I shouldn't have been surprised that that my ex-lovers' husbands and I got on so well together. My exes all married late enough that they and their husbands took it for granted there'd been others before them, and realized from their own experiences that usually, ex means ex. They could see that I was truly happy for any ex who'd found more permanent happiness. And any woman who'd found me appealing was likely to favor intelligent middle-class guys with wide-ranging interests and a sense of humor; so their husbands and I had lots in common. Many's the night I've sat up chatting with some ex's husband while his wife got bored and went to bed.
Sheila's husband Stan and I were especially close. We had more common interests than usual—music, architecture, classic cars, poetry, science ... And we even looked a bit alike: tall, hazel-eyed, with cleft chins, though his hair had turned gray while mine had only a few grey speckles. I danced at their wedding; they danced at mine and Claudia's. And when my wife died, all too soon after our marriage, Stan and Sheila were the ones who kept inviting me out, until I got over my initial months of funk and started to leave the house again. They often had me for weekends up in Connecticut, peaceful and far away from the scenes I'd shared with Claudia. When they sensed I was ready, they even introduced me to Stan's sister Susan, from Vermont: good looking, friendly, charming and intelligent but we just weren't quite attracted to each other, and she wound up talking to her brother more than me. Still, it was the closest I'd come to a date since Claudia died, and it got me thinking it was time I got out more.
When Stan and Sheila asked if I'd be godfather to their first child, I was flattered, pleased, and happy for their future happiness as parents. Only, that first child stubbornly refused to come. They told me of the hassles of trying to get pregnant when you're no longer young—the temperature taking, the scheduling, the loud, slow tick of a biological clock running down. "It takes some of the fun out of it," said Sheila once.
"But it's still fun!" Stan added. I nodded, suddenly remembering how much fun Sheila could be.
Sister Susan, meanwhile, wasn't having fun. She'd married, too, but I gathered the marriage was a stormy one. "Well, she was always like that," Stan said, making me glad that nothing had developed between us, "but Stafford's worse. Much worse."
That came to a head one weekend in March. Sheila, Stan, and I were sitting round their fireplace in the downstairs den, listening to Prokofiev and sipping wine, when the phone rang. It was Susan, sobbing so hard that I could hear it ten feet from the phone. Stafford had left, this time for good—more than just left, apparently, judging from some cryptic remarks Stan made to Sheila, and the grave looks on both their faces. "I'll pack," Sheila said.
"Just for me," said Stan. "No need to spoil Mark's weekend. Besides, if I leave now, I can be up there in three hours, dry her tears, and maybe be back late tonight. But I might bring her back with me."
"Go safely," Sheila said, "There may be snow."
"None yet," he said, "so I better not pack, just leave right now. And the Audi has four-wheel drive."
Then they kissed, with the passionate informality of long-married couples who still had it for one another, exchanged whispers, grinned at each other, and kissed again. Then Stan opened the door to the garage, closed it behind him, and drove off.
Sheila and I went back to the living room. She poured more wine, I added some logs to the fire, and we sat on the sofa by the fireplace, alternately petting her cat, Sebastian, while she told me a bit about Sue and Stafford's marriage. They'd been arguing over more and more ever since the wedding, most recently about having kids. He'd hit her a few times that Sheila knew of, and probably lots of other times she didn't. It was sad, and we changed the subject.
Next thing we knew, the wine was gone, and it was too late for Sheila to make the dinner she'd planned. We thawed something, then turned on the TV just in time to catch a bulletin on the gathering snowstorm. We opened the curtains and could see snowdrifts on the porch. Stan called from his cell—he was at Sue's, the phone lines were down, and he'd be stuck there at least until daylight. Sheila talked to Sue—mainly sympathetic noises at the crackles of anguish that came through the phone. Then we went out to the kitchen for sandwiches, and picnicked on the living-room floor as the fire burned down. When it burned out, Sheila checked the ashes and closed the damper while I went downstairs to the basement guest room, turned the electric blanket on, hung up my clothes, and went to bed, savoring the feel of the smooth, clean sheets against my skin. Luckily I haven't unpacked much, I thought. If Stan brings Susan back, they'll need this room for her. Not that I'd mind sharing...
After all, she's not bad-looking, I thought. A lot like Sheila: Tall, slender, blonde. Sue wasn't as graceful as Sheila, but she did have bigger boobs. I wonder if they'd be as sensitive as Sheila's were, I thought nostalgically. My cock grew turgid at the thought, though not quite stiff, but I was tired; so I left it alone.
