Lady Gambler Ch. 07

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Ascending to the top floor of the Mandalay Bay, I contemplated Rachael Coulter’s job offer. Other than loyalties to George Ferris and Banks, Kellogg and Henderson, my main reason for not accepting the job was Rick. The distance between us was bad enough now, more than doubling the distance would make it that much more difficult.

George and Scott were sitting in front of the television, watching a ballgame when I entered the suite. Ferris picked up the black briefcase. Scott and I carried the shopping bags of clothing. Other than occasional conversation between Scott and me, the ride to the airport was pretty quiet. Ferris seemed quieter than usual.

We boarded the private jet, taking the same seats we’d flown down in. Scott was sitting behind me, George sitting, facing me.

“How was your meeting with Ms. Coulter?” George asked, breaking his silence.

“Fine, we talked about poker and her gaming operation.” I responded.

“Did she ask you to come and work for her?” He questioned.

“She asked me about helping her with some investments.” I replied, trying to sound nonchalant.

“Just remember who you work for.” Ferris said in a threatening manner.

“I work for Banks, Kellogg and Henderson.” I remarked. “And I can quit anytime I want.”

Ferris was pissed at my statements but it was the truth. I merely handled his account. I didn’t work for him. My salary was paid by the investment firm. Ferris merely slipped me a bonus every now and then.

The ride from the airport to Ferris’s home was in complete silence. Ferris opened the briefcase and took out two bundles of hundreds, $5000 per bundle. He handed me the bundles along with two additional bundles.

“Ten grand for going, ten grand as a bonus.” He stated.

I didn’t say anything, just stuffed the money in my purse and lit up a cigarette.

“Looks like your son, Rick is here.” Scott announced, pulling into the driveway at George’s residence.

I looked over Scott’s shoulder and out through the windshield. Rick’s truck was parked in the driveway right behind my car. I knew I was in deep trouble, having forgotten to cover my tracks.

Scott pulled up to the front entrance of the house. George and I entered the home, hearing loud shouting coming from the rear of the house. Michael and Rick’s voices were clearly recognizable. George and I hurried to see what all the commotion was about. Michael was leaning up against the kitchen counter, so drunk he was barely able to stand up. Rick was right in his face, shoving him back. He was livid with anger, his face bright red and perspiring profusely.

“What the hell’s going on?” Ferris shouted.

“You bitch!” Rick screamed at me. “You fucking little bitch!”

Rick stormed past his father and lunged at me, knocking me backwards against the wall. His arm across my chest, kept me pinned back.

“Sick! You weren’t sick!” He screamed. “You were up in Vegas, gambling you damn ass off!

“Rick, let me…….” I tried to say.

“You’re just a fucking whore like the rest!” Rick interrupted. “How many guys have you fucked? How many?”

Scotty entered the house through the side door, immediately seeing I was in trouble. He grabbed Rick from behind, pulling him off me. Rick tried to swing his arms to break free but Scotty had a firm grasp, holding him tight.

“What about Janine, you goddamn lesbian?” He exclaimed. “And what about her father?”

Scott picked Rick up bodily and threw him hard to the floor, pinning him down.

Rick turned his head sideways looking towards me. His face was bright crimson. Sweat was pouring off him, his torn shirt soaked with perspiration.

“Michael, get out of here!” George ordered. “Go up to your room and sleep it off! Now!”

Michael stumbled past me, holding onto the wall for support as he tried to make his way to the stairs.

“Michelle, you alright?” He asked.

“Might be best if you left.” George added.

“I’m alright.” I responded. “I want to talk to Rick first.”

Scott still had Rick pinned to the kitchen floor. I knelt down beside him. Both he and Scotty were still breathing hard.

“Rick. Let me explain.” I tried to say calmly.

“I don’t want to hear anything you’ve got to say!” He muttered, still having problems breathing.

I asked Scotty to let him up so he could get his breath. Rick sat on the kitchen’s tile floor, his breathing gradually returning to normal. Scott stood right over him, in case he came at me again.

“Rick. I haven’t been with anyone since we started seeing each other.” I stated. “That’s the truth. I wouldn’t lie to you.”

“I don’t believe a fucking word you say.” He mumbled. “I worried about you so I came down. This is what I find out about you. Michael told me everything.”

“Get away from me.” Rick added, choking out the words. “Just get away from me.”

