Oil of Roses Ch. 32byFillmore©
Thanks to Sammi Scott, aka Titsy McYarn, the Cute at the Heart of the Abyss for her help and valuable critique. Bounteous thanks to Kevin for his incredibly thorough critiquing and voluminous notes. Thanks to Sensual Curves for her help in proofreading.
Thanks to my wife for handling the editing duties on this chapter.
After you've read this, if you have any inclination at all to comment, please do so, either by email or on the comment board... The best way for me to grow and improve as an author is to hear from the people who read my work.
I welcome constructive critiques and non-abusive comments. I will answer, in at least a semi-prompt manner, any email that comes with an email address.
If you feel you must respond in a hateful or angry fashion, you may put your head down upon your desk and do so, quietly to yourself, for as long as you feel it necessary. This story may not be copied to other sites without my permission.
If you have not read the earlier installment(s) of this tale, it would probably help you to make sense of this one if you did so.
* * * * *
"Why haven't we killed her yet?" Harry muttered, standing under the shower with Carol, Margo and Nicki.
"We love her too much," replied Margo.
"We wouldn't be whole without her," Carol added.
"She's incredibly fun in bed," Nicki said.
"Good reasons all," Harry agreed, "but there are times, like this morning, when I really wonder if they're enough."
In the kitchen the woman who had managed to soak all four of her lovers with one cannonball was faced with the daunting task of breakfast. Harry had started the coffee but otherwise, breakfast was all hers. She tucked the towel around her hair a little tighter, pulled the robe closed and retied the belt after warming herself in front of the oven for a bit and wished the robe was a little longer.
"God, I swear these people can't take a joke," she muttered to herself, but then she smiled. It had been worth it for the way Harry and Carol screamed.
* * * * *
After breakfast Harry told the rest of the family about his physical therapy and the continuing problems he was having with his knee.
"...and so I didn't say anything because there isn't really anything y'all can do and I'm tired of being the object of everyone's worry. I feel like my life's been on hold ever since the attack and this was just one more thing that was trying to get between me and being back to normal."
"Baby, I understand but... you should have told us," Margo said.
"I know, I know I should have and I have no excuse for what I did, all I have is the reasons I didn't tell you... and they certainly don't excuse my actions.
"Which raises an idea I've been mulling over in my head... we need a family council. A system in place not only to discuss issues that affect all of us, but to also handle issues like assigning breakfast duty to beautiful wives who cannonball into the pool unexpectedly. It's a way for us all to have a voice, and a way for penance to be assigned when one of us does something upsetting or hurtful to the family. What do you think?"
"Sounds like a good idea," Kelly said, "but who sits on it? I mean, does Nicki sit on the family council? She's family, but she's not a part of the marriage..."
"I don't think I should sit on it... except in certain circumstances when at the request of two or more of the council members, the extended family is brought in, all of them, to consider a particularly serious issue," Nicki responded. "The family is just you four who make up the marriage."
"That sounds right... well then, that raises the question, who are members of the full extended family?" asked Margo.
"Well, I think we can agree on Eddie, Tamara, Karen, Patricia and Nicki... what about Tattie?" said Carol.
With a chorus of assents Tattie was acknowledged as a member of the extended family.
"Anyone else?" Harry asked.
"Well, there's Nick," Kelly said, "but I'm not sure he really qualifies."
"To me he does, but he doesn't," Harry replied. "He walks, talks and acts like a member of the extended family, and we treat him like one, but he really isn't one... not yet... maybe not ever. I don't know."
"I'd agree," Margo said, "not yet, maybe not ever. Remember, his interests and ours may collide someday, and if they do, make no mistake, he won't come down on our side out of sentimentality."
"I'm with them," agreed Carol. "Love him, like him even, want to bear and raise a child of his some day as a part of our family, after at least one or two from a certain husband I know, but trust him completely and implicitly, no."
"Then it's unanimous," Kelly added. "No Nick."
"Alright then," Harry said, "I call the first family council meeting to deal with my hurtful withholding of information that the family had every right to know. I tell you now that if any cute or funny penance is assigned I'll refuse it. This was a serious mistake on my part and the consequences of my actions should be serious as well."
