Chapter 1: New England

Caution: This Action/Adventure Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa, Mult, Consensual, Romantic, BiSexual, Heterosexual, Fiction, Wife Watching, Incest, Swinging, Group Sex, Orgy, Polygamy/Polyamory, First, Oral Sex, Petting, Fisting, Pregnancy, Cream Pie, Double Penetration, .

Desc: Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 1: New England - Young and newly widowed, Jim Mellon rebuilds an old motorcycle and starts on a journey of grief across the country. Along his route through the lower forty-eight states, he meets many beautiful women who change his life in many ways: his sexuality, love, career, and his deepest feelings about life. Jim proves to be a hero time and again, plus deals with threats to his life and loved ones. He evolves further, becoming a popular country music singer thanks to diva Crystal Lee.

I stood in the shower, the warm water cascading around me. The water felt wonderful. I had just shampooed my hair, and still had suds streaming down my face when I sensed someone else in the bathroom. I called out, "Karen?"

I heard her unmistakable giggle. I guessed what was coming, but could do nothing about it. A second later, the shower curtain got yanked back slightly, and then a large glass of ice-cold water splashed across my back and buttocks. I shrieked at the shock to my system.

Karen laughed gaily on the other side of the curtain.

I quickly washed the suds from my head and eyes in seconds, turned off the taps, and leapt from the shower, just catching a glimpse of my departing wife's rear end. She gave off a laugh of glee as she ran from our bedroom.

I chased Karen through the apartment, a living space with a room arrangement that allowed a fleeing spouse to evade someone intent on revenge for a full two minutes before I cornered her in our dining nook. I captured her, threw her lithe body over my shoulder as she shrieked in mock offense and pounded with her fists on my back, and then carried her to our bedroom and unceremoniously dumped her on her back in the middle of the bed amid her shrieks and laughter. Her whole body bounced on the bed as it had repeatedly before when she'd pulled the same stunt.

I straddled her body before she knew what was happening. I undid her blouse, button by button, as she twisted and resisted beneath me, trying with minimal effort to fight me off. Karen wore no bra, not unexpected in the circumstances. Her breasts were excited, betraying the real purpose of her treachery. I reached behind me and yanked her exercise shorts down her legs, only to find she'd also gone commando – no underwear, maybe in anticipation of this moment. I dragged a finger through her slit to verify my assumption. Karen was wet and ready for sex.

As I stripped her, Karen warned me of all the dire things that might happen to me if I persisted. Her threats were hollow, and we both knew it. I felt myself harden and the ardor of our lovemaking became evident in my groin.

Karen resisted less and less. I backed down her body so I could kneel between the gorgeous legs I'd just pried apart, and I buried my passion inside her.

Karen's eyes rolled up in her head, and she moaned. "Oh, God, Jim. I love you so," she whispered to me just before we kissed with renewed passion. She pulled me to her and we started to make love.

I felt pain – deep physical pain. I hadn't had an accident. I hadn't been shot. No one had assaulted me in any way. I had felt pain from events like those during my life, and this felt worse – much worse. I'd just had one of those brief glimpses of a crazy moment I shared with my wife Karen – my darling wife Karen.

The pain came from the inside and brought indescribable mental anguish with it. It stemmed from what one's mind does to the body when a situation so terrible occurs that you want to run and hide away from life in any form, but the pain draws you back to the physical and all too real world that you can't escape from. There is no reprieve, no salvation, and no amount of prayers, words, or promises you can make to stop it.

I stood in the garage and cried another river of tears and felt such deep sadness and despair. I had recollections like this several times an hour, every hour of the day and night. Several days, I'd even contemplated suicide. My clothing remained damp from absorbing the many salty tears that had poured from me. My pillow remained wet in places, yet I barely slept.

I wanted to rage, but I had no idea at whom or why I felt such anger and hatred for some unknown and malevolent force in the universe that would allow such an unjust death. My wife – my beautiful and loving Karen – the love of my life – the prettiest woman in the world – had died at only age thirty-two; a peaceful withering death after a month-long illness, the victim of an autoimmune disease that baffled a small army of Boston doctors as she slowly faded from being my vivacious wife to a box of ashes sitting on the mantle inside the house.

I wiped the tears on my shirtsleeve, and went back to cleaning the accumulated trash and junk out the garage. I had hoped that the clean up of my parents' old house would be therapeutic. It wasn't.

The motorcycle had been my dad's and after his death had remained hidden for over fifteen years beneath a grimy blue tarp. The bike had fallen on its side years earlier. Decaying cardboard boxes full of junk no one now wanted had been tossed atop the tarp. I'd dug through the trash to the bike, and studied the carcass. As a boy and young man I had lusted after the motorcycle – even begged my dad to allow me to use it. Of course, he'd refused, saying the machine was too dangerous for his only son. Now, I wouldn't take the kind of risks I might have taken back then. The machine could be mine if I wanted it – a 1988 Harley Davidson Heritage Softail.

Once it had been a beautiful motorcycle; now, however, rust, corrosion, and rot had overtaken the machine. Both tires were flat and decomposing; where there had been chrome, a heavy layer of rust now sat; rodents had gnawed at the tires, leather seats and saddlebags; and oil had leaked from the various casings seeping over what once had been an immaculate engine.

My dad had taken meticulous care of his possessions, and I could remember the pride he had in the always-pristine look of this machine. No one had cared for the motorcycle since he died. I'd been away in college and the Army at the time, but I had always been the logical family member to take over responsibility for the large bike; however, until that instant, I'd not thought about repairing or restoring the decrepit machine.

The day before, Anna, my sister – younger by a year, had taken one look at the decrepit bike after we uncovered it, and suggested I sell it for scrap.

My parent's home had been a pretty little New England mill house in the center of Dillon, Massachusetts – a village that had once been a mill town, and now, thanks to Interstate 93, had become a bedroom community for the thousands who commuted daily to Route 128, Boston, and Cambridge to work.

Our parents had lived in the house forty years, and then our mother lived there alone another five years after Dad died before she passed. After her funeral, Anna and I had opted to keep the house in anticipation that one of us might move back into the place we'd been raised. Now, five years later, Anna had committed to stay in San Diego because of her work and the proximity to her ex-husband who shared custody of their two children. With Karen's passing, I also could see no future in the place.

Around the edge of Karen's death and memorial service, Anna and I had decided to sell the property. Neither of us wanted our parent's possessions; generally, our parents had lived simple and even austere lives. When our parent's estate had closed and the last tax returns were filed, my sister and I had been pleasantly surprised at the value of investments and real estate we never knew about. We weren't suddenly rich, but our inheritances took the edge off financial worry.

Anna, stunning in her own right, came out of side door of the house; she carried a roller suitcase down to the driveway surface and set it down before pulling it to her rental car. She turned and looked nostalgically at the house after she put her bag in the rear seat. She stood tall and beautiful beside the car, the glistening track of a tear on her cheek. I went to hold her and hug her goodbye, mindful of my dusty clothing.

Anna turned to me and stroked my cheek in a loving way, "Jim, will you be all right? I mean, I can stay ... or you could come out to San Diego and be with me for a while. You shouldn't be by yourself, you know. You need friends around you – people that love you."

