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Copyright © 2018 by TESSY 47

Please note: Adult Content. Erotic without crudity.

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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.

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Midnight Train To Chicago


Chapter 1 The Price Of So Called Success

Chapter 2 Love At First Sight

Chapter 3 The Magic Of Midnight

Chapter 4 A Shock For Bill

Chapter 5 New York

Chapter 6 Reunited At Last

Chapter 7 All Is Explained And A Future Begins

Chapter 1

The Price Of So Called Success

I suppose this story could be described as being a fairytale fantasy. A very naughty fairytale at that. “Fairytale” is to some degree apt because it is a tale about a contemporary “Prince and Princess” who find love – and then live happily ever after. Well something like that. Yes; it’s a special little story that reflects the magic of genuine and lasting love between two people. So without further ado; let our story begin.


Once Upon A Time; well to be exact it’s the first decade of the 21st century; there was a man named Bill Douglas. Bill who had been born and bred in the USA had just turned forty. He was tall, slim, athletic, and exceedingly handsome. He possessed a thick crop of neatly trimmed near black hair. Apart from his good looks, Bill was highly successful in his chosen career. He worked in Dallas Texas as a senior computer programmer and development engineer. The company he worked for was called Apricot Computers. In fact Bill's position was that of director of product development.

Apricot had been in direct competition with Granny Smith Computers for a number of years. Apricot had also succeeded in developing a highly successful alternative to Granny Smith's iTablet. Such success was entirely due to Bill's cleverness and knowledge. Bill also possessed superb leadership skills with a team of fifty programmers to support him. On that basis it was in effect Bill himself; together with his team; who had brought about the arrival of the new device. Within a year of its inception, twenty million had been sold worldwide.

I suppose as far as creative abilities were concerned, Bill Douglas could be likened to Steve Motions of Granny Smith; or even Bill Fences of Microhard for that matter. On that basis Bill Douglas was a valued employee of Apricot. As a result he was paid; this was with the appropriate bonuses; close to a million dollars per year. This was not too bad a figure for the time in question.

Even though Bill was a valued employee of Apricot Computers, it needs to be clarified that the business was cutthroat and ruthless. There was no such thing as sentiment or empathy for others. Employees came and went frequently at the whim of management. Employees; this was as far as Apricot was concerned; were simply numbers and "things" to be manipulated. It was a culture that Bill dearly wanted to change. However with the culture of greed that had manifested itself in the USA; this was together with most countries within the western world; it just wasn't to be. People were always way down in the list of priorities. Making money was number one.

It had been at Bill Douglas's initiative that the successful alternative to the iTablet became known as the "jTablet". This was because "j" was the next letter after "i" in the alphabet - in other words one better!

Thanks to Bill's ingenuity and expertise in his field, the jTablet was in fact superior to the iTablet in many respects. To name a few, the jTablet could respond to complex voice commands. It possessed a laser light projection keyboard that could be operated on any adjacent flat surface. It also had a superconductor battery that never needed charging. Then to top it all off there was a 5.2 GHz microprocessor; not to mention 10GB of memory and 520GB of storage. Not that it is necessary to know these technical details; it simply supports the fact that what Bill had developed showed absolute brilliance. The world needed the jTablet and wanted it - much to the delight of the shareholders of Apricot.

Apricot was a public company listed on the stock exchange. This meant that certain demands were placed on management to perform and provide the necessary return on investment. Hence the lack of any compassion by top level administration for staff and their jobs. As far as employees were concerned; if "one" didn't perform to the company’s satisfaction - you were a "gone-burger".

What Bill and his team had developed wasn't just the jTablet. Just as Granny Smith had done, there was a jphone and a jpod. Yes Bill had made Apricot Computers one "hell of a lot" of money. Hence as previously mentioned they paid him a "reasonable" amount to keep him.

