tagRomanceA Ruined Life Ch. 02

A Ruined Life Ch. 02


Feeling the sweat dripping down my back I lift Sandy, then as I feel her hand take up her weight I move one of mine away. Year of practice make the balance needed a second nature as I slowly turn us. I feel a bit of a strain as she shifts her weight, the bird takes flight.

With a fluid motion I bring her back down and we turn into the side of the stage.

There is a pause then the sound of applause rises like a wave. It crests and breaks then crests again as the curtain drops down. Panting I feel the hands on my shoulders. The pats of congratulation. I take Sandy's hand and smiling we rush back out onto the stage just as the curtain starts to leave the stage floor. I lift her over my head and she arches up. I'm spinning us as the curtain clears.

The crowd is on its feet.

The curtain drops again. Grinning mischievously I turn Sandy lose and see her eyes widen and hear a squeak from her as she drops into my arms.

I hug her to me and I'm kissing her as the other dancers come crowding out around us.

"Hey get a room you two."

Laughing I hold Sandy's hand up as the curtain rises for the final time.

I see my family in the third row. Dad looks uncomfortable in his tux. My brothers even more so.

My Mom? The woman who's evil machinating has so ruined my life? She looks like she's going to burst with pride. Her eyes are filled with tears; she's clapping with no sound but tons of emotion.

I see Mr. and Mrs. Sandle standing down in the front row. I try not to stare at the man next to them. He is standing and applauding with a look of approval on his face.

I hope it's a good sign.

As the curtain falls for he last time Sandy starts smacking my chest.

"Letting.... Me...fall...like ...that! You scared me to death!"

Chuckling I catch her and pull her into me.

"Well I figured fairs fair.... I fell for you."

She swats at me again.

"Oh your impossible. A charmer but impossible." She runs her hands across her sweaty hair slicking back the few stray strands. "I've got to go get out of these sweaty clothes. I'll see you tomorrow right?"

"Yea I'll be there. I still want to eat your pie more than your cake." I tell her in a whisper by her ear." She blushes scarlet.

We have been teasing each other viciously for the last few weeks.

"Well you can have all the pie you want to eat my soon to be lover." She tells me back in a whisper.

A quick kiss is all we can managed then we are pulled off in different directions.

It's late at night and the house is silent. Sleep won't come no matter what I do. The idea that I will soon get to have sex keeps coming to the surface, images of what she will look like when I pull away that last piece of clothing spring to mind just as I'm about to drift off.

Finally I get up and head for the kitchen to raid the fridge for a snack.

There is a light on under my parent's door. I pause and memories fill me with a sense of Deja Vu as I hear Mom and Dad talking.

About me.

"He's getting his height finally. If you will just let me get him into spring training and start working him hard he might be able to still swing a scholarship. We can ask the school to keep him back a year. I'll talk to the coach. All Denis has to do is just slack off a bit and he can go back for a second year as a senior. A single great season and a few phone calls and I'll get him in as maybe a second string player."

"Are you even hearing yourself?" I hear my Mom ask. I can picture the look on her face. "Are you being serious because if you are..."


"You can not be that stupid."

"Look! I've done what you asked because I thought it was best for him. He was short and scrawny he could have gotten hurt playing just like you said but now...He's getting taller he's filling out. Hell I saw him on that stage, he can move. He would make a great receiver! He gets that ball in his hands and nothing will lay a hand on him."

"God damn you and Football!"

My eyebrows go into my hair! I've never heard my mother cuss let alone say G-D.

"That is all you ever think about! There is a hell of a lot more to this world than that stupid game. You say you saw your son on the stage? Did you? Really see him? He was wonderful. He was graceful and powerful and the audience loved him."

"Yea I saw him. He was prancing around like that fairy teacher of his. I've stood by and let you turn him into almost a queer for far to long now. I want my son back."

I can hear the room go deathly quiet.

"A queer? Is that what you think he is?"

There is a pause. I can all but see my father considering whether he should answer a question that will put him in the doghouse for months to come.

Knowing Mom like I do, he might as well he's already there.

I guess he decides the same.

