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A BOTTLE OF RED PART III

Chapter 7

I am always amazed at the fashion sense people acquire over the years. Ok most people. Some of the guys wore their suits like they would rather be wearing the lumberjack shirts and construction boots.  Jim and Dave Thorn, brothers, looked good in their military dress uniforms. I wondered why they would wear them tonight of all nights.  Dave explained that Jim didn’t own a civilian suit and admitted that he, himself wanted to show off a bit as he was a commandant at a Canadian forces base in eastern Ontario,

Wow, I thought some people really Don’t change. Dave and his brother were always a tad gung-ho on the military thing in high school. So Dave was a Colonel and Jim was a captain who had Done a few tours in Kandahar and had mustered out when the Canadians withdrew.

Cyn, besides a bit of weight gain still managed to carry off sexy and it appeared that her husband was clearly smitten with the package.

I have to admit I turned a few heads myself. Gone was the shy awkward girl in polyester hand me downs. Kevin’s eyes pretty much popped, when he picked me up. 

“Holy guacamole, you look fabulous.”

“So do you geek boy.”  He did look sexy in dove grey slacks and black dress shirt and a black tie.  Gone was the nerd look of too short pants and plaid shirts with pocket protectors.

“This look goes much further with the ladies. My former wardrobe went by the wayside in my first year of college. I got picked on badly walking around the campus like that.”

“What happened?”

“A kind sexy angel named Tara gave me an extreme make over.  When she was Done with me I had women asking me out.  They’d even fake wanting to be tutored, to get near me.”

“Hey , I liked you for you. The fact that you saved my ass in Math was an added bonus.”

Kev laughed.  “Now I is a sexy geek, Apparently that’s in right now.”

“So how is the little shop of computer parts doing?”  Kevin was the go-to guy for people who habitually screwed up their computers. I rediscovered him and his services when my laptop had a hissy fit and I had a deadline to meet with Sid and my editor.  Within an hour he had that baby purring like a kitten and my files backed up on an external hard drive.  We have been friends ever since, even though the three months of dating hadn’t worked back then.  To quote the band Blue Rodeo, ‘It was Bad Timing’, that’s all.

I looked at him now and was harbouring  fantasies that I hoped didn’t show. My lips still bore the memory of the smouldering kiss he laid on me last night and I hoped there would be more to come. 

Moe and Wayne looked fantastic. Moe wore a two piece suit with a sexy camisole and bling, tastefully worn. She still wore boots, jeans and leather jackets but she could look classy when the occasion called for it. Wayne was a quiet man and had a calming effect on his somewhat boisterously kick-ass wife. Rumour had it she had saved him from a mugging in a convenience store when she took down his would be assailants. Most guys might feel emasculated but Wayne was in love.  She suggested self-defence if he was going to run an all-night store. He heeded that advice and asked her out. The rest is history.

Word had gotten out that I was a published author and several women asked me to sign paperbacks they just happened to have with them. 

As I was signing, I heard a familiar voice behind me.

“Hi, Sam.”  I turned to see Camille Albertson, the woman I gave permission to date Tommy after our first break up.  She asked him out and summarily dumped me as  a friend and proceeded to pretend I was dead for a year.  Then she dumped Tommy and we were cautiously friendly for the next two years but never close like we had been in grade ten.  Here she was looking conservative and classy like she did in high school.

“Wow, so that’s one of the books. My daughter Angela read that and she swooned over the Navy SEAL hero for months.  I read it as well. He was a treat! You write well. Congrats on your success Sam!”

Camille honestly looked sincere. Except for that one year where she was an uber –bitch she never doubted I could drag myself out of my sad life as many people called it and make something of myself.

“So I see you’re here with Kevin. Where’s Tommy? Didn’t you two hitch up and get married?”

“We did but we also got divorced.  One of those irreconcilable differences.  We did have two wonderful children though and I am about to be a first-time grandma.”

“Wow, that’s great Sam!”

“It amazes me too. I made it out of the gutter after all.  Not with its trials but I’m still standing.”

“Fantastic. So are you and Kevin dating?”

I knew she was fishing but decided it was okay. I had nothing to hide.  “No we are good friends. We kind of bonded over a screwed up computer and got reacquainted . I was going through something heavy at the time and was nowhere near ready to share the insanity with someone else at that point. He is a sweetheart though and has come a long way from nerd-dom.”

“I’ll say! I am not even going to ask if it’s okay to ask him out. We both know how well that worked the last time.”

