Noir

Jill and Curt are best friends with Ingrid and Jaco. They all graduated design school together and are just starting out in the world. But the spoiled Ingrid harbors a grudge against Jill. Jill and Curt are at Ingrid and Jaco’s wedding in New York when a mysterious guest Thomas invites them to his mansion in South Hampton, Long Island.

Thomas becomes enamored with Jill, a possession he cannot have and secretly tries to see her, woo her and offer her a world that Curt cannot afford. Will Curt lose his beautiful young wife? Was it all a set up by the evil Ingrid? Read more in this tale of deception and design in Noir.

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1. Noir

Chapter 1

 

Jill lay back in bed while Curt made his way to the bathroom. They had just had incredible sex, the kind of sex that only two lust filled, starry-eyed newlyweds that are crazy about each other can have. She loved everything about him, his smarts, his looks, his ass. He was so perfect. She felt like the luckiest woman on earth. Nothing could destroy them.

 

“Don’t take too long in there, we don’t want to be late for the wedding.” she called out. Jill was twenty-four, a skinny, hopelessly romantic young woman. She had long brown chestnut hair and a great laugh.

 

“I won’t. The best man is always on time. We’ll see if Jaco made it out alive after last night.” She could hear the sound of his electric shaver buzzing.

 

“I don’t want to know the details. I am sure you guys did some bone headed things.”

 

“Oh yeah. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.” Curt smiled to himself and checked himself out in the mirror and slapped on some after-shave. Curt had jet-black hair and olive skin. His eyes were blue, bluer than any ocean his mother had always said. He was in great shape, thanks to his daily running routine.

 

“I’m checking your phone for pictures. There better not be any chicks in here.” she kidded.

“No chicks with dicks.” he called from the bathroom.

 

Jill got up and looked in her closet. She pulled out a blue silk Anne Klein dress. It was perfect for the wedding. Their best friends were getting married today. They had all been in architecture school at Pratt. Now, after four long years of grueling crits, insane, pompous teachers and all nighters building models they were ready to be grown ups in the real world. They were now designers and architects.

 

Curt emerged from the shower wearing a white towel around his waist. He flashed his freshly whitened teeth and shook the water out of his ears. The water dripped on the wood floor around his feet.

 

“Where’s my tux at babe?”

 

“It’s on the back of the door.” she called out.

 

He put on a pair of black cotton Calvin Klein underwear and his black socks. She touched his neck.

 

“You nicked your earlobe.”

 

“I did?” he touched it.

 

She wiped the blood off with a tissue.

 

“I can’t believe Jaco is really tying the knot.” he said

 

“Neither can I…She’s nice. I like Ingrid. I can see why he fell for her. She’s classy.”

 

“Her parents are loaded. He’s set up…For life.” he commented.

 

“I don’t think he’s marrying her for her money, do you?”

 

“Well, it doesn’t hurt. She’s hot, she’s got something about her. He obviously fell for her. I don’t think Jaco is a gold digger, if that’s what you’re implying.”

 

“No….I think they’ll make a great couple. They’ll probably have kids before we do.” she whined.

 

“Oh, so we’re having kids already?” he moaned back. Curt finished putting on his tux. He turned around.

 

“Voila. Say hello to the best man!”

 

“Wow, you look so sexy baby! I love you in a tux.” she ogled him.

 

“Thanks.”

 

“What time is it?”

 

“Two fifteen.”

 

“We better get going, we’re going to be late.”

 

Jill turned the key in the door to the loft. They had sublet it for two years while the owner was away in Europe. It was smack in the heart of Tribeca, just off the West Side Highway. Jill loved living there, she wished they could stay forever. They rode the elevator to street level.

 

Curt hailed a cab. A driver came to a screeching halt. They jumped in the backseat. The cab driver was Ahmed Abijanian, obviously an escapee from an Afghanistan refugee camp. The cab smelled like lemon scented air freshener and curry powder.

 

“Where to?”

 

“The Waldorf Astoria.”

 

“Yes sir.” The driver smiled at them. This was going to be a big tip, he could tell. Jill snuggled close to Curt.

 

“Getting back to us having kids…” Jill said.

 

“Oh no, don’t even go there. I can’t afford any kids yet, not until I get an architecture firm established. It might be ten years.…or more.”

 

“Well, this body says “kids soon” baby…. Don’t you want to make me happy?” she played with his hair.

 

“Yes, of course I want to make you happy, but baby, I’m not ready yet. But it’ll happen one day, and when it does, it’ll be great…and you will be a great Mom and I will be a great Dad and we’ll live in the suburbs and have a gigantic old house which I will restore and you will decorate. We’ll have as many kids as you want. That good enough for you?”

 

“Yes. I love you!” she kissed him.

 

“Young love, so nice.” said Ahmed appreciatively.

 

The cab pulled up in front of the grand entrance to the Waldorf and a uniformed doorman opened the door. He was clad in black and white, with a white shirt, black vest and tie and white gloves. Jill and Curt stepped out of the cab. Somewhere a flashbulb went off. Jill couldn’t believe this was really happening. It was all a blur. Jaco and Ingrid were going to be husband and wife. Their best friends were getting married! It was the beginning of a long union between them all. Jill wondered how everyone’s life would turn out and if they would happily grow old and gray all together.

