The Trust Ch. 03

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First let me thank you all for the votes and emails. And as I’ve said before, this is not meant to be the next great novel, so if that’s what you’re looking for, I’m sorry to disappoint. I started it wanting to do a running chronicle that spans years like a soap opera, so it may never actually reach a satisfactory end for some people. With that in mind, if you haven’t read all previous chapters, I suggest you do so before proceeding.

If I haven’t already scared you off, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do writing it. All mistakes are mine. All people, places and institutions are made up, this story in no way reflects reality and any similarities to it are coincidental. Enjoy.

*****

Chapter 03

Mason breathed a sigh of relief as they left the traffic of the greater Boston area behind them. He and Ardella were on their way to Arlington so he could get a look around Mason Hall. Because it was part of her thesis, strings had been pulled the previous year so that Ardella had access to the property. Cybil had wanted to come along, but her shift at work would start before they got back. The drive was turning pleasant as they got farther away from the Boston traffic, and Mason started liking the idea of moving out in that direction. It wouldn’t be any farther to travel than it had been for him living outside Charleston.

It was quiet in the car for the most part, Ardella sorting through a large folder in her lap. Mason’s interest in the hall and the possibility that she would get to prove her thesis with a real renovation, had begun to sink in. She was nervous and excited, if she could sell him on her plan that day, it would practically guarantee her thesis being accepted by the dissertation committee. She felt like she was playing catch up though, only having had one day to get organized, then making this trip the next.

Mason had called Allan that morning and told him about the hall and what he knew of the story behind it. He’d expected Allan to give him grief over it. But to his surprise Allan seemed quite interested. After hearing Mason out, Allan explained that he had worked hard to attract people from both Harvard and MIT. But under the courts thumb it had been hard to compete. Now that they were beginning to rebuild and possibly expand, hiring from some of the brightest young people in the country was even more important.

“If this hall were to work out,” Allan told him. “Not only would it give you a place to live while you’re attending MIT that could be secured. But we could provide secure housing for some of the more promising students at both universities, gaining an early advantage when it came to hiring. It’s something we could continue long after you’ve moved on yourself. Maybe even offering a few scholarships eventually.”

He went on to tell Mason that even if he wasn’t too sure about the hall after seeing it, he wanted him to keep the option open until Allan could make it out. And assured him that if he decided to go ahead with the purchase, Allan had local contacts at both Harvard and in the firm where he clerked while at Harvard that could handle any legal needs.

Brigid said that if he bought it, she was coming out to see it, and surprisingly to meet Cybil. She said the place sounded creepy, with the old guy living there like a hermit all those years, and she wanted to make sure it wouldn’t suck him in too. He’d laughed at that while deciding he’d worry about the two women meeting when it happened.

Mason Hall wasn’t actually on Route 2. It was just up on the same long hill that the route followed. You had to take a winding one lane out of Arlington, that soon turned to gravel, to get there. After about four miles on it, Ardella had Mason turn down a drive through some trees. “The property starts here,” she told him, “and we’ll get a glimpse of the hall around that corner ahead, but then we’ll lose it again for a moment.”

“How much land is there?” Mason thought to ask for the first time. He’s been focused on the building. The land it sat on hadn’t registered.

“There are four hundred and eighty acres overall, it’s a half mile wide and a mile and a half deep. Though the boundary isn’t straight by any means, it follows a seasonal stream bed along the east side.” And she pointed to their left but behind him. “If you buy the hall, about three hundred and fifty thousand of the price will be for the land.” That was twelve times the size of the Charleston property Mason realized, trying to visualize it.

Halfway through the next turn, he stopped. It was a damn big building was Mason’s first thought. He’d known it was five stories, but it looked twice as wide as it was tall, which he hadn’t figured on. Set behind a screen of elm and maples, he couldn’t see it all, but the red brick construction with white stone accents looked very impressive to him.

“The red brick was brought in from England and the white granite came from India.” Ardella told him, “That extravagance was the first of many that kept perabet Everett from finishing the hall. Shipping it in like that was ten times the cost of using native sources. Probably one of those things that kept his father from giving him more of the family fortune to spend.”

