Sex Story: Chapter 11 - I'm Winter Jennings, 32, former police officer, current private detective. A now-single mother with a horny son, a friendly-enough ex. My father is about to retire as a respected homicide captain here in Kansas City, Missouri. My work is usually routine, mostly computer-driven. Except when it isn't. Revenge porn, a cult, a wife beater, insurance scams, pimps. A particularly nasty psychiatrist. On a personal front, everyone who knows me well, knows I like sex. A lot.
Mindy had two sets of parents to sell. Her mother and father. Vanessa and me. She had decided to follow her heart, not her head, not unusual for a teenager. Or an any-ager I guess.
She wanted to enroll in L’École Culinaire right here in Kansas City. There’s a St. Louis one too, but Walker doesn’t reside in St. Louis.
It’s accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Colleges and Schools. I’m not sure what that is, but it received a nod from the U.S. Department of Education.
In any case it’s on the Plaza, an easy bus ride from the Crossroads. That is, if Rebecca and Phillip would let her move in with us for the 70 weeks the course work would take.
The four of us had mixed feelings. We all wanted to encourage Mindy’s creative side. And her independence. But a traditional university would have many academic and social advantages for the young girl.
Yet, there were still traces of Mindy’s Creed vulnerability. Living with her parents or with Vanessa and me was the kind of nurturing environment which did her some good. Maybe a lot of good.
In the end, Rebecca and Phillip and I decided to leave it up to Vanessa. She was already an unofficial mentor to Mindy. And Vanessa was in the business.
I’m sure Vanessa spent more time at the school than any other parent in the country. Actually talked them into changing some of the curriculum.
The main refinement Vanessa made, and I’m bragging on the woman I love, was to get the students out of the fucking classroom and into real, live, working restaurants. BEAR for one. But Vanessa is well respected in the community and several other restauranteurs were willing to open their kitchens and front rooms to budding restauranteurs.
Vanessa told Rebecca and Phillip and me, “It’s a degree program to get the students into entry level of management. So Mindy will learn discipline, hone some skills that can translate to other vocations. And she’ll pick up some credits that she can use when she does go to college.”
We knew that Vanessa, in her innate kindness, was putting a positive spin on a rather larky teenage decision. Then Phillip said, “Oh hell, let’s let her chase her dream. She’s young enough.”
Rebecca nodded, “I’m already looking at it like a gap year. She’ll learn a lot even if it’s not in a standard classroom.”
The kids would be ecstatic. But I still had the feeling that the four of us had been played. And played well by Mindy. She got to live where she wanted, sleep with Walker every night, and chase her culinary dreams.
That night, snuggled with Vanessa, I whispered, “Even if she did manipulate us, that shows a valuable skill set. One that will be useful down the road.”
Vanessa kissed me, “You’re so sweet. And you’re a tough gal in a tough business. But naive about personal stuff, babylove. This was Walker. All the way.”
Shit. It was Walker who had played us. Can’t blame him, he now has pussy every night. Beyond the sex, he loves Mindy. As much as a little boy can love a little girl. In a way, I am proud of him for fooling three out of four adults.
But I am the fucking detective in the family. Apparently a clueless detective. Another epitaph, ‘Winter Jennings, clueless, but she didn’t piss herself.’
It took me only three nights of following Coleen Reilly. She left Modell’s at 4 in the afternoon and drove her beaten-up Honda to one of two Hyatt Place hotels in Overland Park. This one on West 110th Street. Not the one on West 112th Street. Fucking Kansas.
Pretty upscale for a single mother working part time.
I wasn’t 100% positive that I’d see her with Parker Fairleigh as I waited in the lobby doing digital stuff. She could be fucking a lot of different men. But ... intuition.
Neither of them had seen me, but I nevertheless buried myself behind a Kansas City Star. Coleen I wasn’t worried about. Batshit ... yes.
I knew what he looked like from the Chubb files and from Cathy’s online searches. And 45-minutes later, Coleen on his arm, he crossed the lobby and went out to the parking lot. Looking just like he was supposed to.
He was short, not much taller than I am. Short but powerful looking. A five-o-clock shadow that showed up in every photograph I’ve seen of the man. He was dressed casually, khaki slacks and a muted sport shirt. He didn’t have the look of a man who had just scored some pussy, but maybe that was an everyday occurrence for him.
Without investing one hell of a lot more time, and even that might not pay off, I felt I had enough to make the case with Chubb.
