If This Isn't Love
Strategically set in the world of powerful politicians, big money and ego: leading to murder and the hidden world of spousal abuse, it explores intimately the facade often maintained by the famous when they believe they will never be held accountable. A setting where sometimes the unthinkable is handed down from man to man to keep “control”. It counts on the gentleness of good to never stand up and fight back.
If This Isn’t Love
Stevie Anna stood facing the pole clad only in her black lace underwear .She only practiced when her room mates were gone. She tried to imagine the hutzpa it took to actually perform on this in front of people.This was definitely only for her own exercise and to strengthen her body and further her martial arts performances. After all, as an undercover Shadow Agent for the Twyner Security Agency she had to be in peak form at all times. Her role at the agency was paramount in her professional life, and in fact all she wanted to do in the future. Her assignments had been increasingly high-risk, and the one time she had been nearly killed, she learned the importance of being fit and ready to take on anything. Now she smiled at the fact she had just given herself a pep talk to convince her to get on with the pole dancing. She found it laughable she had to talk herself into it, even when she was alone.
She lifted her left leg aligning it flat against the pole, creating a perfect splits. She leaned back positioning her torso at at ninety degree angle. The music propelled her into another world as she allowed it to move her, creating spontaneous reactions to the beat.
She had seen her room mate Sarah do this many times. Of course that was how Sarah paid her tuition. Stevie smiled as she pictured Sarah as an accredited psychologist in just two more months. She thought of how proper she would look sitting across the desk from patients, helping them solve their conflicts. All the while her patients would be completely oblivious to the fact that Dr. Sarah Amanda Price was the hottest former pole dancer in Midwest history until completion of her degree.
It was Sarah who convinced Stevie to take up recreational pole dancing as a form of exercise and to loosen up her conservative approach to life. She had convinced her of the health and body benefits, as well as pointing out that it was helpful to her marital arts discipline. It made Stevie even more dexterous and helped her to remain flexible. She needed to have a greater range of stretch and reach to prevent muscle strain and tears. Exercise was one thing. Performing for an audience would never be an option for Stevie. It was hard enough to in the privacy of her own home.
Stevie was now lost in the music as it pulsated through her very being. The music was cranked up and the small home made platform vibrated with the bass tones of the music. She visualized the mysterious and faceless man of her dreams lying on a bed watching her. It was a visualization technique that Sarah had taught her to bring a more natural and sensuous presentation to her dance. She felt herself spinning on the pole and lifted herself upward using her powerful arms. Her legs wrapped around the pole and she let herself down to lie prone on the stage.
Sweat dripped down her chest falling into the chasm between her ample breasts. She tasted the salty perspiration surrounding her mouth causing her to lick the perimeters of her lips. As was her custom when she worked out, she never held back exerting herself in the most strenuous of all the positions she had learned thus far.
She was the “star” of Sarah’s new , albeit private class. Given the other students were mostly housewives trying to impress their husbands, or young college girls trying to learn to use their wiles, it didn’t take much to excel. Still it encouraged her to put in the time and effort as she was inspired by Sarah's example. Sarah, like the other room mates were unaaware of her agent status.
There was a point in her routine when, like a runner who hits the wall then exceeds it, Stevie found herself losing her self conscious discipline . She let her instincts flow and allowed herself to be completely caught up in the music. Her femininity was rarely allowed to assert itself, but here, alone in her remodeled basement studio, she entertained only herself.
The soft clapping of applause caused her to lose her balance and discipline. She snapped back into reality and realized there was someone standing in the doorway watching her. She scrambled to get behind the tri fold screen the students used for dressing. She glared against the lighted doorway. She could only see the outline of a large, masculine figure.
Her mind wildly tried to figure out the time knowing she had an appointment in the next hour. Had she lost track and gone over time practicing? Even so, how did he get down here? Who gave him permission to invade her most private of times, and enter her private domain? He was about to catch hell, and it wasn’t going to be pretty.
“Who the hell are you, and what gives you the right to be down here without my permission?”
“Name’s Boone. Actually T. Boone Parker, mam , after the great man himself.”
The soft drawl of his voice caught her off guard. He sounded almost like some hero in a western movie from the forties or fifties. The stimulation she felt at hearing his voice she wrote off as a quirk. A secret passion of Stevie’s was watching the old Gene Autry and Roy Rogers movies. She loved what she considered to be “real men who knew how to treat a lady, but didn’t hover over them”. It also explained why her favorite movie was John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara in The Quiet Man. His voice brought that all to her mind.
