Jake had always considered himself the neighborly sort, helpful, sharing and certainly caring. He had lived in this neighborhood for over thirty years and together with his wife Helen they had watched a variety of neighbors come and go, raised their two children and sent them off to college and enjoyed each others love, affection and company. Then two years ago Helen was diagnosed with breast cancer and even the radical surgery didn't help. Jake had taken her home and tried his best to help her recover but nothing that he did helped and she passed away just after Christmas.
His new next door neighbors had moved in around the same time as Helen was recovering from her surgery and because he had been so preoccupied with getting her well he hadn't paid all that much attention to them. He remembered them as a young couple, from somewhere in New England he thought, John and Mary Merchant. John was some sort of an executive in a software company and Mary worked in the local hospital, a nurse if Jake remembered correctly. They both looked to be in their early thirties and seemed nice enough although Jake remained preoccupied with Helen's recovery. When Helen finally passed Jake withdrew into himself and the last thing on his mind was his neighbors.
At 59 Jake found himself alone for the first time in memory and the first year without Helen was hard on him and even more devastating on his psyche. Wandering from room to room in the now empty house took its toll on his mental health and having to live in the house that he and Helen had occupied for so long drove him to consider suicide. He was drinking too much and had taken to using his late wife's sleeping pills, a dangerous combination. His son noticed his depression and contacted a psychologist he had known since graduate school and with their help Jake finally rejoined the living and he was dammed glad because he suddenly realized that he actually had a lot to live for and besides it was nice to remember the good times he and Helen had shared together.
It was 15 months after Helen death and on an early Sunday in March that Jake's phone rang and when he answered he realized that it was his neighbor Mary on the other end and she sounded panicked. "Hello? Oh hi Mary, Jesus what's wrong?"
"Look Jake I hate to ask you for help but it's my sink, it's stopped up and the dishwasher is pouring water into it and oh Christ I don't have a clue as to what to do..."
He heard her sobbing. "Look Mary, just hang in there and I'll be right over." He hung up the phone and went into the garage and found his tool kit, grabbed some industrial strength drain cleaner and walked across the lawn and knocked on Mary's door. She let him in and was wiping the tears from her eyes with a Kleenex.
"Oh God Jake thanks for coming over."
"It's alright, now let's go and check on your sink." She led him into the kitchen and he saw that the dishwasher was indeed pouring water into the sink and it was just about to run over the edge. He turned off the dishwasher which stopped the discharge of water into the sink then opened the doors under the sink and turned off the water there too. He got up off his knees then turned his attention back to the sink. "Do you have plunger?" He asked.
"Uh yea, let me get it." A few minutes later she was back with a rubber toilet plunger. "Here you go."
He poured half of the bottle of drain cleaner into the water and watched it sink towards the drain. "Let's wait a minute or two and see if the water drains at all." They both stood there starring at the water, not saying a word. Finally Jake started the conversation. "Well, things like this always seem to happen when the man of the house is away. I remember one time when I was out of town and Helen did something to the garage door and it wouldn't open and she couldn't get into the house. She had to get a garage door specialist out on an emergency call to fix it."
Mary realized that this was the first time she had spoken to Jake since his wife had died. "Oh God Jake I'm so sorry about Helen. I know I should have come over but we weren't really close and being new neighbors and all..."
He looked up at her and appreciated her thoughts. "Thanks Mary I appreciate your kind thoughts." He looked at Mary and realized that she was a beautiful woman. This morning she was wearing a plain white cotton blouse and a pair of khaki shorts and she looked like a million dollars. Tall, light skinned with dark brown eyes and auburn-brown hair falling well below her shoulders. The blouse accentuated her breasts and he had to shake his head and think about something else before he made a fool of himself. "You know loosing Helen has really been hard on me but I've pretty much gotten over her loss now."
"Thank God Jake, thank God. I know that the neighbors have been worried sick about you. Everyone wanted to help but no one knew what to do."
