House Play (or, you can't stop Stepford!)

Authors: Pepperstasia Beaverhausen <>

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1: Curious Cupcake pan

House Play (or, "You can't Stop Stepford!")

author: Pepperstasia Beaverhausen
rating: You know how I roll. NC-17, fo' sho
categories: Bizarre MRR, slight humor, angst, spooky story, alternating Micki/Ryan POVs
spoilers: No. I might mention Lloyd, though. He's intergral; a total dick, but integral nonetheless
Author's notes/the disclaimer: I'll never get paid for this, nor would I want to. I'd feel like a cheap, P-Diddy-esque whore. The characters of "Friday the 13th: the Series" are part and parcel Larry B.(boy) Williams and Frank (the) Mancuso, Jr.'s creations and in no way belong to my poor ass. That being said, I was inspired by my love for the "Stepford Wives" (old and new versions) and by coming up with another object that doesn't require bloodletting to work the effects of the curse. You'll see. Add some sprinkles, and away we go!

I'm on the cusp of falling asleep when I hear it on the other side of the French doors. Ryan is masturbating. Great. I was really wishing for sleep after the day I've had; another psychopath just tried to rape/kill me (yet again) due to the quest of retrieving a cursed 3-piece suit, and I tell you, it's getting to be ri-goddamned-diculous. What is this, like, the *fifth* time, now? Times like these, I wonder why I do this.
I hear Ryan's bedcovers rustling and his muffled, labored breathing; it's almost like he's in the same room because it's so quiet and dark. I'm sure he thinks I'm sleeping. It's not like this is the first time I've heard this, either. He *is* a man, after all, and men have needs. My attitude towards this otherwise awkward occasion is casual. How else *could* he fulfill his 'needs'? We're not in the most conducive-to-sexual-activity occupation, and both of us have body counts from relationships past. Besides, I'm no saint. I do it, too. I can pretend not to notice the box of tissues discreetly under his bed. Ryan gives the slightest moan and the movement of his bedclothes accelerates. What does he think about when he's doing it? No, Micki old girl, bad thinking. You don't want to go down that road. Just because you think about him sometimes when it's your turn does not mean that he does it, too.
Complication is the name of the game, dear reader. When we first met, it seemed like you could place bets and win in reference to his attraction to me. Boy, has it ever evolved from *that*. It seems to me now that his freshman flirtation towards me abruptly ended when I dumped my fiancee. In fact, he goes out of his way now to pick up women in my presence and it feels like he refuses to look at me half the time during conversation. Meanwhile, over the many months we've been cohabitating, Ryan has evolved from an annoying, albeit semi-adorable boy to a bonafide man who's seeped into my psyche. Jesus Christ, he takes a while. You'd think he'd be done by now; it personally only takes me a fraction of the time to self-please. Don't think that hasn't piqued my curiousity. However, the facts remain that he's not really interested. I believe Ryan feels that I am no longer safe game now that I am unattached, because there were obviously no *real* feelings on his part in the first place. I am led to thinking that he was just trying to get a rise out of me in those initial times, a playful tease that's never meant to go anywhere. It's befitting of his character.
I finally hear the swoosh of a tissue as it's pulled from the box and mentally sigh to myself. Just because I've reached a casual acceptanceof our situation doesn't mean I'm made of steel. I'm a flesh and blood woman with needs of my own. If he'd kept at it any longer I would have been tempted to make short work of my own self-pleasing technique. Thankfully, this isn't the case, and I can drift off to sleep, at last. Oh, Miss Foster, you are a hopeless case, aren't you?


"Rise and Shine, Puddintine!" I hear Micki's voice greet me as I stir into conciousness. I smell coffee and the sun on the backs of my lids is replaced with the lovely sight of Micki crouched next to me with a steaming cup extended my way. Best part of waking up. She's still in her black nightgown, too.
"Thanks." I say gratefully as I accept her offer. I have to look at the floor now, because it gets dangerous if I stare at her too long. Especially when I've just woke up and am still in my boxers. Bonus points because of that little black satin nightie; the combination is a journey toward embarrassment.
"Jack wants to see us downstairs, he got up early to continue researching a cursed cupcake pan from the mid '50s." she tells me, "Apparently, he's discovered a few things and needs to discuss them with us, A.S.A.P. Horse's mouth."
I cowboy up and dare to glance at her again. She's gotten so strong; last night some psycho had her tied up on a dirty mattress, got her half-naked *and* had a knife, and she *still* kicked him in the balls before I came up behind him and smashed him in the head with a fireplace poker. And the very next day she's waking me up with a smile and fresh coffee. Micki's such a far cry from the spoiled little rich girl that I first thought I'd met.
"Hey, how are you doing? After last night?" I ask her, noticing a small knife wound on her shoulder where that bastard had slashed her. Man, I'm so glad I kicked that asshole a few more times after he was down, "Do you think you're gonna be okay?"
Micki sighs, "I'll be fine. Hey, I got my vindication." she smiles smugly.
That's right, she did go to town on that fucker after I untied her. She was vicious; her blouse was shredded to nothing and she had no pants on, but she kicked the shit out of his face and ribs while screaming like a banshee with absolutely no shame. It was the scariest/sexiest sight I'd ever laid eyes on. I had to pull her off him and carry her back to the Mercedes while she continued kicking and screaming. I couldn't stop thinking about it. Micki, in her panties and almost a blouse, wailing on a man that could have killed her. I had to jerk off. I couldn't sleep unless I did; the imagery was too much to bear without a release.
At least I waited until I was pretty sure she was asleep.
"Just checking." I give her a smile and put my coffee to my lips, "Time to get dressed?"
"Yep." she says, standing up and walking two feet to her door, "I'll be out in a few; if you're done before me could you bring some coffee down to Jack?"
"No problem."
Minutes later, I'm dressed in Ryan's finest and heading downstairs with a hot cup o' joe for my pal. Jack is one of the best guys around.
"Morning Jack." I say as I place the cup down next to the Manifest. He's hunched over it at the desk with a pile of public records and articles on the other side, complete with specs and a magnifying glass. "Micki will be down in a bit. You wanted to see us?"
"Good morning, and thank you." Jack says, nodding, "I've tracked down the last owner of the Futura Deluxe 12-inch cupcake pan listed here in the Manifest, and the details are quite interesting. It was bought by a man named Spaulding O'Clare for his wife last year. They've since moved to a planned community called Blissful Grove, the first family in a now thriving neighborhood in Southern California."
"Tell me how this is interesting?" I interject.
"Patience is a virtue, Ryan." Micki says, making her way down the stairs in mustard leggings and a tight black sweater, "Did you say Spaulding O'Clare, Jack?" she asks as she sidles next to me.
"That I did, young lady."
"Is he the man that's married to Marissa O'Clare, the famous magazine editor?"
"One and the same. After Spaulding bought the pan, his wife automatically quit her job as CEO of Bella Magazine and started Blissful Grove with Spaulding and a few friends. They currently have 68 families living in their planned community, which promotes 'peaceful and clean living' and 'utmost harmony' according to their brochure." Jack explains.
"This doesn't make sense Jack; do you two know anything about Marissa O'Clare? She's a *real* workaholic and a complete ballbuster." Micki argues, furrowing her brows in confusion, "Everything I've ever read about her in the gossip and society pages alway led me to believe that she makes Anna Wintor look like Donna Reed. She made Spaulding take her name because hyphenated names were too pedestrian."
"He also worked under her as the news editor for Bella, which tells us a little something about his character." Jack adds.
"Doormat?" I offer, "Total pushover?"
Jack grants me another nod, "What interests me *most* is the lack of death in their town, seeing as they're in the midst of a cursed object. The census for their community in the past year shows zero deaths. No accidental, no natural causes from old age, and no murders of any kind."
"That is strange." I agree.
"What could this thing possibly do?" Micki asks, taking the words right out of my mouth.
"All very mysterious." Jack peruses the Blissful Grove brochure, "Also, what you've just told us, Micki, brings up another suspicion I was pondering. Is *this* Marissa O'Clare?"
He holds up the brochure and taps the picture of a woman that looks like a sexed up June Cleaver, next to a fairly nerdy bespectacled man in khakis and a golf shirt. The female gazes at the latter in admiration, not a hair out of place or a wrinkle in her billowy chiffon skirt. Micki snatches the brochure out of his hand and examines the picture up close.
"This can't be right; this is Marissa O'Clare, but she's either consuming the most Valium humanly possible, or something's going on in Blissful Grove."
"So what's our first step, Jack?" I ask, ready for the next mission. If all the ladies are as gorgeous as they are in this brochure, this should be an interesting recovery.
"Well, I've drawn up some false i.d.s and a marriage certificate, for starters. You two will go undercover as Mr. and Mrs. Christopher and Catherine Silverman and move into one of their starter homes on a pre-paid trial basis. You're a lapsed Jewish man and Micki, you are his successful and dominating shiksa wife."
Micki almost does a spit take and I begin to laugh, "What you mean, prepaid?" Micki questions him, "And what is a shiksa?"
"I sold the Jade dragons, putting up the $10,ooo deposit to get your foot in the door in the community. We can put a stop payment on it after we retrieve the pan." Jack tells her and reassures her in tandem, "Also, shiksa, dear girl, is a Jewish term for exactly what you are; a Caucasian, an Anglo-Saxon, or to use another Jewish term, a Gentile."
"What's a Caucasian?" I joke, "Kidding!" I add after Micki shoots me a look. Slipping into the role of the submissive husband isn't going to be much of a stretch for me. She already has me pretty whipped, and we don't even do it. That's when it dawns on me. We're going to have to pretend to be a married couple. How would we act? Do I have to kiss her? My stomach does a few somersaults. Keep talking, keep looking at Jack. "The plan is get close to Spaulding and Marissa, I'm assuming? Then we find out where they keep it, snatch, and Bob's your uncle, we're back at Curious Goods." I vocally put together the obvious plan. "Pan in Vault. Done."
"Best case scenario, yes.." Jack says, "You're leaving on a plane tomorrow to your new house. I called my friend Billy Waller in San Diego. He owes me a few favors. He also owns a furniture store and will send movers to meet you there with furnishings for your new 'home'. We should have this appear to be as authentic as possible."
Is there anything this man cannot do? Jack gets things done, and I am awestruck consistently.
Micki slips an arm around my waist, "Mr. Silverman, I presume?" she kids me. I am grateful for jeans and their ability to conceal.
"Hey wife, could you get me some cereal? I'm starving." I crack, causing her to shove me with the arm that had been on my person.
"Get your own damn cereal." she exasperates, rolling her eyes.
This is gonna be fu*-un*. (Introduce sarcasm. Nice to meet ya.)

2: Blissful Grove

California. Planned Communities. All this drama over a cupcake pan, but who knows what this thing can do? That woman in the brochure was Marissa O'Clare, but then again, she *wasn't*. So now Ryan and I are arriving in Blissful Grove, CA under the guise of husband and wife. Yes, we even have assumed characters. Ryan's isn't too far off: he's my meek Jewish husband who owns a small chain of antique stores in the Brooklyn area of New York. Close to the truth, except we're not married, we're not form New York, it's not a chain of stores, and he's not really Jewish. My character is an up and coming fashion designer that I am going to pretend to assume that everyone's heard of, and Jack told me that I should make sure to boss Ryan around plenty to keep up appearances. Inwardly, my response was 'You don't have to tell me twice'. I plan on garnering some amusement out of this situation.
This means that *I* get to be the one to drive our rented LeSabre convertible through the security gates and into the sprawling, newly sodded neighborhood that we're pretending to move into.
He looks silly in a golf shirt. I don't know why, but he does. It's an Izod, no less, replete with Dockers. Oy. Luckily, most of my wardrobe tends to fit my character, so the most I've had to add is large round sunglasses to lend an air of elegant mystery. I've decided to stick to either side of the color spectrum and wear only black or only white, with a few red accents here and there to set off an aura of success I am to exude. For my introductory outfit, I decided on my black knee length dress with straight skirt, draped sleeves, and plunging neckline. My hair is up in a power chignon, and I've topped off my look with large red framed sunglasses and a red clutch.
Ryan barely looks my way, choosing instead to gaze out the window at the large homes that range from Gothic to neo-Classic to Swiss Chalet, the manicured lawns, and the picturesque beauty of the day. We have a clear blue sky and a relatively quiet neighborhood. Nice. That is, until my 'husband' lets out a low whistle.
"Goodnight, *Nurse*." he comments, checking out a pretty brunette housewife. She's dressed similar to Marissa in the brochure, like she's going to a garden party, but she's engrossed in the mere task of checking the mailbox. She gives us a friendly wave. Ryan smiles lecherously and returns one of his own.
"Ryan, don't forget, that's someone else's wife." I remind him as I keep the LeSabre at the 20mph speed limit required on this road.
"I'm just being neighborly." He argues, "Besides, Catherine, *you're* my ball and chain; the only girl for me." he jokes as he checks out a blonde in a teal sundress and bonnet, pulling weeds in her garden.
See what I mean about being a tease? Ryan says and does the opposite quite well, forever complicated. "It's a bit strange, being called my mother's name." I muse, effectively changing the subject and ridding my stomach of the butterflies that divebomb.
"Well, we should address each other by our pseudonyms to get used to it, don't you think?" Suddenly, he's Mr. Serious.
"Should I call you Christopher or Chris?" I ask him.
"Topher." he looks me in the eye and grins.
Oh, and give "Topher" an either/or scenario: he'll pick the third door that's not visible. He's prizmatic; a myriad of ins and outs that I feel I'll never fully discover. "Okay, *Topher*, can you keep an eye out for our address? It should be coming up soon."
"Or I could just look for the giant moving van and the welcome wagon." He indicates as it looms ahead on his side of the road. We are moving into one of the Chalets; cream with dark brown trim and a mass of ivy growing up the side. There's a beige station wagon and a group of garden party ladies holding up a giant Welcome sign (and basket) in our driveway, so I pull up and park behind the enormous van.
Ryan and I exchange looks and I suck in a breath, "Let's do this." he says.
"Welcome Home!" The Garden Party ladies chorus in happy, genuine voices. We exit the car and launch into married couple mode, joining hands as we make our way toward the din. Burly men in white undershirts are carrying furniture into our large double door front entry, getting an eyeful of the prettiest housewives they've ever seen. At their apex is Marissa O'Clare herself, smiling widely in a blue capri pantset that hugs every curve and holding the packed Welcome basket, "Mr. and Mrs. Silverman! So glad of you to join our beautiful Blissful Grove community!" she greets in an excited, pain reliever quality voice that's reminiscent of an overly happy Marilyn Monroe.
"Catherine, please." I ooze confident sophistication, dropping Ryan's hand and extending it her way, "This is my husband, Topher Silverman." I introduce, feeling it to be a slightly ballbuster-ish thing to do.
She offers Ryan her hand and he leans in to kiss it, "Charmed, lovely lady." he flirts. Marissa was always known for her beauty; she's olive skinned with impossibly shiny dark brown hair, wide matching eyes, and the whitest smile you'll ever see.
"Flattery will get you everywhere." Marissa coos, "By the way, we can't tell you how excited we are to have practically a celebrity in our midst; not only are you just gorgeous, you're a fashion designer!" she directs at me in her breathy tone as she places the heavy Welcome basket in my arms, "Is there anything you can't do?" The gaggle of women behind her echoe impressed Monroe-esque tittering.
I have no answer for this, but Ryan decides to pipe up, "She can't make Baked Alaska." he quips.
The Garden Party Ladies explode into laughter, "Funny *and* incredibly handsome." a blonde in a pink floral halter dress and heels compliments, "Catherine, you're so *lucky*." She gazes at Ryan, smiling flirtatiously. Did she just wink?
"Don't I know it." I say less than enthusiastically, "Darling, be a dear and get our bags from the trunk." I tell him.
He kisses my cheek and I try not to get aroused, "Yes, dear." he says as he relieves me of the heavy basket and does what he's told.
Marissa clears her throat, "The ladies and I were wondering if you two would like to join us for a neighborhood picnic tomorrow. Nothing fancy, just a few families and new additions. We have four new families that have moved here just this week! Busy, busy!"
"What time?" I ask, "We'd *love* to."
"Festivities begin at noon." she replies, "Well girls, I think it's time to let these two lovebirds settle in and go welcome the Yorkes; they're due to arrive in an hour." Marissa claps her hands and the beautiful cotillion-ready housewives make their exit in a sea of chiffon and satin, as if floating away on their own marital bliss.
There's gotta be something in the water. They're almost unreal.
Ryan returns from bringing our bags inside, "Aww, they left?" he asks, disappointed. A passing mover nods in dismay.
"Cheer up, Topher. You can see them tomorrow at the neighborhood picnic." I say, tugging at the hem of his golf shirt, "So, husband, are you going to carry me over the threshold of our new home, or what?"
"What a slavedriver." Ryan breathes out as he scoops me up into a fireman's carry with ease. He's decievingly strong, and something about him smells just wonderful. Plus, his smile right now is infectious.
"Slip her the tongue!" one of our movers heckles us as he carries me inside.
"Sho' *nuff*, m' man." another one agrees, "Your lady is super smokin'." he tells Ryan as they carry inside a glass coffee table behind us.
"Hey, cool it, guys." Ryan chides them as he places me carefully back on my feet, "I know you're not get paid for wisecracks."
"You're the boss." Mover #1 salutes him jokingly.
"So, is it a requirement to have a beautiful wife to move into this place, young blood?" Mover #2 chimes in, "If so, I ain't got a chance in hell!"
Oh Men. Can't live with 'em, can't shoot 'em.


