Petticoat Mall

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Brunette

CHAPTER 1

Close-cropped blond Gene Gunter rode on a bus into the city, travel-weary and half-amused that despite decades of big funded campaigns to get the city renamed more conservatively they continued to fail because some citizens, possibly a very large number, were rather pleased to be living in the oddest-named city in the county… Rangoon Falls.

He amused himself thinking of the way the city had spluttered into existence. The original settlement had been called Pearly Gates, shortened to Gates in the face of a protest led by clergy and followers, but it became a ghost town during the 1930s depression and with a growing water shortage. People just kept on drifting away, schools closed, stores closed. Little was left operating apart a small general store and Bill Bryant’s mechanical engineering workshop. He survived because he was the best repairer of farm machinery for 150 miles in any direction.

Bill was Gene’s grandfather.

Gene’s grandmother Lily Thu, a former Anglo-Burmese refugee escaping tyranny, arrived in the country as a widow and became naturalized. She has a small amount of money to invest and travelling across country looking for an opportunity decided she’d found it and opened an abandoned small store in Gates. She eked out a living selling sandwiches, coffee, sodas and ice creams and home-made crafts she purchased from artistically-gifted drifters to on-sell to people from inter-city buses making the traditional comfort stop because of Gates’ strategic position between cities. It was just the right location to allow passengers to stretch their legs.

Over time Bill and Lily decided they ought to eat together and then that extended into sleeping together and they produced a daughter they named Crystal.

Crystal was born a little early because of a big shock to Lily who learned that Rangoon (now more widely known as Yangon) had fallen to the Japanese a few days earlier in March 1942. Lily feared for her relatives she’d left behind and all night she and Bill talked about Rangoon falling, repeating the enormity of that event over and over again.

Lily entered labor three weeks early and Bill rushed her sixty miles to the nearest doctor and from there she was taken another fifty miles to proper medical care.

When Bill brought Lily and Crystal home he proudly pointed to the change of name for the ghost town he’d renamed with signposts as Rangoon Falls. Lily thought that was a touching tribute and several years later they succeeded with unanimous local support for a deputation led by Mayor Bryant to have that name change officially recognized. Apparently the authorities considered it a one-horse town that would soon expire permanently, unaware Mayor Bryant had secured a big loan to drill for deep water.

In time the wild, slim and beautiful Crystal met a guy who virtually knocked her socks off. Star-struck she married Archie Gunter and their third child Gene was born seven years before their marriage failed and they parted.

* * *

Gene walked over to the city’s oldest hotel, simply named Lily’s. The hotel was owned and kept up to date by his mother Crystal Gunter, now sixty-one, who’d been Mayor of Rangoon Falls for the last twenty-seven years. He handed across the letter from his mother on her personal letterhead, authorizing him to have the Lily Bryant Suite for four weeks.

“Thank you Mr Gunter. Your mother made the reservation as soon as she learned of your arrival date from Melbourne.”

“Thank you Annie,” he said, reading the receptionists name tag. “Would you like to join me in my suite for a drink in a couple of hours. You’ll finish at eight won’t you?”

“Yes,” Annie smiled, “but I’m also assistant general manager and such a nocturnal visit could cost me my job.”

Gene leaned forward and whispered, “Your little secret will be my little secret so what’s to lose?”

Annie whispered, “We’ll have at least eight unmarried female staff off duty and in hotel residential accommodation. I’ll see what I can do for you.”

“Eight is too many for me, although I’m only thirty-eight,” Gene whispered and laughed.

Annie blushed into a giggle.

Continuing to whisper he said, “Don’t bother with anyone else Annie. It’s either you or no one and it’s only for a drink, a meal if you wish to join me and nothing else unless you decided to pull off your panties and pass them to me.”

“Mr Gunter,” Annie said hoarsely, looking a little stressed.

Gene signed in, winked at her and left for the elevator.

The room was basically as he remembered it. Obviously his mother had wanted her mother’s touch to remain. He wondered if Annie at the desk would be thinking about this wonderful four-poster bed, he sighed, dropped on to it and hauled out his phone.

“Hi mom.”

“Hi darling, welcome home. Come to City Hall in the morning at 10:30 for coffee and we’ll catch up then. I have a finance committee meeting in ten minutes.”

“Okay thanks. Mom what can you tell me about Annie working front desk?”

