Esther and Me Ch. 04bySlirpuff©
We ate a few of the leftovers that Lucy had in the refrigerator, but no one had much of an appetite. I had two glasses of wine while Catherine sat at my side finishing off the rest of the bottle. I told her Esther's last words a dozen times and she cried each time all the while saying how much she would miss her.
I put my wife to bed and sat sipping on a glass of wine watching the fire in the fireplace. It would be hectic the next few days and then the reality of life without Esther would sink in. I missed her already. Her feisty and sharp tongue always made me laugh, or at least embarrassed me while we were out and about. My next thought was Lucy. She no longer had a job or a place to call home. I'd have to talk to Catherine about that. There was no way I wanted to put her out. She'd been with Esther for over ten years and loved her like her own mother.
The next time I blinked I saw the sun coming up and Catherine was standing in front of me.
"You sat up all night? You're going to be dead by tonight."
"Are you okay?" I asked her. "No, and probably won't be for a while, but at least Mom's at peace. I guess I never thought what it would be like without her. I figured she'd be around forever. Now I feel bad for not visiting more and being nicer to her." I moved her head off my shoulder and with both my hands on her face I kissed her. "You meant the world to her. She loved you more than I think you'll ever know. Don't think about the what ifs just be thankful for all the time you had with her."
Touching my forehead with hers she told me that she loved me and that we'd get through this together. I took her back to bed.
The viewing was much larger than anyone expected. The place was packed and they had to extend their hours just to accommodate everyone who wanted to pay their respects. They came by car, bus, and limousine. They walked in, some with walkers and others in wheelchairs. I recognized many of the people I'd met at night sitting in the plaza and everyone said that she'd be missed. A few congratulated me on my wedding and commented on what a beautiful wife and daughter Catherine had become. It seemed that even though she hadn't spent that much time with her mother in Florida, these women remembered what she'd looked like in her thirties and forties—especially those close to Esther.
During the service there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Following the formal service Catherine wanted family only for a few minutes so we could say our goodbyes in private. Standing besides Catherine and Lucy we whispered to Esther how much she would be missed. Catherine touched the side of her face, kissed her, and slipped a letter into her hands. The funeral director quietly closed the coffin lid and took it away to the waiting limo. We drove to the cemetery in silence. Although Catherine did not watch the coffin being lowered into the ground, she managed to hold on long enough to get through the rest of it. After that we took Lucy home and the two of us just drove around for a long while. Catherine said she hoped to go back to the cemetery in a few days to say her goodbyes but felt she needed more time to compose herself before that could happen.
When we returned to Temple Gardens we attempted to have dinner at one of the plaza restaurants but after the tenth person came up and said they were sorry about our loss, we left. I took her to a small out of the way place and finally had a quiet meal. After our dinner we just drove and ended up at an isolated motel on the beach. We walked along the water and sat on the sand just listening to the waves until just before midnight. She had an emptiness in her that I was doing my best to fill, but knew only time could do that.
I let her sleep in and found a small restaurant down the road and brought in breakfast. She hadn't eaten much and I hoped that this morning I could get her to eat even a little. I was kneeling on the floor, next to the side of her bed looking at her, when she woke up.
"Good morning, Mrs. Moore," I said giving her a peck on the nose. "I've been cooking for hours so you have to at least try to eat something this morning."
Coffee, some fruit, and half a bagel were all she could get down. We talked a little but neither of us pushed the issue or even tried to make small talk. We checked out and headed for home holding hands the entire time.
"Thank you," she said looking at me.
"For what?" I said looking a bit confused.
"For everything. I know you loved Mom too and although you're probably hurting you made sure I was okay."
"That's what husbands do."
"Not all husbands," was her reply. We didn't say much the rest of the way home.
Lucy was bouncing around the house not really knowing what to do without Esther being there. We had dinner, just the three of us, and although Lucy never said a word, there was this huge elephant in the room. I told the two of them to leave the dishes and clean up to me and that's when Catherine and Lucy walked out onto the patio. I could see them talking and then watched as they both started crying, consoling, and hugging one another with their heads on each other's shoulder. They finished, and now smiling, they wiped the tears away from their faces. It was as if they had helped one another come to grips with the loss they were both feeling.