Freeman Potter agreed with me. The short, fat, polished insurance executive just glanced at the lobby shot of Fairleigh and Coleen. Nodded. Handed me a voucher for $12,000. A small bonus for ‘solving’ the mystery.
I said, “Now what?”
“Arthur Modell will admit the stamps have been stolen. Confess directly to Fairleigh. We’ll cover the loss, minus the deductible. Arther will tell Fairleigh he feels so bad about the security lapse that he’s retiring.”
Potter shrugged, “Not the worst outcome. Ordinarily we’d fight it tooth and nail.” Shrugged again, “Fairleigh.”
It pays to have a reputation for chewing off genitals. And using meathooks.
But I knew Chubb had a reinsurance policy and would eat only a piece of the tab. Batshit would be fleecing more than one corporation.
What would happen to Coleen Reilly? Nothing. From our side anyway. She’d been a minor conduit of info for Fairleigh. He used his own past connections. A former foot soldier easily entered the shop with a yegg who found the cheap safe laughably easy.
Another confederate purchased the cheap replacement stamps and mounted them in the album.
Coleen was, mainly, pussy on the side. Plus Potter knew she was a train wreck waiting to happen. Her future was not a salubrious one.
I suppose it was inevitable. No, not inevitable but certainly not surprising, that Daddy and I had a case that intertwined. We both toil in neighboring vineyards and Kansas City is a relatively small town. Plus we both work the underbelly.
Fortunately for me, and unfortunately for me, the case involved that nightmare ogre, Hugo Blenheim.
We held a small celebration in a neighborhood rec center between Troost and Prospect. Our little East Side Sisters had completed five years of service. Walker had been 9 at the time we launched, a completely different guy.
We invited everyone -- those mothers and daughters who were in the program, those who had been, those who never were.
Because we were using our own money, we went first class on the food. Everything else -- music, decorations, speeches if any, we left to the residents.
The Star and two television stations covered it. I pretended like I didn’t know that Sergeant Louise Finch, who lived in the area, was behind the media presence. Vanessa, Peggy and I stayed off camera, this was a day for the residents.
Bulldog Bannerman, the legendary fixer, showed up with the mayor for a token appearance. One of them stayed on the media sidelines.
When they hear Vanessa and me stirring on a weekend morning, the kids, led by Mindy, feel absolutely free to come in our bedroom to visit. At least they bring us coffee.
Vanessa is perfectly comfortable being seen in the nude. I’m trying to figure out why I am too.
Okay, stop fishing for internal compliments. I know I’m fairly hot. The best tan in town, the kids tell me. And terrific boobs I’m becoming better about not comparing myself to the incomparable. While accepting my own recalibrated post-marriage, self-image.
Still, Vanessa is Vanessa.
In Mindy’s case, it’s partly a celebration of her fairly new freedom. Fucking Walker, living here. With Vanessa, it’s a natural casualness spiked with an amused knowledge of how much it enflames Walker.
With me ... well, I’m not sure.
I grinned, remembering last Sunday morning. It hadn’t been planned. Vanessa and I shower together, shampoo each other’s hair. Conditioner. Walker had done Mindy’s hair too. So sweet.
Somehow, the three of us, Vanessa, Mindy and I ended up in the kitchen wearing only a towel around our head. Walker at least had a towel around his waist. But when his erection poked out the slit, Mindy got the giggles. Then Vanessa.
As his mother, it was not funny to me.
It must have been someone else who laughed out loud.
Peggy Rawlings came by our loft when she knew Vanessa was at BEAR’s and Mindy was at L’École. Peggy had a serious expression as Walker poured us coffee at the kitchen table.
“I’m divorcing Jerry.”
Shit. Almost 20 years of marriage.
“I’m sorry, Peggy. Truly.”
Walker said, “Me too.”
We both felt bad, probably some guilt too. Peggy had been so instrumental in our lives. Then she wasn’t. Post-Vanessa.
“I’m taking Ryan with me.”
Ryan. Her youngest son. Her favorite son. Fathered by Peggy’s brother, also named Ryan.
She looked at Walker. Looked at me. “I’m fucking him. His father caught us. Jerry caught us.”
A bombshell. But not a totally unanticipated one to me. Walker gasped, but was smart enough not to say anything. Good boy.
“It was only a matter of time. I’ve been fucking him for three years.” She shrugged, “Maybe I wanted to get caught.”
