Bill took Rachel to the nicest restaurant in town – the Little Coriscan Bistro. Rachel had only ever dreamed of this place. A meal here cost nearly her entire paycheck. Once Rachel had considered splurging after Silver paid her a bonus of 25 whole more Simos, but she promptly reconsidered.
She didn’t pay rent but the utilities even for a crappy little shack still cost her a good bit. She had to heat her little house somehow given it was the dead of winter. She couldn’t afford not to pay for her electricity. How else would she stay up half the night and work from home on my laptop? Eventually the battery would run out. Eventually she would have to shower and her co-workers might complain about her stink. So water needed to be paid also.
Lately she was barely scrapping by, and she’d be forced to chose between heat, water, or electric if she didn’t come up with more Simos soon. She could probably shower at the local gym, but not flushing the toilet was not an option. Silver was so cheap. Rachel sighed and reminded herself she wasn’t in politics for the money, but to make a difference. However, she had to live and pay the bills. And she still had student loans too.
She didn’t own a car so she didn’t have to pay for gas and maintenance, but last week was her carpool’s birthday and she felt obligated to buy him a nice gift so she invested in a Grunt’N’Gas card. It was the least she could do.
Breakfasts were available at work usually in the form of stale doughnuts and lukewarm coffee but Rachel didn’t mind. If she got to work early, she could catch up on all the latest City Hall gossip and then pass it along to Silver who seemed to relish in the juicy details. Cafeteria lunches were docked from her pay but she didn’t mind either because it gave her a chance to use the City Hall wifi on her lunch break. She could peruse the local e-news and keep Silver apprised of the local media’s take on her politics.
For dinners Rachel was on her own, so she would have to save some of her pay to buy a sparse amount of groceries – a few fresh fruits and veggies, canned soups, frozen TV dinners, and a loaf of bread. If she had enough, she’d splurge and purchase a jug of milk, a carton of eggs, and one package of cheese. For her to go to the bistro was an amazing privilege.
“I don’t have a dress to wear,” Rachel protested.
“Don’t need one,” Bill shrugged.
“What? This is a real fancy place. I’m not dressed,” Rachel replied, feeling confused.
Bill grinned lasciviously. “We can fix that, you know.”
“Oh! Uh…” A hint of pink breached Rachel’s cheeks. “I meant… um… I…”
“I know what you meant,” Bill waved his hand nonchalantly, and grabbed Rachel by the shoulders. “No one will care if you’re on the arm of a Racket… especially this Racket… Silver… she should really change her name to Penny… Pincher… well she wouldn’t show you a good time. I can tell you at least one of us Rackets isn’t too cheap to pay for a person’s meal.”
Bill steered her through the front door. Rachel felt a little trepidation as they approached the maitre’d’, but instead of stopping and asking to be seated, Bill walked right past the man. Rachel’s eyes widened in surprise as Bill threw the man a hundred Simoleons and said they would be seating themselves at his usual table.
So this is how the other half lives, she surmised. They were seated at a table much too large for merely the two of them. The tablecloth was a fine white linen and the cups were actual crystal goblets. She surmised the silverware was actual silver. Their waiter brought a complimentary bottle of wine, and Rachel couldn’t help cooing just a little. This was the good stuff, nothing like the watered-down wine coolers she picked up at the Grocery Grab. He also set a basket of hot bread, biscuits, and rolls in the center of the table next to the flickering candle. He asked “anything else, Monsieur? Mademoiselle?” to which Bill cleared his throat. The server looked flustered and snapped his fingers for another waiter to bring over a crystal dish of butter. Real butter, not the plastic-y tasting margarine she usually suffered with. Rachel was in heaven.
“I have so many questions for you,” Rachel began after they were handed menus.
“Don’t you worry your pretty little head, Rebecca,” Bill said, grabbing a roll from the bread basket. “We’ll have time for questions.”
“It’s Rachel,” she frowned, lifting the menu to peruse the items. “The paper was talking about all the good deeds you’ve done for Twinbrook in your time as a representative – like building the Esplanade for the town to enjoy and adding the kingball court to the Lakefront Wellness Center and sponsoring a teenager from Starry Community School so she could pursue her dream of joining the circus…”
“Oh yes,” Bill grinned a little too widely, his sunglasses shifting on his nose. “I remember that girl…”
Rachel smiled awkwardly, trying not to think too hard about what he meant.
“Well, yeah… um…” she fumbled for words as she warmed her hands by the heat from the table candle.
“Are your hands cold?” he asked, his calloused fingers wrapping around hers and pulling them away from the candle-holder. “Such delicate features,” he seemed to be admiring her face while he rubbed her hands with his own.
Rachel felt flustered. “Um… I was asking… well… thank you… and um… all those good deeds in the paper… what would you say is your best deed?”
