“Why didn’t you tell me your father was a senior partner?” Tammy inquired, striking John in the arm, he flinched though he saw it coming. 

         “I’m sorry. I didn’t think it was relevant since he’d retired years before I joined the firm,” he tucked her arm into his elbow as they strolled along the meandering tree lining footpaths.

        “Professionally speaking it’s not relevant but I as your girlfriend, don’t you think I should have been clued in?” Tammy said. John rolled his eyes upward and sighed heavily. He knew she had a point.

        "You’re right,” he conceded. “I should have told you. You would have met my parents eventually.” There was a long basking pause between them. The afternoon sun slipped behind a pair of wispy clouds, casting a shadow across Tammy’s profile. John couldn’t take his eyes off of her. Quietly, he committed every inch of her to memory.  

          “What?” she asked softly, tucking her hair behind her ear. “What is it?” John attempted to say something clever to convey his feelings but the words weren’t forthcoming. He found a small wooden bench at the base of a tree and sat, bringing Tammy onto his knee. She draped an arm around his neck, he gently held the small of her back. 

         “What was your first impression of me? Honestly.” John queried. Hearing the sincerity in his voice, Tammy paused, carefully crafting her response.

        “The first time I saw you, I thought you were very handsome but arrogant. You always had a woman on standby—you’d go missing for hours on end, leaving me to sort out your business.”

         “You thought I was an idling womanizer?”

         “Oh no,” placing her hand on his chest. “I wouldn’t label you a womanizer but you were definitely efficient.” John’s quizzical expression urged her on. “Each of the women may have lacked a certain quality which, for  you, was a deal breaker. And when she didn’t live up to your standards you dismissed her. End of story.” She swiftly reduced him to a superficial asshole. John didn’t contest her assessment as she’d predicted.

         “If you believed me to be such a dubious character, why did you give yourself to me that night in my office?” he retorted with a half grin.

         “Because I saw through you,”  she said, characteristically blunt. “You were looking for someone you could love without the pressure. So I waited for you to make the first move,” her fingers raked through his hair lightly. “After that night, I didn’t expect anything from you but when it happened….it felt right. Nothing’s ever felt so right,”

         John was speechless. Tammy understood him better than he understood himself. Better than any woman ever had. “I love you, Tammy,” was all he could muster.

         “I love you too,” she said smiling softly, exhaling a long breath. John detected a note of concern.

        “What is it?”

        Tammy shifted towards him, lowering her voice. “What’s going to happen? What do you think Jeff and Carrie have up their sleeve?”

         “Jeff is going to accuse me and Dennis of defrauding Mr. Cates. And given that we are the sole executors of the estate and the rock-solid evidence in Jeff’s procession, we’re facing disbarment and five to ten years in federal prison if we’re lucky,” Now was not the time to be circuitous “Undoubtedly, his predilection for the theatrical warrants waiting until the most opportune moment to spring his trap. Then it will be over.”

          “But it’s not true,” she said, clearly shaken.

          “Of course it’s not true,”

         “Then why don’t you do something?” her tone took on an edge. “Go to the authorities with the information you have about his double-dealing and theft. The more information Carrie feeds him…”

          “Carrie has nothing to do with this,” John cut in defensively. “You don’t know her.”

          “I know her well enough that I’m not deceived by her phony Cheshire-Cat smile,” Tammy’s eyes sliced into John. “Nor am I ignorant enough to believe she hasn’t given Jeff more ammo for his arsenal,” she stood to leave, John clutched her arm.

          “You need to calm down,” John commanded, his tone low. 

          “And you need to act now,” attempting to snatch away from him but underestimating his hold. “You’re not alone anymore, John! You’re toying with my life.”

          John’s gaze darted around the grounds for prying eyes, then hastily ushered Tammy inside and located a secluded room, closing the door behind them. “Keep your voice down. You don’t understand how these things work.

         “I understand that your hands are dirty because you covered up his misconduct. Now he has turned the tables on you, knowing there’s no way for you to take him down without incriminating yourself! Why didn’t you allow him to hang himself? Why do you always have to be the hero?” she yelled as loudly as she could through clinched teeth. Her aggravation wasn’t lost on John. He saw and felt her angst.

