Copyright© 2016 by MountainLaurel
Fiction Sex Story: Chapter 1 - While each helps the other through their individual medical crisis, two middle aged co-workers discover each other.
Ellen Reilly was a sort of enigma; an attractive forty six year old divorcee, whose two grown children had moved out on their own, she continued to live alone when you would have expected her to have quickly paired up with someone, male or female, which ever she preferred, in a sexual or non-sexual relationship. A short woman, she possessed a pretty face, light complexioned with a small smattering of freckles on her cheeks that combined with an easy, dimpled smile to give her a youngish look. Time and age had brought added weight, but both had been kind to her, distributing it out over her once thin frame giving her a lush, sensual appearance. All in all, she was still capable of turning heads.
What those who wondered why she was still unattached didn’t know was she had a little secret; for the last year she’d been having an affair with a younger man; a much younger man, a twenty year old, to be exact. As affairs go, it wasn’t much of one; just two people seeking sexual relief. To Ted, the young man in question, it was simply a case of raging hormones. He’d found an experienced attractive, female who seemed to enjoy his company and his sexual advances. Ellen found comfort in his love making and it was a boost to her ego knowing she could attract someone so much younger than herself. For him it was lust, for her consolation, but neither had any delusions that it was love.
It had begun a year earlier when Ted took a summer job at the hotel where Ellen worked as Special Events Manager. She would see him working the front desk and was struck by the feeling that there was something familiar about him although she couldn’t place him. After a few days she asked what the “new guy’s” name was, she recognized it. He was from her neighborhood; in fact she had been friends with his mother, although they hadn’t seen each other in years. She went up and introduced herself to him, after that they often stopped to chat together and a friendship developed. Ellen was never what anyone would describe as easy, but she had always been playfully flirtatious around men and Ted was no exception. The difference was she was dealing with a young man who hadn’t much experience with women; she didn’t realize just how serious he took these things.
One day when she mentioned she was going to have to spend the weekend moving furniture so she could paint her living room, he offered to come over and help. Ellen accepted the offer gratefully. He was a big help, with two of them working it only took hours rather than all day. Having moved as much out of the room as was practical, placing the large and heavier furniture in the center of the room covered with plastic sheathing, everything was ready for her to start painting the next day.
“Well I don’t know about you, but I’d say we’ve earned ourselves a couple beers. Care to join me?”
Of course he did, unhesitatingly. They went into the kitchen, Ellen gestured to him to sit down while she fished two bottles of beer from the refrigerator. Setting the bottles on the table, she went to the cupboard.
“Want a glass, or taking it straight from the bottle?”
“Bottle’s fine with me.”
“Figured, most men seem to like to drink from the bottle or can,” she took out a glass for herself, “don’t know why.”
She sat down and filled her glass, then sipped at it delicately. Then with her elbow on the table, she rested her head in the palm of her hand.
“I really have to thank you for the help. I’ll be able to mask up the trim tonight and get painting in the morning.”
“I can come back tomorrow and help some more if you like.”
“No, I can’t ask you to do that. You’ve already done plenty.”
“I don’t mind, besides, then maybe you’ll remember me when you need some work in the bedroom.”
“The bedroom? That won’t need anything for a while.”
She was looking vaguely at the table top, her head still propped up when it dawned on her what he was clumsily hinting at. She looked over at him and broke into a smile.
“Ted, are you trying to hit on me?”
She saw his nervous reaction and knew that he had been, and now he was embarrassed. She watched as his face reddened and he began fidgeting with his hands.
“No, I mean I was, uh, you know, just kidding. I’m sorry, it came out wrong.”
“It’s OK,” she reassured him raising her head from her palm, “men and women flirt, no harm done. Besides, it’s kind of flattering, a guy your age coming on to someone my age; kind of sweet actually.”
“But still, I shouldn’t have. I don’t know what got into me.”
“Ted, it’s no big deal, really. But let me tell you this, don’t tell a woman that you don’t know why you came on to her, tell her you were overwhelmed by her presence and couldn’t help yourself or something like that.” She gave him a quick wink, “Flattery works better than confusion.”
“Well, if you say so,” his voice was much calmer now, “but now you have to let me come and help tomorrow. I feel like I have to make it up with you. I won’t feel right about it otherwise.”
“It’s not necessary, really. But if it’ll make you feel better, I wouldn’t mind the help.”
