tagMatureA Death in the Family

A Death in the Family

bymichael2956©

No matter how many times he had seen it, Pastor Andy Craft was never really prepared for death. As he stood next to Jim Andrew's hospital bed and held his hand, he knew the end was near. Jim's wife, Kelly, was stroking her husband's forehead. His breath was more and more shallow and infrequent. Finally, there was a noise from his throat and then nothing. "He's gone," the nurse said. Kelly said nothing, just continued stroking his brow. The two children moved behind their mother, holding her. They had begun the grieving process two weeks ago when Jim suffered an aneurysm at work. They faced the difficult decision to turn off the ventilator yesterday. But even when you expect death, its finality is still a shock.

Some ministers would have immediately offered a prayer and taken control of the situation. After all, that was their job. It wasn't Andy's style, however. He knew the family needed this time alone and they would call him back to the room when they were ready. Experience taught him that the best thing he could do was attend to some of the practical things. He stepped out of the room and called the funeral home. He notified the church's senior pastor, Cynthia Thompson, and then called some of the family's friends who had told him they wanted to be notified.

Fifteen or twenty minutes later, Jim Jr. found him in the visitor's lounge, and draped his arm over his shoulder. "Thanks for all you've done, Andy. We all appreciate it."

"How's your mother, Jim?"

"You know Mom. She deals with things by staying busy and taking charge. She's trying to comfort Becky and the grandkids, calling the rest of the relatives. I told her you'd taken care of the funeral home. Of course, she said, 'He didn't have to do that,' but tomorrow she'll appreciate it." Jim collapsed into Andy's arms, softly sobbing, "He was a good dad."

"The best," Andy said. "Is there anything I can do, Jim?"

Drying his eyes, Jim said, "Why don't you come in and say a prayer. I think we need that right now." Andy returned to the room and read a few verses from the Bible and prayed a prayer of comfort. Becky asked him if her dad was in heaven.

"Of course he is, Becky. Of course he is. He's going to be watching you, cheering at the kids' soccer games, watching you kick butt in the courtroom."

She wiped her eyes and smiled, "I've always appreciated you, Andy. You don't sound like a typical, self-righteous asshole, like a lot of your kind."

Andy said, "You sounded like your dad, just then. He never minced words."

"Well, I am my father's daughter," Becky said with a smile.

When there was a death in the family a pastor's job really began after the person died. The family, especially a spouse, went through a predictable pattern; shock, disbelief, anger and finally acceptance. Andy didn't believe it was his job to constantly reassure people, but to be there and let them talk; let them experience their grief. He listened while they blamed God and let them know that it was O.K. to be angry at God. He let them work through their guilt and was there to listen and occasionally reminded them they'd done all they could and that it was O.K. to get on with life. The process took a long time, and, in fact, Andy felt that if a person claimed to have come to accept the death too soon, it would come back to haunt her later, and make it harder to finally deal with.

Kelly and Jim had been a part of Andy's Disciple Bible Study last year and they used to work with the youth group, which was one of Andy's responsibilities. Andy and Kelly always had a close and easy relationship, so Pastor Cynthia suggested he take the lead in her pastoral care.

For the next seven or eight months, Andy was there for her. Sometimes he just listened, but more often than not, he talked with her. She wanted answers and wasn't satisfied with the clichés he started to offer, so Andy opened up. He told her he didn't believe people went to a place with streets of gold and singing angels, but he thought people became part of God and that caused God to change and evolve as God experienced what people had lived. He told her he didn't think God was some all-powerful and all-knowing being who magically intervened in people's lives but One who offered empathy and comfort. He was of the opinion that people lived on, not in some "heaven" out there, but in ours and God's memories.

Kelly took all of this in, and one day she said, "You know that makes a lot more sense than the crap I heard all my life. It makes God believable."

It wasn't a surprise that Andy began to spend more and more time with Kelly. He discovered that he looked forward to his visits and their talks, and that their relationship was evolving from pastor/parishioner to friends.

It was almost a year after Jim's death that Kelly called Andy. "I hope you know how much I've appreciated you. You helped me get through this year. I want to cook you dinner."

"That sounds great, Kelly. When?"

"I know you're busy with church stuff all week. How about Friday night? Around 6:30?"

"Works for me. I'll see you then."

Friday night he rang the doorbell, a bottle of a 2002 Cabernet in his hand. "You didn't have to do this," she said.

