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Introduction:

Our lives take an unexpected twist
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CHAPTER 10

As usual, we spent Christmas with my family. Pru called for a family meeting on Christmas Eve. She spoke from the center of the floor one everyone was seated. “Pat and I want you all to know that I’m pregnant.” Of course the meeting was delayed for more than fifteen minutes while we were congratulated. She continued once order was restored. “Sean, would you like to be godfather?”

“I’d love to…thanks.”

“Katherine, would you like to be godmother?”

“Oh, yes, Pru. Thank you.”

We could see the disappointment in the faces of Michael and Siobhan so Pru continued. “Michael, would you like to be godfather?”

“But…you already asked Sean.”

“Would you?”

“Yes, of course.”

“Siobhan, would you like to be godmother?”

“Yes, but….”

“What would Pat and I do with two sets of godparents?”

I could see the light in Sean’s eyes. My finger to my lips silenced him. Then it dawned on Michael and Siobhan. They spoke with one voice, “Two babies. You’re having twins!” Pandemonium reigned again in the Hayden household, this time lasting for almost an hour. We were hugged and kissed and then hugged and kissed again and again. My father broke out the single malt Irish whiskey we’d bought him from Bermuda for several toasts. What a Christmas present!

We returned home a day later so Pru could return to her laboratory and I could return to my studies. I was only back in school for a week when I received a caller. Hearing the doorbell was a rare event. I was curious when I opened the door. “Oh, hi, Mr. Laird, c’mon in. Sorry there’s a mess, but with Pru working and all the studying I’ve been doing ….”

“Don’t worry about it Patrick and I think you should call me Gerald.” He extended his hand and I took it before leading him to a chair. “Obviously, I have a reason for coming. I want you to know that Prudence is doing a wonderful job for us. Her research has created a new durable plastic we’ll patent and make millions from. I’m also thrilled for both of you—becoming parents—but I for one will be sorry to see her leave. I enjoy having a Hayden on payroll and that brings me to the point of my visit. What kind of law do you plan on practicing?”

“I was thinking about corporate law, sir…uh, Gerald. May I ask why you’re interested?”

“Laird Industries includes fifteen divisions—chemicals, plastics, steel, those you already know about. However, I’m also into finance, real estate, and investments. My in-house counsel needs help so, of course, I thought of you. You’d be his assistant for five years. That’s when he plans to retire. Then you can hire your own assistant. You should know…you’ll report to Martin. He’s a different person now and I credit much of that to you—the beatings you gave him in the ring and at the poker table. I’ll pay you well--$50,000 to start. I know you’ll need money for when Prudence is home with the children. My God, having twins is just amazing. You’re going to need a bigger place; I can help you with that, too. So, shall I welcome you aboard?”

“Why not? Knowing that I’ll have a job will help us a lot, and the salary is more than I could have hoped for.”

“Don’t worry—you’ll work hard and long hours, too. I believe in getting my money’s worth. Fortunately, I already know what a hard worker you are.” He rose from the chair, shook my hand again, and left. I couldn’t wait to tell Pru when she returned from work.

She walked in around 5:30. “Let’s go to bed. We’re celebrating.”

“What, not that I need much incentive to be in bed with you.”

“I got a job today—a good one. Gerald Laird offered me a job in his legal department--$50, 000.”

“You’re kidding! Well, I have news, too. I got a bonus--$50,000—for my new plastic. It’s as strong as steel and much lighter.” We hugged then I picked her up and carried her bodily into the bedroom. She was laughing and kicking her feet when I gently dropped her. Sitting up, she literally ripped the clothes from my body. Buttons flew everywhere; my shirt sleeves soon followed. I was glad it was an old shirt that was about to become our newest rag. I climbed onto the bed once she had disposed of my jeans and briefs. My cock sprung forth, hard and ready for use. Pru had her clothes off only a second later. Gripping my shoulders, she flipped me over, landing me on my back. She took position between my legs. She looked like a predator with me as her prey. I loved her like this and she knew it.

My pulsing cock was covered by her tongue as she laved my organ, coating it with her saliva. She leapt forward, spearing herself in a single motion. Head back and back arched, she groaned from the ecstasy—the rapture—she was feeling. Pru spread her legs wide, baring her clit, as she rubbed it furiously into my abdomen. I reached up and mauled her tits, rubbing and pinching her tender tissues as she went wild on my cock.
Nobody, not even us, could fuck at the pace Pru had set for very long. It was over too soon for both of us. We lay together exhausted and covered in a sheet of sweat once we were done. Finally, she raised her head. “Dinner?”

“Pizza or subs okay with you? I’m too beat to actually cook.” Once we were in grad school our opportunities to dine at Delta Upsilon evaporated. Their kitchen was for undergrads only. We learned to cook—barely—over the ensuing months. It was a process that saw many roasts burned to inedibility before we began to get it right. Many nights, however, we either ate out or brought in.

“Tell you what—I’ll get the pizza. I think you should call your family and give them your good news…and mine, too. Phone my folks and wheedle an invitation for dinner on Saturday.” She kissed me and hopped out of the bed to the bathroom, her pussy leaking semen as she went. I followed her thinking about a quick shower. “Let’s do that later…after dinner then I’ll want to be on the receiving end.”

“Pru…you are incredible. I don’t know what I’d ever do without you.” I gave her a quick kiss as I wiped my cock with a wash cloth. I rinsed it and handed it to her. She wedged it into her crotch to stem the flow of semen from her body. I kissed her abdomen, something that had become a habit since we had learned of her pregnancy. Kissing Pru anywhere was always a pleasure.

Our parents were thrilled for me—for us. I didn’t even have to ask my in-laws for a free dinner. They offered willingly to take us into Boston for a celebration.
Pru worked right up until her ninth month. She and our complete families were present for my graduation from law school, the highlight of which had nothing to do with my graduating. We were in the apartment when Michael walked in with a girl. She was almost at tall as he was and she was slender. “Pat, Pru this is Beth.” We greeted her warmly, of course. Later we learned Michael’s modus operandi when it came to girls. After getting to know a girl he always asked the same question—what makes you special? He was looking for and had found his Pru. We were thrilled for him.

Pru gave birth a month later. I think I was even more nervous than she was. Luckily, she felt her first contractions on a Saturday morning when I was home. I drove her to the hospital immediately, hoping that it wasn’t a false labor—praying I wouldn’t be stopped by a cop. It wasn’t and I wasn’t. Pru’s doctor examined her, telling us it would be about ten hours. I phoned our families and gave them updates until it was almost time. Then all my attention was for Pru. I held her hand and wiped her face, giving her sips of water or tiny chips of ice when she needed some, almost crying when I saw how hard she was working—how difficult the births were. When it was done I was relieved; we had two beautiful and healthy girls—Alanna and Brianna. I kissed Pru over and over, telling her how much I loved her. She smiled—her beautiful smile—and told me that she loved me. I couldn’t possibly be happier.

