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Off Campus III, Pt. 1
Our polyamory group Steve, Cyan, Phil and Jen have added a loving fifth to their nest, Ally, who also brings her BFFs along whenever the original four have a chance to come into town to hold swap parties at The Abercrombie Hotel. This is happening more often now as Phil and Jen have taken early retirement due to an inheritance, and can get away on a whim.
However, after a debauched evening and night at home with our foursome, difficult decisions stemming from bad news put into motion events where things are about to change, for everyone.
My phone rings, and I see Ally’s number. She doesn’t call much, usually only when we’re coordinating a visit. We save all the loving and fireworks for when we can see and touch. Especially touch. A lot.
“What’s up, sweetie?” I answer.
She’s crying, “Daddy wants to sell the hotel!”
“Oh, no! Why? We can’t let that happen!” is my shocked response.
“Business is way down, and we’re not meeting expenses,” she informs.
“How come? What changed?” I ask.
“Acme Manufacturing closed their plant! A third of our business was from them,” Ally sobs.
“Oh, dear. What about Darren?”
Darren is Ally’s much older boyfriend she keeps around for her pleasures when we’re not there, and sometimes when we are there in the flesh… so to speak. Cyan and Jen are big fans of Darren, who they “met” on our first visit. Anyway, we had eventually learned he was the plant manager at Acme.
“He’s been offered a job with a former client and is moving to Denver next month,” she informs. “He asked me if I was interested in going along, but you know how I feel about him, he’s been nice to play with and all that, but it wasn’t ever going to be a long-term thing. But I’ll miss ‘im. Thank God I have you and everybody.”
“Yes, you do sweetheart. You know that. So… what happened to Acme?” I query.
“They lost the Coyote Industries contract. Not a lot of demand these days for heavy iron products like anvils and safes. Their revenues fell off a cliff.”
“Okay, is there any way can we help with the hotel?” I offer. “You and your father have worked really hard to keep the place up! It has to stay in the family!”
“Yes!” she confirms. “I was planning my entire life around being next in line!”
“Has your dad told anybody else? Is anybody sniffing around interested in buying it?”
“No, thank goodness. At least not yet,” Ally explains. “Old downtown hotels in small cities are not especially in high demand. They’re expensive to maintain and upgrade to current standards, and the big chains out by the mall attract the pass-through and casual customers. We rely on repeat business, and destination business. That’s the problem. With Acme gone we’re not nearly as much of a destination.”
“Okay, I’ll ask the big question,” I warn. “How much?”
I can hear her wince, “He’s thinking ten mil.”
“Hey, that’s a lot of chicken feed. Really?” I challenge. “Are developers scoping-out downtown properties? Developers who want the land, not the building?”
“No. Downtown real estate values are pretty depressed here. But you know that,” she confirmed.
“Yes,” I reply.
Two revitalization projects crashed and burned. The city built a couple of parks where some unrecoverable structures were torn down, but nobody wanted to invest in new construction. Just like nearly every other small Midwestern city that used to have a manufacturing base.
“So how can he justify the asking price?” I pose. “Especially considering the renovations you guys were planning.”
“I don’t know.”
“We’ll need to talk, obviously,” I assure. “The four of us will put our heads together and see what resources we can scrounge. Between my and Cyan’s and Phil and Jen’s nest eggs plus some creative financing we might be able to find some middle ground.”
“Besides, that would keep it in the family. You are my number three wife, after all.”
“Yes I am!” as Ally bursts into sobs.
“Stiff upper lip, sweetie,” as I try to soothe. “Let me pull the gang together. How are you fixed for week after next? We’ll plan on spending the entire week there. That okay?”
“Okay,” between her tears.
“That will give us enough time for serious talk with your father and his accountants and lawyers, and leave enough time to relax and play,” I propose.
“Okay,” as she settles down.
“After I talk with the others here I will call your dad and set up meeting days and times. Let him know that we are concerned, and that I will be calling. Okay?”
“Okay,” Ally affirms. “Steven?”
“Yes, sweetheart?” I answer.
“I love you very much.”
“I love you too, Ally. Let’s get this bump smoothed out best we can. See you week from Monday, okay?”
“Bye,” she confirms as we hang up.
I am not looking forward to the conversations with Cyan, Phil Çeşme Escort and Jen. I’m mostly the one with the bond with Ally, and they know it. She’s mostly a cute, willing and joyous sex partner to them.
