It wasn't as if an alarm clock had gone off, I just gradually became aware that something needed my attention. In my groggy state I reached over, sliding my hand over to touch and caress my wife, but the cruelly frigid satin of empty sheets on a hot summer's night reminded me that she was not there, that she would never again be there. The realization that I was alone drove the fuzziness from my sleep deprived brain.
I opened my eyes. The oppressive blackness that heavy curtains on a moonless night create only made me feel blind. It was a self-imposed blackness; a blackness that enveloped and smothered in an attempt to deny the reality of the world; an oppressive blackness from the very same curtains that I had installed just days earlier in an effort to sleep better.
The curtains didn't help.
In fact, what was unusual about awakening to the cruel, soulless, darkness was not that it was pitch black; what was unusual was that I had been asleep at all. Samson whimpered once again, nearly in my ear; the sound providing an anchor to my self-imposed state of disorientation. Rolling over, my outstretched hand was immediately bumped against by a wet nose.
"Ok, Boy. Let's go."
I arose, walking naked through the house, kicking one of the shoes that I'd taken off and just dropped in the middle of the floor. The thought that I never would have left a shoe in the middle of the floor when she was alive passed through my mind. There were a lot of things I wouldn't have done just a few short months before.
I opened the door to a different inky blackness. The moon, just beginning to peak over the hill, made sections of the yard appear as bright as day while simultaneously hiding even better whatever lurked in the darkness of the shadows. I wasn't worried about anyone seeing me even though normally in a city, even in the semi-rural areas, it seems that someone is always around. It doesn't matter the time of day or night, someone is always up; a car going by, a neighbor arriving or just leaving. But on my hill - I was unworried. The dog brushed past me, headed for the stairs to do his business.
I followed him to the wooden balcony which swept around the downhill side of the house. Looking over the top of the citrus and avocado trees I could barely see my nearest neighbor's house; the front door and an upstairs window the only portions where people could have been that wasn't hidden by the trees of the orchard. From here, I would have been visible during the day, but not now. Standing in the moon shadow of the house I was hidden, but there was no one awake at the neighbors anyway. Looking over the top of their house the valley unfolded below me with rows and rows of sparkling lights punctuated by changing red and green stoplights at intersections - a million dollar view that we had never tired of. In the distance a flash caught my eye, followed seconds later by another. By the third I realized it was the airport beacon, identifying its location to me as if I were a pilot on approach. I would have traded it all to have my lover, my wife, my Debs, back in my arms.
The dog bounded back up the stairs and stopped momentarily waiting for me. I retreated from the balcony to the upper yard where the view of any neighbors totally disappeared. Pine and eucalyptus trees loomed above the house hiding the fact that I was nearly on top of the world. Two boulders as big as a normal house, a detached garage, the small amount of hill remaining above our house which was otherwise situated nearly on top of the hill - all conspired to create our own private oasis from reality where the outside world disappeared. A swimming pool was the dominant feature of the yard; that - and the native boulders. The pool wasn't built into the ground as much as it was builtonto the ground. The granite boulders had dictated where the pool would be as much as the original owner had. I stepped close enough to reach out and check the water temperature with my hand. Comfortably cool -- comfortably warm.
She'd named it the "McDonald's House" when she first saw it. The realtor almost hadn't shown it to us, it was well out of what we thought to be our price range. Debs, my wife, had been looking at houses and the realtor just mentioned that she'd heard about this particular house that was coming on the market and wondered if she'd like to see it while they were "almost" in the neighborhood. After a couple of weeks of looking and not finding what we really wanted, Debs was open to anything. We really couldn't afford it at first, but that didn't prevent us from falling in love with it.
It was early evening when I first saw it; my first impression being the spectacular view of the valley some seven hundred feet below. A valley full of lights was gradually taking over from the sun of the day; rows of concrete, wood and grass, becoming rows and rows of glistening lights. By the time we left an hour later, the view was mesmerizing with the city lights twinkling through the dissipating heat of the day.
