I recently posted a story (see Vickie, The Baby and Me) with alternative endings and as I had predicted the feedback was both good and bad and the break down was pretty close to what I had predicted.
- 9 got on me about grammar, structure, punctuation and the like.
- 4 said, "You suck" or other words that meant the same thing.
- 7 suggested other possible ends, but too me the big surprise was,
- 26 loved the idea of alternative endings and they asked me to do it again.
So, in keeping with my desire to satisfy my public I have decided to give the poor misguided fools what they say they want. Once again I add the disclaimer: I write for my own enjoyment and then I offer to share. Whether you like the story or hate it know that I have satisfied my target audience — me! That said, I give you
Gwen and I met in college. The meeting was not an auspicious one and anyone seeing it would never in a million years have suspected that one day we would be man and wife. It was in the college bookstore at the beginning of the spring term. The last item on my list was the Managerial Economics text. There was only one copy left on the shelf and as I was reaching for it some one else saw that it was the last copy and they lunged forward and tried to beat me to it. The person bumped into me and bounced off (at 6'4' and 220 I can be a bit immovable) and into a stack of textbooks. The person fell to the floor and the stack of books fell on top of the person.
I looked down and saw an extremely good-looking redhead looking up at me and shooting daggers at me with her eyes. I took the book off the shelf, dropped it into my cart and then I offered the girl my hand. She swatted it away and said, "Stupid clumsy oaf" as she picked herself up off the floor. That torqued me off since it was her own behavior that had caused the problem in the first place so I responded with, "Dumb ignorant bitch" and then I headed for the check out stand.
Two days later the Managerial Economics class met for the first time and three or four minutes into the class someone rushed in, mumbled "Sorry I'm late" and headed for the only empty seat in the room which just happened to be right next to me. I looked over and saw that it was the redhead and she saw and recognized me at the same time. Her eyes flashed and she mouthed "Stupid oaf" and I mouthed "Dumb bitch" right back at her and then we proceeded to ignore each other.
Life being the perverse thing that it is the redhead (her name turned out to be Gwen) and I, along with two others, were assigned to work together on a class project. That meant time together after class or before class as the four of us worked on the project. By the fourth week of class Gwen and I were being civil to each other and by mid-term we were dating. By finals we were sharing a bed. Gwen went home over summer break and I stayed in Ann Arbor and worked for Jiffy Lube.
Three weeks after Gwen went home for the summer she called me and gave me the good news.
"I'm pregnant Brian. What are we going to do?"
"What do you want to do?"
"Oh no Brian, you can't just dump this on me."
"Sure I can. It is your body and you get to make the decisions where it is concerned. You have options. You can keep it, you can have it and put it up for adoption, or you can go the abortion route. It is your choice not mine. I, on the other hand, have no choice. I fathered the child so it is my responsibility. I need to marry you and give the child a name, but even there you have a choice. You can choose to marry me or not. All I can tell you is that you are not in this alone — I'm here for you whatever you decide."
In the end Gwen decided to keep the baby and I flew to Racine and we were married in a civil ceremony. A month later Gwen had a miscarriage and somehow, even though we stayed married nothing ever seemed right between us after that. You couldn't put a finger on it, we seemed to be a happily married couple, but there just seemed to be something that just wasn't right.
We both finished college and got on with life. I ended up in sales and Gwen went into advertising. Gwen and her family were estranged. They were religious people and Gwen getting pregnant before marriage drove them nuts so she didn't object when I said I wanted to settle in Michigan close to my family. We worked hard, saved our money, bought a house and lived the so-called middle class dream.
In a way it was good for Gwen because she hit it off with the women in my family and they got Gwen involved in all the family functions that seemed to delight the female side of my family. The women in my family had the market cornered on so-called 'suburban sales.' My mother sold lingerie and adult novelties and between my sisters and aunts they sold everything else. Amway, Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kaye; you name it and one of the women in my family sold it. In addition to selling Avon my sister Anne held wine-tasting parties and pushed a wine of the month club. My sister Mary had a tie with some clothing company and sold their line and my sister Joyce sold Tupperware.
Between all of them there was always a party or a demonstration going on and Gwen got drug along to most of them. I didn't much give it a second thought because I had been exposed to it since I was a little kid. It seemed like I was always being sent to bed early because mom or one of her sisters was throwing an Avon party or some such. In addition to all of that there were other family functions going on all the time as cousins, nieces and the like were having bridal showers, baby showers, bachelorette parties and birthday parties. Again, I thought nothing of it because that stuff had always been part of my life. It was like background noise that always had been there so you learned to tune it out.
One day my mother called me and asked me to meet her for lunch. We ordered and then she asked, "Is everything all right with you and Gwen?"
"I guess so. I don't have any reason to think otherwise. Why?"
"I'm just wondering if I'm going to be seeing grandbabies any time soon."
"I don't know. It isn't anything that we've talked about. She was pretty down in the dumps after she lost the last one. She might not be ready to try again or for that matter she may not even want to try again."
"What about you, aren't you interested?"
"No, not really. If Gwen wants kids we will have kids and if she doesn't, we won't."
"You do know that your father is concerned about carrying on the family name don't you? Your sisters can give us plenty of grandbabies, but only you can produce a male heir."
"All I can say is that it is Gwen's body, not mine, and if she chooses not to use it to make babies that is her choice. Besides, even if she decides to have children there is no guarantee that she'll have a boy."
"Well, that may be, but for your father's piece of mind would you at least discuss it with Gwen?"
I did discuss it with Gwen and she told me that she was not ready to have another pregnancy and she didn't know when, or even if, she would ever want one. "How do you feel about it? Are you hot for a male heir?"
"No honey, my position hasn't changed. It is your body, not mine. Babies or no babies is strictly up to you."
"Well I don't want them now."
"Fine honey, no problem."
For the next three years every couple of months my mom would ask me if Gwen was ready to be a mother yet and all I could tell her was that I didn't know.
"Well damn it Brian, she's your wife and you should have some say in the matter."
"I do have a say in it mother and what I say is that it is her body, not mine. If she does not want to have children it is her choice."
One night at my Uncle Al's birthday party I had enough to drink to give me the 'dutch courage' I needed to talk to my father about the male heir situation.
"I don't give a rat's ass if the name gets carried on or not. It isn't like we are the offspring of kings. God knows there are already enough Smiths in the world. It is your mother who is all hot and bothered about carrying on the family name although for the life of me I can't figure out why. Granted, we have been here since the Revolutionary War, but so have a lot of other people. Your Uncle Wendell tried to do a family tree once and as near as he was able to determine your great great great great, well never mind that. I forget how many greats is there, but what he found is the beginning of our line was either born out of wedlock to an indentured servant girl or out of wedlock to a girl who worked in a Baltimore brothel and there hasn't been anyone of note in the line since then.
Then things started going bad between Gwen and me. My fault mostly because I couldn't, or wouldn't, tell my mother to leave Gwen the hell alone as far as babies were concerned. Gwen would come home and tell me about how my mother was hounding her to have babies and I didn't do anything about it; I just let it go in one ear and out the other. One night I finally got pissed, but at the wrong person and I yelled at Gwen instead of going after my mother.
"Just tell her you don't want any god damned babies for Christ's sake. Just fucking tell her that it your body not hers and that if she wants a male heir so fucking bad to have it her self. If you don't want to do that then just stop going to places where she will be. Just stay away from her."
Gwen did not take kindly to that and things got a bit frosty around our house for a couple of weeks.
.... There is more of this story ...