I was already in bed by the time Catherine came out of the bathroom. I flipped back the sheet and covers inviting her into the bed. I let her make any and all advances because I still wasn't sure exactly how she was feeling. We kissed and cuddled until falling asleep or should I say I did. Sometime between twelve thirty and seven o'clock in the morning she got up. When I woke up I felt for her but she was gone. After calling out her name twice and hearing no reply I went looking for her. She was in the living room sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace; she'd been reading.
The envelope was opened and the papers were lying face down on the marble floor in front of the fireplace.
"Hon, you all right?" I softly called out to her.
She didn't say a word only reached out a hand to me. I grasped for it and sat down on the cold marble with her.
"You want me to get you your robe?"
"She never took her eyes off mine as she kissed me lightly and then mashing her lips against mine driving her tongue into my mouth. We switched from side to side as the heat from the fire only intensified her passion. How long had it been since we'd made love? I wasn't sure but I grabbed her and took her back to the bedroom and made love to her body and soul. Breasts were caressed, nipples played with, as I finally removed what little clothing remained. I was going to eat her pussy but she stopped me.
She pulled me between her legs, reached down and inserted me into her already wet pussy. In three strokes I was deep inside of her and moving effortlessly. She wrapped her legs around my waist and met my every thrust with one of her own. I didn't last long but never stopped even after I'd given her everything I had in me.
It wasn't a bone-crushing climax, and if I hadn't felt her muscles contractions gripping me I never would have known she'd gotten off. Now with her arms around my neck we came down together exchanging morning breath and sleep coated tongues.
"You know I love you, don't you?" she whispered in my ear.
"Never doubted it for a minute," I said kissing her ear.
"Liar," she said biting my ear lobe. "If I remember right someone got a little jealous over a couple of gay guys."
"All right, so I'm a little possessive of what is mine."
Looking into my eyes she told me I had nothing to worry about; she'd always be faithful.
"Come on, let's take a shower," she said with that old wicked look in her eyes again but stopped dead in her tracks. "Get the water ready, I'll be right back," she said running back into the living room, grabbing the papers off the floor and stuffing them back in the envelope. Throwing the envelope on the desk she dragged me into the shower. After our shower I wanted to fool around again but was told to behave because we'd have plenty of time for that later.
I made coffee and bagels while she cooked some bacon. I was a little hungry that morning and it looked like she was also, that was a good sign.
"Steve, I want to go see Mom's grave after breakfast, if you don't mind."
"No problem, and I think it might be fun if we swing by the storage unit and pick up my mustang again and take it out for a spin after that. Maybe I'll even let you drive it."
"Steve, why don't you just get it out of that damn storage unit and leave it at the house once in for all. This taking it out every other month for a spin is stupid. A car like this is meant to be driven. If it was mine, I'd be driving it to and from work every day."
"Babes, it's a classic and I don't want to put the miles on it. Some day it's going to be worth a pretty penny; that is if it doesn't have a ton of miles on it." I guess what I'd said went in one ear and out the other as she told me 'whatever.'
At the cemetery we cried. It was still too raw and would take a lot more time for the hurt to heal. I held her, told her how much I loved her and that I'd do everything in my power to make her feel whole again.
"You really do love me, don't you?" she asked. "It's just not lust or me filling a gap left by your ex-wife. You love me for who I am."
"Remember those words. Sickness and in health, till death us do part? I meant every word of it." I kissed her wet salty lips. She hugged me, smiled, and I finally got rid of any doubts, if she'd had any.
"You know my mother really liked you?" she said driving my mustang back from the cemetery as I watch the road on pins and needles until we pulled into the driveway ten minutes later and continued our discussion in our bedroom.
"Like I said, Mom really liked you," she said putting on something more comfortable she could lounge around the house in.
"I know that, and I loved her too."
"No, I mean she really, really LIKED you. In her eyes you walked on water. You must have made one hell of a first impression on her. She said you were the most loving and loyal man she ever met outside of my father and that's saying something."
I thought back to the first couple of times we'd met and besides me buying her a beer or shooting the shit with her there wasn't anything special about our meetings.
"She said that after you found out about your wife cheating on you she concocted this scheme to get you and me together."
"When was all this taking place?"
"I guess in between you dumping your wife and her planning a trip for me to come down here."
"Why that little shit. She had it all planned right down to which rooms we'd be staying in."