To an outsider, Bill appeared to be the epitome of success. For starters he had a beautiful wife. She was an attractive blond. She was an ex-model named Felicity to be exact to whom he had been married to for nineteen years. The pair had two children – namely a boy named Brady of the age seventeen and a girl Bianca of sixteen.

The children attended the very best of schools nearby to where the Douglas family lived. Highland Park in Dallas was the place - right amongst the wealthy. They had moved to this upmarket location a couple of years earlier at the insistence of Felicity. This was when Bill had made his mark at Apricot. At the time, Bill had received a $500,000 bonus. He and his wife had used this as a deposit on the house that they moved to.

As a point of interest; Felicity had wealthy parents who had resented Felicity marrying Bill. This was because back at the time the pair had married; Bill lived on the "bones of his arse". He had done so in rental accommodation as a struggling computer programmer. In addition it was to make matters worse that back at the time he was looking for work.

Felicity's parents had continued to resent Bill over the years. This was because once he had so called "made it"; they had been proved wrong. This was in originally calling him a "waster". Poor Bill, he couldn't bloody well win!

As far as what it was like where Bill and his family lived; Highland Park was a suburb of Dallas characterised by tree-lined streets and quiet dignity. A high standard of living was characterised by the quality of the magnificent homes in the area. The obvious opulence was further enhanced with the abundance of tree studded parks with lakes to make a truly picturesque and magnificent setting.

Most of the properties had large immaculately manicured lawns and mature trees. Then there were wide cobblestone driveways that swept up to the front of what in many cases could only be described as mansions with multi-car garages. The multi-car garages were in all cases clearly visible from the road. This was so that whatever vehicles that were owned by the occupants; were on display as part of the culture of "keeping up with the Jones's".

To any of the lowly hoi-polloi visiting the area, there would be immediate thoughts of a TV program of the time called "Desperate Housewives" - and maybe they would be right to think that way. It will be seen why as we learn more of Bill. As it is in life; things are often not as rosy as they seem. So called beauty is often only skin deep.

As far as the Douglas household was concerned they were certainly "well off" in the material sense. For one thing they had four cars. The "children" each had new sporty soft-top Mazda MX5's. Bill and Felicity shared; this was depending on Felicity's need to impress others; the use of two vehicles. One was a new black Hummer H2 Limited Edition. The other was a new Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

The house could be described as being "something else". It was a "nice" little piece of real estate that was possibly worth in the order of eight million dollars or more. It had two stories and was somewhat elegantly built in white rock and split stone.

Contrasting beautifully with the rock and stone work could be seen discretely placed cedar panelling and cedar louvered window shutters. A pitched, grey slate roof covered what was in reality a "U" shaped mansion. A real-estate agent would possibly describe the property as being. "A stunning, clean line, formal, French Regency styled home; built with a great deal of attention to detail".

The house had six bedrooms, ten bathrooms, two drawing rooms, two dining rooms, and four-car attached garaging. Well put it this way; it had everything any self respecting "millionaire" such as Bill and Felicity could want. If the house happened to be on the market; which it wasn't; one would perhaps see within the sales blurb under "interior features"; delightful attributes such as: wet bar, fireplace in master, walk-in closets, exercise room, extra storage rooms, library and study combination, music room, solarium and sunroom, extensive wine cellar, stone floors, breakfast room - and much more. Certainly more than could be said in one breath!

Apart from the house itself, there was a tennis court. This was together with a near "Olympic-sized" swimming pool to the rear of the half acre of land. Dotted about the property were Maple and Oak trees. There was no question of it; it truly was a beautiful setting.

To further add to the appearance of wealth; parked to the right of the garage under an open sided shelter was a thirty foot, flying bridge, power cruiser on a massive trailer. The boat wouldn't have been near the water in a year or more. Even so, it "looked good". The hours Bill had to put into his job at Apricot saw to it that the boat remained unused.

Well one would think that with what Bill and Felicity owned that here was the recipe for bliss and happiness. However it was not the case. This was purely because material things never brought about lasting happiness. Not that Bill and Felicity; well Felicity in particular; were really cognisant of the fact that they were "unhappy". How and where they lived was just par for the course in being "well off". In reality they knew no different. It was typical of how the wealthy lived.

