Copyright © 2003

By Lee Mariner

The author's copyright, and all provisions of the original disclaimer remain in force.  All Rights are Reserved.

This is a gay fantasy containing homosexual acts.  If you are not of legal age in your locality to be reading this material or should you not approve of such material, please leave.

My friend, Dean, has edited this work.  His invaluable assistance is greatly appreciated.

All of my stories can be found in the Nifty Archives listing of Prolific Author's by using:


The author can be contacted at:


Chapter #30

After Derek introduced himself to whomever had answered the call, I assumed he was talking with Mrs. Rowe when I heard him say, "Mr. Carlson did." After a few seconds of listening, he said, "That's great, Mrs. Rowe, we have drawn up a rough sketch of some of our ideas for the changes we have in mind.  May we see you today?"   There were a few more seconds of silence on his part as he listened, and then he replied,  "I really appreciate you taking  the time to see us on such short notice, Mrs. Rowe.  Larry and I will be in your office at ten-thirty sharp."

Hanging the receiver up, Derek stood immobile for a few seconds with his hand still on the receiver; and I said a tad impatiently, "Well, what did she say?"

"She sounded like a really nice lady, Larry," he answered as he turned toward me, his eyes dancing with excitement.  "She said that your boss, Mr. Carlson, had already spoken with her telling her we might call for some help with remodeling.  We have a ten-thirty appointment this morning in her office."

"Fantastic," I replied exuberantly, inwardly pleased that Mr. Carlson thought enough of me to make the call to Mrs. Rowe.  "Where is her office?"

"Oh, Jesus," he said looking crestfallen. "I completely forgot to ask her that."

"You didn't, Derek.  How could you forget that?" I exclaimed.

"Jeepers, Larry, it didn't dawn on me to ask that."

"Christ, D, how could you forget to ask for the address?" I said.  "Did she give the name of her company?  Maybe it's listed in the phone book, and we can get the address that way without calling her back."

"Rowe and Associates Ltd. on Monticello Ave.," he answered laughing, his eyes twinkling at my frustration.

"Oh, you, you...," I fumed loudly, feeling foolish.  "I'll get even with you for that."

"Promises, promises," he said softly, grinning impishly in answer to my threat, his azure blue eyes bright with excitement. 


"Did you boys make your call all right?" Mother asked as we walked back into the kitchen.

Derek glanced at me before answering, his eyes twinkling with amusement at my frustration.  "Yes, ma'am, we have an appointment at ten-thirty." 

"Well," she said, as she continued washing dishes in the sink. "That should give you plenty of time to stop by the station and still be on time to see Mrs. Rowe.  Do you think you might be home for supper?"

"I don't see why we won't be, Mom; but, instead of your cooking, how about we take you and Dad out for dinner? "  I suggested, glancing at Derek.

"Sounds like a good idea," he said, nodding his approval.  "We should be home before six o'clock, and that will give us enough time to clean up so we can leave by seven o'clock or so if that's a good time."

"I don't see why it shouldn't be, but you don't really have to take us out," she answered, turning partially around with her hands hovering over the sink.  "But, if that is what you want to do, you be sure to mention it to your Father, Larry."

"Yes, ma'am, we will,"  I replied as we moved toward the door.


"Lawrence," Mother called out as I was pulling the door shut.  "Have you father call me so I will know what to do; will you please?"

"I will, Mom," I answered as I closed the door and turned toward Derek who was standing at the top of the porch steps looking at the garage.   "Penny for your thoughts, D,"  I said, moving up beside him.

"Larry," he said in a thoughtful tone as we went down the steps toward the truck. "In a couple of the House Beautiful magazines my mother subscribed to, I saw where cantilevered decks were built off of apartments when they were remodeled.  Do you think we might have one built off of our bedroom if Mom and Dad approve?"

"A deck off of the bedroom," I mused out loud as we walked toward the truck the gravel crunching under our feet.  "It's funny that you should mention that, D.   Paul asked Dad about building a patio behind the garage, but no one ever thought about a deck.  I think its a great idea, and I don't think they will object.  But won't it be expensive?"

"I'm sure it will add to the cost; but, if it can be done, we might as well do it at the same time the apartment is being remodeled rather than doing it later on when it would cost more," he said as we got in the truck. 