“I ask you how you got in here. The fact that you are still standing there instead of lying on the floor is only because I’m in a good mood today, so answer the question.”
“Sorry." there was a hint of laughter." I called and have an appointment with you. I’m a little early and a very nice rooster let me in upstairs.”
Stevie smiled in spite of herself. This Boone person had lightened the mood skillfully by his accurate and positive description of Perky. "Perky", actually "David Wilson Perks, was what they called one of her house mates. At 22 he was almost six feet six inches and thin as a rail. He compounded the image with an eight inch spiked Mohawk, colored with rows of red, orange and yellow. His thin face with it’s hooked sharp nose, completed the image. That one word would have led her to Perky if she had been given it as the only clue in one of her cases.
Looking at the visitor, she noted his Midwest type suit coat and jeans. She took in his western shirt and dropped her eyes to take in the expected view of cowboy boots. Looking back up she noted his black hair hung down in back and she wondered if he had a ponytail dangling . His sharp green eyes were watching in amusement as she did the physical assessment of him with undisguised brashness.
“Well?” he asked smirking.
“Well what?” she answered a little belligerent, as though knowing he had assessed her stare correctly.
“Was it as good for you as it was for me?”
“Watch your tongue. You are in my house, on my terms. I don’t need any sexual exchanges with a stranger, and I won’t have it. I don’t know who you think you are, or I am, but you’re out of line. Don’t let it happen again.”
Now he was looking perplexed. It was as though he had been thrown a curve. From pole dancer to prude.
She didn’t doubt he was now wondering who the hell was this woman really? She smiled knowing she had created her image as an enigma.
“Since you are here early, I will see you. Go wait upstairs. I’m sure you can find the couch. And don’t come back down here.The"Rooster" isn’t my only house mate.”
Her shower was brief out of necessity. She didn’t like the idea of him being upstairs unsupervised and she knew they were alone in the house. She hadn’t lied about other house mates, but actually none were at home. Perky had gone to his appointment at the employment office, and the others were out facing life, hopefully on their terms.
Stevie dressed quickly and grinned at her image in the full length mirror. She knew this outfit would set off a firestorm of questions in the mind of her visitor. She thought it was just happy serendipity that she could cause him to feel unsettled, as his mysterious request to meet with her had certainly unsettled her. He would not provide details, but at the name Stephanie Amanda Schmidt, she had quickly agreed to meet with him.
She arrived in the living room and found him sitting in the middle of the couch surrounded by animals. Persia was on his lap purring and he was stroking her long white fur as she gave Stevie an insolent look. It was as if to warn Stevie from taking any actions that would interfere with her continued pampering by the obliging stranger.
Two greyhounds were on either side of him curled up as though they had just met a new friend. Mandy was sitting with her head on his shoulder, while Archer Evan sat at his feet with his head on the couch beside Boone. The foursome looked comfortable and like old buddies. While this would not be unusual in most instances; it looked too cozy for Stevie’s taste. She didn’t like accepting people too easily. Normally at least Persia wouldn’t make up with strangers right away.
Now it was Boone’s turn to make a brash assessment of Stevie’s looks. If he had been expecting a sedate look, he was certainly fooled. She had gone from pole dancer in her skimpy black underwear, to an" irate head figure" behind the dressing screen taking him to task for his sexual innuendo. Now she stood before him in all black leather, studded and fringed, and holding a pair of leather chaps to match. She reeked of Biker Babe and she loved his disconcerted look. Apparently he’d expected a Sunday School teacher look after hearing her chastisement for using sexual innuendo with her.
“Now, Mr. Parker. Please state your business. I have plans shortly which require me to leave the house. I suggest you speak concisely if you expect any input from me.”
Her eyes took his on directly and he rose to the occasion.
“No problem. I wouldn’t want to interfere with your evening’s plan. I’m sure it’s going to be ... full.”
She laid the chaps aside and began to handle her do rag in such a way it indicated that she planned to put it on her head to contain her long, full mane of hair .Throwing her wavy black hair forward, she tied the rag in place then whipped her hair back. The orange and black rag completed her look and her snapping brown eyes challenged him to get on with it.
“Ms. Hart. I will come right to the point. Your sister needs your help. She has hired me to find you.”
“What kind of help?” asked Stevie warily.
