Black & Tan Blues
Chapter 4

Copyright© 2009 by itmgr2010

I sat on the edge of the hospital bed holding my newborn son. I gazed in wonder at the dark hair, the scrunched up face and the tiny fists he held up next to his tightly closed eyes. I looked down in awe at my exhausted wife holding an identical bundle. Even as tired as she was she looked back at me with pride and love. Samantha sat as close as she could get on the other side of her smiling ear to ear. Smiling so hard I thought her face was going to crack.

"Well Sam, have you ever see anything so beautiful in your life?" I asked wonderingly.

Sam giggled and said, "Oh daddy, momma. My wish came true! Twice!"

As I sat there taking in my amazing family my thoughts flashed back to how different my future had seemed only eighteen months ago.

I left the county jail that day in May mentally and emotionally drained but determined to start my life anew. That week the responses from my job applications had become a flood. Out of that flood perhaps a dozen invited me to call back to set up interviews. I started setting up appointments as quickly as I could arrange them.

Out of that handful I received three job offers. The one I liked most was working for the County Road Commission in the Traverse City area. The man I interviewed with, Don Fineout, was a Vietnam veteran and a former Combat Engineer. We had a lot in common and I thought we would really get along. The money wasn't as good as one of the other offers but it was one hundred and fifty miles from home and only thirty miles from dad and mom's place on the lake.

After the interview and on the way back home I stopped to talk to mom and dad about it and spend the night. Sam was still staying with them. It had seemed best with the traveling I was doing in my job search and still working nights at the auto plant. As always the first thing Sam did after jumping into my arms was to ask about Mommy and when she could see her again.

"I hope soon Sam. Mommy is starting to feel better and as soon as the doctor says she is okay she will come and see you, I promise." I said guiltily.

"I miss her daddy. Will you tell her for me, please?" She said tearfully.

"I sure will honey." I said hugging her fiercely.

"And grandma helped me make a get well card for her. Will you give it to her too?" Sam said as mom looked at me sadly over her head.

"Of course I will Samantha. Now tell me about everything you have been doing on the lake." I said trying to distract her.

She proceeded to tell me about going fishing with grandpa and Harvey next door. Helping grandma get the house ready for company on Memorial Day weekend. And going on a speedboat ride with Harvey and Harvey's granddaughter Casey. She prattled on about Harvey's granddaughter like she was her newest best friend.

Mom laughed and said that the two of them had really hit it off. They were inseparable on the days Casey was not out job hunting. Later mom told me she thought that Sam was substituting Casey for her mother but Casey didn't seem to mind.

I thought about that and hoped Sam wasn't being a nuisance. I hadn't seen Casey in several years and really didn't know what she thought of kids.

That night over dinner we talked about my job offer. I told mom and dad that I really liked the man I would be working for and I thought the job would be interesting. The only uncertainties I had was finding a place to live and if it would cause any problems with the divorce or custody.

Dad looked at mom and she smiled back at him and said, "I know what you're thinking and I think it's a great idea."

I look puzzled and dad laughed. He said, "How about this? You and Sam move in here with us at least until we leave for Florida in the fall. That will give you time to get settled into the area and find something to buy or rent. And we get Samantha all summer."

"Are you sure?" I asked hesitantly.

"We have lots of room. It only gets crowded on weekends when John, Sandra and the kids come up. And this way you don't have to worry about child care while starting a new job." He said

"Well, it sounds great, but I don't want us to be a burden on you." I said doubtfully.

"Oh now, who's a burden?" Mom said smiling.

She laughed. "Not Sam. And if it makes you feel better you can pay us to stay here. Now that's settled. All that's left is for you to call your lawyer and make sure it's all right."

I got up early the next morning to drive back downstate. As soon as I got home I called my attorney. I explained to him I had a job offer out of town and wanted to make sure it was okay to accept. He told me he didn't think there would be a problem as long as I didn't leave the state.

