Authors: Josie Daleiden
Tags: #fiction, #romance, #adventure, #fun, #funny, #temptation, #sell
Selling it all
Published by Josie Daleiden at Smashwords
Copyright 2013 Josie Daleiden
Sarah reached down into the warm oven and
pulled out the tray of cookies. She balanced on her heels as she
bumped the over shut with her hip. This was the oldest realtor
trick in the book, but you still had to do it. Prospective buyers
had come to expect it by now. Fresh-baked cookies. The little gooey
blobs steamed and bubbled as they cooled on top of the stove. She
looked around the spacious, empty kitchen and straightened her
outfit once more. She felt constrained by the tight little blazer
as it hugged her shoulders, but she loved how it accentuated her
waistline... and her
“Hi! My name is Sarah. Sarah Bella. Yes, it sounds
like a fairy tale name. My parents were into Dungeons and
Dragons... ugh, like they'll know what that even is! Get is
together girl!” She chastised herself in the opulent, yet empty
Sarah had only been working at Nelson Realty
for about one year. In that time, she had managed to rise to the
top of the ladder at the prestigious, yet small, real estate firm.
As one of their top- selling realtors, she had been graciously
selected to lead the effort to sell the newly built Mcmansions at
the Verde Grande Estates. This upscale housing tract had all the
amenities that any upper class suburbanite could want. Besides the
stunning Mediterranean style houses, there was a rolling manicured
golf course, weight room, and main meeting hall. Sarah chuckled to
herself at the thought of the restless housewives that would
populate this tract home realm. How they would all stage elaborate
little coup attempts against one another. The shifting allegiances,
and the friendships shattered by trysts with one another's
A quiet knock at the open door shook Sarah
out of her day dream of lonely housewives.
“Hey there my Bella! How are things here at the
Verde?” Asked her boss, Aaron Nelson, owner of Nelson Realty.
He was a friendly, approachable man in his
late sixties who dressed in suits that looked like they were hand
tailored in 1955, and then sent to him via time machine. His retro,
impeccable style took a backseat to his savvy business sense.
Instead of acting like every other realtor in this shark-infested
business, he chose to portray an open, honest personality that
worked wonders on his clients. He was able to close sales like no
one else due to his disarming charm and grace. He was a single
widower, but he never really indicated whether or not he dated at
all. Sarah couldn’t imagine such a wonderful guy going through life
all on his own, but it wasn't something she could ever bring up to
“Hi Mr. Nelson. I'm just getting ready for
the early birds. I made a run through the house and touched up all
the counters like you said.” Sarah chirped happily. She hated brown
nosed suck ups, but she felt a bizarre need to cater to the kindly
Mr. Nelson in any way possible.
“Atta girl Bella!” Did I ever tell you the
time I lost a sale because of one dirty counter top? It was a real
hard lesson to learn...” He preached in his fatherly way.
Sarah had heard the story no less than ten
times. This was the reason she had gone through and tested each
counter with a white glove before he came. She knew he would be
dropping by for a surprise visit, and she wanted to impress him.
She smiled to herself as she thought back to the white cotton
gloves, and how they made her look like a character from an old
black and white movie.
“I think you may have mentioned it once or
twice.” She said with a smile.
Just as Mr. Nelson was making his goodbyes, a
young Indian couple arrived at the door and timidly looked inside.
Sarah read the couple as they walked inside the grand entry way to
the house. She waited to see who would be the decision maker. It
was a trick Mr. Nelson had taught her,
“as you never know who
really wears the pants in the family
After introductions, Sarah was able to suss
out that the newlywed Mrs. Padma was the pants wearer, and
proceeded to work her from then on out. After they left another
handsome, young couple came to the door, and behind them more were
slowly ambling in to sample cookies and other little snacks left
out by her.
The warm Saturday afternoon slid by, and by
sunset she had already received offers from two families. She knew
that Monday morning would bring at least one more offer, and a
brisk bidding war would ensue. As the thought of climbing
commissions danced in her head, she packed up her laptop and her
other assorted tools of the trade. The amber light that came in
from the nearby coastline glinted off the reflective granite
counters of the large kitchen as she hefted her attaché case onto
On her way to the door, she heard the
growling engine of an exotic sports car as it slid to a stop in
front of the house. With one last snarl the engine died out, and
she could hear the door open. “
Only one door...,”
thought to herself.
As she reached the doorway, she was expecting
a young bachelor with his parent's money. A man looking to buy a
house to settle down in, and fill with a trophy wife and uber-Aryan
babies. She was greeted with the one thing she should have
expected, but still was caught off guard.
A male figure sauntered up to the doorway
right as Sarah was struggling with the lock box on the door. She
looked up, and her big blue eyes got even bigger as they finally
processed who it was she was looking at.
She gasped in spite of herself, as the man
took off his sunglasses and tucked them into his shirt pocket. In
one smooth motion, the man slid her heavy bag off her shoulder and
held the lock box so she could slide the house key back into it.
She was close enough to smell him. His scent held a note of Old
Spice aftershave, with a little bit of whatever body spray he was
wearing. The cocktail seemed to really work for him, as he smiled
down at her with polite dominance.
“You must be Miss Bella.” He finally said.