 

“Honey?”

 

“Yes?”

 

“What were you thinking about? You seemed so far away.”
 

“Nothing. Just thinking.”

 

“Come on, they’re waiting for us.”

 

They walked into the marble clad lobby complete with a fantastic grand old art deco chandelier and heavy draperies. A crowd of people had gathered in the chapel, family and friends of the bride and groom. Jill took a seat in the first pew beside Ingrid’s’ mother. She was a steely looking white haired woman in her sixties in a black dress with pearls. She extended her hand to Jill.

 

“Nice to met you dear. I’m Marta, Ingrid’s’ mother.”

 

“Pleasure to meet you Marta.I’m Jill, the best man’s wife.”

 

The organist played some music.

 

“I am so nervous, you’d think that I was the one getting married.” She toyed with her long necklace. “It seems like just yesterday Ethan and I were married, my, how the time flies.” she sighed.

 

“I understand. My wedding day was such a blur, it all happened so fast. Ingrid was there.”

 

“Ingrid wanted everything to be perfect. She’s dreamed about getting married since she was just a young girl. I think it was one of her favorite fantasies.”
 

“Oh yes? It is so beautiful. You’ve done a marvelous job.” Jill looked around at the pink flowers that decorated the chapel. This reminded her of her own wedding. Her father had been alive then, and he had given her away. Now he was gone. The thought brought her to tears. She sat back and stared at the candles flickering at the alter. She remembered the day she and Curt had gotten married. She remembered the love in his eyes, how happy she had been. Life was really perfect. It had worked out so well. She was lucky.

 

The music started and everyone stood up. Ingrid appeared in a long white Amsala gown with sequins and beads, her long blonde hair swept up off her face. She did look radiant, so beautiful and so pure.

 

Jill caught her eye for a split second. There was coldness to her though, something that Jill couldn’t put her finger on. Behind her smile there was bitterness, almost like a spitefulness that lurked there. It was almost as if she was jealous of her in some way, as if she suspected that she and Jaco had had an affair. Of course they hadn’t, they were just good friends from school, but Ingrid always suspected that Jaco liked her, for some strange reason. She had never liked Jaco in that way, mostly because she sort of suspected that he was something of a Mama’s boy, something she didn’t really dig too much for in a man. She tried not to think any bad thoughts now.

 

Curt was waiting at the front of the alter, looking dapper in his tux. The maid of honor was Ingrid’s’ sister Miriam, a buxom blonde with long ringlets down her back.

 

Jill smiled at Ingrid as she passed by. Her father gave her away and they sat down to hear the preacher.

 

“Jaco, will you take Ingrid’s right hand and repeat after me….I, Jaco, take you Ingrid, to be my wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.”

 

Jill wiped a tear from her eyes.

 

“Ingrid, will you take Jaco’s right hand and repeat after me. I, Ingrid, take you Jaco, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.”

 

Ingrid repeated the vows.

 

“The wedding ring signifies to all the uniting of this man and woman in holy matrimony and symbolizes the never-ending nature of their love. Are there rings to be exchanged? May I have the ring please?”

 

Curt handed the ring box to Jaco.

 

“Jaco, place the ring on Ingrid’s finger and then repeat after me. Ingrid I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you.”

 

Curt smiled over at Jill.

 

“Curt, may I have the ring please? Ingrid, place the ring on Jaco’s finger and then repeat after me. Jaco, I give you this ring as a symbol of my vow, and with all that I am, and all that I have, I honor you. I now pronounce you man and wife. You may now kiss the bride.”

 

Jaco and Ingrid sealed their union with a passionate kiss. The deal was done and sealed with a kiss. Jaco had done more than completed architecture school, he had inherited a fortune.

 

They moved to the reception in The Starlight Roof Room. It was a grand old ballroom from 1931. Back in it’s day it had been one of the most glamorous nightclubs in New York. Today it was refurbished in white, with white curtained walls, white rose arrangements and damask linen tablecloths. A pianist sat at the Steinway Baby grand in the corner and played songs from “Les Miserable’s.”

 

Jill was seated at a table with some of Ingrid’s’ relatives. Curt was up at the front, with the wedding party. He sent her kisses and smiles. She was enjoying herself. Ingrid came by with a late arrival to the wedding.

 

“Hello everyone. This is Thomas Spencer, New York’s most eligible bachelor. He just arrived from South Hampton.”

 

Jill looked up from her shrimp appetizer straight into a pair of chillingly dazzling black eyes that knew no depths. She smiled and held out her hand.

 

“I’m Jill, the best man’s wife. Nice to meet you.”

 

“Likewise. The best man always has the best wife naturally.” he nodded and kissed her hand gently. Jill felt the touch of his soft lips on her skin.

 

“Do you mind if I sit here?” he said

 

“Not at all, please do.”

 

Jill couldn’t help but feel the energy coming from the stranger beside her. It was as if he radiated with heat, a burning kid of sexual energy she couldn’t place. It must be her imagination, she thought. Maybe the wine was going to her head.