"Anna, I'll be fine. I just need to recover my wits. I would have been lost without you these two weeks ... the memorial service, notifications, and all; but sometime I do need to learn how to live alone." We hugged. "Who knows, I just might come visit you. Let me get the house cleaned out and on the market, and settle up things, then I'll see where I'm at."

Anna nodded and squeezed me to her with both arms despite my dusty clothes. "What will you do? I mean, you quit your job. They'd probably take you back if you wanted, given the circumstances."

I replied, "As I've worked on the house this week, I've been thinking. I'm going to fold up and vacate the apartment in Cambridge that Karen and I shared. I've got to get out of there and here – too many crazy memories that make me sad. I may even move out of the area. Karen made me promise not to sit around and mope about her death. Spring is coming; I might go on an extended camping trip – maybe even travel and see some old friends."

"Will you call? I don't want to lose touch with you like the last five years – or that stint while you disappeared to Lord knows where while you were in the Army."

I pulled her away from me with a weak grin, "Hey, you were the one that moved to the west coast years ago."

Anna grimaced, "And, what a bust that turned out to be. Short romance, short marriage! I learned the hard way. In any case, your nephew and niece are there, plus I do have a great job. The sperm donor is a good guy especially for doing childcare these past two weeks, even going out of his way to get the kids to school on time." She paused and reinforced her invitation, "Look, please come out and stay with us a while. I'd love having you around. I love being with you, and so would the kids; they're so big; you'd barely recognize them. I want you to remember that you have a home – even a permanent home – wherever I am."

I didn't know what I'd do. Anna's invitation sounded sincere, and we both knew we could always count on the other. I felt her love and appreciated her willingness to include me in her family. "I promise I'll keep in touch ... and don't worry about me. You're the only family I have now. I never became close to Karen's parents; they live too far away and seldom came down this way. Karen's sister Lauren is a little closer to me, but ... And, I did promise Karen that I'd see them, especially her sister."

I shook my head in disbelief; I'd been doing that a lot the past month. Every time I mentioned Karen's name my body felt as though someone drove a knife through my heart.

Anna pulled away, but continued to hold onto me as she looked up at me. She was almost my height in heels. She studied me and weighed something in her head. Suddenly, she held my head in both her hands and kissed me solidly – a most un-sister-like kiss on the lips. "Jim, I love you dearly. I really love you. Seeing you these weeks has meant so much to me; it rekindled all the feelings I've had for you since ... forever. You've allowed me to be so close to you, and I am so grateful for your openness – I adore you. I don't want to lose this again. Please be a presence in my life." She pecked at my lips again.

Slightly stunned by her passion, I wondered if she meant to kiss me that way or whether it had been some accident of the moment. I more than liked the kiss, and didn't want it to stop, but I felt the conflicts I guessed siblings were expected to display in such a situation, yet some inner part of me wondered if there might be space in our hearts for each other romantically.

I allowed Anna to pull away from our embrace and kiss. I followed her to her rental car. With the car door open, Anna turned again and pulled me tightly to her. She whispered, "Jim, kiss me ... please." She put her lips to mine in a loving and tender kiss that I would remember forever; this kiss lasted longer than the other. Afterwards, she looked at me with questions and intent in her eyes, maybe hoping that I got some message; and then she ran her hand down my cheek.

Anna sighed, turned, and got into the car. She looked up at me from the driver's seat and gave a forced laugh just before pulling the door shut. She said with a chortle, "If I stayed, I'd only get us in trouble ... but I'm sure we'd both like that a lot." After a pause, she reiterated, "Come and visit. I love you so dearly ... in so many ways; I hope some day you'll know how much."

Anna studied me again through the car window, almost as though she was taking a mental photograph. She started the engine and backed away from where I stood frozen in place by our unexpected goodbye. Did she really mean what I think she meant? Was there some other interpretation of her few words?

Growing up, Anna had played mind games with me; but I knew this time – those kisses and her words – were anything but a game. Anna's visit had been routine, with little touching or kissing between us except at the memorial service where everyone was kissing and hugging everyone else. Yet, as we lived and moved around the hospital and then the house, we felt so close.

I shook my head with puzzlement after Anna's car disappeared, turned, and walked back to the cluttered garage. While I regretted seeing Anna go, I also relished the first solitude I'd had since Karen died ten days earlier. Friends, neighbors, well wishers had come, extended condolences, and left us with a well-stocked refrigerator and full kitchen counter that would allow me to dine like a king for a few weeks.

I pulled an old oak chair from the pile of goods that had been atop the motorcycle. Still sturdy, I brushed a layer of dirt from the seat and sat my weary frame into it. I rested before I began the chore of carrying further odds and ends to the curb for rubbish pickup.

Karen's death made everything so heavy and hard to contemplate. My inner engine felt as though someone had poured some vile sludge into it. After my initial shock of her dying, I sank into a depression. I had hoped that cleaning the house and garage would divert my thoughts, but so far it hadn't. Thoughts of what my life had been like and would have been like with Karen kept sweeping through my mind, usually bringing me to tears. I had loved Karen more than life itself.

As I sat there in the garage, I gave some thought about Anna's kisses. Two incidents of our teen years flooded back into my head, maybe the two most important adventures we shared together and surely the most memorable ones from that era.

One day after school, Anna and I experimented. I'll never forget, although it was just one day. We were in middle school, about to advance into high school; Anna was a year behind me. She came up to me just after we got home from school, looked me in the eye and pleaded, "Jim, will you kiss me? Have you kissed other girls?"

At that point in my life, I had not kissed other girls ... well except our mother, but that didn't count. I admitted my naiveté to Anna, and she made me feel good by allowing how few boys my age had gotten that advanced.

Anna could be persuasive, and a couple of minutes later the two of us started to experiment with various kinds of kisses. Anna knew a lot more about the subject than I did, maybe because of the romance novels she read and kept hidden in her room. As our kisses progressed, we ended up French kissing, and admitted to each other feeling a strong desire for one another that we'd never felt before. We both didn't want to stop, but we heard the front door open, so Anna ran from my room, yelling down the stairway, "Hi Mom!" We never kissed like that again ... until Anna's goodbye in our driveway ... and I felt all that desire return, armed now with the experience and knowledge of adulthood and what those feelings meant and where they could lead.

The second event happened the summer after my high school graduation. I lived at home, had a summer job as a mechanic's assistant, and got assigned odd hours at the auto repair shop. I'd come home from work smelly, dirty, and grimy as I usual, so I took some strong soap, a brush, and showered.

As I left the bathroom with only a towel around my waist, Anna stood there apparently waiting her turn in the shower. All she wore was a towel. Instead of rushing past each other as we usually did, Anna put out a hand and stopped me. She only spoke my name, "Jim." Her tone of voice made me pause and look at her, maybe as I never had before.

Anna dropped her towel. This was the first nude female body I'd seen. I gawked.

Anna gestured that I should unhitch my towel. I did, letting it slide down my legs to the floor in the upstairs hallway. In my mind, I recall thinking that reciprocating this way was fair play. We both stood there gazing at each other and taking in every nuance of our bodies. My penis rapidly inflated seeing her nakedness, until it stood rigid in front of my body. Anna took a step closer and grasped my dick, bending to take a closer look at my shaft.

