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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4. Noir

Chapter 8

 

It was Saturday morning and Jill and Curt were on their run down to Battery Park City. The wind was pushing hard and Curt was way ahead. He ran on, looking back from time to time as Jill struggled to keep up.

 

“Come on!” he yelled.

 

“I’m trying, you’re running too fast!” she breathed hard.

 

He stopped running so she could catch up with him. The sweat was pouring off her face.

 

“Oh God! I am tired.”

 

“That’s it? You’re quitting on me?” he swatted her behind.

 

“You go on, run ahead. I’ll walk awhile.”

 

He ran ahead and she walked along the promenade. The water was really rough and the waves splashed up against the walls. It had been a month since her plan and she hadn’t tried anything yet. Maybe this morning she would try. It was just about her time to get pregnant and Curt liked to have sex in the shower after his run. He found it very erotic. She found it annoying and couldn’t stand being in an awkward position. But it made him happy.

 

They made their way back to the loft. She turned the key in the door. The loft was quiet and peaceful. She turned on the radio to a classical music station.

 

“I think I’ll take a shower.” said Curt

 

“Mind if I join you?” she asked coyly.

 

“Come on in….” he said and whipped off his black shorts.

 

They stepped into the shower and he began to soap her up, rubbing his hands all over her body. She felt him getting hard and bent over slightly so that he could penetrate her. He thrust his penis inside and began to moan. She moaned and moved beneath him, hoping he would come. He came.

 

This could be it! Jill was excited. If she got pregnant now the baby would be born in July! How precious. She knew that this was the best thing for them. She knew he would love the baby and love her. She knew.

 

“Hey baby, that was great.” she said.

 

“Yeah. Listen, I have to go to the office for a few hours and finish up some drawings. Do you mind honey?”

 

“No, go ahead. I’m ok. I have stuff to do here.”

 

He gave her a kiss on the head. “You’re the best. You never hassle me about my work.”

 

She smiled.

 

After Curt left Jill sat down at her computer. She opened up her Gmail account. There was an email from Thomas.

 

“Dear Jill,

 

Hope all is well. Just wondering what you are up to and if you would like to have lunch with me next Tuesday. I will be in town to see some clients and would love to see you.”

 

She answered back.

 

“Dear Thomas,

 

Yes, I would love to have lunch with you on Tuesday.”

 

He answered her back.

 

“I’ll be in town at 12, will pick you up then.”

 

That was interesting. She could not deny her strange attraction to this man. She found it amazing that he even noticed her. Maybe if she had lunch with him she could glean some more information about his obsession with married women, very subtly of course.

 

Chapter 9

 

Jill and Curt lay on their futon watching TV, their bare feet touching. She cuddled closer to him.

 

“I like married life.” She said.

 

“Me too. I like it because of you.” He said, nuzzling her nose against his.

 

“So, wouldn’t it be nice if we had a little one here in bed with us?”

 

“No.”

 

“No?”

 

“I like it like this, just me and you.” He said. “For now.”

 

“I know.” She pouted. She lifted up her chin and looked her in the eyes.

 

“Come on baby, we’ll have our little family. I promise.”

 

“I know. Sometimes I just think that ten years is a long time.”

 

“Shhhhh, look who’s on, Ben Stiller.”

 

They went back to watching TV. The wheels in her head were turning. He really didn’t want kids, she could tell. He wouldn’t even discuss it with her. She wondered how her “accident” was going to affect him. He’d probably be mad in the beginning then come around. He was easy to manipulate. She hoped it wasn’t going to be a big mistake. She hadn’t gotten or missed her period yet but was waiting to see what would happen. Maybe she would buy a home pregnancy test and see what the results were. Then she would have to spring the news on him.

 

Meanwhile she was going to have lunch with Thomas in a few days. That would be interesting. She thought of the encounter like a movie scene. She thought how she wanted to dress and what she would say. She wanted to look feminine yet cool, a mix between tough and cool and seductive and pretty. She would do dark sunglasses for sure and her hair slicked back. She slouched under the cover, everything would be fine, fine, fine……She drifted off to sleep.

 

Tuesday rolled around and Curt was leaving for work.

 

“Bye baby, I’ll call you later.” He said

 

“Okay.”

 

“Do you have a busy day planned?”

 

“Oh, just some shopping and lunch today. I’ll be on my cell.”

 

“Ok babe. I love you, don’t forget.”

 

“I love you too, bye.” She kissed him.

