We met in college, a long way from home for either of us. I came from a comfortable middle class home, parents just celebrating thirty years together.
I was the middle child, an older sister and a younger brother. Didn’t have any of the normal middle child issues, because according to my mother, ignoring me was like trying to fill a tub with a thimble, possible, but not probable.
Not that I was a whiny kid. Just demanded my due. I had always been a little obsessive[I preferred to use the word driven], and when I wanted to do something, learn something, go somewhere, I did everything in my power to make it happen. I got a lot of this from my grandfather.
He was seventy, and he was taking dancing lessons with my grandmother, something she had always wanted to do. They were taking lessons twice a week, practicing constantly, happy to show us their new moves. Then one night, in the middle of a waltz in the biggest ballroom in town, she collapsed.
She passed two hours later, a stroke. The doctors were puzzled, she was in really great shape for someone her age. A couple of months after the funeral my grandfather sat me down for a long talk.
“If you want to do something, do it now. We’d talked about dance lessons for forty years before we actually took them. One thing I’ve learned from this, you never know when it’s your time. So do it now, son. If you want something, don’t wait.”
It became my personal mantra. I studied like mad, to the point I jumped a class in middle school, and one in high school. Graduated top of my class at sixteen. I worked, even though I didn’t need to, saved every dime. Got a fake ID, got on a plane, went to Carnival in Rio. Had sex for the first time, with two women. Liked it so much I basically fucked my way through a month long hike in the Andes. Then went from there to Europe, spent a month in Germany. Loved those blond goddesses.
I called home a few times, just to let my parents know I was alive. My mom cried, my dad railed, then told me to be careful. I came home just in time to get into my dorm. I was on a full ride scholarship, and my parents sent me money from time to time. And the first thing I did was get a part time job.
College was interesting for a seventeen year old. I looked and acted older, so no one asked my age. Thanks to my travels, I knew how to please women, something the coeds soon learned. I never lacked for companionship.
I didn’t take summer breaks, and graduated in three years, second in my class. Got an entry level job at a major firm, and worked my ass off. Went as far as I could without an MBA, and after I got passed over for promotion twice, I tendered my resignation. They weren’t happy, I was one of their top producers.
We reached an agreement. They would partially fund my quest for an MBA, give me half days at full pay. I had to sign a contract for five years service after graduation, but I liked the company, so it worked out for everyone.
I was twenty four when I met Elsa. She was nineteen, fresh faced and eager to take on the world. We were in the library, and I heard her cursing under her breath, she was obviously having trouble. I looked at her book, a class I had taken years before.
“That’s wrong,” I said, looking at her answer.
“I know that, dumbass.” she snarled not looking up. I laughed.
“I may be a dumbass, but I know the correct answer.”
“Well then help me, and don’t tell me the answer, tell me how to get it.”
So we went outside and I spent thirty minutes walking her through it. When she got it, her smile was like a sunrise.
“Thanks,” she gushed, “do you tutor?”
“Only redheaded freshmen with potty mouths. You got it now, the rest will be easy.”
She was five four, red hair that shined in the sun. Oddly, she had brown eyes. Nice body. Smallish breasts[34A, I found out later], trim waist, and a cute little butt. Great legs, for her height.
I left her. I had done my good deed for the day.
I ran into her two weeks later at the library, again. I felt a presence, and looked up.
“I’m stuck again. See you outside.”
I sat right where I was. Five minutes later she was back.
“Why didn’t you come out?”
“Because I didn’t hear the magic word.”
“You don’t seem dense, you’ll figure it out eventually.”
The next day she was back.
“Hi. I’m stuck. If you have a moment, could you help me. Please?”
“Ah, the magic word. How could I refuse?”
I ended up helping her get through her freshman year. She was on a scholarship just like I was at her age. She was from a single parent household, and money was tight. He mom took every overtime hour she could get to help her out.
I had my condo, a loft in the business district. I helped facilitate the deal that enabled the developer to acquire the whole street. As a gesture of gratitude, he let me have the smallest for a very reasonable price. We still work with his firm.
