House For Sale, With Extras


Julie Simmons nodded appreciatively as the house came into view. She turned to Victor Manners, who had slowed the car. “This looks rather special,” she observed, and the older man’s wrinkled face regarded her with a kindly smile.”I thought you’d appreciate marketing a more up-grade property,” he told her. Julie had been overjoyed to be appointed junior partner of this well-established estate agency just three months ago, after several years with other smaller outfits.Up until then, life had been crushing in upon her. A bitter divorce had been achieved twelve months earlier. Mike’s frequent infidelities and brutal manner had ensured that.Anyway, the whole affair had left her with the belief that ‘you should never trust a man’. Fortunately, she had a couple of friends, both divorced, who agreed with her assessment.The recent past, working with Vincent Manners and Clive Garrett, both in their early sixties, had been a pure joy compared with her past. She had been eased gradually into the business, and this visit was evidence of further progress.”Remote controlled gates,” Victor commented as driveway gravel crunched under their wheels. “Left them open for us. That’ll be Mr Martin standing outside.”Julie said enthusiastically, “God, that large window over the imposing front door. So impressive. Why’s he wanting to sell?””Something bigger hopefully,” Victor said, with a smile. “He’s an author, you know. Greg Martin, heard of him?”Julie shook her head, although the name was vaguely familiar. Pulling up in front of the house, Vincent opened his door, as Greg Martin, walked towards them, a warm smile on his face. Julie was thinking, tall and looking trim in blue shirt and pants. There was only one fault—he was a man.Out of the car, Victor shook Greg Martin’s offered hand.”Good of you to come so quickly.”Victor chuckled, “Where business is concerned, I’m very quick.” Then, as Julie moved around the car, he said, “May I introduce Julie Simmons, a new junior partner.”Holding out her hand, Julie sensed some uncertainty on Greg Martin’s face. His eyes were taking in more than just her face. She didn’t like that. The look of a lecher. His hand held hers briefly, at least he did not grip to impress. “I’m looking forward to seeing inside the property,” she said, wishing to appear friendly. “It is very impressive from here.”For Greg, something else was impressive from his standpoint. In recent months, as he worked on his next novel, he had paid little attention to good looking women, having no wish to be attracted. Just getting over Tania’s perfidiousness had been task enough.However, meeting this Julie Simmons had set something ticking inside him, like some long-unwound clock. Under a flow of tawny hair, her rounded face had a glow and spark about it that suggested a lively spirit. Green eyes, allied to that tawny hair, wasn’t that cat-like? Her figure, trim in a navy skirt and waistcoat style jacket, open to reveal a white blouse, gently raised by the subtle push of neat breasts.Did he really take all that in with one first glance? What was going on here? He could put it down to his long period of celibacy. No, he put his disinterest in other women down to his recovery from Tania’s wild sexuality. So, why this reaction to an estate agent?Shaking all the questions from his head, he led Victor Manner and Julie Simmons into the house. She immediately produced a notebook from her small handbag and began making hasty notes as they moved from room to room. Greg frequently had to make a deliberate effort to keep from staring at her. She was so shapely.”Have you a figure in mind?” The female voice tore him back to reality, and he was looking, slightly bemused, into those green eyes.”Er—I – well -” Finding his voice he told them, “I paid nearly one and a half million just two years ago. I’d like you’re your present valuation.Moving around the house, Greg realised that this Julie Simmons was the first female to be in the house since Tania. Was his fascination with her showing on his face?In the main bedroom, Victor Manners murmured, “Mm, very cosy.” Julie Simmons concurred, adding, “Neatly decorated.” Greg was fighting off the image of Tania lying back naked on the bed, arms and legs spread invitingly.To kill the image Greg strode over to the window and said, “The view over the garden is always relaxing.”So, it went on. Room to room, the presence of a delectable female body alongside him brought so many unwanted images of Tania’s passionate influence.The smaller fourth bedroom was their last viewing. “Narrow windows here,” Victor Manners commented.”Not out of place for this room though,” Julie Simmons added.Greg could only nod in agreement, as he recalled what others had told him after Tania had left.”Yes, I like it,” Victor Manner said, as they descended the stairs. “Julie will consider a price for the property and contact you tomorrow. Then we’ll go ahead from there.”In the large hallways, Julie