Seeing the Possibilities

by Ann Douglas

Copyright© 2014 by Ann Douglas. All rights reserved.

Erotica Sex Story: Sometimes you just have to see the possibilities.

Caution: This Erotica Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa   Consensual   Fiction   First   Oral Sex   .

Morning’s first light beamed through the open bedroom window as a naked Billy Burke opened his eyes and attempted to shake off the after-effects of a deep sleep. The room that slowly came into focus around him was unfamiliar at first, but became more recognizable as his vision cleared. The room took on a frightening clarity as the dark haired nineteen year old not only remembered where he was, but who he was with. A realization that was enough to almost still his heart.

Trying hard to overcome his panic, he carefully began to turn, hoping not to disturb the equally naked woman still sleeping only a foot away. With her back turned towards him, all Billy could see was that part of her back and shoulders above the blue sheet, along with the back of her short, dark red hair. He didn’t need to see her face to know it belonged to a woman twice his age. More importantly, it was the face of his best friend’s mother.

Billy took a deep breath, hoping to dispel the last of the night’s fog and sort through the events that had led him here. But as he did so, he realized that it wasn’t last night that the journey had begun, but on an even warmer night a few months back.

The backyard barbecue to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial had finally broken up about ten o’clock, and as he had originally planned, Billy Burke was staying over at the North’ house where the party had been held. He and Tommy North had been friends almost as far back as either could remember, ever since Tommy and his mother had moved onto the block back when he was in sixth grade.

The Fourth of July blowout had been more than just a celebration of the country’s two hundredth birthday; it had also been a goodbye party for Tommy. Next Saturday, he was moving down to San Diego to spend the rest of the summer with his Dad before enrolling for the fall term at Southern California State.

The Northes had divorced just before Kay and Tommy moved to Lakewood and Billy had only seen pictures of Thomas North Sr. Tommy never discussed why his parents had split in the six years they’d known each other, but Billy always assumed it had to have been something pretty bad for them to have had to put two hundred miles between them afterwards.

Billy and Tommy had always seemed unlikely friends, at least to those didn’t really know them. A year apart in age, Billy was on his second go around in the grade they’d met in, having failed both math and science. Tommy, on the other hand, quickly found a place on the honor role after just his first semester. Billy was an all around jock, playing baseball and ice hockey in both middle and high schools, while Tommy spent his free time in the school labs and library. Yet, despite these differences, the two had become and remained the best of friends.

It was well past midnight when Billy, rising to answer nature’s call, headed down to the small bathroom by the kitchen. The upstairs bathroom was closer, but it was also right next to Mrs. North’ bedroom and he didn’t want to chance waking her this late at night. It was only after he was exiting the closet sized facility that he noticed that the kitchen light was on. Curious, he stepped inside to investigate.

“Oh, hi Mrs. North,” Billy said once he stepped inside and saw the forty- two year old sitting at the kitchen table in her bathrobe. Resting in front of her was a steaming cup of tea and a small tray of biscuits.

Surprised, Kay North looked up and smiled, saying as she did that she hoped she hadn’t woken Billy up by making too much noise. Billy laughed as he explained that he had come downstairs to use the bathroom to avoid doing the same with her.

“Well, as long as you’re up, would you like a cup of tea?” Kay asked.

“Sure, why not?” Billy replied, thinking as he pulled out one of the empty chairs at the small metal and Formica table that he really wasn’t all that tired anyway.

As Kay took another cup out of the cabinet and a teabag out of a container on the counter, Billy thought again how different Mrs. North was from his own mother. They were just about the same age, but you would never know it from the way the woman now pouring hot water over the teabag acted.

It certainly wasn’t a physical thing. If asked to describe Kay North, Billy would’ve been hard pressed to come up with any words other than average looking, or at the best, good for a woman her age. Descriptions that he could just as easily apply to any of his other friend’s mothers. You knew of course that they were women and not just mothers, but you really didn’t think of them as sexual. Well, at least not most of them.

