As Alicia approached the huge red door to the suite, the only words she could manage were, “I’ve never done anything like this before.”
That may or may not have been true. Because she really didn’t know what “like this” really meant. She had only heard rumors. Hushed whisperings.
Yes, she was nervous. Very much so.
But the intrigue of even the slightest possibility of witnessing these fantastic stories had gotten the better of her and she accepted the “invitation”. Not that she would participate in any of the “activities”, but she wanted to know if it was all true.
The 6 foot 6 bouncer filled the entire doorway.
He was probably the largest man she had ever seen in real life.
Behind him she could hear the murmurings of people and soft music.
The bouncer cleared his throat and smiled as he encouraged her to put her cell phone and any other electronic devices in the basket before she could enter.
No pictures. No phones. No video. No electronic devices of any kind were allowed behind this portal. For the privacy of the guests.
Alicia complied, agreed to a gentle “pat down”, then presented her ID and the gentle bear of a man stamped her hand and welcomed her inside.
These parties had become famous. Legend even, in some circles.
The parties usually accompanied some sort of industry seminar.
Which, if you knew the crowd, could possibly seem a bit counterintuitive.
The money they made apparently brought out another side of these normally quiet people.
That’s what all the hushed rumors were about.
And she had been invited. Finally.
Alicia knew about the vetting process. She knew there were “tests” and observations and subtle little characteristics the hosts were looking for in the guests.
Not just anyone could pass through those doors.
She could feel her palms getting damp with anxiety as she made her way through the entry toward the sound of the music and people, not knowing what to expect when she rounded the corner.
Would she know anyone here?
Was this a mistake?
Should she turn around and leave right now?
Alicia paused, took a deep breath to collect herself then rounded the corner.
And there he was. The guy who invited her to the party. He was standing next to the glass and hardwood staircase. This led to the 2nd floor which appeared to be equally as appointed in glass and
exotic wood, accented by chrome.
Thick, plush rugs lined the floors. Massive chandeliers hung from the ceiling. The full floor to ceiling glass windows were 18 feet tall.
Alicia believed she could fit her apartment inside the living area. The TV screen filled an entire wall and was silently showing a slideshow of exotic beach and mountain scenes as guests appeared to be recalling fond memories.
Some people were dressed in formal evening wear, and this made Alicia feel underdressed until she realized others were in shorts and sandals.
It didn’t seem to matter what you wore to the party.
Their eyes met and instantly she felt relieved and comfortable as he walked over to greet her and thank her for accepting the invitation.
As he took her arm, Alicia felt like the belle of the ball. She started noticing the groups of people gathered in small groups laughing and drinking.
“I want you to feel completely comfortable”, he said. “There are no expectations here, only possibilities. Tonight you can be whoever you want to be and do whatever you want to do. This is a judgment-free zone. If you have any problems please me know, or Sam – he’s the large gentleman who greeted you at the door.”
She smiled and accepted the drink he offered, as 3 other guests joined the conversation. Mostly small-talk, nothing too personal… icebreaker stuff.
Charles excused himself to welcome other guests, and as Alicia remained with her 3 new “friends” she felt a little relieved this was like any other party. Maybe the stories were just part of the allure. The facade created to make the parties more desirable.
These folks – including Alicia – were in sales, after all.
And the people she had met during the day certainly didn’t seem as though they would be into the sort of things she heard could happen here tonight.
But what about the bouncer at the door? And no cell phones? The stamp on her hand? And the little speech about this place being a “judgment-free zone”? Whatever that meant…
Alicia turned her focus back on the conversation, as new people joined and departed to talk with other friends, and ordered another Washington Apple.
As the evening progressed, the booze flowed endlessly. The bartenders would serve up anything she requested, but Alicia thoroughly enjoyed her “Wapples”.
After her 4th Wapple Alicia ordered some water, and went in search of food.
The buffet was catered. And not just the normal finger foods. Lobster. Prime rib. Cakes and delights of every imaginable flavor. There were familiar dishes and others she could not pronounce – all served to her on china by servers wearing white gloves.
Some food was just what she needed, along with some water.
The music got louder. The lights dimmed and suddenly there were laser lights on the ceiling, cutting their way through the slight haze of smoke from the smoke machines she hadn’t noticed until now.
Charles was on a microphone welcoming everyone to the party.
There were at least 80 people packed into the suite at this point, and he was encouraging everyone to enjoy the evening as he announced Jennifer and her friends would be dancing for us.
Why had she never noticed the stripper pole before?
