.”

“Good day to you sir; please accept my apology, I do not shake hands.”

“Understood, thank you zir. Kindly take a zeat.”

The room had a ‘hospital’ feel; not surprising considering they were in the Haeners/During Clinic for Aging, and it was accentuated by the abundance of white. Outside was the white skimming the heights of the Alps; inside were white curtains, white carpet and white leather chairs. When Haener’s nurse/assistant returned with tea, she was dressed all in white, apart from her bright red lipstick, which stood out in the room.

“Und zo, you are interested in our project?” Haener began, removing his glasses to wipe them, a recurring gesture.

Hawkins regarded the man; he had flown several thousand miles to hear him, but he would not be rushed. “I am interested, yes. There is, of course, much skepticism with your work.”

Haener waved away the skepticism with his hand, as if it were but a fruit fly. “Everything new has its skeptics, Mr. Hawkins. You, yourself, know zis first hand. I have read of zome of your innovations, emails being sent to cell phones for example, that vere questioned at first. Ve must deal with this as… creators.”

Hawkins nodded. “Yes, sir, we must. But I deal with convenience and communication. You deal with, well, life itself. That’s far more likely to receive harsh comments and rejection.”

The good doctor nodded his head, the noble martyr at work, before saying, “Vell, to be precise, ve deal not vith life, but with the unacceptable loss of living zat ve call aging. That is not quite the zame.”

“Just so,” Hawkins replied, smiling a mirthless smile.

“But,” said the good doctor, “please join me in tea. It is Lemon Grass; we have it flown in from Tibet.”

****

Emily and Carman sat across from each other in the library. They had wine and the evening sun was throwing shafts of light across the plush carpet between them. Emily was wearing her usual smirk; Carman was feeling a little restrained; things had changed.

“So,” Emily began, “got that plug in there, sweets?”

Carman laughed. “Actually, no. I said that to tease you, because you’re such a tease.” She sipped her wine.

Emily nodded her head, “Would you wear one if I asked?”

“Maybe, I’d need to see it first,” she smiled.

“Ooooh, listen to the pro. What’s been happening in Carman’s life?” Emily purred. She actually didn’t know, for sure; she’d heard…things. But she knew that Carman was involved with someone; that part was easy to read. Yet, here she was. Why? “So any news on the Darth Hawkins front?”

Carman snorted, “You are a nut, Em.” She shook her head slowly. “Well, your daddy-dear has kept me busy with selling off things. I don’t think he realizes that the companies have employees that need to be sorted out. I’ve kept my assistant busy.”

“Hmmm. Is he still spooked? Watching me like a…hawk?” She smiled.

Carman returned the smile. “I can’t figure out the deal with you and him, Em. It’s a mystery. I’m not sure even he knows.” She paused, considering. “You might be interested in this. He, um, did bring a woman down to, well, punish someone. It couldn’t have been you or anyone standing in for you. The woman told me it was to be a man.” Carman paused again, looking at Emily who was clearly interested.  “But, it ended up being…me.” Carman sipped her wine, eyes down.

Emily sat up straight. “Daddy-dear brought down a pro to, uh, fucking punish someone? Who?”

“Like I said, a man.”

“Well, fuck; that doesn’t give many options. It wouldn’t be just some assistant. And she ended up punishing you? How the Hell does that work?”

Carman looked steadily across at Emily. For the first time that evening she was beginning to feel arousal. “It was a choice; accept the punishment, which was whipping with a cane, or take my severance and leave.”

“Holy Shit!” Emily exclaimed. “That’s nasty. And he had you cane-whipped? That smarts. Fuck. How’d you do?”

Carman continued to stare at Emily, her heart beating now, her breathing speeding up. “I did okay, actually. I, um, didn’t, well, mind it so much. In fact,“ she sipped some more wine, “I ended up moving in with the woman. She’s my, um, partner who you’ve wondered about.”

It was Emily’s turn to sit and stare. “Holy Fuck.” She said.

She seemed to be saying that a lot lately.

****

Carman took the elevator up to the fourth floor; her time with Emily had been enjoyable, and she had felt arousal when relaying her new situation, but in the end it was decided that she head home. As the elevator made its way up, she considered her feelings. Part of her, she had to admit, would have enjoyed staying with Emily; that was the part that was feeling disappointment.

But the other part of her, the larger part, simply wasn’t comfortable with that happening. It was hard enough sorting out her new feelings for Candace and her submission to Folake, without including Emily in the mix.

When Carman entered the apartment, she saw the back of a naked woman and the face of Folake, sitting with her legs spread wide; the woman’s head was clearly between her thighs. Folake opened her eyes and smiled, then motioned Carman over. She could now see that the woman was Gina the house wife. Gina’s ass was nicely reddened so she had obviously enjoyed some of Folake’s handiwork.

“Ah my dear, I wasn’t sure you would make it home, but I am delighted. Gina’s husband is away so I am using her tonight. She has agreed to be my slave for the evening, so undress and join us.” Carman did that and in a moment her head was beside Gina’s, both women kissing and licking Folake’s thighs and vagina, one of Folake’s hands on each of their heads.

****

Emily sat out on the patio in the darkness, her mind churning. The conversation with Carman, confession was more like it, aroused and depressed her. She would like to punish Carman, would enjoy it very much, but she knew that the woman was lost to her, at least for now.

However, she was also deep in thought over Carman’s comments about the woman who had come down to do Daddy-dearest’s naughty business; punish someone. What the Hell? And it was a man she came for; and damn it, the only man who made sense, was darling Drew.

As Emily lit her cigarette, she smiled; they hadn’t had a session with Drewsie today because of her ‘date’, and other things, saying they would have ‘some fun’ on Sunday.

Well, now it was fun with a purpose; Uncle Drew had more stories to tell.

****

Stafford Hawkins waited as Chantico entered his office, then came around his desk to deposit his tray of boiled eggs, dry toast and weak tea before him. “Thank you my dear,” he murmured.

In her shower, Folake bent forward slightly, allowing Gina easier access as the woman diligently cleaned her back and buttocks, before kneeling and washing between her ‘mistress’s’ thighs. “Ummm, that feels so nice, my dear,” she murmured.