It's now pretty late in the evening and the last of Billy Waller's muscle laden moving crew has left the building, leaving Micki and I alone in our swank new digs. Temporary, but still, what the hey, for a while anyway we're living in a pretty nice joint. I don't even know what the style of furnishings for this place would be called. I call it Rich People Shit. It's all overstuffed leather, deep colored wood and the like. The bed in the master bedroom is a large four poster number with a deep feather mattress. I think it's a king size. I dunno, it sure is big. I'm laying on it right now, watching cable while Micki takes a shower in the adjoining master bath. *Cable*. It comes standard with all the houses in the neighborhood. How *cool* is this place. And the women...Holy Toledo. I mean, they are a little on the medicated side, but there's not a plain jane among them. The women today looked at me like I was the most important man on Earth. It was a nice feeling.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not dull. I'm aware there's something twisted in this little burg, but I'm not ready to jump to any conclusions just yet. We've barely scratched the surface.
My lovely "wife" emerges from the bathroom in an ivory satin nightie, towel drying her hair as she makes her way to the bed and lands next to me on the mattress, "Ohhhh, heaven." she sighs, "We have a massaging showerhead. It's adjustable and awesome."
"Cool. I'm watching 'Kids in the Hall' on HBO. This place is *great*." I try to look anywhere but in her half-naked and damp direction. Even in a town full of insanely beautiful housewives, Micki glitters like a tempting jewel of lush curves.
I'd be kidding myself if I ever thought I had a chance with her. I'm so far out of her league we're almost not even in the same species. Then again, most men are out of her league. Beauty like hers is usually reserved for dignitaries or Rock stars, and *even then*, he'd have to be *some guy*. But I'm a fuckwad, and I had to fall in love with her, which has made things pretty hard on myself.
Double that now that she's begun to smooth lotion onto her impossibly long legs as she laughs at Dave Foley and Co. doing campy Canadian drag. I am momentarily hypnotized by her tractor beam of hotness, and cannot pull my eyes away from the spectacle. She applies a little to the closest upper thigh, raising her leg slightly. I catch a glimpse of panty and get rockhard with an immediacy that surprises myself, and only myself, seeing as that I've been tucking my erection up into my waistband as a preemptive strike.
She catches me staring at her and smiles, handing me the bottle of lotion, "Make yourself useful, husband, and rub my feet." Micki chuckles, hesitating like she's expecting me to say no.
I laugh, but comply. I guess, any excuse to touch her, with permission, even, is a gift from on high, "You sure are getting into character, *Catherine*." I point out as I squeeze some lotion into my hand, poised at her feet. I take the left one with both hands, massaging the lotion in and taking my time. I try not to look up because she's got a half-smile and she's nibbling slightly on her bottom lip. Plus, from this angle, I have a full shot of panty heaven. So I try to focus on her feet, but even *they* have a beauty of their own, soft and glowing white. Her toenails are painted red. I focus on each toe, not daring to look back up. I'll be cleaning my bellybutton if I do.
"Well, we *need* to be as convincing as possible, *Christopher*." Micki tells me in something that resembles a moan, "Have you ever heard of method acting?"
I move my thumbs to the sole and push in slow, deliberate circles, "Nope."
"Succinctly; oh wow, that's nice...Basically, the idea is if we're going to pretend that we're married, we have to *live* like we're married." she explains, "Whatever you're doing is fabulous; my other foot is extremely jealous."
"True to your character." I quip, obtaining more lotion and starting on her right foot. What she's saying is frightening, but I wouldn't say no even if you threatened to cut off my left arm, "So you're saying that we sleep in the same bed, and show the average married amount of affection?" I question her, making the mistake of looking up. Her cheeks are red, and her breathing is slightly on the heavy side.
Why is she blushing? "For our characters, affection should be pretty infrequent." she manages out, "Other than when Topher gives Catherine these wonderful foot massages. I believe she requires one every night." she punctuates this last statement with a happy little squeak as I focus again on her toes.
"Done. Topher requires a mean pancake and bacon breakfast every morning. Oh, and a wake-up blowjob." I joke, although it would be nice.
She throws her head back on her pillow as she laughs loudly, "Your character can't require anything; but I think I can do breakfast. I don't want Catherine to be a total bitch, more strong and secure." I work on the ball of her foot and move into the arch, and she sighs, "Oh, and the morning blowjob is a No, by the way. A.M. gag reflex."
I give her a startled laugh, "Good to know." What is she doing? It's almost like she's flirting. Nah. It couldn't be. Micki could have almost any man in the world. Why would she want me? Would be great, but it doesn't make sense.
I finish with her right foot and she mock-pouts like she didn't want it to end. For me, I'm grateful. It was too metaphorically inclined for my tastes toward fucking, and I am relieved for the escape to the shower to jerk off. All I need for fuel to the fire is replaying Micki saying the word 'blowjob' in my brain on a continuous loop. Wham, bam, shortest session ever. Normally I can't help but take a while; but I was on the verge for an excruciatingly long time. Now I have to sleep in the same bed with her until we get the pan back? It's one thing sleeping a few feet away in seperate beds, it's quite another to share one (albeit gigantic) bed with the sexiest woman alive, whom you also happen to be hopelessly in love with. Dangerous territory, my friend. I pop another one off before I exit the shower, just to be on the safe side, towel off, and return to the bedroom.
She's fast asleep on what she designated as her side of the bed, still lying on top of the bedspread, tucked into an adorable little ball. The television is blaring some buddy-cop movie loudly. I'm surprised she can sleep. I manage to pull the spread out from under her and cover her with it before slipping into my side, switching the TV off with the remote and turning off the lamp on my side of the bed.
"G' night, Mrs. Silverman." I yawn, crashing instantaneously as my head hits the pillow.

3: Neighborhood Picnic

Morning arrives peacefully in Blissful Grove. As if it could do it any other way. I'm aware of birds singing and a warm arm curled around my waist, which temporarily throws me off. Last night's method acting conversation comes back to me, and I nod in sleepy understanding. That's right, this was all my idea. I figure it's safe enough: who ever heard of a married couple having sex? Just to be on the safe side, I practiced a little self-love (four of them, to be exact) while he was in the shower last night, blasting the volume on the television just for extra insurance in case he heard anything. Put me right out.
Hmm, this is comfy. I shift a little closer into his arm and feel his naked calves connect with mine. He still smells vaguely shower fresh. That foot rub last night was a doozy. I thought he'd brush me off, but he surprised me with the best pedi-massage of my life. Ryan's hands should be commemorated as a national treasure. Which is why I had to go there four times. He must be serious about this method acting thing, too, I suppose, but I feel a little masochistic toeing the line like this.
He lets out a sleepy yawn/groan noise, tightening his grasp, and his chest connects with my back. The torture has seemed to go up a few notches as his unconcious hand lands on my left breast and morning wood presses into my bottom. Good Lord. I know he has no idea what he's doing, and I'm not one for false hope, so there's no point trying to read into this. Still, I allow it for a few more seconds before releasing myself from his kung-fu grip and getting out of bed. I glance at him in slumber as he rolls over and hugs onto a pillow, the sunlight falling onto the bed and accentuating his bare olive back. This must be the first time in the history that I have known him that he chooses not wear a t-shirt to bed. Lucky me. I amble my way down our winding staircase and to our large island kitchen that's been prestocked with the basics. This community thinks of everything. I make coffee and am in the middle of preparing 'Topher's pancake and bacon breakfast when he walks in, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, still in just the boxers. The morning wood has thankfully gone away. Small favors.
"Aww, honey, you shouldn't have." he says, placing an arm around my waist and kissing my cheek, "Nice apron, by the way."
Somewhere along the way I put a "Food should be cooked with Butter and Love" apron on so I wouldn't ruin my pegnoir. I hand him a fresh mug of coffee and crack a smile, "Thanks. I'm a woman of my word; pancakes are ready, and I'm just finishing up with the bacon."
"If this is wedded bliss, I think I'll stay awhile." Ryan says, stealing a piece of bacon and chomping happily.
"Yeah, it's not bad." I agree loftily, like it's no big deal, "So today, hopefully you can get close enough to Spaulding to crack open this mystery. It seems like every woman in this town is on a steady diet of quaaludes, and he's suspect #1."
Ryan gives me a salute as I turn off the burner, "I'll do my best, Kitty, dear." he tells me while I set the bacon aside to cool.
I shoot him a look, "You're *not* calling me Kitty."
"I just thought it would be something Topher called Catherine in private." he argues, eyeing me up and down, "You sure look like a 'Kitty' right now. Domestic." he draws out the last three syllables in an approving way.
I smile inwardly, because it's been a while since I've gotten this kind of genuine attention from him. Or maybe it's the method acting. Either way, he's flirtatious and it feels good. "Do what you must." I say relentingly.
We finish up breakfast and get ready for the neighborhood picnic. Ryan dresses in a black polo shirt and tan chinos. I've decided on a just below the knee formfitting white sleeveless dress with a square cut neckline and wide red belt. I'm wearing my slouchy red ankle boots with my ensemble and large black round sunglasses. I think I did pretty good, I feel like this would be something a New York fashion designer wears to a neighborhood get together. I leave my hair down to lend Catherine an accessibility, so maybe some of the women will open up and spill pertinent information.
Ryan, excuse me, *Topher* and I arrive at the park two blocks around the corner from our house. Little intimate picnic, indeed. It looks like a carnival. Literally. There are rides and everything, not to mention people everywhere, tables of pies, tables of potluck food...
I'd hate to see what it would be like when these women go all out.
"So this is what it's like to live in a Norman Rockwell painting." Ryan whispers into my ear. I try not to laugh, instead nudging him slightly with my elbow and biting down on my lip.
"I agree with you." I tell him, feeling bad for the abuse, and soothing his arm. I peck at the place my elbow connected with and he looks at me with a question, "I just don't want to break character." I tell him, pressing my palms against his chest, "You were going to make me laugh. Catherine doesn't snicker in public." I smile sweetly, "Now be a dear and get us both a plate of food."
"Yes dear." he takes it further, smiling impishly while imitating Droopy the Dog as he leaves for the tables, and I have to bite my tongue a little to keep from cackling. Asshole.
"Len, ya fat fuck! I told you not to eat that last piece of pie, ya *fuck*." I overhear a woman berate her husband, "You're gonna die of a *Heart Attack*!"
So maybe not every girl's on Ludes, after all. The woman doing the yelling is a pretty, mid thirty-ish petite woman with a mop of curly brown hair and flashing light-brown eyes. She looks Italian. Len, the husband in question, is a bigger man with a kind face. He just shrugs at her, eternally jolly, "Sheila, what am I gonna do, huh? I love pie. It's delicious."
"Think of your children, ya Moron! Do you want them to wake up one day and find their father fuckin' DEAD because of cherry pie? You're a heartless bastard." Sheila berates him with second nature ease.
"You're blowing this out of proportion, but I'll cool it on the pie for you and the kids because I love you." Len laughs, taking her blows without flinching.
Nice to see that not every couple in this town is so one-note. Most of the women here are in full chiffon regalia, gazing dreamily at their husbands like they're gods, or made of chocolate.
"Catherine!" I hear a saccharine voice exude behind me. I spin around to Marissa and friends in a perfect line behind me. They look like a housewife Easter basket. "So good of you to come! I realized what a rude little ninnyhead I was yesterday; I didn't introduce you to the girls! Catherine Silverman, I'd like you to meet Mrs. Heloise Clark, Mrs. Mary-Beth Holston, Mrs. Beverly Bloomquist, Mrs. Charity Leonard, and Mrs. Madison Kelly. We're the official welcome committee of Blissful Grove. Charter."
"Nice to meet all of you again, officially." I smile.
"Where is that delicious husband of yours?" Charity of the blonde hair and purple summer dress asks me in a voice that's almost tinged with helium.
"My ears are burning, is someone talking about me?" Ryan as Topher says as he returns with two plates of food. He plants a quick kiss square on my mouth before handing me my plate, which jolts me temporarily as the housewives giggle excitedly at his presence.
"Wonderful to see you again, Mr. Silverman." Madison of the auburn hair and yellow jersey summer dress says sultrily.
"You look so handsome today." Marissa showers him with praise as the other women nod enthusiastically. I think I'm gonna be sick. I mean, puh-lease. I'm in love with the man, so deeply that I crave his scent when he's not around, but I know that he's human, for cripes, and should be treated as such.
So why is his chest swelling with caveman-like pride? "Thank you, Ladies. You all look so stunning yourselves. I'm blinded by your beauty." Leave it to Ryan to flirt right back. Case in point, he kisses me and creates divebombing butterflies, then infuriates me by flirting with a group of beauties in the next breath. He's the ultimate tease.
"Why isn't anybody playing any fucking Janet Jackson?!" A slightly tipsy girl in her early twenties bursts into our circle and questions Marissa, "I wanna Dance!"
Our circle crasher appears to be what you'd call a party girl. She's wearing a full "Breakfast at Tiffany's" get up, black cocktail dress and the whole nine, but her short black pigtails are dead giveaway that errs on the side of classy. The girl is followed shortly by a young executive looking type with neat blond hair and glasses, "Honey, could you tone it down just a little? These are our *neighbors*." he pleads with her.
"Oh good, it's the Yorkes, Penelope and Donavan." Marissa says, unflappable to Penelope's aplomb, "They've also just arrived. Meet Christopher and Catherine Silverman."
"Don't be such a stuffed shirt, Donavan." Penelope chides him, pulling on his tie until their noses touch and giving him a quick kiss, "I can't help being me." She turns her attentions to Ryan and myself, surveying us, "Honey, you got *style*. I fucking love those boots." she slurs a little, taking a drag off a cigarette in an incredibly long holder, and tapping ash with elbow length gloved fingers, "Ladies." she smiles at Marissa and her garden party clique, then rolls her eyes knowingly at me.
I surpress a laugh and smile, "Audrey Hepburn, I like your style too. Did you two arrive last night, then?"
"Totally. The move was kind of a drag, but not as bad as most. I'm a semi-retired model, so I've moved a fucking ton." Penelope pulls me aside, leaning into my ear, "You know what else I like about you, Cat? You're *real*. All these other bitches are fucking robots around here."
Marissa gives a loud gasp from the sexy housewife Easter basket that surrounds our husbands and I fear we've been overheard. "Oh, what a treat!" Marissa exclaims, "Catherine, Penelope, *Gentlemen*: I would like you to meet my husband, Mr. Spaulding O'Clare." she says with a reverence reserved for the Pope.
"Whoop-de-fuckin-do." Penelope mutters under her breath as the crowd parts for a medium cute, slightly balding middle aged man wearing an outfit similar to Ryan as Topher's.
"Welcome to our wonderful community!" Spaulding says as he heartily shakes Donavan and 'Christopher's hands, "Gentlemen, you'll have to join us at the Men's Club tomorrow. It'll be a real treat."
"We'll be there." Ryan answers for the both of them, Donavan nodding in agreement.
"Look who found a friend!" Penelope heckles, "So what do you do at the Men's club? Measure each other's dicks?"
I almost choke on the celery I was eating, and the surprised gasping is bombarding. This woman has no censor button. Her husband blushes a bright shade of red, "Penelope, *please*.
"You've got a fiesty one there, Donavan." Spaulding laughs, echoed by an adoring female chorus.
"Sure shittin, Sherlock." Penelope laughs, "Just don't get on my bad side."


