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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5. Noir

Chapter 11

 

Jill left on the train to Rhode Island. Trains were cool because they gave you time to think. She wanted a baby. Why hadn’t they discussed this issue before marriage? She wanted to be a young mother now, not wait around until she was in her thirties.

 

She knew that she would have to give up Curt to have a baby. She couldn’t trick him into anything. That wasn’t going to work. She needed to think about her life. Her Mom would know what to do. She had been through it all, had four kids. She would even tell her about Thomas.

 

She wondered what Thomas thought of her now. He probably hated her, probably thought she was some crazy bitch.

 

Whatever. She had to take care of herself now. Curt wanted her to be the center of his world, to be his mate, his lover, and his friend. Thomas wanted her to be his princess, to be worshipped and spoiled. He wanted to put her on a pedestal. But what would happen once the truth came out and he found out she was just as human and flawed and so not perfect as all the other women he had rejected. He said he liked the unattainable, once she became attainable he might not want her anymore, he might just discard her as the rich do of objects they no longer want.

 

She wasn’t sure anymore. The train rolled through town after town, through some pastures with horses and cows, small houses dotting the landscape. The world was a kaleidoscope and she was just learning her place in it.

 

When the train pulled into the station she could see her mother waiting. She was wearing a white dress and had a yellow shawl around her shoulders. Her once brown hair had now turned grey and was pulled back into a bun. Her mother had wanted to pursue a career at dance, but got pregnant with her first and had to give up that dream. It seemed like her mother had given up all her dreams to raise them all.

 

Jill got off the train and waved. She was excited. It felt good to be away from the city and feel the wide-open sky greeting her and smell the sweet air. She hugged her mother. She could smell a faint smell of faded perfume behind her ears.

 

“Welcome home baby”

 

“Thanks Mom, you are the best.”

 

“I have some kielbasa for you waiting at home.”

 

Her mother loved to shop at the Polish meat market. They arrived at the house and it looked the same as ever, a white clapboard house with a stone wall around the perimeter of the yard. The swing was still on the front porch and the door was painted bright red. Lucy the German shepherd came to greet them in the driveway. Her tail wagged excitedly.

 

Jill stepped inside the door and many memories flooded back to her. It was the same inside, nothing had changed. It smelled of cabbage and meat, her mother had been cooking.

 

“Ready for a cup of tea?”

 

“Oh yes, that would be great!”

 

They went into the kitchen. Jill sat down at the wooden table. Her mother put some water into the kettle and put the burner on high.

 

“So here you are at last.”

 

“It’s so good to be home Mom.”

 

Her mother kissed her on the head.

 

“How are you my dear? How is New York?”

 

“I’ve been busy, Carols’ place is almost ready to be ordered.”

 

Carol was her mothers’ friend whose apartment she was decorating.

 

“And how is Curt?”

 

“He is mad at me.”

 

“Why Jill?”

 

“Because I lied to him.”

 

“You shouldn’t lie dear.”

 

“I know.”

 

“Try to always tell the truth dear, it will keep your life simpler.”

 

“It’s not that easy Mom. It’s complicated.”

 

“Nothing is easy, but try. Now, do you want some keilbasa?”

 

“Ok.” She said.

 

Jill hung out with her mother until about 10pm. Then she got tired.

 

“I think I’m going to bed Mom.”

 

“Ok sweetheart, see you in the morning.”

 

“Ok Mom, I love you.”

 

“I love you too.”

 

Jill undressed in her old room. It was pretty much how she left it with white wicker furniture and a pink bedspread with faded roses on it. She lay down. Her head was spinning. It felt good to be here, safe and away from everyone. Her cellphone rang in her bag. It was Curt.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Hey baby.”

 

“Hey.”

 

“How are you?”
 

“Fine, just about to lay down. I’m here with my Mom, she is great.”

 

“Good, I’m glad you are happy.”

 

“I just called to say I’m sorry that I doubted you.”

 

“It’s ok.”

 

“No, listen, it’s not okay, alright? You didn’t do anything wrong. You are an adult and I trust you alright?”

 

“Alright. Thanks Curt.”

