by Karen Anne Summerfield and Kelly Ann Rogers Part XIII - Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning's End I don't think I need any quotes to entice those of you who've gotten this far to continue. Just enjoy Jacqui's new beginning.
© August 2002
Karen Anne Summerfield and Kelly Ann Rogers
Part XIII - Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning's End
I don't think I need any quotes to entice those of you who've gotten this far to continue. Just enjoy Jacqui's new beginning.
Karen Anne Summerfield and Kelly Ann Rogers
© August 2002
Part XIII - Every New Beginning Comes From Some Other Beginning's End
"Jacqui, there is a large truck coming in the driveway," Kat announced. It was mid-morning and Kurt had taken his brother to show him the Mark Seven offices. I went to look, and sure enough, a large truck was backing into the driveway. I put on a coat and went outside to see why they were there.
"We have a delivery for Mrs. Kurt Mark. Do you know where we can find her, Miss?" The driver asked, as he looked me up and down with a grin. The other man had already started to open the rear of the truck.
"I’m Mrs. Mark," I said, thrusting my hands onto my hips and straightening up to show my displeasure at his behavior.
"Oh," he said, quietly. "Well," he stammered. "You need to sign this." He handed me a clipboard and went to help his partner.
It was an invoice from Precise Restorations All it said was ‘1 Motorcar NOIBN’. "One motorcar," I said aloud. I had no clue what the acronym meant. I walked back to where they were tilting the truck body and extending it towards the pavement. Looking inside, I saw a glistening red car. I immediately recognized the classic shape of a Jaguar XK-E. This one was so highly polished that it glistened even though it was still inside the truck and the sunlight couldn't reach it.
I stood there gaping at it as the winch unwound and the car came out. Once it had stopped, I rubbed my hand over the brightly polished hood ornament.
"What year?" I asked the driver.
"Sixty-six, XK-E convertible, with a blown Vette’ engine and five on the floor," he said, his voice brimming with pride, as if it were his own.
I looked at him a little confused.
He carefully explained to me, as if I were no more than a dumb redhead, that it was a Jaguar model XK-E convertible with a five-speed transmission and a turbocharged Corvette engine. "You'd need a full time mechanic to just keep the three carburetors tuned on the original Jag' engines, so we replaced it with a Vette’s." He opened the door revealing white leather upholstery and an elegant burl wood dashboard. I saw a big white bow tied about the steering wheel with an envelope pinned to the satin.
‘To My Darling Wife, Mrs. Jacqui Mark, Love, Kurt.’ I read the note then slipped into the driver's seat.
"My husband gave me a wedding present," I bubbled to the deliveryman, forgetting that I was angry with him. "Is there anything special I need to know?"
Patiently, the man explained everything and I played along as if I had never driven a car before. Frankly, I was so overwhelmed that I did feel slightly stupid.
After they left, I revved the engine in the driveway for a few moments. John’s favorite BMW certainly didn't have the sexy rumble of this car did. I left it parked in front of the house and ran in to get Kat.
"Someone give you a wedding present, Jacqui?" By her big smile, I could tell that Kat knew all about it.
"Yes," I cried out, absolutely delighted with the car. "Yes, my wonderful husband. Come on, were going for a ride. You had better wear a scarf 'cause I'm leaving the top down and I'm not driving slowly!" We were both breathless by the time we got back. I was exhilarated, but I suspect Kat was more likely scared to death. That car not only turned heads because of its beauty, but it could easily give you whiplash with its acceleration.
I was sorry to see Karl and Kat off on Sunday morning. Kat and I'd grown very close during her short visit. They were off to a holiday in Aspen for the next couple of weeks then flying back to Switzerland before Christmas.
Because Kurt didn't have enough time to rearrange his schedule for a honeymoon, we postponed it until spring. At the time, I really didn’t mind; I guess because I'd never taken what most people think of as a vacation since I’d left home for college, I didn't know what I was missing. Although I eventually did learn about the delight of traveling for pleasure with Kurt, I was eager to settle down and make a home life with him.
Keeping the house in order, shopping and doing my hobbies, especially my embroidery, filled my days, and having Kurt with me, every night was all I needed to be content. Preparing our home for Christmas kept me from even thinking I could be bored.