The exception of course had to be Lila McCann, Susan McCann’s mother. Five foot six, with dark brown hair, movie star looks and a body that half the girls at Eisenhower High would envy, Mrs. McCann was hardly what you thought of as somebody’s mom. Just last month, at the pool party for Susan’s graduation, the forty-one year old had appeared in a two piece bathing suit that had brought more than a small measure of embarrassment to just about every teenage boy in attendance - Billy included.

No, it was more a matter of personality and attitude. Kay North wrote a newspaper column for the Telegraph, a weekly paper, called Kay’s Korner. Highly popular, the subject of each column was entirely up to her and in the five years she had been writing it, she’d left readers with reactions varying from amusement to outright shock. But even when the latter was the case, they were always there the following Friday when her next missive appeared.

“Did you have a good time at the party?” Kay asked as she sat the mug down in front of Billy, sliding the biscuits towards him as well.

“Absolutely, it was a total blast,” Billy said, reaching for the small milk pitcher on the center of the table. “I know Tommy had a great time too.”

“You don’t know how glad I am to hear that,” Kay said as she sat back down. “I got so busy making sure everything was going right that I didn’t have a chance to ask him.”

“Trust me, I don’t think there was anyone there that didn’t enjoy themselves,” Billy said as he took a sip of the hot brew after pouring a bit of milk into it.

“I wanted the night to be special for him,” Kay said, sipping from her own cup. “I still can’t believe he’ll be gone in less than a week.”

“Me either,” Billy replied, adding a bit more milk to his cup.

“I really wish he was going to a college closer to home,” Kay remarked, “but Southern California State was his father’s alma mater and since he’s the one paying the tuition, I can’t complain too much. It is a really good school after all.”

Billy subconsciously filed away one more little fact about the never seen Mr. North. He obviously was well off enough to be able to afford to send his son to a quite expensive school. His own prospects for higher education would’ve depended on an sports scholarship, but he was nowhere near that good an athlete.

“So what are your plans come the fall?” Kay asked. “Still not interested in going to college?”

“Nah, Tommy’s the one with the brains,” Billy replied. “ We all know that if it wasn’t for all the tutoring he gave me this last year I might not have even made it out of high school.”

“Not that I think that’s totally true, he enjoyed helping you,” she interjected. “And I think that he benefited from the things you helped him with just as much as those he helped you with, if not more.”

“I didn’t really do anything for him that he couldn’t have done for himself,” Billy insisted. “In fact, I really can’t think of anything I did that made that much of a difference.”

“Oh I don’t know about that,” Kay said with a mischievous grin. “I would think that getting him laid for his birthday certainly made a big difference in his life. Certainly more than passing trigonometry had on yours.”

Billy choked on his tea, barely managing not to spit out a mouthful all over the table. With disbelief on his face, he carefully put the mug back down on the table.

“Didn’t think I knew about that, did you?” Kay laughed.

The look on his face said that he obviously didn’t.

“I’m not going to say that Rachel Morgenstern would’ve been my choice for my son’s first time, given the reputation that seems to follow her around, but I will admit that balling a cheerleader certainly did wonders for his self-esteem,” Kay continued. “It also seems to have definitely dispelled that nasty rumor that Tommy might not be all boy. Yes, I knew about that too.”

“I took care of the asshole that was spreading that rumor,” Billy quickly said, upset that Mrs. North had even known about it.

“That you did, dear,” Kay smiled, laying her hand on his, “and I do appreciate that you wanted to protect Tommy. I just want to be sure that you understand that not every problem can be solved by beating the shit out of some idiot, no matter how much he might have deserved it. Rumors take on a life of their own and while he might not continue to spread them, it’s near impossible to take them back. The best you can do is to disprove them, which, I’ll also say, you do seem to have also done quite nicely.”

Billy smiled.

“I am somewhat curious how you ever managed to pair Tommy up with someone like Rachel Morgenstern,” Kay added, “I love my son dearly, but even I’m going to admit that Rachel is way out of his class.”

