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I could hear the rush of air that came as the front door opened with the storm door closed. If he’d pulled any harder, he would have popped the glass out of both doors. Naturally, I would have been blamed.

“Come back here, you little prick, so I can beat the shit out of you.” Dad yelled as I gave him the one finger salute. “You wouldn’t know a good school if it bit your dick off.”

My little sister was pulling on him to come inside. She was crying and screaming at him to stop. Even Mom couldn’t do that. Dee was ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’. Everyone else was dirt because they didn’t go or weren’t going to his alma mater. Just to spite him, I’m not even going to mention it here. Fuck off Pop.

Dee has always been ahead of her class by at least two years. Dad refused to let them promote her so she could learn at her own rate. I always thought that it would hurt her scholastically but after a while I saw that it didn’t make any difference. I gave her two and a half to three years in a four-year course at…that place. She had to be the one to go because I had refused.

I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I always have. I started telling the old man early on that I wanted to learn all I could about computers and eventually become a consultant with my own firm. I did take a few technical courses but most of what I learned was hands-on stuff. That’s the only way to really learn a trade or vocation. He didn’t see it that way.

That was six years ago when I huffed out of that house. I had kept in touch with Mom through the mail until he found one of my letters and tore it up right in front of her. Now I keep in touch through my Aunt Gail. The ironic thing is that Gail is Dad’s sister and hasn’t had anything to do with him for twenty years.

My sister is twenty-two now although I haven’t seen her since that day. She was very chubby at sixteen with no prospects of ever having a boyfriend. The snobbish girls she hung around just had her around to make them look better. They all claimed to be her friend but she was never invited to anywhere important. There were times that her self-esteem was in the toilet. I felt sorry for her so I would take her places and sometimes pretend to be her boyfriend. I just ignored the looks we were getting. At least it was making Dee happy.

I kept myself busy learning and planning, learning and planning. I couldn’t learn enough. I had everything so planned out that when Jim and I finally got the loan, we went right to the building we had picked out, made a few minor changes and started moving things right in. By the time our ads hit the papers a week later, we looked like we had been there for years.

Jim and I had met while working for Jamerson and Thomson, a firm that had about fifteen good years under their belt. We left on such good terms that the whole office staff and about half of the sales force were there on our opening day to celebrate. We didn’t pay for a thing. Jamerson and Thomson paid for it out of their own pockets.

About an hour into the party, the phone rang for the first time during business hours. You could hear a pin drop. I picked up the phone on the second ring.

“Good morning, T & D Consulting, this is Alan, May I help you?” I said nervously. “Yes, sir…no, sir. We can either train your people or supply you with our trained consultants…Yes, sir. We have about sixteen years between us…yes we did. In fact, they are here right now giving us a grand opening party. Yes, sir, you may. Just one moment and I’ll get him.” I fished around for the hold button and mashed it down. A cheer went up from the crowd. Mr. Jamerson quieted them down as he reached for the phone.

“Jamerson here. Is that you Frank?” He asked. There was a pause. “I would have put him on it if he hadn’t jumped ship like he did.” Another pause. “If you don’t hire these boys to do it for you, don’t ever call my office again.” Pause. “I have every confidence in the world in these boys. They will do right by you. If they don’t, I’ll personally kick their asses. These size twelves will kick them both at the same time.” Pause. “Ok. Give Pauline my love. Bye.” He put down the phone and glared at Jim and I.

“I meant every word I said to Frank.” His chin was wrinkling up and his eyes were about to tear. Suddenly he raised a hand, asked for a drink and one appeared. He raised his glass and everyone followed his lead. “To the best damn guys anyone could ever know. Good luck boys. Knock ’em dead.”

The party lasted another hour and people started to leave. They all wished us well with kisses from the ladies and firm hand shakes from the men. Of course there were the lighthearted remarks about not forgetting this one or that one when we really make it big.

After the last one left, Jim and I just sat back in our chairs and looked out the window. I was thinking about the enormity of what we were doing.

“Jim.” I said, breaking the silence. “What the fuck are we doing? I mean, are we really doing this or am I dreaming?”

“Yes and No.” Jim replied. “The…OUR day has arrived. From now casino şirketleri on it’s make it or break it. It’s up to us not to break it.”

