Interracial Erotica -
The House Party: Part Four
By Tracy Ames
Published on March 18, 2011
Part four in a five part series

The House Party follows the exploits of three modern day patron families attending a week long house party hosted by the Graydon family on their estate in France. Almost immediately social lines a drawn, judgments are made, and tempers heat up long before the first stitch on clothing come off.

The House Party: Part Four

To Andrea’s disappointment, her nice, quiet evening of lovemaking with Winston turned into him and Dean screaming at a shaken group of teenagers and chaperones and helping Vivian formulate a plausible lie to feed the parents. Sadie’s tears and threats saved Isaac from a career ending bullocking from her brothers. However, if Isaac thought he was off the hook, he was fooling himself. Winston and Dean had plans for him.

In the end, the teens’ night of lechery resulted in an impromptu slumber party in the lodge and Andrea, in bed alone, and horny as hell. Maybe it was for the best. Only hours before then she’d been ready to rip Winston’s head off. Going from that point to matrimonial bliss was a leap even the most diehard romantics would’ve found difficult to stomach. Their steely personalities were too alike to rush into happily ever after and neither was silly enough to believe true love happened after a single kiss. They needed what their previous relationships lacked: the bond of friendship. And with only one whole day left in the house, the probability of their friendship deepening anymore than it had was very low. So, maybe leaving on a good note was what the hand of fate had in mind. Maybe friends were all they were meant to be.

The cloud of tension which hung over the breakfast table the next morning went unnoticed by the Lockwoods and Mitchams. The Venetian masquerade ball, the last formal gathering, marking the end of the house party was on everyone’s lips. The tradition’s origin was lost to history yet the class bound set kept the flame burning. Everyone complained about the fuss and hours spent donning the hard bone corsets, heavily embroidered gowns and feathered mask—but this didn’t stop them from scouring the streets of Venice for the best trappings money could buy. To hell with comfort and breathing! Style and winning the best costume award mattered most; and this year it was war.

Two years running, Vivian and Stanley had walked away with the honor of best dressed, however, Vivian, still in mourning, was bypassing the competition. It was every man for himself and God for them all! Dressers hurried about the house carrying gowns and tuxedos worth more than the average mortgage. Hairstylist and makeup artist readied their stations. The guest personal caterers ran helter skelter with the kitchen staff; normally clashing over some minor detail which neither gave two shits about but were nonetheless bound by tradition to duke it out as loudly and violently as possible. Florists filled every square inch of the house with fresh arrangements in every brilliant color nature had to offer. Even the florists took it upon themselves to brawl with the army of pyrotechnics in charge of lighting the sea of candles for the evening’s bacchanalia. In the middle of the madness were the maids and footmen who spent most of the morning running errands for Hunter and being shouted at by Isaac. For those unlucky souls who lacked the good sense to stay the hell out of everyone’s way, they were reduced to tears in the time-honored weeping posts: the pantry, the servants’ hallway, and coat closet.

This took place before Vivian finished her morning coffee.

Winston, Dean, Andrea, Bart, and Sadie looked as if they’d been hit by a truck and hustled to the breakfast table for the sake of appearance. On the other hand, Rebecca, who’d been spared the commotion of the previous night, was bright eyed and bushy tailed—though she took care to ignore Dean’s glances. She was cold towards him but didn’t know why. Maybe it was hurt or disappointment; she couldn’t put her finger on why she didn’t want his company—she simply didn’t want him to touch her.

Rhonda sensed there was strife between Rebecca and Dean and tried to lessen on the tension with friendly conversation. Just as the ice began to melt, Rebecca’s dresser summoned her for a final fitting. Rebecca excused herself. Dean and Bart left shortly thereafter followed by everyone else, leaving Winston and Andrea alone.

“We’ve caused a stir.” Winston drew Andrea’s attention to the guests whispering behind their napkins. “What do you think we should do?” he reached for her hand, she quickly pulled it out of his reach.

“Are you crazy!?” she hissed through her teeth playfully but dead serious. “They’re already gossiping.”

“You’re learning fast.” Winston’s coy smile mirrored Andrea’s. “It’s all a game until someone makes the society pages.”

“I want you to know how sorry I am for causing all of this.” Her eyes rolled the expanse of the dining hall.

“I’m a big boy. I can take it.” He lied. Vivian’s spin doctors were hard at work. “Can I ask you a question? What made you leave your room that night—the night I found you down by the river?”

Andrea thought for a moment, and then decided to tell him the truth. “Come to my room in twenty minutes and I’ll show you.” She grabbed a croissant from Winston’s plate and swaggered from the hall.

Winston set his watch.


Dean stood at the library window, rubbing the pressure point between his eyes, the weight of the world on his shoulders. His father was dead. His mother was overwhelmed. Sadie was rebelling. And Winston, for whom familial responsibility was something to be endured, showed no sign of settling down. The life of a jet setting playboy was old. It was time to grow up and do what was expected of him, at least outwardly. His disastrous relationship with Rhonda proved he had the capacity to love someone, to feel passionately for them. Consequently it also proved that he didn’t care for love. For him, love was uncertainty and delusion cloaked in our best intensions. The road to hell is littered with the best of intensions…ie the road to hell is marriage stifled by the pretense of love between spouses. Love could take a flying leapt. Cold, hard facts were more to his liking and so was Rebecca.