“I think you’re selling Tommy short,” Billy insisted. “He has a lot of fine qualities that girls admire.”

“Not girls like Rachel,” Kay replied, but then tossed the matter aside. “But what’s done is done, and it does seem to have worked out for the best.”

Billy was glad to hear that, because there was no way he could ever have explained why Rachel had agreed to pop Tommy’s cherry. The honest truth was that he’d never even explained it to Tommy, at least not totally. At best, he got half a truth.

Rachel Morgenstern liked guys, and guys liked her, that was pretty much common knowledge. What wasn’t was the fact that Rachel also liked girls - well, one girl in particular at least. Molly Perez had been Rachel’s best friend since grade school and had become much more than that during their freshman year at Eisenhower.

It hadn’t been that hard for them to keep the change in their relationship a secret because no one thought it odd that two girls who’d been friends that long would spend so much time together. Then, one day last semester, they had been alone in the locker room after cheerleading practice and thinking everyone else was long gone, had allowed passion to overcome caution. Unfortunately, it turned out they hadn’t been alone as they’d thought.

The sounds of their indiscretion had carried out into the hall, all the way down to the coach’s office. Hearing footsteps coming down the corridor, the two had bolted, but Rachel had been a few seconds too slow and was spotted by Carol Miller, the girl’s swim coach.

When she’d been questioned the next day, Rachel couldn’t explain away what Coach Miller had overheard. But at the same time, she also adamantly refused to identify who she’d been with, despite the coach’s determination for her to do so. Not even the threat of an indefinite suspension lessened her resolve.

By pure chance, Billy had been in the outer office waiting for the baseball coach and overheard the entire conversation. While Billy might not have been great with the books, he wasn’t stupid by any means. In his mind, there were two possibilities why Rachel wouldn’t identify who she’d been with. One was that it had been a teacher, which he thought possible but unlikely. The other, well, he’d watched enough porn to imagine what the other possibility might have been.

Rachel and he weren’t exactly friends but they got along well enough. At least well enough that he was willing to help her out of a difficult situation. Walking into the inner office, he confessed that he had been the one with Rachel and in doing so shared in a week’s suspension.

“Not that I’m not grateful, but why?” Rachel asked once they were out of the office and anyone else’s hearing.

“Does it matter?” Billy asked with a smile. “Just tell me that it wasn’t a teacher.”

“God no!” Rachel exclaimed, shocked even at the suggestion.

“I didn’t think it was,” he said, now sure he had made the right decision.

“I really can’t explain why, but you have no idea how much I owe you,” Rachel said, coming up so close to him that her breasts were practically brushing against his chest. “If I can do anything for you, all you have to do is ask, and I do mean anything.”

“I wasn’t looking for some kind of reward,” Billy said, thinking at the same time he really had to be some kind of idiot to turn down what she was obviously offering.

“Regardless, I think you’re entitled to one,” Rachel smiled as she took a half step back. “Think about it and let me know.”

“Okay, I’ll do that,” Billy grinned, thinking that he now had a whole week to do just that.

“Okay, so school is out, at least for now,” he heard Kay say, snapping him back from his recollection. “Have you given any thought as to a job?”

“Actually I have,” he replied. “I’ve been working at McFarlane’s Hardware part time the last few months and they want me to up that to full time. I also have a few other things I’m working on.”

“Well, that’s a start at least,” Kay said. “I’ve seen too many young men get out of high school with no idea what to do next.”

There was a lull in the conversation as they both worked on their tea and biscuits. Then Kay turned to a more personal subject.

“I noticed at the party that you were spending a lot of time with Kelly McGowen,” Kay said as she put down her mug. “Please tell me that you’re not starting up with her again.”

“It’s complicated,” Billy said.

“Oh, is that what they are calling it nowadays?” Kay smiled, a smile that Billy had seen too many times to know that she wasn’t going to accept such a simple answer.