We began our house search right after my graduation--once Pru had stopped working and before I had begun. We found one we thought we could afford on a quiet street. It had three bedrooms and one and a half baths. I liked the full basement, thinking I might set up an office there. We were surprised when Gerald Laird suggested a different house. It was bigger, in a better neighborhood, and with a better school district. I didn’t think we could afford it until he offered us a 15-year zero percent mortgage to cover the entire $43,000 price. We eagerly accepted his generous offer.

I learned early on why Gerald had offered me such a high salary. My immediate superior was a lush. He came into the office after ten and left around 11:30 for a long three-martini (or more) lunch. Most afternoons he was too smashed to do any actual work. When Martin came in to check on me at the end of the week I closed my office door for a frank discussion. “Is your father aware of what’s going on here? Stephen is lucky to do three hours’ work a day. He’s a drunk. He’s going to kill himself one of these days. We need to talk with your dad. Oh yeah, I need a set of law books for my office. His office is locked whenever he’s out. I’m wasting hours every day trying to find stuff.”

He took me to speak with Gerald. “Of course, I know about Steve. He’s an old and dear friend.”

“Well, I think he should be in some kind of treatment. He’s hardly ever sober. You should see him stagger in from lunch. You didn’t want a two-person legal team, Gerald; you wanted one! What you have now is about one and a quarter—at best!”

“That’s true. I think that Marge has been doing all the work down there for months. Okay, I’m promoting you. You’re running the department. I’ll give you a $20,000 raise and more when you pass the Bar. Don’t worry about Stephen—I’ll deal with him.”

The following week I was giving him orders even though he earned three times what I did. I worked many hours, usually twelve or more a day doing the work of two. He disappeared two weeks later without notice. I prayed he wasn’t dead in some alley. I studied tirelessly for the Massachusetts Bar when at home. I was greatly relieved when I passed it on my first attempt.

I had everything under control after six months. I continued to work long hours so I could devote the weekends to Pru and my girls. I got several good raises over the next two years and I thought everything was great. Pru was talking about having another baby; I thought that was a great idea, too. Then everything fell apart.

Chapter 11

Other than having a 28 year-old girlfriend Gerald Laird was a very conservative person. He refused to fly, thinking it too dangerous. I’d heard him say many times, “Who survives a plane crash? Nobody! I’ll stick to the ground.” Instead, he took the train, renting a limo at the other end when needed. He was in a sleeper car when the train derailed. Later it was learned that some kids had loosened the rail “just to see what would happen.” Gerald might have survived if he had been seated, but he was in the process of fucking his lady friend. The sudden stop threw his body across the cabin, breaking his back and snapping his neck. Mercifully, he died instantly, suffering no pain. All of us at Laird Industries were devastated, but none as much as Martin. He reverted to his college days’ behavior, making the work day impossible for those who had to be near him. It became worse for me when I was named as an heir in Gerald’s will. He left his house to his ex-wife, $50,000 to his secretary—appreciation for her loyal service over more than twenty years. Pru and I were given $100,000 and our mortgage was to be considered paid in full. Martin got everything else—more than twenty-seven million dollars in investments plus the company which was worth hundreds of millions.

The situation at work was becoming unbearable. Martin’s tirades were growing more unreasonable and more frequent every day. He made threats as often as his dad had said “hello.” Pru thought I should look for another job. I agreed, but where would I find another that would pay me $150,000 a year? She suggested I put out some feelers at the next meeting of the Boston area Bar.

I had rarely attended these functions, preferring to spend my time with my family. Alanna and Brianna were very active children. Even at three they wanted to play with Daddy at every opportunity. I arrived at the hotel early, around 6:45 and stepped up to the bar. “Gin and tonic, please.”

“Make it two!”

I spun around—I knew that voice. “Jeff? I didn’t know you were a member of the Bar.”

“I’m not, but I’m here with our chief counsel. I was hoping to speak with you.”

“Me? I’m flattered; what can I do for you? More importantly, how the hell are you?”

“I’m well, thank you. I’m married to a wonderful woman and we have our first child on the way. I’m working for my dad as chief operating officer. I hear good things about you—turned things around at Laird in less than a year. My dad considers that a miracle. I was sorry to hear about Gerald even though we’re competitors. He was a decent man. I hear things over there are…um…unstable.”

“That’s a good description. Martin is running things now and the company is going downhill in a hurry. He’s losing it. Too bad; he had turned himself around after he graduated, but his dad’s death has been too much for him.”

Our drinks were served. Jeff insisted on paying for them. “Let’s find a table so we can talk.” I thought he’d take the first available, but he led me to the back of the bar. “As I said, Pat I came here to find and speak with you. I’m sure you know that Spencer Products is much bigger than Laird. Our chief counsel is retiring and I’d like you to replace him. I don’t need your answer now. I’d like you to visit us. We’re outside Worcester, about an hour from Boston. We have a lot of things that Laird doesn’t—like day care, social activities, and a reasonable work day. We don’t let anyone work more than ten hours a day. We value time with our families. May I ask what you’re making now?”

“One fifty.”

“We can beat that.”

“I appreciate the interest. Truthfully, I’ve given some thought to leaving—getting out while I still have my sanity. I’d like to talk it over with Pru. I know she likes where we live.” He gave me his card, writing his home number on the back. We shook hands and left, our untouched drinks on the table behind us.

I left and drove home. My mind was working overtime. I parked in the garage thirty-five minutes later. Pru was crying on the couch when I walked in. I rushed to her side. “Oh Pat! Martin phoned while you were out. He threatened to fire you. I’m so upset!” I held her head to my chest as I explained about my meeting with Jeff.

“He’s not going to fire me. I’m going to quit—effective tomorrow. They owe me 38 vacation days. I have to give 30-days notice so I’ll be covered.”

“Will he pay you for all of them?”

“He has no choice—‘Royce vs. Amalgamated Steel’ is the defining case. There are others, too. I almost hope he fucks with me. I’ll crucify him; the nerve of the bastard calling here and abusing you.” I picked up the phone and dialed. I spoke to Jeff’s wife, asking her to please have Jeff call me. “Don’t worry about the time. I’ll be up as late as needed.” I thanked her and hung up.

“If you hurry you just might catch your daughters before they fall asleep. I told them I’d send you in if you came home in time.” I kissed Pru and walked hurriedly to their bedroom. Quietly I opened the door. It was a wasted effort. They saw me and jumped up yelling, “Daddy! Daddy!” I took them into my arms for hugs and kisses. We had them in separate bedrooms as infants so they wouldn’t wake each other, but now as three year olds they were together. I put them back into bed, tucked them in with another hug and kiss then read a story, their favorite—Babar. They were asleep when I finished. I kissed each of them again and turned out the light.