“She’s Podge and Tim Watson’s youngest daughter with a masters in hotel avcılar escort management, very bright and capable. If you’re looking for a slut you best bypass her but if you disregard your mother’s advice and wish to waste you time trying it on with her just be discreet.”

“Well said mom. Oh you’re looking great.”

“You were cheeky as a child and that’s never left you Gene. I find it endearing. Good night.”

Gene had expected Crystal wouldn’t use that brief telephone encounter to say how disappointed she was that he’d broken up with Deborah after living with her for eight of the ten years he’d operated in Australia as a property developer. His mom would bring it up though. Crystal had married an Australian and Gene had been born there when the family lived in Sydney for seven years until his mom said it was time to return home and begin to put the kids through college.

Crystal and Arhcie had fought over that and their marriaged failed.

At 8:10 Annie called. “I’m in my suite having a bath. Come to Suite 5-015 in fifteen minutes. It’s on the opposite corner of the frontage to you, same floor.”

“I’m on my way to scrub your back.”

“Very well.”

He raced to change and to get over there to administer to his hostess in the bath but Annie answered the door, dressed and with fresh makeup on. Hell she must have moved! He grinned and she grinned, kissing him lightly.

“Questions are raised if I visit rooms alone after 8:00 not only because I’m deputy general manager but because I’m female. It’s against hotel policy for its female personnel to do that and security cameras are used to detect breaches. What I do in my own apartment is my business because it’s my home that just happens to be in the hotel.”

“Oh so we are going to do it?”

“Settle down Gene. I was speaking figuratively.”

“Speaking of figures,” Gene said, running his eyes up and down her trim body with boobs just a little too large for perfection.

“Please settle down Gene. Now what drinks and what food may I order for you? Make no effort to conceal yourself when hotel personnel enter.”

An hour later Annie used an infrared control to lower the lights and commented she’d draped a scarf over the sole security camera. “Would you like to join me on this sofa for a little grope to see how far you’ll get?”

Gene was over beside her in three bounds.

“Are you married?”

He replied without hesitation, turning his blue eyes on to her seductively, “My divorce came through seven months ago. There is no one else.”

“I have three guys to go with occasionally, all three are married and that avoids complications for me in living and working in the same building. I was at college with all three of them.”

“Well that’s one of the reasons we go to college for isn’t it?”

She giggled. “You don’t mind me having multiple casual partners, although I hasten to say singularly?”

“No, and I’m impressed you bothered to tell me.”

“Well you may have found out. One of my friends knows your sister Shelia very well. We met recently and I heard Shelia say to my friend Lucy you were coming back home and had recently divorced.”

Such chatter was a little tiresome so Gene closed Annie’s mouth with a kiss but soon she parted her lips again and their tongues touched deliciously.

“Pull out a tit for me.”

“What?”

“Oh sorry, you probably know them as boobs or breasts.”

“Don’t be lazy, do it yourself!”

Christ, perhaps his mom had been right, he’d be wasting his time with Annie. On the other hand perhaps she was a tease like he was?

She leaned forward cooperatively to allow him to undo her bra and they flopped out.

“Christ what big nipples.”

“Well if that’s a problem, tomorrow I’ll see about getting them changed surgically to suit your tastes. Well are you just going to sit at gawk at them?”

Gene went after them like a ferret going down a burrow.

She loved it, he loved it but when he rolled his left hand down over her pubic bone to cup her slightly moist panties she pulled the invader away and said, “I think that’s enough for tonight. Take me out to dinner tomorrow night in a crowded restaurant so we can talk to give me the chance to get to know you. If I like you well enough after that then I’ll probably let you go farther.”

Aroused, Gene tried to deliver without a pleading tone, “Do you really want to waste a night?”

“Yes.”

“Oh.”

“You’ll probably think of me as a slut Gene but in relationships I do apply minimum standards to satisfy myself. If that’s too difficult for you then tough.”

Gene accepted the curtain was coming down so smiled and said, “A slut? Oh I don’t think so. Dinner tomorrow night will be fine. I’ll wait for you in the foyer from 8:30. I leave reluctantly. Your body, intelligence and arresting personality have me almost on my knees Annie. I’m enchanted.”

“Oooh.”

But the hotel’s security cameras would have revealed just how transient was Gene’s enchantment.

Returning to his room, avrupa yakası escort adjusting his straining erection after an almost heart-stopping sexy kiss from at the door from Annie, Gene found a woman almost opposite his room, struggling to open her door.