"Hell yea. His brothers were both going through women like bulls at a stud farm by now. You've had him singing, dancing, and working at that beauty parlor...hell what you going to do to him next? Going to get him a job as a florist? Maybe he can learn to paint woman's fingernails at that beauty parlor. He can get him a job at Wal-Mart in the little shops up by the registers. You have done every thing in your power to turn my son into a pansy! I want him back out on a football field where he can learn to be a man!"

"Learn to be a man? Do manly things? Like maybe have sex with a girl?" I can hear the cold steel in Mom's voice turning cherry red.

"Yea like that! He need to be learning what it's like to be a man."

"You are so full of shit it's no wonder your eyes are brown! Your son is going to be fucking a girl before this week is out if he hasn't had her already!"

Holy shit she dropped the 'F' bomb. I didn't even know she knew that word!

As I listen to the room go silent I wonder why my Dad's opinion of me doesn't sting like it should. That he thinks of me like that should be a tearing pain in my heart but it's not. My mind finally settles on the fact that I have always known just never heard him say it.

"Really?" I hear my Dad ask softly. "Who? That teacher's daughter? What's her name?"

"You can remember who played for what team twenty years ago across a dozen teams but you can't remember the name of a girl you saw just days ago? A girl that has been a part of you son's life for years now? A girl that quiet possibly may end up being your daughter in law?"

There is a silence that is cold enough I feel it through the door.

"Grow the fuck up." She tells him softly.

I have barely stepped back from the doorway when she comes walking through it and shuts it behind her. When she turns she sees me and her eyes go wide. I see her gasp for words for a second then my Mom rushes forward into my arms. A line of silently shed tears runs down her face to wet my neck.

"I'm sorry Denis. I'm sorry you had to hear him say things like that."

I take a long deep breath then a soft chuckle slips out.

"It's okay. I've known for a long time what he thought of me. I'm okay with it. So long as I know you got my back...Mom."

My Mom silently dissolves into tears against my chest as I softly stroke her hair. I hold her listening to Dad through the door. His voice is a low grumble of profanities that I can't distinguish. I hear the bed springs squeak several times then the light goes out. As my eyes adjust to the lessening of light I look down to see my Mom looking up at my face.

"Come with Me." she says and starts to walk towards the stairs, then stops and looks back over her shoulder. "Please."

I follow Mom down the stairs and into the kitchen. Without a word spoken she gets out a knife and plates from the cabinet. The smell of the German chocolate cake fills the room when she lifts the cover. The last of my Birthday cake she halves what would be enough for four people and hands me a slice. She goes to the low cabinet next to the fridge and opens it. My eyes go wide when I see her open it.

It's where Dad stores his liquor.

She brings back a bottle and two shot glasses. I watch my Mom with a growing smile doing things I've never seen her do. She pours a shot and pops it back like it's water then she pours two more and slides one of them to me.

"I don't care what the State says you're over eighteen. You should be able to drink. " I watch Mom fish out a stool from under the island and have a seat. She looks up at me and I copy her.

"Denis, I want to tell you I'm sorry."

"I told you Mom I'm alright with Dad's opinion of..."

"Not for your Dad. For Me." she moves the shot glass around on the marble. The light from over the stove makes the rum glow a dark red. "I kind of took away your choices in life. I never even asked you. I never once asked you what you wanted to do. Do you want to play football?"

I look at her as she looks up at me and a smile slowly lifts my lips.

"No. Once a long time ago yea that was all I wanted to do. But now? No."

"You're sure about that?" She asks after a second. " I have made a lot of decisions for you that I probably shouldn't have. I've tried my best to make you a man that you could be proud to be. A gentle man, a kind man, a thoughtful and talented man. Someone who could be more than.... Well more than what a lot of men around here are. Someone who could be more than what your father and brothers are. I love all of them, I truly do, but there are times.... like tonight.... when I can't stand it."

The glass goes to her lips and the second shot follows the first. I join her in drinking then feel my throat light up from my stomach back up to my mouth. Damn!

She smiles seeing my reaction.

"Light weight." She says softly grinning. "Letting your mom drink you under the table."

I laugh with her.

"Denis.... I love your father. I do. I love your brothers. But between the three of them if it isn't football, beer or ...pussy. They don't think it's worth thinking about."