 

The night progressed and was lovely. The bride and groom danced, they made toasts, the bouquet was thrown. Jill was caught up in the excitement and chatted with Thomas. It turned out he was a hedge fund broker and commuted from his home in the Hampton’s to the city when he had business to do. He was engaging and flirtatious. Curt looked over from the head table at his wife engaged in conversation and made his way over to her table.

 

“Hi babe.” He kissed her neck.

 

“Honey! Thomas, this is Curt, my wonderful, soon to be architect husband.”

 

The two men eyed each other with suspicious scrutiny. Curt extended his hand.

 

“Good to meet you. I’m glad my wife is in such good company this evening.”

 

“It’s a pleasure, to be sure to be so enchanted. I’m Thomas, hedge fund broker and I also dabble in international publishing.” he smiled.

 

“Could you excuse us for a moment?” Curt asked.

 

Curt led Jill away from the table to the dance floor. She was a bit wobbly on her high heels; the wine was going to her head.

 

“Are you having a good time my love?” Curt said.

 

“Oh yes! It’s a beautiful, wonderful wedding.” She swayed to the music.

 

“Alright. Please go easy on the wine.”

 

“Oh, don’t be a party pooper now. I am fine, fine…”

 

“Alright. And exactly who is that man related to at your table?”

 

“He’s a friend of Ingrid’s’, he’s in hedge hog funds honey.”

She said, reaching for a glass of champagne coming her way on a tray.

 

“I see. Be careful Jill.” He took a swig of her champagne.

 

“Just having fun, hon. Don’t worry. You just be the best man and enjoy the wedding. Don’t you worry about me, I’m a big girl. A big, big girl.” she giggled.

 

Jill returned to her seat and Curt returned to the wedding party table. Dinner was being served. On the menu was beef wellington tenderloin wrapped in a puff pastry served with asparagus tips.

 

“Looks yummy.” said Jill

 

“I must say, smells heavenly.” said Thomas

 

“So you’re from South Hampton?”

 

“Yes, I have a compound there. I raise horses.” he said

 

“Wow, that is so awesome. I love horses.”

 

“Do you really?” he asked intrigued.

 

“Yes, I used to ride when I was younger, but not anymore, there aren’t too many horses in New York City.”

 

They ate and then he picked a potato off her plate and ate it. Jill found it incredibly brash and rude of him. Their fingers touched briefly during his intrusion on her food. Thomas’ hand brushed her diamond ring.

 

“Quaint.” he murmured.

 

“What?”

 

He touched her ring. “This.”

 

“It’s an heirloom. It was Curt’s’ grandmothers.”

 

“Ah, I see. Quite dainty. Sentimental are we? I like that quality. Well, you must come out some weekend to ride. You don’t mind leaving the city do you?”

 

“Not at all. It would be great!”

 

“Good. It’s a date then. Here’s my card. Call me and we’ll arrange a weekend for you and your architect husband out in the country. He might enjoy the architecture of my abode.”

 

“Thank you. We will do that.”

 

Jill and Thomas watched Ingrid and Jaco dance.

 

“They make a good couple don’t they?”

 

“Oh yes. He’s a lucky man.”

 

“Yes. They’re going to Fiji on their honeymoon.”

 

“Astounding. I have been to Fiji several times. I love it there, but I’ve never been there with anyone as special as someone like you.” He flashed his eyes at her. She looked closely at his face. It had remnants of acne scars on it but looked as if it had been sanded down. He was handsome in a rugged, outdoorsy way. He seemed to glow in masculinity.

 

“That’s hard to believe.”

 

“It’s not easy being a bachelor. I guess I have high standards.”

 

“What’s the alternative?”

 

“Ha! I’d rather not say. Most women cannot live up to their end of the deal.” he said rather brashly.

 

“Excuse me, I have to go to the little girls room.” Jill said drunkenly. She found the marbled toilet and sat down. Too much wine. What was that man saying to her? She didn’t care. The wedding was winding down and Curt came to collect his wife.

 

“Ready to go home honey?” he draped himself around her.

 

“Yes.”

 

She broke away and turned to Thomas. “Goodnight, it was a pleasure meeting you. I will call you.”

 

Curt stood in the shadows watching. He was fuming.

 

“Goodnight Jill. I hope we meet again.” said Thomas and kissed her hand.

 

Jill turned and walked into Curt’s arms.

 

“What was that all about?” he asked

 

“We’re invited to his home in South Hampton. He’s got horses there to ride.”

 

“I seriously doubt it.”

 

“What?” she asked.
 

“I doubt you’ll ever see that dude again or ride any horses.”

 

“He’s not a dude, he’s Ingrid’s’ friend. And he is very much a perfect gentleman and you have nothing to be jealous of.”

 

“Who said I am jealous?”

 

“You. I can tell.”

 

“That’s nonsense. Really Jill, stop being impossible. You just can’t run out to some strangers home.”

 

“We’re going. You will love it. Now don’t spoil the night sweetheart.”

 

“Alright.” he sulked. “Let’s get home.”

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