Read Along: Paradise Palms: Chapter 47
Tiger Lily pulled her head back and looked into Lin’s eyes. They took a moment to catch their breath. Tiger Lily had an animal need in her eyes. Pure lust. Lin had never seen it, but knew instantly what it meant.
“Please no. I can’t. I’m sorry. Not here. Not now. Not yet.”
Tiger Lily gave a sly smile, kissed Lin again, then lay her head on the shoulder of Lin’s wet t-shirt. It felt great to be clean, but now she wanted dry clothes to put on. It felt strange laying around in just her underwear.
“You’re so beautiful.”
Lin didn’t know how to respond to that. Was there a correct response? Lin’s heart began to pound in her chest. Tiger Lily’s wet and bandaged hand found its way to Lin’s stomach. She shivered from the intimacy.
“I want to go back inside. I don’t feel right being out here like this,” Lin whispered into Tiger Lily’s ear.
“Just a little bit longer,” Tiger Lily purred. “I think I’m going to take a nap.”
“Outside? I mean. . .”
“It stinks in there.”
“Well, now that we’ve all had a bath, we should clean it up in there. I mean, what are we waiting for?” Lin tried not to sound too anxious about going back inside.
Tiger Lily opened her eyes. “I don’t know. I feel like we should start walking back and call this trip a failure.”
“Could we do that?” Lin propped herself up on her elbow causing Tiger Lily to roll onto her back.
“I don’t think so. Those things swim and there’s no telling what else we’d encounter out there. We need Sam. He’ll know what to do about the car and getting it turned over.”
“What? Why do we need Sam for that?”
“He’s got experience with that sort of thing.”
Lin looked at Tiger Lily, shocked. “Are you saying we need a man to figure out how to turn this car over?”
“No, just that Sam would best know how to do it.”
Lin sat up and crossed her arms across her breasts. “I don’t think we need Sam to get us out of this.”
“What’s that?” Girlfriend said as she sat up.
Myra also sat up and looked about. She crawled over and retrieved her clothes and started dressing.
“I was just asking Tiger Lily what we’re waiting for? I mean, I don’t feel comfortable just sitting here and waiting for something to happen. We need to get this car turned back over and get out of here, don’t we?”
“Well, I think Sam knows this car pretty well and he’d be able to figure it all out. He’s really good with things like this.”
Lin stood and pulled her pants back on. Tiger Lily gave a small frown, but sat up and also started putting her clothes on. Girlfriend followed suit.
“Well, I think if we can get him out of the car, we can do something about getting it turned over. I mean we’re all sitting out here in the sun like there’s nothing better to do. Why don’t we do something? Even if we don’t turn over the car, we can at least clean it out so it doesn’t smell. Obviously we can be outside and there’s nothing around. At least not right now. Instead of wasting the day lying about and napping, let’s do something.”
Lin could feel tears start to well up in her eyes. She suddenly longed to be at home in front of her computer with Black Flag cranked up and playing poker online. She wanted to be out of this place. For an instant she didn’t even care if Tiger Lily was there. She felt like Tiger Lily was pushing things too fast. Her head was spinning and she just wanted things to slow down and go back to normal. Being lost in the middle of a prehistoric Earth was about as far from normal as her life could get.
Tiger Lily put her hand on Lin’s leg, but she brushed it away and clapped her hands over her face and shook her head. Couldn’t they just go home? Now?
Girlfriend, Myra, and Tiger Lily all stood around Lin. Girlfriend said, “It’s going to be alright. You’re right. We should do something. Your shoulder seems much better. Tiger Lily’s arm is healing nicely. We can all pitch in and this car will be cleaned up in no time. We’ve gotten ourselves clean, let’s get to work on the rest of it. Including Sam. He needs a bath too. I love the smell of a strong man, but not the strong smell of a man.”
That made them all laugh.
Though it took nearly four hours and the remaining daylight, they cleaned the car. They had to make do with only soap for cleaning, but still the car smelled far better. Girlfriend spent some time giving Sam a sponge bath and changing all his bandages — some of the clothes they’d brought had to be boiled and cut into strips to complete this task. Myra, Lin, and Tiger Lily all kept themselves busy elsewhere while she did.
“I don’t think I’ve ever spent so much time cleaning,” Lin remarked.
“Really?” Myra looked puzzled.
“You don’t know, do you?” Lin asked.
