Any Chance We Could Ch. 47byReindeer58©
This chapter is not meant to stand alone. Please begin at the first chapter to fully appreciate this tale.
Friday, November 9
I was lying on my back with my arms stretched out to either side with a blond snuggled into my neck on the right and a warm redhead on my left. Carol had just begun to nibble on my ear lobe when Veronica's hand slowly began meandering down my stomach. When her hand wrapped around my responding cock, "Good morning handsome," they both seemed to say in unison as my eyes fluttered open.
"Good morning my lovely wives," I responded with a light chuckle. "Do we need to get up, or do I have time to enjoy your cuddling for awhile?"
"Wives...I like the sound of that," cooed my vivacious redhead."Unfortunately I have to get up. I need to get back to Clayton for my car and take ... and take Jack to the airport. Can someone go with me?" Carol asked.
"I'm sure Veronica or I could go," I suggested.
"Evie and I are meeting for breakfast. I'll bet Mary Claire would go if you asked nicely," said Veronica looking at Carol.
"I'll ask her. If she's not free this morning, I'll keep asking until I find someone," said Carol with a frown. "I really don't want to go alone. I'm not at all fearful of him. I'm fearful of what I could allow myself to do with Jack."
"If something were to happen, I'd be fine with it," I tried to assure her.
Carol shook her head, "I know that my sweet, adorable husband, but I need this for me. I need to keep from being with other men until I figure out what it means to be in a fully committed relationship with you."
Mary Claire prepared a light breakfast of coffee, cereal, toast and orange juice. After stacking the dishes in the sink she changed into a knee length black skirt, loose light blue blouse, heels and hose. She agreed not only to take Carol to the parking garage, but to ride with them to visit Jack's old house and on to the airport.
She entered the lobby with Carol who called Jack when they were nearing the garage. When she'd called from her cell, Jack had invited her to come to his room for a cup of coffee but she declined politely saying one of Veronica's daughters was with her.
When he stepped off the elevator and walked towards them Mary Claire was unabashedly appraising him. Seeing Carol's acceptance of Mary Claire's lustful gaze Jack returned Mary Claire's look with his own smiling appraisal of her. He walked directly towards Mary Claire, extended his hand as he said, "Hello Veronica's most lovely daughter, I'm Jack Winthrop."
Carol said, "This is Mary Claire Appleton, Veronica and Scott's eldest daughter."
"My pleasure," Jack said holding her hand for a beat longer than necessary. "I understand there are four of you. All as pretty as yourself?" he grinned.
"Settle down, Jack. How long have you been away from Elise and Virginia? Two days or two months?" Carol laughed.
"I'm the ugly duckling of the bunch," laughed Mary Claire.
"If that's true, then you all must be beauty queens," he smiled.
Carol laughed, "I see you're still the flattering flirt."
"Only when the right woman moves me," he grinned at Mary Claire, raising her hand to his lips and kissing it.
"You're right Carol, he's a handsome charmer," Mary Claire grinned.
"We've time for a cup of coffee if you want," Jack smiled as he nodded toward the coffee pot across the lobby. They got their cups and sat on facing couches, Mary Claire and Carol side by side on one and Jack across from them. When Jack learned that Carol had invited Mary Claire to ride to the airport with them a slight frown momentarily flitted across his face and was gone within a second but not before both women noticed. The two women looked at the other and knew what the other was thinking.
Jack asked Mary Claire about her sister's ages. She explained that she was nineteen almost twenty, Cindy was a month younger than her, Katrina would be nineteen a week from this coming Monday, and Ashley would be nineteen in February.
"That's very interesting, why the short spread in ages? Clearly different mothers, but same father?" smiled Jack.
"Different fathers too," grinned Mary Claire right back.
"It's a rather involved story, suffice to say I live with Veronica and Scott, who's marrying Veronica next Friday, and the four daughters live with us, ... them, ... together, ... it's complicated. But I've never been happier in my life," broadly smiled Carol seeing Jack's confusion. "Enough about us, how'd the interview go?"