One evening, the phone rang and Kurt took the call. I was curious when he closed the door to exclude me from the conversation, but he wasn’t on long.
"Jacqui, Henry has just called to inform me that Anna’s mother has died." I didn't have a strong reaction to the news because we knew she was very ill. However, I was unprepared for what followed.
"Henry and Anna will not be returning. Her father is not well and Anna’s mother had taken care of him. Anna feels she needs to stay to care for him. They will retire and remain in Florida, hopefully to enjoy the fruits of the hard work they put in all of their lives."
I’d only know Anna a very short time, but would still miss her; I’d miss my Uncle Hank much more.
"Kurt, how do I look?" I stood, nervously examining my refection in a full-length mirror. I was wearing a black kidskin cheongsam trimmed with silver. It was a week until Christmas. "Beautiful, liebling," he complimented.
"You don’t think I’m overdoing it with the heels and showing so much leg?" I ran my hands over the fitted dress that displayed my now eighteen-inch waist. I'd decided that I could endure it for the effect we wanted to achieve. "And this cut out?" I said as I tried to tug the edges of the inverted heart-shaped cutout below the dress' high, snug collar together. It was carefully designed to uncover a shockingly large expanse of my large breasts.
"No. You are perfect. You must display what Carla did to you and project an air of satisfaction and confidence. Remember, Jacqui, you are going to flaunt yourself in her face," Kurt reminded me of the plan we’d established to confront my former wife and hopefully, totally blow her mind.
"But I don’t feel confident," I whimpered. "I feel like an Asian Barbie Doll."
He laughed at my joke then came over to stand behind me and wrap his arms around my waist. I melted back into him as he spoke soothingly into my ear. "Liebling, at Carla’s parties you wore a uniform that displayed far more of you, and still you conducted yourself with elegance and grace. Think of this meeting as just another party. Besides…"
"Some party." I laughed nervously, interrupting him.
"Besides what, Kurt?"
"I think I like mein Frau to be a Chinese Barbie Doll." I had come to accept my look even if Carla had mostly created it. I had even enhanced it myself by increasingly tightening the lacing of my corset. Both Kurt and I loved the way I looked and Kurt was my focus. If it made him happy, the discomfort of my corset fetish was worth the results. Besides, this would only be for a few hours.
An hour later, still as nervous as a cat, I stepped from the car and walked beside Kurt to the meeting with Carla and her lawyers.
Paul Cardacci and Adrian Stele met us in the lobby.
"Marvelous, Jacqui, absolutely marvelous," Paul complimented as Adrian took my cape. "Now do you remember what you are to do?"
"Yes." I quickly ran through the script, which we’d rehearsed several times in his office.
I drew what passed for a deep breath in a corset like that. "I guess I’m ready."
"May I?" Adrian asked, before he tilted the brim of my large black cartwheel hat so it obscured my left eye. "There," he smiled, "much more mysterious."
Paul and Adrian went in first. We waited a minute then Kurt opened the door. I couldn’t look at the faces on the other side of the table, but felt their eyes boring holes into me. As we planned, Kurt went to sit down.
I slowly turned and looked over my shoulder to check my seams. Since I’d not straightened the black nylons since exiting the car, they were crooked, as expected. I made a show of crouching then running my kid gloved hands up my left leg then slowly repeated the motions on my right one, but going further to re-garter it in back, exposing one cheek as I did. Still, without looking about, I walked to the open seat between Paul and Kurt. He stood to tend the chair.
"Splendid," my husband whispered.
Seated, I repeated the glove show I’d performed for Kurt on our first date, exposing the impossibly long red nails I’d gotten at the salon the day before.
"Still the slut, Jacqui," Carla tried to mock me with slow applause. "Marvelous performance," she ridiculed.
"Isn't she just marvelous, Melissa?" Carla said turning to her sister. "Did you teach her that?"
"Thank you," I said without emotion. My sarcastic smile carried my real feelings. I'd said all I needed to.
"Shall we begin?" Paul picked up his papers.
"I am Paul Cardacci, my associate Mr. Adrian Stele," Paul introduced. "I believe you know Mr. Kurt Mark and Jacqui?"
"On behalf of Mrs. Jacqui Lian Mark we demand…"
"What?" she screamed. "She can’t be married, that little … shit is a man!" Paul answered that claim by passing a copy of my Hong Kong birth certificate across the table to Leonard Jacobi, her senior attorney. A Xerox of our marriage certificate followed.
