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A Risky Investment

It started out like any other morning at the Stantons. Rick was pouring over the Wall Street Journal. Stacy was scribbling notes on an errand list.

" Remember that love seat we looked at?" she asked.

Rick's eyes never left the paper. "Ummmm... the blue one?"

"The green plaid. Think I'll get it."

"Sure. Draw a check on the money market account."

Stacy frowned. "Your commission check will more than cover it and we won't lose any interest.

"I invested my commission in some new stock."

"Oh." Stacy chewed on the end of her pencil, then made a note beside the next item on her list. Rick folded back another page of the Journal.

"Great!" he suddenly exclaimed.


"Jadestar's up three points!"

"You gonna sell now?" Stacy asked.

"Not yet."

"But it's a risky investment."

"Paul doesn't think so. Besides, I've only got a few thousand tied up.

"That's a lot of money to lose," Stacy pointed out.

"Or a lot to gain!"

"I still think it's a risky investment. I haven't forgotten that five thousand of mine Paul blew."

"That was just a fluke. Don't worry. I'll sell off if Jadestar gets shaky ."

Stacy frowned, then turned back to her list. "Oh, before I forget, don't be late tonight. We have that dinner party at the Thompsons."

"Tonight? Thought it was next week."

"Irene moved the date up so they could leave for Europe a week early remember?

"Oh yeah."

"You'll be there won't you?"

"Sure. Why not?"

"You've been working late a lot."

"I'll be there." Rick swallowed down some coffee, then turned the page.

"Think I'll go by Kiralfy's and find something new to wear tonight," Stacy said.

"What's wrong with your black dress?"

"Nothing. Just thought something more colorful...."

"Black becomes you," Rick said, turning another page.

"Yes, but...."

"But what?" Rick asked, turning another page.

"Charlotte Nicholson will be there."


"I feel so dowdy next to her."

"Well, you shouldn't."

"Marilyn thinks Charlotte's up to her old tricks."

"What else does Marilyn think?"

"I don't know. She wasn't herself yesterday."

Rick folded the paper and picked up his coffee cup. " What do you mean?"

"I don't know. It's hard to explain. Mostly just a feeling. She seemed preoccupied, distant."

"What do you mean by distant?" Rick asked.

"I don't know. It's hard to explain. It's like her mind was somewhere else. I think Stan is having an affair. You don't suppose he's Charlotte's latest conquest?"

"Stan? Hardly. She's not his type."

"Charlotte is anybody's type! " Stacy exclaimed.

"She's a scalp hunter for Chrissakes! Got more money than brains. Stan's too sensible to tangle with her."

"That's what you said about Douglas."

"Yeah? Well, Douglas got stupid."

"Maybe Stan got stupid, too. Anyway, it's Marilyn I'm thinking about.

"You're just jumping to conclusions, Stacy."

"I don't think so. She won't take him back either, not like Julia did."


"Too much pride."

"And Julia has none?"

"Oh she has pride all right, but no income of her own. That's the only reason she took Douglas back."

"It was just an affair. Didn't mean anything."

"Why do men always say that?"

"Because it's true." Rick threw his hands up when Stacy narrowed her eyes. "Hey! Don't look at me like that! I'm too smart to get tangled up in Charlotte's web." He set down the empty cup and shoved the paper under his arm. "Give me a kiss. Don't want to be late today."

The morning dragged by. Rick glanced at the phone and his watch often. Two hours had passed since he left the message on her answering machine. When the phone finally rang, he grabbed it quickly.

"Hello darling," she crooned. "I missed you last night."

Rick grinned and settled back in his chair. "I missed you, too. We're gonna have to be extra careful from now on. Stacy's suspicious."

"About us?"

"She was fishing at breakfast this morning, but thinks it's Charlotte I'm seeing. Clever of you to make her think Stan is the one having an affair. What gave you that idea?"

"Stan did," Marilyn replied. "I'm sure he's seeing another woman, and Charlotte's the one with the canary smiles all of a sudden."

"You going to confront him?"

"Why should I? Long as he's occupied, I'm free to be with you."

"What if he decides to leave you?" Rick asked.

"He's too sensible.

"Maybe we should back off a while."

"I'm not ready to give you up yet. Meet me for lunch. I can't wait till Saturday."

"I'll see you at the Thompsons tonight."

"That's no good. I can't stand to be in the same room without touching you, kissing you, feeling your arms..."

"Ummm," Rick sighed. "Me too."

"To hell with being careful. I want you now! Meet me for lunch."

"I don't know...."

"Same place."

"I shouldn't. If Stacy found out..."

"You know how bad I want you?"

"I want you, too, but..."

"But nothing! Be there.... Please?"

"Damn! You're hard to resist," Rick said.

"I'll be waiting, darling. Don't be late."

Rick hung up, put out his cigarette, and left the office immediately. Marilyn was worth any risk. Besides, Stacy's suspicions centered on Charlotte. The thought that he was having a delicious affair with her best friend would never enter her mind.

Stacy gazed at her reflection in the dressing room mirrors. She had selected a red lamé dress. What would Rick say if she bought it?

"Very becoming," the clerk complimented as she picked up a dark blue dress Stacy had discarded. "Much more stunning than this one."

"I think so, too," Stacy replied. She pivoted and studied her image in the mirror wondering if she dared wear such a revealing creation.

"Why don't you come outside and see it in the light?" the clerk suggested.

Stacy followed her to a semi-circle of mirrors turning round and round to view the dress from every angle. Not only was it much too expensive, it was definitely nothing Rick would approve of. But it would definitely get his attention.

"Certainly not your basic black," Charlotte said, sauntering over to Stacy."

"Charlotte!" Stacy exclaimed, her cheeks instantly flaming. "I didn't see you come in." She turned back to the mirrors. "Do you think it's too... too..."

"Revealing?" Charlotte grinned. "Definitely! But flaunt it if you have it I always say."

"I was thinking about wearing it tonight. Maybe I should try another style or..."

"Uh uh! That one's perfect!"

"I don't know..."

"You're not getting cold feet are you?"

"Maybe a little."

"Don't you dare back out now!" Charlotte said. "Have you talked to Rick?"

"Yes, this morning at breakfast."

"How did he react?"

"Just like you said he would. He thinks I suspect him of having an affair with you."

"Good!" Charlotte squealed. "By the time tonight is over everyone at the party will think so, too!"

"You're sure this will work?"

"Positive. Nobody will question your sudden plans for time alone in the Bahamas to get yourself together. Not even Rick himself!"

"I don't know. It's risky. Not like me at all."

"Just think of spending a whole month alone with your adoring lover."

"I admit it's exciting. I'm just afraid Rick will find out. And what would Marilyn think? We've been friends for so long."

"We both know which Stanton Marilyn's thinking about right now and it isn't you."

"You're right. Besides, Rick said affairs don't mean anything. I shouldn't feel guilty. Still, I never would have thought Rick would cheat on me. And with my best friend."

"All men cheat, honey. Some just don't get caught."

"You really believe that?"

"Honey, I know it for a fact!"

Stacy turned back to the mirrors and smoothed her hands over the silky dress. "You really like it?"

"Uh huh! You should definitely pack it for the trip."

Stacy smiled. "You're right. I'll wear it to dinner the first evening."

"Perfect!" Charlotte crooned. "I can hardly wait to get you out of it and make love to you again! See you in the Bahamas, dear."

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