Sorting Out The Smiths Ch. 06byandy_charles©
Tales From Sechs City -- welcome to Sechs City, a wealthy, middle-class costal area of Western America in the state of California. A gorgeous, quiet largely uneventful place, people move to the city to follow their dreams, to live their day-to-day lives. It's almost too perfect to be true...
Though they had been able to push the barbeque to one side so far that day, at nine o' clock there was no way to ignore it. The doorbell rang and immediately a long line of deliveries began to arrive. Soon the large white marquee was making its way towards the back garden of the Smith house, carried by four strong men who knew how to put it up backwards.
Wanda had reluctantly kissed Oliver goodbye and was dressed in smart work clothes, pointing out where the marquee was to be set before heading back into the kitchen for the three staff catering company that were beginning to work their magic in there. Though the meat had already been bought and was placed in a large cooler by the back door, the salads, vegetarian options and desserts still had to prepared before the first guests arrived at half past two.
Jack was helping as much as he could by watering the various flower beds and bushes that were scattered throughout the garden. It had already been predicted that the temperatures would rise to even higher than the previous day, so the plants needed to be well looked after before the midday sun really began to take its toll.
Lewis and Lianne were helping too, but they had held so many of these events that they both knew when you hired experts it was best to leave it to them. They concentrated on drinks, even driving quickly to the local supermarket to stock up on bottles of beer, which were strangely going missing in their own house. Both parents knew the fault lay at their son helping himself to a crafty bottle every now and again, but they decided to keep quiet on the matter. There had been too many arguments in the house that week to start another one now.
It was coming up to eleven o' clock and things were beginning to look under control, mainly thanks to the steely glares and severe tones of Wanda, who ran the kitchen like a military outpost. The caterers didn't mind; they'd worked with her before and knew really she had a heart of gold. They had also noticed, despite her professionalism, little smiles kept breaking out over her features.
Elizabeth had kept herself away from the madness, telling herself that she would be no use to anyone not having the first clue what to do. Instead she sat in her room; the windows open fully, a cold glass of water by her side. She sat at her dressing table with official documents to write concerning her progress with the Smiths. Unlike the papers that Lianne had found, these were more up to date, though Elizabeth knew there were still gaps missing in the story of this family.
Already she had seen a change over Lewis and Lianne; when they had come down to breakfast their arms were around each other, and they sat close together, instead of Lewis sitting at the head of the table like he usually did. Occasionally he would whisper something in her ear, and vice versa, and it seemed like the two were sharing some sort of secret joke that Elizabeth wouldn't dream of asking them to explain.
Only Jack looked a little put out by the public displays of affection. "Get a room," he said, but with a twinkle in his eye; he winked at Elizabeth when his father told him to shut up and eat his toast.
Now as Elizabeth sat, her pen in her mouth, she wondered how much more work was really necessary with the Smiths, how much longer she would need to stay. Her record had been two days and nights, but breaking that had long since passed.
The family had, like all her clients did eventually, grown on her; at first she had looked at the house here on West Avenue, had studied its insides and regarded it as just another big property owned by just another rich family. She had seen the family members as stereotypes -- the hormonal teenager, the forgotten wife, the workaholic father. But now more than ever she saw them as people, real people, and the ingredient to this new focus was the love that she felt all of them carried for each other. It was stronger and more of a healer than any therapy Elizabeth could have provided. As usual, it had conquered the worst of life.
She raised her glass to it now in a mock toast. "To Family and to Love," she said to her reflection in the dressing table mirror. It made her think of her own family -- when was the last time she'd called her mother? When was the last time she'd seen her mother? "Another of the cons of this job," she sighed out loud.
There was a knock at her bedroom door. "Just a second," she called out, replacing the files back into her case before walking over and opening the door. Lewis and Lianne were standing out on the landing, holding hands. They both looked nervous.
"Hi, can we come in for a moment?" asked Lewis.
"Of course," replied Elizabeth, stepping aside to let them through.
The husband and wife sat on the end of her bed, while Elizabeth drew the dressing table chair over so she could face them.
There was a silence while the two briefly looked at each other. Then Lianne said, "We want to talk to you about something."
"Ok," said Elizabeth smiling.
