After the Necklace
Chapter 15 Dinner and a Show
Elsie saw her huge dining room table completely covered by pizza boxes and surrounded by chairs. Her normal setting for twelve just didn’t cut it, so additional folding chairs were brought in to accommodate everyone. Now Mark and Trish had escorted in two newcomers and she had found two additional chairs. She knew Jason Martino slightly and through his reputation. He was the Sanders star Tight End on the football team and a fairly good student. Still, she saw in him someone that she had little regard for and was surprised that Mark would choose to befriend him. If Mark saw something in the young man, then he couldn’t be all bad, she figured. She also noticed that everyone was devouring the pizza as if they hadn’t eaten in a month. She decided to grab another piece of pizza before the ten larges that were purchased were completely gone.
When Alexis eyes caught Jason’s, he stared away. Mark noticed this and whispered to Alexis. Jason saw this and knew what was about to happen. Alexis walked over to Jason and Josie. “Hey Josie, can I borrow your guy for a minute?”
“As long as you promise to return him the way you found him,” smiled Josie.
Jason looked at Josie and she smiled at him. He then got up and walked out with Alexis into the hallway. When they were alone, Jason looked like a deer caught in the headlights. “Alexis, I don’t know what to say. I’m sorry…” he started.
Alexis cut him off with a huge hug, which Jason melted into. She then beamed into his eyes. “I just wanted to thank you,” smiled Alexis.
“For what?” asked a confused Jason.
“For having the sense to break up with me. We both knew we weren’t right for each other, but you had the guts to make the decision for us and for that I’ll always be grateful.”
“You know I still love you.”
“I know. I still love you too, just not the way I thought I did,” said Alexis.
“Me too, I guess.” said Jason. “Are you happy?” he asked.
“Yes. More happy than I’ve ever been!”
“Mark?” asked Jason.
“And everyone else,” added Alexis.
“I don’t understand.”
“You will, when it’s time.”
“Do you trust Mark?”
“More than anyone in the whole world,” stated Alexis
“Because I know he loves me and wants what’s best for me. He wants the same for you too.”
“To love me?”
“Like a brother, silly. Mark isn’t gay, trust me on that one,” laughed Alexis.
“What about Josie?” asked Jason.
“He loves Josie too.”
“Will Josie ever be like you… I mean concerning her feelings about Mark?”
“I guess that depends on you,” said Alexis.
“You mean, if I fall in love with Josie, then she will be mine?”
“That is what Mark hopes for.”
“Why?” asked Jason.
“Because he cares about you both, remember?”
“I certainly don’t deserve what he’s done for me so far,” admitted Jason.
“Maybe not, but Mark sees something special in you. So do me and Trish. We aren’t going to be in school forever you know.”
“I’m going to Boston College, Holy Cross or UMASS for my MBA next year,” said Jason.
“We know. Mark hopes to be able to hire you when you get out. When I get my MBA, I plan to work for him myself.”
“He hasn’t told me yet, but knowing Mark, by this time next year he will have started a profitable company,” smiled Alexis.
Jason was floored. He had to admit that Mark was pretty amazing, but to run his own business venture at such a young age? Still, much of business was about making relationships and Jason did not question Mark’s ability on that front. He had hated the guy less than six hours ago, but in that time, he felt that he had become one of his best friends. He was also flattered that Mark would be interested in him based upon his business knowledge. At best, Jason had hoped to glom on with a brokerage house or a large financial services company in an entry level job. Now Mark seemed to be interested in getting him in on the ground floor of some enterprise.
“Is Mark OK with everything you told me?” asked Jason.
“I wouldn’t be telling you otherwise,” said Alexis. “The important thing for you to realize is that aside from this being about business, more importantly it is about us being a family.”
“What if I decide not to join?”
“Then you won’t join. Mark understands that we all have our own individual hopes and dreams. He just believes that we can help each other accomplish them.”
Jason smiled. While he still didn’t understand everything concerning Mark, he did get some insight from talking to Alexis. More importantly, Alexis had given him some closure concerning their relationship, which he felt would help him to pursue his relationship with Josie. Josie, he thought to himself. With all of Mark’s apparent power, Jason was worried that Mark would somehow pull Josie out from under him, both figuratively and literally. From what Alexis said, Mark was rooting for him and Josie to wind up together.
At that point Jason had his epiphany. He would tie his future to Mark’s star. He realized that he had never been happier at his future prospects, both financial and personal, and Mark apparently could be immensely helpful to him on both fronts. He also realized that poor Josie did not have a chance. He was not ever going to let her get away from him because he realized that he did love her. He could not imagine ever being apart from her despite them only being together for a few hours. She would need to spend her six month servitude/quasi-girlfriend relationship with him for her own good to ensure it but Jason was convinced that they would eventually be together. What Jason did not realize was that none of that would be necessary by the end of the night.