I woke, shivering, in total darkness. The power was out—common enough, in stormy weather—reducing my electric blanket to a thin layer of cloth. I knew there were more blankets in the linen closet ... but could I find it in the dark?
I got up, shivering, wishing I'd brought pajamas, and grateful there was carpet between my bare feet and the concrete floor. I felt my way to the door of my room, then along the hall. Was the linen closet the third door? The fourth? I skipped the first door, whose cold surface told me it led to the garage, then felt my way along the wall, opening every remaining door to feel inside for cloth. And then the wall ended. I'd passed out of the hall and into the den where we'd all been sitting before Susan's call. That's when I realized I'd been feeling along the wrong wall; the linen closet was across from where I'd looked. Damn! Now I had to feel my way back to the hall, across a minefield of furniture, unsure even which part of the room I was now facing. There was no light or heat from the fireplace to orient me, just a faint smell of woodsmoke, and that permeated the room so I couldn't tell where it was coming from. My hands found an ornate frame—okay, that's the seascape on the far wall; and I'll have to straighten it, come morning. If I moved to my right until I reached the staircase, turning right again would give me a fairly clear path across the room. And once I found the far wall, I could find the hallway again. Good thing—I was really cold, by now, and so was everything I touched.
Then something warm and silky brushed my ankles—Sebastian[IBB1], Sheila's cat. I jumped, and I could have sworn Sebastian was quietly chuckling at me. Then my hand touched something even warmer: flesh. Sheila—specifically, one of the breasts I'd been musing about a few hours earlier.
"I was cold, too," she said. Then she wrapped her arms around me and we kissed. She'd thrown her own electric blanket over her shoulders, but the rest of her was naked. It had been a long, long, time since I'd felt her flesh against mine, and even chilled it still felt wonderful. We disengaged and she led me by the hand to the linen closet. She hauled out a blanket and handed it to me, then led me to my room. She stepped into the room with me and led me to the bed, and tucked me in. Then she spread the spare blanket over me.
"Terrific! Thanks! Good night," I said, figuring she'd be going back to her room now.
"Not so fast, buster! There's just the one spare blanket, and we'll have to share. And even that won't be warm enough—you'll need that, both our blankets, and more." I felt a sudden chill as the blankets lifted again, and then the feel of her against me on the sheet, as the blankets came down again.
We snuggled and kissed, and slowly warmed each other. I didn't know whether I should press my sudden hard-on against her or hide it, not quite sure where this was headed—was this Sheila, or Tom's wife who was in bed with me? I didn't want to betray a guy I liked, and wanted even less to do something that might harm their marriage. But Sheila was still the same old Sheila, the one I'd bedded in the Village, and Paris, and Philadelphia, on that memorable beach, in a back room at her cousin's wedding reception...
Her hand gently closed about my penis, a gesture of welcome that I remembered vividly. I kissed that spot on the base of her neck I knew so well, then moved my lips down to her soft, soft, breasts and hard, hard nipples. I closed my teeth on one nipple, gently, and she jumped. My hand trailed its way down her body until it felt soft, tangled, hairs, and moisture, and a nubbin hard as her nipples, but smaller. She jumped again, gasping happily, and her hand on my cock clenched, and started drawing toward where it wanted, needed, to go. She slipped my tip in and I started sl-o-o-wly moving in the rest of the way. She pressed my buttocks, trying to get me all inside her, but I resisted, sliding in millimeter by millimeter, savoring the feel of her pussy walls against my cock. Finally, when I was all inside, we paused and she released my ass.
With that, I drew out almost all the way; she gasped at the impending loss, and then I slammed in full force, all the way into the depths of her. She tensed, and I did it again. This time, she started coming before I was all the way inside her, and kept coming while I drilled and poked and swiveled and ground against her, our hips chasing each other all around the bed. Was it cold out in the room? We were sweating, bodies so slippery we could barely hold onto one another. I came like Krakatoa, filling every crevice of her with molten heat. She moaned ecstatically, wrapping her legs around me to keep me in place. She kissed me softly, and I knew she was smiling, even in the dark. Lord knows I was! I'd forgotten how much her pussy felt like home, had always felt like home, would always feel like home. It was where my cock belonged. Everyone else, even women I'd loved far more deeply (Claudia excepted), had been glorious practice.