Simmons turned to him, those green eyes doing something to his equanimity, “You live here alone, Mr Martin?””For the past ten months,” Greg told her, looking squarely into her face. All she did was lower her face to her notebook.Victor Manners moved the conversation on by asking, “And are you looking to upgrade for your next property?””God, no, I don’t need this kind of space. Three bedrooms maybe, detached, modern.””On an estate?” Julie Simmons asked.Greg looked into those eyes again as he told her he had an open mind about that. “Perhaps something more isolated.”Having agreed to make early contact, first, with a proposed valuation, and secondly, with any suitable suggestions, Victor Manners and Julie Simmons walked out to their car. Opening the driver’s door, Manners gave him a cheery farewell wave. Julie Simmons climbed into the car without looking back.Greg watched the car move away, taking with it a new image to fill his mind. Hell, the world was full of beautiful women. But he could not convince himself.”A very pleasant fellow,” Victor observed as he steered the car out onto the main road. “A fine house, too.”Julie tried to keep her thoughts on business, “I’ll have a value worked out for tomorrow,” she said.”See if there’s kocaeli escort anything in our properties that might interest him.” Victor said, adding, “A lonely man, and a successful author. A lovely catch for some lucky lady.”Julie turned her head to see the little smirk on Victor’s face. “None of that, Victor,” she scolded. Victor, happily married himself, was often teasing about her unmarried state, but when told that her lack of interest stemmed from her bad experience with Mike, he always came out with the same reply.”Okay,” he said now, shaking his head, “He’s your client. Sell his house for him.””Strictly business,” she said firmly.”Julie, I would expect nothing less from you,” Victor said, as he negotiated a roundabout. “But you’re – how old?””Twenty-eight.””See? The clock ticks on. Yes, you got hurt, but…””I know, Victor,” Julie sighed. “One frosty experience doesn’t make a winter. How many times have you…?””And I’m going to keep on,” he interrupted. “Like the old song, ‘You’re nobody ’til somebody loves you.’ Not your era maybe, but true.” And he went on singing the song quietly in his rough gravelly voice.Julie looked out of the window, unwilling to have her thoughts turned towards Greg Martin. Why his lonely state? Because his woman had left him? Good for her. Probably escaping his lustful demands, just as she had finally done with Mike.His eyes had looked lustful every time she’d glanced his way. At times they seemed to be boring into her, trying to read her mind. Even when he was behind her, she was uncomfortable. Very creepy. And she would be facing this until their business was settled. Having to be alone with him as he lusted after her, worried her.Victor’s rough tones quietly rumbled on. He just wouldn’t give up, and, keeping her cool, Julie tried to shut out his vocal advice.Crazily, it was those awful final months with Mike that plunged unbidden into her mind. At first, their intimacies had been acceptable. Occasionally, he could take her to a high, but more often he was too rough or uncaring about her pleasure. Pretty soon there were sure signs that her furrow was not exclusively ploughed by the horny bastard.When divorce was already on her mind, his sexual demands became more unpleasant. No caressing, no foreplay, and for her, no pleasure, as, on occasion, she caught the stench of another woman on him as he imposed his filthy, degrading needs upon her. There was little doubt, Mike Simmons was a total bastard, and Julie had already moved to erase that surname.Victor growled into the conclusion of his song, as he threw her a swift sideways glance.No, Julie sighed to herself. Hell would freeze over before she’d commit herself to another man.~~~Having watched the car move out of the drive, Greg could not decide why he was feeling so distracted. That round, bright face of Julie Simmons, those green eyes, the tawny hair, were all locked behind his eyes. Yet her presence had triggered the memories of Tania which he had hoped he had buried.Greg turned to return to the house. ‘Mini-mansion’ Tania had called it at first. Within eighteen months she had been talking about it being too small.Greg shook his head now. Her sexual demands had him wondering whether he would have physically survived her libido beyond the two years they’d been together. That large window above the pillared doorway always recalled the time he returned from a book promotion, and, glancing up, he had seen Tania’s voluptuous naked body, legs wide, arms spread, red hair flaring, as she pressed her fiery bush against the glass, and smiled that constantly lascivious smile.Captivated by her then, he was ashamed now, to admit that within minutes he had his rising erection buried deep into the heat of that bush, desperate to quench the fire that flamed there. Nowhere