When it came to love and marriage, Rebecca was clear-sighted. Her sentiment was as steadfast as his. She neither wanted nor needed to marry. It was duty above all else.

“The clouds have cleared.” said Bert joining Dean at the window. He cut his eyes sideways at Dean’s emotionless face and drew a deep breath. He knew that expression. “How can I help?”

“Call my attorneys. You’ll act as a witness.”

“Entail or pre-nup?”

“Both.” Dean ruled, dryly. 


From Andrea’s sofa, Winston scanned her rejection letter while she paced up and down the suite nibbling her nails awaiting his reaction. He flipped the page over, expecting more. There was none. He gave her an unimpressed look.

“What?” Andrea nibbled faster. “Don’t look at me like that.”

“Is this is? This is why you bolted out of the house?” Winston fanned the letter in the air. “This is nothing. I thought you were dying.”

“I may as well be dead.” Andrea took the letter from his hand. “I failed, Winston.”

“Big deal! You should be happy…” Andrea’s cross expression compelled him to expound. “You failed at being you—your own merit. Isn’t that better than succeeding at being someone else? Read the letter, Andrea. They’re telling you exactly why they overlooked you. Fix those areas and they’re asking you to reapply in a year. You weren’t accepted the first go round—so you’re not perfect.” He shrugged. “Shit happens.”

Andrea was silent, studying Winston.

Winston leaned forward, pinning his eyes on Andrea. “You’re been programmed all of your life, been told you’re the smartest, you’re your fathers’ daughter. You’ve grown up believing you’ve inherited his strength and intelligence. Your fathers’ shadow follows you everywhere. He’s a part of you, just as you are a part of him. So when you feel alone and ill-equipped to face a challenge, you fall back on him and that sickens you.”

“Yes, I do.”

“We all do, people like us. We have monstrously influential parents; finding and holding on to who we are is difficult especially with everyone watching.” He stood and went into the bedroom, where he kicked off his shoes and laid down, still exhausted from their sleepless night.

“If I’d told this to anyone else, they would have thought I was crazy.” Andrea drew the shades and joined Winston, spooning close to him.

“Perhaps they would. Then again, why should you care what anyone thinks of you? You are your own woman, and that’s what you must always be.”

“You weren’t saying that the other night.” Andrea turned her face slightly towards Winston. “You were concerned what people were whispering about in the house.”

“I’m not like you.” He kissed the side of her head. “I’m a Bellamy. We have an image to upkeep. The less attention I garner, the better.”

“Do you ever get lonely?”

“Incredibly lonely. No one to talk to aside from your family—no one really knows you. Of course it’s lonely.” Winston replied groggily, unable to keep his eyes open. “Get some sleep. They’ll be calling for us shortly.”

“I want you.” Andrea whispered when she heard Winston lightly snoring. 


“You want to marry Rebecca?” Emerson stared blankly at Dean. Trudy’s mouth hinged open and Bart sat one of the libraries beneath her, predicting an eventual collapse which was short in coming.

“Precisely.” Dean answered, taking a seat. “I want to marry her immediately.”

“Wait,” Trudy blinked wildly. “So you want to…what?!”

Dean sighed. “I want to marry Rebecca…at once.”

“You’ve just met. How can you be in love with her?”

“I’m not in love with her!” Dean laughed. “She’s a wonderful person, certainly, but I’m not in love.” Concern was etched on the Lockwood’s faces. Dean continued seriously. “Let’s put emotions aside and deal with cold hard facts, shall we? Rebecca is the Dauphine, the sole heir, lock stock and barrel. Everything that your family has worked for is in the hands of someone who knows little about the business of being in business. And to make matters worse, she didn’t want to marry, she has no strong family connection, and she’s uncomfortable in the company of people like us, people of quality.” Dean searched for less elitists’ term. “Rebecca will be walking into a world she isn’t prepared for and is incapable of navigating. To us, she will be concerned a bas bleu and that’s exactly how she will be treated.”

“Her advisors will guide her.” Trudy declared.

“They will guide her in business only. She’ll be their puppet. How many doors will they open? Who will see to her?”

Dean’s assumptions confirmed Emerson’s greatest fears. He’d long believed Rebecca would be lost when he passed and it worried him sick. Yes, he had connections, but what loyalty would they show to a young lady from a Canadian backwater? Emerson looked at Trudy’s grave face. She was resigned and gave her silent consent.

“Your family, and the Graydons” Trudy said. “Where are they on this?”

“Our family will be wherever Dean wants them to be.” Bart added. “Since Dean and Winston will act as co-executors, the family doesn’t have any say in the matter. And the Graydons will follow suit. What’s done is done.” Bart retrieved a document from Mr. Graydons’ desk and headed it to Emerson. “These are our terms. They’re quite generous.”

Emerson and Trudy read the document carefully. Dean and Bart waited patiently.

Emerson went pale as a ghost. “Your mother will have my head if I agree to this.”

“My mother will do no such thing.”

“What if Rebecca doesn’t want to marry you?” asked Trudy.

“Then you will make you see the benefits of doing so.” Dean said curtly. “I gain nothing by marrying her. You, on the other hand, reap the benefits of being connected by marriage to the co-executor of the Bellamy family; that alone will open doors for you.”

