© Copyright 1999 by E. Z. Riter.
Dear Reader: This is a very significant rewrite of a story posted in April 1998 entitled Sugar Daddy and I consider this to be a new story. The old one was attributed to an unknown author and apparently buried in the sands of time. Bitbard (then Sandman), reviewed Sugar Daddy for Celestial Reviews and rated it 10,9,9. I've learned a lot in the past eighteen months. I like this one better. I hope you do, too. It's a male female inter generational romance, soft and sweet. E.Z.
I hadn't seen Laurie since her wedding two years ago. I sorely missed her at first. Now I suffered a dull ache only a few times a week when her memory floated like a ghost from the closets in my mind.
Laurie was my daughter's best friend. I watched her grow up. Over the years, we developed a very close relationship which seemed to be more than father daughter, more than teacher student. We weren't lovers, but our relationship was more meaningful than a one night stand or short affair. It was precious to me and, I hoped, to her.
She was engaged at the time my marriage fell apart. It was then we drifted apart, each caught in our own worlds. I missed her more than she knew, more than I knew before I saw her today.
I hadn't been to the mall in six months. Why I was drawn there that Saturday, I don't know. Whatever the reason, I was wandering toward the bookstore. I saw her and my heart skipped a beat.
She was more beautiful than ever as she slowly pushed the stroller past dresses on sale in the windows. Her hair was its natural color again, a light brown, not the brassy blonde she wore in high school. It went well with her coloring and her big brown eyes. Her figure was delightful, lush yet tight, with a narrow waist.
I hurried to catch up with her. When I touched her arm, she spun to see who was there. She looked shocked, then flushed as she grinned at me.
"Jack! Oh, Jack, I'm so happy to see you!"
We hugged, holding on for dear life. I'd be happy if we never stopped. When I held her hand as we separated, she squeezed mine in obvious pleasure.
"It's wonderful to see you again. I've missed you so much," I said.
She gave a half-smile, but there was sadness in her eyes.
"Your daughter's beautiful. What's her name?"
"Jennifer. I call her Jenny."
"I know you and Bob must be proud."
A tear came to her eye. Her face fell as she looked away.
"Bob and I are divorced, Jack. It was final last month."
"I'd heard there were problems. I'm so sorry. What happened?"
Her eyes locked onto me, questioning, searching, wondering.
"It's a long story," she warned.
"I've got all the time in the world. Let me buy you lunch."
"I'd like that."
We went to a quiet restaurant in the mall where I asked for a private table. Laurie held Jenny closely as she fished in the big tote bag for a bottle.
"I've been nursing, but in public... "
Her head jerked toward me. She gave me the first real smile I'd seen today. She has a warm and innocent, but very sexy, smile. She needed to do it more frequently.
"Okay, what are you thinking?" Laurie said, eyeing me suspiciously.
"Just an old joke. Nursing reminded me of it."
"I need a good laugh. Good lord, Jack, we know each other well enough to tell dirty jokes."
I told her the old one about why mother's milk is better to take on picnics. Stays fresh. Better for you. Comes in such a cute container. She laughed politely. It wasn't a good joke, but it broke the tension. Jenny took her bottle as we ordered lunch. Her little eyes were closed, her fists clenched in tiny balls. She sucked hungrily on the cold rubber substitute for her mother's own warm nipple.
"Okay, tell me your story," I said.
There was a long pause as she stared at me.
"It's very important to be totally honest with you. I'm not sure why I feel that way."
"I know why."
"Because you know how important you are to me, how much I care for you. And you know you can trust me."
She smiled warmly as her hand touched mine. She looked away. When she looked at me again, her eyes were full of tears.
"Jack... Jack, I committed adultery."
Tears began to fall. She struggled to hold Jenny and the bottle in one hand as she searched for a tissue. I gave her my handkerchief. She dabbed quickly reddening eyes with the soft tip of the cloth.
"Laurie, you don't have to tell me."
"I want to tell you. I want you to know everything. He... he asked me to do it. I thought I was making him happy."
The story flowed from her in a torrent of words punctuated by sobs. It was a story like many others: a woman trying to please her man by giving him control of her sexuality; her man not knowing what he wanted of her or himself; his intoxication with the power her love gave him; setting limits beyond what was desired; limits tested and surpassed; knowledge gained of what actually was wanted, but that knowledge coming too late. The events which shatter the trust... the foundation... of a marriage had already occurred.
Yes, she volunteered, they both enjoyed the sexual part. She liked the attention of different men. He liked the variety of multiple women. But he wondered if she was enjoying others without his knowledge and permission. Broken trust.
"I didn't do it, Jack. You must believe me. You must! I never had another man without him telling me to do it."
She was honest with me, terribly honest. Her eyes begged me to forgive her, to forgive and make the pain go away. There was nothing to forgive. When I told her that, she sagged and tears began anew. Different tears this time. Tears of relief washing away guilt.
The waitress gave me a nasty look as she asked Laurie if she needed anything.
"Should I call security, ma'am?" she asked.
Laurie shook her head no as she blotted tears. She continued her story around bites of salad. We ate the meal without tasting it, having it as a reason to sit and talk to each other. I reassured and comforted her. My caring was self-evident, if evidence was needed after the years of our relationship.
"What are you going to do now?" I asked.
Her eyes burned into me: searching, probing, questioning eyes. There was a message in them, a message she was afraid to say. When her eyes finally dropped from mine, we sat in awkward silence. There was much I wanted to say, too, but I wrestled my own fears, fighting for the sheer guts to say what I desperately wished to say.
"I don't know. I'm living with my parents, but... "
"You need a sugar daddy," blurted out of me.
My mind was racing and I felt like an idiot. Why did I say that? Why couldn't I just say what was in my heart?
"Oh?" Her eyebrows arched quizzically, her lips twitched in a restrained grin.
"Yes. You need a considerate older man who'd treat a wonderful young woman with all the kindness she deserves. He's in love..."
My heart pounded. I turned bright red. I'd no intention of saying that. It just popped out.
"Laurie, I... "
She started laughing. It was a hearty laugh with her eyes watering. Others in the restaurant turned and stared at her. She fought to restrain herself, gasping for air between giggles. Our waitress returned, eyeing me suspiciously. Laurie assured her everything was okay and she left us alone again.
"Where would I find such a loving older man?" Laurie asked, still restraining her laughter.
"Laurie, I didn't mean to come on to you."
"That's too bad. I'd have liked it if you had."
Aren't we humans an amazing complex of emotions juxtapositioned to stifle what should be easy communication? I held tightly to one level of our relationship because I feared her rejection if I revealed my own deep desires. Yet my desire was so great the words had leapt from my subconscious.
She put her hand over mine, squeezing gently. Her eyes twinkled as she handed me her pocket appointment calendar.
"The divorce was final on the twenty-fourth. Look on that date."
She watched me, her eyes bright and alive, as I looked. The notation said: "Divorce final. Quit putting it off. He's the one. Call him!" Him was underlined three times.
Puzzled, I returned the calendar to her, but she pushed it back toward me.
"Keep looking back."
Each day had a notation, "call him," and it was sometimes emphasized with underlines or smiley faces. Back and back through the days, I went. Finally, I reached the page she wanted me to see.
.... There is more of this story ...