She lived in a dorm, with all the noise and distractions. I remembered well what that was like, so I took her home.
“Wow,” she said, looking at the space. “Who decorated?”
“Wow again.” She looked at my ‘history wall’, my life in pictures. My childhood. A few from Carnival, from the Andes, Germany. My high school and college diplomas, and graduation pictures. My family. No women.
“How old are you?”
“For the third time, wow.”
“Enough. You’re here to study.”
We didn’t date until after her sophomore year. She had acclimated to college life, and used the study habits I taught her to good advantage. We talked every time we crossed paths.
Then one Friday night she knocked on my door. She had obviously been crying. I brought her in, gave her a cup of tea.
“Want to talk?”
“Yes. No. What I really need is a place to sleep. Can I use your couch?”
I got it out of her in bits and pieces. She and her new roommate basically hated each other. They’d had a big fight, so she went to spend the night with her boyfriend, to find her place in his bed occupied by another.
The couch was a foldout, I sometimes had my younger brother stay with me, between jobs. I had helped him get two so far. I didn’t hold out a lot of hope he’d last at either one, and I was right. Finally he moved back home.
I put fresh sheets on, gave her a tee shirt to sleep in, and went to bed. Got up the next morning to find her still asleep. She’d tangled the sheets up, and one leg was out, all the way up to her hip, the sides of her tiny panties visible.
One good thing abut living in a loft in a business district, all you had to do was walk downstairs to shop. Two doors down was a bagel shop that had been there for forty years. The best in town, in my opinion. The drink was selection was outstanding, if you liked coffee or coffee. Sal couldn’t even pronounce barista,
let alone consider hiring one. The coffee was the best, dark and strong. I got half a dozen bagels, some flavored spreads, and two large coffees.
She was still asleep when I got back, so I set out the bagels and spreads, and waved the coffee under her nose. Her eyes popped open.
“Where am I?” she asked, disoriented.
“My condo. Remember last night?”
It came back to her, and her smile faded.
“Shit! Well, I’m not going to let that bother me now. What’s that smell?”
She ate three bagels, she hadn’t had anything since lunch the day before. Sated, she sat back and sighed.
“Thank you? Can I hang out here for awhile?”
“Sure, until about four. I have a date tonight, and I don’t want to explain to her how I happen to have a hot little redhead lounging around in one of my shirts and pink bikini panties.”
She blushed, tugging the shirt down.
“I need to change.”
“Don’t bother on my account,” I said, grinning.
Showing some humor for the first time, she stuck out her tongue and threw a napkin at me, before flouncing off to the bathroom. I was cleaning the table when she called out to me.
She was standing at the door, looking back over her shoulder.
“Barry? They’re not bikinis, it’s a thong.”
She had flipped the tail of the shirt up, showing that cute bottom in all its’ glory. Instead of being flustered, I did a half bow.
“I stand corrected. Nice ass, by the way.”
She colored, but was giggling as she closed the door. I heard the shower run, and she came back out in her jeans, but still had my shirt on. She helped me tidy up the apartment, remarking how clean it was, and asked if I had a service.
“No. I live alone, if you tidy up as you go, it doesn’t take much to keep it clean. And I don’t really like letting others do what I can do myself.”
“Wow seems to be my favorite word for you. Apparently you’re successful, you’re good looking, polite, why aren’t you married?”
I laughed and told her the truth. I hadn’t fallen in love yet.
To shorten it, she broke up with her ‘asshole’ boyfriend. She would date occasionally, but told me she wasn’t looking.
“I’m waiting to fall in love, and it won’t be with him.” she once told me, when I asked why she stopped seeing a guy I thought she liked.
I got her an internship with my company that summer. It was a different department, we were a large company spread out over three floors, and I hardly ever saw her.
They were having their Fourth of July picnic when fate brought us together again. I didn’t bring a date, not planning to stay, and she hadn’t brought one, having the same plan in mind.