“Why are you doing this?” Emerson inquired.

“Because I can and in the long run it will benefit everyone.” Dean headed Emerson a pen. “Please sign.”

“Can we have sometime to consider….”

“No.” Emerson interrupted his wife and took the pen from Dean. He tapped the page a few times in thought, and then asked sincerely, “Will you take care of Rebecca? Will you look after her?”

Dean gave a faint yet truthful smile. “I will care for Rebecca as if she were my sister.”


“I’m asking you nicely, please move.” Dean said to the portly, bristle maid impeding his and Bart’s entrance into Rebecca’s room.

“I’m sorry, but I have my orders. Miss Lockwood doesn’t wish to be disturbed.”

Dean smiled charmingly. “I know you’re only doing your as you were told—bang up job, really—but I’m asking you really, really nicely for the millionth time, please step aside.”

The maid shook her head.

“Have it your way. Bart...” Dean turned around.

Bart closed his eyes and dusted the maid with pepper sprayed. She screamed bloody murder as they pushed her aside, and swept into the room.

Hearing the commotion, Rebecca came from the bedroom in her bathrobe. “Oh well that’s lovely.” She caught a glimpse of Bart putting away his spray.

“Yeah, well, I thought I’d be romantic.” Dean took her by the arm, and hurried her in to the next room, closing the door behind them. “I’m not sure what your problem is but we’re getting married so you’d better damn well get over it!”

Rebecca covered her mouth. “Wow, you really are mental, aren’t you?” She dropped her hand. “I mean…aside from the fact that I don’t want to get married, and I’m not in love with you, we’re not even speaking to each other! What on earth would make you…” she stumbled over her word. “Why would I… Dean, have you gone mad?”

“Not yet.” He gestured for her to sit. She sat. “Now listen closely and think about what I’m saying before you agree to marry me.…which you will.” He ignored her grimace. “We don’t love one another and neither one of us wants to marry and lose our freedom, and we’re independently wealthy. We’re a perfect match—well, not perfect. You lack social graces and connection and my family sets the standard.”

Rebecca shook her head slowly, clearly missing the point.

Dean knelt in first of her, clasped her hands, and spoke quietly. “What happened in the library, that feeling of inferiority was just a taste of what’s waiting for you once your uncle dies. You know it—he knows it—everyone knows it. I’m giving you an out. We’ll marry, live as husband and wife, but we’ll continue on as we are now…discreetly of course. What’s yours is yours and what’s mine is mine.”


“You’ll take my last name as will our children.” Dean leveled his eyes at her. “You have better sense than to have unprotected sex another man. Besides, I plan on keeping you very, very busy.” They smiled at one another as Dean carefully exposed her bare legs. “However, if paternity is in question and the baby is established as a bastard, then the child will be raised as a Bellamy but will not inherit a single penny from my estate. That’s your responsibility not mine.”

Rebecca weighed her options, cold and callously. She smiled inwardly, thinking of their lineage and the smug looks she’d get from her haters when she strolled down the aisle towards Dean. Oh the look she’d get from Maureen alone was well worth taking the leap! There was a certain excitement to it all and with Dean she’d never be bored or asked to do something she abhorred. But her freedom was most important.

“There’ll be family obligations, gatherings on both sides,” she observed.

“Outwardly, we’ll be the picture of happiness.”

“And I can come and go as I please? You won’t stop me? Or make me into a housewife?”

Dean laughed. “As long as you’re discreet, I don’t care what you do.” He was rather surprised she valued her independence over her money. Were she a money hungry gold-diggers, his scheme wouldn’t have worked. He’d chosen well, he patted himself on the back. “I don’t want to change you. I don’t expect you to love me and I don’t expect to fall in love with you.” He flashed that Bellamy smile. “I think we’ll find mutual respect is stronger than love. It certainly is more useful.”

“Does your mother approve?”

“She will. Your uncle and aunt have agreed. Your well being was their concern. I assured them that I’d treat you as a sister.”

“Oooh big promise! You insulated Sadie.”

“And I’ll do the same for you.”

“And what are you getting out of this?” Rebecca asked.

“I don’t have to sit through another lecture from my mother. That’s all the reason I need.”

Rebecca studied Dean closely. “You’re serious, aren’t you?” Dean nodded and she extended her left hand. “Where’s my ring?”

Dean beamed. “My jeweler can be here within the hour.”

“Make it a rock! I want everyone to see—I wanna rub it in Rosemund’s face.”

“Sweetie, you can have whatever you want! If we have to hire a midget to steady your hand as you walk, so be it. Just get my mother off my back!”

The House Party: Part Four
While Dean spoke with Rebecca, Bart was given the arduous task of breaking the news to Vivian and his mother. Like any mother whose son had just eloped, the news came as a gut punch. However, after examining entail, she could find no fault and gave her consent. In stark contrast, Maureen howled and cried—shouted and yelled at the miscarriage of yoking her blood with that of a tradesmans' niece. A swift smack and skillfully worded threat from Vivian drew a line under that nonsense.

“Where are Emerson and Trudy?” Vivian asked Bart.

He checked his watch. It was quarter after one. “They’re with their dressers.”