So it was decided, he would come over the next day to help her. Unbeknownst to either of them, something else had been decided. Ted’s fumbling attempt at seduction had planted a seed of thought in her mind that would have a long term effect on them both when it blossomed, and it would blossom sooner than expected.
Finishing the beer, Ted stood up. “I’ll see you tomorrow then?”
“Sure, if you’re you really want to. Like I said, I can always use the help, but I’d hate to cheat you out of a day off.”
“It’s all right, I want to.”
Ellen got up and walked over to him. Rising up on her toes, she went to kiss him on the cheek but instead tipped her head and kissed him on the lips. It was just a light friendly kiss, but she felt a slight thrill in the brief moment their lips touched. She wondered if he had felt it also.
“I’ll see you tomorrow, then. If you change your mind, it’s OK, just call and let me know.”
He assured her he’d be there, then left. Ellen went back to work taping and masking the woodwork, however the thought of this young man making a pass at her continued to play on her mind, pleasantly. It began to seem less preposterous as the day wore on. By the time she stopped to eat dinner she was thinking of it as a definite possibility. When she finished eating she went to the pharmacy and bought a pack of condoms. She told herself they were “just in case”, that she hadn’t decided one way or another, but of course she had. She was nervous about it, but somewhere in the back of her mind she’d decided that if the opportunity presented itself, she was going to go to bed with this young man.
The next day, woodwork masked, plastic drop cloths in place, Ellen began painting around the edges and corners, everywhere where a brush was required. The work went faster when Ted arrived, the edging was done in no time. The flat open areas of the walls where they could use rollers were done quickly, by early afternoon they had finished. Once again they went into the kitchen to have a couple of drinks. Ted had made no more advances, and Ellen was strangely disappointed. Even as they drank their beers, he was the perfect gentleman. Ellen in her mind hadn’t been sure if she wanted him to suggest anything, but now was frustrated and growing determined; she wanted him and knew she would have to initiate things. Staring vaguely at the table for a few moments, she suddenly looked up at him.
“So Ted, still want to check out the bedroom?”
“No, I, ah I...”, his voice trailed off as he shrugged his shoulders and shook his head, totally confused and not knowing what to say. She’d taken him completely by surprise.
Now it was Ellen’s turn to be embarrassed, she wondered if she’d misread his insinuations the day before. She figured, however, she’d gone this far and there was no turning back. Reaching across the table, she placed her hand on top of his and smiled at him.
“It’s all right, honey; it’s all up to you. If you want to, good, if not, no hard feelings. Either way, no regrets, no insults.”
She’d just offered herself up on a silver platter. She felt his hand turn over under hers, palm upwards. She took it as a sign of acceptance, as she gripped it and squeezed it slightly. Wordlessly, the deal was sealed. Still holding his hand, she stood up and moved around the table, standing in front of him. He got up from his chair. Like the previous day, she stood on her toes and kissed him, but unlike the previous day, this wasn’t just a friendly kiss. Warmer and longer lasting, it was an open invitation; an invitation Ted was quick to accept.
They stood there pressed tightly against each other, joined at the lips, their tongues softly exploring each other. When the kiss ended, Ellen rested her head against his shoulder briefly, kissed him again quickly, then led him to the bedroom. She opened the drawer of her night stand and took out the packet of condoms, held them up briefly before setting them down on the stand, and wordlessly patted them twice. That was the beginning of their little affair.
They were a good match up actually, each supplementing the other. She doubted that it was his first time, but he was still awkward, youthfully eager, yet also tender and appreciative. She was patient, giving, and generously affectionate. Both were grateful for the other’s attention. When they finished, she had no misgivings about having given herself to him, actually just the opposite, she was quite happy and was looking forward to more. As for Ted, he was thrilled that this lovely woman seemed to want him; he took it as a complement to his masculinity.
Afterwards, they lay on the bed holding each other, exchanging kisses, cuddling; each lost in their own thoughts. Ellen was impressed with his respectful treatment, believing that he didn’t look at her as a mere receptacle for anyone who was looking for “a place to put it”. And she was right, at that moment Ted would have been unable to do anything that might insult or hurt her; she was a friend, now an intimate friend. From his point of view they had not just had intercourse, they had made love.