The phone rang for the second time today. It was Frank’s personal secretary wanting to set up a meeting. I was to call back tomorrow with the meeting time and place. I hung up.

“I just spent next months budget.” I told Jim. “This party is on us.” I stood and started to pace. “Jamerson said that these people are pretty picky.”

“Where is their office?” Jim asked.

“Somewhere in upper Minnesota.” I said.

“Have you ever been to Chicago?” he asked. “It is mid summer, they are having some pretty good weather and there are some pretty good sights to show them around.”

“That’s kind of pricey, isn’t it?” I asked.

He gave me a look that could kill. “DUUUUHHH! Get on the computer and get prices on some packages.” he said in disgust. “Then take out your corporate card and pay for it. No wonder I’m the lead man here. I hope you’ve had some sales training.” We both looked at each other for a moment then and burst out laughing.

I was able to book a room and a suite at the Hilton in downtown Chicago on the following Sunday night through Wednesday afternoon. I was to meet with some guy named D. Miller for brunch and go over some preliminaries. It was up for grabs from there.

I flew into O’Hare Airport on Sunday afternoon, rented a car and drove, with some directions, to the Hilton. I am not really impressed by big names or architecture. I checked in and went right to my suite. After a quick shower, I ordered room service and had a nice leisurely dinner. I had nothing planned for that night so I decided to hit the sack.

I called the front desk to see if Miller had arrived and was assured that he had. I drifted into that wonderful land of nod.

I awoke to the sound of the phone. A very sexy voice said, “Good morning, sir. This is your wake-up call for 7:00 AM. Please have a safe and wonderful day.” I mumbled something that may have sounded like thank you but I’m not sure. I pulled myself into a sitting position on the edge of the bed and took a few minutes to figure out where I was.

“Chicago…Hilton…meeting. Ok. Got it.” I said to myself. I stood and headed for the shower.

I had picked out a dark blue pinstriped suit and a red tie. I heard somewhere that red showed power. Even Trump has a large collection of red ties. Even though I was meeting Miller in a few hours for brunch, I was famished. I ordered a light breakfast of two eggs, bacon and toast. The room service guy showed me how to work the coffee machine in the room.

It was ten thirty and the dining room was casual until one o’clock. That meant that you had to seat and serve yourself. I was thinking that we should have stayed at the Hilton. At least they had waiters and a matre’d. Now I would have to guess which one of these guys was Miller.

“Alan.” A very sexy voice was calling my name from somewhere behind me. The voice sounded vaguely familiar. I stood and turned and almost fell back into the table.

There before me was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She had on a suit that almost matched mine. It had a high neckline with narrow lapels. It followed her perfect curves to about half way down her sleek looking calves. Her black shoes were not fancy but were pure business with about a 2 1/2″ to 3″ heel. She carried a black leather briefcase that went well with her outfit. My eyes went back to her face. Then it hit me.

“Dee?” I asked in shock. She had already been smiling but now it filled her whole face. Her eyes twinkled. “OOOOHHH MMYYYYY GGOOOD!” I stepped forward and took her in my arms. My chubby little sister wasn’t chubby any more. We hugged for what seemed like hours. I couldn’t let go of her.

“I have missed you so much.” I told her. I pushed her to arms length. “Let me look at you. You are sssoooo beautiful. How did this happen?”

“I took a long look at myself in the mirror.” she replied. “I know how you used to rescue me all of the time and figured I wasn’t going to have my shining knight there anymore. I had to do something. I made up my own diet and here I am. You like?”

“I love.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. If she hadn’t been my sister I would have been trying to strike up a conversation with her. “I’m meeting some guy named Miller here for brunch. You’re welcome to sit with us if you want.”

We sat down and got comfortable. I couldn’t keep my hands off of her. I held her hand, touched her arms and smelled her hair. I had truly missed my little sister. I had a million questions. Aunt Gail kept me going on all of the important things but didn’t fill me in on too much that Dee was doing. I just went on and on with the questions until Dee put her fingers to my mouth to shut me up.

“I’m sorry. Let’s start off with how Mom is.”

“Aunt Gail has been sugar coating a lot.” she started. “Dad put Mom in the hospital last year when he found out she was calling Aunt Gail. She was afraid to say anything for fear of what casino firmaları you would do. He’s doing ten to life for attempted murder.” She stopped and just looked at me. “She really wants to see you, Alan. Gail is the only one that had your address and wouldn’t give it up. They will both flip when I tell them that I found you.”