His voice was deep and resonant, and his tone hinted at easy going
superiority. This was the legendary Joseph Blake. His image was
peppered all over park benches and regional publications in Rancho
Palos Verdes, California. In this odd world of cut throat LA area
real estate, he was at the top of the food chain. The true alpha
dog supremo that reigned over everyone else. Not only in sales, but
in reputation as well. He was maybe ten years older than her, but
he maintained himself so well it was hard to place his age. His
rugged good looks could have put him in the movies if he actually
cared what other people thought of him.
She knew that he had a weird way of selling
houses, but it always worked. He would sometimes demean clients
into thinking they could only afford some little shack in the
slums, and then sit back and smile as the unsuspecting rube would
insist on seeing his most expensive property. It was reckless and
irresponsible, and his actions had led to more than a few short
lived buys that ended in foreclosure or divorce. He didn't care. As
long as the client was pre-approved, he would make sure to get them
exactly what they wanted.
With her right hand now free, she
instinctively jutted it out his way for a handshake. He smiled down
at her as he took the proffered hand and shook it with a grip that
let her know that he was being deliberately gentle with her. Sarah
struggled to find words as this dashing, charismatic man stood
there letting the handshake die out into an awkward silence.
“Your new to this aren't you?” He asked with
a cocky little smirk.
Sarah finished securing the key in the lock
box and held out her hand to receive her bag. She was already
feeling like a deer in the headlights, and she knew that
knew it too. “I'm not that new. I've been doing this since I got
out of college three years ago.” She harrumphed defiantly.
“That's new in this game sweetie. You're one
of Aaron's girls aren't you?” He nodded for her to follow him, as
he strolled down the secluded flagstone pathway that led back to
the street. He was still holding her bag and with it, any chance
for her to exit this conversation on her own terms.
Sarah tried her best not to follow him. As if
that was some small way that she could regain control of this
little exchange. “You make it sound like I'm some kind of
property.” She said in a defensive tone.
As they made it to the street, Joseph
instinctively strolled over to her car and waited for her to unlock
the rear hatch. Her little Nissan Leaf was the first big purchase
of her life. The zippy little electric car was the reason she was
able to save so much money on her commute. Every last penny she had
went into promoting herself as a high-end realtor, and she loved
the image that the little electric car gave off as well. Very clean
and modern. As the back hatch silently swished open, Joseph placed
her bag carefully inside and shut it. With a polite nod, he
strolled over to her driver's side door and opened it for her. It
had been ages since any man had done that for her, and she didn't
quite know what to make of this gesture.
Once she swung herself into the driver's
seat, Joseph gently closed the door and leaned down close to talk
through the open window. “If you'll notice, you only work with
other girls about your age, about your height, and with your same
hair color. Hell, I bet you all even come from the same....,” there
was a pause as he went to the back of her car to read something, “
ah, UCSB! I knew it!” He proclaimed, as he bent down to read her
license plate frame.
Sarah didn't know what to make of this
assault on her life. This man, whom she had known for all of one
minute, professed to know everything about her, about her life, and
about her job. She was getting riled up, and she wasn't even sure
why yet. Well, besides the fact that this guy was making her sound
like some kind of stable animal.
Sarah leaned her head out the window to talk
back to him. “Is there something I can help you with Mr. Blake?”
She asked in an annoyed tone.
“Everyone who knows me calls me Joe. The
'Joseph' is to filter out the zombies.” He said casually, as he
made his back to her window.
“Uh, zombies?” She asked incredulously.
“Yep. All of my ad postings have my full,
given name. That way, I can tell right at the beginning of a call
if it's somebody I know or not.” He fished his sunglasses out of
his shirt pocket and slid them on with a casual grace that Sarah
wished she could have.
“Do you call all of your prospective clients
zombies?” She chided.
“Not the ones with deep pockets.” He shot
back. “Look, I have to run. I just wanted to put names to faces and
say,” he stepped back from her car and held out his long arms to
the sky, “Welcome to the neighborhood!”
As he pivoted on his heel to walk to his car,
Sarah rolled her eyes and went to push the start button. A little
window popped up on her dash display. Her heart sank as she
realized that she had forgot to charge the car. She was going to ,
but she was panning the open house and got sidetracked. She pulled
out her phone to see if there was a charge station nearby. She
could maybe have Jessica come and give her a ride home...
Joe's car sparked to life behind her, and she
now envied gas- powered cars more than ever. He eased the black
Porsche 911 slowly up and yelled through the passenger window to
Sarah shook her head. “No, just a drained
battery. You go on, I have a friend coming to pick me up.”
“Tell her not to. I have a guy who can get
you car charged while we go have dinner.” He said casually.
“Excuse me, Mr. Blake?” His forward move had
caught her off guard.
“Unless you want to sit in your car and wait
for your friend. Its your choice.” He said. “And I told you, my
name is Joe.”
She weighed her options. Jessica was most
likely out on a date, and she would make her wait until late in the
evening to come pick her up. Then, there was still the issue of
getting the car charged..., “Fine, so you really have a guy that
charges EV cars?”
“He's actually my assistant, Ernesto. There's
nothing he can't do. Come on, I've already put the call through.”
He swung open the passenger door, and beckoned her to get in.
Sarah felt a split second of apprehension,
but given the circumstances, she didn't really have another choice.
As she reached over to grab her handbag, she placed a quick text to
Jessica to tell her who she was going with. Just in case.
“Not to be rude, but I have a reservation
that I don't want to miss.” He said in a suggesting tone.
“What do I do with my car?” She asked as she
slid out of the seat.
“Just leave the key fob on the seat. Ernesto
will take care of it for you. Now come on!” He said with jovial