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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2. Noir

Chapter 2

 

It was a windy Sunday morning and Curt and Jill were jogging on the promenade at Battery Park City. There were plenty of other joggers out, along with strollers and families walking along the water’s edge.

 

Curt was being punishingly relentless on her this morning.

 

“Keep up! You’re falling behind.”

 

“I can’t. I have to stop!” she panted.

 

They stopped running for a moment.  Jill sat down and rested on a bench. Curt remained standing and did some stretching on the spot.

 

“I think the wedding did me in. Too much wine.”

 

“You said you were a big, big girl.”

 

“I am. I don’t know what got into me.”

 

“You need to hydrate. Here, have some water.”

 

“Thanks.” She drank the water.

 

She thought about last night and all that had happened at the wedding. She was surprised at her attraction to Thomas, but it just could have been the wine heightening all those feelings. She was, after all, in love with Curt. She still wanted to go riding.

 

“Honey, I want to go riding out in the Hampton’s.”

 

“Jill….Why?”

 

“Because I’m curious. It would be so much fun, going riding, staying out there, getting away from the city. He was nice enough to offer an invitation and he is Ingrid’s’ friend after all. I don’t see the harm in it.”

 

“Alright. You win.” he said exasperated.

 

“You’ll go?”

 

“Yes. We’ll go, alright? Can you shut up about it already?”

 

She hugged him tight. He was so easy. She knew that she would always get her way, always. This wasn’t her mothers marriage to her iron will clad Dad. She had married a softie and knew how to manipulate him. She would always get her way.

 

“Great. I’ll call and see when and how we get there. I think you’ll be really happy honey.”

 

“I won’t be happy. Trust me.”

 

“Why? Can’t you just enjoy something new; enjoy meeting and getting to know new people? This could be an opportunity for you to meet some wealthy clients.”

 

“Well, now that you mention it that way, I suppose you’re right.”

 

“Great. I’ll call him when we get home.”

 

They jogged down the rest of the promenade, then back along the West Side Highway back to Tribeca. Jill was excited of the idea of getting out of the city a bit. She’d been cooped up too long inside trying to get her design business started. She did interior design and wanted to start her own firm from home, start small, and end up big. Or just at least have a decent little firm of her own one day. Right now she had one client, a friend of her mothers who wanted her apartment redone. It was a good start and she had already started sketching out conceptual designs and furniture layouts. Next would come the shopping and then ordering all the furniture and finishes for the job. It was a lot of work, but well worth it.

 

Curt was running ahead of her so fast. She couldn’t keep up; she stopped to catch her breath. Last night had done a job on her, too much wine. That must have explained the whole attraction thing to Thomas the broker. He seemed nice enough, friendly enough, and harmless enough. He must be rich, she thought, to have a compound in South Hampton with horses. It would be so interesting to go and visit.

 

They got back to the loft and went inside. The loft was a huge fifteen hundred foot space with large windows and a large open kitchen. There was no formal bedroom, just a drape used as a separator between the two living areas. It was casual. She had her work area over by the windows, so she could watch out during the day. It was a cozy setup for them. Good thing they had lucked into it.

 

She picked up her cell phone from her bag and dialed the number.

 

“Hello Thomas? This is Jill. Jill from the wedding.”

 

“Oh yes! Hello Jill. How are you gorgeous?”

 

“Fine, a bit hung over, but feeling great.”

 

“I take it you’re taking me up on my offer then.”

 

“Yes, we are.”

 

“Great! I will send a car for you.”

 

“Alright, when?”

 

“How about next Friday night at about 3pm, shall we say?”

 

“Perfect.”

 

“Alight Jill, just email me your details and my driver will be there to pick you up.”

 

His driver. My, that was something.

 

“Sure. Thanks so much for the invitation.”

 

Curt was eating yogurt at the refrigerator. Jill felt suddenly very accomplished, as if she had made a magical thing happen. He did not look pleased.

 

“He’s sending his driver for us next Friday night.”

 

“What if I can’t go Friday night? What if something comes up?” he whined.

 

“Keep it open silly. Remember you are doing this for us. We might make some great connections this way.”

 

Men could be so stubborn and silly in their own ways. Why always fight things? Why not just enjoy these opportunities handed to them?

 

Jill spent the rest of the week cleaning, organizing, and getting her job done for the client. She had a million receipts and tons of fabric swatches that had to be returned to the decorator showrooms. The job was coming along well. Next she would have to make a presentation to the client of all her schemes for the apartment. She planned on doing a very minimal design, modern and clean with some really outrageous traditional fabrics thrown in to liven it up a bit.

 

Friday night rolled around and Curt seemed in an unusually good mood.

 

“Hey, you’re in a good mood!” she said.

