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Four Bidding For Love (a novel)

Part 11: Kylie, the Shocked Voyeur (7/14/12)

     With time sitting heavily on her nervous hands, Kylie glanced at the shelves of shoes and wondered if the sales lady who smiled at her was Alexia. The woman was middle-aged with straight dusky-blond hair in a pageboy haircut and waif-like in a way Kylie had not expected.
     Working up her courage, Kylie asked, "Are you Alexia?"
     The woman smiled sunnily and replied, "No, I'm Katy. Alexia comes in later. But can I help you?"
     "No, just looking," Kylie replied politely and then turned to the neatly arranged rows of shoes. Though she was supposed to be picking out another pair, her mind was distracted by the negotiations just ahead and by a sharp curiosity about mysterious Alexia.
     Disinterested in the rows of footwear, Kylie retreated to her battered car. Instead of heading north toward the craft fair as she intended, Kylie found herself turning south, for thanks to Ross's snooping she knew Alexia's house was just a few blocks away on Green Street.
     Pulling onto a side street, Kylie turned her car around and parked slightly up the hill so she could watch Alexia's house unobtrusively. Slouching down, she retrieved the binoculars from under the seat—a gift from her birdwatching-enthusiast Grandma—and aimed them at the stately gold-trimmed three-story Victorian which Alexia called home.
     Her surveillance went unrewarded save for a brief barkfest between a large white poodle and a scruffy Cairn Terrier, each restrained by an equally unfriendly dogwalker. Upscale neighborhoods are so boring, Kylie sighed; nothing happens except gardeners and nannies come and go.
     The moment of bourgeois ennui was broken by the sudden emergence from Alexia's house of a topheavy man in baggy khaki trousers, a crumpled fedora and fiendishly huge round sunglasses. The man seemed ill at-ease negotiating the entry stairs, even though he'd come from the lower of the two flats, and Kylie attributed his hesitancy to the absurdly oversized athletic shoes he wore. Could this be Alexia's neighbor, or perhaps even her husband?
     The strangely dressed man shuffled out to the sidewalk, stopped abruptly and then extracted a cellphone from his sagging black jacket pocket. The call must have upset him, for his gestures were those of a frustrated traffic cop; after a moment of conversation, he pocketed the phone, tugged down his faded fedora and strode awkwardly down the sidewalk in his outsized shoes.
     No sooner had this peculiar character rounded the far corner than a slim petite young woman in a dark-blue mini-skirt and matching blazer hurried up the house's walkway, phone to her ear. Her chestnut hair was pinned up in a sleek chignon, and as Kylie sharpened the binoc's focus, a greenish tinge of envy arose in her, for everything about this woman spoke of a cash-rich lifestyle: the perfect suit, the well-shined pumps and the glitter of gold round her neck.
     The woman waved to a dark-haired man in a crisp gray suit entering the home's white gate, and as soon as the man reached her the couple touched hands briefly and then trotted side-by-side up to the top flat's entry. Here they embraced in a deep kiss. The pair emerged from the embrace with obvious reluctance, and then slipped inside.
     This has to be Alexia, Kylie mused, for she'd reckoned Alexia as a size seven shoe, and this woman looked like the perfect fit. She has to be self-employed or independently wealthy; otherwise, how could she meet her boyfriend or hubby when everyone else is at work?
     Much to Kylie's embarrassment, the couple either did not notice the open living room curtains or care to close them; for once they shut the door, they continued their kiss and began shedding clothing as if they'd just entered a very hot sauna. Though the couple's unmistakable relish suggested the husband had just returned from a trip, Kylie thought it peculiar that he carried no luggage.
     Kylie's embarrassment increased when the couple apparently could not wait to reach the bedroom to complete their welcome-home ritual. Instead, they shed the last of their clothing and flopped passionately onto the sofa in full view of her voyeur's binoculars.
     Given her elevation on the hill and the expanse of the living room's glass, nothing was hidden from Kylie's spying; and even as she told herself it was wrong, she found herself in the grip of a keen curiosity. Though the denouement was known in advance, the couple still managed to surprise their voyeur with some unexpected work over the sofa's low back; and the young lady led the fun with such abandon that it seemed doubtful she would need an exercise class that week.
     Despite her guilt, Kylie watched the proceedings to the end. As the man redressed, the woman slipped away and then returned in a serenely slinky cream robe to see him off. Well, Kylie thought, all's well that ends well; the happy couple is reunited.
     But the couple's previous ardor had been replaced with a businesslike manner, and some disagreement erupted when the man slipped the woman a folded envelope. The woman glanced at the envelope and turned sulkily away; after some ineffective pleading, the man left his pouting lover and trotted angrily down the steps.
     All the peculiarities of the situation suddenly melded—the workday time, the absence of ardor afterward, the discreet exchange of an envelope—and Kylie realized the envelope must have been payment for her sofa services.
     As her mind clicked through this startlingly comprehensive explanation, Kylie thought, how naive of me to imagine a husband returning from a business trip. No wonder Alexia can afford such a posh flat; clearly, the fees for her enthusiastic servicing must be generous, despite her show of arch disappointment with the envelope’s contents.
     Kylie's cellphone interrupted her lurid speculations and she fumbled for it in her purse.
     "Are you in the crafts fair yet?" Ross demanded, and Kylie gulped, for her ample margin of time had slipped away. "Almost," she said hurriedly. "I wanted to check out Alexia beforehand."
     "And what did you find?"
     "Well, she's either a sex addict or—" Kylie blurted, and then instantly regretted revealing her discovery.
     "Or what?"
     "Forget it."
     "A sex addict," Ross drawled. "I'm sure that will be very helpful if negotiations get tough. Is her shop an S&M parlor or something?"
     "No, it's very bourgeois," Kylie said and then hurriedly started her car.
     "Then how did you deduce she's a sex addict?"
     "I can't tell you."
     "It's her shoes, isn't it?" Ross declared triumphantly. "I know how you women get your intuitions. It's always the shoes."
     Ignoring his speculations, Kylie barked, "Just call this Robin and tell him I'll be there in a few minutes."
     Ross's annoyance was clearly audible. "I already arranged everything with him. I thought you were never late."
     "You wanted me to check Alexia out, so I did," she snapped defensively.
     "I appreciate that," Ross drawled. "Can you at least tell me what she looks like?"
     "Slim, dark hair about shoulder-length, a size 7 in shoes and a size 5 in dresses," Kylie reported quickly, and then closed her phone before Ross could question her further. Flustered by her surveillance and the late hour, Kylie drove in haste toward the crafts fair and told herself, If you screw up these negotiations, Ross will never forgive you.

Next: Robin Imagines Kylie

To read the previous chapters, visit the "Four Bidding For Love" home page.

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My non-fiction books:

Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change (print edition)
Resistance, Revolution, Liberation: A Model for Positive Change (Kindle edition)
An Unconventional Guide to Investing in Troubled Times (print edition)
An Unconventional Guide (Kindle edition)
Survival+: Structuring Prosperity for Yourself and the Nation
Survival+ (Kindle edition)
Survival+ The Primer
Survival+ The Primer (Kindle edition)
Weblogs & New Media: Marketing in Crisis
Marketing in Crisis (Kindle edition)

My other six novels and assorted stories: (sample chapters and the stories)

Claire's Great Adventure
Kama Sutra Cadillac
Of Two Minds
Verona in Spring
For My Daughter
I-State Lines

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