It seemed odd to us, to get an invitation, out of the blue, to an exclusive New Year's Eve party at a posh downtown hotel, that required us to take two COVID tests, one 4 days before the party, another the day before. But according to the invitation, everything was paid for, we just needed to make the appointments and show up at the testing site, and then wait for the limo to take us to the hotel, where we were also promised a deluxe room for the night. It seemed too good to be true. My wife Holly made several calls to the hotel, the testing service, the limo service, and it all seemed legit.

So I dusted off my nice suit, Holly treated herself to a new dress (ordered online) and a hairdo, and we waited for the limo to pick us up at 5:00 in the evening on new year's eve. There was a small bottle of complimentary champaign in the limo, with a note saying that the bottle cork was our entry to a raffle, but only if we drank the champaign before we got to the hotel, so we enjoyed it together, wishing a not so fond goodbye to 2020 and hoping for better days ahead. Ah, if only I had known what was to happen over the next 27 hours.

So here we are at the party, it's in a mid sized ball room, there's a live band playing the big band standards, people dancing on the parquet floor filling most of the middle of the room, the men in suits and tuxes, the women all gorgeous, no one in masks (since we were all tested) open bars, champagne on trays and hors d'oeuvres in every corner of the room, all fantastic. Holly confides to me that she feels underdressed; I reply that she is the best looking woman in the room, and still would be if she were wearing a burlap sack. She whispers to me that that attitude would get time with her without her burlap sack.

We get into the swing of things rather quickly, eating, drinking, dancing. It was remarkable how nice it was to not worry about social distancing, to cut loose and have fun, and to do it all with my beautiful wife. We mingle, talking with different people, all mystified as to why we all were invited to this shindig. Bankers, plumbers, lawyers, auto repair guys, it was a real cross section of life, with none of the couples knowing anyone else, and everyone having a blast.

Too soon, we count down to midnight, and give 2020 a collective kick on the ass on its way out the door. The band plays Auld Lang Syne, and then the leader announces they will play another hour and call it a night. They play some slow stuff, I dance with Holly and a few other random women, but we always come back to each other.

I'm sitting one out, when Holly comes over with a gentleman in a classic tux. If you look up tall, dark, and handsome in the dictionary, you'd find his picture.

"Alan, this is Emilio. He's having an after party at his house, just a small gathering, and invited us to join him there. I'd like to go, can we?"

"We have the hotel room here. I was hoping we could ..."

"Yes, me too, but we can do that anytime. I'm so enjoying socializing. It's been so long. We can get our stuff from the hotel tomorrow."

"All right, if that's what you want to do."

"Terrific, I was hoping the two of you would join us," Emilio responds, with a trace of a Spanish accent. "But I need to go now, to prepare for the guests. Oh, say, perhaps you like to ride there with me in my limo?"

"Another limo ride. Cool, let's go." Holly replies.

The three of us leave the party and get into the waiting limo. Emilio spends the whole ride chatting with me, claiming he had talked to Holly already. He asks about my work, my hobbies, my interests. Perhaps I should have worried that he didn't say anything about himself, but I was having too good of a time to question anything.

We arrive at his house a short time later. Well, mansion is more appropriate. The limo pulls through a security gate with a guard in a little guard house, drives up a long driveway with meticulously landscaped gardens, and to a large entranceway with a covered drop off area. The crisp night air is bracing on my skin as we exit the limo. We walk up the marble steps into a foyer that Holly and my whole house could fit inside. A servant takes Emilio's overcoat while reporting that none of the other guests had arrived yet.

"Good, good, let's get set up then. But first, my friends, come with me." He walks into a side sitting room that had a bar, pops a bottle of champagne (waiting for us on ice), and pours three glasses, passing one to me and one to Holly.

"To new friends and a new year." Emilio toasts. We clink our glasses and drink deeply. "But now, please excuse me, I must prepare for our other guests. Please wait here for a moment, I'll come get you shortly. Make yourselves at home." He leaves the room.

Holly looks at me and smiles. "Holy crap, look at us. New years eve, in a mansion for a swanky after party. Look at this place. I bet these paintings are all originals. The carpet is exquisite, and look at the inlay work on the ceiling." I looked up, but the ceiling seemed a bit blurry to me.

