Glimpse into the male-dominated 1950s where men ruled and alluring women beguiled while trying to position themselves into lives of comfort. Melody's facade of elegance and confidence hides her rapidly plummeting lifestyle until she has to face her realities. Gorgeous, sweet, trusting Lara climbs out of depravity but may be heading toward a total relapse. Hard-edged Carla, the bitter conniver, tries to outsmart one and all in order to be the elusive winner. Power players-the movie star, the international singing sensation, the wunderkind executive headhunter, the dynamic attorney, and the nearly legitimate underworld fixer-are caught up in the manipulative, handsome Asian-American honcho's exploitation schemes. Underlying the erotic dark sides, impossible dreams, and demanding demons is the need to accept their own vulnerabilities, to know how to take risks whether with money, sex, love, drugs, or even integrity. Giving in to one's weakness can lead to true love or to downfall. The takers become the losers. True love is lurking around all the time, but it must be earned. Can they do that? Can any one of them make the right choices? Find out.
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.61(d)|
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WASTED ... MAYBE
Choices Are Ours To Make
Trafford PublishingCopyright © 2013 MK
All rights reserved.
"You're a slut," said Biff.
"A slut?" Melody cringed.
"I was a virgin," said Melody, pushing the words out her throat.
"Sure you were."
"I did it for you. Only."
"All I want is an heir," said Biff.
"Not funny." Biff's cynicism was scathing, sharp, hurtful.
"I didn't know for sure, but now I know that I can't get pregnant."
"You weren't sure, ha! Why should I believe that?"
"I was a virgin," she repeated.
Biff started to dress with painstaking precision, pacing himself as if he had planned that each piece of his clothing dig sharply into the nude girl.
Melody got out of bed and, like a prized young animal, stared Biff down, waiting for him to surrender. For a moment, her beautiful naked body made him shiver and almost break down, but he pulled himself together.
"You should've gotten pregnant by now, but you just like the game. I would've married you. My mother wants a male heir."
Gradually, Melody's defiant stance showed weakening although she held her own and stood tall. "And love? No one else has ever touched me before you ... for a whole year you talked to me about love and marriage. I trusted you." Holding back tears, she continued. "Biff, I let you make love to me. You said marriage will wait until you finish your education."
"Not if you'd gotten pregnant. You could've had all that money. My mother's money."
"What about love?"
Her voice trailed off as Biff finished dressing, went to the door, and without looking back, left the hotel room.
* * *
"Biff called me a slut." Melody got up from the talking chair as she named the patient's spot in the therapist office. She could have had the talking couch, but she chose to sit on the chair during her sessions. She walked to the window then moved close to the professional woman treating her. Tears welled up in her eyes while recalling the shameful moment of her young life that sent her for help. It had to be hush-hush. Normal people did not go to a psychotherapist.
"No. You can't say that, I told him. I pleaded with him. I love you. I was a virgin. You said you loved me," said Melody, looking into her therapist's eyes.
"I wanted to hear Biff tell me the truth. I thought he would admit that he tricked me into sex. That he just said that he loved me and it was OK to have sex because we were going to be married."
Melody continued, "We were at this hotel, not even in his apartment. I got out of bed, let him see my whole naked body. That was very hard for me to do, but he always said that I had the best body he had ever seen. He told me I had an athletic body, and he loved the tightness of my muscles. All my muscles, if you know what I mean. I told him I was all his. No one has ever touched me before him."
Melody was trying to swallow her tears as she spoke. "And you know what he said, he said he can't get his mother's fortune without giving her an heir. A male heir." Melody stood in the therapist's office reliving the gut-wrenching event.
She turned to the doctor and added, "But I can't get pregnant. I never told him that before. Some medical experiment my mother was in before I was even born. She was poor, and she got some money for participating." Melody laughed and cried at the same time.
"He called me a slut, Dr. Raina. Me? And then he turned around and left me in the hotel room. Can you believe that? Just like that."
Melody collapsed on the couch. "And what will happen to me now?"
"I understand your pain, Melody," said the psychiatrist, the first practicing female therapist in Los Angeles. "It's hard to be eighteen. We will work it out. We will find a way to make you whole." She was leaning forward, toward Melody, her body language telling Melody that she was not alone, she was getting help. The idea of a doctor reaching and touching her patient was unheard of. Dr. Raina knew not to get too close, too familiar with a patient although Melody looked like she could use a hug just about then.
"No respectable man will marry me now." Melody seemed small and felt like a broken person. "I'm used merchandise."
The therapy sessions went on, and through arduous work, Melody was getting better at facing her realities. Just the same, she withdrew and lived a solitary life yet could not forget her youthful disaster. She cried herself to sleep on many nights. She cut her waist-long dark hair to one inch. Real short. Kept her wardrobe style tailored, low-key, wanting to be invisible, unobtrusive.
