Hi folks. This one is a bit different, but then maybe again it isn't. The reason why I think it's different is because I didn't make this one up. I also didn't read about this one on the net. This is a mostly true story. AlleyKat and I went to our first car show of the year, recently and an acquaintance of mine sat down and told me the whole story while people passed by and looked at our cars. He and his wife and daughter told me I could write the story. I did take a literary license and compress the evnts so they happened over a shorter time frame and I also took out a lot of drama involving his first wife coming back to haunt him, but it's absolutely true except for that. I should probably tell you though that his daughter's 04 GT now has similar rims and painted calipers to match her dad's 09 GT's. Thanks to Mikothebaby for her editing wizardry as usual and to AlleyKat for not insisting on new rims and calipers for her car after hearing this.
"Mom, please slow down," I told her over the phone. With the way that she was crying and whining, I couldn't make out a word she was saying. "Mom, just put Don on the phone, let him explain it to me."
"He isn't here," she blubbered. "I don't know where he is. He should at least have told me if he was going out after work."
"Mom, I'll be right over," I said. "Don't do anything stupid until I get there."
I drove right over to the house I'd grown up in and had only been out of for the past year or so. Traffic was light and pulling into the driveway, I noticed two things right away. One was that this place, even more than my apartment, felt like home. The second was that my mom, in full freak out mode, was actually correct. Don wasn't home.
Before dealing with my mom I gave him a call. He answered right away. That told me something. Don should have been Mom's first call. If he wasn't answering her calls, that told me that there was something going on between them.
"Hey, D," I said cheerfully. My cheer wasn't an affectation. I loved talking to that man. The only thing fake about the call was what I called him. I didn't call him D for Donald. It was my own little secret. I called him D for what I wanted him to be. I called him D for the way I'd thought about him for most of my twenty two years. I called him D for what all of my friends thought he was.
"Hi Honey," he said. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," I said. "I'm like you. I'm always calm. It's mom who's freaking out. Maybe you should drop what you're doing and come home to calm her down."
"I can't do that Honey," he said. It left me in shock. Don had never failed to drop anything for either me or my mom, ever."
"I think that maybe her friend from last night at the restaurant is the person you should probably call. Can I call you back later, or just see you tomorrow at work?"
"Yep, I'll be home as soon as I'm done calming mom down. I'll call you when I get in. We need to talk more about next week anyway. There's something that I need to tell you," I said.
"Uhm..." he paused and it scared the living shit out of me. I thought for just a second that maybe Don had figured out the game I'd been playing with him for all of these years.
"Okay, call me when you get in. But call my cell phone, okay?" he said.
"Of course," I said smiling. "We have to keep this between us for at least another week. We don't want Mom to know."
"Uh, yeah," he said. His entire tone bothered me. And there was something else. There was something about his tone that scared me. It was as if Don was upset. I'd never known that to happen before. The man was unflappable. Even when we'd had a fire in the middle of the night, he'd been eerily calm. While mom and I were running around like chickens with our heads cut off, he'd been as calm and organized as if it happened every day.
He'd assessed the situation and gotten us both out of the house and made several trips back in carrying all of their financial documents and most of my important belongings while dragging the garden hose into the house and almost putting the fire out himself before the fire department got there.
We lived in a hotel for three weeks while the house was fixed. I got a whole new wardrobe, but it wasn't that big a deal. Don had saved my laptop, and my favorite outfit and even my favorite games and teddy bear. He'd also rescued my mom's most cherished items. Unfortunately, there hadn't been time to save any of his own belongings.
When I cried after thinking about it, he'd laughed and told me that my mom and I were his favorite things in the house. I vowed to be just like him.
My mom on the other hand ... If you look up Drama Queen in the dictionary, they have her picture next to the definition. I was sure that whatever she was going off about was probably not very serious.
I walked into the house and saw that it was a mess. My mom was laid out on the sofa like a dying swan. There were boxes of tissues all around her and she was sobbing uncontrollably.