         “Trust me, there was no love between us but at the time it seemed to be the right thing to do. I didn’t want to see his career go up in flames because of one stupid mistake. That’s why I stepped in. I wasn’t trying to be a hero. I was giving him a second chance.”

         “And here we are,” Tammy sat on the sofa with an ungraceful thud.


Dennis combed the country club searching for John like a fretting animal before he, literally, ran into Carrie. He quickly pulled her away from Jeff’s side and into private conference.

          “What’s happened?” Carrie asked, pouring him a glass of water which he swallowed in one seemingly painful gulp. She poured another.

         “Where is Mr. Carpenter?” Dennis managed.

         “He’s somewhere around here, why?”

         “Take a look at this,” Dennis handed Carrie the Cates’ accounts outlining Jeff’s plan in granular details. “Mr. Ulrich has been stealing funds and my guess is he’s planning to pin the blame on me and Mr. Carpenter.”

         Carrie flipped through the documents as though this was her first time seeing them. Busted!, she thought to herself. She had to prevent Dennis from blowing the lid off their scheme. It was time to think fast, she had to regroup before he ran screaming to anyone who’d listen.

         “Who else has seen these?” Who else have you told?” Carrie asked calmly.

         “No one, I couldn’t locate Mr. Carpenter or Mr. Woodson. No one is answering their phones! Where the hell is everyone!”

         Carrie carefully folded the documents in hand and turned her attention to Dennis. “I’ll take care of it. Don’t say a word to anyone, especially John,” she pushed him towards the door. “Go out there and act normal, insofar as you can. Do not say anything to anyone. Period, understand? I’ll meet you at John’s house later tonight.” She closed the door behind him. “Shit!” Carrie had to warn Jeff. John would have to fend for himself.

        She scurried back to her purse as fast as her wiry legs could take her and hit redial on her mobile.

       “Carrie Ann,” a male voice said.

        “I’m leaving the table. Where are you?” she asked nonchalantly walking through the maze of tables.

        “I’m on the opposite side of the club, why?”

        “Dennis discovered the erroneous account information. There’s no doubt he will go straight to the top with this news, then our friend will head to the office to collect any incriminating documents. If we want to beat him there we’ll need to get the hell out of here right now.”  


         "Has anyone seen Mr. Carpenter?” Dennis asked several semi-inebriated people as he trekked through the web of sponsored entertainment. To his disappointment, no one had seen him in hours. Though ordered by Carrie not to mention his findings to John, Dennis had the prudent wherewithal to bypass the choreographed lockstep routine and go straight to John himself. He came upon John and Tammy just as John’s father and Mr. Woodson were preparing to take their leave.

         Luckily, John spotted Dennis beforehand. Sensing his urgency, John casually excused himself from the foursome, effectively meeting Dennis out of their earshot. “You finally decided to make an appearance,” John said cheerfully shaking his hand. Puzzled, Dennis followed John’s lead, making small talk until they were alone then promptly relayed his message.

           If Dennis had expected John to crumble, he was dissatisfied with John’s studied ‘could-not-give-a-fuckedness’. “Where is Carrie Ann?” he asked evenly.

          “I don’t know,” he felt a strange feral compulsion to slap some sense into him. “Am I making myself clear to anyone?! Why am I the only person freaking out about this? I don’t want to go to jail!” anticipating the worst.

         “Breathe,” John steadied the quivering mess before him. “And follow my instructions carefully.”


         “Where are you?” Carrie asked Jeff as he sorted through a small stack of folders and a skeleton key from his locked file cabinet.

           “I’m in my office. Where are you?”

           “I’m downstairs in the library. What are you doing?”

           “I’m putting my plan in motion sooner than I’d hope but the results will be the same. John will be ruined. Damn, I would have loved to have seen his smug face when he figured out I’d screwed him. It’s too late for that now. I’ve got to go. See you in a bit.” Hurrying to John’s office, Jeff sifted through the folder as John’s laptop booted. Once logged on, he located the Cates’ records and entered the account information from the sheets before him. Saving his work, he made copies, shooting one to Mr. Woodson, one to himself and one to Carrie. “Job well done,” he said aloud, satisfied with his handiwork, he left John’s office as he’d found it.

            “You couldn’t leave well enough alone, could you?” John blankly asked Jeff as he passed Carrie’s office where he sat engrossed in one of her womens' magazines. Jeff stepped inside offering a look of indescribable self-gratification. Maybe he would witness John’s demise after all.