As far back as he could remember, one of the best parts of being friends with Tommy had been the kitchen table chats with his mother. Unlike most adults, Kay had always treated him as an adult, or at least as appropriate to his age as possible. Their conversations had always been educational to say the least and he had learned to value her opinion.

“I know that I’ve had problems with Kelly in the past,” Billy replied after a long pause, “but she says she’s changed.”

“Of course she has,” Kay said, her lack of belief in the possibility clearly evident.

Over the last two years, Billy and Kelly had been a couple three different times, the length of their relationship varying from a brief two months to two thirds of the senior year. Each time they had started off like a blazing inferno, but ended up as cold as a pair of ice sculptures.

“This time I think she means it,” Billy said.

“And you believe that?” Kay asked.

Billy didn’t answer, but the look on his face said that he couldn’t say that with certainty.

“Billy, I’ve always given you my honest opinion, and I think you’ve always appreciated that,” Kay said. “So unless you tell me different, I’m going to continue to do just that.”

“I wouldn’t want that to change,” Billy replied, Kay’s expression showing that was exactly the answer she was looking for.

“Kelly McGowen is a beautiful girl, there’s no denying that,” she said without pause, “and I’d have to be blind not to see why you’re attracted to her. But when I look at her, I also see a girl who is, what we used to call, very high maintenance. And a girl like that isn’t what you need in your life right now.”

“I think you make her sound a lot worse than she is,” Billy replied.

“You think so?” she countered. “Tell me, what was the reason the two of you broke up this last time?”

“Kelly said that she was tired of me not being always there when she needed me,” Billy answered, “that I was spending too much time on other, less important things.”

“In other words,” Kay said, “you had the audacity to have a life that didn’t totally revolve around her all the time.”

“Well, when you put it like that you make it sound like...” he started to say.

“I make it sound exactly like it was,” Kay cut him off.

Billy wanted to say she was wrong but deep inside he knew she wasn’t.

“Tell me honestly, what is the best thing about going out with Kelly,” Kay asked, “the part that you miss the most?”

Billy didn’t even have to think about the answer, but he was reluctant to voice it. The reddening of his face gave Kay a pretty good indication of what it was.

“It was the sex, wasn’t it?” she inquired.

Still unable to actually say it, Billy nodded his head.

“Well, as much as you might expect me to say I’m shocked, I’m not,” Kay said. “I mean, after all, I was your age once.”

That was another thing Billy sometimes had difficulty imagining about the older generation. That they had once been his age and consumed by the same desires.

“So I guess the question should be, if you take sex out of the equation, what else is there about being with Kelly that you miss?” Kay corrected.

A long silence filled the air as Billy thought long and hard about the question. An answer didn’t seem to be forthcoming.

“Okay,” Kay said, after waiting just a bit longer for Billy to come up with an answer, “let’s just assume for the sake of discussion that the only thing you and Kelly have in common is sex.”

Billy made one last attempt to come up with a better answer, but again drew a blank.

“You’ll probably also find this surprising, but I don’t have a problem with a relationship based just on sex,” Kay said, “but that being said, it’s important that you both know that’s all it is.”

Kay was right, Billy was indeed surprised to hear her express such a sentiment.

“So, if we were to ask Kelly the same question, what do you think her answer would be?” Kay asked. “Do you think it would be the same as yours?”

Again Billy found himself dumbfounded. It wasn’t like he and Kelly had ever had a deep discussion about what their relationship meant. Typically, they’d go out and grab a bite to eat, or maybe catch a movie. The only constant seemed to be that by the end of the night they’d wind up getting naked somewhere, or as close to it as possible.

“Let me tell you how I see the two of you,” Kay continued. “I look at you and see a bright, hardworking, and I must say good looking young man, just starting out in life. Someone who should be enjoying this time and seeing what life has to offer.”

Billy smiled at her description of him.