There was now a woman dancing around the pole. This must be Jennifer.
She had 6-inch heels, a tight and tone body with a great tan and flowing blonde hair. And she was good. Definitely not an amateur.
She had on a Brazilian cut bottom and, besides the heels, was wearing nothing else. Her ample and seemingly perfect breasts moved effortlessly with Jennifer as she danced around the pole.
A muscular hunk of a man named Mark joined her on an adjoining pole on the other side of the room with a “banana hammock”. At least that’s what the screaming girl next to Alicia called it.
He was a sight to behold, and Alicia felt herself blush a little.
Charles was smiling as he walked up to Alicia and asked if she was enjoying herself. “Yes”, she replied. “This is a great party. I didn’t expect it to be as lavish as it is. And I definitely didn’t expect dancers. It’s nothing like I expected, although i didn’t really know what to expect.”
“Well, we’re just getting warmed up.” He laughed and encouraged her to dance, as they walked toward the dance floor.
She knew Charles was married. There had been a little spark between the two of them from the moment they met. Not that she expected anything to come of it. He was married, after all. And the spark really was nothing more than what she would call “innocent flirting”.
But that didn’t mean they couldn’t dance. And flirt. And be friends. It still made her nervous to dance with a married man.
“Is your wife here?” Alicia asked.
“Yes, of course. That’s her over there in the black dress”, he said, pointing to a small group of people laughing and talking together on the massive leather sectional sofa.
“Let’s go have a drink”, Charles invited, as he took Alicia’s arm and led her toward the bar. “Two Wapples please!”, Charles said with a grin. “That is what you call them, right?”
Alicia laughed a little, realizing it now seemed a little silly, and then froze as she noticed his wife walking toward them.
Kasey put her arm around Charles’ waist as she arrived, planting a gentle kiss on his cheek and asked if he was having fun.
“Who’s your friend?” Kasey asked, smiling at Alicia.
Charles introduced Alicia to Kasey, and Kasey to Alicia.
Kasey grabbed a fresh drink and simply said, ”you two have fun, let’s talk more later Alicia” as she placed her hand gently on Alicia’s wrist, kissed Charles again on the cheek and made her way back toward the sofa.
Alicia had heard rumors that Charles and his wife enjoyed an open relationship, but this was probably one of the more awkward moments in her life, because she had never met anyone who truly had an open relationship.
Sensing this new tension, Charles invited Alicia out onto the balcony for some fresh air and to enjoy the Las Vegas skyline. It was nearly midnight and the night air was crisp and clear.
“Are you having fun?”, Charles asked. The only response Alicia had was, “I was but meeting your wife was a little weird. I don’t know what I’m doing here. Am I supposed to be your date?”
“You’re here to enjoy yourself.”, Charles replied. “Nothing more, nothing less. Tomorrow we all go back to the seminar and focus on sales. Tonight we focus on releasing all the burdens and enjoying
some of the delights that our success bring to us. Does that make sense?”
And then, not knowing if it was ok or not, right there on the balcony, Alicia kissed him – then quickly pulled away, feeling embarrassed that someone, maybe even Kasey, had seen her. Charles smiled, and gave her a warm hug and asked, “do you feel better now that the tension has been released?”
He could feel Alicia nodding her head gently against his chest, and could feel her heart racing as the night air rushed past.
They had known each other for several years now. Before this moment, they had attended a few of the same seminars, and had become friends, spending countless hours among other attendees talking about sales.
But this was the first time he had invited Alicia to the party. Charles was careful to get to know his guests before he invited them into his inner circle, especially at seminars with so many new faces.
Back home, he had a trusted circle of friends who knew the expectations. Out on the road it was different. It’s not that he minded people knowing about the lifestyle he led, but so many of his friends and guests preferred to keep things more quiet – and he strived to create an atmosphere where they could feel comfortable being themselves.
Alicia had witnessed Charles around other women. No matter where in the country the seminars were held, he seemed to have a beautiful woman alongside him. Often it was his wife. Other times it was someone else who didn’t seem like a normal attendee.
Occasionally it was both his wife and someone else.
The women she had seen before appeared to be truly enjoying themselves. Many flew in at their own expense just to spend the weekend with him. It’s rumored that at least a couple had his name
tattooed on their right buttcheek.
Later Alicia would learn about his “wife and girlfriend” rule. That when both were present the wife is to his left, and the girlfriend is on his right. These were designated by Charles as his “wife side” and “girlfriend side”.