She looked up at me and asked, "Do you masturbate? I think everyone does."

I just nodded almost numb with what was happening.

Anna stood erect, and admitted, "I do too. I think of you sometimes – often." She took one of my hands. She brought it to her breast, and with a touch urged me to feel her.

I did, feeling her nipple harden beneath my palm.

After a minute, Anna guided my hand down to her crotch. She separated a finger from the hand, and used it to stroke back and forth through the female wetness saturating her slit. She had more of an idea of what she was doing than I did, plus I remained frozen in place, no doubt with that deer in the headlight look on my face.

Anna whispered, "Jimmy, I love you ... I always will. Never forget that." As she stroked herself with my finger, she leaned across the short distance between us and planted a kiss on my lips that would boil the ocean. I briefly felt one of her erect nipples touch my chest, an event that sent a jolt of electricity through every pore of my body.

Anna backed away and whispered, "Now, we know. Just this one time – maybe." She dropped my hand, even pushed it back to the side of my body. She stooped and picked up our two towels, handing me mine, before she walked around me into the bathroom and shut the door.

For over a minute, I remained unmoving, fearing that a step in any direction would make me forget what had just happened in those fleeting two minutes. I went to my room, closed the door, and masturbated to the images burned on retinas of Anna's body and to the feeling of love between us.

Anna, what were you trying to tell me in those driveway kisses?

Over the following week, I emptied the Cambridge apartment that Karen and I had lived in, and turned in my keys to our landlord and agent. Every day I fought back the depression and despair. An occasional day would come when I wouldn't get out of bed. I lay there in the cot at my Dillon home staring at the ceiling and thinking of Karen – trying to will her back to life, as though I could clear a bad nightmare away by force of thought. My tears slowed, and the real grief set in – grief that filled the corners of my mind with darkness and pain. Sorrow filled each minute of each day.

One morning, about a week after Anna left, I stood in front of a tall mirror and studied my nude body after a shower. I desperately needed a haircut. My eyes and face were gaunt; I had circles under my eyes. My body was pudgy and fleshy, and not a muscle showed when I flexed my arms or shoulders.

Since I'd left the military, I'd had only desk jobs in front of a computer, the kind of jobs that make you flabby and soft. A week before Karen had died, I'd quit my work. I didn't know what I'd do, but I knew I couldn't stay there.

Each evening when we'd come home from our jobs, Karen and I would compare notes about how our day went. She knew enough about software development and websites to be more than appreciative about what I was doing at work; she'd even give me great ideas to try on the company's clients. I'd been a nerd – a behind the scenes, inconsequential geek.

Looking in that mirror, I felt another burst of pain, only this time about how I had allowed myself to deteriorate. During the eight years in Army Special Forces, I'd had a hard and muscular body. I resolved to get back in shape, partly because I knew it would improve my outlook on life and help me get through some of the grief.

I developed a routine. I'd wake up just after dawn and run. I made some makeshift weights; an exercise bench, exercise bars, and installed a sparing bag in the garage. I'd workout there for another hour when I got back from my run. At first, I could barely run around the block, and ten pounds seemed like a strain to lift three-times-fifteen. I willed myself to improve every day. By the end of the first month, I could run two miles without stopping, and by the end of the third month I could knock off seven or eight or more miles nonstop, and I'd started pressing a hundred-and-forty-pounds, and doing two hundred sit ups with a twenty-pound medicine ball. My weight plummeted and revealed biceps, pecs, lats, and other muscles that had been hidden by my bad habits. I cut my own hair, keeping it short, neat, and manageable instead of the unruly mop it had become.

After my exercise regime in the morning, I'd work on the motorcycle. The Harley became the project in which I bestowed my sanity and salvation from the grief over Karen's death. I felt driven, not by haste, but by careful thoroughness to restore the bike to its pristine condition. I believed that if I could rebuild the motorcycle, I could rebuild my life.

All day, every day, I worked on the motorcycle in the garage. I created a near sterile work area in one bay of the garage where I lovingly disassembled the entire bike, carefully laid all the parts out, and assessed how I could rebuild.

A few parts cleaned up well, but many were beyond repair and needed to be replaced. I scoured eBay and Craigslist for parts, and I also discovered a market for used Harley parts in the area. I spent over $5,000 at a mechanic's shop that specialized in re-chroming. Other money went for a new seat, sissy bar, luggage rack, new struts and shocks, and new chrome rims and tires.

After disassembly and restocking parts, I started the reassembly process. I suspended the bike frame for rebuilding with a home-crafted sling from the garage rafters. I rebuilt the engine, replacing every ring, gasket, filter, and slightly worn part. On a test stand, the engine ran better than new when I finished. Day by day, a new motorcycle emerged from the mass of parts carefully laid out on the floor and workbench. The frame, fenders, and gas tank received new high gloss paint and pin striping. A new instrument cluster, light bars, handlebar, and roll bar took their place amid the chrome front of the bike. I added safety lights and a strong luggage carrier to the back. Last, I added new chrome exhaust pipes, and then rich leather replacements for the destroyed saddlebags.

I considered it a monumental day near the end of April when I carefully lowered the bike to the garage floor and declared the project complete. With high expectations, I got on the bike, put the key in the ignition, and cranked the engine. The motor caught on the second crank as the new gas finally reached the carburetor, and the Harley rumbled into life after its fifteen-year repose. I rode up and down the street a few times, testing the gears and brakes for any signs of malfunction. Everything worked perfectly. I might have smiled for the first time in months.

Throughout my work on the Harley, I'd brooded about Karen. As I disassembled some part of the bike or polished a hidden cog or spoke, I retraced every step I could remember about our meeting at a party, our on and off again dating, the first time we made love, becoming engaged, and marrying. We'd lived together for seven of the eight years we knew each other, and learned the rigors and joys of patience, forgiveness, gratitude, and our love of being together. We were married for six of those eight years. We'd used the term 'Soul Mate' to refer to each other.

I recalled some of the arguments we had with each other, starting with the one about my leaving my smelly socks around the bedroom. None of our arguments were relationship threatening. We tried to never go to bed mad at each other, but there were exceptions when one or the other of us would stomp around and decide to sleep on the sofa.

Six months before she died, Karen got sick for a couple of weeks, a malaise and weakness that made her miss work. We tried various treatments including prayer and meditation, but suddenly the symptoms went away. Six months later they came back with a vengeance. Karen awoke one morning and went to get out of bed. She felt weak, couldn't stand, and fell back on the bed with a confused look on her face. One hour later after an ambulance ride, the doctors at Mass General were examining her; four days later the doctors put her in the ICU; and then she never left that room until the hospital nurses moved her body one last time so the men from the funeral home could take and prepare her for cremation.

At first, I couldn't believe she would die. She was only thirty-two, and no one died at that age. You live forever. But then, halfway into her hospital stay a doctor near my own age pulled me aside and had an earth-shattering talk with me. He started, "We're out of options and treatments. All we can do now is palliative care. Lacking a miracle that we don't expect, your wife has about three to seven days left to live." He seemed genuinely apologetic and sympathetic. I was speechless. This couldn't be happening to Karen.