It was futile to try and talk with Rick. I slowly stood up and walked past George. I picked up my purse and headed towards the front door. My entire body was shaking. güvenilir bahis Ferris stopped me in the foyer.

“Why don’t we go downstairs and cool off a bit?” He suggested. “I think we could both use a drink.”

It was all I could do to get my feet to track down the stairs. George stepped behind the bar to fix us a drink. I sat down on the couch across the room. My hands shook trying to light a cigarette.

“Here, drink this down and I’ll get you another.” George ordered.

I took two big drinks of the Scotch. George handed me his to sip on. The alcohol started to gradually calm me down. I puffed nervously on my cigarette. Ferris sat down next to me on the couch after fixing himself a drink.

“How long have you two been seeing each other?” He inquired.

“For awhile, not long.” I replied.

“How come you never mentioned it?” He asked.

“I wasn’t sure if you’d approve or not.” I responded. “I felt it best to just keep quiet about it.”

“Did you really fuck Janine and her father?” Ferris boldly asked.

I didn’t answer, just nodded my head ‘yes’. After lighting up another cigarette, I finished my second drink. Not asking, George poured me another.

“How serious is it between you and Rick?” He inquired.

“We weren’t serious, not serious at all.” I replied.

George finally quit asking questions. I dozed off on the couch, waking sometime later in the evening. George had covered me with a light blanket and let me sleep. I stumbled up the stairs through the darkness. My car was still sitting in the driveway. Rick’s pickup was gone. I drove home, not even aware of what time it was. Sometime after midnight, I presumed.

I arrived at Ferris’s home the next morning shortly before 8:00. George was sitting out on the terrace eating his breakfast. Stopping in the kitchen, I poured myself a cup of coffee. I glanced down at the kitchen floor where all the scuffling had taken place. It was freshly mopped.

George and I chatted briefly before heading down to the office. Charlene hadn’t arrived for work yet so it was just the two of us.

“Let’s go into my office and talk.” Ferris suggested.

I sat down across the desk from George waiting for him to speak.

“What do you want me to do about Rick?” He asked. “Do you want me to get a restraining order or do you want me to try and get you two back together.”

“I don’t want either.” I responded. “I’d prefer you and Rick get together as father and son.”

George smirked. “That’ll never happen.” He stated. “He hates me and that’ll never change.”

“It’s never too late to change.” I spoke. “Rick doesn’t hate you. He just feels you weren’t the father he wished for.”

“What do you mean by that?” He asked.

I told George what Rick had said about his fear of ever becoming a husband, let alone a father. George seemed quite surprised. He admitted he wasn’t the best father figure. He’d neglected both of his sons. George wasn’t happy with the situation but he wasn’t sure how to change things.

“Why don’t you consider putting them both in legitimate enterprises?” I suggested. “Michael’s always wheeling and dealing. Maybe something in real estate or let him manage this new warehouse you just purchased?”

“What about Rick?” George asked. “All he’s ever shown any interest in is horses.”

“Rick told me he hoped to own his own ranch someday.” I stated. “Up in southern Colorado somewhere.”

“Really!” He exclaimed. “I didn’t know that. He never mentioned it to me.”

“You could make it happen for him.” I said. “Charlene and I have been doing alot of checking into ranch land in southern Colorado.”

“You mean, something I should invest in?” George asked. “Sort of a business venture.”

“Yes, exactly.” I responded. “You and Rick working together. Just like you and Michael working together.”

“How much money are we talking about?” He asked.

“A million, more or less.” I replied.

“You think Rick would be willing to go into business with his ole dad?” Ferris inquired.

“I think he will if we present it to him in the right manner.” I answered. “We’ll have to use some enticement, I’m sure.”

“If I say yes, will you guarantee me you and Rick will get back together?” He asked.

“I can’t make that guarantee.” I replied. “It’s not up to me. I feel it’s over between Rick and me. But, it doesn’t have to be over between you two.”

George gave me the go-ahead to further investigate the ranch properties. It wouldn’t have made any difference. I was going to proceed on my own with or without his permission.

Now that I was going to work with Rachael Coulter on the side. Real estate investment over the long term seemed the safest and most rewarding. Rachael was interested in long term investments with little or not risk. George was more interested in shorter-term investments for quick money. Higher risks, like gambling, weren’t one of his concerns.