Now downstairs in the house in Adams Hill, Emily Hawkins adjusted the wrist straps holding Drew Downing to the wooden ‘slave cross’; it was new and she was trying it out for the first time.

She knelt, adding two more weights to the cluster already attached by a clip to the man’s testicles. They were pulling his sack down obscenely, and Emily set them to swinging, back and forth, Downing moaning and twisting on the X-cross. She then took the candle burning beside them and held the flame under Downing’s balls. The bound, gagged and blindfolded victim immediately began to squirm and twist in his straps, like a tiger in a net, making animal noises.

“Awwww, Unca Drewsie doesn’t like having his nut sack burned by a candle. Poor Unca Drewsie,” Emily sang and Chantico, free of her tasks for Hawkins Sr., hooted with laughter.

Emily often made her laugh.

At Raisha’s apartment, Brianna wasn’t happy. “For fuck’s sake,” she fumed, “the asshole has puked all over himself.”

Raisha came to stand and look at him. “C’mon. We’ll drag him in the shower and just let it run.” And they did.

“What a useless prick,” Brianna noted.

Candace, running in Griffith Park, slowed her jog down to a walk and adjusted her iPhone, picking a quieter mix. She was trying but having a hard time not thinking about Carman. How can it be, she wondered, that someone I didn’t even know existed last month is now killing me? She started to jog again, deciding to call after she was finished. Maybe they could meet for a coffee.

Melanie closed up her book as Emily came in and grabbed a glass of orange juice. They exchanged hellos and then Emily headed back to the ‘spare room’; that wasn’t so spare anymore. Melanie went back to her book; she didn’t want to know what was happening in there.

In his large house only a few blocks from his boss, Ryland Ross stepped from the shower, towelling his head. Sometimes not having to worry about hair made life easier.

And in her little apartment, Becky Flagg, who had begun sneaking tapes and film collections out to study at home (as she knew she was being watched) saw something interesting. She would give Emily a call later to discuss; maybe they would get together.

****

The fortune teller was always popular at the circus; people having fun with their futures.

But for several members of Glendale, not having a fortune teller handy today was not a bad thing.

Who knows how happy many of them would have been, to look very far down the road this pleasant Sunday morning.

(End of Chapter 14)

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 13 Lions & Tigers There Were, But No Wolves

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 13 Lions & Tigers There Were, But No Wolves

Downing was allowed this morning to sit on a chair like a human as he spoke with Emily. They were on the patio and Downing was headed to work, face cleaned of all the previous day’s decoration. “Gee, Drewsums, didn’t hardly recognize ya’.” Emily deadpanned and Downing just smiled. Her teasing did not affect him, but he wasn’t going to let her know. Let her have her fun, he thought.

Emily was actually dying to hear his take on what went down last night, but she put that off; she would talk with Chantico (that little devil, she smirked to herself). Right now, she needed to talk about other things. “Ok, Downing the accountant, you need to look harder. Daddy-kins has money in things that are not showing up; where are they? The cash? The companies?”

Downing shook his head. He wasn’t being evasive, he really hadn’t found anything more than what he had given her. “I have looked, Em, Miss M.” he said in his soft voice.

“You need to look harder. I need to know just what he’s got. I don’t know, look behind things. You’re the money guy. Also, if he plans to push things with Melanie and me, I need a warning.”

Downing rose, then added almost as an afterthought. “Did Melanie tell you what they talked about?”

Emily thought for a moment and realized Melanie had not told her much at all, and she had not pursued it. “She didn’t share, which is odd, but then maybe it was, like family. Weird. You don’t know anything either it seems?”

“No, Melanie hasn’t shared and it was not something um, financial I guess, as Mr. Hawkins has said nothing as well. Uh, weird, like you say.”

“Hmmmm…” Emily mused. “Thank you, Drewsie. Keep those ears open.” She paused and smirked, ”Although, you know, we’ll need a name for that other Drewsie, the one with the blonde hair?” Emily laughed out loud. Downing for his part felt a stab of arousal. He would like her to name him, and he had loved dressing as a woman; he was already fantasizing about the next time, but he wasn’t going to tell her that. Yet.

After he had departed and the dedicated Chantico had brought her some tea and toast, Emily lit a cigarette and sat in contemplation: Melanie, Tad, Carman. She needed to talk with all three.

And what had Melanie and Daddy-kins discussed? Maybe nothing, but more likely something.

****

Carman busied herself today with responsibilities; it seemed a little easier, with Saturday slowly fading. One of their clerk/receptionists was leaving and there were interviews for the position. Carman had her main assistant Tia conduct the initial seven, narrowing the group down to two, and Carman would be interviewing them today.

She also had a buyer for the last of the eight companies Hawkins had tasked her and Ross with selling, and that would take up the afternoon.

It might stop her from thinking about tonight, when Gina and Tracey would be coming to the apartment.

Damn! She thought Focus!

****

Emily let Melanie settle with her coffee before she started. “Sorry about barging in last night, Mel.” She said without any ‘smirkiness’.

Melanie put her face in her hands, “Oh my God I’m so embarrassed.” Emily went and knelt in front of her aunt and took the woman’s hands, holding them apart. “Mel, look at me. Mel! MEL!”

“Don’t yell, Em.”

“Look at me.” Melanie sheepishly made eye contact, then looked away, to be brought back by Emily shaking her arms. “Look at me and listen to me. Listen!”

“Okay, okay. I’m listening.”

“You. Have. Nothing. To. Be. Ashamed. Of. Got it? Nothing. There is nothing wrong with sex…”

“But Drew…”

“Tell me what happened.” Melanie, with reluctance but responding to Emily’s special brand of encouragement, took her niece through the events of the previous night that saw Chantico bring the feminized Drew into the bedroom, with things progressing, amazingly, from there. This included Downing achieving an erection that Melanie had mounted, also amazingly.

“And how did it feel?” Emily asked gently.

Melanie sighed, “It felt great, but…”

“Did you come…?”

“Emily!”

“Did you!?”

Melanie nodded her head, looking ashamed. “Melanie! Stop this. You made love for the first time with your husband, it was great; you had the big ‘O’ and now you’re all silly…”

“But he was dressed as a woman…”

“So what?”

“But it’s…wrong…it’s…immoral…”

“Bullshit!”

“Emily!”

