Just Cole And Jen


"I'm glad, because that's the way it was meant," I said, looking at my phone. I still hadn't checked into my hotel. "Well, kiddo, why don't I give you my cell? You can give me a call when you get back and maybe your parents will invite me over when your mother makes her famous tamales, hint, hint, hint."

"Okay," she smiled, grabbing my phone. "So, what are you going to do this weekend?"

"I have no idea," I admitted. "I was supposed to spend time with my worthless son, but he bailed on me. Now that I'm in the loop, I'd rather not even see him, but I'm stuck here 'til Sunday evening, bored out of my mind."

"Hmmm," she said, "I can't let that happen." She was quiet for a moment. "Mr. P., can I ask you for a big favor?"

"Sure, anything."

"Well, I noticed you have a suit bag with you in the car."

"Yes, I'm not going straight home. I'm taking a detour to visit a client."

"This is going to make me look bad," she said, obviously afraid to ask, but looking excited too. "I always wanted to go to Whaley Inn for dinner when I was here. Brandon promised me that before we even got here."

"And what, pray tell, is Whaley Inn?" I asked.

"It's the best restaurant in this part of Illinois," she said. "And it's real expensive, so if you don't want to take me, I understand, but I have this other dress - a whole outfit really - that I've wanted to wear forever. It's not slutty like the other one - it's classy, you'll like it - and they have these amazing asparagus appetizers and the most glorious salad bar in the Midwest. They have dancing with a live jazz band, not just some deejay, and it would be so cool to go there, but I know it'll be a lot, so just say no if..."

"Stop! Please!" I said, putting up my hands. "Do you have any idea how fast you talk when you get excited?"

"Umm, yes?" she said demurely, head down but looking up at me with those radiant eyes of hers and the cutest little smile.

"Jen, I would love to take you there, but I'm not sure we'll be able to get in if it's as popular as you say."

"You let me worry about that," she said. "I know people. I'm just not sure whether it'll be tonight or tomorrow. Do you care?"

"Hey, I'm stuck here," I said. "Anything you can do to help amuse me would be greatly appreciated. Well worth the cost of dinner."

"Okay, then," she said, giving me a crooked smile I'd never seen before as I signed the receipt. "I'll find out what's up and get back to you later this afternoon."


I was desperate to call Kelly, but I made myself wait until I'd checked in and unpacked so there would be no distractions.

"What do YOU want?" she asked when she picked up. I suppose I should have been grateful she answered at all.

"Hello to you, too." I said. "This isn't business, exactly, but it is about Brandon. I need to talk to you."

"About what?"

"Well, I'm here in lovely Chambana, and he's ignoring me..."

"What do you expect me to do about it?" she cut in. "You're relationship with your son is your own business. Leave me out of it. I'm not here to fix it for you."

"I am leaving you out of it." I said, doing my best to keep a civil tone. "I'm calling because, just now, I had an interesting conversation with Jen."

"With Jen," she said after a moment. "Oh."

"Yeah, mother fucking right, 'Oh'. How much of this is true?"

"I'm not sure," she said, swinging hard at the softball I had just lobbed. "You know she always was a little liar."

"Really? Hmm." My heart sank. It was all true, then. "Do tell, Kelly. Name me one time she ever lied to us. About anything."

"It was stuff I never bothered you with," she said defensively. "High school stuff."

"Nice try," I said. "You've never liked her, I don't know why, and you would have gladly ratted her out to me if she had. As far as I know, Jen's never lied to me, but we both know about your track record, don't we?"

"Why are you calling?" she asked in an icy tone. I knew she was seconds away from terminating the call.

"So it's all true? And you haven't pulled Brandon out of school?"

"Pulled him out?" she sounded shocked. "Whatever for?"

"What for? Kelly, he was going to let his frat buddies RAPE her."

"That's what she says," she said. "You'll notice she's lying pretty low."

"That's what rape victims do," I said tersely. "So you and your father didn't threaten her, then?"

"I just pointed out a few things." she said smugly.

"Okay, so now it's my turn," I said. "I'm going over to his dorm and drag his sorry ass out of there. He's coming home with me. I'll cancel my ticket and rent a U-Haul for all of his worthless shit."

"You'll do no such thing!" Kelly screeched. "He's nineteen now. You have nothing to do with his college. Nothing. You were all too happy to let Daddy pay for it, weren't you? So now you have NO SAY, no input whatsoever. Daddy and I want him right where he is."

