My sincere apologies to mother-in-laws everywhere, they are not the monster portrayed in this story. In fact, I must have one of the sweetest mother-in-laws around.
There is no sex in this fictional tale.
Ahhh...everything is set...she thought. By the time he knows what hit him, it will too late and he will no longer be a part of this family then, my daughter will be can be with someone deserving of her. The woman looked down snatching the framed photograph of her daughter with that loser. She sneered as she thought...an engineer of all things. She could have married so much higher, someone with power and money unlike her father. Well, she'll have her chance yet again...whether she wants it or not.
The woman stared into the mirror and was astonished at the old personage looking back. She cringed at the wrinkles that adorned her once beautiful face, the gray that insidiously crept into the once lustrous blond hair. She turned away and smirked; no matter...her daughter will succeed where she failed. She just needed a little push.
Now that her two granddaughters were grown and out of the house, there was no longer reason to wait. It was time to take out the trash.
"I WANT YOU OUT OF THIS HOUSE, NOW!"
I calmly looked at my wife of twenty-two years and shook my head; she was still a knock out. Standing just under 5-11, her blond hair cascading over those sleek shoulders and slender waist, I always knew Dani had a temper, a lot like her 'fly off the handle—knee jerk reactive mother,' but normally she would have calmed down by now. I say normally with tongue in cheek. This time, she was pulling out all the stops.
"Ain't gonna happen, Dani. Now, you want to tell me what I did wrong this time?"
My wife stood there, her deep blue eyes radioactive with rage. "Don't give me that 'I'm innocent' routine. You know damn well what you did! I am not going to live with a liar and a cheat."
"That's good to hear, Dani...neither will I. What did your mother do this time?"
"My mother has nothing do to with this...you have humiliated me for the last time. Get out...GET OUT!"
"No," I said coolly. "This is my home and I am not going anywhere just because you say so. If you don't want to be with me or in the same house with me, then you can leave. As for me, I'm gonna grab a beer, go in to the family room, sit down and watch the ball game. You are more than welcome to watch the game with me. When you're ready to calmly discuss whatever heinous crime I've done, I'll be all ears."
Dani screamed a few unintelligible and several unmentionable phrases and I watched as those incredibly long and slender legs turned and stomped off to the bedroom. Seconds later, the house shook on its foundation when the bedroom door slammed shut followed by the metallic click as she locked the door. Like that would ever keep me out.
I kicked back in my favorite chair, an old moth-eaten green fabric Lazy Boy, smiled as I popped the tab on my beer hearing that distinctive hiss and switched on the cable. I know, you'd think I'd be upset or worried about whatever was jammed up Dani's ass but I fucking just didn't care. There was a time when I would have, when we first started dating and maybe the first couple of years of marriage, but not now.
After twenty-two plus years of her temper and indignation coupled with raising two wildcat daughters, I learned how to tune out irritating noise. I clicked on the game and grinned as Hunter snagged a high fly ball all the way to the back forty.
If you're wondering why I don't act upset, it's because...for the past month she's been a real shrew. Screaming like an Irish banshee was her current volume control. I wondered if McKenzie, Ralls and Forest, Inc. may have some onsite work needed out of country.
Between innings, I began speculating Dani's mother was behind this latest tirade, like she's been with most of the others. That woman has caused more heartache and trouble for my family than Sherman's march to the sea.
Dani's mom, Broomhilda, that's not really her name...it's Olivia, Olivia Matilda Dreyfuss , one woman I have never gotten along with...well, actually, she hates my guts and I really have no idea why. Usually, it's the father that has a problem with his daughter's boyfriends, fiancé and, eventually, husband but Dani's dad, Harvey, and I got along famously. But, her mother...given the opportunity, she'd hire a hit man.
I guess she always believed her 'baby' deserved better that settling on little ole me. Of course, I don't help much. After a decade of her shit, I began to give as much as I received, which didn't help my loving relationship with Dani but it always seem to put a smile on her father's normally cheerless face.
