A sister finds her brother

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Life. Just when everything is going normally, like clockwork, here is comes. A curveball from out of nowhere. Such is my story…

A sister finds her brother

First, a bit about myself. I was 31 at the time, single, not really interested in anything beyond the immediate moment, in terms of my private life. My father had passed when I was 25 and getting out of the military. My mother disappeared when I was 9, and we never saw or heard from her again. My father taught me that women were for the short term, get what you can then leave them before they could think of marriage. Professionally, I was doing well. I had done a few years in the military after high school, where I learned a bit about cyber security. After my father passed when I was 25, I used the insurance as seed money to start my own firm. I wasn’t rich, but I wasn’t broke either. I enjoyed my job. I still do.

Then one Saturday, about 9 am, my phone pinged. It showed a picture of my front porch (my video doorbell when straight to my phone). There was a young girl, blonde, thin, looking a bit scruffy…staring at my doorbell. I watched for two minutes before she reached up and pushed the button.

A quick camera check revealed no one else lurking about. Still wary, I took my .38 in my hand and answered the door.

“May I help you?”

“Are you Michael Atkins?”


“Michael Dean Atkins? Born in Chicago?”


“Was your father Mark David Atkins?”

“Yes.” My wariness was steadily increasing. I was about to order her away, but something stopped me. I never knew exactly what it was.

“Was your mother Karen Ann Atkins, maiden name of Pernell?”

“Yes. Now, please tell me what you really want. I don’t want to stand here answering questions all day.”

“My name is Jill. Jill Pernell. I think…I think we are related.”

“I seriously doubt it. My mother left my father when I was nine, and we never saw her again. I don’t even know if she’s alive.”

“My mother was Karen Pernell. She told me his name and your name…and she isn’t alive anymore.” A single tear tracked her right cheek.

“Do you have any proof of any of this? I would like to think that I have family alive somewhere, but I’ve never heard of you.”

“Please…please, just let me come in. I’ll show you everything I have. I…I…don’t know everything…” She was downright crying now.

I didn’t need anyone coming by to see this, and against my better judgment I invited her in. “Please come in, sit here at the table and we can discuss this.” I had already decided that she was probably trying to scam me for money, but I didn’t need a public scene either. I sat her on one side of my glass kitchen table. I sat on the other side and slowly and deliberately put my .38 on the table.

“Are you seriously worried I might hurt you? I’m 5’4″ and 110 pounds. I think you scare me far more than I scare you.”

“I like to have things in the open. I want you to understand I won’t be threatened in my own home, however.”

“OK…I have this bag, and I’m going to pull out some paperwork. Don’t shoot me just yet,” she said with a slight smile.

She pulled out a stack of paperwork in a large binder clip, somewhat dirty and stained. Everything else spilled out when she did, no knives or guns to be seen. I seemed to be safe for a second, so I relaxed enough to take in this person. Short, thin, short blonde hair, the white kind. Natural. She was not unkempt, but she wasn’t clean either. Dazzling blue eyes, and a figure best described as lithe. She also appeared scared out of her wits, and barely holding it together.

I browsed through the paperwork she had. Her birth certificate, her state ID (she was from Boston), some miscellaneous stuff, and then the last page. It was a picture. She said, “That’s Mom, and who she said was my father. I think you might be the young boy.”

“Excuse me for a second…” I went to my living room and picked up a frame. Comparing the two pictures, it was clear they were taken at the same time. Was this actually real? It was an old snapshot, just like mine was. This was getting real, fast. I sent off a quick text, while she gave me a questioning look.

“We need to know if this is real…for both of us. I can find out fairly quickly, probably two or three days. May I take photos of these documents?”

“Of course. I didn’t expect you to sweep me off my feet as you long lost sister…I don’t really know you either.”

“OK, I can take you back to your hotel, or get you a cab, whichever you prefer. I will need you to stay here for about an hour first, so we can get proof.”

“I… don’t have a motel room.”

“I can recommend a good one, if you’d like.”

She put her head down. I had already seen that when she pulled the paperwork out, three dollars and change came out as well. It was then I realized she had nothing. She had managed to get here and had nothing left. “When was the last time you ate?” I asked gently.

“Yesterday” she whispered through the tears.

It was then that I did something I didn’t even understand…it was like I was watching myself in a dream. “You can stay in my spare bedroom. We will get you cleaned up and get some lunch as well.” I never even let my friends spend the night. I only had a few women spend the night. What was going on in my head?

“Really? I can’t pay you… I can’t even afford to…”

I cut her off. “You are staying here until we find out. No other options for you. Now, through that door is my spare bedroom, and there is a shower in there as well. Let’s get you cleaned up and ready for company. There is also a closet in there that my last girlfriend used. I think most of the clothes are too big, but you should be able to find something. I noticed you had no luggage…”

Another tear… “You don’t have to do this…”

“Get moving… You like a grilled ham and cheese? I can make lunch while you’re there.”

“Thank you, and yes…may I have two?”

Laughing, I told her I would make her three if she wanted. She went into the room, and I heard the door lock. Realizing that I would be scared too, I allowed it. I also sent another text, with pictures of each of the documents. As much as I wanted this to be true, proof was necessary.

While I was cooking, the doorbell rang and I knew who it was. “Maria! I am so glad you could come so quickly. I need a DNA test done, ASAP. I trust you to be discreet.”

“I always am, Mike!” We became acquainted through business ties, but she was a sweetheart. She was an RN, married, and had two kids. We had helped to calm down her ex a few years ago. She worked for a doctor that I also used on occasion.

“Hungry? I’m making lunch.”

“No, we’re going out after I’m done here. I know it won’t take long.”

We chatted and caught up as I was cooking. Suddenly, the bedroom door opened and out came…wow. Just wow. “She cleans up nice.” I thought. She was wearing a short denim skirt with a belt, and an old Stones tee shirt. The one with the tongue. Her hair was combed, and her skin was positively glowing. I did some math in my head, and she had to be 21 or 22 years old. She looked amazing for a young woman.

Maria introduced herself and told her just how the test would work. “Just a quick cheek swab!” Once she was done, she excused herself letting me know she would get back to me as soon as possible.

We sat down to eat. I had made a small salad to go along with the sandwiches. For a few minutes, there was absolute silence. She ate quickly, but daintily as well. Once we were finished, we just stared at each other for a few minutes.

“You still don’t believe me,” she said. She had a sad look on her face, and it was eating at my usual stone-cold demeanor. “You think I am trying to scam you or something.”

“I don’t really know…I want to believe, but I can’t without proof. Nonetheless, you are a beautiful young lady in need of some assistance. I am not wealthy, but I will give you some help. Would you like to go for a ride? I want to take you to my favorite store…it’s a French place, Tarjay I believe it’s called.”

“Seriously? And Mom used to say that long ago. I know you mean Target. What do you want to get?” she said with a small laugh. It sounded like magic.

“I don’t need much, but you need some things as well. If all this is true, we do need to get to know each other. Would you prefer my truck or a small car? With the truck we can fit more in!”

“I don’t want much. We can take the car.” Again with the sad look. She actually looked upset about shopping. I realized she felt like a burden at that point.

“Look, we don’t have to go, but I thought you might want some decent shampoo and such. Pretty girls deserve pretty things, you know.” I said with a smile. “It’ll do you good to get out a bit as well.”

Off we went, taking my Subaru Crosstrek. I kept the conversation light, letting her pick out a radio station (and finding I liked her choice). Ten minutes later we were there. We went straight to the women’s department, and I told her to pick out three pairs of jeans and five shirts as well as some underwear. I noticed when she made selections, it was always the cheapest items. “Sometimes the more expensive ones are cheaper in the long run. Quality is important,” I told her.

“I can’t pay you back until I find work. I can’t afford anything else but the cheapest.”

Sighing, I said, “But I can. And you’re not paying me back. I won’t allow it.”

She looked at me sideways. “I’m starting to wonder if we do have the same mother. This just wasn’t how she did things.”

“I grew up with someone else. Please, no matter who you are, just let me help a bit. You need some clothes either way, and probably some other things as well.”

After the clothes, I turned her loose in the Health aisle. I told her to pick shampoo, conditioner, and anything else she might need in the near future. I mentioned I was going to another aisle to find some food items and toiletries for myself and gave her a few minutes alone.

After picking up my needs, I went to find her again. I had to look, until I realized she was sitting on the floor behind the cart, tears on her face. She looked up at me, and said in a quivering voice, “I thought you’d left me here.”

This girl was shattered, I thought. “Not gonna happen. Sorry Jill. I shouldn’t have left you alone. Come on, get up, and let’s finish shopping.” I helped her up and gave her a hug. I knew she had been through some things, but I didn’t realize how fragile she was. I checked the cart and she had gotten nothing. “Let’s go find some things to make you even more beautiful!”

With a weak smile, she said, “You don’t have that much money.”

“I’m with the prettiest woman in Arizona. There probably isn’t anything to make you look better, but there are probably things you want! Grab that cart and we can find some things for you.”

She gave me a sideways look again, but we took off and found some basic makeup, shampoo, and the usual items. She stopped in the feminine aisle, and I said “If you need it, get it. I’m not embarrassed if you’re not.” She picked a few items with a bit of a blush.

After the checkout, we loaded everything in the Subaru and I asked what she wanted for dinner. As usual at this point, it was “whatever I wanted”. Sigh. “What do you like on your pizza? I will have one delivered. Do you have a favorite kind?”

“I haven’t had that often…but I do like pepperoni!” It was nice to see here come out of her shell, if even just ever so slightly.

“I thought it was a rule that all Americans had pizza once a week! You should have eaten a ton of it by now!”

Head down, she said, “Mom didn’t buy it often” very quietly. It appeared I had screwed up, again. “You don’t ever have to be ashamed of your past with me.” Picking up her chin, I said, “Just be honest. We will deal with it.”

Once we were home and unloaded, I told her to go try on everything and then we could wash it. I needed to make a couple phone calls and I would order the pizza, I told her. After she was in her room, I called a doctor I knew and made an appointment outside of regular hours for Sunday. I needed more information. I also received an email from a friend regarding the documents I had texted him. They weren’t forgeries, per what was in the state records department. He also found a certificate of death for my mother (?), and no records of Jill being in school in the Boston area ever. I sent him an acknowledgement and said I would talk to him Monday at work.