The CEO thwarted that when he asked us to help with the children, set up the games, generally supervise so the parents could enjoy themselves. I had no problem, I liked children, planned on having a few myself someday.
Soon we were surrounded. There were a few other adults, and they were smart enough to dump the two to four year old group on us.
It was like herding cats. Their attention span was at best thirty seconds, and then they scattered in different directions. We wrangled them for two hours, and were exhausted when lunch time came around. We grabbed a plate, and found a empty gazebo to hide in.
We talked, she told me about her job, I told her about finally getting the promotion I wanted. Before we knew it two hours had flown by. I drove her back to the apartment she shared with three other girls.
She gave me a nice kiss.
“You’re welcome,” thinking she meant for the ride.
“No,” she said. “I mean thank you for getting me this job. It takes a lot of the burden off my mother. And thank you for getting me through freshman year.”
“Again, you’re welcome.”
She was wearing a white tank top and pink shorts. She grabbed my hand.
“Look, she said, twirling around. “What you see here is a full grown woman. One that would like to ask you out. Wanna do something with me?”
I hadn’t really thought about it. She was hot, I just never thought about her as a woman. I grinned suddenly, watching her expectant face.
“No,” I said, letting her face fall. “I’m not comfortable with women who ask me out. But, I have tickets to the Fallen Dolls concert next week, care to join me?”
The Fallen Dolls were an all woman group, up and coming on the music scene. Their first CD was headed for gold, and Rolling Stone called them this generations’ GoGos. It was next to impossible to get a ticket.
She went from sad to joyous in about three seconds.
“Let me think about it yes Yes YES!”
“Great. The concert is at eight, I’ll pick you up at six and we’ll have something light before we go. Don’t want to be jumping up and down on a full stomach.”
I surprised her when I showed op on my Vulcan, a 1300 Kawasaki Vtwin I’d gotten five weeks ago. I put her helmet on and adjusted it, told her to hold on tight, and took off.
We had a nice light dinner, and took in the show. They tore the house down, and afterwards we stopped off to have a beer. I had one, couldn’t be too careful on a bike. We were talking about the band.
“Which one is your favorite?”
“Ginger Adams. Seems I’ve developed a thing for hot redheads.”
She blushed and held my arm tighter. By the time school started she had moved in with me, avoiding the dorms.
She was no virgin, but then who expects that from a junior in college? She wasn’t very experienced, confessing she had only had four lovers, if you count the three minutes in high school when she lost her virginity. When I went down on her, she went crazy, flooding my mouth in four minutes. Though not a screamer, she loved to talk during sex, the hotter I got her, she dirtier her mouth got.
“Oh fuck! That’s it, that’s it, right there. Eat that cunt, I’m gonna cum so hard on that tongue!”
“Wimp! Pound this pussy. Fuck me like you mean it, or get off! Oh, Oh, shitfuckdamn, here it comes!”
She was hot, flexible, insatiable. I thought she was going to kill me. She was also a true redhead, though she shaved, and all I ever saw was a little stubble now and then. By the time graduation came, we had set a date.
We went to break the news to her mother. I had talked on the phone with her a couple of times, but hadn’t actually met her until we went to pick her up for graduation.
She opened the door, and the first thing I thought was she never told me she had an older sister. When I found out it was indeed her mother I raised an eyebrow. She was a hotter, STRESS hotter, taller, better developed version of Elsa.
I started grinning and unexpectedly hugged her.
“What was that for?”
Still grinning, I told her to ask me again in twenty years. I got the story out of her over the weekend. She’d been a hellion, one that her parents couldn’t control. She rolled up pregnant at a very early age, she wouldn’t exactly say how early, and her parents disowned her. Her grandmother took her in, on the condition she keep the child. So Elsa got raised by a teenage single mom and her sixty year old grandmother. Elsa had never met her grandparents.