“Who was that?” Cyan asks from the other end of the house.
“Who do you think?” I respond.
“From the tone, Ally is my guess,” she allows, as she pads into our office to chat.
“Yep. George wants to sell the hotel.”
“Oh, no! Is she okay?”
“No. She’s devastated. She invested her future entirely on inheriting it.”
“Anything we can do to help?” Cyan asks.
“Yes. I think between us and Phil and Jen and maybe some bank help we can buy it.”
“Really? That’s drastic! We can’t just up and change our lives like that!” she protests.
“Yes we can!” I counter. “Think about it. You and I are not tied down here. We were planning to downsize, anyway. So what if we downsize to another city?”
“Well, I guess selling our stuff here might make it even more possible. Would we live in the hotel?”
“Yes. That would have to be the plan,” I confirm. “My concern is what was involved in the ‘renovations’ Ally and George had in the business plan. How much of that was improvements, how much repairs to or replacement of old stuff at the end of its useful life.”
“Like the elevators!”
“Exactly! That alone will run into millions, with a lot of downtime.”
Cyan goes on, “Alright. Jen and Phil are in town to visit and we have a date with them tomorrow night. I’ll call Jen in a few minutes and let her know what’s going on, and warn her that there will be a lot of serious talk over dinner.”
“Sounds good. I need to call George to get some idea where he’s at.”
I finish my coffee while poring over the day’s mail, steeling myself for a difficult chat with George Abercrombie. It’s always a little awkward talking with George because he is, in a sense, a kind of father-in-law given my relationship with Ally, a relationship that is totally nonstandard and is very much frowned upon in most polite circles. That George is only about ten years older than I am makes things that much more difficult. But I love his daughter and she loves me intensely, and that’s the way it is.
I dial his direct number. Don’t need the front desk handling the call; seems to cause trouble whenever I screw-up and forget.
“George Abercrombie’s office,” the voice on the other end answers.
“Good morning, Gail!”
“Well, good morning, Steve! To what do we owe the pleasure?” Gail responds.
“Need to talk to George,” I declare.
“I’ll bet you do! I heard,” she volunteers. “I’ll buzz you through.”
“Hi, Steve.” It’s George picking up the line.
“Hi, George. I presume Ally gave you a heads-up about my calling.”
“She did. Said something about the four of you having interest in the hotel,” he confirms.
“I think we might. Haven’t hashed out what’s possible at this point, we’ll have a serious talk tomorrow night. Is that ‘ten mil’ number she mentioned for real, or just thinking out loud?”
“Mostly thinking out loud. I’d like a comfortable retirement, Steve.”
“You know it’s going to depend on the numbers. Cyan and I are bouncing around a few ideas to possibly make up for the Acme loss, but Phil and Jen will have to be on board with it.”
“Okay,” George responds. “What do you need from me?”
I propose, “Let’s start with last year’s P&L, and the year-to-date P&L. Current general ledger would be nice, too. We’ll not worry capital and inventory until we all meet. You think you can get your folks together week from Monday? We figure on staying there all week, so we should be flexible.”
“Sounds like a plan. You’ve done this before.”
“Yes,” I confirm. “I think we’ve chatted about my portfolio at one time or another.”
“Okay. I’ll have Gail e-mail the financials and a schedule once she rounds everybody up,” he proposes.
“Good. Thank you. We’ll tune the specifics with Gail,” I affirm.
“That would be good. Nice talking with you, Steve. I hope we can work something out.”
“Me, too. Talk to you later.”
Whew. That was relatively painless. He sometimes can’t help himself from touching on the “inappropriate” relationship between his daughter and the four of us, and it can get tense.
Now to ring-up Ally for the report.
“Hi, Steve!” says the warm voice on the other end, obviously relieved. “Gail told me you talked to Dad already.”
“Yep,” I confirm. “We’re on for week after next. All I have to do is get the rest of us in sync. I think Cyan is seriously mulling the idea, don’t know where Jen and Phil stand yet.”
“If you think it will help, I’ll be sure to spend more ‘quality time’ with Phil — and Jen, too — when you guys get here.”
I can all but see Ally’s leering smile through the phone.
“You are so bad, girlie!” I scold. “But you’re right!” I chuckle. “And leave some for me!”
“Always! Çeşme Escort Bayan Always always always!” exudes my sexy little pixie.
