Two Moms, Two Laps: QuietbyTx Tall Tales©
Storms on the Horizon for Moms and Sons
A little turmoil, then the quiet before the storm.
For a Saturday, things were awful quiet on the home front.
Dad was up early, and in the garage. Mom went back to her bedroom after he left, to get ready for the day. Me? I spent a good part of the morning lying in bed and feeling sorry for myself until I got a call from Penny.
"I thought you were gonna call me last night?" she started.
"I'm sorry. Things are in a little turmoil here at the moment. Family argument last night."
"Aw, I hate that stuff. Everything Ok now?" she asked.
"No. I think it might be a while before it is. I'm sure it'll blow over in time, but we'll have to wait and see."
"You wanna do something?"
"Sure. I'd love to. Get out of the house at least. Did you have something in mind?"
"Other than practice?" she teased.
I chuckled. "Yes. Not that I wouldn't like the practice."
We discussed a couple of options, and settled on a movie and hitting the mall food court. She wanted to come over after, and I finally agreed to it. Maybe by this evening things wouldn't be so awkward.
Mom offered to make me something to eat. Unlike a typical weekend morning, when we would usually eat together, it looked like she was cooking as needed. I gave her a hug, and felt her tense up.
"Take it easy, Mom. It's just a hug."
She nodded. "He's still angry."
"I figured as much. You should go out. Do yoga or something. Go to lunch with Colleen. Try to pretend it's a regular day. I don't think you and Dad should be under each other's feet all day."
"I was thinking about trying to talk to Marie," Mom said.
"If you want. Maybe you should give her a little time as well. I imagine a short phone call and apology might help."
Mom scrambled me up some eggs, and I made a quick sandwich, before giving her a peck on the cheek. "I'm gonna head over and see Penny. We're gonna catch a movie, and get something to eat. I'll probably bring her home later."
"We can't do anything..."
"Of course not, Mom. Not the way things are now. I'll take her to my room and stay out of everyone's hair."
* * *
Penny was in a great mood and it was contagious. She hadn't been idle, and when we went to the Cineplex we were joined by two other couples. Her best friend Emma and Dan, her boyfriend, a guy I knew but wasn't especially friends with. Emma's friend Kelly and her date Drew joined us, both of whom I'd seen around but didn't really know.
She argued with me, when I insisted I was paying for our 'date.' Neither of us had a lot of spending money, no part-time jobs although she picked up some cash babysitting, and I got a nice allowance for doing the yard work, on top of my other chores. Still, it was our first time going out since 'the night' and I wanted to make it special.
In the theater, Penny and I didn't do a lot of necking, although that seemed to be all that the third couple had on their mind. I did have my arm around her, and her hand was on my thigh, teasingly high.
It was nice, comfortable. Knowing we were going to be going back to my bedroom, I didn't feel the need to get as much quick fooling around in as possible.
She turned her head and smiled at me. "It's different now," she said, almost as if reading my mind.
I leaned over and kissed her. "Yeah. Better."
She rested her head on my shoulder, while I caressed her hair. "Just what I was thinking."
I actually got to watch the movie, and all of us headed to the food court, although my appetite was curbed by the over-priced extra-large popcorn we'd devoured between us.
The matinee was pretty cheap, and I had a $2.00 off coupon for the popcorn and soda we shared, but my funds were already running low. Penny wanted a sandwich, and I was leaning toward pizza. I gave her my $10 bill, leaving me enough for a single slice. Thirty-four bucks, gone just like that.
I was standing in line to get my pizza at Sbarro's, with Emma in front of me. She kept turning and looking at me with a weird look on her face.
She grinned. "She really is building a shrine, you know. I got to help."
I'm sure I blushed heavily, as she laughed at me.
"If anyone was building a shrine, it should be me. I've been such a dolt for the last year. Penny's pretty amazing."
Emma grinned at me. I thought she was being flirtatious when she stepped closer to me, her hand resting on my arm. She gave a little tug on my arm, pulling me closer. "You're a good guy Jeremy. What you did with her, for a first time? You have half the girls jealous. Just remember that Penny's yours. Only Penny." She giggled, her smile lighting up her arms, "No matter how much the rest of us tease and flirt."
She turned back to the front of the line, stepping forward as it moved. I followed her, only a foot or so back from her. She turned her head, her voice soft and teasing. "Stop staring at my butt."
