It Just Happened Ch. 07byREGade©
Chapter 7: Having the talk
The next day I got up early and sent a fax. "Miss Spencer, I hope you enjoy a Happy Thanksgiving, Ben."
The words we overheard when Jen was talking to her sister, "I can't. I just can't sit at that table and pretend...," haunted me. Was she saying she couldn't sit at her parents' Thanksgiving table and pretend that the man she had given her virginity wasn't there? Was she saying she couldn't pretend that she didn't love me? Millie, I decided, was the only person who could tell me what her sister was saying.
It was the day before Thanksgiving, not a good day to start a new job. We inventoried the leftover building supplies stored in the garage and organized the tools we carried in the van. At mid-morning we took a coffee break in the kitchen and I made excuses to go upstairs. A fax, not thirty minutes old, had arrived from Miss. Spencer.
This is so naughty as it is contrary to company policy. My hands are trembling because I've never done anything like this before. I know you are twenty-five and I've seen your picture. To be fair, I'm including a picture of me at the bottom of this page. Can you guess how old I am?
Please...call me, Nadine
The picture was nothing like I had imagined from hearing her voice. Instead of a petite blond with a timid smile, Miss Spencer was a knock-out. Was this really her? Wanting to hear her voice again, I dialed her office number.
"Mr. Crumbly, this is highly irregular," she said in a hushed voice.
"Is that really you or did you send me a picture of a model?"
"That's really me. Some people think I'm big boned," she ended the sentence with a girlish giggle.
"You're beautiful. I can tell that the facsimile doesn't do you justice."
"Mr. Crumbly, please look at the bottom of the page. Is my cell phone number showing?"
It was, along with a note that her lunch hour was from twelve-thirty until one-thirty.
"Yes it is, but I couldn't wait to talk to you."
Another giggle, "You don't want me to be fired, do you?"
"I'll call at five past one," I said, knowing that she was in the Eastern Time zone, one hour ahead of us in the central.
Now, what to do with the fax and Nadine's picture? Should I show it to Ed? Should I hide it? I decided to leave it, face up, on the desk in my room. I made my own bed and kept the floor clean. There was no reason for Jen to go in there. She could only discover the fax my snooping. Secretly, I hoped she would.
At five past one, her time, we began our telephone romance. We were on a first name basis from the beginning. I told her I couldn't guess her age; she said she was thirty-one. She wanted me to guess her measurements; I said I couldn't. "I'm five-nine, thirty-six, twenty-six, thirty-five and my weight is one hundred and forty-four pounds."
"Send me another picture, in color. I want to see you in a swimsuit."
"I can't do that," she said, giggling.
"I love hearing you giggle," I said and heard her sigh.
We talked for ten minutes, careful to avoid any mention of the money I owed her company. I gave her my cell phone number and my email address. She said she rode the subway to work and lived with her mother. She agreed to send me another picture, in color, but said she didn't have pictures of her in a swim suit. Although it wasn't mentioned, I hung up thinking that I had an alley in my quest to lower the amount the credit card companies would accept in settlement.
We, just the three of us, were having a quiet Thanksgiving dinner when we heard a car door slam closed on the drive. Jen jumped up from the table to welcome her brother and his family. They removed their coats on the porch and entered the kitchen. Millie was with them.
Ed and I stood to shake hands with Tony. Millie made the introductions, reminding the two children that Ed was their uncle and Hannah, Tony's wife, that he was her brother-in-law. "And this is Ben," she said to Hannah and the two towheads.
"Do we have to call him uncle, too?" asked the little girl, making everyone laugh and breaking the tension in the room at the same time. I could tell by Tony's stoical expression that he still felt animosity toward me for the atrocity I had committed years ago, taking his little sister's virginity.
Jen was busy clearing the table, making coffee and offering everyone dessert when I had the idea to have some fun. "Millie, let's get out of here so they can talk about me. Are you driving or do I need to borrow Jen's car?"
My offer shocked everyone, except Millie. "I'm not driving. May we have your keys, sis?"
Jen glared at me and declared they weren't going to talk about me. Ed, seeing the distress on his wife's face, told me to sit down. "Sit down, you're not going anywhere," he said in the same demanding tone I remembered from when we were kids.
For one of the rare moments in my life, I stared my brother down. Ed, reading my mind, 'You may have stolen my girl, but you can't tell me what to do anymore,' nodded to Jen, who reluctantly gave me the keys to the Mustang.
"Where are you going, Uncle Ben?" the little girl asked.
"I'm taking your aunt for a ride," I said, smiling at Hannah.
"That was so cool! Did you see my brother's face?" Millie asked when we got outside the house. I know exactly what he was thinking, 'The bastard fucked one of my sisters. Now he's going to fuck the other one.'"
I laughed, already enjoying her company. The streets were deserted. I looked over at her and asked, "Is that what you think?"
She squirmed in her seat, like she was giving it thought. "I don't know, but it was fun watching Tony think so, wasn't it?"
"You have a devious way of looking at things."
