Sylvia's Mother Ch. 18byD.C. Roi©
Brenda expressed surprise at finding Jason in the kitchen when she came downstairs after taking her shower. "Jeez, Jason, don't tell me you can cook," she said as she walked into the kitchen. "I didn't know guys did stuff like that."
"Some of us manage," Jason replied. "But it doesn't take a brain surgeon to make meatloaf."
"Tell my big sister that," Brenda snorted. "Talk about someone with zero cooking ability. She tried boiling water once and burned it. Believe me, any guy who plans to get hooked up with Sylvia better know how to cook, or he better have a lot of money so they can eat out a lot. She sure as heck isn't gonna feed him unless he's into cooking for himself or likes burned TV dinners."
Jason laughed. "Maybe you should be telling Paul that, not me," he said while he mixed the ingredients of the meatloaf together in a large bowl. "It doesn't look like that's anything I'm going to have to worry about."
"Yeah, I guess not," Brenda said. "Oh, well, maybe you'll find someone who can cook." She paused for a minute, then added, "You know, Mom's a terrific cook. She just doesn't get to do it much any more."
Jason turned and looked at Karen, who was standing next to the kitchen table. "Is she right?" he asked.
Karen blushed and said, "I can manage, as long as I have a good recipe to follow."
"Come on, Mom," Brenda chuckled. "You used to make all kinds of good stuff. You ought to taste her cherry pie, Jason. It's awesome. And, believe it or not, she makes the best Irish stew you've ever eaten. You know, Mom, you ought to make that while Jason's here. I bet he'll like it as much as I do."
"Maybe I will, honey," Karen said.
Brenda made a salad and Sylvia's mother peeled and cut up potatoes to make mashed potatoes while Jason finished the meatloaf and put it in the oven. While the meal was cooking, they played a game of "Hearts", which Jason won.
"Darn it, Jason," Brenda complained as she threw her cards on the table. "You're hustling us, aren't you? You win every game we play."
"I'm just lucky, I guess," Jason replied, grinning. "Maybe we ought to try a game of Bridge after we eat. I'm not as good at that."
"Yeah, sure, I bet," Brenda said.
Jason was mashing the potatoes and Karen and Brenda were setting out plates and silverware on the table when Sylvia and Paul walked in. "You mind if Paul stays for dinner, Mom?" Sylvia asked. She paused and sniffed. "God, what smells so good?"
"Jason made meatloaf," Brenda announced. "He says it's awesome."
"It sure smells good," Sylvia said. "Doesn't it, Paul?"
"Yeah, sure," Paul replied. He didn't look happy. "You can cook, too, Jonas? You got all kinda talents, doncha?"
"Hey, stupid, his name's Jason," Brenda snapped, surprising Jason.
"Yeah, sure, Jason, sorry, buddy," Paul mumbled.
"I'm not your 'buddy,' and I never will be," Jason thought while he finished mashing the potatoes and carried the bowl to the table. "Actually, if I'm lucky, I'll never see you again after I leave here."
Everybody, including Paul, made a big fuss over the meatloaf and, after the meal was finished, Paul and Sylvia immediately took off again. The fact that Paul had left cheered Jason up a little bit. He didn't like the way Sylvia's boyfriend leered at Sylvia's mother. And he was sure he'd smelled something on both Paul and Sylvia. It kind of smelled like burnt rope and, because of drug awareness class in school, he knew what that smell could mean. "Are they smoking pot?" he wondered. "I wouldn't doubt it. Nothing would surprise me about that jerk."
"You two can take a break, I'm washing the dishes," Karen told Brenda and Jason. "The two of you did most of the work cooking dinner, cleaning up is the least I can do."
"OK, Mom," Brenda said. "You sure don't have to twist my arm."
"You sure you don't want me to help?" Jason asked.
"No," Karen said. "I'll do it. You're spoiling me. God knows I normally have to wash dishes after every meal when you aren't here."
"All right," Jason said.
"Hey, Jason," Brenda said. "It isn't raining any more. You want to go down to the lake and watch the sunset with me?"
"Ah...OK," Jason replied.
The two of them walked out of the cabin, down to the edge of the lake, and stood on the shore watching while the sun sank slowly below the horizon, leaving a bright, colorful sky.
