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Introduction: This story is based on Bruce Springsteen’s classic song “Glory Days,” which has to do with memories, immaturity and aging. In the song, the narrator talks about, “boring stories of glory days,” in a hardscrabble Rust Belt town.
As I’ve listened to the song over the years, I’ve started seeing interesting possibilities for a very nice erotic story with an important message. The plot loosely follows the song through the first two stanzas, the first two chapters, then makes its own way to the conclusion.
In order to understand this final chapter, you should first read the first two chapters, as the story picks up immediately without much of a recap of preceding events.
Christmas at the Rogers’ house was a great deal more festive that year than it had been the year before. That year, it had only been about seven weeks since Mary Rogers’s sudden death, and Braxton’s dad was still in the early stages of grief.
In fact, Bruce Rogers hadn’t done any decorating for the season, and spent most of the holiday with his oldest son Lenny in Philadelphia.
Braxton had gone up for a couple of days, but it had been a rather somber occasion, and his sister Julie had stayed home in California with her family and her in-laws.
But this year, Braxton was determined that the holidays were going to be lively. He got Julie and her husband to promise that they’d fly in to spend some time with her father, and Lenny had been very agreeable to coming over from Philly with his family for a couple of days.
Braxton didn’t say so directly, but he gave both his brother and sister the firm indication that this might be the last Christmas they’d have their father, so they’d better grab the opportunity while he was still around.
Braxton got a tree, a real one, dug the decorations out of the attic, and he spent most of a Sunday afternoon fixing up the house for Christmas, while an NFL game blared away on the TV in the den.
He was feeling better about life than he had in quite awhile. He still wasn’t entirely satisfied that he was back in his old hometown of Palestine, wasn’t sure if that was where he wanted to spend the rest of his life.
But he was doing well in his job, he and his father were getting along good and he had a nice little romance brewing with his old high school friend Debbie Stewart.
It was a couple of days after Christmas when things took an unexpected turn.
Things had not gone well for Bobby Stewart over the previous few weeks. He’d been reprimanded in his job, and his career in Boston was stalling, plus he’d broken up with yet another girlfriend who had gotten fed up with his philandering ways, and his temper, fueled as it was by increasingly excessive drinking.
He’d had some vacation time, so he’d decided to spend the week between Christmas and New Year’s back in Palestine. He’d see a few old acquaintances, see his kids, maybe even give his ex a tumble or two. He figured by now that she was probably desperate enough that she’d put aside her animosity toward him just to get another chance at his hot cock.
But that idea was rudely scotched when he learned that Debbie had been seeing an old classmate of theirs, Braxton Rogers, and she wasn’t the least bit desperate for some loving, especially from him.
That didn’t sit well with Bobby. As far as he was concerned, Debbie was still his girl, and it pissed him off to see that she was happy without him, especially with Rogers, a guy he’d never liked much in high school. Braxton was just a little too … nice, plus he suspected that Debbie had always had some feelings for Braxton from way back in middle school.
So when he saw Braxton and Debbie together out at the Roadside Tavern, he was more than a little drunk and spoiling for a fight.
Debbie didn’t bother to hide her disgust when he approached the table where they were sitting, and that just pissed Bobby off even further.
“I thought you were too good to be a slut, Debbie,” he sneered. “I can see I was wrong about you. I think we may have to revisit our custody arrangement if you’re going to be whoring around with every guy in town.”
“Listen, asshole, she’s not your wife any more, so why don’t you fuck off,” Braxton said, getting right up in Bobby’s face.
Bobby was just about ready to take a swing at Braxton when he felt a meaty hand on his shoulder, and he turned slightly to find himself in the grip of one of the largest men he’d ever seen.
Curt Marlowe had been out with some co-workers and had seen the trouble brewing, seen how the angry man with the tight-lipped look had been watching the couple at the table and for some reason he never quite understood, decided to intervene.
“Dude, I don’t think these good people are interested in anything you have to say,” Curt said as he ushered Bobby toward the door. “I think it’s time for you to leave.”
Bobby just sputtered, but didn’t resist as he was shoved out the door. He may have been drunk and ataşehir escort obnoxious, but he wasn’t stupid. Curt was easily 6-foot-6, weighed somewhere in the neighborhood of 300-plus pounds, and none of it was flab.
As Bobby made his sullen way to his car, Curt pulled out a cell phone, punched in three numbers, spoke for a few seconds then shut the phone and walked back into the bar.
