Chapter 1: The accident
It was drizzling. The weather was as gloomy as my heart. Well, almost as gloomy, as nothing could be as dismal as my feeling. I turned on the headlight, switched on the wiper, and continued driving home in silence. Linda was also silent, staring at the traffic ahead of us.
We were returning home from the cemetery, where Linda's mom Brenda was lying in peace. What happened exactly one year ago, the biggest tragedy in my life, seems like it just happened the day before. It still stuck my heart painfully every time I thought about it. In fact, it stuck me excruciatingly whether I thought about it or not.
It was a sunny Wednesday morning in October. Things were looking great. Brenda had agreed to come visit me, and of course, her daughter Linda, who had been staying with me while she was attending college here. Her visit would mean a great deal to me. It would probably change the life of Brenda and myself. I loved Brenda. I had fallen in love with her since I first saw her twenty-two years ago. Things didn't work out. She got married to another man, and I got married to another woman. Brenda's husband left them for heaven. My wife left me for another man.
Brenda gained some weight, but she was as beautiful as she was the day I first met her. She had short hair coming down to her neck instead of long hair coming down to her back when I first saw her, but I could still pick her out at once when she got off the Grey Hound bus. I went over to her with a pounding heart. She gave me a smile, a familiar smile, one that I had seen countless times in my dreams. I hugged her gently and kissed her tenderly on the lips. I was very tense, and I could feel Brenda was as tense. We had not seen each other for more than twenty years. We had no communication until a few years ago.
Linda wasn't there, as she had to take her mid-term exam. I didn't have classes that morning. I would pick Brenda up and would spend a few hours with her before Linda would take her mom over when I would have to give my lecture for the afternoon class. Then I would join the mom and daughter for a delicious dinner at the best restaurant in town where I had already reserved a table.
The car slightly ahead of us in the outside lane on the ramp suddenly cut into my lane without signaling. I instinctively honked the horn and stepped on the brake. I heard squealing sound from my car's tires. I saw the car ahead of us swerving. It started spinning into my bumper. I turned the steering wheel while pressing hard on the brake. I heard Brenda screaming. I felt my car spinning. I lost consciousness.
When I regained consciousness, I knew I was in the hospital. The smell was unique. I felt unbearable pain all over my body. I didn't know what had happened. In bleary eyes, I saw the face of a woman, a stranger. She smiled at me. Her lips were moving but I couldn't hear anything. She came a bit closer and I saw a blue scrub shirt instead of her face. She was a nurse. I tried to gather what happened but my mind was blank. The nurse left me.
I saw another face. A middle-aged man in green scrub shirt and matching pants come over to me with the nurse behind him. He had the stethoscope hanging around his neck. He smiled at me and moved his lips, yet I still couldn't hear anything. He turned around and seemed to be talking with the nurse for a moment before coming closer to me. He flipped my eyelids, pulled my ears, and pressed his hands on various parts of my body. He was killing me. It hurt like hell when he had his hand or fingers on my already limp and pain-wracked body.
I started to remember what happened. I was driving Brenda home and a car hit us. Where was Brenda now? I tried to ask, but instead of making a sound, a terrible burning spread from my throat. I coughed. The nurse came over and removed something from my mouth. It took a while before I could stop coughing. It was a miracle, the moment I stopped coughing, I could hear the man talking to the nurse.
"He may need a few more..." the man said. He was only a few feet away but it sounded like he was talking from miles away.
"What happened?" I heard myself asking weakly.
"You had an accident. You're in the hospital now, you'll be fine," the faint voice of the man responded, as he turned to me with a smile.
I saw Linda. She looked like hell. Her eyes were bulked and red, and her face was pale like chalk.
"Linda, what happened? Where's your mom?" I managed to ask, my voice still sounded like I was talking from miles away.
Linda didn't say anything. Tears started coming down from her bulked eyes. Her lips twisted and arched. Her shoulder shook. I knew what happened. My mouth gaped. I felt a huge spike punching into my chest. I felt my heart being torn apart. I felt air squeezed out of my lung and I couldn't breathe. I felt tears coming down the corners of my eyes. My vision became blurred. My limbs were frozen.