I quit work that afternoon. I went into shock and determined on my own that he must be wrong. I raged at the hospital and doctors. In a fit of anger I insisted on other opinions, yet all they did were validate the inevitable – she wouldn't last past mid-February. I could do nothing to help her. I prayed and used every device and promise I could think of. Nothing worked; Karen got progressively worse.

Karen's parents and Lauren came down from northern Vermont; they stayed nearby in our apartment while I stayed every possible moment at the hospital holding Karen's hand. Towards the end, Lauren joined me in being with her sister around the clock. We learned a lot about each other during those trying days. Lauren taught nursing in northern Vermont at a teaching hospital, and knew things that made Karen's life easier. I felt so grateful that Lauren had come.

Karen and I took a few moments alone one night to say goodbye; the doctors had warned that her time to leave this life neared. She'd been scared for a while when she knew she'd not recover, but then seemed resigned to her fate. We had a teary goodbye, and she had me make some promises – how I should remember her, how I should keep in touch with her parents and especially her sister whom she said had a special place in their heart for me, and how I should meet and see other people; and even find another soul mate, remarry, and create a family.

I wondered if another soul mate existed on the planet; I didn't think so; weren't soul mates unique and one of a kind? You didn't find 'another' soul mate. Remarrying was such a foreign thought; I dismissed it out of hand without disagreeing with Karen.

Karen and I had wanted a family. We'd decided on two children, a home in the suburbs with a lawn to mow – maybe even refurbishing the Dillon house. Karen had stopped taking her birth control pills about a year earlier, and we were starting to think about doing a more thorough medical investigation about her lack of a pregnancy when she got sick.

The day after we said goodbye, Karen slipped into a coma. Karen's parents, Lauren, Anna, and I were at the hospital at the end. We cried a lot. Lauren and I never left Karen's side until after the life monitoring systems in her room signaled her passing with alarm signals that brought the doctors and nurses running to Karen's room, but to no avail. Lauren was with me, and we clutched each other like lifeboats in a stormy sea. Karen had insisted on a DNR notice to the medical staff – Do Not Resuscitate.

The motorcycle and the deep thinking I did as I worked on it were my therapy. I called Anna twice a week, and she'd listen with seemingly great interest about my progress on the bike, but paid more attention to my mental state and my recollections about Karen and me. She always expressed her love for me, and encouraged me. Anna told me, "You're doing what you should be doing – grieving and working on something lasting simultaneously."

Anna gave me the 'Big Idea' during one of our calls about a month after she'd returned to her home. "Why don't you ride the motorcycle out here to San Diego? It'd take you, what, a week or two? You've always wanted to see the country, and I know that even Karen would have wanted to tour with you. It won't be the same without her, but you could see lots of interesting things, meet some interesting people, and who knows – maybe even have a fling or two along the way." She laughed gaily as she always did when she gave me advice about my love life.

I liked the idea of the road trip. It gave the Motorcycle Project an end goal.

I went to AAA and got a map of the United States. I tacked it up on a wall in the garage where I could look at it every day and ponder what a road trip across the U.S. would be like. I drew a straight line from Dillon to San Diego where Anna lived; if I could follow the straight line I'd go through thirteen states and travel over 2,600 miles.

A week after I drew the straight line another idea popped into my head: why not visit all the intervening forty-eight states. I spent military time in Alaska and Hawaii, but outside New England and a little of the east coast I had seen little of the country. I'd had a yen to go camping since leaving the Green Berets, I had friends from college and the Army scattered across the country I wanted to touch base with again, and after I told Anna she really became a big advocate for the road trip. "There's no rush to get out here, but whenever you get here, know that I want you to stay forever." She added with a touch of poignancy, "You can even pretend I am your soul mate."

Growing up, Anna and I had discovered the term soul mate. About the same time, we learned about the concept of reincarnation and multiple lives. We sat and discussed whether we were soul mates, and whether we'd had other lives together. She could make me laugh; pointing out that for sure I'd been her subservient wife while she'd been my dominant master. She'd then jam her fingers into my ribs to tickle me and run like hell screaming that she'd set the beast loose. I did love my sister, and we did have many great memories together.

A few evenings with a ruler and maps on my laptop computer, and I'd plotted out a tentative course, one that wove north and south in a rough sinusoid across the country and touched each state and took me to places I wanted to see without too much backtracking. My first cut at the distance put the trip at around 12,500 miles. With stops to visit friends, I'd be on the road a few months.

I decided that my first serious trip on the motorcycle would be a loop from Dillon northeast along the coast through New Hampshire into Maine, and then inland and across northern New Hampshire to Vermont to where Karen's parents and sister lived. I'd visit with them, come back to Dillon, and assess how the trip had gone – how the bike had behaved, add or omit a few things to my camping and travel kit based on my experiences, and then start off the main journey to the other forty-four states. Always be prepared.

After preparing to start my trip, I thought about the disposal of Karen's ashes. Anna's words – that 'Karen would have wanted to tour with you' – stuck in my head. So, I prepared forty-seven small envelopes, each containing a small amount of her ashes. I planned to scatter her ashes in each state I passed through, starting by putting the bulk of the ashes in the ocean off Plum Island beach near home in Massachusetts. Karen and I had walked that beach often, even in the winter. We'd favored the area known as The Refuge instead of the honky-tonk part of the island where the summer homes were packed so closely together.

While the ceremony might have seemed maudlin, I planned to say goodbye to her this way – my own private way on my own terms: no minister, no mumbo-jumbo religious words that neither of us had put much stock in, and, maybe, no more tears. I'd promised Karen I'd do something nice with 'her;' the thought seemed to make Karen happy as she lay dying.

I hit the road at dawn in early May, initially starting on Interstate 495. I hadn't gone ten miles before I realized what I should have figured out earlier; the Interstates provide miles of safe but boring and repetitious scenery. Armed with my newfound wisdom, I moved over to U.S. 1 and 1A, and found considerable eye candy and sights of interest that more than compensated for the slower speeds and stoplights.

At Plum Island, I shed my boots and walked barefoot along the path to the beach. I carried the box with the remaining ashes down to the water where I waded into the Atlantic facing the rising sun. A light offshore breeze helped me consign Karen's remains to the swirls of the morning tide. Sandpipers and seagulls were the only witnesses to the release.

The whole scene was surreal and beautiful, just the way Karen would have liked. She loved to get up early and sense the day in her unique way. I did say a few words aloud as the wind and the water drifted what was left of my wife away from me. I talked to Karen and cried as I talked in a choked up voice. I felt that I had to do something – to say something – besides just dumping the contents of the box into the water.

As I walked back to the motorcycle, I thought I'd feel different. I thought there might be closure of some kind. Isn't that why people did something like scatter ashes? I felt as bad as I had before.

I rode along side the Atlantic through New Hampshire to the downtown area of Portsmouth. I dispensed the small envelopes of ashes I'd designated for that state in the middle of the pretty square of Strawberry Banke. Karen and I had come up Portsmouth over and over again, because it was such a quaint little city. We'd tried many restaurants in the town, walked around, and had many souvenirs from our day trips there. Karen had liked tacky souvenirs.