"Something that happened three years ago," continued Lewis.
Lianne put her hands together and as she started to talk her gaze went slowly from her feet to looking into those green emerald eyes of the blonde sitting in front of her. They were full of kindness and concern, and gave her momentum to keep the story going.
"Three years ago Lewis and I went on a short holiday to a place in New England called Sailor's Cove. It was an amazingly beautiful place, and there was just this feel in the air of mystery and romance that carried us both away. We quickly made use of the bedroom, obviously, and...er...various other places too, and when we came back to Sechs City we obviously thought well, nice holiday, too bad it's over, oh well. And then I noticed my period was late."
She stopped for a moment; her throat felt dry though she'd only begun to talk. Lewis took her hand and squeezed it. He felt an overwhelming desire to hold her in his arms, to take on the burden of telling the story, but they had both agreed Lianne would be the one to tell it.
After a while she began to speak again. "Obviously we were both surprised and thrilled. Jack was fifteen and would be moving to college in a few years time, and Lewis' business was doing so well that he could afford to stay at home and help me raise the child. We had it all planned out. It was going to be wonderful."
Lewis felt her squeeze his hand tighter still. Already he could see teardrops starting to roll down her smooth cheeks.
"Then one day I was out shopping with Wanda, and I felt a pain in my stomach. I couldn't breath properly, it was that painful. I'd never felt anything like it before in my life. Wanda rushed me to a hospital, but it was too late. I'd...I'd lost the...the, er..."
"...baby," Elizabeth finished softly for her.
Lianne nodded and buried her head in Lewis' chest, silent tears streaming down her face.
"We never told Jack," Lewis said, feeling a lump in his own throat now. "We had been planning to but...we thought it best not to worry him with it after it happened."
Elizabeth nodded. "And in the process you started to push him away from you both. He may not have known it at the time but he went looking for a substitute. His raging hormones found him one."
"Porn," said Lewis slowly.
Lianne raised her head sharply. "Porn?"
"I wouldn't be too surprised, Lianne," said Elizabeth quietly. "Actually it's very normal; he's a young man, he's curious about women. We were all like that once...some of us still are. But you shut yourselves off from yourselves, too. At the time you needed each other most."
"I thought I'd put too much pressure on Lianne," said Lewis. "I forgot how strong you were inside."
"I can only be that strong when you're with me, like now," explained Lianne, staring into his sparkling eyes.
They kissed deeply; both forgetting for one instant that Elizabeth was in the room. She wasn't embarrassed by their display of affection. It cemented something deep in her mind.
After they had drawn apart, she said to them, "At some point -- not today, but perhaps tomorrow -- you need to tell Jack about what happened. It may anger him a little that you didn't confide in him when it happened, but eventually he'll come back round to you. It will make you stronger as a family too."
There was a call from downstairs; it was Wanda's voice. "Mr Smith? I'm sorry sir but we need you downstairs for a moment."
Lewis got up, kissing his wife on the hand as he did so. "You coming?" he asked.
"In a moment," she promised, wiping her eyes with the back of her hand.
Lewis nodded and left, smiling at them both as he closed the door behind him.
Elizabeth reached down the sleeve of the loose sky blue top she was wearing and pulled out a white handkerchief, ironically the same one that she had placed on the landing on her first night in the Smith household. She handed it to Lianne. "This will be better than your sleeve," she said.
Lianne took the material and dabbed her eyes with it. "Thank you," she said. There was still something on her mind, Elizabeth could tell. She sat there patiently waiting for the older brunette to speak.
Finally Lianne said, "Elizabeth, this morning Lewis and I had the best sex we've had in a long time."
Elizabeth smiled. "I kind of heard. Quite a performance."
Lianne giggled. "God, that sounded awful," she said, placing a hand on her mouth. "But I'm just so happy right now, I feel like there's never been a divide between him and me now."
"I'm glad," replied Elizabeth. "You are a lovely couple; you deserve to be happy."
"Yeah..." Lianne trailed off, then looked Elizabeth in the eye and said, "The thing is...yesterday afternoon...things were different then...I was different then...from yesterday morning, I mean. I'd changed because of you and what you did. And...Lewis has definitely changed too. He was a different man this morning. Last night I heard someone on the landing, going down the stairs. I can't help wondering...Elizabeth, did you and he...did you sleep together?"