Later I knew my pelvis was broken, my femur was broken, several of my ribs were broken, and I had a number of nasty cuts throughout my head and body. I stayed in the hospital for another two weeks before I could get back home. I still had the cast on my leg and it would be part of my body for another four weeks. I would have a slight limp for the rest of my life.
An ambulance took me home. Linda pushed my wheelchair into my house through the front door. She had made arrangements for the funeral of her mom to be held in the morning of the following day. I knew she made it so I could attend her mom's funeral, not because I paid for it, but because she knew I had to be there.
I saw Cathy, Brenda's older sister and only living family member besides Linda, in the sitting room. If Linda had not told me beforehand that Cathy was there, I couldn't have recognized her. It was so long since I last saw her, and she had also at least doubled her weight. I knew she drove here for the funeral. She was a single mom living on a tight budget and couldn't afford air travel. It had to be a long drive, at least fifteen hours. She was staying in Linda's room during her stay.
Cathy came over, bent forward, and hugged me gently. She didn't say anything. As a matter of fact, none of us said much during that evening. I didn't usually talk much when I was at home anyway. I had been living alone for more than five years, until Linda moved in as my guest, or, more accurately, as a tenant who didn't have to pay for room and board. Linda usually didn't talk much with me either, until a few weeks before the tragic accident, when her mom told her she was coming to visit us.
I paid for Linda's trip to get back to her mom's home to settle whatever was left behind. She made the trip after a lengthy argument with me, during which I finally convinced her that I could take care of myself in my wheelchair and promised to behave while she was away. Linda would dispose of everything except those personal things that must be kept, and move them into my house. It was an agreement. Linda was homeless and needed a place, not just a rent-free dorm, until she finished her school and could move out. It would be more of a headache if Linda had not celebrated her twenty-first birthday a couple months ago.
Chapter 2: Brenda
"Pizza?" I asked Linda when we were not far away from home.
"Yeah, okay," Linda responded briefly.
We bought a pizza from the pizzeria in a nearby mall and drove home. We ate the pizza in my kitchen in silence.
I was thinking why fate had to be so cruel to me, to Brenda, and to this young girl sitting across the table from me, when Linda broke the silence.
"Derek," Linda asked. "Do you mind if I ask you something?"
"Not at all, what's it?"
"Why didn't things work out between mom and you?"
I looked away from Linda. I didn't want her to gather anything from my eyes. "I guess it's fate, and also I wasn't good enough for your mom," I said slowly.
When I returned my eyes to Linda, she was holding the piece of pizza a few inches from her mouth. She seemed to be in some thoughts.
"Why did you ask?" I asked after a while.
"You've been very sad since... Since the accident," Linda said, looking at the remaining pizza in the box. "I was only ten when grand dad passed away, and only fifteen when dad passed away, but you look more depressed than mom was during those two occasions."
"Your grand dad passed away from illness, so did your dad," I said. "They were different, they were a slower process in which your mom would have, I mean, could have, anticipated and prepared for. It would still hurt a great deal, but may be not the kind of sudden and devastating pain."
"May be," Linda echoed after a while.
I gave my pizza a bite and reached for my beer.
"Fate, maybe. I don't think you're not good enough," Linda said, looking at her pizza.
I stared at Linda, pizza in one hand, and beer in the other hand. "Why do you think so?"
"You told me you had never stopped loving mom, even during the time when you were married," Linda said, looking at my beer. "At first, I thought it was kind of, like, cheating. I mean, you weren't supposed to feel for another woman while you're married. But then, you didn't do anything, to cheat, I mean. You couldn't control your feelings and emotions. Those feelings were already there before you got married. You had to be living in pain."
I mulled over Linda's words. She could be right in some of her conclusions, but then, she didn't have the full picture.
That night in bed, I went through some of the moments I had with Brenda.