I started dating Dani just before graduating from Cal State. I had spent nearly four grueling years studying mechanical engineering; I wanted to build things like buildings, bridges and stuff. Dani was majoring in Dani taking nothing but general education and only those courses required by state. Dani was bright but she was no rocket scientist and was always the first to admit it. But, you had to admire that she at least believed in a strong education if not in a particular study. I first spied Dani in the University library. She was with two other drop dead gorgeous women and I was completely and hopelessly infatuated with her. And, I was completely and hopelessly unable to meet her.
When it came to exceptionally beautiful women, I always became tongue tied and a klutz. I had girlfriends in high school and during the first couple of years in Cal State and they were pretty but not stunning beauties like Dani and her entourage. Anytime I took a girl out, I would always make sure she had a good time.
Word got out I was a class act and any girl that went out with me never had to worry about compulsory bedroom gymnastics. I always made sure they felt comfortable with no further obligations; such as sex, though I did get my share...another reason for my sterling reputation.
I'm not a total smuck. Standing at six feet, 185 pounds dripping wet, my deep green eyes and black curly hair reflected my heritage. Because of my natural tan complexion, somewhere in the mix may be some Native American blood...who knows.
If my looks didn't give you a clue as to my ancestry, my name would...Michael Patrick O'Flynn, and was always called by my namesake, my grandfather, Michael. He was big Mike and, my five brothers and two of my three sisters always called me little Mike. Only my mother, father and Caitlyn, my closest sister, called me Patrick, after my mother's brother and my uncle, Patrick Cooley.
Patrick Sean Cooley died a month after I was born, killed in the line of duty trying to stop the robbery and rape of a young woman while serving the Los Angeles Police Department. Other than a few scrapes and bruises, the woman survived the assault but my uncle took two slugs to his chest. This was before Kevlar vests were required. The victim said my uncle was able to snap off three rounds killing the suspect as he was falling, two in the chest and one to the head.
In his honor, my mother and father always called me Patrick. My friends knew me as Pat. And, no...I didn't heed the call to protect and serve but I always maintained a deep appreciation for those wearing the badge. Not just for my uncle, but for three brothers and one sister. They all wore the blue, the toughest of the bunch probably my sister, Caitlyn.
I digress...returning to Dani, I instantly lost my heart to the woman I was determined to marry. And, I proceeded to make a lasting impression on her. Blinded by the newly discovered love of my life, I tripped over someone's backpack, tumbled forward striking my head on a table corner. When I came around, I was laying on a bed, in a dark room, the sound of a series of short beeps rattling through my skull like a herd of charging rhinos. I tried lifting my head to see where I was and was instantly miserable for doing so. My head felt like it was clamped in a vice as someone cranked down on the lever.
Falling back, I heard a worried voice softly say, "don't try to move, you took a bad hit to your head when you fell into that table."
This time, I didn't try to see who owned those comforting words. I didn't even attempt to speak as I quickly passed out.
I guess it was morning because when I awoke, there was daylight. Moaning, I tried to rub my head and had my hand smacked.
"Don't touch the dressing!" ordered a rough but feminine snarl.
Opening my eyes, I saw what could only be Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She was attractive and blond and wore one of those old fashioned hats I always thought looked like tiny folded paper boats, the kind I used to float down the gutter. She looked to be around forty with a permanent frown attached to that pretty face.
"Mr. O'Flynn, I will not tolerate any attempts to touch and or disturb your head dressing! Do I make myself clear?"
I nodded meekly and made sure both hands were resting at my side.
"Thank you," she snapped and turned leaving the room.
"She can be a bit much," a soft voice muttered. "Nurse Alcock nearly tore my head off when I touched your cheek."
I turned toward the voice and was startled to see the reason for my demise standing by my bed. Dani Dreyfuss stood by the railing; her fingers twisted in the bars, staring down at me.
"How are you feeling?"
"Um...better?" I was at a loss for words.
"You look better; your color has come back. You took a nasty fall and your head struck the corner of that table. I think you tripped over someone's backpack. It shouldn't have been so far out in the isle way."
"Uh...why are you here?" I asked, stunned that such a beautiful girl would be.
She bit her lower lip, something I found she did when nervous and I always adored it. "I felt sorry and wanted to check up on you. And...I think you're cute. I've seen you around the campus a number of times and always wanted to meet you but was too shy. And, you never seem to notice me. Any time I saw you, your nose was buried in a book."