I wove along the Maine seacoast, trying to stay near the ocean as much as possible because of the views. I camped for the night near the Owls Head lighthouse. I thought of all the symbolism that the lighthouse might have for me; for instance, lifting me with light from the darkness and depression following Karen's passing.

The next morning after my exercises, I took a very quick swim in a near freezing ocean. I'd never seriously meditated, but I suddenly decided to make it part of my daily routine. At first, it was awkward and my brain was all over the place. I roamed around a few picturesque towns taking photographs. After lunch, clouds rolled in so I headed north to my planned stopover near the Maine-New Hampshire-Canadian borders – a state park outside Rangeley that turned out to be deserted, as I predicted.

In thirty minutes at the lakeside park, I realized that I would need several gallons of insect repellent if I were to survive the night. A ride into the nearby town yielded an early dinner, and a stop at a camping and fishing store enabled me to deal with the black flies and mosquitoes. I finished tightly sealed inside my tent, sleeping but only after assuring myself that no visitors of the insect kind had flown in with me.

Despite a drenching rain that developed during the night, I arose at dawn, ran about seven miles along dirt roads and then exercised in a nearby covered picnic shelter where I could do sit-ups, push-ups, pull-ups, swat black flies and mosquitoes, and do the rest of my exercise regimen. A sign in the picnic area indicated that Rangeley Lake had experienced 'ice out' only two weeks earlier, so my swim to clean up after my workout was short and exceptionally bracing. I tried to remember what I'd learned about hypothermia, wondering whether ninety seconds in the lake with a bar of soap was sufficient to induce that condition. I opened the Maine envelope and spread some of the ashes I'd brought into beautiful Rangeley Lake with a silent prayer and expression of love.

I prepared my breakfast in the shelter instead of the cramped quarters of my tent, making coffee over a coke can stove and cooking some dried scrambled eggs with bacon chips. The smoke from the fire seemed to discourage at least some of the insects. I meditated in the tent for fifteen minutes, eventually becoming oblivious to the pouring rain and insects.

The rain and wet roads made me decide to stay another night in Rangeley instead of trying to travel a long distance on roads that still might hide winter sand that could spill a two-wheeled rider. I used my small laptop computer for the first time and started to record some entries in a journal. I'd thought about Karen a lot over the past two days; in our courtship we'd made many trips up the coast of Maine, sometimes going into Eastern Canada on several excursions. We'd talked about dozens of places around the world we wanted to see and explore together, and I tried to remember what they were. I wrote my feelings and memories into my electronic journal. Maybe the dreary weather influenced my thinking; when I reread what I'd written I became aware of the melancholy mood I'd been in for months.

Instead of moping around the campsite all day, I resolved to adopt a joyful and grateful attitude per Karen's instructions to me. I walked through the woods gathering some dry scrap wood for a fire later. I put them under my tarp. As I did, I talked to myself, affirming thanks and joy for Anna, my parents, the motorcycle, my college, and Army experiences, and most of all the eight years I'd known Karen and the many salient events in our relationship and marriage that were now so dear to me. I forced myself to smile and laugh at some of the humorous events in our marriage. The activity of acting 'as-if' I was joyful did improve my mood.

I put on a smile and my rain gear, and rode the short distance into town for lunch and to find a place that had Wi-Fi and a place to charge my computer and cell phone. The public library had a free Internet connection and available electrical outlets. I sent Anna an email updating her on my activities and travels, and for the first time since the funeral service months earlier, I sent an email to Karen's sister, Lauren, explaining about the road trip and my intention to stop at her and her parent's homes the next day to see whether any of the family was around. I could have telephoned; however, for some reason, I wanted the impersonal nature of the email communication.

Lauren had just turned thirty-four, nearly my age. A shapely and beautiful longhaired dishwater blond with bright blue eyes; she'd been married for five years in her twenties before going through the pangs of separation and divorce. We'd had an easy rapport when Karen first introduced me to her sister, and then on each of her many visits to the Boston area when she had stayed with us. We always seemed to pickup where we left off from her last visit.

Although they'd been born a couple of years apart, Lauren and Karen had been near look-alikes, a point that would probably make my stopover hard for me. Not only had they looked alike, they had identical bubbly personalities, used almost identical gestures, and talked and sounded the same. The two shared wardrobes back and forth, so Lauren often appeared in some dress or top I had seen Karen in only a few hours earlier, forcing me to do a double-take to be sure which sister had just walked in a room. When we'd gone to the beach, one couldn't miss that the two had been equally blessed with fabulous, shapely, and nearly identical bodies. Bodies that made men slow down and gawk as they walked by us ... and they were both with me!

Friday, the weather had improved. I ran, exercised, and meditated before making an uneventful trip to Burlington, Vermont. I stayed off the Interstate though part of the route ran parallel to one. For my troubles, I got to see a thousand antique shops and the kind of scenes that make New England a picture calendar favorite.

In Vermont, I stopped at a beautiful covered bridge over a wide stream. I let some more of Karen's ashes fly on the wind from the middle of the historic bridge, this time with a blessing of freedom. I thought of how Karen had been like a beautiful butterfly that had flown into my life for a short time and then disappeared.

Lauren lived ten miles from her parents just north of Shelburne. My route took me to her home first, although because of her job I couldn't be sure she'd be home. My heart skipped a beat as I rounded a curve on her street and saw her car in the driveway.

As I stopped and parked the Harley, I examined my feelings. Why had I felt that flutter in my stomach when I discovered her car? No doubt, I felt something special for Lauren. She had always been more than just a distant sister-in-law; and through Karen's last weeks she became a friend who had been constantly close and supportive through the pain and sorrow of her sister's long goodbye.

The Harley is not a quiet machine. No one could ever accuse a rider of sneaking up on him. Lauren came out the front door of her small house at a run as the bike shut down. She threw herself into my arms, and we hugged and kissed briefly.

She pulled away and looked me up and down, "Hey, who stole the Jim Mellon I used to know." She poked my abs, now hardened by thousands of sit-up and crunches. There was little 'give' there. "What did you do, just stop eating? You look great. What a physique too." She squeezed my biceps.

I mumbled something about diet and exercise.

"I'm so glad you're here – and on a Harley too, what a great surprise." Her mood changed suddenly, and her voice slowed, "I've missed you; because of what happened ... I feared you'd stay away forever. You're email yesterday was such a relief and a happy surprise." As she spoke, her sad eyes looked intently into mine. In that small instant, I could tell Lauren remained as wounded by Karen's death as I was. Then, her mood changed again and her sparkling personality returned.

I gathered some of my belongings from the stack of travel gear on the bike. I asked whether she minded that I used her washing machine and dryer. As I unpacked some wet things, she fawned over the motorcycle with appropriate praise for my restoration job. Her bubbly personality and questions carried me through that awkward phase I had feared with her: how would we start talking, what would our emotions be like when we saw each other, could I stand seeing someone that looked so much like Karen?

I did glance at Lauren often, refreshing my mind about the similarities of the sisters. I studied her, amazed at how the synapses in my brain registered a strange static of confusion between my memories of my late wife and now her sister talking and acting the same. Lauren caught me staring at her more than once, and I guessed she knew what was running through my head.