"Fine, we understand," said Carol. "Do you want to be included in the deliberations?"
"No... it's for the three of you to decide. As long as no family council meeting is secret, I can see situations where all four of us being present would hamper deliberations... this situation being one of them."
"Alright, why don't you and Nicki go talk somewhere while we discuss this?"
"Certainly, you know where I am if you need me."
Harry and Nicki headed to the bathroom and sat in the tub together while the Jacuzzi jets massaged Harry's leg.
"Sis, while we have the time... do we want to have that discussion we were going to have tonight?"
She took a sip of her water. "Works for me... the suspense has been eating at me ever since you mentioned it."
"Okay... Nicki, I got a letter from Dad that he'd written the Saturday before the accident..."
* * * * *
"...and that's why I never said anything about the letter. Their deaths were an accident... that way, everything worked out okay, the insurance paid off, you weren't left thinking Dad abandoned us... and until very recently no one but me knew that there was nothing accidental about it. He'd established the routine of taking her for drives, waited for a weekend with bad weather projected, written and mailed the letter... and then ended both their lives... and both their pain.
"But when I told Carol, it was like there was this great weight that lifted off of me. At last there was someone I could pour out my hurt to. I didn't have to bear the secret alone anymore... and that helped me realize I didn't need to keep it anymore either. Enough time had passed; you deserved to know the truth. As to whether you'll thank me for telling you or not, well, that's for you to decide."
Nicki Grimes sat and looked at her brother. She felt numb inside. "Were you ever... did you ever get mad at him?"
"Oh, plenty of times."
"It's just... how did you... how do you deal with that anger?"
"I'm not angry about it anymore... but there for awhile... well, what I did was remember Mama, before she got sick. Dad wanted to go where that woman was, wanted to help Mama be that woman again... I couldn't... I can't blame him for that. I hope to God they're together somewhere, dancing the way they used to in the living room.
"And then Carol came along, and I could understand how he felt... understand it completely. Granted, the dynamics are a little different, but if only one of those wonderful women was left, and if she was in as much pain as Mama had been... well, we'd start taking drives together... so long as any kids the family might have were grown, or near grown."
"I can see that... but I can also see a lot of family, friends and loved ones left behind not understanding that it wasn't that you didn't love them, it was that you loved her more. Would you... would you hold me, Harry? I'm feeling very small and lonely right now."
"You shouldn't even bother asking... come here."
Harry held his sister as her tears began.
"Harry... what was it like... after you got the letter?"
"It was... it was like I lost everything but you, all at once. I mean, losing Mom and Dad was bad enough, but it was an accident, and I was coping with that... and then this big chasm opened up beneath me and I thought for awhile I was going to go crazy. It was like this swirling maelstrom of despair and all I knew was that our father had abandoned us. All I wanted to do was sleep and scream and cry and hit things... and I couldn't. I couldn't let you know. I had to protect you from that hurt. I had to hold it all together for you.
"I was hurt... I was scared. God, Sis, I was so scared. I was going to screw it up, I knew it. Yeah I was mad at Dad... I wasn't ready to take care of you, I wasn't ready to take care of me... and after the non-stop emotional road-wreck of that funeral, I was right on the edge of panicking and running, I mean full-blown losing it, and Eddie sat me down and gave me a good long talking to. In the first place, I had no choice, Dad and Mama were gone and the job had to be done. In the second place, he helped me to see I'd been doing a lot of the job already for quite awhile, ever since Mama had gotten sick... well, you remember what it was like. She got sicker, Dad got more focused on taking care of her, I just sorta fell into it as things went along. And in the third place he told me I always had him to fall back on... which was crazy since I wouldn't even tell him where we lived." Harry smiled at the memory. "I loved the big sumbitch back then, but Jesus, he had a low sense of humor... especially when he'd been drinking." He kissed the top of Nicki's head. "It really helped me to know that I wasn't completely alone, that I had some sort of... 'support system' I guess we'd call it now. I mean, I had you... but you were the one I had to be strong for."
"Well God, bro... you never showed how scared you were... I don't know how but I never got the feeling that you were worried or angry or scared," Nicki said, tears still trickling down her cheeks.