"What's wrong Mom?" I asked.
"At work today, I found out that all of my years of faithful service to that damned company mean nothing," she whimpered.
I groaned as I realized that this was just another one of her teacup tempests and I'd been sucked in. "Okay Mom, start from the beginning," I said. I had no idea how my life was about to be uprooted.
"About three weeks ago," she tearfully began. "The company hired a trio of new account execs. They're all young and just out of college. They're selling a lot of products and breathing new life into the company. The old man loves them. No one else does though, they're driven and arrogant." She blew her nose loudly and then continued.
"Anyway, for the past week or so, one of them has been treating me really nicely. He's been complimenting me and telling me how beautiful and sexy I am and..." She stopped and had to look at me because I was rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.
"What's so God damned funny?" she asked.
"Mom you're a forty two year old woman," I laughed.
"I'm the same age as Jennifer Aniston," she said.
"Yeah but Jennifer Aniston looks like she's thirty. You look like you're forty two on a good day," I said.
"Don always tells me that I'm beautiful too," she quipped. That was her last word on defense. She knew that if she said the magical word, "Don", I'd have to accept her logic, no matter how flawed it was.
"Yeah, but there's a reason for that," I said.
"What?" she asked.
"You'll find out someday," I said, smiling. I loved having a secret from her.
"Anyway, so Ted asked me to go out with him," she said. Suddenly alarm bells started going off in my head. The cheesy smile on my face evaporated.
"You didn't?" I asked.
"Of course I did," she said sadly. "I hadn't been out on a date in fourteen years. A young handsome man asked me to, so what was I supposed to do... ?"
"Mom, please tell me he didn't take you to a restaurant," I begged.
"Yes he did," she said. "I had him take me to that little Italian place that Don always takes me to and..." She looked down at me on the floor, shaking my head as my dream evaporated before my eyes.
"Oh, you don't know the bad part yet," she said, oblivious to the source of my pain. "When I got to work this morning, he acted like nothing had happened between us. Then I noticed everyone in the office laughing."
"They all thought it was funny that a nearly fifty year old woman went out with a man who's the same age as her twenty two year old daughter?" I asked.
"No," she said, quietly. "They kept walking past his desk and laughing and then I noticed why. He had my panties hanging from the lamp on his desk. I did the dumbest thing I possibly could have done too. No one knew whose panties they were. But I was so embarrassed that I went and took them. Then, one of the other new guys came over to him and handed him some money. It was all for a bet. They'd bet each other two dollars over which one of them could score with one of the secretaries faster."
I was in shock, but she just kept talking. I really wanted her to shut up but she kept talking.
"I went to see my boss and explained it to him. I wanted to charge Ted with sexual harassment. He brought one of the women from HR down and we went over the whole situation. Ted had asked me to go out and I'd accepted. He'd asked me back to his place and I'd gone. He hadn't forced me to have sex with him. I guess I'd done it willingly. I wasn't drunk or drugged and he'd never used his position at work to influence me. In fact, he wasn't my superior or in a position of any authority over me. So I had no case." She started sobbing again.
"He hadn't even told anyone whose panties they were. I was upset about it all day and when I got home, Don wasn't here. I couldn't have told him about it anyway, though."
"Why not?" I asked.
"Well, I told Don that I was going out with the girls," she said. "So he decided to go to the movies. I told him not to go and see Iron Man 3 because we were going to see that together," she said. "But anyway, when I got home Don wasn't here and I just broke down and..."
"You, stupid BITCH!" I screamed as I realized what had happened.
"Terri, don't take that tone with me. I'm your mother," she snapped. "And I've been through a terrible ordeal. I've been humiliated and abused and the sex was awful. And I get home, expecting to find someone to baby me and..." I couldn't help it, I glared at her.
"Shut up Mother, just shut the fuck up," I snapped. But she wouldn't. She just kept talking and crying, so finally I slapped her, just to shock her into shutting up. She stood there holding her face and looking at me strangely.