"What we should do is ask Mrs. Rowe if she has time to come out here and see what we have in mind," I said, starting the truck.

"That's logical," he replied, looking at me and flashing a smile.

"Jesus, D, am I going to hear that for the rest of my life?" I asked, grinning as we moved down the drive.

"For at least that long," he answered, sliding across the seat and kissing my cheek.


Sliding back across the seat, Derek pulled one leg up; and, hugging it to him, he sat looking out the window.  The warm summer air ruffled his unruly hair, and from the look on his face I knew he was deep in thought.  I couldn't help but wonder if he were thinking about the scene at the bank with his father or something else that was bothering him.  I was learning that when he had thought through what was on his mind he would eventually tell me, and we would discuss it. 

In the space of a few days and the events that had transpired during that time, I could see he was maturing from a compassionate eighteen year old youngster into a thoughtful young man.  His life and mine had changed completely, and I had an inner feeling that there would be further changes.  Instead of being awed by suddenly becoming a wealthy young man with responsibilities that would shake someone much older, he had assimilated all of the information that was suddenly thrust upon him; and being with him as he made the necessary decisions gave me a feeling of pride from the way he had included me in those decisions. "We both have a lot to think about," I thought to myself as we pulled into the station's parking lot/service area.


Morgan came bounding toward the truck as I backed into a parking space, and I could tell he was about to burst with something he wanted to tell us.  I looked at Derek and said, "Something has happened, D."

"Is he always like that?"  he asked.

"Morgan is one of the least inhibited persons you will ever meet," I replied, switching the motor off just as Morgan came up to my window breathlessly exclaiming, "Larry, Derek.  Boy, am I ever glad you came by!  You'll never guess what your Dad told me."

Morgans blond hair was as unruly as Derek's, and his gray eyes were flashing with excitement.  As his broad muscular chest was heaving from running to the truck, I said, "Easy, Morgan, get your breath before trying to talk; or you're going to collapse, and we'll have to call for an ambulance."

"Yeah," he said still gasping for air, placing his hands on the door and breathing in deeply until he calmed down.

 After Morgan had calmed down enough to talk, I glanced at Derek and said, "Okay, Morgan; now tell us what is so important that it can't wait, and that you've got to run across the parking lot to tell us."

"Your dad is going to buy me a suit for my graduation next Thursday," he said excitedly still breathing deeply as he spoke.  "He said you and Derek might take me to pick it out.  Will you, Larry, will you and Derek take me to the store this afternoon?"

"Well...,I..., I don't know about this afternoon, Morgan," I stammered a little excited from the infectious effects of Morgan's exuberance; and glancing at Derek, I saw that he was grinning from ear to ear, his eyes twinkling with amusement. "We've got a couple of things to do before we can do that," I said, glancing over Morgan's head and seeing Dad smiling as he  walked toward us wiping his hands with a mechanics towel.

Just as I was about to ask Dad what Morgan was talking about even though I had a good idea already, he said chuckling,  "Morgan couldn't wait until you two got here, and he has been so busy looking out the window for your truck that he's almost  ignored his chores."

"I got most of them done, Mr. Marks," Morgan responded quickly, nervously glancing at Dad.

"Then why don't you finish dumping the trash while I talk with Larry and Derek?"

"Yes, Sir, I will, but I wanted to ask them if they would take me to the store this afternoon," he replied anxiously, looking back and forth from Dad to us.

"I'll ask them, Morgan, while you go on and finish your work," Dad said quietly.

"Yes, Sir," he answered, looking anxiously over his shoulder as he hesitantly moved away.

"Seriously, Larry," Dad said after a few minutes as we watched Morgan moving reluctantly toward the station. "He has been like a kid in a candy shop ever since I mentioned buying him his graduation suit, and I told him that I thought that you and Derek might take him to Hofmeyer's to pick it out and put it on my account."

Before I could answer,  Derek slid across the seat next to me and, placing his arm on top of the steering wheel said, "We can do that, Dad."

"But it won't be until after we see Mrs. Rowe, and we don't know how long that will take," I interjected, seeing Dad's chest puff up a little as he heard Derek call him "Dad".