"Then I did my job... you were the smart one, sis. You were the one who had the chance to make it. I was just a dumb stoner and the only job I wouldn't allow myself to fuck up was getting you into college and on your way."
Nicki slammed a fist into Harry's chest. "You weren't a dumb stoner!"
"I know that now, love, but at the time I was convinced that was all I was, and all I'd ever be." He stared, unseeing, at the stained glass windows, his mind years in the past. "Then when I got to college... I thought for sure there was something wrong... it wasn't as hard as everyone said it was. I mean, it wasn't high school, but high school was so easy even morons like me could get through. College was supposed to be tough."
"It was, you were just nowhere close to being stupid," Nicki replied.
"Yeah well, again, in retrospect I'd agree with you, but at the time? That couldn't have been it. I didn't see any serious cracks in the wall of 'stupid' I'd built up in my mind until Karen and I were in business together. I'd be shooting out ideas at a mile a minute, from a hundred different directions, and there she'd sit, one of the smartest women I'd ever known, looking at me like I was from another planet. But even then I could find a way to lie to myself and figure it was just a knack... not real intelligence or ability, just a trick of sorts."
"Damn, I don't think I've ever met anyone as determined to think of themselves as stupid as you were!" Nicki said, punching him in the chest, much more lightly, again.
"Oh, very guilty as charged, sis... no doubt about it... but we made it through... you're okay, getting more so every day... other than this inexplicable desire to make love with your brother. I'm okay... hell, I'm living in a dream, even with the attack and a fucked-up knee. And you know we'll all help you deal with the bombshell I've dropped on you."
Her tears continued and she sobbed into his neck.
"Have I told you lately how glad I am that you've come home, sis?" Harry asked, softly. "It's not the sex, I mean, that's great and kinky and touching beyond my ability to express and a whole lot of other feelings as well... more than anything, it's just so good to have you home."
* * * * *
After awhile her tears had run out and Harry had warmed up the water again before his fingers brought her to a gentle orgasm as they kissed tenderly in the tub. Afterwards, his hard-on was standing up proudly but he told her not to worry about it.
"Well, I won't, but it will make this easier," Nicki replied, scooting over and grabbing the soap. "I've always found it simpler to clean an erect cock than a limp one. Come on, it's time for sister Nicki to give her big brother his bath."
Later, as he was lying on his stomach, what little weight the water wasn't supporting resting on her legs as she soaped the back side of his body, she asked "I wonder what's taking the council so long? I'd have thought they'd be through quite some time ago."
"I don't know either," he murmured, enjoying the sensations of being bathed, "but I'm hoping it means they took me at my word when I asked for serious penance for not saying anything about my knee. Oh, and if you keep playing with my asshole like that, this bath is going to get shortened considerably because me and my gimpy leg are going to throw you, kicking and screaming if necessary, on that bed in there and fuck you senseless."
"Sorry... wasn't really paying attention."
"Uh huh, sis... sure you weren't."
Later still, after Nicki had turned him over and had him sitting between her legs while she washed his hair, he said, "Okay... you've got me... this feels so goddamn good it's positively sinful... what do you want, you wicked woman... name it."
As she dug her fingers in close to his scalp, gently scrubbing, she replied, "That's an easy one... bathe me when I'm finished with you."
"Damn, you're easy to please," he said.
"Yeah... well, don't let that get around... quickest way for a girl to get a reputation."
"Oh, worry not, your secret is safe with me... now, I don't know if it's safe with the Grimes Estrogen Brigade, but it's safe with me... unless I'm tortured... like this..."
"Oh yeah, I can tell, my secret's real safe," she replied as her arms slipped down around him in a hug.
* * * * *
When Carol, Margo and Kelly finished their deliberations and went in search of their husband and sister-in-law, they found them in the bathtub, laughing. Harry had made shampoo horns with Nicki's hair and was in the process of making a second set.
"Looks like fun," Kelly said.
"Yep, but let's get business out of the way first," Margo responded.
"Harry, the family council has a decision, but it does need to be unanimous for it to do anyone any good," Carol said. "We think that, in addition to any counseling or therapy any of us are getting individually, we need to start seeing a family counselor at least once a month, twice a month would be better."
"Sounds reasonable, got anyone in mind?" he replied without hesitation.