I laughed. She did have a nice butt. "How did you know?"
"You're a guy." She gave a little shake of her hips. "I'm just kidding. Look all you want. Just no touching."
She chuckled, and stepped forward to order her food.
We were the last to get back to our table, and I was more than a little irritated that Dan was sitting next to Penny, and the new guy, Drew was sitting across from her, with his date at his side. They were talking so much, I don't think they even noticed me. It was obvious they weren't strangers. I stopped a few steps from the table, not knowing what to do. Penny was sitting on the end, and there was no place for me.
Emma stood at my side. "Drew's an ass. Ignore him."
"Why wouldn't Penny save me a seat? She always has."
"Don't let it get to you, Jeremy. Sit next to Kelly. She's probably irritated that Drew's ignoring her, after being all over her in the theater. Use that."
I wasn't sure what she meant, but I did what she said, sitting next to Kelly and across from Emma. She was right about Kelly. The girl seemed upset, and she turned toward us as soon as we sat down, turning her back to her date.
We chatted a bit, then I asked Kelly how she liked the movie. I knew for a fact that she hadn't seen very much of it.
"I...uh..." she mumbled, blushing.
I chuckled, leaning close. I whispered in her ear. "I'm teasing. Hell, if I was sitting with someone as pretty as you, I wouldn't even know what the name of the movie was."
She blushed, and a big smile appeared on her face.
I was looking across the table. Dan was talking with Emma, quietly. Penny seemed to hardly know I was alive. I honestly didn't understand that. When Drew grabbed a French fry from her tray, she giggled and pulled the tray closer, but didn't stop him.
Kelly and I talked about school, and I was surprised to learn she'd be going to UT with me.
I was keeping her near, talking softly so she'd have to lean close to hear me. I put my hand behind her chair, my fingers lightly touching her far shoulder. I brought my mouth near enough to her ear that she could feel my breath.
"Nervous?" I asked. I glanced over to see if Penny would finally acknowledge my presence. I might as well have been a blank wall. Invisible.
Emma blushed, as I kept teasing her. "About going to college three hours away," I said.
She seemed to relax a hair. "Yeah. I won't know anybody. It's a big school."
"You know me."
"Not really," she answered.
"I'd like to know you better," I answered, my lips brushing her ear lobe. "It would be nice to have someone there I know."
She was trembling, and looking down at her tray. I rested my hand on her shoulder, giving her a little squeeze. I glanced over at my girlfriend who still seemed unaware I was even alive as she chatted with her new 'friend'. He had his hand on her wrist, his fingers stroking her skin lightly, and the bitch was letting him. Fuck.
"I...I'd like that," Kelly answered me, recapturing my attention.
She was barely picking at her food. "Your fries are getting cold," I reminded her.
She picked up one nervously, and took a bite from the end. I'd already finished my pizza. I was pissed that I'd given Penny almost all my money, and she was letting that jerk eat the food I'd paid for.
"How are they? Maybe pizza was a mistake."
She was cute. Little dainty bites. She finished her mouthful, and looked at me. "Want one?"
"Sounds great," I said, but I kept my hands away from her tray. She was still holding half a fry, and when I didn't move, she hesitantly lifted it to my lips. I took a small bite, not that I was hungry, but it only seemed fair, since Drew was eating Penny's fries.
"Mmm. It is good. I normally only get the plain ones."
I reached over and took a sip of her drink. I noticed that Penny had finally realized I was there. She looked surprised. Good.
I slid my hand across Kelly's shoulder, under her hair, and rubbed her neck softly. "You and Drew serious?" I asked.
She shook her head. "Only our second date. I don't think there's going to be a third," she answered, angrily.
"Good. He's an ass. You could do so much better."
She turned and looked right in my eyes. "How much better?"
"But, I thought you and Penny..."
"I thought so too. I guess she didn't. If she's going to act like that, when I'm here, what's she gonna do when I'm in Austin?"
Kelly nodded, taking another nervous bite of a fry. As soon as she did, she hesitated, then turned to me and offered me the rest. I accepted it, my lips touching her fingers as I finished it, and thanked her.
I pulled out my phone and handed it to her. "Give me your number."