“Kelly, on the other hand, is indeed beautiful and sexy but not exactly the brightest of girls. True, she has learned to make the most of what she has, but now she’s been thrust out of the safe cocoon of high school and has to face the real world,” Kay said, “and I’m willing to bet just about anything that she isn’t happy with what she sees.”

Kay paused a moment to see if Billy had any comment on her assessment of Kelly. None were forthcoming.

“In my opinion, she has three possible options,” Kay went on. “She could go on to college, but unless her parents literally have money to burn, I don’t see this as a worthwhile endeavor.”

Billy couldn’t find fault with that; Kelly’s grades were worse than his.

“Secondly, she could do what you’ve done and get herself a job,” Kay said. “Not everyone is cut out for college and there are plenty of good jobs that you don’t need a degree for.”

That was something Billy himself was counting on.

“The thing is,” Kay continued, “I don’t see Kelly going down this road, because from what I’ve seen of her these past few years, she’s been all too content to have someone else do all the heavy lifting for her. Has she ever so much as had a part time job?”

The answer to that had to be a definite no, Billy thought. Kelly never had so much as a babysitting job.

“No, I can only imagine Kelly deciding, if she hadn’t already done so, on option number three,” she concluded, “and that’s to find someone who is going to continue to take care of her, to the extent that she can just sit back and enjoy the ride.”

“So that’s why you think she wants to date me again?” Billy asked.

“Well, dating is only going to take her so far,” Kay explained, “at least at this point in her life. In high school her father took care of everything, but there’s no guarantee that he’d be willing to continue to do and not expecting her to contribute, which brings her back to option two. No, she would need someone to assume full responsibility for her wants and needs indefinitely.”

“You make it sound like she’s looking for a husband,” Billy laughed.

He stopped laughing when he saw an expression on her face that seemed to say ‘bingo.’

“No...” Billy said.

“I’m just calling it as I see it,” Kay replied.

“So you think that I shouldn’t go out with her again?” Billy asked.

“What I think doesn’t matter,” Kay answered, “that’s entirely up to you. After all, I could be wrong. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time. What I do think is that you should at least be forewarned so you can make a rational decision if and when the time comes. I’ve seen too many young men do their thinking with the wrong head and pay for it for the rest of their lives.”

Heading back up the stairs, Billy considered everything Mrs. North had said. She certainly had given him something to think about. Especially since, during the party, he’d already agreed to go to the movies with Kelly next weekend.

As scary as the possibilities she presented were, he didn’t think they warranted him canceling the date. They did, however, make him determined to look at the situation with a more objective eye. If nothing else, he’d be sure to think with the right head, something he hadn’t always done in the past. At least as far as Kelly was concerned.

“Welcome back,” Tommy North said as he lifted his head off the pillow when he saw Billy come back into his room. “I was about to send out a search party.”

“I went downstairs to pee and ran into your mom in the kitchen,” Billy said as he slipped back into the spare bed. “We got to talking and you know how that goes.”

“Discuss anything interesting?” Tommy asked.

“Just how neither of us is really going to miss you when you leave this weekend,” Billy grinned.

“Screw you,” Tommy playfully said.

“Oh by the way,” Billy said in a similar tone. “It seems that your mom knows all about you and Rachel Morgenstern.”

“I know,” Tommy replied, “I’m the one that told her.”

“You did what?” Billy asked.

“I told her,” Tommy said as if it was the most natural thing for him to have talked to her about. “Mom and I are close, we don’t have any secrets from each other.”

“You’re shitting me,” Billy said, sure that his friend was kidding. “And I suppose she shares details about her sex life with you too,” he added sarcastically.

“Just enough for me to know that she has one,” Tommy smirked.

“Fuck!” Billy said as it finally hit him that Tommy was serious.

“I think she was worried that I might run into some strange guy in the hall one night and freak,” Tommy suggested.

“I didn’t know your mom was dating anyone,” Billy said, still absorbing the revelation.