 

Jill opened up her walk in closet and pulled out her long black pants, a pair of ostrich boots and a mohair sweater. She gelled her hair back in the bathroom and put on some light pink makeup, giving herself a fresh, blushed look and soft pink lipstick. She looked sleek, understated.

 

They had agreed to meet at Rockefeller Center. Jill arrived and looked around the restaurant for Thomas. She saw him sitting by the window, engrossed in his phone. She smiled at him.

 

“Ah, Jill, nice to see you.” He stood up and gave her a peck on the cheek.

 

“Thanks for having me.” She said.

 

She sat down and took in the scene. There were diners everywhere, people discussing serious matter like Iran and the Prophecy to ladies having tea discussing what to wear. It was a beautiful spring day outside and Thomas looked dazzling sitting in the sunlight with his jet-black hair and navy blue sweater. He gazed over at her.

 

“How’s hubby the architect?”

 

“Oh, he’s fine, thanks.”

 

“What have you been up Jill?”

 

“Well, I’m working on a project, so it’s been a lot of running around the city, looking for furniture and fabrics.”

 

“If you were my wife I wouldn’t let you run around alone all day.”

 

“Well, one day when you do have a wife you will understand that we women must run around by ourselves to get things done, otherwise nothing would get accomplished.”

 

“Ha! Touche my dear. You are so feisty!”

 

The waitress came to give them some drinks.

 

“So, tell me about you. What you like.”

 

“Well, I like to be creative and I love life in general. I love books and animal and children.”

 

“You like kids?” he asked.

 

“Oh yes!”

 

“Are you planning on having kids in the future?”

 

Jill noticed that the conversation was getting a bit too personal but she answered as honestly as she could, without giving away all the details of her private life to this stranger.

 

“Well, Curt feels that we have to wait a decade until his architecture career is established before we have kids.”

 

“And you? Do you want to wait a decade for a family?”

 

His black eyes probed hers and she felt as though he was delving into her soul.

 

It was hard to be honest when she was planning a dishonest thing.

 

“No, I don’t.”

 

“I see.’

 

The waitress took their order.

 

“I’ll have the Greek salad please with chicken”

 

“And I will have the steak sandwich, medium please.”

 

The waitress left.

 

“Well, I want to start a family soon while I am still young.”

 

“I can understand that. Do you think it would be a big sacrifice to wait?”

 

“Well, yes……But you never know what could happen. I mean, accidents happen…”

 

“Yes they do. Sometimes life happens, the most unexpected things can happen to you while you are making plans, wouldn’t you say?

She looked at him. “And you?”

 

“Me?”

 

“Are kids in your future?”

 

“You mean after I meet “The One?”

 

“Yes….”

 

“Yes, most definitely. I would love to have children. It would complete my life and take the focus off of my career. I feel I have achieved a great deal and I am ready now for the newest chapter of my life.”

 

“Any preferences, boys or girls?”

 

“Well, I would like to have one of each of course.”

 

They toasted.

 

“To the future.”

 

They ate for a while. Jill looked up at the gorgeous man sitting in front of her and felt sorry for him. Why did love elude him she thought. Love was something that money can’t buy bit in his case it would. He could probably have woman he wanted. Why was he here with her? There must be plenty of eligible bachelorettes lined up for this catch.

 

“What do you like Thomas?”

 

“Oh, I like real estate and horses and collecting. I am a perfectionist so I am always looking for perfect things. The next venture always interests me, the future. I also like the forbidden.”

 

Aha! She thought. That was his secret desire to possess the forbidden.

 

“The forbidden?”

 

“Yes, certain religious aspects, select people, secret treasures, all of those fascinate me.”

 

“That’s interesting.”

 

“So enough about me, what are you doing with the rest of your afternoon?’

 

“I thought I would stop in at the Moma and catch an exhibit on architecture.”

 

“Hmmmn, sounds interesting…..Want a companion?”

 

“Sure.”

 

They finished up their lunch and his driver took them to the Moma. The Museum of Modern Art was one of Jill’s’ favorite places in the city and was a great way to spend the afternoon. She loved the white walls filled with canvases and the squeaky wooden floors, the neatness of it all and the complexity. It was easy to get swept up in the artwork. There were artists from the 30’s, 40’s and beyond, all such great masters of their craft.

 

They entered the museum and walked into the architecture exhibit. There were sketches on the walls and collages and models of balsa wood. They studied a drawing.
 

“Its Zaha Hadid.”

 

“Wonderful.”

 

“She is brilliant.”
 

“Why are you not an architect Jill?” he asked.