"I felt comfortable with the interview. Overall it was tough yet reasonable given the nature of the position. While they asked several highly probative technical and managerial questions, more time was spent discussing how my operational philosophy and priorities would affect budgetary decisions and recommendations to elected officials," he explained. "One of the panel members from the council kept challenging my views and at times I found myself explaining and defending what I said."
"The person who they're replacing has taken significant heat from the political leaders, the press and his own employees," Carol interjected. "There have been a growing number of voices about decisions being made about project priorities as well as his overall lack of openness and listening to others. Two years ago he was criticized for not widely inspecting streets, sewers and bridges. He dismissed the need but a bridge the state closed seven months ago until it could be repaired increased the intensity of the attacks. In the last year some poor spending decisions going back over the last ten years have come to light. There's also a growing number of voters who want their taxes reduced without the cuts affecting road repair, parks and first responders."
"It's ever thus," Jack said. "I've picked up that the lack of accountability has been an issue and that he was given an incentive to retire fourteen months early."
Mary Claire offered, "I don't want to pay anymore taxes than necessary. For me it comes down to quality of services received for the dollar, the quality of our infrastructure so that it's sound and functioning well, the quality of our education system, good public parks, appropriately staffed police and fire departments, all that I and my fellow citizens utilize each day and we'd miss if they weren't there or up to standard. I'd hate to think of services being cut to the level that our roads, bridges, sewers, schools, fire departments and others are compromised. If there were a break-in at my house tonight I'd hope that a police car or two would arrive quickly. I'd hate to be told that there are only two or three officers on duty for our area and that they'll get around to us when they can as they're already over-committed for the next several hours. I'm willing to pay a reasonable amount of taxes, even more taxes than I am now, if I get a solid return on my investment. I wouldn't want to pay tolls for every major highway and bridge I crossed or pay fee every time I wanted to take a walk in a local park." Carol grinned at Mary Claire's passion and thoughtfulness. Once again her intelligence was glimpsed.
"My dear, you are wise beyond your years. As for the position, I could hear as early as later today, but not later than Tuesday morning. I was the last of four other guys, well one was a woman, to be interviewed. I think I know how to read an interview by the nature of the questions at the end and the body language. I sensed they liked what they heard and seemed to be impressed with the projects I'd overseen. A question at the end was telling when the guy who grilled me the hardest asked if I was taking time to search for a home. When I replied that I'd not linked up with a realtor another panel member encouraged me to delay my flight home to take the time to find a realtor I liked. So I think I'll be their choice, ... I hope I am.
"I'd love to move my family back to our hometown. When I went for my run this morning, it was a balmy 48 and yesterday's high of near 64 makes it even more enticing to move back home. The constant winter in Fargo from the middle of October to early April has been a challenge for my wife. Her mother is anxious to get back here as well. Sub-zero lows and highs not going above 10 degrees for weeks at a stretch hasn't been an issue for the kids because they've known no other life. That said I suspect that they'll love the milder winters yet I also suspect by mid-winter we may well find ourselves missing some of the usual winter activities."
"Oh, you've taken up some winter sports?" Carol asked.
"Having a house that backs onto a farm field has allowed us to ride our snowmobiles whenever we want to. Elise, Virginia and I also have season tickets to the Fargo-Moorhead Jets and I help out with one of the high school hockey teams. Believe it or not, my wife and I have learned to curl."
"Hockey I can understand and of course you have the Blues here, but curling, you're kidding," Carol gasped.
"Isn't that shuffleboard on ice?" Mary Claire asked.
"Don't let any curler hear you call it that Mary Claire. It is much more than that. It's a game of profound strategy, skill and finesse. Sweeping can give you a hard workout. I've come to love the game. By the way, do you know any realtors?" he asked with a smile.
Carol and Mary Claire looked at each other and simultaneously said, "Amy Anne!"
"Got a number, apparently she's got two recommendations," he smiled.
"She's someone Dad's known since high school. She just handled two deals for our family and a close friend. If you want I'll call him. I'm sure he's got her number," said Mary Claire excitedly digging her cell out of her oversized brown and tan Prada purse. After talking to me and closing the conversation with a "Love you too," she repeated the number to Jack who punched it into his Blackberry and asked for her name.