"I think I need to sit down."

"Oh, sure, babe. There's a chair there. Oh, do you need help?" Before I could answer, she came over to me, guided me into the chair, and then sat on my lap. "Too bad we're in a strange house, I'm feeling a bit frisky. Do you think we could manage a quickie before Emilio gets back?"

"I, uh, well ..."

"Yes, I know, we can't kill the mood of the party getting caught. Maybe there's a bathroom near here we could use." I feel her hand dip between my legs and start working on my cock through my slacks, but I'm completely limp. She slyly exposes one of her bountiful breasts and sticks her nipple into my mouth, I try to suck on it, but everything fades to black.

* * * * *

I awaken lying on my back, almost fully clothed, on top of the blanket on a single bed. My shoes are off, and my tie was loose. I check my watch, and find it's a little past noon. I begin to panic, looking around. The room is off white, completely unadorned, and just big enough for the bed, a small side table, and a hip height empty bookshelf next to the door. A window high up in the wall above the bed lets in pale gray natural light; looking out and up I see the underside of a metal grating, implying that I'm below ground. My mouth is dry as a grave, and I have a mild headache. I sit up, see my shoes on the floor at the foot of the bed, put them on, get up, and try the door, which opens easily, to the middle of a long, dimly lit corridor. I flip a mental coin and head off to the right. Several steps down the corridor, past many closed doors, I find a stairway, and ascend, into an industrial size kitchen.

"Oh, there you are, sleepy head." Holly says, coming over and giving me a kiss on the forehead.

"Bathroom," I mutter. She steers me around a corner and into a bathroom, where I void my bladder, straighten up my collar, pocket my necktie, open my top shirt button, and run my fingers through my messy hair, making it perhaps a bit less messy.

I exit the bathroom and return to the kitchen to find Holly putting the finishing touches on a small omelette and toast. She places it on the counter, pats the stool, and says "Eat." There's juice, coffee, and silverware already laid out.

The food is delicious, the O.J. fresh squeezed, and I'm hungrier than I think. I eat it with gusto, and am starting to generate coherent thoughts again, when it hits me.

"So, I spent the night in that little room. The bed wasn't big enough for two. Where did you sleep?"

Holly's smile vacates her face, and she looks down at the floor for a moment.

"What's going on, Holly?"

"You should talk to Emilio. He can explain it."

"Tell me what's going on? Should I be upset?"

"No, not at all." I'm somewhat relieved, but still skeptical. "Here, come with me, Emilio will explain it all. Just hear him out, please." I'm not feeling well enough to argue with her, so I follow meekly.

She leads me through the cavernous house to a large office, where Emilio is seated behind a desk. He looks up from what he is reading, smiles, and speaks.

"Ah, Alan. Good afternoon. Come in, please. Sit." I do, in the most comfortable leather chair I've ever sat in. "I can understand that you're a bit confused right now, probably hung over as well. If you'd like to discuss this later, we can wait."

"No, I want to know what's going on."

"Very direct. I like that. So, here's the situation. I'm, as you can see, very wealthy. I also find myself inexplicably incapable of interest in long term attachments to people. That said, I want to leave my genetic mark on the world, to father children, but I don't want the burdens of raising them, or being coupled with one woman for life. Now, for many people, that's exactly what they want, and that's fine, for them. Nothing wrong with that. But that's not what I want, and I can afford to do things a different way."

"So, here's my proposal. I've taken quite a liking to your wife. I propose that you loan her to me for some time, perhaps a year, maybe a bit less. During that time, she will be my consort. She will live with me, we will go to plays and concerts, enjoy fine dining, exotic travel, and live a generally glamorous life. I will treat her well, pamper her, and make sure she is happy. I will also have sex with her regularly, and at some point she will likely become pregnant. When the pregnancy is sufficiently progressed, I will terminate her status as her consort, and she can return to you. In fact, I would prefer if she returned to you." I glared at him incredulously. "Now, before you object, hear me out. Once she gives birth to my child, I will provide her with a yearly stipend of one and a half million dollars, tax free, every year until the child reaches the age of eighteen. At that point, the child will receive a stipend, also tax free, of one million dollars, and your wife will receive five hundred thousand dollars, until the child reaches the age of thirty years, at which point payments to your wife will end. The child will, at age thirty, inherit a substantial trust fund."