I almost giggled outloud at Carla; she was so upset, she looked absolutely ridiculous.
"On behalf of Mrs. Mark, we have demanded the sum of twenty-five million dollars, half ownership of JohnCarla Limited and the transfer of all assets held in the name of Mr. John Ingram."
"Shove it up your ass!" It was totally unlike Carla. In all the years I’d known her, she had never sworn like that in front of strangers. Something had gone wrong. I’d been assured that we were there to settle this matter and that everything had already been hashed out with her and the lawyers. This was not good.
"Leonard," she faced her attorney, "call Immigration at once and inform them that this illegal alien is in your office so they can arrest her."
"I would strongly advise you not to jeopardize your own liberty, Ms. Martin," Adrian interjecte. "I remind you, that if the truth comes out, it will be you who will be behind bars."
"Fuck off!" Carla shouted. "You heard me, Leonard! Do it!" Carla demanded.
"Mr. Jacobi, do we again need to show you my client’s evidence, or would you prefer to find yourself defending criminal cases in both the New Jersey State Superior and Federal Court? You know how bad the parking is in downtown Newark." Paul smiled gleefully, referring to the area surrounding the Federal courthouse there.
Paul went on, "Ms. Martin has constructed a very elaborate web of illegal misdoings. One, so convoluted that she apparently became careless because she did things that contradicted each other and left a clear trail of criminal activity, mostly felonies."
Carla was livid. I blew her a kiss just to twist the knife.
She flew across the table in a futile attempt to wipe the smile off my face. Adrian caught her arm and pushed her back.
"Shall I add attempted assault to the charges, Mrs. Mark?" Paul causally asked me. This was all part of our plan of attack, which had begun with my appearance that morning. We wanted to rattle Carla’s cage so badly that she couldn’t think straight, much like my own mental condition when I awoke in the clinic after surgery.
Melissa, who had remained silent, took her sister from the room followed by one of the other attorneys.
"Leonard, I thought that your client had agreed to settle this as we’d discussed over the phone? You were both fully aware of the evidence." Paul seemed as bewildered as I was by then.
"Ms. Martin informed me otherwise, only when she arrived here this morning. Just to refresh my mind, let’s hear what you have again?" he requested.
Like a machine gun, Paul rattled off the details of our evidence and then explained the mess Carla had created for herself. Jacobi listened without comment.
"We are willing to settle this, Leonard. If we cannot reach agreement, we will notify the concerned agencies and Mrs. Mark," Paul nodded in my direction, "will file her own criminal charges against your client. Ms. Martin will find herself in jail for a rather long time if she forces us to pursue this."
"Yes, that's what I recall," Leonard Jacobi coolly said. "Let me go remind my client of both the stakes and the evidence." He excused himself and left the room. As he opened the door, we heard Carla screaming at Melissa.
"Did you see her Melissa? The fucking little faggot is a fuckin’ gold dig…" The closing door blocked further conversation, despite its volume.
"Are you alright, Jacqui?" Kurt asked.
"I’m fine. I just wish this were over, that's all."
"It will be, Jacqui," Paul assured. "Leonard Jacobi is a good lawyer. I’ve worked with him in the past and I can assure you that he completely understands our position and what his client has gotten herself into.
When the meeting resumed, nearly two hours later, it appeared that Carla was sedated, for Melissa had to help her to the chair. I causally opened my purse, raised the two veils covering my face and started to freshen my lipstick.
I saw Carla stiffen, but she said nothing.
"Paul, my client has considered the matter and is willing to negotiate," Mr. Jacobi began with measured tones.
"What is your wager, Mr. Jacobi?" My use of Carla’s pet phrase caused her to glare at me, but still, she said nothing.
"Jacqui?" I was surprised to hear Melissa softly call my name. I met her eyes. "I want you to know that I only played a minor role in this. Carla lied to me, just as she deceived you. I’m so sorry." Melissa’s eyes were moist with incipient tears.
I looked at Melissa. Was this just a ploy or was she being genuine? It only took me a moment to realize it didn't matter. Melissa’s had behaved as despicably as her sister had set me up. What she did was inexcusable. I just ignored her hollow apology.