I called Don Fineout and accepted his offer. We quickly negotiated a start date and that night at work I gave my two weeks notice. After our shift Trev and I stopped at Gino's for a beer. The realization that this was the end of an era for us was sinking in. The following week he was starting his apprenticeship at Plant Three across town.

The rest of the week I started packing. Jack had been calling me every couple of days to check on Samantha. He and Brenda had been disappointed that she was still up north. But I had talked to mom about that and she insisted that I have Brenda give her a call. My mom and dad and Jack and Brenda had always got along great and mom wanted them to come up north to see their granddaughter. That cheered them up a bit.

Whenever Jack called he wanted to fill me in on Donnas' situation. I usually let him go on for a few minutes but then I always shut him off when he got to the part about Donna missing Sam and me and wanting to talk. I was going to wait for my lawyer and the court to settle any visitation issues. Donna had even written me a letter which I returned unopened. I still had trouble eating and sleeping over the turmoil and occasionally found myself second guessing myself. I didn't want to be reminded anymore than I had to be.

After Jack and Brenda took her home from the county jail after our confrontation, Donna had not left her room for several days. She alternated between crying and sleeping, not even coming out to eat. Finally Brenda had dragged her out and insisted she return her lawyer's calls. And the hospital had suspended her without pay pending an investigation of their own.

Today when he called and after I had listened to the obligatory update on Donna I filled him in on my plans. He was silent for a few minutes and finally said, "I guess this is really it then. I think we were still holding out hope that you two could get over this."

"No Jack. I told you before; it's not going to happen." I said quietly.

"This is going to put Donna even further in the toilet." He said despondently.

"Can't be helped Jack." I said simply. Which was kinder than saying 'I really didn't give a shit' about Donnas' mental health.

I told him I was getting ready to move but I didn't know what to do with the furniture. There were only a couple of things I wanted to keep. The rest I thought I would leave for Donna. After discussing it a bit I realized she wasn't ever likely to move back into our home so I offered to put it into storage and pay the first three months rent on it. Jack thought that might be best.

The next ten days went by pretty fast. I went back up north for Memorial Day weekend. Sam was in her glory with my brother, John, his wife and two kids in residence. Sam only went next door a couple of times. Harvey had Casey's parents and her brother, Jason up for the weekend and they were keeping pretty busy. I never had a chance to talk to Casey and only saw her from a distance when she was out on the lake.

My last week at the plant I only worked two days and took leave for the last three. I borrowed a couple of guys from my section including Trev and we got everything moved out in a day. I met up with Jack to give him the keys to the storage facility and several boxes of Donnas' things that I had sorted out that I thought she might need.

My last full day in town, I met with my attorney to go over a few things. Donna had finally contacted a divorce attorney who had called him. She was still insisting she didn't want a divorce and wanted to try marriage counseling. I firmly told him 'No' and to press on.

On Friday I packed up the pick-up and a u-haul trailer with the last of my things, turned over the keys to the landlord and left town. As I got further and further away it was like a huge load off my shoulders. I felt like I was finally putting things behind me and everything was going to be all right again.

Sam was overjoyed I was up there to stay. She talked a mile a minute for nearly an hour. First asking about her mom and did she miss her, then about Grandpa Brenda and Grandpa Jack who had been up earlier in the week. She finally tapered off talking about boat rides with Casey and that Casey was teaching her to swim.

Later after she went to bed, I asked mom about her fascination with Casey. And was Casey really interested in spending that much time with her. Mom stopped for a moment, and smiled. "I truly think that Casey thinks Sam is the most wonderful person she has ever met. Casey really is a sweet girl."

I was so exhausted that night that I slept until after nine the next morning. Mom was buzzing around the kitchen and told me Sam went with Dad and Harvey to the hardware store. She wanted to make me some breakfast but I declined. I said I wanted to go for a run first. One of my resolutions was to get back into my running routine. It was about five miles around the lake which was a stretch for me in my current condition but I thought I would give it a try.