"Sorry about that, I never knew. Believe me; I could never have ignored anybody as gorgeous as you. In fact..." I didn't say anything further because I didn't want to sound any goofier that I already was.
In fact what?" she asked, her eyes showing curiosity.
"I...I really don't want to say," I said chiding myself for my mistake.
She took my hand and held it asking me to please tell her. As I looked into those sky blue eyes I melted. Since I've known her, I have never been able to resist those precious eyes of hers.
"It was because of you I tripped and fell in the library."
Her eyes opened wide with shock at my statement. "What?"
I smiled and quietly said, "Yeah, when I turned and saw you for the first time standing there with your friends, I lost my balance and fell. The next thing I know, I'm waking up here. I'm sorry but I get kinda klutzy around beautiful girls and..." I stopped talking. Dani was staring at me with a huge smile.
"You think I am beautiful?"
"Dani, I think you are the most exquisite and extraordinary girl these eyes have ever seen! I wanted to meet you but...well...you saw."
Giggling, she said, "Yes, I saw." When Dani realized she had giggled at my accident, a horrified look emerged and she began apologizing.
"Oh god Patrick, I'm so sorry. This isn't funny. You were badly hurt and the campus nurse thought you had suffered a concussion. Oh shit!"
Embarrassed, Dani ran from the room.
Feeling bad I never had a chance to thank her for being with me, but I suddenly comprehended she called me Patrick. How did she know I went by my middle name?
Once out of the hospital, I summoned the courage to find Dani and ask her out. Our relationship turned into a whirlwind courtship. Luckily, I graduated with honors and was immediately hired by a well known engineering and development company, McKenzie, Ralls and Forest, Inc. I started at the bottom of the heap, but, I could have cared less. It was a great firm and I was doing what I've always wanted to do, build things. Simple as that.
I remember the first time I met Dani's parents, Harvey and Olivia, and quickly understood who my competition would be...her mother.
A beautiful woman, Olivia was gracious enough the first time we met but I felt the underlying antipathy toward me. Exhibiting a brilliant smile, her eyes, nevertheless, revealed repulsion for her daughter's boyfriend and possible future fiancé.
Harvey, on the other hand, seemed taken with me. Friendly and extremely gracious, Harvey would take me by the arm and escort me into his sanctuary, his den. There, we would smoke his Cuban's, have a beer or two, and talk baseball or football. He never spoke of a favorite team, he loved them all. There were times; Dani would have to kidnap me from her father.
However, Dani's mom was the polar opposite of Harvey. Rarely would she speak to me and most times refused to acknowledge my presence. Of course, I really didn't mind much. I may have been shy around beautiful women once, but I was no wall-flower when it came to Dani and me. Plus, my rather boisterous and opinionated family had long given me the confidence to make my way in the world, to feel good about myself. So, nothing Dani's mom could do or say ever shook my faith and trust in myself or Dani and, believe me, she tried.
I don't know how many times Olivia tried to set her daughter up with one of those haughty silver spoons from the 'proper' side of town. To satisfy her mother, Dani did go out with a few of these spoiled rich egg suckers but, after her date, she would always come back to me.
As I made my bones at McKenzie, Ralls and Forest, Inc, I rose quickly in the firm. They soon discovered not only was I a competent designer and engineer but I had a knack for getting the job done before deadline. I was good with people, particularly, with the men and women who gave their sweat, labor and, at times, their blood on site. I soon became a project manager and was usually given those ventures' that proved difficult for other managers. My reputation as a trouble shooter grew and with it, my income.
Without saying anything to Dani, I began looking at houses as a home for the two of us. I hadn't asked her to marry me yet, but, I was pretty confident she would say yes. I hadn't counted on the wildebeest.
One warm evening, Dani and I were sitting on the beach listening to the gently lapping of the waves against the surf. Holding her in my arms, she nuzzled her face into my neck and shoulders. I could smell the sweet essence of flowers in her hair as I kissed those golden locks.
Without moving her head, she whispered, "Yes Patrick?" She always liked calling me Patrick.
"Will I what?"
"Would you marry me?"