4: Gotcha Noise and Pussy Power

"Time to hunt the Bitch, boys!" Len LaPaglia exclaims as he shuffles a deck of cards at the head of our pretend dining room table. Micki and I met a few of the families today and felt obligated to invite some of them to our home this evening to get to know one another, under the guise of trying to lure Spaulding and Marissa over. *They* gave us a raincheck, along with the rest of the stunning, medicated crew of women and their husbands that range from nerdy to geeky. There's got to be something else these men have going for them to be in the company of their insani-hot wives. I bet they're rich as fuck, or hung like mules.
Speaking of the "F" bomb, Mrs. Penelope Yorke and Mrs. Sheila LaPaglia love saying it in spades. They are among the few that made it over for drinks and Rummy 500. I'm sitting at the dining room table with the men. There's Donavan Yorke, a friendly suit and tie guy that's an associate at a successful law firm; Len LaPaglia, a sports agent who is big and jolly and has an emasculating wife; and rounding off our four is Clint Johnston, a shy, middle-aged cattle rancher from Texas. He met his wife, Rain, hitch-hiking at a truck stop on his way home last year. She's in the adjoining kitchen with the rest of the wives. Rain is a fresh 20 and looks like she's "Going to San Francisco"; her long blonde hair is in a center part and she's got a flower tucked behind her ear. She showed up to our 'house' barefoot in a thin cotton vintage housedress and red-rimmed blue eyes, clinging to her husband and giggling. Right now she's watching my lady Catherine blending mixed drinks with an amazement only the truly stony know as Sheila and Penelope regale my lovely fake wife with the word 'fuck' every two seconds in the midst of their chatter.
It's a bit queer that only the couples that are newest to the community showed up and nobody else, though. I suppose it's up to us to figure out why. I glance over at Micki-Kitty, who's now going through our cabinets on a mission.
"Topher, darling, can you help me with the Daquiris?" She calls over to me, "I need help finding the Tumblers, too."
"Sure thing, Love." I answer, rising and shooting the men at the table a knowing glance. Len makes a whip cracking motion in my direction. "Hey, like you can talk." I crack at him as I end up at Micki-Kitty's side. I find the Tumblers in seconds flat.
"Toph, I am *not* whipped. I wouldn't do that shit; I'd let her find them herself. We're in the middle of a *game* here, bro." Len replies in protest.
"*Let* me? You dumb Fuck; you couldn't find your ass out of a wet paper bag!" Sheila starts in as I hand her a glass, "At least Topher is considerate to his wife's requests. I learned early in our marriage not to ask you to do anything that requires critical thinking, because you're a *fucking MORON*."
Penelope cackles at this, "Don't hold anything back, Sheila."
"Oh, like *you* could." Sheila sends right back, "Don't get me started on your fuckin' mouth."
"Touche." Penelope agrees.
I finish assisting my beautiful faux wife with the drinks and bring four of them back over to my card playing buddies myself on a serving tray.
Clint tips his Stetson to me as I set down the tray, "The boys and I have come to a consensus a sorts, and we all agree that you're completely whipped."
Len cuts in, "We also agree that we don't blame you. Redheads. 'Nuff said." he laughs, high fiving Donavan, "You playin' or what, man?"
I nod, recieving my cards as I sit down, "Let me ask you; who here among us is not whipped in one way or another? Donavan, don't sit there and not say that Penelope doesn't fucking *own* you. Who has the douche?"
If you're unfamiliar with Rummy, the two card is known as the douche, and the Queen of Spades is the fabled Bitch, seeing as she's worth the most points. The person who gets to 500 first loses and drops out, leaving the last man standing as the winner.
Donavan grins, "That'd be me. Hey, I'll admit that she causes slight discomfort in public arenas, but I know that she'll never leave me. Therefore, I am not whipped."
"*How* do you she won't leave?" Clint asks.
"You know that Eddie Murphy routine in 'Raw' when he talks about the noise that a woman makes in bed when you know you have her for good? Penny made that noise. I'm set. She just has no filter between her brain and her mouth. It's not her fault." Donavan adds, looking pretty smug, "Doesn't seem like Topher's gotten Catherine to make the Gotcha noise yet, guys."
Sheesh, this guy seemed pretty buttoned down, but he's putting me on the spot like a regular frat-boy asshole type, "Have all of you..." I begin, trying not to appear baffled.
"Yep." Len says in a stretch and chugs a little of his frozen drink.
"First night we met, pardner." Clint echoes, "Sorta sealed the deal. Me and my darlin' don't have a lot in common, but we do have *that*."
This doesn't seem fair. She hasn't made the Gotcha noise because we've never had sex. I can't tell them that, though, "What makes you think she hasn't?" I ask defensively, glancing over at the kitchen area to make sure the wives aren't listening. It's doubtful. Penelope found a radio and is blasting the Smiths' "How Soon is Now?", loudly singing along with Rain and drunkenly forcing the rest of the tipsy-girl brigade to dance. Even Sheila. Micki-Kitty looks like she's having fun, anyway.
"Exhibit A, compadre." Len laughs, "You care entirely too much about what you do around your partner. I could care less anymore; Sheila yells and I tune her out. We have our system. It seems like you two are still figuring out your system."
"Which includes the Gotcha noise." Donavan adds. "So what about this town, huh? That Men's club has me intrigued, for sure."
"Plus, it's like every man in this town has a wife that worships him." Len chimes, "Where do I sign?"


"Cat, your pussy-power over your husband is astonishing." Penelope tells me as she rolls a joint. The women-folk have retreated to our master bathroom to smoke marijuana. Surprises aplenty, Angry Sheila was the one who suggested it, looking over at Rain and saying, "Don't hold out on your stash, hippie-girl. I need to fuckin' wind down."
The suburbs are a decieving place, full of colorful characters. The city is tame by comparison.
"Meaning?" I reply to Penelope's statement.
"Your husband a-fuckin'-dores you; what the fuck do you think she means?" Sheila fires out. Penelope hands her the joint silently along with a lighter, which she ignites with a satisfied sigh.
"Sister, I think what Penelope is saying is that your old man is wrapped around your finger. You must practice Tantra on him, right?" Rain drawls in a stony southern accent.
"I don't even know what that is." I shake my head no.
"Well, whatever you're doing with that fuckin' thing," Penelope starts, motioning to my lady-parts, "keep doing it, for womankind everywhere. Your husband acts like how we *all* wish ours would."
I blush a little and look down. Would that it were; how can I have pussy-power over him if we've never done the deed? Nice to know that I have them fooled, however.
"Batter up!" Rain giggles as she offers me the smoking joint, "You're the hostess, Mrs. Silverman, it's only fair that you partake."
I take in the motley crew of housewives before me, shrug, and suck in a lungful of piney smoke from the blazing wand. When in Rome. Suddenly, the door swings open as I'm passing it to Penelope and exhaling a large cloud of smoke. She hastily hides it behind her back as Ryan observes us from the doorway with an amused smirk, "Darling, and Ladies." he addresses us, trying his hardest not to laugh, "Doing anything you shouldn't be?"
Penelope laughs in relief, "Oh, Topher, it's just you! Donavan won't talk to me for a week if he found out I was puffing. I'm supposed to be clean. Don't tell him, okay?" she pleads goodnaturedly.
"Oh, and could you not say anything to Clint, either?" Rain adds, "I told him I wouldn't toke at your house, but Sheila wouldn't take no for an answer."
Sheila shrugs, "What the fuck ever. Len *begs* me to smoke pot, tell all ya want."
"What? I didn't see a thing." Ryan as Topher winks, "We finished up our game, though, and your husbands are all looking for you." he adds, putting an arm around my waist, "Should we give our new neighbors a proper goodbye, Cheech?" he kids me as we all pile out of the bathroom, "Or did you need to do another bongload first?"
"You watch it, or else I'm gonna have a headache tonight." I smile a little lazily, leaning into his hold as we follow the women in front of us. It's been a looong time, and I'm a tad on the high side.
"Pussy-power!" Penelope exclaims loudly, "You're radness, Cat!"
"What's she talking about?" Ryan leans in conspiratorially.
"I'll explain later." I tell him as I quell a spreading smile.
We say goodbye to our guests, help each other in a hasty cleanup of our kitchen as we discuss the events of the day and prepare for bed. Now we are both showered up and in our sleeping attire, lounging on our four poster king size wonderland of a bed. It may be the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in, partly due to present company. The method of marriage is easier the second night around. I think. I'm in my lotioning process when Ryan clears his throat to speak.
"So, what's this pussy-power thing that Penelope was yelling earlier?" he asks me.
"My new friends seem to think I have some sort of sexual power over you." I admit with a smile, finishing up my legs and handing him the lotion bottle.
He accepts my offer and shifts down to my feet where he begins to work his magic. A girl could get used to this. "That's funny, because the guys are all telling *me* that I'm whipped, and that I seem to be the only one." He admonishes as I lean back happily against my pillow.
"I wonder why that is?" I laugh a bit, "What about Sheila and Len? It seems like she's the one laying down the law."
"You'd think, but the boys are saying that they can tell I haven't made you do the Gotcha noise." Ryan sighs, "They all apparently have, which is *why* they can tell."
"The Gotcha noise? Dare I ask?" Men are a strange breed. My curiousity is killing me.
Ryan kneads the arch of my right foot with a deliberation that's almost erotic, and I hope my panties aren't hanging out. "Are you familiar with Eddie Murphy's comedy?" he asks me as he stares at what he's doing. He can't even look at me.
"I saw 'Delirious'." I admit in what sounds like a breathy moan. I really need to try to control my breathing.
"You haven't seen the new one?" he prods, masterfully working my toes. I wonder if I can convince him to keep doing this when we return to our real home.
Nonetheless, he's dragging this out and I'm impatient, "No, so would you get to the fucking point?"
Ryan pauses and doubles over, "Mrs. LaPaglia is rubbing off on you." he chuckles.
"Ryan, *Christopher*, you'd better start talking." I glare at him, "and who told you to stop rubbing?" I'll show him Sheila LaPaglia. I'm fueled with enough sexual frustration momentarily to take on a tsunami and win.
"Okay, o-kay!" He sucks in a deep breath, "The Gotcha noise is, according to Mr. Murphy, the sound a woman makes when you've fucked her so good that she'll never leave you, no matter how shitty you may treat her afterward. It's age old." Ryan lets out as he hastily begins to resume his workings on my left sole.
Maybe I didn't want to know. What he just said created a gush of wetness the second he uttered 'fucked her so good'. I'm going to have to replace these panties, post haste, "Ah-huh. These men can tell that you haven't somehow?"
His cheeks are burning as he nods, "It's like they're equipped with Gotcha noise tracking. I hope we get this pan soon, because this is humiliating. I'm that 'whipped' guy."
"Look on the bright side. At least they're fooled enough to think we're having sex. That's positive." Why can't I stop my voice from sounding like this? Through no fault of my own, I sound as if I'm auditioning for those 976 numbers they advertise in the backs of magazines.
"Of course *you* can look on the bright side; they think you're better at it than I am." Ryan argues with a whine, the intensity of his hands on my feet tripling in force.
This amuses me to no end, and his frustration is assisting in giving me one hell of a good footrub, but I attempt to soothe him, anyway, "Let them think what they want, it's only pretend anyway. You know the truth."
"Yeah. Yeah, I do." he perks up a little, then looks me straight in the eye, "For the record, if this *was* real, I would've made you make that noise."
Did he really just say that? I've become a puddle of goo in the feather mattress. We need to find that pan, and quickly. I don't know how much more of this I can take.
"You're no match for my pussy-power." I try to joke, but it comes out sounding just wrong.
He stops what he's doing and pats the tops of my feet, "I have to go to the bathroom." He says suddenly as he retreats.
Jeez. I guess he really must've had to go.