"Do you think we should go?" asked Carol.
As Jack cleared his account at the front desk, Mary Claire asked, "I thought he was an old friend, you're acting rather cool, not like you at all."
"Long story, I'll explain on the way back from the airport. You're family, you should know. Later," she smiled as Jack was crossing the lobby back toward them with his luggage in tow.
Following his directions Carol drove as he headed them west out Clayton Road to Town and Country, and after a few turns he told them to stop. He stayed in the car with Carol leaning over toward him and Mary Claire resting her elbows on the seat back to look out the windshield and the side window. "This is where I grew up with my parents, Olivia and Peter, and my older sister, Claire. And that house you can just barely see on the other side of the corner house was where my wife, my mother-in-law and Elise's sister Janet grew up. It was a fateful summer day in two thousand one when our paths merged and our lives together began. It was a summer at home for all of us.
"During our elementary school years we'd played together pretty much every day, but as we entered middle school and high school our paths rarely crossed except for Janet and I seeing each other in the hallways at the high school. I'm twenty-nine, Janet's twenty-eight, Elise is twenty-seven and Virginia is forty-eight. Though Elise is a little more than two years younger than me, given where our birthdays fell in relation to starting of school, I was three grades ahead of her. That summer Janet and I slept together, then Virginia and me while Janet was in New York interviewing and Elise was at Air National Guard camp. There was a connection between Elise and me from the beginning but interestingly enough we didn't sleep together until early August. I hope this personal aside isn't offending you Mary Claire." Said Jack turning his head over his shoulder.
"No, not at all," smiled Mary Claire.
Jack continued, "When Elise returned from her summer Guard assignment and we began 'dating'. We both realized that our relationship amounted to something more than a 'crush'. It quickly became a full blown love affair. In hindsight we could see that we'd been in love long before that summer. Anyway, by the end of the summer, there were many evenings when the four of us would share a bed. As summer drew to a close, Ed, he's Elise and Janet's father, had had one too many affairs and he and Virginia quietly divorced in late October. Janet found employment in New York but managed to come home at least one weekend a month. We knew with certainty that we were right for each other so Elise and I married that November on the Princeton campus where she'd transferred to finish her degree. It was a rather intimate ceremony with the two of us, my parents, my sister, Janet and Virginia and officiated by Evie Graham. Unknown to me at the time, Elise, Janet and Virginia had been members of a naturists club near Lonedell since the girls were in grade school."
"Naturists?" Mary Claire asked. "And how did you know Dr. Graham?"
"Nudists," Carol smiled. "The social club."
"That's right. They also'd been swingers since Elise turned eighteen. Virginia was in the lifestyle longer than that after being introduced by my parents which was news to me that my parents were swingers. That summer they took a hiatus from the lifestyle while they tried to figure out how to tell me. After we returned from our honeymoon we were back in St. Louis for the Christmas-New Years holidays when Janet and Virginia along with my wife sat me down and explained that part of their past. I was aghast at first but after listening to them and after a few sessions with Evie Graham I understood that is was recreational sex with no romantic overtones, not an affair type of sex, just plain fun sex. In January, 2002 I attended a party with my wife and Virginia and that's where I met Carol. She'd been with all three women in my life and I found sex with her to be a lot of fun too," he chuckled.
"Fun or not, it was almost my undoing to have this young stud monopolizing my pussy at group parties as well sometimes at private outside parties," ruefully replied Carol.
"Carol, you did the right thing last night. The last thing I want for any lover is regrets of any kind. I discovered the importance of being clear what you need and desire when my wife had a six night stay with a man. She was returning from her deployment to Afghanistan where she'd been appointed as an executive officer to a bird Colonel for six months...she was his second XO. The Colonel's first XO had been badly wounded by a roadside IAD. He was in charge of some construction projects at an Air Force base and with him being at the end of his deployment, hers then was ended early. On the way back, with her no longer under his command they stopped to in Italy.