“I have to talk to them before the ball.” She left Bart and Maureen in a daze and went to the Lockwoods room where they too looked out of sorts. “Hi! So we’re going to be in-laws.” Vivian invited herself in, sat on the sofa, and gesture for them to sit as well. “You’ve signed the entail; am I to assume it’s met your approval?”

“We’re pleased.” Emerson grinned, and then proceeded cautiously. “You realize this union has no monetary benefit to either family. Their holdings are completely separate.”

“Their marriage is strictly for show.” Trudy added.

“I know and I’m fine with that.” Vivian nodded. “Dean doesn’t know what love is and I doubt he ever will. But he has a firm grasp of what’s expected of him as a Bellamy.” She leaned forward. “You’ll never have to worry about Rebecca. She’s in safe hands.”

“We thought you’d be furious about the money or lack thereof.” Trudy’s whole body sagged with relief. “For a while I feared you’d blame us. Or assumed we’d concocted a scheme to trap Dean.”

“Scheme?” Vivian chuckled. “The thought never crossed my mind. Besides, Dean wouldn’t do anything he didn’t want to do.” She stood, preparing to leave. “Money is nothing. My children’s happiness is what matters. Dean has taken this route. He wouldn’t have done it if he were uncertain.” She turned just shy of the door. “You know, things are looking up We have a wedding to plan. And I can’t wait to see everyone’s faces! Trudy, what to you say? Should we leak the news before the ball and really give them something to talk about?” Vivian raised her eyebrow and smiled wickedly.

An hour later, the house was abuzz. Sadie, upon hearing the news, went through the roof with jealousy. Not a single glass in Dean’s suite went unbroken. Isaac and the other footmen had one hell of a time cleaning up her mess. At this point Isaac was sure madness ran rabid in their family!


Rhonda called out to Andrea as she entered her suite. When she didn’t answer, Rhonda went into her bedroom where Winston and Andrea lay fully clothed and sound asleep. She hated to wake them; however it was time to prepare for the ball. It would take at least an hour to bedazzle their hair alone.

“Andrea.” Rhonda coughed, causing Winston to spring up from the bed.

“Fuck, I guess knocking is out of the question.” Andrea lifted her head, saw her mother, and then collapsed again. “What time is it?”

“After three.” Rhonda threw open the shades. The grey overcast shined little light in the room.

“Um…Dr. Mitcham…yeah, um, Rhonda…” Winston muttered. “Andrea and I didn’t have sex or anything…just in case you were wondering.”

“I know.” Rhonda ushered the army of staff into Andrea’s dressing area. “Even if you had, that’s none of my business. I’ll see you downstairs, Winston.” She smiled, giving him his cue to leave. “Andrea, don’t be long.” She retreated into the dressing area.

“I should go.” Winston slipped into his shoes and kissed Andrea on the forehead and left.

Andrea sat on the edge of the bed, looking at the rejection letter sitting on the nightstand. She closed her eyes and slow, schoolgirl smile curved her lips. Winston was right; her failure wasn’t the end. It was the beginning—it was her first step out of her father’s shadow. What started as a thunderstorm of doubt and self-pity had turned into a soft drizzling rain of rebirth. The clouds still hung above, but somehow they weren’t so threatening. And if she kept moving, sooner or later sunlight would find her—she wasn’t chasing it! 


Back in his room, Winston dodged flying glassware. Sadie was on the rampage again as was Isaac and his clean up crew. Dean ducked just before the crystal picture frame she flung hit the wall behind him, which gave Winston and Bart time to grab and pin her to the floor, stomach down.

“What the hell!” Winston barked looking up and Dean.

“Oh!” he replied lightly. “She hasn’t told you?”

“I came back to my room and she was destroying the place!” He secured Sadie’s shoulders as she kicked wildly shouting traitor. “What did you do to her?”

“I didn’t do anything. I’m getting married.”

“That’s bullshit!” Winston’s laugh came from his gut. “You’re so not getting married.”

“Yeah, he is. He’s marrying Rebecca next weekend at Hyde Park.” Bart chuckled, still holding Sadie. “We’re groomsmen.”

“What?” Winston registered nothing but shock. “What did mother say? She didn’t approve, right?”

“I don’t have a problem with arrangement.” Vivian stepped over shards on broken glass, shooing Isaac Bart from the room. She helped Sadie up from the floor. “Sit.” She ordered, calmly. Sadie sat on Dean’s lap. “Dean has my blessing to marry Rebecca, and that’s an end to the discussion.” She blew a long breath, looking at Dean. He seemed at peace and that was all the confirmation Vivian needed. Whether she agreed with the manner in which he chose to tell her, the facts were the facts: Dean was an adult. “Sadie, what’s wrong?”

“He’s leaving me.” Sadie’s chest fell. “First Daddy, now him. No one warned me—everything just happens and I’m expected to be okay with it. Well, I am not okay. I can’t bring my dad back. But I don’t wanna lose my brothers. I want something to stay the same.” She swatted Dean’s hand away from her face when he tried to dry her cheek. “I know, we haven’t lived together in years but…you come home sometimes…” she swallowed. “…I don’t want her to take you away. Not yet.”

In the hustle and bustle of events, they’d forgotten Sadie. She’d found her father dead. She always played the peacemaker. She rarely stepped out of line, yet she’d gotten her ass ripped even though she’d acted responsible by forsaking her friends. And now her brother, whom she worshiped, hadn’t given her feelings a second thought—he didn’t care. No one cared.