"Whenever you can will be all right, but this afternoon would be great, or Morgan will worry me silly," Dad answered as he stuffed his mechanics towel in his back pocket before continuing. "I've never seen him so excited, and I don't want to interfere with what you guys are doing, but it would be a great help to me if you could somehow fit it in.   The only reason I thought that you two might take him is because you know more about the younger styles in clothing than I do."

I had to lower my head so that he wouldn't see me grin at his comment about not knowing clothing styles. Mom still bought most of what he wore and had to fuss with him before he would finally relent and go with her to pick out his own suits and accessories. 

"What do you think, Derek?" I asked, still grinning as I turned my head to look at him, nearly kissing him.

"We should have the time, Larry," he replied, scooting back a little.  "Even though we have a rough sketch of what we want,  there is really very little that can be done until Mrs. Rowe does an inspection of the premises to see whether they are feasible or not," he said, handing the sketch through the window to Dad and looking at me as he did.

We sat quietly waiting while Dad inspected the rough sketch.  After several minutes, he turned the sketch sideways and pointing at the deck with its cantilevered members slanting downward; he said, "the room sizes seem to be good, and the bathroom will be a lot larger than what your brother and I built which will be good since both of you will most likely be using it together at one time or the other, but what is this platform you're showing off the back of the garage?"

"That's a deck, Dad, " Derek said anxiously as he slid across the seat placing his arm on the back of the seat, and forcing me up against the door.  "That is my idea.  I've seen them in magazines, and we thought it would be nice to be able to sit outside during the summer and have an outdoor cooker for fixing steaks or ribs or things like that,"  he said, looking at me for support, his voice trailing off.

"It would be kind of neat, Dad.  It's something like the patio that Paul wanted to build except it will be off of our bedroom and not on the ground," I said quickly, continuing as he looked at the sketch.   "We might be able to build a utility tool shed under it and be able to get the lawnmowers and some of the other equipment out of the garage like you've been wanting."

We both sat anxiously watching Dad's face as he rubbed his chin. Derek's chest was pressed against my shoulder, and I could feel his heart beating as fast as mine was.  For a moment, I thought Dad was going to object until I saw him smile as he rubbed his chin and then say, "That makes sense, Boy's; it's like killing two birds with one stone, but you had better talk with Mrs. Rowe to see if it can be done the way you're telling me."

"We will, Dad," I replied as I took the sketch from him, glancing at Derek and breathing a little easier.

"Well, Fred said she was a good architect; so, if it can be done, I'm sure she will know how," Dad said, turning to look at the station and the cars pulling up to the pumps.   "What time do you think you might be back so I can tell Morgan?"

"Will one o'clock be all right?" I answered glancing at Derek and seeing his nod of approval.  "Tell him not to worry about eating lunch, and we'll take him to Friendly's before we go to Hofmeyer's."

"He will get a kick out of that," Dad said and was starting to leave when Derek, reminding me, quickly said, "Dinner tonight, Larry."

"Oh, yeah, I forgot about that." I said sticking my head out of the window and calling out,  "Dad,  we thought we'd go out for dinner tonight; and Mom wants you to call her to let her know if we are."

"Special occasion?" Dad asked, hesitating for a moment.

"No, no special occasion, we just want to take you and Mom out, that's all," I answered.

"If you're paying, I'll call her," he replied grinning as he moved away.

"If I'm paying?" I said, turning to Derek who was still sitting right next to me and grinning like a Cheshire cat.

"It was your idea," he said impishly, glancing in Dad's direction before kissing me on the cheek and quickly moving back across the seat out of reach.

"Geez...," I groused good naturedly, reaching for the ignition and starting the truck.


The traffic had decreased considerably while we were at Dad's station, and the drive across town to Monticello Ave. did not take very long.  Monticello, at one time, had been one of the better residential streets with homes that were built in the  Victorian style.  With the passing of time, many of the original owners had either passed away leaving their homes to their children or sold them in order to move out of the encroaching downtown commercial areas into the growing suburbs that were being rapidly developed.  Many of the grand old homes had been converted into apartments or rented out as they were, but the neighborhood had slowly deteriorated from the lack of maintenance and the indifference of the occupants. 

