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Chapter 21 – Kentucky
Google will tell you that using the Interstate highways it should take just under two hours to get from Hamilton, Ohio, to Lexington, Kentucky. Dave took the back roads and made lots of stops. At three-thirty in the afternoon, he still hadn’t quite reached Lexington, and he’d been on the road since eight that morning after leaving Martin and Sasha’s home. It was Monday morning.
Dave stopped beside a beautiful farm surrounded by various paddocks, each outlined with a bright white painted fence to separate various horses from one another. On the flats to his immediate left was a race track that Dave figured was about a mile around. On the track, a jockey occasionally rode one of the Arabian horses at full throttle. Occasionally, they’d start with a second horse and rider, but the jockey’s horse would quickly outdistance the planned competition. When the race horse would start, Dave noted that the horses in the other sectors of the farm would watch, almost as if they were sizing up their competition.
In the distance, up a rolling slope was a majestic mansion of a home. Dave guessed the place might be ten- or twelve-thousand square feet, and the type of place to have fifteen guest rooms and as many baths. He could even see a tennis court on the right side of the home and a wind sock for the helipad about a hundred yards from the house.
Dave sat on the white fence near the road and watched the race horse make another circuit, the third in an hour. He didn’t time the horse, but it couldn’t have taken it more than a couple of minutes to run the circuit as the jockey whipped the flanks to urge him on. At his end of the track, he could even hear the jockey yelling to the horse to go faster.
Dave’s motorcycle, the 1988 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail, was parked immediately behind him on a patch of hard packed dirt where it wouldn’t tip over, like it might with the kick stand in soft loam. All his traveling gear was piled on the bike, and held on with about twenty bungee cords. Dave chuckled; he never packed the bike the same way twice.
One of the Arabians in the paddock right in front of Dave trotted nearby and looked at him on the fence. He knew he should probably leave, and the horse clearly knew he didn’t belong. The horse whinnied at him, and then trotted away to the shade of a large maple tree.
A jeep pulled up behind his motorcycle, stopped, and the motor shut off. A woman in tight, white jodhpurs and tall riding boots got out of the small car. She wore a white blouse with a small necktie, and a grey riding jacket despite the warm temperatures. She had a rosy glow about her as though she’d been exercising.
She challenged him, “Excuse me. What is your interest in our horses?” Her tone verged on angry.
Dave nodded at the woman, “I think they’re the most beautiful creatures on earth, present company excluded, of course.”
“What are you doing?” The slightly nasty tone continued.
“Watching them. I was riding along and saw the jockey exercising the Arabian, so I stopped to watch. I got enthralled with the whole scene in front of me – the race training, the other horses, the beauty of your farm, … everything. I did take a picture of the farm, but just to jog my memory when I get home. I apologize if I did something wrong.”
The young woman gestured to the bike, “You’re from Florida?” She’d seen his license plate. Her accent and demeanor gave her a snooty rating in Dave’s mind.
“On a long trip around the country – a vacation of sorts. I’m not a horse person.”
“Were you timing our laps?” she challenged.
“No, but I could guess that they were fast, especially when they started with the second horse.”
“I was riding the other horse trying to spur Gold Granite on to new records for us.” Her voice continued the ‘in your face’ attitude.
The woman challenged, “Where were you before you stopped here”
“I left a friend’s home in Hamilton, Ohio, this morning, and have been poking along enjoying the scenery and Kentucky horse country. Your farm is the prettiest of all of them.”
“It’s my father’s, but he’s in Europe for the week. He has more money than God, and horse racing is his big hobby. He owns a record label – a very popular one. He flew over in his own plane.”
Dave could tell she was trying to impress him. He chuckled to himself and thought, well two can play that game.
“Oh, I fly, too. I ran a company that made batteries for the last seven years until I decided to take this vacation.”
“You fly little Cessna planes?” she asked in her snooty tone.
“I don’t know what you consider little. My plane can comfortably carry fourteen, including me and the copilot, at 40,000 feet at Mach .85. I like to fly it myself, but I’ll have to recertify in the jet when I get home because I will have been away so long. A friend that’s rated in the jet flew it up with another friend that rode part way along my journey with me before she flew back home.”
The woman settled back. She’d been matched and upped, and knew bostancı escort bayan it. The corners of her mouth turned up.
