Authors: Mike Monson
“Maybe I should bang on the window. Get someone to look up and see how nasty I am.”
This was a new one.
Apparently, Hunter liked it because he pulled out and came all over the small of her back. Thank. God. She needed to remember that for next time.
Hunter put his cock back in his jeans and sat in Jaime’s chair. Lydia did her best to wipe the cum off her back using the towel. Hunter didn’t help. He never helped. Just watched her while thinking about whatever totally clever thing he was about to say.
“I followed your husband this morning,” he said.
“Wanted to make sure he went straight to the bank after the closing, which he did.”
“I don’t understand. Why would you do that?”
“Just helping out. I know you’re expecting all that money today.”
Lydia wondered how long they’d been in the office this time. She knew Jaime had a lot of work to do. She hated the idea of him sitting in the chair in her cubicle. A week before, Tina had told Lydia that the other partners were scheming to get rid of Jaime Trujillo, force him to start his own firm to cater to Hunter’s legal needs. It was the only way they could think of to get rid of Mr. Manning. Lydia felt sorry for Jaime.
“Well,” she said. “Thanks … I guess.”
“First he went to the White Elephant and got shitfaced on tequila.”
“Big surprise. You followed him from the house this morning?”
“Yeah. Man, I thought for sure the dumbass was going to get a DUI and miss the closing.”
Lydia pulled her skirt up. She stood on the other side of the desk and looked at Hunter Manning.
“Hunter … don’t take this wrong. But I’m not quite sure why you felt any of that was … necessary.”
She sat down in one of the plush chairs facing Jaime Trujillo’s desk.
“Just looking after my friend. You are my friend, aren’t you Lydia?”
“Of course I am, Hunter.”
“I always look after my friends.”
Hunter stared at Lydia. He didn’t say anything for nearly a minute.
“Anyway,” Lydia said. She looked at the door. She thought about the work on her desk. “I guess I bett—”
“Come over here,” Hunter said very quietly. “Now.”
Lydia sighed and walked over. She tried to smile.
“Sit here. On my lap.”
Lydia sat, and Hunter put his left hand across her lap. Grabbed her thigh. Put his right hand behind her head and gently grabbed her hair.
“I also expect my friends to look after me.”
He grabbed her hair a little tighter and tugged. Lydia could feel the skin next to her eyes begin to stretch tight.
“You got my back just like I got yours, don’t you sweetie?”
Hunter slightly weakened the pull on her hair.
“Sure. Of course I do.”
“I’m going to need a little loan. Just for a couple of days.”
He released his grip and then stroked her hair.
“How much do you need?”
“Oh, I need all of it darling.”
Lydia squirmed. She tried to stand up. Hunter tightened his grip on her hair. He put the palm of his right hand over her mouth and jammed his first two fingers into Lydia’s nostrils. Pulled her ear close to his mouth.
“Hush,” he said, very quietly. “I had a feeling you might react this way.”
Lydia couldn’t breathe. Hunter’s fingers up her nose felt shockingly painful and humiliating. She began to both gag and vomit. Panic. Like he knew she was at a life-threatening breaking point, Hunter lifted up his palm enough to allow her to breathe.
“Relax, baby, relax. You don’t realize it now, but this is all for your own good.”
. There was no way this animal was getting her twelve grand. Lydia twisted and tried to stand. Hunter covered her mouth again and pushed his fingers another quarter inch or so up her nose. Lydia stopped moving. She was convinced he was going to do some permanent damage to her sinuses or some other shit up in there.
“Now, listen to me,” he said to Lydia. “You listening?”
He looked into her eyes, she nodded.
“Now, in my experience, people often don’t know what’s best for them, at least at first. They just don’t get it. Take this situation, for example. You think Hunter Manning is going to steal that money you’ve been so anxiously waiting for. I understand that, really, I do. And, I know you have your needs, you want that operation on your tummy, you want to get out of debt. Believe me, I get it. You are a fine, wonderful lady, and Hunter Manning thinks you deserve the best of everything. Do you believe me?”
