Coming Home: Book 1
Chapter 3: Finding a future in the past
Copyright© 2007 by Brendan Buckley
Action/Adventure Sex Story: Chapter 3: Finding a future in the past - A man returns to the town he left 20 years before to find that sometimes time doesn't heal all wounds. His old friends have new lives and the people he left behind aren't the same as he hoped to find. Can he enjoy a rebirth in the town where he was born?
Caution: This Action/Adventure Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa
Steve was shocked at the revelation. Sharon Reynolds always seemed like his biggest fan. She actively encouraged Janey and Steve to start dating and helped to plan dates and vacations so the couple could spend time together.
It was Sharon who urged to couple to stay committed when Steve's mom told the Reynolds she was moving. And less than six months later, she was sending his letters back. Again, Steve couldn't reconcile the actions of 20 years before with the person he knew.
"It was mom who pushed for the new phone number," Allie told him later that evening. "She said she was getting threatening calls during the day suggesting that Jane was the reason you moved away. It sort of makes sense now.
"She was at home during the afternoons, so she could grab your letters out of the box and leave the rest of the mail there. She also was the one who volunteered to take our letters to the post office for us. But why would she do that?"
Steve had no more answer to that question than Allie.
"Wait until I call Jane," she said. "She's going to shit. If mom were still alive she'd probably kill her on the spot. I wish I could ask dad about this, but his mind only works about half the time. I told him I saw you when I visited him last week and he didn't even remember who you were."
"Alzheimer's?" Steve asked, and Allie nodded. "I'm sorry to hear that. I didn't realize your mom had died, too. When did she pass away?"
Allie told him Sharon had died a few years after he'd moved and things started going downhill for her dad a few years after that.
"Mom had breast cancer," Allie said. "It was a terrible way to go, but I'm not sure Dad's way isn't worse. At least hers was quicker. He started out forgetting his keys or his lunch. The next thing we knew he was lost on his way home. That's when we knew something was up.
"It just got worse from there. Half the time he doesn't even recognize me or Jane."
Steve finally got up the nerve to ask about Janey again.
"Where is she now?" he asked. "Is she happy? I had so many things I wanted to ask her about. Now that I know, I almost wish I didn't know."
Allie told Steve that Janey had married right after high school.
"She started dating one of the mill owner's sons a year after you left," Allie told him. "She got pregnant during her senior year and they got married right after she graduated.
"It was pretty shocking. Mom was always on Jane about birth control when you were around. I remember the fights they had with Dad about getting her on the pill in the first place. She has a daughter whose 14 now. She reminds me of Jane at that age.
"The worst part is she acts just like me at that age. It is not a good combination, let me tell you: Jane's looks and my temperament. Jane's still married, but I don't know how happy she is. Truth is I rarely see her anymore. Dad never liked Robert, so once Mom died they stopped coming around. She used to bring Stephanie by a couple times a month, but even that stopped when I graduated from college."
Allie said she'd only seen her sister a few times since she moved back to town.
"She lives in Clarkston now," she said. "I don't have much reason to go over that way since it's out of the county. She doesn't have much reason to come over this way either, I guess. I haven't told her you were back in town.
"It was a bad time for me, but you can imagine how much worse it was for her. I don't see how I can keep from telling her now though. I feel like everything that's happened to me for the last 20 years was based on a lie. It's going to be worse for her."
Steve said he had a good idea of what Janey might feel.
"I don't think you do," Allie said. "You still got to live most of your dreams. Her only dream was to be with you. She tried to kill herself when she realized you weren't coming back to save her."
Allie's news struck Steve to his very core.
"Oh, God! No," he exclaimed. "Not my Janey. Never my Janey."
Allie looked at him wearily.
"She hasn't been your Janey for a long time, Steve," she said. "In fact, she hasn't even been Janey for a long time. She's Jane and I'm Allison. Just like you're not the old Steve anymore.