Then unexpectedly, she became busy with her ailing mother who died on Melody's twenty-fifth birthday. Another downer that kept her in continuous solitude. Men and dating couldn't be further from her mind. She often thought about setting goals so that by the time she would turn thirty, she would have something to show for her life, but she never got around to it. Worked in the office every day, saw movies, read books, and kept most of her acquaintances at a distance. One of the secretaries in the office where she worked, Carla, who shared a cubicle with her, did manage to creep into her life and mind every so often.
Melody thought she was very pretty. Her shoulder-length hair surrounded a perfect Grace Kelly face, caressingly ending in a long Audrey Hepburn neck. Below that she sported unforgettable silicone breasts, a tiny waist, and pear-shaped buttocks. She was a survivor who could withstand life's blows and intimidated people by showing no weakness at any time.
One evening, Melody agreed to join Carla at the office receptionist's engagement party. It was a crowded event at a restaurant. The girl told them that their wedding will have to be real small, so they were doing the engagement real big. Melody took a drink off the tray circulated by the waiter and heard a man say, "No, not that one. This is fresh."
The man took the drink out of her hand, placed it back on the tray while getting another one for her.
"Thank you," he said to the waiter.
Turning to Melody, he said, "I'm Bill. Bill Benton. Friend of the groom to be." His eyes sparkled; his face was one huge smile. He was thin, clean-cut, wore a well-fitting designer suit, and seemed to be a take-control guy. Melody liked looking at him.
"Thank you for the fresh drink," she said.
"I saw them put it on the tray. I don't miss too many things. Especially beautiful girls."
Melody was laughing out loud. "Somehow you make this outrageous flirtation sound acceptable. How do you do it?"
"Only when I mean it."
She laughed some more. "I hope so because I think you're fun. My name is Melody Shorr."
More sparks were flying between Melody and Bill than the madly-in-love engaged couple.
Behind Bill, Melody saw Carla approaching. She had the biggest, widest smile Melody had ever seen on her. Carla excitedly pulled a large, casually dressed man toward Melody and Bill.
"This is David ... from Texas." When she said Texas, her eyes filled with anticipation. They shook hands, and Carla quietly whispered to Melody, "I think I got a good one. Love's in the air."
She winked, waved good-bye with her fingers, and left the party holding David's hand.
"The night is young," said Bill. "Feel like dancing?"
"The night is young. Yes."
Bill took her to a nightclub on Sunset Strip. They had drinks and were dancing cheek to cheek. He appreciated how well she followed his lead. He was a great dancer and a gentleman. Bill liked her short-short hair, liked her humor, complimented her on her simple elegance that commanded attention. She felt reborn.
Bill took her out almost every night as if he had had no life prior to meeting her. She liked that and didn't ask questions. Neither did he. There was no discussion of premarital sex and postmarital children. Melody found out that Bill had two children from his previous marriage. So she assumed his bloodline was secured.
The marriage proposal came unexpectedly and impressively. Bill, an executive search firm's vice president, had every detail planned out. He took her to Perino's, a fine high-class restaurant. Places like this have been out of her reach after Biff dropped her from his life. The subdued murmur of the restaurant was occasionally broken by a patron's laughter or the pop of a champagne cork. Bill ordered for both of them and charmed her in every way.
"I don't want to make a sinner out of you, so we'll get married before we take any overnight trips together. What do you think?" he asked.
"I'll be happy to marry you before we take any overnight trips together," said Melody. She smiled. "That'll be nice," she added. "Where are we going?" "Well." He gently put the dessert in front of her as the waiter withdrew. Her fork clinked against something hard. A ring. A diamond ring designed just for him by his jeweler.
Watching her face, he waited a long moment. She took the ring, licked the sweet pastry off it, and handed it to him to place it on her finger. It was to the point. Everything about Bill was to the point.
"We're going on my company's annual fall bash next weekend. I want you to meet everyone. First, we will fly up to Vegas to say our I dos and get you the respect being my wife, Mrs. Benton, calls for."
"You're unreal. This is unreal," said Melody. "I must have been a very good girl to deserve you." Being in public, she could only kiss him lightly on the cheek as propriety dictated. He accepted her kudos and proceeded to tell her about the details she should know. He asked her permission to buy her clothes he thought she might like. He assumed she was a good girl, a virgin, and not once did he approach her sexually beyond some heated kisses. She was so happy. She almost felt guilty about being so happy.
The wedding ceremony was brief, and they flew back the same day. It was late at night, and Bill had a lot to do before the trip. Melody was also tired and a little apprehensive about their first night together. She didn't push, and he didn't push.
Finally, the day of the trip arrived, and everything went well. Under Bill's guidance, she got caught up in the fast-paced events of the day. First, the early-morning train trip from Los Angeles to San Diego in a chartered club car for the nearly forty-member party, employees of the Orthoner Associates. Then the endless flow of champagne cocktails and snacks, which continued on the double-decker bus that brought them to the magnificent Pink Lady, the La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla. This widely anticipated company weekend was organized and led by her new husband, Bill "Bono" Benton. She was filled with pride for him. Malcolm and Erna Orthoner, the president and Mrs. president of the company, let their vice president, Bill, handle everything except money. Bill was glad for that. He much preferred the leadership position without having to oversee bookkeeping and accounting activities.