As I was looking for Mrs. Rowe's building, Derek was engrossed in looking at the various homes, some of which had been converted into offices for real estate agents, lawyers and other businesses.  One very large one had a sign that indicated it was the offices of Rowe and Associates, Ltd, Architectural Consultants; and I pulled to the curb almost in front of it.

"That was lucky, Larry," Derek said, glancing at me and then looking up at the building.

"Maybe, I'll be as lucky later," I said suggestively as I turned the engine off.

"Don't you ever think of anything else?" he asked, turning to look at me and sticking his tongue out but with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Only when I'm asleep," I answered, sliding across the seat and tickling his ribs before he could open the door.

"Larry, somebody might be watching," he said, squirming and giggling as I ran my fingers over his ribs.

"So what if they are?" I replied, winking at him and reaching across him for the door handle.

"You are getting bolder," he said as he pushed the door open and got out on the sidewalk.

"Because I love you, that's why,"  I responded as I followed him.

"Well, you don't have to let the whole world know it," he said as he straightened his clothes and, turning to face me, very deliberately arranged his impressive package.

"D, we are going to see a lady,"  I said kidding him but  admiring the double bulge in the crotch of his tight fitting jeans, balls on one side and cock on the other.

"Maybe we are, but it doesn't hurt to be comfortable," he said airily, teasingly brushing his hand over his crotch before turning and moving toward the ornate iron fence while looking up at the beautifully restored Victorian house.  "Whoever did the restoration of the house really did an excellent job of it."

"This used to be one of the wealthier neighborhoods years ago," I said attempting to discreetly adjust my swelling cock and my balls as I caught up with him.  "It went into disrepair for several years; but, since it has been declared a historical district, several of the houses have been restored and converted into offices.  We furnished a lot of the materials from Carlson's for the interior work which could be changed, but the exteriors had to remain original."

"It must take a lot of work and money," Derek said as we reached the top of the steps leading up to a wide porch.

"Well..., I don't know about the outside as that work was done by companies that specialize in historical preservation; but the material we furnished for the interiors wasn't cheap," I said, reaching for the ornate brass door handle of one of the large, heavy walnut double doors.

"Mrs. Rowe and Merrill Winters must like Victorian architecture," Derek said as he went ahead of me into a large ante room with high ceilings, pastel blue walls and a thick cobalt gray carpet. 

"Yeah," I said softly, looking around at the comparison as I followed him inside.

A brass chandelier with glass chimneys hung from the center of a rosette centered in the white ceiling.  At the other end of the room a circular stairway led up to the second floor; and, between where we were and the stairway, a strikingly beautiful well-groomed young lady sat behind a desk that matched the blue of the walls.  She stood as we entered and, moving around the desk toward us, said in a soft lyrical tone, "I'm Miss Lawrence, may I help you?"

"Yes, Miss Lawrence, " Derek said as we moved toward her.  "I'm Derek Kingsley and this is Larry Marks; we have an appointment at ten-thirty to see Mrs. Rowe."

"Yes, she is expecting you," she said, smiling demurely as she returned to her desk, picked up the telephone receiver and pushed one of the several buttons on the base.  "I'll let her know you are here."

We stood admiring the paintings on the walls while she spoke into the receiver, turning around when we heard her say, "Mrs. Rowe, Mr. Kingsley and Mr. Marks are here to see you."

After listening for a few seconds, she smiled and said, "Yes ma'am, they are."

Derek, and I glanced at each other, both of us raising our eyebrows questioningly while she listened to whom we assumed was Mrs. Rowe.  After another second or two she quietly returned the receiver to it's cradle and said, "Follow me, please; and I'll take you to her office."

We followed as instructed, and I couldn't help but admire the slimness of her hips and the way they swayed almost seductively as she walked in front of us placing one well shod foot in front of the other, but I wasn't expecting Derek to lean over and whisper in my ear, "She's a good looking woman, isn't she?"

Surprised by his observation, I almost blurted out my response but caught myself and, looking at him and seeing the amused twinkle in his eyes, whispered, "Yes."

