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I see the potential for a follow-up to this, depending on what my readers think. Meanwhile, enjoy.
It was the night before Christmas and all through the house…
Sorry, wrong story. Actually, it was the DAY before Christmas, Christmas of 1985 to be exact, and the “house” was a two-bedroom condo in suburban Baltimore. Melinda Everette lived here, still a sexy beauty in her forties and divorced for three years. She had a twenty-five-year-old son who was visiting from Los Angeles, California during the holidays. His name was Brian, a Stanford University grad who was making big bucks in finance.
Brian had a good friend, Wade Kimball, a Baltimore boy who hadn’t done as well. He had graduated from a college that for years wasn’t even accredited, and he worked at some low-level government job, another cog in a bureaucratic machine. Brian and Wade had been friends and neighbors since they were kids, a friendship sealed first by their love of sports and later through a shared sense of various things.
Melinda Everette didn’t much care for Wade Kimball. Her distaste stemmed from his antics when he was a kid, the mischievous kid who crayoned on walls, set off firecrackers and engaged in games of peeping Tom. She also looked down on his alma mater, that dinky, stinky, poor excuse for a college where any dummy could get into and get through, and she also looked down on that government job that paid a pittance of what her super-smart son earned. In her eyes, he didn’t “rate,” hadn’t “made it,” failed to live up to the upper-middle class neighborhood where he grew up. Worst of all, she didn’t like herself for being sexually attracted to this once mischievous kid who had grown into one handsome young man, what those of a certain age called a matinee idol.
He stood just under six feet, built like the muscular athlete he’d always been, a lacrosse player and wrestler in high school and college (apparently, even dinky colleges sponsored sports teams back then). “He’s not too bright but he’s fun to look at,” she was wont to tell her girlfriends. She came of age in the nineteen-fifties, when male teen idols such as Ricky Nelson, Troy Donahue and Frankie Avalon graced the covers of the era’s media magazines. Melinda thought Wade looked like a cross between a young Warren Beatty and James Dean, with his mane of wavy brown hair, intense blue eyes and puckered lips, often drawn into a bad-boy kind of smirk.
Melinda hadn’t seen Wade for a few years, and didn’t expect to see him the day before Christmas. She was out, doing last-minute Christmas shopping, while Brian and Wade were hanging out, tossing a football around before repairing back to Melinda’s condo to drink hot chocolate and look at a box of old photos, some of which contained pics of the boys in days gone by.
Brian was no slouch himself when it came to sports. He wrestled in high school in a couple weight classes below Wade, and placed third in the state in his senior year. Unlike Wade, Brian never lifted weights, though what he lacked in strength, he made up for in speed and technique. One photo showed Brian standing on the wrestling mat wearing his maroon singlet, with the ref raising his arm in victory after one of his matches.
Brian knew that his mom wasn’t too crazy about Wade Kimball. He didn’t know about her hots for the guy, a well-kept secret from her son and Lisa, her older daughter then married and living in Colorado. He also thought that Melinda’s bad feeling toward Wade had softened. If not, there’s no way he would have brought Wade back to the condo. Brian was ignorant of something else, too; that is, the sexual reciprocity that Wade felt toward his mom. She had been one of Wade’s older woman fantasies when he was a teen. Where she saw Wade in the image of James Dean and Warren Beatty, Wade saw her in the image of Bonnie Franklin, who starred in the TV sitcom, One Day At A Time, and perhaps even a young Debbie Reynolds. He was just fifteen when that show premiered, and Franklin’s cute, wholesome looks not only stoked his young, raging libido but conformed to his image of a significant other.
Those unique dynamics created the perfect storm when Melinda returned from her shopping to find Wade and Brian on the white carpet, the box of photos beside them. She wore a green pleated skirt, white blouse and tan fleece-lined boots. Still wearing her suede overcoat, she blinked her pretty green eyes, looking a bit shocked. She knew that Brian was going to see his old friend that day but never thought he’d bring him back to her place.
Wade spoke first. “Hello, Mrs. Everette . How’ve you been?” He noticed that she still styled her light brown hair in the way he remembered. In front, it swept across her forehead, with the rear tucked against her lower neck and a barely visible part that she wore slightly off center. Her hair was still so thick a bird could nest in it.
She clenched her jaw, nodded and slipped off her coat. “Wade…” That’s all she said before going to a hall closet to casino şirketleri hang her coat.