in the whole house was there a room where she had not instigated some eagerly demanding sexual activity.Greg’s anger at her subsided eventually. He had known her sexuality could never be fully satisfied. Although her final betrayal had left him with an unfair sense of inadequacy.He hoped for a quick sale, as living there had become unbearable.Unwillingly, he went upstairs to that fourth bedroom with the narrow windows that could be easily blacked out. Greg stood in the doorway recalling what a drunken colleague had told him guardedly after Tania had gone. Almost apologetic, he talked of the ‘swingers’ party she had held. “Bare flesh everywhere. Especially Tania. In the ‘Black Room’ pairs could get together, always naked. Tania went in with two guys, who staggered out as though all the sauce had been sucked out of them.”Now, Greg slammed the door and went to his office. Would he have kicked her out if he had known? Certainly, it would have spared him the unmanning circumstance of their actual split.Sitting there at his desk, he couldn’t concentrate. That awful final episode which saw Tania flounce out of his life persisted. Starting with the unexpected phone message from Carl Sanchelle, entrepreneur and suspected gangster, saying he’d enjoyed Greg’s book and invited him to a small party he was holding on his yacht ‘Gargantua’“Bring your good lady with you.” That should have warned him, especially when he expressed his uncertainty to Tania, and she would hear of nothing but acceptance. Later, Greg would know that the whole thing was a set-up.When she dressed in her most revealing pale green gown, Greg should have guessed it was not meant to impress him.Carl Sanchelle, tall, turning to fat, practically gave the game away, when he brought Tania’s hand to his lips, while his dark eyes ate at her nearly exposed cleavage. “Delighted to meet you, Tania. You look quite delectable.”Much later, Greg would recall that he had never mentioned Tania’s name.The evening looked like it might have been quite special. Champagne abounded, other guests, all from the wealthy end of society. Excellent cuisine. Then at some point, Greg lost contact with Tania. The Gargantua was more like an ocean liner than a yacht. To search for her seemed futile.Around midnight, he saw people pouring into the lounge he had been shown earlier. It had cosy seats and a massive screen on one wall. Then kocaeli escort bayan an older lady someone wanted to talk about his book, and he was happy to respond. When she moved away Greg noticed the light in the lounge was dimmed, and the glow from the screen dappled the many watching faces, all wide-eyed.Greg stepped inside the door and that’s when he saw Tania. Up on the screen in colour, her bright red bush glowing as she grinned at the screen. A naked, fat-bellied Carl Sanchelle, smiling lewdly, bent a willing Tania over a sofa.Hearing his own voice yelling her name, Greg rushed out of the lounge and blindly flung open the next door along the corridor.Sanchelle pulled himself out of the bent over Tania, yelling, “Camera off.”Tania turned her head and yelled, “Oh, fuck off, Greg. This is what I want. I’m not married to you.”That might have been the cruellest blow, but as he tried to find words, “Tania, you can’t—” hands grabbed him from behind.”He’s sailing me to the Med tomorrow. This is real living, Greg.”A fist was driven into Greg’s kidneys and gasping he was dragged off the yacht by some different route. Punches rained on him before he was dumped on the quayside. Pain was his only signal that he was still alive.How he ever managed to drive home he could not remember. But Tania was gone from his life. And Greg had spent months castigating himself for his blind stupidity at not recognising all the signs.One small consolation came some four months later. A newspaper pictured a smiling Carl Sanchelle clutching a lady with vivid blonde hair and thick lips. A caption read, ‘Rich socialite steps out with his future bride.’ Tania? Greg had little curiosity.Standing up from the computer, he went to the window and tried to rid himself of negative thought by conjuring up the face of Julie Simmons. Standing there, he was delighted at how pleasingly definite her image remained.