“Oh so you’re not married?”

“No seems hubby numero uno wanted a punching bag instead of a wife. After a year of  abuse I got my act together and left. My brother Brian beat the tar out of him.”

“That was risky, he could have been arrested.”

“Ha that’s the one beautiful thing out of it all. Lamad was not allowed to press charges against Brian. He was a landed immigrant and afraid of deportation. We got a restraining order against him and his family.”

“Why his family?”

“They wanted to have me stoned for disobedience and desertion against their sweet little son.  My ass, he was a freakin’ monster. They were so entrenched in their ways , it never occurred to them that way of life doesn’t wash around here.”

“I’m really sorry you had to go through that Camille.”           

“Thanks, and again I am really sorry I was a bitch to you that year. Thinking back, he really wasn’t worth losing a friend over.”

“Hey, water under the bridge kiddo.  I think Tommy has more issues over that than we do. He wanted me to come with him, just to show you up.”

“Mature? Not so much.”

“Is he even here?”

“Not sure he’s going to be, after I ripped him a new butt hole this morning. It was a fine performance. I took him down a few notches and gave him a real tune up in front of twenty onlookers at Mochas.”

“Ha I hope you took a bow!”

“I did. It was glorious payback for years of hurt and disappointment. Let’s go get some wine and sit with Moe, Wayne and Kev shall we. Cyn has something special planned and I am dying to know what it is.”

Together we hit the bar up for some drinks and joined the group. As soon as we sat down Cyn got up and announced some awards and took us on a video trip down memory lane.

Samantha Seal? Are you in the audience? “

I didn’t know what to do. It was reminiscent out of the scene from Carrie where she is crowned Queen and then all hell broke loose.  I stood and went to the podium beside Cynthia.

“Many of you never realized that our very own Sammy was a diamond in the rough.  She rose from the ashes and found happiness.  Samantha is a published author of romance and mysteries that are to die for. So for this I am happy to give her the YOU’VE COME ALONG WAY BABY award.”  The whole room stood and applauded.  I didn’t dare look up to see if indeed there was a bucket of pigs’ blood.  If there had been. someone was getting written off in a book.

I stepped up to the podium.  “Thanks. This is a huge surprise.  I started writing when I was working out of the house for someone else. It was to keep me from going stark raving mad.  I found that I liked the worlds and situations I created, as it gave me control at a time when I had none. I have a small confession to make. I nearly didn’t come to this reunion. My high school years were not kind. I was smart, yes and did well. Luckily I got a scholarship as that was the only way someone from the projects could dig their way out. I made it. I also got married had a family and got a divorce. In the midst of all that, my mental health suffered some, and I  became horribly agoraphobic. I had to stay home and work but it wasn’t enough for me. The writing helped to bring me out of myself. I would never think of erasing that chapter of my life as it has brought much joy.  In addition to that I am going to be a first time grandparent in four months. Here’s to a new experience and may you all find happiness in your own way.” The crowd stood and clapped again and I felt euphoric for the first time since Melanie was born.

Several others won awards too, including Kevin as the SEXIEST GEEK AWARD. I could have sworn the guy had blushed the shade of Cynthia’s dress.  For the rest of the evening we danced and I got to talk to a lot of people who had basically ignored me back in the day. This was much better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter 8

I was still riding on a high on the way home and wine had nothing to do with it.  I was drunk on personal success and the feeling that I fit in somewhere. Over the years I hadn’t let it dwell on my thoughts too much but it was a mini victory to have survived something that could have been much worse.

On the way out I thanked Cyn and confessed that I wanted to look out for the bucket of blood as in the movie and she laughed.

“No way honey. You deserve the kudos for coming up through the ashes like that.

I am just so happy that it turned out so well.

Looks like your ex did a no show.

“No he was there  when you made the speech but didn’t want to chance me ripping into him again.

“I saw you talking to Camille I am sure he saw that too.” 

“If he did fine, but he must know now that we are both so over him it’s not funny.”

So here I was with a glow on in a car with the world’s sexiest geek secretly hoping he’d plant a kiss so hot my insides would melt.

I hadn’t been romantic with a man since Tom and I broke up.  I couldn’t leave the house  let alone date. I did chat with a few men but when they had wanted to meet me I just wasn’t up to the task. And they lost interest quickly. Moe suspected most of them were looking for an easy lay. The woman is cynical but I  love her dearly. Perhaps she was right and I had dodged a bullet. 