"What will it take? What will you settle for?" she asked as if begging me. Paul had instructed me not to answer that question, although I wanted to. Instead, I turned to him.
"You know our terms. The next move is yours," he replied. "In fact," he went on before anyone else could speak, "I thought your sister had agreed to the terms." Melissa glanced at Carla, but she didn’t respond. "That's the only reason we're here today."
Mr. Jacobi stood. "I apologize for taking your time, Paul. I’ll be in touch as soon as I can." They shook hands. I felt a grip on my arm. Adrian escorted me out of the building.
"What’s going on?" I asked him as he walked me to Kurt’s Mercedes.
"I honestly don’t know, Jacqui. Paul signaled to me to take you out of there. I don’t know any more than you do right now and I'm just as bewildered as you are." Fifteen minutes later, Kurt joined us.
"Thank you, Adrian. I’ll take my wife home. You are wanted back inside." Kurt took my hand.
"Kurt, what’s going on? That wasn’t what we expected," I moaned as he helped me into the car.
"No, liebling, it is not as planned, but better." He drove from the lot. "Your presence had the desired effect and your performance was perfect.
"Paul and Leonard Jacobi will negotiate an equitable settlement, but that will not be today. I ask you to trust that the matter is in good hands."
"If you say they are. Where are we going?"
"I'd like you to meet a client of mine."
"Like this?" I motioned to my outfit. He laughed.
"Yes, exactly like that. You look beautiful."
We stopped for lunch at an Italian restaurant along the route and needless to say, I was the focus of everyone's attention. I felt like a celebrity, which was both fun and scary. When we were done, we proceeded to a modern office campus in a nearby suburb. While we ate, Kurt had told me all about John Park, who I was to meet that afternoon.
"He will offer you a job, Liebling," Kurt said. Even if you think you might not want to take it, don't say no right away. Just say you'll think about it. Of course, if you want to take him up on his offer, please feel free to do so."
"Aren't you going to tell me anymore? I hate mysteries, especially when I'm part of them." I really didn't like what was going on, but Kurt obviously thought it would be loads of fun and I couldn't resist him.
The understated sign said, 'Kahn Publications Limited'. Below the English were Chinese characters. The sign was so modest I thought we'd be entering a tiny office suite. Instead, it was a large, rather ornate lobby, decorated with many pieces of Asian art. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that the receptionist wore a cheongsam or that she knew Kurt, but I was.
"Hello, Mr. Mark. It’s good to see you." Although she was obviously Korean, but she spoke without any hint of an accent, unless you counted the slight echo of Valley Girl. I know it was stupid of me, but I was always surprised when anyone who looked foreign spoke English like an American. Valley girl and southern accents were particularly amazing. Now, I realized, people would be looking at me and thinking the same thing.
"Good afternoon, Ellen. I'd like you to meet my wife, Jacqui."
"Hello, Mrs. Mark," the young woman stood and greeted me with a warm smile, reaching out her hand to shake mine.
"Mr. Park and the others will meet with you in the first floor conference room. This way please, Mrs. Mark," she glided from behind her desk and led the way to a richly decorated conference room. It was only once we'd stepped inside that Kurt let me know he was leaving.
"Jacqui, this is entirely for you. Do whatever you want. I don't want to be here to influence your decision. I'll wait for you until you've finished." Before I could object, he'd kissed me and left.
I turned into the room; feeling rather confused, Ellen asked, "Coffee, tea or something else, Mrs. Mark?"
Still clueless, I asked, "Why am I here?" Ellen looked as bewildered as I felt.
"Mr. Park wishes to meet you. Please sit there and relax while I make tea." Ellen was still busy when a distinguished looking Korean man entered the room. Several women, all quite lovely in different ways, followed him. They were obviously from several different Asian cultures.
"Mrs. Mark, hello," he greeted me with a bow. "I am John Park. I own Kahn Publications. He introduced the six others who all sat once they had acknowledged his introduction.
Ellen set the tea service on the table then fixed me a cup to my liking. After she put it in front of me, she nodded at my hat and said, "May I?" I nodded and she lifted my veils back onto the broad brim. Other girls had come in to serve the rest of the group.
"Mr. Park," I began, immediately regretting my forwardness.
"Please," he interrupted, "Call me John. And may I call you Jacqui?" I nodded.