I walked to my office and put a sheet of paper into my typewriter—it was a good quality IBM electric. I wrote a terse letter of resignation. I didn’t thank anyone for my opportunities—I had made them myself. Basically, all it said was that I quit—period. I typed a copy and placed both onto the seat of my car. Once I was back on the couch with Pru I pulled her onto my lap. “Tell me why I don’t do this more often.”

“I guess we’re just busy. It’s the price of being successful and of being parents. Why don’t we go to bed?”

“That’s a great idea, but I think we should take separate showers in case Jeff phones. C’mon, I’ll go first.” Pru leaned down to kiss me then she was up and off to the bedroom. I checked all the doors and followed her. I had just closed our door when I heard the phone ring. It was Jeff.

“Your offer still on the table?”

“You know it. I guess Pru was interested, eh?”

“Yeah…that idiot Martin phoned while I was out, threatening to fire me. He was really abusive to her. Pru was in tears when I got home. You know how I was when he insulted her. I’ll resign tomorrow. I’ll walk in, clean out my office, give the letter to his secretary, and walk out. I have enough vacation days accumulated to cover my 30-day obligation.” We spoke for about ten minutes, Pru taking the phone when she was out of the shower. Jeff was the only poker player we had ever socialized with. He wasn’t the fraternity type so I invited him to DU parties whenever possible. Jeff and his girlfriend had been to our apartment many times. He was my closest friend other than some of my fraternity brothers. I looked forward to working with him.

Pru had just hung up the phone when I returned, my head still damp from the shower. “You didn’t tell me his wife was expecting. Jeff invited us—all of us—to his office on Friday. I’m glad you’re doing this. I think it will be a good move even if we have to leave here. We’re now about seventy-five minutes from my parents and Worcester isn’t that much farther, plus we’ll be closer to the Mass Pike so we’ll be closer to your family.”

“Yeah, and Jeff told me they’d pay me two hundred to start with an even better benefit package. Now—enough business—let’s get down to business.” I placed my naked body next to hers. We hadn’t changed much since college. I still ran three times a week, only not as far—I weighed all of 165 pounds; Pru had gained only five pounds, but in her breasts and ass making her even more appealing than she had been before. I rolled back, pulling Pru onto me.

“You know…I still love the feel of your skin.”

“I love the feel of your skin…inside me. C’mon, I need you. It’s been too long.”

“It was only Sunday—two days ago.”

“Like I said…too long! Now, are you going to…?”

I smothered her mouth with mine as I pushed my hips up, my hard cock into her waiting tunnel. Giving birth had loosened her up a bit, but only a bit. She was still deliciously tight and even more orgasmic if such a thing was possible. I’d never experienced anything like my wife fucking. Even after seven years I marveled at being so lucky to have her. Of course, I also knew that she’d claim to be the lucky one.

I drove my hips up, ramming into her. Pru loved to be fucked, but she especially loved being fucked hard. We came together, our motions driving me deep into her, hers bending my organ in directions I couldn’t begin to imagine. Faster and faster we moved. I could tell when she was close. I moved up to kiss her—to take her scream into my mouth—as I pinched and twisted her nipples. Suddenly it hit, as hard as a nor’easter hits the rocky shores of New England. Wave after wave of pleasure engulfed her until I finally shot rope after rope of slick white semen into her. Pru collapsed onto my chest, her hair still wet from her shower, her skin wet from our exertions.

“Maybe now you’ll understand why I want that every day.”

“I’ve always understood, darling. I’ll always understand. I’ll also always love you.” We kissed and climbed under the blanket. I was eagerly looking forward to going to work tomorrow—something I thought had left my life when Gerald had died.

We woke early, as usual, when our daughters jumped into our bed. It was something we encouraged, just as my parents had encouraged me, Sean, and my other siblings. I thought it was one of the reasons why we were so close. Alanna and Brianna would always sneak up on us while we pretended to be asleep. Then they’d jump on us, smothering us in kisses and hugs. Pru and I always reciprocated then we kissed. It was a big part of who we were.
Sitting up I asked if they would like to go out for lunch.

“No work, Daddy,” Brianna asked.

“Yes, sweetie, but I’ll come home early. Would you like that?” She and Alanna laughed and hugged me some more. An hour later I was ready to leave. Again I hugged and kissed my children. I hesitated when I got to Pru. I could see the determination in her face.

“Go ahead, Pat. You beat him at poker and in the ring. You’ll beat him again today.” She kissed me and I was gone. I had a thirty-minute drive to the office. I walked in with my briefcase and a cardboard box. My personal possessions went into the box—my photos of my family and my desk pen set, a gift from my parents. I emptied the briefcase of my company papers and every other item owned by the firm, even the paper clips. When I was done I called Marge into my office. She noticed the changes immediately.

“Leaving, I see; I don’t blame you, Pat. That man will bring this company to ruin. I wish you well. You’re the best boss I ever had.”

“Thanks, Marge. I do have one final request. Accompany me to Martin’s office so you can witness me tendering my resignation.”

“I only wish I could join you. Unfortunately, I probably have another ten years to go. Maybe I could find another job. I just don’t know.” I patted her back and walked out. I’d miss Marge. She was like an assistant lawyer, just one without the degree. We walked quickly to Martin’s office. It was on the floor above, symbolizing, at least in his mind, the difference in status between him and the rest of us. I didn’t speak again until I was at his secretary’s desk. “Sylvia, I’d appreciate if you’d stamp and sign this and also my copy. She took a look then gasped, but she did as requested. Marge also signed as my witness. Putting the copy into my jacket pocket I picked up my letter of resignation and carried it into Martin’s office. Unlike his father who had an open door policy, Martin forbade any of us to enter without a formal appointment. He was about to yell when I threw the letter onto his desk.

“What the hell is this? Can’t you follow even the simplest order? Get out and get an appointment.”

“I assume you can still read, Martin. Consider today as my first vacation day.”

He looked at the letter and his eyes flared. “You can’t do this. You owe me thirty days.”

“Martin, you’d never make it as a lawyer. I will do one final thing in the short time I’m here. I’ll find the case that requires you to pay me and allows me to leave. I loved working here with your dad as much as I’ve hated working for you. If anything, you’re worse now than you were in school.” I turned and returned to my office, finding the citation in seconds. “Marge, take the book up to Sylvia. Don’t stay too long or he’ll take out his anger on you. I’ll miss you very much. You were not only a great secretary, but a great friend, too.” I hugged her, took one final look, and walked out the door for the final time—thank God. I was back home less than an hour later. I walked in and kissed my wife then I gave her the dozen long-stemmed red roses. I gave each of my girls a small bag of jelly beans. I was glad I remembered the roses. Without them I would have been in big trouble. Pru disapproved of sweets.

