This is the fifth chapter of “The Jennings Family.” As we have stated in earlier chapters, the story contains bisexuality and sexual acts involving adults and under-age minors, both related and non-related, in accordance with the shared story preferences of the authors. If any of this is objectionable to you, you might like to leave and go to another story.
As was the case regarding the earlier stories that this team has produced and the previous chapters of this story, the reader should realize that the usual disclaimer applies about how this is purely fictional and none of the actions, persons, and places in the story really exist. Nothing in this story should be read as anything but fictional.
Feedback, which is desired and appreciated, can be sent to “Brad Gillespie” at the address RBZ followed by the digits 3141 at gmail.com. Please put the story title in the subject line. But don't be surprised if the name on the responses is different. That e-mail account is under a different pseudonym than the one I used to write this story.
Feedback to “Tucson Daddy” can be sent to lannyr99 at yahoo.com.
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Most of the students had arrived at Dr. Andrews' home in an admirably punctual manner. “Trying to butter up the prof,” he knew. That many were attired in dress several steps above what they usually wore to class, spoke to similar concerns.
He strolled around the room, holding his wine glass regularly refilled with sparkling water. As a recovering alcoholic, he dared not take even one glass. The benefit: his head was clear for the entire evening.
These young men — and a few lovely young women — were away from home for the first time and free to make their own way. As is all too common, that way led to drink. In the entire history of his evening event, only two students had become drunk enough to potentially be a problem. The other students took charge and offered to take them home, anything to get them out of the house.
Not only did they get to meet him, but he got to meet them with the additional benefit of seeing each other in their finest attire and best behavior, and getting free booze, albeit of a lesser proof.
He heard comments and arguments going on in a good-natured way. Typical behavior for a smart crowd, as usual.
He stopped once more to engage a foursome of two men and two women. Based on their smiles, they seemed to be getting on very well. He'd only be a minute with them, then move on to another.
“Good evening,” he said, introducing himself into their chat. “How are you this evening? Enjoying yourselves?”
Their attention went from themselves to him. Simultaneously nodding heads told him they were definitely having a good time at this gathering. Each made a comment about his beautiful home or the fine art, and one commented knowledgeably on his collection of antique pistols displayed in a heavy maple cabinet.
He spoke first to the beautiful young woman, named Patricia, asking about her interest in the university and her background. She told the group succinctly about herself. He thanked her and smoothly turned his attention to the next, a young man.
“And you, Tim J.,” he said, glancing briefly at the name on the tag attached to the breast pocket of his jacket. The professor had an arrangement with a company in town, which made up high-quality tags for each of his events. He so disliked those “Meet the bunch” type that peel off, so popular at many functions. His eidetic memory would retain the name, face, and conversation with each student unerringly in his head. When a hand went up during the lecture, he accurately identified that student by name. His ability to recall each student he'd had in his classes over the last six years was considered a campus phenomenon. To him it was no novelty. His friends and schoolteachers had commented on his ability to remember every book he'd read over the previous 15 years.
“What brings you to the university?” he asked.
At the name of Tim, a man, seated in a chair facing away from the prof, looked up from the magazine he was perusing.
“That voice! It sounded vaguely familiar!” he lowered the magazine he was idly flipping through to listen closely.
“Electrical engineering major. My folks both graduated from the university. Dad was a lawyer.”
“Was?” asked the professor.
“He died in a plane crash. Thirteen years ago, when I was five. I never did get to know him.”
Father a lawyer? Died in a plane crash? Thirteen years ago? “Holy shit!” thought Steve, pieces falling into place. “That's Timmy, grown up now. Tim J.? J must be his step-dad's name, that Connie took when she married the guy.”
The looks of the group changed to one of embarrassed silence. Professor Andrews knew how to handle such a shocking statement. “I'm so sorry for your loss, Tim,” he said smoothly, touching Tim's hand lightly.
Tim smiled and said to the group, “I appreciate your concern, but it's been over half of my life ago. He's just a story my mom tells occasionally. I have a stepfather, who's done a good job of raising me.”
This seemed to calm those who felt suddenly trapped in a conversation about death, not knowing what to say.
His head turned from Tim to face the other young woman. A quick joke brought smiles to all.
“A stepfather, huh? I wonder how that's worked out for you, young Tim,” Steve was thinking. He rose from the chair, and turned to look over the top of the chair back. It was thus that he re-acquainted his eyes with the boy to whom he'd been a second father.
Another thought occurred to him. He wondered if he still had that old address book, with Connie's new address and phone number. “Check that out for future reference. If Timmy's here, she'll want to visit him. Maybe a chance meeting?”
Dan and Connie had returned home the next day, glad to be back in familiar territory. After a night's rest, they were busy at the office again. He far preferred to be in the field, doing what he did best: interacting with customers or fixing problems.
Craig, his second in command, had done an admirable job of handling calls and directing their knowledgeable field staff to the various tasks.
“Hey, Craig, how are things going?” Dan asked upon entering their office, with Connie trailing behind. This new one was larger than the single room set aside in his home for running a small business. Today it was half of one floor of a prestigious building near the center of town.