 

“Yeah, why not? We’re getting away. I get to spend time with my girl. It’ll be great!” he smiled.

 

“Oh, look, there’s the buzzer! The driver is here!”

 

She pressed the intercom button and spoke into it.

 

“We’ll be right down.”

 

The driver loaded their bags into the car and they took off. It was a very comfortable Town Car and the driver was nice and friendly.

 

“You kids going to stay with Mr. Spencer?”

 

“Yes, we’re going to ride some horses.”

 

“Oh yes, yes ma’am, he’s got some fine horses there at Normandy. I am sure you will enjoy them.”

 

They sat back and enjoyed the ride out to the Hampton’s. Jill put her head on Curt’s’ shoulder and gazed out the window at the city. She had never been to the Hampton’s before. She had been cooped up in the city in school for three years, all her time had been devoted to design projects and running around shopping for her client. Finally she was going to see how the other half lived.

 

Curt was deep in thought about his future. He knew he would have to start his own firm to make it; otherwise he’d end up being a drone in some firm somewhere, drafting details or designing assisted living spaces for seniors. He wanted to design trendy restaurants and museum spaces, airports and apartments. Actually, as long as he was designing he would be content. He wanted to be fulfilled as an artist.

 

He was sort of pissed off that they were doing this little field trip but he wanted Jill to be happy. They hadn’t been away in awhile and she seemed to want to ride so much, how could he refuse her? This guy was obviously an ass, but he would deal with him man to man. No one was going to make the moves on his wife. He’d see to that.

 

The city receded and they were in suburbia, with strip malls and gas stations. The small towns on Long Island rolled by, Babylon, Islip, Westhampton and finally Southampton.

 

“Here we go kids, welcome to Normandy House.” Jill opened her eyes as the car pulled into a long driveway flanked by trees. In front of them was a massive Tudor style mansion.

 

“Wow!” Jill breathed.

 

“This is crazy.” Curt said.

 

“I think we lucked out.” she said.

 

“I’ve never seen a house this big. Pretty impressive.”

 

The driver opened the door for them and carried their bags to the front door. A maid in uniform greeted them.

 

“Jill, Curt, welcome to Normandy House. Thomas is taking a meeting in his study, he says for you to make yourselves comfortable. Would you care for any refreshments?”

 

“I’d love some coffee.” said Jill

 

“I’ll have a beer, any kind.” smiled Curt

 

“Excellent, I will be back in a few moments.”

 

Jill looked around at the immaculate living room.

 

“Wow! Look at the view! There’s the ocean!”

 

Curt came over by the window and looked down the white sandy beach. It seemed to be deserted for miles and miles.

 

“Nice!” He was suddenly sick with jealousy. This was so insane, how did anyone afford to live here?

 

“Look at the piano”. A baby grand piano was in the corner of the room with silver picture frames covering it. A massive fireplace was in the center, carved out of an ivory stone.

 

The maid returned with the beverages. “Here you are Jill.”

She handed Jill a cup and saucer and poured some wonderfully brewed vanilla bean coffee into it.

 

“Cream and sugar?”

 

“Please.” Jill stirred the cream and sugar into her cup.

 

She handed Curt his beer in a frosted mug.

 

“Nice digs. Got any info on it? I’m an architect.”

 

“Sure, what would you like to know?” she asked.

 

“Just a general overview. It’s mind boggling.”

 

“Well, let me tell you a few facts. The property was built in 1930 and the property is on 8.4 acres. It’s got six bedrooms and seven and a half baths. There’s a den, a library, a guest house, a study, a formal dining room and kitchen and of course, the horse stables and tennis courts.”

 

Thomas walked into the room. Suddenly the air was filled with magnetic energy. “And don’t forget the wine cellar in the basement.”

 

He leaned over and gave Jill a polite peck on the cheek and shook Curt’s’ hand. He was dressed in brown corduroy pants and a blue button down shirt and loafers. He gave off the air of Friday casual amidst all the grandeur.

 

“Come on, let me show you two to the guest house.” he said… “I have two very close friends of mine coming to spend the weekend, Jacqueline and Malcolm.”

 

He led them outside to a freestanding cluster of rooms. “This is the guest suite.” He opened the door to an all white interior, white carpeting and white leather furniture with classic cabinetry, a large screen TV and king size bed with a small modern kitchenette with Bahia blue granite tops.

 

“It’s beautiful! “ gasped Jill.

 

“I do appreciate that coming from a designer. Here’s your clothes.” He opened the closet and all of their clothes were neatly hanging and folded in drawers.