We thought it was out of our price range and, the reality is, it was. Our previous home had finally sold, for less than we thought it should, but at least that gave us the money to begin looking in our new city. Somehow, our taste and our budget just never seemed to match; but from that time on, everything else we saw we compared to the "McDonald's House."
Our economic reality changed a mere two weeks later. Late on a Friday I was told the CEO wanted to see me. Dread immediately came to mind - he was seldom there on a Friday, let alone in the afternoon. Puzzled as to why I would be summoned, my brain raced over everything I'd touched, looking for the screw-up that could only be the cause for such a momentous occasion. I became even more uneasy when I found the other four top executives already there and waiting.
We were a comparatively small, but very dynamic and fast paced company. The job, when I was hired had been totally new to me, but my skills were just as applicable to the needs of my new job as they had been to where I had been. I'd answered a call from a headhunter (a "recommendation" from some unmentioned "friend") that thought I was a good fit. I'd turned them down at first, not even really tempted to change. I had a good contract with my consulting business that seemed a sure thing. I'd been happy doing what I was doing, apparently secure for years to come.
It's funny how seemingly unrelated events can come together, totally unexpectedly, and the future can become quite clear. It was really a minor thing that started it, followed by an increasing cascade of "little things." A single contract, among a multitude of contracts with problems, but the only one that I was directly affiliated with; a single contractor that didn't perform to expectations; a single unexpected call from a headhunter; a single isolated case of a seemingly well done job that fell apart at the end, and suddenly I began to pick up on other tidbits here and there - little inklings that all was not well. What had seemed to me to be a long term "sure thing" just a few weeks before was suddenly seeming very shaky.
Opportunity seldom knocks twice, but when the headhunter called again a month later, I agreed to an interview just to hedge my bets. The job opportunity didn't seem like a match made in heaven, but a week later they asked me for a second interview where they offered me nearly as much as I had been making as base pay -- but with non-guaranteed performance incentives and bonuses, amounts of which remained unnamed. Other benefits, such as not commuting, tilted the balance in favor of changing although I had misgivings about "bonuses."
I didn't burn my bridges, even though technically I didn't have to worry as a subcontractor, and gave two weeks' notice that I would be leaving. A paltry four weeks after I left, due to the multitude of seemingly minor problems that I'd been noting my last couple of weeks there, my previous employer unexpectedly cancelled all remaining personal services contracts. If I hadn't left when I did, I'd have been unemployed. It turned out that I made the move at just the right time.
I don't know if I would have believed them even if they had told me the possible bonuses. Several times over the years I'd been involved with different companies that promised performance bonuses and incentives. Somehow, whenever it came time to discuss actual bonus numbers, the "company" hadn't done well that year, the "division" was down that year, or the "economy" was down that year. Always the same, "Gee, you've done an outstanding job, but...." I'd learned that bonuses were more talk than substance. Although it's common perception that "exempt" employees are exempt because they're higher paid, it's not uncommon for workers getting paid for their overtime hours to make more per year than exempt employees.
To say that I was floored, just a few minutes after I entered my unscheduled meeting with the CEO and his Top Dogs, would have been an understatement. We discussed the latest project I'd been working on - how successful several changes that I'd implemented had been; how they'd made the company millions of dollars, how thankful they were they'd hired me, and that great things required great rewards. And when they stood up one by one to shake my hand, ending with the CEO who handed me a six figure bonus check (of which the first digit was bigger than a 1) and called it a token of their appreciation - I was, for lack of a better description, floored.
We were on cloud nine when the following day our offer, with more cash money down than we'd ever thought possible, for our "McDonald's House" was accepted. To say that we were amazed when they accepted what we thought was a low ball offer would have been an understatement. For a while there we seemed to have that Midas touch - everything we touched turned to gold.
I'm not sure exactly when she started calling it the McDonald's house. Somewhere between when she first saw it and I first saw it she referred to it by that name. I thought the owners must have been named McDonald -- but something she said another time led me to think otherwise.
