CHAPTER 9 We walked into the big eat-in kitchen and ordered our breakfasts from Janet.
Mamma and Mother were there seated at one of the smaller tables off to one side. Taking the bull by the horns I walked over, said "Good Morning," and turned to Mamma. "Mamma, I've made arrangements for you to return to Naples a week from Friday—the day after our Thanksgiving.
I'll see to it that your clothes are cleaned, pressed, and packed." "I would prefer to stay here with Bianca." "I'm sure you would, but you have a husband and a home. He has called me several times to ask bout you returning. I will check on Dante today, but either way it will be Friday." "Really, John—you're being extremely rude." "Really, Mother; I'm amazed that you still haven't learned to mind your own business.
Must I remind you yet again that this is my house?" Even my mother knew better than to open her mouth seeing the mood I was in. I returned to my wives where Bianca was clearly upset. "I am sorry you had to go through that, John. Mamma should know better." "I'm not upset at YOUR mother. Mine needs to be reminded that she's a guest here even though I've done it repeatedly. I have more important things on my mind this morning." I wolfed down my breakfast then excused myself to my study. My security team walked in about ten minutes later.
Alonzo reviewed our reservations at the range. There's only one in Nassau County and its run by the County at what was once Mitchel Field, an army base that's now home to parts of Hofstra University among other things.
"I've arranged for Champ, Sheila, and our two remaining gardeners to go at ten this morning. John, you and I in addition to Sid and Amanda will go at two this afternoon. I don't want to leave the house under-protected. Also, we were talking about the body armor. We think using it will be a mistake.
The police will know we planned to ambush the ambushers if we're wearing the armor. It will mean taking some additional risks, but we think we'll be in better shape legally without it." "Okay, but do not under any circumstances tell Sheena or Bianca. They're upset enough as things are now and I don't want them to worry." "Most of these so-called terrorists can't shoot for shit, John. We're almost certainly going to be carrying heavier arms than they will.
They will probably have AK's which we can't have legally, but we'll be more accurate and we'll be better prepared. "I'll carry a twelve-gauge with both buckshot and slugs and an H&K 9mm. Champ and Sid will have the same.
I've placed your Colt Anaconda 44 magnum, an H&K 9mm and an M1A1 30 caliber carbine with a folding stock in the Escalade we'll be using. They're all easier to handle than a shotgun. I know better than to argue with you about staying inside where you'll be safe. All three will be in the front security compartment along with plenty of ammo—fifty rounds for the 44, two extra clips both for the H&K and the carbine.
I suggest you take all three to the range this afternoon. We've been practicing regularly, but you're a bit rusty." "Thanks, Alonzo—good report as usual." "John, we've been going over this for more than an hour.
We figure them to jam us…try to wedge us between two vehicles. The one in front will almost certainly be a medium-sized truck. A panel truck or an SUV seems likely in the rear. We estimate somewhere between six and ten people and I think we're leaning toward the lower number. We trained against this kind of attack dozens of times when I was in the SAS. It was one of the IRA's favorite tactics before the truce was signed." "Champ," I replied, "you sure their aim will be poor?" "John, how often do you think they go to a range or practice shooting?
Mostly, all they do is spray bullets around to scare their victims. The IRA did gain some proficiency over the years, but even their best could never qualify for our service. I'll bet at least half have never even fired an AK."" I nodded my acceptance. "Anyone have anything else to add?
Okay, I do. Alonzo, starting tonight I want several of the front surveillance cameras checking out the street. I want to know about any vehicles that are seen regularly, especially if they're parked in the street.
As you know, we have a village ordinance that prohibits parking in the street overnight so anyone there will be suspicious." "I think we should be able to zoom in close enough to get plate numbers. That would be a help; okay, John—great idea." "I only have one thing to add.
We have to wipe these guys out completely. You know exactly what that means." Everyone nodded. They knew what I meant—kill every one of these bastards before they had the chance to kill any of us.
I ended the meeting and called Dan and Chad, my two pilots. "Get ready for a flight to Naples from JFK. My mother-in-law is going home the day after Thanksgiving.
I don't know yet about Dante. I'll let you know after I speak with Stephanie." We spoke for a few minutes about the details and I ended the call. Next was my call to my former sex slave. (John, what a wonderful surprise.) "Great to speak with you, too; how is everything down there?" (Ha!
I think what you're really asking is how are things between Dante and me. Am I right?) "I never could fool you, Steph. So? His mother is going home next Friday…day after Thanksgiving. Am I going to have one passenger or two?" (Just one, John; Dante has applied for a student visa. Things are really great with us.) "Do you think it might become permanent?" (It's a little soon to tell, but I'd say about 60-40 in favor.
I hear you're a dad. Congratulations.) "Yeah, she's incredible—Maria Sheena; Bianca's idea." We spoke for a few more minutes, including what to do with Bianca's car. I told Stephanie I'd get back to her after speaking with Bianca. We left to shoot right after lunch. Range regulations require that all weapons be unloaded with the actions open when not on the firing line.
We were met by a Nassau County Police officer who checked our licenses before assigning us to a firing lane. I began with the weapon I was sure I'd use, my Colt Anaconda 44 Magnum revolver.
It had a seven-inch barrel and could be a devastating weapon in the right hands. I donned my ear protection and loaded when told to. Using two hands on the grip I began with the target—an outline of a man--at twenty-five yards, much farther than I thought I'd have to shoot.
I put all six shots into the target's torso. All told I fired thirty shots, hitting the center of the target every time. I took my time, aiming carefully each time. I shot the 9mm with similar results, but my shooting with the carbine was sub-par.
Still, I hit the target almost eighty percent of the time. I doubted I'd use the carbine. I figured this for a close-up battle and I had to ensure that stray bullets didn't travel too far, like into my neighbors' houses. That night we dined a bit early and after dinner Champ, Sheila, Sid in disguise as Bianca, and I left the house and drove to the nearest supermarket where I bought a bottle of ginger ale.
We saw no one either en route to or from the store. The next night we repeated, again with no action although there was a panel truck on the street when we drove into the driveway, the heavy-duty gate closing automatically once we were through.
According to my surveillance team the truck lingered in the area for more than forty minutes. I was building quite the collection of ginger ale. Amanda stopped in to see me on Sunday morning. I was surprised; today was one of her few days off. She dropped a small cardboard box onto my desk. "The latest, John; unfortunately I'll have to give them back once we're done." "Okay…you have my attention. What the hell's in here?" "Infrared imaging goggles; I'll be able to sit in the back seat and tell how many of the enemy are following us—could give us a big advantage, especially in the dark." "I guess a thank you note to your benefactor wouldn't be a great idea, then." "Uhhh…no; let's just say that this is 'borrowed' equipment, but if there was to be a surprise inventory my friend would be up shit's creek.
The next scheduled inventory is more than three months away so we should have plenty of time to get them back. I'm not an expert with this equipment, but it's not rocket science." "Okay, bring them tonight. I guess this means you're in on the mission." Amanda merely smiled. Of all the security team she was, by far, the best shot—better than Sid, better than Alonzo or me, and even far better than Champ who was pretty damned good in his own right.