Lydia didn’t believe him, but she nodded anyway.
“Good. That’s real good. Now, what’s going to happen is you’re going to give me that money. Just for now. For a couple of days. I got a deal going, and I’ll make so much script that not only will I give you back the twelve, but an extra five on top of it. How does that sound?”
Lydia relaxed, and Hunter let go of her nose and mouth.
“You could get not only the tummy tuck, but maybe some breast implants too.”
He unbuttoned her blouse and jerked down her bra. Stared at Lydia’s 32B breasts.
“Yeah, you got some real cute little titties there, with nice pointy nipples. But, it wouldn’t hurt to go up a size or two, get yourself a D cup, maybe?”
Lydia began to wonder if she could really trust Hunter Manning. He was making sense. She did need a
of work done.
“You’ll get it back to me in a couple of days?”
“Of course, darlin’. With an extra five G’s for your trouble.”
Lydia pulled her bra up and began to button her blouse.
“Now, you get yourself pulled together,” he said. He looked at his watch. “We’ll go to the bank first thing in the morning. Tell Trujillo you’ll be a little late because you have to help me out with an important legal errand.”
es,” Matt said to certified massage therapist June at the beginning of the Ritual. “She went hunting with her father. They’d done it all their lives. They knew all the safety rules. All we can figure is that he was just getting old and both his brain and his eyes were messed up.”
“Oh, that is so awful. How long were you married?”
Matt hesitated, in order to gather his emotions.
“Just two years.”
“Oh, I am
Matt didn’t enjoy the massage. Much of what she did hurt like hell. Painful images flashed into his mind as she probed deeper and deeper with her strong fingers. As a child, he compulsively imagined his father and his sister drowning in the canal. He also daydreamed his mother, instead of surviving unharmed, had been badly mangled when the car overturned, left with horrible scars on her face. He ended the habit by the time he was in his early teens and discovered alcohol. Now, the same pictures nagged at his mind. He stopped the massage early.
His manicure and pedicure were simultaneous.
“You’d be surprised,” he said to Mindy, the manicurist. “It’s not really that exciting to produce movies. The actors, especially, are just a pain in the ass.”
Mindy was a stern, unsmiling elderly woman from Washington. His pedicurist, Tan, did not speak English.
“It doesn’t surprise
,” Mindy said.
“No? Why not?”
“I used to date Jack Nicholson. Back in the 70s, while he was making
Five Easy Pieces
“Really?” Matt felt certain she was lying.
“And all the movie people I met were crazy. Didn’t have the sense God gave them. None of them.”
“Good movie, though.”
“I didn’t like it. Too depressing.”
With his hair stylist, Robert, he discussed both the rewards and the hardships of his job as a criminal defense attorney in a small California town.
“How can you defend those people?” Robert said. “Criminals? That would be so hard.”
“Oh, it’s not like you think. Most of my practice is just normal people like you and me, with DUIs, that sort of thing, or white collar crime. I don’t defend common thieves or child molesters, those sorts of people.”
“Oh. I can see that.”
reak Hunter didn’t leave the office until almost five. Lydia barely got the interrogatory responses signed, copied, and handed off to the clerk before he left on the nightly post office run.
“How are things with Mr. Manning?” Tina said when she stopped by Lydia’s cubicle.
“Oh, it’s great.”
When Hunter first started coming around, the best friends compared notes. Both thought he was super hot. Both were surprised how bad they wanted him. Tina, with her big tits and massive cleavage, shamelessly strutted by Hunter at every opportunity. The fact that Lydia was the one he went for she was sure was a testament to the success of her recent physical makeover.
“Must be nice,” Tina said. “I imagine you’re the first paralegal who gets to kick a partner out his office to bang one of his clients.”
“I should do an article for
,” Lydia said. “’Developing Excellent Client Relations—the Next Level.’ Or, how about ’Bending Over Backwards to Meet Your Clients’ Needs.’”
“Well, you’re certainly doing that,” Tina said and walked away.
