As it turned out, the news that Andy had some control in who he was paired up with had completely upended the house, much to his annoyance. He couldn’t be that mad at the girls, but it was still messing with the tranquil energy he’d been trying to cultivate to get through the pandemic and all of its complications.
When Hannah had asked if she could have some time to think about it, she had mentioned that Andy could request people to the rest of the girls, and suddenly there had been a rush on coming to him, asking if he would consider inviting someone they thought he might like to join the household.
Andy had immediately made sure not to make any promises to anyone, which was the best possible decision he could have made for himself. Within 24 hours, Andy had been forced to come up with a system to try and manage it all.
There were five more slots at the dinner table, and Andy had decided that was some kind of sign, so he would only take five more girls into the family. Ash told him straight away that she didn’t have any real friends or family she wanted to bring in, so she volunteered to help manage the process a bit, not doing any of the decision making, but more of guiding the girls to get their pitches in order, and weed out anyone who would be an obvious mismatch for the family. It was lucky for him that she was from Ireland, because Ash turned out to be the *only* one who didn’t have ideas on who should fill those last slots. Every other member of the house had at least one girl they wanted to suggest to him. Some wanted to pitch him several people, so with Ash’s help, he set down some guidelines on how to go about the process of filling out the remaining spaces in the house.
One of Ash’s first things to insist upon, however, was that Andy only take a total of four girls from the family’s suggestions, not five, and that one girl, one *single* girl out of the entire family, should be completely and totally his idea, without any outside suggestion or influence.
He’d originally laughed at that, pointing out that none of the girls so far had been anything less than magnificent and he really hadn’t lifted a finger in deciding who they were, but Ash was adamant that Andy make one solitary selection of his own choosing to add to the family. After going back and forth about it in his head, Ash (with the help of both Niko and Emily, who both reinforced the idea to him multiple times over the course of the day) had convinced him that he would carve one slot out for himself. He still wasn’t sure who that would be, but it was swirling around in his mind. He would make that decision after he’d done all of his selections from the girls’ candidates.
The second thing Ash had asked Andy to check on was if the house staff had anyone they thought they wanted to bring on, not to join the family, but as additional house staff. Andy had suspected it would be more of a formality, and that none of the three members of the staff would want to bring anyone else into Andy’s service, but as it turned out, each of the staff had multiple ideas about who might be excellent additions to the Rook household staff team without being good additions to the family, so Andy had agreed to let each of the staff members make a pitch for one person as well, but only in staff positions, which meant they needed to offer some skill or trade that the house could use. Because they wouldn’t count towards his total, he also agreed there wouldn’t be a minimum or maximum number of girls he would take from the staff’s pitch, but stressed that each staff member, like each of the girls from the family, could only pitch one person, no more, so they should make them count. That meant another zero to three women in the house.
The third and final thing that Ash stressed, which Andy absolutely agreed with, was that it needed to be done quickly. Chaos loomed large on the near horizon, and the longer he waited, the more complicated it was going to get. Phil had called Andy to let him know that the announcement was now scheduled for Nov. 20th, and that from that day onward, nothing would be reliable for anyone anywhere. The system might well crack, so it would be best if he had all his ducks in a row beforehand, Phil stressed, and when Phil took the time to repeat himself, Andy made damn sure to listen twice as hard.
It took about a week to get someone from request to arrival, Phil had also explained to Andy, which meant that the absolute latest he could get his requests in by was Nov. 12th, but he also stressed the earlier the better, and so Andy had personally set the 10th as the deadline for his decision, which meant that Monday, November 9th, would be the day all the girls could make their pitches.
That gave all the girls just 48 hours to organize their thoughts and make a good pitch, first to Ash, then to Andy himself. Pitches were allowed to be no longer than ten minutes, and should cover not only the reasons that the girl wanted him to bring her in, but also why she thought that the Beykoz Escort girl would be compatible with both Andy and the rest of the family. Ash also wanted to make sure that the pitches also included any possible problems or complications that might come with the person’s addition to the house. Ash stressed to each of the girls that they should do their homework before their pitches. Nobody wanted a repeat of the stress Erin had temporarily brought to the house.