The pizza came, pepperoni of course, and I called Jill to let her know it was here. She came out of the room wearing a new pair of jeans and a pretty green top that was cut lower on her chest. When she bent over to get a slice, I noticed two things. One, she wasn’t wearing a bra. Two, while small, her breasts were perfectly shaped. I immediately decided that I was a pervert as well, or that if I was lucky, she wasn’t actually related.

After dinner, she looked almost happy. Exhausted, but happy. I asked her how long it was since she slept, and she laughed. “I don’t really know. At this point, maybe days.” I told her to go to bed, there was nothing else that wouldn’t wait for morning. Again, I heard her door lock. I had a drink and tried to set my alarms and went to bed myself. Sleep didn’t come easy that night, as my mind was confused. “She’s beautiful. But she might be my sister. You don’t really know her. You don’t know anything about her. But she is attractive” thoughts going in a circle through my mind.

I awoke in the morning about 6:30 as I usually do. She was still in the room, hopefully sleeping as the door was closed. I made some coffee and settled back in my chair. A few minutes later, I was startled, spilling my coffee, by a hand on my shoulder. “Good morning!” she laughed. I was surprised that I didn’t hear her come out of her room and wondered if I was losing my touch. She told me she had been up for a while and had been out on the back deck just looking. She said, “You didn’t tell me you had a pool! I don’t have a suit or I would have been in it.”

Totally confused, I checked a few things. I had failed to set the alarm properly or would have known she was out there. I had failed to check my cameras. If she was out to get me in any way, I would have been had. This was absolutely out of character for me. She stared at me as all these thoughts whirled through my head. “Did I do something wrong? Oh my God, all I do is screw up! I’m so sorry!”

I had to grab her and pull her down. “You didn’t do anything wrong. I made a mistake or two and was confused, that’s all. Calm down, let’s get you some breakfast and plan our day.”

I made some biscuits and gravy with some bacon. She looked at it like it was a feast fit for a queen and said, “How did you know my favorite?” “I didn’t make your favorite, I made mine!” I said.

After breakfast, I told her she had an appointment this afternoon at two, but the rest of the day was clear. I also told her I was not going to be able to take her to the appointment, as I had some work to do (completely true, I had ignored my work all day Saturday). I called Irene, who I had texted yesterday, to make sure that she was going to come and get Jill. I told Jill, “You will like her. She works for me, but she is a sweetheart and I think you need some time with another girl.” She agreed to go, and then we decided to go out to “Tarjay” again and get her a bathing suit. I told her to go pick one out while I grabbed a couple of things. Before I walked away, I looked at her and said, “I’ll be baack!” in my best Ahnold impersonation, just to give her some reassurance.

Ten minutes later, I found her still staring at the swimsuits. “I don’t know what to get,” she said. While one part of me wanted her to get the micro bikini, we picked out a one-piece that had high-cut legs. I knew she would still look good in it too. Back home, she went to change and told me I had to change too. I changed quickly and was in the pool when she came out. Man was I glad I was in the pool, because it made me look like less of a pervert with the lump in my suit. I still stared a little too long, but I am a guy!

She wore the white one-piece we picked out, and it accentuated everything she had. I kept having to remind myself that she might be my sister. She looked at me, blushed, and shocked me by cannonballing in right beside me! After clearing my eyes, I said, “Payback is a bitch, you know!” with a silly grin on my face.

She started that magical laughter again and said, “Gotta catch me first!” and swam away as quickly as she could. I found that she could swim faster than me, but that she wasn’t really strong enough to dunk me. I was very gentle with her, and only dunked her once as revenge. I found out that I really enjoyed the feel of her on me, and that her nipples appeared to be amazing…then I mentally slapped myself. She looked at me and blushed, walking to the ladder to get out. It appeared to me that she might have some of the same issues I was having.

After a light lunch, I took the truck to the office. I was going to go through the reports I had on her with a fine-toothed comb. I reminded her twice before I left that she had an appointment and that I would be back.

At 1:15, I saw the alert on my phone that Irene had arrived. Irene was a secretary at my business. She also worked with the traumatized women that I occasionally had to deal with, which was why I sent her for Jill. Irene was 5’6″, 26, an auburn-haired very curvy girl that I would have loved to date. I kept a very strict rule about fraternization at work, however, and being that she was exceptionally good at her job, I had to just look and fantasize from time to time. I did get a quick text from her that she was there, and that she would let me know when they were finished.

“Hi, I’m Irene. We have an appointment I believe!” Jill looked at her like she was a Martian. Irene, confused, just said “What?”. Jill started laughing and said she just thought since her name was Irene she would be much older. “My mom saddled me with my Gramma’s name. I figure there aren’t too many of us, so I just rock it!” The bonding began almost immediately.

Off they went in Irene’s car. “Where are we going?” Jill asked.

Irene began laughing, and said, “You got in a car with a stranger and don’t know where you’re going? Your mama didn’t teach you anything!” Jill got very quiet after that, and after they pulled in the parking lot, Irene took her hand and said, “Look, I don’t know what is up with you, but I’m sorry about anything I might have said. We are here, this is a doctor’s office that Mike’s company works with. She’s going to give you a physical, just to make sure you are healthy.”

Jill very quietly said, “My mother didn’t teach me much. And I’ve never had a physical. I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Irene’s mouth dropped, then she said, “This may be a shock to you, she is going to look at ALL of your body. If you can’t handle this, let me know now. And by all, I mean all…like inside and such.”

Jill sat in silence for a minute, and said, “Stay with me in the room, and I will do it. I have heard of it, but nobody ever did it to me.”

Irene’s heart broke a little, and she said, “I won’t leave you alone, I promise. I don’t know what the deal is with Mike, but he’s a good guy. He won’t hurt you either. Now let’s go in and do this.”

Mike was still at the office when his phone buzzed…twice. One from Irene, letting him know they were leaving the Doctor’s office. The other from the doctor that said “Call me ASAP”. Mike immediately called her. “Doctor Margaret Shuman, how may I help you?”

Mike laughed and said, “Still so formal after all these years! Apparently you have something I need to know.”

Maggie immediately became serious, “Look, I don’t know anything about this girl, or what is up with you two, but here is what I know. One, she probably has chlamydia. I have given her the antibiotics, she must take them for 14 days, and make sure she does. Two, there is evidence of past….trauma…if you understand what I mean.”

“I completely understand. How far in the past?”

“Long enough for it to heal, but there is some bruising in the area now. I suspect someone failed to go through with something recently. She’s broken inside, you know. Be kind to her, she needs it.”

“Thanks Maggie. Send me the bill, and I never heard from you today. HIPAA and all. I will have to get you a bonus for this one.” They said their mutual goodbyes and hung up. Mike decided that Jill was one of the strongest people he had ever known as he headed home, not wanting her to be alone.

When he came in, he was met with a surprise. She walked up to him and slapped him. Hard. “What the hell! What did I do now?” he said rubbing his face.

“You didn’t tell me what kind of appointment that was! Damn it, I needed to know that! Do you know that I have NEVER had that done to me? You can’t do that to me!” She stormed off to her room, shut the door and locked it. Mike sat on the couch, nonplussed, and gave her a few minutes.

He opened a couple of beers and went and knocked on her door lightly. “Go away,” she said, but quietly this time.

“I brought you an apology beer. Can we talk?”

He heard footsteps. The door opened slightly, and she peeked out. “No more surprises!” she said. “I’m not good with things like that.”

He opened the door and invited her out to the deck, holding her hand. “Look, you have to understand some things too. You haven’t told me anything about yourself, so I don’t know when I’m going to step on my dick. You have to let me in, or I can’t help you.”

Abruptly, she asked, “Do you have any tequila? I can’t do this sober. I can’t tell you everything, but I will give you some. I will tell you about the last two weeks, it should give you a clue.” Mike went inside and brought out a bottle, two shot glasses, some limes and salt. She smiled wryly and said, “Prepared, aren’t you?”

They both did a shot, and she leaned back in her chair. “Pour me another one. I’m going to need it soon.” She then took a deep breath and mumbled “here goes nothin'”.

“Two weeks ago today, when I woke up in a crack house with Mom, and I found her dead. The needle was still in her arm. Her “friend” was in the same condition. I had no idea what to do, or where to go. I knew where mom kept her “cash stash”, found $200ish, and left. I had been searching the internet for Dad and stumbled across you, so I decided that this was the best place to go.” Mike leaned forward and started to speak, but she cut him off. “Stop! I have to get this out all at once, or I never will.” Mike leaned back, and she drank her second shot. Wordlessly, Mike poured her another. “I bought a bus ticket that got me to Las Vegas, it was as much as I could afford with some food money. I knew I had about 200 more miles to go, but it was the best I could do. The bus trip took three and a half days. It was unpleasant, but it could have been worse. I had bought snacks, and at that point I still had a small suitcase with some clothes. I changed into my last clean set of clothes and found the right highway, stuck my thumb out, and hoped…I hoped like never before…I hoped you would come. You didn’t, of course, but a truck stopped and asked where I was going. He was going about halfway, so I got in. He was actually a decent human being, but when he stopped, I had to find another ride. I slept in a bus stop that night, and then I looked for another ride.” She stopped and took another shot. Tears were running down her face, but Mike could do nothing except pour her another shot. “The next guy who stopped was actually coming to this town. I felt almost optimistic. We drove for maybe an hour, and I kind of drifted off. Next thing I know, he had one hand down my pants and was trying to pull them off. Said I had to pay for the ride somehow. This guy was big, and he was strong, but I have learned a few things in my time. I told him I wanted to blow him first. Once I got it in my mouth, I bit, squeezed, and pulled as hard as I could. He screamed, oh how he screamed. I took off as fast as I could away from the truck, I left everything but my bag there, I just had to get away….” She stopped again and took another shot, waving Mike off from pouring another. “I walked the last 100 miles here. It took me six days, because I wouldn’t stay too close to the highway. I walked all the way to your house. I was lucky I was wearing my pouch, because you would never have believed me otherwise. I spent my last $10 on food the day before I found you. I didn’t know what to expect, but you were my only hope left. My. Only. Hope. And you’ve outstripped everything I dreamed. You’re a good man, Mike. I’m very lucky. You probably aren’t, because you have to deal with my sorry ass.” She stopped, tears running down her face. Mike searched for something to say and couldn’t find anything. He got up, picked her up out of her chair, and just held her.