5: Blissful Grove Men's Society

I'm having the most wonderful dream. In this dream, this really is our home and I've returned from work to find my beautiful wife wearing nothing but her "Food should be cooked with Butter and Love" apron. She's happy to see me, standing in the entryway with a colorful tray of cupcakes.
"Honey, you baked." I say approvingly.
"Cupcake?" she smiles as I advance towards her, "They have sprinkles."
I shake my head and she drops the tray to the ground with a loud crash as she launches into my arms. We kiss like the world's on fire. Her hand moves down my torso and grasps my package firmly, "Don't wake up yet." she groans against my lips.
"What?" I ask, confused.
My eyes snap open as the dream dissolves away. Fuck. Well, it's not all bad, I suppose. I feel Micki snuggling against my back, her arm draped across my hip. My lap still feels pretty happy, and I realize it's because her hand is resting directly on my equipment. I freeze, and try not to make any sudden movements. There'd be no end to her embarassment if she woke up right now.
"Mmm, yeah, right fuckin' there." she mumbles into my back in her sleep, then thankfully releases me and rolls over.
What's she dreaming about? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't curious. I should stop myself while I'm ahead, otherwise I'm going to have to clean up the ol' bellybutton again. Our little conversation about the Gotcha noise and pussy-power last night proved to be too much when combined with her black camisole nightie and my husbandly duty of rubbing her feet.
I am thankful for today and the audience with Spaulding. At least we can get things moving along. Yesterday felt like panning for gold and coming up with rocks and silt. We're unsure of where this cupcake pan is, because the weirdness has spread to most of the town and most of the ladies seem not to be of sound mind. I have my suspicions that it might be kept at the Men's Club. There's something wacky going on, I mean, it is too coincidental that there isn't a studly husband among the bunch. I don't mean to sound egoiste, but Clint, Donavan, and myself are probably the best looking guys here. It's also noteworthy that the newest residents all have friction in their marriages. Clint and Rain are a cowboy and a flower child, about as opposite as you can get. Donavan's job and required uptight professionalism doesn't mix with Penelope's lack of social filter. Len and Sheila seem like they have love there, but it's as if she hates him and he just puts up with her. Micki and I think the other couples may have been in the same frame before the wives were transformed somehow.
Still, there's got to be a cryptic underlying horror involved. It's not like Uncle Lewis to spread this kind of unbridled happiness without some sort of payback.
I decide to get up and make breakfast this time, at least to spare myself the vision of Micki in her nightgown and the apron. Cheese and *rice*. After the dream I just had, I figure it's best. I prepare omelets and fresh coffee while she snoozes. When she still doesn't come downstairs, I place it all on a tray and bring it upstairs, breakfast-in-bed style.
They guys are right. I'm whipped as hell. Hey, I'm just playing a part. Just keep telling myself that. If I was ever blessed enough to get the chance to play naked twister with her, I would not rest until the Gotcha noise was established. My manhood has been threatened, and I can't help but be a little defensive. I'm being misread here, and I don't like it.
"I brought you breakfast." I say as I enter the room. What I see almost makes me drop the tray. Micki has one hand under the bedspread in her lap and I just saw it stop abruptly. Her other hand has the corner of the bedspread twisted in it, and her face is flushed and perspirating.
Fuck. Fucking fuck. We *have* to get this thing or my blueballs are gonna kill me. I can't believe I walked in on this. The hand in her lap emerges from the blankets and she uses it to cover her eyes in shame, "How much did you see?"
I feign cluelessness, "What do you mean? I made omelets." I add as she sits up, trying not to notice that her nipples are standing at attention as I place the tray in front of her. Damn.
Her face reads relieved, then happy, "Christopher, you're the best husband a girl could have." she smiles, "I feel spoiled with the breakfast in bed! You shouldn't have." she adds as she nurses her coffee gratefully.
"Method, Kitty my love. If I'm the whipped guy, I'm the whipped guy, right?" I tell her, trying not to sound bitter.
She rolls her eyes in an exasperated way as I sit next to her carefully on the bed and obtain my own coffee cup from the serving tray, "Donavan and Penelope? What time did they say they were showing up?" she asks me as she digs into her omelet.
"Donavan said he'll be coming an hour; you might have to wait around for Penelope, though. He said she usually rises around the crack of noon."
Micki nods in understanding, "She told me she had bouts with insomnia, though she mostly attributes that towards trying to stay off downers. Donavan has issues with her past drug use. Penelope said that was the reason they moved here, to get away from her model lifestyle."
"You two are going to that Ladie's Circle gathering Marissa's hosting later?"
"Yeah, that should be a barrel of laughs, but at least I'll have access to her kitchen and can try to check for it there."
"In the meantime, I'm gonna see what the deal is with this Men's Club and Mr. O'Clare."
I don the standard Topher uniform of khaki polo and black slacks, parting ways with Micki when Donavan arrives in his BMW and honks the horn in our driveway. I'm relieved at the time apart. After what I just walked in on this morning and just, *everything* we've been doing and saying since we've been pretending to be married, it feels like it's taking it's toll. The sexual tension is so powerful I could uproot that tree in front of the gothic mansion we're advancing toward. And it's a big fuckin' tree.
"This is the Men's Club?" I say in awe. The building is stately and pretty huge, with many gables and turrets. It's rather intimidating.
"Welcome to our Man-Lair." Donavan says, "Looks like cards and fireside brandy sipping is about to occur."
We make our way through the front doors to be met by another entryway with marble floors and another set of doors. Posted on them are signs that say Men Only. No shit. I'm hearing faint music on the other side and Donavan does the honors, giving the doors a knock. A small window that wasn't visible slides open and a set of eyes glance at us quickly before the door opens altogether.
Whoa-ho, Nelly. I was *not* expecting this. The room itself is in the decor I had pictured in my mind, but this, my friends, is the ultimate Man-Palace. There's an overhead sound system blaring "Girls, girls, girls" by Motley Crue and a stage on the far end of the room where strippers work their magic on their poles. There are numerous big screen TVs with men playing Nintendo in heated matches, poker tables everywhere, a whole wall of dartboards, men lounging on couches with more strippers on all fours in front of them; they appear to be using them as coffee tables to set their cans of beer upon, and is that....
"Is that the robot from 'Rocky 4'?" I exclaim in surprise as I spy it rolling around, serving drinks. Donavan and I both look at each other in amazement, "Well, you got the card-playing right." I say to him.
"Mr. Silverman! Mr. Yorke! Welcome to the Blissful Grove Men's Society!" Ralph Bloomquist (husband to Beverly) greets us, "Drink?"
"This is some society." I comment as we glance around the room, thunderstruck, "I can see why you keep this hush-hush from the wives. Where's O'Clare?" I ask as the "Rocky 4" robot makes its way over and I snag a shot of bourbon.
"He's in his personal office with one of the new residents; have you met Mr. Johnston?" Ralph asks, motioning to a door that reads Private.
"Clint?" Donavan confirms, nodding, "Nice guy."
"Donnie and the Toph!" we hear Len exclaim from across the room, "Is this place fucking *great*or what?!" He's sitting at one of the couches, retrieving his beer can from his live-stripper table and saluting us with it, "I'm in Heaven! Get your ass over here, whipping boy!" he tells me, "You too, litigation guy! Got any singles? I'm about to head over to that stage, but I'm fresh out of dollar bills and they make Candy very, very happy." he waves at a young latin girl who's upside down naked on her pole. She smiles and waves back. Now that's talent.
"How long have you been here, Len?" Donavan asks, pulling out a few dollars and handing them over.
"8 a.m., mon Cap-i-tan." Len boasts, "Sheila was at me pretty early, so I decided to see what was going on with the goings on around here. Boy, am I ever glad I did!"
"She would castrate you if she knew what this place was about." I comment as we make our way to the stage, where a redhead almost as pretty as mine accompanies Candy and gyrates her hips seductively to Billy Idol.
Len gives me a wary glance, "Doubt Catherine would be too stoked about this place, either, so Mum's the word." A finger goes to his mouth and he tries not to smile. He's already happy-drunk.
"Hey, my lips are sealed." I say, noticing Clint and Spaulding emerging from the private door. Clint's carrying a flat paper sack and begins to head for the exit as Spaulding starts our way, "Clint! Hey, where'ya goin' man?" I yell.
He tips his hat to us, "I'll see y'all later; gotta get home to the miss-us." He hollers across the room, leaving rather quickly.
"Gentlemen!" Spaulding grins widely at us, spreading his arms, "How about this place, huh?"
How indeed. This town just keeps getting weirder. I mean, this is *cool*, but definitely weird.

6: Lucy and Ricky

The Ladie's Circle was a complete bust. Not only did Marissa offer to show me every pan that she owned after I asked about borrowing something to make cupcakes in (none of which were Futura Deluxe, by the way), the circle itself was an excruciatingly dim affair, and Penelope and Sheila rolling their eyes in disgust seemed to exemplify my own boredom. Rain didn't show up, and I suppose I don't blame her. Still, I had to try to do my *real* job of trying to obtain what we're looking for, but sitting around a circle of housewives that have the combined intellect of your average blender is not what I'd call my idea of a good time. I even tried subtly pumping them for information, but it was like asking a giant, vapid brick wall. Sheila, Penelope, and I left the festivities after we could no longer take it and are now back at the Silverman homestead. It's late afternoon and I am surprised to find that Ryan hasn't come home (I mean, back) yet.
"Those were the dumbest bitches I've ever met. I don't even think you could call them anything else." Sheila starts in, the three of us sitting on the patio in my backyard in lawn chairs, the kind that recline, "They're just dumb. Happy-Ass and dumb."
"Amen to that, Sister." Penelope chimes as they clink their vodka-tinis.
We've decided to purge ourselves of canning peaches and discussing recipes with drinks and impromptu sunbathing in my fake backyard, hitching up our shirts and skirts to allow our skin access to the dying sun.
I sip my own vodka-tini, "I don't know about you two, but anything authored by Better Homes and Gardens is not my choice for the best book ever written." I say, leaning back. It's rare for me to have girl time. Normally, I live with two men, so I don't get a lot of estrogen in my life, and I'm not really in the business of socialization. It's too risky. So this is kind of nice.
"Agreed! That was some bullshit!" Penelope laughs, "What *is* your favorite book, Cat?"
"Right now it's 'Still Life with Woodpecker' by Tom Robbins, and I like Anais Nin and Jack Kerouac, too." I reply, as myself, "What about you?"
"Hell yeah! Beat writers are fucking rad!" Penelope agrees, "I loooove me some William S. Burroughs."
"I like Bukowski, myself." Sheila chimes, "I woulda fucked that drunken bastard like no tomorrow."
Penelope and I burst into surprised laughter, "I fuckin' love you, Sheila." Penelope chuckles, "You're rad ass! I can't say that I'd fuck Uncle Bill, though."
"I'd fuck Young Kerouac in a New York minute." I say as I down the rest of my drink.
Penelope and Sheila cackle, "Look at fuckin' Snow White letting her hair down!" Sheila nudges Penelope.
"What? Are you implying something?" I goad them, sitting up a little.
"You just act so *pure* sometimes, Cat." Penelope explains, "I mean, you're cool, and I love you, but it's as if you have a little bluebird twittering on your shoulder. Like you aren't getting laid, or something."
"You had me fuckin' shocked when you said Anais Nin, you dirty girl." Sheila laughs, "I've read that shit too. Crazy, fucked-up sex, those books."
We hear a car door slam and low drunken singing that gets closer as we hear the front door to the house slam, "Lu-ucy! I'm home!" I hear Ryan holler loudly in a schwilly Ricky Ricardo.
"We're back here!" I yell back, shooting the girls a furrowed glance and mouthing 'What the fuck?'
The three of us twist in our seats as Donavan and 'Christopher' stumble in our direction, resuming their high-volume singing of Billy Idol's "Rebel Yell".
"Yes!" Penelope laughs, "Baby, you're *drunk*! I've never seen you this plowed before!" she exclaims in happy astonishment, "The tables have turned!"
I am less enthusiastic about this by comparison. Why is he drunk? We're supposed to be recovering an object here, "Christopher, you're smashed." I glare at him as he stands in front of me, swaying a little. I haven't moved from my chair, and I'm trying to remain icy, but I've drank one and a half vodka-tinis and am a little tipsy myself. But *I* have an excuse.
"Yep, and you're sex-xy." he slurs as he hauls me up by my upper arms and kisses me on the mouth. With tongue, even. I'm altogether shocked, turned on, and pissed, but I allow the kiss to happen for quite a few seconds before pulling away. It was just so...nice. He kisses like a pro. Too bad it's all an act.
"How much did you drink?" I give him a withering glare, "And what the hell did you do at that Men's Club all day?"
'Topher' just shrugs, blank-faced, "Cards." he says.
Donavan cracks an invisible whip in his direction, and Penelope high-fives him, "I'm loving this side of you!" she says, then takes in the look on my face and addresses the others, "Honey, Sheila, looks like there's trouble in paradise, so we should split."
"Yeah, I need to get home and see what trouble my sons are getting into. High School, now. What the fuck." Sheila stands up, "Thanks for having us, Catherine. This was good."
"Thank you both for being my partners in arts and crafts hell." I say to them as they make their way to leave around the side yard, "I couldn't have done it alone."
"A bientot, Cat-her-rine!" Penelope waves, "You better call my ass!"
I wave goodbye and assist Ryan's drunken person inside, "The next time you kiss me like that, would you warn me first?" I snap at him angrily, "Did you find anything, or were you too busy partying? And why am I smelling perfume on you?" It smells cheap, and furthers my incense. I don't feel like a jealous wife, I *am* a jealous wife right now. Method.
He collapses on a leather couch in our living room, "Why're ya in such a snit, Babe? I'm just livin'." he mumbles into the arm, "I played cards...I drank too much and hung out with Spaulding and the guys...checked the office when they were distracted but it wasn't there." he strings together in an inebriated ramble, "How's the Ladies Whatchacallit?"
"Fruitless and horribly dull." I'm a little soothed by the fact he actually did some investigating, "The female residents are of no use, they all know one mode: Super Homemaker, and that's it."
"What'dyou just say?" Ryan replies slushily as he turns his head to the side and smiles at me. Why is he so fucking cute? I want to punch him.
"You're no good to me right now." I sigh, "Not in the state you're in."
"You're so beautiful, Micki-Kitty!" he exclaims loudly in a delirious voice, then half-whispers with drunk conspiracy, "You *are*. You're gonna make some guy so happy someday. I just hope that whoever he is, he's the best guy in the *world*."
Even in his plastered state he's difficult to read. That drunken asshole; you can't kiss me like that and tell me I'm beautiful then give me away mentally to another man. I want *him*, but I guess he's still waiting for someone else. He seems to like the hunt. I love him and I hate him right now. "Take a nap and sleep it off." I tell him as I make my way to leave the room.
"Aye-aye, Cap'n Gorgeous." he salute me, then face-plants promptly back into the armrest.
This mindfuck is exhausting.