Alicia asked him about these things, and he laughed because he knew she was trying to ask if the rumors were true. About the open relationship. About what really happened at the parties. About
whether he really believed sex and sales were closely related as he said from stage.
“Sex and sales are very synergistic,” Charles said. “It’s like the first time I was ever on stage in front of a sizeable crowd. I felt so nervous. But then I realized nervous and excited feel exactly the same. The butterflies in your stomach. You almost feel like you’re going to throw up. The difference in nervous and excited is simply the label you put on it.”
“Yes,” said Alicia, “it’s like when people say they are anxious about something and really they are eager, or vice versa. One has a positive connotation and the other is more negative, or fear-based.”
“Exactly!” and he went on to explain, “I just transmute nervousness into excitement by changing the label. If you’ve ready Napoleon Hill he actually talks about the process of transmutation. Especially in the area of sexual energy – one of our most primal and powerful energies.
For me, these parties are a way to recharge that energy.”
They were leaning on the railing now, both looking at the skyline and the mountains silhouetted against the clear, starry sky as they lost themselves in the momentous vastness of it all.
Then he finally answered the other question, “some of it is true, some of it is not. What would you like to be true for you tonight?”
She moved her left hand toward his right hand and then playfully wrapped her pinky around his as she took another sip of her Wapple, smiled and said…
“No expectations, only possibilities.”
Neither of them had heard Kasey walk onto the balcony. She had been dancing and had her heels in one hand and a Captain & Coke in the other. Her shoes normally came off sometime during the night.
She believed in comfort more than being fashionable, and “heels hurt dammit”.
“It’s beautiful out tonight. A little nippy though. Alicia, you look chilled.
Come inside and let’s find something warm for you to wear.”
This caught Alicia by surprised so she murmured something unintelligible, not really knowing what to say or do besides quickly moving her hand away and following Kasey into the suite to apparently borrow a sweater.
She was on the balcony with Kasey’s husband after all.
Had Kasey seen them kiss?
Did she notice them holding hands?
Fuck, this is not good.
Alicia gulped back her nervousness and followed Kasey inside, leaving Charles on the balcony still overlooking the skyline as he finished his drink and sat down on the lounger.
The party was still going full force inside. Jennifer was doing something on stage with a lollipop and one of the guests was throwing 100-dollar bills at her. Mark had begun mingling with some of the female guests who eagerly stuffed money into his more than ample “banana hammock”.
As Amy Schumer would say, “It’s big, but not too big, you could handle it.”
Why was she thinking about Amy Schumer at a time like this?
Kasey was leading her through the music, the lights and the crowd toward the bedroom. To get her a sweater so she wouldn’t get chills while she made out with her husband out on the balcony? Is this for real?
As they entered the master suite, Kasey closed the door behind them. It seemed eerily quiet, knowing a full-blown party was going on just on the other side of the door.
Alicia noticed a couple making out in the chair in the corner. Kasey didn’t seem to notice as she headed toward the massive glass and oak armoire.
“Look”, Kasey said, “You don’t have to be nervous. We’re all having a bit of fun tonight. Like those two, they just met. And their spouses are on the other side of that door. Nobody is hiding anything.
If anything, it’s just blowing off a little steam. Tomorrow we’ll all go back to our other lives but tonight we live the fantasy. Our worst days are better than most people’s best days, but tonight we live like other people only dream. And when people believe in the possibilities, when they see you living the dream it directly increases sales. Everything is perception, and they want what they perceive we have, so we seduce them with them a little nibble.”
Kasey turned and walked over to wrap the grey cashmere sweater across Alicia’s shoulders.
Then Alicia felt Kasey’s breath and a gentle kiss on her neck from behind, followed by a playful bite as Kasey said, “Now go have fun, and I’ll see you back here in a few hours.”
As Alicia left the bedroom, she couldn’t help but think this was the softest fabric she had ever felt – and it smelled amazing. What kind of perfume was this? Kasey closed the door behind her, smiling as she said she would be staying inside with the two other guests for a while.
Alicia hurriedly made her way through the crowd toward the balcony where she had left Charles just a few minutes ago – but what seemed like an eternity.
The rumors are true, and as she saw naked people dancing around the suite she knew very well why there were no cameras allowed.
Is this what all millionaires do? Is this how all the parties are?
The balcony door was closed. Charles was still outside.
Alone it appeared, just watching the night sky.
Alicia walked onto the balcony, closing the door behind her.
She walked over to Charles on the lounger and straddled him, kissing him deeply.
“This is what I want to be true for me tonight”, she said.