 

“I love you baby, I miss you. It’s lonely here without you.”

 

“I’ll be back soon.”

 

“Ok goodnight.”

 

“Goodnight. I love you.”

 

She hung up and lay back in bed. Why was life so complicated? She wished she had never met Thomas.

 

The next morning she woke up and heard the birds chirping outside her window. She felt rested and relaxed. She hopped out of bed and went downstairs. Her mother was in the kitchen cooking breakfast.

 

“Pancakes.”

 

“With Log cabin syrup?”

 

“Yes…Coffee honey?”

 

Her Mom poured her a cup of coffee.

 

“There’s a greenmarket in town this morning. I thought maybe you’d like to come along with me.”

 

“Ok.”

 

They ate breakfast and Jill got dressed. She looked in the mirror, she looked alright she thought. They got in the car. Jill barley noticed a black Lincoln town car with tinted windows waiting across the street. They rode through the main street of town to an area down by the waterfront. There were tents and vendors set up everywhere. They got out of the car and walked from booth to booth. There were oils and bread and fruit and vegetables. Some of the booths had artwork and trinkets. It was pretty cool.

 

A man followed them at a distance. From time to time he pulled out a telephoto lense and shot them. They stopped  and got some shish kabobs from a vendor.

 

“I love this! It’s so good!”

 

“Enjoy my dear!.”

 

They ate their food and enjoyed the sunny day. They stopped in an artists’ booth. There were some awesome paintings.

 

“Nice work.”

 

“Thanks, I appreciate that.” The artist was a soft spoken, bearded young man. His hands had paint on them and he smoked a cigarette.

 

“Can I get your card? I’d like to use some of your work in my designs.”

 

“I’m Benjamin White, nice to meet you.”

 

“I’m Jill, I just started a design firm.”

 

“The pleasure is all mine. Beauty and talent!Maybe we could have a cup of coffee sometime.”

 

“Sure, I’ll be in town a few more days.”

 

“Give me a call.”

 

Jill and her mother wandered around to a booth selling jewellery.

 

“Isn’t this nice?” her mother held up a beaded necklace.

 

“I’ll buy it for you Mom.”

 

“Oh, no, honey please.”

 

“Yes! I insist!”

 

Jill paid for the necklace and her Mom put it around her neck. They slowly made their way back home. The black town car followed them, stopping a block away from the house.

 

That night they went out for dinner to a quaint restaurant in town. It felt great to be out with her Mom. She felt so grown up now that she was married, her mother couldn’t treat her like a little kid any more.

 

They were seated in a comfortable booth.

 

“Would you ladies care for any drinks?”

 

“We’d like two glasses of chardonnay please.”

 

Jill looked at her Mom.

 

“It’s so good to be here.”

 

“It’s good to be with you too dear. So, tell me about Curt. How is he doing?”

 

“He’s fine, he just got a new job with an architecture firm in the city. He’s really focused on his career.”

 

“Good for him.”

 

“Yes, it is and it isn’t. You see Mom, I want to have kids.”

 

“And Curt doesn’t?”

 

“Not yet. He wants to wait until his career takes off and he starts his own firm. It might be a decade.”

 

“You can wait.”

 

“Well, I don’t know. I want kids now while I am young and can enjoy them.”

 

“Oh honey. Is this what the other man is all about?”

 

“Yes. Sort of….”

 

“But you don’t love this other man do you?”

 

“Well, I could. He is very rich Mom.”

 

“Money doesn’t buy you love sweetheart.”

 

“I know. That’s why I am so confused.”

 

“I see.”

 

Her mother looked worried.

 

“Care for any appetizers?”

 

“No thanks, we just need a moment to decide.”

 

“You see Mom, I don’t know if I can wait a decade.”

 

“Well, that’s your decision dear. Even I can’t tell you what you should do.”

 

“Well, now I told the rich guy it’s over.”

 

“Oh my.”

 

“Curt wants me, I know. I just am not sure what I want. Love or security.”

 

“It’s a hard choice to make baby. I can’t make it for you and you regret the rest of your life.”