“May I assist ma’am?”

“Oh yes, thank you young man. These damn card keys flummox me. The lights and buzzers are so confusing.”

“Here, please allow me. Um ma’am, this appears to be your credit card.”

“Oh silly me,” she said, pulling out her room card, leaving Gene with the slight suspicion it was indeed so silly that he wondered if it were a set-up.

“Thank you,” she said as the door opened.

Well so much for suspicion he thought as she darted in and closed the door.

Gene was at his door, fumbling for his key card, when the door diagonally opposite opened again and the woman said, “I had wondered if you are a neighbor and thought I had been rather unfriendly but that’s Mrs Gunter’s private suite.”

“Yes it is. I have it for a month.”

“Are you Gene, Crystal’s youngest?”

“Yes.”

“Oh welcome home, from New Zealand I understand?”

“No Melbourne Australia where my father, long divorced from mother, lives with his new family.”

“Oh yes, Archie. Your mother and he correspond occasionally. I’m Lydia Shapiro, your mother’s private secretary and confidante.”

“You mean her PA?”

“No, she has a team of support staff at City Hall. I’m salaried to work with her on her private affairs.”

“Ah, so my mother still has her affairs.”

The forty-something smiled and emphasized, “Her private BUSINESS AFFAIRS that in this city are considerable.”

“Of course.”

“May I indelicately invited you in for a drink in return for you being kind to me and not ridiculing me over my stupidity with my card. I was lonely so went out for a few drinks.”

“Um indelicate you said?”

“Well it’s gone 11:00.”

“How bewitching,” he smiled. “I accept Lydia, please call me Gene.”

Lydia closed the door after Gene entered, and leaned against it breathing rather heavily for such a low-level physical action involved in closing a door. So Gene kissed her and Lydia kissed him back, folding her arms around his neck until her murmured his fairly successful seduction line, “Flip one of them out for me”

Lydia managed that without breaking from the kiss, unzipping the back of her dress, pushing down one side of her bra, and pulling out a warm, well shaped bundle for him, with a big nipple, making Gene wonder if big nipples had something to do with the city’s artesian water supply. Although two out of two was a totally inadequate sample on which to base such a conclusion it was food for thought so he bent down to feast on Lydia’s nipple.

“Ohmigod, be careful,” she groaned, convulsing. “You are in danger of being screwed to the floor; I haven’t had sex in almost three months.”

The panting told Gene she wasn’t kidding. He rolled his hand over her pubic bone to cup her damp panties. Lydia pulled his hand away roughly and tore her panties in half and slammed his hand back on to her now heaving hairy pussy.

Oh boy, Gene thought as he settled down to some serious fucking.

He did manage to get to his bed before she screwed him to her mattress as a permanent fixture. He was very pleased to be home.

At 6:45 next morning, bleary-eyed and dragging his feet a little, Gene went out a self-locking side door for a fix of coffee and demolished a steak. He sighed with satisfaction, knowing he ought to be right by the time he met his mother and being capable of displaying a jaunty air.

Gene thought perhaps his mother knew Annie wouldn’t open her legs for him on their first encounter and so had planted Lydia for him to plunder. But possibly he’d never know for sure. One of his mother’s traits was to be secretive about what she did. It had taken his father years after her first adulterous affair to learn he was sharing her with other men and Lydia her confidante was unlikely to admit any deception that would incriminate her principal. Well did it matter? For three hours last night he’d wallowed in sex, his best session in years.

* * *

At 9:00 by appointment Gene sat in front of an overly plump, red and purpled-faced Realtor called Mrs Williams.

“I wish to remain anonymous.”

“Very well Gene.”

That surprised him. “You know me?”

“I count myself as one of your mother’s friends and have been so since we went through high school and college together. Until I became over-weight and lost fitness I used to swim regularly with her.”

“Of course, Mrs Williams.”

“You knew that name before you entered my office?”

“Yes of course but I wasn’t to know it was THE Mrs Williams, Vera Williams.”

“You are too kind. But we are in business hours and so to business. Your confidentiality is assured. How may I assist you?”

Gene cleared his throat. “Is Petticoat Farm for sale yet?”

Vera looked at him closely. “It is and has been for almost four years. bağcılar escort It is terribly rundown with impoverished soil, never having being farmed wisely by the Clough’s, so is regarded as being heavily over-priced at $7.8 million. Are you aware how it got its name?”