"Well then," he went on, "I imagine you want to know why you are here."
"Yes," I said with much relief. "That's exactly what I want to know."
He smiled at me indulgently, as a grandfather might. "Kahn is a large publishing house for a group of English language magazines targeting the Asian population of North America. Our periodicals cover many interests, but central to our identity is that our employees, our models and everyone shown in our advertisements are all Asian." He paused and looked about at the assembled group.
"My friend, Mr. Kurt Mark, has told me that his lovely new Chinese wife pocesses many special gifts that might be of interest to our subscribers."
"Oh?" I replied, slightly shocked. "I do?"
As he selected a green folder from the colorful stack beside him, I saw the others do the same. He opened it and I saw picture of embroidery, my embroidery.
"Our magazine, Silken Images, caters to women who enjoy needle crafts." Ellen placed a glossy beside me. "Take a moment to look through that, please?" he asked.
Though the format was entirely different, as I turned the pages, the quality of the periodical and articles reminded me of Taunton Press’ Threads. Towards the back was a completely blank page. I raised my eyes in question to Mr. Park.
He reached across the teak table to place a mock-up over the blank page.
‘Coming in our next issue: Pictures of Silk by Jacqui Lian Chang.’
Several small pictures of my work, surrounded a large photo Kurt had taken of me one day when I modeled my dragon dress for him. I looked up at Mr. Park, my eyes thrown wide open in surprise. I was so startled by what was happening I thought I could feel my lashes hit my eyebrows.
"Mr. Mark showed us your work. It's exquisite and we would like to publish it.
"Please do not say anything quite yet," he continued, "because what we really want is to have you write an article about your embroidery. If it goes well, we'd like to consider a regular column, perhaps quarterly." He looked at me expectantly, with a big, and, I thought, very genuine, smile. I'd certainly never considered anything like this, but the thought did please me. I was an engineer, I would study my hobby in detail!
"Mr. Park," I said without hesitating, "I must admit to being totally surprised about this, but I find the whole idea very enticing. You must give me time to consult with my husband." I didn't care if Kurt had bought me a career as a columnist. I could do this; I wanted to.
"That's fine Jacqui, but I think I already know what he will say." Park winked at me.
I had to giggle. "Yes," I agreed, "I suspect you do know. But I want to hear discuss it with him anyway."
"Of course," he concluded. "And if I might, I'd like to ask you one more indulgence." He looked up at me expectantly, so I nodded. 'What,' I wondered, 'could follow that?'
He opened a red folder. Again, the others did the same. Inside were pictures of me, including some taken at my wedding.
"And now, he said, his smile even bigger than before, "shall we talk about your modeling career?"
"Huh?" I said, completely surprised, in a million years I would never have anticipated that.
"We are delighted to have you write a column for us, but we'd really like modeling to be your primary job. You are a stunning woman. You are well proportioned, with amazing legs. You are young, but not immature looking and your face, although clearly Chinese, has echoes of European ancestry that are quite fascinating. You are of mixed ancestry aren't you?"
I was blushing so hard, I couldn't hear any more. I had never had anyone say anything like that to me. Of course, Kurt was always telling me how lovely I was, and I did get lots of looks on the street, but this was just too much. I was literally speechless and sat there staring at John Park with my mouth open.
"Of course," he went on, filling in the conversational gap for me, "modeling is not easy work, despite its glamorous reputation. I hope you will find that this offer is sufficient to compensate you for the hardships." He wrote a figure on a piece of paper and slid it across the table. That didn't help me recover from my speechlessness at all. If anything, I was even more stunned. I had no idea they paid models so much.
Forty-five minutes later, I was still feeling quite addled from all the compliments I was getting when Mr. Park introduced me to a woman who had recently entered the room. The others stood and wished me, "Good-bye."
Not only was I to have a column on embroidery, but I was to model for Kahn Publications as well. Although I was married to a wealthy man and was soon to have considerable assets of my own, the monetary offer staggered me. It didn't matter that Mr. Park had warned me I would be working hard and would really earn it. I was going to be a model!
"Please, go with Li to discuss the details, Jacqui." He too bid me a good day and I left. Li walked me along the corridor to a large corner office, watched over by a lovely young woman, whose name I learned was Saya.