 

“I know Mom…..It just helps talking about it.”

 

“We have two steaks please, medium well.”

 

Jill and her mother did not notice the man sitting directly behind them recording their private conversation. The mysterious man asked the waiter over.

 

“I’d like to send desert to the two ladies please, anything they want. Anonymously.”

 

Their waiter appeared with a huge grin. “Ladies, desert is on the house tonight.”

 

“Oh how nice!”

 

“That’s cool Mom!”

 

“I’ll take the key lime pie and a cup of coffee”

 

“I’ll take the apple pie a la mode”

 

The man in the restaurant took note of their choice of desert and made a call.

 

The next day Jill got up and was rummaging through her bag when she found Benjamins card. She looked at his number and dialed it on her phone.

 

“Hi Benjamin, this is Jill from the Greenmarket.”

 

“Jill, oh yes, the designer. How are you?”

 

“Great! I’d like to take you up on your offer for coffee.”

 

“Excellent, that’s cool.”

 

“Where can we meet?”

 

“How about Starbucks at 1?”
 

“Ok.”

 

Jill found her mother in the kitchen.

 

“Mom, I am going out for coffee with that artist Benjamin.”

 

“Ok dear, Have fun.”

 

Jill pulled the car out of the driveway. The black town car was waiting across the street. She did not notice and sped off towards town. Jill met Benjamin at the café. He looked happy to see her.

 

“Hi again.”

 

“Hi”

 

“Care to sit down?”

 

He pulled out her chair for her and she sat down.

 

“So, tell me about you.” She said.

 

“Well, I’m primarily an visual artist, I work in oils and acrylics.”

 

“Hmmnn, hmmn, tell me more about you.”

 

“Oh me, I see. Well, I am just your average artist. I like to drink red wine, smoke cigarettes and work late until the morning. And every now and then I smoke a little weed. And you?”

 

“I live in New York, married to an architect.”

 

“Does he keep you warm and safe and dry?”

 

“Yes, he tries. We’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch.”

 

“I see.”

 

“Its not easy.”

 

“Tell me about it. I have had a girlfriend now for the past five years. We’ve had some bad times but we got through  them. It ain’t easy.”

 

The man in black came into the café and sat down at the table beside them pretending to be engrossed in a magazine. He turned his I Phone at them and pressed record. They didn’t notice him.

 

“But you love your husband right?”

 

“Yes I do!”

 

“Well, just hang in there babe. It’ll be alright.”

 

“So, getting back to business now. I really love your work.”

 

“I am flattered.”

 

“I have a client and she has a budget for art of $2000.00 What can I get from you for that?”

 

“Two paintings.”

 

“Ok sold!”

 

“You’re easy!”

 

They got up and they shook hands.

 

“It was a pleasure doing business with you.”

 

“You too. I will call you”

 

 

Chapter 12

 

Jill rode the train back to the city. It was hard saying goodbye to her mother. The train was due in at 8:03pm. She figured she would catch a cab downtown. It seemed her world was slowly coming back to reality.

 

The train pulled into Grand central Station. She felt the weight of the city back on her. The lights, the sounds, the push of the door at the station. She walked into the terminal and there was Curt with a sign that said, “Welcome Home Jill.”

 

“Oh, it’s good to see you.” She squeezed him tight.

 

“Good to see you too baby.” He said.

 

They hugged for awhile, oblivious to the passersby and the man watching them from the phone booth.

 

“Come on, lets catch a cab home.” said Curt.

 

They walked out in the street and Curt hailed a cab. They got in. The driver was an old, gray haired man playing Simon and Garfunkel on the radio.

 

“Where to?”

 

“Tribeca.”

 

“Ok, I’ll take Fifth all the way down.”

 

Curt cupped her face in his hands. “I missed you.”

 

“I missed you too.” They kissed.

 

“How’s your Mom doing?”

 

“She’s great! She’s busy with her writing group and her painting. We had a great time together.”

 

“Good baby! I am happy for you.”

 

“What did you do while I was gone?”

 

“I watched the game Friday night, slept all day Saturday and today I waited for you. It’s lonely here with out you….I have a surprise for you.”