We say our goodbyes and hang up. She’s a dear. A smart dear, at that. If we make this thing happen, we will essentially be her boss in an owners and manager situation, and I hope beyond hope that won’t change our relationships. If it does, then maybe for the better? It will be nice for the five of us to be living together, or at least down the hallway from each other.
“You talk with Jen yet?” I holler to Cyan, back in the other end of the house.
“Yes. She has to talk to Phil,” is the distant reply. “He was off on an errand.”
“Okay!” I shout back.
Cyan makes her way to our den office again, “What do you have in mind to fix this?” Buying the hotel is one thing, how do you intend to stop the bleeding?”
“We need to make it a destination again. Something besides catering to the local industrial businesses,” I muse. “My main thought is from our first impression — take advantage of the old-school romantic ambiance and market it to Millennials. The hipsters will eat that stuff up.”
“And we know a few sexy and romantic Millennials, don’t we?” she grins. “But they buck the reputation of that generation, so I’m not all too sure about putting all of our eggs in that particular basket.”
“It doesn’t have to be just Millennials, dear,” I counter. “A romantic destination, period. We only have to be concerned about generation stuff with the marketing. Ally and her friends will be more up on social media and so on. For our generation and Gen X’ers, updated website, travel magazines and maybe pay somebody to do a documentary about the classic hotel for one of the streaming travel programs.”
Cyan cautions, “That’s where renovations come into the picture, dear, spiffing the place up for a new clientele. Dollar signs all over the place with that. Ally already warned us about how expensive it can be.”
Cyan’s phone rings. It’s Jen.
“Hi yourself,” is Jen’s voice from the other end. “Phil is contemplating the situation, and is asking if Steve has any financials yet.”
I break in, “Tell him not yet, but I’ve asked for ’em. Hope to have them in-hand for dinner tomorrow.”
“You hear that?” Cyan asks Jen.
“Yep,” Jen confirms. “What are our plans for tomorrow night, considering?”
“You guys are coming over here for naked pizza,” Cyan answers. “We’ll toss a coin for who gets to flash the delivery guy this time. Maybe both of us!”
“You do know we already have that reputation with ’em,” Jen comments. “One of these days somebody will show up with the pizza and wants to ‘offer’ us free extra ‘pepperoni’, personally delivered, and giving us ‘the tip’.”
“If he’s cute, bring it on!” Cyan leers.
I can do no more than roll my eyes. Cyan is obviously “in a mood”. She’s probably going to take it out on me tonight.
Ya’ know, like I mind?
Tomorrow rolls around and we have slept in to make up for the wee-hours exercise program Cyan lined up for us ’cause it was a warm night. To spice it up more than a little, she woke us up around 3 a.m. for a jog around the block, dragging me out the front door, both of us naked as jaybirds save for running shoes.
“You know you’re going to get us arrested sooner or later, Cyan!” I quietly protested as we made our way down the drive to the sidewalk.
We fortunately escaped detection yet again, even after she stopped us in front of the O’Connors’ house insisting that I fuck her on the spot, if only out of spite for the obnoxious judgmental and anal-retentive couple who live there. The O’Connors have been the bane of the neighborhood for years, even driving off some great neighbors with their shit. I hope they discover the “odd white drips of something sticky” on their sidewalk. Of course they will, the next time he power-washes the concrete, which is way too often. It’s really noisy. Jerkwad.
After breakfast I check my e-mail to find that Gail has sent The Abercrombie’s financials and proposed schedule for our meetings with George and company week after next. Schedule looks good, financials look grim. You can almost see to the day when Acme closed, gross bookings dropped to almost half their prior-year numbers. They are bleeding about twenty-five thou’ a month and sucking their cash reserves dry. Ugly stuff.
I see that George kept payroll constant. Good for him, he cares for his people — we knew that — and hasn’t laid-off anybody yet. However, unless something happens soon, cuts are inevitable.
I sure as hell don’t want to be the bad guy. Depending on how much we have to sink into the purchase and repairs, the four of us might be able to sustain things as they are for a couple of years, but if we don’t turn it around in that time some people we love, like Jessica, will have to be furloughed.
“Hey, dear?” I call out to Cyan. “They did a good job of keeping up Escort Çeşme with the numbers, but the numbers themselves do not look good. I think we would have a year at most to deploy our ‘romantic getaway’ plan.”
“Okay,” is her response. “Let’s see what Phil and Jen have to say tonight. Before pizza, that is, I have plans for that. Forward the info to Phil.”