"Well, since I really don't think you'd want me to bring something I cooked, I thought this would be better. It should be ready to open."

"Come on in. Dinner's not ready. In fact, you're going to help me cook. You need to learn to do something besides grill hamburgers."

"Are you sure you know what you're doing? This could be disastrous."

"Bullshit...Oh sorry. I forgot you were a man of God," she joked.

"Damn straight," he retorted and they both laughed. "So what are we making?"

"Spaghetti. From scratch. None of that store-bought stuff. After all, my maiden name was Boscotelli. Now, let's open that wine. You can't cook Italian food without a glass of wine or two."

The food was delicious, of course. Kelly was a great cook. "That was amazing," Andy told her.

"Thanks. It's good to have someone to cook for again."

"Let me help you clean up."

"Forget that. I'll take care of it later." When he started to object, she said, "I invited you, remember. You're my guest. Besides, you helped cook."

"Have it your way. And I don't know how much help I was."

"Let's open another bottle and go to the living room," she said, smiling.

Settling down in a comfortable chair, Andy found himself noticing Kelly in the way a man usually notices a woman. Her loose fitting shirt with a button open and her tight jeans made her look younger than her 56 years. Unlike a lot of women her age, she didn't try to hide her gray hair. In fact, she probably dyed her stylish hair silver. And those deep blue eyes...

"So, Kelly, how are you, really?" he asked.

"I'm good...or at least a lot better. Getting back to work helped. I've got some interesting clients." Kelly, like her daughter, was an attorney; a partner in a mid-size firm. "I still get lonely sometimes, but I guess that's to be expected. But what about you? We've spent a year talking about me and my problems. How long has it been since the divorce?"

The divorce. He should be over it after four years, but to tell the truth, sometimes the pain still cut like a knife at unexpected times; when he saw a red-haired woman in shorts, when he heard a throaty laugh, when he saw a Holiday Inn and especially when he heard the name "Phil."

"Four years," said.

"Are you handling it O.K.?" Kelly asked softly.

"Sure. You know the cliché, 'time heals all wounds,' I can honestly say that I wish her and Phil the best."

Maybe it was the slight catch in his voice or his failure to make eye contact, but Kelly looked at him for a long time and finally said, with more than a hint of sarcasm, "Right."

"So, he said, "let's change the subject. How are the grandkids?"

"Amazing, naturally. The kids tell me I'm spoiling them. And, of course, I am." She swirled the wine in her glass, staring at it. "You know, when I said I was lonely, it's not just that I don't have anyone to talk to when I come home. I really miss...you know..."

"Yeah, I know."

"Come on. A good-looking guy like you?

"Well, you've seen the women in the singles' group at church. I've tried some on-line sites, but for some reason, when a woman finds out I'm a minister...let's just say that pours cold water on things. And sends me to a cold shower." Now it was Andy's turn to stare into his glass. "So. How do you handle it?"

"Well, I have a friend who helps."

"Oh."

"No, it's not like that. My...'friend' uses batteries." She buried her face in her hands and laughed. "I can't believe I just said that," she said when she caught her breath. I'm sorry," as she started to laugh again.

"That's all right. Besides, I'm sure you've noticed that my right arm is a lot more...ah...muscular than my left,"

That set Kelly off again. "Oh, my God!" By now she was laughing so hard, tears were streaming down her face.

"Well, it is what it is," Andy said, trying hard to keep a straight face himself. "What does that mean, by the way, 'It is what it is?' I've never understood that. Seems kind of redundant to me."

Still laughing, Kelly said "I don't know...I don't know." This seemed to set her off again, and she was laughing hysterically.

When she calmed down, Andy said, "So...how often does your 'friend' come to visit?"

"A couple times a week, I suppose? I can't believe I just told you that!" After she got her laughter under control, she asked, "How often do you 'exercise' your arm?"

"A hell of a lot more than twice a week, I can tell you that. And with that, I'd better go."

"God, this was fun. The most fun I've had in LONG time," Kelly said as she walked him to the door. "Come here. Give me a hug."

It started out as a chaste, friendly embrace, but it lasted a bit too long. "Is that..."

"Don't say it!" Andy interrupted.

"Don't say what?" she asked playfully.

"Don't ask if that's a pickle in my pocket."