After everyone had their fill of pizza, folding chairs were carried into the conservatory and set up with care. Soon everyone was sitting waiting for this evening’s main event. Amber Lynn had been looking forward to this moment. She had been working hard with her voice teacher on several pieces and she had a piece for an encore that she had worked with Sarah on. The Habanera from Carmen was one of Mark’s favorite arias and she wanted to do it for him as a surprise. She had always wanted to try it, but was quite daunted by singing in French. Recently, her Italian interpretation had improved and she had started singing Lieder in German with some success. With her first semester recital coming up in a few weeks, she wanted to test her chosen material on her family and then throw in the aria from Carmen as a surprise at the end.
This evening’s version of the recital was a smash. Sarah had accompanied Amber on Caro Mio Ben and Alexis had played for her on Die Forelle and Heidenroslein (both by Schubert), all which she sang deftly. Then came the French aria. In the end she was quite happy with the result, though she muffed a few pronunciations. Still, she did not let it hamper her performance, as her lovely mezzo voice effortlessly hit all the right notes. At the end she was mobbed by everyone, with Mark hugging her tightly followed by a quick kiss, when he saw that Wendy and Jeff weren’t looking. Jason saw it but by this time he did not question the kiss. He accepted the fact that Mark was lovers with most of the women in the room except for Wendy, Angie and of course Josie.
Josie came up to Amber Lynn beaming. “You’re an amazing singer, Amber. I just love your voice!”
Amber gave her a big hug and thanked her. “I just wish I did a better job with my French in the aria. I’m part French and it is embarrassing how little I know about the language.”
“Actually, it was fairly good. You only had problems in a few places. I’m fluent in French as my family was descended from French nobility on both sides. I’d be happy to help if you’d like,” smiled Josie.
“I’d love it! I plan to try some chansons next term and could use some tutoring if you have the time,” smiled Amber.
“Trust me, I’d love to help. I used to sing too and I really miss it. Anyway, living vicariously through a talent like you would make me happy!”
“It’s a date then! Thanks Josie!” grinned Amber.
Josie was happy. Not only to help, but to help Amber in particular. For some reason, in terms of manner though not necessarily appearance, Amber reminded Josie of someone from her past, but she just couldn’t make the connection.
At this point, people wanted to hear more singing, but Amber didn’t really have anything else ready. She was in the mood to “pop out” so she took requests. Jeff yelled out “Do you know ‘Beautiful’?” as Wendy beamed at him.
“Sure,” she smiled as she sat down at the piano and broke into a flawless version of the Christina Aguilera song, with her own lovely vocal interpretation. At the end, everyone went crazy as Wendy gave Jeff a long sweet kiss for his suggestion.
Wendy then yelled out “Can you sing ‘Yesterday’?”
“I can, but I need a guitar,” said Amber.
Elsie quickly got up out of her chair. And went into the closet of the conservatory and pulled out a classical guitar. “Tom used to serenade me with this in happier times. I’m glad I didn’t toss it out” Elsie smiled wistfully. After taking about thirty seconds to tune it, she performed a sweet version of the Beatles standard. Again, Amber brought the house down.
“What else. If I know it, I’ll try it,” Amber smiled as she was very much in her own element.
“What would you like to do for us?” asked Mark.
Amber thought. There was one song from her childhood that brought back special memories. She used to sing it with her Aunt Lucy, who taught it to her. Her dear Aunt Lucy passed away a couple of years before and she hadn’t sung it in a long time. For some reason the song came to mind. Strangely enough the song was special to someone else in the room.
“I’d love to sing Dog and Butterfly, by Heart, but I wish I had someone who could sing the harmony part,” said Amber.
“I know it,” said Josie tentatively.
Amber smiled wistfully. She knew that she was going to cry by the time the song was over. Amber would not be the only one. As Josie walked up front slowly, Amber hugged her and whispered, “Thanks Josie, this song means a lot to me.”
“Me too,” Josie whispered back.
Amber started playing the opening guitar notes that she had learned at her Aunt’s knee and then began to sing as she had been taught.
Josie was transported back to a happier place and time. It was then she made the connection concerning Amber. Josie was listening to her mother sing the melody part to Dog and Butterfly as they did every New Year’s eve at the annual party in White River Junction. As always, it seemed like the whole town was there. She saw her father looking out from the crowd of people looking at her and her mother standing on the makeshift stage. Now she was on the second verse. She could see the pride in his father’s eyes now looking at her. It was her turn to start singing as her harmony part rang out beautifully in 2001 as it rang out in 2008.