"Steve, she knew I loved to go for a swim at night and that you did also. I just didn't know you did it in the buff."
"Not in the least," she said giving my hand a squeeze.
"You never told me that you told her that you were going to propose to me on the cruise."
"It was our little secret. I felt I owed her that much, after all you were her only daughter, and I respected her enough to tell her in advance."
"Well, that I guess, sealed it in her eyes, anyway."
"Did she tell you that if you had said no, she'd set me up with a hundred single widows she knew?"
"I told her, like I'm telling you now, in your dreams. You're mine and I don't share."
"You can't imagine how good that makes me feel. However, on a side note, I don't know what arrangements your mom made for Lucy, but I'd like to do something for her. I've got some money stashed away and would like to set her up with something of a nest egg, so to speak. She wasn't just a nanny or caregiver to your mom; she really cared for her." I was hoping I wasn't stepping on anyone's toes or out of line.
"Mom was right, you really are a good man. That's what she liked about you. You truly care about others and are willing to dig into your own pocket to help out someone you'd never met up until a year and a half ago. You really are something, you know that?"
"Well, what do you think? She won't be on easy street but she won't have to care for anyone else again if she doesn't want to." I waited.
"My mom has already taken care of Lucy. She won't have to worry about anything again. Mr. Moore, have I ever said how much I love you?"
"Not often enough but I'll work on you until you get it right."
"Now the hard part—us," she said in a serious tone.
"Before you say a word I've got a crazy idea I want to run by you. Getting half of the value of my home, with my pension, and what I'd get at sixty-two, I'm thinking of quitting my job at sixty-two and moving up north with you. I know it's still a little ways off, but that way we'd be with each other and not worrying when and how we'd be together. I know I can find something up north to fill my days and bring in a few bucks. And during that time we can be looking for a little retirement place back here on the beach. What do you think?"
"You hate the cold weather."
"I love you more than I hate the cold and after all we'll have all those cool nights to keep each other warm. What do you say?"
"I hate it. You'd be miserable up north and the only reason you would be doing it is for me. This way I could keep my job and you'd be giving up yours."
"Hon, we'd be together. I can't bear the thought of not having you with me all the time. It's a small price for our happiness."
"Okay, how about this? I give notice at my job and I move down here into my mom's house. This way we'll be warm all the time and most of all we'll be together."
"I like your idea much better and I think even if you don't work, we'll get by. I don't know how much your mom still owes on this place, but it can't be that god awful much," I kissed her and started getting friendly. "Let's celebrate."
"Not so fast bucko, there is still one item we need to discuss and it's usually a touchy subject with most newly married couples. I say we pool our money together and I take responsibility for paying our bills and managing our money. I do it for a living and I'm probably a lot better at it then you."
"Okay, that was easy. Now can we fool around?"
"Don't you have any questions? Don't you want to know how much I make a month? You don't feel, you know, you'd be less a man with me taking charge like this?"
"I love and trust you implicitly. I know you'd never screw me over. Just don't yell at me if I overspend my budget." She looked at me and laughed.
"That went a lot easier than I thought it would."
We made love and I did make her scream this time. I counted three climaxes, which for me was a new record, or at least the best I've done in ten years. I was out of breath and Catherine was flushed and fanning herself while we both were enjoying the afterglow.
"Wow, if this is the way you get when I take charge, I'm going to have to do it more often."
"Take charge nothing, I'm going to have you here with me and that, my wife, is worth everything I own."
"You sure about that?"
"Yes, no question in my mind."
"All right, but getting rid of twenty-two million dollars is going to take me more than a few days." She gave me a big shit-eating grin.
"What did you say? Twenty-two what?"
"Million. Mom left me a trust fund and it is a shade over twenty-two."
"Well, then we can give Lucy more than I thought."
"Steve, she doesn't need our money. Mom left her two million and a new condo."
"Steve, I knew the type of man you were a long time ago. I just didn't want to step on your masculinity without first asking you. So, you give your notice, I'll give mine and we'll find a little shack on the beach with a pool where we can swim naked and have sex whenever we want."
Life got a lot easier after that day. Now every night, after making love with my wife, in my mind I quietly thanked Esther and remembered the words she'd always say to me. 'Steve, I've got plans for you.' I guess she did.