            “No, I couldn’t.”

            “You are a dumbass. I mean seriously, you’re the most pathetic person ever to breath fresh air,” John hoofed without looking up from his magazine. “I should have allowed natural selection to take its course the first time and let you hang.”

              Like battery acid through a marshmallow, John’s cavalier attitude ate through Jeff’s cool façade. Forced into reverence, unable to challenge John’s incestuous pride, obliged to kowtow in his monolithic shadow, Jeff’s frustration got the better of him. “You should have taken me out when you had the chance. Now look at you, so puffed up with conceit you can’t see that you’re fucked.” 

            John stood square shouldered and unaffected by Jeff’s theatrics. “You’re not going to win, Jeff. So why are you trying to piss me off?” They now stood eye-to-eye with less than an inch between them, Jeff’s anger meeting John’s indifference.

           “You have always underestimated me,” snapped Jeff angrily. “It’s been a long year. Now that money is paid in full, you have nothing to hold over my head without implicating yourself, toss in the funds missing from Mr. Cates’ account and you and your lapdog Dennis are going to jail for a long time. You see, you should have struck when you had the chance. Not even your father can get you out of this one.”

            John rolled his eyes, tiring of the drama. “Are you sure you want to do this? You don’t have enough evidence against me.”

            “Carrie turned coat and gave me more than I needed to put you away.”

            “I don’t believe you,” John’s tone took an edge. “Don’t drag her into this.”

            “Oh, you better believe she did,” An impish grin creased his mouth. “When I couldn’t get your little girlfriend to cooperate, Carrie stepped in and filled her shoes quite nicely.”

            “You really are going to do this to me aren’t you? I tried to help you. I never gloated or bragged to others about your wrongdoings. Hell, you and I rarely spoke about it. And you would dare to trample over me.”

            “Yep!” Jeff smiled.

            “Fine, you win,” John threw up his hands. “Have it your way. Just remember, I offered you a second chance and you blew it. Good luck!” He stepped around Jeff, leaving the room for his office. “Come and get him. He’s finished.”

            Seconds later Jeff found himself surrounded by the police, handcuffed and being lead away to the melodic reading of the ‘Miranda Rights’. His cocky exterior diminished entirely as he spied the assistant DA, Carrie Ann and Mr.’s Woodson and Carpenter entering his office, with techies in tow after confiscated his hardware. Carrie gave him an overzealous smile and stiff middle finger as she closed the door behind her. 


            John sat alone in his darkened office, squeezing a stress ball, as he watched the blue and red light from the police cars swirl into nothingness. Even with the knowledge that he could have been the one sitting on the back of the police car he couldn’t rejoice in Jeff’s demise. There was, however, an adamantine numbness that preceded his thankfulness of forethought. It was over, his name was clear and his life with Tammy could begin anew.

           Tammy entered the room hesitantly. She cast a long gaze of relief on John. His crystal eyes focused outside the window, his mouth and forehead were pensive, engulfed in thought. She could barely bring herself to interrupt him.

           “Hi,” she managed, sliding through the door and easing it closed.

           “Hey babe,” John replied, the lines on face immediately vanished as he pulled her onto his lap. They watched the events through the window silently until Tammy caught a glimpse of Jeff sitting in the back of the patrol car.

           “I never saw this coming,” she said, kissing the side of John’s head. “Thank goodness you did.”

            “You got that right.” Carrie Ann chimed in coming into room with Dennis; they plopped on the sofa watching the action. “Damn, I have to hand it to you, John, you’re dodged this bullet.”

            “I bow down to you Almighty One,” Dennis teased provoking John to throw his stress ball at his head.

            “Can someone please explain this to me?” Tammy asked, still in the dark.

             Carrie and John both drew a long breath. “When I discovered Jeff had been stealing funds from one of his accounts, I confronted him, and he confessed. I agreed to cover for him if he made a full videoed confession and signed an affidavit to it authenticity. I then gave him a year to repay the lost money and he would be free and clear.”

             “Sounds pretty cut and dry.” Dennis remarked.

             “Ah, but it’s not. By law, John would have perjured himself and if anyone else made the discovery down the road, he would have been held just as accountable as Jeff.”

             “So how did you get around it?” Tammy turned to John.