"I’m the editor-in-chief of Silken Images, Jacqui," Li began, after offering me a comfortable seat. She had to be older, but she looked like she was only about twenty-five and was quite attractive.
"I was born in Sebu City near Mactan Island, The Philippines though my parents are Chinese." I note on your resume that you are also Chinese." Her inflection sounded like it was a question.
"Yes, I came here last March." 'Careful Jacqui, you are on thin ice,' I warned myself. Adrian had prepared a file on the other Jacqui Chang, which I’d memorized, but I also had another story of my own. When she began to speak to me in Cantonese, I knew I would need it. I held up my hand to stop her.
"Ever since I was an infant, my father, who was a Canadian silk merchant, traveled all over the world, but I mostly grew up in Canada and was educated there. My mother was Chinese and both my parents spoke Cantonese fluently, but my mother insisted I speak only English though I can speak French too, and a little German. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I am one of those unfortunate first generation immigrants who can't even speak her native language. My parents only spoke it when they didn't want me to know what they were saying.
"I see," Li smiled broadly. "I apologize. Seldom do I get to speak my language. You’ve seen that we are a mixed nationality here at Kahn Publications. Unlike in China, we are in the minority as there are only two others of Chinese ancestry. Most are Japanese or, like Mr. Park, Korean."
"I hate to do this to you, but your first deadline is in three weeks, I want you to introduce yourself, give a short biography then describe some of your creations, Jacqui. It will be a feature article, so plan about two thousand words, for me to look at.
"You are scheduled to be photographed tomorrow starting at eight, so be here by seven o’clock." Li stopped to stare at me intently.
"Is that your normal makeup style?" she asked. "I like it. Perhaps we’ll change it in the future, but keep it for now."
"Your hair though, has to change, but, before we do that, I want James to see if he wants it?"
"Excuse me, Li. ‘If he wants it’, I don’t understand?" I was lost.
"James is the art director for a few magazines, one is Basin Beat, it’s a teen magazine and often he wants far out stuff for the covers and features. His big kick is China Dolls with blonde hair. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one of us with hair quite the color of yours though."
"Anyway, after he has his fun, you are going back to basic black.
"By the way, get used to being called ‘Doll’ or ‘China Doll’ here." Mr. Park calls all of the models and other pretty girls that. He's so charming, no one complains. I don't mind it, coming from him. "Only problem is the other guys who work here do too and they're not all so sweet. We have Chinese, Filipino, Japanese and Thai models right now, and they're all lumped together as China Dolls."
"Bring a few pretty things to wear as I doubt wardrobe has anything that might fit you," Li was smiling as she stared at my torso. "Bring that cheongsam in the picture, too. I wish I had one like it. It's stunning. Do you always dress so sexy?"
I blushed and vehemently shook my head no. "I dressed like this today for a special reason."
"Of course," Li nodded her head. "To impress Mr. Park."
Since I had no idea I'd even be meeting Mr. Park, or anyone else for that matter, that couldn't have been the reason. Then it came to me; Kurt knew. It wasn't an accident that we came here with me dressed to kill. I decided that Li would be better off believing her misimpression, so I nodded 'yes' to her shyly.
"As long as you model here, we have you exclusively. No other modeling work, period."
"I'm sorry," I said quickly. "I can’t agree to that."
Li glared at me; obviously upset. "Why not? Certainly we will pay you well enough," she demanded.
"Oh, Li," I replied, "please don't misunderstand me. The monetary offer is more than enough. It's just that I’ve already committed to doing a catalog and Web pictures for a boutique. They make my clothes in return. As you noted, my size is not a common one. I’ve also done some modeling recently and some of those pictures may already have been sold. In fact you have some of them."
"You worked as a maid, right?"
'How did she know that?' I wondered. I've been the CEO of a highly successful computer consulting firm and I'm now known as a former maid? Life really is weird. "Yes, I did."
"I see. I don’t imagine it paid well. So, you bartered your beauty for your wardrobe? Beats selling sex I guess, and I like that." I just blinked at her, deciding it was better not to get into it.
"We've already made a deal with Ashley. She brought your wedding pictures to us not long after your husband had arranged for Mr. Park to meet you. We will let her do a wedding spread of you next spring." She shuffled some papers then looked back up. "We’ll talk about this again after I consult legal. What’s the name and address of the boutique?"