We cooed and caressed a while, then fell asleep in each other's arms. When the first light turned the sky from black to grey, we roused each other, made tender, energetic love, and went to sleep again. When we woke the next time, it was to the sound of snowplows in the valley below. "They won't get up here for hours yet," said Sheila, and we made love again, this time just dozing lightly, flickering awake each time our bodies touched. Then we lay there in silence, looking at the ceiling. What about Stan? I thought.
Sheila put her hand on my cheek and turned my head so we would face each other. "I still love Stan, you know," she said. "More even than I loved you."
"But I needed you, and that's no small thing. We're off on a cloud, in a white space of snow, cut off from the universe. As long as it lasts, we're all there is, all that matters. It's our bodies' turn."
"And when the roads clear?"
"Then I'm back to being Stan's wife, and loving it. And you're on the train back to your New York second bachelorhood."
"Only with fresher memories."
"Yeah," she grinned. "Meanwhile, time to get up and eat. And shower—there's still hot water in the tank enough for at least one shower..."
" ... If we share," I said, completing the thought.
We scrambled out of bed, let the shower warm up, and lathered and cleaned every inch of one another. We almost made each other come right there, but held off: "like saving dessert for last," she said.
Then the phone rang, and she walked naked to the den to answer it. "Morning, dear," she said to it. "I'm glad you didn't try driving through the snow last night. They're still plowing the valley, and there looks to be three feet in our driveway. How's Susan? ... oh, dear! Do whatever you can for her, and bring her down here if you think it will help ... Not for a day or two? No, I haven't seen the weather on TV—the power's down ... There, too? Then better save your cellphone battery in case of emergency ... Yeah, love ya too, babe. Be home soon. Expect a warm welcome ... exactly, "she said, blushing at the last. Then, after hanging up, she turned to me: "What was that saying in the Twenties, 'I love my wife, but oh, you kid'?"
I guess those were the magic words: the power came back on, the wall clocks moving ahead from 2:17, the time the power had gone out, and the clocks on the VCR and microwave flashing "12:00" over and over. I could hear the furnace start up again. "Oh, good!" she said. "The house warms up quickly—we can keep our clothes off."
That was like old times, too, the two of us breakfasting together, naked, reading naked in the living room, making love on every soft, washable surface in the house except the master bed. One difference: In the city, we'd had to keep our curtains closed; here, with no nearby neighbors who could see the windows, we left them open, flooding he house with soft winter light. "I wish we could go out and make love on the porch," said Sheila, but some neighbors could see us there."
"Yeah, and the imprint on the snow would be a dead giveaway!"
The only break in our solitude was someone trudging through the snow with cross-country skis on his shoulder. He saw Sheila and stopped (luckily, I was out of his sight, then), so Sheila grinned and waved to him. He grinned back, bowed, and resumed trudging, leaving the only footprints we could see for miles.
By evening, we couldn't see even them. The snow was back. The TV weathercasters loved having something really worth talking about, the news producers savored the chance for dramatic remotes, the poor reporters bundled up and cursed from snowy faces, trying to find some way to face out of the wind and still have the right backgrounds for the cameras.
We lazed and touched and cuddled. I did go out, naked, to get more logs from the porch, but I was back as quickly as a guy with an armload of wood can go. On my return, Sheila had lovely ideas about how to warm me up again. We wore ourselves out, and napped, and loved again. "Poor Stan," said Sheila. Then, seeing the expression on my face, added "Not because of us—and he must never know—but because when he gets snowbound with a woman it's his sister."
"And what would they be doing if they weren't brother and sister?" I said.
"This!" said Sheila, launching another demonstration.
Monday, we were still drifted in. I called the office and got only voice mail—guess my boss didn't make it, either. (Turns out, the office never opened that day—no heat.)
Tuesday, with the sun out but the roads still impassable, Sheila turned on the hot tub. We basked and fiddled and cavorted in it, laughing at the few lazy flakes of snow still falling. We could hear the snowplows clanking down our street; Sheila called the guy who plowed their drive and told him we were ready. Stan called—he'd be leaving Vermont tomorrow morning, with his sister. "I'll have the guestroom cleaned, our other guest packed, and a hot meal waiting," Sheila said. "And the sheets freshly washed, of course," she said to me after she'd hung up. "Which means we haven't much more time to use them."
We had a quick supper, and went to bed. By now, I'd made love more times than I had in decades, and I only had one little squirt of sperm left, which I was happy to bestow. "If all the sperm you've shot into me this weekend could be collected in a bowl, you could float little boats on it," she said.
"I wish it were enough to float a yacht," I told her.