July 5, 2011

Agnes's Birthday

Continued from here

Frederick picked up the phone and called to make reservations for the evening. The phone rang several times and continued to ring, not even rolling over to an answering machine. He double checked the time on his watch, surprised there was no answer. Finally he hung up and turned to the keyboard to set a reminder to call again in a half hour and put his attention on applying the first coat of wax on his boots. As he was working the soft warm wax into the leather he thought about his plans for the evening and wondered how Agnes would fair. He recalled how startled she had been the first time they went to Patrick’s establishment. Her apprehension over the attention she drew from the other men in the bar, her obvious jealousy over the affection displayed by Gretchen and her strict familial influences when it came to things like the water pipe and hashish. She had certainly relaxed over the past months but just as she had bristled at previous exposures to more base proclivities, she was going to be challenged again tonight.

After applying wax to both boots he again sat them in front of the window so that the heat of the sun would soften and open the leather and help it to absorb the wax. It was still too early to call about reservations so he went to the bedroom and pulled the footlocker out from under the bed and set it on the bed bench. He carefully inventoried the various implements to be sure he had all he would be needing. He took out two riding crops, a quirt and a very old tawse, all to be cleaned and treated.

As he was coming out of the bedroom the computer chimed it’s reminder and he called again to make arrangements for the night. They answered this time and he set a reservation for a party of three in the back dining room for 8:15. He inquired to be sure they had a particular Riesling d'Alsace and was assured that it be cooled and waiting. He asked the hostess if she would be sure to pass along the reservation time to Patrick and she assured him that she would.

Frederick realized he had only given Agnes the sketchiest background on the plans for the evening. But that was just as well as he wanted her a bit off balance through the night. Well, not off balance but he did not want her distracted from the matters of the moment by anticipation of later planned events or concerns about things to come. Agnes could be such a worrier, her responses were more relaxed when she had no idea what was about to happen. He resolved to divert any questions about plans for the evening but he did need to call her and provide a few basic instructions.

When Agnes answered the phone, she sounded as if she had just woken up.

“Are you awake?” Frederick asked.

“Oh, yes. I had just dozed off here on the couch for a little bit. I was up very early this morning. I’m excited and looking forward to our date tonight. I wasn’t able to sleep for thinking about this evening. I also wanted to get a head start on my hair. It will take a lot of work to get it the way you want it.”

“I'm glad you are excited about the evening. But it is just dinner out, and then some music, perhaps some dancing.”

“Oh Frederick, you are always minimizing things. It is my birthday and I’m so excited. I remember your comments when we were shopping, about finding special events to show off my lovely new clothes. I’m sure tonight will be wonderful, it certainly will be for me. Maybe you don’t know how much I enjoy our time together?”

“I very much enjoy our time together as well, Agnes, more than you may know. Speaking of dresses, I wanted to be sure you were planning to wear the little black dress tonight?”

“I had not decided yet which of the three outfits to wear, that was part of my morning confusion.”

“Agnes, I want you to wear the little black dress, along with the matching stockings and lingerie we bought to go with it. Also, I want you to wear the black heels and the sliver necklace and earrings that match the outfit so well. You remember, the items I pointed out the other day when you were showing me the jewelry your mother had given you?”

“Okay, thank you, I think it will be a nice looking outfit. Although I do like the bright colored floral dress. And I’m not sure I have all the necessary matching underthings to go with the little black dress.”

“The black dress will be perfect for the occasion. You don’t have all of the things we bought to go with it?”

“Yes, I do Frederick. But, well, it is, the problem is, that not all of my usual underthings were included in the purchases.”

“Ahh, yes, I understand. Simply wear the black dress and the matching items we got to go with it. You don’t need to wear anything else.”

“Okay Frederick. You know I will be uncomfortable dressed that way?”

“Yes, I understand you will Agnes.”

Alright Frederick, I will trust your judgement. The little black dress it is.”

“Good girl.”