He sighed. "It was my son that really helped. He saw how depressed I was and took me to a doctor friend of his and with some counseling and some medication I'm about back to normal." They both looked down to the sink and saw that it hadn't receded very much and against his better judgment Jake picked up the plunger and eased it into the 12 inch deep water, fixed the round top over the drain and gently pushed down. Nothing happened. "Damn," he said. He took a stronger hold on the handle and Mary moved closer to watch and just as she looked into the sink Jake jammed the plunger down. What happened next was in slow motion. The plunger jammed down and the water whooshed then a torrent of half sudsy water formed into what approximated a hurricane looking conical shaped wave, at least as big a wave as you can make in a sink and the water leapt into the air and soaked Mary and Jake. They both jumped backward and then began laughing — then Jake stopped laughing and stared. Mary wondered why he had stopped laughing and was staring then she looked where Jake's eyes were focused and saw that her blouse was soaked with water and without a bra her breasts, with her dark areolas were plainly visible. "Oh my," was all she said. Jake turned away with a mumbled, "Sorry Mary."
Mary thought about the situation for a minute then began to laugh.
"What?" Jake asked.
Mary smiled. "What's a matter old man haven't you ever seen a wet tee shirt contest?"
He turned back and admired her breasts with her hard nipples now poking out through the wet material. "Well yes but never on such a beautiful woman."
She smiled and thanked him for his compliment then lefty to change her blouse. She didn't say a word about the bulge she noticed in the front of his pants.
On July 17 of that year and almost exactly 19 months after Helen's death Jake turned 61. His son and daughter got together with a few friends and threw him a surprise birthday party and invited all of his neighbors including John and Mary. It was a warm and sunny Saturday afternoon and Jake was back into his old form, hustling beer and wine for the guests, chatting up a storm and just enjoying life, albeit without his beloved wife. When he first noticed Mary he was surprised by her appearance thinking that she had gained a ton of weight since their experience over the sink last March. Later when he realized that he hadn't seen John he inquired about him and was surprised to learn John had not only left Mary for another woman but had also left her six months pregnant.
By sunset most of the guests had left and he and his son and daughter were cleaning up when Mary approached and volunteered her help too. By eight o'clock there wasn't anything left to do but the dishes and Mary rolled up her sleeves and dug into the stack of plates.
Jake was appalled that someone six months pregnant would be hunched over the sink doing his dirty dishes. "Oh my God Mary you don't have to do that, I'll clean them tomorrow morning." He said.
"Yea I know you will but actually I'm yearning to do something domestic again, besides I owe you for helping me with my sink last March. Christ ever since John left me I've been eating off of paper plates and just touching dirty dishes and soapy water is practically turning me on ... if you know what I mean?"
She smiled at Jake and he smiled back and wondered if she was really making a sexual reference or just small talk, then he remembered back to that morning with her wet blouse and hard nipples and felt himself getting hard just thinking about her. It was the second time since he had lost Helen that he had been thinking sexual thoughts about a woman who wasn't his wife. "Well if you're sure you'll be alright."
"Good grief Jake, I'm just pregnant I'm not an invalid." She had said it smiling but the inflection in her voice was more reassuring than testy.
"Alright then I stand corrected," He laughed as he said it. "and I'll volunteer to dry."
He turned to see his son standing in the doorway. "Uh, yea honey."
"Sorry dad but sis and I have to go ... I'll talk to you tomorrow."
"Oh ... alright. Let me walk you to the door." He walked them out and they both hugged their father. "Thanks son, honey, it was a wonderful party."
"You welcome." They said, "Now go get some rest."
When Jake walked back into the kitchen he found Mary sitting down at the breakfast bar with one hand behind her head, rubbing her neck. "Are you alright?" He asked.
She turned and smiled at him as she continued to rub her neck. "Yea, just old and pregnant and had maybe a wee too much activity today, but I'll be just fine."