Pru relaxed while I did some of the chores and played with the girls. Their favorite game was something I called an expensive roll. I’d lie on the floor while they rolled me across the floor. I was always sure to have plenty of small change in my pocket. Watching them scramble for a buck or two was always worth the money in fun and laughter.

We went out for lunch as promised to their choice—McDonald’s, where else? We had a great time even if the food wasn’t so hot. After lunch we took them to the park. They climbed the apparatus only to jump into my arms. It must be wonderful to have such trust. They laughed for more than an hour, falling asleep in the car before we had traveled a mile. They slept the rest of the afternoon, rising only for dinner.

I enjoyed my run the following morning, taking as much time as I wanted before returning home. I was met with three sets of kisses and hugs in spite of my sweaty clothes and body. I would have enjoyed having Pru in the shower with me, but someone had to watch the girls. I was just out and drying my hair when the phone rang. I answered in the bedroom clad only in my briefs. “Hello?”

“Listen, Pat…I know things have been tough lately, but I need to be honest. I’m having a hard time coping and I need you back at work. I know I can do better. I promise I will.”

“I didn’t hear any kind of apology for your tirades or your insults or your tantrums. Sorry, Martin, but I’ve already accepted another position. I don’t go back on my word.”

“YOUR WORD? WHO GIVES A FUCK ABOUT YOUR WORD YOU FUCKING BASTARD?” He screamed into the phone for more than five minutes. It was so loud that Pru came running into the room. I held up my hand, telling her, “Martin.” Eventually, he ran out of breath and I spoke.

“You know, I liked the college Martin better. He didn’t swear so much. All that yelling and swearing..tsk tsk. So much for your sincere attempt to improve your conduct; you may be the boss, but at the rate you’re going you won’t have many employees left. I doubt you’ll have many key employees left in another six months. Now listen up…I’m gone. You owe me 38 days pay and after that I can pretend we’ve never met, because if we do those beatings I gave you in school will look like child’s play. I told you once to leave my wife out of any interactions we had and I meant every word. Make her cry again and there will be real trouble for you…police trouble...jail trouble. Remember, I worked there with you and your father for more than three years. I know a lot…like Cayman Islands bank accounts, for example.” I could hear him gulp several times on the other end of the line. “In case there were any questions…think ‘embezzlement.’” He hung up the phone before I finished.

“Do you really have evidence of embezzlement?”

“Nothing that would stand up in court, but he doesn’t know that. I heard him on the phone before a meeting and put two and two together. I don’t think he’ll bother us again. He’s stupid, but not crazy. Or is it the other way around?” I hugged Pru and went out to the kitchen for a late breakfast, Alanna on one knee and Brianna on the other as I tried fruitlessly to keep them from stealing my bacon.

CHAPTER 12

Friday morning we were up early for our drive out to Worcester. Leaving Newton Centre we drove west on Route 9 until we intersected I-90, the Mass Pike. From there we exited onto route-122A north toward Worcester. The headquarters for Spencer Products were about a mile south of the city limits. Spencer had more than twenty divisions, most of which were much larger than Laird’s counterparts. I stopped at the security checkpoint to identify myself. We were directed to a three-story building off to our left. Inside the building we were checked again.

Jeff came down to meet with us himself. After greeting us he explained why. “Follow me and you’ll understand the need for security.” We did and just around the corner we found their child care center with perhaps fifty young children. “These are our employees’ children here—from every level, from the lowest worker to the highest executives. Dad pays for this from his own pocket. We have five certified pre-school teachers here. C’mon, I’ll show you.” He opened the door; the noise level grew incredibly. I could see our adorable three year-old girls wanted to join the fun. Jeff introduced us to their teacher and we left them to continue our tour. I was primarily interested in the legal department. He took us there first. Samuel Greene was the department head. He shook my hand and expressed his joy at my appointment.

“I’ve followed you since you began at Laird. I knew Stephen fairly well. I was very sorry to learn of his death.” I started. “Oh…you didn’t know. That’s just like Laird. I spoke to Mary…that’s his wife. He fired poor Stephen when he should have offered him help. It was him that drove Stephen to drink, but let’s speak of positive things.” We talked for almost half an hour before leaving to meet with Jeff’s dad.

We were welcomed like visiting royalty. George Spencer was a big reason why his son was the kind of person he was—honest, open, and humble despite being a multi-millionaire—everything Martin Laird wasn’t. We shook hands and made small talk. We were interrupted three times by employees who excused themselves. George introduced me and dealt with their problems while Pru, Jeff and I sat by quietly. He spoke to Pru just before we broke for lunch, “We’d be very happy to have you with us, too, Prudence. That plastic you developed for Laird was genius. We have a license to manufacture, but we’d love to have that imaginative brain on our team.”

“Maybe in the future, George…after the twins are in school, but by then we may have another…maybe more if I can convince Pat.” We rose and walked out, back to the day care center to see our two girls seated at a table eating lunch with the other kids. We spoke to the teachers who reassured us before driving into Worcester to a fine restaurant for lunch. Jeff and his dad ordered steaks; Pru and I had chef’s salads. They had drinks; we had iced tea.

“I don’t like to drink during the day,” I commented, “especially when I have to drive home. I never take unnecessary chances with my family’s safety.”

“What did I tell you, Dad? Pat always has everything planned out. I think that’s a big part of your success, Pat. You never leave anything to chance which leads me to another question—how on earth did you manage to win all those side bets with Martin Laird? You won hundreds of those things. I can’t remember him winning any.”

“He won a few, but only when I wanted him to. You see I always knew that I had him beat with those bets…always.” I could see the confusion on Jeff’s face so I continued. “You see, Jeff, I learned something about Martin way back in our second week of playing. I had folded a hand and was just idly watching the others. I noticed a little twitch of Martin’s left eyebrow when he checked out his card—I think it was seven-card stud. He went on to win the hand so I watched him on every hand after that.”

“That explains why you were late checking your hand!”

“Right; I always knew if he had pulled the card or cards he needed and I could usually figure out what he had either from his open cards or by what he drew. If I thought he had me beat I’d just fold. Incidentally, I sold that information to his father when Martin graduated.” I went on to relate the story of meeting Gerald, their poker game, and how he beat Martin. “Unfortunately, there’s nothing funny about what’s happened with Martin since Gerald died.”