I could have sworn she overheard us, but she didn't show any indication that she had, and I was relieved when she opened one door of a double set which blended with the walls.   She stood back while we entered into an obviously feminine office but with a subdued masculine touch.  The walls were of a slightly darker hue than that of the ante room; but the clearly expensive Persian rug was mystically patterned in a variety of red, orange, green, and yellow hues on a dark blue background with a gold fringe, unlike the cobalt gray of the reception area.   A casually but tastefully dressed mature lady sat behind a large ornate white desk trimmed in gold and mother of pearl inlay.  There were several chairs, upholstered in a pattern that matched the Persian rug, seemingly scattered lackadaisically around the room with small tables that matched her desk.  On closer inspection, it was obvious that they had been strategically placed in order for the office's occupant to remain behind her desk and maintain a formal atmosphere softened somewhat by the casual placement of the upholstered chairs. Three very large floor to ceiling windows were draped in rich matching blue drapes, and the walls were decorated with several landscape and ocean shoreline paintings, and there was an architect's table with an over hanging light together with a tall stool in one corner behind the desk.

The greatest contrast in the room, was the jumble of documents and magazines on the desk.  Mrs. Rowe stood as we entered, moving around the desk toward us.  Just as Miss Lawrence was about to speak, she interrupted and, looking at me, said, "You must be Larry.  Fred described you to me, but he didn't mention this handsome young man," she said in a smooth dulcet tone, shifting her gaze to Derek.

Before I could introduce him, he stepped forward and said, "Derek, Mrs. Rowe, Derek Kingsley; I called you earlier."

"Ah..., yes," she replied, smiling warmly.  "I recognize your voice," she said turning toward Miss Lawrence and saying without stopping, "Thanks, D'Lea, would you see that we aren't disturbed, please?"

"Yes, ma'am," D'Lea replied looking at us and continuing, "would you like for me to bring in some coffee or tea?"

"It's a little late for coffee for me, D'Lea; but maybe our guests would like something?"  Mrs. Rowe answered, turning to look at us.

"Ice water would be fine," we answered in unison.

"Ice water it is then; bring three glasses, please, D'Lea," she said crisply, turning toward her desk.

D'Lea left the office silently, and for a moment we both were in a bit of a quandary as to what to do until Mrs. Rowe spoke. "Why don't you pull a couple of those chairs up to my desk and let's get acquainted," she said, clearing a space on her cluttered but obviously organized desk.

Surprisingly, the chairs were lighter than they appeared to be; and, as we were positioning them, D'Lea returned carrying a large silver tray with a matching decanter and three crystal goblets.  Derek was about to offer assistance, but she deftly placed the tray on one unobstructed corner of the desk, and after serving us she left as silently as she had entered.

"Sometimes, I don't know she is around," Mrs. Rowe said after taking a long drink of her water.  "We've been together for several years, and I couldn't ask for anyone better."

"She seems to be very efficient," I said, "and beautiful."

"Yes, she is," she answered, glancing at both of us and smiling softly as she continued. "Fred tells me that you are thinking about doing some remodeling, and he told me that you work for him, Larry."

"Yes, ma'am," I answered, setting my glass on the table that we had drawn up to with the chairs.  "My, dad and Mr. Carlson are friends, and Dad mentioned our wanting to remodel our apartment to him," I said, looking over at Derek.

"Mrs. Rowe," Derek started to say when she rolled her eyes and, leaning back in her chair,  threw her hands up in the air exclaiming, "If we are going to be working together, let's drop the Mrs. Rowe; and you call me 'Helen', okay?"

"Yes, Ma'am," we both said.

"Good," she replied, lifting her glass to her lips and taking a drink before continuing.  "Now that we have that out of the way, what were you about to say, Derek, when I rudely interrupted you?"

"That we have a rough sketch as to what we would like to have done," he answered, standing up and glancing at me with a twinkle of amusement in his eyes as he handed her the paper.

"Rough?" she said as she took the sketch and casually looked at the front and back of the paper before grinning and saying, "Well, it is rough; but, I've seen mansions start out as scratches on paper napkins, and this is better than most."

"We aren't looking for a mansion, Helen, just improving our apartment," Derek said with a hint of amusement in his tone.