7: The Method of Morningwood

I don't know how I got to bed. I drank entirely too much yesterday, but when you're hanging out an entire day at a place that's more or less a churched-up strip club with an open bar, complete with men chiding you into playing quarters at 3 in the afternoon, you're bound to end up in that state. Not to mention that they goaded me into doing body shots off of the eerily similar redhead named Luscious while chanting "Whipping Boy!" The Men's Society is akin to 'Revenge of the Nerds' on steroids, and I was in hog heaven. The rich really do live it up. I did manage to find a little time during the floorshow to rummage through Spaulding's office, but came up with bubkus. Speaking of O'Clare, he's actually a pretty nice guy. I know he's fishy, because of ownership of the cursed pan and all, but we have a shitload in common; namely Comics. He has a huge room filled with them at the Society. We spent a good hour there, comparing our favorite issues, going through stacks that were at least a foot taller than we were.
Micki didn't seem happy when I got back to Casa de Silverman, but my events are fuzzy. I do remember that my pants tiger was happy to see her. She looked lovely and suburban, sunbathing with her friends with her shirt tied up to just under her breasts, exposing all kinds of midriff happy, plus she had her skirt hitched all the way up to the tops of her thighs. Every ounce of tension I had relieved at the Society that day went flying out the window. And she's cute when she's angry. So I gave in to my inebriated impulses and just layed one on her. I figured it was in character, anyway. You come home wasted, you lay one on your wife, the usual. I don't think that my brain would let me forget that kiss, even if I had consumed an entire barrel of bourbon *and* a beer factory. She tasted like peaches, cherries, and a little vodka and I believe I felt her tongue slide against mine but I can't be sure. I know that it's all I dreamed about last night. Well, that and another dream in which *Micki* was the stripper that I was doing body shots off of while the boys stood around in an ominous circle chanting "Whipped!"
Anyway, Bed. I don't know how I got here. I roll over and hug onto a pillow; man, I feel like shit covered in hangover. Ahhh, this pillow is soft. It's like a woman, it's so soft. My knee slides between shapely legs as I bury my face into my pillow when I realize the softness has a twin and I've landed somewhere in the middle. I feel small, soft hands glide down my back, resting at the top of my ass which causes my eyes to pop open. My pillow is a gorgeous redhead. My head has landed between champagne-satin clad breasts and my half-concious nuzzling of them halts as I tense up. Her groin comes in contact with my thigh and she grinds against it a little in her sleep. Fuck. She's wet, too, and the feeling of it causes my cock to harden against the side of her hip. She whimpers quietly and grinds a little more into my leg, holding me tightly as I try to get the presense of mind to release her waist, which my arms had circled around when I thought she was a pillow, but I can't lift my head from between this wonderland because it's pounding in protest. I'm powerless now, and arousal mixed with hangover is a strange combination. Micki's no help because her hips are writhing and I think she's got to be dreaming about doing it to Ed Harris or something. What a disappointment it's gonna be when she wakes up to me on top of her. Too bad it's almost impossible to move right now.
I hear a gasp. Here it comes. I prepare to get hit, "Ryan, what're you doing?" she breathes as her hips stop suddenly and her hands that were gripping my lower back go slack.
"Sorry." I mumble into the valley of her softness, " I thought you were a pillow." I add, "Now my head hurts and I can't get up."
She squirms a little under me, her hands moving to my shoulders, and she shoves me off of her. It's initially painful in my throbbing temples, but I am grateful as I roll over back onto my own pillow, "Owwww-ch." I groan, clutching my head.
"No one asked you to drink that much." she chastises me as she faces me on her side. Her curves slip enticingly under champagne-satin as she gives me a sleepy grin, "What did you *really* do yesterday?"
"After I realized the pan wasn't there, I indulged in some guy time and played cards and video games. We *all* took advantage of the endless open bar." I admit between groans of pain, partially telling the truth. I don't want to break guy code by revealing the fact of strippers. If it got back to Sheila, Len would be a dead man, so I thought it best to spare that detail.
"Fine, don't tell me." she laughs, reading me like a book, "I got nothing at Marissa's; she even willingly showed me every pan she had at my behest and none of them were it. You look green, Ryan. If you're gonna go back there to investigate further today, we have to set you to rights. I'll get you some water and Nuprin to start you off."
"Little. Yellow. Different." I croak as she slides off the bed, trying not to notice the swell of her ass as she walks away, but damn, I love that chewing gum walk. Very wrigley. After she serves me water, pills, and a sausage biscuit breakfast, I'm feeling human again. She just put the serving tray to the side (we both ate in bed in our nightclothes as we watched the morning news) when she suddenly freezes. I get why, there are soft footfalls in our hallway. Someone must be here.
Without warning, she straddles my lap and grabs me by the head, "Don't ask, just kiss me." she whispers into my mouth before we collide lips. Her free hand even moves one of mine onto her breast. Okay, I won't ask. I'll do anything you want if you just keep letting me do this. Sometimes the torture gets a reward, even if it is just to cop a magnificent feel. Her mouth tastes like bliss and coffee, with just a smattering of tongue, and I don't fight my inclination to caress her breast with intent as her nails slowly scrape down my back. I guess, if she wants to give a show to be convincing as a couple, that's what we're gonna do. Method.
We hear a throat clearing loudly in our bedroom doorway, "Hey 'Body Heat', sorry for the intrusion." Penelope kids us with surprise in her voice as she catches us in our staged compromising position.
It's embarassing, but I can't stop kissing her right away, and I have to reluctantly let her bottom lip go as she pulls away and feigns surprise at Penelope's presense. "Oh, Hi!" Micki greets her, a little flushed as we acknowledge her in an erotic tableau. She's still straddling me and my hand is still resting on her breast, "Is it noon already?"
"I take back what I said about you not getting any, Cat." Penelope laughs, "Do you want me to wait downstairs? If this was a few years ago I would have offered to join in, because you guys look pretty enticing, but I don't think Donavan would like that too much, and I fuckin' love that hungover bastard."
Is suburbia always so boner-inducing? The image of a three-way with the titian angel on my lap and the raven haired, pigtailed beauty in our doorway causes my erection to expand and stab Micki's leg through my boxers. Her eyes get saucer huge and she escapes the confines of my lap quickly, "Flattered." she says to her in a semi-laugh, "Yeah, go to the kitchen and help yourself to some coffee, and I'll get dressed."
Penelope gapes at my lap, "Cat, I had no idea the Jews were so blessed. Nice *work*, Topher."
Micki and I notice my raging erection tenting the bedspread at the same time. She barks out a laugh, covering her mouth as she practically pole vaults off the bed. I try to tamp it down with my hands, and just want the mattress to swallow me whole. At least Penelope's impressed, but it doesn't ease the shame of popping bone recklessly in front of Micki. She *has* to know that was for her.
I decide it best to get dressed and leave to the sanctuary of the Man-Palace. I walk the mile and a half there to clear my head and try to calm down from the morning's events. When I get there, I'm practically bowled over by Patrick Holston (Husband to Mary-Beth) cruising up from behind me with his arms full of bottles of Baby Oil.
"What's all this, Man?" I ask him, following him up the steps to the front doors and opening them for him.
"We're in for a treat today, Toph. It's Baby-Oil Wrestling Match day at the Society." Patrick explains as we enter the inner sanctum. A giant rubber wading pool fills the center of the room, half-full already with clear, slippery goo.
This is the coolest Society, EVER. Clint slides up next to me, "Howdy Topher." he tips a bottle of Bud my way, "Wanna play a round of darts?"
I nod, "We missed you yesterday, where'd you run off to?"
Clint sips his beer, making a face, "Had to set things right with Rain. I think we're finally on common ground." He grins, "Plus, I'm a full-fledged member of this place, now. 24/7 access, partner. So I got reasons to be happy."
"So do I, it's Baby Oil Wrestling day today." I agree.
Len and Spaulding exit the latter's Private office, Len making his way to the exit door with a package similar to what Clint was carrying yesterday. Must be a membership handbook.
"Len! Where are *you* going?!" I yell at him from the wall of dartboards, "It's Baby Oil Wrestling day! Tell me you're not leaving!" I'm confused. He's the last person that would miss out on such an event as this.
"Don't get your panties in a wad, Whipping Boy." Len chuckles loudly, "I'll be back. I just forgot to tell Sheila something important." He gives a wave and leaves.
Spaulding approaches Clint and myself, slapping me a high-five, "Topher! You two got room for a third in this game?"

8: Country Home Living

"Sorry I interrupted your lay this morning." Penelope tells me as we sit on my couch in the Silverman living room. She's introducing me to the wonderful world of Mexican Soap Operas as we sip coffee, "Looks like the passion's definitely not gone from *your* marriage."
I grin shyly, "I guess it hasn't." I agree loftily, feeling a twinge in my center as I remember this morning, and the feel of him all over me. I woke up to find myself grinding into his thigh with his head between my breasts. He thought he was cuddling a pillow, as is custom with Ryan. It was all I could do, either push him off (even though I reveled in the feel of his body against mine) or rip his boxers off and order him to take me. I played it safe and chose the former. Then Penelope showed up, and remembering what she said about Catherine not getting laid, I decided to take action. Method Acting 101. Oh God. It felt real enough. He kissed me with enough fervor to power Southern California, and his hand caressing my breast was delightful. Shit. I think I'm gonna have to change these panties, now. The rush of arousal forces me to rub my thighs together thinking about that kiss, those hands, that...
"Cat! Earth to Cat!" Penelope waves her hand in front of my face, "You there, girlfriend?"
I snap out of my reverie, "Sorry, I drifted off." I can't stop grinning giddily under my aroused state.
"Shit, you really do love the fuck out of your husband, don't you?" she nudges me, "It's cute as hell, and a girl can't blame you. Topher's snuggly-dorable and sporting mighty-wood. Damn."
I start to snicker, which quickly leads to full blown cackling, "Yes, I really do love him." I agree, trying to catch my breath. Not lying, either.
"Well, if you can get your brain out of the toilet long enough to listen to a sister, I was trying to tell you that the perfect companion to Mexican Soaps, aside from coffee, is pot. We should skip on over to Rain's and see if I can score a little."
"Won't Donavan be mad?" I tease her.
"Donavan, Schmonavan. He's at home nursing a hangover; he's not going to notice that I'm a little high. Besides, he's fully wore out. Drunk sex is fabulous, by the way. We were like fuckin' *animals*!" she shares, "He was crazy wasted, so it was fantastically down and dirty."
"Penelope, I don't think I want to get high today." I say warily. Pot makes me horny, and I'm already at a place that makes me want to scale walls and do backflips, so that's no good.
"Cat, pleeese. Pot's the only thing that cures my insomnia. Well, pot and Ho-Hos." Penelope pleads her case with innocent eyes, "Be a friend."
"How can I say no to that face?" I grumble jokingly, "Are we taking your car or mine?"
"Yours. I want to drive with the top down."
I pull up in front of Clint and Rain's sprawling one-level ranch home with Penelope fifteen minutes later. We look at each other in mild confusion as we take in the familiar beige station wagon in her driveway. Why is Marissa and Co. here? Curious. There's a tittering of ladylike, genteel laughter coming from her backyard, so we make our way around the side yard towards the sound. Penelope and I stop in our tracks in horror as we take in the scene.
What the hell? Half of the Blissful Grove Welcoming Commitee is here, surrounding what looks like Rain, but most certainly isn't the vegetarian flower child that I first met. Her blonde hair is curled and set, there's no more flower in her hair, and she's dressed in a red and white checked gingham halter dress with a long full skirt that sways as she busies herself with pouring her guests iced tea. She has the barbeque going, and appears to be preparing big slabs of briscuit and ribs, and there's a large array of biscuits, collard greens, and pecan pies on the picnic table next to the in-ground swimming pool.
"Looks like I won't be scoring any weed from Rain." Penelope cracks, but I can tell she's just as terrified as I am. We begin to back away, hoping none of them see us.
"Catherine and Penelope!" Heloise exclaims as she spots us, "What brings you by?"
"Just stopped in to say hi to Rain." Penelope says, flustered, "We can see that you're in the middle of something, so maybe we'll come by later."
"Please, do stay." Rain smiles at us with glassy, medicated eyes, much different than the former red-rimmed and stony ones we knew before, "We'd love to have you."
"No really, we don't want to impose." I interject sweetly as we slowly resume our backing up, "It wouldn't be in good taste."
"Alrighty. But we must visit real soon." she says cordially in her new soft-spoken southern lady accent as she resumes her tasks of running her barbeque smoothly.
After we're sure their attentions are fully diverted, we run to my car like a bat out of hell.
"Motherfucker, what the fuck!?" Penelope exclaims, panting as we dive into the LeSabre and peal out of there. Who *has* this thing, and how did the effects manage to spread to Rain in the past 24 hours? I had just talked to her on the phone yesterday whe she told me in her slow, stoned drawl that 'she wasn't going to no boring-ass ladie's circle and was gonna stay home and toke by the pool'. Now she's in the running for Miss Southland Homemaker.
"We need to go see Sheila." I say quickly as I make a sharp left in the direction of her house, "See if it got to her."
"See if what got to her? Do you have any fucking idea what's going on?!" Penelope shoots accusatorily in my direction, "Cat, this is fucking scary. I don't want to fall privy to being a mindless douchebag."
I shake my head, swallowing hard, "I don't really know exactly what's going on, but it's *something*, and I don't like it."
We reach Sheila's and I slam on the brakes hard in her driveway, jarring us both, but we're jarred already so it doesn't matter. We run to the front door and knock a little too hard. It swings open, and there she stands with a scowl on her pretty face. It's the most beautiful thing we've ever seen.
Penelope and I explode in shaky laughter, hugging each other in relief, "Sheila!" we exclaim.
"What is wrong with you crazy bitches?" she gives us a suspicious look as she derides us.
"Nothing. Got any pot?" Penelope giggles, still a little visibly shaken.
"Sure, but you can't stay. My big lug of an asshole husband is home and I'm about to get laid, so I'll be right out." she pauses, holding the door, "The fuck is actually being romantic for the first time in years. I need to take advantage of this rarity."
Sheila leaves for a few beats, then returns with a small bag that she palms into Penelope's hand, "Consider this a gift because I'm fuckin' happy."
"Thanks. Call me later, okay? Cat and I saw some shit today and..."
"Fucking *leave*, I will call you later." Sheila states impatiently, shoving us away and slamming her door.
We wouldn't have her any other way. Penelope and I walk with relief in our step toward the LeSabre. "Thank god." I breathe out as I slide behind the wheel.
"I was really panicking there for a minute." Penelope laughs nervously, "I mean, who knows, Cat? Maybe those bitches have superdrugs that we don't even know about. Rain *did* like drugs."
"Back to my place?" I ask her. I like her reasoning, but I know it's not the truth. Drugs wouldn't make Rain cook meat.
"Yes, to resume Mexican Soap Operas, and so we can drink more coffee and I can puff. I am still *way* stressed." Penelope sighs, "Maybe you can get back to your daydreaming about that raging erection your husband donned this morning and get happy again."
Squidge. Oh yes, I just got *real* happy. Again.

