A seal upon your heart, p.23
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       A Seal Upon Your Heart, p.23

           Pepper Pace

  “Timothy Alan Singleton, how DARE you bring that…that…GIRL into my home?!” She bit out.

  “Elaina! What in the hell are you talking about? I told you I was bringing her-” He turned to Jakob for confirmation.

  Jakob gave her an innocent look. “Yeah, I told you that Tim was bringing a girl that he was involved with-”

  She waved him away with her hand and Jakob stopped talking.

  “I thought you were bringing a woman, not a little girl. I had no idea-”

  “She is a woman. She’s not a little girl-” Tim interjected, his back stiffening.

  Her eyes narrowed. “No, Tim. She’s another one of the office whores. I thought you had more respect than that! I never would have dreamed that you would be another one of those men that want to whore around with every temp that steps into the firm. Do you have that girl convinced that in exchange for sucking your dick she’s going to become your wife?!”

  Tim’s eyes were practically bulging from his head. He’d never ever heard Elaina talk like this. He couldn’t even imagine her ever using the word dick.

  Jakob was just as stunned. “Honey…”

  She turned her angry eyes at him. “Jakob!” His mouth clamped shut and Elaina focused her attention back to Tim. She was shaking by this time. “I introduced you to a real woman, one that has some culture and sophistication and she’s not good enough! What? She too old for you Tim?! Because, you know what, Tim? Women don’t stay young forever. You have it good, don’t you? You’ll have your choice of women to select from no matter how old you are; even when you’re as old as that bastard Aaron Rangbo! You’ll never run out of young girls that apply for the position of being bed mates to a partner. When one gets too old, too talkative, too boring then you’ll pass her on for the next one! Meanwhile, women like Priscilla are spending hours in the gym, paying surgeons a MINT just to keep up! Well we can’t!” Her voice broke. “I thought you were different, Tim!” Elaina ran out of the room in tears.

  “What the fuck-?” Jakob said as he watched his wife run past him. He looked at Tim in shock. “Tim, I’m so sorry! I don’t know what got into her! I-she…”

  Tim looked at his best friend calmly. He didn’t seem angry. “Jakob…you do understand that she wasn’t talking to me, right?”

  Jakob frowned and Tim thought that sometimes the smartest people were sometimes the stupidest. “Jake, she knows. She knows it all, the secretaries, the trips to New York, everything. I told you a long time ago that I wouldn’t interfere in your personal affairs but I’m going to tell you this once and for all; if you love your wife you better change your ways. The hardest thing in the world is losing someone you love—and I’m not just talking about to death.” He walked past Jakob who had visibly paled.

  When he returned to the dining room, Martier was standing by the table with a look of discomfort on her face. Tim put his arm around her shoulder and gave her a reassuring smile and a brief hug. “Let’s get out of here, okay?”

  “Yes.” She looked up at him as they headed out the door. “Did I…do something wrong?”

  Tim kissed her cheek. “No. You didn’t. That in there wasn’t about you.” He sighed. “Let’s just go home and pop in a movie and relax.” She nodded and as they drove home she tried to pretend that none of it was important. But it was.


  Martier was busy typing when someone cleared their throat. Her head popped up to see a nervous Jakob standing next to her desk. She smiled at him and he returned it weakly.


  “Hi Jakob.”

  “Um…about last night, I just wanted you to know that I’m terribly sorry-”

  “It’s fine. You’re fine… I mean, I don’t blame you or anything.”

  “Elaina isn’t usually like that. I want to apologize to you if you were uncomfortable at all.” What made her uncomfortable was having Jakob apologize for his wife but she allowed him to finish. “Just for the record, I’m happy that Tim found you,” he continued.

  She nodded slightly. “I’m happy that I found him, too.” She sighed. “Really…that’s all that matters to me.”

  Jakob nodded. “As it should be.” He looked towards the door. “Is he in?”

  “Yes, shall I buzz him?”

  “No, don’t worry about it.” He rapped on the door and then opened it.

  Tim was sending out an email and he leaned back in his chair and regarded his friend silently as he entered the office, closing the door behind him.

  “Hey.” Jakob said.

  “Hey. Come in. Sit down.” Jakob did. “Is…everything okay?”

  His friend sat in the leather client chair in front of Tim’s desk and had a very humble look on his normally animated face. “Elaina and I had a long talk last night.”

  “Good or bad?”

  “A little of both.” Jakob sighed. “I’ve been a damn fool. I wouldn’t hurt Elaina for anything, you know that.”

  “I know.”

  “All this time…”

  “She knew and never said a thing.”

  Jakob looked at his friend in shame and nodded. “None of those women mean anything close to what Elaina means to me. It took me so long to convince her of that, and things still aren’t the same.”

  “She loves you, Jake.”

  He chuckled mirthlessly. “I have no idea why.” He sighed. “And I asked her to come to New York with us.”