"Before you dismiss this categorically, think about it. You and she would raise my child as yours; I have no desire to be involved in the child's life. You and she could have children of your own, if you like. In fact that would be preferable, for the child's socialization. The income I provide to your wife would insure that you, her, your other children, and my child, would all have comfortable lives, free from worry or poverty, and able to live well. If you reserve some of her money each year to invest, you could build up enough capitol to simply live off of the interest and earnings of that money, and spend the rest of your lives in luxury."

"Further, think about the child. While he or she would be genetically my child, you and your wife would be the primary parents, and the child would see you as such. It would be no different than if your wife were, God forbid, barren, and the two of you adopted a child. Parents are the ones who are there for their kids, not the ones who provide genetic material. And I assure you, in that way, I have no desire to be a parent."

Gobsmacked does not describe how I felt at that moment. Hung over, tired, and confused, and just told that this filthy rich man wanted to use my wife as a fucking escort and incubator. Part of me wondered if he was serious, given the absurdity of his request.

Emilio continued, "So, I have a contract here that spells out these terms. The financial aspects are guaranteed, even in the event of my untimely death. The funds are placed in an external trust. There are no tax consequences, my bequeathment covers all applicable taxes."

I finally found my voice. "Listen. I don't like this. My wife is not for sale. I won't raise your bastard child. I'm not signing anything."

Emilio looked at me, gave a small chuckle, and then continued, "Oh, I'm sorry. You misunderstand me. Your wife has already agreed to this. She signed the contract." He held up a piece of paper, and I could see Holly's distinctive signature on the bottom. "I was simply informing you of what the proposal was. Now, as to your options. I can understand ..."

"I won't do it," I interrupted.

"Please, Alan, let me finish. There's no reason we can't be gentlemen about this."

"A gentleman wouldn't put a price on my marriage."

"Everything has a price. If you haven't learned that by now, well, then I feel sorry for you, my friend. As I was saying, I can understand that you might not want to see me with your wife, so if you choose to do so, you are of course free to continue living at your house, and I will offer you a sum of twenty five thousand dollars as compensation for the loss of your wife's time, effort, and companionship. If she stays with me longer than nine months, another twenty five thousand dollars. Further, while she might not like it, I'm sure she would understand if you chose to take a lover while she was away."

"I don't want a lover, I want her."

"She has already made her choice, my friend. Alternatively, if you would prefer to see her every day, I can offer you a position here at the house. You would be expected to sleep downstairs in the servant's quarters, and perform some useful tasks to earn your keep. I would then provide you with the same twenty five thousand dollar stipend - your labor would compensate for room and board. Of course, I would expect that you not interact with Holly as man and wife, that privilege is reserved for me while she remains my consort. In fact, it would be best if you kept some distance between you and her, but this would enable you to see her on a regular basis, and insure that I am treating her well. If you find yourself wanting for female companionship, my chef Lupe is a young widow, rather attractive, and would likely be more than happy to share your bed, although I can't make any guarantees, of course, it's her decision."

"I can't imagine Holly agreeing to this. And I won't be a servant to my wife's lover. I love her, but I'd divorce her if she goes through with this."

"I wouldn't recommend that, my friend. I would prefer if my child had an involved father figure, and since Holly loves you, you are the obvious choice. If you made the mistake of divorcing her over this, I'm absolutely certain that with her looks, personality, and of course her guaranteed substantial income, she'd have no trouble finding a new spouse who could accept her child as their own. But I believe that she would prefer to remain married to you. Further, the monies promised in our agreement go into a trust where she is the sole beneficiary. Those funds are not and can never become marital property. So if you divorce her, you get nothing, and she remains a very wealthy woman."

"Enough. This is insanity. I need to talk to Holly."

"Feel free. She's waiting for you in the kitchen. Please understand that she sees this as being good for your family. I hope you can see it the same way."

I leave the office, still feeling like my head was stuffed full of cotton, and find my way back to the kitchen, where Holly is sipping some tea. She sees me and gave a small smile.

"Alan, did Emilio explain everything to you?"

"No, not really."

"What did he miss?"

"He didn't explain why my wife would accept leaving me for a year, and having another man's kid, for money."