9: Requiem for Baby Oil

Spaulding stands in the middle of the pool of baby oil, holding an overhead announcer's microphone. He's covered head to toe in the translucent substance, "In this corner, for the ladies, we have the lovely Yolandaaaaa!" he indicates a young brunette stripper in a green polka-dot bikini, "And in this corner, on the men's team, we have Topher 'Quicksilver Whipping Boy' Silvermaaaaan!"
I pace around my corner of the pool, triumphantly sloshing through baby oil. This is my fourth match, and I am also covered head to toe. It's later in the afternoon, we began this event around 1 p.m., so I've been running a good clip. Before that, I checked a few more of the rooms but still, nothing. Right now I am thoroughly enjoying myself. Being eyeballs-deep in stripper tits is an odd but good way to relieve sexual tension. The fight bell rings as I'm noticing Len enter the room. He's still got the paper bag. I give him a wave right before the stripper sacks me and we plunge together into the pool of goo. After the match is over, I notice that Spaulding gave over announcer duties somewhere in the middle of it to Donavan, and that he and Len are missing from the crowd. This piques my curiousity, and I try to make my way to the Private door as I absently towel myself off, but I'm blocked by Clint who informs me of the correct way to the showers after I give him my lame excuse. Rebuffed, I decide that the showers *are* a good idea, and hand my gooey clothing to a blonde stripper-maid on my way to the facilities.
I do the best job that I can, but this stuff takes a while to get out of your hair and I end up in the shower for a long amount of time. I run into Spaulding on my way out to the main locker-room area when finished. He greets me with a slippery high-five, "Hey man, you rocked those matches today! You like it here, don't you?"
I nod vigorously, "Hell yeah! This place is tops. I'm having the time of my life here. How do you *do* it?"
He gives me a slick, easy grin, "Seems to me that you fit in quite nice with the rest of us." He pauses, "You really want to know how I do it?"
"Are you kidding?" I ask with sarcasm in my tone, "I'd give my left nut." How easy is this? All I had to do was *ask*.
"I'll schedule a meeting with you tomorrow morning in my office." he tells me as he makes his way to the communal shower.
"Hey, why the conspiracy?" I press him, "What's wrong with now?"
Spaulding laughs, "Patience, Whipping Boy. There's a lot to get into, and I think it best that you get home to your wife so that she doesn't begin to worry."
Well, he does have a point. I've been here since noon-ish, and it's now almost seven in the evening. "What time should we do this?"
"How's 11 a.m. strike you? I always recieve the most wonderful morning head from Marissa, so I couldn't possibly get here before then." he shares with a wink as he exits for good.
I find my clothing washed, dried, and folded in front of my locker. Wow, even the stripper-maids are domestic around here. I guess, they're stripper *maids*. I'm just not used to the idea of them being so in such a literal sense. I suit up and return to the main room, where Len is currently in a heated match with Candy, his favorite Latin stripper. She takes him down to his knees in a chokehold and he notices me and waves. George Clark has taken over as announcer. I look around and try to spot Donavan in the crowd to see if I can score a ride home, "Hey Donnie, can you give me a lift back to the wife?" I ask as I end up next to him.
He's engrossed in match Len/Candy, "Sorry Toph, but this is just getting good! I can't leave now!" Donavan apologizes, "Plus, I gotta have a meet-up with O'Clare after he showers off. Something about a permanent membership."
"Yeah, I have mine in the a.m. tomorrow." I say, a little dismayed, "Cool. Well, see you around."
I hoof it the mile and a half back home and mull over what I've seen today. I mean, aside from gooey, bikini clad bosoms. Why did Len leave during an event that he normally wouldn't have missed one second of? And why did he return hours later with the same sack that he left with? It dawns on me all at once, and I feel like the dumbest asshole ever. Of course the cupcake pan isn't at the Men's Society. Spaulding's putting it out on loan. Clint said something today about being on common ground now with Rain. And when Len left, he said he needed to talk to Sheila. Fuck. I gotta talk to Micki. I break into a run the rest of the way back to the Silverman abode, slowing to a jog on the last block. Micki. This morning. Embarrassment and my power erection. Shit, how can I even look her in the face?
She's standing on our front walk, wringing her hands nervously, and there's relief in her expression when she sees me jogging toward her, "Christopher, we need to talk." she says, striding quickly to me and pressing her body a little into mine. Micki has on a white sleeveless dress that fits her like a second skin, and it's distracting.
"I know." I say, giving her an urgent look, "Inside." I look around quickly and notice that Charity Leonard across the street is watching us from her window, so I wrap my arms around my Micki-Kitty's waist, planting my lips on hers as she lets out a little 'Mmmph', and half-carry, half-walk her inside. It's going to take a little getting used to returning back to normal when we finally make it back home to Curious Goods and our real lives. To be able to touch and kiss her so freely without consequence is a luxury of great merit, and I will be sad to see it go. I slam our front doors behind us and break the kiss, "Sorry. Charity was watching and I'm a little paranoid right now; I don't know how deep this curse is running or who exactly is involved." I explain, letting her out of my grip.
I don't know why I didn't notice it before, but a just-kissed Micki is a glorious sight, indeed. She has a dreamy quality to her, "Why do you smell like baby oil?" she asks as she sniffs my hair.
"Never mind that, look, I figured some things out...."
"It got Rain." She interrupts.
"Wait, it *did*?" I gulp.
Micki tells me what she encountered at Rain's and I compare with her what *I* learned today, omitting strippers and slippery wrestling. Her eyes widen in horror when I tell her about Len, and she rushes over to the phone as she lets out a strangled "Oh, no!" and frantically rummages through her purse. "When we went over to Sheila's today, Len was there. She said he was being 'romantic'." she says breathless, pulling a piece of paper from her wallet, "I could have stopped it from happening."
"How? We don't even know how it's used, just what the wives turn in to. What could you say or do?"
"I'm calling her." she dials the number on the paper as quickly as you can on a rotary phone, muttering the occasional 'Come on!' and tapping her foot, "Sheila?" she says hopefully when she gets an answer. Her face falls into wide-eyed shock and I can tell it can't be good. "Oh, no, I was just calling to chat. If you're in the middle of preparing Steak Diane and lobster I won't keep you. Bye." Micki hangs up the phone, defeated, and faces me. "It got her, too."
"We should get to Donavan's and warn Penelope." I say to her.
"Ohhh, Penelope! Oh God!" she exclaims, snagging the car keys off the counter and pulling my hand, "Come on!"
Five minutes later, I pull us in front of Donavan and Penelope's 60's-era modernism inspired home. I wouldn't let Micki drive, the state that she's in over her friend would have made her crash us into the nearest energy pole.
I make her wait in the car and stride quickly to their front door. I ring their doorbell a few times, but nobody answers. I'm about to give up on the front door and start checking windows when Donavan answers, half-dressed and a little flustered, "Topher! Hey, whatcha doing here? Did the wife ask too many questions about the baby oil smell?" he jokes, "Look, as you can tell by my appearance, I'm a little busy at the moment, so whatever it is can wait. I'll call you later."
Penelope comes up behind him in an undershirt and panties. She still has pigtails, although right now they're on the messy side, "Hey Boner." she greets me, "Don't you have something for your *own* wife?"
My relief at her words is palpable, but there's still something nagging me. I try to play it like Fonzie, "Payback is a bitch, Penelope. Now *I* am the one sorry for intruding. Hey Don, Spaulding have anything interesting to say for once?" I play off lightheartedly, like I just remembered.
"What? Oh, that didn't happen. I realized I had an in-home conference call that my firm wouldn't let me get out of. I could have given you that ride after all. I left a few minutes after you did, actually. Gave him a raincheck for tomorrow evening."
Thank heaven for Donavan's professionalism. I can put Micki's mind at ease, and let her know her friend is safe. For now, "Oh. Well, Catherine and I were going out to eat, and I just swung by to see if you wanted to join us." I lie, giving them an up-and-down glance, "I take it you're eating in."
At least I have *my* meeting before Donavan does now. If only I knew exactly how this curse is put into action. I guess I'll find out in the morning. Here's hoping.

10: Mistrust and Destroyed Underwear

I am currently praising Donavan's commitment to his job. Thankfully, it didn't strike Penelope. From what Ryan disclosed to me, there has to be a meeting with Spaulding first. I am kicking myself for not saving Sheila. Now that the pieces are starting to fall together, I should have been more suspicious of the involvement of the husbands and been more insistent on trying to lure her away from danger. Well, the old Sheila wouldn't have listened to me, anyway.
The Men's Society is a mystery and I feel rather in the dark. I wish I could go there with Ryan, but the presense of women is forbidden, he tells me. He also tells me that it serves as part of the reason to give yourself over to the curse, but that's all he's telling me. I have a feeling he's not fully disclosing everything regarding what he does there all day. He came home earlier smelling like baby oil.
I've sent him back there to sneak in and see if the cupcake pan is being held in Spaulding's office. I have my fingers crossed. There is still the big question mark as to what the men give up in return for their mindless wives, but at this point I'm ready to give up my curiousity just to get this thing safely into our vault and away from other troubled couples. Ryan's been gone over an hour and a half now, and I've just started to worry when he strolls through the front door. I take in the look on his face and his empty hands and realize that we aren't leaving on a plane tonight, after all.
"It wasn't there. He must have taken it with him." Ryan breathes out as he closes the door behind him, "Sorry, Micki, it looks like we have another night here, at least."
Admittedly, when this is over, I *am* going to miss the easy domesticity that we have here. I'm not going to lie and say that it hasn't been a nice feeling recieving husbandly attention from Ryan. I won't let on, though, "Good thing I didn't start packing." I grumble, making my way to the staircase, "Well, at least you have tomorrow morning. I'm going to get cleaned up. I'll see you upstairs."
I scrub up and dress in panties and my white satin pajama top, and I'm towel-drying my hair as I exit the bathroom when the sight of Ryan fully naked causes me to drop my towel. He's just beginning to pull his boxers up facing the other direction and all I'm seeing is tempting olive flesh. My strangled gasp gives me away and he hastily finishes pulling them on, "Jesus, give a guy some warning, will you!" he exclaims in shock.
"The bathroom door swinging open wasn't warning enough?" I counter, a little flustered myself. In all the months we've lived together, I've never seen him in the full buff, and our real home is decidedly smaller than this one. Then again, here the roles we're playing have forced a more intimate interaction.
"I didn't hear the door." he lands on the bed in his boxers and reaches for the remote control, "Sorry you had to see that."
"It's okay." Pause. "Sorry I scared you." I give him a confused look, "Aren't you going to take a shower?" I realize he's settling into bed, and this forces me to pose the question.
"Took one earlier at the Society." he tells me as I settle next to him to begin the ritual of lotioning, "We uh, we were playing racquetball." he adds, switching on the television to late night re-runs of "Sanford and Son".
Racquetball? I have a feeling that he's lying to me, but I hold my tongue. We *aren't* really married, so it's none of my business what shenanigans he gets into at that shady little men's club. This doesn't change the fact that it bothers me that he can't be fully honest, but I decide it's no use to ask, and instead silently induct him into the task of his nightly footrub duties. His hands seem a little softer than usual tonight, and he's actually looking at me, which I've noticed during these sessions is rare. Usually, he gets so focused on what he's doing that he barely moves his eyes from my feet. Our eyes meet and hold gazes for a moment in silence.
"This has been surprisingly easy." I tell him, breaking the moment. The uncomfortable dampness in my lap tells another story; I've been going through underwear like kleenex lately.
He beams beautifully, "I agree. Even after what just happened, we remain comfortable. It's nice." he eases his touch on my feet, making circles slowly with whisper light tenderness, "Makes for good teamwork."
Paradigm: It drives me mad. 'Oh, I'm so comfortable around you Micki, and now I'm going to bring you to near-orgasm at your feet' Ryan's disembodied voice says in my head. He continues to stare at me and I try my best not to appear aroused, but I don't think I'm doing a very good job. I take in a breath to gain the ability for speech, "Where'd you learn how to kiss, anyway?" My lust addled brain tricks me into saying. I fight my hands' natural response to fly to my mouth and keep it cool, leaving them flat at my sides on the bed and forcing them not to twitch against the spread.
"You like how I kiss?" he says with parts amusement and question.
I have no control over my head's nodding motions and slide down shyly against my pillow, "You must have practiced on a lot of fruit as a kid." I try not to moan. Not working. He's gotten deeper again with his hands, pressing into both arches with a force that makes me cry out involutarily. This time I don't fight my hand's urge to cover my mouth. That sounded like I just came. I didn't mean to sound like that.
Ryan laughs at me, "Don't be embarrassed. That's what happens sometimes during a good massage. And I don't *give* bad massages." An eyebrow goes up teasingly. Strange. He hasn't paid this kind of brazen attention to me since Lloyd, "You're no slouch at kissing yourself." he adds, "Your mouth tastes delicious. Like you eat a lot of sweets."
I begin trembling slightly after those last few, drawn-out words. I want him. I want him *badly*. The ache of it is driving me batshit crazy. It doesn't help that his hand has started a tentative journey up my leg as he looks at me with glazed over, wild-eyed *something*. Lust, maybe? It feels like it's radiating off of him. My breaking point has arrived, I think. Why should everybody else in this town be having sex and not us? Even Angry Sheila got laid. It doesn't seem fair.
He's halfway up my leg with that wonderful roving hand when I give in, my fingers going into his hair and pulling him up to show him exactly *how* much I enjoy kissing him. He lands on top of me with a delectably manly heaviness as our mouths collide. The hand that's still on my leg continues to it's destination point as his surprisingly present erection prods my hip. I clutch his ass with my free hand as I writhe under him, intoxicated by his mouth on mine.
"You feel so fucking goood." he muses roughly against my top lip, as two of his fingers press hard into the damp cloth of my panties, "God*damn*. Did I do that?" he says in surprise, delighting in what he's doing to me. He begins a deliberate massage of that area, looking me straight in the eye as our noses touch with a crazed, intent stare. I continue to pull a little on his hair, and have no control over my hips reaction to buck up into his hand, moaning in affirmative. Good fucking Fuck, he feels amazing. I must be dreaming, because it's hard to believe that anything that feels as good as he does right now can be real. I utilize the hand on the back of his head to draw him into another kiss and fall into the drug that is Ryan Dallion.
'That fuck is actually being romantic.' Sheila's voice (the old Sheila, before she transformed) rings through my head like a warning bell. Why must my logic betray me now? Ryan's mouth moves in a luxurious trail down my neck and slows my thought processes, but I can't quell the nagging questions that come to mind. Why is he just *all of a sudden* making this extreme overture? Why won't he tell me all of what goes on at that Men's Society, where he spends his whole day? My mind is betrayed by my body as his kissing expedition reaches my breasts and his lips close over an achingly sensitive nipple through the material of my pajama top. Oh man, he *is* an artist. His mouth and hands are playing me like a professional musician plays their instrument. Rockets have started to go off. Why question? Why not just give in?
'He's playin' more than just your bod, Snow White.' the old Sheila's voice echoes, and forces my thinking brain to wonder again why he can't trust me enough to tell me the whole truth, which leads me to the terrifying thought that maybe some vestiges of the cursed pan have already affected him in some way, and that he's not in his right mind.
"Ryan?" I try to ask, but my close-to-orgasm voice betrays my intent, just as my hand does when it scratches its way from his ass to clutch at his hip.
"MmmmMicki." he growls into my breast, generating tiny electric tingles.
My thinking brain screams in protest, chipping away at my body's reactions to his ministrations. It sickens me to think that this isn't really him making me feel this way. After all the goings on, I can't be sure, and now it bugs me to no end that he can't trust me enough to let me know what he does at that place all day. I catch a familiar scent as I try to stop my hips from their undulations, but it's hard because his fingers feel just..."Ryan, *why* do you smell like baby oil?" My intellect triumphs. My body's urges want to punch it in the teeth, but I have managed to regain some modicum of control and begin my attempts to push him away.
"Why are you asking me this now?" he asks, his mouth never moving from my flesh as he works his way back up my neck.
Dammit. My limbs feel boneless, and my attempts at pushing him off of me are bearing no fruit, "Because you reek at the smell of it." I attempt an answer with a leveled voice.
He stops when he reaches my face, giving me a guilty grin, "Uh, that's what the soap there smells like?" he replies lamely, and I can tell that he's lying.
Oh, I think I need to throw up. If he *really* wants me, why can't he just tell the truth? I will my hands against his chest as my mistrust of him strengthens my resolve, and push him away from me with all of my might. "Ryan, we're taking this too far." I say firmly as I back away from his advances, "There's method acting; then there's making a huge mistake that neither of us can take back."
"Mistake?" his face falls out of its former elated quality into one of dejection, and he sits back, stunned.
"Mistake." I confirm shakily, trying to look anywhere other than his lap, and the proof of his obvious excitement, "We're acting, right? Just acting." As if he'd actually *really* want me. He's had a billion chances before this. Why would he pick now, unless he *was* under some affectation of that Men's Society? Plus, he lied to me. Why would he lie if he had nothing to hide?
"Fuck. Yeah. I'm're right. Acting. It was just acting." he stammers, resuming his former mode of refusing to look at me, "We spoke too soon about the comfort, didn't we?" Ryan quips coldly, getting off the bed and making his way to the door.
"Where are you going?" I ask, my voice cracking. I am *not* going to cry right now.
"I'm sparing us both the *dis*comfort and sleeping in the guest room." he tells me in a deflated tone, "Goodnight, Catherine."
I feel the pain of loss in my chest as he slams the door. I can't stop feeling like *I* was the one making the mistake. I wish I could trust him. Why can't I trust him?