"Well then, I'll..."

"And don't even think you're going to go to the school or anything. Nothing can happen if she doesn't push it forward, and she won't."

"You made sure of that, didn't you?" I knew I was beaten.

"What if I did?" she asked, once again all superior and self-satisfied, God, I hated that about her. "I'm not going to let her ruin his life."

"Kelly," I said, after counting to ten. I could have counted to a hundred for all the good it would do me. "What kind of life lesson are we giving here? That you can just skate by with no consequences?"

"Oh, you and your 'life lessons.' It was just a drunk frat boy thing. Nothing really happened. She'll get over it."

"How do you know?" I asked, outraged. "This could traumatize her for life."

"Boo hoo," she said coldly. "Why don't you go comfort her, then? You've always had the hots for her."

"You know what? Go to hell." I said. "I can't believe I married you. How could I have missed how...how evil you and your family are? You got what you wanted, didn't you? You couldn't hammer me with the divorce since you're the one who cheated and Brandon's gone, so you've corrupted him, put this awful thing between us.

"He's an adult now, God help us, so you and I are done. If I'm invited to his wedding, I'll smile and stand next to you and even take pictures, all for the sake of the bride, who I'm sure won't deserve any of what she'll be getting. Aside from that, I look forward to never speaking to you again."

She was yelling something, but I didn't hear it. I had already pressed OFF.


It was over an hour later when I heard the ringtone. I hadn't moved a muscle. My back was sore, my heart was broken, and my head felt like it had been stomped like a vat of grapes.

"Mr. P." Jen's perky voice was not a welcome intrusion right now. Nothing was. "We can't go until tomorrow night. I hope that's okay."

"Not a problem, Jen," I sighed. "It's for the best. I'm really tired. I'll just grab something around here and crash."

"No way," she said. "No way. I know. I know I dropped a major bomb on you today, and by now you probably know it's all true. I'm not going to let you sit around and mope, especially since I started it all."

"No you didn't." I said.

"I know, I just meant the messenger part. So here's what's going to happen. You like Italian, right? Who doesn't like Italian?"

"I love Italian."

"Right, so you're going to pick me up at six thirty and we're going to go to this great, little dive. You're going to love it. Dress super casual. After that, we'll go do something that you might find a little lame at first, but if you let it, I think you'll have a fun time."

I was no match for this bundle of energy. "Okay, six thirty."

"Six thirty, Mr. P. Bye now."

"Wait, wait," I called. "Don't hang up."


"I'm getting awfully tired of this 'Mr. P.' crap. How many times have I asked you to call me Cole?"

"Like, a lot."

"I thought so." I said. "That's the way I remember it. It's Cole from now on, or no Wharfey Inn."

"It's Whaley Inn."

"Whatever. You're not with Brandon anymore. As a matter of fact, I'll try to never bring him up again."

"That would be great, Cole," she said.

"See, that was easy. But if YOU feel like it, you can talk about him whenever you want. No eggshells."

"Perfect," she giggled. "Now be on time, COLE. I'll be waiting and it's cold out there."


She was true to her word. She smiled as she slid in the seat. "Cole, did you get here five minutes early just for lil' ol' me?"

"Well, yeah," I replied. "Can't have my Jen shivering in the dark."

"'Your Jen,' " she sighed, leaning over and kissing my cheek. Her breast pushed accidentally into my arm, but maybe it wasn't so accidental, because it sure took a long time for her to pull it away. "Always the charmer."

"Cole coming easier now?" I asked.

"It always was easy," she said, murmuring something as she turned her head to find the seatbelt.

"What's that?" I asked.

"It's what I've always called you in my head." she said, looking flushed. Was she blushing?

"Then why didn't you ever use it?" I asked. "God knows I asked you to enough."

"Brandon didn't like it." she said. "He didn't mind if I called your wife Kelly, but he never wanted me to call you by your first name."

"Why not?" I asked.

"Can we talk about something else, please?" she asked.

"Um, sure."

We talked about a lot of something elses. It went easy, because we'd had so many conversations when she was younger. I had always considered her an intelligent, mature girl, but now, at the ripe age of nineteen, she was an impressive young woman, indeed. She hadn't grown up in poverty, but she hadn't been so far from it, and that life experience had made her wiser than her years. She had developed an impressive core of self-reliance, a refreshing lack of entitlement and a wary acceptance of life on life's terms.