"You have no idea how stupid you've been Mother," I snapped at her. "You're standing there talking about being humiliated and hurt and you really have no fucking clue of what you've done."
"You're taking that tone again, young lady," she said.
"Mom, you've destroyed our family," I hissed. I couldn't help it, I was starting to cry. I turned away from her then and pulled out my phone. I redialed his number. As soon as he answered the phone, I just started talking.
"We have to have our talk in person," I said. "I want you to come to my place. Go there now. I'll be alone, I swear it. We need to talk, now."
He agreed and I turned back to look angrily at my mother. "You're obviously not going to be any help in this," she said. She picked up the phone and dialed a number.
"I wonder why Don hasn't called to tell me he's going to be late?" she asked stupidly.
"Probably because he isn't coming home," I snapped.
"What are you talking about Theresa," she asked.
"Mom, Don saw you last night at the restaurant with your guy," I said. Her eyes widened in surprise.
"Oh!" she said. "Well that complicates things a bit. So he knows I kind of fibbed or let him believe that I was going out with the girls. It'll take more than one lie to get him really angry with me though. But it's not like there's anything going on between Don and I."
"Is it too late for me to sign up for another mother?" I asked no one in particular.
"Seriously, Don and I..." she began.
"Just shut the fuck up mother," I hissed.
"Terri what..." she began.
"Mom, you're probably going to end up divorced over this," I said, shaking my head.
"Terri, don't be stupid," she laughed. "Don and I can't get divorced. We're not married."
"Mom you're the one who's stupid," I said. "I grew up in this house. Since I was seven years old, Don has been my Dad and all of my friends..."
"Donald is not your father," she laughed.
"I didn't say he was my father," I said. "I said he was my dad. My FATHER used to beat the shit out of YOU in front of me. My FATHER barely knew my fucking name when we left, and I was seven years old. My FATHER threw us out in the cold in the middle of winter without even coats to keep us warm."
"I didn't think that you remembered any of that?" she said.
"Oh yeah, I forgot all about a man who was in and out of jail for the whole time I knew him. Four years ago, when I turned eighteen he got out of jail and then got killed trying to rob someone. You and Don talked about it and decided not to tell me. You could have though because I didn't care. I didn't tell you about the other things either. I didn't tell you that I knew that Donald used to stay awake holding you when you woke up in the middle of the night screaming about my FATHER ass raping you or forcing you to fuck his friends either."
She looked at me in shock.
"I was lucky Mom," I said. "All of the shitty memories were pushed out of my psyche by better ones. I have memories of vacations at Disney world. I have memories of spectacular birthday parties and swing sets in the yard. I have memories of my Dad showing up at every school event, smiling and bursting with pride even when I was awful."
"My fourth grade play when I forgot my one line and froze ... He whispered it just loud enough to get me back on track. When I was terrible at things, my Dad encouraged me and made me feel better. When I was good, he praised me. He was always so proud of every little thing I did. Maybe my FATHER never gave a damn about me, but my DAD got into fistfights over bad calls at my softball games."
"I guess I never realized that you felt that way," she said. She had tears running down her cheeks. "I guess that perhaps he is a father figure for you. But Don and I don't have that kind of relationship. We're just housemates. I'm a strong, independent, modern woman. After your father ... I've never wanted a permanent relationship again and..."
I just started laughing. "Mom, we were homeless, with no money in the middle of winter when he found us and took us in. He got you your fucking job. Do you pay any rent here?"
"Uhm, no but..." she began.
"Mom, where do you sleep?" I asked.
"Well, we have an arrangement ... We're both healthy adults and we need sex, but there are no emotional attachments and..."
"Bullshit," I snapped. "There are three bedrooms in this house. You moved into his room after only six months. You could have moved back into the guest room whenever you wanted to. Whenever you're ready to go to sleep, you drag him in there with you. And as far as the sex thing goes, you like whatever he does to you. The average married couple has sex once or twice a week. You two were a lot more active."