"We're different people than you remember. I can see from your expression sometimes that you're having a hard time with that. What Jane did made a lot of people angry with you — because they didn't know the truth. She survived, but her baby didn't. But Robert married her anyway. I remember Mom laying a guilt trip on him about it now though.
"This puts a new light on a lot of things, but the light doesn't show me much."
Steve lowered his eyes.
"Maybe we shouldn't tell her," he said sadly. "I know I wish I didn't know the truth. I expected to make things easier when I came back — not harder. What difference could it make if we told her now?"
Allie pondered Steve's question for a few moments.
"I think a world of difference, maybe," she said finally. "I think it would certainly boost her self-image to know you didn't desert her like she's always thought.
"I've worried about her edging toward the brink again. The last time I saw her there was almost a resignation about her fate. Maybe she doesn't have to feel that way anymore."
Steve still wasn't convinced.
"Instead of feeling badly about herself, we trash any positive memory she might have of your family?" he asked carefully. "I know that's likely to happen because I've been wondering about my own mother's complicity in this since I found these. Believe me, it's not pretty when you are forced to wonder if each and every memory you have of a loved one is a falsehood.
"I'm standing in a house I didn't know we owned until last year. I don't have any idea who has lived here in the last 20 years. The property management company Mom used changed hands a couple of years ago and there are no records back that far. I don't want Janey to have the same doubts that I have."
Each realized that a decision wasn't likely to happen overnight.
"I'll wait until I speak to Jane under normal circumstances," Allison said. "She usually comes up to visit Dad whenever Robert's away on business, so when she calls to tell me she's coming, I'll invite her over. That should give us some time to hash things out between us about how we want to do this, or if we want to do this at all."
Steve agreed that this might be a better solution.
"In the meantime, if you can accept that I'm Allison Cummings, a 30-year-old woman, and not Allie Reynolds, a 10-year-old girl, I'd enjoy spending more time with you. It's been a shitty day and I have a lot to think about right now. But I'd like to get together with you tomorrow or the next day while I'm off work to see if we can still be friends.
"I know it should be an easy question, but it's not for me. There are parts of you I don't find very appealing — the mean parts like Pig and Hank found and the secretive parts that my friend in DC found. You might have noticed that I'm a straightforward woman. I honestly don't know if I can be friends with someone who has to keep most of his life hidden.
"I know you'd probably tell me if you could. I respect that you can't. But it doesn't mean I want to be friends with you."
Steve nodded in acceptance.
"I want you to know that even if we'd stayed friends for years, I probably still couldn't give you the information you're after," he said with an air of defeat in his voice. "Even if Janey and I had stayed together and gotten married, she likely couldn't know. I couldn't even tell my Mom about things."
"As for the parts with Pig and his minion, that part of me has always been there. It was never something I've wanted, but it isn't something that arrived when I joined the military. When we were kids, it was always you and Janey who helped me keep that part under wraps. Whenever I felt it bubbling, you'd do something cute or Janey would do something incredibly sweet and it would go away.
"You're mom was right about you two being an anchor for me. But only in a good way, never in the way she meant."
During the next three weeks Allison and Steve spent a good portion of time together. Gen. Whitley had pulled some strings to get Steve a full pension and then secured a contract for Steve to be an adviser on what remained of the covert operations team formerly known as Omicron-10.
It was supposed to be a purely ceremonial position — a way to repay Steve for things he'd done that no one could know about. It turned out to be much more hands-on than either Steve or Gen. Whitley had hoped, but that was still months away.
Steve and Allison kept their conversations light, joking about things that happened when they were kids but staying away from anything after Steve left town.
Surprisingly they spoke a lot about the future. Steve had been forced to accept the reality that his dreams, while fulfilled, were now over and he'd awakened in a world he really knew little about. He'd never planned for the second half of his life because he truly didn't know if he'd even reach that point.
He'd lived for years with the knowledge that each time in the field could be his last — either killed or wounded to the point he no longer could continue. He'd been wounded a couple of times, though never seriously. And his team had held true to its belief of "No one left behind" on the three occasions he had fallen aside.