"Though we'd both been with other lovers, sometimes in the same room or separately for a night, I learned something about myself that week. I wasn't as prepared for the intensity of the jealousy that started to hit me after the second day. I had some doubts about saying yes to her, but I said she could. I had no problem with Elise being with another man for a whole night, we'd been there and done that dozens of times. Somehow her being with him night after night left me feeling pushed aside and in some ways it seemed to take on feelings of it being more than just a sexual thing. I also realized months later that Elise and the Colonel going to Venice and Rome had something to do with it since they are such romantic cities. I guess it raised my level of jealousy and made me wonder if there were a romantic element ... and besides I was quietly checking out prices to take my wife to Venice and Vienna the next summer. It took me months to work through why I was bothered so much and why I wanted to curtail some of our lifestyle activities in Fargo even though I didn't have those same feelings when she was with other men or women."
"What did you discover?" asked Carol.
"The difference between the swinging we did before and after that week was that we did it together. It was the first time we were apart and unable to in some manner share the experience either that night or the next day. Yes I trusted Elise, but I found what I claimed and how I felt after a few days was something else. I feared that there was a romantic element at play. They had after all worked closely day after day for months. It took me months to define the nature of my insecurities and work through them. The issues were mine, not Elise's."
Carol nodded that she understood. "Did you feel threatened by the other man?"
"At first I put it down to that but that wasn't really it. It was more that I was not receiving Elise's immediate affirmation, and us not being able to affirm to each other that all was well. I realized I needed that affirmation and to hear her tell me she loved me. From her emails and calls I knew she greatly respected the Colonel, that he was handsome, personable and she loved working with him. It was more my insecurity and unfounded fears...and in that regard I was threatened by him." He paused and looked at Carol and then continued, "I came to realize that just as I had a closer relationship with one special lover and enjoyed being with her as much as I could, that my feelings for such a woman did not mean I loved my wife any less. That realization helped a lot but not fully. Elise knew of my feelings for this woman and accepted them since she was confident and secure in our relationship, and knew I had room in my heart for those special feelings."
When Carol blushed Jack looked towards Mary Claire and then continued, "My feelings dissipated when I affirmed afresh that my relationship and marriage with my wife was more than secure. I realized the significance of being able to boldly affirm that she is my best friend, I'm hers and that we're partners for life. It all boils down to being content in the present and with what each day provides while enjoying and embracing your friends and family. At the end I was stronger and I was happy that she was with him. For her Venice and Rome were memorable. I'm happy that it was a very special week even though for several months I went through some soul searching. When I married Elise I thought I loved her fully and completely. And I truly did that day in Princeton, but the love I had then pales in comparison to how much I love her today. Our love and relationship keeps evolving, growing, maturing and becoming deeper. We are content and secure with each other, and just enjoy being together each day whether we are in bed, out grocery shopping or playing with the kids."
Mary Claire who'd been listening carefully put in, "Let us not go hurrying about and collecting honey, bee-like, buzzing here and for a knowledge of what is not to be arrived at, but let us open our leaves like a flower, and be passive and receptive, budding patiently under the eye of Apollo and taking hints from every noble insect that favors us with a visit. John Keats wrote that."
"Wow Mary Claire, you keep surprising me." Carol grinned.
"It's a little something that I memorized two years ago but didn't realize its truth until I moved in with Scott and Veronica. We can get so busy doing things and planning for the future that we forget to embrace and enjoy the present. I agree with Jack, there is nothing like being content and secure in family and friends. I have found contentment in my new family and never want to leave it."
"So Carol, you did the right thing. Don't do anything unless you feel right about it and secure in your primary relationships," Jack nodded. "I wouldn't. That's enough about that. Mary Claire tell me a bit about yourself."
Twenty or so minutes later, half of which had been devoted to Mary Claire, Jack suggested that they'd best get to the airport. The conversation was friendly and light and Carol and Mary Claire alighted from the car and lightly kissed Jack at the curb. On the way back to Clayton Carol explained that Jack had always been a weakness of hers, at least until she'd met me. But decided to err on the side of caution Thursday night as she was unsure of how I'd feel if she spent the night with someone for whom she had such warm feelings.