I remembered clearly how I met Brenda. In fact, I could still feel the sensation. It was my first freshman week in college. I was rushing to a lecture hall after spending a long time trying to locate it. I ran into a girl, knocked her down, and fell on her. That wasn't a very nice way to meet a girl, but the feeling was sensational, as I had my hand on her breast instead of on the floor when I tried to support myself and to get up.
I couldn't remember how I got to date Brenda. She was beautiful and there were always guys around her. But we started to date, despite me being a year behind her in college, despite her being twenty months older than me, and despite our lousy first introduction.
Brenda was a stubborn girl. It was extremely difficult to change her mind on anything she had an opinion on. I used to be stubborn myself, but a stubborn guy had no chance to maintain his position with a stubborn girl. I had to give in to her, as it was my obligation as a member of the male race.
Both Brenda and I were virgins when we had sex the first time. It wasn't a very delightful experience. I had an orgasm; that was true, but no guy would want an orgasm when he was only a couple inches inside a girl for the first time, and while the girl was groaning in pain. As a matter of fact, that was a horrifying orgasm, followed by misery and disappointment on both sides.
Subsequent sexual experience with Brenda weren't much better. My best record was eight strokes, whether in her hand, her mouth, or inside her vagina. I had, however, learned to use my better substitutions -- lips, tongue, and fingers -- pretty well.
I had to make a tough decision during my second semester of college when I knew my dad had gone bankrupt. I considered dropping out of college because of my financial situation. Brenda talked me out of it. She didn't just find me a part-time job to sponsor myself, she took up a part-time job herself to help me as well.
That period was the best part of my life. We were very busy with work and school, but we were together most of the days. We belonged to each other. If there was a flaw, it was probably my inability in bed except with alternate means. Brenda had told me times after times that it didn't matter, but I knew she was simply comforting me. No woman on earth would enjoy sex that would finish in a few seconds. No way.
Brenda gave me some sad news while we were working on our final exams. Her mother, who had been working to support the family and the father suffering from osteoarthritis, had been diagnosed with diabetes. Brenda had to quit college and go back to her family to take care of her parents. It was a big hit for her, as she had only one year left in her curriculum. It was also a big hit for me. I had no idea if our relationship could have been successful. I could never forget the vision of Brenda waving at me from the greyhound bus with tears in her eyes.
We kept on talking to each other, mostly via snail mail, and occasionally on phone. Neither of us were in good financial shape, so we couldn't spend much on phone bills. Time went by, and chemistry began fading. Nevertheless, about one and a half years later, when Brenda told me she had started going out with another guy, it still hit me like a rock. I cried in my bed. There were only a few occasions I had cried in my life, most were because of bad news she told me. We finally stopped communicating after Brenda got married.
I was surprised to see a message left by my colleague on my desk one day about three and a half years ago. Brenda had called me. I didn't know how she found out my whereabouts. I stared at the message for a long while before I picked up the phone to call back.
Brenda's voice was still very much like what it was decades ago. We exchanged our status. Her husband had passed away several years ago, leaving behind her daughter and herself. She worked for a department store and they lived happily despite a tight budget. She asked about my living arrangement.
Brenda then told me her daughter was starting college. Her daughter got some scholarships from a couple colleges. One of them was UIUC, the most reputable of them, and the one her daughter wanted to go to the most. It wasn't a full scholarship, and Brenda didn't have much money to support her daughter's college costs. She saw my name in the directory of the college brochure and came up with an idea, one that might only work if I was living by myself. She asked if it was possible for me to rent a room to her daughter, instead of her looking for rental places, as on-campus residence was too expensive for them.
It took quite a while, but eventually Brenda agreed that I would provide her daughter Linda with free room and board while she attended college here.
We started talking over the phone. Talks were usually like old time friends, or about the arrangements concerning Linda's stay at my house. I didn't remember when we started to talk about feelings and affections. I only knew we talked more and more frequently, eventually becoming a daily routine. We put behind our miserable breakup which was already ancient history. We started talking about seeing each other again. We talked about something that might make the future of our lives more fulfilling.