Bill leaned back, interlocking his fingers behind his head. “Mmm… that’s a tough one… nope, I couldn’t admit such a thing out loud. Let’s just say it involved twins.”
Rachel ripped her hands from Bill’s and he laughed, pleased with himself for making her feel awkward. Bill ordered lobster thermidor and tri-tip steak because he couldn’t decide, and a bottle of the most expensive wine Rachel had ever tasted. He even paid for something called Baked Simlaska, a delicious flaming ice cream and cake dessert. Rachel couldn’t have been more stuffed.
“Want some more wine?” Bill asked, but he wasn’t really asking as he started pouring her a third glass.
She nodded and took another sip, despite her better judgment.
“How’s that lionness?” he leaned across the table and winked at her.
Rachel laughed a little too loudly, drawing the attention of some of the other patrons. “I must’ve had too much to drink. What lioness? You’re funny…”
“I’m glad you find me amusing,” Bill snapped his fingers at the waiter, asking for a second bottle.
“I…don’t…. think… I can drink… much…more….” Rachel hiccuped, wondering why her voice was sounding strange.
She helped Bill finish the second bottle before management ‘politely’ asked them to exit the premises. Bill just threw another hundred Simoleons at the manager, but the man refused to serve them a third bottle. Bill grunted and removed an additional two hundred Simoleons from his fat wallet and the manager finally caved. Rachel’s eyes nearly bugged out of her head. Three hundred Simos!?!
“This snow is so… snowy…like…snow…” Rachel giggled as she trudged across the bistro’s patio.
“Usually snow is,” Bill said, seeming amused.
“Wha… how? How are you…not… affected… by… the…snowy-snowness?” Rachel puzzled, scratching her head. “And the al…alcohol?”
“Oh… it’s years of practice,” he admitted. “You…” he grabbed her firmly into his arms. “…on the other hand, seem like a lightweight.”
“Am I really that light?” Rachel blinked rapidly, staring as deeply as she could into Bill’s aviator glasses which he still hadn’t taken off. “I’ve been try…try…trying to lose a few pound.”
“Yeah I watch you at lunch. I especially like it when you lean across the counter and threaten the lunch lady if she tries to stiff you on the mashed potatoes.”
“You like your… po…poh-tay-toes… too?”
“No, I just like watching the way you wiggle your ass.”
Rachel felt heat rising in her cheeks again, but somehow she didn’t mind. It’d been a long time since a man had flirted with her, especially as openly as Bill had been all evening. Come to think of it, she mused, I… I… can’t remember when I made the time to have dinner with a man. She had been so busy with work lately she hadn’t had time for a personal life.
“Are you thinking what I’m thinking?” Rachel said excitedly.
“Highly unlikely,” he replied.
“Well, there are things…” she said, her brain feeling foggy.
“Listen, I have a proposition for you,” he remarked.
“Oh?” she said, displeased with the high pitch of her usually low and soft voice. The alcohol was definitely clouding her judgment. “What’s that?”
“You’re too good… and I mean… you look way too hot to be working for that tightwad sister-in-law of mine. I have a job opening at my office right here in Twinbrook. A couple floors up from Silver’s actually. You’d be an assistant to the state officials if you’re cool with that,” he offered. “Essentially a yes-woman, but hey, it’d get you out of Silver’s crappy hole-in-the-wall office and out of the intern phase.”
“You…you don’t even know me,” Rachel stammered. “Or…or…or…my work.”
“I’ve seen enough of you to know I like what I see,” Bill smiled at her, a little too nicely for her comfort.
Still, he’s offering me a better job… probably with better pay!
“Um… the pay?” she squeaked.
“Double what you’re making plus benefits.”
That was an offer! A great offer! An offer I can’t refuse!
“What’s the catch?” she frowned.
“No catch per se…” he trailed off, eyeing her up and down more hungrily than he did his steak and lobster.
Rachel wasn’t sure how she felt about being on the menu. He wasn’t even bothering to hide it.
“…a kiss?” he asked. “I think it’s a fair trade.”
Before she could think to reply, Bill’s lips were on hers instantly, cutting off her train of thought. What’s happening? she wondered, resisting. He slinked an arm around her upper back, pressing her into his chest, and slid his other arm around her waistline.
Rachel tried to relax. His breath tasted of crustaceans and too much Cabernet. He was pressing his face into hers with a little too much force, his tongue flicking the inside of her cheek. What am I doing? I want the job, I think… I want to advance… advance in the workplace and I want to… I… can’t…think… straight…
Bill’s hand slipped lower than her waistline, stroking his fingers with greedy pleasure over her backside. Rachel nearly pulled back, but she told herself to endure the awkwardness of being pawed by a man past his prime. This is the price of aspirations.
Previous Chapter: 1.15 Eager Appetites
Next Chapter: 1.17 Spitball of Fire