When Charlene finally made it into the office just before noon, I told her what Ferris türkçe bahis and I had talked about. She was quite happy; hoping Rick and his father could work their differences out. I didn’t tell her about the big fight at the house or about my job offer in Las Vegas. I wanted Charlene to concentrate on work and not worry.

Rachael phoned me late in the afternoon from Vegas. She was still adamant about me coming to work for her. I wasn’t ready to quit working with George but moving to Vegas, especially for alot more money, wasn’t out of the question anymore. Rachael understood my situation, agreeing to be patient with me.

Tuesday, Charlene and I decided to fly up to Colorado and check into some ranch properties. Charlene made all the reservations. Leaving Wednesday, we’d fly from Phoenix to Denver, then catch a commuter flight down to Pueblo. From there, we’d rent a car and drive south to a town called Walsenburg. The realtor had several properties in mind for us to look at.

The flights were uneventful. I took the time to work on my laptop while Charlene gazed out the window. The drive from Pueblo south to Walsenburg was quick, less than an hour. Walsenburg was a quiet little town, nestled in the Sangre de Cristo mountain range of the Rockies with a population of less than five thousand.

After checking into our motel on the outskirts of town and getting something to eat, we drove around checking out the sites. The mountains surrounding the area were very picturesque, a perfect place for a ranch.

Thursday morning, we met with the realtors, a married couple who were lifelong residents of the area. They were quite pleasant and eager to help us find what we were looking for. From the pictures and information they’d emailed us, we’d narrowed our search down to two possibilities. We rode out to look at the first parcel of property. It was quite nice, gently rolling terrain with lots of trees. It was a little ways off the paved roads, which might limit its access during the winter months.

The second property we looked at was much larger, located a few miles west of town along the main highway. Like the first property we’d looked at, the terrain was gently rolling with lots of trees and grasslands. The views of the surrounding mountains were breathtaking and so was the price! A million, two-hundred thousand for eight-hundred acres. The realtor could see I was interested but the price was more than I was willing to go.

“If you’d like to make an offer, we’d be more than happy to write it up for you.” The woman stated. “We might even be able to get you a quick answer.”

“I’m not willing to offer anymore than a million flat.” I stated. “I’m hesitant to even offer that much.”

In actuality, I was willing to write them a check on the spot but I didn’t want to seem anxious. Offering less than the asking price probably meant $14000 less for their sales commission.

“I seriously doubt they’d accept the offer but I’m willing to write it up if you want.” The woman responded. “Won’t hurt to try.”

“We’re willing to pay with a cashier’s check or electronic transfer immediately if they’ll accept the offer.” I said. “See if that tantalizes them any.”

The realtors drove us back to the office and prepared the purchase offer without hesitation. They were to contact us at our motel and let us know the outcome of our offer. I wasn’t through shopping around for property so Charlene and I left to do more sightseeing. Most of the property we saw was rangeland but it still held promise.

Friday morning we drove back out to the property and took another look around. We hadn’t heard anything from the realtors but I wasn’t surprised or worried. Charlene and I walked up to the top of one of the hills, taking in the view.

“This would be a perfect place for you and Rick to raise a family.” Charlene remarked, smiling coyly.

“That’s never going to happen.” I remarked. “It’s over between us.”

“Oh my God, what happened?” She exclaimed.

I told her what had happened Sunday afternoon at the house, when we got back from Las Vegas. She was quite shocked to say the least. More so at my telling her about Janine and her father.

“Doesn’t Rick understand that was all before you two started seeing each other?” She asked. “And why did Michael have to tell him anything?”

“Michael was drunk. He probably just wanted to shoot his mouth off.” I answered.

“Even though it was all true, he shouldn’t have been the one to tell him.” I added.

“So, is this ranch something to make up for it or something else?” Charlene inquired.

“Rick told me he dreamed of someday owning a ranch in southern Colorado.” I replied. “Some place where he could raise registered quarterhorses.”

“You’re just trying to fulfill his dreams then.” She said.

“That and maybe work things out between Rick and his father.” I responded.

“What about you?” Charlene asked. “You’re not giving up on Rick, are you?”

I took Charlene into my confidence, telling her about the job offer güvenilir bahis siteleri I’d gotten over the weekend.

“You’re not going to take it, are you?” She asked. “You can’t just up and leave George and your work here.”