Wade looked at Brian and shrugged.
“We’ve just looking at old photos,” Brian said, raising his voice so his mom could hear.
Melinda came back into the living room. With hands on hips, she said, “I see.”
“Before that, we tossed the football around,” Wade said. He watched Melinda nod and then slip out of her boots. Her legs, dressed in pantyhose, still looked smooth and shapely. Her face had aged but not too much. She still looked remarkably young for a woman sliding into middle-age.
Wade was waiting for her to ask about his parents, the way she once did when they were neighbors and Wade came to visit. But she didn’t. Instead, she turned her back on him, stepped over to a table by the door, and began to go through her mail.
Wade could see that Brian looked uncomfortable, if not embarrassed. “Look, I think I’ve worn out my welcome,” Wade whispered. “Time to go.”
Brian nodded, then stood up. “I’ll walk you to the elevator.”
When Wade stepped toward the door, he said, “Well, it was nice seeing you again, Mrs. Everette.”
She turned around to face him. “Nice seeing you too, Wade,” she said, with a pained expression and even a slight grimace, as if it was difficult for her to say even those few words of civility.
Once out in the dim hall by the elevator, Wade said, “She still hates me.” He grinned in an effort to mask his hurt from Melinda’s coldness. But he knew that Brian could see right through it.
Brian tucked his hands inside the pockets of his corduroy pants. “She doesn’t hate you, she just…look, I’m not sure what’s eating her but I’ll find out.”
Brian waited until Wade got on the elevator, then went back in to confront his mom. She was still going over her mail. “Mom, are you okay? Wade thinks you hate him. I knew you weren’t crazy about him but had thought you got over most of that.” He smiled to humor her.
She didn’t smile back. “You know how I feel about Wade Kimball. How I’ve felt about him since you both were kids. Hate him? Too strong a word. I just don’t care for him. If you want to stay friends with him, fine, that’s your choice, although I’m not sure what you two still have in common. But, if it’s all the same to you, I’d rather not have him in my place. Understood?”
Brian followed her into the small kitchen. “Mom, I can respect that, but you’ve got to know he’s changed. He’s a college graduate, working a respectable job and no longer doing bad things.”
She smirked as she poured herself a V-8. “Want some?” He shook his head no and she continued. “Nice to know he’s no longer looking in windows and scribbling graffiti on houses. As far as that college and that job you’re referring to, pul-eeze. Like I said, I don’t know what you two still have in common. Professionally, he’s way out of your league.” She leaned against the granite counter and shook her head before taking a sip. “Brian, I don’t choose other peoples’ friends, including yours. See him every day during the holidays if you’d like. Just don’t bring him around here.”
“Fine,” Brain said. He began to walk out, then stopped. “But you’ve got to admit he’s good looking. I mean, I sometimes get jealous hearing him talk about all the girls he meets.”
Melinda raised an eyebrow. “He’s got a girlfriend?”
“It appears that way. Yesterday, when I was over his apartment, he had someone named Susan over. Coincidentally, she looked like Susan Dey. You know, from the Partridge Family. Very pretty.”
Brian didn’t do badly with the ladies. He’d been slender all his life, stood an inch shorter than Wade and wasn’t nearly as well-muscled, though he was far from a weakling. His high school wrestling coach called him the “muscleless wonder.” In looks, he truly was your proverbial boy next door, pleasant looking but otherwise undistinguished, in the mold of actor Kevin Costner. He wore his chestnut brown hair in the style of the Beatles, circa ’64.
“So no steady girlfriend,” Brian continued. “Anyway, mom, maybe you should give him more of a chance.”
Melinda placed the bottle of V-8 back in the fridge. Then she turned and said, “We’ll see, Brian, we’ll see. You’re right about one thing. Wade is quite good looking.”
Brian left for California the day before New Year’s. It was nice seeing him; she had missed him. She missed her daughter Lisa also, but Lisa couldn’t get away until after the holidays. Now she was alone, though not lonely. Living alone had its advantages. She did admit that it would be nice to have a steady man in her life. If not, then at least someone who could show her a good time in bed. It had been a while; too long, actually. She and her forty-something girlfriends, married and single, spent hours sharing stories about their sex lives over coffee or wine. When they asked who she’d like to sleep with, Burt Reynolds came to mind. On a more practical, accessible level, it was Wade Kimball. How casino firmaları outrageous was that? How incongruent. Wade, the kid who turned her off in other ways, excited her in a way she needed to be excited. She’d bet he gave this Susan, this so-called Susan Dey lookalike, a thrill or two.