After a few minutes, she calmed down and backed away. She looked at him and asked, “Should I leave now?”

He laughed, breaking the tension, and said, “You never have to leave unless you want to. Never.” She was feeling the shots by then, and he knew it. He carried her in and laid her on the bed. “Goodnight, I am in my room if you need anything.” Her eyes closed as he walked out.

At about 3am, his phone pinged, waking him up. His motion detector found her up, moving in the house. She got some water and stood outside his door for several minutes. Finally, he heard a light knock. “Come in”. She came in an looked at him…silently. “Can I get you something?”

“You don’t hate me, do you.” More a statement than a question.

“No. Why would I?”

“Because. No one ever has cared before. Why you? We don’t even know each other.”

“Honestly, I don’t know. I felt something when I first saw you, and I decided to go with it. I have no regrets either.”

She almost smiled and said “OK. Goodnight. I just wanted to make sure you still want me to stay.”

If I wanted you to go, you would know. I want to have breakfast with you, but I need some sleep first. Wake me when the sun comes up.” With a shy smile, she murmured “OK”, closed his door and went back to bed. Mike stayed up, his mind churning with questions he couldn’t ask, trying to find answers that eluded him.

At 6am Mike gave up and got out of bed. He started a pot of coffee, texted work that he was taking some time off and sat back. He went to his bathroom, took two Tylenol for the headache and picked up more for Jill. He was just stirring his coffee when she came out. He silently offered the Tylenol and a cup of coffee. She took them both, and then said, “Go sit. I will make breakfast. That’s an order, not a request. I have to start earning my keep around here.”

Mike went and sat, still silent. He just watched her cook, making some good old-fashioned cinnamon toast and scrambled eggs. “I’m not much of a cook, but it is the best I can do,” she said.

“Looks good to me!” Mike said and began eating. She looked at him and asked him what time he had to be at work. “I’m the boss. I go when I want. I think I might take today off.” He caught her slight smile when he said that. “I have a few things I can do on my laptop, and the rest of the day is ours. What would you like to do?” he asked.

“I would like to relax around the pool for a while, and I have some cleaning around here to do. You have to show me where the vacuum is kept. I am doing the dishes too, so step away.”

Mike got his laptop and started working, not paying attention to the passing time until Jill brought in the vacuum and wordlessly started cleaning. He realized he had been working for several hours and started to move so she could finish in the living room, and they could go out to the pool. Just before he shut off his laptop, he received an email from Maria, short, sweet, to the point. “Preliminary results show that YOU ARE the BROTHER” ala Jerry Springer. He shut down the laptop and put it away. She was almost done with housekeeping, so he just watched as she finished. When it was done, he put the vacuum away as asked, “What’s for dinner, sis?”

She stopped and looked at him as If he had grown a second head. “What?” she quietly asked. He repeated the question. She looked at him, and said “Do you know something I don’t?”

“Well, the preliminary results are in. It looks like you have a brother.”

She stared at him, mouth open, for 30 seconds. Then she collapsed on the couch, laughing and crying at the same time. He walked over and looked down at her. “I can’t tell if you’re happy or sad.”

She looked up at him and punched him in the leg. “My brother is stupid!” she said. “You can’t even tell if I’m happy! What kind of brother are you!”

He began laughing, “Come here and let me give my sister a hug!” She stood up and they squeezed together. He felt tears on his chest, and he felt a rising down below as well. He backed off a bit and began thinking of how much his life had changed in the last three days. He also wondered how he could deal with this beautiful sister of his, because his body was betraying him.

She looked at him and said, “We need to celebrate a little. Where and how is the only question. You figure that out, I’m going to get a shower.” He sat back and thought about things, deciding to take a shower himself while he figured this out. Scrubbing in the shower, he resisted the urge to touch himself and decided exactly where to celebrate. It had to be in public so he wouldn’t do anything stupid, so he knew where he needed to go.

When she came out, clean and sparkling, he was ready to go as well. He pulled out the truck, an almost brand-new Ram four-door, and told her to get in. Down the road they went for a few miles, then stopping at a dingy looking saloon. “Really?” she asked.

“Trust me” he said. Inside, he was greeted by the only person working

“Hey Mike, got another one huh? I told you I was gonna start warning them!” Looking at Jill, he said “Your two weeks have started. Enjoy the ride but know when to get off young lady!”

Jill just stared for a second, then got an evil smile. “I got this one broken!” she said, “He’s never leaving me!” Mike looked at her, and she whispered, “Just roll with it”. Mike ordered two breakfasts and two shots of tequila with an evil smile at her. She said, “Paybacks are a bitch, someone once told me.” Mike found that hilarious.

After breakfast, he said “You wanted to get in the pool, does that still stand?”

“Sure, but we can’t drink too much. I’m just happy for the first time in…well…forever!” They took a slow ride home, just enjoying the day. Mike was starting to get some ideas, but he found he definitely needed to check in at work as well. He asked if she wanted to come with, and she said, “Why not?”.

Once in the door she said, “Nice place. What do you do here?” Mike said, “Just watch”. He waved hello to a few workers and went to the main office. His secretary Linda was there, very pregnant, and said “Hi boss!”.

Jill stopped and looked at him. “Boss? You run this place?”

“Nope. Just own it. It runs itself!” He went into the office with her, and almost immediately his phone buzzed.

“We need to talk, boss” Linda said.

“Come on in” he said and set to checking some emails.

Linda came in, saw Jill, and said “Can we speak alone? This one is personal.”

Jill got up before he could say anything and said, “I will wait outside, no worries.”

“OK Linda, this is only the second time you have ever wanted to speak to me privately in six years, and the first one was to tell me you were pregnant. What now, twins?” he laughed. Linda said, “I know you said I could have two months off after the birth…but…I have some bad news for you. My husband just got a great promotion…but we have to move to Portland Oregon. This is my two week’s notice, boss.”

Mike looked at and said “No. You are working for me through the birth and two months after. If you don’t come back, well, no one knows you told me. In the meantime, who do you suggest take your place. I have a name in mind, but I want your opinion on this.”

Linda said “Seriously, you are going to pay me for two months knowing I’m not coming back? You’re crazy. As to my replacement, you only have one choice. Irene.”

Mike said “Yes, you’re getting paid. You were my first employee, and that counts for something. Also, we agree on Irene. She will start working with you immediately so the transition will be smooth. Please page her to the office. I won’t tell her you are leaving yet. No one needs to know yet.”

Linda got up, awkwardly hugged her boss, told him “I wish I could stay, you’re the best boss ever” and left. Jill came back in, and he motioned her to the corner.

“One more piece of business to transact, and we can leave” he said.

Irene knocked and came in, saw Jill and was startled. “Do I have another mission, Mike?” she said.

“No, something else this time. Linda will be taking baby leave soon, so I need you to drop everything on the other two girls and start working with her immediately. If they have any questions, send them to me. Linda and I both agreed you were the obvious choice. You will also receive a pay bump while you are doing her job.”

“Thanks Mike, I will do the best I can. I thought you were going to fire me for something!” she laughed.

“We can work out the details later, I have some things to do today. I will be in tomorrow, that’s when I’ll fire you!” he said.

She looked over at Jill, concerned. “How are you doing honey? I hope things are getting better for you!”

Jill replied “Things are getting better every day. Thank you for your patience with me, I know I was a handful.”

“No problem…hey, us secretaries were going out Friday after work, would you like to come out with us? You look like you could use a little girl-time.”

Jill glanced over at Mike, and he gave her a small nod. “Sure, just tell Mike when where and I will be there. Sounds like fun!”

“See you then girlfriend. The boss will fire me if I don’t get to work, so I have to go!” Irene said.

Mike and Jill went back to his house, and both got into their swimsuits. Mike pulled out some rum and coke, asking if that was good for her. She readily agreed but insisted on making them. “I don’t want to get too drunk today. This morning was awful.” They both sat in the pool with a drink, making small talk for a while. Mike found out she was a country music fan, which confused him as she was a Boston girl. She said it was her Mother’s influence. Mike remembered listening to music with his mother, and they started talking of their memories of her. Mike’s memories were vague, as most children’s are. Jills memories of early childhood were vague, but happy. When Mike mentioned that his memories stopped at age nine, Jill just looked wistfully at him and said “I wish mine did…” Mike caught on quickly, and as this was supposed to be a happy day, he changed the subject quickly.

“So, you’re going out Friday. What do you want to wear?” She thought for a moment, realizing she didn’t have much, but Mike cut her thoughts short with another idea. “I’m having Irene take you out shopping on Thursday. I will give her the card, you just make your selections. You need a girl with you, not some old man.”

“You aren’t old yet, but I will still go with her. She’s nice. You like her, don’t you?” she said with a slight grin.

“I told you, I don’t dip my wick in the company ink. If she wasn’t so good at her job I would have fired her years ago though….” He said as he stared off a bit. Looking back at Jill, he realized that her smile had faded, replaced by a different look. Was it jealousy? He didn’t know for sure. Maybe she was as conflicted as he was. “Maybe you will find a boyfriend on Friday. You deserve to have some fun you know!” he said.

She laughed, snorting rum and coke out of her nose, then screaming in pain. “Don’t do that! It hurts! And nobody is going to date me, hell, no one has yet. Why start now?” she said.

“You seriously have never had a boyfriend? I can’t believe that.” He said.

“I wouldn’t lie to you about something like that. Never. Not once. Nobody wants to date the weird homeless girl.” She said. Realizing what had come out, she put her head down and began to cry.

“Damn it!” he thought. “Look, I didn’t know any of that. We won’t talk about that today either. Also, let me solve one of your problems. Saturday, young lady, would you do the honor of going to dinner with this old, broken-down gentleman?”

“What? Are you asking your sister on a date?” she said, with a look of surprise on her face.

“Absolutely. My sister has to know how a gentleman should treat her when he takes her out. And if he doesn’t, let me know and I will fix his problems!” he said.