Brenda decided to come see me. Linda teased both of us repeatedly on how excited and how keen we were. Damn fate took her away from me some twenty years ago for my inability to please her. Damn fate didn't even give me a second chance.
When Linda came back from cleaning up her mom's belongings after Brenda's death, she gave me an age-old and worn shoebox. I felt tears in my eyes when I opened it. Brenda had kept everything I gave or wrote her in the box, from notes to letters, to small gifts. That night I cried in my bed again.
Chapter 3: Stubborn Girl
A few weeks later on a Sunday morning, I came into the kitchen after mowing the lawn, and was surprised to see Linda in eating corn flakes. She used to stay in bed until late in Sunday mornings.
"You're up early today. Where're you going?" I said.
"I need to study harder for the exam. I don't want to flunk it again. Do you have breakfast yet?"
"Not yet. CAS?"
"Yep. Do you want to eat something?"
"Do you want some eggs?"
Linda turned over to look at me, and asked, "Do you?"
"I can't stand corn flakes, you know that," I said, as I washed my hands at the sink.
Linda got up from her chair. "I'll make some," she said.
"I'll make some. You're lousy with eggs."
Linda giggled. She went to the fridge and took out some eggs and hams.
I made the hot breakfast, and sat down eating it with Linda. "I haven't heard you talking about yourself for quite a while," I asked.
"I have nothing bad to report," Linda replied with a smile.
"It seems you haven't been dating since... Bob, right?"
"Yeah, it was Bob. We went our way the day after mom's accident."
There was some loathing expression in Linda's eyes. "What would you do to your girlfriend if her mom passed away a day ago?" She said, looking at my face.
"Calm her, comfort her, stay with her."
"You wouldn't try to force her to give you a blow job, would you?"
"No. That's disgusting. I feel sorry for you."
"I'm glad I got to know him before he could screw up my life any more," Linda sighed.
"Haven't you met anyone after that?"
Linda finished her breakfast and took her dish to the sink. "Not yet," she said. "I'd rather wait. I hope I can find a guy who will love me for more than just sex and good times. Someone... Someone like you, who will love a woman for more than twenty years, probably for life."
I almost dropped my fork. I thought for a moment, and said. "There are millions of guys who will love their girls for life. The problem is, are they good enough for the girls."
"You got it all wrong, Derek," Linda said while rinsing her dish, "There are only two kinds of guys: nice guys, who will love a girl, regardless of her appearance, her body and her age; and then, there are jerks, period."
I had finished my breakfast. I was a little stunned by Linda's remarks. I stared at her.
Linda came over, took my dish, grabbed the fork from my hand, and looked right into my eyes with her grayish blue eyes. "What? Am I not absolutely correct?" She said, raising her dark brown eyebrow.
"You're as stubborn as your mom."
Linda pursed her lips at me. "Wrong again, Derek," she said. "I'm much more stubborn than mom." Then she giggled.
"How many boyfriends have you had?"
"Two. Your mom, and my ex-wife. How can you manage to have so many boyfriends? You're only twenty-two."
"Because I've been unfortunate," Linda said in a factual tone while she wiped the dishes. She then came back to the table and sit in her chair, looking at me, and asked. "Can you tell me something about your ex-wife? Mom knew nothing about her."
"Mom told you everything about me?"
"Well, not all, definitely not all," Linda said. "As a matter of fact, she never talked about you before I got the scholarship from UIUC. She did talk a lot about you during the few months before she came here..." Her voice saddened. She shook her head a bit, like she was trying to get the sad memory off her head, while causing her shoulder long light blonde hair to waft in the air. She then continued, "Stop interrupting and tell me about your wife, I mean ex-wife."
"Not much to tell about her. We were married for three years. We got divorced."
"How old were you when you married her?"
"I was thirty-two."
"Why did she... never mind... Why didn't you marry again?"
"Hello?" Linda tapped my shoulder when she found me staring at the fridge and not responding.