Sarah was a hell of a woman, putting her life on hold until her child was raised. She dated exactly six times while Elsa grew up. She had started going out, when Elsa went off to college. Still couldn’t find a man that interested her enough to be thinking about anything of permanence.
We got married, a small ceremony attended by my family, her mom, and our work and college friends.
I got her mother a job at my company and helped her get a nice apartment close by. I would even take her to lunch every couple of weeks. Elsa complained I took her mother out more than I did her. It was funny, watching my mother in law get hit on. She finally told them I was her husband to keep the wolves at bay. We looked close enough in age to pull it off. Elsa didn’t think it was nearly as funny as we did.
Things went along great for a few years. Elsa had gotten a job in her field, making decent money, even had to travel a day or so every month or two.
We were happy. Sarah and my family hit it off, and we sometimes went on vacation as a group.
I caught my brother sniffing around Sarah, even though she was old enough to be his mother, and the look in her eye told me he was about to get an unpleasant experience. I heard the slap that night, her room was below ours and I was sitting on the balcony. I got down in time to see Jack holding his jaw while Sarah tried to fix a strap on her sundress. I was heading for him when she put her hand on my arm.
“Stop, Barry,” she said. “He isn’t worth it. How you two came from the family is beyond me.”
She turned to him.
“Jack, from now on, stay away from me. If we find ourselves in the same room alone, leave. Understand? I’ll be polite to you to keep peace in the family, but that’s it.
Jack was drunk, something all too common these days. Sarah was standing slightly behind me, still with her hand on my arm.
“I get it,” he snarled drunkenly, “keeping her for yourself. Is she as good as her daughter? How’s it feel in a redhead sandwich?”
I hit him before I thought, knocking him cold.
She tried to get me to take him to his room, but I just dragged him out on the beach, telling Sarah to make sure her door was locked. She gave me a hug and a thank you as I left.
No one said anything, but my parents knew something was up. The next week the folks gave him an ultimatum. Get help, or get gone. He had no job, no insurance, but he went into rehab. I paid half and my sister paid the other half.
He stayed straight for five months, before falling off the wagon again. He disappeared, and we didn’t see him for years.
Elsa was sitting in the living room. It was evident she had been crying. I took her hands.
“What is it. My folks? Jack? Is your mom all right?”
“No. Everyone is fine. I’m pregnant, honey.”
We hadn’t planned on it, but it thrilled me.
“How? Never mind, stupid question. We have to plan. Time to get a house. we have to get you to the doctor. We have to think about names. We need to tell our folks.”
I was babbling, so she kissed me.
“You’re not mad?”
“You gave me one of the greatest gifts a man can receive, and you want to know if I’m mad? I’ve never loved you more.”
She started crying again, tears of relief.
Sarah was overjoyed. My parents were over the moon. Soon both moms and Elsa were deeply into baby talk. My dad drew me aside.
“Stay out of the way. Everybody will be a lot happier.”
Pregnant sex was great, she never seemed satisfied. Things were going great for a few months, then something happened.
It was between her and her mom. Sarah stopped coming around, completely. I called her, wanting answers.
“I’ll always be there for you, Barry. Call me when she goes into labor. But right now, I can’t be around her. It’s up to her to tell you why.
I asked El, but she said it was a woman thing, and I wouldn’t understand. It upset my mom so bad she went to see Sarah. She came back looking thoughtful.
“Something bad happened between them, son. She won’t say what it is, but I don’t know if they’ll ever mend fences.”
So the last three months, instead of being the happiest in my life, went by with a shadow hanging over it. Elsa became so withdrawn I worried about her health.
It all came to a head three weeks before her due date. She was sitting huddled on the end of the couch. She had been to the doctor that day, and my first thought was something was wrong with the baby.
“Is everything all right?” I asked, reaching her.
“No, everything is wrong. The baby is fine though. I need to tell you something.”
So I sat there and listened to my world come apart. She was having an affair. For the last year.
“I don’t love him!” she wailed.
The anger was starting to come.