She looked at him, shyly smiling, and said “Then I accept. I have my first date on Saturday!” He retrieved his phone, checked his work, and sent a quick text to Irene. Then he thought of something else.

“You don’t have a phone, do you?” he said.

“No, never have. Mom had one a few years ago, but I never have used one.” She said.

“Get dressed. We need to go shopping. If you’re going out, you have to have a phone. I’ll put you on my plan.” He said. They drove the truck out and stopped at the T-Mobile company store. “Do you know what kind you want?” he asked.

“I have no clue. Get me something similar to yours so that when I have questions you can answer them.” she said. They went into the store and picked out an iPhone for her. Rose gold with a pink cover. He plugged in his number and made sure he had hers as well. He showed her how to make a call, and then they headed home. They ordered some Chinese delivered and sat down on the couch, waiting.

She looked at him and said “I have one more favor to ask. How do I get a job? I can’t live off of you forever. I just can’t.”

“Way ahead of you. But you’re going to have to wait, I need to iron out some details. I’ll let you know soon.”

She smiled with a bit of relief, then looked at him with some concern. “I don’t have a high school diploma. I dropped out at 15, and never went back. I know that can be an issue, and I want to be up front with you.”

“I think I can still help you. Please just be patient for a bit.” He replied.

She let out a sigh, but graced him with a smile. “I don’t deserve you” she said.

“It is I who doesn’t deserve you” he replied. Once dinner was over, they cleaned up and sat back down. “I have to go to work the rest of the week. Irene is taking you out Thursday, but the rest of the week you’ll be alone all day. I wish I could be here more, but I have to do what I have to do. I will leave a set of car keys so you can get out” he said.

She looked at him, and with a weak smile said “I can handle it. I’m already stronger after just a weekend here. Please don’t worry, but there is no reason to leave the keys. I don’t have a valid license anyway.”

He looked surprised, but said “We will rectify that situation as soon as we can. You need to be mobile.”

“Oh, I CAN drive, just not legally!” she said. They watched a movie and went to bed, each with their own thoughts.

In the morning, he got up, made a quick and quiet breakfast, and left. He left the keys to the Subaru on the table, with a note that said “Just in case. Love, Bro”. He got to work, handled a few issues, and then called Irene into his office. “Sit down, we need to negotiate!” he said.

She looked at him, slightly surprised, and said “No biggie, it will only be but a couple of months. I know you will pay me fairly.”

He paused, then said “I have a proposal for you. I want you to let me finish completely before you say anything, then feel free to ask any questions before answering.”

Looking slightly confused, she said “OK…”

“Now, first of all, this isn’t going to be a couple of months. Linda isn’t coming back. This is permanent. Second, I know you know what she makes. I’m going to equal that, starting now. Lastly, the most difficult part. As soon as Linda is gone, I am hiring Jill. She will make base level salary, but she is going to be duct-taped to your hip. You will teach her everything you know. I want her to take your job”. Irene started to speak, but Mike held up his hand. “Please, let me finish. Yes, I want her to take your job. This could take quite a bit of time. During the training time, a 25% Trainer addition will be added to your salary. Also, I don’t want to lose you. Even after she is fully trained, you will keep your salary. You will work in her spot if she is out for any reason, and you will be the senior secretary. I will need weekly progress reports every Friday. She needs this, Irene. She needs to value herself.” Mike stopped talking and looked at her with questioning eyes.

Irene took a deep breath. “This is weird, training my replacement if you will. But I like her and I love working here. I would really like this in writing, however. A girl has to protect herself, doesn’t she?”

“Your next task is to write this out. We will look at it tomorrow and if we both agree, we sign it. Also, don’t tell Linda I said she was leaving. She wants that to be secret.”

She smiled and shook his hand. “We have a deal!”

“One more thing” he said, “she will need some elegant clothes for this weekend. Make sure of that when you take her out shopping. Don’t let her tell you ‘No’ about anything. She needs elegant clothes, some work suits, and some everyday items. She gets them, and you may have to force her. Please.”

“I got this Mike. I know how to talk to her, and we will get everything PLUS!” she giggled. Mike put his head down, saying “I’m going to be broke after this…” as Irene sashayed out, still laughing.

Mike went home, and she had made dinner. Mac and cheese with some hot dogs. Not one to complain, Mike praised it like it was fine cuisine. She looked at him like he was insane and laughed along. They sat down and watched a movie after dinner. She sat close to him on the couch and snuggled in after the movie started. By the time it was half over, she was sleeping. Mike stared at her, realizing just how attractive she was, then feeling guilty. He gently woke her up and led her to her bed. After he laid her down, he went to kiss her forehead. She tilted her head and it became a kiss. A real kiss. After way too long, he thought, she let loose and looked up at him, smiling. “Good night sweet prince” she giggled.

He reddened, standing up. “Have a wonderful night, Jill.”

He went to bed, still reeling from that kiss. He had noticed that the entire house had been cleaned, all the laundry done, everything. “Damn” he thought “A fella could do a lot worse for a wife”. He then banished that thought from his mind, and started thinking of Saturday, making plans in his mind.

In the morning, when the alarm went off, he quietly got up, showered, and crept out so he wouldn’t wake her up…and promptly smelled breakfast. He had forgotten his alarm again. She was up and had made biscuits and gravy. “Wow, you cook so much better than I do” he said.

She blushed and said “Liar” as she began cleaning the mess.

“No, seriously, I can’t make this that well. I don’t know what you did, but it is outstanding!” he said.

She turned and said “Don’t patronize me. That is the only thing I really know how to make.”

“AAARGH!” he cried, “I’ve stepped on myself again. I was just giving you a complement. Please don’t be so defensive. I want to see you smiling, not plotting my demise!”

She looked down, and quietly said “I haven’t been given many complements until I came here. Give me some patience too. Please.”

He softened and picked up her hand and said “You’re going to have to get used to it. You amaze me more every day. I saw everything you did yesterday, you worked harder than I did. Slow down. You have to start a real job on Monday. Take a break.”

Her head flew up, hand to her mouth “Really? Are you serious? Who am I working for, McDonalds?”

He started laughing, holding her hand still. “Jill Parnell, would you do me the honor of working for me? I promise to pay you fairly, no family discounts.”

She stared at him “What in the hell am I going to do for you? I don’t know anything. I don’t want a pity job!”

He squeezed her hand, quieting her and said “This is no pity job. You will be training, and I expect you to work hard. You will start at entry-level pay. If you don’t work at it, you will have to go find something else on your own, kiddo.”

She listened and nodded “You know I will work, Mike. For you, anything.” He looked at her, believing her. He could see the determination in her eyes.

“I know I won’t have to fire you for not trying. I just want you to understand that I really want this to work too” he said.

She smiled and began to herd him out the door “If you don’t get to work soon, the boss will fire you!” He laughed, leaving her smiling in the doorway.

“I could get used to this” he said out loud, to no one.

That day was a rough one at work. He was starting an LLC with a PI firm, allowing for seamless integration between his cyber security, personal investigations, and physical security as well. They had been planning this for some time, but snags always come up. His PI friend, Tony Alvarez, was the one who had checked Jill’s documentation. “Tony, I have a favor to ask” Mike said.

“Anything, my friend, you know me” said Tony.

“The secretaries are going out Friday night, and they are taking Jill. I would like some physical security to follow then, discreetly of course. I think I’m being paranoid, but better safe than sorry” said Mike.

Tony thought for a second, then said “I have the guy for you. Looks like a regular guy, but he was Special Forces. He can kill you with a melon baller!” he laughed.

Mike said “I’ll pay the normal fees, you won’t be out any money. Just keep all the girls from getting molested, unless they want to of course!”

Once Mike got home, he went looking for Jill. She was out by the pool, getting some sun. She was wearing a bra and panty set, but the bra was undone and the panties pulled tightly into her butt to maximize the sun coverage. She obviously didn’t know he was home. He quietly went and changed, putting on his swimsuit. He quietly opened the door and cannonballed into the water, drenching the unsuspecting Jill. “What the fuck!” she screamed, raising up off of her chair. Mike just froze, staring. She was topless, and her wet underwear might as well have been missing too, as they were virtually invisible. She screamed at him laughing, until she suddenly realized why he was staring. “Oh! Shit! Shit! Shit!” as she tried to cover herself and ran in to the house.

Once he recovered his senses, he slowly walked in. “Jill, I’m coming in!” he yelled. She was in her room. He gave her a few minutes and knocked.

“Be right out” she said.

“Well, at least she doesn’t seem to angry “he thought. When she came out, dressed in a t-shirt and shorts, she growled at him with a smile “Paybacks are a bitch, and you are getting paid double!” Then she looked closer, smiled at him slyly and said “I guess when you call me beautiful you really mean it” looking down at his swimsuit.

He looked down and went red. Hard as a rock. “I guess that’s fair, you did show me yours” he said. It was her turn to blush.

“Can we get some takeout for dinner, I don’t want to cook” she said, trying to change the subject. He nodded his agreement and went to his bedroom to change. Once everyone was “calm”, they decided on fish-and-chips and went out to get some.

Once in the car, she looked at him, blushing again, and said “At least I know that you think I’m pretty now.”

He said, “I’m sorry, sometimes things just happen”.

She said “I am choosing to take it as a complement. You said I needed to be more gracious about that!” Laughing, the tension between them broken, they proceeded to order their food and bring it home.

After they ate and cleaned up, she let out a long belch. He stared as she said “Not sorry, just satisfied!” “You never cease to amaze me” he said. “Just surprise after surprise from you.”

“And all of them are FABULOUS!” she exclaimed, laughing and grabbing him, hugging him tight. “You make me feel safe. I’ve never felt that since I was a little girl. You probably don’t understand, but one day I will tell you. I need to be more…happy with myself…before I can do that.” She put her head down and burrowed into his shoulder. He held her for a few minutes, then began to move back. She looked up at him and gave him a kiss. One just like the earlier on, on the lips, and with passion. This time she waited for him to break it.

She looked up at him, smirking, and said “You’re doing it again”. He looked down and cursed under his breath, moving back from her. She began laughing and stepped back. Eyes sparkling, she said “I knew you liked me, but….”