"You know what I said last night?" Brenda said as they stood there, staring across the lake at the sky.
Jason experienced a twinge of fear. "What do you mean?" he asked warily, even though he knew exactly what she was asking.
Brenda turned and gave him an "Are you dense or what?" look. "I mean about you having a thing for Mom," she said impatiently.
"Yeah, so?" he replied, wondering where their conversation was going.
"I saw the way you guys were looking at each other when I got home," she went on. She stopped talking and studied Jason's face carefully. Then she took a deep breath and asked, "Jason, is something going on between you and Mom?"
Shocked by the blunt question, Jason didn't know how to respond. "Ah...what...what the heck do you mean?" he stammered. "What could be going on between your Mom and me?"
Brenda turned away from him and shook her head, then she turned back. "Jesus, Jason, I'm not blind," she said. "I saw the same dreamy look on Mom's face today I saw on yours last night. And you had the same damn goofy look today. What the hell is going on with the two of you?"
"Come on, Brenda," Jason protested, "I don't have any idea what the heck you're getting at. Do you really think your mother and I are doing something?"
Brenda continued to look at him carefully. "Are you?" she asked softly.
Jason had no idea how to respond. He should lie to her; tell her that there was nothing going on between him and her mother, but lying was hard for him and always had been. And telling a lie that big would be nearly impossible. Fortunately for him, his debate training kicked in and he responded, "What, exactly, do you think your mother and I are doing?"
Brenda, who thought she was in control of the situation, seemed surprised by his response. "Jeez, well, I...I'm not sure," she stammered, looking flustered for the first time since they'd begun talking. "I...I...I'm not sure what I think."
"Well, it seems to me you're making some pretty serious accusations without any solid basis for them," Jason said. He hoped he'd put an end to this particular line of conversation. He decided to change the subject. "The sky's really pretty, isn't it? Must be it's that colorful because of the storm we had, huh?"
Brenda didn't seem to have heard him. "Mom and Dad aren't getting along," she said, her voice a little distant, almost as if she was talking to herself. "They haven't gotten along for as long as I can remember, really. I mean, Dad's drunk most nights by the time he gets home. And the sleep in separate beds, too. I always thought that was weird. I mean, nobody else's parents I know of sleep in separate beds. Do your parents do that, Jason?"
"Ah...no...they...they don't," he replied. Why the heck wouldn't she talk about something else?
"Heck, Mom's really pretty, don't you think?" Brenda said, surprising him.
"Ah...yeah...sure," Jason replied.
"I mean, I don't think Dad's tending to business, know what I mean?" Brenda continued.
"What do you mean?" Jason asked, trying to sound innocent.
Brenda frowned at him. "I mean I don't think they're screwing," she snapped. "Jesus, Jason, either you're the dumbest shit I've ever met, or you're putting on a helluva good act." She studied him carefully, as if she was trying to figure out which it was.
"What's that got to do with me?" he asked. The minute he said it, he wasn't sure he should have.
"Well, I know there have been guys Dad knows who've been after Mom," she said. "But I don't think she did anything with any of them."
"I can't see your mother doing anything like that," Jason said. He wracked his mind trying to think of some way to end this line of conversation. "Look, your mother probably has the dishes done, why don't we go in and play cards or something?" he suggested hopefully. He turned and started to walk back up the path toward the house.
"Jason, are you fucking Mom?" Brenda asked him before he'd taken two steps.
Jason froze in place. He knew he should tell Brenda he wasn't having sex with her mother but, given the strength of his feelings for Karen, he wasn't sure he could pull it off. Slowly, he turned around and took a deep breath.
Before Jason could say anything, Brenda said, "I guess I wouldn't be pissed at either of you if you were fucking each other," she said. "I mean, it kinda makes sense that you guys might be doing that. You know, Sylvia brings you up here and dumps you for that twit Paul, and Dad goes back home, probably so he and his drinking buddies can get loaded. That leaves you and Mom with a lot of time alone and...well..." She shrugged again. She looked at him with a wry smile on her face. "Did I come close?" she asked. "Is that what happened? You and Mom found yourselves alone and lonely and..."
"You've been reading to many Barbara Cartland novels," Jason told her. "This is foolish. I'm going in." He wanted to turn around, but something in Brenda's face held him in place.