But, there is a difference between making love and being in love and as I stated earlier neither had any delusions about the difference. Ellen, being the more worldly of the two, openly stated it as they lay together on the bed; they couldn’t let this interfere with their normal lives, if either met someone more age appropriate it had to end. Ted understood and agreed, when it was time to end it there would be no questions asked nor any hurt feelings.
They spent the next three nights in each other’s arms, lustfully indulging themselves. The onset of her period interrupted their nightly indulgences; it also gave Ellen a pause to think things over. She decided that this couldn’t be a daily thing. Afterwards, explaining to Ted that their affair was taking over both their lives, she insisted they should only get together occasionally. Reluctantly, Ted agreed, not to her reasoning, but to her request. Slowly they tapered off, getting together first weekly, then 10 days or so between meetings. Ted really wanted more, but was afraid she would react badly if he tried insisting on it. It was not in his make up to impose himself on her. When he returned to school, the visits were reduced to about once a month, when he came home for a weekend.
The long delays only enhanced the experience. When they finally got together, both were so full of anxious anticipation that their encounters couldn’t help but be satisfying. There was also no chance of the sex becoming routine or mundane. Both would look forward to it, awaiting it, imagining it to such a degree that when they finally got together, they made love with wild abandon. As Ted became more experienced as a lover, Ellen managed to open up and release the sensuous side of her nature that had been long suppressed. To Ellen’s mind, everything was perfect, nothing could go wrong. Until three weeks earlier, when things went very wrong.
She was late, her cycle had always been regular, predictable as clockwork. At first she thought it could be part of the aging process, perhaps even the beginning of menopause. After several days she couldn’t ignore it any long. A home pregnancy test confirmed her fears when it came up positive. A trip to her doctor made it official, she was four weeks pregnant. She’d relied too heavily on the supposed infallibility of condoms. Ted was due to come home that weekend. She had two days to figure out how to deal with the situation.
Her view on it was simple; Ted couldn’t know about it. There would be no point since he couldn’t help if he wanted to. If he were aware of the situation his sense of guilt could be devastating. She saw the possibility of ruining his life looming large and decided she wasn’t going to risk that. Then there would be the awkward explanations to family and friends as to how and why she’d gotten knocked up by a man who was not old enough to drink legally. It would get even more awkward after the baby was born. She decided, for better or worse, that she would have to go it alone. This would be Ted’s swan song; they would go to bed together one last time and she would use their agreed upon escape clause. She would tell him she’d met somebody else and they would part friends. As far as he would ever know, the baby would belong to her “other lover”.
He called on Saturday and came over later in the evening. When he arrived she told him her story, the made up lover that had entered her life. She said that while she adored Ted, she had to do what was best for her, for both of them really. It was time to move on. Seeing the look of disappointment on his face, she led him on one last trip to her bedroom. The fact that this was to be their last time actually made it a melancholy affair. Not the joyous romp in the hay they’d been previously experiencing, the sense of loss they both felt overwhelmed all their other emotions. Afterwards they lay quietly on the bed. Ted was the first to speak.
“I can’t believe it’s over.” He reached over and picked up her hand, raised it to his lips and kissed it. “I’ll always remember you, always miss you.”
“For God’s sake,” she smiled lightly, “I’m not dying, we’re still friends.”
“I know, but...” his voice trailed off momentarily then, sadly added, “It’s not the same.”
Leaning over, she kissed him lightly. She was trying to put him at ease.
“We both knew this had to happen, that this couldn’t last. There was no future in it.” Then, in a happier tone, “Don’t tell me you haven’t been chasing the young girls around on campus while you were away.”
“I guess, kind of, but nothing serious.”
“Just been window shopping, huh? Well, perhaps it’s time for you to get serious, have some fun.”
“This was fun, though.”
“Yes, yes it was,” her tone had become serious again. She placed her hand on his cheek, “I loved it, but it was just a fling, and all good things come to an end. Remember, I’m as old as your mother, this couldn’t last.” He nodded his head in agreement. The affair was over, she was left to face its consequences alone.
After he left, Ellen sat in her living room lost in thought. She’d solved one part of the problem; Ted was off the hook. An overwhelming feeling of isolation began to bear down on her. Until now, in her mind it had been their problem, now it was hers and hers alone. Oddly, she didn’t view the pregnancy as a problem on its own; she was more than willing to have another child, she was willing to raise it on her own, but it was the stigma attached to being an unwed mother that seemed unbearable. She knew the type of gossip that would follow her and the child for the rest of her life. She didn’t think she was strong enough to face that.