             “A lot of begging,” he laughed. “I went to George in confidence. He wanted to fire him on the spot but I interceded…”

              “Begged,” Carrie cut him off.

            “Yes, I begged. I called my father who, against his better judgment, repaid the money himself and worked behind the scenes with the account Jeff defrauded. In time, they agreed not to press formal charges against us. But just to be on the safe side, Mr. Woodson accepted my resignation letter with full confession and backdated it to a month before the incident occurred,” he turned to Dennis. “Does that sound familiar?”


             “Once my father’s check cleared, I was rehired and made partner after working my ass off.”

             “In essence, Jeff was repaying your father?” Carrie asked, having not been privy to that information.


             “And he’d be sitting here with us had he cooperated. And you were untouchable regardless.” Dennis added.

             “Absolutely, but a few months ago I noticed funds missing from your clients accounts, the largest amount being the five million missing from the Cates’ accounts. I went to George and we decided to sit back and see where Jeff was going with this scheme.” John concluded.

             “Then you came into the picture and John’s hormones went berserk,” Carrie snorted. “He almost blew his cover when he raced off to LA.”

            John shook his head. “Let’s not get into that.”

            “No, let’s,” Tammy retorted. “What’s going on between you?”

           Carrie’s cheerful demeanor melted. “That’s the one bit that wasn’t being acted out. I did…I do love John,” she flashed a quick grin. “But I’m moving on. I’m happy for you both.”

          “Carrie found the missing money and informed me the night she left my house. We needed to know exactly how he was moving the money and that’s where Carrie came in,” John added. Tammy felt sick to her stomach. She’d been all to ready to slaughter Carrie mere hours ago.

          “And things were going pretty well until Tammy and Liz started acting like ‘Nancy Drew’ and Dennis became one of ‘The Hardy Boys’. You guys have no idea how close you came to screwing everything up today. I had to run like a chicken with my head cut off to warn John that the gig was up and get Jeff out of there before he ran to Mr. Woodson…even though I told him not to tell anyone.” She stared Dennis up and down. 

           “Sorry,” Dennis said sheepishly.
           “You should have told me what was going on, John!” Tammy punched him.

            “I couldn’t! We still didn’t know how he was moving the transactions around. Carrie knew he’d keep it a secret until the last moment. I called Liz and she opened the office for the infrastructure guys to setup a tracking program on network. They captured what we needed as soon as he hit the save button from my laptop.”

             “I’m so sorry Carrie. I didn’t know.” Tammy said remorsefully.

              “Hey, we’re all at fault. Let’s put it behind us.”

            There was a light knock on the door and then Liz’s head appeared. “Sorry for the interruption but the DA needs to speak with Mr. Carpenter.”

            “Well, on that note, I’ll bid you all a good night,” Carrie said.

            “Yeah, I’m getting out of here also. I’ll walk you out.” Dennis offered Carrie. Tammy stopped her in step and hugged her tightly.

             “Thank you,” she whispered.

             “Take care of him,” Carrie fought the tears in her eyes. John gave her a quick kiss on the cheek.

            “Alright, let me wrap things up and I’ll meet you back at my house,” John kissed Tammy’s lips, taking his leave.


             The events of the day replayed in Tammy’s head repeatedly. Hours ago she’d been worried sick about losing John, now there was scarcely a remnant of anxiety. John returned home and almost immediately went to shower and collapsed in bed beside her, pulling her close. They lay quietly entertwined until John spoke.

            “I never properly apologized for my conduct,” Tammy attempted to interject but his thumb silenced her as it moved softly across her bottom lip and held her cheek. “Shh, let me speak. I’ve handled our relationship immaturely. I shouldn’t have assumed the worst of you without just cause. You didn’t deserve it; you’ve always been faithful to me. I acted irrationally,” His eyes studied hers. “I’m asking you to accept me for who am but help me become a better person. Tammy, I’m only human--we’ll have our highs and lows and we may not always see eye-to-eye. But I swear I will never hurt you again. I love you, baby.” His voice was unprotected and exposed, precariously balanced on pins and needles.

            Tammy stopped John and gazed at the fretful sincerity swimming in his crystal blue eyes. She would have said anything to relieve his anguish, but words failed her. “I love you, John.” was all she could manage, it was enough.