"Well, as I said, I'm not up to par, and I enjoy living by myself."
"You do, huh? And why were you so excited every minute when mom decided to come?" Linda questioned me.
I opened my mouth but couldn't say anything. The painful memory struck me again. I looked blankly at Linda.
"I'm sorry, Derek," Linda said miserably. "I didn't mean it. I didn't..." She dropped back and sobbed.
I leaned forward and patted her on the shoulder. "Don't worry, Linda, don't cry," I calmed her.
It took a while for Linda to calm down. "I'm sorry, Derek," she said. "I promise I won't do that again. You can kick me out of the house if I ever do it again."
I smiled at her. "I'm taking the car out for an oil change," I said, as I got up.
"All right," Linda said. "I'm going to do my laundry. I'll do yours as well."
"No, I'll do mine when I get back."
"Why don't you let me do yours?"
"Linda, I'm a man. My laundry is filthy. I have underwear in my basket."
"You wear underwear, not panties, right?" She said, winking at me.
"So what's the big deal? Sometimes I did my dad's laundry."
"But he's your dad."
"So? Wait! You've done my laundry before. I wasn't your daughter, right?" She said, and winked at me again.
Honestly, I didn't remember if I had done her laundry before, but I didn't argue. I went for the oil change.
Chapter 4: She Used You
I sat down in the customer lounge and grabbed a magazine. I flipped through the magazine but my mind went back to the past.
I met Cindy at a friend's wedding. It was the second year I worked as a lecturer in Kinesiology at UIUC. She didn't catch my attention. In fact, nobody did, since Brenda left me. Besides, she was with a guy, and I was with some guys.
A few days later I saw her in the cafeteria on campus. Part of the staff lounge was under renovation and was it very crowded, so I went to the public cafeteria. I didn't recognize her, but thought it would be rude not to say hello to a girl who greeted me. So I did, and sat at her table. We talked briefly. I learned that she just got dumped by her boyfriend, and referred to all male humans as jerks. Partly to defend the entire gender's position, and partly to calm her down, I tried my best to talk nicely to her. I didn't know it would cost me so much.
Chemistry began to develop between Cindy and me. We dated. Cindy was in her second year of medical school, so we didn't have a lot of time together. Nevertheless, time with her was mostly joyful. Cindy moved into my apartment a few months later, and we got married less than a year from our first date.
I didn't have sex with Cindy before our wedding. I was too scared. I did my best to satisfy her sexual needs with alternative means, and I knew she enjoyed them very much. That meant a lot to me. Cindy insisted we have sex the regular way during our wedding night. I was disappointed to find out I had not improved. Actually I had, by one more stroke, which brought my record to nine. We did it again that night twice, I fell short by two strokes once, and didn't bother to try breaking my record and returned to my better alternatives for the last try. It was on the following morning I made history by hitting ten strokes. It was the only time.
Cindy started getting more and more busy as she started her rotation phase working eighty hours a week at the hospital, plus the extra time needed for studying and exams. I didn't get to see her much. I rarely got to please her in bed. I did everything else to please her. I bought her gifts, did all cooking, did the laundry, and took her out to dinner. I had even considered hiring her a male prostitute as a surprise substitute.
She was so busy at the hospital that I didn't get to see her on our third anniversary. Thirteen days later, she had a brief talk with me in the kitchen when I got home. She wanted a divorce. She moved out that same day.
My attorney managed to stop her lawyer from seeking alimony. He told me he used a strategy that would turn the already lengthy process into an eternal one, which Cindy apparently didn't want to go through. I knew it, as I was told she moved into a male intern's apartment the day she moved out from my house.
I never saw Cindy after the court hearing which concluded my only marriage. I stopped seeing anyone who had direct or indirect relationship with Cindy.
Linda was in her room studying when I went home. I went to the basement and went through the rubbish I had been keeping for years. I stuffed some into two garbage bags, and went for the curbside. I realized they wouldn't be collecting garbage until the following Tuesday, so I carried them back to my house and headed for the garage.