"Perhaps not," she chuckled softly, glancing at Derek before continuing.  "I'm sure it will seem like one when we've finished," she said, looking intently at the sketch, and then asked, "Is this floor plan taken from the existing structure?"

"Yes," I answered as I leaned forward.  "There is a two car garage with a small apartment, and that is what we want to remodel. The drawing is based on a slight enlargement of the garage."

"And we would like to build a cantilevered deck off of our bedroom if it is possible," Derek interjected.

"I see that," she said, "and it can be built; but I'll have to make an on-site inspection for measurements, ground conditions and the condition of the existing structure before coming to any conclusions.  I'll draw up an improved version of what you have given me here, and we can go from there.  When can I see the property?"

"Tomorrow or whenever you want," I said looking at Derek, a feeling of excitement welling up inside me as he added, "The sooner the better, Helen."

"Ahh, that is what I like, young men with a purpose," she said, her eyes shining.  "Would tomorrow morning at eight o'clock be all right?  I can get the information that I'll need on my way to the office and get started on a proposal.  You will need that to arrange financing."

"I don't think there will be any problem with financing, Helen; and eight o'clock will be fine if I can get Larry out of bed before then.  He always finds it hard getting up early,"  Derek said, grinning and glancing at me impishly as we stood up to leave.

"Me, what about you?" I protested.  "It's always hard getting you up," I said following his play on words but a little less cavalierly than he had. 

"If you have that problem, why don't you set two alarm clocks?" She said as she stood.  "Set one for around six and the other an hour or half hour later.  I'm an early riser and I don't really have that difficulty,"  Helen said, laughing as she followed us out into the ante-room.

"We'll be up before you get there, Helen; and it was really great meeting you and also you, Miss Lawence," we both said, as we reached D'Lea's desk.

"I was my pleasure," D'Lea replied, softly as she stood, standing with Helen as we passed.

"I'll see you boys bright and early tomorrow morning if you don't find it too hard getting up," Helen called out cheerfully as we opened the door.

"Maybe we will use two alarm clocks like you have suggested, Helen.  That should give us plenty of time to get ready before you arrive," Derek said cheerfully as we looked back at them standing together by D'Lea's desk.

"Lesbians, Larry," Derek said as I caught up with him going down the steps. "Helen and D'Lea are lovers."

"I got that impression, too; but you almost told her we are gay," I replied softly as we walked toward the truck. 

"Why not?"  He said. "She was probing and from the innuendos it was obvious she suspected that we are."

"Whew, and you call me bold," I exclaimed as we reached the truck.

"That is not being bold, Larry," Derek answered, chuckling as he opened the truck door.  "I only followed her line answering her suggestive innuendoes, that's all."

"You're better at it than I am," I said as I went around the truck and opened my door.


"Larry," Derek said as we got back into the truck.  "Talking with Mrs. Rowe took a little longer than I thought it would, but we have plenty of time before we have to pickup Morgan.  Could we stop by the bank?  I'm broke, and I want to see whether the checks Mr. Masters was going to have made up are ready."

"I don't see why not," I answered glancing at my watch as I pulled away from the curb.  "We have an hour to kill."

The traffic had increased somewhat since we had started out, but it didn't take long before we were driving onto the Heritage Bank's parking lot, and I was backing into an empty space.

I don't believe that I'll ever get used to a bank such as the Heritage, but it felt good to be recognized.  As we approached the receptionist's desk, Ellen's face broke into a smile when she saw us.  "Mr. Kingsley, Mr. Marks, good to see you," she said as she stood.   "Is there something I can do for you?"

"I hope you can, Ellen," Derek said, answering her with a brilliant smile.  "We don't have an appointment with Mr. Masters, but do you think we could see him for just a few minutes?"

"I'm not sure, Mr. Kingsley," she answered hesitatingly as she looked over her shoulder in the direction of Masters' office. "He has been tied up all morning, and I believe he may be having lunch with a client in the Executive Dining room."

"Maybe Catherine could help us if she is available, Ellen; it is important," Derek persisted.

"Catherine usually does not go to lunch until Mr. Masters does; so she may be in now," she replied reaching for her phone. "Let me ring her office."