"We still are," she quipped. "In fact, that's probably what I need to wipe out the bad memories of sex with Ted. He treated me like a whore and..." She stopped when she saw me shaking my head.
"You still don't get it Mom," I said. "It's over. You've destroyed our family."
"What family?" she asked. "Me, my daughter and our housemate. That's not a family."
"Mom, God damn it you're stupid. Wake the fuck up," I yelled. "In our state they have this thing called common law marriages. You and Don have cohabitated for a lot longer than the seven years necessary to establish one. And if you'd get your head out of your ass, you'd realized something else. All of your friends call Don your man, don't they?"
"That's only because they're all married and..." she began.
"Have you ever once corrected them when they do it?" I asked. She shook her head.
"That new woman from your job," I said. "The woman who was hitting on Don, then she tried to kiss him under the Mistletoe at the Christmas party last year. Why was it that you tried to start a fight with her again?"
"Okay, maybe I do have feelings for Donald but only because..."
"Mom, do you want to see things with Don end? I mean how long do you see the two of you staying together? You have a job and you don't need to take care of me anymore. Why are you still here? Why haven't you moved out on your own? I mean you're a strong, independent, modern woman right? You don't need a man to take care of you, right?" She just looked at me.
"Mom, who washes your back when you shower? Who rubs your feet after a hard day at work?" I asked. "Mom is it Ted that had you screaming, "fuck me," in the middle of the night when you thought I was asleep?"
"Mom, I know this will come as a blow to you, but you've been in love with Donald for more than fourteen years. You haven't tried to find someone to marry before this because you've already been married for since before you got the court to grant you a divorce from my deadbeat, jailbird FATHER." She nodded her head as if she could finally see it.
"What you also don't know Mother is that Don loves you too. I think he always has. And that's why this is so bad. He's wanted to tell you for the longest but he was afraid to because you're always going off about how strong and independent you are. I think you've listened to your feminist friends a bit too much Mother. It's really easy to be strong and independent when you've got a good man behind you. I wish I had a way to show you how badly you've fucked things up..." I went upstairs, dragging her with me.
"Terri slow down," she said. I went through all of Don's drawers until I found it. Then I handed it to her. Her eyes got huge as they focused on the small box and more tears ran down her cheeks.
"Is this?" she asked. I nodded.
"Next week is the anniversary of our family," I said. Fourteen years ago, Monday, Don found us. He wanted to ask you to marry him for real. He wanted to make us a real legal family. For some reason, that mattered to him. I think he wanted to be able to tell YOU how he feels about you, instead of just telling me how he feels about you."
She got the biggest dumbest smile on her face then. I took the ring back before she could even open the box.
"So I'll just talk to him," she said. "Me lying about a dinner date isn't a reason for us to break up."
"Mom, he saw you in a restaurant that the two of you go to together. You lied about going out with friends and you stayed out all night with a man. Put yourself in his shoes. The woman you love had sex with another man. You cheated on him. After fourteen fucking years, you cheated on him. You destroyed our family. Do you even know why Don was single when you met?"
She looked at me with a blank face. "He'd just gotten over a divorce," I said. "And it was really fucking nasty. Don had been in the army. He'd been overseas in desert storm. He had to stay over there after the war to help clean up and police the area so he was gone for almost a year. When he got home, his parents were helping his wife with his son. They talked about how much the baby looked like him.
His wife had fooled them into thinking that she'd visited him a couple of times and gotten pregnant. I had to laugh when he told me about the conversation he had with his dad, before he divorced his wife.
"His dad told him that he was blessed to have a strong healthy son. He just wished that Don could have been there for the birth. Don told him he wished even more that he'd been there for the conception. The divorce was nasty. Don's wife tried everything she could to keep him. She swore the baby was his all the way until the DNA results came back. Even then she swore that it would never happen again. The judge took a dim view of women who defrauded service men. He let Don have the divorce without any alimony or child support. His wife begged Don for another chance but she'd just hurt him too bad. According to Don, the guy who actually was the baby's father just disappeared. Don pretty much stayed away from women after that until you came along. And now with what you did..."