As we talked, Lauren often took my hand and then my arm, pushing against me as though she had been deprived of significant physical contact. "Mom and Dad want to see you too; I told them you were coming. They're coming by here any minute. You're going to stay here; as you know they don't have room in their small house. We want to take you to dinner." My protests and offer to host dinner were largely ignored.

We walked across the yard with our arms around each other. She still hugged me tightly, and clearly didn't want to let me out of her sight. I felt very welcome by this beauty.

When I accepted her offer of a glass of wine, she chided me as not being a beer drinker. She said, "Aren't all Harley men beer men ... you're breaking my stereotype of the typical motorcycle rider. You must be an exception." She threw her head back and laughed at her taunt just the way her sister would have done. My heart pinged at the remembrance.

Her laughter and mood were contagious, and I soon found myself telling small stories about things I'd seen or done since we'd last been together. She made me feel not only better, but also upbeat, and ... happy – genuinely happy about being with an attractive female for the first time in months. I told her so.

"Well," she said amid a blush, "you make me happy too." She looked at me again, "I mean you are one hunky guy now. Look at you: sandy hair, square jaw, dark eyes, and a body out of a GQ magazine underwear ad. You are one fabulous looking guy. I bet you're really proud of what you've done with yourself, plus I know you have the nicest personality of any man I've ever known." Lauren blushed again at her admission.

After a long pause while she studied me, she got serious for a couple of minutes and zoomed in on the gorilla in the room. Tears came to her eyes for an instant. "Jim, I've tried to find meaning in Karen's death – spiritual meaning. Maybe she came into our lives for her short life to teach us about love or the value of life, or came to earth to make you and me happy, ... or maybe even to be sure you and I met. I'm not too subtle about this I guess, but I'm glad you're here, that we're both single, and that we know each other as well as we do." She gave a little sob and whispered through her tears, "Oh, God, Jim, I miss her so." Lauren moved around her kitchen counter to me, and put her arms around me in an intense hug. I hugged back, and we both choked back some more tears. Gradually, we got ahold of ourselves.

I found myself surprised at her feelings for me, and wanted to expand our discussion; however, we were interrupted by a couple of toots from a car horn in the driveway. Lauren cheered instantly but had to wipe her eyes, "Mom and Dad are here." She turned from our hug with excitement in her voice although she probably saw them everyday.

We both went outside, Lauren leading the way pulling on my arm as the older couple got out of their car. As we got close, she let go and kissed her parents, and then turned them to me. We hugged amid their genuine curiosity and questions about my new 'thin and muscular' appearance, the motorcycle, and my roundabout trip up to see them. We stood in the driveway and talked until Lauren herded us into her living room for more talk, wine, and hors d'oeuvres.

I surprised myself at how easily I handled the mention of Karen's name, and the tacit acknowledgement of her death. I thought Lauren's presence and look-alike presence had something to do with that. I felt Karen's sister, and parents had accepted what had happened to my wife much better than I had. I again caught myself studying their reaction whenever her name came up in the discussion, particularly as I described my dispersing her ashes in the ocean and my plan to do so across forty-eight states – an act they approved of with nodding heads and encouragement. Maybe they loved me, and saw the positive effect it would have on me over time.

Eventually, I took a few minutes to freshen up and put on my only clean dry shirt before we went out to dinner. Over dinner, I regaled the trio with my reconstruction of the motorcycle as well as my intent on my grand road trip to the west coast. Lauren's father, Hal, got all misty eyed about wishing he'd done something like this in his youth. Martha reminded him that she would travel anytime he would and by any means, a point that sort of ended that part of the discussion temporarily; she'd called his bluff. He looked surprised, and I could see an inner glow of imagination take over for a few seconds. After dinner, Hal and Martha dropped Lauren and me back at Lauren's house. I'd see them tomorrow evening, having now committed to staying another night.

Lauren and I took her dog Max for a walk as dusk spread over the area, and the chilly night air reappeared. We walked with our arms tightly around each other, sometimes talking and sometimes comfortable in our silence. Max knew the route so ran ahead with great excitement, going from smell to smell as we trailed behind holding on to each other in a loving way.

As we got back to Lauren's house, she maneuvered herself to a step above me on her front steps. Slightly above me, she turned back into me, put her arms around my neck, and gave me a kiss so hot that it could melt steel. I kissed back, my mind a sudden jumble of thoughts about Karen, Lauren, timing, wondering what people might think, guilt, lust, love, and a hundred other emotions. Even the kisses like this that Anna had given me flitted through my head.

I think we stood on her steps for at least ten minutes as our mouths and tongues explored each other. No words were spoken. We moaned little sounds of encouragement too, and as we did some of the confusion I felt seemed to die away. This seemed so right.

I felt as though neither of us wanted to really say anything lest we break the mood and situation we'd both found ourselves in. The wrong word – any word – could have shattered the moment for us. I didn't want what I felt to end.

Eventually, Lauren pulled me to her front door. She had 'that' look in her eye. My test of our mutual sanity rested in her answer to one question; I asked, "What we're doing ... are you sure?"

Lauren turned to me and bit her lip with the sweetest expression on her face. She said, "Oh, Jim, yes, yes." She kissed me hard again but briefly, and stated, "I've always been sure about you; most definitely yes. Let me love you. Come and make love to me."

Standing in Lauren's living room, we could easily have been on display to anyone driving by had the lights been on. In the near darkness, we continued to kiss as we slowly undressed each other right in front of the large plate glass window looking out at the main street. Cars on the busy road continued by her house, oblivious to what we were doing.

I hoped Lauren felt the same way I did, but thinking that, I realized how confused and conflicted I felt. Lauren and Karen had often teased me, and once had joined me in bed one morning while Lauren visited. I'd been asleep, and the two of them had nestled in on either side of me and dozed for over an hour. The both wore a long t-shirt and undies. When I awoke, they attacked. Karen had teased me for months afterwards about 'having sisters' or a ménage-a-trois, although nothing of a sexual nature had transpired only wrestling and tickling.

The removal of each piece of clothing took time and had to be carefully choreographed to heighten the arousal Lauren and I already felt for each other. We continued to coo words of encouragement to one another. We treated the exposure of Lauren's taut breasts as an event to be celebrated with considerable touching with hands, mouth, lips, and tongue.

Minutes later, she returned the favor as she removed and discarded my briefs. I stood in disbelief at the talent she rendered on my erect cock. I found myself standing before her kneeling form, slightly pumping my hips, as she created sensations in me I'd never felt. I stroked her hair as she worked on me.

Karen had rarely practiced fellatio. She explained she didn't want to waste any of what I had by swallowing it, when there was a 'perfectly good pussy' only a very short distance away that really wanted my man juice. I had figured out she really didn't like the concept, and so I'd stopped asking her to go down on me.

I whispered to Lauren, "Please stop. I love what you're doing, but your mouth is not where I want to ... finish, at least right now."

I had another thought I started to share. "Lauren, I'm not prepared; I haven't ... made love for months. I've just taken care of myself. I may not..."