There were the occasional times of superficial happiness. This was when on some of the many occasions that the Douglas's entertained; they; this was Felicity in particular; would talk to their peers about their latest acquisitions. It was rare for instance that the vehicles they owned were ever more than a few months old. Not that the vehicles needed replacing; It was just that to keep up appearances, the Douglas's; this was again Felicity in particular; had to have the latest to "impress" their peers.

Felicity seemed to be quite content to exist in the land of "material things". For Bill however there was a hidden unrelenting feeling of insecurity. It was a feeling of insecurity that occasionally manifested itself as nightmares. At such times he would dream of having lost his position at Apricot.

The feelings of insecurity that Bill was experiencing weren't unfounded. For one it needs to be noted that Felicity was a socialite and didn't work. Working was seemingly beneath her dignity. She spent much of Bill’s hard earned money on peer pressure driven extravagances. Then on top of that; the two teenage children were rather "expensive to run". This was with their demands for material things and to have the latest to keep up with their peers. Apart from such expenses; there was also a substantial mortgage on the house. Then there was a full time maid as well as a part time gardener to be paid for. In effect the Douglas family were barely living within their means; that is on Bill's salary. If ever he cared to dwell on it; the financial situation really did scare the crap out of him at times. Deep down Bill was literally terrified of ever losing his job or coming down with some long term illness.

Superficially and outwardly in appearance; Bill was by all accounts the successful millionaire. The beautiful home, the cars, the boat, the beautiful wife and the children who had everything; made it that way. And let's face it; what he and Felicity "owned" in the way of assets was possibly in the order of ten million dollars. However it had been in order to sustain the aforementioned lifestyle that the house had recently been remortgaged. On that basis the Douglas's net worth was in reality zilch. Hence the dread Bill had of ever losing his job continued to subliminally lurk in the depths of his subconscious. It lurked ready to surface at any moment like a predatory shark from the depths of a troubled sea of debt.

Deep down, Bill was a sensitive person. In reality he possessed a kind and empathetic nature. He didn't really belong in an environment where material things were foremost. Unfortunately for Bill; his parents had been killed in a plane crash when he was in his late teens. In part, this loss had driven him to be so called "successful" in his chosen career. Even though his parents were dead, there was a feeling Bill had of wanting to be successful to make them proud of him.

It was in some ways that Bill's marriage to Felicity was an unfortunate mismatch. Lust I suppose had brought them together. There had been some good times for the first year or so until the children arrived. It was then that Bill and Felicity drifted apart in the sense that loving sex between the pair became non existent.

To gain a slight appreciation as to what it was like for Bill; generally the only sex between Bill and Felicity evolved at times when they would entertain. It would be at a time when Felicity would have too much to drink. Often when the guests had departed, Felicity would in the crudest of fashions, strip off in front of Bill. She would then with slurred speech utter something along the lines of "I want you to fuck me Bill". This was I suppose a typical characteristic of a female in the times of declining morals in the 21st century. Realistically; Bill absolutely hated it. The word "slut" would flash through Bill's mind at times with Felicity's behaviour.

Bill and Felicity normally got on well enough together. In effect they tolerated each other for the sake of the children and their education. They also stuck together to keep up appearances for their peers as well as the in-laws. The "children" that Bill and Felicity had stayed together for, were another story. They were in essence spoilt, money consuming, teenage brats. Because of Bill's deep involvement in his work; and the long hours he spent at Apricot Computers; he didn't really dwell too much on his marriage and the "crap" that engulfed him in his so called successful life.