Up In the air he like to fly.The Dog and ButterflyBelow she had to tryShe roll back downTo the warm soft ground laughingTo the sky, up to the skyDog and butterfly
As 2008 was 2001 for Josie, 2008 was 2004 for Amber. It was the first year Aunt Lucy let Amber sing the melody with Aunt Lucy singing the harmony part. Next came the bridge as both women looked at each other with moist eyes as Amber continued.
We’re getting older the world’s getting colderFor the life of me I don’t know the reason whyMaybe it’s livin’ making us give inHearts rolling in taken back on the tideWe’re balanced together ocean upon the sky.
Amber managed to hold it together until she heard Josie’s harmony part come in again.
See the Dog and ButterflyIn the air they long to flyThe Dog and ButterflyBelow she had to tryShe roll back downTo the warm soft ground with a little tear in her eyeShe had to try, she had to tryDog and butterfly
Tears began to run down Amber’s face, but she powered through. It was 2004 and Aunt Lucy’s powerful harmony part sang through as their voice blended all the times that Amber had sung the harmony part before. Now their roles had changed Amber had remembered how proud her Aunt looked at her as she sang in 2004, as Lucy had passed the torch of singing the lead to her favorite niece at the county fair. She was so proud of her Amber. While they would sing it again in 2005, Lucy’s voice was ravaged by her disease, so it wasn’t the same. Amber always tried to remember 2004 for that reason.
In 2001, Josie saw her mother crying. It would be the last time that her father would look with pride upon her mother and the last time that she and her mother would sing the song together. A week later her mother left because her father had discovered that she had been cheating on him. Josie noticed her tears flowing in 2008 as she powered through to the end of the song too. In the end, everyone cheered as Amber quickly put down her guitar as she ran to Josie’s arms and the two women embraced tightly and both sobbed. Both women looked at each other and sensed that their gift of music had touched each other in a way that they both longed for.
Trish looked at Mark “God, that was beautiful!” she said, overcome by emotion.
“Yes it was. Amber has the talent to go far if she wants to, and if she does, I’m going to make it happen for her,” he vowed.
“What about Josie? She has a lovely voice too,” said Trish.
“Yes. They sang beautifully together,” agreed Mark.
Jason looked at Josie and Amber crying in each other’s arms and couldn’t think of anything more beautiful. He had made up his mind earlier that he loved Josie. What he was witnessing just reinforced these feelings. He walked up to Amber and Josie and hugged them both. Jeff and Wendy looked on completely blown away by what they were seeing. Josie, the evil bitch who broke his heart, had a beautiful soul and voice to go along with it, thought Jeff. He was now thankful he had listened to Mark concerning Josie.
That night Josie and Amber became very close. Amber told Josie about how wonderful she thought her voice was and how well it blended with hers. They told each other about the significance of Dog and Butterfly in their lives and they both cried some more. Both of them did not understand the important parallel of the song in their lives until later, but for now, as it had been more than twenty years ago between two others, they celebrated their newfound friendship. Amber then suggested that they perform the song together at the talent show just before Thanksgiving, and Josie got excited. They also both knew Dreamboat Annie by Heart and thought they could add it to the set along with some Simon and Garfunkle or CSNY songs too. When Josie left Elsie Taylor’s house that night on Jason’s arm, she was transformed. Jason saw how happy she looked.
When they got back to Jason’s room they made love and it was incredible for them both. In the afterglow, Josie just beamed at Jason. “I can’t believe how lucky I am, Master. I get to be with you and I’ve made some incredible friends in just one night!”
Jason just lay there contented to listen to Josie’s excited uttering.
“I mean, just a day ago I was calling Amber, ‘Amber-whore’ and Trish and Wendy, ‘twin-bitches’. Now they are among my best friends along with Jeff and Mark.”
“What about me?” grinned Jason.
“Yes, me, Josie.”
“Your Josie-slave has a special category for you, Master, but she’s embarrassed to say,” admitted Josie.
“You don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.”
“I would appreciate it, Master. As your slave, I would do anything you want me to do, but with all the wonderful things that have happened to me tonight, I don’t want the night to end with disappointment.”
“No, for me, Master,” said Josie quietly.
“OK Josie, my dearest love. If that’s the way you feel.”
“I’m sorry, Master, you could always order me… wait, what did you call me, Master?”
“I called you my dearest love, Josie and my name is Jason, not Master,” said Jason.
“You love me?” shrieked Josie.
“Are you sure?!”
“As sure as I am of anything,” said Jason, before kissing her passionately.
After the kiss Josie smiled.
“Now where do I fit into your life or will I have to go to sleep disappointed?” smiled Jason.
“You are the love of my life, the sun, the moon, the stars, the French Riviera…” babbled Josie.
“The French Riviera?”
It’s my favorite place in the whole world! I’d love to take you there one day, Master.”
“It’s a date, but remember, my name is Jason.”