Nearly an hour later I staggered into the house, sweating profusely from the mid-morning sun and grateful I made it around without stopping. I threw on a pair of swim shorts, grabbed a towel and headed out the front door and down to the lake. I dropped my towel in the sand and walked right into the water and dove in. I came up gasping and groaning at the temperature of the lake. I took a few strokes out into deeper water and just floated on my back trying to ignore the cold.

I became aware of hooting and hollering coming from Harvey's pontoon tied to his dock next door. I looked over and saw mom, Sam and another woman I thought must be Casey pointing and laughing at me.

I walked back onto shore and grabbed my towel and dried myself off briskly. I threw my towel around my neck and walked out on Harvey's dock and down to his pontoon. Sam jumped down off the boat and ran to me and gave me a hug.

"Oh, daddy! You were so funny!" She giggled.

"I'm glad I could entertain you all." I smiled at her and we all laughed.

Sam took my hand and pulled me onto the pontoon. "Daddy, daddy! This is Casey. She is teaching me to swim and everything!" She was practically gushing.

I looked over at Casey and smiled. "Hi Casey. Good to see you again. It's been a couple of years. Thank you for spending time with Sam. It's means a lot to me."

Casey looked me right in the eyes and gave me what felt like a hundred watt smile. It had been years since anyone, male or female had made such an instant impression on me. "It's my privilege, Ken. Sam is such a wonderful little girl we just have a great time together."

"I couldn't agree more but we can't let Sam hear us talking about her like this. Can't have it going to her head can we?" And I smiled at Sam and rubbed her head as she giggled some more.

As Casey was talking I was looking her over, trying not to be too obvious about it. She was wearing a two piece bathing suit, not quite a bikini but close. She was about 5'6" with a swimmers build. She was well proportioned but couldn't weigh over one ten. And she had all the right curves in the right places. Her brown hair was cut short. Her skin had that healthy glow of someone who spends a lot of active time outdoors. And her brown eyes practically sparkled at me.

I glanced over at mom who hadn't said anything but was smiling knowingly at me. Okay mom, I thought to myself. You just stay out of this.

"Now that you've had your run and your swim, would you like some breakfast?" She laughed.

"That would be great. Everyone else ate already"? I asked.

"You were the only lazy one this morning. Come on, you can catch up with these two later." She said jumping down off the boat.

As I followed mom down the dock I turned back to Sam and Casey and I thought I caught Casey watching me. "Are you staying here Sam?" I asked.

Casey seemed to blush but laughed. "We're just going to hang out for awhile, she will be okay."

As I followed mom into the house she looked at me out of the corner of her eye and said, "So, what did you think?"

"About what?" I said trying to play dumb.

"Don't give me that! I saw the look on your face when she smiled at you. And you were giving it right back. You can't fool me. I've been around the block a few times." She said knowingly.

"Okay, okay. I can't say I didn't like what I saw. But aren't you getting a little ahead of things, mom? It's only been a month or so since — you know." I said lamely.

Somberly she said, "Not if it's really over. And I know you. Once you make up your mind there is no going back. Besides, Brenda and I talked when she and Jack were up here last week. Donna finally confessed and told her the whole gruesome story. And Brenda told me some of the things you didn't want me to know. I can't see you taking her back after that." Mom actually shuddered when she said that.

Not knowing what to say I just shrugged. "Well, I can't see rushing into anything with another woman. It's going to take awhile to get over this. Besides, who is going to be interested in a single father who couldn't keep his wife from cheating?" I said bitterly giving voice to some of my fears and insecurities.

Mom stopped, turned and looked me seriously in the face. "Now Ken, you put those thoughts out of your head. You have faced your problems like a man, made the difficult decisions you had to make and taken responsibility for your daughter. Anyone can see that. Your dad and I are proud of you. Harvey and Casey know about your divorce, couldn't hide it with you and Sam coming here to live without Donna."

"As far as someone being interested in you, have you looked in a mirror lately?"

Caught by surprise by her outburst, I just shook my head no.