Linda was looking for something in the fridge when she saw me with the two bags.
"Where do you get that much garbage from?" Linda said.
"Basement, I was clearing junks I shouldn't have been keeping."
Linda giggled. "Sounds like grand dad. Any antiques?"
"No, it's all junk left over from the years when I was married."
"Oh. Do you have a picture of her?" Linda asked eagerly. Before I responded, she was already digging inside one of the bag.
"This is her, right?" Linda showed me an old photo from the bag. It was a photo of Cindy and me in our wedding."
"Not as pretty as I had expected," Linda commented, "I thought she was very pretty. You know, I thought any girl you would bring home had to be beautiful. Mom's beautiful, you have taste."
I laughed. "Not at all. I was just lucky, well, too lucky, with your mom."
"I need a break from the books. Do you mind telling me something about her?"
I was hesitating when Linda shoved my elbow and asked again, "Please?"
I briefly told her the story.
Linda had some thoughts afterward. "She's a bitch, Derek. Do you know she was using you?" She said.
"Why do you think so?"
"You provided her with everything free, and you didn't even get to see her once in a while."
"Rotation phase takes all of your time and spirit."
"The hospital uses a rotation shift system, so you will have some full days off during the week. Was she here with you when she was off?"
"She was busy studying, usually with other med students."
"Ah, I bet you had no clue who they were," Linda said in disgust. "Did you buy her a car?"
"Did you run over your credit card limit buying her gifts?"
"I did it on my own accord."
Linda came over, patted me on the shoulder, and made a beaming smile at me. "I'm glad you're getting rid of her."
"It was already history. The divorce was some six years ago."
"No, it was still here," Linda said, as she poked my head. "Until now, it's garbage now." She smiled.
Chapter 5: Celebration
I raised my head, and saw Linda leaning against the door of the office I shared with three other colleagues.
"What happened, Linda?" I asked. I rarely saw her coming to my office. I hoped nothing went wrong.
"Nothing's wrong, don't worry. When are you leaving?"
I looked at the papers on my desk. "Do you want to go now?" I said.
"If you're leaving, otherwise I'll spend some time at the library."
"Well, they're students' assignments; I can take care of them at home. Let's go," I said, as I got my briefcase and stuffed the papers into it. I checked my watch and it showed a little after six o'clock. "What keeps you staying so late today?"
"I was doing a little research in the library," Linda said as we left my office.
"Did you find what you needed?" I asked on the way to the staff parking lot.
"Yep. Hey, what do you have in mind for dinner?"
"What do you want?"
"How about Chinese food?"
"Fine, we can pick up some on our way home."
"Why don't we go to May Flowers?"
"You want to go to a restaurant?" I said, and looked at her.
"It's boring eating while watching the fridge and you all the time in your kitchen," Linda said, and then giggled.
I laughed. "Turn around so I can kick you," I said.
Linda turned around, bent away from me, and laughed.
"Yummy," Linda said, as we were enjoying the complimentary dessert following the delicious dishes. "Can you cook Chinese food?" She asked.
"No, but I guess I can learn some. I'll go look for a cookbook tomorrow."
"No, Mr. Chef, I'm not suggesting you to learn it. I was just asking."
"Well, no harm learning."
"True, if you're into eating Chinese food all the time, and not because I said I like it."
I started to evaluate how much I like Chinese food. They tasted so great I always had the desire to lick the dishes clean, but they were usually pretty heavy for me. I didn't know how much I would like it on a regular basis. "I'll go get a cookbook tomorrow," I said.
We talked for a while before Linda waved a steward over. "Can I have the check, please?" She said.
When the steward came back a while later, I reached for the check. Linda stopped me. "I'm buying you this meal," she said.
"No," I said. "I'm paying. Get your hand off the check. You don't want to tear it apart, right?"
Linda didn't let go the check. She grabbed a chopstick and hit my hand with it, and said, "Listen, Mr. Landlord, I'm buying you this meal to celebrate something."