I'm glad I took the drink first. I would have choke to death on if I hadn't. My Mom just said pussy! I'm starting to wonder if I'm awake or still dreaming.

"I just wanted you to be more than that." Her eyes leave my face and drop to the swirls of marble under her fingers. Her delicately painted nails trace a swirl.

"You ruined my life." I tell her softly, her eyes come up. "That's what I thought when all this started. That first day when you took me to dance class. Then all the rest. You ruined it.... and I thank you for that. I would have walked down the path I was going on and ended up in a place far different from where I am now. I might have been happy there but I know one thing. I wouldn't have Sandy. She would never have gone out with a football player. Hell I would probably have never given her a second glance." I grin at my mom. She want's to talk to me like an adult no words barred. Okay. "Her tit's are small and she hasn't got much of an ass."

Mom chuckles. She nods and slides her empty shot glass around then looks back up grinning.

"I also wouldn't have my Mom's respect. I can't tell you how much that means to me. What I wouldn't give up to keep that? Football? It's far down that list."

"Wiser man that the father." She says softly them smiles a Mona Lisa smile at me. "Treat Sandy well. When you get her in bed. See to her pleasure first and I promise... you will never regret that."

I blush a little then nod.

"Now eat your cake." She say picking up her fork "Even if it's her 'pie' you wishing you were eating."

I look up at her my fork half lifted and just slowly dissolve into laughter. She joins me after a second and I have to wonder how Dad could sleep through the sounds, or if he can't what he must be thinking.

When I pull up out front the party is I full swing. I mean that literally. There is a lot of swing style music playing. I can see people on the patio dancing.

Having spent a bit of time over here before I know that the Sandle's have such a love of dancing that they almost can't walk. Every step almost has to be a dance.

Whenever a party is thrown it's almost a grand ballroom affair.

As I walk towards the front door I reflect that in a way they are as obsessed as most of my family, just a different obsession.

Other thoughts fill my head as well. My hand fiddles in my pocket. My Mom's words roll back over me again. I consider them again for the hundredth time since she said them.

The decision was yes when I first made it, yes yesterday, and yes this morning. As I go to lift my hand and open the door it's still yes.

As the screen door opens and I step inside I hear my name called by several people. I smile and nod my head to the other dancers from the troop. A few older people slide through the crowd with a grace that tells of long years of the same training as myself. A few I recognize form old photos of the Sandle's. Friends from when they were the same age as myself.

"Wonderful show the other night."

I must hear that a dozen times before I can cross the length of the living room. Stepping into the kitchen I see Mrs. Sandle flittering around the kitchen. A less likely looking woman to be a cook you would never find but my god that skinny woman can cook. Admittedly most of her dishes are French or Italian but hey...It's all wonderful.

"Denis! Oh how thoughtful."

I hand her the single rose I make appear from within my sleeve. Never mentioned the slight of hand before have I? It's more a minor hobby than really something my Mom had me do. I can make coins disappear that kind of thing.

"A beautiful flower for a beautiful lady." I tell her sincerely. She smiles.

"Are you in her trying to seduce my lovely wife away now Denis? You already have my oldest daughter singing your praises and my youngest seems to be getting wrapped around your finger more every day." Mr. Sandle's hand comes to rest on my shoulder. His words are friendly. "How many women in my house are you after? Do I need to keep you away from my beloved Mother as well?"

"Only if she can cook better than Mrs. Sandle." I say with a grin.

I see him chuckle then look to his wife.

"Well I guess she is safe then for I would never make such a claim."

"Oh you two. Out of my kitchen the both of you." Says Mrs. Sandle annoyed but flattered all the same.

Chuckling Mr. Sandle doesn't turn lose of my shoulder but kind of guides my steps by it.

"Denis I have need for a few words and I also want you to meet someone." As we step outside onto the patio I see Sandy standing over by her Sister and her brother in law.

"Denis...I know how you feel about my daughter, about Sandy. I want you to know that of all my students I have never had one with as much lack of want to dance that turned into such dedication. If I must lose my youngest to the passing of the years and her growth into womanhood I'm glad it's to a man like you."