"Well you should. I bet you lost ten pounds the last couple of months. You were always in shape but now there isn't an ounce of excess body fat on you that I can see. And you never were ugly either. Your face is leaner now with just enough added stress lines to make you look quite mature. With your education, experience and prospects you are quite a catch!"

"Oh mom, you're my mother. You have to say that!" I said looking at the floor embarrassed.

"Go on, go get changed and I'll make you some breakfast." She dismissed me.

The rest of the weekend was uneventful. I helped dad and Harvey on a project in the garage and fished a little with Sam. On Sunday night Jack called to talk to mom and dad about coming up again to see Samantha. Mom handed me the phone after talking to him for a few minutes and said "Jack wants to talk to you."

"Hi Jack. How's Brenda?" I asked.

"She's doing better, thanks for asking. I wanted to ask you something. I gave Donna the card Sam sent down for her. She wanted me to tell you 'thank you'. But she would like to write back to her. I know there is still that injunction in effect but would that be okay?"

I thought about that for a minute. Finally I said slowly, "I think that would be okay Jack. As long as Donna goes along with the pretense that she is ill and seeing a doctor and doesn't write anything about us getting back together or makes promises she can't keep."

I heard Jack audibly exhale on the phone and said, "Thanks Ken. You don't know how much that means to us and her. And the pretense about her being treated isn't that far off the mark. We finally got her into counseling last week for depression. We are really concerned about her safety."

"No problem, Jack." I said uncomfortably.

"Well we are coming up tomorrow afternoon. Your Mom asked us to stay the night so maybe be can talk some more."

"Yeah, sure." I said without enthusiasm and we hung up.

The next day I made the commute over to the county seat to start my new job. The first few hours my boss took me around to meet everyone including the Road Commissioner and a couple of the road commission board members. After that he paired me up with another one of the engineers and we drove all over the county looking at current or proposed road projects to get me oriented. By the time I made it home I was pleasantly exhausted.

When I walked in the door, mom and dad, and Jack and Brenda were all sitting in the living room. Samantha was sprawled across Brenda's lap with her face buried in her chest clutching what looked like several sheets of letter paper. Brenda was stroking her hair and whispering in her ear. Sam looked up when she heard me come in and I could see tear streaks down her cheeks.

"Daddy, daddy, mommy wrote me a letter. See?" And she held up the paper for my inspection.

"That's nice sweetheart. What did she say?" I said gently.

Smoothing the papers in her hands she said. "Mommy says she loves me and misses me more than anything. That she has been sick but is getting better and wants to come and see me. Can she daddy, can she?" And she looked imploringly at me with eyes bright with unshed tears.

I glanced at everyone else in the room and could tell they were all emotionally affected by Sam's reaction. Mom and dad were trying to be casual about wiping tears from their eyes.

I looked back at Sam and picked her up in my arms and said "As soon as she is better we will make sure she comes and sees you okay?"

"Okay. I'm going to save her letter in my notebook and Granma Bren is going to help me write a letter back."

"That sounds like a wonderful idea, Sam." I said.

Mom stood up and said, "Dinner is about ready. Run along and get changed Ken."

That night after dinner and Sam had gone to bed. The five of us sat around the kitchen table. Jack said, "Did you mean that Ken? What you told Sam? About visitation?"

A little defensive, I said, "About visitation? Yes I meant that. I know I can't keep them apart. And if Donna straightens out then whatever the courts recommend I will go along with, but as far as custody goes? I want to make it very clear I will never give up custody of Samantha. Not after what she did. I will use everything I have to prevent that from happening. Everything! Make sure Donna understands that!"

Brenda patted my hand and said, "Thanks Ken. Visitation is all she can expect. Sam is better off with you now. We all accept that. Seeing Sam will help Donna to recover."

I relaxed a bit when Brenda said that. My biggest fear was that someone would try to take her away from me.