"So do you."
"You'll never know how devious until it's too late," I said, thinking of the information I planned to glean from her.
"Where are you taking me?"
I looked in her direction, took in the short coat over tan corduroy slacks, dark sweater, pearl necklace, a scattering of freckles under her eyes and a dark ribbon holding her hair in place. "We're going to your house."
She burst into laughter, displaying even teeth and sparkling eyes. Was I falling for her because of the resemblance to her sister or was it because I was discovering her fun personality. "I don't have my own place, Benny. I'm twenty-eight and live with my parents. By the way, they're at home."
"I know. I haven't seen them since I've been back."
Millie leaned back in her seat, facing me, smiling. I smiled back, thinking how good it was to be in her company.
Mr. and Mrs. Hawley had raised their family in an older home, which was similar to mine; only theirs had not been updated. Their greeting was genuine. "Benny, Mildred told us you were back. How long has it been?" Mrs. Hawley asked.
We had been there thirty or forty minutes, me fielding questions, but revealing very little, when Millie spoke up. "We're going up to my room for a private talk."
"A private talk?" Mrs. Hawley asked, repeating her daughter.
"That's what I said, a private talk, Mom. I promise you won't hear the bedsprings squeak."
This struck Mr. Hawley as funny. "She's twenty-seven, she deserves some privacy, Ethel," he said.
"I turned twenty-eight in October, Dad," Millie corrected her father.
I had been on the second floor of the Hawley house a few times and remembered where the sisters' bedroom was. Only now, the posters were changed and there was only one bed in the room. Millie removed the ribbon from her hair and took a seat in the center of the bed, sitting with the legs folded. I sat in the only chair, in front of the desk.
"How do you think we should go about this thing?" she asked.
"This thing?" I asked, wondering if she was being as direct as I thought.
"Yes, this thing. You know, getting to know each other, you getting into my panties, making the protection decision before we make, excuse the pun, the final plunge."
I watched her, wondering if she was trying to shock me. Was she serious or was she about to laugh and say, "Got you!"
"Millie, I'm not ready..."
"Why? We obviously like each other. Don't tell me you're rejecting me."
"Millie, I like everything about you. At first I thought it was because you remind me of your sister, but please believe me, you're unique. But I'm not what you think. The reason I came back here is because I had no other place to go. I'm in debt. I don't even have a car."
"I have a car."
I looked her in the eye, knowing those four words said so much. She was saying, "I know all that. All we have to decide is the protection question."
I got up and approached the bed. She watched, patient and somber. "Don't make the bed squeak," she said, as she extended her legs and lay back on the bed. I hovered above her, looking into her eyes.
"I don't know if I can do this."
"Why?" she asked, showing alarm.
"You remind me too much of her."
"I'm not her," she said, looking up at me, still solemn.
"There's one way to find out."
"To find out if you're going to be able to do this?"
"What is it?"
"Maybe I'd know if I kissed you."
"It's worth a try."
"I'm going to kiss you."
"Okay," she said, closing her eyes.
I leaned down and touched my lips to hers, lightly at first, pressing down before lifting my head.
"Well?" she asked, opening her eyes.
"I don't know," I said, lowering my lips again.
This time I flicked her upper lip with my tongue and felt her respond, opening her lips and placing her hands on my back. My tongue invaded her mouth. She moaned as I pulled away.
"Well?" she asked again.
"It's going to work," I said, trying to sound serious.
She smiled, but only for a second before a cloud came to her face. "Are you doing this to get back at her?"
"I hope not. I don't think so, but I can't be certain. Are you?" I asked.
"Kiss me again," she ordered, closing her eyes.
My kisses were short and tender, some longer than others. She returned them, responsively, opening her lips on demand until I pulled away and looked down at her.
"Me either," she said, answering my question about her motive.
"We'll meet twice a week until Christmas. At that point we'll exchange gifts and tell your sister and my brother that we're dating."
"Which nights of the week will we meet?"
"We'll meet on different nights so as not to cause suspicion."
"What will we do when we meet?"
"Hold hands, kiss, talk, you know...get to know one another." "When will we...you know?"
"Be seen in public together?"
"I guess...yes, be seen in public?"
"In January, I'll ask you to be my girlfriend and you'll say yes. At that time..."
"Wait, how do you know I'll say yes?"
"I know from the way you kiss me," I said, leaning down to kiss her.
This one wasn't tender at all. Millie plunged her lips against mine, holding me in place with one hand in my hair. "Like that?" she asked when she released me.
"Like that," I agreed with her.
She pushed me off the bed, saying we had talked enough. I didn't argue with her. She combed her hair and we went downstairs, finding that Tony and his family had just returned from visiting Ed and Jen. He gave me a cold shoulder, but Hannah and the kids acted as though I was a member of the family. I said goodbye to her parents and Millie saw me to the door. "I'm going to like being your girlfriend," she said as we kissed.
"I'm going to like being your boyfriend, too," I said, already hating myself for deceiving her.