She sat staring blankly at the television, not seeing it, not caring what drivel was on. Possibilities were racing through her mind. Abortion was not an option, she could never terminate a pregnancy. Politically she was pro-choice, and her choice was to carry the child to term. Perhaps take an extended vacation, have the baby and turn it over for adoption; she couldn’t see herself doing that any more than aborting. She could leave town, move away and start over with a made up backstory, but the thought of running away didn’t sit well with her. She and her ex-husband were on good terms, perhaps she could talk to him; she reluctantly ruled that out.
It’s a funny thing; strong people often don’t know they’re strong. Ellen had just cut herself off from Ted her one source of help. She’d dismissed out of hand the two easiest options, abortion or adoption, as unacceptable. She refused to relocate, thinking of it as running way. She was not going to involve her ex. All these were signs of internal fortitude, and yet she didn’t think she had the strength to face judgmental friends and family. There could be no better example of how the power of gossip affects us.
The effects of all this on Ellen became apparent to everyone. Her normally effervescent personality had lost its fizz and gone flat; champagne without the bubbles. She was now sober and withdrawn; lost in her own thoughts. When her co-workers would ask if everything was all right, she would reply with a wan smile that she was just tired. It was an excuse she would use on several people in the next week, including Palmer.
John Palmer was the head of the maintenance department. He was also one of those people who everyone calls by his last name, thinking nothing of it. Possibly because Palmer could serve as either a first or last name, but it had been going on so long at work that even he thought of himself as simply Palmer in the way people who have a popular nickname often don’t think of their given name. He and Ellen had been friends for fifteen years; they had actually gone out together a couple of times, though nothing had come of it, and so it was only natural that he was concerned about her sudden change in mood.
Sitting by herself in the employee’s lounge, Ellen was becoming overcome by her emotions. This was happening more and more often when she was alone with too much time to think. Lost in her thoughts, she was unaware anybody had entered the room until she felt a hand on her shoulder. Startled, she looked up and saw Palmer standing over her.
“Ell, what’s wrong? You’ve not been yourself lately.”
“Nothing,” She shrugged her shoulders. “I’m just tired and...”
“Yeah,” he interrupted, “yeah, tired, I know. Look, Ellen, you’ve got friends here, and not just me, and they’re concerned. Now, what’s up? Won’t you tell me?”
Ellen turned her face away from him and stared at the far wall. She pressed her lips tightly together for a moment and paused before speaking.
Slowly, she turned back to look at him, not knowing what to expect. She was surprised to see there was no change in his expression. There was no trace of judgment, merely honest concern.
“I gather congratulations are not in order?” She shook her head slowly in response. “The father; I take it he’s not interested?”
“He doesn’t know,” her voice held a trace of embarrassment, “he’s just a kid, he can’t help. No point to dragging him into it.”
“A kid, really?” His surprised tone unnerved her slightly.
“Yeah, nineteen, twenty, I don’t know. Too young to be involved,” there was a slight pause, “any further.”
“OK, when you said a kid, I thought you meant, you know...” his voice trailed off as he held his hand out, gesturing the approximate height of a child.
“No,” she replied sadly, “but I’m afraid that’s what people will think; like I’m some sort of child molester. He was legal age, just way too young for me.”
“If the expenses are the problem, there are places to go to get help if you’re alone, mother’s assistance type programs and the like.”
“Yeah, I know. Money’s not my big worry at the moment, it’s how people will react, what will I tell them? My kids, what do I say, how do I explain it? They’ll ask about the father; I don’t know ... I just don’t know.” She lowered her face into her hands, suppressing a sob. She felt her eyes welling up. Then she felt the comforting feel of Palmer’s hand on her back.
“Tell them the truth. When push comes to shove, people tend to be a lot more understanding than you’d think.” She looked at him and shook her head. “No, really, I had a cousin went away to college and came back pregnant after one semester. My uncle was a self-righteous, sanctimonious bastard; everyone figured he’d kill her. Funny thing is, he rallied around her, turned out his daughter and his future grandson were more important to him than his puritanical principles.”
“It’s not the same; I’m old enough to know better. This can’t be chalked up to a youthful indiscretion.” She appreciated his concern, but didn’t think he really understood her problem.
“I assume you’ve thought of the obvious solution?”