He blushed and said “That thing does what it wants. Remember, it’s a complement!” They laughed a bit, and then he said, “Time for bed for me”.

She said, “Something you need to take care of?”

He blushed yet again. “No. Just have things to do tomorrow.”

“Suuuure” she laughed as she went into her room. He noted that she was no longer locking her door. “What to think about that?” he mused. It took him some extra time to find sleep that night.

Meanwhile, she was in her room not sleeping either. She was wondering what had happened out there. “Oh no. No. No. Was this what love felt like?” She knew it wasn’t right. She also knew that something had changed within her. She was confused beyond words, but eventually sleep found her.

It was Thursday. Just a work day for him, but for Jill, it was shopping day. Irene texted her “I’ll be there at 9, be ready!” At 9 am on the dot, Irene pulled up in her Jeep. Jill stepped out, locking the door behind her. “OK girlfriend, we have work to do. I’ve made a list of places to go, let’s get started!” said Irene. Down the road they went, starting at the mall. They bought shirts, skirts, shorts, pants, slacks and spent some at Victoria’s Secret as well.

Towards the end of the day, Irene pulled into a different store. They went in, and Irene said loudly called out “Vinny!! Where are you!!” An older gentleman came out of the back at broke into a grin.

“Irene! You can’t need new clothes already, you just bought some!”

“Vinny, meet Jill. She needs the complete setup. Hook her up my man!” Vinny invited her to a pedestal and began to take measurements.

“Hey, no touching” Jill said.

Irene spoke quickly “He has to have accurate measurements. Besides, he plays for the other team, you have nothing to worry about.” Jill looked confused, but she had some trust for Irene. She allowed Vinny to take her measurements, but didn’t relax until he was complete.

“I have just the thing for you my dear!” Vinny said. He pulled out eight different outfits. She tried each one on, and he had to touch her again as he marked them for tailoring. “Don’t be so tense young lady. You are beautiful, but I would prefer your boss if you get my drift!” Vinny said as he worked. The light went on for Jill, and she relaxed and even giggled a bit.

“Sorry Vinny, I’m just not used to this. I’ve never had a tailored outfit in my life.”

Vinny stood and looked her in the eye “And you’ll never have a finer one than mine!” he proclaimed, and Irene began laughing at him.

“Vinny, they are great, but…”

“Don’t listen to her, she is jealous because I am making you finer clothes that hers!” Vinny laughed.

As the girls walked to the car, Jill looked at Irene and asked, “Why do I need these?”

Irene, not wanting to spoil the surprise, said “I just do what Mike tells me to. You would have to ask him. One more stop and we’re are done!”

The girls pulled up to a dress shop. Jill looked over at her, raised an eyebrow, and said “You probably can’t tell me why we’re here either”.

“Nope. Just doing my job” Irene said with a smile. They went in and picked out several dresses. There were female tailors here, and she was fitted with three by the time they left. Irene looked at her, noting that she wasn’t smiling anymore. “What’s wrong Jill? You look upset.”

“I just don’t understand why he’s doing all this for me. I’m confused about him in so many ways. I just don’t know what to think right now” Jill said.

Irene looked at her and said “Look. He is the guy I measure all others by. If I could get him, I’d marry him. He’s got it bad for you dear. I see it in his eyes. You best do all you can to land that fish, because otherwise you’ll be like me, looking for a unicorn and finding nothing.”

Jill began to smile, thinking of how confused she was but feeling good about it anyway. “He’s got it bad for me, huh. I don’t know about that, but…”

Irene broke in “He follows you everywhere you go with his eyes. He laughs when he’s around you, but rarely any other time. He details his subordinates to take care of you when he can’t be there! He’s got it really bad, girl. He may not even know, but he does.”

The girls came home, bringing a pizza for dinner with them. Mike got home minutes later, so they all got some hot slices. Irene finished eating, then looked at Jill in her eyes, shifting them back at Mike. Of course, Mike was staring at Jill. Irene began to laugh and said “Time for me to go. I’ll pick you up tomorrow at 7 for some fun!”

Jill said, “See you tomorrow, we have some things to discuss!”

Mike watched Irene walk out, looked at Jill and asked, “What was that all about?”

“Just girl talk, don’t worry Mikey!” Jill replied. Mike sighed, knowing he’d never find out. After they cleaned up, they watched another movie. This time, Jill snuggled right away. He put his arm around her and, almost instantly, the rest of the world faded away. It was just him and her, and the world seemed right.

When the movie was over, she had to wake him this time. “Mikey, bedtime. Come on, let’s go.” He walked to his bedroom and watched her walk into hers.

“Damn. Life is so good and so complicated at the same time” he thought. He knew things were evolving, but he couldn’t yet see the end. He drifted off to sleep, his last thoughts of her.

Mike woke up to breakfast again. “You’re spoiling me” he said as he walked to the kitchen. She was cooking some bacon, and he slid his arms around her and kissed her neck.

She said, “You have to let me go unless you like your bacon black!” He let go and sat down, watching as she cooked. She finished, turned around and blushed. “Hey now, I’m just a fry cook. You have better things to stare at”.

He looked at her and said “Nope.” They laughed, ate their breakfast, then he went to work. She sat at the table, wondering what she was going to do. She finally decided that it would work itself out, and she got to work on the house. She was deep cleaning every room, and she was almost done.

Mike went to work feeling like a lovesick schoolboy. He didn’t even realize he was at work until he had parked. He walked in and went to his office, trying to focus on work. He didn’t notice that Irene came in until she began talking. “Mike, what’s up? You aren’t paying attention to anything today. Where’s your head at? Is something wrong? You’ve got me worried.”

Mike looked up at what had been his dream girl, and now she was just a girl to him. “Irene, I’ve got a problem you can’t help me with. I would love to explain it to you, but I think it would cause us problems. I can’t lose you from here, I don’t know…” Mike trailed off, unable to speak.

Irene immediately came around the desk and pulled his chair out, pulling him to his feet. She looked him in the eyes and said “It’s Jill, isn’t it.” She saw the truth and the fear pass through his eyes before he looked away. She pulled him close and gave him a hug. “Mike, she’s into you as well. I know, she won’t admit it. There is a lot she isn’t saying, but I am sure of one thing. You guys make a great couple, and you both want it.”

Mike’s eyes went wide, then he asked, “Did she say something to you about it?”

“No, she didn’t have to. It’s obvious” Irene said.

Mike put his head in his hands. “This can’t happen. It can’t.”

Irene, confused, looked at him. “Why?” she asked. “If you’re both happy, what is the issue?”

“I can’t tell you. Just believe me, it can’t happen” he moaned into his hands. He picked his head up, looked at Irene and said “Why couldn’t have been you? I would’ve fired you, then married you.”

Irene, blushing, said “I hoped you would for a few years. I know it won’t happen now, but I hoped.”

Mike looked at her, calming down “You need to go get ready for your girl’s night. I’ll be ok. Go, have fun.”

Mike dug into work for the rest of the day, trying to forget his problems. He wanted to finish some things, so he was working when his phone rang. “Jill” was the tag on his phone. Taking a deep breath, he answered “Hello?”

“I will be leaving in an hour, I hope you’ll be home before I leave” she said.

“I didn’t realize how late it was, I’m sorry. I will leave in just a couple of minutes” he said.

“I will leave your dinner in the oven so it stays warm. See you soon!” she rang off. He pulled himself together, logged out of his computer, and left.

When he came in, he smelled something different. “Mmmmm, smells good” he said. She turned in from the kitchen and Mike’s eyes bugged out. She had on a LBD, tight and deep cut, cut high enough on her hips to show their perfect shape, with two-inch heels. “Who are you, and why are you in my house?” Mike said smiling.

She blushed and looked down, “Do I look nice in this?”

“Oh, nice is not the word. Hot, smokin’, amazing, and a few others, but not nice” he said as he tried not to openly leer at her.

She ran and gave him a hug. He looked down at her and realized she was perfectly made up as well. She laughed and said “I had a makeup tutorial yesterday. Did I do it right?” ”

You’re going to need a big stick to beat the guys away. A VERY big stick” he said.

“Come on, Mike. I’m going out with three other hot chicks. I will just be the wallflower” she said, looking down and still blushing.

Mike thought “I seriously doubt that…” just as the doorbell rang.

Irene was there with two other girls. “This is Sherri and Penny. They are the secretarial gals I told you about. Girls, this is Jill.”

Penny looked and whistled. “Wow Jill, Irene didn’t tell us a model was coming with us!”

Jill laughed, looked at Irene and said, “Are we stopping to pick up Cindy Crawford?”

Irene was the redhead, Penny had long black hair with a fairly average body and the face of an angel. Sherri was of mixed heritage, and her hair was frizzy and dyed multiple colors. She was clearly the wild one of the group.

“You girls go have fun. I’ll be here when you get home, don’t worry about me” Mike said, shooing them out of the door. He needed some alone time with his thoughts, and that LBD didn’t help anything for him.

The girls all went out, stopping at two places before finding one they liked. Penny was the DD that night, so she sipped bits of the others girl’s drinks at most. “It’s someone else’s turn next time, so I guess I will just have to deal with you drunk ladies” she said. The girls drank, danced, but mostly talked amongst themselves about work, guys, and such.

Sherri looked at Jill and said “Spill it girl. You’re staying with him, you’re hot, he’s hot. Is he as good in the sack as he looks?”

Jill spit rum and coke out and turned bright red “It’s not like that. I can’t explain it, but it’s not like that!”

“If I lived there for one night, I would know!” cackled Sherri. Irene, sensing some tension in Jill, changed the subject quickly, pointing out some cute guys at the bar.

The girls took to dancing as a group, with each occasionally pairing with a random guy who tried. They were all sent away unhappy, but they tried. One man, dressed in an expensive suit, asked Jill to dance. She turned away from the group, swaying with the music. The next song slowed down, and the man grabbed her and pulled her close. She tried to back away, but he held her with one arm and reached down and squeezed her ass with the other. She began to struggle when someone tapped the man on the shoulder, and as the guy turned, he suddenly started to fly. Jill watched stunned as this small badger of a man beat this man quickly and efficiently.

Irene walked up to him after it was over and said “James, what are you doing here?”

“Working. You never saw me” he said, trying to melt into the crowd.