Speaking of the "crap" that surrounded Bill in his life; there were several other issues that disturbed him deeply. Apart from a zero net worth; this was as well as the lack of love from his wife; not to mention the spoilt undisciplined brats of teenagers; the main issue that disturbed Bill was this. It was how it had become in recent years when entertaining others at their home. Illicit drugs such as methamphetamines, cocaine, and ecstasy, had become "par for the course". It was just something the "rich" did because they had the money to do so. If one didn't "do drugs" there was a risk of being ostracised. It was an ugly situation where with the wealthy there was in reality no true freedom. Life if one looked at it realistically was dictated to by one's peers.

The drug aspect was something that Bill hated. It went against the principles his beloved parents had instilled in him. Bill never touched drugs but he would have alcohol. It would be on occasions that Bill would consume alcohol to excess. He would do so in order to mask the worries of what was going on around him. Apart from drugs; the entertainment scene for the elite involved wife-swapping. This was together with drug and alcohol fuelled orgies. Bill felt trapped. This was especially so at times when he knew his wife was having sex with others. It hurt him "real bad".

So was with all that was going on in Bill's life; it unquestionably worried him as to what would happen if he ever lost his job. If he did lose his job it would be with zero net worth that there was nothing to fall back on - and it was all mainly due to the exorbitant spending habits of his wife. Additionally; and to make matters worse; Bill realised only to well that Apricot "owned" the ideas he had developed. If he didn't keep performing; they could if so desired replace him. Then he really would have nothing. With the USA happening to be in a time of financial crisis; as it was at this particular point in time; it would be difficult for him to ever find a similar position. Bill had visions at times of being destitute. That is to the point of living in a tent and cleaning toilets for a living. Not that it would ever happen with someone of Bill's ability. Unfortunately the human mind takes delight in playing out the worst case scenario.

Now that it has been explained as to what life was like for Bill Douglas, we will move to one February morning of Bill's fortieth year. It happened to be February the 14th. Yes it was Valentine's Day. One might have thought it would be a romantic day for Bill. It wasn't - well not initially anyway.

The day in question is a Monday. The time is 6.00am. Bill groans as the phone rings with a prearranged wakeup call. It’s a call from Apricot's answering service. Bill takes the call. Having done so he reluctantly concedes to the fact that it is time to get moving for an important day he has ahead of him.

This particular day Bill is catching a mid morning flight to Chicago. He is doing so to take part in a two day promotional conference. It’s a conference where a team of twelve Russians are scheduled to be in attendance. Apricot Computers had; this was due to some so called "smart marketing" and behind the scenes "bullshit"; brought about an opportunity to launch the jTablet in Russia. Potentially it meant millions of dollars worth of sales to the company. Bill as the designer-creator of the jTablet was required to attend this conference at the insistence of the CEO. Besides which it was a part of Bill's employment contract that he did so.

The CEO of Apricot was a man in his fifties by the name of Alfonso Estrada. "Alf" as he was generally known, was of Italian descent. He could be described as being loud, arrogant, and grossly obese. Alf's face was almost red enough to warm one's hands on it if so desired. The floridness was possibly a direct result of the large number of Martinis he consumed. This was along with inordinate amounts of an Italian alcoholic's delight – a drink called Grappa!

Alf was certainly no oil painting. In fact anyone meeting him for the first time would just about want to "throw up" at the sight of his fat jowly face. To put it succinctly he was as ugly as sin. To maybe add further to the ugliness that his face portrayed, there would be occasions when his great fat gut would burst through the front of his shirt! Ugly or otherwise; Alf was the epitome of money and greed.

Strangely enough; just as it often was with men of Alf's ilk; Alf thought he was "God's gift" to women. He had come close to being in trouble on numerous occasions. This was with sexual advances to female employees who worked at Apricot. It disgusted Bill that Alf got away with what he did because of the power of his position. If any of the women that Alf had molested dared to complain; they would soon find themselves working elsewhere.

Alf had not one iota of technical ability when it came to the complexities of the jTablet. He left that up to people such as Bill to whom he reluctantly had to pay megabucks for their knowledge. I suppose in some ways, Alf was a necessary evil. He was a necessary evil for Apricot to succeed in the ruthless competitive environment of the computer world.