Melody was unfamiliar with Bill's staff. Since she had met them for the first time on the train a few hours earlier, she gently refused the polite invitations by other wives to join them in swimming or shuffleboard games. When Melody had some time to herself, she walked around the grounds of the hotel admiring beautiful courtyards, hand-painted murals, mosaics, and stunning panoramic views of the Pacific before crossing the quiet cul-de-sac toward the sandy cove that stretched into the ocean. She walked up and down on the shoreline, wetting her feet as she playfully kicked the water. She headed back to find peace in the gym and rejuvenation in the sauna. There was no one around. As she went toward the showers, she involuntarily stopped in front of the mirrored wall and stared at her nakedness. Fading, but not erased, memories of the long-ago, never-to-be mentioned therapy rushed to her mind. In spite of trying to push away the past and concentrate on the now, unexpectedly but infrequently, yesterday came hastening back. Some of her therapy sessions reverberated in her mind again and again. She could still see Dr. Raina's eyes intently watching her and listening.
"I'm sensuous. It's a curse."
"Do you mean sexy?"
"No, no. That's in the mind of the beholder."
"I hear you saying that you don't think that you're pretty, only sexual."
The voice of the analyst was low, looking with unbroken gaze into her patient's eyes.
"That's right. That's exactly right."
Melody Shorr reached for a tissue, but one was not enough to dry her tears.
"Most women would give their eye tooth to look exciting to men."
"Not if they knew what it's like to be hit on by men all the time. Constantly. Everywhere."
"Would you like to be ugly?"
Melody chuckled. "No, of course not."
She thought for a long beat. "Safe, I suppose. Mostly safe."
Still at the mirror, a small smile appeared on her face. Yes, this was it. The real thing. She found love and safety in Bill Benton, and she married him. The end of her nightmare. Being damaged goods was over. Bill never asked, and she never volunteered that she has lost her sacred virginity. But tonight was the night that everything would come together. She and Bill will make wonderful love. She had no high education or training to earn a good living. Why would she? Women were supposed to be homemakers. Well, she knew she would be the best.
* * *
Bill Benton's fashion magazine elegance, even in his casual wear, dominated the card-playing foursome. The other players at his table looked almost sloppy in comparison to him. Bill's lean good looks, accented by a perpetual gleam in his eyes, conveyed the warmth of his high spirits and, at this point, covered up his confusion. Clouding his mind was the fleeting image of the morning at the train depot when, for the last time, he ran to the end of the car on the outside platform to check on his people and something caught his eyes. He recognized Chuck Pui Hung, a handsome, chiseled-faced young Asian man, rushing up the stairs, heading directly toward the waiting figure of a soft-featured, lanky boy of no more than seventeen. After a brief welcoming embrace, Chuck took the boy's suitcase and gently, as if handling something fragile, guided him to the exit stairs. They were gone.
Bill could not move. His feet seemed to have been glued to the ground. He forgot where he was until the train whistle, marking departure, shook him back into reality. He had to run and jump up on the steps of the moving train.
Bill still felt a pang of immense jealousy as he recalled watching the two of them disappear from his view. His affair with Chuck disrupted his entire life. Bill had to end it. But two years of secret therapy, one year of living with a beautiful female to prove that he was cured, simply vanished. Troubled, he yearned to hide behind Sheila's big apron. He wanted to return to his childhood sweetheart, his wife of eight years, who went through all the changes with him, and whose fat being he abandoned for Chuck.
The cards were against him, the jokes and the cocktails flowed, and he thought that losing money at the table was better than facing his new bride, his proof of the pudding so to speak. Proof? His self-doubts were rising.
* * *
Melody walked out of the beauty salon, satisfied with her hairstyle, satisfied with everything. She wanted to look her best that evening. It was sort of a coming out for her as far as her formally meeting Bill's staff was concerned. Back in the room, she was preparing for the big banquet that night, but first, preparing for Bill, making sure that he would find her in her robe when he returned. She knew that men could not keep their hands off a woman in a wraparound robe, and she was counting on that as she ordered cocktails for them. The drinks came in minutes. Bill, however, seemed to be delayed. OK. She figured no one can predict when a card game would end.
She began to sip her sherry while reading a newspaper. When she finished the sherry, she began to sip on Bill's martini. When she finished his martini, she had difficulty standing up. By the time Bill arrived, he barely had time to shower and change before they hurried to dinner.
The banquet was a smash. Melody and Bill sat with the top echelon, Malcolm and Erna. That was the best one could do. Malcolm kept his guests on their toes by provoking witty conversation, challenging, testing, and measuring his tablemates by their responses. Melody earned Bill's approval by remaining quiet and smiling shyly. There were brief speeches, introductions of the guests of the company, such as dates, husbands, and wives, and the new bride, Melody.
Excerpted from WASTED ... MAYBE by MK. Copyright © 2013 MK. Excerpted by permission of Trafford Publishing.
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