 

“I studied design, but I am no good at math. I just do interior work.”

 

“I see…..Well, I am sure you are very talented at what you do.”

 

“Thanks. I just need some more clients and then you could really see my work.”

 

“Clients? Well, I am sure I could refer you to some potential clients out in the Hampton’s.”

 

“Oh wow! That would be great! I would be so grateful for the leads.”

 

They studied the designs and the models, then wandered out to one of the galleries. Thomas was quiet. He watched her as she studied the paintings, her eyes lighting up when she saw something she liked. He wished he could possess such a woman child as this but knew she was taken.

 

“So, are we keeping our lunch date between us?”

 

“Yes, please. It would be hard for me to explain it.”

 

“Of course, I understand.”

 

“Thanks so much for meeting me…And thanks for the weekend at your home, it was out of this world!”

 

She gave him a peck on the cheek.

 

“Thank you!”

 

Thomas left the museum and Jill was left alone. She wandered in and out of the exhibits. There was an old movie playing at 4:00 pm in the theatre, Gilda. She decided to stay wand watch it.

 

Her cell phone rang, it was Curt.

 

“How’s the love of my life?” he said.

 

She felt suddenly guilty for sneaking around behind his back. He would be insane with jealousy if he knew.

 

“Hey baby……I’m fine, just here at the museum. I’m going to catch a film.”

 

“Which one?”

 

“Gilda.”

 

“Alright. I’ll be home late, around eight.”

 

“Ok, I’ll have dinner ready for you.”

 

“Ok, love you.”

 

“Love you too.”

 

 

Chapter 10

 

Jill rode the train back to Tribeca. The train was almost empty, with a few artist types sitting in the east. She stared at the ads. She got off at her stop and walked up the steps. It was dark outside. She rode the elevator up to their floor. The apartment was dark. She turned a light on. The answering machine was not flickering, good. No one was looking for her.

 

She went into the kitchen and flicked the light on and started to prepare dinner. She felt deliriously happy after her afternoon at the museum.

 

She looked at the ingredients she had in the refrigerator and decided to make tacos. She had some taco shells in the pantry and some ground beef in the refrigerator and some lettuce and tomatoes. A dash of hot sauce and dinner would be ready. She stir fried the beef and cut up the tomatoes and lettuce. Dinner for two. It would be tasty, she knew that Curt loved tacos.

 

Curt walked in around 8:15 pm.

 

“Honey?”

 

“I’m in here.”

 

Curt came in and picked her up and gave her a big hug.

 

“I’ve missed you.”

 

“Welcome home.”

 

“How was the museum?”

 

“Great…..Hungry?”

 

“Starving.”

 

“I made tacos.”

 

“So I see…You must be buttering me up or something, making my favorite dish.”

 

“No, just because you are you.”

 

“I appreciate that.”

 

He picked at the beef.

 

“How’s work?”

 

“Good. We’re really busy, I’ve been drawing my ass off.”

 

“That’s good.”

 

They sat down at a little marble bistro table and bit into their tacos. They were hot and spicy. Curt smiled at her.

 

“You are glowing!”

 

“I am?”


“Yes, you are.”

 

“Must be because I am with the love of my life”

 

 

Jill felt secretly guilty about sneaking around with Thomas, but then again, there was no harm done. It was all-innocent enough.

 

“Are we going out tonight?”

 

“No, I think we should stay home and go to bed early.”

 

“Sounds good to me.”

 

He carried her over to the sleeping are and threw her onto the futon. He kissed her lips, her neck and slowly worked down her blouse to her breasts. He bit her nipple gently. She felt hot and aroused, felt him grow hard. He took her jeans off and pulled her moist panties down. He guided himself into her and they rocked together in the dark room. She climaxed and then he came. They lay back on the futon.

 

“I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

“Goodnight.”

 

He got up.

 

“I think I might watch some TV before I come to sleep.

 

“Alright.”

 

Jill lay back and thought about having kids. She wondered if she was pregnant already. She better do the test soon and find out….She drifted off to sleep.

 

Jill woke up at 9:30am. Curt was already gone to work. She was alone in the loft. She liked the quiet of it when she was alone. It was peaceful in a Zen sort of way and her mind could think without chaos. She got up and wandered into the kitchen. She opened the refrigerator and took out three large eggs, bacon and some toast and orange juice. She stared to scramble the eggs. Her cell rang. It was Ingrid. What was Ingrid doing calling this early?

“Hi there.”

 

“Hi…”

 

“How are you? I hope I am not catching you at a bad time.” Ingrid sounded urgent.