With my right hand, I reached into my jacket pocket and pulled out a small black box. She straightened up, her eyes wide and stared.
"Dani, would you do the honor of becoming my wife?" In my hand, I held the box out to her.
Her shoulders began to tremble as I opened the box revealing a shiny white gold band with a three/quarter carat marquis cut diamond. While she gazed at the ring, I carefully removed the band. Taking her left hand, I looked into her eyes. "Dani, will you marry me?"
"YES! Yes, yes...yes!" she cried as I slipped the ring over her finger. She delicately fingered the band and then launched herself into my arms. Her entire body quivered as she silently wept.
"I began to think you were never going to ask me," she sniffled. "I thought my mother had frightened you from ever wanting to marry me. I am so happy I was wrong," she sobbed.
I gently took her chin in my grasp and lifted her face. Her eyes wet from tears, I leaned and softly kissed her lips. Pulling back, I said, "Nothing could have kept me from marrying you. Dani, you are so precious to me, I love you so much that, at times, it hurts to breath."
"Oh dear god, I love you so much," she cried and pulled me tight against her, our lips again crushed together.
I did the old fashioned thing and asked her father for her hand in marriage which he gladly gave his approval. I think to piss of Dani's mother.
When we announced our engagement, my clan held the mother of celebrations. With great reluctance, Olivia accompanied Harvey to the O'Flynn home where they came to comprehend the magnitude of their latest addition to the Dreyfuss family. All of the O'Flynn's and the Cooley's were there.
Both my mother and father came from large families and were known for their longevity. Hell, even my great great grandfather, Seamus Michael O'Flynn was still alive at ninety-eight. He couldn't get around much but the great patriarch still had a terrific thirst for the amber liquid and it, of course, had to be Irish whiskey.
Dani's family wasn't so big and nowhere near as diverse. They came from money—old money. Harvey's family wasn't small, he had two brothers and one sister but both his parents had passed away. Olivia was an only child survived by her estranged father, his whereabouts unknown. Like her mother, Dani was also an only child.
The one hiccup in our engagement was in selection of churches for the wedding. Dani was of a Methodist upbringing and I...well...as Roman Catholic as my Irish heritage can be. The solution came from Dani. We would be first married early morning in her church and immediately rushed off to my family's church minutes afterwards, the reception to be held on neutral ground—a large ballroom of a very old and extremely popular hotel. I didn't confide to Dani that my mother's youngest brother was owner of said hotel.
The weddings (plural) and the reception went off without a hitch. The protestant church was small but filled to capacity. The wedding a quiet, brief and gracious affair. The O'Flynn church was grand and also filled to capacity. The wedding was long and garrulous as most Catholic weddings are, full of rituals and procedures; however, we managed to survive.
The reception; however, was another animal entirely. Lively and loud, complete with spirited entertainment and music coupled with a smattering of rowdy and energetic congratulations toward the bride and groom...a typical Irish donnybrook. Dani and I were finally able to sneak out just after two in the morning. I later heard the party continued until well after four in the morning.
We spent our honeymoon in Hawaii, as far away from any living relations as possible and had a wonderful and very sensual time. I have no doubt; Katy was conceived on Kauai in a quaint little bed and breakfast inn. Two years later, Ashlin was born. Katy was the image of her mother with full blond curls and deep blue eyes. Ashlin was dark with wavy black hair and the deepest emerald eyes I've ever seen. Along with Dani, both were my life.
Over the years, the girls took after Dani with their extraordinary beauty and grace. My wife taught them well the ways of men and how to read them. Katy was the princess and many a time I had to suffer the anxieties of fatherhood when it came to boys calling on her. Katy became the most popular in school and went through all the trappings of a beautiful young woman. She became head cheerleader and Queen of the Prom. But, because of her mother, Katy never lost herself in her popularity, she always remained level headed.
Ashlin definitely displayed my side of the family. She was a tomboy, rambunctious and full of energy. Several of my brothers taught her the art of self defense and she became extremely proficient in the study of Aikido and Tae Kwon Do. By the time she turned sixteen, Ashlin was third level black belt and boasted over a dozen trophies from her matches. She was also bi-lingual in French and Spanish, the French from her mother and Spanish from my sister, Caitlyn.