She took the phone, and typed in her digits. I saved it under Kelly, then leaned back and took a picture of her, linking it to the number. Penny was watching me now, and she looked more than a little angry. I hit the Send button, and heard Emma's phone ring. "Call Me Maybe," how apropos. I hung up.
Penny stood up, and walked over next to me. "Are we done?" she asked, testily.
"You tell me," I told her calmly, then looked over at Drew, who was smirking. "Enjoy your date with your new boyfriend?"
Smirk away, asshole.
"We were just talking," she snapped.
"Whatever. You're free to do whatever you want. Nobody's stopping you." I turned back to Kelly. "I'll call you later." I leaned forward and gave her a kiss on the cheek, watching her blush.
I got up, and Penny was glaring daggers at me. "What was that about?"
Emma was standing, and didn't look too pleased with me either. Oh well. It was her idea.
"If you don't want to be with me, Penny, just say so. There are plenty of other girls out there who'd like my company."
"Damn it, Jeremy! We were just talking. That's all."
"Yeah, me too." I went and dumped my tray, and when I turned around, Penny was running off through the crowd. Drew was laughing at me, as he walked over with his tray.
I didn't punch him in the face, as my first instincts urged me. My father had taught me better. I started to walk past him, then hit him with the side of my hand in the throat. Hard. Ridge hand, I think my father calls it. The fucker dropped like a rock, gasping, his hands reaching up to his neck, tray falling onto him. I kicked him on the shoulder, knocking him to his side, then stepped over him. I dropped a knee into his belly, hearing his breath whoosh out of his body, grabbed his hair and lifted his head.
"Have fun asshole? Next time I'll fucking kill you."
I dropped his head, watching it bounce off the floor and walked away.
The others stared at me as I strolled off. I gave one last look to see if Penny was around, then headed out to my car, and drove home.
Not the best date I ever had. Fucking $34 wasted. I didn't even like the movie.
* * *
Mom was surprised I came home alone, but I didn't want to talk about it. There was a chill in the air, and Mom and Dad weren't talking. I didn't feel like it either, and went up to my room. I found distraction on my computer, gaming for a while, then perusing the porn sites. Two nights in a row without sex of any kind. A week ago that would have been no big deal, but I was used to more now.
I passed on dinner, and didn't even wander downstairs. I wondered if Penny would call and try to explain her behavior. By 11:00 I figured it was unlikely. I wasn't going to call her. No way. Not after the way she behaved.
She was fun, pretty, sexy, and a joy to play around with, but I'd be damned before I'd be second string to some asshole she'd just met. I was kind of glad it happened. Any thoughts of continuing our relationship once school started seemed wasted.
I was angry. Angry with the world. I was playing with myself, and irritated that I had to. Pissed at Penny for ignoring me and taking up with some asshole. Pissed at Dad for blowing up at everybody. Pissed at Mom for what she did with Colin, and her eternal attitude with the sister which caused all the problems. Pissed at Aunt Marie for bailing on us when everything seemed to be coming together.
Damn it. I couldn't even get off. Life sucked. Maybe UT would be the start of something better.
* * *
Sunday I had only made a brief sortie from my bedroom long enough to grab a sandwich and some soda. I was still in a vile mood, readily placing the blame for everything that had gone wrong on anyone but myself.
I heard a little bit of coming and going downstairs, but blocked it out to the best of my ability. I had been anticipating one of the parents hunting me down for some chores but so far I'd been ignored as much as I was doing the ignoring.
It was around 3:00 in the afternoon when Mom knocked on my door. She didn't wait for a response.
"Make yourself presentable and come downstairs," she said sharply. "Don't be long."
She closed the door behind her before I could even answer. Not sure what was going on, I spent a couple of minutes throwing on some clothes and brushing my hair, but that was it. I headed down the stairs, and found myself confronted by what appeared to be two very upset mothers. Mine and Penny's.
I wasn't going to take any crap from them. I hadn't done anything wrong.
Mom shot the first salvo. "Do you want to explain yourself?" she asked hotly.
She looked at me, glanced at Colleen, and waited, arms crossed. After a few seconds she snapped. "Well?"
"I said I'd explain myself," I told her. "So what do you want me to explain?"
Mom looked irritated. Colleen looked no better. "How about you explain how you could leave your girlfriend at the mall?"
Colleen interjected hotly. "Of course it did! Her friend had to bring her home when you abandoned her after the movie."