"I wasn't going to." A pause. "I was going to ask if it was a cucumber," as she started to laugh again. She stopped laughing when she felt the back of Andy's hand lightly stroke her cheek. She took a step back, and looked into his brown eyes. Then she moved toward him, meeting him as he bent his head toward her. Their lips met, and their tongues immediately wound around each other, exploring. Feeling his hand on her still shapely ass, she hugged him even harder and backed toward the couch. She fell on it, pulling him with her. Their kisses become more fervent, more demanding. His knee pushed her legs apart and she felt his thigh hard against her. He flexed it, pushing it against her pussy. Denim rubbed against denim. He squeezed her breast as she arched her back and pushed against his leg. She grabbed his hard ass and pulled him even closer, grinding and twisting. Even through the rough material she could feel her orgasm coming as she ground her clit against his leg. Finally, it hit. She gasped, her whole body stiffening as the pleasure rolled over her. Then she fell back, her body completely relaxed.

Andy suddenly jumped up, and said, "I have to go. If I don't stop I won't be able to."

"You don't have to stop," Kelly whispered.

"Yes. Yes I do," he said, his voice shaking.

In his car, He reached down and felt his cock straining against his jeans. He pushed against it. Once. Twice. He was barely able to keep his car off the median as he came, soaking his boxers and jeans. He turned into a 7-11 parking lot, his breath coming in gasps. He waited long minutes before he felt calm enough to drive to his apartment.

******

The church secretary told him he seemed distracted. "Is anything wrong?"

"Not really," Andy answered, "Just been busy." It was true though. It was hard to concentrate. After four days, he knocked on the Senior Pastor's door. "Cynthia, you got a few minutes?" he asked.

"Sure. Come on in." After he sat down, she asked, "So. What's up?"

"I've been spending a lot of time with Kelly Andrews."

"I've noticed," she said.

"Well, I'm afraid I may have crossed a line."

"I'd wondered. What happened?"

"She invited me to dinner last Friday. To make a long story short, something happened."

"Like...?"

"We started talking about some, well, intimate things, and one thing led to another, and I kissed her."

"Is that all?"

"Yeah. Just a kiss," he lied. "After it happened I left. But still, it was too much. Do you want me to resign?"

"Look. I want to tell you two things. First, you're not the first minister this has happened to. When pastors counsel people, it's normal for us to form an emotional bond. It happens to the best of us. But...second, you crossed a line. I don't want you to resign, but I need to ask you a question."

"What?"

"Where do you see this going? Do you want to continue it? Are you falling in love with Kelly? Because if you are, you need to take a leave of absence until you figure things out. If not, if this was a one-time thing, then you need to stop seeing her. Transfer her counseling to me."

"I'm not in love with her, Cynthia. I think it was just, I don't know, we had a little wine, I asked her if she was lonely, she asked if I was lonely, then it happened. It'll never happen again."

"Good. But Andy, you have to talk to her. You have to tell her you can't see her again. Ask her to come to your office when I'm here. You have to tell her you violated a boundary, and you have to apologize."

"You're right. I'll call her right now. And Cynthia...thanks."

"You're a good pastor, Andy. Don't let this throw you. Use it as a learning experience, O.K?"

"O.K." As he walked out of her office, he stopped and turned. "Cynthia, can I ask you a question?"

"Shoot."

"When you said it happened to best of us... Did it happen to you?"

She grinned and said, "Well, I am the best, aren't I?"

******

"I'm sorry, Andy. It was my fault. I knew it was wrong. The last thing I want is to jeopardize your job. You've helped me so much. I'll find another church."

"Kelly, that's ridiculous. And it wasn't your fault. I'm the one who crossed the line. I knew what I was doing. Listen. We're both adults. If you need to talk, Pastor Cynthia will be here for you. You're not in any of my Bible Studies or classes any more. We can still say 'Hi," and be civil. We just can't, you know, be alone again."

"I'll think about it," she said as she got up to go. "Can I have a hug, at least?"

"That wouldn't be a good idea, Kelly. I'll see you."

*****

Kelly didn't leave the church. Andy saw her in Pastor Cynthia's office occasionally, but aside from a "Hello" after Sunday worship, they didn't have any contact.