It took only a few seconds after Ellen spoke on the phone and told us that Catherine would be out in a few minutes that she approached us from the direction of Masters' office.  She was dressed in a conservatively cut brown business suit with a mint green blouse and low heeled brown pumps.  Her brilliant blond hair was beautifully coifed, and even with the buttoned up blouse, there was ample cleavage to be seen.  Smiling brilliantly, she said tersely, "Ellen mentioned that you and Mr. Marks wished to see, Mr. Masters, Mr. Kingsley.  He is tied up at the moment, but I'll be happy to help you if I can."

"You may be able to help me, Catherine; Mr. Masters told me he would have checks made up so that I can access my account," Derek said smoothly.   "Would you know whether or not that has been done?   If it has, I'd like to pick them up and make a withdrawal."

"I think they have," she answered curtly, turning to look at Ellen and asking, "Would you know whether Mr. Kingsley's checks have been finished and if they were mailed, Ellen?"

"I believe they have been finished, and they were supposed to be mailed," Ellen answered, displaying a little frustration.  "But I don't think they have gone out yet; would you like for me to check with the mail-room?"

"Would you, please?  I'll watch the phones until you return," Catherine said stiffly, watching as Ellen scurried away before turning back to us and continuing, "I believe you mentioned making a withdrawal."

"Yes, I'd like to make a withdrawal," Derek said.  "Five-hundred dollars will be enough for now."

"That should be no problem," Catherine replied, as she pushed a blinking button on the console and answered an incoming call. 

"Damn, D," I whispered, "that's a lot of cash to be carrying around.  Do you really need that much?"

"If we are going shopping with Morgan, there are a couple of things I need that we can get at the same time," he answered, grinning at my worried look.

"Okay," I said, glancing up and seeing Ellen rapidly approaching, carrying a small manilla envelope.

Seeing that Catherine was on the telephone, she handed the package to Derek saying, "The package had not gone out yet, Mr. Kingsley." 

"Thanks, Ellen," Derek said, "I appreciate you getting it for me."

"It was my pleasure," Ellen answered nervously and was about to say something else when Catherine interrupted.

"I see Ellen retrieved them for you; and, while you check them over for accuracy, she can assist you with the withdrawal you wish to make," she said, quickly turning and giving Ellen the necessary information to make Derek's withdrawal.

"Now then," she said, turning back to Derek and me as Ellen was filling out the required debit draft.  "If there is nothing else, I really should be getting back with Mr. Masters."

I detected an undertone of dismissal in her voice, and I saw Derek stiffen slightly before he replied coolly.

"Oh, I am sorry for interrupting you, Catherine.  I hope we didn't pull you away at an inopportune time," Derek said.

There was an unmistakable edge in his voice as he spoke, and, glancing at him out of the corner of my eye,  I could see he was irritated.

"Not at all," Catherine answered.  "Call on me anytime," she said, turning and moving away.

We watched her disappear though Masters' office door, and then we heard Ellen say almost timidly," "If you will sign here, Mr. Kingsley, I'll take care of getting your money for you."


After Derek signed the draft and while Ellen was gone, he opened the envelope and quickly scanned the four packets of checks.  Ellen returned with his money as he was sliding them back inside the envelope, and I could see he had calmed down somewhat as he did a quick count of the bills, and he thanked her for her help.

I was waiting for Derek to say something as we walked quickly to the truck, but it surprised me when he said, "Pretentious bitch.  Did you hear the way she dismissed us, Larry, and see the way she treated Ellen?  Boy, it pisses me off when someone acts like that for no reason other then their own self-assumed importance."

"She didn't seem as friendly as she did the other day, but I wouldn't let it bother me," I said as we started out of the parking lot.

"Oh, I won't,  Larry; but it irked the hell out of me the way that she spoke to us and implied that we had interrupted her," he said, breathing in deeply.

Letting the subject drop, I concentrated on driving while Derek pulled the checks out of the envelope and gave them a closer inspection.  When we drove on Dad's lot, Morgan came bouncing out of the door running toward the truck. 

"Buck up, D," I said.  "In a few minutes the rest of the day will be total chaos."

Putting the envelope in the glove box, Derek looked out the window at Morgan running toward us and said, "Oh shit."