Better still, Amanda had killed before—a shooting that had been deemed wholly justified when she fired two shots at two enlisted men involved in a drug deal. She was on a stakeout when the drugs changed hands. She thought her team was moving forward to arrest the two enlisted men and the two drug dealers, but something went wrong and Amanda found herself alone facing four armed criminals.
They had shot at her first and missed. It was the last thing they had ever done. The subsequent hearing had cleared her and had introduced her to her husband-to-be for the first time. Sid had been an inadvertent witness to the whole event, strolling past the alley while on leave when he heard the shots. Sid and two other SEAL officers rushed to Amanda's aid, apprehending the drug dealers before they even knew what had happened.
I spent most of the day with Janet reviewing the plans for the Thanksgiving feast. Janet assured me that we had more than enough food from the five pounds of shrimp cocktail and other finger foods for the pre-feast through to the desserts. "Don't worry, John; I'll hold back a pie especially for you the following day. I do remember who signs my paychecks." With that she shooed me out of the kitchen. I knew that three of the maids would help with the serving then I'd say grace and the feast would begin.
Despite my wealth we always used large plastic plates that went into special bags for recycling so Janet and her team would have an easy clean-up. Dessert would take place about two hours after dinner. I'd had huge projection screen TV's and a bunch of couches placed into the far end of the ballroom for all of the NFL fans.
Alonzo met me just as I was about to walk upstairs to do my husbandly duty. "I have Eric Heyman and his wife scheduled into LaGuardia tomorrow morning around ten. He and his wife are down at Camp Lejeune. You paid for her flight down from Poughkeepsie and for her motel and meals.
Kevin will call us when they leave the airport." I thanked him and plodded up the stairs to my waiting wives. Maria was sound asleep with Bianca and Sheena talking quietly about the upcoming Thanksgiving. If ever there was a holiday to celebrate gluttony this would be it.
We'd have almost seventy guests and virtually every one would overeat. Sheena rose and came to me as soon as I closed the door. Her arms were around my neck and her sweet lips met mine. My hands found her sweet ass, something I wouldn't be enjoying until we were sure she was pregnant.
Bianca joined us a few seconds later then our clothes flew in every direction but one. Nothing flew anywhere near our sleeping daughter.
Hand in hand we walked into the shower. It wasn't so much that we were dirty; we just loved washing each other—running our soapy hands over each other's skin. Ten minutes later we were done and dry and headed back to bed. Sheena pulled the blanket back as she climbed onto the bed, lying on her back with her arms open in an invitation to me. I'd never needed much of an invitation to make love to Sheena. I joined her, pulling Bianca with me.
I wanted her to be involved even though I'd only cum in Sheena until we knew she was pregnant. Her hand on my hard cock, she pulled me to her. Moving down, I nibbled briefly on her ear lobe before suckling at her nipple.
This was something Sheena absolutely found irresistible. Her entire body shook with a mild tremor as she wrapped those powerful legs around mine and pulled me into her core. We moved as one like the parts of a fine watch—each part contributing to but a single purpose.
Our motions were slow and deliberate, my thrusts long and deep as Sheena pressed her body into mine. Through some unseen and unheard signal our pace increased until our movements were both frantic and frenetic.
Sheena's tiny body was wracked by spasm when she came just seconds before I drowned her womb in a shower of semen and sperm. I was completely spent when I collapsed onto Sheena. Our combined sexual sweat pooled in the valley between her breasts. I tried to move off her, but she held me tightly with her arms and legs.
"I'd like a little time to rest before seeing if I can take care of Bianca." I was whispering, but I knew that Bianca could hear me.
I hadn't been able to make love with Bianca since before she gave birth and we were overdue. I was having second thoughts about rushing Sheena into a pregnancy. I hated the idea of ignoring Bianca no matter how often she claimed to understand. Finally, after almost five minutes, I was able to roll off Sheena to lie on my back between my lovers. Bianca moved onto the left side of my body, gently stroking and rubbing my chest and abdomen. She stayed at that, mixing in a kiss here and there until I was rejuvenated.
Then she climbed onto my body, pausing only to give Sheena a quick kiss. After that she wasted no time sliding down my cock. Her hands found my shoulders as she leaned forward to rub her naked clit into my muscles. This was no patient love making. Rather, it was hard fast, and fierce fucking so powerful was Bianca's need. Looking up into her eyes I could see her passion and her love. I'd made sure to include Bianca in my love making with Sheena. I'd eaten her to orgasm twice yesterday, but Bianca had told me there was no comparison to cumming on my cock.
Apparently, she was right. Her body thrashed wildly when it hit and it continued for almost thirty seconds, collapsing onto me in exhaustion when it finally ebbed. I pulled Sheena to us. It was time for a nap. Hopefully, Maria would agree and remain asleep while we rested.
It was almost one when Maria awoke. Bianca changed her then placed her at her nipple. I always found the sight of my infant daughter nursing incredible. I burped her and then we carried her down to the kitchen for a light lunch. The entire staff and especially the women loved to look at and hold her. Maria was old enough now to stay awake for an hour or more before falling asleep suddenly and completely. We placed her into her carrier, tucking in her blankets before beginning our lunch.
Our banter was light, but I had several serious thoughts I was keeping to myself for now. One was dealing with Tony's group of terrorists; the other had to do with the long-term security of my family.
I'd had security cameras placed around the house when it was modernized for use primarily at night when the majority of my staff was at their homes. Those in the front were capable of scanning the street for more than a thousand feet. In the rear they could maintain surveillance over the entire yard, beach, and several hundred feet of Long Island Sound.
A staff of eight was responsible for monitoring and reporting any potential problems. Unlike the rest of my staff these guys were nerds with no military or firearm experience. However, their work was just as valuable as that of any of my other security personnel.
I asked Stephen to see the tapes from the past two nights. I wanted to see the panel truck that had been seen lingering in front of the house. I wasn't worried that they'd try to ram the gates.
Concealed in the driveway were five steel columns on each side that could be raised in an instant from this room. They would make penetration through the gates or fence impossible. Stephen showed me a compilation from the first night.
The van had driven slowly past the house seven times over a two hour period. The following night it was back, spending even more time checking on us. A close-up showed a man looking at us through binoculars.
I called him a man, but he looked more like an eighteen year-old kid. Too bad—if he was in on the ambush he'd never see nineteen. Right after dinner we were back into the Escalade en route to the supermarket. We saw nothing on the way out, but picked up the ambush several blocks away on the trip back. We may be rich, but we live in a neighborhood where we watch out for each other just like normal folk.
Dane and Jill had asked me to keep an eye on their house while they vacationed in Europe. It was only two lots up the road from mine. Seeing a medium-sized truck parked in their driveway had only one explanation. The driver began to back out, blocking the street when we were still two blocks away. "Geez…talk about amateurs, John; if the IRA had jammed us like this in Northern Ireland we'd have blown them all to hell in a month.