When my computer broke down I had to get out to get it fixed. Kevin could have made a house call but Moe forced me to get over myself and with that and therapy I found it was easier than I thought. Here I was expecting the same geeky guy from high school but in his place was a confident professional with smoldering brown eyes and washboard abs.—or so I hoped.  He knew his way around a computer and solved the problem but in turn caused another one. I found after seeing him socially a few time I was smitten anew.

This weekend so far had solidified those feelings at least for me.  I hoped based on the hot kiss the night before that maybe he felt the same. It could have been the wine talking but I was anxious to see how things would progress.

We walked to my door and I asked if he wanted coffee or a night cap. He agreed and I let us in. 

We walked into the living room to find candle light and wine along with a note from Melanie!

GO FOR IT ! YOU KNOW YOU WANT TO.

“Wow do I ever feel set up.” I was frankly embarrassed that Mel would just assume I would sleep with Kev so soon. Then I looked at Kevin and realized it could happen tonight.  We both seemed to know we wanted it and moved toward each other.

It was a gravitational pull that I ended up in his arms. Kevin was nuzzling my neck and leaving soft kisses as he caressed my back. I felt prickly heat up and down my spine like shock waves and we were both swaying to non-existent music.

He reached for my zipper but I didn’t stop him ‘til I realized I was spanxed up to the armpits.

“Don’t worry hon. I think it would be fun and a tad kinky to peel the spanx off ya.”

So I just let him go for it as we sank into the deep pile rug.

After what seemed like eons as Kevin took a long time relieving me of my clothes and him of his we lay stretched out in front of the fire place. We explored each other slowly and

Kev brought me to the edge several times with nips and kisses in all the right places and I was practically begging him to enter me as we shared our release.

“That was so hot, Geez maybe it’s been so long but I can’t remember making love feeling that good.”

“Give me half an hour and I’ll show you an encore that will make you forget how good that was.”

“Geez Kev love yourself much?”

He chuckled and admitted how bad that came out and countered with ”what I meant was I want make each time better than the last for you.”

Much better I thought and I reached over to kiss him. We made love several times and finally got to sleep around four a.m.

I was up at ten and showered when Mel came in. Kev was showering while I was making coffee. We were meeting at a local buffet for a farewell brunch. I had had time to think whether the fairy tale fling would end after the reunion weekend was over but didn’t want to really speculate. My thoughts were interrupted when my daughter spoke up.

“Well by the looks of the living room I guess it’s safe to assume the after party was a success.”

“Yeah about that.” I stood there with hands on hips giving off the lecture stance. “You kind of put us in an awkward situation. What if we had had no intention of taking it to that level of play.”

“Don’t kid yourself mom anyone in a hundred mile radius could sense the tension between you and Kevin, not to mention the pheromones you were putting out. The rest was elementary as to when you were going to give into it.”

“Still to set me up. How did you know he was even into me?”

“I had a good guess so I pushed fate a little. By the look on your face and the aura about you I’d say I was right.”

She had me there. “Don’t ask for details; it’s just not happening.”

“Ewww Mom! I don’t want to know; The ball’s in your court, and well Kevin’s too.”

Kevin came downstairs dressed as he had been the night before minus the jacket and tie. We were stopping at his place on the way to the restaurant so he could change.

Mel looked anxious for a minute and Kevin grabbed a coffee then retreated to the living room.

“There’s another reason I came. It’s about dad. He wants to see me and be around when the baby is born, I just want to see if you are okay with that.”

“He’s your dad and your feelings have nothing to do with how I feel.”

“He told me about your fight yesterday and actually admitted he was wrong about suggesting you needed a date. You apparently made it clear you could stand on your own two feet.”

“I bet he didn’t admit that he was using that as an excuse to hide behind me to get to Camille.”

“Men need to feel macho mom; for him to admit that would mean he still had feelings for her. She broke him at a time he was most vulnerable and his ego is still stinging thirty years later.”

My daughter had just gone all psychology on her dad and I couldn’t be prouder. Perhaps the kid had more insight than I ever hoped to where Tom was concerned.

“I did tell him though, that he was out of line and deserved the ass-kicking.”

 

 

Chapter 9

 

I hadn’t said much to Tom the night before. I was on a high from the reunion being a personal success for me and the fact that the last words we had shared were not pleasant ones.