  “And your…secretary?”

  “I…haven’t told her yet.”



  “What are you going to do about it?”

  “I can’t just fire her-”

  “And you shouldn’t.”

  “No, I wouldn’t. I’m going to give her a shitload of money and then I’m going to find her another job.”

  Tim sighed. There really wasn’t much else he could do.


  Thursday, after work, Claudette and Martier decided to do some last minute shopping before the trip. After so many months of working together, Martier no longer considered Claudette as just a casual friend. In fact, she had begun to think of the older woman as a type of mentor. Still, she was reluctant to discuss much of her personal affairs with Claudette, saving such talks for Dhakiya. But as Claudette slipped deodorant into her basket she turned to the younger woman with a slight frown.

  “Now why in the world are you so quiet? I would have thought you’d be climbing the walls waiting for your first trip out of the city. And with your gorgeous boyfriend.”

  Martier smiled despite all of the things that she had on her mind. She glanced at Claudette as she put a traveler size bottle of mouthwash into her own basket. “Elaina Marx…”

  “Yes? What of her?”

  “Well she’s coming on the trip-”

  Claudette stopped walking. “Uh…since when?”

  Martier shrugged. “Since last night, I guess.” And then she had to tell her about the failed dinner the night before.

  Claudette had a grim look on her face as they continued to shop. “Well, the girls are going to want to know about this…”

  “Why? What is the problem with the wives coming to the conference with us?”

  Claudette looked at the naïve, younger girl. She really couldn’t see what was in front of her very eyes.

  “Martier…the partners, most of the lawyers…are having affairs with their secretaries.” She avoided looking into the stunned girl’s eyes.

  “Even…Jakob Marx?” Claudette didn’t say yes or no, she just looked at Martier. “Well what about Tim? I mean, he couldn’t-”

  “No. Not Tim. I would know if he ever catted around on Corrine in the office.”

  Well Aaron wasn’t married. Martier looked at her friend. “You and Aaron…?”

  She smiled softly and the love that she felt for the older man was evident on her face. “Yes.”

  Martier mulled that information over as she examined a box of peanut brittle. She sli
pped it into her basket. Martier and Aaron didn’t act like a couple. If it hadn’t been for the time she’d overheard them making after-work plans she would have never guessed it. And of course there is what Ken had insinuated.

  “Well, why…” Martier’s brown face reddened. That was a personal question and she was being nosey.

  Claudette placed a gentle hand on her arm before she could walk away. “Why, what, Sugar?”

  “Why is your relationship with Aaron such a big secret? You’re both single. There can’t be any rules against fraternizing when Tim married his secretary so…”

  “It’s complicated.” Claudette walked ahead and placed some more items in her basket. Martier decided to drop the subject and not bring it up again, but as Claudette drove her home she was the one to continue the conversation.

  “Martier, Aaron comes from a…different generation. So do I, I guess. I’m a child of the sixties and I remember being a little girl and my mama had taken us to the park. It was so hot and we didn’t have any more water. I was so thirsty and I told her I wanted something more to drink and there was a water fountain there. Mama said we couldn’t drink from it because it was whites only.” Martier listened quietly. “I just remember thinking that I didn’t understand. I just knew that I was thirsty, all of us were. Finally, my mother just cursed and she lifted us up and gave us each a drink.”

  “Did she get into trouble?” Martier asked, hoping her tale didn’t have an ending where her mother was attacked and beaten by the white people in the park.

  “No. Nobody said anything. I don’t think anybody cared. I remember some white man smiling at us. It was stupid but it was segregation and I remember it. But Aaron lived it. Cincinnati is still very conservative. His family comes from old money. They would not get it. His associates, his country club, his…name; it’s all very important to him.”

  “I understand.” Martier lied.

  “In New York we can be ourselves, the way we are when no one is around. We hold hands and…” Claudette smiled and looked at the younger girl. “It’s beautiful.” Even though she smiled, Martier noted that she still looked sad.

  “That’s what the New York trip represents to the secretaries. Though I’m certain that it was created by some horny lawyer so that they could have an excuse to spend the night with their mistress. But it’s the secretaries that really look forward to being ‘out’ with their lovers. I’m no different than they are, in that way.” She navigated through the darkened streets to Tim’s house.

  “Elaina showing up is going to prevent that from happening. I’m not sure what Jakob was thinking…unless he got cold busted. But that doesn’t give him the right to mess it up for everyone else.”

  “So you condone what these lawyers are doing?”

  It took Claudette a long time to answer. “I don’t judge them, Martier. I don’t know what’s in their hearts. I just know what’s in mine. Yeah, I don’t like to see these young girls; a different one each year, being treated as some man’s sex slave. But that’s their business, not mine.”