The check slipped out of my hand. "Celebrate what?"
"I've got a job, Actuarial Trainee at Provincial Farm," Linda said, smiling happily.
"Yep. I got the letter this morning."
"Cool, that's great! Let me pay the check to celebrate."
Linda giggled. "Doh!" She stuck her tongue at me.
"So you're moving to Bloomington following the graduation, right?" I said, while driving home.
"Yeah, most likely," Linda said. "Our agreement calls for me moving out when I can make my own money, correct?"
"Well, it actually means you don't have to worry before that."
"So, are you saying I can continue to stay at your house and save my rent for a vacation?"
"Well, I guess if you continue to stay, you should start paying rent."
"How much will it cost a poor trainee to rent a room at your house?"
"Well, I guess fifty dollars seems like a fair deal."
"Fifty a week? That's a lot! You're so mean!"
"If that's too much, you can pay fifty a month."
"Can I bring a boyfriend home?"
I turned over to see her. She was giggling. "Well," I said. "Don't let him go into my bedroom, or my den."
There was a brief silence between us. Then Linda asked. "Are you serious?"
"Fifty a month."
"Plus the laundry."
"Deal!" Linda said with a smile.
"How long does it take to get to work from my house?"
"About an hour, may be one and a half. I'm not sure how bad the rush hour traffic is."
"Do you need a car? It will cut the traveling time to around thirty minutes."
Linda didn't answer. I looked over. She was gazing at me. "You don't mean you're going to buy me a car, do you?" she said.
"Well, a crappy old used car won't cost a lot. Or I can lend you some money."
Linda turned away from my face, and said, "Thanks, Derek. I'll buy one myself when I can get a loan from the bank. But you can cosign for me and then suffer when I decide to skip town."
Chapter 6: Am I Pretty?
I opened the door and stepped from the garage into the kitchen. It was a nice thing about the modern design of newer houses despite being built with much inferior material - garages were now usually a part of the house. I would have been frozen to a fruit bar if I had to walk from a detached garage into the house. Weather in February wasn't fun at all in this region.
I was about to go up the stairs when I saw Linda in the family room, lying in the couch. Her arms and legs stretched wide apart, and her head hanged over the top of the back of the couch. I dashed over to her. She looked weakly at me.
"I'm dying," she said weakly.
"Why? What happened?"
"I was wasted."
"Who wasted you?"
"Students opinion poll. They made me run fifty thousand times back and forth between Garland Hall and Lockhart Building. They forgot I wasn't a dog and it was minus ten outside," Linda whined weakly.
I was relieved. I was worried some misfortune had happened to her. "Are you okay now?" I said.
"I hope so. Are my legs still with me?" Linda said.
"Barely," I laughed. "Go take a hot bath. Do you need me to carry you up?"
"It would be nicer if you could run the water for me," Linder said. She began to struggle up from the couch, and chirped. "Sore feet, I'm going to die."
"Okay. I'll run the water. I'll give you a foot massage after your bath," I offered.
"You can?" Linda asked, looking at my face. "You don't teach physiotherapy."
"I'm probably better than a physiotherapist. Although I teach Kinesiology, I have a PhD in foot massaging, pre-requisite for my previous marriage."
Linda laughed all the way while I went up the stairs to the bathroom.
She came back to the family room after her bath. She had changed into tee and shorts. I was watching TV with the Bengay on the coffee table.
I pointed at the far side of the couch. "Sit there, and put your feet here." I patted my lap.
"Oh, this feels great. You should make it a sideline business," Linda said while I was rubbing her feet.
I laughed but didn't say anything. I continued with the job. I patted her feet when the job was done.
"Derek, would you mind doing my leg too?" Linda said. "I almost have a spasm. Well, in fact I have a spasm. Actually, I have a couple spasms."
I laughed. "All right, turn over."
Linda turned over in the couch with her stomach on the cushion and her legs on my lap.
I squeezed some Bengay on her calf muscles and began work while Linda was humming some tunes.