Lydia checked her and Matt’s checking account online. As far as she could tell, the only money in the account was her most recent paycheck. Barely enough to cover her upcoming mortgage, utility bills, and car payment. She checked their Visa, MasterCard, and Amex accounts. No activity so far today, thank god.
Her call to Matt went straight to voice mail.
. Where is the money, man? I know you went to the bank this morning after the title company. Yes, that’s right, Hunter followed you, you piece of shit. You better be home tonight with some kind of an explanation. This isn’t one of your little games, dude, this is fucking serious shit. I mean it.”
ack in his room after his spa treatments, Matt felt clean, refreshed, and classy. He finished the Patron and drank another can of beer. Put on a set of his new clothes and dined at the new Bimini Steakhouse. Drank two top shelf margaritas before ordering. Ordered crab cakes along with a bottle of Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.
As he savored the wine, he looked into the casino. All he could see were lights and slots and tables and people rushing around. Had no idea where to find the elevators back to his room or even the door to the outside world. He loved that. Didn’t feel trapped or lost, he felt cozy and safe. He loved the sounds of dinging slots and music from the lounge and people’s laughter. Saw sexy women everywhere, and he took in every detail of each before they disappeared.
He wished he could make this one night last forever.
He was excited about playing in the poker room. He’d never actually played poker with other humans. When he went to the Indian casinos near Modesto. he played video poker, and he played with whatever scraps he could wrangle from the checking account, usually twenty or forty dollars. Sometimes, he managed to get several hundred or even a thousand dollars ahead, but he always lost, eventually. Either quickly or slowly.
He once tried to play blackjack at a table, but the dealer was constantly correcting him for breaking little rules, like touching the wrong cards, or betting incorrectly or something. It was all too complicated and embarrassing. Craps? No way, he could
game was all about. But, he watched professional poker on TV all the time and was sure he could hold his own. It all depended on what cards he had, what position he was in the deal, and on what the other players were doing. He’d figure it out.
He paid for his dinner along with a large tip and then leaned over in his booth and counted his money. He had $10,400 left. He put four hundred in twenties and hundreds in his wallet and five thousand in hundreds in the envelope. Put the envelope back in his pocket. That way, he could have money saved to give to Lydia for her operation. He figured he’d play for as long as possible—forever probably—with the other five grand. With this kind of stake, he just might be starting a new career.
hen work was
over, Lydia desperately needed a workout. Proud that she’d only eaten two egg whites and a small tossed salad so far that day, she went to the gym after getting a low-cal, low-fat, high-protein smoothie from Jamba Juice. She dressed in oversized black sweat pants, black t-shirt, and hooded black sweatshirt. She set the stair climber to level 16, plugged her head phones in, and watched
on the TV overhead. Just in time for a special segment on J. Lo’s butt.
She climbed and climbed and climbed. Fucking Matt better have a good explanation. Shit could
be more fucked. She needed that tummy tuck. And, new tits. Thank god her ass was already huge.
She took off the earphones for a moment. She could hear screams and iron slamming from downstairs.
She lifted up her hood and brought it down over her face as far as possible. From her spot on the second floor, she could glimpse people downstairs walking across from the weight room to the stretching and abdominal work-out areas. After about ten minutes, she saw Hunter go by followed by another man. Hunter had the other man do crunches on one of the new machines.
. Hunter’s workout partner was her son, Tanner.
She really wasn’t surprised.
She watched as Hunter talked at Tanner. He smiled and patted him on the back. Whispered in the boy’s ear. Had him do all kinds of abdominal exercises. Tanner looked at Hunter like he was a god.
She noticed for the first time that Tanner was looking larger, more muscular. He was wearing the same kind of small, revealing tank top Hunter always wore. She could see that Tanner had dozens of new little pimples across his back and shoulders.
Tanner’s father, Chester Savage, was her first husband. A used car salesman, he moved to Henderson, Nevada, as soon as Lydia got pregnant. Said he would send for her as soon as he got settled in his new job. Five years passed with no word. Her attorney suggested she hire a private investigator to find Chester, but she couldn’t afford the fee.