It Just Happened Ch. 05byREGade©
Chapter 5: Millie
"That's Millie's car," Ed said as we pulled into the drive on Friday afternoon.
"Shit!" I exclaimed. Mildred Hawley was Jen's older sister. We had never gotten along. All the time Jen and I were dating, Millie tried to break us up. It was obvious that she didn't think I was good enough for her sister. And when she found out we were having sex she threatened to tell their parents that Jen had given her virginity to the low-life. Jen's brother, Tony, despised me too, but it was Millie that I feared the most. Fortunately, I got along okay with their parents and that, plus our determination that nothing would come between us was what gave us the strength to persevere.
Ed opened the back door and motioned for me to follow him on tiptoes. The sisters were in the kitchen, unaware that we had entered the house.
"How many times do I have to tell you? We're not going and that's final," Jen's voice carrying to where we stood on the porch.
"Jennifer Hawley, our brother is driving over two hundred miles on Wednesday night to spend Thanksgiving with us. Why are you being so obstinate? Can't you at least show up for coffee and dessert?" Millie's voice was even, more controlled than her sister's.
"We're having a quiet dinner here. If Tony wants to bring his family over I'll be glad to see them."
Millie pleaded with her sister. "Mom and Dad are going to be heartbroken if you don't come. They always liked Benny. He'll be welcome. If you don't invite him I swear I will."
Jen's voice, weak and barely audible, sounded distant. "I can't. I just can't sit at that table and pretend..."
Unable to listen to any more, I slammed the back door behind me. The kitchen became quiet. Ed shot a look at me and then barged into the kitchen. I followed.
Millie hadn't changed. She was still unmistakably Jen's sister, the noticeable differences being that Millie was two inches taller and she wore her hair long, full-bodied and slightly uncontrollable. She was taking me in, too.
"Benny, you haven't changed one bit. I could pick you out of a well-endowed line up."
"That pretty risqué talk for a librarian," I said, guardedly. Where had I heard she worked at the library?
"Mildred was just leaving, weren't you?" Jen asked her sister.
For a second I thought Millie was going on the attack. She drew herself up to her full height of five feet, eight inches and came toward me, arms extended. "It's nice to see you, Benny," she said, hugging me like a long-lost friend. I felt her breasts against my chest and her face next to mine. "Is that garlic bread I smell? I never could pass up garlic bread, could you, Benny?"
Bewildered by my former enemy's actions, I put my hands on her back and shook my head. "I never could pass up garlic bread either."
"Okay, you can stay for dinner, but no more talk about Thanksgiving, understand?" There was exasperation in Jen's voice as she delivered the invitation.
I felt Millie's lips on my cheek as she pulled away. "Did you hear that, Benny? I believe we're staying for dinner."
Though her appearance was the same as I remembered, I couldn't get over the change in Millie. I didn't know if I should distrust her or join forces with her.
We sat down to dinner in the kitchen. Jen served spaghetti, meatballs and garlic bread. Ed opened a bottle of wine.
"Can you believe this, Benny? With all his money Ed's serving wine in a screw-cap bottle."
"I notice you're not refusing to drink wine from a screw-cap bottle," I quipped, becoming comfortable with her banter.
For the first time in four weeks I actually enjoyed a meal in my brother's home. Millie kept the conversation lively, asking me question after question. I didn't hold back, providing answers I thought she wanted to hear. I wasn't on trial; I hadn't taken an oath. I peppered her with questions too, knowing she was being less than truthful.
Jen was unusually quiet. I caught her eyes upon me a couple of times. She shifted her stare from me to Millie and then to Ed. He wasn't saying much either. The pet names I had been hearing them use were dispensed with for the evening. When he opened another bottle of burgundy Millie offered her glass to be refilled without commenting that she was being served wine from a screw-cap bottle.
Millie helped Jen clear the table and when the sisters returned to the table with Coffee, I complemented Jen on the meal, causing her to blush. I believe everyone knew it wasn't just the food. It was the jovial company. I hadn't felt this relaxed in months.
Millie tapped me on the arm. "What do you say we give the old folks a break and do the dishes?"
Jen protested, but soon relented, telling us to load the dishwasher and let it run.
Ed said he had work to do upstairs and Jen went with him. Left alone with me, Millie became subdued, less boisterous than when her sister was in the room. We worked together, loading the dishwasher and making the kitchen orderly.
