Except for the internal intrigues, the days were all pretty much the same now. For his part, having learned all the prep cooking that was done here and how to cut meat, Bill was bored a good part of the time. He was a crackerjack broiler cook now, one who could, if he so chose, command his salary. The worst that could happen to him for asking for a raise would be being turned down, and he wasn’t about to go looking for a job which he knew he could find without any problem. In fact, several times while working on the West side on their open hearth he had been approached by other restaurant owners and asked if he’d wanted to make a switch. Robert had heard this once, and Robert, not one to hold anything back, had said in his usual way, “What’s good to you is good for you, so do what you want to do.”

Bill didn’t know what he wanted to do. Bill was happy at this point in time making money and putting money in the bank. From having been totally broke and down and out, he and his fiancé now had a good bank account, a decent car, were able to buy things if they wanted to, and they had paid off their loans. That her father had never loaned them money stuck in Bill’s craw, but in the long run that was neither here nor there, just   one of the things that would put a nail in the coffin of their marriage   many many years later. His father, who didn’t have any money to spare, took a personal loan to loan him  money when he needed it to get along.

He thought nothing of having found his fiancé with Tim and Jack in the bed. He had not slept any at all, and if it weren’t for the black beauties he would have found himself in a tough way. But as it were, he was used to the speed, and more than any other drug this was the one he really loved. Later in his life, he would become intimately acquainted with cocaine and he would love that even more than black beauties.

Downstairs on this particular morning, with the snow falling outside and the prospect of the day being a slow one due to the crummy weather, all three of them changed in the hall. Bea, ever herself, ever playful when it came to acting out in front of Mary, took herself a copious feel of Bill. Bill allowed her the feel and pushed himself forward toward her. He told her to go inside his underwear which she had no trouble doing. Mary, somewhat jealous but not wanting to put it out there, asked if they wanted privacy. In answer to her question, since Mary had not put her dress on yet and was still in her panties and bra, Bill reached between her legs and took himself a generous feel of her.

“Maybe we should all go somewhere together,” Bill said.

“Maybe we should,” said Bea.

“Maybe we should get our asses upstairs,” said Mary.

“Party pooper,” said Bea. For the first time ever, she reached to Mary and her hand met Bill’s where it was. Together, Bea and Bill pressed Mary against the wall and held her there while they fondled her. Bill leaned in and kissed Mary.

“Goddammit,” said Mary, her voice somewhat slurred due to her being kissed, “you know we got to get upstairs.”

“Ain’t nothing much going on today, not with this snow,” said Bea.

“We gonna have plenty of time to mess around,” said Bill.

Bill moved his hand up toward Mary’s bosom. Bea continued stroking Mary down there. As Bill continued fondling Mary and kissing her, he thought about the intricate webs that were being woven and the complications that could surely happen. Bea’s touching Mary was but another of the strange surprises that had occurred within the last few hours, this despite the boredom of the ordinary day at work.

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