 

“No, just here by myself making some breakfast.”

 

“Oh good! I was wondering if you would meet me for tea and dessert later.”

 

“Sure, that sounds great.”

 

“Ok meet you at The Carlyle at 3:00?”

 

“Ok”

 

“Bye.”

 

Jill finished her breakfast. Ingrid certainly was being friendly all of a sudden. Maybe now that they were leaving she found her less of a threat to Jaco.

 

Jill watched the morning show. What a bunch of squares these people were. They were so gay, so goofy. They were like people walking on eggshells with everything they said, as not to offend anyone. TV personalities had it tough, it was such a political arena.

 

She flicked the channels and then caught the tail end of a story about a porn ring operating on Long island. She listened in. There were accounts of couples being taped without their knowledge and the footage being distributed in Holland and Germany. That was interesting she thought.

 

She flicked the TV off. She had some work to do before meeting up with Ingrid. Jill sat down at her computer and checked her email. There was a lot of spam, which she deleted, and then she saw an email from Thomas.

 

“Jill,

Hope to see again soon, maybe next Monday afternoon? I will be in the city.”

 

Thomas

 

She answered back

 

“I will pencil you in.”

 

Jill

 

There, that was done.

 

She hit the street. It was a gorgeous, sunny May afternoon and people were already out sporting their summer garb. She was going uptown so she jumped on the train and headed north. She could read her Kindle on the train and catch up on her reading. She made a mental note to buy the pregnancy test today. She would have to hide it so that Curt didn’t find it. She didn’t want him freaking out for nothing.

 

Jill arrived at The Carlyle for high tea and Ingrid was waiting for her in a booth by the back. Jill slid into the booth and tossed her bag in the corner.

 

“Hi there!”

 

“Thanks for meeting me.”

 

“Of course. What are friends for?”

 

Jill wondered if Ingrid had a bombshell of her own to drop. A waiter appeared with the tea menu.

 

“Ladies, today we have fresh scones with raspberry jam and a fresh fruit tart.”

 

“We’ll have that for two and a pot of English breakfast tea.” Said Ingrid

 

“So? How are you? How are things?”

 

“Good, how about you?”

 

“We’re pretty excited about moving. Daddy has secured an apartment for us in Hollywood, so everything should go pretty smooth.”

 

“Think it’ll be like culture shock?”

 

“Yes, a bit. But I can get into looking perfect all the time and getting my teeth whitened and yoga class.”

 

“We’ll come and visit you/”

 

“You will?”
 

“Of course….”

 

“Wouldn’t that be outrageous?”

 

“It’ll be great!”

 

Their tea and scones arrived and Jill poured some into her dainty teacup and mixed in two cubes of sugar.

 

“How is Curt?”

 

“He’s fine.”

 

“Does he like his new job?”

 

“Yes, he loves it. He seems pretty happy.”

 

Ingrid was staring at her in a weird way. Finally she blurted it out.

 

“I know you are seeing Thomas.”

 

Jill was stunned.

 

“What?”

 

“He told me he’s been seeing you. He is crazy about you.”

 

“Oh my God! It’s not like that!”

 

“Of course I won’t tell anyone. The secret is between us.”

 

“Oh my God, I am so embarrassed. I think of him just as a friend.”

 

“Do you think of every guy as your platonic friend?”

 

Here we go, Jill thought, she thinks it was like that for her and Jaco. It wasn’t. Nothing ever happened. There was no attraction.

 

“No, it depends. I am not saying I am some virgin or something.”

 

“What are you going to do?”

 

“I love Curt. There is nothing to do.”

 

“So?”

 

“But Thomas is so persistent and it’s flattering to have someone so attentive….”

 

“And so rich!”

 

“I am not after his money!”

 

“He is nuts about you girl.” Ingrid sat back with a big Cheshire cat look on her face.

 

Jill was stunned. She had never planned that this would leak out, especially to their best friends. She took a bite out of her scone. It was fresh and fluffy; the opposite of what she felt which was leaden and old and now, fucked.

 

Ingrid announced, “It’s all my fault!”

 

“Why?”

 

“I shouldn’t have introduced you at the wedding.”

 

“Well,  how would you know that anything would develop?”

 

“True.”

 

“Please don’t tell Curt.”

 

“Of course I won’t!”

 

“Okay. Thanks.”

 

Life sure had a way of being complicated. They finished up their tea and scones and left. Jill hugged Ingrid.

 

“Thanks for the talk.”

 

“Take care.”