 

“Now, let’s see the horses, shall we?” said Thomas

 

“Oh yes!” said Jill

 

Curt was in awe of the incredible house, the money and the setting. It certainly looked like Jill was enjoying herself. The guy wasn’t a total dick, but he would reserve judgment until the weekend was over.

 

 

Chapter 3

 

Jacqueline and Malcolm turned out to be an interesting couple. She was an attractive, petite redhead, very intelligent and was a lawyer. Malcolm was a happy go lucky guy. He was screenwriter, so he claimed from NYU Film School and was excellent with horses.

 

They all sat in the dining room, after a delicious dinner of pan seared prime veal sirloin with mushrooms and port wine sauce. They were drinking red wine and talking, getting to know one another. Curt was unusually quiet, as if he felt out of place. Jill nudged him.

 

“Cheer up!” she whispered.

 

“I’m fine. Just hanging.” he said defensively.

 

Thomas opened the desk drawer and pulled out a deck of cards.

 

“How about a game of assholes?”

 

“What’s that?” asked Jill

 

“It’s a fun game, come on, give it a try!” said Jaqueline.

 

“Sure.”

 

They sat around and played assholes. Jill lost.

 

“I guess I am the asshole then.”
 

“You my dear could never contend for that title, I assure you.” said Thomas

 

Jill was enjoying every bit of the evening. Tomorrow they would go riding on the estate. She planned on getting up early to take some photographs.

 

“I think I’ll turn in.,” she said.

 

“Breakfast is a nine.” said Thomas

 

“I’ll be up early.”

 

“Don’t wake me up.” kidded Thomas, with a twinkle in his eye.

 

She totally missed his joke. “No, I won’t. I plan on photographing the mansion early, get some shots of the place in the morning light.” Jill said seriously.

 

“I’m heading off too then,” said Curt.

 

“Goodnight all.”

 

“Goodnight.” They said.

 

They went into the guest suite and started to undress. Curt sat on the edge of the bed and flicked the TV on.

 

“So? What did you think?”

 

“I think they are a bunch of pretentious snobs.” said Curt.

 

“Oh come on baby! Why so negative? They were nice.”

 

“Yeah, I guess. I’ll be glad once we go back home to our loft in the city.”

 

She pulled up behind him and hugged him.

 

“Come here……” They lay on the bed together. She stroked his hair.

 

“You know I love you so much. I wouldn’t live in a house like this without you baby.”

 

“I know you wouldn’t ‘cause I wouldn’t let you.”

 

They lay on the bed and cuddled. In the corner of the bookshelf a small camera recorded their every move.

 

Jill was up early the next morning. She jumped into the shower and washed her hair. The hot water felt so good and hot, she luxuriated in it for a few moments. Then she shaved her legs and put on some deodorant. A tiny spot in the ceiling recorded her every move of all her intimate moments in the bathroom.

 

It was bright and sunny outside and she got her Olympus camera out of her travel bag. It was a great camera and she would photo shop all the pictures once she was home for an album she planned to make of the trip.

 

She walked around the exterior shooting the barn and some of the horses, the beach and the architecture of the house. It was really magnificent and looked interesting in the photos. She was totally absorbed in her work.

 

“Getting any good shots?” It was Thomas.

 

“Oh yes, it’s so pretty here, there is so much to cover.”

 

“Did you sleep well last night?”

 

“Oh yes, we did, thanks.”

 

“Well, good, I am glad to hear it. Come with me, I want to show you something.”

 

She followed Thomas into the barn. There was a large basket and a dog was lying in it.

 

“That’s Marybeth, she had babies last night….Look.”

 

He pulled up her coat to expose the little baby puppies sucking at their mother’s teats.

 

“Oh, that’s so darling!!!! Can I get a picture?”

 

“If you like.” He watched her as she snapped the pictures of the dog and the puppies.

 

“You get pleasure from such simple things, don’t you?” he said obviously amazed at her simplicity.

 

“Yes, I suppose so. Sometimes the simplest things in life are the most meaningful.”

 

He leaned forward and gave her a kiss on the lips.

 

“Was that meaningful?” he murmured.

 

Before she could answer Jacqueline came in the barn.

 

“I heard there were puppies!” said Jaqueline.

 

“We’re right over here….” said Thomas.

 

Jill was taken aback by the forward kiss. She wasn’t sure what to make of it and hoped she hadn’t let Thomas on to thinking that there would be something between her and him. She wasn’t interested in him sexually, or was she? She had been aroused at the wedding, but that could have been the wine. She was in love with Curt. They were happy. This man was dangerous. He obviously was used to getting what he wanted. She didn’t know what to do. She couldn’t tell curt, he would have their bag packed and they would be on the next train to Manhattan if he find out about the kiss. She hoped he wouldn’t pursue her further; maybe he was just being friendly.

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