Frederick was grinning to himself, knowing that she would find the dress code a little challenging, and recognizing her penchant for worry and over analysis of events. But in the past couple months, she had improved quite a bit and now took most things in stride, particularly when he set out specifics. He noticed she had come to trust in his judgement, knowing that while he offered challenges, he always had the situation well in hand and thought through.

“Is there anything else on your mind that we need to talk about Agnes?”

“I don’t think so, unless you want to tell me your plans for the evening?”

Frederick smiled to himself and with a chuckle in his voice said, “I will come around to pick you up at 7:30. I’m looking forward to this evening.”

With just a little disappointment sounding in her voice she said,“Me too Frederick, very much so. I am sure I will have a good time.”

“I am sure you will Agnes. Good bye for now, I will see you at 7:30.”

“Okay Frederick, thank you.”

Frederick hung up the phone and turned his attention to the cleaning and polishing of the leather goods he had brought out. After he finished with the leather cleaner he put a hefty coat of creme onto the leather of each piece and placed them in the window with his boots, to let them warm and absorb the moisture.

After putting everything away Frederick realized it was lunch time. He made himself a hefty pocket bread sandwich and a bowl of fruit and yogurt. He was excited about the upcoming evening, Agnes’s birthday, and the potentials he had in mind for the night.

As he was cleaning up from lunch the phone rang. It was Patrick, calling to check on the plans for the evening. Frederick confirmed the reservation time and agreed to Patrick’s plans. He said he would see him at dinner and was looking forward to introducing him to Agnes.

Phone call completed and dishes put away, Frederick turned his attention to his desk and several business matters that were begging his attention. He made several calls to business associates, planned some meetings for the upcoming week or two, and settled down to write a business plan for his most recent venture. His mind was swept away into capitalistic schemes, and organizational structure, planning tactics and counter moves. The afternoon slipped away and before he knew it the day light was fading and he realized it was time to put the work aside and get ready for the evening.

Frederick dialed Agnes’s number but it rang through and the call was picked up by the answering machine. Just as he was leaving her a message to call him back she picked up the phone. “Hello?”

“It’s Frederick, I was just calling to be sure everything is okay for this evening?”

“Oh, yes sir, everything is just fine. I was just getting out of the shower and could not get to the phone quickly enough.”

“Okay, very good. I’ll see you at 7:30.”

“Okay Frederick, goodbye.”

Frederick picked up the leather implements and placed them on the coffee table between the couches. He spent a little time arranging and re-arranging them until he had them just as he wished, looking like they were just casually there even though he had meticulously arranged them. He picked up his boots, took them into the bedroom and placed them at the foot of the bed and undressed to take his shower and get ready.

After his shower he shaved and put on a sparing amount of aftershave. The alcohol in the lotion stung. He combed his hair, brushed his teeth, hung up the damp towel and headed to the closet to pick out his clothes for the evening. He pulled out and pulled on a pair of dark charcoal hard wool slacks. He wound a wide black leather belt through the loops and put on a starched light yellow collar-less shirt, tucked it in, zipped up and buttoned his slacks and buckled the belt.

He went over and sat down on the bed bench and slipped one foot, and then the next into his boots and worked the laces through the eyelets and around the hooks. He cinching them up snugly, buried the tag ends of the laces into the folds of the boot top and pulled his pant cuffs down over the boots. He stood and went to the wall mirror to straighten his clothes. He loosened his belt buckle and adjusted his gig line until it was perfectly aligned, and then buckled the belt again. He went and pulled a blazer out of the closet, slipped it on and stood in front of the mirror again to assess the combination. Satisfied, he went to the dresser and collected his money and wallet and keys, and loaded his pockets. He took off the jacket and draped it over the back of the dressing chair and went to the living room to sit down and relax for a while.

He sat looking out the window as the night sky darken and the horizon lost all light. He was startled when the buzzer rang. He looked down to the street and saw that the car had arrived. He went and got his jacket, laid it over his arm and headed down to meet the driver.