Craig was always there ahead of Dan. He loved working with Dan and Connie, two of the nicest people he knew. He was also proud of working for a company that sought out gay and lesbian customers. His appreciation showed by being there before they arrived at 7:00 AM.
The gay community was small but economically important. Most had university degrees and a lot of money to invest in their real estate. For the Jennings company, this meant lots of upgrades. Business was booming.
Craig pulled out a folder stamped, “New Prospects,” and said, “Six possible new clients. Each needs a personal visit.”
Dan flipped the folder open to quickly peruse the limited information on each client sheet. “Anything else pressing at the moment?” he asked Craig.
“No. Just the typical bunch of phone messages.”
Dan was in his management mode. “Connie, honey, could you and Sid take care of these while Craig and I tackle the potentials?” He handed her the pink message slips.
Connie was listening to their chatter with one ear, while she sorted through the slips and quickly organized them into several piles depending on their priority. Those from subcontractors, she'd begin calling now, since they were probably up already. Others were from individuals who had questions. When Sid arrived in about half an hour, they would begin returning calls then.
“Got 'em covered,” she announced. “You two take care of the possibles.”
Dan and Craig were already on their cell phones, calling the names they had on Potential Client sheets.
“Hello,” said Craig, introducing himself to the voice on the other end. “You called the Dan Jennings Company last Friday about a project.” He went on to explain the previous conversation, and was soon engrossed in details. “Could I come out to your site and visit it? Far easier than discussing it on the phone.” He paused, listening. “You would? Great! What is your best time to meet?” Pause. “Now? Great, I can be there in 20 minutes.” Pause. “Yes, I'm Craig. I'll be wearing a Dan Jennings shirt for identification. See you in 24.” he hung up and called to Connie to tell her where he was going and for how long. “I'll make my next call from there.” Picking up the file, a clipboard, and laptop, he was gone out the door.
Dan was similarly involved with a client. The first wasn't answering, so he left a message. A few minutes later, he too was gone, leaving Connie to handle the shop. Looking at the clock, she knew Sid would arrive soon.
Several hours later, she and Sid had finished up the return calls and filled out Potential Client sheets. She leaned back in her chair to relax. It was 11:14. They had returned all the calls and gotten, maybe, three new clients. She transmitted the potentials to Dan and Craig, so they could continue in the field.
She was leaning back, amazed that they'd actually cleared up the morning's load in such a short time, when her phone rang.
“Hello, Jennings Company,” she replied automatically.
“Hello, my name is Steve; may I speak with Connie.”
At 1:00, Dan returned to the shop. “Why don't we get a bite to eat?” he asked Connie.
“Sure. OK. Give me a second.” she replied.
Sid was still taking calls, and finished up just as Dan walked in. “How'd it go out there?” he asked.
“Good,” answered Dan. “I think we've got two more clients. Let's keep up with them.” He handed the sheets to Sid, who would file them appropriately.
“I'm ready, honey,” Connie said, standing up and holding her purse.
“Sid, you have the con,” said Dan, as he and Connie went out the door.
Pulling a paper bag from his desk drawer and extracting the first PBJ sandwich for his lunch, he stared at it a few seconds before taking a bite. He hated them! But they were so easy to make; for a single guy, easy was the way to go.
Picking up the novel, a Zane Grey western, which he was currently reading, he leaned back. Content that nobody would walk through that door. He was free of duty for the next 60 minutes.
Connie knew this was not the ideal time to discuss what she needed to say, but she knew that Dan would understand.
They were seated in one of the tables of a small Chinese restaurant, when she said, “An old friend called me today.”
Dan was deeply involved with a kung pao chicken, not paying particular attention to her. “Yes,” he said distractedly.
“It was about Tim,” she said.
With those words, Dan looked up, now fully interested in what she had to say. Over the next ten minutes, she outlined the life she and Bob had lived — trying to reduce her part.
Dan had put down his chopsticks and stopped eating. A bad sign. He looked off into space, to collect his thoughts for a moment; then asked her bluntly, “Was the Susan you visited last week your lover?”
There was no point in denying it. “Yes,” she said, bowing her head, expecting the sky to fall in.
Instead, he began to laugh. “Holy shit, my dear. You, Bob, Susan, and this Steve managed to share raising my son for several years, without any major differences? Amazing. I wish I could have met Bob. He musta been one heckuva guy. And this Steve character. I definitely must meet him.”
“Then you're not mad?” she asked incredulously.
“Hell, yes, I'm mad, darlin'. You been withholding information you should have shared years ago!”
“But… but… you didn't know them, and there was no chance they'd come back our lives!” she cried out in defense.
Several patrons, eating their meals, looked up at them, wondering what the commotion was about.
He put his arm around her. “Honey, I understand. You told me it was OK to find a cock and renew my old sucking ways, because you wanted me to be happy. I am happy. I'll tell you why.” He quickly laid out for her what happened at Jim's and with Alex.
Their conversations stilled, they ate on in silence.
Like the TV news anchor's announcement about a breaking story, “Details and pictures tonight at Eleven!” They seemed to ring almost ironically in Dan's head.
He reached over to take her hand, and whispered, “I love you, Connie.”
She replied in kind, her broad smile testifying its truth.