            Lying on his side looking down at her, John, lightly at first then with more passion, kissed her. Their mouths viscerally yielding to the other's desire without thought until he felt her melt ever so slightly under him. He slowly broke their kiss.

           “Did you just have an orgasm?”

            Tammy averted her eyes,saying nothing. Fixed on her face, John slowly ran his hand down the rich brown skin of her stomach, she gasped. Down her torso, she moaned in anticipation aching to whatever he had in store for her. His hand circled her outer thigh, lifting her leg, bending it at the knee. Tammy closed her eyes and exhaled. John repeated himself with her other legs until her thighs touched. He didn’t stir for few precious seconds, watching her tatter in the balance. Then carefully, beginning at her knees, he eased them a part with a gentle, painfully slow hand. Tammy’s breathing quickened. His hand stopped in place, lingering there in sweet, silent, agonizing nothingness. Then she felt the velvety wetness of his flattened tongue licking her nipple before taking it between his lips and sucking it tenderly. Her eyes met his, he smiled and sucked again as she watched, breathing through parted lips.

            The muscles of her abdomen relaxed and he continued his single-handed downward exploration to her perma-wet vertical slit now twitching in synch with her breathing. He sucked her nipple again; she felt a single finger performing concentric circles on her labia. Tammy’s inner voice begged John to touch her, rub her clit, delicately finger her to Valhalla....anything, just deliver her from the attenuating purgatory from which she now languished at the mercy of his rhythmic digit. 

           “I love you, Tammy,” John whispered softly against her agape lips. Before she could retort, before she could take her next breath, she felt the exquisite altruistic plunge of two of his finger into her pussy. Tammy’s body wrenched to orgasm as John claimed her heaving tit in his warm mouth while simultaneously moving piston-like inside of her. She could see nothing except the brilliant lights dancing before her unfocused eyes. She could hear nothing except the slushing melody emanating from her pussy. What presented itself as passionate teasing was, in fact, the genius of her sensory system shutting down.

            Then, as if from afar, she heard John pleading for her to cum for him. With a single stroke against her g-spot, Tammy abandoned all hopes of a smooth landing and surrendered to the inexorable pleasure that was John’s hand. She came in primal waves, he coaxed them along the way until she lay supine, quivering, and singing his praise.

            Her body shuddered as he removed his slick fingers from her cunt. Though still unable to utter a syllable, Tammy took John’s hand, slowly bring his cock to her lips. 

           “You want it?” he asked, seeing the incendiary lust pooling in her eyes. Tammy nodded. He stood above her and thumbed her lips a part with a sensuous croon, “Open,”

           Tammy inhaled his length as best she could from her reclined position before swiftly switching positions and bobbing her mouth up and down on John’s engorged cock. Her hands wrapped around his member, working in ravenous syncopation with her lips, tongue and suction. It was John who now lay in utter abandonment watching his glistening white cock being unremittingly pleasured by Tammy’s beautiful brown mouth. “Oh fuck!” he cried, thinking those words would be enough for clemency from her relentless slurping and sucking but she was determined to have her way. 

          “You wanna cum?” asked Tammy as if the undulations in his legs weren’t clear indicators to the affirmative.

           Panting heavily, John shook his head lifting Tammy’s mouth from his cock and slammed her, albeit unintentional, brutally onto her back. But a sinfully wicked smirk from Tammy cleared his conscience of any irrevocable damage. Without warning, she felt the crashing sensation of his full rigidity exploding through her pussy lips. Tammy's hips instinctively rose to accommodate his unruly girth now grinding, pushing pulling, giving and taking…in and out of her with each rhythmic roll of his pelvis. John’s moaning punctuated the tell-tale sounds of Tammy’s imminent release. He gripped her round ass, driving himself deeper and harder into her....his dick begging, with loving pagan fervor, for the pussy-Goddess to accept his cum as recompense for the incommunicable pleasure she was giving him.

          Tammy’s head pressed into her pillow, her mouth open but no sound spilled forth until she heard John whimper in her ear. “Tammy, I love you.”

          Those four words, those thirteen letters sent her into an orgasmic tailspin, dragging John along the way with a half-moan, half-strangle, cry escaping his throat as her pussy sucked him off, shooting waves of cum into her. Satisfying the pussy-Goddess....for now.

                                                 THE END