If I thought my mother had been crying when I first got there, it was nothing to compare to how she reacted when she realized what she'd done.
After leaving my mom still crying on the sofa and calling Don over and over, I drove back to my apartment. I pulled into my parking spot and saw Don's Mustang GT in one of the visitor's spots. I was shocked. Don had swapped out his rims and brake calipers. His red GT now had black rims with red details on them and his brake calipers were the same shade of red as the car's body panels. I was pissed immediately. If Don was putting money into the car, it meant that he was probably going to keep it for another year.
Don and I had a deal. I got his hand-me downs and I really wanted that car. Right now, I was driving Don's old 2004 Mustang GT. I loved my car but I wanted his more. Our cars were the same color. I imagined how black rims and red calipers would look on my car.
I smiled at the doorman who came over and told me that my dad was in my apartment. I took the elevator up and opened the door as quietly as I could. Don was sitting on my sofa watching TV.
"We have to get you a bigger TV," he smirked.
"Uh, my 32 inch plasma is fine," I said.
""Honey, the average TV set is 42 inches now," he said.
"Average, means that there are some bigger and some smaller," I told him. "Mine is one of the ones that are smaller. I love my TV now just as much as I did when you bought it for me. Can we stop avoiding the issue and talk about you and mom?" He smiled and looked away but I could still see the pain in his eyes. His iPhone chirped and he looked at the screen and then silenced it.
"She's not going to stop calling you," I said. He put the phone on the sofa near him. Even as he put it down the phone started to vibrate. He looked away from it as if that would stop it from demanding his attention.
"So I guess the wedding's off huh?" I said.
"I guess she never knew it was on," he said. "I never had the chance to even ask her. But in retrospect, maybe it's good that this happened. As much as this hurts, it would have been worse if it had happened after we got married, or even after we got engaged."
"Don, there's no such thing," I said. "In the eyes of the law, you two are married. If she went to a lawyer, that's exactly the way he'd pursue it. Remember the Lee Marvin case, from back when I was a kid? They even had to come up with a new term for the money he paid his long time live in lover. Remember they called it "Palimony?"
He nodded his head. "That's the way it works for famous millionaire movie stars. I don't think it's as cut and dry for regular people. We've never gotten married. We've never even mentioned it. We don't have any kids together..." He looked over at me. "I didn't mean that the way it sounded, Terri," he said.
"I know what you mean," I said sadly.
"No, you don't," he snapped. He turned and looked directly at me. "Terri, I couldn't possibly love you anymore if you were my own biological child. And this won't change anything between you and I. Our relationship will stay exactly the same. Things will just be different between your mother and me and..."
"But why Don?" I whined. "My mother ... she doesn't have a malicious bone in her body. She's not a rocket scientist, Don, but she loves you..."
"Then why did she... ?" he'd changed between sentences. His eyes were narrower and his voice was harsher.
"She was tricked, Dad," It's partially her own fault but come on ... She's getting older and she's starting to wonder if she's still attractive and she ran into a guy who was a real piece of shit. Do you even know what he did to her at work this morning?"
"Bent her over his desk and..." he began.
"No, silly, she said the sex was awful, he hung her panties over his..." I started.
"What did you call me?" he asked.
"Sorry, it just slipped out," I said looking down. I was too embarrassed to meet his eyes at first and then I felt a burst of courage moving up my spine.
"But you heard what I said," I spat looking straight into his eyes. "I'm sorry, Dad, but that's the way I've always felt about you. And you probably shouldn't be upset with mom because I lied to you too. I've been lying to you for a long time ... I"
"You're not a virgin?" he asked shocked. "You lied to me?"