Elizabeth stared deep into Lianne's beautiful face. "No," she said definitely. "Lewis never even touched me. We talked, that's all."
"But we didn't just talk," continued Lianne. She was beginning to panic slightly. "You made me cum, Elizabeth. You ate me out and I changed, I realised the mistakes I was making..."
"And then went right back to making them," Elizabeth interrupted. "You gave Lewis the cold shoulder, instead of letting him try to talk to you. Yes, he should have tried harder, that's true, but you were so angry that he hadn't seen your change, that he hadn't acknowledged it, that you went right back to square one. What I did -- and remember it's what I did, you didn't do anything -- was give you pleasure, but compared to what you felt this morning with your husband, its cold and stale pleasure; its as fake as most of the porn your son looks at. It isn't motivated by love, just lust. It may feel good, but it doesn't last."
Lianne took this all in. "If talk is all you did with Lewis, and he changed that much, I don't think I want to know what you've been up to with Jack. Or Wanda, for that matter."
Elizabeth smiled. "That's why I'm not going to tell you. Confidentiality and all that."
Lianne bit her bottom lip. "It's a dangerous game you play. I could easily have you arrested for what you've done in your 'therapy' sessions."
"You could," agreed Elizabeth, standing up, "but then I never said I was a proper therapist now, did I?"
The two ladies looked at each other. Lianne was the first to crack. She grinned and as she spoke, laughter joined the words.
"Did your practices ever get mentioned on Montel Williams?"
"Of course not," said Elizabeth in mock indignation. "It was Montel Williams, not the Spice Channel."
Lianne stood up, still chuckling, and walked towards the blonde. "That's good. We wouldn't want your deep dark secrets out in the open, otherwise everyone would be practising the Family Care way, and then where would you be?"
"Home," Elizabeth replied simply. "I'd be home."
Lianne put her hands on Elizabeth's arms. "Poor baby," she whispered.
They kissed fully on the lips, breathing in each other's sweet perfumes that hovered over their soft skin, their tongues light on the other ones' lips, before Lianne broke off and said, "We've got some banners to put up. How are you at right angles?"
Elizabeth smiled, not able to help herself, as she said loudly, "I'm fine with any angle, me!"
The barbeque went better than anyone could have expected. Virtually all of West Avenue was there, taking full advantage of the glorious sunshine and the wonderful hospitality the Smiths showed.
A couple of Lianne's friends commented on how amazing she looked, how there was a real glow around her. "What's your secret?" they asked her.
"I'm in love," she replied, eyes dazzling.
They looked at one another, unsure how to respond. "Does Lewis know?" they asked eventually.
Lianne laughed out loud. "With Lewis," she said. "I'm in love with Lewis, the most gorgeous, brilliant husband a woman could ask for!"
The queue for the various pieces of meat, cooked by Lewis and Jack themselves on two beautiful new silver barbeques, was progressing nicely when the back gate swung open and Oliver, dressed in a chequered shirt and denim jeans, made his rather sheepish entrance. Lianne's jaw dropped to see him, but it dropped even further when he ran up to Wanda, who had been standing off at a distance watching to make sure things were running smoothly, and embraced her with a long meaningful kiss.
"Well," said Lewis dryly, "now we know why Wanda's been so pre-occupied."
Jack frowned. "She hasn't been that preoccupied, surely? She's been typical Wanda from what I've seen."
Lewis shook his head, tutting. "Son, when you've lived with Wanda as long as I have you notice the subtle differences. I mean, who in their right mind would have placed the burger buns AFTER the burgers?"
The afternoon went on and as it melted into evening, Wanda stepped over to Lewis and Lianne, who were sitting on one of their favourite garden seats, feeding each other a rich chocolate ice cream with small spoons while talking to another couple who lived just opposite them.
"I'm sorry but Miss Callaghan would like a word with the two of you in the hallway."
The two Smiths made their excuses and walked hand in hand into the house and through to the hallway. They were surprised to see Elizabeth standing by the front door, her suitcases by her side. Jack was already there, leaning on the bottom of the stair banister.