The bouncers were there, trying to sort out what happened. The girls decided it was time to leave, so they all piled into Penny’s car and left. Jill was in the back seat with Irene, and she looked at her and very sternly asked “Who the fuck is James? Who does he work for?”

Irene, wondering about the change in demeanor, said “He works for Mike’s partner. He’s a vet with some skills, and if he was working, Mike is probably paying him to take care of you. Of us.” Jill silently stared forward for the rest of the ride home.

When they got out, Irene got out with her and walked her to the door “What is wrong Jill? I don’t understand.”

“My brother’s an ass, that’s what’s wrong!” Jill spat, unlocking the door and walking in.

When Irene got back in the car, the full truth of what Jill said dawned on her. “Holy Crap!” she thought “Now I know what their problem is”. Irene didn’t tell anyone else what Jill had said.

Jill walked in, looked around, and positively roared “Where the fuck are you Mike?!” Mike came out of his bedroom, beer in hand, looking absolutely confused. Jill walked straight up to him and swung with a right hook. Mike, stunned, partially blocked it and backed up.

“What the hell did I do this time?” he asked without raising his voice.

She yelled back “I’m not a goddamn baby. I don’t need a goddamn babysitter. You can trust me, I’m not going home with some random guy!”

“Whoa… First explain what you’re talking about, then I can participate in this conversation” Mike said.

“James. Do I need to say anything more?!” she said. Mike finally understood, his security detail had been “made”. Mike’s phone began to ring. He glanced at it, and noted it was Irene. Looking for some clarity, Mike said, “I need to take this” and answered the phone.

“Hello, go for Mike” trying to make it sound like a work call. “Mike, some guy tried to get waaay to handsy with her. James fixed it, but she seems mad. I don’t know why, but we really need to have a talk on Monday. A very personal talk.”

“OK, got it. See you then” Mike said, hanging up. Jill had calmed a little by then, but there was still a fire in her eyes. “Jill, tell me what I did wrong. Please” he said calmly.

She looked at him and said “I’ve been taking care of myself for years! I don’t need a spy! I’m not going to go cheat on you! I won’t be kept under your thumb!” Mike looked at her, hearing more than she knew.

“I have an idea. Things are often much more clear in the morning light. Why don’t we go to bed and discuss this then. And by the way, dinner was delicious!”

She deflated a little bit. “Make you a deal” she said “If you stay out here and watch a movie with me, I won’t try to kill you. Not even a little. Then we can go to bed.”

“Deal” he replied. They watched a mindless comedy, her snuggling in. Mike was trying desperately not to look down the top of her dress and failing.

Mike looked at her halfway through the movie and asked her “Just one question. What did you mean when you said you weren’t going to cheat on me?”

Jill looked up and said “They are all one syllable words. Too complicated for ya?”

Mike dropped it and they finished the movie. He deposited her at her doorway, kissed her forehead, and said “Tomorrow morning, girl”. She smiled and went to bed, but no sleep came for her as her mind was spinning about the events of the day. Mike sat twenty feet away, going through the exact same process.

In the morning, Mike was awoken at 5 am with the phone ringing. Irene again. He answered somewhat thickly “What now”.

“I assume she’s not around now” Irene said.

“No, I told you it wasn’t like that.” Mike replied irritably.

“Shut up. Jill said something last night, and I think I understand your problem. I’ve been up all night, and this can’t wait until Monday. Jill said her brother’s an ass. I assume you’ve seen that ass, probably staring at you in a mirror” Irene said.

Mike was stunned and made guttural noises without words. Irene quickly cut him off “No explanation Mike. You need to know some things. She worships the ground you walk on. You obviously feel the same. I may have fooled around with my brother years ago as a teen, but this is different. You never knew each other, you never met. You don’t get many chances at happiness Mike. If you guys don’t take this, you’ll both regret this forever. I’m not going to let you reply, and I will never tell your secret. Good luck to you both.” With that, Irene hung up.

Mike stayed awake, mind swirling, until 6am. He quietly got up, showered, and made coffee and some English muffins for breakfast. She came out of her bedroom about 7 and joined him at the table.

“Do we really need to talk?” she asked. “I don’t want to ruin tonight.”

“CRAP” he thought. He had forgotten what tonight was. He had a date…with the girl he loved…with his sister.

She saw the look cross his face, looked down and said “It’s ok. You don’t have to take me anywhere. I know I’m not that much fun to be around. I promise I won’t try to punch you again. Just don’t have me babysat. I’m a big girl.”

“Don’t be ridiculous” he said, smiling at her. “I wouldn’t miss this for the world.” She looked up with a slight smile. He looked at her and said “Let’s just forget about last night. Drinking was involved, so things got a bit out of hand. We’re OK”.

They both went about the morning with some laughs, Mike doing some work on his computer and her trying to figure out her smartphone. They had a light lunch of BLTs and after it was clean, Jill looked at him and said “Now. I need to talk. I’m going to try this sober. You get to listen, but please no questions. I’ve let this hang long enough, and you need to know.”

Mike looked at her, somewhat surprised. He took her hand and led her to the couch. “I’m here for you, don’t do anything you don’t want to”.

Jill just looked at him and said “It isn’t about want. I have to. Are you ready for this?”

Mike nodded, and she started. “Mom was never entirely …stable. She always had issues. When I turned 9, she began to get worse. By the time I was 12, we were homeless. We moved often. Her ‘boyfriends’ were just her dealers by then. At 15, I was dropped out of school. One day, the day after my 18th birthday, she called me into the room and told me to ‘do what the man wanted, or he would kick us out’. Yep, my Mom whored me out for sleeping places and drugs. She didn’t stop until she died. One of the guys was almost decent. He took me for a state ID, saying I needed one. He also used me, so he wasn’t truly decent. But I didn’t lie. I have never been on a date. I’m no virgin, but no one has ever loved me. I can honestly say no one has ever made love to me, so I cling to that as my last shred of virginity. Your sister, however, was a whore. Your sister has done things you will never know. Trust doesn’t come easy for me Mike. I can’t explain this, but for some reason I trust you. We haven’t known each other for long, but I trust you. You needed you to know about my life to understand some of my crazy reactions. You need to know what kind of trash your sister has been. You can let me go if you want to, I will understand. I will always think kindly of you, no matter what happens. Are you sure you want to go out with a girl like this Mike? I know it isn’t a real date, but you don’t have to.”

Mike put his finger to her lips. “Stop. We are going out. Your past was horrific for you, but had I known you existed, I would have saved you. No regrets from me.”

Jill looked at him and very softly said “You already saved me.” Both of them had tears rolling down their faces. He hugged her and just held her while she cried.

Finally cried out, they just snuggled on the couch. At about 4pm, he looked at her and said “You only have three hours to get ready. Dress up, we are going to paint the town red tonight”.

She looked up “Are you sure? You don’t have to”.

“Never more sure of anything in my life” he said.

She slowly stood up, looked at the clock, and said “Shit! Irene will be here any minute. She’s doing my makeup. I will be in the shower!”

When Irene arrived, she looked around. “Where is she?” she asked.

“Showering” he said. There was an awkward silence, the Irene looked at him and said “I meant everything I said this morning. I won’t say any more about it, but you have to know that I meant it”.

He smiled at her and said “I know. I just have to wrap my head around this. I don’t know what to do, but we will figure it out somehow.”

Just then Jill’s door opened and she came out in a towel. “Good, you’re here. I can never get the eye shadow right!” They laughed and went in the bedroom as Mike went to get ready.

“Jill, you said something last night. Something I have to ask you about” Irene said as she worked on her eyes.

“Ummm, Ok” Jill said.

“You said your brother was an ass. You were talking about Mike, weren’t you?” Irene said. Jill’s had flew up to her mouth, and quickly Irene grabbed it. “Look, girl, no judgement here. I already asked Mike and he verified it. Now, you need to shut up and listen to me. Remember when I told you he had it bad for you? He still does. I know you care for him too. I told him this same thing: We don’t get many chances at this. You guys are perfect together. Nobody knows but me, and I’m not telling. My brother and I fooled around as teens, it isn’t a strange as you think. You guys just met, it’s a totally different situation. Do the right thing, wrong or not”

Jill looked up at her and was still stunned by this entire pronouncement. “Look Irene, I don’t know what you think is going on, but we aren’t like that.”

Irene looked at her and smiled “Not yet. Now, let’s make you look even more fabulous!”

Mike cleaned up and pulled out his best suit. He could hear giggles coming out of Jill’s room, but he smiled knowing they were having fun. He made sure his look was as good as it could get before he walked out to wait in the living room.

At 6:30, the door opened. Irene came out and proclaimed, “Bow down before the royal princess Jill, and prepare to be stunned!” Jill walked out in a blue dress (perfectly matched to her eyes), deep cut, silver three-inch heels, and Mike was speechless. “Gob-smacked. That’s the word for you today” Irene said.

Mike could do nothing but nod his head. Irene looked at him and said “The car arrives in 10 minutes, close your mouth and learn to talk before then. I’m outta here. Jill, treat him like he treats you. You guys have fun!”

Irene walked out, and Mike just stared for a minute. Jill, nervously, said “Do I look OK?” Mike looked at her and said “No. You look OK in dirty clothes with no shower for days. Today, you look …. Words fail me now. I can’t describe just how amazing you look.”

Jill blushed at him and said “You clean up pretty nice yourself. I guess the paparazzi are going to have a field day with us tonight!”

Mike laughed and said, “I doubt they’ll be there for me, but they will definitely be taking your picture!” The limo pulled in the drive, and Mike looked at her and said “Ready, m’lady?” as he took her arm. Jill nodded her assent as they got in.

Mike slipped the driver a Benjamin and said, “You know the itinerary, right?” “Yes sir, we are on our way. The champagne is chilled.”

They drove out, Mike served the champagne without the cork flying everywhere. She looked at him, smiling, and said “Is this how all dates go?”

Mike said “Only the best ones. You are getting the top shelf experience tonight.” She laughed, and they settled in with small talk as the ride went along. Mike kept telling her how nice she looked, and she kept telling him he was foolish. Forty-five minutes later, they pulled up to a restaurant.

She got out and looked frightened. “I have never been to anything even close to this. I don’t know how to act”.