“I couldn’t, I can’t.” Even talking about abortion made her uncomfortable. “I don’t have it in me to do that, I won’t.”
“Well anyway, as I said, you’ve got friends. Don’t be afraid to lean on us. Another thing, that old saying that it’s darkest before the dawn is more than just a cliché, it’s a fact; you may find you’ve blown this whole thing out of proportion.”
As he walked away, Ellen tried sorting out what he’d said in her mind. She saw the truth in it, but still didn’t feel any better. She felt trapped and saw no way out. Returning to her work, she managed to push the whole thing to the back of her mind temporarily. Later that afternoon she ran into alone Palmer again in a service elevator.
“Ellen, look, I’ve been thinking about this. It seems to me like the thing that’s bothering you is explaining how you got pregnant more so than the fact that you are pregnant. Is that close to it?”
“I guess that’s kind of it. It’s part of it anyway, yes.”
“Well, just blame me. Problem solved.”
“What? What do you mean?” There was a confused tone in her voice. “I’m not sure I understand.”
“Look, you don’t want the involve this young guy, and you sure as hell don’t want to sound like you jumped into bed with some stranger who’s name you never knew. So, say it was me. We’ve been friends for a long time, we’ve gone out together in the past, and friends sometimes do, uh, get cozy. People will buy it and at least you’ll have that little piece of the problem off your back, not to mention your mind.”
Bewildered, Ellen stood staring up at him. She actually saw some logic to it, however it didn’t seem right. It would be dragging someone else into her mess. She would have to think about this. And she did think about it, the only trouble was the more she thought about it the more embarrassed she became for even considering it. While his offer seemed to be the height of generosity, it occurred to her accepting it would be the very definition of selfishness. She crossed another option off her list.
Later that evening she felt the need to call Palmer. She wanted to thank him and let him know how much she’d appreciated his offer, although she couldn’t accept it. Fishing through her address book, she found his number and dialed, not too sure what she should say. She nervously waited, listening to the dial tone. Finally he picked up.
“Hi, Palmer, it’s Ellen.”
“Oh, hey, what’s up kid?”
“Look, I’ve been thinking over your offer and I can’t do it. I don’t want people thinking you’re responsible for my little problem.”
“Well, it’s your decision, but the offer still stands. If you change your mind, just let me know. I don’t really care if anyone thinks I’m responsible and acted like a rat bastard.”
“I care, you’re not a bastard, if you were you wouldn’t be trying to help. I don’t want to make you look like one. It was a kind offer and I won’t repay it by wrecking your reputation.”
“Who says you’d be wrecking it? People might start looking at me as some kind of over aged lady killer; Rudolf Valentino, Errol Flynn, Warren Beatty, and now me.” The joking tone in his voice set her at ease.
“Sorry killer, but I don’t think your reputation as a stud would get much of a bump by listing me as a conquest.”
“Don’t sell yourself short. I’ll bet your young man is missing you tonight.”
She remembered the look of disappointment on Ted’s face when she told him it was over. Perhaps Palmer was right; perhaps she was more of a catch than she’d thought. Either way, she was flattered and felt it was a nice thing for him to say. It also lightened the mood slightly, something she needed badly.
“Look, Palmer, I don’t think I can tell you just how much I appreciate all this, but I really do. I can’t thank you enough, but I really can’t do it. I guess I’m going to have to face up to it alone. Time to face the music.”
“Anything I can do to help, let me know. Just remember, you’re not really alone, it just seems that way. It’s like I keep telling you, you’ve got friends, don’t forget that.”
From that point on, she began to look at Palmer in a different light. She no longer saw him as just a work friend, but as something closer, more intimate; a personal ally. She began spending more and more time with him at work, lunching together, talking, just being around each other. She felt a warmth for him that she’d never felt in the past though she didn’t quite understand why. All she knew was she was relaxed and comfortable around him. It was an addictive feeling, she wanted more.
We can’t always help what thoughts drift into our minds, and Ellen was no exception. In the week that followed, she found herself wondering would she have refused if he had gone one step farther, offered to not only take the blame for her pregnancy but to have her move in with him or even marry her and raise the child as their own. She knew it was a selfish, one sided idea and she would push it from her mind every time it popped up. The problem was it continued to pop up and the more it did, she found herself wishing it could happen. She knew, however, she was hoping for too much.