 

“You’re kidding!”

 

“Ok kids. Tribeca. Where to?”

 

“Harrison Street.”

 

“here we are. That’ll be $15.75”

 

Curt handed him a $20.00 bill. “Keep the change.”

 


They rode the elevator up to the loft. Curt opened the door. The loft was entirely lit in candles and a trail of roses petals were scattered on the floor.

 

“Oh wow!”

 

“Follow the petals.”

 

Jill followed the petals that led to the bathroom. There was a brand new white claw foot tub in there.

 

“Wow! I don’t believe you did this!” She hugged him tight.

 

“I love it!!!”
 

“Do you really?”

 

“Yes!!!! Can I really take a bath in it?”

 

“That’s what it’s here for.”

 

He held up some bath bubbles. “For you.”

 

He kissed her gently. “You undress, I’ll go get the wine.” He ran the hot water and let the bath fill up. Jill slowly took off her clothes. She gazed at her naked body in the mirror. She still looked alright. She stuck her toe in the hot water. Curt came in with the wine and handed her a glass.

 

“For you lovely lady.”

 

“Thank you. Are you coming in?”

 

“No, I think I’ll just stay here and watch you awhile.”

 

Jill sat back and relaxed in the bubbles.

 

“I can’t believe you did this!”

 

“Neither can I.”

 

“You are amazing!”

 

“I am glad you feel that way. It’s just a little surprise for my wife.”

 

He poured her some more wine.

 

“If I didn’t know better I would say you are trying to get me drunk.”

 

“Methinks the lady is correct.”

 

She blew some bubbles his way and stood up while he washed her legs with a sea sponge.

 

“I love your beautiful legs.”

 

Jill got out of the tub and Curt carried her to the bed. They lay bathed in candlelight and he slowly made tender love to her. After they made love he held her close.

 

“I am glad you are home.”

 

“Me too.”

 

Monday morning rolled around and Jill and Curt were back to their workweek routine. Curt grabbed his lunch and was out the door.

 

“Ok babe, I got to run….I will call you later.”

 

“Okay, bye.”

 

He shut the door. She was alone and had a lot of work to do to get caught up from her trip. Jill turned on the computer. She hoped that there wouldn’t be any more emails from Thomas. She clicked, there was no email.

 

She did some research and somehow ended up on a weird website. It was about couples. The couple in the video seemed unaware that they were on camera. She clicked on another video. It was dark and somewhat grainy. She looked closer. It was her! It was her in a bathroom! Her mind went blank. Where was she? She looked harder. It was at Thomas’s house.

 

Her mind started to race. She clicked another video. It was her and Curt! They had been videotaped! She didn’t know what to do. She called Thomas.

 

“Hello?”

 

“Thomas, this is Jill. What the fuck is this shit?”
 

“Jill, I don’t know what you are talking about!”

 

“What I am talking about is this video I am looking at of us in your home. It’s on the internet!”

 

“What?”

 

“It’s private stuff here, intimate stuff for the whole world to see.”

 

“You are joking right?”

 

“No, I am not!”

 

There was silence on the other end of the phone.

 

“I am calling a lawyer. I want those videos removed.”

 

“I had nothing to do with them. It must have been security.”

 

“Security?”

 

“Yes, maybe they sold the footage. There was an incident here on Long Island. I am so sorry Jill.”

 

“I don’t believe this!”

 

She hung up the phone. She had to tell curt. He would flip out.

 

“Hi honey.”

 

“Curt, something has happened.”

 

“What’s wrong?”

 

“Remember when were at Thomas’s house, remember we used the bathroom and the bedroom, remember what we did?”

 

“Yeah….”

 

“Well, somehow the video is online for the world to see. I just found it now.”

 

“You are joking right?”

 

“No.”

 

“I told you that guy was an asshole. I am going to be up for murder.”

 

“I called him.”

 

“Why did you call him?”

 

“He said it must be his security company that stole the footage.”

 

“Sure. Listen to me….Do not call him again I am calling a lawyer and we are going to handle this properly. I am getting money for this. A ton of money this is an intrusion on our privacy big time.” He slammed the phone down angrily.