Above all, Aisling stressed to the girls that nobody should be upset or angry with Andy’s ultimate decisions. Nine girls, four slots. That was going to means a lot of disappointed people, so Ash wanted to set all their expectations properly. Decisions were going to be hard, but Andy had also made his mind up to not consider any decisions final until he’d heard all twelve pitches.
He’d give himself the night to sleep on the pitches before making any final decisions.
And Andy also insisted that those he did choose would be extended invitations, not just blindly brought in, so the girls were told to prepare a letter to their friends, extolling the virtues of being part of the Rook household, as they say fit.
Andy fully expected many of the people they eventually invited to say no, but that was the pessimist in him.
Saturday and Sunday, he’d mostly gotten to work on the next Druid Guslinger novel undisturbed, as the girls had mostly spent their time developing their pitches. Every so often, he would poke his head out and check on everyone, making sure that nobody was getting angry with one another, but to his delight, not only were the girls not fighting, they were actually working together in some cases, trying to help each other polish up their pitches. The process was bringing them together, not pushing them apart, and that let Andy relax just a little more.
Saturday night at dinner, none of the girls had talked about their pitches, thankfully, which let everyone spend some time getting to know each other a bit better. Andy had noticed that the girls had sort of gravitated into groups: Ash, Niko, Emily and Sarah; Lauren, Taylor, Piper and Sheridan; Asha and Hannah.
The two younger girls got along like a house on fire, and once Hannah had gotten past her initial starstruck impressions with Emily and Sarah, she and Asha had mostly stuck to each other, although they’d drifted in and out of all of the rest of the conversations.
Piper and Lauren both had high end athletic experience, so they’d immediately connected, and Sheridan, while of a different stripe of athleticism, had piggy backed on that. Taylor’s punishment was still in effect, but Lauren was allowing the girl to talk with the others so that she was establishing friendships. Taylor mostly kept with Lauren, but also seemed to get along very well with the other two younger girls, as she was closer to their ages than the others. Andy suspected that once Taylor’s punishment was over that she would divvy her time evenly between Lauren, Asha and Hannah.
Ash, Niko, Emily and Sarah had formed some sort of group hive mind, and did their best to keep Andy’s attention off both the upcoming decisions and the loss of his brother. Sarah had finished the most recent Druid Gunslinger book before coming to bed Friday night, and when she’d finally gotten into bed, her first and only question had been “How long before the next one?” Andy’s response of “when it’s ready” had made her whine a little, but she’d also agreed to be patient and wait until he had a draft he was happy with.
Andy’s one break from writing had been to call his contact over at Working Title, to discuss how they wanted to handle the first draft of the screenplay of “Neon Stonehenge,” the first Druid Gunslinger novel. As much as Andy wanted to take a crack at it, he was forced to admit he wasn’t a screenwriter, so the decision was made to let another writer do the lion’s share of the work and Andy would simply provide notes.
With Sarah Washington attached as Layla Heartseye, the Elven barbarian queen, and Emily Stevens attached as Charlotte Sexton, the titular Gunslinger’s sister, meant that they weren’t just greenlighting the project, they were fast tracking it. Talks were already underway with Christian Kane to take on the lead role.
At dinner, the minute Sarah had started to try and prod him for details about the next one, Emily and Niko had steered her away from it, telling her it would be much better to let him finish the book before she knew a thing about it, which definitely relieved Andy. Eric had usually asked to read the manuscript in quarters, but Andy was still not yet at the 3/4ths mark to show his friend, something Eric had been alright with as he had been a little overwhelmed with all the women moving into his own house.
Some part of Andy had wondered if it was even worth the effort to finish the next book, knowing so many of his readers had probably died in the plague, but the minute he’d been mulling on that, Eric had Beykoz Escort Bayan reminded Andy that he’d once claimed that was long as there were any readers asking for sequels, he’d keep writing them. Eric had called Sunday night after Andy had finished for the day, just to touch base. He’d told Andy he would’ve come over, but that he’d had a few too many drinks to drive himself over.
Eric’s house now stood with seven women in it, and Andy had agreed that he would try to learn all of their names eventually, just as Eric did for Andy’s household, although both of them agreed that the task would definitely take some time. The two men and Phil had all planned to meet up for dinner on Thursday, as they usually did. It was good to keep a routine.