"Every girl lies to her father about that," I smiled. "But that's not it. We'll talk about that some time waaaaaaaaaayyyyyy later. For now, let's just handle one lie at a time. Growing up all of my friends thought you were my dad."
"I know," he said smiling.
"No, you don't," I said. "They thought that because I told them you were. I told them that I didn't call you dad because you were one of those guys on a youth kick. You let me call you Don because hearing the word Dad made you feel old. There were a couple of moms and dads who really WERE like that so it didn't seem to be very weird. And I guess in my eyes, you did the job, so you might as well have the title. But now everything is just fucked up..." Tears filled my eyes and just like when I was a little girl, I threw myself in his lap and hugged him.
"Terri, don't worry about it," he said. "I'm honored and to tell you the truth, I've always felt that way about you too. In my heart, you've always been my daughter. Maybe it took something like this to bring it out. So maybe some good came with the pain."
"But we're supposed to be a family," I said.
"We are Honey," he said. "But maybe like a lot of your friends' families, we're going through a divorce. But ours is just going to be easier. You're the only kid. So we don't have to worry about who gets custody of you because you're already out of the house. Once I find a place to live, you can come and visit me or I can come and..."
"What are you talking about?" I asked. "You already owned the house when we moved in with you."
"I'm not sure I could live there," he said. "There are just too many memories and..."
"Dad, are you serious?" I asked. "You can't just give her your house."
"We all lived there," he said sadly. "It was OUR house." He stopped and smiled at me.
"Maybe I should give the house to you," he smiled. "It makes the most sense. In a few years, you'll get married and have kids hopefully. A growing family will need a house, not some tiny apartment. You could even keep your mom with you until your second child was born unless you had two of the same gender."
"Dad, she won't survive without you," I said. "Over the years, you've just spoiled her to the point that she just doesn't know how to take care of herself. Sure she can cook and shop and do some of the cleaning too, but without you, she's not going to be able to handle it. I'm not even sure she's going to be able to sleep tonight without you there." He just shrugged his shoulders. I guess that he was just being human but it seemed as though the thought of my mom not sleeping made him feel better. Maybe it was a normal reaction to think that the person who caused him pain was feeling his loss herself.
Perhaps it was some kind of validation that he mattered.
"Dad, I have an idea," I said. "Why don't you stay in my guest room until we either work this out or you find a place to stay, okay?"
Dad agreed and we sat in front of my TV and watched our usual shows. We tried not to talk about what was going on, but it was there in the room with us.
Later on, Dad went to sleep in my guest room and I called Mom to see how she was doing. She answered the phone on the first ring. "Terri, have you heard from him?" she asked. She was distraught.
"Yes Mom," I said. "He's really hurting, but other than that he's okay." I didn't want to lie to her but I wasn't going to tell her that he was here.
"Mom, we'll get through this but you have to realize that most of, if not all of this, is your fault," I said.
I could hear the pain in her voice as she answered me. "Terri, you're right," she sobbed. "I was so stupid. I didn't know I was married. When I get together with the girls, we all talk about how strong and independent we are as women. And the first con man that came along, just used a little bit of flattery to separate me from my panties. I feel stupid about that, but I feel worse because he separated me from Don too. I think I wanted to have my cake and eat it too. I wanted to be able to go out and have every one seeing me with a young attractive man on my arm. I guess I thought they'd see me as beautiful and mysterious. But now I know that Ted was just a fucking toupee or a sports car."
"Mom, it's way too late in the evening for you to use those insane metaphors and expect me to figure them out," I yawned.
"You know, when a man gets older and starts to lose his hair, he gets a toupee and he thinks it makes him young a virile again. But in reality, everyone is just laughing at him. Or the guys who buy a Porsche and think that having it will make them young again. I guess I thought that I could have Ted for the excitement and then come home to Don for love and affection."
"Yep, that sounds about right," I said.