“I’m sorry. We’ve been assholes, haven’t we?” If Dean could’ve summoned tears he would’ve. Tears simply weren’t in his arsenal. Instead, he spoke from his heart. “Rebecca isn’t taking me away from you. No one could. You’re my sister and you come first.” He brushed back her matted hair. “Do you want to come live with us for a while? Rebecca could use the company and you can show her the ropes.”

“Where would we live?” Sadie looked at Dean cautiously. “Not in New York or LA. Or France. Or Florida. We can stay in Chicago with Winston.”

Everyone looked at Winston. Oh fuck! How’d I get into this, he thought, I’m the good brother! “Sure, you’re welcome to use my place until you find you own.” Think fast! Think fast! “Or you can stay at mother’s place on the North Shore.”

“I have a house on the North Shore?” Vivian said, puzzled.

“I lived there for awhile. Trust me, you have a place.”

She shrugged. “Dean, you’re welcome to it.”

Dean accepted her offer, and they spent the next hour hammering out Sadie’s school details and travel. This time, they involved her in the discussion.

As she left, Dean stopped his mother and asked, “Are you really alright with me getting married? You understand why I didn’t tell you first?”

Vivian looked at Dean proudly and answered with a simple ‘yes’ and left. In truth, Vivian understood there was little she could’ve done to prevent the marriage even if she’d disapproved and that he needed to cement himself in the Lockwoods eyes as more than a puppet to his mother. Launching a full scale war against Dean would’ve amount to social-suicide. And doing so within months of her husband’s death would’ve sent the family into chaos and weakened her position. Her decision to support Dean and Rebecca was partially selfish but mostly altruistic. His happiness took precedence…as it always had.

Dean stayed behind, attempting unsuccessfully to needle Winston’s whereabouts from him. It was useless to prod Winston. His mouth, like his conscious, was sealed behind a steel door. No one ever breached his ramparts.

“What do you think?” Dean asked from the door jam as Winston laid out his shaving supplies on the bathroom counter.

“I think you’re a brilliant fool.” Winston grinned at Dean in the mirror. “What made you do it? It was the sex, wasn’t it?”

Dean took a deep breath and folded his arms across him chest. “Don’t get me wrong; the sex is amazing—top shelf even. More than that, I think I’ve found someone who gets me…because she is me. And whether or not this will always be the case is yet to be decided, people change. Right now, we both serve a purpose.”

Winston looked at Dean, really stopped and looked at him. “You don’t love her at all, do you?”

Dean shook his head. “I don’t love her. I respect her. I like her. Sometimes I genuinely enjoy her company. But I don’t love her anymore than she loves me.”

“And you’re okay with this?”

“Fuck yeah!” Dean laughed. “Did you think the sex was so great that it’d magically changed me into a proper person?! You overestimate the power of pussy. There’s no way a few days of sex would change me. This is business.”

“My bad.” Winston hugged his brother, and then went to start the shower. “You never change.”

“Wait,” Dean frowned. “Do we have a place on the North Shore?”

“We will after I buy it.” Winston gave a wide dimpled smile. “We’ll call it a wedding gift.”

Family: A maneuvering business.


“Uumm, I was thinking something more Marie Antoinette and less Bride of Frankenstein.” Andrea frowned at the three feet high, gem incrusted erection protruding from her head.

“Shorter, then? Less sparkle? More…” The stylist took a dramatic French pause. “…prom night! A soft side swept bang. A half updo, loose of course, the back will be curled and left hanging.” She smiled at Andrea and asked, “You like then? Your columbina will not touch your hair?” she pointed at Andrea’s elegantly feathered mask hanging beside her dark red ball gown, black cape and gloves.

“If you can knock it out in thirty minutes, I’m good.” She flinched as her makeup artist applied her false eyelashes.

Rhonda sat watching Andrea while her stylist secured pin curls to her French twist. Comfort was far more important than the costume competition. Andrea, it seemed, was showing a particular interest, which tickled Rhonda to no end. Though she’d never admit it, she was primping for Winston. Rhonda liked Winston. He was a gentleman and his levelheaded approach to life would balance Andrea’s fiery personality all together. But she knew her daughter well. If pushed Andrea would run the opposite direction, and taking into consideration Vivian’s assertions about Winston, she too was threading on thin ice. If their months of plotting to join Winston and Andrea were to come to fruition, they’d have to seemingly stay out of the matter. Still, there was very little time; they’d be leaving the next day.

“Winston is handsome, don’t you think?”

“We’re not sleeping together.” Andrea rolled her eyes in Rhonda’s direction.

“I didn’t say you were.” Rhonda threw her hand up innocently, and then tip-toed farther. “If you were, your dad and I wouldn’t have a problem with it. I mean, you’re an adult, you can think for yourself…all I mean is Winston’s a good catch and he seems to like you.”

“I’m happy the way things are.”

“Are you?”

Andrea allowed the stylist and makeup artist to finish their work and leave before answering wanly. “I’m scared. I’ve never been in love—I’ve been in like—obsession, even—but not love. I don’t know how love works. I’ve never seen a happy relationship or marriage; only miserable ones, and that freaks me out. I don’t know.” She sighed. “Maybe I have a more pragmatic view of marriage and relationships. I can’t think of anything worse than being with the wrong person.”