“Just be yourself. You’re perfect, and we are going to enjoy this” Mike replied.

Once seated, with a drink ordered, the waiter came with the menu. Jill opened it and started laughing “I don’t actually know what any of this is! It isn’t even English!”

Mike smiled and said “This is a real Italian place. If you like, I can order for you. I know some of what you like.”

She looked at him, relieved “Please do. I don’t know how to say any of these words!”

When the waiter returned, Mike said some words that Jill knew to be Italian sounding, but with no idea of what he was ordering. The waiter took her menu and smiled down at her “Bella, you are” as he walked away. She almost called after him, reconsidered, and looked at Mike.

“My name is Jill. Why did he call me Bella?”

Mike smiled and said “Bella is Italian for beautiful. Told you.” Jill blushed bright at that. They talked until the food came.

Jill looked at her dish after the waiter left and said, “Just so I know…what is this?” Mike said “That is tortellini pasta in an alfredo type sauce with shrimp. I think you’ll like it. I know it doesn’t look like much, but that is just the first course. We have two more to go.”

Jill looked up at him, with a tear in her eyes. “What?” Mike asked.

“What did I ever do to deserve you?” she asked.

Mike looked at her and said “I ask myself the same question every day since you showed up. I truly don’t deserve you. Now, eat up, it tastes better warm!”

After a few bites, she looked up at him “This is truly the food of the gods. I’ve never eaten anything this good!” They began talking about the food, ignoring the elephant once more.

The second course was Chicken Parmesan which also amazed her. The final course was simple, just some Italian bread with peppers and oil. He had picked that knowing it was messy and knowing they would be full. She carefully dipped the bread, worried about staining her dress.

He asked if she was full, and she said “Bursting. I’m about to split this dress open”.

He laughed and said, “The waiter would take that instead of a tip!”

“What’s next?” she asked.

Smiling, he nodded his head no. “Surprises are more fun” he said.

When everything was paid and they were ready, they walked out to the waiting limo. They drove to a playhouse, where she looked up and saw “The Book of Mormon”.

“I didn’t know you were a religious nut” she said. He smiled, wanting her to get the full experience. Once the show started, she began laughing and never really stopped until it was over. He spent more time listening to her laugh than watching.

When it was over, they got back in the limo. “Now what?” she asked.

“What more can I do to make this night perfect?” he asked. She just stared at him. “What?” he asked.

“If this is how regular dates end, TV has been lying to me my whole life” she said. “In the movies, the limo ride home is usually where the girl gets her guy”. Mike just stared back now, not really believing what she was trying to say.

“Damn it Mike! Kiss me before I chicken out too!” she said. It started slow and gentle, but soon turned into full blown passion. Once they pulled back to breathe, he looked in her eyes. “Tonight we are on a date, and it will end spectacularly” she stated. “No going back, no regrets. I see how you look at me, because it’s the same way I look at you. Got it mister?”

He sat back, looked in her eyes, and said “I can’t understand it…but I’m going to roll with it.”

Once home, he opened the door for her and escorted her into the house. She looked up at him and said “Your bed is bigger than mine” with a smile on her face.

He looked down and said “We have all night for this. I’m going to take every second of this slowly, and I can promise you will enjoy it. Before we do anything, I have to say this. If I do anything you don’t like, don’t want, or you just want to stop just say so. I will never hurt you, that I promise.”

“I know” she said “that’s why we can. You are the only one I trust. Please show me how making love feels…”

He started kissing her, slowly and gently. He moved down to her neck and ears, finding that her neck was a good place for her. His hand moved to the zipper on her dress, and he looked at her once more “Last chance to back out before anything happens.”

“If you stop now I’m beating you to death” she replied.

“Out of fear for my life, I shall continue to please my queen!” he laughed. As the zipper slowly came down, he felt the smooth skin of her back. He began to pull the dress over her left shoulder as he kissed his way down. When he found her breast, she began to blush. “These are perfect” he said, taking the nipple in his mouth. They were small, pink and puffy. He found the delicious and said so.

She was just stroking his skin wherever she could find it, not really knowing what to do. “Jill, tonight is all about you. Forget me. I am going to make love to you, and you will enjoy it. Let me be, let me do this for you” he said softly. She moaned her acceptance as her dress puddled at her feet. He stopped, pulled back, and stared. She was wearing black stockings, garter belt, and a black-and-blue g-string. Nothing else. “You are truly the most beautiful creature ever created” he said, moving back to her with hunger in his eyes.

The blush got deeper, and she was positively glowing as he picked her up and carried her back to his bed. He put her down and began at her feet, suckling her toes and kissing. He slowly went up each leg, calves, knees on each side. When he got to her thighs, he gently spread them apart and began kissing her underwear, up and down. They were wet long before he got there, but when he pulled back they were soaked. He picked up his head and grabbed the strings on the side, bringing her legs together as he pulled them down. “Smart enough to put them on after her stockings!” he thought. When they were off, she opened her legs. “Bald. Nice” he said.

“Irene made me” she giggled “and I’m glad I listened!” He kissed his way back up her legs and kissed her on top of her slit. She moaned, looked at him, and said “Another first for you. No one has ever done that to me before.”

“So…no pressure huh?” he laughed. He began licking around her outer lips and slowly moving to the inside. “Delicious” he lifted his head to say before dropping back down and continuing. She was going insane on the inside…she had never felt such pleasure, and she knew it wasn’t over yet. She could only moan and gasp as he continued. He found her clit with his tongue and curled his tongue around it. She began bucking and gasping, and he held on for dear life. She squeezed his head and was suffocating him at the same time before finally pushing him away.

He looked up at her, and she said, “Promise me to never stop doing that!” She was grinning broadly, flushed and gasping for air. It was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. He kissed his way up to her breasts, then her mouth. After giving her a minute, he began to spread her legs. He looked up with a question in his eyes, and she just nodded. “Go slow. Please” she said.

He moved up and felt the electricity as he touched her for the first time. He put the tip in and began moving very slowly back and forth, creeping in very slowly. He was watching her face as the pleasure began to overtake her. Once he was all of the way in, he rested for a second, allowing her to get used to him. Then he pulled almost all the way out before moving all the way back in, her moaning and whimpering.

They set up a rhythm, and he suddenly had a thought. “Are you safe?” he asked.

“Got the shot. Irene. Don’t stop” she moaned back at him.

They picked up speed, she began to moan and thrash at the same time he emptied into her. When they came down, he gave her a kiss on the forehead. “I’ve been missing out on a lot” she said, smiling “we have some catching up to do.”

He just looked at her and said, “I told you that you were perfect.”

They drifted off to sleep holding each other. He woke up after about an hour, bladder bursting so he extricated himself from her arms and went to the toilet. Finishing, he turned and found her looking at him.

“My turn” she said, blushing again. “Can we move to my bed? There is a huge wet spot that makes this one cold. I have NO idea how it got there!” she laughed. They both went to her room and slept the rest of the night.

In the morning, they woke up and she looked at him embarrassed but happy. “So…. Is this going to be a thing or not” she said.

“Oh, it’s already a thing. I think it’s much more than a thing, though. I don’t know what to call it, but I would like to point out how serious this is. I can’t imagine my life without you in it anymore” he said.

She grabbed him and hugged him. “Good” was all she said. She pulled back and said “We are going to have to stop long enough to shower. I smell like a goat!”

He pointed at her bathroom and said “You go there, I will go to mine so nothing happens. We have all day you know!” After she went in the shower, he heard her phone buzz. He looked at it. Irene, just one word. “Well??”

He took his shower and got out, moving to the kitchen to make coffee. He was trying to decide on breakfast when his phone buzzed. Irene. “Of course” he thought. “Well??” He decided he wasn’t going to reply yet.

He had just started some cinnamon rolls when she came out of her bedroom, clean, wet hair, and totally nude. He stared, totally entranced. She laughed him, saying “I’m glad you’re making breakfast. You can’t fry bacon nude, it’s too dangerous!”

He began to laugh and scooped her up. “I promise I will never make you do that. I wouldn’t want to scar you for life!” he said as he looked in her eyes.

She looked up, shyly, and said “Irene wants to know what happened. Should I tell her?”

“Up to you. I know she knows all about us. I trust her not to tell. She texted me too” he said.

“I feel like I’m going to burst. I want to tell everyone! I will settle for telling her though” she said.

Once the rolls were ready, they began eating. Icing dripped off, falling on her breast. “Oh no, I’ve made a mess. Whatever shall I do?” she said, eyes sparkling.

He waggled his eyebrows and said, “I’ll take care of that for you!” as be bent forward and licked it off, then continued down to the nipple.

“Oh….I think breakfast might have to wait!” she said, dragging him to the carpet in the living room. She pushed him down, noting how excited he already was. She said, “I’m going to do all the work, you just lay here and take it like a man!”

She got above him and crouched down, eyeing his very erect cock. She grabbed and took some experimental licks. “I’ve never wanted to do this before. Strangely, I want to now. You just shut up and deal” she said. She moved slowly, but she got more and more of it into her mouth. Finally she stopped, looked at him and said “We will have to continue this later. I need this somewhere else!” She climbed over him and slowly dropped down until it was all the way in. “My God this is amazing” she said and began rising and falling in a slowly increasing rhythm. She began moving with almost violence, trying to get every millimeter of him in her.

Finally, he looked up gasping and said, “I can’t take it anymore!” He started spurting, and she began her own orgasm as well. After they caught their breath, she giggled “That was a waste of a shower.” He just smiled, enjoying the sound of her laughter.

She got off of him, leaving him a mess, and walked to her bedroom. “Shower number two today!” she said as she disappeared around the corner. He got up and wiped himself down, taking a quick rinse in the shower as well. His phone rang when he got out of the shower, and he answered it. Irene, of course.

“Well Mike?” was all she said.

He laughed and replied “Yeah.”

“Well, I got more for you, but you have to wait until Monday. It’s all part of the same thing though. I’m glad to see you can close the deal FINALLY!” she said. “I won’t hold you, I know you have a LONG HARD day ahead of you!”

“Goodbye Irene” he said, hanging up laughing. He put on shorts and a tee shirt and went out to the real world.