"The worst thing about all of it," she said. "Is that now that Don is gone, I realize exactly how much I loved him and exactly how much he loved me. There are a thousand stupid little things that make love. It's not just, Oh God I want to spend the rest of my life with him, like we're two teenagers. I've been through that shit. It burns out. And in a lot of cases, it leaves you feeling like you've been through a hurricane when it's over."
"Terri, when I first met your biological father ... the attraction was so strong you could touch it. I felt this incredible pulling towards him that always ended in sex. But after a few weeks, it just burned out. A few weeks later, I was pregnant. Our parents forced us to get married and move in together. That was when we discovered that except for sex, we had nothing in common. We really didn't even know each other. But Terri, by the time that you were born, we'd been together long enough to actually know each other and discover that we didn't like each other."
"To me, your father was just an asshole. I started out this impressionable young girl. I couldn't imagine that the man whose child I'd borne would beat me. By the time we left there, I hated him. I couldn't see any reason why I'd ever fallen for him. I realized then that it had only been youth, stupidity and hormones."
"Your father saw it completely differently, of course. He hated me much sooner than I hated him. He saw me as an anchor around his neck. If it hadn't been for me and later on you, he could have gone away to college to play football. He could have hung out with all of his friends and did all of the things they did. He couldn't just throw some beer in the back of his friend's truck and go off camping for a couple of weeks, because he had us to think about. The longer we were together the worse it got."
"By the time that he threw us out, I was firmly convinced that I NEVER wanted another man in my life ever. Then Don came along. I wondered at first why the hell he'd want to saddle himself with a beaten down woman and a child. I figured that beggars couldn't be choosy, so I was willing to put up with him to put a roof over our heads as long as things didn't get too wild."
"I'm a grown up, Honey. I expected to have to put out a little. But even then, I figured it would probably be less humiliating than the things your father was making me do. But it never happened. And for the first few months, I made sure that you and Donald were never left alone together. I know it seems silly to you, but I had to watch out for you. He might have been some kind of pervert."
"I think I started to appreciate Donald when I noticed the way you followed him around, trying to help out with chores around the house. And he took time to show you and explain to you what he was doing. He amazed me even more by reading stories to you at night. He even got me a job." She smiled remembering that.
"Terri, do you know that was the first time that anyone other than my parents ever took me shopping," she smiled. "He bought me some clothes that I could wear to work. I tried on a lot of things that day. I often asked him for his opinion on them. I think that was the first time that I actually noticed the way he reacted to me. He really liked it when I tried on tighter skirts, but he actually told me what I could and couldn't wear in the office."
"It was a short time after that, when he started going out at night occasionally. You probably don't remember this but Don and I had a big argument," she said.
I didn't remember it at all.
"Oh yeah, Honey," She said. "Don was going out to bars and picking up women. I never would have found out about it except that one of the women he spent an evening with worked with me. She mentioned it the day after she noticed him when he picked me up after work."
"So we argued about it. The stupid thing is that the woman really wanted Don. She didn't know exactly what our relationship was. I didn't tell her that we weren't married and Don was within his rights to go out and pick up women. I just got angry."
"And Don, he hinted around but I had to beat him over the head to get him to admit that it had been our shopping trip that got him back in the mood for regular sex. So he came up with a solution," she said. Even over the phone, I could hear the joy in her voice.
"He thought that the two of you should start having sex, right?" I asked.
"No, he thought the two of us should make a schedule of which days we could date. It was a really stupid and complicated arrangement. Like, he got Monday, Wednesday and Friday as date nights. I got Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Whoever was the stay at home person would watch you. By that time I trusted him enough to watch you without me being there, so I guess it would have worked, but I had a better plan. I told him that we should just have sex with each other."
"I think he almost had a heart attack," she said. "But we agreed to it. We set down all kinds of rules for how we'd do it and when. It was odd for both of us. I just looked at convenience. I was still in my I hate men phase. But I didn't want Don sleeping with any other women. For some reason, Don just didn't register as a man to me."