“Already have, with a couple of notes,” I inform.
My phone interrupts. Speak of the devil, it’s Phil.
“Hey,” I answer.
“Yikes!” is Phil’s “hello”.
“Yeah, it’s bad,” I admit.
“You really think we can save this thing?” Phil questions.
“Cyan and I have a possible plan. What do you and Jen think about turning it into a ‘romantic getaway’ destination?”
“We were thinking the same thing,” Phil confirms. “We fell in love with the ambiance first time there. Not counting the bartender, of course… Steven… [ahem].”
“You made your point, Phil,” I protest. “But seriously, it has potential for people like us, folks who appreciate the old-school zeitgeist. Problem there is the cost of restoring the parts of the hotel George and Ally haven’t redone yet, at least not done in period style.”
“Does it all have to be done in period style?” he asks.
“Interesting idea,” I muse. “Period-based floors, maybe?”
“That’s Jen’s thought,” he responds.
“Whatever we do, it’s going to have to be quick,” I warn. “I think we have a year, max, to make improvements and repairs, and develop the marketing plan, then a year to gauge whether we are solidly in the black. If not, after that we’ll have to start laying people off to keep the lights on.”
“Agreed. What time are we coming over tonight?”
“The usual,” I advise. “Maybe a bit earlier, 5:30 or so. We need enough time for the four of us to look at the numbers, see what we are willing to contribute to the pot, and come up with a starting figure for George. That ‘ten mil’ Ally mentioned isn’t reality, not with these losses.”
“Yep. You want me to research real estate values?” Phil offers.
“Good idea. I’ve already done some quick surfing and haven’t seen anything in a four-block radius over 200K. Those were neat old office buildings, but are only two or three thousand square feet, not a seven-story hotel. You’re going to have to look around at similar cities for comps.”
Phil responds, “Yes. Makes sense. I have my marching orders, so see you tonight.”
“Good deal. See you then. Oh — did Jen relay the dinner plans?” I query.
“Same old shit, naked pizza, I heard,” Phil confirms. “But something about Cyan wanting to fuck the pizza delivery guy this time if he passes muster.”
“(…sigh…)” I respond. “Yeah. Such a burden I bear.”
“You’re a bastard, you know that, don’t you?” Phil chuckles.
Cyan and I putter around the house most of the day with light cleaning and putting stuff away just so things are tidy when we entertain “our other halves” this evening. Nothing like dust bunnies to distract, not to mention the wayward porn DVD sitting out on the coffee table.
Strike that on the DVD. I need to find the one we have with the pizza delivery theme and leave it out in plain view. That’ll tweak Jen and Cyan.
A little after 5:00 and the doorbell rings. Huh?
“Come on in, guys,” I shout as they walk in. “You have keys and live here as much as we do, so why suddenly so polite? Barge your asses right in. Nothing — and nobody — here you haven’t seen!”
“Sorry, Steve,” apologizes Jen. “We seem to be in a serious business mood at the moment. This is some deep shit. Here, come feel me up if it makes you feel better.”
“Thanks sweetie,” as I land a big kiss on her, caressing a breast and reaching under her short skirt to finger some naked and smooth pussy.
“Cyan?” I holler to the back of the house. “They’re here!”
Cyan comes bopping into the living room appropriately undressed, our normal couture when we’re with Phil and Jen. She lays her own kiss on Phil while shoving her hand down his lounge pants to cop a feel.
“I want that. Pizza guy first, however,” she coos.
“Sweetheart,” I lovingly advise. “Put something on. Playtime has to wait. We need to be serious adults for a little while.”
“Oh. Okay. Not time to play yet. Kitchen table? Be right back,” Cyan confirms.
We gather at the table, Phil and I laying out the spreadsheets and our notes, and what he found online about the values of big old downtown buildings in small towns in decline. After a lot of back and forth, it appears together we can offer half of George’s asking price while still keeping enough in reserve for improvements and keeping things afloat, including our own needs, for at least a couple of years.
The real estate comps Phil found back us up on our offer. We’re feeling good about this, and are almost looking forward to the complete change in all our lives that would result.
“Dinner?” I ask.
“We done? Naked?” Cyan retorts.
“I guess,” I confirm.
Jen and Cyan drop their dresses immediately and leap for each other’s spouse to strip us on the spot. They can be so evil sometimes. Jen squeezes my nuts hard to remind me who’s in control.
“Same ol’ same ol’,” I tease.
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