So it was on this particular morning; Bill thanked the answering service for the wakeup call. Having done so, he then sighed and rubbed the sleep from his eyes. He looked to his right where Felicity still lay asleep. Yes amazingly Bill and Felicity still slept in the same bed. I suppose it was because there was a flicker of an obscure attraction that had remained since the lustful times when they had first come together.

Bill continued to look at his beautiful wife for a moment. In spite of her lifestyle she had looked after herself. She had remained being a very attractive woman. Her soft blond hair caressed the pillow close to where Bill was reclining. He visualised in his mind her slim naked body that lay beneath the sheets. In essence, Bill had a raging erection and wanted her. This was especially so in being Valentine's Day. Bill at heart was a bit of a romantic.

The sad part was that it was so very rare that Felicity and Bill ever made love when Bill did want her. There was always the excuse that her period was due; or that she had to go to the bathroom; or simply that she had a headache and wasn't feeling well. A tear came to Bill's eye. This was as he reflected on where he was in his life; and how his wife didn't really love him. In spite of Bill's phenomenal success with his computer development skills; a wave of feelings of failure swept over him. There were feelings of "How would it all end?" "Oh God, why does life have to be this way?" and "What the hell is life all about?"

Ever hopeful, Bill smiled to himself. This was when he had had a fleeting thought of the times when he and Felicity had first met. He was about to reach out to stroke Felicity's soft blond hair when he was interrupted. He was interrupted when the phone rang again. Bill quickly grabbed the receiver and put it to his ear. He had grabbed the phone with much haste because he wanted to prevent the ringing of the phone waking Felicity. Bill then said in a hushed voice. ‘Hello, Bill Douglas speaking'.

‘Are you there?’ A voice had then roared down the phone.

Bill knew immediately that it was his boss Alf Estrada. Bill felt intensely annoyed at the "are you there?" nonsense. He reflected to himself how "Of course I am bloody well here. I wouldn't have picked the bloody phone up if I wasn't"! Even so, Bill controlled his feelings of intense annoyance and said. ‘Hello Alf, what's up?’

‘Change of fucking plan Douglas’, Alf had barked down the phone in a gruff tone.

As a result of Alf’s response; Bill had flinched with apprehension. This was because Alf only referred to him by his surname when he was annoyed about something. Bill's brain went into "flash" mode. This was to scan the memory banks for something he might have been remiss about or forgotten to do. There was nothing untoward that he could recall.

‘What plan?’ Bill had responded a little tentatively.

‘It's fucking Chicago. The Airport is closed with snow and ice. It's a bad one - tons of the bloody stuff’. Alf had continued.

'Oh shit, really', Bill replied. Secretly he was hopeful that maybe the meeting with the Russians might be postponed.

‘Yes really’, Alf snapped. ‘It couldn't have bloody well happened at a worse time. Even so, I’m doing something about it'.

'Tell me more', Bill responded while trying not to sound disappointed; and to portray a "glass half full" response.

‘I am at Addison airport here in Dallas now’, Alf barked. ‘I haven't got bloody long so listen carefully. I am catching a flight out in fifteen minutes to Los Angeles. I’m going to meet up with the Russians there. We are then; that is all of us; flying to Kansas City. It’s there that I shall wine and dine them tonight. Tomorrow we fly direct to the conference hotel in Chicago by helicopter'.

Bill could hear Alf chuckle to himself for a moment before he continued. ‘Shame you won't fucking be with us tonight Douglas. I have arranged for escorts to deliver the "full Monty". The Russians like a good fuck’.

In reality, what Alf had said was designed to annoy Bill. Alf was actually jealous of Bill because of Bill's incredible intelligence. This was together with the outstanding ability he showed in his chosen field. It was not only Bill's cleverness that made Alf jealous. Bill was also exceedingly good looking. At the other end of the scale; Alf was an ugly and obese cretin who made no effort to curtail his drinking and gluttony. The only ability Alf had was to relieve others of money. It was by means that could only be defined as being cheating disguised as honesty.