 

Jill walked a few blocks and went into a drugstore. She walked down the feminine hygiene aisle and picked up a home pregnancy test. It looked simple enough, you peed on it and if it turned blue you were pregnant. She paid for it at the counter feeling very serious and felt as though the whole store knew what she was doing. It was like they were making an announcement, “She’s trying to get knocked up.”

 

 

“That’ll be $6.97 please.” The cashier said.

 

Suddenly Jill felt defeated. Her friend knew she was cheating, sort of. She hadn’t even done anything yet. Jill rode the train back downtown. She opened the door to the loft.

 

“Jill?” Curt called out from the other room.

 

“Yes.”

 

“Come here.”

 

Curt was in the bedroom at her computer. From the look on his face she could see he was pissed.

 

“What’s this all about?” he was sitting at her desk.

 

“Why are you reading my email?”

 

“Because I need to. Have you been seeing Thomas behind my back?”

 

“We just had lunch that’s all.” she said, defeated.

 

“Why Jill, why?” She could tell that he was hurt. She started to cry. It had been an emotionally draining day.

 

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings.”

 

“Jill, its alright. Email him back now and tell him that you can’t see him again, ever. Do it!”

 

“Alright.”

 

She emailed him a note while Curt watched.

 

They hugged, but then she realized that she was still holding the home pregnancy test in her hands.

 

“What’s in the bag?”

 

“What?”

 

“The bag.”

 

“It’s personal.”

 

He snatched it out of hands and opened it up.

 

“A home pregnancy test? What the fuck?”

 

He threw a stapler across the room and it hit the wall.

 

“Did you have sex with him?”

 

“No!”

 

“Then why the fuck would you need this?”
 

“For us.”

 

“How can you be pregnant when you are supposed to be on the pill?”

 

“It can happen.”

 

“Please tell me you are not pregnant!”

 

She took the bag from his hands.

 

“I am going to do the test alright?”

 

“Oh Jesus Christ! You better not be, you understand? I am fucking leaving if you are pregnant.”

 

He was fuming. He stormed out of the loft and slammed the door behind him. What a mess, thought Jill. She sat on the edge of the bed and cried.

 

Curt was gone for two hours. Jill did the test. It came up negative. Cliff came back smelling like beer.

 

“Negative.”

 

“Better be.”

 

“It is.”

 

“Jill, how do you expect me to trust you now?”

 

“It was just lunch. You are totally overacting.”

 

“You lied to me.”

 

“I didn’t want to hurt your ego.”

 

“You kept secrets. I need time. We are not having a kid now, so put it out of your mind. I f you really want kids then maybe you should marry someone else.”

 

“If that’s the way you feel.”

 

“That’s how I feel and there is no changing my mind.”

 

“I’m going to be now.”

 

“I’ll be in in awhile.”

 

 

The next morning Jill pretended to be asleep while Curt got ready for work. She didn’t want to deal with another day of arguing. He left, she heard his key in the lock. Jill got up and checked her email. There was an email there from Thomas.

 

Dear Jill,

 

I cannot understand why you won’t see me again. Please call me.

 

Thomas

 

She emailed him back

 

Dear Thomas,

 

I have to say goodbye.

 

Jill

 

That morning the phone rang. She picked it up.

 

“Hello?”

 

There was silence on the other end.

 

“Hello?” Silence

 

She hung up.

 

Then she realized it was Thomas. He didn’t take kindly to getting dumped. Jill felt extremely anxious and overwhelmed by her situation. She decided to call her mother.

 

“Hi Mom.”

 

“Jill darling, how are you?”

 

“I’m fine Mom.” Her voice cracked

 

“Jill, honey? Are you ok?”

 

“Oh Mother! I’ve done something terrible.”

 

“What dear?”

 

“I’ve caused a big mess.”

 

“What happened?”


“I had a lunch date with a man and didn’t tell Curt about it. Then I thought I was pregnant.”

 

“From lunch?”

 

“No, from Curt.”

 

“I see.”


“I don’t know what to do.”

 

“Would you like to come up and see me?”

 

“Yes, I would.”

 

“Alright, come up next weekend honey.”

 

“Alright.”

 

She felt better. Her mother lived in Newport, Rhode Island. She loved visiting there, looking at all the old mansions of the rich and famous, Marble House and The Breakers.

 

“Maybe a little break will be good.”

 

“Yes Mom, thanks.”

 

Jill called Curt and told him of her plans. He was quiet but agreed it would be a good idea. A little break from all the tension, a little time to heal.

 

 

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