"Why do you keep calling it the McDonald's House?" I asked.
She looked at me, an enigmatic smile on her face, "Two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun?" She spouted if off flawlessly, repeating the jingle heard so often on the radio.
I'm sure my puzzled expression told her I didn't comprehend her humor.
She grinned and explained further, "You know --"The McDonald's House," like the hamburger, it has everything?"
I followed the dog back toward the door and was about to go inside when I heard a voice. I stopped, listening, and heard a female voice say what I thought was, "Like this?" In the pitch dark of the night, with voices reflected and projected off houses and rocks, the source of the voice was imprecise, the words not totally comprehensible. I stepped off the porch toward the driveway, stopping every few yards, listening for more. Gradually I walked toward the front of the house, stopping and listening, waiting for the enigmatic voices to again reach my ears. I reached the edge of the driveway where I could look across the small side road below to where I could see more neighbors' homes. Beyond that, over the tops of the neighbor's trees I could see towards the top of the next, yet higher, hill which rose another several hundred feet above us. Across the street and below me in the small valley, one complete house was visible - a two story Spanish, and parts of two otherwise nondescript California ranch homes. Above these, high on the hill, I could see the windows and outlines of a few other houses, but everything was still and dark at this time of the morning.
The closest house belonged to our neighbors and acquaintances Janet and her husband Rob. I'd met Janet a couple of times, but had never seen Rob. Janet was quite pretty and "girl next door" sexy -- the very definition of a "MILF", a Mother I'd Love to Fuck, except that they had no kids. I'd seen her in her yard a few times, I'd offered a friendly wave as I saw her pulling out of their drive, but really had never had a conversation with her. Theirs was the two story Spanish style home; I could see the complete front and one side as well as part of the large patio and grassed yard behind from the driveway where I was slowly walking.
The moon that was peeking over the hill was creating shadows from the trees between me and the street. Even on this, the moonlit side of my house, I was still in the dark, still unafraid of being seen. I stopped again, seeing nothing, then heard a male voice say "Oh yeah, Baby."
My ears told me it originated at the next neighbors over, just slightly downhill from Janet and Rob. A brick wall and the drop off created privacy from their Spanish style on the uphill side, and the next house on the downhill side from there was quite a way down the street -- but their back yard had only an illusion of privacy. Every other neighbor's view of that backyard was obstructed by the hill, the fence, or the house, but from the one spot - on my driveway where I was standing now - I could look down into that yard. This was a portion of my yard where no one would normally be, and except when standing exactly where I was, one wouldn't normally even know that it was possible to see -- or be seen - from either yard. It was a spot we passed through daily as we drove up or down the driveway, but looking across the edge of the hill wasn't what the driver was ever doing. I'm sure neither of the two in the backyard expected anyone to be standing where I was at that time of the night.
The moonlight, reflecting off the swimming pool, made the back yard nearly as bright as day; two people were silhouetted against the glistening water. Seated on the side of the pool was a male, and standing close up in front of him, waist deep or more in the pool, was the neighbor's 18 year old daughter, Sara. From this distance it was virtually impossible to actually tell in the silhouetted view that I had, but I was instantly certain that either Sara was topless, or naked.
I'd spoken to Sara a few times, waved a few times, but otherwise didn't really know her. She always seemed to have shorts on which accentuated her long tanned legs. I noticed the spot where her parent's toy trailer was kept was empty; I surmised they must have taken their jet skis to the river for the weekend as they commonly did this time of year.
I heard a gagging sound, saw Sara pull back from between the legs of someone, hearing the voice that had caught my attention just moments before. "Not so deep, you don't have to gag yourself," he said. She leaned back forward, his cock, held in her hand, had appeared when she pulled back, once again disappearing as she moved forward and fellated him some more.