Bill cringed at what Alf had said. He didn't respond to his "missed opportunity". Instead Bill went on to say; this was while suppressing a degree of annoyance at Alf's antics. ‘Why can't the Russians come to Dallas? Wouldn't it make it all a damn sight easier?’

‘Listen Douglas’, Alf snapped in response. ‘Don't question what I’m doing. You are starting to irritate me. The Russians have other business in Chicago; otherwise I would have bloody well brought them here to Dallas. I want this one Douglas and I will do anything to secure the deal’.

‘What do you want me to do?’ Bill responded not really liking what he was hearing; and wondering what the hell Alf might have in mind.

‘It's absolutely essential that you are in attendance Douglas. The Russians have techos with them and I want all their questions answered. This is as well as a comprehensive rundown on the product. What I mean is overheads, whiteboard, handouts, the works. We meet with the Russians tomorrow evening over cocktails at their Hotel in Chicago'.

‘Well’, Bill replied. ‘Shall I fly to Kansas City and meet you there later today?’

‘No’, Alf snapped in return. ‘I have arranged a berth for you on the overnight train - the Texas Eagle. The train is cheaper than flying you to Kansas City. Besides which you can use your time on the train preparing your presentation. It leaves Dallas at three-forty this afternoon. It takes twenty-two hours to travel to Chicago. Be on it. Pick up the ticket from my secretary’.

Bill was about to say something in response when he heard a click. Alf had hung-up. Bill felt rage welling up inside him. The rage he felt had then melted to despair. It was no good phoning Alf back and expressing his annoyance. There was nothing he could do about it. He had to do as Alf had directed or else risk losing his job.

Yes; just as he had surmised many times before; it really was an unfortunate situation for Bill. This was because that now the jTablet was completely developed; it belonged to Apricot Computers and its shareholders. Bill Douglas could; that is if push came to shove; be easily dispensed with. The team of fifty that Bill had lead in the development phase, all had a complete knowledge of the product. In effect they could easily move on without Bill. It was depressing to think about it; if not a little worrisome. In reality it was to secure his job from this point in time on that Bill would have to come up with a jTablet2 - with much improved features. For Bill it was a life of ongoing pressure to satisfy the company's greed for money.

It was by the time Bill had got off the phone; and come to terms with Alf’s demands; that Felicity had stirred. As a result she enquired as to what was going on. Bill told her of what had happened. He told her how he felt misled by Alf and the Company. Felicity didn't have any great concern for the despair Bill felt. No, her mind was on the socialite activities of the day. In particular this was golf that she would be playing that morning followed by lunch at the Country Club.

In response to Bill's feelings of despair, Felicity kissed him on the cheek. It was then with little regard for how Bill felt; and the fact that it was Valentine’s Day; that she said. ‘You'll sort it out. By the way I will be taking the Hummer this morning. There are eight of us playing golf. Seeing you are going to be away tonight Bill; I'll stay over at Madeline's place’.

What Felicity had said further added to the degree of despair Bill felt. Bill had met Felicity's friend Madeline a number of times in the past. He knew what in all probability Felicity had meant by "staying the night". It would no doubt relate to some drug and alcohol fuelled "sexual romp".

In one last attempt to be close with his wife, Bill slipped his hand down under the sheets. Having done so it was tenderly and with much feeling that he massaged the muff of her vagina. This brought about the "half expected" response of. 'What do you think you are doing Bill? There is no time for that. I have got to get up and get moving!' With which Felicity leapt out of the bed and ran to the shower in the en-suite. She was in a mood that could only be described as being an indignant huff. It was almost as if Bill had violated her.