~~~Julie Simmons quickly settled on a price for Greg Martin’s property. That kept him in her mind. Her only concern was that regular meetings were unavoidable. Victor had requested that she handled this sale and try to find a new place for him. Worrying about how he had looked at her on their first meeting, she resolved it would be strictly business meetings. So, when she phoned him with the suggested price, she remained very formal. “Yes, Julie Simmons, from Manners and Garrett. I have a suggested price for your property.””Oh, yes, Julie Simmons,” he said, almost hesitantly, as though he had difficulty recalling her name. “I’ve been looking forward to hearing from you.”Well, Mr Martin, even if you do have a deep manly voice, all you’re going to hear from me is a price. “I thought a figure of one million seven hundred and fifty thousand would be a reasonable starting price.””Sounds fair.””How about a drop to say one million six hundred thousand to complete a sale?””Would you?”Why was she finding this so awkward? “Then, yes, if that gets the sale.””Is that an estate agent view or what you would do as an owner?”Was he teasing her? Or was it just her imagination? Well, she could play along with that. “A bit of both, I suppose.””Then I’ll accept your judgement.””Good, in that case, I’ll have it advertised immediately, and see how it goes. Thank you, Mr Martin.”She was ready to hang up when he quickly asked, “Anything on the purchase side?”Julie told him, “Nothing suitable at the moment.””Well, I’m relying on you,” he said, and Julie was sure that was a laugh in his voice. After hanging up, she found herself wondering what kind of look had been on his face. Had he really been teasing? And just why had that simple conversation bothered her? Anyway. she would get the advertisement out and take it from there.It was two weeks before an enquiry came in. During that time Julie had scoured their lists for something that might be suitable for Greg Martin, but she had rejected the only three-bedroom detached villa because it was close to a railway line.The house enquiry came from a middle-aged couple seeking a move up in the world. Julie was troubled that this would be her first encounter with Greg Martin since the first evaluation. How many similar visits had she made at other properties?She had lost count, but the way Greg Martin had looked at her produced this reluctance. That look of lust in his eyes, wasn’t it? Whatever, she just felt uneasy about being with him, especially since she liked to arrive ahead of the prospective customer.Having made a hasty, cool telephone call to fix a time with Greg Martin she set out to arrive just five minutes before the customer.~~~Greg Martin had it timed perfectly. Knowing when the first prospective buyers were due, he was looking forward to finding out how easy or difficult selling this place was going to be. But, more than anything, he was going to have the chance to see Julie Simmons again. The passing weeks had slightly faded the image of her in his mind. He was standing in the hall when the doorbell rang.Quickly, he opened the door, and there she was, looking as he knew she would. The hair, the green eyes, looking slightly surprised at the speed at which the door had opened. “It’s so good to see you again,” he told her. “Have you time for a coffee?”Greg had stepped aside to usher her into the house and was both shocked and disappointed when she, without looking directly at him, said, “It’s such a lovely day, I’ll just stay out here. The clients will be here soon.”What had produced this coolness from her, and, if it was such a lovely day, why did she have her suit jacket buttoned up to the neck, disguising her elegant figure? He saw the client’s car appear on the drive, and within minutes Julie Simmons was efficiently showing the couple around.Her cool detachment and avoidance of any socialising with him continued for two of the three further viewings she conducted. Every time she arrived, Greg’s heartbeat increased, but what began to bother him was his own behaviour. If he was so attracted to her, what was preventing him from making some standard friendly approach himself? But he really knew the answer to that one.Julie Simmons had so captured his imagination that because of her apparent coolness, izmit escort he feared to make a move that might increase the rift that she had already placed between them. However, by the third viewing, he determined to make just a token gesture of goodwill.On that occasion, he had felt that, at least, her wonderful green eyes met his more frequently, although she remained buttoned up and coolly asexual. As she followed the viewing pair out, Greg made his move and held out a copy of his book.”I don’t know if you’re a reader, Ms Simmons…””Call me, Julie.”Now, was that progress? “And I’m Greg,” he said as if she didn’t know that obvious fact, “as it tells you on the cover.” He held out the book with a smile, “If you’d care to read it sometime.”Standing in the doorway, she hesitated, looking at the offered volume as though it might be a bomb. But then, she held out her hand, and took it, with a quick nod and a brief, “Thank you.”Then she was away, leaving Greg unsure whether he had made any real progress, but at least they were now on first name terms. That had to be progress. But would she ever read the book? ~~~In fact, Julie was an avid reader. She was also a slightly confused lady. From her initial decision on the type of male Greg Martin would be, he had shown no indication of moving in on her. The gift of his book was the only gesture he had made. In fact, her own relaxed attitude had prompted her to exchange first names. Of course, he’d had no need to indicate his