"Yes," said Margo, "I called Hal and asked for his advice. He recommended a Dr. Susan Lowenstein... she's family counselor, among other things."
"Among other things?" Harry said, eyebrows raised.
"She's also into a whole melting pot of alternative therapies and alternative... well, everything's," Margo continued. "Hal felt she'd be the family therapist most likely to accept us and our lifestyle, as well as have a broad enough range of experience to be of some use to us."
"Sounds good to me, let's make an appointment with her," Harry replied.
"Harry honey," Kelly said, "just out of curiosity, why'd you agree so quickly?"
"Kelly, sweetheart, why wouldn't I? To make a marriage succeed with just two people takes a lot of work and compromise. There are probably many more couples who would profit from family counseling than pursue it. Now, let's up that relationship to three people... the potential problems don't simply increase by half again, they increase... well, it would seem exponentially. Now add a fourth... right now it's all 'hearts and flowers' and the bloom of first love... but sooner or later we'll have to get down to the serious and difficult business of making our marriage work long term. Family counseling to me is not only a good idea to help deal with my problem, hell, all our problem of keeping things bottled up and hidden, but it's a good idea as preventative medicine, so to speak."
Kelly leaned over the tub and threw her arms around her husband's neck. "I knew I loved you for more than your sparkling smile and winning personality."
"So," Harry squeaked as Kelly hugged him tightly, "do y'all want to join us in here or do you want to help me rinse off Nicki, throw on some clothes, go see a movie or something?"
"Well, you go ahead," Nicki said, grabbing the spray head and beginning to rinse the soap out of her hair, "but I really need to go do some shopping and such, and then get back to the new place and continue making it mine."
"Fair enough," Harry said, helping her to get all the shampoo out, "let's get you on your way then we'll decide what to do with our lazy Sunday."
As Nicki was about to leave, Carol said, "Sis, since I won't be talking to you this week, we're taking Hal and Tori Stallings to Dominique's Friday night. It's a club/sex-show/match-making kinda place. You up for it?"
"Wouldn't miss it for the world... what time?"
"Leave here probably about 9, 9:30."
"I'll be here with bells on."
"Better yet be here with something slinky-kinky on," Carol shot back.
After Nicki'd gone, Harry looked at Carol, "What, we're not going to see her this next week? There are no phones at her new place? Cell service doesn't reach there?"
Carol stuck her tongue out at him. "No, she's just going to be real busy. She's going to immerse herself in the notes Tony left me, see who she can identify and who we'll have to ask Nick or Big Vic about. She told me she tends to get a little anti-social when she's working like that... said you'd understand."
"Oh yeah...her around exams time was a barrel of laughs... in that whole 'who-is-this-demon-bitch-and-what-did-she-do-with-my-sister?' sense of the word 'laughs'. Dad used to tell me she was just 'intense', to which I'd reply, no, she's just 'insane'."
* * * * *
The four of them sat on the bed, all cross-legged except for Harry with his bum leg outstretched, facing each other in a circle, knees touching each other, each lost in their own contemplation of the eternal. 'Church' had become a welcome and necessary part of their week. First Carol, then Kelly, then Margo and lastly Harry opened their eyes and sat looking at the others, relaxed and at peace.
"Before we break the circle there's something I need to talk to y'all about," Carol said. "In the spirit of not keeping things in that should be shared... I really need more submissive time." She looked at her family apprehensively but found only openness and attentiveness. "It's not that I need, or even want, to give up any of the duties I'm responsible for... it's that when I'm not dealing with those, I need to be treated like a submissive."
"Do you mean in the bedroom or-" Kelly began.
"No sweetie, I think she means everywhere," Harry said.
"You're right, my love, everywhere. 'Submissive' is what I am. It's not a role I play. Any time I'm not being submissive I'm playing a role. I don't know if any of you can truly understand... 'submissive' and 'dominant' are roles for you, Kelly, you too Harry, 'submissive' is definitely a role for you, Margo, while 'dominant' is more than a role but it's still not what you are."
Kelly said, "Well, I'd ask you to let us know when we need to be more dominant but that rather defeats the purpose... Margo, when you're home, why don't you try to keep Harry and I focused where Baby Girl is concerned?"