“You’re right, Pat. Gerald and I were neighbors--well, we lived about a mile apart. It was a shame when he divorced his wife to take up with that tramp. He actually told me it was her big tits that attracted him. Personally, I prefer a woman with a brain…like you, Prudence and like my wife.” We spent more than an hour at lunch before returning to pick up our girls. They were happy to see us, but sorry to leave the day care. They’d be back, staying there while Mommy and I looked for a new house.

Worcester is a nice city, but it’s not Boston where land and housing is extremely expensive. We found exactly what we were looking for in nearby Grafton—a four bedroom colonial on a dead-end street with a one- acre lot. Grafton looked like the quintessential New England village. We celebrated at home once we signed the contract on the house. The girls were safely tucked into bed and sound asleep. Pru and I were showered and in bed—naked in anticipation.

“How long has it been now, Pru?”

“Let’s see…I took my last pill on the twenty-third, so…eight and twenty-six…thirty-four days. You should be able to knock me up again pretty soon. I think we should practice a bit, don’t you…you know, just to be sure?

“Sure?”

“Yeah, Pat…sure we remember how to do it.” She couldn’t stifle a laugh. “Like we’d ever forget!”

“Yeah…like I couldn’t remember all the thousands of times we’ve made love; like I couldn’t remember all the way back to…yesterday. Pru, you are so transparent.”

“I admit it. I just love having you inside me. The things you do to me are beyond description.”

“Considering that statement…why are you still talking and not….” I didn’t have the chance to finish. Pru was all over me in a second. She gripped my cock, stroking it furiously while she kissed my neck, my cheeks, and finally--with incredible passion—my lips. Pru drove her tongue between my teeth, engaging mine in a battle of love and lust. She broke it a minute later, her face covered with spit, just as mine was.

“I’m taking the top while I can. My next period is due in three days. After that I’ll be checking out our ceiling more often than not. It’s a good thing I kept up my yoga. I can practice and make love to you at the same time. Once I’m pregnant I think I’d like to run through that Kama Sutra again.” I groaned, but any opportunity to make love with my wonderful wife was all I could ask for.

Pre resumed our kiss and as she did I felt my cock slip into her. Pru remained still for almost a minute. “I just love this part—the part where you fill me up. You know…I read recently that many Irish men have small penises. What the hell happened with you?”

“There’s some Arabian stallion in me from a few generations ago. Haven’t you heard me whinny?”

“No, and that’s about the lamest joke I’ve heard since we met.” She kissed me again as she began to rock. Opening her legs exposed her clit to my muscular abdomen. Rubbing it hard into my abs Pru broke the kiss to arch her back and increase the pressure on her sensitive bud. I looked into her eyes and could see she was somewhere else. The sex had taken control of her as it had so often in the past. There are plenty of women who fuck, but how many throw their entire being into it?

We moved together at a frenetic pace for more than five minutes as I made a herculean effort to hold back my orgasm for my love. She had experienced tiny tremors throughout her body since we started. Now they were more like tsunamis than ripples. Suddenly she stopped—it was the lull before the storm—until her entire body seemed to explode in rapture. I reached up to hold her—to protect her from injury. She was just beginning to calm down when I could hold back no longer. I lifted her more than a foot into the air, remembering our first time like this when I was so afraid I’d hurt her. I had to chuckle to myself. That would never happen.

I held Pru until she regained her senses. I leaned up and laughed when I saw how she was leaking all over my groin and thighs. Pru joined me when she realized what was happening. This would have been no problem before our twins, but now…no way! I staggered up and to the bathroom, carrying Pru with me, my cock still embedded within her. Another shower was in order.

I began work with the Spencer group the following Monday. Samuel was a big help with my orientation. He stayed for two weeks then I had a visit from George. “You know, Pat…I never liked Samuel’s taste in this office. He’s a great guy and an even better lawyer, but his taste in decorating…ugh! I’ll give you a $20,000 budget. Bring in a decorator or even your wife. Put those cute little girls of yours into the day care. Oh, yeah…I hope I don’t see you here after 5:30. Ever ask yourself why we do this…why we work ourselves to the bone? It’s for our families. How does it help them if we’re never home with them? In fact, I don’t want you working more than nine hours a day…and that includes taking work home.” He smiled and left. I realized what he said was true. I also realized that I had a staff—five attorneys, two paralegals, and four secretaries not including my own. I needed to learn to delegate.

A year later I thought everything was perfect. Alanna and Brianna had a sister—Collette. Work had never been better. I was working between eight and a half and nine hours a day and I was bringing home $300,000 a year. Then I received a phone call from Marge, my former secretary at Laird; it was a phone call that would change my life forever. I could hear she was crying when I picked up the phone. “Oh Pat, It’s terrible. Martin has killed himself.”

“What? How?”

“He locked himself in his office and refused to speak with anyone. He was in there for three days. Dear God, I don’t know how poor Sylvia survived the last year. He was so abusive to everyone. I hated going anywhere near the office. Then we heard the gunshot—it was about a half hour ago. The police came and forced his door open. He was lying dead on the floor. Everyone is terrified. What are we going to do?” I spoke with her for more than twenty minutes before hustling upstairs to see George and Jeff. They were as startled as I was. I was shaking when I phoned Pru. Jeff walked into my office and told me that George wanted me to take the rest of the day off. I was obviously and terribly upset by this turn of events.

Three days later I took a day off so Pru, Jeff, and I could attend the funeral. It was sad; there were only about a dozen people there—not a single family member and only two from the firm. We were on our way out when a bespectacled and gray-haired gentleman stopped me. “Excuse me…are you Mr. Hayden? Your office told me you’d be here. I’ve been directed to give you this.” It was an envelope with my name on it. I recognized the writing. It was Martin’s. I placed it into my pocket, waiting until I was home before opening it.

I was at my desk dressed only in jeans and a sweatshirt when I looked again at Martin’s message. I felt sorry for Alanna and Brianna. They wanted to play with Daddy, but Daddy wasn’t in the mood. Initially, I had hated Martin, probably even more than he hated me and when he attacked Pru I thought I could have killed him. Later I learned to like and enjoy him, but his recent turn back to his dark side was more than I could handle. It was probably too much for him, too. “Oh well,” I thought, “the sooner I read this the sooner I can play with my girls.”

Dear Pat,

We’ve had some relationship, haven’t we? It’s been like a roller coaster with a lot of ups and downs. I’ve learned a lot from you. I’ve learned never to get into the ring with you. I’ve also learned that I should never let someone bait me like you did back in our freshman poker game. I should have realized that something was up. Too bad I couldn’t see around my ego.

Losing my dad has caused me to lose it, too. I guess you already knew that. I don’t know what it is with me. I must be self-destructive. Okay—on to the point of this letter. If you’re reading this you already know I’m dead. Yes, I’ve killed myself. I can’t handle the stress of being in charge—of running an empire with the fate of thousands depending on every decision. I don’t know what to do so I lash out. I’ve done it so long and so badly that everyone’s gone. There’s nobody to help me—nobody.