“Well then, who do you love? You obviously don’t love me, or you wouldn’t have done this to me. Who is he?”
“I won’t tell you. I don’t want you in trouble or hurt.”
“well, El, guess fucking what? I’m already hurt. And if you don’t tell me, I’ll dog everyone of your friends and coworkers until I find out. You know me, if I want something bad enough I usually get it. Eventually, somebody will tell me, if for no other reason to get rid of me. Save us all a bunch of drama.”
“Oh yeah, I notice you never said you were through with him. Did he enjoy riding that baby bump as much as me? Does he rub lotion on your tummy to lessen the stretch marks? I haven’t seen him at Lamaze, scheduling conflict?”
I was pacing back and forth while she cried.
“Tell me something. Why did you confess now? Why wouldn’t you keep your mouth shut? I’d have never known.”
I stopped in midstride, an awful thought rising in my mind.
“Oh my God! Is he Black? Asian? Mexican? It’s the only reason you’d confess. Tell me now, the truth will come out anyway in a couple of weeks.” She just cried harder. I grabbed a jacket. I had to leave. I walked out the door hearing her cry out for me, begging me to stay.
My parents lived in another town. With no one else to turn to, I ended up at Sarahs’ door. She took one look and new.
“Damn. She told you. Come here, honey.”
She wrapped her arms around me and I cried like a baby. When I calmed down, I had questions I hoped she had answers to.
“Why would she do this to us? If she wanted out, why didn’t she tell me.”
“I can’t tell you that, honey. From what she told me, I don’t think she does either. Since it’s out in the open, I guess it doesn’t matter if I tell you this. She still sees him. Not for sex, right now, of course, but she does.”
“I guess stress drove her to tell me. I was furious, I want you to know. I’ve never had a good man, and here she has the best man I’ve ever met, and she dumps all over him. She would have never told you, but she’s afraid the baby will be black, and you’d find out anyway. Any thoughts on what you want to do?”
“So he’s black? I knew it had to be something like that. Short term, I have no idea. I guess it depends on the baby. If it’s mine, I’ll try to work it out. If it’s black, we’re done.”
I was devastated. It was completely unexpected. If the signs were there, I was too dense to see them. During several heated exchanges over the next month I ended every argument by asking her why. Where was I lacking? Was a better lover? All the things betrayed men ask, including the big one.
“Do you love him?”
She never really answered my questions, but she assured me she had cut off all contact with him.
She went into a screaming fit when I told her how it was going to be.
“If the baby isn’t mine, we’re over. If it is mine, we still may be over. I’ve been thinking about it. You don’t have a girls’ night out, you only travel maybe one day every couple of months, and you’re pretty much here when you’re supposed to be. That leads me to believe that it’s a workplace romance. IF we stay together, you’re never going back there. This is not up for debate. And I get the first inkling you’re seeing him somehow, the marriage is over, that second.”
It was a tense three weeks. Her doctor was so worried he hospitalized her the week before her due date.
She kept trying to tell me about it, but I shut her down every time.
“All I need to know is that the baby is mine, and that he’s history. I’ve talked to my bosses, I still owe them two years. They’ve agreed to let me transfer. I’ll lose a little money, but it’ll be all right. And El, if you decide not to go, understand the baby is going with me. Think about it. One more thing, I can’t guarantee even then that we’ll stay together.”
After that discussion she went into the hospital. Six days later I got the call at work. I always had the illusion that babies always came in the middle of the night, usually in the middle of a blizzard or tornado. But no, it was a sunny Thursday in May, at one in the afternoon.
I had planned on being in the birthing room, but just couldn’t make myself do it. Sarah stood in.
She came out once, saying she was begging me to see her. I refused. I’m sure the doctors and nurses thought I was the biggest asshole in the world, but I didn’t care.
Sarah came out again at six, looking worn out. She hugged me, crying.
“You have a son, eight pounds even. I think he’ll have red hair.”
I lost it, crying.