At that point, I called Kurt, or rather, Saya did, and Li and I chatted about Kahn Publications until he arrived.
"How did it go, Liebling?" Kurt asked, as we walked to the car.
"You know very well, Kurt. You bought me a job." I wasn’t angry about it and smiled as I spoke.
"No, Jacqui, that is not true. I asked John to give you an interview, nothing more. I thought, perhaps, he could use someone with real computer skills. Now you will not be so bored."
We had reached the car and were standing beside it. I stared at him in disbelief for a moment before I burst out laughing. "Is that what I’m supposed to be, a computer jockey for someone else's business? Is that all you think I can do, Kurt?"
"I am sure that you can do anything you wish," he replied, obviously taken aback by my attack, "But John Park is one of the most honorable men I know and he's desperately in need of computer help." I didn't know whether he was pulling my leg or telling the truth.
"Don’t lie to me," I chided him. "You bought me a job as a columnist. Just admit it."
"No. I have told you." He was so defensive now, that I was ready to believe him. "I asked only that they consider you, if a position arose. It came up when he spotted the picture of you in your dragon dress on my desk. Believe me, Jacqui that is the truth."
"Why did you give them pictures of my embroidery and of me?"
"He asked if I knew where you got the dress. I told him you'd made it. When he asked if you made all your clothes, I said, 'no, but you do a lot of embroidery'. He begged to see some examples and said he just had to meet such a creative and attractive woman. I didn't say anything to you because I didn't know what he intended."
I thought about it for a few moments and then laughed again. "You don't know what he asked me to do?" I said, arching an eyebrow at him. He shook his head no, looking a little intimidated by my apparent outrage.
"They want me to write a column on embroidery and try modeling," I said, now smiling broadly. "You sure you didn't set this up, Kurt?"
"No honestly, I had nothing to do with it."
I didn't care anymore. I wanted to write and to model and I didn't really care if Kurt had bought me those jobs or not.
"I have to be there by seven tomorrow morning," I told him. "Let's go home so I can get to bed early tonight. I have a feeling that tomorrow will be a very long day."
I think that Jamie, the art director, nearly swooned, if anyone actually does that in reality, when I walked into the studio. He stared at me as though in shock and his mouth started working without any words coming out then he closed his eyes and sat down hard.
He quickly recovered though and put me to work. Work it was too, nothing like the comfortable posing Ashley had me perform on my wedding day. I was posed, reposed and then reposed again. They asked me to change my expression, move slightly and then I was reposed again. I changed outfits innumerable times and, each time, my makeup was redone then it was back under the lights for more posing. I was ready for a break long before Jamie called it quits at noon.
You know what? I loved modeling. I couldn't believe that shy little me, the Jacqui who was happiest being overlooked, could be so 'out there'. Under Jamie's careful tutelage, I came alive in front of the camera. I felt like a caterpillar coming out of her cocoon and discovering she's a butterfly. I just loved it.
More than that, I learned all about how to use my face and body for various effects and my movements became increasingly graceful and feminine. If I ever wanted to flaunt my looks on the street, I could leave everyman who saw me devastated.
Best of all, I didn't have to do it to earn a living, so I could pick my times and projects. My face soon became widely recognized and I guess I turned into that trophy wife so many successful middle-aged men wished they could get.
That doesn't mean I ignored my responsibilities to our home, far from it. I was a meticulous homemaker and was ready with dinner every time Kurt came through the door after work. I guess I was kind of a parody of a fifties housewife, but I didn't care. The more time I spent with Kurt, the more I fell in love with him and the more I wanted to please him.
"Kurt, no! I don’t want to wear it again!" I shouted in protest, as he struggled to fasten the belt in place. I tried to put as much anguish into my voice as I could.
"But I am going to insist," Kurt said softly. The main lock clicked in place.
"Now do what you must with your lips before I place the outer shield, liebling." While I worked with my nether lips, Kurt did the best he could to distract me. His fingers began to cause waves of renewed pleasure to course through my body as he fondled my sensitive breasts and nuzzled my now over the shoulder-length black hair aside to kiss my neck.
I had hated Carla when she had locked this damned contraption on me to deny me any sexual pleasure, but now I was absolutely delighted that my husband was locking me up, although I had to behave as if I still hated it. Since Kurt had awakened the potential pleasures available to me through my new genitals, I had become rather obsessed with sex.