"I wanted to say goodbye," she said, very matter-of-factly. "My work here is complete."
Both Lewis and Lianne were a little taken aback.
"You're leaving now?" Lewis asked. "At least stay another night and go in the morning."
Elizabeth smiled sadly. "Then it would be ten times as hard to say goodbye to you all. It's better that I go now. Besides, I had a phone call from my boss an hour or so ago, and they've already sent me my next assignment, which Jack helped me print off his computer."
Lewis looked over at his son, wondering what else Jack had been printing off, but said nothing.
"You really think we don't need your help anymore?" Lianne asked. "What if we start fighting as soon as you leave? What if we start to fall apart again?"
"If there was any danger of that, Lianne, I wouldn't be leaving," explained Elizabeth. "Another part of our training at Family Care: we should all be able to recognise when it's safest to leave a family we've been working with. I think I can sleep well tonight knowing that this family is most definitely on the mend."
Lewis rubbed his neck. "What about your fee? Do I get a bill through the mail?"
Elizabeth nodded. "You'll get a letter in a week or so from Family Care. I don't know how much they will charge you, as my income is fixed; it helps any legal problems that may occur."
All three Smiths inwardly thought about what those legal problems may have been. If their experiences with Elizabeth's brand of therapy were anything to go by, they could certainly understand why legal problems existed.
There was the toot of a horn from outside.
"There's my ride," said Elizabeth, a little regretfully. "Well...thank you, all of you, for making me so welcome in your lovely home."
Lianne stepped forward and hugged the blonde tightly. "No, thank you," she said. "Thank you for helping make this a lovely home once again."
Jack held out a reluctant hand. He was sad to see the beautiful woman leaving so soon, but he was sure it was for different reasons than his parents. "Have a safe trip," he said as Elizabeth shook his hand. "Good luck with your next family. I hope they'll be a synch compared to us."
"Every family is different," said Elizabeth. "You learn that very quickly in this job."
Lewis leaned over and picked up one of her suitcases. "I'll walk you out," he said.
"Thank you. Well, goodbye."
Jack stood next to his mother as they watched Lewis and Elizabeth walk out the front door. As he did, Lianne glanced at her son. He was beginning to look so much like his father -- how had she not seen this until now?
She held out an arm. "Come on," she said warmly. "I think there may still be some cold beer left if we hurry."
Jack smiled and took his mother's arm. "You mean if none of the neighbours have already drowned their sorrows in it?"
"How could anyone be unhappy on a day like today?"
They walked off together towards the continuing barbeque and to all of their friends.
The afternoon air had already begun to cool as Lewis and Elizabeth stepped out into it. The bright yellow cab was waiting, the engine running, at the bottom of the short drive.
"I think you're leaving Sechs City at the best time," said Lewis, looking up into the sky. "They reckon this is going to break tomorrow and we're going to get some pretty nasty storms."
Elizabeth shrugged. "Wouldn't bother me," she said truthfully. "I've worked in some of the worst weather and some of the best weather; I've had my bad weeks and I've had my good weeks. You'll be happy to know this has been one of the good weeks."
"Where are you going next?" Lewis asked.
"Sorry," she replied, shaking her head. "I can't tell you. I had to ask Jack to leave his room when I printed out the e-mail I'd been sent."
But not before kissing that beautiful cock of his goodbye, she thought. A moment of weakness that could bite me back if I'm not too careful. But I'm only human, and it was one of the better ones.
Lewis opened the cab door and placed her suitcases on the far side of the vehicle. He turned to her. "Well, thank you," he said, "thank you for everything."
He held out a hand, just as his son had done. Elizabeth took it and pulled him towards her. Their lips met quickly, hurriedly, as if by accident -- at least mainly on his part.
Brief thoughts of what could have been flashed through Elizabeth's mind. She'd heard the noises Lianne had made that morning, and she'd lain back in her own bed and brought herself off to visions of what it felt like to have Lewis inside you; she'd seen how big a bulge she'd created in his shorts when she'd put his hands on her body. Oh to have been that lucky, lucky brunette underneath him, making those sounds. But it hadn't been and wasn't to be. She broke the kiss with a knowing smile and patted him on the ass.