We continued talking as we waited in line inside the popular restaurant. I had a hard time concentrating on anything else when she took off her long coat to reveal illegally tight black yoga pants leading to white UGs one way and an orange and white Illini sweatshirt the other. My eyes kept involuntarily dropping to that delectable, round teenage ass as we stood there, and she never reacted. She either didn't notice or didn't care, because she never let on. It was big and round, but perfectly shaped and tight at the same time. I felt like a creep.

The food wasn't bad; it was one of those Italian places with slow service that placated their patrons with bread and dipping sauce. After much coercion, I took a little nibble.

"What's the matter, Cole?" Jen asked. "I don't remember you not liking bread."

"I like it too much, that's my problem." I said. I'd started working out when I moved out. What the hell, nothing else to do besides watch ESPN Classic, the divorced guys channel, and I began assiduously watching my carbs and sweets.

"How much have you lost?" she asked.

"Forty three pounds, as of this morning," I said. "Pushing for fifty, then I maintain."

"I don't know if you need to lose any more. You might lose some of that sexy, new muscle mass," she said, reaching out to squeeze my bicep. "But you do look a lot better," she said, tilting her head to critique me. "You always carried your weight well. You were always cute, but now that you've lost this..." and she reached under my chin and rubbed where my jowls used to be, "you've gotten hot. And not 'hot for a dad' hot, but just flat out, 'this guy is hot when he walks into a room' hot."

I was embarrassed but also pleased with her compliment. "What about you?" I asked. "Are you just perfect because you're young, or do you have to do anything for it?"

"So far things are where they're supposed to be," she said with a proud smile. "But I'm working hard so everything stays the same. Gotta maintain, too. I don't want to wake up one morning with an ass the size of Kansas.

"And I love bread, too, although I never eat any," she said, slathering a piece with butter, "but this weekend we're celebrating. Or commemorating, or something."


"I don't know if I'll ever see you again." she said, sounding forlorn. "So I'm going to spend as much time with you as I can. I want to be with you as much as possible over the next two days. I'm not his, and you're not married to his mother anymore, so now we're just Cole and Jen, and we can have a great weekend together."

She was looking at me with such hope. I looked back at her, realizing that I didn't want this to be the last time I saw her either. I hadn't seen her much this last year since I moved out, hadn't thought about her much, really, and yet, and yet...

"I'm sure we'll see each other," I said, knowing I was shining her even as the words were leaving my mouth. "We're both going back to the same place, aren't we? I'm sure our paths will cross somewhere."

"Of course they will," she said, smiling, letting me get away with it.

And suddenly she was off to the races again, telling me all about her new BFF, Nikki, and how they had bonded over gymnastics. I was never aware Jen was into that.

"Oh, I was," she said seriously as she reached across the table and speared one of my tortellini. "This was before you really knew me. I know everybody says they were good, but I really was. You can ask my mom. But one day I woke up, and I was tall, like five ten, and then the next week I suddenly had boobs, and then the NEXT week I had BIG boobs. My ass too."

"You don't have a big ass," I protested.

"It's big and round, Cole," she said, smiling mischievously. "But I think you like it anyway."

Ahhhh, damn! Busted.

"You couldn't have kept on?" I asked quickly, trying to move on.

"I guess," she shrugged, "but I wanted to be great. You just can't move the way you need to with these, so my gymnastics career was over in a month."

"That must've been hard."

"So hard," she sighed. "I cried for months. I eventually moved over to dance, you've seen me do that, but it's not the same. And anyway, when I dance now, built the way I am, I look like I should be on a pole, which I have considered, by the way."

I gasped. "You can't do that, Jen." Trying to keep it light, I said, "You can't do that. Your father didn't molest you...or DID he?" I batted my eyelashes at her.

"Of course not, you dork," she laughed, punching my arm.

"An uncle perhaps? Maybe it was a janitor, or maybe that creepy youth pastor at your church?"

"While I admit Pastor Antonio was a little creepy, nothing like that ever happened to me," she answered primly. "Seriously, though, I have considered it."


"Because of the MONEY, Cole," she said. "It's always been such a struggle, and I see how much some of those girls make. It would make paying for school cake."

"It would destroy you," I said. "I know what I'm talking about."