“She can be as stubborn as the old man.” I said as I boiled inside.

“Ok. Next question. What brings you to the windy city?” I let her think that I was putting it all on a back burner.

“I too am meeting a stuffed-shirt for brunch,” she said with a smile. “Coincidentally, his name is Alan too.”

I looked at my watch. “Why don’t we get a small bite to eat while we wait for them?” We stood and walked toward the buffet. I stopped half way and took her in my arms again.

“I love you sis. I’m sorry I walked out that day and left you and Mom there. I hope you two can forgive me.”

She pushed me away just a little. “A long time ago, Alan. We both forgave you a long time ago.”

We were grabbing a few things and putting them on a plate. Dee suddenly started laughing. I thought she was going to remind me of something from our childhood.

“I can’t do this. I thought I could keep it up longer but I can’t.” She laughed quietly and her eyes began to tear up. “I am D. Miller. I changed my name after what Dad did.” She looked me in the eyes. “D. Miller…Dee Miller. My name is Dee Ann Miller. I had Mom’s blessings.”

Ok. Call me stupid, or just plain slow. I was so overjoyed to see her that I didn’t have the sense to add it up. D. Miller…Dee Ann Miller. Mom’s maiden name was Ann Miller. I almost cried myself.

We sat and ate as we talked. She did remind me of a few of our childhood antics and I reminded her of even more.

“I have always loved you, dear brother,” she said as she got serious on me. “You were always there when I needed you the most. You were there for Mom too but you never knew it. You took some of the abuse away from her.”

“I knew that. That’s why I took it so long.” I told her. “I cried for a week thinking about you two.”

Just then a waiter appeared out of nowhere and told us that it was almost one o’clock. We left and just started walking and talking.

“I feel kind of silly having you pay for two rooms at the Hilton,” she said. “Can you afford it?”

“Only if you hire us.” I said. “Otherwise I can’t even get home. Besides, yours is a room, mine is a suite.” We laughed.

We walked some more then turned back. We agreed to meet for dinner in my suite at six and get down to some serious business discussion. It was so good seeing my little sister again. I stepped into my room, shut the door, sank back against it and wept. I wept for my mother, who didn’t have the strength to defend herself. I realized that I almost lost her and didn’t even know it.

At six sharp, my sister was knocking at my door. Right behind her was room service. I ushered her in and she looked around with a smile that fit her beautiful face. The last look I remember on that face was one of horror. I vowed right then that I would never give her a reason for anything other than a smile.

“Drink?” I asked. I was standing behind the bar.

“Just ice water, no ice,” she said as she continued to look. She kicked her shoes off so she could feel the plush carpet between her toes. She was beaming. “Did I tell you how proud I am of you?” She walked over to me and put her arms around me. Her head sank into my chest. “I have really missed you.” She looked up. “Don’t ever leave me again.” I could see that she was about to cry.

“I promise.” I said as I pulled her head back to my chest and hugged her. “I will always be here for you, sis.” She squeezed me harder as she drew her entire body into mine.

“Let’s eat.” I said as I lightly pushed her away, reluctantly. I had to. I was getting a problem south of the border.

I looked at her face and saw the tears beginning to trickle down her cheek. I gently wiped one away. As I did, Dee grabbed my hand, put it to her lips and kissed. She held that hand until we had to separate to sit at the table.

“What have we here?” Dee said as I pulled her chair out for her. “Your favorite, steak and lobster. I do remember a few things about my little sister.” I bent down and kissed her on the cheek.

“But, I’ve never had lobster before.” she protested.

“Ahh, but you always said that if you ever got rich, that is the first thing you wanted to try.” I sat across from her at the small table. “If you don’t like it, I’ll eat it and you can have my steak.”

“Try it buster and you’ll pull back a nub.” We both laughed.

She loved the lobster and everything that went with it. I was feeling like I was on a date. I was doing everything I could to impress this beautiful woman. I almost forgot that she was my sister. We finished dinner and settled down to business. Before we knew it, it was well after midnight. We were both very tired and were going to call it a night. Somewhere along the way, we had both güvenilir casino discarded our suit jackets and relieved our necks of any discomfort we had. I had also kicked off my shoes.