I can only see one way out of this mess—my death. You see, I’ve always been a coward. I make up for my weakness by picking on others. I’ve done it all my life. It’s really all I know how to do. Even when we boxed and you thought I had guts…even then I was a coward. I continued to box only because I was afraid that everyone would recognize my cowardice and mock me for it. I was anything but brave…believe me.

The man who gave you this is my dad’s personal lawyer. He also has my will. I only have two heirs—my mother and you. I’m giving her $10,000, payment for fucking me up so badly. Everything else—all my father’s companies, all his investments, all his real estate—everything—goes to you. You’re the only person I know who can handle the stress that’s involved. Good luck. You’ll need it after how I’ve made such a mess of everything. Martin


Pru came in just as I had finished. I showed her the letter; I hid the tears in my eyes. She read it then dropped it on my desk. “Oh, my God! How terrible.”

“Don’t say or do anything until the girls are in bed. I don’t want to scare them, okay?”

“Okay…we’ll talk later. You’d better wash your face. Those tears will scare them for sure.” She leaned down to kiss me then I went quickly to the nearest bathroom and ran the icy cold water over my face. Alanna and Brianna were standing behind me when I returned the towel to the rack. They knew something was up. They always knew, but that didn’t mean we’d tell them something they wouldn’t and couldn’t understand. Instead…tickle time! They screeched as they ran down the hall with me closely behind them. I pretended to trip in the living room and it was time for their “revenge.” They could tickle me all day—I wasn’t the least bit ticklish, but it would be years before they’d learn that. Until then I’d fake it. Pru looked in from the kitchen, shaking her head and laughing at the sight of her newly rich husband and his two four year old tormentors.

Later that night Pru and I sat together on the couch. We asked each other a ton of questions. We developed even more answers. We took three hours to resolve everything. I couldn’t have done it without Pru’s help. We went to bed—no shower and definitely no sex. We were both beat—mentally and emotionally drained. We fell into bed, Pru’s head on my shoulder as her smooth skin moved against mine until we fell into a fitful sleep.

We were up early enough to dress before the girls came tiptoeing into the room. They still loved to wake us up every morning. I wondered how long that would last—not long enough, unfortunately. We had a hearty breakfast while Pru fed Collette from her breast. An hour later I was in the office. “Sheila, please phone upstairs and ask for a meeting with George and Jeff. Plan for an hour and ASAP. It’s important.” We met an hour later in George’s office. I shared the letter.

“My God…how sick…how desperate.”

“You’re absolutely right, George. And more than that…how pathetic that he couldn’t see any other way out.”

“What’re you going to do?”

“Well, Pru and I talked almost all of last night. Do you have any idea how brilliant she is? She’s a genius. I’ve never known anyone who can analyze and process information as well as she does. We see two alternatives—hire someone to run the business. I wouldn’t know where to begin and I wouldn’t want to, and then there’s the conflict of interest in working for a competitor. Or, sell the damn thing. I think we might be able to get a buyer from maybe GE or Phillip Morris, or some other big conglomerate. Another possibility might be to sell the parts. Either way we’re not keeping the money.”

“What do you mean?”

“Pru and I are NOT keeping the money. We’re giving it away—almost all of it. We are not getting rich on Martin’s misery or his death. It’s just not right. It’s not the lesson we want our children to learn. It’s kind of like finding millions in drug money on the street corner. Would you want that? I know I wouldn’t. We don’t have all the particulars yet, but we will.”

George smiled kindly and nodded his head. “I think you will. Pat…I think you will. What will happen with the will?”

“I assume there will be a reading and then it will go to probate. Once it clears it will be enacted and the property will be dispersed.”
I went back to work. Later that morning I was startled to see two police officers enter my office. They had plenty of questions, mostly about my relationship with Martin going all the way back to college and they also wanted to know why I had left Laird. I answered them honestly and showed them Martin’s letter.

“Can we take this?”

“Of course.” They did ask where I was when Martin died and I told them I was here at work. Probably a hundred people had seen me drop off the twins in day care. It was good for them and very helpful to Pru now that we had Collette.

Collette—she was another beautiful baby whose name was a compromise. When Pru suggested Colleen as a name I had to laugh. Colleen means “girl” in Irish. Who names their daughter “Girl?” Instead of Colleen we settled on Collette. The police left and I was alone with my thoughts. It was the first day in more than a year that Spencer didn’t get its money’s worth from my labors.

A week later Pru and I went to hear the reading of the will. It was just the elderly gentleman I’d met at the funeral, Martin’s mother and us. Pru’s mother was babysitting for us. He welcomed us and paraphrased the will. “Mrs. Laird, Martin has left you $10,000. Mr. Hayden, you receive the remainder of the estate. If you wish to discuss its value I suggest you speak to Mr. Jorgenson.” I knew John Jorgenson from my years with Laird. He was Vice President for Finance—an accounting wizard.

Pru and I drove straight to the Laird office where I asked John to calculate the value of the company—the land, buildings, inventory, raw materials, and potential profit less any debt. The job took only ten seconds. “Martin told me to expect you. Once he was dead I computed everything. What a shame. It took Gerald thirty years to build and Martin twelve months to destroy.” He shook his head and handed me a bound report about a hundred pages long. Pru and I took it to my in-laws where we sat and read while Grandma attended to the kids. It was scary; the company was valued at more than $900 million; there were almost 10,000 employees. There was also more than $100 million in real estate, a host of expensive cars and a yacht. I understood even better why Martin was so terrified. The responsibility would be overwhelming. Now I couldn’t wait to unload it.

Returning to work the following day I was trying desperately to catch up with the work I’d left undone over the past few days. I’d been at it for almost two hours when George and Jeff walked into my office and closed the door. After pleasantries and asking about Pru and my daughters George got down to business. “Any idea how much Laird Industries is worth, Pat?” I opened my briefcase and pulled out the Jorgenson report. He skimmed it, stopping and reading carefully the last page—the summary. “Pat, I think we’re in a position where we can help each other. We’ve had a solid mutually beneficial relationship to date, but I think it’s about to become better. I’ll buy Laird from you. I’ve been thinking about expanding, and buying an established organization is actually cheaper and more effective than building from scratch. Plus, we’ll have a trained work force. I can’t pay 900 million, but I could swing 600 if we can spread it out over, say, four years. Here’s what I suggest—200 now and 100 a year for the next four. What do you think?”