Jack went on to explain that Donna had asked her divorce attorney to ask the court for visitation rights but he said she it would be better if she settled the criminal charges first. Donna had met that morning with the criminal attorney and offered to plea bargain to settle the charges as quickly as possible. Her attorney had already been in touch with the prosecutor and was told that something could be worked out. The prosecutor was mostly interested in the two men in the bust and that the case against the women was considered relatively minor. In fact Jack and Brenda expected a deal before the end of the week.

I was a little unsettled by how fast this was going but tried not to show it. I had hoped for several more months of relative peace before I had to deal with contact with Donna again. But I knew for Sam's sake I had to put my reservations and lingering rage behind me.

When I got home from work the next day Jack and Brenda had left. Sam was down by the lake with Casey. Mom informed me that Harvey and Casey were joining us for dinner so if I wanted to get a quick swim in to get at it. I changed quickly and ran down to the lake and jumped in. I swam down and back a few times in front of the house and got out. Casey and Sam had their heads together over something in Harvey's pontoon and were ignoring me so I headed back in to change.

The five of us had a wonderful time that night. We talked about finishing school and finding new jobs. Harvey bragged up Casey and mom and dad bragged on me. Every once in a while Casey and I would make eye contact and we would both smile. And every time we did I could feel the electricity. One of us would quickly look away and take up the conversation with someone else.

Eventually the evening ended and it was time for Sam to go to bed. Casey gave Sam a big hug and kiss and her and Harvey went back home.

That got to be a routine over the next few weeks. Several evenings during the week we would all have dinner together. We would alternate between Harvey's and our place. Harvey wasn't much on cooking but Casey seemed to enjoy doing it. Many times we would barbecue which Harvey and dad would compete at.

Weekends were pretty much taken up with family or friends coming up to visit. My brother and his family were regulars as you would expect. One weekend Trev and Vicky, who was now his fiancée came up to visit. Trev apparently had had an epiphany about not wanting to live his life alone. The two of them seemed to be very happy together. And Vicky was quite taken with Sam. I certainly got the idea that kids were in their future. And somehow Sam got the opportunity to introduce Casey to them before the weekend was over.

Trev and I got a chance to talk alone on Sunday before they left. He had been working days since he started his apprenticeship so he and Vicky had been back to the Black & Tan several times. He quickly brought me up to date. Donna had never been seen back at the club but Connie had. She had picked back up with James now that he and Curtis had made bail.

But Curtis was out only a few days and he had been arrested again. Seems that he got into a fight with his soon-to-be ex-wife about his suspicions she ratted him out. The police were called and he was charged with assault and battery. His bail was revoked and it looked like he was in jail to stay.

Jack and Brenda came up every week to see Sam. The week following our discussion about Donna wanting to write to Sam, Jack told us that Donna was pleading guilty to one count of possession. In exchange, as a first time offender she would receive a suspended sentence, one year's probation and required to complete a substance abuse program. In addition there would be a fine and two hundred hours of community service. She was also required to cooperate with testimony against James and Curtis. The hospital had terminated her and she was now looking for a job. Between her court costs, fines and legal fees Donna was broke and Jack and Brenda were struggling to help her out.

A few days later my lawyer called to tell me that a divorce hearing was scheduled. Donnas' attorney called him and said that all she was asking for was regular visitation. She would agree to not file for custody and would accept the furniture and the money I had left in our accounts as an equitable distribution. My attorney said he was sure we could insist on supervised visitation given her record. If I didn't want to contest it I would not even have to attend the hearing. I agreed and he assured me that a final agreement was possible within a couple of weeks.

That evening mom and dad had gone to play cards with some friends on the other side of the lake and I had put Sam to bed. I wandered down to the lake and sat in mom's big wooden swing and stared at the water and night sky thinking about the divorce and what would happen when visitation began. As I sat there I heard someone approaching from next door and looked up and saw Casey.

"Hey Ken, could you use some company?" She said cheerfully.

"Hi Casey, not sure what kind of company I am but have a seat." And I slid over and made room for her to sit on the swing.

We sat there quietly for a few minutes and I was acutely conscious of her presence.

Finally she said gently, "Something got you down, Ken?"