Lin laughed a little. “I’m, um, well. I’ve never had to clean my own house. Let’s just put it that way.”
“You mean your trailer? Why don’t you clean it?”
“Girlfriend cleans it for me. I pay her to. Just like Doc Brenner does.”
“Yes, but Doc Brenner has a lot of money. I mean, I assume he does. He’s got all that equipment. He must have a lot of money. Why does she clean your trailer?”
“I pay her to.”
The second time she said it Tiger Lily almost looked shocked. Lin had told Tiger Lily a lot of things over the years, but nothing about her past business deals or just how much she was worth. Suddenly she didn’t want to tell them.
“Okay, why? Don’t you have anything better to spend your money on?”
“Well, I do. I spend a lot of money. You see. Well, I’m kind of rich.”
“Rich?” Tiger Lily blurted.
“I think you need to explain that one,” Myra said.
Bathing partially nude with these women had been far easier, Lin suddenly realized. She was about to expose a big secret that only she knew.
“Well, I did a lot of work before I got the government contract. Tiger Lily, you work for the government, and I do too, but I’m the one that landed the contract for the equipment and the software. I’m wrote that software.”
Tiger Lily’s jaw dropped. It took her a moment before she said anything. Myra just looked confused.
“I knew you were smart, but you wrote that software and you are responsible for that contract?”
“But how? I mean, you’re so young.”
“Well, I graduated when I was six and had made my first million before I was ten. My parents took most of that and I didn’t start making my own money until I emancipated from them. I guess I got tired of doing other people’s work and had enough money that I thought I could just retire and spend the rest of my life in my trailer.”
“I don’t understand,” Tiger Lily said.
“I managed to make millions of dollars a year until I got the government contract last year. That was a fifty-seven-million dollar contract. That’s just what I made, not how much everything cost, like the equipment. I just added the equipment cost to the contract. And there’s my poker site I run.”
“Poker site? I thought you just like to play.”
“Oh, I love to play, but I wrote my own poker software because I got bored and started to learn how to play poker. I figured I may as well start up my own site. That’s only bringing in twenty or thirty thousand.”
Lin laughed. “No, a week. I figure if something happens, at least I’ll have a steady income.”
Tiger Lily bit her lip and shook her head. “You’ve been keeping all this from me all this time?”
“I hardly knew you. At least not like I know you now. I didn’t want to tell anyone. I guess I feel now is the right time to say something.”
“So you’re pretty much filthy rich,” Myra interjected.
“I guess so. I never really gave money any thought. I’ve always had it so it’s not something that’s important to me. Until all this happened, sitting in my trailer alone was the most important thing to me. I guess I see that I’m missing out on a lot of things locking myself away. I think I want to give up on the government contract and do something else now.”
“Like what?” Myra asked.
Again Lin laughed and took Tiger Lily’s hand. “Like spending some of that money and spending time with someone I care about.”
Tiger Lily pulled her hand back. “What makes you think I want to be some rich girl’s bitch?”
Lin was taken aback. She hadn’t expected Tiger Lily to be angry. Quite the opposite. The way Tiger Lily was all over her when they were outside, and in front of people, she thought she’d be happy about the money. They could spend all their time together without any worries. They could do what they wanted when they wanted and she wanted to share all of it with Tiger Lily.
“I don’t understand,” Lin said.
“No, you’ve got money. I wouldn’t expect you to. I’ve had to work hard for everything I have and now you want me to throw everything away and just rely on you for everything? I think I liked it better when I thought you were more like me.”
Tiger Lily got up and stomped out of the room and went back to the front room of the car. It was Lin’s turn to sit with her jaw agape. She wanted to cry, she wanted to run after her, she wanted to yell, she didn’t know exactly what she wanted. She wanted Tiger Lily to come back and come to her senses. She wasn’t trying to take anything away from her, she was trying to give her everything. Couldn’t she see that?
Lin started to stand up, but Myra grabbed her arm. “Give her a little time. I think she just needs to take this all in. This has been a very trying time for all of us and you just laid a pretty big bombshell on her. I don’t think she was ready for anything like that.”
Lin didn’t know what else to say.
“I think,” Myra started and stopped. “Um. I’m going to go make sure we brought everything back inside.”
Lin barely noticed that Myra took up her backpack and headed to the front of the car. As soon as she was alone, Lin put her face in her hands and cried.