"In the back of my mind, there was also the survival thing. I mean we had a very good set-up. I figured that if Don was dating, sooner or later he'd meet a woman that he wanted to be in a relationship with and you and I would have to move out."
"The whole sex thing was ridiculous. In the days that led up to the first time we did it, things got crazy between us. On one hand, I really wasn't excited about it. Don isn't the bad boy type like your father was. We didn't have that hormonal attraction thing going on. The sex was going to be just something I let him do to pay him back for the things he'd done for us, but also to make sure that he didn't find someone else."
"Don, on the other hand, was really nervous. He was almost too polite. And I later learned that there were two reasons for it. The first reason was because Don didn't want to do anything to make me change my mind about us having sex. And the second reason was because Don thought I was attractive. In all of the time that we'd been living together, he'd never told me. He hadn't gone around sneaking glimpses of me after showers or trying to look up my skirt. He hadn't tried to grab my ass or any of that shit. He was too nice for that. But it had been seeing me bending over in those skirts that had made him ready to forget his ex and move on."
"I still remember sneaking to his room that first time, while you were asleep," she laughed. "I figured I'd sneak in, let him have me and then sneak back out. I figured it would take twenty minutes or so. I was there for over two hours. It was the best sex I'd ever had." She laughed at my sharp intake of air.
"Terri, Honey, we all like different things," she said. "Don isn't a super stud. He doesn't have a foot long dick and he didn't pound me like drum. We didn't do fifty different positions and he didn't stay hard for an hour at a time. What he did was made me feel loved. He was so gentle and considerate. He tried his best to make sure that I enjoyed it too."
"Have you ever heard that expression, "Drive it like you stole it?" That's the way your father was with me. Donald treated me more like a treasured collector's car. I think you remember that our house is a three bedroom house. Originally, all three of us had our own rooms. As you got a little older, we decided that we needed an office to keep the computer in and where you could do your homework. Honey, that was a lie ... I mean we really did need a home office, but the real truth of the matter was that I'd gotten so comfortable sleeping with Don that I wanted to do it every night."
"It wasn't just the sex, Terri, it was everything. Like I told you, I occasionally had night mares when we first moved in. Don would hold my hand and rub my back until I went back to sleep. But that was nothing compared to sleeping the whole night in the arms of a man who really cares about you. I had never experienced that with your father. Your father, that asshole, used to just fuck me and roll over and go to sleep. He didn't cuddle me or even touch me afterwards. With Don, I just felt protected and ... loved. God Terri, I'm such a fool."
"Mom, we're going to fix this," I said. "Go to sleep and we'll talk tomorrow." As we hung up the phone, I wondered if there was a way to fix this. As I passed my guest room on my way to bed, I could hear Don tossing and turning. I felt sorry for him.
I'm a pretty heavy sleeper. Thing go in and out of my conscious and subconscious mind while I'm asleep. My brain must be on some kind of delay because there are times when I'm aware of things while I sleep, but I don't really process their meaning until later. During the next couple of hours, I recall Don getting up to go to the bathroom or get a drink. But I also recall my front door opening and closing. I got up myself after I realized it. I thought that Don had simply gotten up in the middle of the night and left. I wondered whether or not he could sleep. I decided to get up and check on him.
I peeked into the room and what I saw shocked the shit out of me. Don hadn't left at all. I ran back to my room and grabbed my phone. I took a bunch of still pictures and a short video, then closed the door and went back to bed.
When I woke up the next morning to get ready for work, my mother was sitting at my kitchen table. "Do you want me to make you some coffee?" she asked.
"Nope," I said smiling. "Why the hell are you so down?" I asked.
"I miss Don so much," she said. "I couldn't get to sleep last night. I was just out on my feet but I couldn't get to sleep. I came over here. I figured, I'd visit you for a while instead of trying to sleep in that big empty bed. I slept in your spare room. That mattress is incredible. I slept like a rock. But when I woke up, my problems were still there."
"Mom, do you even know what happened?" I asked her.
"What do you mean?" she asked.