“Are you in some motorcycle club or something?” Her voice had softened.
“Nope. Just me. I normally live in a gated community in Florida, so this trip is a bit of a lark. I’m trying to eventually get to every state in the lower forty-eight. I’m not a Hell’s Angel, or whatever you might be thinking. I was a business executive. You could even look me up on the Internet.” He passed her one of his business cards, still valid because of his past connection and board duties for EneRG.
“David Prentiss, huh?” She pulled her cellphone from her pocket and poked in some question. As she read the results, her eyes got large.
“Oh. OH! Oh, dear. I’m so sorry for confronting you. We don’t want our race competition to know how well Gold Granite is running. He wasn’t ready for the Derby, so we had another entry, but she didn’t do all that well. Granite could win the roses next year with the times we just clocked today.”
Dave knew she was talking about the Kentucky Derby – The Run for the Roses.
“I can understand your concern. I’m sorry for raising your dander. I should move along anyway. I was going to find a campground for the night.”
“OH, NO!” the woman looked horrified. “You should stay with us. Please accept our hospitality, and excuse my brashness and inhospitable challenge to you when I stopped you. I kind of thought you might be a spy from one of the other stables. I’d really like your company.”
Dave looked up at the home, “Up there?”
She nodded and broke into a sparkling smile.
“I certainly would like to see the home. What is it, about twelve-thousand square feet?”
“Fourteen, actually. Please come. Dinner, too. I’m afraid it’s just me and the help, but I’d love to make up my brash attitude to you.”
“You weren’t THAT nasty, but I do want to see you home. It looks beautiful. I’m afraid I’m a little dusty from poking along all day. I have nothing formal to wear, just some very wrinkled Dockers and more casual shoes.”
“We have a shower for you – of course. Dress is very informal unless my father is around, and even then, it only ratchets up a notch. He doesn’t like to wear ties at home.”
“Errr, you know I’m Dave Prentiss, but I haven’t heard your name, I’m afraid.”
“Oh, dear. My manners are slipping left and right. I’m Carli Winston. Welcome to Winston Farms.”
“Dave made polite protestations about being a burden, but could see that his novelty had great appeal to Carli. Since she hadn’t identified him yet as connected with the TV show or the Circle, the real novelty about him had yet to appear.
Dave followed Carli in her jeep up to the large house. She suggested that he park his motorcycle in an empty slot in the six-car garage and only bring in his essential items. Dave was assigned a second-floor guest room after a short house tour. His room was large, had a small annex as a sitting room, as well as an ensuite bath that was gorgeously decorated. Dave was aware of a maid and butler in the downstairs areas.
Dave did shower and shave, and changed into his ‘casual’ clothes. He was glad to have left Martin and Sasha’s home having washed everything he had. He looked neater certainly than he would have if he’d had to visit from a nearby campground.
Dave was met at the bottom of the stairway by a young man who was obviously the butler. He enquired about Dave’s preference in a drink, and then directed into a living room that looked out over the horse farm. That was where Dave was looking out the front windows when Carli stepped into the room a few minutes later. She carried his wine cooler as well as a glass of Chardonnay for herself. She wore a monotone knee-length skirt and a colorful top, and modest heels; she looked rich and adorable.
“You are a modest man, David Prentiss,” she announced as she passed his wine to him.
He gave her a questioning look.
“I asked one of my assistants to do a run-up on you while I cleaned up from riding. She didn’t have enough time to tell me everything about you, but I got about seven minutes as she rapidly told me about you.”
Dave smiled, “My life does seem to be an open book.”
“I’m embarrassed that I’ve never seen The Circle television show, nor have I read the book that you are featured in. I learned you have ten wives, but live in open marriages with them and live in a community – The Circle – where you and everyone enjoys conjugal relationships with everyone else. You helped start and run what became EneRG – the multi-billion-dollar-a-year company that makes those innovative batteries, and you profited greatly when the company went public along with your billionaire friends. We own stock in your company. I guess that was when you bought your corporate jet. YOU are quite a man!” She smiled and tipped her drink in his direction.
“I just took one day at a time and made a couple of astute decisions here and there.” Dave bowed to her.
“Nonsense. ümraniye escort The Fortune magazine article about you, I’m told, said you were one of the most astute business leaders in the world. They rarely praise any CEO like that, and here I find you sitting on my fence idly watching our horses. Again, my apologies for my brashness earlier.”