I watched, seeing her head move up and down, his hand stroking her hair, occasionally moving down to where I knew he must be fondling her teenage breasts, but really I couldn't see as it was in the shadow of their own bodies. I thought how just a few months previously that Debs would have enjoyed seeing and hearing with me what I was seeing and listening to now. I would have gone in, woken Debs and told her to come quietly -- to see and listen to our young neighbor and her boyfriend. We'd have listened and watched, fondled each other -- maybe even done exactly what we were witnessing, and then retired to our bedroom and done it ourselves. Aroused by the unexpected sex display below us, we would have gone back to our bedroom and had wonderful, hot, adventuresome sex of our own.
But not tonight; tonight - it didn't arouse me at all.
"Oh yeah, Baby. That's so good, so good," I heard. Something about the wall above them and the hillside behind created an amplifier effect. Although they were virtually whispering to each other, I wouldn't have heard them any better if I'd been standing next to them. As she moved and the light split their united shadowy figure into two, I could see the young man's hands were on her obviously naked breasts; his fingers playing with her nipples and breasts while she sucked his cock.
I looked down at myself, my cock as limp as it had been every day for the previous few months. Despite my own lack of arousal from the voyeuristic scene being played out before me, I continued to stand, watching and listening to the neighbor girl and her boyfriend.
"Oh yeah, Baby. Suck it. Yeah, that's so good."
He continued with telling her how good she was, his voice rising, the whispers getting louder and more frequent as he neared an orgasm. I saw his hands move from her breasts to her head, holding it, pumping it up and down on his cock. His sudden "Ungh" accentuated his climax. Sara turned, I heard her spit.
"You jerk! You said you'd tell me before you came."
"I know, baby -- I mean... It just happened, I just couldn't control it. I'm sorry, I didn't mean to cum in your mouth. I know how you said you hate that." I turned and walked away.
Back inside, I climbed into bed. Samson circled once, twice, finally settling onto his pillow with a loud "humph." I lay in the dark on my back, knowing that sleep was once again gone for the night. I finally rolled over and checked the clock; 2:45 am.
My mind went back to Sara and her boyfriend, remembering what it was like to be young and as full of lust as they were - remembering the times that Debs had awoken me in the middle of the night by sucking my cock to hardness so we could play. Debs' sleep pattern was such that she'd always go into a sound sleep to begin with, if I didn't get to bed before her she'd often be deep asleep before I climbed into bed. But after several hours her deep sleep would ease so that seemingly minor things might awaken her, or maybe that's when she was just horniest. Regardless, two, sometimes three nights a week, she'd awaken me and we'd make love in the middle of the night.
Sometimes rather than waken me, she'd masturbate; long, slow, sensuous self-stimulation until she came. Sometimes her self pleasuring would awaken me, and when it did I'd take over for her, fingering her until she came. She always appreciated that, my giving her what she needed with nothing asked in return. Sometimes when she'd wake me she'd ask me to use my tongue on her, but often she liked to get me hard and then climb on top where she had better control than when I was on top. With her on top we'd both cum, when I was on top often I'd cum too fast and I'd have to pay extra attention to her to get her off.
We'd had our hard spots through the years, as every couple does, however sex was never an issue for us. She loved sex as much as I did, wasn't hesitant to ask for what she wanted, and never hesitated to participate in what I wanted. Outwardly the perfect conservative Mom when the kids had been around -- but she'd been a hot mama when they weren't. We were married when she was just 17, a week after her graduation. She'd have been 37 if she'd lived until her upcoming birthday.
The last year before she died, with the kids in college, it had been almost like we were on a honeymoon again. We'd made love in every room of the house. We'd done it on the deck at midnight, overlooking the valley. We'd done it in the pool, in fact now that I thought about it, I remembered just the week before she died she'd stood between my legs in our pool, similarly to what I'd just seen Sara doing, sucking me hard so we could do it again.
She'd gone out bowling that evening. Along with the 3 other friends they had a regular Wednesday night women's bowling league. Usually they got back about 10:30 so I really wasn't worried at all. But then, unexplainably, a sense of dread came over me; a feeling I couldn't explain, a feeling I couldn't understand. When the house phone rang about 11:30 I knew my Debs wasn't coming home even before I answered.