We went down to the nursery. I was looking at him, wanting to get in to hold my son, when I saw him.
Tall, slender, good looking I guess. He was scanning the bassinets, looking intently at the black children. I knew instantly who he was. Son of a bitch, she had to have called him.
Sarah saw the look in my eyes, and tried to hold me. He must have recognized me and saw the murder in my eyes, because he instantly turned and ran. I lost him in the lobby because a security guard tried to get in the way. I ran right over him, but by the time I got to the parking lot he was getting in his car. A new Camaro, red with black stripes. I’d remember that.
It took a little explaining and an apology to the security guard, but they let me back in. El cried when she was told I had requested a paternity test. It was just a formality, the baby looked a lot like my sister when she was a baby.
By now everyone involved knew the whole sordid story, and things were tense in her room.
She had been nursing, and when he was done, she asked if I wanted to hold my son.
“Yes I do. Sarah, would you get him for me?” No way I was getting close enough to touch her. She started crying again.
He’s yours honey. Why can’t you forgive me?”
By then I had him in my arms. I walked him around, looking at the ultimate miracle of life, our brief attempt at immortality, calming down before I answered.
“You didn’t know that until you saw him, though, did you? You must have covered your bets, how did you get word to him? Text, call? Did you let someone else know so they could tell him?”
I went to her purse, getting her phone. She begged me to leave it alone.
I found the text, showed it to Sarah and my mom.
I had his number now. He recognized the number and answered immediately. I had it on speaker.
“Hey babe. Saw the kid. We dodged a bullet there, huh? Has he calmed down yet? I’d hate to kick his ass.”
“Hey babe. If you were so interested in kicking my ass why didn’t you stop running? I got your number now, asshole, and I know what you drive. I’ll find you soon, I know where you work. Wonder what management would think about your little romance? Better grow eyes in the back of your head. I’m coming for you.”
He hung up.
I took my son[I hoped]and walked out before anyone could stop me. Sarah caught me at the elevator. Mom was right behind her.
“You can’t just walk out with the baby, son. They’ll be released tomorrow, you can take him then. Can I please hold my grandchild?”
I gave him to mom, during all the drama she never got to hold him.
The next day we went home. After a lot of promises, and a lot of tears, we decided to stay together. El quit her job after she came off maternity leave, and stayed home for six months before going back to work, across town from her old job. It took another two months before we made love. It was pretty pitiful. We both acted like we were trying to fuck a porcupine. But it got better.
We saw a counselor. I went three times before we both saw she was the one who needed it, so she went twice a week, with a joint session every two weeks.
I hadn’t quite got the trust back, but I was working on it. One day I decided to surprise her at work. Things had been really good lately, her mood had improved, and I was in the neighborhood, working with the developer who had sold me my condo. We had it up for sale before all this happened, and had mad an offer on a three bedroom house with a nice lot out in suburbia.
I parked in the visitor spaces, and I was walking towards the door, when I saw it. A red Camaro with black stripes. I had never found out his name, she begged me for the sake of our son to drop my search.
“You don’t want to see your son grow up while you’re behind bars.”
I walked over, surprised to find it unlocked. I pulled the registration out of the dash, and read it as I walked in.
They didn’t know me, and when I asked for Edward Spenser, they thought I was his appointment and sent me right in.
I walked in just in time to see he and El break from a kiss.
She looked at me and fainted. He tried to run around me, but rage gave me speed, and I grabbed him, trying to drive his head through a window. I tried three times, glass is pretty stout on upper floors, before I gave up.
His phone was on his desk, and I scrolled through it until I found “home”. I left a message, then found “wifey”. How cute.
She didn’t think it was cute when I told her how I happened to have his phone, or the fact that it had been going on for over a year.
“I’d let you talk to him, but he’s asleep. Ask him how he got the knots on his head when he gets home.”
El had woken up and crawled into the corner away from me.
I looked at her.
“I’ll pick up Robbie from daycare, give you a little time. Pack up, find somewhere to stay until I calm down. And get ready. You’ve got a shit storm coming. Everybody, including your company, is gonna know.”