“Yes, Mrs Clough’s mother used to have up to a dozen petticoats and other underwear fluttering on the clothesline beside the highway. Some character named in Petticoat Farm and the name stuck, Mrs Clough rather liking the name.”

“Correct.”

“Well Vera I want you to go to those octogenarians and offer them $5 million from a mystery buyer who in addition will buy them the home of their choice in the city.”

“Well such a house wouldn’t cost you much because their housing concept is not grandiose, one only has to think of the squalor they have lived in for decades.”

“Quite but it has appeal, an offer they would not have expected.”

“They’ve had no offers and fewer than a dozen inspections. My firm has the listing exclusively. But you’ll not get it for four million; just as bare land it’s worth six million-plus.”

“But four million is the price I wish to pay. I’ll get you a bank check for $4 million and a legal document stating my assurance that I’ll purchase and donate to them a residential property in the city of their choice.”

“They won’t buy it.”

“Oh Vera please. Take my offer when it’s ready to them with your most persuasive salesperson and work on them. Only you, my bank, my attorney, your salesperson and the Clough’s will be aware I’m the person behind the offer. With luck we ought to hold my anonymity in check until I’m ready to make my next move.”

“You mother said you were a property developer in Australia.”

“Correct Vera, and pull this one off for me and your firm will be retained as my exclusive property marketing company.”

“The council won’t allow housing on that land because it’s in the approach of a future replacement airport and there’s a moratorium on further industrial land development for ten years with six years still to run.”

“Excellent information Vera but my development concept remains on course. May we meet again at 9:00 tomorrow morning?”

“Yes of course.”

“Oh Vera, I’m good for that money, having recently being paid $14.78 million in American dollars by a corporation for my half share in my development company I created with my former partner in Melbourne.”

“Thank you for that excellent information Gene. I’ll not assume you are prepared to increase your offer for Petticoat Farm?”

“Correct.”

They both stood and Vera said admiringly, “You are a tall guy.”

“Right genes via my parents,” he grinned.

“My feeling is there will be a lot of your grandfather in you Gene. This city is built on the genius of Bill Bryant. My husband and I could rattle up perhaps $5 million to invest in your project if it’s big enough to require outside investment.”

“I’ll keep that in mind Vera. Thanks for your time and you guys work your butt off for me, do you hear?”

“Loud and clear. Apart from my professional obligations your mother would be disappointed if I didn’t go that extra mile for you.”

“The Clough’s come from old farming families Vera. You probably have thought about it already but people like that do their big business deals over lunch.”

“Yes, all under control. I’ll take you out and introduce you to Lexie Street who’ll be working on this with me. She’ll fill out the client registration sheet for you to sign. She is our top negotiator but tell me if there’s anything about her you don’t like and we can try a match-up with someone else. Legwork is required on this and I don’t do that, but will team with Lexie going face to face with the Clough’s.”

“That’s fine but I have an appointment with my mother at 10:30 that I must keep. Perhaps Miss or Mrs Street could meeting me at Mary-Ann’s salad bar for lunch at 11:30 if the bar still exists.”

“It does, Lexie will meet you there and Mary-Ann remains larger than life in terms of personality; she used to be your baby sitter didn’t she?”

“Yeah and I loved that girl. All heart and softness. I’ve seen her since, several times. Two kids I believe?”

“Four actually. I’ll still introduce you so you can recognize one another at the bar. Lexie has a card so will pick up the tab. My feeling is I’m about to get you as a major client whether or not you get Petticoat Farm.”

They walked into the general office.

“Lexie dear I’d like you to meet Mr Bryant, grandson of our city’s illustrious founder and youngest child of our remarkable mayor.”

Lexie had been leaning over a desk divider talking to another salesperson so for a moment Gene took in a wondrous butt not far below the blonde hair cascading down Lexie’s back. Oh boy. As she turned he knew she’d have an angelic face and was not disappointed.

“Hi you ought to be in corporate business as a VIP greeter.”

“What a waste of talent and my time that would be,” she snorted and then smiled and said she had not meant to appear rude.

Vera said enough small chat and lowering her voice said, Mr Bryant wants us to table a bid for the Clough’s property. He wants his identity concealed at this stage and is aware of development restrictions but we can expect something visionary because I feel it will be in the genes, that’s the genes spelt with a ‘g’.”

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