I hesitated for a few minutes wondering how much to say. "It looks like Sam's mother will be allowed visitation soon and I'm not sure how to react to that." I said shakily.

Casey put her hand on my arm and said, "Your mother told me a little bit about your divorce. Would you like to talk about it?"

I found myself opening up to her about what had happened and the aftermath. I found that going through it again with her wasn't as painful as I was afraid it might be. Casey was in turns sympathetic, shocked and angry about the way Donna had behaved. She certainly didn't make me feel embarrassed about it.

After an hour or two talking I was exhausted. Casey was holding my hand and whispering encouragement to me. About that time we heard voices coming down the side of house as mom and dad returned home.

Casey leaned in close to me and gave me a gentle kiss on the lips, "Be strong, Ken. Everything is going to work out." She jumped up off the swing and ran back next door.

Surprised and bemused by her kiss I got up and walked back up to the house. In the days ahead it became a habit that every couple of nights late in the evening we would meet down at the swing or at one of our pontoons to sit and talk. Eventually the talking evolved into touching and kissing.

From that point on the summer became magical. Work was fun and interesting and almost every evening and weekend Casey and I would be together, sometimes alone, sometimes with others. Several times a week Casey would join me on my runs around the lake. The best of times was when the three of us, Casey, Sam and I would find ourselves doing something together. Sometimes Casey would want to ski and she would get me to drive the boat and Sam would be the spotter, giggling and laughing at Casey waving at her and clowning around on one ski. Other times we would slowly cruise around on the pontoon at dusk or just go walking around the lake holding hands.

True to his word, my attorney called within a couple of weeks and said we had a tentative custody agreement. The divorce would be final within sixty days of both of us signing it. Donna would be granted one four hour supervised visit per week at her expense. It would be her responsibility to coordinate it. About a week later I received a call from a Friend of the Court social worker asking to set up an appointment for the first visitation. With some trepidation I agreed to the following Sunday from two until six. The social worker would come to pick up Sam with Donna. Donna had asked if her parents could attend also and I of course agreed.

That night at Sam's bedtime I sat down with her on the edge of her bed to try to explain some things to her. She got all excited when I told her that mommy was coming to pick her up on Sunday for the afternoon.

"Daddy, is mommy going to pick you up too?" She said breathlessly.

"No sweetie, just you and mommy and Grandma Bren and Grandpa Jack are going to be together."

Sam got quiet and teary eyed. She said. "Daddy, don't you want to see mommy?"

Slowly I said, "Sam, you know when mommy got sick we decided she needed to stay with Grandma Bren and Grandpa Jack until she got better. And you and I would live with Grandma and Grandpa here at the lake and start my new job."

Sam looked doubtful but said, "Uh-huh."

"Well, since then mommy and daddy have decided we are not going to live together anymore. Sometimes grownups do that. If they have kids they still love them as much as ever and they still take care of them together."

Sam started to cry quietly and I hugged her tightly to me trying not to let my tears run down my cheeks. "Now Sam, you can see your mommy every week and as she gets better and you get older you can see her more and more. If that's what you want, okay?"

Sam pulled back and looked at me with her chin quivering, "You mean when I turn five? I can see her all the time?"

I lay down in her bed with her and we talked until she finally settled down and went to sleep. I slipped out of bed and went into the living room where mom and dad were watching television and reading. Mom looked at me closely and said, "How did it go?"

"Better than I expected I guess. She seems to accept it. I don't now how she will feel after she sees Donna. I'll call Jack tomorrow and ask him to explain to Donna what I've told Sam."

"Why don't you tell Donna yourself?" She asked looking at me closely.

"I'm not ready for that yet." I admitted.

"You will have to talk to her sometime." She said.

I sighed, "Yeah, I know."

I was silent for a few minutes lost in thought. "I'm going down to the lake for a few minutes."

Mom looked at me knowingly. "Tell Casey I really liked the cherry pie she made for dessert last night."

I glanced around and both mom and dad were grinning at me. "Sure, sure if I see her." I said.