“Apology accepted and not needed. I was the trespasser. I’m also afraid I didn’t have an assistant do a precis on Carli Winston. Could you fill me in?”
Carli laughed. “I’m the brat. I’m thirty-five, a bit of a playgirl after a marriage that lasted six months and failed about six years ago. Mummy and Daddy suggested I move home and manage the horses, and I did, but I also run an executive head-hunting agency that I hope to rival Egon Zehnder and Heidrick & Struggles, called Talentation. It’s based in Lexington for now, but I have offices in New York, Chicago, Denver, and San Francisco. We’re opening London next month. In fact, if Daddy hadn’t taken the jet, I’d be on it now heading to the west coast. Instead, I’ll have a teleconference tomorrow with the people out there.”
“You said your father owned a record label?”
“Several actually, depending on the genre of music. The big one is ARC Music. They had Carly Simon as one of their singers years ago. My father loved her music, so when I came along, I was bestowed with her name.”
“You’re prettier, I think.”
“Flattery will get you everywhere, David Prentiss. Thank you.” She gestured to a chair, “Tell me about your WIVES. Is it true you have ten of them, one a movie star – but I don’t know who?”
Dave smiled, “They are in approximate order Alice, Pam, Heather, Julie, Cricket, Scarlett, Nikky, JR, Tatiana, and Bridget. Scarlett is the movie star – Scarlett Johansson. Cricket is the noted author of a number of best-selling novels. There are some crazy relationships in our family.”
“Explain, beyond there being ten wives and you, I presume.”
“Well, Alice is my legal wife. Her sister is Julie. Her other sister Karen is also in the Circle but married to Daryl. Scarlett’s daughter Rose spends a lot of time with us, and is my step-daughter, and she’s in love with my step-son, Heather’s son from a previous relationship, but she’s also in love with me and several other men in the Circle. Alice and Julie are also married to Owen Bennett, the philanthropist, and he lives only a few houses from us, so they’re back and forth all the time. Karen, who I mentioned, has a daughter Bridget and she loved me enough to become a wife despite being my niece. JR was my Number Two at EneRG and runs the place now, but we were married before that event. Alice is the CFO, and Nikky works there, too, kind of as the COO. I also have a hazy marital relationship, kind of Number Eleven, with Cindy Worthington – one of Mark Worthington’s wives.” Dave stopped; he realized he was name dropping.
Carli laughed. I didn’t follow all of that, but I can see why someone decided to feature you in the TV series. I will have to get hold of the old episodes and the book.”
“Give me your address, and you’ll have them before the end of the week.” Dave held his phone out for her to enter the data.
Carli then asked the next question, and in many ways that took the rest of the evening to answer: ‘Tell me about the Circle?’
* * * * *
Carli and Dave sat at the end of a long mahogany table having finished their meal, a delightful roast with tasty side dishes. Everything was cooked to perfection and served by the young butler and a pretty waitress-cook, Dave discovered. They shared coffee after the dishes had been cleared, but started to carry their cups back into the living room.
Dave held his hand up and said, “I must do something before we leave here.” He turned and went through the swinging door into the kitchen. Carli’s mouth dropped open as she sat at the dinner table and waited. Dave was gone a few minutes longer than she expected, and returned with a smile.
“What did you do?” Carli asked in a surprised tone.
“I learned their names and thanked them for the fine meal and their time and attention to our meal and service. We just chatted for a couple of minutes. They’re very nice people. Good choices.”
“But … they’re the help.”
“They’re beautiful human beings, who are, in fact, in love with each other as it turns out. Ellie would like to go back to college, and Patrick would like to open a restaurant.”
“You learned that about them in FIVE minutes? I’ve known them for over a year and didn’t know …” Her voice trailed off. Carli looked down at the floor and said, “I’m a real SHIT, aren’t I?”
Dave shrugged. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. You were raised in a particular way, taught a particularly way to treat the help, and have friends that probably reinforce that rearing. I was raised to appreciate people and to want to know things about them. If you want to change, there are ways to do that. For one, you can loosen up. Don’t feel you have to stick to the stereotypes escort kartal you were taught that a prim and proper rich Kentucky girl has to adhere to.” He chuckled.