What do you want to do?" "Pull up, but give us room to turn if necessary. Is that panel truck behind us?" "About a block or so, John," Amanda replied.
She wore the infrared goggles. "I can see three people inside that van. Looks like they're going to hit us…try to fool us into getting out to check on the damage." That was exactly what they tried, but we stayed where we were—safe inside the Escalade. We needed for them to fire on us in order for our plan to work. That was the only way we could plead self-defense.
It was a stand-off until the three in the panel truck broke into the open. They were joined a second later by three from the truck in front of us. They brandished their weapons, but did not shoot. "Anyone scared yet," I joked. My team laughed. "Pardon my language, Amanda, but I need to move this along." I opened my window halfway, extended my arm and gave the guy on my side of the truck the finger.
"Fuck you, asshole," I screamed before giving him the finger again and closing the window. How the hell did these assholes think they were going to ambush us like this?
Did they think we were going to willingly walk into their "trap?" "Amazing," I said to Champ. "Tell you what…back up into their van and push it down the street.
I'll try again to provoke this idiot up here on my side." The two in front stood carrying what appeared to be AK-47's while the three in the rear held what appeared to be some kind of automatic pistols. But none had made any threatening moves or gestures, nor had they made any demands—talk about rank amateurs!
Champ shifted into reverse as I lowered the window. The big turbo-charged V-8 easily pushed the lightweight panel truck back. This was exactly the reason the armor contractor had insisted on reinforcing the front and rear bumpers.
I was laughing as I lowered the window again. "You fucking idiots are less than pathetic. Tony was probably the brains of this fleabag outfit. I took care of him myself. He never got within ten feet of my daughter.
Why don't you fat slobs go back to Malaysia? Maybe you can find some little girls to scare." I flipped him the bird again and raised the window.
This time I must have gotten through because first one then all of them fired into the Escalade's body. I had my phone out and dialed 9-1-1 in a second. I gave my name and address in Sands Point and our current location and told them that my vehicle was under attack by some people I assumed were trying to either kidnap or kill me.
I finished the call by saying that we were going to return fire to defend ourselves. Then--not wanting to answer any questions--I ended the call. Pressing the button on the side panel of the upper dash opened the security panel with my three weapons. The Colt Anaconda felt secure in my hand as I opened the door about a foot.
I placed the pistol's barrel in the "V" created between the frame and the door and took aim. I couldn't believe that two of the assailants were standing one directly in front of the other not thirty feet in front of me. Gripping the revolver with two hands I took my time and fired off three rounds. The bullets apparently passed through the first assailant—the one who had received my verbal barbs—into his compatriot. Both fell immediately. Normally, I might have felt some remorse, but knowing what they had intended for my innocent daughter I felt none.
Looking around I saw that Champ had dispensed with the truck's driver, nearly cutting him in two with his twelve-gauge. Turning around I saw immediately that Amanda had dropped two from the panel truck, both with double taps to the chest while her husband, Sid, had destroyed his adversary with his shotgun. "Sid, I suggest you strip out of your costume and wig. Just dump them in the rear. If anyone asks we'll just tell them we were thinking of having a costume party.
Ahhh, I hear the police at last." The sirens were growing louder as they approached. We exited the Escalade, unloaded our weapons and opened the actions before dropping them onto the seats before waiting with our hands in plain view for the police. They approached with guns drawn until I identified myself. "I'm John Scott Philips.
I made the 9-1-1 call. I live just up the road here. These are my bodyguards." I explained that we were returning from the supermarket when this truck blocked the road in front of us and the one behind struck us.
Then I described how the six armed men tried to surround us. "They opened fire when we tried to push the van out of our way.
That's when we decided to defend ourselves. We were obviously better shots than they were." One of the cops, a young guy, found our story a bit hard to believe despite the dozens of indents in the armored body of the Escalade. "Why do you have all these weapons? It looks like you were looking for trouble." "I never look for trouble, Officer, but I'm worth billions so I always consider myself and my family a potential target.
We never go anywhere without armed security. We all have licenses and all these weapons are legal." We showed our ID's and our firearms licenses, but he still wasn't satisfied.
He spun me around and pushed me down against the hood of the Escalade, handcuffing me in the process just as two more police vehicles approached. I thought things might get interesting. One car held the Police Commissioner and Chief, men I knew on a first name basis. They walked up just as the young officer started to manhandle me. "What the hell do you think you're doing?" It was Commissioner Ben Jonas asking.
"None of your business; move back and allow me to do my duty or I'll have to arrest you for interfering with a police officer in the performance of his duty." "Do you have any idea who you're talking to?" Ben who, like Chief Petraglia, was dressed in a suit and tie reached into his pocket to retrieve his credentials.
I could see that he was steaming. Paul Petraglia was just as livid. "Remove those handcuffs immediately or I'll have your job." "You'll have to stand in line, Ben." I thought the kid would die when he saw the Chief's badge and ID.
"Sorry about all of this, John. I saw the report from the detectives on your missing employee. Unfortunately, you'll have to stick around for the coroner and the crime scene team." He ran his hand over the Escalade's front fender where there were at least thirty indentations from bullets that could have immobilized an ordinary vehicle. We stayed for more than an hour and our weapons were taken as evidence.
We all gave statements that were taped. Just before the coroner cleared the scene we learned that one of those killed by Amanda was the woman who had allegedly been Tony's girlfriend.
I was pleased although I wouldn't show it. That told me that we had eradicated the entire group. Of course, all the flashing lights and sirens had attracted a fair-sized audience from the neighborhood as well as representatives of the media. I agreed to speak with everyone, even the reporter from the New York Star.
I explained first about how my employee had gone missing and how the subsequent investigation had shown his involvement with this group of environmental "terrorists." "The investigation conducted by Nassau County Detectives had unearthed plans to either kidnap or kill me. Needless to say, I've taken every precaution since learning that. I never go anywhere without my security team, but we've stepped up our efforts over the past week." I went on to describe how they had attempted to ambush us and how we reacted.
Of course, I omitted my efforts to bait them into firing on us. I agreed to spend thirty minutes answering questions once I had finished my statement. Even then my security team was well in evidence, standing between me and the reporters. At last—following a signal from Champ--I called an end to the interviews and we returned home in one of the other Escalades.
Exactly 117 bullets had struck the Escalade's armored body before we returned fire. We had fired exactly nine times with every round finding its mark—even mine.
My wives were overcome with relief when the second Escalade drove up the drive. They ran to me, hugging me tightly. There were tears in Sheena's eyes when she spoke, "Oh John, we were so worried. We could hear the shots and the sirens then we saw the interview on TV. We thought&hellip." She cried again, so hard she couldn't speak.
I pulled her even closer as she buried her head into my chest. "We thought you might be injured or even dead, John," Bianca stated, finishing what Sheena had begun. "That was the worst part…not knowing and having to wait for news about you. Then we saw you on the news…on TV…and we cried together.
We were so relieved. Oh, John!" Then she broke down, too, and I pulled her into a tight hug with my other hand. All the danger…all the killing had been worthwhile.