“I’m really not sure you’d call it dating,” Tommy said. “It’s more in the line of needing a little ‘company’ now and then.”

“Oh,” Billy said, his friend’s emphasis on the word ‘company’ suggesting a much more literal meaning than he might have given it otherwise. Suddenly Mrs. North’ earlier comment on having a relationship based just on sex took on a new perspective.

“Have you?” Billy asked, his curiosity stirred. “Run into anyone in the halls I mean?”

“No,” Billy said, before rolling over towards the wall, bringing the conversation to a close, “but I don’t think she would’ve told me if she didn’t think there wasn’t a possibility that I might.”

As Billy rolled over in his own bed, he found it hard to drift off back to sleep. The thought of Kay North as a sexually active woman was going to take some getting used to.

“Okay, so that’s a gallon of primer and two gallons of the Sunset Yellow,” Sean McFarlane said as he jotted down the order on his pad. “Is there anything else that I can get for you, Mrs. North?”

“No, I think that’ll do it, Mr. McFarlane,” Kay said to the fifty-five year old store owner. “I’ve been putting off redoing the basement party room for as long as I can remember, but now that Tommy’s away at school I’ve run out of excuses not to take care of it.”

“And how is the lad doing?” the white haired man asked.

“Very well, thank you,” she replied. “I miss him of course, but being out on his own has really done wonders for him. He’s grown so much in just a few months.”

“That’s usually the way,” he said, remembering his own daughters now grown. “Are you planning to do the painting yourself?”

“Heavens no,” she laughed. “I’d wind up wearing more of it than I got on the walls. Now that I’ve finally decided on a color, I’ll hire a handyman to do the actual work.”

“I thought that might be the case,” Sean smiled, “and I think I might have just the man for you. He’s just starting out, but he does excellent work.”

“Well, if you’re recommending him, I’m sure he must,” Kay replied, having had dealings with the older man many times over the years and knowing his exacting standards.

“He’s a very nice young man and a wizard with a brush and rollers,” he said. “In fact, he did my darling Kate’s sewing room last month and I’ve never seen a finer job.”

“Then I’d obviously be a fool not to hire him,” Kay laughed. “Do you have a number for him that I could call?”

“No need, that’s him coming back in now,” Sean said as the bell on the front door chimed and a tall, muscular young man stepped back inside carrying a large box in his arms.

Kay turned her head in the direction of the store entrance and was surprised to find a familiar face. She had totally forgotten Billy having mentioned that he was going to be working at the hardware store and hadn’t seen him since the night before Tommy had left for San Diego.

“Billy, come over here and meet...” Sean started to say, only to be interrupted as the stock boy spotted the woman standing at the front counter.

“Mrs. North,” he said with a broad smile.

“Hello Billy,” she said with an equally wide smile.

“Ah, so you already know each other,” Sean said, stating the obvious. “Excellent. I’ll just let the two of you work out the specifics then.”

“Specifics of what?” Billy asked as he put the box down on a empty space on the counter.

Kay quickly explained that she was planning to redo the playroom and how Mr. McFarlane had recommended him for the job.

“I don’t know,” Billy said, hesitation in his voice.

“Is there a problem?” Kay asked, confusion in hers.

“I’d feel kind of funny taking money from you,” Billy said. “I mean, I’d be happy to paint the room for you but...”

“But nothing,” Kay interrupted. “Do you charge other people when you do a painting job?”

“Well, yes...”

“And do you give them a professional job?”

“Of course.”

“Then I expect nothing less,” she said. “And I would think that by now you’d know better than to argue with me,” she added with a grin.

They spent a few more minutes ironing out details, with Kay giving him her spare house key so that he could start the job whenever he had the time. Billy in turn promised to stop by on Thursday night to clear out the room and come back on Friday night to tape up the walls and such. The painting itself, he would do over the weekend.

“Billy, the job doesn’t have to be done by Monday,” Kay said. “I don’t expect you to cancel whatever plans you have for the weekend.”