Wade faded from her thoughts during the first few days of the new year. Then, on a Saturday, as she approached the deli counter in Giant, there he was, holding a number, waiting to order. His back was to her, but it was him all right, wearing jeans and a short leather jacket. She made an abrupt stop a few steps from the counter. Should she walk away, ignore him, or approach and apologize for being so cold? She felt she owed him an apology. Normally, she wasn’t a rude person. Perhaps she should give him a chance as Brian said.
He turned around. “Mrs. Everette?!”
She grinned at his look of surprise that SHE approached him. “Hi, Wade. How was your Christmas and New Year’s? By the way, I like your jacket.”
He ran his hand over the lapel. “Um, thanks. My Christmas and New Year’s were great. It was nice to be off for a while. How was yours?”
“Okay, nothing exciting. It was nice to be off as well. I’m still doing accounting work at Roxborough, the top-rated private school where Brian attended. As you know, Brian went back to California and Lisa couldn’t make it in, though I hope to see her and her husband in a couple weeks.”
Just then, the guy behind the counter called his number. Wade excused himself, gave his order and then turned back to Melinda. “So how is Lisa doing?”
“Great. She and her husband Terry just built a big expensive house in Boulder. Terry’s very successful.”
A big expensive house…very successful…Brian’s top-rated private school…It was just like Melinda Everette to link success with prestige and material gain, he thought. Was this a dig on his not being so successful in her eyes? “Well, good for them,” he said.
“Yes, I’m very happy for them.” She paused to gather her thoughts. “Look, I’d like to apologize for the way I acted last time. I was rude and I’m sorry.” She stepped closer, reached out and patted his arm. “I hope you can forgive me.”
He shrugged. “There’s not much to forgive, really. You’ve had this not so good feeling about me for years and you’re entitled to your feelings like anyone else.”
Momentarily stunned by Wade’s gracious but blunt honesty, she took a step back. Then, without thinking, she said the first thing that popped into her head. “Things aren’t always what they seem, Wade.”
Wade had barely enough time to ponder this curious statement, when the man behind the counter called to him. “One chicken Caesar wrap ready for pick up.”
Wade took his order, wrapped and tucked into a paper bag. “I just love these chicken wraps. Anyway, so what do you mean by that?”
“Just that…” She took a deep breath. “Look, this is hardly the time or place to discuss what I mean. I’d like to get together in private to talk things out. Is that okay with you?”
“Um, okay, sure. When?”
“I’ll call you tonight.” She reached inside her purse for pen and paper and took down his number. “Thanks. Enjoy your chicken wrap. And call me Melinda.”
“Really? But you’re Brian’s mom and—¨
“No, it’s okay. I’d prefer it.”
The grin on her sensuous mouth told him that she was sincere. “Okay, Melinda it is.”
He began to walk away. Then, after a few yards, he turned around to watch her step up to the counter. She was wearing black high heels and a green pants suit, one that fit snugly around her round, delicious butt and slender, shapely legs, parts of her anatomy that he had admired through the years and still did. Apparently, he would soon be alone with the snobby but undeniably hot Melinda Everette. It was something he had once fantasized but never once thought would ever happen. Things aren’t always what they seem… Where was she going with that?
Melinda knew where she was going with that. Or at least where she wanted to go. Wade Kimball looked so handsome and manly in that leather jacket and those tight jeans. She could scarcely believe she was thinking this way, actually thinking about seducing one of her son’s best friends, one that she once held in such contempt. On some level, a measure of that contempt still lingered. In her view, he had a sorry academic and professional resume for a man who grew up where he grew up. As even Wade had said, she was entitled to her feelings. But she was horny and wanting and she had this inner cougar roaring and chomping at the bit.
It was seven-thirty in the evening, a half-hour before she had told Wade to be over. Wade had said he drank wine, so a bottle of her better Zinfandel was sitting in the fridge. Her concern now was what to wear. She hadn’t been blind to him stealing admiring glimpses when he came over to see Brian. Even if that was a few years ago, she could sense that he still felt at least a güvenilir casino spark of erotic fervor for her. Still, she didn’t want to be presumptuous, not to mention obvious, and so greeting him at the door wearing a teddy and high heels, a passing thought, was out.