"I got it right, didn't I?" she asked. "Somewhere along the line, something happened and you guys wound up in bed, didn't you? Come on, Jason, you can tell me. I'm sure as hell not gonna tell Dad. Jesus, it would serve him right after the way he's treated her."
"Brenda, I..." Jason began. She knew. He wasn't exactly sure how she knew, but she did. The thing was, he had no idea what to do about it.
"Look, Jason," Brenda said. "I love Mom and I kinda like you. You're a neat guy, even if Sylvia's too stupid to realize that."
"Brenda," Jason said, feeling helpless and trapped, "What makes you think your mother would...?"
"Jason, I'm closer to Mom than Sylvia is. I know her. She's been putting on a pretty good front the last few years, but I know she hasn't been happy for a long time, not really happy, anyhow," Brenda said. "But ever since we got here, she's been different. I can't tell you how, exactly, except that it looks to me like she's really happy, happier than she's been in ages."
"So she likes being up here," Jason offered hopefully. "I mean, being up here is neat and all and..."
"Come on, Jason, don't give me that crap," Brenda said. "I've been up here with Mom just about every weekend since I can remember, but she's never acted like she has this weekend."
"So why does it have to be because of me?" Jason asked.
"Because that's the only thing that's different," Brenda replied. "All of a sudden you're here, for whatever reason, and Mom's happier than she's been in years. See what I'm saying? Or are you going to keep trying to act dumb?"
"So you're saying that if what you think about your Mom and me is true - and I'm not admitting it is - you don't mind?" Jason asked.
Brenda grinned and nodded. "Yeah, that's what I'm saying," she told him. "You gonna tell me the truth now? Are you and Mom fucking?"
"Jesus, she's got it figured out and she'll probably bug me about it until I admit it anyhow, so..." Jason thought. He took a deep breath and said, "No, Brenda, your mother and I aren't fucking..."
Brenda's eyes flared with anger and she opened her mouth.
Before Brenda could speak, Jason said, "We're not fucking. We're making love."
Brenda's eyes widened and she went a little pale. "Oh, damn!" she said softly. "Oh, damn, damn damn!"
Jason was a little scared by Brenda's reaction. "I thought you said it wouldn't bug you if we were," he said.
Brenda shook her head and stared at him. "You...you really are?" she stammered. "Oh, damn! God! I mean, I suspected it, but I never dreamed you really were..."
"Brenda, you can't let anybody know I told you this," Jason said. He was feeling more alarmed the longer this went on. He should have lied to her and told her nothing was happening.
"Oh, damn!" Brenda said again. "Yeah, sure, Jason, I know. I won't tell anybody."
"Not even your mother," he said. "It would kill her if she knew you'd found out. She really doesn't want you to know."
"Don't worry, Jason, I'm not gonna tell anybody," Brenda said. "Damn, Jason, how long has it been going on?"
Jason decided that honesty was the best policy, especially since there was little left to hide. "Since Friday night," he said.
"Friday night?" Brenda said. "You mean when Dad was still here?"
"Yes," Jason said.
"How many times have you guys...?" Brenda asked.
"Brenda, I'm not going to give you a detailed description of what we've done, if that's what you're looking for," Jason said. "I've told you about all I'm going to."
"Yeah, OK, that's fair," Brenda said. "Jesus, I guess I knew it, well, sorta, anyhow. But I never thought you'd admit it." She looked at him even more carefully than she had before. "I have to know one more thing, though."
"What's that?" Jason asked. He had no idea what her next question would be.
"Are you in love with Mom?" she asked.
Jason was as surprised by that question as he'd been by her earlier ones. And yet he heard himself answering it immediately. "Yes, yes I am."
"Oh, damn!" Brenda said again. Then she smiled. "You know what?"
"What now?" Jason thought. "What?" he said.
"I think Mom's kinda in love with you, too," she said, grinning. "I think that's why she's acting like she is. Jesus, is this a trip or what?"
Brenda's words caused Jason's heart to beat a little faster. "You really are going to keep this a secret, aren't you?" he asked.
"Yeah, of course I am," Brenda said. She smiled at him. "Come on, let's go in." She giggled. "The sooner I get to bed..." She gave him a wink.