“I didn’t have any other plans,” Billy replied, his tone saying there was more to it.

“No date with Kelly?” Kay asked out of curiosity, having been told by her son before he left that the two of them had indeed begun dating again.

“That ... that didn’t work out,” he said.

“Oh, I’m sorry to hear that,” she said, even though she really wasn’t.

“Turns out you were right,” Billy said.

“I was right?” Kay asked, not sure exactly what he meant.

“We weren’t even going out again a month before every conversation seemed to center around how nice it would be to plan a future together,” he said, reminding Kay what she had forgotten telling him months before.

What Billy left out was that, as part of their new beginning, Kelly had decided to put the genie back in the bottle and declared herself ‘revirginized.’ Simply put, there would be no more physicality in their relationship until there was a ring on her finger. If she’d thought that was going to motivate Billy to do so, she found herself sorely mistaken. Without the carousel ride, Billy quickly saw that the brass ring was hardly worth a lifetime commitment.

Billy leaned back on the small folding chair, the only piece of furniture left in the room aside from the makeshift worktable he had constructed out of plywood and two garbage cans. True to his word, he had come over to the North’ house on Thursday night and cleared out the playroom. Then he’d come back last night and patched up any cracks in the wall, taping up anything that needed covering.

Mrs. North had been home when he’d come around on Thursday, but not on Friday, having mentioned that she was going to a social event over in Concord and planned to stay overnight rather than drive back after midnight. With the house to himself and not feeling tired, even after a full day at the hardware store, Billy decided to get a head start and put down a primer coat. He finished that about one in the morning and after taking a short nap on the couch out in the hall, he added a second coat before heading home.

Returning to the still empty house this morning, Billy went right to work on his first coat of Sunset Yellow, finishing up before noon, and then came back around five to finish up the job with a final coat - a full day ahead of schedule. Since he was getting paid by the job and not the hour, he was immensely pleased with himself.

‘I guess what they say is true,’ Billy thought as he took a pull from the cold bottle of beer he had liberated from the basement refrigerator, ‘there is nothing more boring than watching paint dry.’

Technically, his work was done an hour ago, but because he wanted every job to be as perfect as possible, he wanted to wait until the walls were at least partially dry to see if there were any spots that needed touching up. But as he waited, the long hours, coupled with the beer, caught up with him and he drifted off to sleep.

“This, I have to say, is one impressive job,” Billy heard a familiar voice say, snapping him out of his nap.

He opened his eyes to find Kay North, dressed in an short sleeved, knee length blue dress, standing in the center of the room, surveying his work. Her back was to him, but he didn’t need to see her face to know that she was smiling.

The sound of his stirring caused her to turn, taking a step closer as she did. Billy followed her gaze and realized he’d left the empty beer bottle sitting on the floor by the chair.

“I hope you don’t mind,” he said, glancing down at the bottle.

“Please,” Kay chuckled, “as if that’s the first bottle you and Tommy ever snuck out of the basement fridge.”

Billy grinned, as that was certainly true.

“In fact, that doesn’t seem like a bad idea,” Kay decided. “Why don’t you get yourself another and bring me one too.”

Dropping the empty bottle in the trash can next to the refrigerator, Billy glanced at the wall clock and noted that it was ten past nine. He’s been asleep for about two hours.

Coming back into the playroom, he found Kay still admiring his handiwork. He passed her one of the bottles and watched her pop the top of the bottle off on the edge of his makeshift table. Then handing him the open bottle, she did the same to the other.

“How much were you charging me again?” Kay asked as she lifted her bottle to her lips.

Billy repeated the price they had agreed upon.

“Damn, did I get a bargain,” Kay laughed.

Billy laughed too before excusing himself to give the room the final inspection he had planned to do before he’d dozed off. Finding two small spots he felt should be touched up, he quickly did so.

“You know, I think you probably still have some clothes up in Tommy’s room,” Kay said as she noted several paint blotches on Billy’s coverall. “Why don’t you take a look and I’ll toss that into the washer?”