11: Douchebag in G Minor

I am such an idiot.
I have officially, totally, and completely fucked up everything in my life, in a most royal way. Why did I have to look at her face? I thought it was safe enough, but I had no idea that her mesmerizing little perma-smile that she had would get me into so much trouble. I have never tried to read signals so unclear in my *life*. Did she or did she not make the move to kiss me first? I'll admit, I crossed the line when my hand began to wander but I'll plead insanity on that one.
She was also the first one to pull away. Acting. Chalk it up to acting and just break my fuckin' heart. Oh, and why not throw in a little aching testes for good measure?
How in the hell are we going to continue working together now? I'll never be able to look at her again without recalling the feel of her hips moving the way they did under mine, or how wet she was. Dear fucking Abby, how the *fuck* was that acting? Why can't she admit that she wanted me like I want her? The way it was going, you would have thought so, and for a few glorious minutes there, I was the happiest man alive. You'd have had to pull me from space, I was walking on so much air.
Now I'm the dumbest schmo in the natural world on the decidedly harder guest bed mattress in the room down the hall. Fuck.
What am I gonna do now? It kills me, but one of us is gonna have to leave Curious Goods. I don't care, I'll give her my half. Just go somewhere and rot, that'll be my future. I'll miss seeing her face everyday, but that luxury is no longer an option. Not now that I've seen it in the throes of pleasure at what I was doing to her.
I wish there was an easier option, but there isn't. She's way too much of a distraction now. Not that she wasn't one before, but then it was tolerable. We had our roles, we had our *mission*. After the way things have been severed now, the torture would render me useless to be of any help during an object recovery. Jack, and most certainly Micki, would be better off without me.
I want to die.
Mistake. She called that feeling of dizzying sexual attraction a mistake. How could I argue with her without giving everything away? At least now I can leave with some shred of dignity. I won't plague her with the fact that I love her so much I can't see straight. Like she would actually want me like I thought she did. I mean, the way she was sucking my tongue into her mouth seemed to telegraph 'Fuck Me', but I guess I misread those signals, too.
This entire situation is cruel. My guts hurt. Still want to die.
Sleep is a thing that is known to those who don't have the title of Sexually-frustrated-til-stretched-thin-Idiot that I currently bear. I've been lying here, staring up at the ceiling, reduced to a state of silent catatonia for most of the night. I think I drifted off for an hour or two at most. The sun came up a few hours ago, I think, but I can't be sure. It's hard to move. It's hard to *breathe* at the moment. At some point, I suppose I should get up and meet with Spaulding. Hopefully get this whole nightmare over with, already. Shit. My clothes are all in the master bedroom. I lay here for a few more minutes before I can will myself off of this Micki-less mattress. That's probably why I couldn't sleep; this is the furthest I've slept away from her (or attempted to, at least), since I've known her. I stumble my way into the hallway, taking in the clock on the wall. Nine-something. When I reach the bedroom, she isn't there. The bed is neatly made, and the pajama top she was wearing last night is in a little heap next to the master bath entry, but other than that, the room is neat as a pin. I creep into the room and quickly snag some clothing, then shower up in the guest bath. No more of this her-accidentally-catching-me-naked business.
I decide to walk when I realize that Micki's left and she's taken the LeSabre. Well, I was forced to, but I need to feel like I had a choice in the matter. I'm so low right now, I'm fucking dirt. When I make it to the Men's Society, I track and practically hold down the "Rocky 4" robot, downing all the shots on it's serving tray, before heading my way to the bar. "I can't wait for the waitress." I tell the barkeep, "I want the biggest Caucasian you can round up. Get crazy with that Bailey's, I mean it."
George and Patrick sit a few stools down, and regard me in wary understanding, "You look like you just had a fight with the wife." Patrick says tentatively.
"You could say that." I answer. If you can call getting my entire existance crushed a 'fight'.
I feel a tap on my shoulder and spin around on my barstool. Spaulding. Oh right, *that*. "Topher, you look like shit."
"Feel like it, too." I answer, obtaining my Caucasian in a glass that appears to be the size of a Big Gulp. Nice to know at least the barkeep takes me seriously.
"It's time." Spaulding grumbles, hauling me off the barstool, "Come with me, Topher." He leads me to his office and I try my damndest not to slosh my giganta-drink on his big leather swivel chair that he deposits me in, before sitting in his own at his desk, "I take it that you and Catherine are having some problems?"
I give him a sullen nod and down a little more of my drink. Talk about the understatement of the century.
"It's hard, being married to a woman you'll never feel good enough for, isn't it?"
"Well, it's not gonna last anyway. I think we're splitting up for good. It's over." I'm numb. I can't even pretend anymore.
"What if I were to say that it doesn't have to be that way? What if I were to tell you that I know of a way to make her *completely* yours, in the most eternal sense?" Spaulding grins, leaning in with conspiracy.
"You have a handbook for executing the Gotcha noise?" I slur, taking in another big gulp from the Big Gulp. Shee, I got buzzy pretty fast.
He pulls out a bag from the briefcase next to his desk, "Can I let you in on something? I used to feel exactly the same way about Marissa. I felt like I was constantly walking on eggshells around her, because she was too beautiful for me, too powerful of a personality, and I absolutely knew that if I made one wrong move that she would leave my sorry ass."
"Jeez, what a turnaround." I say. He certainly doesn't have those kind of issues anymore. In Blissful Grove, Spaulding is King, and Marissa is the reigning and adoring beauty at his side.
"I have something that you might be interested in borrowing, to allow you to have your cupcake and eat it, too, as it were." He reveals the cupcake pan from the bag, "Looks innocent, doesn't it? Just an ordinary piece of cookingware. It has the power to make all your fears of losing your precious Catherine put to rest. She is quite the catch, Christopher; truly beautiful. When I first met you two, I couldn't help but be reminded of the way I used to look at Marissa. You love her, and deeply, and you feel like you'll never be able to live up to what she deserves."
Spaulding read me right. Shit, he fuckin' saw right through me. So how does he get to be the lucky asshole who gets to hold onto *his* object of affection? "How exactly is that thing gonna help me?" Now I'm genuinely curious.
"How much are you in love with your wife? This *does* matter; if there's any question in your mind that you'd be better off with another person, it won't do any good to go any further."
Is he fucking joking? "I want to die at the thought of her not being in my life. Does that answer your question?" I slur, plunged again into my despair, "*Die*." I repeat, finishing off my gulp and setting it down hard on his desk.
"Would you sell your soul for her, for the opportunity to have her by your side forever? And I do mean *Forever*."
Even through my haze, the initial foreboding quality in his voice makes the hair on the back of my neck stand on end, and what he's saying punctuates the horrific new light he's shining my way, "Sell my soul?"
"We all did it. Every guy here save for Donavan has given over their soul for the chance, the *guarantee* of the perfect life with the perfect wife. Beelzebub's been good to us, Topher. He gave us this wonderful Men's Society, and wives that adore us, that talk to us. Wives that don't care what we do all day, who will never nag and complain, who we never fight with. Plus, the sex is *always* amazing." he adds, a little on the proud side.
"What do I have to do?" I ask, white knuckling the arms of my chair as I consider his words.
"Bake for her, my good man. Make her some cupcakes. Once she consumes one, she'll fall into a state of sleep. You come back here, return the pan to me, sign your contract guaranteeing service to Satan, and when you return, you'll return home to an adoring domestic goddess. This of course, also will confirm full unfettered access to the Society, which as long as you are a member, allows immortality." Spaulding pauses, "Eternal life and the best head you'll ever get. Mull it over."
"No need to mull." I say, "I'll do it. I'm in."
I leave the Men's Society with the flat paper bag minutes later, trying to stop my hands from shaking. A whole community in the service of Satan. Built by Satan. Now I understand, that final missing piece of the puzzle. The men give up their souls. Isn't that his ultimate prize, anyway? It dawns on me again after the initial scariness wears off that I'm out of the business of battling Satan's afflictions now. Micki. I haven't seen her since...well, since she handed my heart and my dick right back to me and said "Mistake".
I can't believe I'm even considering this. I really have gone fucking crazy.