“I still think I should be your slave.”
Jason paused to think for a moment before responding, “Josie, do you like being my slave?”
Josie snuggled into Jason’s chest and smiled. “Of course I do, my loving master,” she grinned.
“Just a few hours ago, you told Mark and me that you didn’t want to be my slave, but you needed to prove your love to me. Has that changed?”
Josie thought for a moment. She did say that and at the time, she meant it. Now that she knew Jason loved her, she didn’t mind being his slave. In fact she liked it because she could make the love of her life happy. “Everything has changed! You told me that you loved me. You can love me as your girlfriend or as your slave and I will be happy just knowing that you love me!” she exclaimed.
“Baby, you just proved your love to me!”
“I don’t know… it’s been only one night. I just don’t want to revert back to being a bitch and hurt you,” started Josie in a concerned tone.
“That won’t happen.”
“How are you so sure?”
“Because I saw you tonight with Amber and everyone else. You can’t honestly tell me that you are the same person you were twelve hours ago? You’ve completely changed.”
“A person can’t change that much in such a short time, can they?”
“I know of two people who have. I’m totally different too. I use to be so selfish. I just cared about myself and that reflected in all my relationships. I don’t know how Mark did it, but I’m different now. When I woke up this morning, I had no idea how amazing my life was going to be and I don’t just mean today. I mean tomorrow and in two years and in ten years and so on. Now I know what I want in life and Mark helped me to figure that out, the way he helped you to figure it out. My question to you, Josie Garnier, is when you wake up tomorrow morning, would you want today to never have happened?”
“Of course not! Today has been the best day of my life!” exclaimed Josie.
“Even though you spent part of it as a sex slave?” pointed out Jason.
“Are you kidding? That was one of the best parts!”
“What was the best part?”
“When you said you loved me,” she blushed with a sweet smile.
“OK, so to recap, the best moment of the best day of your life was when I told you I loved you?”
“Yes,” smiled Josie.
“Then see. I don’t have anything to worry about.”
“Arrogant, aren’t we, Master?” laughed Josie.
“You’re calling ME arrogant?”
“Yeah, but I did throw you a bone by calling you ‘Master’.”
“Did we just have our first fight?” smiled Jason.
“mmmm hmmm. Now we get to have make-up sex,” husked Josie.
Jason climbed up on Josie and positioned his member at her moistened gate and leaned forward. No foreplay needed as their previous lovemaking still left Josie plenty lubricated. Josie pulled Jason to her ample breasts and he began to nibble on her left nipple. Soon Jason moved his head up Josie’s torso to her mouth and they kissed passionately. God she was so beautiful, Jason thought to himself. Josie was thinking the same thing as she looked at Jason. She had always been attracted to him, but he always had some beautiful girl or another on his arm. Now she was that girl and she never wanted to stop being her. She felt him thrust into her with some of the same passion that he did last night. The major difference was Josie. Not only were her lips locked on Jason tonight, she wanted to take hold of him with every part of her body and never let go. She thrust her body back with equal passion. Though she was technically no longer his slave, she was a slave to her love for him. So that in every way that mattered, she was his. What Josie didn’t fathom was that Jason was feeling the same way about her. He had been dominating in his relationships; he had done it with many women and succeeded. He had done it with Alexis and failed. He didn’t want to dominate Josie, but could tell that in some ways she wanted to be dominated. He wanted to give himself completely to this woman. He no longer feared that she would manipulate and control him. She was no longer that Josie Garnier. Now, she was his Josie Garnier and he wanted to be her man. In the end, it really didn’t matter. They had time to find their way.
In a moment in which their eyes were both open, Josie saw an intensity in Jason’s eyes. She had seen this kind of intensity in her lovers before, but she had never craved it, as she did now. It used to be about power and her ability to use her body to get what she wanted. It was never about her emotional intensity, just her physical needs. While she loved to fuck and loved to orgasm, she had just accepted that her body would bring off her partner because she knew how to use it and she was right.
Now, it was different. Josie was no longer just focused on her own pleasure. Her body burned with a fire she had never experienced before. She felt Jason begin to nibble on her ear and realized that she was not the only one focusing on the pleasure of the other. This was too much for Josie. She thrust her hips up and tightened her legs’ grip on Jason’s ass, while rippling her pussy muscles and let her own orgasm coax his. Her efforts were not wasted as Jason began to feel spurt after spurt of his semen begin to pour out of him as he screamed out in passion. Josie grabbed his head and took his mouth with her own as she continued to feel the strength of her own orgasm, while her pussy was being flooded by his hot seed. When they were finished, Jason rolled off of Josie, pulled her possessively to him and held her. She sighed contentedly. It was only ten, but Josie and Jason had one of the longest and happiest days of their lives as they fell asleep in each others arms.