Glancing down at the patches of yellow on his tan outfit, Billy decided that wasn’t a bad idea. He took a moment to make sure that none of the stains were still wet, least he leave paint somewhere along the way, then headed up to the second floor bedroom.

Tommy’s room was, Billy decided, the neatest he had ever seen it. A fact that illustrated his friend’s absence more than anything else. Checking the dresser where he often left clothes, he found a clean t-shirt and pair of gym shorts which he changed into. There hadn’t been any undershorts in the drawer to replace those he took off, but he figured it wouldn’t hurt to go commando for the hour or so it would take to wash and dry his clothes.

Coming back down the stairs, he was met by Mrs. North who relieved him of the small bundle. She told him to have a seat in the living room and she’d take care of the wash. When she reappeared a few minutes later, it was with two new bottles of beer in her hand.

“I figured the ones we left down in the basement were just about done anyway,” she said as she handed him one of the bottles.

Billy hadn’t planned on having a third beer but he accepted it anyway. After all, nothing said he had to finish it. And if he did, he was sure Mrs. North wouldn’t mind him crashing in Tommy’s room if he didn’t feel it wise to drive home.

“I have to say again how impressed I am with the job you did,” Kay said as she took a seat on the other side of the couch. “How did you learn to paint so well?”

“One of my Dad’s friends is a general contractor and I worked as his helper on weekends,” Billy said as he took a drink from his bottle. “I liked doing it, so I figured it might not be a bad idea to try it professionally.”

“Definitely not, especially if you can produce results like that,” Kay commented. “People are always looking for skilled craftsmen.”

“I hope so,” Billy replied. “Still, it takes time to build up enough of a customer base to think of it as anything more than a part time gig. That’s why I have the job at the hardware store too.”

“I’m sure you’re going to succeed at it,” Kay smiled, “but it’s good that you’re being realistic and have a back up plan as well.”

They chatted a bit more about his plans, with Kay promising to recommend him to a few people she knew wanted to have some work done around their houses.

“Have you heard from Tommy lately?” she asked, changing the topic.

Billy had in fact gotten a letter from him just the other day. He wasn’t sure if he should mention it though, in case he was writing him but not her. Thankfully, Kay mentioned in her next breath that she’d also just gotten a letter.

“He’s really enjoying himself down at Southern Cal,” she said, echoing sentiments he’d mentioned in Billy’s letter, “both in the academic challenges and the new friends he’s been making.”

Billy smiled. It was those new friends that had occupied the bulk of his last two letters from Tommy. In them he had excitedly related his discovery that college girls were as impressed with intellectual prowess as high school girls had been with physical. In fact, he’d already slept with two girls he’d met in class.

“Of course he really didn’t go into detail,” Kay said in reference to her own letter, “but I know my son well enough to be able to read between the lines. I think it’s safe to say he no longer has a confidence problem with girls.”

That was an understatement, Billy thought, taking another drink. For the first time since he’d met him, Billy had been envious of his friend.

Tommy had shared his dismay when he ran into Sarah and Crystal, the two girls he’d mentioned before, at lunch one day and learned that not only did they know each other, but actually lived in the same dorm. Something he had failed to notice in the thrill of having been invited back to their rooms.

Amazingly, rather than being upset, both seemed to find it funny that they’d inadvertently shared the same bedmate. In fact, the two girls totally blew his mind when, as casually as if they were discussing setting up a study date, they broached the possibility of all three of them getting together one night. Yes, college certainly was different than high school.

“Excuse me?” Billy said, so wrapped up in the visual that had filled his head that he didn’t hear what Kay had just asked him.

“So how has your social life been going, now that things didn’t work out with Kelly?” she repeated. “I hope you haven’t been spending every weekend working.”

Actually, that was exactly what he’d been doing. With putting in a full week at McFarlane’s, the weekend was usually the only time he had to try and develop his fledgling business.

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