“Your father and I are happy.”

Andrea’s eye flew to Rhonda. “Is that why you were sleeping with Dean?” She continued though Rhonda was shocked. “I’ve known about it for sometime. Don’t worry, dad doesn’t know. I don’t blame you. You don’t have to explain. You were lonely and Dean was attentive.” She worded her next question carefully. “Can I ask you something? Did you love Dean?”

“In the beginning, no. Then as I got know him, I think I did. I never would’ve left your dad but…my heart was in two places for a long time. In fact, I was on the verge of telling Dean I was married when he found out. He never gave me a chance to explain; he left. I hurt him…I didn’t mean to but I did…and I’m sorry.”

“You should tell him. Not me.” Andrea smiled. Her faith in her mother restored. “Look, this isn’t the time and place for a mother/daughter heart to heart. Just know that your secret is safe and if you ever want to talk, I’m all ears.” She snorted.

“What?” Rhonda blushed.

“You’re kinda badass now. I’ll have to keep an eye on you.”

The House Party: Part Four
The Graydons were center stage when Vivian and family arrived. The ballroom was filled with rumors of Dean’s wedding, fancy dresses and wraps in vibrant colors, elaborate hairstyles. The women were resplendent in billowing, regal gowns, demurely peeking from behind their hand-held masks. The gentlemen had their white, puffy wigs set just so. It was Moulin Rouge meets Versailles complete with gondolas floating, acrobats, and jesters. Winston and Dean donned period tuxedos, a red capes and feathered tricorns, finished with Phantom of the Opera masks. In an effort to evade Rosemund, Bart settled for an ornately designed volto. She wasn’t fooled and swept him to the other side of the room seconds after he arrived. She was determined to become a Bellamy come hell or high water!

Though they’d taken care not to upstage Susan, Vivian and Maureen heavily embroidered dresses were two of the most beautiful in the room. Rebecca, dressed is pale yellow and cream, drew attention at every turn—there was no end to people flocking to admire her twenty-four carat Edwardian style oval engagement ring. She made Dean and her aunt and uncle proud, and every woman in the room, envious.

Vivian noticed Winston’s gaze following Andrea around the room. “How are things with you and Andrea?” Vivian asked quietly.

Winston gave her a ‘don’t start’ look, and then said, “Andrea and I are fine. We’re not fighting if that’s what you’re getting at.”

“I was just asking.” She waiting until she saw Andrea the hand of a young man, and then added. “She’s very attractive. Every man in the room has his eye on her. She’s quite a catch.”

“Yes she is.”

Vivian raised an eyebrow in Rhonda’s direction before going in for the kill. “Have you ever thought about marriage?”

“Other than the avoidance of it at all cost? No.” Winston turned to his mother. “You have one son getting married. Don’t meddle, mother.” He kissed her cheek and strolled towards Andrea.

Vivian gave Rhonda a gentle wink. The band began to play and couples took the dance floor.

His mother’s echoed his very feelings. Even when she was cross and quarrelsome Winston hadn’t been able to rid her from his thoughts.

“Excuse me,” Winston said generally to the Andrea’s companions, then offered Andrea his arm. “May I have this dance?”

Andrea nodded and took Winston’s arm and excused herself. “Thank you for rescuing me.” She fussed with a stray curl. “It’s all words with these people, isn’t it? Their conversations aren’t expressions of genuine thoughts and feelings but a means of filling certain formalities of social propriety.”

“You’re a tough cookie, Dr. Mitcham.” Winston smirked down at Andrea. “Is that how you feel about me? I’m all words? No substance?”

“No,” She looked up at Winston as they took their dance positions, agonizingly close. “I think you’re extremely arrogant, egotistical and nothing short of a tyrant.”

“Really?” he gave a crooked grin.

“Yep! But you’ve had the most profound effect on me, and I’m determined to like you in spite of your shortcomings.”

“You really want to get fucked tonight, don’t you?”

Andrea responded with a shiver of excitement, and liquid heat between her legs with such intensity it startled her. Words were no longer necessary. I wanted him badly!

“That was a joke. I’m not going to seduce you?”

Well Damn!!
“I wouldn’t mind.” Her voice seemed miles away. So low, Winston didn’t hear her.

“You look nice, by the way.” He observed, trying to avoid gawking at her cleavage, ignoring her ‘please fuck me’ face. They exchanged pleasantries, complimented the Graydons’ choice of entertainment, her drunken midnight stroll and Dean’s impending nuptials. The entire week had been a fairytale, too good to be true. In twenty-four hours, Andrea would return to her medical pursuits and he to his real estate and leisure.

“Thank you. So do you.” Andrea twisted her mouth. “I don’t like your mask. It obscures your eyes.”

“I don’t like yours either.” He leaned close to her cheek and whispered. “I’d like to kiss you.”

Andrea brushed her cheek against his. “Is that all?”

He returned to his dance position, smiling. “In front of a room full of people, watching our every move, yes. Look around. They’re watching us. They’re waiting to see if we touch inappropriately or too long.”

Andrea’s gaze skirted the room. Winston was right; they were under the microscope. “Jesus! Not even Dean’s wedding throws these people off our scent. I feel like screaming ‘We’re just friends!’”