“I think I need to put together a contract, but may I suggest spreading the remaining payments over ten years? I suspect that will be better for both of us.” I rose, walked around the desk and we shook hands. I’d have the contract done by the end of the day, but a handshake with George Spencer was as solid as any written document. It would be a simple job—really. There would be boilerplate, but the meat of the contract would be only five or six paragraphs. Of course, Spencer Products would be required to honor all the union contracts and work conditions. George had many of the same unions in his own factories. I also suggested he keep the top men in place. They’d done a great job over the past year, even having to deal with Martin. He readily agreed.

I left work early that afternoon, feeling as though the weight of the world was off my shoulders. Poor Pru and my girls had suffered over the past months, just as I had suffered from the massive weight of responsibility. I’d gone home every evening in a deep funk. Today would be the first time I could recall walking in wearing a smile.

Brianna noticed me first, looking up from her coloring. I knelt and held my arms open. She couldn’t get to me fast enough. I hugged her and kissed her like I hadn’t in more than a month. Seconds later she was joined by Alanna. I walked quickly into our bedroom, finding Pru feeding Collette. I sat on the side of the bed, reached over and pulled her into a long passionate kiss. We could hear the twins giggling behind me.

“Okay, something good has obviously happened. I haven’t seen you like this in…well, in too long.” She patted my cheek and waited for me to tell her.

“I sold Laird Industries.” She looked at me, incredulous until I continued. “George is buying it. He’s wanted to expand and he thinks this is the most effective way to do it. I drew up the contract today and we’ve signed it. Two hundred now and a forty a year for the next ten years—six hundred million total. Yeah, I know I might have gotten more, but at what cost? I feel better than I have in a month, maybe longer.”

“I think we should celebrate tonight.”

I laughed. “I was hoping you’d say that.” I hugged my wonderful wife then turned to hug our twins. We went out to dinner—no, definitely not to McDonald’s, not with a cashier’s check for $200 million in my pocket. I bathed Alanna and Brianna in our whirlpool tub, laughing as they frolicked in the streams of bubbles, dried them, read a funny story, and tucked them in for the night, telling them numerous times how much I loved them.

Pru was already in bed wearing a sexy black teddy when I arrived. The lights were off, but the room was illuminated with the light of several candles. Pru looked sexier than ever, her long lithe body curled on top of the sheet. After a quick shower I raced to her—to tell her how much I loved her and how much I appreciated her patience with me over the past month.

We’d had sex, of course—that was a given. However, this would be our first time to actually make love in all that time. Pru had taken care of me because I needed it, even though I had been emotionally unable to give back. Tonight I’d correct that, multiple times if I had my way. I was praying I would.

I leaned in to kiss her. I intended to start slowly, but Pru had other ideas. She grabbed me by the head and pulled me over her, planting her lips on mine and pushing her tongue forcefully into my mouth. Her arms were around my body, her legs around mine. We kissed for what seemed to be an eternity before breaking it. I looked into my wife’s beautiful face. “I’m…I’m sorry about….”

She held her fingers to my lips. “Don’t, Patrick.” I knew I was in trouble. She only called me “Patrick” when she was pissed at me. It wasn’t often, fortunately. “What are you sorry for, Patrick, for being human? You’ve had an awful lot on your shoulders, more than I could handle—that’s for sure.”

“But…I went for a whole month and I didn’t take care of you even once.”

“So, what’s the big deal? You’re going to take care of me tonight, aren’t you?

“I was thinking about a couple of times…at least.”

Pru grinned. “Then I think you’d better get to work, don’t you?” She pulled me into another kiss. One hand found my cock, the other my balls. She stroked with one hand and rubbed with the other. I broke the kiss. It was too soon to fuck. That would ruin all my plans. Starting at her neck I licked my way down her body. My tongue trailed around each succulent breast, still swollen with milk. I paused to outline each areola and each nipple, pulling them gently from her body, stretching and pinching her delicate tissues before I continued my journey. A brief detour around her navel always made her laugh—it was worse than tickling her.

I licked my way through her neatly trimmed pubic hair, bypassing her clit—that would come later. I shifted my body between her legs, prepared to eat Pru to the orgasm of a lifetime. I began at her knees, licking slowly up each thigh, teasing her for almost fifteen minutes until she was panting and her pussy was dripping juice—wait until I actually touched it! My mouth was only an inch away when I exhaled slowly through my mouth, blowing gently into her, tickling her without even touching.

“Damn you, Patrick. You’re driving me crazy. If you have any idea of actually fucking me tonight you’ll give me some relief.” I relented, licking her labia and sucking them into my mouth. I kept this up for perhaps three minutes before sliding my tongue into her. She tunnel was slick with lubricant. She wasn’t oozing nectar; it was running like the Hudson River. I found and abused her G-spot. Pru bounced on the bed in her lust. It was time—I moved at last to her clit. Pulling back her hood revealed her hard red bud, swollen in its desire. I bit gently—Pru groaned. I sucked it between my teeth and Pru exploded, shaking bodily while tightly grasping my head between her thighs. It seemed to go on forever.

She released me and I could finally breathe again. Her hands pulled me back up her body into another long deep kiss. She laughed again mid-kiss and began licking my cheeks clean. Our eyes met then she pulled me to her chest. I could feel her heart still beating rapidly as she began to come down from her high. “Soon, darling…soon; as soon as I can catch my breath. Oh my…you are so hard. I can hardly wait to have you in me.”

Pru lay silently on the bed for several minutes. I could tell she was ready when she rolled me over onto my back, climbing onto and straddling my hips. She leaned forward to kiss me, raising her hips to engulf me within her. Pru fucked my mouth with her tongue while I fucked her tight pussy with my cock. The kiss lasted for more than a minute before she broke it. “Give me a ride, Pat. Make me fly.” I drove into her, lifting her from the bed six inches, eight inches, a foot and more. Over and over I made her fly as I pounded her as I hadn’t in ages. Looking up I could see her ecstasy, making my exertions all the more worthwhile.

I knew she was close. All she needed was a trifle more stimulation. That came in the form of pinching and pulling her nipples. They were sensitive; they always were when she was nursing. Her back arched, almost bending her in two, as her orgasm hit. It went on and on as I continued to ram my cock into her until I could go no more. Rope after thick rope of semen erupted from my cock until it poured from her tunnel. In time I collapsed, exhausted, but still I continued to show Pru how much I loved her. I caressed her sweaty body, kissed her cheek, and ran my fingers through her hair.

“Oh…enough, Pat—I can’t take any more.” She rose up on her arms to look into my eyes. “Dear God, how I love you. You’re the best….”

I put my fingers to her lips, “I don’t want an argument, but I know who’s the ‘best’ here. You give me the strength to succeed every single day. I’d be nothing without you.”