"Son, everyone on this side of the lake knows you two are dating except you." Dad said laughing at my obvious discomfort.

He added, "Relax Ken. No one, including Harvey or Casey's parents have any objections."

"You two look at each other like you were the last drink of water in the middle of the desert." Mom said.

I could feel myself getting red in the face and didn't know how to respond.

"Now run along, dear. She's too nice of a girl to be kept waiting long." Mom said cryptically.

I turned and walked out the door, feeling somewhat foolish. Was it that obvious? Being in a relationship scared me. Admitting I was in a relationship scared me even more. But I had to admit Casey was special. When I thought of her I didn't know if I was coming or going.

I walked down to the lake and approached the dark shape standing by the large maple near the water. As I got close Casey reached out and took my hand in hers. "What took you so long, Ken?" She said concern in her voice.

"I had to explain to Sam about her mother and me. About us not living together anymore and what that meant to her. I stayed in bed with her until she went to sleep."

"Donna is coming to visit her on Sunday." I added.

Casey put her arms around me and looked up into my eyes. "Sam is a strong, strong little girl. And she has you. She will figure out a way to accept it." She said and kissed me softly on the lips.

I pulled back a little and smiled at her mischievously. "Mom and dad just informed me that you and I are dating and I am the only one that doesn't recognize it. Is that true?"

"Well it's about time! Grandpa has been grumbling that you must be brain damaged or something." She laughed.

"Casey, I'm sorry if I'm disappointing you. But it's only been a couple of months since my marriage went to hell. I'm not sure about anything anymore."

Casey took my face in both hands and pulled me down to her and kissed me passionately and I felt her tongue probing my teeth and I responded in kind. She let go of me, and said fiercely, "Well, I'm sure. And as long as one of us is that's enough. I've wanted to take this relationship to the next level for awhile now."

"Are you sure, Casey?" I asked anxiously.

"Ken - I'm not a virgin. I've been in relationships before. Some ended well, some ended badly. It doesn't matter how they end, they still hurt. But for the first time I think I'm in love. There I've said it and I told myself I wouldn't." She pulled away and looked at me apprehensively

I reached out and took her hands in mine. "Casey, I have been trying not to admit to myself my feelings for you. I know I want you, I want you bad. Yet I'm scared. My track record with women took a huge hit, as well as my self-esteem with the way my marriage ended. Can you understand that?"

Casey put her arms around me and laid her head on my shoulder and I held her tight. "Yeah, I understand. I hate that woman for what she did to you. But all women aren't like that. Let me show you please?"

"Casey, I'm not sure of anything except I don't want to lose you. Let's plan on doing something together on Friday night. Just the two of us, okay?"

She smiled at me in the moonlight. "It's a date and a promise."

The next evening I mentioned to mom that I wanted to take Casey out on a real date on Friday night, just the two of us, and would she take care of Sam for me? She just laughed and said 'of course.' I told her that I thought we would go over to the 'Blue Gill Grill' on the other side of the lake. You could drive to it by car but they also had docks for boaters to tie up to. I thought maybe we would take the pontoon over as it was going to be a warm clear night.

Friday night at dusk I walked over next door to pick up Casey. She wore a low cut light colored sleeveless summer dress that accented her figure and contrasted with her tanned arms and legs. We motored slowly and quietly across the calm lake into the setting sun. Quietly talking and enjoying each others company.

Dinner was a leisurely affair of local caught pan-fried fish and a couple of glasses of wine. We talked about a variety of things. Sam, college, my job, and her job prospects. She admitted that she had fallen in love with Sam before I ever moved back up north. Until then she had never given motherhood much thought. And then she said she met me again and suddenly she found her thinking taking a decidedly odd turn. I kind of laughed embarrassingly, and changed the subject.

I commented on how strange it was that she had not been successful yet in her job search. She laughed, reached across the table and held my hand and said, "Ken I've already turned down several interviews down state in the Detroit area. I hope you're not mad?"