“Ha! You’ve heard about the wedding? What do you think?”

“More power to them.” She shrugged. “Neither wants to marry so they’re on the same page. They’re going into this with their eyes open. Neither is dependant on the other. Nothing’s to say they won’t be happy together.”

“Would you have done it? Would you have settled?”

Andrea found herself under Winston’s intensity. “I wouldn’t have. But that’s not to say I disagree with Rebecca’s choice to do so. I want to marry my best friend, someone who knows and understands me. I want to be able to let my guard down and show my weakness without losing his respect. I don’t want a show marriage…I want…well, without sounding like a bad 80’s ballad, I want to know what love is. I’ve never seen it up close and I certainly haven’t felt it.”

There was a jerk of reaction low in Winston’s belly. He hadn’t expected her reply. Andrea Mitcham was a complex little creature; capable of hell burning fits of rage and romanticized gentleness. “One day you’ll find your Prince Charming.”

“I know I will.” She sighed softly. “I wish he’d hurry up. I’m so horny.” They giggled like teenagers but stopped when they realized the arbiters of propriety were watching.

After making her rounds in the room, Rebecca found herself seated with her future mother in-law for the first times since the announcement. To say that she was nervous was an understatement, however, when Vivian asked to speak to her alone in the drawing room Rebecca almost vomited. Vivian asked Rebecca to have a seat on the sofa as she closed the door for privacy before joining Rebecca on the sofa.

“What are your expectations regarding this marriage, children, and your life in general?” Vivian asked quietly yet clearly.

Only fear kept Rebecca’s jaw from hinging open. She found her mental footing. “I expect that my life will go on as it has. I will have my independence as will Dean. I respect Dean but I’m under no illusion; my marriage is one of convenience and I’m determined to make it work. I’m not gold digger or fortune hunter. Whatever Dean chooses to give doesn’t concern me. I’m perfectly capable of providing for myself. I don’t socialize very often but as Dean’s wife I have a duty to the family and I plan to undertake it as best I can—with my aunt’s and your help, of course. As for children, since they will be the responsibly of Dean and I, the decision to have them rest with us, no one else.” Rebecca paused, then added a polite, “Ma’am.”

“Beneath the fluff, Goldilocks, you have balls.” Vivian’s lip slowly curled to a smile. “You will need them. Being married to Dean isn’t going to be a walk in the park. But you’ll have my support.” She marveled at Rebecca’s innocence. “You’re young and have a lot to learn. Whatever you do, never show your emotions in public, and be mindful of your surroundings. You’re Mrs. Dean Bellamy—all eyes are on you, my dear.”

“In private?”

“In private, with the family, you can be yourself.” Vivian laughed aloud. “We’re just like everyone else. You should hear our conversations! Well, now that you’re family, you will.”

Over the next hour, Vivian eased Rebecca’s worries and answered her questions. She was willfully stepping into the line of fire. But with proper guidance, she’d survive.

Getting her pass Sadie was an entirely different story. Breakfast the next morning would tell.


It was after 2am when Winston and Andrea bid everyone a goodnight and went upstairs to his room. They kicked off their shoes and mask and collapsed in bed fully clothed. Something was happening. Something neither expected nor planned. They were actually comfortable with one another without sex entering the equation. Surprising was the contentment they felt in the midst of confusion of the past week; the safety and security they felt in each others arms.

“Tell me we don’t have to go home,” he whispered.

“We don’t have to go home. We can stay here forever.”

“I’ll bring you breakfast in bed,” he offered.


“I’ll have someone bring us breakfast in bed.” He rolled over on his side, looking down at Andrea. “I wish we could stay here. Now that you aren’t hell bent on humiliating me, I’d like to get to know you.”

“I’m never going to live that down, am I?”

Winston shook his head and pecked her lips. His rested his forehead on hers. “I would like us to keep in touch. And seeing as neither of us have a talent for making friends, it’s probably best we do.” His eyes burned a path down her neck to the tops of her soft breasts.

Andrea kicked herself for not taking off her goddamn dress before crawling in bed. It was torture! God, if he didn’t do something soon, she’d take matters into her own hands, literally!

Gently he licked her lower lip. “We’ll write to each other. I want to hear how things are going. How many hearts you’ve broken.”

“We’re a bit too old to be pen pals but I get it.” Andrea laughed. “You got a deal. I want to hear every trivial detail of your life. Promise?”

“Yes ma’am.” Before their lips touched, there was a knock at the door. Winston answered and Sadie marched in, pissed with her friends and babbling about how she’d tried to crash with Dean and Rebecca but they were in the middle of making babies so they sent her to Winston.

“Didn’t know you had company.” Sadie threw back the covers and crawled in bed beside Andrea. “Hi!”

“Hello?” Andrea looked at Winston standing beside the bed, puzzled.

“What?” Sadie looked Winston up and down. “You can wipe that look off your face because I’m not leaving.” She snatched one of Andrea’s pillows and pulled the covers to her chin. “Goodnight.”

Winston shook his head and Andrea rolled from the bed. It wasn’t worth fighting. She gathered her belongings and Winston walked her to the door and apologized for the interruption. They stood for a moment waiting for the other to say something, to do something. Was this really how they were going to end? Winston reached down towards Andrea as if to touch her face. But he hesitated a few inches away. He changed his mind and draw back.