Bill could have broken down there and then in absolute despair. But no, he knew he had to keep his life together and hold onto his job. Even so; it was just as had happened on other such occasions; thoughts of divorce flitted through his mind. He rejected this because that wasn't the answer either – and Felicity knew it. With divorce there were draconian property ownership issues to be dealt with under the Texas Community Property Law. Half of everything would belong to Felicity irrespective of Bill having earned everything they owned. There would be the issue of who would continue to live in the house. Then there were horrific legal fees and possibly "trumped up" damages to face. That is damages fabricated by Felicity under the influence of the in-laws. In essence, divorce would bring about the loss of everything that Bill had worked so hard for.

One thing that kept Bill from "going to pieces" was a genuine love of the work he did. To Bill there was no greater satisfaction than creating something that people enjoyed using. It gave him an intense feeling of pride to see the jTablet being used by the masses. Not to mention the obvious enjoyment of the product. What Bill felt in relation to the pride he had in his work was something his wife Felicity would never know or understand. Well put it this way. Because of her selfishness she never got to truly know her husband as the fine person that he was.

When Felicity had headed for the shower; Bill relieved his desires for her by masturbating. He closed his eyes and fantasised about earlier times. Yes; he thought of the times when they had made mad passionate love.

With the issue of pent-up sexual desires out of the way; Bill pushed aside all the negative aspects to his life that were plaguing him. This was so that he could make a positive start to the day. For one this happened to be the indignity he felt in having to travel to Chicago by train. Then there was the anguish he felt with his wife not loving him anymore. Then there were all the other problems that related to his teenage children. Not to mention the in-laws, the money worries, and the feelings of being exploited. Bill's attitude was that life was too short. Yes; too short to let the "crap" associated with living in the 21st century get him down. Accordingly he smiled to himself. This was before muttering to himself with much positiveness. "Shit and god dam it - I am going to do something about my bloody predicament!"

It was while Felicity busied herself in the shower that Bill grabbed an overnight bag. Having done so he filled it with the clothes and other items he would need for the nights he would be away. He then headed to another of the showers in the house. It was a shower that was in a guest bathroom down the hallway. He wanted to be alone to think.

It was on having quickly showered and dressed that Bill then slipped away without saying anything to Felicity. There was nothing out of the ordinary in doing this. This was because in reality he and Felicity really lived two separate lives under the same roof.

It was ultimately that Bill quietly and discreetly let himself out the front door of the house. It was as he did that once again he muttered to himself what he needed to do. He felt a strength and positiveness when he had uttered; "Bloody Felicity will just have to learn that I am not her lapdog. I will open a bank account in my name and have my salary directed there. I will take control of my life. I have bloody well had enough!"

It was first thing this particular morning; that is on having left home; that Bill did exactly as he had promised to himself. He took control of his life. He opened a bank account under his own name. Having done so, he transferred to the new account half of what was left in the joint account with Felicity. Mind you, there was only a couple of thousand. This was because of what Felicity had spent on the "necessities" of being a socialite. It really struck Bill right then that every month there had been roughly fifty-thousand of his hard earned salary going into their joint account. This was to be then squandered by a wife who didn't love him. Accordingly it was when Bill later arrived at his place of work that he had payroll direct his salary to the new account.

So it was with so called “mission accomplished” that Bill had smiled to himself. He thought of how it would be that very night now that he had changed things. His monthly salary would be going to the new account. What had made Bill smile was that he would be away until at least Wednesday or possibly even Thursday? On that basis Felicity would be sure to run out of money - or maybe have an embarrassing situation when she couldn't pay for some exorbitant lunch! Felicity didn't have the luxury of using a credit card. This was because the one she owned had already reached its fifty thousand dollar limit. Instead she withdrew cash to pay for things. "Hmmm" Bill had thought to himself. "Maybe she will begin to appreciate me a little more when there is no more cash to squander".

Moving back in time this particular morning; that is to when Bill had left the house; he had decided not to take the car. Instead he had decided to catch a bus and take a connecting train. This was in part because he didn't want to leave the Lamborghini at work unattended for two or three days. It was also because it was such a beautiful morning - even though it was winter.