"Oh, really?" she asked, giving me that crooked smile again, which I now interpreted as her naughty look, "Have you been making it rain?"

"Twice since I moved out, dragged there both times." I said. "I felt stupid. But I know because my last girlfriend before Kelly was one."

"Really, what was her name?"

"Gina," I said.

"No, no," she said, grinning. "Her stripper name."

"Oh," I said, embarrassed. "Dynamite."

"You dog, you..." she smirked. "What was that like?"

"Total chaos. I think that's why I fell so hard for Kelly. Law and order for the last twenty six years."

"Yeah, she's a real rule follower all right," Jen said darkly. "If I'd known about her, I would've told you."

"Ahh, nah," I said. "You didn't need to get in the middle of all that."

"But I like being in the middle," she purred. I suddenly felt a soft foot gliding slowly up my left leg.

"Jen..." I said.

"Oh, lighten up, Francis," she said, pulling away slowly. "C'mon, we're going to be late."

"It'll be faster to walk; no parking, " she said as I began to steer us towards my rental, "No, it's this way."

Taking my hand, she lead me towards the home of the men's gymnastic team.

"This is girl porn, right here," she said, gripping me tightly as if she never wanted me to let go. It felt nice.

"Here, we'll go up here," she said, pulling me up the risers near the back. "This is where we always sit."

The place was almost full already. We got the last two seats at the end of the row among a mixed group of rowdy teenagers. Jen introduced me around as Cole, and I received a few suspicious looks for a while, but they soon lost interest in me and went back to what they were doing, whatever that was. Mostly their phones.

"Nikki's running late," Jen told me after checking hers. "I can't wait for you to meet her."

We each had our own seat, but she snuggled up next to me, repeatedly pushing her breast into my upper arm. The meet turned out to be fascinating. I was especially impressed by the strength of the guys on the rings. Jen continued to press close, pointing out technical details to explain why one performance was better than another. I was too wrapped up in her and the scent of lavender to pay much attention, and then something else happened.

"Hot in here," she said, making an X with her arms and slowly peeling her sweatshirt off. Something in my mind, a beautiful thing, slowed the motion down even further. It's something I'll remember until I die, and probably after that, even.

Her arms crossed, and she pulled the sides of her sweatshirt up. Her black shirt got caught in the motion and bared her midriff for an instant. It was flat and light brown, not that fake orange. No way should her stomach be that dark this time of year in the Midwest, unless she tanned. I happened to know it was her natural skin tone because of her Latin heritage. The sweatshirt continued up, pulling her breasts higher until it finally let them free. They each fell with an impressive, independent bounce. I was spellbound.

She turned to me and smiled. She wasn't wearing a t-shirt as I'd first thought. It was a black camisole top with tiny spaghetti straps. No bra under there. It might as well have been a tube top, showing way, way, WAY too much cleavage. If she moved too quickly, I knew a nipple would be exposed. I found myself desperately needing to know whether it would be brown or red. Maybe something delightfully in between. Pink wasn't even an option with her dark skin.

Jen knew what she was doing. She crossed her arms under her breasts, pushing those babies up until they were practically falling out of her top. I finally pulled my eyes away and looked up to her face. She was grinning from ear to ear. We turned back to watch the meet; well, maybe she did, but I was gone. How can you concentrate on anything else when a gorgeous young thing is attaching herself to you more and more as each minute passes? Her boobs were like magnets to my iron eyes, and all I can say about her is that, well, she let me. I got caught perving I don't know how many times. I would get flushed, but she only looked back with that knowing, crooked grin. I was starting to like that, too.

"What happened to the gentleman I used to know?" she whispered in my ear.

"What happened to your bra? Hell, Jen, I'm only human." I whispered back.

"I know," she said, patting my arm. We returned to watching the crazy young men swinging around. She pulled away and I quit looking. I don't think either of us was happy about it.

"Here she is," Jen said.

Nikki turned out to be a pixie. Four ten at the most, her poor, little legs had trouble with the deep stairs in the gym. No problem. She hopped up the steps like a grasshopper.

"This him?" she asked, after giving Jen a hug. I was still sitting, so she gave me a big one, too, nuzzling my ear. She hardly had to lean over.

"I've heard about you since the first day I met her," she whispered so only I could hear. "Your son is a rapist pig, which makes me wonder about you. You fuck with her, I'll gut you both, I swear."

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