"Will you ever forgive me, Benny?"
I knew exactly what she was talking about, but I wanted her to spell it out. "What do you have to be sorry about?"
"For the way I treated you when we were younger. Seeing you with Jen was more than I could take. You guys were so happy and carefree. I was...I don't know... envious, I guess."
"I had no idea," I said.
She was standing next to the sink, one hand on the counter as if for support. It was like I was seeing her for the first time, candid, venerable.
"Do you remember how you guys tried to fix Ed and me up?"
She was putting her coat on, looking in the pockets for her car keys.
"Yeah, we thought that if we could get you two together you would leave us alone."
"It didn't work, did it?"
"No, it didn't."
"It was nice seeing you, Benny, Goodnight," she said, heading for the back door.
"Are you sure you're alright to drive?"
She turned, grinning and nodding. I locked the back door, turned out the kitchen lights and went upstairs to my room. I couldn't get over the changes in Millie. I remembered her as an up-tight, protectorate of her sister. When Jen lost her virginity to me, Millie took it personally, like it was her cherry that popped. Now, she was fun and sincere. I found myself liking her.
I don't know what woke me, a barking dog or a train whistle. Whatever it was had me wide awake. I decided to go downstairs to get a glass of orange juice. As my eyes adjusted to the darkness I became aware of eyes watching me. Millie was sitting on the couch in the living room, draped in a blanket. I went over to where she was sitting.
"Millie, I thought you went home."
"Jen caught up with me before I got my car started. You'll have her to answer to in the morning. She's bullshit at you for letting me drive."
"Shit! I should have stopped you," I said, knowing Jen had good reason to be angry at me.
"Don't you love to piss her off? She gets all...say, you don't have shoes on. Aren't you cold? Here, get under this blanket. I won't bite."
It was chilly in the room. She held the blanket open for me to crawl under. I pulled my feet up on the couch and leaned back, next to her. "Thanks...for not biting," I said. She giggled.
"I love to tease her. She went ballistic when I suggested I could sleep on one of the bunk beds in your room. She gave me a T-shirt and told me to stay down here."
It was my turn to laugh. "You should see her reaction when I stare at her crotch."
Millie shifted her body, slightly, and I felt her breast, warm and soft against my arm. "You make her feel uncomfortable because you're only one of two men in the world that know about the little red birthmark. I wish you wouldn't. She's very frustrated right now."
"I've only done it once or twice," I said, defensively. "What's she got to be frustrated about?"
She moved her leg, rubbing mine, and turned her head to look me in the eyes. "Don't you know? We could give them a three month head start and still win in a baby contest."
"Don't know what?" I asked before thinking, they've been married over three years. Why hadn't I questioned why they hadn't had a child?
"Your brother shoots blanks," Millie whispered.
"Really? So that's the reason she's frustrated."
"Yes, that's the reason. Now that you've learned something I think it's time you go back to your room Remember, we're giving them a three month head start."
I could feel her body tremble with laughter. Reluctantly, I pulled the blanket back and got up. "You could grow on me," I whispered.
I wasn't sure if I heard her correctly. "You've already grown..."
I slept until nine A.M. and realizing I only had an hour to get ready, I showered and shaved before going downstairs. Ed had gone to look at a building site with Stew Mercer and Millie wasn't there either. As she had predicted, Jen let me have it for letting her sister drive the night before.
"You knew how much she had to drink. Were you too drunk to stop her?"
"You're right. I shouldn't have let her drive. What's going on between Ed and Stew?"
"Don't try to change the subject. My sister was in no condition to drive. She could have killed someone."
She was overreacting. Millie wasn't sober, but we had worked in the kitchen for thirty minutes and I knew she wasn't too drunk to drive. "I'm sorry. It won't happen again."
"It better not or you're out of here."
I didn't like Jen's combative stance. Feeling backed into a corner, I used the only weapon available to me; I stared at her pelvic region.
"Don't look at me like that," she said, unable to keep her legs closed.
Seeing that she wasn't going to offer me anything to eat, I left the room. "I'm sorry," I said, hoping she understood the reason I was apologizing. I was sorry that she was frustrated. My brother was unable to give her a child.
I gathered the 'show and tell' boards we had prepared for the presentation and was waiting at the back door when Beverly arrived to pick me up. She was early.
"Good luck," I heard Jen say from someplace in the house.
"Thanks," I shouted in the direction of her voice.