My family was safe. CHAPTER 10 The news was filled with the story of the ambush and how we had turned the tables on them. I had one listed phone for the headquarters of JPS Enterprises and it rang non-stop until I disconnected it around 9:45.
I did speak with Alonzo about making a video statement about my commitment to my family's security. Eric Heyman and his wife, Lisa, arrived just after ten the following morning. Alonzo met the car and led them into the house. He interviewed the couple who asked at least a hundred questions about my adventures last night. Alonzo was about to answer their last one when I walked into the room.
"Eric and Lisa…I'd like to introduce you to my boss, John Scott Philips. John…Eric and Lisa." I extended my hand and he shook it. Lisa extended her hand so I shook it, too, but with much less energy than I had with her husband. "Please…sit and I'll explain about all the commotion last night. One of our…well, I refer to them as gardeners, but they're really all around handymen fell in with a group of terrorists and we learned through the police investigation that they wanted to kidnap either me or a member of my family.
I won't lie to you. We knew they would try to ambush me, even had a good idea how, so we set a trap, deliberately driving right into their ambush. What they didn't realize was that we were even more heavily armed than they were. Once they opened fire we were free to defend ourselves. My driver, Champ, was SAS, Sid was a SEAL, and his wife, Amanda, was an Army MP.
They're all great marksmen, especially Amanda. I'm fair, but I made up for it by using a 44 Magnum. Let's face it…a body hit with that weapon is going to do a lot of damage. "Now, I don't want you to think that this happens every day.
I've lived here and traveled the world over for the last ten years and this was only the second incident I've experienced. The first occurred last year when pirates tried to attack my private island in the South Pacific. They were even less successful than these terrorists. I have four people who make up my formal security team.
Everyone else here works security when needed which isn't very often—barely ever. Kevin was your driver this morning. Either he or one of the other gardeners often serve as our driver. I'm sure you know that I have two wives. We're not married in the traditional legal or religious sense, but we do have a legal contract that binds us together.
"I suggest you spend the rest of the day checking out our situation here. Talk to any of the employees and ask them anything you wish. Has Alonzo explained the salary and benefits? No? Your salary would be $100,000 a year, much more than a normal handyman would be paid because of the security requirements.
I'd expect you to obtain a firearm license and to qualify at the Nassau County Range.
You'd also get fully funded medical, dental, vision, and $50,000 of whole life insurance. There is always a bonus before Christmas, too." I stood to excuse myself and Eric stood, too. "Thank you for meeting with me, Sir." "Please…don't call me 'Sir.' All the employees call me 'John.'" I shook hands and went to my study to place an important phone call. "Good morning…John Scott Philips here; is the Chief available for a few minutes?" Paul Petraglia, Chief of the Nassau County Police Department, responded a few seconds later.
(Hello, John…I hope you're not calling to tell me you're suing us over that idiot's treatment of you last night.) "Good morning, Paul; you know I only sue the Morning Star." He laughed as expected and I waited to continue.
"I need a favor, Paul. This business with the terrorists has caused me to worry about my family. Even though I have 24-hour surveillance it's still possible for someone to sneak onto my grounds at night or in the early morning when we're all asleep.
I have an infant daughter and we're hoping for another baby soon. I think I need something more than human and electronic security systems." (I agree, John. If I was you I'd consider getting a few dogs. Basically, there are two kinds—those you only release at night to patrol your grounds or those you have as part of your family.) "I think I'd prefer the second kind. What would happen if one of my children got out into the yard after dark? He or she could be killed by dogs that are supposed to protect us." (I'm inclined to agree with you.
The guy you want to speak with is Karl Kline…KKK—Karl Kline Kennels out in Coram in Suffolk County. If you'll hold for a minute I'll have my secretary find the number for you.) I thanked Paul and ten minutes later I had an appointment for the following morning. I met with Bianca and Sheena in my study after lunch. Bianca was nursing Maria as I spoke to my wives. "We've been extremely lucky over the past week.
I happened to be awake when Tony opened the door and I heard a squeaky hinge. If not for that it's likely that we would have lost Maria. Soon we'll move her to her own room. I want to be sure that she'll be safe. I've made an appointment for us to talk to a dog trainer tomorrow morning." "A dog?" "Actually, Bianca, I'm thinking about two so we'll be covered as our family grows." "Uh…John, I'm kind of afraid of dogs." "These will be well trained and will obey our commands.
The trainer tells me he has a pair of spayed females about eighteen months old. They'll be gentle family pets unless we're threatened." "You'll be okay, Bianca," Sheena chimed in. "Just project confidence; my uncle had two big dogs and they were great with us kids. I'll help you. You'll be fine." Apparently the discussion was over as both Bianca and Sheena walked out together.
I used the rest of the afternoon to deal with auditors' reports from some of my many enterprises. I could tell that Bianca was nervous during our cocktails and dinner. I held her tightly once we were in bed. Stroking her cheek gently and running my fingers through her hair, I spoke quietly and calmly. "I can see your concern, Bianca, but we have to think about our children's safety. I would have never worried about our security before Tony snuck in here. We can't have our children in here with us forever.
They need to have their own rooms to develop their independence as they grow into adults." I was about to continue when Bianca interrupted me. "I understand what you are saying, John. It will take me some time to feel comfortable with the dogs. Sheena has told me not to show fear. I guess I will have to trust the dog trainer that they will not bite me." I thought we'd discussed this enough for one night.
I told Bianca how much I loved her before climbing between her legs and pushing my hard cock deep into her, bottoming out in just two thrusts. Now we let nature take its course.
We moved in perfect synchrony with Bianca rising to meet every thrust and grind her clit into my firm abdominals. We went on and on with Sheena as an onlooker for a change. She understood how much Bianca needed this, besides she was at the end of her fertile period and, if necessary, we could try to impregnate her again next month.
Bianca was in a fever of lust as she humped me at a furious pace. I could tell from our many experiences together that she was close. Making love several times every day had done wonders for my orgasm control. Bianca pulled me into a long hot kiss, her tongue halfway down my throat as it hit. So strong were the convulsions that she lifted me three times from the bed.
Only when her orgasm had begun to ebb did I flood her pussy with my crème. We were a sweaty mess by the time we were done. Bianca slid to my left as Sheena pulled the blanket over us, taking her usual position on my right.
I kissed her gently as we fell asleep. Bianca and Sheena were getting Maria ready for the trip so I took advantage of the delay to place an important phone call. I had just rung off when Alonzo walked in with Eric Heyman and his employment forms. We spoke for a minute or two and he told me that the hardest part of the move would be Lisa losing her elementary teaching position upstate.
"What grades does she usually teach?" "Fourth grade this year, but she has experience in third and fifth, too." I thought for a minute then picked up the phone and dialed the number for the Great Neck Public Schools, asking for the superintendent's office when I reached the switchboard. "Good morning, John Scott Philips calling for Dr. Summerhill." I waited less than a minute before he responded, one of the benefits of giving ten million to the school district every year.