 

Jill was so stunned, she stared to cry. Why did all this shit have to happen to them?

 

Their lawyer called Thomas’s lawyer and a settlement was reached. Thomas did not want to go to court so they settled for two hundred and fifty thousand dollars. Curt was basically pleased.

 

“Honey, I think we can go house shopping now.”

 

“Really?”

 

“Sure, lets hit Rye on Saturday, line up a realtor.”

 

“Okay”

 

“Don’t worry baby, it’s all over now.”

 

“I know…I can’t believe anyone could be so creepy.”

 

“I told you the guy was creepy.”

 

Jill and Curt rode the train forty miles out of Manhattan and got off at Rye Station. Their realtor was waiting for them in a dark blue Volvo.

 

“Hello, I am Katrina De Witt, nice to meet you.”

 

“This is Jill and I am Curt.”

 

“I have a few wonderful properties for you to see.”

 

 

It was Ingrid and Jaco’s last night in the city. They all decided to meet at Slaintes Irish Pub. The interior of the pub was dark and wooden, with a massive bar and glass shelves and TVS everywhere. A band played on stage.

 

Jill and Curt got there first.

 

“God, this place is packed.”

 

“Yup.”

 

“I heard they make a mean shepherds pie here.”

 

“Oh look there they are.”

 

Ingrid and Jaco walked into the pub.

 

“Hey guys, how are you?” They all hugged. It was sad to think that tomorrow they would be gone forever. Jill felt sad.

 

“All packed up?”

 

“Yes, we turn in the key in the morning and then catch an afternoon flight to LAX. The truck is bringing all our stuff.”

 

“I’ll miss you guys!!!” Jill hugged Ingrid.

 

The waitress came around looking perky.

 

“What are you all having tonight?”

 

“Lets have a round of Coronas and shots of Padron.”

 

“Coming right up.”

 

Jill and Curt sat looking like the cat that ate the canary.

 

“What’s up you two?” asked Jaco.

 

“Yes, do spill it.” Said Ingrid.

 

“We found a house.”

 

“No!!!! Where?”

 

“In a lovely little town called Rye.”

 

“Cool…But how can you afford it?”

 

“We got lucky.”

 

“Too bad we can’t see it before we leave.”

 

“Come and visit. Hell, come and stay, now we’ve got plenty of room for guests!!!”

 

The waitress brought their drinks. They did the shots of tequila first.

 

“To Los Angeles! To Rye!”

 

They drank up.

 

Jill noticed that Ingrid was a lot less uptight about Jaco now. She decided to rub it in a bit. She went over to jaco and hugged him.

 

“I’ll miss you!”

 

“I’ll miss you too Jilly!”

 

Not to be outdone, Ingrid hugged Curt tightly. “Come to Los Angeles anytime.”

 

“I’ll be there, we’ll be there.”

 

They had another round of drinks and said their final goodbyes. It always seemed like everything ended just when it was getting good. Jill and Curt walked a few blocks hand in hand. Soon they would be at their house in the burbs. It was almost as good as getting pregnant Jill thought.

 

As if reading her mind Curt stopped on the sidewalk and pt his arms around her. He whispered in her ear. “Lets make a baby tonight.”

 

Jill was so delighted to hear the words from him, from his heart, from his soul.

 

“Tonight?”

 

“Yes.”

 

“Alright. I love you.”

 

Jill and Curt got home and went straight to bed. They made love with a purpose. In the morning, Jill awoke to an empty bed. She got up and started to pack stuff up in boxes. They were moving soon, she could hardly wait.

 

Life in the burbs would be heavenly, the house, a yard and maybe even a little tiny baby on the way. She felt so lucky. She did owe this to Thomas. If there hadn’t of been the fuck up none of this would have happened.

 

Life sure had a way of working itself out. She called her mother.

 

“Hi Mom.”

 

“Hi dear!”

 

“How are you?”

 

“Fine. I bumped into Benjamin the other day, he said he shipped the paintings to you.”

 

“That’s great Mom. Mom, sit down. I have some news for you…….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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