For a moment I don't know what to say. I've received praise from him before but he gives it so very rarely without a critique as well.

"Thank you." I say softly.

He offers me his hand.

As I take it I make comparisons between his and my father's. Delicate long fingers as opposed to thick stubs.

Looking at my own hands I see that they are more like his. For some reason that comforts me.

A man steps up beside us then, I recognize him from the audience.

"Denis let me introduce to you a long time friend of mine. This is Gregory Monroe, a talent scout for the Rodgers and Hammerstein Production Company." Mr. Sandle smiles when he sees my eyes go a bit wide. "The lovely lady you were trying to seduce inside used to dance for them when she and I first met." He looks to the man. "In fact I stole her from this fellow."

"And no greater loss have I ever suffered. Denis it's a pleasure to meet you."

'No sir the pleasure is mine." I say quickly offering him my hand.

"Denis. I've already talked to this rascal's lovely daughter, now I would like to have a word with you. If you don't mind?" He says to Mr. Sandle.

"Shooed away in my own house! I don't know what to think." I chuckle a bit as Mr. Sandle glides off to snatch up a plump lady and begin to swing her around across the patio to her giggles.

"Denis I've got an offer to make you. "

I look up to see Sandy walking up She smiles at me.

"Sandy. Denise I'm looking for understudies for a current play. But I'm also looking for the two people who understudy to take the lead in the same play next year. West End is about to do a revival of Cats next year. Right now my company has the rights to it and we are going to lease it to them for the production. They have asked for us to see if they can hire our people. We told them no as we intent to continue the American production well into the next two years. But we agreed they could hire on our main performers understudies. You would have about a good six months to a year to learn the part then you would be interviewed by them. If they like your audition well you could find yourself touring Europe. I can't offer you any assurances that they will hire you of course... that Will depend on how well you do as much as anything. Interested?"

I look to Sandy and see her nod her head.

"Very." I wish I could say more but I feel at a loss for words just then.

He smiles understandingly.

"Well I won't take up more of this party with business. I'll be leaving out tonight and you can contact me here. " He hands me a card. "Miss Sandle, happy birthday. As I said to you I now say to you both, That was a beautiful performance the other night. Denis a pleasure to meet you and we'll talk soon."

Sandy turns to me as he walks away. I feel like I've been hit with a hammer. When the grin starts to appear on her face I know I'm mirroring it. I pull her into my arms and kiss her soundly.

I start to chuckle when I hear the applause around us after a second.

"Oh Encore, encore" I hear Sandy's sister saying as she claps. Maria steps up beside us. "Tis congratulation in order that I give with a full heart." She says smiling at me.

I laugh. I haven't heard her talk like a romance novel in a few years but she can still fill the air with words. Her husband comes walking up with a tray of flutes and I lift a glass from it and hand it to Sandy.

When I go to take a second he moves the tray a bit. Then with a smile Maria takes the flute and hands it to me.

"Not to my sister alone do I offer congratulations but to you as well for I hear that you have now also passed your eighteenth year. Would that I could have returned for that occasion but I was far from here across oceans of blue."

"Celebrating your wedding in the proper fashion I'm sure." She blushes beautifully. "An event I did not in time offer congratulations to you about. So to us all then." I lift my flue. "Salud."

My eyes go to Sandy as I look through the bubbles. I smile my lips quirking around the flute. I let the Champagne vanish on my tongue and more breathe it than drink it in. I know what she's thinking then. It's similar to my thoughts.

When will this party end and when will her parents leave for New York?

The hours pass slowly with only a couple of stolen kisses marking their passages in my mind. I drift among the people as the party winds down to the last moments and the last guests depart. I'm in the kitchen helping Mrs. Sandle put food away when I decide to do something.

Turning to look at her I can see what Sandy will look like in about twenty years. I smile thinking that's not a bad thing at all. Mrs. Sandle is still a very beautiful woman. She notices my attention and looks up.

"Yes Denis?"

"I decided...I should show you this first."

From my pocket I pull out the little black velvet covered box. When I open it she just looks at what's inside for a moment then I see a single tear appear at the corner of her eye.

"That's so beautiful." She looks up at me. "Thank you. I more than give my blessing."

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