"You know, Derek, if I had known you're so good with this sideline business, I would have saved up all my money and pay you fifty cents an hour to do it everyday."
"Thank you, I never knew I was worth that much. Fifty cents is a hell of a lot," I said, as I patted her calf and pulled some tissues from the box to wipe my hands.
Linda pointed her finger at the back of her thigh. "Spasm extends to here," she said.
"That's it. My fingers are getting sore. Out of practice for too long," I said, and lifted her leg out of my lap. "I'm going to take a shower now."
"I'm dying, I'm sore, I'm wasted, I'm spasm-ing, I'm..." Linda continued whining as I went upstairs for the bathroom.
I finished the shower and struggled to my room. My dick was still hurting from a Bingay burn as I forgot to wash my hands thoroughly before jerking off. I however felt good about my speedy finish. If I had to stroke for five minutes to shoot, I would need a trip to the hospital for extensive burn.
When I came back downstairs, Linda was still laying flat in the couch facing down. One of her arm was on her side and the other one hanging down to the floor.
"Why are you still here? Why don't you go for a nap?" I asked.
"Waiting for part three of the foot massage," she said lazily.
"No part three! Do you want a nap now or after dinner?"
"I have fifty cents. Dinner's too early."
I laughed. "I need to do some grading. Now, go take a nap before I kick your butt, which is part four of the massage."
After a final pout on the couch and a grimace at me when she passed by me, Linda went up the stairs with a very exaggerated limp.
I was watching news on TV when Linda came down after her nap. "Dinner will be ready in a few minutes," I told her.
"What's on news?"
"Ha-ha," I laughed at the news. An actress, Barbara Senogrande, who had a sexual reputation, was suing a firm that produced 'love toys' and used her image in one of their produce lines.
Linda rushed over to check what the funny news was. "Have you bought one from them?" She turned to ask me, then covered her ass with her hands and scuttled into the kitchen, giggling.
"Can you tell me something?" Linda asked me during dinner.
"Sure, what is it?"
"How sexy do you think Barbara Senogrande is?"
"Come on," Linda said, leaning forward. "She's big!" She stretched out her arms to indicate the bigness.
I almost choked. "Yeah, I think she'll be even sexier if she stuffed a balloon or two inside her dress."
Linda bent in her chair laughing. "No. Serious, how sexy is she?" she asked after her laughter.
"She's okay, but she's not my style. I won't buy her toy."
"What's your style?" Linda asked, and leaned forward, winking.
"A few more balloons," I said. "Now, eat your spaghetti!" I pointed at her dish.
Linda crammed her mouth with spaghetti and meatballs, swallowed them almost without chewing, then continued, "Mom... Mom didn't have a few more balloons, but she was almost perfect to you, right?"
I dropped my fork in the dish, leaned forward, and said, "The balloons go here," I pointed at my chest, and went on. "I mean, inside. No, stop laughing! Not inside the dress. I mean inside the skin; I mean the heart. Now, forget the balloons and finish your spaghetti."
"Okay, okay, mister. I'll eat. I'll eat," Linda said, still laughing. She raised a hand up in a surrendering pose and covered her mouth with another hand.
"Am I pretty?" Linda gave me a surprise question when I was doing the dishes.
I turned around. She had a little blush on her face. "Of course you are," I said, as I turned back to the dishes. "You had eight boyfriends. They couldn't have all gone wrong."
"What do you think?"
I sighed. "You're pretty," I said. "I've been telling all my students about you, they'll soon organize a tour to come see you."
Linda giggled. "But I don't have the kind of curly and thick eyelashes like mom had," she said.
"No, but you have pretty and long eyelashes," I said, while rinsing the dishes.
"I'm not big."
I turned around with another sigh. Linda was stretching her hands out. "Linda!" I groaned, and paused as I thought of something. "Wait, Linda, is there some guy you're trying to attract his attention and he's not noticing you?"
"Well, kind of," Linda said slowly, while looking down at her hands and rubbing her fingers.