When she came out, dressed this time in shorts and a tee shirt as well, he said “I like your other outfit better”.

“Well, things are a little sore, I think I got a bit too excited, so you have to wait for a bit now” she said with a grin.

The rest of the morning passed without incident, and after a light lunch, they decided to go swimming. He put on his trunks and waited in the pool. When she came out, his chin hit his feet. She was wearing the smallest bikini he had ever seen! A tiny blue micro bikini that appeared to be spray-painted on. “Either you like it, or you are trying to catch flies. Which one?” she asked with a smile.

He stumbled with words, making noises until finally just saying, “You. Like you. In that.”

She began laughing and sat at the edge of the pool. “Question time, Mike. Why? Why me? I’m skinny. I’m flat-chested. My face is funny-looking, and I have white straw for hair. What is it you like about me?”

Mike held up a finger to give himself a minute. “You are thin, not skinny. Your breasts are small, but amazing, your face is amazing. Your lips are the lips people get collagen injections for, your eyes are a pool I could swim in, your button nose is amazingly cute. You have the pure white blond hair that girls try to bleach their hair in to, but yours is natural and soft. You have the warmest soul for someone who has been shit on by life. I can’t imagine life without you right now.”

Jill slid in to the pool and grabbed him around his neck. “I won’t leave until you tire of me” she said.

“Then you’ll never leave” he said.

They played in the pool until dinner, hands going all over but nothing more. Once they got out, she went to her room to change and Mike followed.

“What?” she said.

He said, “I have to help you out of that entirely too restricting garment!” as he waggled his eyebrows. She moved in for a kiss, and while that happened be began undoing all the ties on her suit. She was quickly naked, and he began taking inventory of what was there. “Left boob, perfect nipple, Mmmm……right boob, another perfect nipple, mmmmm…flawless skin, and look at this down here! This is the most beautiful pussy on the planet….time to kiss this!”

She was glowing with pleasure as he kissed, licked, and tongued her. She pulled him up, kissed him, and pushed him to the bed.

“My turn” she said. She pulled off his trunks and grabbed him. “This time we’re going to finish” she said, then opened her mouth and took him in. She began to go down, farther and farther until her lips were buried in this groin. Mike couldn’t speak words, but his groaning made her sure he was enjoying this. Up, down her head went, and he began to jerk. He tried to push her off, but she refused and kept going. “NNNNGGAH!” he said, unleashing down her throat. He finally had to push her away, saying “Too much, need a break, can’t take this!”

She smiled at him, licking her face clean. “So, did I pass the audition?” she said.

“I don’t know….I’m going to need to try that a few million more times to make a definite decision”, he said. “That was absolutely amazing. I haven’t been with thousands of girls, but I’ve never felt anything like that ever before.”

She smiled, blushing, and said “I was inspired. It was all you.”

Mike pulled her up to him and kissed her. “I……I love you” he said, looking in her eyes.

“I hope so…because I love you too!” she replied. “I never knew what love was like, caring was like, what it was like to be loved until I came here. You are an amazing person, Mike. Without you, I’d be lost” she said, snuggling into his chest.

Dinner was a simple affair, and they curled up to watch a movie. This had become an almost nightly event, and they both enjoyed the closeness while it lasted. Finally, when it was over, he looked at her and said, “Time for bed, you have to work tomorrow.” They walked hand-in-hand to her room, as his bed was still a mess. They stripped down and climbed in, holding each other as they drifted off.

Monday morning they had a quick breakfast. Once done, he looked at her and told her to dress in one of her business suits.

“Are you making me CEO already?” she asked with a grin.

“No, but I can think of a lot of positions I would like you in!” he said with a leering smile.

“Stop, we have to work!” she said over her shoulder as she went to change.

They went in together, and they were somewhat early. He brought her into his office and sat her down. “I know you want a job. I don’t want to give you that. I want to give you a career. I want you to be able to support yourself if necessary, I want you to be independent” he said.

She looked up, tears in her eyes, and said, “But I thought you wanted me to stay with you.”

“That isn’t the point. I do, I really do. But I want you to stay because you want to, no because you have to.”

She began to understand and gave him a quick hug. “I know we can’t be obvious here in the office. I appreciate what you’re doing for me. I get what you’re saying, and I hope you mean it.”

“I mean everything I say. Now, you are going to learn to be an executive secretary starting today. You will be working with Irene, and she will be teaching you what you need to know. We are also going to get you in some adult education classes to get your GED, and then we can work on college. One thing at a time. I am starting you at the bottom of the pay scale, and as you show what you can do the rate will rise. This will all be done as business decisions, no personal feelings allowed, and if it gets in between us I will do whatever is necessary to make things work. Do you accept this position?”

“If you don’t treat me right, can I complain to the owner?” she said with a twinkle in her eye.

“No. I here he’s a real dick anyway” he laughed.

“Well, I accept your terms anyway. How can I say no to you?” she said.

Irene knocked on the door and came in. She saw them sitting and looking at each other, and she said, “Hey girl, quit ogling the boss and get to work!” Jill blushed bright red and Irene just grinned. “Look, I’m happy for you both, but it’s work time! Mike, you have an appointment at 9 with Tony, I think the documents are almost ready to sign.”

“Good!” Mike said.

“Can I talk to you alone for a sec?” Irene asked.

Jill said, “I will go pull up a chair to be at your desk.”

Irene waited for her to leave, and eyed Mike. “Are you treating her right? ‘Cause if you’re not, I’m going to quit.”

“I hope I am”, Mike said.

“Now for the question I want to ask. Tony Alvarez….is he a good guy? Is he anything close to you? He wants to go out, and I know I don’t work for him, so you’ll allow it I hope” she said.

Mike laughed, “You are free to go out with him. I’ve known him for several years, and he seems like a good guy. Go for it girl!”

“I just wanted to make sure before it became anything. I trust your opinion, and he is easy on the eyes too!” she said.

The day went quickly, and the agreement for the LLC was signed by the end of the day. Mike finally pushed his chair back at 6pm and decided it was time to go home. He stepped out and told the girls it was time to shut it down for the day. “So, how did it go today?” he asked.

“Great!” said Irene. “You have a smart one here. I show her once and I’m done!”

Jill smiled, “I just have a great teacher”.

Irene said, “One more thing before you go, and it has to be alone in your office.”

They went in and closed the door. “First, she really is smart. She picks things up quickly and easily. This won’t last as long as you think. Second, I need to show you some things that Tony pointed out to me. This is big, boss” she said, opening a folder.

“I’ve seen her documentation Irene. What is so important about this?”

“Look closely at the birth certificate, and then look at yours. You’ll see it for yourself” she said. It took a minute, then he noticed….and the implications became clear as well.

“DNA doesn’t lie Irene. She is my sister” he said.

“Not according to the paperwork. The maiden name on your birth certificate doesn’t match. So in the eyes of the law….” Irene let it drop off.

“Thank you” Mike said.

“Anything for my favorite boss and best girl! She’s really a good person Mike. Take care of her”, Irene said.

They walked out and Mike said, “Time to go, I’m hungry and its been a long day.”

Mike kept the information to himself, as he had some real thinking to do. The week went by quickly, as they were both busy during the day and kept each other up at night. Friday afternoon, Irene came in and closed the door. “Conference time Mike. You wanted weekly updates.”

“I have a few minutes for this. How is she doing?” he asked.

“I told you she was smart…I just didn’t realize how smart. I am going to start leaving her alone for breaks next week. She can handle it. This kid is going to put me out of a job sooner rather than later!”

“I know there is much more for her to learn. Don’t kid yourself” he said.

“She is already as good as Penny is. Seriously, she is good. I also want you to know Tony and I are going out this weekend, just as full disclosure. If there isn’t anything else, I need to start getting ready!” Irene said.

“Let’s go home. I may need your help again this week with something, but it will be undercover work” he said.

“BOSS! I just told you I’m dating someone else!” she laughed.

Mike looked at her, blushing a little. “I need you to find out something for me. I can’t ask her and there is no one else who could.”

He filled her in on the details and she agreed, only saying “I’m proud of you.”

The weekend went by only too quickly for them. They only got out of bed to eat, gaining energy for their activities. Mike was continually amazed by her transformation from timid to self-assured. They began trying every position they could think of, and she was open for anything he asked.

Sunday evening, as they lay in bed sweaty and naked, he looked at her and said, “How did I ever survive without you?”

“You were waiting for me, just as I was waiting for you” she said, “I hated my life…but it led me to you. I wouldn’t trade a second of it now”. Mike had no words, just pulled her closer.

The next week of work wasn’t as bad, but it still flew by. Irene had done her covert mission, and Mike had told Jill to be ready for Friday night. They were going out someplace nice, he said. Jill wore her LBD, and Mike was suitably impressed. She knew he liked it, and he was torn between going out and ripping it off of her.

“No!” she said, “I don’t have another dress like this, and I’m hungry! Take me out first, then do what you will!” They went out to a nice steak place, Jill wondering where this food had been all her life. “I’m stuffed!” she exclaimed, pushing her plate away. “Is it time to go home yet?” she said.

Mike said, “We have to share a piece of the 7-layer chocolate cake. It’s amazing!” he said. He passed the order to the waitress and looked at her. “We have something serious to discuss though. I was going through all of your paperwork and mine and found something interesting” he said. She cocked an eyebrow at him and stared. “It is actually a big deal. On your birth certificate, Mom wrote Pernell. P-e-r-n-e-l-l. Look at mine. Purnell. P-u-r-n-e-l-l. Probably a typo.”

“What does this mean? DNA doesn’t lie Mike” she said.

“I know that. But the state doesn’t have that test” he said as the cake arrived, “Have a bite.”

Jill picked up her fork and stuck it in…then she noticed something amiss. “Something is stuck in this” she said, pulling out the shiny item. It was a sparkling princess-cut ring. Mike stared in her eyes “Jill Pernell-with-an-e, will you do the me the honor of taking me as your husband?”

The full implications of everything hit her like a brick. “Oh my god. Yes, of course yes! I never even thought… I…”, she began crying.

“All I heard was ‘yes’. Thank you for that! Are you ready to get out of here, my fiancé?” he said with a laugh. They took the cake to go and left, holding hands and looking forward to starting their lives together.

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