name on the cover of the book. From the outset, he had been only her customer, Mr Greg Martin.Arriving home, she placed the book on her bedside table. For the first few nights, the vivid green cover kept catching her attention, but she was set to finish another book. She resolved that Greg Martin’s book would be next. It might reveal more about the nature of the man.After another unsuccessful viewing, Julie sensed that Greg was dying to ask about the book. Deliberately, she avoided making any comment and acted out her coolness to him. That was when it occurred to her that was exactly what she was doing. She was ‘acting it out’. Did that mean she didn’t really feel cool towards him? Damn that, she thought, she had to continue to be cautious.After two weeks, she picked up the book, and began reading, hoping that she would learn something about him. From the start, she was impressed. His prose was terse and the chapters short, always leaving her wondering what happened next.There was only one real sex scene. Early In the book, a drunken young lady offers herself to the hero. To Julie’s surprise, Greg’s hero lectures her on saving her body, ‘as a gift for someone you love.’The sex occurred in the final chapter, where the hero and the lady he has longed for throughout the story, are finally together in a hotel room. Reading was sure that of them standing and viewing each other’s naked body, Julie was certain that now Greg’s writing would reveal tell her something about his lustfulness.Julie was quite stunned to find the love scene written with such delicacy. Even with intimate detail, every touch, every lick was written with such gentility, such genuine warmth of feeling. When the hero eventually entered the lady, the deed was so subtly presented, his caring, tender, thrusts were clearly aimed at giving his lady maximum pleasure and delight.It was so gently erotic that Julie was shocked to find that between her thighs had moistened. How long since she’d experienced that sensation so readily? Never, with a book. Seldom with any man.With a sigh, Julie closed the book, and lay back, with her mind full of questions, about herself, her twisted sexual experience, and her attitude to this Greg Martin.Briefly, the degradations she’d suffered from Mike impinged into her mind. Get out of my head, you bastard. Was it any wonder she was cautious about all men? However, as she drifted into sleep, she took with her an image of Greg Martin, standing in his front doorway, smiling, and inviting her in for coffee.After a gap of four weeks, Julie phoned to say there was a lone male buyer interested. Greg had the front door open before she’d mounted the steps. Immediately, he sensed a change in her demeanour, but was cautious, not trusting his own, variable imagination. Yet, as she came up the steps, wasn’t that the warmest smile she’d ever bestowed on him?Another bright summer day and her suit jacket over her arm revealed how her breasts swelled a pale blue blouse. The very sight of her took Greg’s breath away, and once again he made his standard offer. “Coffee?””That would be nice,” she said, and she was looking straight at him, as his knees went weak. God, could this be true? In the large kitchen, she sat at the table while he tried to muster the best coffee ever.When they were sitting facing each other, Julie apologised, “Quite honestly, I’ve found nothing that meets your criteria.”Greg shrugged, “Well, that’s less of a priority while this place is sticking.”Sitting there, he was thinking, ‘God, she is so beautiful. You really have to push on, Greg Martin. She is more relaxed with you.’The door-bell broke into his thoughts. This client, a tall man, dark hair lightly grey at the temples, instantly got under Greg’s skin, just from the way his eyes roamed up and down Julie’s body.Moving into the hallway, Greg said, “I’ll come around with you.” And he caught Julie’s look of gratitude.”That won’t be necessary,” the man said, with a lewd smile in Julie’s direction.”I think it will,” Greg told him, and, consequently, the tour became very swift. The viewer left inside twenty minutes.Greg looked at Julie frankly, “I’m sure he was more interested in you.”Julie’s lips were tight as she said, “His eyes had my clothes off at least three times.””Four,” Greg said, with a smile to lighten the mood.”He came in yesterday. Asked if I would show him around personally.” Julie glanced at her watch, looked at him apologetically and said, “Oh, I have another appointment. I must fly.”At the door, she turned suddenly and said, “Oh, so remiss of me. I read your book, and I thought it was terrific.””Terrific?” Greg laughed. “You’re the first one to use that word for it.””I really couldn’t put it down. Thank you for showing me.”When she had gone, Greg felt a greater emptiness, given the way their relationship seemed to have lightened. He had to make greater steps towards getting to know her better.

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