“Listen to me, my sweet aunt, there is nothing wrong with feeling good. There is nothing wrong with feeling desire. There is nothing wrong with sex. Got it? Enjoy it, for crying out loud. Damn it, what is in your head?” Melanie smiled a wistful smile, before Emily carried on. “You have found affection and pleasure with Chantico in spite of your, morals. And now, with a little spice, you have had pleasure with hubby dear. Let it go, Mel-bel.”

Melanie smiled again and she and Emily hugged. “That’s good, Mel. That’s good,” She paused. “I think you’re ready now for the midgets.”

“What!?” Melanie exclaimed, and Emily laughed.

“Just joking, Mel. Relax.” The smirk was back.

Emily also decided then to wait and ask Melanie about her meeting a little later. They’d had enough for one session.

****

Carman had just finished the first interview, Tia Graves assisting her, with a young, petit, Asian-American so keen she was almost vibrating.

“She has great computer skills and a pleasant voice,” Tia noted. Carman agreed, but the girl’s personality was so overwhelming everything else, including the customer, might just be, well, overwhelmed.

Tia brought in the second candidate and Carman felt an immediate tug. The girl was twenty but looked far more mature. She had silky, long, light brown hair which hung part way down her back, but because she was tall, as tall as Carman, the style suited her. What moved Carman was the pleated skirt and white blouse the girl wore; the skirt accentuated lovely, round hips and ass while the blouse could barely contain the plump, round breasts. Topping this was a lovely and innocent face with large brown eyes and full lips, tinted a tantalizing pink today.

Carman smiled and welcomed the girl, making introductions, feeling that tug again when the girl gave her a quick up and down glance with a shy smile. And as she felt this attraction, she was sure the girl did too. Focus! She reminded herself. Damn it!

****

Emily was about to get ready to go out; she had a meeting with Tad today, when Chantico came in to collect things and the two chatted. Emily was interested in the girl’s reaction to the previous night’s ‘high-jinks’, starting with the decision to put Downing into costume.

“I’m sorry, I should have asked you.” Chantico apologised and Emily waved that off, asking her about what went down when Downing was brought in to Melanie. Not surprising, Chantico was very positive about the encounter, and added in some stuff Melanie hadn’t mentioned, like the fact that, once Melanie got over her surprise, Downing had sex with her three different times; the final time being cowgirl style, where Melanie had her climax.

Emily laughed. “So, you plan to do it again?” Emily asked Chantico, with a smile.

The girl laughed, gave two-thumbs up and nodded her head; Emily also had to laugh at this stamp of approval. “So what are you up to now?” Emily asked; she hadn’t actually considered what the girl did all day.

“I get your father’s injection ready.”

Emily stared at the girl. “Injection for what?”

Chantico shook her head, “I don’t know, Miss M. He has like the illness of some kind. He has the injections. If his helper is here, he gets it ready; if not, I do.”

Following more questions, Chantico took Emily to the upstairs main bath and showed her the box of needles and a large but unmarked jug of solution in the cupboard. “I just prepare one and take it to him.”

“You take it to his room?”

“Oh, no, no. He sits outside, at least in the morning. On those steps by the fountain. He sits out there before he goes to the office. Well, except when he is away of course.”

Emily needed to process this new and interesting info. “So, my father has some illness, or whatever, that has him taking injections every day; sometimes provided by you, as he sits outside in that area at the back?”

“Si, correcto, um, yes. Although he has two injections each day, but you can see him, he’s there now,” Chantico stated, taking out a needle, a funnel and the large bottle then pouring a little of the solution in, testing it, then wrapping the syringe in a towel. “Come.”

Emily followed the girl to what were called the back stairs; used mostly by workers, etc. There were actually no windows for the rooms facing this back area, just these in the stairwell; two small ones that most people would not notice.

Emily stood staring out one now, at her father, sitting in the June sunlight. She saw Chantico go to him, watched in amazement as her father removed his jacket and Chantico plunged the needle quickly into a shoulder; then her father put his jacket back on and Chantico returned to the house. Just like that.

“Holy fuck.” Emily said in a whisper. “Holy fucking fuck.”

****

The interview with Candace Eiermann had gone well, and Tia had just taken her notes and left, leaving Carman and the girl still chatting about an activity that had come up in the discussion; swimming, of all things. Both women were very good at it. “I don’t get to it as much now, being out of school. I miss it.” Candace stated.

Without thinking why, Carman replied. “Our apartment building has a pool. You could come over some day and check it out. I just moved in and plan on doing some laps soon.”

Candace looked at Carman with her dark, chocolate eyes. You could see her breasts rising and falling, as if with excitement. Candace glanced away and then back, “Would you, um, like me to come by?” She asked.

Carman smiled, feeling even more attracted to this young, delightful woman than earlier. She moved her chair over, murmuring, ”I would like that. Interested?”

Her heart was actually racing.

Candace smiled and even chuckled, then took out her cell. “So, Ms. Da Costa, um, Carman, what is your address?”

Carman gave it to the girl and then said, “I’m putting your cell in my phone.” Both smiled and stood up; they were only a foot apart, perhaps.

Carman reached out and brought the girl in, kissing her mouth, swallowing the tongue that was quickly offered. Soon their hands were meshed in each other’s hair as they sucked on each other’s mouths, before Carman grasped the girl to her, moaning, “Oh God.”

She quickly pulled apart and then looked at the girl’s lovely, youthful face, free of any deception or guile. “You should go. This isn’t the place.”

Candace nodded and kissed Carman’s face gently, several times, then said, “When will I hear from you?”

“Tomorrow. Oh, you start your job Friday.”

Candace’s grin spread attractively across her face. “Thank you, really. I am excited to be working here. And with you.” She smiled. “I hope to hear from you, tomorrow.” She turned to go, then paused and looked back. “I have no plans for tomorrow night. A swim would be fun.” She smiled again and left; Carman stood, supporting herself with her chair.

Damn! She thought, and not for the last time. How many women do I need???

****         

Tad didn’t look well. He was shaved and wearing a clean shirt; his hair was combed, but his eyes gave him away. “How’s it hangin’, Tad?” Emily asked, although she pretty much knew the answer.

“Good,” Tad lied, “Yeah, things are good.”

“They’ve completed the filming, I hear,” she added.