Mason started forward again, wanting to get there and see it clearly. After another couple turns they were driving out of the trees. Mason had never seen something so out-of-place. It would have seemed at home in downtown Boston or Charleston, not squatting there in a wooded meadow. He liked it at first sight, maybe it was just the surprise, but it was kind of grand in a looming edifice way.

Ardella started pointing as soon as they climbed from the car. “All the quoins, stooled sills, plain headers and copings are of Kashmir granite and are structural, not facing.” She sounded proud of the place and Mason couldn’t help grinning. “The glass is good in almost all the windows, though it would probably be better to replace it with dual or even triple panes.” She went on, pointing at the boards covering the windows on the first two floors.

Mason followed her gesture up, pleased to see that the upper floor windows seemed to be intact. “What, no gargoyles?” he asked, peering comically at the roof line as she swatted him on the shoulder.

“It’s forty-eight thousand square feet over all,” she went on as they stopped at the door so she could unlock it. Mason noted that historical society or not, it had a very modern dead bolt and knob. “This door was another extravagance, it’s solid English Oak and supposedly once hung on an abbey in England, but was more likely stolen off some estate during the first world war.” It moved ponderously yet silently as she pushed her way inside. Just through the door, there was a ten foot landing then three steps down to the main floor. To the left were stairs going both up to the next floor and down to a lower one.

“I guess we might as well go through here one floor at a time.” Ardella said, taking his arm and turning him to the right. “The plans call for a coat check here to the right of the door,” she said explaining once again that most of the interior construction remained unfinished. She had a staggering knowledge about the place as he followed her around. Listing details about materials used and even things that amounted to trivia at that point, like the names of craftsmen that had worked at different things. The tiles were all travertine, the main room that opened at the bottom of the steps was supposed to be a library slash smoking room, with a small stage built on the left side by the stairs where a quartet would have played. To the right and rear, was a long bar and the start of some shelving. the walls were open studs of square-cut lumber, nothing like Mason had ever bought at a home depot and the floors that weren’t tiled were all hard wood.

“Through there,” Ardella went on, pointing through the stud wall on the left side of the room, “is where the kitchen was to be, with the dining hall off the corridor here.” She said as she took him down the hallway. The rooms would be impressive in size, but what drew Mason’s attention was at the end of the hall, only dimly visible.

“Is that an elevator?” and she nodded.

“Maybe the last straw for Everett’s bank account and dream. It’s a brass birdcage elevator. Certainly he never got it running.” She went on as they approached it. “It seems to have been a last-minute addition to the hall, because it doesn’t service the lower floor due to some structural foundation that is in the way. It’s all here, parts wise, but there is a lot of work left to get it operational.”

The full tour took over an hour, Ardella only having to open the folder she carried occasionally. The second, third and fourth floor were basically open beam with a few support walls still in studs at that point, and Ardella explained that the plans marked out four large apartments on each floor. That most likely would have housed the gentry Everett hoped to lure there. Plus a lounge at the end by the stairs where it was thought he might allow a few working girls to set up shop. But she felt there was more than enough square footage to split the apartments so that there would be eight per floor. Something Mason thought would work into Allan’s idea for the place.

The top floor had the only finished rooms in the building. The suite where Everett had lived took up most of the front half of the floor, minus a hallway on the east side that opened for the stairhead, and consisted of a bath, sitting and bedroom. Plus two rooms marked on the plans as an office and an in-suite servant room. Both of these were crammed to the rafters with fixtures and building materials. Like he had been afraid of letting it out of his sight. The ‘sitting room’, seemed to have served him as a makeshift kitchen.

An iron ladder in the closet led up through a hatch to the roof. Mason admiring the view as Ardella climbed it. It perabet giri┼č was a huge open expanse with a four-foot parapet, and a roughed in, boarded up structure above where the elevator would be. “This could be a wonderful space once the elevator is working,” Ardella began as they looked around. “it’s a tar and asphalt layered roof at a two percent pitch, but I’ve always envisioned it with a hardwood deck.” She leafed through her folder and drew out a couple of sheets, laying the rest on the hatch before turning to him, “I’ve worked up a couple of 3D renderings for you, showing some possibilities here.”