Several months later, on a hot July day, Andy and a couple buddies stopped by Johnny's Tavern on the way home from the golf course. As they walked toward the bar, he saw Kelly at a table with three other lawyer-types. They caught each other's eye, but didn't speak.Over the next hour, though, Andy found it difficult to keep his eyes off her. She was dressed in a suit, but her skirt had crept above the knee as she sat with crossed legs. Her silky blouse was unbuttoned at the top, revealing a bit of cleavage and the swell of her round breasts. Andy noticed that she was glancing at his tanned body and muscular legs in his golf shorts.

His friends got up to leave, but Andy said, "I'll think I'll hang around here for awhile. Next Saturday?" A few minutes later, he heard Kelly say, "I need to stop by home on the way back. I left some contracts I was working on last night."

As they left, Andy looked at her, and said "Can I buy you a drink?"

She took a seat on the stool next to him. "I have to go back to work, unlike some people," she chuckled. "But I'll have an iced tea."

"So how are you," he asked. "You look amazing."

"Thanks. You look good yourself. What have you been doing this summer?"

"Oh, you know; playing some golf, just getting some exercise."

The double entendre wasn't lost on Kelly, but she ignored it. "I liked your sermon last week. I guess Cynthia's back?"

"Yeah. She got back today." There was an awkward silence. After a long minute, Andy said, "I've missed you. I've really missed you."

"Me too," she said, her voice catching. "Me too."

"I can't stop thinking about you, about that night. It's like you've infected me. I can't get you out of my head."

"That's the first time I've been compared to a virus," as she laughed that deep laugh. "But I feel the same way. I miss you."

He reached under bar, and put his hand on her bare thigh. "I want to see you. I need to see you."

She covered his hand with hers, but she didn't push it away. "Are you sure? I don't want you to get in trouble."

"I'm sure. When can get together?"

"How about this Friday?"

"No, I'm taking the kids to a conference over the weekend. "Next week?"

"I'm in trial all week." She stared looked into his eyes. "I have a lake house. Can you take some time off in two weeks? I think we both know that we're not talking about dinner and a movie somewhere."

He moved his hand higher. "I can take Monday through Friday off then." It was his turn to ask, "Are YOU sure?"

She reached out her hand and touched him high on his thigh, a manicured finger brushing against his crotch. "What do you think?" Then with a laugh she leaned forward and whispered, her lips almost touching his ear, "I see you've been shopping for cucumbers again."

The weeks seemed to drag on forever, but Andy finally found himself at the Lake of the Ozarks, knocking on the lake house door. He heard Kelly say, "Come in." She was dressed in a long, silky black gown. It was low cut, revealing her deep cleavage and slit up the side, showing off a tan thigh. "I hope this is all right. At my age, I'd feel a little silly putting on a corset and fishnets."

"My God, you're beautiful," Andy breathed as he took her in his arms and kissed her deeply. "Where's the bedroom?"

"This way," taking his hand. They lay on the bed still locked in a passionate kiss. He pushed the thin straps off her shoulders and began to kiss her, working his way down to her full breasts. "Now you know my dirty little secret. I've had some work done."

"Somebody's done a good job, that's all I have to say," as he took a nipple in his mouth, sucked on it and lightly bit it, causing her to moan. "Wait a minute," he said as he stood up and shed his clothes.

"MMMM, that's nice," she smiled.

"What?"

"Everything, top to bottom. But especially the middle," staring at his already rigid cock, as she pulled the gown over her head.

He fell on her, feeling her hand grasp him. She guided him toward her, and he felt the heat of her on the tip of his shaking cock. He slowly thrust his hips, pushing into her. "God. I've wanted to do this for so long..."

"AHHH. So long... it's been so long," Kelly sighed as she took him to her depths.

He pulled back then drove into her harder. He was already breathing hard, sweating. "So tight...so tight..."

"God, baby..."

He was fucking her steadily as she met his thrusts, the old bed creaking. "I can't keep this up...," he panted.

"Go ahead. Cum. Cum in me."

"I want it to last. It feels so good..."

"We've got all week, baby. Do it!"

With that, he came. Hard.

*******

The next morning, as they ate breakfast, Andy stared at her and a smile crept across his lips. "What?" Kelly asked.

"I've always thought it was one of the sexist things...A beautiful woman wearing a man's shirt...and nothing else. It's hard to keep my eyes off you."

"I'm glad you approve." She blushed, and then said, "Last night was fantastic."

"Which time are you talking about?"

"All three! But especially the second."

"You liked it?" he asked with a self-satisfied grin. "What did you like about it?"

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