Also on that Sunday, Ash had commandeered the pool house, giving each girl the chance to pitch to her twice, once in the midday and then again in the evening, allowing them to improve and refine upon their pitch.
That had kept the entire house occupied, and allowed Andy to spend all of his time writing, although he did make an exception for lunch, when he’d tended to Jenny and Katie’s needs. In a move that had surprised him, Jenny had insisted Katie ride his cock until he came inside of her, then sucked her share out of her partner’s pussy afterwards. It had proven an excellent test, and Katie had still gotten her fix out of the experience. She’d described it to Andy as “filthy in the best possible way.”
Other than that, Andy went two days without engaging in any sex, a sort of chance to recharge his batteries. He suspected he might have a bit on Monday, but also acknowledged to himself that he was going to be booked wall to wall with the meetings, hearing the girls pitches, so it might even be a third day off from sex.
Monday morning he awoke in bed alone, an absence he definitely noted, but it let him get his morning workout in, followed by a shower. After he got out of the shower, when he went to get dressed, he found a printed schedule of his day on top of his dresser.
10-11: Asha, Emily, Hannah, Jenny
11-12: Katie, Lauren, Nicolette, Niko
1-2: Piper, Sarah, Sheridan, Taylor
2-3: debrief with Aisling
Ash had decided to just organize the girl’s pitches in alphabetical order, so that Andy wouldn’t see any prejudgment on her part. On the schedule, there was also a map of the house’s lower level, a room marked with an X and a note from Ash that read simply “See you there!”
The house was the quietest it had ever been, even his two cats seeming a little perplexed at the lack of people moving around. Andy wandered down to the marked room at about fifteen minutes to 10, finding Aisling already in the room, which had been set up as a little conference room, a large television on the wall doubling as a computer monitor. On the screen was a black screen with the words “Project Pair Up” in friendly white lettering.
“Hey love,” she said to him with a smile. She was dressed in professional looking attire, the most dressed up he’d ever seen her. With the quarantine, everyone had been completely casual, and Andy suddenly felt wildly underdressed, wearing just a pair of jeans and an old, faded Jesus Jones t-shirt. She saw his look and immediately grabbed his arm. “Relax. You’re the one everyone’s pitching to, so you’re allowed to dress however you like. It’s good to be the king,” she giggled.
“You’ve heard all the pitches already, Ash,” he said to her, as she led him to the head of the table, making him sit down. “Anything truly shocking?”
“I told you I wasn’t going to make decisions for you, babe, so you’ll just have to wait and see.”
“I wasn’t asking you to make a decision, Ash,” Andy laughed, “simply whether or not you thought this was a good idea or not.”
“Oh, aye,” she nodded. “There’s some truly remarkable women up on offer for you today, and I’m certain there will be some hard decisions in your future, in more ways than one. A few dodgy ones too, by my reckoning, but I’m not the final say in the matter, am I?” She moved to sit down next to him, at his right hand spot, the television screen on the wall opposite him. “There are pros and cons to all of them. But all the girls have agreed nobody will be upset at you, no matter what you decide.”
“And you think they’re all going to hold to that?”
“I told them if they couldn’t then they shouldn’t bother pitching anyone at all. That sort of got them in line.”
Andy nodded sagely. “Where are they?”
“Everyone’s hanging out in the pool house right now, and they’ll come up when we text them, one at a time, so if anyone runs short, or needs to run long, nobody will get interrupted.”
“Okay then, let’s get to it, I suppose.”
Ash nodded, and then picked up her iPhone from the table, sending Asha a text to come to the room. A few minutes later, the half Indian half French girl strolled into the room in a powder blue power suit, her hair done up in a bun, wearing bright red 1950s librarian glasses. “Thanks for letting us pitch ta ye, Andy,” she said, moving to sit down on the chair at the opposite end of the table from him. “Going first is a bit of a pisser, but I s’pose I’ll set the bar high for the lot of’em.”