(Morning, John—wow, I couldn't believe all the news about you over the last few days. I suspect the average American wishes he could do the same.) "I'm sure they could if they had the security team I have, Peter, but I called you on another matter. You probably heard that I lost one of my security team to the terrorists.
I have his replacement in my office now. His wife is an experienced elementary teacher and I know she'll be looking for work nearby. I'd appreciate it greatly if she could get an interview." (John, we're always looking for good experienced teachers. We'll probably have ten or more teachers take maternity leave this year.
Believe it or not, we have a lot of trouble finding qualified subs even though we pay more than $125 a day. I could see her today around eleven if that's okay." "I think it will be although she'll probably only have casual clothes. She flew down to Camp Lejeune on Thursday for her husband's processing out on Saturday then flew up here for a meeting with me on Monday." (John, tell her not to worry about that.
I understand the circumstances. I look forward to meeting her.) "Thanks, Peter—the check is in the mail and her name is Lisa Heyman." I ended the call when Sid came in to tell me they were ready in the Escalade.
I suggested that Eric contact his wife and that he use Kevin to drive them. He knew the area well. We were en route to the kennel less than five minutes later. The Coram of my youth was just a handful of small buildings at the intersection of Route 25, once the primary east-west route between Nassau and Suffolk Counties, and Route 112 that ran from Long Island Sound in Port Jefferson on the north shore down to Montauk Highway in the middle of Patchogue on the south shore.
I recall going to the outdoor movie there many times as a youngster. Now it suffers from suburban sprawl like many other Long Island communities. We drove east on the Long Island Expressway and north on 112 until we saw the sign for KKK just south of the 25-112 intersection. His office and kennels were at the end of a long gravel driveway.
The entire area was surrounded by an eight-foot chain link fence. Karl Kline was out of his office before we had even exited the car. I introduced myself then Sheena and Bianca. "Ah, the young lady who's afraid of dogs. Well, not to worry. I'll be with you the entire time and these two gals I have in mind for you are wonderful dogs.
I've trained them to be with children using my own family…well, my grandkids. They'll be sorry to see them go. C'mon, I'll introduce you." We followed Karl into the kennel compound. He was in his fifties, short and stocky with a winning smile and he talked non-stop about his love of dogs. I expected a lot of barking, but the area was silent even though the dogs ran to the front of their individual kennels wagging their tails as we approached.
He opened two and the dogs ran to his side, tails wagging wildly. "This here is Holly and over here is Heidi. Easy enough to tell them apart; Holly is traditional German Shepherd coloring—tan with black fur on her back—while Heidi here is almost all light tan. That happens once in a while. It's just a recessive gene that has nothing to do with her health or strength. "Sheena, why don't you go first?
Kneel and hold your hand out for them to smell." Sheena complied and each of the dogs moved forward for a sniff before looking at Karl who gave what we later learned was the "protect" command. I went next with the same result. Sheena was petting both dogs when Karl stood next to Bianca and helped her to kneel. "Just relax, Bianca. I'll hold your wrist. There's nothing to it." Bianca held her hand out. She was tentative, but relaxed when the dogs just sniffed.
"Let's get the young lady involved. She's really the reason you're here." I placed the carrier on the ground. Maria was awake and making gurgling sounds as Holly slowly approached, sniffed Maria then licked her cheek. Bianca seemed to be horrified, but Maria laughed. I just petted Holly's head. She stepped away on Karl's command to be replaced by Heidi who, not to be outdone, licked Maria's cheek and hand causing beautiful Maria to laugh even more. We sat on a bench while Karl explained what we would have to do to become the dominant humans in Holly's and Heidi's lives---a minimum of two solid days working with the dogs and learning all their commands including the security protocols.
"These dogs are smarter than some people I've known," Karl told us. "They will be able to sense danger and react even without the command protocols. I call them protocols because you must give all three commands in sequence. I do this to prevent accidental attacks. You'll also learn that these commands aren't words from any language. "How're you doing, Bianca?" "Better…I can see that they can be really gentle from how they behaved with Maria.
I think I'll be okay now." I hugged Bianca as Sheena was playing fetch with the two dogs. She was having a blast and so were they. I was pleased with how the dogs were bonding with her.
We left after two hours—all three of us petting the dogs and scratching their ears. Sid and Amanda had watched everything from outside the fence and were as amazed as I was. "John, you sure they're guard dogs?
They look like family pets." "Well, Sid, according to Karl they're both and that's exactly what they are. Now, what say we find a restaurant and grab a bit to eat?" Sid drove north to Route 25—Middle Country Road—and turned left, driving west toward Selden.
A few minutes later we pulled into the parking lot at Bella Roma. We were sure to wash our hands before ordering two large pizzas—one with sausage and extra cheese, the other with pepperoni. As we sat there drinking our Cokes and sharing our salads and pies I wondered what the people there would think if they knew that the person they were watching in the interview on TV was seated and eating right next to them.
Of course, I was disguised in a Yankees cap and sunglasses. Our bill came to almost seventy dollars. I left a fifty dollar tip—that's how pleased I was with how the day had gone. We were just out the door when the owner ran up behind us. "Sir! Sir! I think you made a mistake. You left a fifty dollar tip." I had turned with a smile on my face.
I love honest people. Removing my cap and sunglasses I told him, "No…that's exactly what I intended to leave. I can afford it.
Recognize me now?" He looked at me closely for almost a minute before it came to him. "You're that man on the TV; the one who shot those terrorists." "Well," I said, pointing to Sid and Amanda, "actually, they shot most of them. These are two of my bodyguards—Sid and his wife Amanda." "Sir…Mr. Philips, would you consent to a photo with my partner and me. I'd love to post it on our wall." I looked to Sid for advice and he just shrugged so we turned around and returned to the restaurant.
I was still on the screen when we stood in front of a mural with the restaurant name. I was in the center with my arms around the owners' shoulders and Bianca and Sheena on either end. We posed for several photos taken by one of the waiters then we shook hands and left. I was amused to hear the owner telling his customers, "Do you know who that was? He's the billionaire who shot those terrorists." We drove away less than a minute later, arriving home in about an hour.
I couldn't have been happier with how the day had gone. We changed for cocktails and dinner even though it was still early. I was in my study when Eric Heyman responded to my summons. "How'd things go with Dr. Summerhill?" "Lisa said they went well. She completed an application and she'll forward copies of her certificate and her transcript next week when she moves out of her apartment. If everything goes as expected she can start as a substitute the following week. She told me they thought she might work four or five days a week.
That would be great." "Good; I hope she'll be able to join us for Thanksgiving. I assume Alonzo told you about the feast we always have." "Oh, yeah!
We wouldn't miss it for the world." I dismissed him and returned to the library to join my wives. Bianca had red wine, but Sheena, normally a drinker of single malt scotch whiskey, had a ginger ale—not taking any chances just in case she had conceived. Mother and Mamma Risolli joined us twenty minutes later. We talked about our trip to Coram until Mother commented, "You know I don't like dogs, John.
I don't think I could live here if there were dogs in the house." I was not about to be intimidated or coerced—not in my own house and not by my mother. "Okay," was my only comment. Mother was so shocked she was, for once, speechless. We walked into dinner a few minutes later.