She stood in front of her full-length bedroom mirror, holding up various outfits. The shorts and V-neck blouse combo might work, as would a dress she wore in her younger days, the cleavage-revealing, blue and white, flower-print dress hemmed a few inches above her knees and held in place with two thin straps. Well, why not? She was only a few pounds over when it had been a regular part of her wardrobe. She’d wear it with no pantyhose and low heels, sexy but casual. The Jane Fonda Workout videos, power walks and just good genes had kept her middle-age body firmer than a lot of women her age. She patted her still firm tummy and gave her still firm boobs a lift before strapping on a bra. Then she dressed her emerald green eyes with minimal makeup and painted her lips a light pink. No need for blush or other facial color enhancements, not with her beautiful, slightly tanned complexion.
She was ready, though ready for what she wasn’t quite sure. A seductress she’d never been. In fact, she’d been a doting wife and stay at home mom when Lisa and Brian were young. Later on, when they became more or less independent, her marriage went south and she finally used her accounting degree and went to work for Roxborough. Albert’s alimony bolstered her relatively modest salary. At times, she felt a little guilty taking it. But then she realized he could afford it. Ophthalmologists did quite well.
Life takes us to places we never imagined going, she thought while doing some final primping, which included dabbing on a little Chanel and getting her hair just right, fixing her bangs so that one side dropped just over her right eyebrow. There, that did it, and just in time, too, because she could hear Wade knocking on her door.
Wade, wearing his leather jacket over a light green, long-sleeve crew-neck pull-over and jeans, could feel his heartbeat as he waited in the hall in front of Melinda’s door. He was nervous, but it was a good kind of nervous, an excited kind of nervous. Much of that had to do with not knowing what to expect. Melinda had said she wanted to ‘talk things out.’ But what did that mean, exactly? And what did she want to talk about?
He didn’t have much time to guess, for moments later she was greeting him wearing a dress that he thought brought out the best in her still youthful figure. “Hi Wade, right on time,” she said. “Do come in.”
Wade looked around the tastefully furnished living room, with its sofa and comfy chairs upholstered in white and beige. Very Ethan Allen. It was the same living room he had seen last month, though tonight it looked different, warm and inviting instead of cold and dismissive. Melinda’s change of mood made the difference, of course. Last time, he had tried to make conversation and she had responded by turning her back on him. Tonight, she was inviting him into her home, just the two of them, wearing a warm smile and a hot dress.
“Slip your jacket off and stay awhile,” she said. “I’ll fetch us some Zinfandel.”
“That would be great,” he said.
He could scarcely believe this. Prior to tonight, Melinda Everette would never have offered wine to Wade Kimball unless it was to smack him in the face with the bottle.
She returned, handed a glass to her guest, then sank into the plush upholstery an arm’s length away. “So, I guess you’re curious why I invited you here,” she said.
He took a sip and nodded, then glanced at her thighs, half-exposed when she crossed her beautiful legs. “Kind of. I mean, this is so unexpected.”
Her grin exposed a few wrinkles around her wide, sensuous mouth. “Yes, I suppose it is. We both know that I haven’t exactly been Miss Warm when we’d see each other, including the time last month. After you left, Brian said something about giving you more of a chance. But then I realized how silly that was. Give you a chance to do what? You shouldn’t have to prove anything to me or change the sort of person you are. If anyone needs to change, it’s me.” She took a sip, keeping her emeralds on his baby blues.
“Change in what way?”
“My attitude, I guess. I’ve been judgmental about things I had no right to be judgmental about.”
Wade could feel the hurt he once felt bubble to the surface. “About where I went to school and what I do for a living, you mean.”
She looked down, pursed her lips and nodded. “Shame on me. I’m sorry.”
“Like I said in Giant, you’re entitled to your feelings. I didn’t go to Stanford and I’m not a financial wiz like Brian. I went to what is now a barely accredited college and make my living as a glorified intake clerk. I get it. You feel what you feel.”
“And as I said, things aren’t always what they seem.”
He pondered that while taking a few sips of wine. “What things?” He caught the mischievous grin that creased her lips.
She placed her glass on the coffee table, then did a quarter-inch turn to face him more directly. “Brian tells me you’re dating a Susan Dey lookalike. True?”
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