Lauren pulled away from me, stood, and put a finger over my lips. She never lost eye contact as she smiled up at me with a sly grin. She said with a smirk, "I'm on the pill. You'll be fabulous. I feel the same way ... now act like a dominant male and fuck me." She squirmed away from me and led me down the corridor to her bedroom by pulling me along by my hard erection. After briefly kissing at the foot of her bed, we fell together never losing touch with the other as we joined and then made love.

We extended the aura of tenderness and caring we'd started in the living room. Slowly that is, until an urgency to complete swept over the two of us as we writhed our bodies into each other savoring the skin-to-skin contact and my deep penetration of her body. Our new movements were rapid and driven to our mutual climaxes that came only a couple of minutes later. We moaned into each other's mouths as our orgasms swept over us. My pleasure erupted so great it nearly blinded me like the light of a thousand suns. I had missed this feeling for many months.

We remained connected, me still hard and deep inside her, and we rolled on our sides. Kisses still rained from each of us, as our hands stroked the other's face and skin. Lauren's nipples were so erect they were like nuggets of gold, but filled with excitement and passion.

"Wow!" Lauren exclaimed.

"Wow!" I replied.

I cradled her head on my arm as we panted in sync with one another. I felt amazed by what had just happened: I'd just made love to someone other than my wife for the first time in over eight years, and she happened to be her sister. I also had rarely remained coupled after sex with Karen; when we were done, we were done. Laying with each other – touching and still embedded inside her – gave me a feeling I'd never had before, a feeling of love and spiritual connection.

Lauren stroked my chest lovingly with one hand. After a couple of minutes she asked softly, "Did you think of Karen? It's all right if you did. I did. I even tried to be her for you for a few minutes."

I hesitated a moment before answering, "Yes, but ... I know whom I'm with, and ... you know how much you two were alike." I felt a pang of guilt sweep over me – guilt about thinking of one woman while I made love to another, and guilt that the two women were sisters. I added in a whisper, "It's hard not to think of her and you at the same time." After a minute, I admitted, "I feel guilty too ... incestuous and unfaithful."

Lauren spoke softly, "No, you shouldn't feel that way. You know when she knew she was dying she made me promise to love you ... to make love to you ... like this. She wanted us to be together making love. Karen didn't say whether she meant forever, but she wanted exactly this to happen. She wanted me to love and comfort you. Anything beyond this is just wait and see." She kissed my nose.

I looked surprised and looked into Lauren's eyes. "Is this a duty ... something you had to do for her?"

"Oh, God no. I wanted you ... I've wanted you since you first showed up on our doorstep to date Karen. I felt gypped that she met you first and staked her claim. Remember all those triple dates when I tagged along; well, I carefully orchestrated those events so I could be with the two of you – with you. Karen and I talked about it on and off over the years, sometimes wishing that society didn't have the restrictions that made this wrong when she was alive. If it wouldn't have produced a scandal and repercussions in the family Karen and I would have shared you – intimacy, love, sex, living together, and everything. If we started over today, I know we would have shared you – if you'd been willing. We explicitly talked about it."

It took a minute to digest that point; I postponed commenting on the hypothetical situation of the three of us living together, or what that might have been like. The very thought made me harden inside Lauren. This was the 'male with two loving women' fantasy made more real for me.

I spoke about what Karen had told me too; "She told me I had to move on, to find other people in my life, and to even remarry and have a family life. She didn't want me grieving her loss, even for a minute. I had to make promises too. You're the first ... since she died ... I mean ... She only made me promise to come here and visit so that we could have some closure on her death. Now, I understand better some of the things she said, even before she got ill."

Lauren leaned in and kissed me, carefully keeping my cock inside her slippery pussy. She slid her erect nipples across my chest in a highly erotic way. My groin twitched at the stimulation, and so did she, in response.

I asked softly, "Can I make love to you again ... now?"

Lauren nodded, and her hand went to where my shaft still penetrated her body. She rubbed her clit and the edge of my cock simultaneously, clearly urging me to start pumping in and out of her pussy. Without allowing me to leave her body, she rolled us over so she was on top of me, and moaned in happiness over this new position. We lasted much longer this time, and we talked to each other as our hips moved into and away from each other's bodies. Sometimes we talked dirty and enticingly, and sometimes we spoke in more seductive ways.

Lauren used phrases like, "I like your cock deep in my cunt. Pump into me – faster, harder! Fuck me, fuck me, fuck me. I'm your cum slut. Fill me with your juice. Make me drip. I liked having your big cock in my mouth and throat. I'll blow you anytime and anywhere. Do you know I love the taste of your cum? I'll fuck you like this anytime and anywhere. Oh, God."

I returned the favor, watching her reaction to some of my phrases to be sure I didn't overstep any boundaries. Whenever I used a pejorative about her, she just responded with even dirtier words thereby encouraging me to be more daring with my words. "You are my slut ... my cum bucket. I like my cock in your mouth ... and even better in your warm, dripping cunt. I like that you have some hair around your cunt; it helped when I used my tongue to find your sodden pussy. I like pulling your clit into my mouth like you do with my cock. You love cocks ... this cock. Fuck me."

In a more serious and tender moment after we'd French kissed for several minutes Lauren said, "I love making love with you ... a lot. I want you to know you have a permanent home here with me and here in me." She laughed to soften her words and gestured to her full pussy as she spoke. "This weekend it's all right for you to think of Karen as often and as much as you like around me. I understand ... I may even understand better than you because she and I thought so much alike. If I'd died, I knew that she'd make love to my husband or boyfriend or lover, if they were willing; she'd know that's what I wanted. This time though, she told me explicitly. She had no doubts ... and I don't either; I wanted this ... for a long time. You've been my fantasy." Lauren jammed her cunt down against my groin with extra force as she finished those words.

I acknowledged the pleasure of the situation and wondered whether we could ever have a future together. Lauren clenched her sheath around my thrusting organ, alternating loose and tight. I could tell she was playing at sex. She produced an inevitable result. I again splashed a quart of my seed into her writhing body. Lauren arched over me, her mouth agape, her breathing stopped, as her orgasm swept through her. She fell into my welcoming arms, and we kissed wildly and passionately again.

After our climaxes, she curled up on top of me with my shaft remaining inside her. We studied each other in the dim light we'd kept so that we could see each other and enjoy each other's visual stimulation. I knew I was a voyeur at heart, an admission I'd never made to anyone. Now, I also knew that I liked to remain coupled instead of making a run for the bathroom.

I finally found the words that reflected what I felt.

"Lauren, I care deeply for you, and I always have ... as my sister-in-law, just not romantically or sexually ... and it's too soon for me to make any kind of commitment to you or anyone about the future. When you kissed me on the doorstep, and ever since, my brain has scrambled between focusing on you and a whole mishmash of other emotions that involve you and me and Karen. I feel it'd be so wrong for me to try to be a boyfriend or partner or something significant with you until my mind is one hundred percent focused on you. I hope you understand. I don't want you – or anyone – to be a rebound of some kind."

Lauren studied my face in the dim light and kissed me again very tenderly again. She jostled her breasts across my chest in a highly erotic gesture as she looked in my eyes. I took her sexual moves to mean she understood what I said.