Carli admitted, “When I broke out of the mold that Mom and Dad had me in, I was a real rebel. I was drunk a lot, into some drugs, wild sex, and pretty mean to people. Then I got pregnant and Malcomb decided he had to marry me and make me an honest woman. I didn’t love him, but he was a good fuck. I miscarried. We fought. We divorced. I got smarter but more conservative – more like my parents, and here I am.”
“Go thank Patrick and Ellie for dinner.”
Carli got tears in her eyes, stood tentatively, and then went through the door into the kitchen. She was there a long time. Dave finished his coffee and poured himself another from the carafe left on the table. He hoped it was decafe.
Carli came back about twenty minutes later and found him in the living room looking at a coffee table book about Arabian horses. Her eyes were glassy. She stood and looked at him and said in a near whisper and choked up voice, “Thank you. I think you changed my life. I’d like to think I’ll never again forget to thank someone for a favor or a service to me.”
“We’re human. We fuck up, here and there, as you apparently learned. Don’t dwell on it. Learn and move on.”
“Are you like this in the Circle?”
“Carli, there are over two-hundred people in the Circle now. I LOVE them. I’m not into the guys in a sexual way, as I am with the women, but I go out of my way to try to prove my love to every one of them – men and women alike. As you might expect, some of them I don’t see that often to do that, but I never forget. When I have the opportunity, I try to do something special for each person when I can.
“As for people I meet that aren’t in the Circle, like you, Patrick, and Ellie, I try to be as loving and supportive as I can be. I’m far from perfect at it. I have my role models, and I suppose for others, I’m their role model. Do the best you can. Try to do no harm. Be loving.”
“Were you like this in business?”
“Sure. There were some tough decisions here and there. Even when it involved needing to layoff someone because of performance issues, I always knew the issue was ‘fit’ in some way. We always tried to give them a soft landing by helping them get an equal to or better job than they had with us at EneRG.”
Carli came and stood in front of Dave and motioned for him to stand. “Please hug me.”
He did, and as he did, he felt her body sob with emotion as she held onto him like a life preserver. Something he’d done or said had triggered her emotions. He hoped she was all right. He gently kissed the side of her head in a tender way.
Carli eventually pulled away and pulled Dave from the living room, up the circular stairway to the bedroom level, and down the hall and into her room. She hadn’t said a word until she turned and looked at him. “Please make love to me. I haven’t had sex in a very long time, and I know for certain that I’m clean. I’m also on birth control. I need you in a way you may not understand.”
Dave walked around Carli as she stood there unmoving. He was surveying her up and down, as though he were deciding on what to do. She was a few inches shorter than he was, long blonde hair to below her shoulders, and shapely and curvy in the right places. She didn’t appear to have an ounce of extra weight on her, except perhaps her breasts, and that was just fine with him.
Dave leaned in and kissed one of her ears, nibbling on her ear lobe as he finished. His kisses trailed down her cheek and neck, and then into the cleavage of the blouse she wore. Before he reached the ‘V’ of her blouse, she’d started to pant. She was smiling, finally. Dave stood and undid a button. He looked at her and their eyes locked together. He wanted there to be no doubt about what was going to happen, and in that look, she gave complete approval for everything and anything.
Dave kissed in the widened ‘V’, reaching new skin. He undid a further button, and again found new skin. He was surprised to discover she wasn’t wearing a bra. After a few more buttons on the blouse, there were no more. He parted the material and exposed her chest and her magnificent breasts.
Dave carefully balanced the attention he gave to left and right breasts, and between breasts, areolas, and nipples. Carli held his upper body in her arms as he bent to please and stimulate her in a sexual way. Occasionally, her panting gave way to a gasp as he touched some special place of pleasure. Carli’s nips quickly rose to that white-hot state he liked where her body appeared to want to turn inside-out through her breasts.
Dave touched the waistband of the skirt that she wore. There didn’t seem to be a struggle or a search for buttons or snaps. The skirt just suddenly dropped from her body to a puddle around her feet on the floor. Even Carli seemed surprised, but with a coy smile.
Carli wore a lacy black thong that had tiny red flowers sewn onto the supporting bands that ran from the waist through her crotch. Through the lace, he could see the carefully crafted remains of her pubic hair, otherwise she was nearly bald in that area. Seeing her in that state of undress confirmed to him that she was a ‘hot’ woman with a very shapely body.
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