“Pretty much, at least Morris said that. They’ve got a coupl’a, like, re-shoots or whatever, but stuff looks good. Giselle says she’s been told her parts are complete and she’s been paid, so she’s happy.”

“Good news; that is good. Faster they can get the thing to cable the faster the money comes in.”

“Exactly,” Tad nodded his head, and they sat in silence for a moment. They were in a little park, kind of tucked away just off the main road into Adams Hill. No one else was around and the traffic was light. They seemed isolated, even being in the heart of Glendale.

“So,” Emily began, “speaking of money; seems we’re a, um, tad, short, excuse the pun.”

Tad rubbed his face, “Look Em, I can explain that and I’ve got it covered.”

“Really, Tad. You’ve got it covered. Don’t shit me.”

At that moment, it turned out they weren’t as isolated as imagined. Three men came out from a clump of pines. “Hey, fuck…!” Tad shouted as they grabbed him. They were all large, and the largest slammed a fist into Tad’s stomach causing his face to puff out like a cartoon balloon. Once down on his knees, a second man drove his knee into Tad’s groin, forcing him into a fetal position.

As the third man picked Tad up by the hair, Emily said, “Not his face,” and the man slammed his fist into Tad’s side, damaging a rib. They looked at the fallen body for a moment, then nodded to Emily and left as quickly as they came.

Emily knelt beside her cousin and lit a smoke, waiting as he slowly came back to reality. She gently slapped his face. “We’re short one million eight, where’s it coming from, asshole?” She blew smoke into his face.

Tad coughed, making a painful expression. “E-um, em, Jesus, Em. We’re family, what the…”

She slapped his face harder. “Cut the crap, asshole. Family shouldn’t steal from each other, hey?” She stood and placed a foot on Tad’s face. “Well, maybe they do, but then there’s Hell to pay. We’ll talk later, and remember, I told them to leave that pretty face of yours alone. That’s this time.” She flicked her cigarette away and walked off, leaving Tad to lie groaning on the grass.

**** 

“Hey Mel-bel,” Emily called. Melanie rose from a chair in the library and came to the hall.

“Em.” She said. “Did you see Tad.”

“I did.”

“And how’s he doing?”

Emily paused, “Oh, you know old Tad; full of stories, right. But, I’ll be hookin’ up with him again soon, so… Hey, anyway, heard from a little canary wondering what went down when you and Daddy-dearest had your chat. Anything to tell me?”

Melanie looked down. She could never lie to Emily, which meant at times just avoiding her. But she had nowhere to go just now. “He, um, wanted to know how I got involved in the whole shares thing.” She paused.

“Okay, I get that. You probably told him it was my idea, which it was, right?”

“Th-that’s right, he’d figured that out.”

Emily paused. She didn’t like making things hard for Melanie. Someone like Tad, that was different. He’d always been in one scam or another. “But, Mel, if he knew it was my idea, why did he need to meet with you? And at his office. Something doesn’t add up.”

“Oh, jeez, Em, I can’t lie to you.” And so Melanie rolled out the whole story about Seth, and the sex and the wild weekend and that it was filmed and now Hawkins had it.

Emily paused, considering. “So, if he made it, like public, you know…available, what would that mean, to you?” Emily asked, quietly.

Melanie sat looking sad. “People I know might see it. It’s so embarrassing. I would be called a whore; I couldn’t be involved with the club or any of those people…”

“How involved are you now?” Emily asked quietly. “I don’t want to screw up your life, Mel, I’m just trying to show you that I don’t think Daddy-kins has that much of a hold on you. You’re not a public figure; you don’t do much out there in the big world. Yeah, it might be embarrassing, but you’d have enough money to take off and live wherever you wanted. Places where nobody knew you.”

Melanie looked down. “But I don’t want to leave, Emily.”

Emily nodded; she knew that. “I know, Mel. We’ll deal with Baron Von Hawkins another way.” Emily hugged her aunt to her.

****

The three naked bodies, Carman, Gina and Tracey, lay huddled together on the floor, while Folake sat on the couch wearing only panties and her wide smile, sipping bourbon. It had been ninety minutes of pretty intense sex and now everyone was resting.

The evening had started with Carman doing a strip dance for the women, then having her hands cuffed behind her. She performed oral sex on each woman in turn, as the other one paddled Carman’s ass with a number of different implements, provided helpfully by Folake.

Next up, each woman in turn fucked Carman with a strap-on dildo; vaginally, and then anally. Finally Carman sucked and licked each woman to orgasm, before the two women returned the favor, working as a team on Carman’s pussy and ass. And now they lay.

Gina rolled over and crawled to Folake, sitting at her feet. “What are your husbands up to?” Folake asked, a twinkle in her eye.

Gina laughed. “The usual. Business. Although Jake will be home tonight, so I’ll need to get going.” Gina then recounted how the two women, neighbors, both thirty-three, had found themselves together a lot as their husbands travelled for work. Rather than looking for men, they ‘had some fun’ together one night and really enjoyed it.

They had been in the sex shop on the weekend looking for toys for their new hobby: friendly-neighbor, girl-on-girl sex.

“Can I tell you something, Folake?” Gina asked, looking up with her blue-green eyes.

“Of course, my dear,” Folake replied, stroking the woman’s attractive face and short, dark hair.

“I would like to be like Carman, with you.”

Folake smiled. “You would like to be my slave?”

Gina made a small grimace. “Not slave, but, um, submissive, I think. This is pretty new to me; I’m just dealing with feelings, like, but I would like to serve you, um, be used by you.” She smiled shyly, “Be spanked by you.” Folake stroked the face gently some more, as the woman asked. “Can I come back?”

Gina rubbed her face against Folake’s leg. Folake responded by pulling her panties off and directing Gina’s face between her thighs, where the woman proved to be a gentle, enthusiastic and thorough muff-muncher. “You should reconsider,” Folake, eyes closed, murmured to the woman, “you’d make a fine slave.”

****

Carman’s phone rang, and looking at the clock she noted the time was just past nine. This morning, following the late night, had been a rush and she had really not had a chance to say much to Folake. It was she calling now.

“I’m sorry to disturb you at work, my dear. I can call back if…”

“No, no,” Carman protested. “I can talk. I was going to call you anyway. Last night, jeez, was great, at least I thought it was. Although my um, buns, took a, er, beating.”