"Penny? She was no longer my girlfriend. She decided to date some new guy instead of me, and when I called her on it, she ran off, leaving me. I went home."
Both women looked confused, and unhappy. "You didn't take her to the movie for a date?" Colleen insisted.
"I did. I thought we had a great time. I guess she didn't. The movie was the end of our date. Her decision." I explained.
"Penny said you had lunch afterward," Colleen insisted.
"We didn't have lunch together. That's when she decided she wanted to spend some time with someone else, not me. She had lunch with some asshole named Drew, leaving me on my own. I told her if she didn't want to date me, there were plenty of other women who would, and she left. I went home. I wasn't having much fun by then."
Colleen frowned. "That's not what Penny says at all."
"I'm sure she wouldn't. Easier to blame me, I'm certain."
"She says you were fooling around with some other girl, even got her name and number and took her picture," Colleen said accusingly.
I sighed. "I'm getting a beer. Do you guys want anything?"
They both shook their heads. I hit the garage, and saw Dad's Jeep was gone, explaining the lack of interruptions. I took a long swig of my beer before returning to the lion's den. I sat in Dad's chair, turning it to face the couch. "Sit, please. I'll tell you what happened. You can decide what you want."
They both sat and I made it brief and to the point. "I invited Penny out for a movie, a meal, and then we were going to come back here for a while. Pretty straightforward, right? It's been kind of stressful around here and I was really looking forward to it. We went to the movie, with two other couples she'd invited. Emma and Dan, who I know, as well as Kelly and Drew, who I don't. No big deal."
"We watched the movie, then hit the food court. My date, so I gave Penny $10 to get what she wanted, while I got a piece of pizza. When I got back to the table, Penny and Drew were all chummy, chatting away, sharing the food I paid for, with no place for me to sit. She never even noticed when I got there. I ended up sitting at the only open seat at the opposite end of the table. I was next to Kelly, who was supposed to be Drew's date, but she was ignored as well, although at least she got to sit by her date." I took a long drink of my beer.
"When Penny finished eating, I think she finally saw me sitting next to Kelly, chatting. She got mad. What was I supposed to do, sit docilely in silence while she had lunch with the asshole? The way I figure it, if she is going to behave that way, when I'm here, on a date with her, buying her fucking meal, how's she going to act when I'm in Austin? Not going to happen. If she doesn't want to be with me, that's fine."
Mom spoke up. "Jeremy, I'm sure this is all a misunderstanding. Why didn't you talk to her?"
"When? By the time I finished cleaning my tray, she had run off. I looked around for her, but obviously, obviously, she didn't want to be with me. I'm not going to force myself on her. I didn't feel like hanging out with the others, especially not that asshole, so I left. Never heard from her again." Ok, so maybe I was understating my flirting with Kelly, but hell, that's all it was.
"Emma said you beat the guy up," Colleen said.
"Hardly. The asshole was smirking at me, laughing at being able to take my girl. He fucking laughed at me, Colleen. Fine, he could have her, but he doesn't get off scot-free. I hit him once. I looked for her, but she was gone. I left."
"She's crushed, Jeremy," Colleen said softly. "She won't stop crying. How could you think she'd choose some other guy over you?"
"Uh...because she did? We've dated a year. She's never once failed to save me a seat, or I'd save one for her. I come back and not only do I not have any place to sit, but she ignores me for the entire meal. The asshole is eating from her tray, the food I paid for. It's only when she's done, that she gets mad that I had the temerity to actually talk to someone else while she was having her fun. Well fuck her. I'm not going to put up with that. Either she's on a date with me, or she's not. She ignored me. She left me."
Colleen looked anguished. "I know she didn't mean to do that. She was upset. Why couldn't you at least have called her or something? You were willing to throw away a year's relationship just like that? It seems like you got what you wanted from her, then dumped her."
"I didn't dump her. She. Left. Me. She could have called. She could have stuck around and explained herself."
Mom glared at me. "I take it you didn't do anything wrong. None of this is your fault."
"What do you want from me, Mom? Was I supposed to sit by myself at another table, and wait to see if she'd ever remember who she was supposed to be with? Should I have bought the asshole lunch, so he wouldn't share hers? I sat in the only place left. I talked to the only person who didn't have a date by then. Maybe we flirted a little. Why not? It was pretty clear by then that I didn't matter a damn to Penny."