I picked up Robbie, and showed up on her doorstep. Sarah took one look at me and sadness overcame her.
“Again?” was all she said.
I nodded, walked in. I passed out on her couch from nervous exhaustion. She took Robbie to bed with her.
I called in the next day, as did Sarah. We went over to find El had indeed left. Sarah looked at the empty closet, dresser, and bathroom cabinets.
“She’s left, Barry. This is way too much for a few days.”
I was gladdened and incredibly sad equally.
Mrs. Spenser called me the next day. He had taken off, leaving her with three children. They had quit their jobs and just disappeared. She was destroyed, wondering how she’d support them.
I still had his registration, reached out through a past client, and found them two days later three states away. I gave her the information, right down to the hotel and room number. The next day she knocked and he answered the door. She had a local deputy and process server. He found himself with a set of divorce papers and a court order for temporary child support until the hearing. El hid in the bathroom.
My lawyer advised me to sue for divorce citing abandonment, and hope she wasn’t smart enough to figure it out until it was too late.
I had taken two weeks vacation, trying to figure out how to survive as a single dad with a child less than a year old, when the doorbell rang.
Sarah was standing there with two large suitcases.
I had bought the three bedroom. She sailed by me.
“Take those to my bedroom for me, please. Now where is my grandchild? Have you fed him yet?”
I tried to object but she laughed.
“Seriously? Get a grip, do what’s best for your son. This will save me money, besides, I’ve already given up my apartment.”
Just like that it was settled. She got Robbie into the company daycare, dropping him off and picking him up because I worked longer hours.
She would usually have dinner started before I got home. We’d eat, feed Robbie, and play with him until bedtime, watch a little television, and go to bed, just like a real family except we slept apart.
I asked her once why she didn’t date, and she said she had enough in her life right now. She asked me the same question, and I said pretty much the same. Mom and Sarah bonded tighter over Robbie. She was very careful not to bring up El.
Months had gone by. I asked Sarah if El ever contacted her, and she said she hadn’t. Mom and Dad were up for a visit. They had happy news. After five years, Jack had called. He had straightened up, got his life on track. He was in the Coast Guard, engaged, and wanting to mend fences. We decided to include him in our family vacation.
Robbie had his first birthday party. He was excited, fascinated by the candles. He stuck his finger out, burning it slightly. I was on my way to him when he cried “Momma” and held his hands out to Sarah. She was embarrassed, but not enough to not take him in her arms and sooth him. We talked about it later.
“Are you mad?”
“Why would I be mad? As far as he knows, you are his mother. If the time comes, we’ll tell him the truth.”
“Good, and thank you. He picked it up at daycare, watching the other moms pick up his friends. Most of the workers there think I really am his mother.”
We were sitting on the couch, resting after cleaning the house. Kids can be one of the most destructive things in nature. I took her hand.
“I know I don’t tell you enough, but thank you. We both know I could have never survived without you. Our lives are better with you in it. I love you, Sarah.”
She surprised me by crying into my chest, snuggling.
“Thank you, Barry, you’re a good man. One that didn’t deserve what happened to him.”
We sat there like that until she surprised me by going to sleep. I hadn’t held someone in my arms with love for almost a year, and it felt so good I just held on. She woke me at one.
“Barry, wake up. We dozed off. We need to get in bed.”
So I got up, and we went into our bedrooms. I rolled around on my bed, wishing it wasn’t so empty.
We were a little awkward in the morning, but soon got over it and went back to our normal routine.
We rented a big house on the beach for family vacation. My sister came, with her husband and three kids. My brother Jack showed up with a lovely little Asian woman joined at his hip.
We hadn’t counted on Jack when we rented the house. It was four bedroom, one for my folks, one for my sister and her husband, one for Sarah, and one for me. There was a large sleeping porch with foldout beds for the larger kids, a big adventure for them.