  Martier thought about Claudette’s friends; Diana and Lois. She didn’t ask, she didn’t want to know. Now that she was dating Tim she supposed that she was now a member of their small club in more ways than one. And now she understood why Elaina didn’t like her. She just wished that Tim would have told her.


  Tim peeked out the kitchen window for the third time inside of an hour. The little cottage was still dark. Where were they? It was after nine. He’d given her a cell phone for a reason, why didn’t she use it?! Tim walked back into his study. There were several things that he should have been doing. They were going to fly out tomorrow morning and though he had wrapped up all of his loose ends at the office, it wouldn’t hurt to get a jump on next weeks cases.

  Instead he picked up his cell phone and examined it for about the 10th time. Finally at close to 9:30 a car pulled around back and he hurried to the back door in time to see Claudette and Martier unloading her packages. They hugged briefly and Tim waited until Claudette’s car had disappeared before he left the house and made his way the short distance to the cottage.

  He rapped on the door and Martier answered in surprise. “Hi, honey.” She said and smiled at him.

  The tightness that had wrapped around his heart loosened. He smiled. “Hi…I was just…” He didn’t know what to say. Why in the hell had he rushed over here like that? Martier smiled and ushered him into the small house. Once the door was shut behind him she threw herself into his arms.

  “I’m so excited!” He captured her and held her close and then kissed her passionately. After a long while, she pulled back and looked deeply into his eyes. “Missed me?” She whispered knowingly. All he could do was nod weakly. She took his hand and led him to the couch. She tucked her bare feet beneath herself and placed her head on his shoulder. His arms eased around her body and Tim seemed to relax even further.

  “Do you have everything packed and ready to go? We’re leaving for the airport at 7:30.” She nodded as her hand played along his chest.

  “I just need to pack the few items Claudette and I purchased, but I think that can go into carry-on.”

  He nuzzled her head. “Just remember that you’ll be bringing home a lot more things.”

  She nodded again and looked up at him. “Claudette said to pack an extra bag.”

  “That’s not a bad idea.” He captured her hands and kissed her knuckles and she sighed in contentment.

  “Tim…” She leaned up and offered her lips. He wasted no time in claiming them with his own. Martier felt her heart thumping rapidly in her chest. It always happened that way whenever Tim kissed her. First her skin would grow warm and then her heart would strain within her chest. Her palms would grow moist and then further down things would begin to happen between her thighs.

  She pressed her body against his and sighed into his mouth. It was that sigh that nearly sealed Tim’s fate. It caused his body to quiver with an undercurrent of desire that tonight he was unable to suppress. Tim allowed his hand to run along Martier’s side and over the slight swell of her breast through her summer blouse. She arched her body towards his touch the way she did whenever they got close like this.

  Martier loved the way Tim’s touch seemed to transform her from a no-nothing little school girl into a woman that could make Tim’s body harden and tremor beneath her fingertips. She loved the power of it! She allowed her fingertips to circle the peaks of his nipples through his shirt and heard his sharp intake of breath.

  “Martier…” He sighed and suddenly captured her hand. He always put on breaks and this time Martier came up on her knees and pressed her lips to his mouth stopping his words with her urgent kiss. She needed to show him how much she desired him. For the first time ever Martier wouldn’t take his no. She slipped her hands from his grasp and ran them beneath his shirt as her lips claimed his.

  Tim groaned, eyes closing as he relished the feel of her hands on his body. He felt his manhood surge to full hardness and before he could stop himself he pulled Martier onto his lap until she was straddling his body. Her dress hiked up her thighs and his hands moved up her smooth brown legs. Jesus, her skin was so soft. He groaned as her bottom came to rest on his erect penis, applying enough pressure that it hurt but in the most sensual way.

  Martier looked down at him and her lips were swollen and her lids half closed and Tim just barely stopped the whimper that almost left his lips. She arched her back until her breasts were inches from his face. Tim immediately covered them with his palm. His thumbs sought out her nipples, finding them easily as they had swelled and were pressing through the thin material of her bra. He pinched them lightly and Martier groaned hoarsely and her hands moved behind her to plant themselves on Tim’s legs until it was as if she was offering herself up to him.

  Tim’s hands moved with urgency as he slipped them beneath her blouse. He found her breast again, clawing at her bra, dragging it down and releasing her breas
ts. Tim stared in amazement. Martier was perfect. He had no idea what her cup size was but her breasts filled his palms perfectly. Her nipples were like 2 Hershey kisses and his mouth watered to take the swollen peaks into his mouth. In this moment, there was nothing that Tim wanted more. His eyes stayed glued to them and they way her chest heaved with passion.

  If he took her breast to his mouth then there would be no turning back. He wouldn’t be able to stop. He would have to bury himself into untouched body. He would be the first to know her delicate sex, to breach the barrier that separated her from innocence to sexuality.

  Tim growled and lifted Martier as if she was just a child. He placed her gently on the couch and quickly rose to his feet.

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