“No. Don’t apologize.” Andrea placed her hand flat on his chest then pulled it away quickly. “It’s best we didn’t…you know…go there so fast. We’re friends, right?”

Winston coughed. “Yeah…Um, we shouldn’t complicate things…not now with Dean getting married and Sadie…well, you know.” They struggled to make small talk, hanging on each others words. Winston nodded as one of the guests past.

“Oh, sure! That would be a mistake. You’re right.” She swallowed. “Well, I’d better go before we start another scandal.” Andrea joked. “We’ll be in touch?”

“Certainly. You’re staying for breakfast?”

“Yeah, um, we leave shortly afterwards.” She bit her lower lip, waiting for Winston to kiss her.. “See you in the morning, pal!” she started down the hall.

“Goodnight, Andrea.” Winston closed the door and went to bed.

A small smile touched their lips. Whatever happened, they’d done the right thing by walking away. Some things shouldn’t be rushed.


The dining hall was filled to capacity with guests silently waiting to see who was invited to the Bellamy wedding. Trudy and Rhonda, taking her cue from Vivian, took care to avoid direct eye contact lest this natural occurrence be misinterpreted as amity. Sadie, Dean, and Rebecca were having breakfast in their rooms as were Maureen and Susan and Bart and Rosemund. Yes, Rosemund finally score her a Bellamy; sadly she didn’t realize Bart had absolutely no intention on keeping her.

Winston spent the morning walking around the house, remembering his days there as a child running barefoot up and down the expansive galleries and hallway. The house still felt the same, smelled the same. It was as if the house was a living, breathing backdrop against which the swirl of its occupants lived their lives. They rustling in and out—married, divorced—gave birth, and died. But the house remained the same. It was passed from one heir to another, each making improvement here and there but each preserved the bones for the next generation. In a world where anything could be had for the right price, this monstrous house and the servants who maintained its opulence, provided stability and the comfort of the familial wagon circle where hope and faith were restored.

Winston made the trip in support of his mother, not realizing how emotional depleted he’d become. Andrea opened his eyes, and gave him someone to in which he could confide. And he’d given her the same. In their odd, social inept way they’d found themselves….

….now it was over…and real life began.

Winston, wearing dark wash jeans and a sage green button pushed up to the elbow, descended the grand staircase as the Mitchams were preparing to leave. Andrea bit the inside of her cheek to keep from smiling. It was kind of cute that he’d come to see her off. This didn’t go unnoticed by Hamilton. It seemed his wife’s scheming worked after all.

“I was wondering where you were.” Andrea kissed Winston on both cheeks

“Sorry I went for a walk, and lost track of time.” He kissed Andrea then shook Hamilton’s hand. He looked around at their luggage. “You’re all set? Should I call for Isaac?”

“No, no. He’s outside with my mom.” She pointed over her should. There was a brief pause while their sorted through the mangled wilderness of their thoughts. Then Andrea broke the spell. “I’ve written you.”

“Really? Already?” Winston’s nose wrinkled in surprise.

“I couldn’t sleep last night so I figured I’d beat you to the punch. I sent it to your place in Chicago. Your mother gave the address.”

“Great! I’ll be there for a while. Sadie will be staying with Dean and Rebecca. I thought it might be a good idea for me to grow some roots—living between homes is exhausting.” Another pause. He couldn’t think of anything else to say except goodbye. “Please. Don’t let me keep you. I just wanted to say…farewell.”

Hamilton observed their exchange with concern for Andrea’s happiness. Winston didn’t seem as enamored with Andrea as she was with him.

“I’ll walk you out.” Winston reached for one of her bags; Andrea slapped his hand away.

“I’ll manage.” Second tick by, hoping he’d say something to keep her there a little longer. Crestfallen she said happily. “Well, that’s my ride. I’ll…um, you know…we’ll write.” She grabbed a small carryon as Winston shook her father’s hand.

“Of course.” The gossip hounds were closing in. Winston had to cut their goodbye short. Another social polite kiss and Andrea was gone. He stood there for awhile, bidding his feet to move.

In their limo, Rhonda immediately called her voicemail and began jotting in her notebook. Hamilton watched Andrea staring thoughtlessly out the window.

“When was the last time you went out on a date?” Hamilton asked Andrea.

This wasn’t a conversation Andrea wanted to have, but short of throwing herself out of the car there was no way to avoid it. “Over a year.” She didn’t take her eyes from the window. “Why?”

“Andrea, you seem lonely.” Hamilton spoke fatherly, gently.

“I’m not. Besides, I can take care of myself.”

“I know you can.” Hamilton searched for his words. “Look, I like Winston but he’s impassive.”

“People say the same thing about me. You don’t know him.”

“Neither do you.” Hamilton said. “Less than a week ago you hated him. Now you claim to know him?”

“I know him because I know myself.”

It’s was hopeless. Arguing with Andrea was never the answer. “I wish you’d find someone worthy of you.”

Andrea turned to Hamilton. “You don’t think Winston is worthy?”

“I don’t think he has feelings for you. If he does, he has a funny way of showing it.” He could tell Andrea was closing down emotionally. He’d better get to the point. “I worry about you. I’m your father and it’s my right to worry.”

Andrea cracked a smile. “Thanks.”