The air in the restaurant was thick with tension. Tom sat at one end of the banquet and we sat at the other with Moe, Wayne and Camille joined us wanting to catch up with us. We reminisced over cafeteria food fights and remembered how everyone mourned the deaths of Terry Fox and John Lennon.  I did my best to steer away from contentious issues that were all a part of the political high school subculture. We talked instead about who cheated on who and who was getting caught skipping and how many times Mike Briggs got suspended for selling drugs out behind the auto shops. 

It wasn’t until I got up to get seconds and Tom followed me.

“I see by the glow on your cheeks that you might have gotten lucky last night. My question is how good is geek boy in the sack.”

I ignored the taunt but knew if he kept up the line of questioning I was going to have to waste my Eggs Benedict over his head—so not worth it. I kept reminding myself I was an adult immune to base instincts. 

“Tom. I know you want to be a part of our grandchild’s life and you are quite entitled to be. Know this, just don’t think you can use this to worm your way back into our lives. You wanna see Mel and Scott’s baby, fine, go through her not me.”

“Hmmm you seem to be assuming a lot dear Samantha. After your melodramatic diatribe, I got a clear indication you have no interest in mending fences and are quite bitter all these years later. Perhaps more therapy and anger management might be in order.” 

He had said that loud enough for the people at surrounding tables to hear him.

He turned around to speak at that point to add. “What my ex forgot to mention last was that she was this close to spending time in a strait jacket.”

That’s when yours truly lost it and smushed my plate of Eggs benedict into what I suspected was very expensive.

Kevin and Moe came up and got me away from him before I did more damage and Moe ushered me outside. 

“I was fine before he outted me. It’s like he wanted to goad me into an immature act as revenge for yesterday’s diatribe.”

“you forgot melodramatic honey.”

“Right. Forgot that. I guess I deserved that I mean I did open myself up for a new reason for people to hate me. I just never thought it would be Tom ”

“What he said was totally uncalled for and if Don had ever done that to me. Wayne and I would have kicked his ass.”

“Can I borrow Wayne?”

Moe chuckled.  “He was ready to volunteer.”

“That was so embarrassing. I can’t believe I let him push my buttons.”

“That’s the thing about exes, they seem to know what ones to push and they are usually hot.”

We headed back in and I handed Tom a twenty dollar bill and suggested he buy a new shirt. I got a plate and refilled it with every decadent thing on the buffet. Yes I was gonna be sick later but I needed to hide behind the food.

“Moe knew I was upset as that’s when I binged most in high school. It was usually done at her house when I needed to escape the fighting around the project. Multiple family squabbles including the one at my unit really set my nerves on end and food was an escape. Of course we never had any as dad usually spent the grocery budget on liquor and beer.

I was scarfing down my food and the table was surprisingly silent. Tom took that moment to stand up.  “Room, and Sam in particular I want to apologise as I was way out of line, I should never have brought up things that aren’t my business and something from your past that was so painful. You were brave in disclosing your struggles with mental health issues last night and I was wrong to use it against you.”  Tom rose and left the restaurant and I was speechless.

I turned to Kev and Wayne. “Did either of you have anything to do with that?

“No why?” Kevin was curious.

“Tom Ludlow never apologizes for anything.”

“Always a first time.”

“Miracles do happen.”

At the end Cyn stood up and thanked everyone for coming and asked if anyone wanted to stay in touch. Camille came up to me at that point.  “I told Tom to apologise to the room. In fact I practically tore him a new one. For that and suggesting he use his ex to make an ex-girlfriend jealous. I guess he was either really sincere or he was trying to impress me.  I told him it wasn’t going to get him any brownie points from anyone unless he grew a pair.”

“Thanks Camille. You didn’t need to get involved. It’s my fight. He is now trying to use our daughter’s pregnancy to get back in my life.  He’s afraid that if he is just honest and asks to try again that I would reject him. I would of course. I am so done with that man. However I am not going to stand in his way to get close to his kids. They are grown up enough to deal with him on their own. I was just letting him know I was not getting involved when he got snarly.”

“He seems to still have control issues thirty years later, but my ex makes Tom look like an angel.” We hugged and promised to stay in touch and then I left with Kevin.”

Moe said it when we got to our cars. “Well that was  er-um interesting.”

“Yah a little too interesting at times. However we can’t say the reunion was dull.”

Moe looked at Kevin and I and suggested a dinner date later in the week when the dust settled.

Kevin and I nodded and Moe said she’d call and arrange it and then we went our separate ways.

I was looking at Kevin and then the kiss happened ever as hot as it had been the night before.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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