“I’m not sure what I’m going to do.” I replied. “I’m seriously considering it. I could still work with George, just from a long distance.”

“Sounds to me like you’re just running away.” Charlene stated. “This job offer in Vegas is just an excuse to get away from what you’ve done.”

I couldn’t reply to Charlene’s remark. Maybe there was a bit of truth to her statements. We sat down on the hill for awhile, breathing in the clean fresh mountain air, polluted only by my incessant smoking.

Late in the afternoon, we drove back to the motel. The phone in the room rang shortly after we got in. The desk clerk informed me the realtor had been trying to contact me on my cell phone but wasn’t getting a response. I checked my cell phone; the low battery light was barely visible.

I phoned the realtor, with fingers crossed. The sellers had agreed to our terms providing we were prepared to close within a week. I told them I’d return the following Friday with a cashier’s check prepared to close the deal. I was greatly relieved that we’d successfully made the deal but getting Rick to run the operation for his father was still an obstacle that lie ahead.

Charlene and I flew back to Phoenix Saturday morning. She was anxious to get back and be with her boyfriend, Curtis. She talked quite a bit about him, sounding more serious than ever. He treated her good and according to Charlene, was quite the lover.

Monday morning at the office, Charlene and I met with Ferris in his office. I showed him digital pictures of the property and quite a few scenic pictures of the mountains. He was quite impressed and happy we’d made the deal for $200K less than the asking price.

When Charlene went to her office, Ferris and I discussed several other ideas I had for investing his money. We talked till almost lunchtime. Ferris left for the rest of the day, probably for a liaison with his girlfriend. Charlene and I worked together compiling information I needed.

Thursday afternoon I left to catch my flight to Denver. I had my attaché packed with investment information along with the cashier’s check for the ranch. My plans were to fly from Denver to Las Vegas after closing the deal on the ranch. I asked Charlene to work on some projects for me while I was gone. Keeping her busy made her happy and took her mind off the possibility of my leaving. The realtors had set up the closing on the ranch property at one of the local Walsenburg banks for early Friday morning. I met the sellers and their bank representatives. Along with the cashier’s check, I furnished the bank with a copy of my power of attorney for George Ferris. In less than thirty minutes, we’d closed the deal. We all shook hands and chatted briefly before I left, hurrying back to Pueblo to catch my commuter flight.

By late Friday afternoon, I was checking into the Imperial Palace. The room was fantastic, every amenity I could ask for. It wasn’t a suite, but I didn’t need a suite, just a place to rest and sleep. After grabbing a quick shower, I phoned Rachael at her home. She invited me to attend the evening party, offering to send a car for me. I was tired from all the travel and excitement of the day so I declined, setting up a meeting with her for noon the next day.

That evening, after dropping two-hundred dollars at the blackjack tables, I grabbed a bite to eat before returning to my room. I didn’t sleep well, feeling nauseated. Sitting on the couch, watching television made me feel better. After smoking a few cigarettes, I drifted off to sleep, stretching out on the couch.

I awoke early Saturday morning, my nausea had returned. I debated canceling my noon meeting with Rachael Coulter. The shower helped me feel better so I decided to eat a little breakfast. Glenn, Rachael’s driver was right on time, picking me up at 11:30. I caught a brief glimpse of the handgun beneath his suit jacket.

Rachael had lunch already prepared when I arrived. Greeting me at the door, wearing a skimpy little pink bikini, she looked damn sexy. Glenn carried my attaché for me. The two of us sat under the shade of a large table umbrella, eating fresh fruit and drinking lemonade. My upset stomach was gradually returning. I had a feeling the lemonade might be the cause. After finishing lunch, Rachael and I retired to her office. I had several good investment ideas in mind that I felt was suitable for her. We discussed real estate ventures, which I felt was the best in the long term.

“I don’t know all that much about real estate.” Rachael stated. “Why do you feel it’s best for me?”

“With real estate, you’d be investing large chunks of money at one time.” I responded. “The risk is minimal, almost non-existent. You’ve got leverage with cash, that’s your bargaining power. And, land purchased at the right price can only appreciate.”

“What about the stock market, you think it’s too risky?” She asked.

“I’d recommend staying out of the market.” I replied. “Too much volatility and you’ve got to keep your eye on it constantly for changes and trends.”

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