The first showed the roof pretty much as it was, but with a flat wooden surface. There were lounges and tables scattered about. Mason could see it looking around, a vision of Cybil and maybe some of her friends sunbathing on the lounges making him grin. The second one showed a solarium or greenhouse built along the west side and a gazebo roof, covering a hot tub close to where they stood at the hatch. He liked that, and Brigid would love the greenhouse. Both renderings showed a large HVAC system beside the elevator head which clearly didn’t yet exist. So he asked her about it.

“The plans for the hall show a steam radiator heating system that would have been fed from a boiler in the basement, and most likely window mounted air conditioners in each suite.” She began, “You have to remember this was the early sixties. Today’s HVAC systems are light years ahead of things back then. The best solution today, would be a large commercial system that could be vented down through the interior non load bearing walls, with smart venting into each apartment.” going on to explain that smart vents allowed each apartment’s occupant to set a thermostat that restricted the air flow through the vent, giving them room to room temperature control within a zone.

They needed flashlights to see the basement, or spa as it turned out. And after seeing it, he was sold. It had received more attention than the upper floors and showed it. It had the white travertine tile throughout, even on the walls. In the front corner opposite the stair, was a raised tile bath that was fifteen feet by twenty and about three deep. A tile ledge running around the inside for seating. To the left by the stair, were three alcoves that Ardella identified as meant for massage tables. A wall cut the back half of the room off, with an opening to the left that led into a shower area with room for lockers and a metal exterior door that opened to a stone lined ramp to ground level behind the hall. This would have served for fuel deliveries once a boiler was in place. On the right was a three-tier steam bath that looked like it would seat thirty people.

“While it looks like this is farther along than the rest of the hall,” Ardella cautioned him. “it is probably where you would spend a good chunk of the money to finish. A steam generator or boiler system are non-existent and installing an efficient modern system to handle this will require removing much of this work that’s already been done and running natural gas lines almost four miles to reach the hall so you can heat it. And since you’d already be digging a ditch for the gas lines, we might as well connect to the city sewer and water, as well as phone lines and cable.”

Mason didn’t like the sound of that, “You have this all worked out?” he asked her.

“It’s all in the folder, though the actual cost of the suggested plans may change as things develop. Some of this stuff I haven’t updated since we started talking. And we’d be dealing with the county and National Grid, the company currently upgrading the natural gas system in the Arlington area. As well as the local cable and phone companies.”

They wandered around the outside for a time after that, “Would the court ruling stop me from building outbuildings?” Mason asked at one point.

“There are no restrictions in the decree, outside the main building. But that doesn’t mean the society wouldn’t take it back to court if they took offense.” She told him.” I’m on good terms with them, so if I were to approach them with plans that were respectful of the aesthetics of the hall. And maybe a small donation towards their next campaign, I think we could do most anything within reason.”

***

Ardella was on cloud nine as they drove back, it looked like Mason was going to buy the hall and she would be involved from start to finish. She doubted he understood just how much that would go towards her PhD or her personal desire to see the hall finished. She watched him drive, thinking he was certainly yummy looking for a white boy. If Cybil hadn’t so obviously fallen for him, she’d be interested in trying him on. It was hard to believe he was as wealthy as he made out. He seemed too down to earth, too calm. She’d dealt with a few rich people over the years and never ran into one that wasn’t full of privilege and self-importance. But Mason didn’t talk down to you, if anything perabet g├╝venilir mi he was kind of boyish and charming. She blushed at the idea he was only eighteen. Who knew, Cybil was usually pretty open sexually, maybe she would share.