Bianca, Sheena, and I spoke effusively about our experiences with the dogs and laughed about our luncheon, the photos, and our impact on the restaurant owners. "Think we should go back there over the weekend?" They laughed, but agreed it would be a great idea. I thought we should have a full security detail just in case. I always wanted to be prepared for the worst. I spent a good part of Wednesday reviewing the preparations for the Thanksgiving feast, including moving several couches and easy chairs with some large flat screen TV's into a corner of the ballroom.
There was a long table for the drinks and snacks we'd have before gorging ourselves on Janet's spectacular feast. My efforts were a complete waste of time. My staff had done this ten times before; they knew exactly what to do—probably even better than I did. Thursday morning we all had a light breakfast in anticipation of overeating later in the day.
I went to my study for a couple of videophone conversations—one with my manager in the Philippines and a second with Jack in Scotland although that one was mostly about Sheena's mother Beth and their new son. I had just ended the call when Bianca and Sheena walked in. Bianca was carrying Maria so I dashed around my desk to take her into my arms.
I was so occupied with Maria that I failed to notice how my two wives were grinning. Finally, after more than ten minutes I did notice so I turned to them and asked, "What? What's up with you two?" Sheena held up two small white cylinders. "These are what's up, John. They both say, 'Yes!' I'm so happy!" Bianca stepped forward to take Maria as Sheena rushed into my arms.
She jumped up, wrapping her arms around my neck and her legs around my waist as she mashed her sweet lips into mine. I was really glad she was so tiny. The shock of her announcement had me reeling and her jumping onto me had almost caused me to stagger.
Once I had regained my balance I returned the kiss with every ounce of enthusiasm and love I could muster. Finally, we broke it and I looked into her face and eyes. "Damn, but I love you so much." I wrapped one arm around Bianca before continuing.
"You two have made me so happy. I thank God every day that I found you and have you in my life." I leaned down to kiss Bianca for several minutes before returning my mouth to Sheena's. Then, taking Maria again, I explained what I wanted them to do this afternoon. The party would begin at one with drinks and hors d'oeuvres including cold boiled shrimp, lobster claws and a host of hot and cold delights.
Earning their keep, my two beautiful employees Sheena and Bianca welcomed our guests—my employees and their families.
I welcomed Janet's husband and their three sons personally. Her teenagers could out eat any grown men easily. Lisa Heyman and Eric approached me to thank me for all the help I'd given them.
"I was so worried about Eric getting a job and about the possibilities of moving. Now it looks like everything is going to be just great. Thank you so much!" Once everyone had arrived Sheena, Bianca, and I circulated to chat with everyone, eating sparingly and drinking even less.
I had a few shrimp and a lobster claw along with some cold veggies—green peppers, carrot sticks, and radishes—dipped in Janet's homemade ranch dressing.
I joined some of those watching the Detroit Lions lose once again to the Packers. Janet and her staff delivered the food to the tables just before four and everyone found seats. There were only five reserved for my family. I remained standing for my traditional speech before saying Grace. "This is the time when I usually tell you how thankful I am for what has happened the previous year and I plan on doing just that once again. The only difference is that I have so much more to be thankful for.
I have the love to two incredible women and I have a beautiful daughter I couldn't possibly love more. You might think it couldn't get any better, but it does.
I learned this morning that Sheena is expecting." I paused while everyone applauded. I began my formal prayer of thanks once they were done. Then I proceeded to overeat just as I did every other year. I wasn't alone; this was Sheena's and Bianca's first Thanksgiving.
I didn't know if they'd ever eaten turkey before, but either way it seemed they couldn't get enough. Janet and her staff began to clear the food once it was clear we were finished eating.
As in past years everyone chipped in clearing the tables—everyone other than my mother and my mother-in-law. I got a scowl from each of them every time I passed by. Truthfully, I didn't care at all. Once the tables were cleared most of us retired to the living room, library, or the rec room where I had ping pong and pool tables.
I leaned against the grand piano while all of the women oohed and aahed over my daughter who really seemed to enjoy all the attention. The party went on until Janet called us back to the tables for dessert. How she had made two dozen pies was beyond me. There were six pumpkin, six deep dish apple, and twelve chocolate cream.
One had already been cut and a huge piece placed in front of my chair. I told everyone to sit down and dig in while I opened a case of brandy and other cordials. I distributed the bottles around the tables before returning to my seat. Bianca had poured brandy for the two of us. I had to laugh when Sheena pouted then I reached across the corner of the table to kiss her.
She smiled when I broke it, telling me, "I'm not that fond of brandy, anyway." I laughed again. Sheena had had brandy almost every night after dinner. "Okay, I love it, but I'm pregnant and I'd never do anything to hurt my child." I leaned over and kissed her again then, after a quick sip, leaned the other way to kiss Bianca.
I had two big slices of chocolate cream pie, exactly as I had hoped, then I circulated among the group until nine o'clock when the party began to break up.
Everyone stopped by to thank me. I shook a lot of hands and kissed a lot of cheeks until we were up in our bedroom then I kissed Maria's cheeks and her hands and feet as she giggled once again. We laid her into her bed then I turned to Bianca and Sheena and kissed them both before leading them to the shower and bed. We had a lot to celebrate. I was going to be a father again! They kept me up half the night "celebrating" even though we had to get up early to see Mamma Risolli off for her return to Naples.
I made breakfast because Janet had the weekend off. It was bacon and pancakes all around. We hugged and kissed Mamma goodbye before turning back toward the house. We were barely in the door when my mother began her attack. "Well, I hope you're satisfied, forcing that wonderful woman away from her family. You're really too much, John. Now, you'd better forget that dog nonsense. I will not live in a house with dogs." She stamped her foot like a petulant child and crossed her arms, setting her jaw in determination.
I said absolutely nothing, but walked to the phone, asking Celeste to see me immediately. "Celeste, please launder and press my mother's clothes then pack them in the trunks in the basement. She will be moving out Sunday before noon." I turned to face my shocked mother and continued, "You are my mother and I do love you, but there is a limit to how much of your meddling I will accept.
I sent Mamma home because her husband asked me to and because she was supposedly here to help with the baby, but spent more time with you than she did with her grandchild. I discussed the matter at length with Bianca before agreeing that she should return to her home. "So far as the dogs are concerned, they are coming to help protect our growing family. I have reminded you too many times recently that this is my house and you are a guest.
I'm not ten; I'm a grown man, a self-made billionaire, and I'm capable of making my own decisions. I suggest you take today and tomorrow to find an apartment. Too bad you won't be here to see your grandchildren grow up, but that's the breaks.
Perhaps, in the future, you'll learn to keep your unwanted opinions to yourself. Of course, I'll pay for the apartment and any furnishings you need. I'll give you a monthly allowance for food and clothes. I hope you enjoy cleaning and cooking and shopping for yourself." I left my shocked mother standing in the entry while I returned to the kitchen.