I continued with some difficulty because of the sensuous nature of the moment and the sensitive nature of our conversation. I didn't want to hurt her in any way. "When I'm ready for another relationship you'll be one of the first if not the first to know." I paused, "I didn't know you felt so deeply about me. It just not time ... if I'm a disappointment, because of this, ... I can leave tomorrow. I can sleep on the sofa too. I'm sorry, but I need to be ... ready ... to be in a different frame of mind ... a different place ... to go beyond just this."

I couldn't believe I was turning down a significant relationship with one of the nicest and prettiest women in the universe. I knew from gossip Karen shared with me that Lauren constantly turned away men who didn't measure up to her standards. She'd even had a dozen proposals of marriage she'd said 'No' to since her divorce. Yet, I'd passed her 'admission' tests; I could be in her inner circle; and maybe I could be 'The One'.

Lauren held my face in her hands and said, "No sofa, don't leave, and no one's asking you to commit to anything. I chose my words carefully earlier when I said that 'this weekend' you could interchange Karen and me in your thinking and imagination. You can do it other times too, BUT if we have a serious relationship I want you to know it's me here ... with your cock thrust up inside her and your cum dripping down from my pussy. I want you to know that it's Lauren loving you, and not Karen. I'm selfish that way. Neither of us will ever forget her, but if we get more serious, and I don't necessarily mean marriage, I want it to be with me and not a fantasy or memory of her We both will always love Karen, but anything from here on out has to be between you and me."

She kissed from my chest up to my forehead and then down my nose to my mouth – little love kisses, both erotic and loving in the same action. She looked me in the eye, and I saw tears in her eyes, "I'm here for you ... and if it's just fantasy and memories about my sister, that's all right; I can be happy with just sex with you ... not sex and the deep love as I feel now for you, that I hope you'll feel for me some day. You can choose. Take months, or years to decide if you want; there's no rush. Grieving takes time, and given the circumstances, probably a long time. You don't even have to come back, say anything after you leave, or email or anything; if I hear nothing I'll know what you've decided. You know what I'll be feeling, but I'm fine with either approach. I'm not being a doormat; I'm being realistic, and I hope you know that."

I kissed her, "Lauren, there's middle ground in there somewhere. I don't know what it is just yet. My intent is to stay in touch with you, to be in your life, to have you in mine, to love you, and to spend sexy and romantic times with you. I do love you, but I can't commit to a 'relationship.' I just can't envision what life will be like while I'm on my road trip, or after I land somewhere. However, I could never walk away from you, especially now that I know how you feel about me."

She nodded and gave me a hug. I think I'd reassured her in some way. We felt relief and found some peace in each other's arms and our frankness with one another. At one point, we both acknowledged that our union – our time together over the weekend – would help to heal some of the scars we felt from Karen's death.

The next two days, Saturday and Sunday (yes, I stayed an extra day), we spent a good part of each day in bed satisfying each other when we weren't recovering. We had more tender moments, and bonded even tighter than we'd admitted that first night together. We slept wrapped or spooned together. I'm sure Hal and Martha guessed that their daughter and I were intimate, but the only signals I got were ones of acceptance and approval. We did a cookout with her parents at their home that second evening, and Lauren openly demonstrated her affection for me; Sunday evening when the four of us ate at Lauren's she practically fucked me in the kitchen while her parents were in the other room, going so far as to push my fingers into her quim as she whispered how much she wanted my cock inside her. I had to return to the dining room with a hard-on of epic proportions hoping that no one would notice.

Sunday night, we both knew that in the morning Lauren had to go to work and that I'd leave without any promises or vision about what the future would hold for us ... or for me. I didn't know what the coming months would be like nor did I have any goals beyond finishing the road trip in San Diego. I felt as though I stood at the bottom of an infinitely high stairway and needed to make my way to the top to gain perspective about where I really belonged in life ... and probably who belonged there with me.

As we lay together in the afterglow of making love, Lauren made me promise to see other women along my journey and to have lots of 'flings' as she called them. According to her, I needed to fuck my brains out before I realized where I should hang my hat. She laughed at the thoughts she put in my head.

She said, "More than that, just go and have fun, and, if you're willing, I'd like to know what you're doing ... and I mean the nitty-gritty details of whom you've shacked up with and the rest of your experiences. Heck, send pictures. I want lurid, dirty, sex-filled details." She thought a minute and added for emphasis, "No, I insist that you tell me about your trip, particularly the juicy parts. I want you to consider it a duty to communicate with me every few days, and to turn me on so I can masturbate to what you're doing."

I gave her a surprised look, and we both laughed. I couldn't be sure she was serious.

She laughed at my uncertainty and went on, "Karen thought like this too, although I don't think she showed you this side of her too often, if at all. We were both very horny females. Did you know that she masturbated almost every day? We both masturbated a lot, sometimes even talking to each other on the phone. Do you know that when she and I talked that she'd get me cranked up with the details of your lovemaking? I've cum many times thinking about having your cock driving into my little soft pussy."

Somewhat in shock over the revelation, I shook my head and continued to look very dubious. This was not the Karen I had known.

"Well, she did. So my knowing that you are fucking your way across the country will turn me on immeasurably, particularly when I can play with my little battery toy as you talk to me or I read your emails. I'm serious; will you? I've never tried phone sex, but I've heard about it; we could try that too. I really want to hear about whom you fucked, how you met, what happened, how it felt – everything. Details!"

I thought about Lauren's crazy idea and found it easy to agree to her request. I expected my cross-country trip to be a monastic journey while I got my head back together – a 'symbiotic journey of man and motorcycle' my sister had called it in our last telephone call. I wanted to stay in touch with Lauren, at least for now, but I seriously doubted there'd be any sexual adventures to share. Thus, I agreed to call, write, or email off and on during my travels. Lauren jumped for joy.

I warned her about how sexless I expected the trip to be, but Lauren just shook her head in disbelief. She said, "Every time you stop, you're going to get laid, re-laid, and parlayed. You are a big, handsome, hunky man that every female will want to be with. You are so wrong about your celibacy on your trip. I wish I were going with you; I'd love to fuck my way across America with you – this weekend has ended a long dry spell for me." She laughed at herself.

Lauren then made me laugh with vivid descriptions of what sex in a few states of the union would be like. She tried to describe the type of women I'd meet in those states – Southern belles, cowgirls, rodeo champions, farmers' daughters, Native Americans, and valley girls – changing her accent and gestures over my body to match her playful stereotypes. Eventually, her erotic descriptions got to me, and we made love again, laughing as she tried to act out some of the fantasies she thought I'd experience state by state. Lauren got very creative.

I did get her message to loosen up, have some fun, sow some wild oats, and then, if I felt like it, come back to her ... come back to seeing her not as Karen's look-alike, but as Lauren, a woman I loved and wanted in my life forever. I didn't feel like my life was too much fun right then, and sowing wild oats seemed to require more energy that I had.

I left the next morning and headed southeast to Dillon. I had a few things to do before I started on the rest of my road trip through the States.

As I rode, I pondered what I'd be like as a person with the experiences and miles under my belt when I got to San Diego. How would I change? What would I think of doing after this trip? Would I find love? Would I want to go further with Anna? With Lauren? With someone I hadn't even met yet?

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