For his part, Mason was trying to envision more than just the hall. With the land, he could see building a large garage and shop, an apartment over it for Marcus or a cottage. And why not have a pool with a covered deck, maybe an outdoor kitchen, there were endless possibilities. He could let Brigid have her pick of the suites when they were done. The years he would be stuck at MIT suddenly didn’t look so bleak. Then he thought of Cybil and wondered if she and Brigid might get along well enough to offer her a suite. Grinning at the inevitable picture of them each taking one of the suites on the fifth floor with his. Definitely a clothing optional floor.

Glancing at his passenger, it was all Mason could do not to swerve the car or do a double take. A button on her blouse had come undone and it gaped just enough to show him her small right breast including a hard little dark nipple. He turned back to the road as his cock woke up. But couldn’t resist glancing over when he thought he could get away with it.

Ardella was having a hard time sitting still, she’d undone the button and pulled the gap open herself, figuring it never hurt to test the waters. Not that she would do anything with him without Cybil’s okay, but a little harmless flirting didn’t count. It was funny how hard he was fighting looking at her, so she decided to push him a little harder. Twisting towards him, she made the shirt gape even more. “Have you and Cybil made any plans for her birthday?”

“Not..,” he started to reply as he looked over at her, but now her tit was basically right there in the open and he knew there was no way she didn’t know it. Besides, her nipple was definitely getting a flushed puffy look to it.

Ardella blushed as she realized she had given herself away. But his smile was genuine and the lump in his jeans spoke volumes. She started to re-button her shirt but he frowned.

“Don’t put it away on my account.” He told her. “I think you have a very lovely breast. And while I won’t be doing anything but looking unless Cybil says it’s okay. Looking can be fun.”

Who was this guy, Ardella couldn’t get a read on him. But his charm and the lust in his eyes as he looked at her tit made her wet. Taking his challenge, she turned farther and leaned against the door. Then started slowly opening the rest of the buttons on her shirt. “So about Cybil’s birthday?” she repeated casually.

Mason watched her pull open her shirt, baring the twin to her right breast, and thought he must be grinning like an idiot. It seemed like woman were climbing out of the thin air ever since his own birthday. “Excuse me,” he told her and very openly readjusted his cock in his jeans, so that it lay more on top of his thigh. Two could play these games. “We haven’t talked about it,” he went on. “though I knew she had one coming up since she told me when I first met her.”

Ardella licked her lips looking at the fat lump in his jeans. Cybil had talked like he was big, but she’d figured that was just inexperience. That was a nice cock from what she could tell, and she absentmindedly took hold of her right nipple as she stared at it. She’d have to have that talk with Cybil.

“Why, are there plans for a party or something?” Mason asked her with a big shit eating grin.

It was too much, she was either going to jump him right there or she needed to get this turned back down a whole bunch of notches. So she turned back forwards and redid her shirt. The things she did for that girl, she thought. “Sorry,” she told him. “I shouldn’t have started that. It wasn’t fair to you and Cybil. Don’t worry, I’ll tell her it was all my doing.” But if she gives me even half a chance, she told herself. “Yeah, some of us girls have been planning to surprise her with a party for months now.”

“But,” she hesitated, “we had figured it would be girls only. So I booked a male stripper to surprise her and I didn’t know if you’d want to be there for that, or if you guys had made any plans since she doesn’t know about the party. Now I’m not too sure about keeping the stripper anyway, because he was just kind of a gag to start with. And from what I’ve seen of you, he would be a sad substitute for what she has.”

“Maybe I should take his place?” Mason joked and Ardella felt her nipples harden again.

“Would you?” she asked, and quickly went on when he looked sheepish, “it would be the perfect surprise. Oh you have to do it Mason, it would be so funny watching her reaction.”

“But I don’t dance..,” Mason tried to backpedal, he’d been kidding.

“Trust me, neither do most male strippers. I’m sure you have everything needed to do the job, except maybe an outfit and a leather g-string.” She laughed. “Besides, you didn’t strike me as being very bashful a moment ago, think of the thrill you’ll get strutting your stuff in a room full of half crazed college girls.”

Mason shivered and felt his cock swell again. “Where…where would I get the outfit?” he ask, admitting that it kind of turned him on.

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