Folake laughed. “You were a hit my girl, and I loved watching you.”

Carman paused, then asked, “Do you want to do that a lot; mmm, watch me?”

Folake replied evenly, “Yes I do. I very much want to see you having sex with other women, especially groups of women. You are too wonderful a slave to be kept locked away. My plan for you would be to take you places and show you off. There are lots of women for you to pleasure, and for me to enjoy as I watch you.”

Carman sat, her hand squeezing between her legs, “God, Folake, you’re making it very hard for me to work.” Folake laughed loudly, as Carman continued. “I’ve, um, invited our new staff member to come by tonight.”

“You plan to have sex with her?”

“I, um, really hope so…”

There was a pause, Carman now worried she had gone too far, but Folake replied, “That is excellent. I will have to meet her, too, you understand, but make this happen my sweet. I want your face buried in pussies. That’s the plan.”

“Don’t know if I can last until tonight,” Carman purred.

“Of course you will. See you later.”

Carman groaned and ended the call, reluctantly removing her hand from her crotch. Tonight seemed a long time away. What had happened to her?? She pondered, smiling ruefully and shaking her head.

****

Candace came striding up the wide walkway with an athlete’s natural grace. She was dressed in tight jeans and a t-shirt, rekindling Carman’s arousal. Carman took the girl’s hand after ‘hellos’ and led her inside. As the elevator headed down one floor, the two exchanged a kiss, breaking apart as the car thumped to a stop.

They came out to an area with washrooms and change rooms. Carman led the way directly through a change room and then out to the pool area, where the two stood, looking at the Olympic-sized pool. The place was deserted but clean and inviting, but Carman did not have swimming on her mind.

Taking Candace’s hand, Carman moved to one wall, pulled Candace’s t-shirt over her head and then sat on a bench and looked at the girl, who was standing and waiting, a smile on her face. Carman reached up and unbuttoned the jeans, pulling them down to the sneakers. She rubbed her palm against the dark rug nestling below the thin fabric of Candace’s light green panties.

Candace moaned and gripped Carman’s head, grabbing two handfuls of hair, swaying slightly. Carman put her mouth onto the panties and sucked the area through the fabric, before pulling the tiny garment off in a rush and shoving her face into the inviting ‘v’ of Candace’s legs. Sucking madly for a few moments, with Candace humping her hips and groaning, Carman then turned the girl around and had her bend slightly forward.

Carman traced a path with her tongue up the left leg and thigh and then, spreading the buttocks, her tongue plunged into the dark, creased hole. Less than ten seconds later Candace shuddered and spasmed and emitted a series of ‘oh oh oh’s’ before slowly collapsing to her knees, to rest ass in the air and face, a huge grin on it, against the tile of the pool room floor, eyes closed.

****

Folake had left Carman tied to their bed. She had met the lovely Candace and watched as she and Carman pleasured each other in the classic sixty-nine position, Candace having her second orgasm and Carman her first. After goodbye kisses, Folake had spanked Carman for a few minutes before tying her as she was now; face up, spread-eagle; vibrating egg inserted in her vagina, butt plug in her anus and blindfolded.

Folake was on her way to a meeting. As she pulled into the driveway she texted her arrival and was told to ‘take the elevator’, just to her left. Exiting on the correct floor she walked along the wide hallway, stopping at the last door.

Stafford Hawkins had basically one side of the third floor to himself. Folake entered his office, which had another small room off to her left. To the right was a door adjoining with Hawkins’s actual bedroom and from that room, one went into his ‘collection’ room. There was one last room, sitting empty at this time, at the end of the hall.

“Ms. Alvarez,” Hawkins greeted the woman, his face today having a wolf-like look about it; lean and hungry.

“Mr. Hawkins,” Folake replied without emotion.

“So, you have found new, lodgings,” Hawkins grinned; although on him it was more like a grimace.

“Yes, but not far. I have decided to stay, as I indicated.”

“And Da Costa, is with you, I understand.”

“She is.”

Hawkins paused. “I still need to have her in, em, close contact with my daughter.”

Folake nodded. “That is understood, and she still is. Your daughter is not one to be pinned down, sir, but Ms. Da Costa remains close to her.”

“And yet, no news of any, developments. It seems very quiet; quiet concerns me.”

Folake smiled and moved closer to his desk, which was a twin to the one in his main office; large and impressive. “We believe there is no news because your daughter is just getting used to the, as we say, lay of the land. I don’t believe, until she speaks with you, that anything will occur. But you are already busy, I hear. Your money is being, consolidated.”

Hawkins’s eyes narrowed to slits. “Yes, Ms. Alvarez, I have plans. I have had them for a while; my daughter’s actions did not, shall we say, actually precipitate them.“ He grinned again; it was not a friendly smile.

Folake turned to leave, “Well, Da Costa is controlled as you wished. Let me know if there is anything else.”

“This, Ms. Alvarez.” Hawkins indicated something on his desk. Folake walked over and retrieved it. It was a check; a sum in five figures. “As discussed, my dear.” He said.

“Thank you,” Folake smiled, picking it up. “I’ll be in touch.”

“I’m sure you will.” Stafford Hawkins murmured. “Oh, and thank you for the last video of Da Costa and the two women. Where on earth do you come up with them?” He chuckled. “Anyway, the punishment was satisfying. I would like more of that and less of the other.”

Folake smiled again. “Good day, sir.”

(End of Chapter 13)

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A Gathering of Clowns by LongDarkRoad Chapter 12 So Look Into The Clown’s Eyes For The Truth

A Gathering of Clowns

By LongDarkRoad

Chapter 12 So Look Into The Clown’s Eyes For Truth

London, England, 1993

Folake watched carefully as Madame used one device after the other. A riding crop, a bamboo cane, a willow switch, a leather paddle, a variegated paddle, a wooden paddle, etc. She watched how Madame used her wrist, which devices had a follow-through and which were sharply stroked. What sorts of marks each left and the reactions of the recipients; she took it all in.

The ‘victims’ were a man and a woman, both in their forties, who were tied hanging on meat hooks by leather straps. The word ‘Meat’ was actually written in lipstick across their chests. Madame was amused by that.