Sarah solved it, claiming the bedroom with twins beds for us and Robbie. No one seemed surprised.
Jack came up to us as we were straightening the room. He apologized to both of us, shook our hands, and thanked me for knocking him on his ass, and paying for his rehab.
Then he grinned that cheeky grin I remembered so well.
“I’m sorry for what happened between you and Elsa. But it looks like you traded up.”
I surprised him by grinning back, giving Sarah a hug.
“You got that right. Why settle for a copy when the original is so much nicer.”
The look on their faces sent me over the edge, and soon they were all laughing. Something went over her face when I said it. I saw it, but chose not to comment.
We hit the beach the next day. I was helping Robbie with his first sandcastle when I heard a whistle. Sarah had come out with the sexiest one piece I had ever seen, cut high on her hips, low on her bust, back almost to the top of her ass. I couldn’t do anything but stare.
“Stop it, Barry. You’ve seen me in a swimsuit before. You’re making me nervous.”
She was making me hard. I had to jump in the water, thankful it was a little cool that early in the morning. She gave me a knowing little smile when I came out. Soon she and the kids were laughing like crazy while they buried me in the sand.
We played, grilled hot dogs for lunch, lazed the day away. It was perfect.
That night she came out in a robe.
“I’ve gotten a little burned. Will you put some lotion on my back? She slid the robe down almost to her nipples. I got a look at a lot of cleavage while I lotioned her back. Sarah was a lot better endowed than Elsa. Thirty six c, I learned later.
She was smiling that little smile when I told her I needed a shower.
“I thought you just took a shower?”
“I need to cool off,” I told her honestly, as I went back into the bathroom. I swear I thought I heard her laugh when I closed the door.
The next day was a repeat of the first, except she wore a bikini that showed off those magnificent mammary glands to perfection. I spent a lot of time in the water. I got the feeling everyone was watching me, waiting for something.
I was getting paranoid.
That evening we had hired a babysitter. There was a little club just down the beach, and it was time for the parents to have a little fun.
We walked, laughing, teasing Jack he would be the designated walker, since he didn’t drink anymore.
We ate at the seafood restaurant beside the club, then left early to make sure we’d be able to get a table big enough to fit us all. We started with a few pitchers of beer, and proceeded to margaritas. I watched Jack pretty close, but he and his girl seemed happy with Virgin Marys. They were the best dancers of the group. He told me they took regular lessons, even entered competitions. I remembered my grandfather and his advice, and determined to take lessons when I got home. I hoped I could talk Sarah into going with me.
Sarah looked hot in her yellow sundress, the top few buttons undone, giving a hint of cleavage. When guys started asking her to dance I starting frowning. She noticed, smiled, and glued herself to my side. One woman asked me to dance, but one look at Sarah and she walked off.
A slow tune started playing and she dragged me out onto the floor. We were floating around slowly. I was enjoying the feel of her soft body, thinking about nothing but how great she felt, when my parents drifted by.
Thirty eight years, and the passion was still there. I stiffened and she noticed. When she leaned back with a question I cut my eyes over to my parents.
“We deserved that kind of happiness, didn’t we?”
She snuggled closer, whispering in my ear.
“Of course we do. It’s not too late, honey.”
She kissed my ear as I jumped in surprise.
“What do you mean?”
She stopped dancing, right in the middle of the floor.
“You really are you clueless, aren’t you? I’ve been in love with you for a long time, honey. I’ve done everything but knock you to the floor and mount you. Waiting for something special to come along?”
Her eyes looked hopeful and anxious. I gave her the biggest smile in my life.
“As a matter of fact I am. And it just got here.”
I pulled her to me, and we kissed. The slow song stopped, a fast one started, and we stood rooted to the spot. Our family finally had to pull us apart and back to the table. I looked around into the smiling faces of my family.
“I always thought he was sharp. Mom said you were, usually. It’s only on the important things that he’s slow.”
Jack’s voice was booming, while the rest of the family broke up. I grabbed her hand.