We cleaned up the breakfast mess and I began making my "world famous" turkey soup. Okay…nobody other than my family and employees knew anything about it, but everyone always seemed to enjoy it, even asking for seconds. To begin with I poured six quarts of water into a big pot, setting it on the stove at high heat. I dropped one of the turkey carcasses along with several leg bones into the pot and covered it.
Sheena peeled and sliced a pound of carrots while Bianca cleaned and sliced four celery stalks. All that, including the celery leaves went into the pot. I diced two medium onions, adding them to the pot with the other veggies.
I added a teaspoon of salt and a quarter teaspoon of ground pepper for each quart of water then sat down and rested until it came to a boil. Now I turned down the heat so the soup would simmer for an hour or more. Janet and her team had carved almost all the meat from the bones last night, but it was impossible to remove every piece of meat.
I attacked one of the carcasses and explained what I was doing to Bianca and Sheena. Soon we had quite a respectable pile of meat scraps that we added to the broth. An hour later I used a large slotted spoon and some steel tongs to remove all the bones. When cool I'd be able to remove even more meat. I always wanted my soup to be thick with meat and rice. One and a half cups would do nicely. "What's next, John," Sheena asked.
"What's next is we play with Maria and relax for about four hours. Do you like the giblets?" "The what?" "Giblets, Bianca—essentially the heart, liver, and even the kidneys. I usually add the heart and liver, but throw the kidneys away. How about you, Sheena? Aren't kidneys often eaten in the UK?" Sheena laughed like crazy. "You can be so funny, John.
When they say steak and kidney pie they're referring to kidney beans, not real kidneys." "Okay…no kidneys; the heart is a bit tough, but tasty. Liver, of course, is an acquired taste, but I'll cut it into small pieces." We played in the rec room, shooting pool and playing foosball until it was time for lunch then we watched football until dinner time.
I wasn't at all surprised to note that Mother refused to join us. Her loss; the soup was delicious. We ate it with over-stuffed sandwiches—turkey and stuffing--on rye with mayo, finishing with pie left over from last night. My bodyguards—Champ and Sheila and Sid and Amanda were more than happy to join us. Everyone asked for seconds on the soup so it was almost gone when the meal was done.
We could barely walk once we had finished the pie. The bodyguards returned to their apartments over the garage. That doesn't sound like much, but each was more than 1,500 square feet and furnished luxuriously to their tastes.
Sheena, Bianca and I staggered upstairs with our daughter. "I think I know why you call this 'Thanksgiving,' John. I'm thankful that I have survived it. I have never eaten like that in my life." "Me neither, Bianca," was Sheena's reply, "Fortunately, we have a way to work all those calories off." Bianca laughed then replied, "I like the way you think, Sheena." They grabbed my arms and pulled me to the bedroom.
Maria was asleep in seconds as they led me to the shower. They had their way with me there and for hours after. On the positive side I fell into a deep sleep as soon as Bianca pulled the blanket over me. We arrived at Karl Kline Kennels by nine that morning where we were welcomed by Karl, Holly, and Heidi. Both dogs seemed thrilled to see us and, just as important, we were thrilled to see them. We petted both dogs and scratched their ears before getting down to work, and work it was. We had dozens of verbal commands and hand signals to memorize and put into practice with the dogs.
We rewarded them with doggie treats and ourselves with high fives and kisses when things went according to plan. We stopped only for a brief lunch and when daylight had faded into night.
We were a weary bunch when we stopped that evening at 5:30. We hugged and petted the dogs before leaving. I wrote a check for $100,000 to the Karl Kline Kennels. Sid drove us back to Bella Roma for dinner where we were welcomed like family. No pizza tonight; we enjoyed excellent Italian entrees. Champ and Sheila and Eric Heyman drove out from Sands Point to join us. I felt more comfortable with the extra security now that our true identities were known.
Eric was unarmed, but was a formidable physical presence. We were approached repeatedly during our meal, but mostly only by admirers seeking my autograph or a quick photo. We were back with Karl early Sunday morning.
The dogs were happy to see us. These exercises were like a game to them. Today we worked on security and attack commands. It was interesting to watch the dogs step up and defend us against perceived threats even without being commanded to do so. I was feeling better and better about this decision and I knew that Sheena and Bianca agreed.
Despite her initial reluctance Bianca had warmed to both dogs and was now in total command. I felt sorry for Karl's assistant despite his heavy protective suit when he was attacked—first by Holly and next by Heidi. Shaking hands with Karl, we left just after four, but only after introducing Sid and Amanda to both dogs.
The Escalade was crowded on the way home with both dogs added to the five adults and Maria, but as expected they were excellent in the car, seated on both sides of Maria while the three women took the rear seat. It was dark by the time we arrived, but Sheena and Bianca took the dogs on a quick run around the perimeter of the grounds. It was fenced, but Karl felt they should still learn the property. Then they took a tour of the interior. As expected, Mother was nowhere to be found.
I figured her to last a month or two at most before she came crawling back, especially as the Christmas and New Year's holidays were approaching. Tonight we slept with the dogs in our room with the doors securely closed because we didn't want any problems when the staff reported to work on Monday morning.
I had removed the small table and chairs my mother had favored in the kitchen, replacing them with identical water and food bowls and trays to help contain any spilled water. Once shown its bowls each dog returned to them every time.
We'd also bought large dog beds filled with cedar shavings—different colors for our benefit—rubbing the bed's surface over each dog so they would know it was theirs.
We gathered the entire staff in the entry hall once the dogs had been let out for the formal introductions. I left this to Sheena and Bianca. Each employee held out its hand to be sniffed and each dog was given an "approval" command rather than a "protect" command.
Those were for my family only even though Karl had told us that the dogs would react instinctively if any of the employees were threatened. The introductions went as expected so we walked confidently into the kitchen where Heidi and Holly met Janet and her staff. The dogs sat by their bowls while we ate and chatted. Several of the maids came in to pet the dogs while we ate; they appeared to enjoy the attention.
I was about to retreat to my study when Sheena announced that she had a big workout to get rid of the calories she'd gained over the weekend. She and Bianca took Maria and the dogs with them. I knew they'd run outside with the dogs. Exercising them regularly was important to keep them fit and ready for an emergency.
They worked out while I went to work. I'd join them in an hour or so. That was how the days went right up to Christmas as the dogs integrated themselves into our lives. We moved Maria into her room that night, placing both dogs' beds near her crib and leaving the door open. I knew Bianca was nervous about this change so I had bought a baby monitor. We could hear everything so when we heard nothing she became nervous. I led her down the hall so she could see Maria soundly asleep and both dogs lying quietly on their beds.
Bianca petted them and we returned to bed. I had told my wives one present only for Christmas. I was a billionaire many times over. What could I possibly need? The same was true of them. I had to see one of my attorneys on a business matter so I went into the city, but only after making an important phone call.
I had a contact at Harry Winston's and I wanted to discuss my presents for Sheena and Bianca. They were out shopping when I was driven into Manhattan. The meeting with the attorney went well and we were done by one.