The scene was taking place in a warehouse with cold concrete floors and an atmosphere of despair. Each individual was paying one hundred pounds for this session, which would end with at least one orgasm for each of them; but Madame was also using the session as training for her protégé, Folake.

Two hours later, after the session had ended and they were sitting with their bourbon, Madame made her points.

“It is in the eyes, and the body gestures, where the dominant one sees what works. No two submissives are the same, remember that. And we are not into slave trafficking, this is S & M, there is agreement here, so there must be understanding. Watch your partner, see what works and what does not. The eyes do not lie.”

****

Carman had been woken by Folake to shower together, and today the woman was very diligent about washing. She had pressed a penis-shaped soap into Carman’s anus and left it there. After drying off, Folake replaced the soap with a stubby, black, three-inch butt plug.

“My slave will leave the plug in place until I decide, understood?”

“Yes, Mistress,” Carman replied solemnly, although there were certainly moments when she wanted to laugh out loud at her bizarre, to her, circumstances. Today it was clear her ‘mistress’ had a plan, and Carman needed to accept this invasion of her body.

Folake then had her submissive put on a thin cotton dress, leaving its four buttons undone. The dress was short, the hem came to just an inch below the crotch, and Carman was not wearing anything under the dress. She had not asked where they were going; she was learning the protocol; a slave is told what they need to know.

Folake looked into Carman’s eyes, then smiled. She had seen what she wanted, and had her slave put on a pair of flat sandals. With her heels on, Folake was now the taller.

Waiting for them outside the apartment was a dark sedan with a driver. The two women climbed into the back and Folake gave the driver an address. As they sat side by side, Carman’s dress was lifted up above her waist and Folake had her spread her legs about eight inches apart. She stayed like that until they had reached their destination, exposed, and aware also that her nipples were straining against the thin dress and clearly visible; and every bump they progressed over reminded her of the inserted butt plug.

At one point Folake remarked, “You feel the plug, yes?”

“Yes, my, mmm, mistress,” Carman had dutifully replied, restraining a smirk.

“That is good. That reminds you that your ass is mine, yes?”

“Y-yes.”

“Say it, my slave.”

A spring of pure desire surged through Carman’s body, alarming her with its intensity. “My, um, ass, belongs to you, mistress.”

“And your mouth?”

“A-and my mouth, m-mis…” Carman needed to lean back against the seat, the smirk long gone. The need to reach between her thighs was so overwhelming she had to grip her knees with both hands, her breath coming hard.

Folake laughed softly, “Thank you my sweet Carman, that says more than any words.”

They had arrived, the address of their destination being part of a commercial strip that included a restaurant and bar, some clothing stores and at the end, a sex shop, Eve’s Delight, that specialized in lesbian-based products, though not exclusively. Folake had been directed here by someone she trusted.

The driver opened the door and Folake pulled Carman’s dress back into place and they stepped out of the car and headed to the store.

****

“I met her,” Emily said quietly, sipping her tea. This morning it was Darjeeling.

Melanie looked up from a book (how quaint, Emily had smirked when she first saw Melanie reading an actual book). “Saw who, er, whom. Which is it? Anyway, name the woman,” Melanie laughed.

“Ivy Bennett,” Emily murmured.

Melanie put her book down on the glass patio table. “You saw, um, how? Where?”

It was Emily’s turn to chuckle. “Thought that might interest you. I flew up to San Fran. That’s where she’s lived since Count Van Hawkins sent her, um, packing. That’s the expression?”

“Oh my God. Emily how did you ever, oh, never mind. I think it’s better the less I know. But tell me, what on earth did she have to say?”

Emily supplied her aunt with a summary of the conversation and Melanie sat, in thought. “So…Sarah was having an affair. Well, is that a great surprise? Although right under Stafford’s nose was, um, risky. Unbelievable.” She shook her head, but at that moment Chantico came out, carrying bowls of chopped fruit.

****

As they approached the large glass front doors of the store, Folake said quietly, “Keep your eyes downcast unless instructed.” Carman simply nodded, unsure if she could speak without gagging, her throat having tightened with excitement verging on panic.

They entered and Carman was amazed at the size of the store with several isles all carrying sexual products. They headed to the right and had gone a few paces when a clerk intercepted them, brandishing a huge smile. She was perhaps five three, with her head shaved into a classic Mohawk, and dyed green. Her arms were both covered in complete tattoo sleeves and she had one eyebrow ring, one nose stud and a stud below her bottom lip. Carman thought of Emily.

“May I help you ladies?” she asked, looking them both up and down with enthusiasm. If she had licked her lips and howled, it would not have been out of place.

As Carman fixed her eyes on the ground, Folake began, much as if she had been in Walgreens looking for toothpaste. “Yes, thank you. I am looking for collars for my slave, and a few other items, but let’s start with that.”

The clerk looked at Carman with new appreciation. “Would this be for training or decorative?” She asked.

“Both, really,” Folake replied and the clerk turned and headed down an aisle, Folake and Carman following. They came to a display with dozens of collars and discussed them, Carman standing and listening, sensations coursing through her. Being discussed as an object, in public, with an absolute stranger, was incredibly arousing and Carman had to fight the increasing urge to touch herself.

“This is one of our more popular models,” the clerk took down a shiny, black, leather collar, approximately three inches wide. ”It has a heavy duty design with security,” she pressed two metal rings together, “a lock fits here, if you wish. Notice, three layers of leather. It’s a premium unit, and comes with matching ankle and wrist restraints.” She smiled and held it out for Folake; you could almost hear her add, “wanna take it for a spin?”

Folake held it and smiled. “Would you kindly attach it to my…bitch.” The clerk smiled like she had just won something. “I think we should have her naked, on top, to appreciate the collar.” Folake murmured, and the clerk’s grin grew wider as she pulled the top of Carman’s dress down over her shoulders, exposing her two small, pert breasts, with the large nipples now standing out so stiffly they resembled a couple of dark brown corks.

In a moment the clerk had fastened the collar around Carman’s neck and stepped back to admire. It was an arousing sight. “I think we should have the dress off completely and the bitch on all fours.” Carman instructed, and the enthusiastic clerk tugged the thin garment off and watched as Carman assumed the positon on hands and knees, her breathing now coming hard through flared nostrils. “I would need a matching leash.” Folake said, quietly, arousal building in her as well.