Without even thinking about what he was doing, or the implications of doing it, he just walked up behind her and started massaging her shoulders. It started with small little circles around her neck then his hands moved to her shoulders and using his thumbs just below her neck he began to rub larger circles around her shoulder blades.
"Ahhhhhhh God Jake that feels wonderful. You can keep that up till tomorrow morning."
He just grunted and continued his massaging. "Is your lower back sore too?"
She looked back at him quizzically. "A little bit, how did you know?"
"Remember dear I've got two grown children. I've done this many a time to Helen when she was pregnant."
"Well she was a lucky woman Jake." Thinking that her remark might have hurt his feeling she turned slightly in her chair. "I'm sorry Jake I didn't mean it to sound like that."
He just laughed. "That's alright Mary, no offense taken." His hands massaged down her back and as his fingers moved on her shoulders and back he realized he didn't feel any bra straps which meant that once again she wasn't wearing a bra. He thought about that and couldn't for the life of him figure out how he had missed that. Two years ago he would never have missed knowing when a woman wasn't wearing a bra ... damned mind must be out of shape he thought. He remembered their shape and outline on that wet blouse and he wondered what they would feel like ... he had always like playing with Helen's breasts and nipples when she was pregnant and she enjoyed it too, always telling him that they very sensitive and playing with them turned her on. He realized that she was squirming around on the stool and he wondered if he was being a little too rough. "You okay?"
"Oh God yes Jake, you have magical fingers."
His hands moved to her sides and he slowly and purposefully inched them closer and closer to her breasts finally touching just the side of one. He felt her body stiffen.
"Uh, I don't think this is a good idea, you know what I mean?"
He dropped his hands to his side as he felt his cheeks redden with the embarrassment of being caught molesting her. "Uh yea, I know what you mean ... I'm sorry Mary."
"I think I had better be going."
He just nodded then he walked her to the door and said his goodnights and uttered another apology and then he stood there and watched as she walked across the front lawn and up to her door. She turned and waived as she opened the door and walked inside. The porch lights went out and Jake closed the door and walked back into the kitchen. He thought about pouring himself a scotch but decided against it and went down the hallway and into his bedroom and changed out of his clothes and took a nice hot shower. He dried off, put on a pair of pajamas and was just getting into bed when he heard the front doorbell. He grabbed his robe and put it on and walked up and looked through the peephole and saw Mary standing on the porch so he opened the door. "Hey," he said, "Everything alright?"
"What? Oh sure, look Jake, did I get you out of bed?"
"No, not really. I just finished a shower and was headed to bed. What's up?"
She looked sheepishly at him. "Look Jake I was wondering something..."
"Come on inside before the neighbors begin to talk." He laughed, then opened the door and let her inside. "Now what's on your mind?"
"Well earlier tonight in the kitchen when you were massaging my back ... well it felt so wonderful and I ... I wondered that when you touched my breast..."
"Mary I'm sorry that I did that and I'll apologize again if that will make you feel any better."
She cocked her head to one side and looked at him. "Are you ... sorry I mean? Look at me Jake, look me in the eye and tell me why you're sorry."
He had never felt more embarrassed than he felt right at that moment. His eyes lowered to the floor as he stuttered, "Oh God Mary I am sorry but you are just so beautiful and I just wanted to touch a beautiful woman again. I started thinking about what you looked like the day I spilled the water all over your blouse and ... well I just wanted to feel a real woman again."
She looked into his eyes and knew that he was telling the truth. "Beautiful ... really ... you think I'm beautiful, I mean like this?" She patted her huge stomach.
He looked up, surprised. "My God yes! I look at you your skin is a taut as the day you were born and your color is absolutely radiant. God Mary the last woman that looked that good to me was Helen when she was pregnant with our daughter."
"I see." She took his hand and started walking down the hallway toward the master bedroom.
"Where are we going?" He asked although he already knew the answer.