One evening, as I was crawling all over him, trying to convince him to come to bed with me, he threatened to lock me up as Carla had, if I didn't behave myself. I got an incredible rush from the whole idea and I guess Kurt could see it on my face.
He immediately said, "You'd like that, wouldn't you; to be locked in a chastity belt that only I could open?" I couldn't say anything. My nipples had hardened and my breathing was becoming rapid and shallow. I must have been blushing as well because my face suddenly felt very hot.
Kurt broke out into a huge grin. We began to explore this idea. When I was locked away, I longed for release, but had no control over when that would happen. I did not want to have any say in the matter, but loved that Kurt had the choice as to when it might be.
It became a game between us. He would lock me up, usually for no more than for a few days at a time, and for me to have sex, I had to please him in any way that I could. I made him elegant meals, assured that his clothes were ready and helped him dress and was as sweet and loving as I could be. When Kurt was home, he had my undivided attention and this pleased him beyond words.
"Kurt, will you open my belt tonight, pretty please?" I cooed as I pressed close and nibbled his ear.
"I think that I would like a massage first, lil’ Jacqui." I slapped his butt as hard as I could. "That is a good place to start, liebling," he chuckled.
I pushed him on his stomach then jumped up to straddle him, using his thigh to press the crotch plate of my belt hard, against my pussy then attacked his muscled back with vigor. Before too long, he was on his back, moaning softly as I massaged his organ with my lips and tongue. I was fully engaged and enjoying myself when I was suddenly tossed backwards on the bed and forcibly spread.
I found that being on my back with my legs apart to be the most incredible sensation. Could there be anything more emblematic of being a woman than waiting on your back for your lover? Before I could resist, as if I ever would, the steel armor plate was laid open and his tongue was attacking me. It took awhile, but even after I had exploded in my orgasm, the attack did not cease, it intensified and his hands left my thighs to lovingly assault my breasts.
"Ah, ah! Oh my God!" I screamed with pleasure as an earthquake wracked my body.
Sometime later, I was half awakened when I felt something being done to my sensitive flesh. I tried to push whatever away and jumped awake when my nails touched steel again.
"Lay still, liebling." Kurt moved my hand away. "I must learn how to fit your belt." He was massaging my lips through the slots. "This is mine and I want to assure it is kept safe and away from your naughty fingers." I slapped him playfully.
"Kurt, perhaps your lips might be more effective than your clumsy fingers at working my lips where they should be?" He needed no more encouragement to set them working on the task at hand. My fires were rekindled, but, with my clit shielded, it was a fire that wasn't going to light. A few minutes later, the solid click of the lock snuffed it out altogether.
"You’re a beast!" I drew him up to lay on top of me then covered us with the sheet. With my hands locked about him and we kissed.
"Ich leibst du." He repeated what I said and we fell asleep together.
Kurt and I have been married for five years. We now live in a smaller mansion, which overlooks a picture postcard valley in the mountains of Northwestern New Jersey. He no longer goes to the office every day, but only travels in for the monthly board meetings and other special events. Mostly, he can be found taking walks in the forests surrounding our property or tending the formal gardens, he’s created closer to the house.
I’m still modeling. I think that I’m addicted to it, but limit my bookings to less than ten days a month. I’m so much in demand, that I can command a supermodel’s rate. Married to Kurt and with my settlement from Carla, I don’t need the money, but I do enjoy the work. Well, I can't really call it that. In truth, I'm rather infatuated with showing off my body and love being the center of attention.
Let me tell you a little about Giselle. She is my personal maid and a true delight to have about. During my first week at Kahn Publications, I was working on a spread with Natia, a very pretty, Thai girl. We’d met the first day of work and had become friends on the set.
"Jacqui, I’d like you to meet someone." Natia said after I’d expressed my desire to hire a maid. "My … sister is living with me and is looking for just that type of a position."
Giselle turned out to be a girl, almost just like me. She's a Thai ladyboy. She’s been with me since. I’ve never told Kurt her background. It is our little secret.
This autumn, we are all going to Geneva again. I’m very much looking forward to working with my sister-in-law. Things couldn’t be better. Yes, that’s right. I did say working with Kat. It was a ball the first time … but that’s another story.
C'est finis - or - Das Ende
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