Tom Meets Kate (and V)

These two flashback chapters were removed from The Family Trust Book 1. This is the only place to read them now.

Fringe Benefit

Boston, 3 years ago.

Two more nights. Tom pushed the broom through the cafeteria. He was thinking about how the kids got more obnoxious the older he got. And, he looked like a bigger loser in his uniform asking whether they wanted fries with that. On top of it all, he was cutting weight, surrounded by all the greasy goodness that fuels American undergraduates and not allowed to eat much of it. When he did eat, though, it was in this dining hall. The free scraps he finagled meant he could put his food allotment to other uses.

There were a few tables still occupied. The manager was away, so the “get the hell out of here at seven-thirty” rule wasn’t being enforced. Tom had already put up seventy-seven chairs and swept as much as he could without having to interact with anyone.

He was getting closer to a table with a blond, brunette, and redhead, which amused him. They were all in workout clothes, and in great shape. From a distance, he could see defined muscles, and no flab. But they weren’t athletes or he would have at least recognized them. They were all working on large quantities of ice cream.

While freshman boys (who weren’t on a team) could be dicks, they generally ignored him. Some of the girls were nice, but most looked down their noses at the kid who had to work his way through school. A few were just mean. He thought this Neapolitan threesome was stoned silly. Please leave me alone.

No dice.

“Hey, I think you missed a sss-pot,” announced the blond. Tom just closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “No, look, you totally missed that!”

He’d have to clean it up anyway, so he followed her finger to a…bud? Tom smiled.

“What?” he asked as he took a quick look around him and then bent to pick it up. It was indeed marijuana.

“Isn’t that crazy?” She looked up at the ceiling. “Maybe it’s raining…” she lowered her voice, “…pot!” Her friends laughed. At her capering, not him.

That was brazen. And pretty funny.

“Better put that in your pocket,” she said as she handed him a paper napkin and looked at his name tag, “Tom.”

“You sure?”

“Of course we’re sure,” she said and then stepped closer to him, just far enough away from the table that it was just the two of them talking. “Do you smoke?” she asked.

Tom looked up to the ceiling.

“Well…I don’t know…”

She cocked her head.

“Holy Cow! You must smoke a ton!”

He liked her immediately. Judging by the way the other girls were pretending not to watch his interaction with her, she was talking to him on a dare. It was flattering. He also guessed that the trio had put their stoned heads together to figure out how to do something nice for the poor schmuck with the broom who had probably served them dinner half an hour ago.

“No, I’d love to, I just have to figure out what my status is with drug testing.”

She nodded.

“Little problem with the po po?”

She was funny. And—holy shit—all muscle with great tits and sexy curves. Young looking, though. And, her face could graciously be described as unmemorable, except that it was.

“No. I’m kind of on the wrestling team.”

“How’s that?” She knew how distracting her body was.

Tom sighed.

“It’s complicated. I’m not really good enough to be on the team, but it’s how I pay for school.” She nodded. “That and working here.”

“Wait, don’t you have to be pretty good to get a scholarship?” she asked. Then she looked at him and his puffy ears like he might be pulling her leg. “Are you just being modest?”

He laughed again.

“No, I told you, it’s complicated. I don’t understand it all myself. This is my third year working here and I’m a first-semester freshman by credits! I haven’t wrestled a match.” Tom was already having the longest conversation ever with one of the customers. And handing out personal information? This girl was something else.

“Hmm. You are interesting, aren’t you?” she asked.

Without thinking, he sealed the deal. “Well, interested, anyway.” He blushed.

“Oh, wow,” she mouthed as her face reddened as well. “Tom, am I holding you up? Do you need to get back to work?”

“Yeah, I should.” He looked at her. “But…I’ll be out of here by 8:30…” The something else-ness about the not-quite pretty girl made him want to see her again, as soon as possible.

She snapped to attention.

“Did you just offer to continue our conversation at another DATE?” She said the word loud enough for her friends to hear, but didn’t take her eyes off his. The other girls tried to seem oblivious.

“I did.”

“Mission accomplished. Thanks, Thomas. Meet you downstairs at 8:30?”

“Just Tom. OK.”

“OK, Just Tom.” She turned and pointed to her table mates. “The ginger babe’s name is Taylor, and the lovely Latina is Victoria, but she prefers V. And I’m Kate. Well, Tom, it was nice to meet you. We’ll get out of here in a minute and then we’ll see you later!”

We? “Nice to meet…you later.”

 

 Legal Tender

Boston, 3 years ago.

Tom turned twenty-one on a Friday and couldn’t think of anyone he wanted to spend it with more than his two new friends Kate and V. The latter was hot but quiet, bordering on shy. It was Kate, though, that he couldn’t stop thinking about. Even though she seemed young, Tom recognized that he had more than met his match in her. But, the two young women seemed to come as a package. It was confusing, but not something he would hold against them.

Tom wasn’t a bar guy. He’d rather christen his ID at a package store and bring the girls to the house to meet his brothers. Kate gave him a pair of twenties to pay for the beer and tequila and then helped him carry it home. They set up in the back room in front of the TV, and by eight had several drinking games going on. The girls were right at home with the nerdy but fun brothers but stuck by Tom all night.

At around eleven, Kate asked, “Can V and I give you your birthday present now?”

“Oh, you already bought the booze!”

“No, it’s not that kind of present.” She was up to something. “…Let’s go up to your room!”

Tom assumed they were going to smoke him out, which would be great except that they were already impaired.

“Sure, grab V. Anyone else?”

“No, just us.”

They climbed the three floors and Tom welcomed them to the bedroom he shared with one of the NIB’s—newly initiated brothers—Will. The coast was clear. He closed the door and looked to Kate.

“I can smoke for another month! And…” Tom fished behind a speaker and removed a twenty-four-inch glass bong that came with this, the smallest bedroom in the house (next to the closet he occupied in the basement for his first two years in town.) “…Allow me to introduce you to Puff.”

The girls laughed as they pretended to shake its hand. Kate even curtsied.

“OK, do you want to smoke before or after your present?”

Interesting.

“Umm, what do you recommend?”

Kate looked at V, who seemed nervous.

Antes,” she said.

Tom had learned that V was Spanish, though she sounded like an American because she had spent most of her life in the States with her retired-airman father who was determined never to hear Castilian again. She was the one who always had weed. V packed the bong and they passed it around, starting with the birthday boy. When they were sufficiently wasted, Kate again took charge.

“Sooo, Just Tom, we were thinking, ‘What do you give the guy who already has everything?’” It was a joke because he was particularly poor that year as most of his meager pay from the dining hall was going to tuition.

“I don’t know, what?”

“Well, hold on. Why don’t you lean back and get comfortable?” Kate pushed his chest.

“OK…” Tom laughed at her roughness and made use of the cushion. “I think I like this already,” he said, noticing that the two girls seemed to have been strategically sitting on either side of him.

“Ready, V?”

V’s olive skin was flushed.

“Jes.”

“God, V, that is so cute when you do that!…OK, Tom. Happy birthday from both of us.”

Kate pulled V’s mouth to hers with a soft “mmm.”

“…Oh. My. God. Are you kidding me? Just what I’ve always wanted!”

They pulled apart and smiled at him.

“We thought you might like that!”

“Thank you, so much! Really, that made my year!”

“You’re welcome and thank you for being so sweet,” Kate said before standing. V helped him to his feet and gave him a peck on the cheek, wishing him feliz cumpleaños.

They walked downstairs, Tom in the rear trying to adjust the hard-on their ten-second show had provoked.

Now the package deal made sense. Tom was sad, though. If Kate and V were an item, where did that leave him?

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