She picked up the little remote from the table and clicked it, as the monitor behind her sprung to life, an image of a bright, bubbly blonde girl appearing on it. “This is Olivia Shoemaker, my bestie from me London days. Now I know what you’re thinkin’, that she’s young, and you’re nervous or whateva about bringin’ too many young birds into the house. But Livvy’s a doll. She’s a student down at UCSD, so she could just transfer up here and go ta UCSF or Berkeley or Stanford or whateva.” Asha clicked the button and the screen advanced, showing Olivia in a colorful yellow sundress, standing on the Santa Monica pier. “She’s also a right big social media influencer, with half a million followers on Insta and about as many on TikTok. They were tryin’ to get her to appear on Love Island back home, but she said she wanted to wait until she was a bit older for that. She’s 19, she’s fit and she’s a babe. We’ve been friends since we was toddlers, an’ I know she’d likely fall for you like I have.”
“What’s she going to school for?” Andy asked.
“She’s undecided right now, but she’s thinking she might get into international finance. Banking, stocks, that lot. She changes her mind about that all the time, though, so who knows where she’ll end up. Girl’s got a mind that goes a kilometer a minute, you ask me.”
“You think I’d be her type?” Andy asked, a touch of doubt in his voice. “I have trouble imagining someone like her being satisfied with someone older like me. I’m not particularly social media savvy, and she looks like the kind of girl who would take one look at me and think ‘old man.’ And that’s no judgment on her — I’m just saying, you want to make sure this is someone who you think is going to be happy here, and with me. Simply because I *can* request anyone I want to doesn’t mean that I necessarily *should*.”
“She and I have been friends since we were wee high, so if I tell her she’ll like you, she’ll trust me on tha’, and once she gets to know you, she’ll fall for you like e’eryone does, Daddy.”
He still wasn’t entirely comfortable with her calling him that, but he’d learned that telling Asha no just made her do the thing twice as much, so he was hoping she’d get it out of her system eventually.
“And part of the pitch process was also you identifying what the challenges might be if I were to extend her an invite to our family. So what do you think those would be?”
“Um,” Asha said, looking down at the table a moment. “I’m not gonna lie ta ye, Andy. She can be a mite tad possessive. Her last relationship imploded because her boyfriend gave another girl a ride home after a party, and she thought he’d cheated on her.”
Andy winced a little bit. That struck him as more than a challenge. “So you think that’s not going to be a problem here, where she has to share me with all of these other women?”
“She’ll get over it!” Asha pouted. “She just needs to be shown that not all men are lads, and that she doesn’t have to have someone’s complete attention all the time to get by in the world.”
“Do you know what she likes and dislikes sexually?” Ash asked her, cutting straight to the point. “Are you sure she’s compatible with Andy?”
“She’s a bit more reserved than I am,” Asha sighed. “More reserved than she oughta be, you ask me, but I don’ like the idea of her just fallin’ in with some bloke who won’t do right by her. She deserves better’n that. The prude walls hafta come down sooner or later.”
“But do you think she and I would make each other happy?” Andy asked.
“I’d like to think so, Andy,” Asha said, “but I’m no’ sure one way or the other. I’m just tryin’ to look out for her.”
“Okay, Asha. You’re the first one we’ve talked to today, so obviously we have a lot more pitches to hear, so we’ll keep your friend in mind.”
Asha nodded, standing up again. “An’ if you decide she’s not for you, Andy, I’d understand, but, y’know, maybe pass her on to one of your friends around the town as a thought? It’d just be nice to have one of me mates around here.”
Andy smiled. “I’ll see what I can do.”
Asha walked over, leaned down and gave Andy a soft kiss. “Thanks, Da. I’ll see you at dinner, yeah?” Before Andy could answer, Asha was already heading out the door, closing it behind her. Aisling pushed the button and the screen moved to a simple black background with “next: Emily” in white letters on it in a classy font.
He turned to look at Aisling, not entirely sure what to say, which made Ash giggle. “They’re all very different, Andy, so you’ll just have to decide for yourself.” She sent a text message on her phone to Emily, letting her know to start heading to the conference room.
“An influencer, though?” Andy said, rolling his eyes. “I still don’t get how anyone can think that’s a real job.” He sighed, seeing the smirk on Ash’s face. “I think it’s more likely that I’ll recommend her over to Eric or Phil, but I’ll try to keep an open mind.”