That was the claim to fame of Omicron-10. They'd lost comrades to enemy fire before but the wounded and the bodies of the dead had always made it home. It was the least Steve felt he could offer the families of those he'd willingly and knowingly placed into harm's way.
There'd been a couple close calls along the way — one member was captured and held prisoner for four weeks in Serbia before Steve and his team could make their way through the red tape to get him back. He was always leery about the women on his team.
Omicron-10's mission had no gender boundaries and frequently the addition of women on the roster helped to bolster whatever front the team was using to gain infiltration. Despite their skills, Steve always worried about the ramifications if one of his female majors had fallen victim to kidnap or capture.
The grief he felt when Maj. Maria Mendoza died in the line of duty was worse than when he learned of the death of his mother. Perhaps if he'd have had to race through enemy fire to retrieve his mother's remains he would have felt differently.
But in many ways he was closer to his team than his mother — at least for the few years before her death. Steve wished for nothing more than to be able to share a portion of that time with Allison as he sat across from her. But he knew that it was improbable that the security classification would be lifted in his lifetime.
So for now they tried to piece together whether Allison would be happy as sheriff for another four years or whether she wanted to attempt something else. Steve had considered taking his military consulting job to the next level and trying his hand at civilian surveillance but if he did it would have to be far away from here. Allison surmised too much about his military career already without his suggestions. It was too bad that she would have been a perfect fit for portions of his career goals.
So for now they chatted over coffee or dinner a couple of times each week. Neither was any closer to solving the dilemma about filling Jane in on the details they'd learned and neither was willing to budge an inch from their stated positions: Allison was intent on giving Jane the full story; Steve was content to leave things alone and let her think the worst of him for now.
It was only Jane's surprise arrival that forced their hands.
Jane Wilmont was rarely happy and she didn't care who knew it. The childhood goals she'd set — to go to college and become a teacher, to get married to Steve and raise a family as best they could, to eventually grow old together and catch up on lost time — were completely unfulfilled.
Her husband, Robert Wilmont, now ran the factory and mill that employed half of Buckley. He drank way more than he should and came home way less than he could. Jane didn't mind when he stayed out all night. Mostly it was relief to her. She didn't have to listen to his constant bleating about the factory and the town and his father.
She also didn't have to listen to his verbal abuse about the way their marriage had turned out or feel his physical abuse at the frustration she was sure she caused him.
She had high hopes when Robert stayed by her side after her ill-advised attempt to end her life. She'd hoped Steve would learn about it and come home. But he hadn't. She'd never heard a word from him even after Allison had written to him with most of the gory details. He didn't even send a card.
Robert, however, was there throughout. He knew little about Steve Booth. Although he was five years older than both of them, Steve's reputation in town was near legendary. But Robert's main focus resided purely on Robert.
Jane was sure that Robert's tears were genuine when he found out her suicide attempt had cost him the life of his son and future heir.
Stephanie's birth three years later did nothing to quell Robert's hopes for a son. In fact, he treated Stephanie with disdain or disinterest from the very beginning. It was the one thing Jane could never forgive. She vowed never to give Robert his son and clandestinely had a bilateral tubal ligation a year after Stephanie's birth.
To her knowledge Robert never found out about it. She didn't care if he did. He had enough bastard children running around now that surely at least one of them was a boy. Almost weekly for the last year she'd offered him a divorce. So long as he paid child support, she'd take Stephanie and go, never to be seen by his eyes nor heard by his ears again.
And weekly for the last year he'd steadfastly refused. Wilmonts married for life, he'd told her. No one in his family had ever been divorced and it wouldn't start with him.
The final straw was his insistence that Stephanie be sent away for school in the fall. Sure she was a handful sometimes — what teenager isn't — but Stephanie was Jane's only link to sanity. Without her daughter Jane was certain she couldn't survive.