“Of course,” the clerk exclaimed, quickly finding one and freeing it from its cardboard back, then attaching it to one of the rings of the collar and handing the loop to Folake, who gave it back to the clerk, saying, “Please walk her.” The clerk, grinning madly, walked Carman around on her hands and knees. “You’ll want knee pads if you do this much,” the clerk commented.

By this time, two young women, early thirties, had stopped nearby and were watching the show with interest. Carman was vaguely aware of bodies and movement, but her mind was simply becoming a blur as she could actually feel an orgasm beginning. She knew a few moments of touching would be all that was needed, but for now she focused on Folake’s voice.

“Bring the bitch here.” Folake indicated the spot directly in front of her. Every time Folake had uttered ‘bitch’, Carman had felt a pang of arousal, almost as if a finger had been stabbed into her sex.

“On your knees, legs spread,” Folake ordered and Carman rose and sat, waiting, swaying slightly. Folake turned to the clerk. “Could I ask you to put your shoe against the slave’s pussy? I think we would all like some fun.”

The grin having never left her face, the clerk pressed her sneaker into Carman’s shaved crotch, as Folake commanded. “Ok, slave, hump this woman’s shoe. I want to see you come.”

Gripping the woman’s leg, and thinking of nothing else but the joy awaiting her, Carman began grinding her pelvis against the woman’s foot. With eyes closed and mouth opened, the moans began almost immediately. The two women moved around for a better view from the front. One woman began to sneak her cell phone out for a shot, but a signal from Folake stayed her.

As she had felt, Carman was so close to climax that she had only been pumping for thirty seconds when the thing hit, shaking her and convulsing her. The world turned into nothing but light and pleasure; no noticeable sound coming from Carman’s gaping mouth. Certainly no words, her mouth unable to form them, her mind not interested in making them.

It was like a water wall of pure joy, sweeping and rolling Carman along; she had experienced excellent orgasms in her life, including recently with Emily and Folake, but this was something beyond that. It was like a wave that obliterates a beach, clearing all before it.

As Carman lay, collapsed against the laughing clerk’s leg, Folake dressed her. She paused to give and receive the cell numbers of the two women, before giving the clerk a list of items. Seven minutes and three hundred dollars spent later, Folake was leading a still-dazed Carman, wearing her new collar, out of the store and to the waiting car. Once inside, Folake covered Carman’s face with kisses and Carman moaned and ‘aahed’, wanting to climb inside the body of her mistress and to just be.

An hour later, lying naked together on Folake’s bed, they talked of the experience, Carman wanting to say precious things but Folake placing a finger against her lips. “Save those thoughts, churning up, my sweet. There will be a time.”

Carman did say, having decided earlier, “I want to show you something.” And with that she led Folake to her laptop, opened it, found the files on the bank accounts (she had now matched seven, totalling over ninety million.) “I want to talk to you about Emily and some bank accounts.” Carman said quietly, then gripped Folake in a ferocious hug.

Folake gently patted her partner. This was…interesting.

****

It being Saturday, it was ‘Drewsie Day’, as Emily announced it. Though, truth be told, she had tired of this a while ago; but she didn’t want Downing to become complacent. Today she had decided to do something different. It had begun by Chantico shaving Downing from the waist down. Although his pubic area was already bare, now his thighs and legs were also clean.

Chantico then applied a strap around the man’s waist that had a thin ‘noose’ attachment which fit under his groin and over his penis head. When attached and pulled back in a locked positon, Downing’s penis was pulled hard into his groin and testicles, making them sit snugly. This mattered, as Chantico next pulled some frilly woman’s panties onto the man, and they fit well with his genitals hoisted.

Next came a matching garter belt with dark nylons, then a padded bra (made for female impersonators, Emily had found it online. Imagine that? She had told Melanie, who just shook her head in disbelief). A very feminine pink dress completed the wardrobe with black, low-heeled pumps.

Once this was all satisfactory, Chantico had gone to work on Drew’s face with lipstick, eye shadow and mascara. A blonde wig over Downing’s thin hair completed the makeover. Emily and Chantico now just sat and admired. “Shit,” Emily exclaimed. “He looks pretty damn good.”

Chantico clapped her hands and said, “Oh my God, Miss M. He is better looking as a woman.” Emily nodded.

Downing smiled; he wasn’t going to tell them his cock was trying mightily to raise itself.

****

On Monday, as Carman sat at her desk trying to concentrate, her mind would not cooperate. On Sunday she and Folake had gone out and done things like normal people do, including having a nice dinner together. It was Saturday that would not lie still. Images from her session in the store came back over and over; Carman admitting to herself that on Saturday she had passed across a bridge, from what she was to what she might become.

She, who had once thought herself demanding and dominant, could not stop thinking of her mistress. Yes, it was that; absolutely. She took out a piece of paper and wrote. My name is Carman Da Costa and I am a slave. The jolt of desire rose within her.

She continued. My Mistress’s name is Folake. If she could, right now, she would plunge her hand between her thighs, but she was sitting in her office and that could have consequences. I belong to her. It was building. She owns me.

She couldn’t stand it; she dialed Folake’s cell, and in a moment the wonderful, warm voice replied, “Hello, Carman. Why are you calling me from work? I thought we had worked this out?”

“We had, I’m sorry. I just needed to hear your voice.”

Folake chuckled softly. “Well, are we better now?” she asked, her voice particularly musical today.

“Mmmuuunn,” Carman moaned, “No, I need to be with you.”

“Okay, my sweet one, that is good. Someday we might have that luxury, we will see. Right now you still have a job, a career, but you won’t if you keep calling home during the day. Now, you get back to work.” She laughed, “Oh, and tonight let’s finish off the rest of those bank accounts. That will give you something more to think about.”

“Absolutely Mistress, after I spend some time on my knees with you.”

Folake chuckled again, “See you tonight, sweet slave.”

The call ended and Carman sat for a moment, and then there was a knock on her door, followed by the imposing form of Ivy Prendergast entering.

“Hey there,” Carman saluted the woman; it had been a while since the two had spoken more than a few words to each other.

“Hey there, yourself. I’ve missed you.” Ivy said, leaning against the door.