Stevie had tracked her sister years ago and found her to be living very well. She was married, had money, and an elevated position in her community . She married a politician who was thought to be Presidential potential in a few years. Stevie never made contact or let Stephanie know she had found her. Their lives had gone separate directions when they were toddlers. It wasn’t worth trying to insert her into a relationship. They would have nothing in common. Stephanie was happy, and Stevie was recovering. No need to complicate either life.
“She’s in danger. I can’t tell you details unless you’re going to help.”
“Who’s asking for the help? Her, or you?”
“I was hired to find you. Pure and simple. Having done so, I can’t imagine you’ll be able to help, so if you are reluctant, I can just tell her it didn’t work out.”
“Who are you to know why my sister thinks she needs me. Okay, you’ve found me. Tell me where she is and I’ll find out from her what she needs. She and I will decide if I can help. If you need someone to pay your bill now so you’re done, give me the figure. I’ll write you a check.”
“One hitch. I can’t tell you where she is. Confidentiality. And, she is in hiding. I have to take you to her.”
Stevie was quiet for a moment, then said in a business like fashion.
“Let’s start over. Had you not barged in, I would have answered the door and asked you for identification. Let me have it now.”
Amused, and acting a little condescending, Boone handed her his identification for driving. She asked for two more pieces of identification. Then she really impressed him when she walked across the room and called someone on her cell phone.
“Red, it’s Stevie. Can you run this for me?”
Quickly furnishing the information from the id’s to Red, she bantered with him as he operated his computer and information sources. Laughing , she was heard by Boone to tease back in probable response to being ask to go out.
“Red, I’ll give you my first born child, but I will not go out with you.” she laughed.
Laughing louder, she responded. “I realize that, but you will never be the father of my child. First born or other wise.”
Seeing Boone's interest as he obviously listened to the exchange, Stevie became serious.“He’s here in my living room. It’s a personal matter, not business.”
She turned and spoke softly into the cell phone.“Seriously Red, I’m in a hurry, he’s sitting right here.”
Stevie watched as Boone stood up and carefully put Persia on the couch where he had been sitting. He walked to the far end of the room where he tested a closed door to see if it was a bathroom or closet. He saw it was a closet, so walked on down the hall. Opening another door, he turned and smiled at her. He waved his hand and pointed into the bathroom. It could be taken as a hospitable signal not wanting to interrupt her call, or as an attempt to let her know she could speak freely as he was going out or ear shot.
“Red, are you sure? Any other background? Call me if you find something more, and asap if you don’t mind. I have some decisions to make and it’s very important I know who I can trust.”
Boone returned to the living room in a more serious mood. No bravado or smart alec remarks.
“Have you made a decision?”
“I’m thinking, don’t push me.”
“Well, your time has run out. I just made a call. We need to move now if you’re going to be a part of this. My plane leaves from your local airport here in Iowa City, in two hours. If you’re not there, packed and ready, I’ll tell her you weren’t available through no fault of your own.”
The door bell sounded before she could answer him. Opening the door revealed another dramatic, male, figure standing there. Six feet, four; bald and with a diamond ear ring the size of a pea, he looked like a Swartzenneger disciple. His muscles bulged and stretched the black leather vest and leather pants. There was no question he was taking in to account that there was a man with Stevie; and she didn’t look happy.
“Ready, Stevie?” He gave a narrowed and unfriendly look toward Boone.
“Just finishing up something with this gentleman, Max. Give me a minute will you?”
“Riding with me?”
“No. Would you get my cycle out of the garage and I’ll be right with you.”
Looking at Boone, she knew he was already looking beyond the hulk of a man on the porch at the group of bikers out on the curbside. Male and female, they didn’t look like your urban young professional wanna be bikers. They were the real deal and their tattoos, jackets and emblems showed it. Boone leveled a look at her that she knew telegraphed the question as to what kind of a woman she was? He must be wondering if it was safe to connect her to his client. As though answering the unasked question, she squared her shoulders and fairly spat out the answer.
“If you had done a good job of investigating me before you told her you would find me, you might have warned her about your misgivings. As for me, I think I should remind you that good investigators deal with facts, not with conclusions they got from jumping to them.”
“Believe me, I tried to tell her I should investigate you, but she said it doesn’t matter what I would find. She wants to see you. No, actually she said, needs to see you.”
Stevie walked out the door being sure he followed her. She walked to her new low rider, dove tail, motorcycle and mounted it. She took her time as she pulled on the fringed leather gloves then looked at him with a a stern and unrelenting stare.
“Two hours will tell the tale” she said cryptically as she blasted out of the driveway.