The sunlight streaming in from our Main Street windows mocked the bleak conversation.
I focused on practicalities, trying to keep a neutral, non-judgemental tone.
No, Jerry wasn’t going to turn her in. Yes, he’d figured out Ryan wasn’t his son. No, he didn’t know Peggy’s brother was the father. Yes, Peggy and Ryan had a place to live.
“It’s nice enough. A two-bedroom apartment, City Place in Westport.”
An apartment complex for young singles.
“Peggy, how is your financial situation?”
“Okay. Jerry isn’t going to punish me. We’ll get by. I may look for work.”
Peggy had never worked since she went away to college. But her husband seemed to do okay. Jerry was a structural engineer, traveled the world. Which had been mostly a positive thing, given Peggy’s serial affairs with other men and women.
Walker was trying to mask his shock. He had grown up knowing his godmother was a wild woman. But fucking her own son? Jesus.
After Peggy left, I had a long talk with him. “I’ll tell Vanessa of course. No secrets. But I’d rather you didn’t tell Mindy.”
Sometimes, no usually, I can tell. Walker needs a hug. I wrapped my arms around his waist as tightly as I could. He was almost a head taller than I am. He whispered, “My god.”
I made light, “Talking about Peggy? Or my tits?”
He stepped back, still looking solemn. But he was trying, “You have the best boobs in town, Winter.” He twirled one nipple with his thumb and index finger, then the other. Sometimes I let him cop a little feel. This was absolutely one of those times.
I was wearing only my black ‘I Suck Cocks’ tee-shirt. No bra. I continued to let my son fondle me. It somehow seemed appropriate as he tried to digest the shocker.
Still trying to lighten the mood, he said, “You know this mother - son thing...”
I didn’t help him out. Curious where he was going.
“Winter ... um, you know how I used to jack off to you.”
“Well I still do.”
I don’t need reassurances about my sexiness. Well, not that often. But his admission pleased me. In both a maternal and definitely non-motherly way. As did the bulge in his khaki shorts.
He blushed, “You wouldn’t would you ... I mean ... I think about. Sometimes. Oh god, what am I saying? I’m sorry, Winter. So fucking sorry.”
I gave him casual, “Don’t be, Walk.” I squeezed his bulge, “I think about it too.”
My son, my beloved son, sucked in his breath and spurted off into his shorts, face blazing red. When Walker is a little embarrassed, which around Mindy, Vanessa and me is often, his cheeks turn pink. When he’s mortified, like now, the tops of his ears and his cheeks go deep red.
“Shower. Change. We’re going to go tell Vanessa. I don’t want her hearing about Peggy from anyone else.”
Vanessa turned the entire Broadway loft decorating project over to me. I do have an actual flair for it. We receive a lot of compliments on our Wrigley loft.
The good thing is there is no hurry, no timetable for Broadway. Which has a couple of positives. Our investment account is lower because of the down on the new loft. Plus the $2,800 monthly payment. So, no hurry to refurnish. Vanessa and I sometimes spend the night there when she’s working late. Of course there’s already more than enough furniture. She lived there before we married.
Walker and Mindy sometimes stay a weekend there. Not to get away from the adults, we let them do whatever they want. No, I imagine it’s to stay naked all weekend, to fuck like little minks all over the joint.
The second benefit to a leisurely pace is that I have more time to shop. And I can focus on quality since I can do one piece at a time. An interior designer, a real one, in my New York college days told me, “What you leave out can be more important than what you put in.” I’ve always remembered her words. The philosophy probably applies to other things as well. Recipes maybe. Writing perhaps.
I’m 33 now. I figure I’ve lived about a third of my life. Optimistic I know. But do I want to go the rest of my life without a man in my bed? Vanessa doesn’t want me to. Walker has mixed feelings. So do I.
About once a month Vanessa, Mindy and I have a Spa Sunday. Our stylist Wendy brings over two of her Korean nail girls and it’s a relaxing day of hair, waxing, manicures, pedicures, massages.
I send Walker away for three or four hours. We three sybarites come out of the shower and just stay nude for the duration. Vanessa and Mindy certainly wouldn’t mind if Walker stayed home and watched. But I am his mother and there have to be limits.
I’m pretty sure about that.
We let Mindy select the playlists and she cranks the music up pretty high. Which is fine, the Wrigley is so solid that there’s very little noise seepage between floors.