12: Blanking and Punching

"Donavan and I need to get out of town?" Penelope repeats, "Cat, I mean, Micki, where do you think we should go?"
I had to leave the house early this morning, driving around aimlessly through the neighborhood until ending up at Penelope's. I spilled *everything*. I am still in shock that she believes me. In fact, after I came clean and explained who Ryan and I were and what we were after, she said that it made 'Way more sense than gorgeous robotic bitches and dorks hanging out just because'. Penelope is a true friend. Which is why I had to try to save her and let her in on the whole truth. "Go anywhere. Tell Donavan you need to have a weekend away, I don't care. Just don't let him get the chance to have his meeting with Spaulding before we can leave with that cupcake pan."
"I still think you should just go back to your fake house and fuck his brains out." Penelope slyly interjects, "Take advantage of the wonderbed while you still have it."
When I said everything, I meant I spilled *Everything*. Including the details of last night and the way I feel. Which is like total and complete shit, in case you're wondering. I threw up in the bathroom after he left last night, crawling into bed and failing to ignore the hot tears that streamed into my pillow for hours before passing out in a fitful sleep, "He doesn't really want me, Penny." I carve out another spoonful of butter-pecan ice cream and plunge it into my mouth.
We're sitting in huge plush beanbag chairs in the conversation pit in her living room, eating ice-cream straight from the container. She's smoking a joint, and is in mid-inhale at my last statement. She starts choking at my words, "Doesn't (cough) want you? Are you fucking mad?" she berates through a fit of coughing, "I thought you were a smart cookie, but apparently, you're fucking AR-tarded."
"Penelope, you're high. And you don't even know what you're talking about in regards to Ryan and I. It's too complex. And don't call me an Ar-tard. It's mean."
"Sorry sweetie, but I stick by my jibe if you're gonna blame my third party status on the weed. Maybe I *don't* know, fuckin' eh, I just learned your real name this morning, *Micki*. I totally know that you can't fake tongue-wrestling that hot, or his extra-bone that I walked in on. That shit was hotter than porn, and I've watched my share of porn." Penelope shovels another spoon of ice-cream in her mouth, setting her joint in the ashtray, "There's one thing I know, and well, and that's Dudes. Ryan looks at you like he's already going to the boneyard with you in his mind. It's extra hot." She lets out a sigh, "Speaking of men, you can bet your ass my Donavan has some 'splainin' to do when he comes home from that meeting in LA today."
"Just wait until you get him out of town first." I warn, "For me? He might be able to think with a clearer head if he's away from this place."
"Dude, for you. Even though I'm itching for answers. I can understand why Ryan would do it; but Donavan, why would you want to reduce *all this* to boring and mindless?" she sprawls, resuming her smoking, "I'm Rad-Ass."
"What do you mean, you understand why Ryan would do it? Am I not also radass?"
"Micki, you're the raddest. Which is why I understand his motives. He thinks he can't have you. You two have never done it, and I *know* your consitant lack of boulder-holders around his person has given him crushing mighty-wood." Penelope cracks, causing me to move an arm across my unfettered chest, "That'll drive any guy, especially one that's *in love* with you, apeshit bonkers." Penelope reminds me of the smoking caterpillar in 'Alice in Wonderland' at the moment. If the smoking caterpillar was a pigtailed, pot-consuming, wisecracking out-of-work model in a tank undershirt and her husband's boxers. She regards me silently after her tirade. I've been shaking my head in disagreement and going double time on the ice-cream."You still don't fucking believe me? I give up, and I *don't* take it back. You are an AR-*tard*." she says in disgust.
"You really think he's in love with me?" I ask in a voice that's mushy with ice-cream.
"Dude." Her eyes roll a bit in tense exasperation, "Must I stroke your ego any fuckin' more? You're tres gor-jay, you happen to be smart (when you want to be) *and* a good person, not to mention the fact that he really can't let on to *any other chick* the whole truth regarding what you two do. Mix all that shit in a blender and how could he *not* fall in love with you? Ar-tard."
"But he's not *telling me* the truth. That's just it." I argue.
"Maybe they have massage girls at the Man-Palace that give happy endings, and he's embarrassed to talk about it. Hell, what if they suit up in drag and perform scenes from 'Victor/Victoria' or some shit like that? There are more reasons than just the obvious sinister one to withold the truth for, ya know. Maybe it *isn't* the cigar, this time."
Despite her current stony demeanor, her meaning comes across as wise, even if her wording is a little crass, and reminds me of Jack logic. If what she's saying is true, than he was in his right mind when last night almost happened. Which means I made an astronomical mistake, and that he might do something rash, like leave the store for good. "Maybe it isn't the cigar." I say slowly in realization.
"See, I knew you were smart." Penelope smiles, "Oh, and I have decided that I should book Donavan and I a flight for Rio de Janeiro and just call him and *tell* him we're going. I'll have him meet me at the airport so he can't back out."
"Great." I breathe out a sigh of relief, "I think blindsiding him is a nominal idea."
"Take some of your own advice and blindside Ryan by fucking him ar-tarded."
"Just fuck him."
"Penelope! I have to talk to him..."
"Yeah, *passionately*." she laughs, "Fuck him 'til he drools."
"You're incorrigable."
"Totally. Fuck him 'til his teeth rattle."
"You aren't going to stop, are you?"
"Nope. Fuck him 'til he speaks 'eating out' as a second language."
"You can quit it now. I'm leaving." I giggle, standing up with purse in hand, "You have my card; keep in touch with me when I'm back in the real world."
Penelope nods, "I don't lose track of my friends, Mademoiselle. You'll truly get sick of me calling so much." she says, standing to give me a hug. "Oh, *Girl*," she begins, hit with inspiration as she pulls back with a grin, "Fuck him 'til he sees God."
I return to the Silverman Chalet in the LeSabre minutes later, rampant rollercoasters surging forth in my stomach. I wonder if he's made it back from that meeting yet. I have to clear the air. It's time to fish or cut bait. I love him, I want him, and I need the whole truth from him before we can move forward.
I enter the kitchen and he's there, mixing something in a plastic bowl, looking manic and just, like hell. The dark circles under his eyes and overall washed-out tone to his skin gives away his lack of sleep. I suspect he's also a little drunk, too, by the looks of things. "Ryan."
The spoon halts in the bowl and he looks up, startled by my presense, "Oh, hi." he says in a quiet voice, "Didn't hear you come home."
I get about as close as I can to him without it getting painful, "We need to talk about what happened." I begin, playing with my skirt, trying to find the right words.
"What happened?" Ryan says blankly, "Oh, I just made the biggest fool out of myself, that's all. Sorry you had to bear witness." he apologizes as he castigates himself.
For some reason, I am struck by the fact that Ryan seems to be preparing something, "What are you making?" I ask, stalling the words I really want to say.
"Cupcakes." he answers, and I freeze.
Oh my fucking God. It *is* the cigar, and it's smouldering in the ashtray. My eyes well up with tears and I regard him with disbelief. He does not love me. He *is* affected by this curse. "Why would you...*how* could you..." I begin, whispering with harsh accusation, "I take it your meeting with Spaulding was enlightening?"
Ryan looks me in the face, "Pretty much so." he nods, reading that I know what he's trying to do. He's guilty. "Did you know that most of the other men in this town used to feel like I do? That they weren't good enough?" He asks me, then sighs in defeat, "Fuckin' eh, I just don't care anymore!" he drops the mixing bowl onto the counter and it tips over, running batter across the countertop before falling on the floor, "I wasn't trying to burden you, but now I'm backed into a corner, and you deserve the truth." He sucks in a breath, looking me straight in the eye, "Did you know that I can't even look at you because the sight of you turns me into a permanent hard-on? Did you know that isn't even the worst part? The knowledge that I'm not good enough for the woman I wake up for every morning is the *real* killer, Micki. I love you, and I'll never be good enough."
The truth. He loves me. He wants me. This is good. 'Fuck him 'til he sees God', Penelope's voice echoes.
I attack him with no preliminaries, enveloping him in a searing kiss while backing him into the counter as he recovers from the surprise of it all and begins kissing me back. His mouth tastes like Bailey's, and it's delicious. I remember his diabolical intent from before as his arms circle around my waist, and I temporarily break contact with his lips, giving him a hard slap to the face, "Fuck you, you scheming bastard." I growl as I fluidly latch back onto his bottom lip, chewing it a little. A hand moves to my ass and squeezes hard as he shifts our positions and backs *me* up into the counter with a roughness that aids in the complete destruction of another pair of my panties. I have no patience for slow, easy lovemaking, and I don't think he does, either. I let out an "oof" into our deluxe monster-kiss, which is so filled with our combined state of 'tension release' that the region of it exists on the entire portion of our faces, and has no deliberation whatsoever. I just want to taste him all over. I slip my hands down from where they had been anchored on his upper waist toward the bottom of his golf shirt, untucking it from his pants and quickly assisting in it's removal. There, that's better. "I hate those fucking things." I say in a voice that doesn't sound like my own, It sounds wicked. His eyes are wild again; to the point of rabid, and the once before sad sack expression is replaced with one of near-violence. Holy shit, he's got me so turned on. Maybe it's because he's panting like a bull. Or maybe it's because the hand on my back has snaked its way into my hair and is pulling hard. Or maybe it's the *other* hand that's squeezing my bottom one last time before he swiftly presses his fingers hard against my aching center, ripping a moan from my vocal chords. Before I can decide on the exact culprit of these distinct indicators, his mouth lands hungrily on the source of the sound as I clutch bare flesh on his back, my nails digging in and breaking skin. Ryan hoists me onto the island countertop, utilizing the hands in my hair and on my groin as a brute-force lever of sorts, and I land with my lower back in a pool of cold sticky cupcake batter. His artful mouth and hand never breaks contact as he scrambles feverishly to join me, pushing me back a little as he uses the hand that was in my hair in assisting his efforts to brace and pull himself into a semi-kneeling position over me, fingers working my already overrun libido into maddening heights. I slash my nails down his back in response as I am aware of the wicked voice again that doesn't sound like my own, "Ryan, fuck me 'til we see God." I entreat him as I find his goods and grasp hard, amending Penelope's earlier statement. Oh, he's not going to be the only one, not by the way this is already going.
He growls animalistically, kissing me so roughly that he bruises my lips and releases his focus on my lap, using both hands to rip open my white silk button-down blouse. Little buttons fly, scattering all over the floor, and the half-damp with cupcake batter silk material flys off into a dark kitchen corner, forgotten. In the meantime, I go to work on his fly, not giving one iota about the button on these stupid Dockers, breaking it off as I rip to get at the one thing I desire to be freed most. He's so hard; even through these terrible pants that need to be off of him, I can tell that it's painful. He lifts me slightly by my lower back as he jerks my skirt around my waist, and victory is mine as I win my battle against his fly, pulling his pants down with such force that I slip a little in the pool of batter, ending our sloppy yet fabulous liplock. My head lands hard against the countertop, my black high-heels scraping against white formica as I attempt to flatten them against the surface. Ryan slides his body between my bent knees, the whole of it pressing firmly against mine, and feeling like the equivalent of cannonballing into a giant vat of the tastiest ice-cream ever. He had taken my hold of my hands somewhere during my batter accident, and moves them over my head, holding them down as he shoves his hips against my own, his erection teasing me through my underwear. I use my heels to buck my hips violently into his, raising up so hard that his manhood stabs me a little through the thin barrier as his face meets mine again. He's feral, and it's magnetic. He appears to be smelling me, but maybe that's just because he's panting raggedly and humping me through my panties. The insane look in his eyes heightens as he drags his nose across my cheekbone, "I'm not good enough for you." he says lowly, his voice reduced to half-wolf into my ear, and he bites a little at the tip of it.
He's insane. My brows furrow as I move one set of our joined hands to my lips, kissing and attempting my best efforts at untwining our fingers as I execute another heel-powered thrust into his big purpose. I try to give a look that's chiding, but I probably appear as psychotic as he does right now. He's the only person for me. How can he not know that? I free his index finger and take it into my mouth. There's a little batter on it and it tastes good, sweet, like him. Like the feeling I'm getting from the way he's looking at me with crazed, wonderous need as I suck tightly onto his digit. I reluctantly let go of it after a few beats, but I also have much better things in mind, so it was for the greater good. "Why don't you take these panties off of me and prove yourself wrong?" the wicked voice makes her appearance, wrapped up in my own shaky breathing.
"Nngah, yeah." his own foreign wolflike grunting agrees, releasing my grasp and groping at the side of the island with his left hand, yanking open a drawer. He raises up on his knees, breaking body contact with me to carefully obtain a steak knife and my hips twitch as he drags the flat of it across the side of them. I trust him, and I have to be still. Goddamn, how did he know that I've always wanted this done? I don't even try to contain my satisfied gasp as the knife tears through the side of my panties, successfully relieving that final barrier. I must be like a small pond down there, I'm so fucking excited. The knife skitters across the counter and lands on the floor when he tosses it aside and moves to curl an arm around my right thigh, raising it with him as he slides back on top of me. The other arm grasps my shoulder from behind for leverage as I use my recently freed hands to guide his impossibly smooth, slightly upward curved cock to where I need it to be. Where *he* needs it to be. There is no ease when he thrusts himself in. It's actually so hard and deep that my eyes roll back in my head and my hands fall helplessly to my sides for a moment. He repeats business, pulling all the way out and slamming back inside, feeling scrumptious and wonderful and beautiful and glorious, because that's what he is to me. Ryan establishes this rhythm as I regain a little control, circling my own hips to meet with his, my hands moving to rest on his waist. He feels so good I need to hold on to something; that little curve is massaging that special secret spot in just the right way and I know it's not going to take very long before the boiling in my sticky, batter-soaked lower back spills over into my tingling clitoris. His intent stare hasn't moved from mine this whole time, and we've been into this for quite a few minutes now. His fevered watching of my face's reactions at what he's been doing to me hasn't gone unnoticed. Instead, it's moving along the scarily overbearing orgasm that takes over my body like a massive shockwave. It's violently powerful, causing me to quiver with an earthquake quality, including the muscles of my inner walls that hug onto his member in a deathgrip. A whimper escapes me, followed by a low keening that degenerates into an almost operatic-quality high-pitched yell as this incredibly long and frustratingly overwhelming orgasm kicks into overdrive, forcing me to scratch skin as I ball up the left fist on his waist. I feel his cock surge inside of me as he reaches peak, and have no control over my fist as it pulls back and punches him hard in the jaw. He grunts and shakes it off, thrusts becoming faster and unchecked in pace as he rides me in his own prolonged release, shoving in deep with a groan one last time as his body finally tenses up and stops moving. I can't stop shaking. The affectations of the orgasm that finally slips away has left a quivering aftermath, and I am blissed out with the best feeling I have ever experienced. Bar-fucking-none. "I love you, you twisted bastard." I tremor against him, and kiss his chin with trembling lips.
His laugh is surprisingly easy, and the look in his eyes is no longer feverish and manic. It's relieved. Happy and relieved. "Gotcha."

13: Epiloguery

"You're an idiot." she says to me with a beatific grin.
"I know." Pause. "So are you." I shoot back at her, grinning myself.
We're on an airplane back home, a trusty late-night red-eye. We managed to book a flight for a little after 3 in the morning. It was easier to sneak away from Blissful Grove that way; doing it in the dead of night. Not a lot of people around to notice you packing up your car, and we were less likely to get caught leaving with the cursed pan. And in an entire community in the service of Satan, who knows *what* they would have done to us. Perish the thought. I came clean with her about the whole ball of wax after she got her bearings and started in on her post orgasmic line of questioning. Good fucking man, she is the hottest woman alive, and I have proof. Has one hell of a left hook, too. Micki blindsided me with the most outstanding sexual encounter I've ever been party to, just when I thought it was all over. The end of it all. I have never been so glad to have been so wrong.
"I can't believe you were actually contemplating the exchange of your soul." she whispers in her window seat, snuggling next to me as we huddle under a shitty airplane blanket together.
"You can't?" I whisper back, "Did I not tell you about the 'Rocky 4' robot?" I joke, preparing correctly for the slap to my arm when it comes. Predictable as the day is long. At least it's one thing I can read about her, "I thought my life as I knew it was finished." I admit in all seriousness, "I thought you'd hate me, or at the very least, we would be awkward to the point of unbearable and I would have to leave."
"Well, if you weren't such a myopic asshole maybe our signals wouldn't have been so misconstrued. The 'I want you/I'm not gonna look at you' schtick was enough to make my brain melt." she kids in amusement.
My jaw drops a little on the animated side and I give her a terse look, "What about *you*, Miss Foster?" I huff in whispered tones. Still feeling happy as hell, though. She's my perfect woman, the only one for me, and she's mine for good. Gotcha noise established. "How long have you had the habit of punching your lovers when you come?" I add, rubbing my hand against my aching jaw. Redheads. 'Nuff said.
"I keep telling you I had no control over that." she surpresses a grin as she attempts to argue, "I didn't punch you the second time, did I?"
"Nope." I couldn't wipe away this smile if I tried.
Another benefit of leaving in the middle of the night. After our fiery countertop encounter, we passed out in cupcake batter, waking around an hour later. We showered off, booked plane tickets, and crashed for the last time in that wonderful bed. Man, I'm gonna miss that bed. We awoke again later in the evening and killed the rest of our time waiting to leave for our plane by taking it slow and exploratory the second go around. Every inch of her tastes like butter-pecan ice cream, and her fellatio techniques are unmatched. And she shivers like a toy poodle when she comes. And she can get *seriously* wet. God *damn*. I'd better stop myself. At least until we get home, anyway. I can be patient now. I can *relax* now, because the beautiful redhead that rests her head against my shoulder loves me. Cloud 9 was passed by long ago. It's a mere speck on my scope of happy.
Hours later, and we're back at Curious Goods. It feels good to put the cupcake pan in the vault and head off to her bed together, causing Jack to shoot us a confused look for a moment, before shrugging and sipping on his coffee, heading back downstairs to mind the store while we sleep. We'll need at least a day of recovery before our rest patterns get back to normal. We zonk out in each other's arms for a couple of hours when we're awakened by insistent ringing. Micki yawns and reaches over me to snag the phone, "Mmm, Curious Goods." she states in a sleep drugged voice, "Yes, this is Micki Foster...Penelope? Did you...oh, good, I'm glad you made it to Rio!...(long pause)...Wha-What?...You're kidding!....On the midday news? The *whole* town...(pause)..Well, at least you're insured...(pause)...yeah...Oh, and I took your advice...yep, you're not allowed to call me an ar-tard anymore. me back later, okay?...Okay...*okay*! Good*bye*." she says into the reciever, hanging up and laughing a little to herself. She remembers something else from the conversation than causes her face to fall into wide-eyed seriousness, "Penelope just saw on the news that the entire community of Blissful Grove had a massive earthquake early this morning and sunk into the earth. They're still digging, but all of the residents have completely disappeared, and all that's left of the town is a giant hole the size of the Grand Canyon."
"Man, when you piss off Satan, he really plays for keeps." I crack, "Should we go tell Jack?"
"I have a feeling that he already knows." she says, three of her fingers doing a silent countdown and ending with him bursting through the french doors.
"Micki, Ryan! You must come down and see what's on the news!" he exclaims.
"Oh, is it about Blissful Grove getting swallowed by the Earth?" I say, "Because we already know."
"Would you two mind terribly enough to clue *me* in to all that you know, now that you're awake?" Jack growls out in exasperated confusion.
Micki and I glance at each other, sharing sly smiles as we raise our eyebrows. We'll tell him. We'll just omit the fact of baby oil and stripper wrestling matches. Oh, and of course, we'll leave out the punching and fucking.

The End!!! Okay, I had some serious fun writing this one. I even had casting ideas in mind for the supporting characters in my head, which would only truly be applicable if I had a time-machine, a shitload of money, and copyrights, of which I have none. To amuse you though, I'll post the cast list:

Spaulding O'Clare....Kevin Spacey (anytime)
Marissa O'Clare.......Teri Hatcher (mid-90's)
Len LaPaglia............Jeff Garlin (in the now, a la Jeff Green from "Curb Your Enthusiasm")
Sheila LaPaglia.........Suzie Essman (present day Suzie Green from "CYE")
Donavan Yorke........Cary Elwes (preferred early 90's era)
Penelope Yorke.......Sherilyn Fenn (Late 80's Audrey Horne "Twin Peaks" style)
Clint Johnston...........Luke Wilson (present day)
Rain Johnston...........Joey Lauren Adams (90's "Dazed and Confused" version)

I had the rest of the dorks in mind as random ex-cast members of "The Daily Show" and the wives, honestly, were all faceless random Playboy clones in my head, B. Big ups to the punching and fucking scene in "Californication" to give M&R that little extra kick I was looking for. Bonus points that the scene mentioned involves Duchovny. Gotta heart the Du. Rock. I'm now saying Lates McGates, for I am spent.

~"I roll with douchey bitches, I roll with douchey crews, I love Ed Hardy what the fuck you gonna do?" ~Andy Milonakis "Fuck Ed Hardy"