Confused all I could say was, "No, of course not."

"I just don't want to move away from up here now. Can you understand that?" She said earnestly.

"Ah, I see." And we looked into each others eyes and smiled. Nothing else needed to be said.

We finished dinner around nine and got back onto the pontoon, turned on our running lights and eased away from the dock. Casey stood beside me as I sat at the wheel. She leaned over and said quietly, "Let's stop at the sand bar for a bit, okay?"

Without answering I turned the boat toward the darker side of the lake. The sand bar was kind of a misnomer. It was actually a sand spit that protruded into the lake about forty, fifty yards from an undeveloped area of the lakeshore. The lake was shallow and sandy for twenty, thirty yards on all sides of it. It was a favorite place for boaters to beach or anchor their boats during the day to picnic or party. Several nights during the summer teenagers would gather there, have a bonfire, drink beer and make out.

There was just enough starlight to navigate across the lake and ease up to the sand. I killed the motor as the pontoons grated on the bottom. I threw the bow anchor onto the spit. The air was calm and the lake like glass so there was little chance the boat would float off.

I sat down next to Casey and she came into my arms and we kissed. Tentatively at first, then more and more passionately. Suddenly she pushed me away and stood up. "Let's go swimming!" She said.

"Are you sure?" I croaked. Her sudden change in direction and the hard on in my shorts had me confused.

I watched as she reached behind her and unzipped her dress and let it fall around her feet. There was enough light I could see she wasn't wearing a bra and just a tiny wisp of panties. Her nipples jutted out from her breasts prominently. "It's a beautiful night and the water is still warm. Come on!"

She stepped out of her panties, opened the gate to the water and turned to look at me. "Well?"

I started throwing my clothes off as quickly as I could. She lowered herself down into the water which was only about two feet deep. I sat down on the edge of the deck and followed her in. She was right. The water seemed warm even for the middle of July. She stroked away from the boat and the sand bar and I followed closely behind her. Suddenly she ducked under the surface and disappeared in a swirl of disturbed water. I stood up in about four foot of water and turned around looking for her when suddenly she popped up behind me and wrapped her arms around my waist. "Gotcha!" She cried.

Then as her hands wandered lower onto my groin she said. "And what do we have here?" As she grasped my hard cock with both hands and stroked me."

I groaned, "Damn, Casey! Don't do that. You know how long it's been since I've been with a woman?"

Casey giggled. "Well, I think you've got all the right equipment and just the right size to make a girl very happy. Now turn around and let's see how we fit!"

Without breaking contact I turned and she raised her arms and wrapped them around my neck. Her legs came up and around my waist. I reached under her legs and grabbed the cheeks of her ass with both hands and pulled her to me as my cock probed for her pussy. She hissed as I entered her part way and stopped. She backed away for a second and I pulled her onto me again. As I slid into her all the way home she groaned. "Oh God, Ken, I've been waiting so long for this!"

As we held still for a few minutes we kissed and our tongues did a little dance. She gasped into my mouth, "I think we fit perfect."

"All the right parts in all the right places" I agreed.

I pushed her hips back slowly and pulled her back against me. Her pussy was so warm and tight I knew I couldn't last long. And the contrast between our body temperatures and the water temperature heightened the sensations.

I started a rhythm, pushing her away and pulling her back slowly at first and then faster and faster. As I did her legs came up higher and higher until her knees were up against her chest and her feet came out of the water and were waving in the air behind my shoulders.

"Don't stop, don't stop, don't stop!" Casey cried over and over as I slammed into her harder and harder.

Finally I couldn't hold it any more and I shouted, "Here it comes!" And I slammed into one last time and filled her with everything I had.

As I did Casey went rigid in my arms and gave one last drawn out groan. If it wasn't for the water holding us up I would have collapsed. She pulled herself tighter around my neck, buried her head into my shoulder and shuddered as the water lapped around us. Finally she lifted her face to mine and tenderly kissed me on the lips. "I knew it would be good." She whispered.

"And you were right." I whispered back.

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