“That’s probably true,” she laughed, “but I love you anyway.” She silenced any rebuttal with another kiss. “Let’s go to sleep. We have a busy day tomorrow.” I nodded my agreement. We had a lot to do--perhaps even more than before I had sold the business. I pulled the blanket over us and lay on my back. Pru snuggled close, her head on my shoulder, her leg over my thigh. I held her close, but said nothing. No words were needed. We fell asleep quickly.

CHAPTER 13

We were up early the following morning, showering before our daughters ran into our room. Pru fixed breakfast and after we used the table to plan while the girls played with their Transformers. First, we had to deal with estate tax which would run roughly 73 percent of the inheritance. I’d already sold off several properties including the Rolls and several houses, netting almost $7,000,000. My father in-law knew of a national developer who might be interested in the other properties, especially at the price I was asking—only a hundred million. I’d visit my accountant for advice on how to manage the tax. Then was the matter of the distribution. Twenty-seven percent of 737 million was still an extremely significant sum—approximately $200,000,000.

I asked George for a little time off to resolve the tax concerns and he agreed graciously. I spent the morning with my accountant and with a tax attorney. I was surprised when he suggested we try for a deal with the IRS. A week later we had one. They would settle for fifty percent of each year’s payment, meaning that Pru and I would end up with almost $300 million over the ten years once the state tax was included. On the positive side I’d pay no state or federal income tax over the next ten years thanks to my charitable contributions. At the percentage I was paying it would be like ten years’ salary for nothing. First, though, we’d take care of our families.

We visited my parents over the July fourth weekend, calling for a family meeting once the children were safely in bed. I explained what had happened and what Pru and I had conceived. “Mom…Dad, we know how much you have sacrificed for all of us. We’re giving you thirty million. You’ll have to pay taxes on it, but you’ll wind up with about ten which should be more than enough to provide for you for the rest of your lives.

“Sean, Siobhan, Katy, and Michael, we want to help you get started in life, but we don’t want the money to destroy you like it did Martin. We’re giving each of you a trust so you won’t have to pay tax on it. The two million we’re giving each of you will generate $40,000 a year—enough to pay any college expenses, buy a house, whatever. You’ll get the entire amount on your thirty-fifth birthday. We’ll give some to Pru’s parents and the rest with two exceptions to charity. All we’re keeping is the investment portfolio to protect Pru and the children should anything happen to me. All told we’re giving away more than $280 million.” Everyone was dumbstruck until Pru distributed the check for Mom and Dad and the trust documents to my siblings.

We left the following Saturday after a wonderful visit, driving north back to Massachusetts past Boston and up to Pru’s parents. We saw them often and it was clear they loved their grandchildren dearly. I knew the twins felt the same, especially with Grandma. We said nothing until after dinner when the children were all tucked away in their beds. This time it was Pru’s chance to speak. “Mother…Daddy, Pat and I want to speak with you about something important. She described my relationship with Martin through college and my initial employment. She went on to describe the reasons why I had left Laird. They knew almost all of this, but Pru wanted to set the stage for my inheritance of Gerald Laird’s empire. “But, neither Pat nor I wanted it and we didn’t want the money, either. We’re giving it away—almost all of it—and that’s one of the big reasons why we’re here.” She rose, kissed her mom and then her dad before giving him the envelope.

They were already millionaires; his real estate development company had flourished. We wouldn’t give them as much as my parents who had five children whereas Pru was an only child. We gave a check for $10 million, leaving them almost five after taxes.

The following morning we drove home, stopping near the university. We led our family into the tiny motel office, pleased to see Mr. and Mrs. O’Sullivan in the office. “Hi, we thought you might like to meet our family. This is Brianna and this is Alanna—twins—and this is Collette. We had so many wonderful times here during our freshman year we wanted to thank you. We’ve recently come into some money that we neither deserve nor want so we’re giving it away.” I handed him the envelope. “I remember you telling me that the motel business was steady, but you’d never get rich. Please use this to remodel or even to retire. We think of you often and hopefully you’ll do the same for us. I shook Mr. O’Sullivan’s hand while Pru hugged and kissed Mrs. O’s cheek. We left just as they took note of the $4 million check. One final stop--to meet with the alumni advisors of Delta Upsilon; we gave them $2,000,000; as a non-profit they’d pay no tax. In forty-eight hours we’d given away almost $50 million dollars. The remaining forty was split between the Salvation Army and the American Red Cross. We were broke again, but we felt great.

Okay, we weren’t quite broke. We kept Gerald Laird’s investment portfolio of blue chip stocks and bonds—General Electric, IBM, Phillip Morris, Standard Oil, and other top quality investments totaling almost $30 million. These would be our insurance policy. The future payments would be distributed between charities and the university that had treated us so well.

Pru and I are thirty-five now and we have four children—all girls and all looking like Pru--thank God. Pru asked me if I’d like to try again for a boy. I turned her down flat. My girls treat me like a king. Alanna and Brianna look like lower case Pru’s—tall and slender with long logs. They’ll drive boys crazy in a few years. They have recently begun jogging with me, mostly around the perimeter of our yard. I no longer run for time, but I still enjoy a long jog. Last weekend we dropped Collette and Caitlin off with Grandma so we could go to a football game at our college. It was Homecoming so Delta Upsilon would be open to alumni. We wouldn’t stay for dinner or for the dancing, but we wanted our girls to understand about our college experiences. We hadn’t been back in years so I was shocked to see a bronze plaque by the door recognizing me for my contribution. I was shocked; Alanna and Brianna were thrilled. They could read now, indeed they were both gifted with IQ’s well in excess of 140 so I knew who they took after—their brilliant mother.

There were serious advantages to having a chemistry PhD as your mother. I could write another forty pages just about the science projects they’d done. Yes, they actually did the work; Pru helped them to get the work done correctly, but that was all.

We’ve decided that I will retire at forty. I’ve already given George and Jeff my notice. I’ll bust my chops for the next five years because that’s all I know. Thereafter, I’ll work even harder at being the best husband and father possible. That’s also all I know.
Poker was very important to me at one point in my life. It was like the money we’d given to my sisters and brothers—money to get me started in life. However, once I graduated I never played poker again. I had my wife’s love. That was all I’d ever need.
4 comments

Anonymous readerReport

2014-04-15 00:00:09
Brilliant story once I started I couldn't stop

Anonymous readerReport

2014-04-14 12:21:30
read the whole series in one sitting and loved i................ very good story............... looking forward rto more freom you,,,,,,,,,, positive rating

Anonymous readerReport

2014-04-14 06:11:24
I am happy you opened this one up to comments. I found this story on accident and I loved every second of the series. Your writing is fantastic and the story was without a doubt one of the top that can be found on this site and would be an AMAZING book. Thank you for the amazing read.

djb8247Report

2014-04-13 01:03:55
read the whole series in one session, very interesting and very very enjoyable...

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