“A little more wine before you go?” I asked.

“Sure, why not. It’s not like we have to get up early tomorrow,” she said as she sat on one end of the couch. I poured the wine and sat at the other end. Her left knee came up onto the seat as she turned to face me. I turned and did the same. Our knees met and we looked at each other like a deer looking at headlights.

We sat and talked and drank and talked and drank. I was feeling a little tipsy and tired but I didn’t want to be the one to call it a night. We were going over some of our childhood.

Dee suddenly sat strait up and looked at me. “Sol…I mean…so, what about your love lice…life?” She was feeling the affects of the wine. “Have you got a girl or a wife?”

I was still somewhat in control of my mind and speech. “No, You ruined me for any other girls.” I chuckled. When she didn’t laugh, I got serious. “I have been out with a few girls but I haven’t found one that I want to have a relationship with. It’s like I’m holding them up to someone or something and they don’t meet my expectations. What about you?”

“I had a boyfriend.” She looked at me and I saw pain in her eyes. “I was so much in love with him. I was making plans for us to get together. I wanted him to be my first love and possibly my soul mate. I was ready to give myself to him.” She looked down at her hands that were fidgeting in her lap. “He left me before I could tell him how much I wanted him and how I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him and have his children.”

“I’m sorry sis.” I said as I put my hands on hers.

She looked up at me with the beginnings of a smile on her face. “I just ran into him again recently. I realized that I love him just as much…no, more now than I did then. I have to let him know that I will do anything for him.”

“Dee. If you love this guy so much, why don’t you just let him know how you feel?” I asked.

“I’m afraid…of how he…would react.” she said, choking on her words.

“You need to tell him. Call him or go to him.” I said with concern. “You need to tell him right now. Do you know his number?”

“I can’t call him.” She began to cry. I slid over and took her in my arms. She started to settle down.

“Why did this guy leave in the first place?” I asked as I pulled her tight.

“That ass hole of a father of ours drove him away six years ago.” She started crying again.

“That’s when I left. I didn’t know that you…” It took me a minute but it all sank in. We were silent for what seemed like an hour.

“I…love…you…Alan.” She was silent again. “You are the one that I have always loved.”

I was in shock. My mind went back to those days when we used to go on “dates”. I felt that I was doing something nice for my kid sister. I hadn’t meant to make her fall in love with me. It all came back as if it happened just a few hours ago. We had started our first “dates” just holding hands to “show me off” to her girlfriends. When someone started showing interest in me, she would wrap her arm in mine and give the other girl a dirty look. Later, that became the norm. Everywhere we went we were arm in arm.

I started thinking about the relationships that I’ve had. I knew now that I must have formed a “yard stick” in my mind by which I “judged” other women. They never quite made it to the final inch. I was…”actually trying to get them to measure up to you.” My thoughts became vocal. “I could never have a decent relationship because I was using you as my point of reference.” I looked at her tear filled eyes. “We were falling in love that year and I didn’t know it.”

I kissed her for the first time and she melted in my arms. Her lips were warm and wet from her tears. I felt a burden lifting from my shoulders that I didn’t even know was there. The years of torment melted away with that kiss.

I came up for air and looked into her eyes again. Now I saw tears of joy and happiness that we could now share. The longing for each other was about to come to an end as I rose off the couch with her in my arms. I forgot about the bygone years of misery. All of those times that we were in each other’s arms and never realized what we had.

I carried her to the bedroom and gently laid her down. She scooted herself to the middle of the bed and I followed.

“I have always loved you,” she said as she put her hands along the side of my head and looked into my eyes. “I want to make you happy. I want to make love to you all night, tomorrow and forever. I want you to be my lover, my friend, my husband and my soul mate all rolled into one. You are my life from this moment on.”

Before I could think, my sister pushed me onto my back and laid on top of me. Her mouth almost covered mine as she dug for my tonsils with her tongue. She lifted herself enough with one hand to start on the buttons of her blouse with her other. Every time I tried to help, she slapped my hands away. She reached down to pull her skirt up enough to straddle me while removing her blouse. She looked at me as if she was asking my permission to proceed. I smiled and she must have taken that as a yes.

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