"Oh, don't think of it that way, honey."

"Don't honey me. What were you thinking when you signed that contract?"

"You might not see it clearly right now, but I'm doing this because I love you." I snorted in contempt. "Seriously, this will allow us to be set for life, for our family to be stable and secure, to never know want, to live a happy and glamorous life. Neither of us would have to work, we could afford the best schools for our child ..."

"For our children."

"I, did he, sure, all right, for our children. Okay."

"Nor did he explain to me why my wife would make a decision of this magnitude, a life changing decision, without consulting me first."

"I worried about that, but I thought it through and realized that this was so obviously the right call that of course you'd go along with it. I know, they say money doesn't buy happiness. But it does buy good food, good health care, a nice house, the best education, nice trips, freedom from worrying about how to pay the bill collector and the taxman. They also say time is money. So having money means we'll have more time, time to be with each other instead of working or worrying about work."

"You keep going on and on about how nice the money is. But for a year, you'll be jet setting it around with him while I'm stuck at home, alone, missing you."

"Don't think that I have it easy, buster. I'm going to have to pretend I'm in love with him. I'll miss you too. This will be as hard for me as it will be for you."

"Not even close. Speaking of that, imagine my lying in bed, alone, wondering if you're having sex with him on any given night. Is he going to be rough on you, beat you, share you with his friends?"

"No, he wouldn't do that. He's a very gentle and considerate lover. He ..." She stopped suddenly, realizing what she had just admitted.

"Great, just fucking great. He's already sampled the merchandise. How does he compare with me?"

"I'm not going to answer that."

"Fuck. Well that settles it, then. Have a nice life."

"No, don't be that way hon ..., umm, Alan. I only was with him after I signed the contract."

"And that makes it okay? What is wrong with you? Don't you see how fucked up this all is?"

"Alan, baby, listen to me." She came close to me, put one hand on my hip and the other on my cheek. "This is an incredible opportunity for me, for our child, children, for our family. I don't want to pass it up, I'm committed, and ..."

We both notice Emilio walking into the room, looking at us. He clears his throat, and Holly takes her hands off of me, and steps back a bit, just enough to have a normal interpersonal separation between us.

"This is a very tough decision for both of you." Emelio says. "Might I suggest that we table it for the time being, and discuss it over dinner."

"That's a great idea. Hey, let's go for a swim." Holly replies.

"It's the first of January, and cold enough to freeze a moose's balls out there."

"He has an indoor pool too."

"Of course he does. Of course he does."

"That's a wonderful idea, Holly," Emilio replies. "Come with me." Emilio leads us down to another wing of the house I'd never seen before, and down a half flight of stairs to the enclosed pool. "It's only 25 yards. The outdoor pool is a full olympic, great for swimming laps. Still, the water in here is warmer. Enjoy." Emilio started to strip down.

Holly and look at each other. "We don't have swimsuits."

"And why would you need them? Come, get in." I am reticent, but Holly swallowed her pride and strips down. Looking at her, I could see what Emilio, and any other heterosexual man (or lesbian), would like, her firm and large but not too large breasts, flat stomach, and great bubble butt. I sneak a peek at Emilio's package, he is well endowed (of course the bastard is, is there any advantage in life he didn't get.) Fuck it, I'm still sweaty and probably a bit funky from sleeping in my clothes, so his pool can have all that. I strip down and get in. Emilio, meanwhile, knocks off 20 laps of butterfly while Holly and I lounge around in the water.

After the swim, Emilio gives us a tour of the house, and shows us the parts of the grounds we can see from various windows. This takes over two hours, and what stands out to me is first, the abundance of things, but his lack of connection to it (he has a Steinway concert grand piano in the conservatory, but does not play himself, for example), and how the house appears to be half occupied. There are two big walk in closets in the master bedroom, his, fully occupied, and another, completely empty. I suppose he moved his last consort out not too long ago. Holly is drinking it all in with excitement, thinking this will be her luxury palace for the next year. I'm just on slow burn inside, furious that this slick stud thinks he can just rent my wife for a year and breed her, and more furious that she's going along with it. He also mentions that there is usually a staff of three, a cook and two maids, but he gave them all the day off today so we could be alone and make this important decision in private.

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