He greeted the driver and let himself be ushered into the backseat of the car. He reminded him that he needed to stop at the small flower shop around the corner, and the car pulled away. They drove down the street and around the corner and pulled up in front of the florist. Frederick stepped out and went and collected the rose buds he had ordered. He got back into the car and they drove off toward Agnes’s apartment. He sorted through the roses and found the best bud of the bunch and sat it on the seat.

When the car pulled up in front of Agnes’s building Frederick picked up the rose bud, climbed out of the car and left the back door open. He walked up the stairs, rang the bell and Agnes opened the door. Frederick was startled by how lovely she looked. Her hair hung down exactly as he had hoped it would, partly down over her shoulders and partly down the front of her dress. He stepped around her into the apartment and then turned to look at her more completely.

She was wearing the little black dress and it fit her perfectly. It came just a third of the way down her thighs, short by some standards but that was precisely as he wanted it. The dress just covered the tops of the dark thigh high stockings and the black high heels finished off the outfit perfectly.

“You look absolutely gorgeous young lady!”

Agnes acted coy and shy but said, “Well thank you, very much. I feel very dressed up in all of this. It’s not something I would normally wear on my own but I love how it feels and I love that you chose it for me.”

Frederick stepped forward and reached for the slit at the front of the dress, slipping his hand inside and lightly brushing her skin of her breast with the backs of his knuckles. He pulling the dress out slightly and worked at pinning the rose on above her left breast. He could see her shiver and shake just slightly at his touch. She involuntarily pulled away just a bit at first, but settled herself and let him proceed with pinning the rose on. He loved how her skin felt against the back of his hand and her shivered reaction. That, and the combination of the scent of the rose and her perfume were working their magic on him and he felt a little more than slightly aroused.

He stepped back and looked at her again, rose bud in place and smiled a broad smile. “You look absolutely lovely! Are you ready to go?”

“Yes, I think so, although I couldn’t decide which handbag to use with this outfit.”

Frederick smiled and said, “You won’t need a handbag this evening Agnes. Give me your keys and what ever else you need to bring along and I’ll put them in my coat pockets.”

Agnes went to a little side table and picked up keys, and a lipstick and a compact and handed them to Frederick. He put them into various pockets of his jacket.

“There. Is there anything else?”

“No, that is it. I’m ready to go.”

Frederick took hold of Agnes’s wrist and walked her out the door, down the stairs and ushered her into the back seat of the car. He noticed the look of surprise on her face when she saw the a car, with a driver, sitting in front of her building, waiting for her. He closed the door and walked around to the other side of the car, opened the door and slide in. He picked up the bundle of roses from seat and set them on the back package tray, “These are for the table at dinner.”

Agnes was very quiet, but then managed a soft, “This is really something Frederick, I was fully expecting to be walking to dinner. It’s such a lovely night out, I thought you might enjoy the outing. But I’m grateful, I was worried about too much walking in these heels.”

They both laughed and Frederick said, “It’s your birthday and a special night, so special arrangements are appropriate.”

Agnes turned and looked out the car window as it snaked it’s way through the streets and very shortly pulled up in front of the restaurant. Seeing that they arrived, she reached for the door handle and started to open the door to get out. Frederick put his hand on her arm and shook his head. She stopped and waited for him to get out of the car and come around and open her door. He reached down and offered his hand as she swung her legs out and onto the ground. He looked down and saw just how far up the dress rode when she was sitting and how lovely her legs looked. She took his hand and pulled herself up out of the car, also noticing how Frederick was staring at her. As she stood up, she consciously pulled down on the hem of the dress.

Frederick leaned in and picked up the roses. He told the driver that he would call when they were ready to be move on to their next destination, estimating it would be at least two hours from now. He pushed the door closed and the car pulled away. Frederick took hold of Agnes’s arm and guided her across the sidewalk, through the door and into the restaurant. As they walked into the foyer, Frederick greeted the people in front of him.

“Good evening, Frederick party, we have a reservation for dinner.” The maitre d' looked down at his list and then back at Frederick and said, “Party of three?” Frederick said, “Yes, but only two of us are here now. We can be seated, we don’t need to wait.”

And then . . .