Carman laughed and nodded her head. “I’m sorry. With the, um, events here, there have been demands. It should quiet down shortly.”

“And then we can resume?” Ivy asked, an odd look on her face. But then she continued, “It’s okay, Ms. Da Costa.” She smiled. “I know you’ve found someone.”

“Why do you say that, Ivy?”

“Well, your hair is different (Folake had put a bit of a curl in her hair only this morning, saying she wanted Carman to begin looking more feminine.) And, well, you are preoccupied, but not with your usual stern face. You are happier, excited. That means something personal.”

Carman sighed and nodded her head. “You got me, Ivy. Yes, I have begun, um, seeing someone. So far, so good.

But you never know, right?” She looked at the woman.

“I still want you to use me, Ms. Da Costa. I still need, your, uh, attention.” They regarded each other in silence. Carman liked Ivy; she just didn’t know if she could go back to that, after crossing her bridge.

“Please.” Ivy said, looking like she might cry. “I will do whatever you want, but I need you, Ms. Da Costa. Even if it’s just here, before I go home. Spank my ass and use me. Please.”

“Okay, Ivy. I like you, you know that. But you’re also an employee, so there’s that. But we’ll see what we can work out.” She smiled in a sympathetic way.

Ivy smiled too; ever hopeful, and did a little curtsy before nodding good-bye and going back to her desk. Carman shook her head at the entanglement of relationships she was in. Just then her cell buzzed; it was Emily. Carman just laughed; thinking she’d need an assistant just to keep her love life organized.

****

“There,” Carman exclaimed, “yes, that’s number nine. Oh my God, let’s cross our fingers.” Folake nodded her agreement and smiled. They had been at this forty-five minutes and now they were coming down to crunch time.

Working in silence (Folake was true to her word that she would not disturb her) Carman moved on to the next bank account; leaving the one that had troubled her to the last. It was simple; if the password hadn’t worked on that one it must work on this one; if it didn’t, something was wrong and two of the accounts would not open for them.

After entering the series of digits and letters, Carman looked at Folake before she hit enter. There was a pause that was torture, and then the box turned green, and they were in. Both cheered and then they hugged.

After the celebration, Folake took Carman’s hands and looked at her. “We need to talk about what this means. About what happens next.” She said, solemnly.

“I know,” Carman nodded. “I’ve known from the moment I heard about these.”

Folake nodded her head again, looking wise.

****

Glendale, California, 2001

Melanie and Drew Downing sat out in the back area, ‘the clown fountain’, was how Melanie thought of it. Several trees stuck into mulch and rock; it was not an appealing place, for some reason. But it was quiet, and she wanted just to sit with Drew.

They had been together several times, and she found him to be shy but pleasant. She’d had limited relationships with boys, her father for some reason being ferociously protective of her. She had been with only two men, one who had taken her virginity and who she had gone out with for several months before discovering her was married. The other man she had permitted to undress and fondle her, and she had provided oral sex, but they had not made love.

So far, Downing had not made any advances other than some gentle kissing, but for some reason, Stafford was pushing her to consider marriage, and tonight, it looked like the introverted accountant would make his move.

****

Glendale, California, 2001

The marriage was a quiet affair; not surprising. Melanie was not anxious about the wedding night and all that it implied; perhaps nervous would be more accurate.

She needn’t have worried; however, as Downing kissed his new bride tenderly several times, and then cuddled up beside her and went to sleep.

Melanie sat in the darkness for a long time, thinking. She wasn’t certain if she was relieved, concerned or confused.

It was an odd event, for sure.

****

Glendale, California, 2001

It was eight days after the wedding, and Drew Downing was moving his things to another bedroom; it had been a mutual decision.

After several nights of inactivity, Downing had finally given an explanation; he was a masochist and couldn’t become aroused without pain (and abuse, humiliation of some sort).

Melanie just stood and stared.

****

Helena, Montana; 1987

Ten-year-old Melanie Hawkins wasn’t sure what to do. She was caught in her parents’ room, as they had come home suddenly and were now clearly headed her way. Without a lot of options, for some reason she didn’t want her father seeing her fleeing the room; she wasn’t sure what he would do but she was afraid. She ducked into the closet and sat, huddled and terrified. Through one loose slat, she could see some of what was unfolding.

Her father slapping her mother and knocking her down. Picking her up and ripping her clothes off. Pinning her down on the bed with her naked ass clearly visible to Melanie. Then more slapping and then the belt.

Those images and sounds were burned into Melanie’s mind that night, with the result that any violent action panicked her.

Years later, when her new husband asked her to abuse him, she needed to fight first the sense of panic, then the impending feeling of becoming sick and finally, just the overall sense of revulsion she felt now when she looked at him.

She asked him to leave, and they would never sleep together again.

****

“Very good then, we’ll see you tomorrow.” Folake ended her call and looked down at the dark head between her legs; Carman working studiously for her mistress’s pleasure. Folake brought her slave’s head up.

“Yes, Mistress?” she asked.

“I just wanted you to know that was Gina, one of the two women we met Saturday. She and Tracey will be dropping by tomorrow; they were quite taken by you, my dear.”

“Thank you.” Carman murmured. Folake nodded, then guided Carman back to her work.

****

“I’m not sure, I’m thinking another week.”

“Ok, cool.” Raisha replied and the call ended.

Emily put her phone in her pocket and started down the hall. She was tempted to knock on her father’s door but she resisted; there would be a time for that.

As she passed Melanie’s room on the way to her own, she paused. She was sure she could hear giggling. What were Chantico and Melanie up to, hmmmm? She wondered. Quietly opening the door, she stepped in and flicked on an overhead light. The figures in the bed froze, as did Emily, who stood gazing upon the trio.

Lying side by side were Chantico, Melanie and Drew Downing, in his feminized form. Emily recovered quickly, “Oh, hey, sorry. Carry on. Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em.” She said and quickly stepped back out. Once outside the room she needed to cover her mouth to suppress the guffaws she felt.

Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God, she thought, scurrying down to her room. Well, Melanie deserved some fun, after the dull life she’d had, Emily reasoned; she’d talk with her in the morning, reassure her. Poor Melanie, Emily smiled, I’ve turned her world upside down. (End of Chapter 12)