He wanted to take me to lunch, but I balked, telling him I had two wives who needed Christmas presents. We shared a laugh and I walked to the elevator with Alonzo. Twenty minutes later I walked into Harry Winston's on Fifth Avenue near 56th. I spent more than an hour with the salesman and several designers, paying a bonus to ensure delivery before Christmas.
I paid in advance, but left with a warning—"For what I'm paying I expect perfection. If even one of the stones is less than perfect I'll have your heads on a stick in Central Park." The expression on my face told them I wasn't kidding. For $650,000 you'd expect perfection, too. Apparently, my mother was serious about not living with the dogs.
She never returned to my house. Too bad—she missed out on a lot, seeing and experiencing her grandchildren's growth and development. If nothing else, I learned where my fierce determination came from. My staff decorated the exterior of the house, placing wreathes on the street side of the fence and on the door. Then they decorated the fifteen-foot high tree that was always placed in the main hallway between the two arches of the grand staircase.
Bianca, Sheena, and I decorated the smaller tree that we placed in the rec room. It seemed to take forever to do the job with both of them insisting on a kiss before placing an ornament on the tree. Our presents for each other went under it. We each had two—one from each of our partners. By far, the largest pile belonged to Maria. Even the dogs received presents—a large Nylabone, a rawhide bone they turned into a wet yucky mess in no time, and a box of doggie treats.
We had a Christmas party, of course, but the rec room was locked the entire time. I entertained my staff—really my extended family—a week before the big day. There were very strict rules in play. They could exchange gifts with each other, but they were NOT to buy anything for my wives or me. Didn't we have enough? We began the big day as we did most days, by making love with each other. I thought of it as a special present we gave each other. This time we hit the shower afterwards before picking up my smiling daughter.
She was too young to understand the excitement of presents so we went first to kitchen for a quick breakfast. Maria was just beginning to eat baby food so I was spooning it into her as fast as humanly possible.
We walked hand in hand to the rec room where I sat back in my chair while watching my growing family celebrate the holiday. They insisted that I open their presents. Bianca gave me a watch, an OMEGA with two small diamonds at twelve o'clock and one at three, six, and nine. The watch body was obviously 14 karat gold. I loved it and told her so with a lingering kiss. Sheena, ever the practical Scotswoman gave me an assortment of Merino wool garments—a sweater, gloves, and hat that I knew would keep me warm on the coldest day.
I loved the expressions on their faces when they opened their presents—diamond and ruby necklace, bracelet, earrings, and ring—all set in shiny and heavy platinum. I'd had them designed with their personal tastes in mind.
Bianca liked her jewelry ornate while Sheena preferred hers to be simpler. Each set was stunning in its own way. I was reflective as I watched them—Sheena and Bianca opening the presents they'd bought and wrapped for Maria. I'd had just as much money—more than I could ever spend--in prior years, but now I had two women who loved me and a growing family. There were some with more money than me, but could anyone have more riches than I had?
A smile came to my face when I found the answer—no way!
EPILOG I had two children with each of my wives then I had a vasectomy. I wanted a big family, but any bigger and the children would have to compete for attention.
I'd never want that. Bianca had two girls; Sheena's first was a girl, but her second was a boy. Was I any happier or prouder that we'd had a boy? Absolutely not! I knew that girls tended to stay with their family throughout their lives whereas boys tended to join their wives' families. Maria was five when her brother Paul was born. There'd never be a John Scott Philips, Junior if I had anything to say about it.
I wasn't all that happy with my name, especially because my mother had insisted that I use my middle name all throughout elementary and high school and even through my university studies. By then I was stuck with three names whether I liked it or not.
My application to clear the beach and water of the big rocks and boulders was approved, but the EPA took almost six months to do it. They made some insignificant changes, as expected, but that's what bureaucrats do to justify their jobs. I placed an ad in the New York Times, the Daily News, and Newsday asking for proposals for the work.
My engineering company reviewed the submittals and a company from New Jersey began the work in July, removing every rock they could find that was more than three inches in diameter and blasting half a dozen boulders, four underwater, into more manageable pieces. Everything was dumped into a huge barge to be taken offshore. I installed lighted buoys at each end of the new reef as a guide for fisherman.
It was a productive fishing spot three years later, attracting blackfish, fluke, and striped bass. I had decided that I wanted to retire at forty-five so I went public with JSP Industries, selling seventy percent of my empire—seven hundred million shares at an opening price of $130 per share, netting me more than ninety-one billion dollars by the time trading had closed that fateful day.
I donated more than two-thirds of it to charity. I still held more than seventy billion in investments--more than enough to provide for my wives and our children and our heirs until the end of time.
My thirty percent of JSP was enough that I was elected Chairman of the Board, a position that required no more than fifteen to twenty hours a month. I spent the rest of my time with my wives and children. Despite my wealth we sent our kids to the Great Neck Public Schools. I couldn't send bodyguards onto school grounds so I did the next best thing. I had staff watch every entry and exit while my children were in school. By the time they attended school the idea of my two wives was but a minor footnote of ancient history.
Still, there were a few parents and kids who made comments, but we'd prepared each of our children to ignore any derogatory comments. Of course, my donation of at least ten million dollars a year to the school district won a lot of loyalty from the administration and teachers.
We tried to raise our children to work hard and to respect others regardless of their socio-economic status. We wanted them to be average kids—as much as possible considering I was a multi-billionaire. We bought them plain jeans—Levi's or Lee's or even Wranglers. Their other clothes were also nothing special.
Our daughters got their ears pierced when they were in middle school, not before and their jewelry was just what a typical teenager would have. I almost laughed when Maria brought a friend home while in eighth grade. The friend carried a Gucci bag, something she told me she just "had to have." Maria rolled her eyes behind her back. We must have done something right. They were well behaved excellent students, graduating at or near the top of their classes.
I know that Sheena and Bianca were strict as hell when it came to homework and studying. At times I thought there might be a rebellion, but years of good habits and self-discipline prevailed. All four children attended Princeton—my alma mater—which should surprise no one.
I had donated more than a billion dollars over the years. Trust me—money talks! Maria went on to Fordham Law. Allison, Sheena's first, earned her MBA at Wharton. Diana also went on to Penn, but to the law school. Paul took his MBA at Harvard. They were excellent and driven students and those traits served them well as adults. They had huge trust funds amounting to ten billion each when they turned thirty-five so they were very careful about who they dated and even more so with who they married.
I think I was most proud that they all had long lasting and devoted marriages with wonderful children. Sheena and Bianca retained their beauty and their bodies as they aged, thanks no doubt to their strenuous exercise regimen. As I aged my hair turned grey—beginning at my temples. Sheena told me I looked distinguished. I thought I just looked old. More importantly, their love for me and mine for them grew with every year we were together.
What more could I ask for? I'd learned early on that being rich meant more than just having a lot of money. Real wealth comes from love—love of one's partner, or partners in my case, and children--as well as doing something worthwhile with that money. I knew for sure that I'd had plenty of both—certainly much more than my share--in my life. I knew too well who was responsible for that—two wonderful women whose ability to share had shaped my life.