The walk down to catch the bus was invigorating and refreshing in the cool morning air. What made it all the more pleasant was that there were early signs of approaching spring. The birds were active and twittering. This was as they went about their "lovemaking" to bring about new offspring over the coming weeks.

It was as Bill walked on along the tree lined streets and avenues; this was to catch the bus; that he couldn't help thinking how uncomplicated the life of the birds and the bees was. He reflected to himself. "If only my life was that simple".

It was when Bill had walked past one of the many mansions of the area that a small terrier greeted him. It was a rather cute little dog with shaggy eyebrows. This was together with floppy ears and the most appealing brown eyes. The dog had come to Bill with a tennis ball in its mouth. The terrier then dropped the ball at Bill's feet. Having done so the dog then barked expectantly to have Bill throw the ball for him. The dog's tail was wagging so hard one might have expected it to "fall off"!'

Bill had smiled at what he saw. It was then that he said; this was as he bent down to be closer to the dog. ‘Hello little fellow. You want me to throw your ball for you?’

‘Wrruff’, had been the somewhat enthusiastic response.

Bill obliged and picked up the ball. He threw it back towards the house from whence the dog had come. It was a house that reeked of extravagant opulence. That is extravagant opulence derived from greed and the exploitation of others. On looking about him; something flashed through Bill's mind. It was just as it had on the odd occasion before. It was the simple realisation of "I don't belong here".

When Bill had thrown the ball, the terrier ran off barking and yelping with absolute joy to fetch it. In seeing the joy the little dog had experienced; Bill reflected to himself that in all probability, the terrier with its simple life was possibly the only happy creature that lived at the address. Yes Bill was doing a lot of soul searching about his life and where he was at this particular day.

It was while on the bus and the train this particular morning that Bill looked about him. In particular this was at the other passengers as they headed to work. Most of them were in a low income bracket. In general they looked happy. They were laughing and chatting away to each other. It really struck Bill that money did not make people happy. In fact it had the exact opposite effect as he knew only too well. Bill would have done anything to have Felicity love him. Somehow he knew instinctively that it would never happen. Bill's thoughts about life and what he wanted from it were changing. Bill didn't know it yet but his life was indeed about to change.

Chapter 2

Love At First Sight

It was before Bill departed for Chicago; this was later this particular Monday; he had spent some time with his colleagues at the Apricot headquarters. He had done so as to sort out presentation material for the meeting with the Russians. It was by 3.00p.m that Bill was armed with a carry-case full of brochures. This was together with giveaway jTablets and whiteboard pens - the usual presentation "guff". Bill had phoned the hotel in Chicago. This was to organise an overhead projector and display tables together with the necessary seating and refreshments. He knew from previous experience that Alf wouldn't have done anything about organising such things. Alf's role was to talk insufferable bullshit, look important, and not get involved with any of the "sleeves rolled up" stuff.

If all went to schedule; Bill would be arriving in Chicago at 2.00p.m the following day. This would mean that subsequent to his arrival he would have time to get things organised for the evening conference; and ensure all would go smoothly - Alf depended on him.

Unfortunately for Bill, the evening conference would only be the beginning of what he felt to be an absolute ordeal. The evening conference was what could be described as being a preliminary overview of the jTablet. Negotiations with the Russians were set to continue for most of the following day.

The negotiations part was something that Bill absolutely hated. This was when Alf would make outrageous promises and claims about the jTablet and its capabilities. In particular these were things that the jTablet couldn't do in its current format. It would be later that Alf would insist that Bill make the “claims” happen - or else! For all Bill knew, Alf would inform the Russians that the jTablet could make toasted sandwiches! Bill and his team would then have to go into panic mode and satisfy Alf's wishes.

To a sensitive and intellectual type such as Bill, the meeting with the Russians was an absurd load of crap. As far as Bill was concerned it was an ego trip for Alf. It was a means of justification for his highly paid position. It was an excuse to party and have sex at the company's expense; and then report "his" success to the shareholders. This was the success that really belonged in the domain of Bill and his team.

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