Having disposed of Bobby Stewart, Curt turned back to the couple at the table, and he could tell the woman was upset. Braxton turned as Curt looked down on them.
“I could have handled him,” Braxton said. “But thanks anyway. Look, can I buy you a beer?”
Curt agreed and sat down in an empty chair. Introductions were made, and when Curt and Debbie locked eyes and shook hands, something flared between them.
“Braxton Rogers?” Curt said quizzically after shaking hands with Braxton. “Did you play football down in Kentucky a few years back?”
“Uh, yeah, I did,” Braxton said.
“That’s what I thought,” Curt said. “I grew up in that area, and I was in high school when you were there. It’s kind of an unusual name, and it was in the papers some. I’m pleased to meet you.”
Curt had gone on to play tackle for UK, then had a cup of coffee or two with a couple of pro teams before getting on with his life as a coach. He’d been the offensive line coach at St. James College for less than a year, and the two men quickly started talking football.
After another couple of beers, they called it a night.
“What about Bobby; you think he may look to start something?” Debbie asked hesitantly.
“I wouldn’t worry about him,” Curt said, with a conspiratorial grin on his face. “He’s got more pressing problems right about now.”
Curt explained that he’d called the police about a drunk driver in a car matching the one Bobby was driving.
They all got a good laugh about that, then Braxton and Debbie went one way while Curt went the other. But he looked with some longing as Braxton drove away with Debbie in the front seat. That was a fine one there, he thought.
Debbie was lost in thought as Braxton drove her home. She thought about the big man who come to their defense. He was quite good-looking and big, with mischievous eyes. She was a little confused, because she really liked Braxton, and she didn’t want to hurt his feelings. But there was something about the big man that she found very appealing.
Braxton, too, was a little quiet as they made their way to Debbie’s house. The incident with Bobby had unnerved him, then to see way Curt and Debbie had looked at each other gave him pause. He knew instinctively that something was there.
When they got to her door, Debbie begged off inviting him in, saying she was too upset from the night’s happenings to be very good company. Braxton said he understood, and they kissed warmly before he returned home.
They got together for New Year’s Eve, and he did spend the night at Debbie’s house, but he still got a sense that things were cooling off between them. And his instincts proved to be right.
Braxton was at work a few days after New Year’s when he got a call from Curt Marlowe, asking if they could meet after work for a couple of drinks.
They met at Chili’s on North Main, the strip where most of the better restaurants in Palestine were located. After getting a round of beers, Curt looked at Braxton with a little bit of embarrassment on his face.
“Braxton, I’ll get right to the point,” Curt said. “I’m a single guy, and I don’t usually have trouble finding women to go out with. In most cases, if I meet someone I like, I simply go after her, but this is a little more complicated.”
“Let me guess,” Braxton said. “You’re interested in Debbie Stewart.”
“You’re very perceptive,” Curt said. “I’m very interested in her, and I think she’s interested in me. But I don’t want to break anything up between you two. I like you and I’ve learned enough about you, and why you moved back here, to have a lot of respect for you. So I have to ask whether your relationship with Debbie is serious or not. If it is, I’ll back off, but if not, I’d like to ask her out.”
“I appreciate your consideration,” Braxton said. “I don’t know how much you know about Debbie, but we go back a long, long way — as friends. I’m quite fond of her, but we’re not in love, and I have no hold on her. She’s just now getting out of her shell, where she crawled after she broke up with Bobby, and I’ve tried to help her. But maybe she needs to play the field a little bit, so if you want to take a run at her, by all means, go for it.”
“Thanks, man,” Curt said. “Like I said, I felt like I owed it to you before I did anything.”
“That’s very gracious of you, and I appreciate it,” Braxton said, fixing Curt with a steady gaze. “All I ask is that you treat her right. Debbie’s a damn good woman, and her self-esteem went through the wringer when she broke up with Bobby. She needs to have her ego stroked, kadıköy escort needs to be told she’s desirable. Treat her right, and I bet she’ll do anything for you.”
“Oh, I will,” Curt said.
And with that, Braxton soon found himself a free agent. He was a little down about it, because he’d thought that relationship had some promise, but he soon found himself with little time to dwell on it.
The winter was cold, and his father’s respiratory problems took a turn for the worse. Bruce was in and out of the hospital for the next few months, and he actually coded one night while he was in ICU.
But with the coming of spring, he seemed to improve. Nevertheless, Braxton’s free time was mostly taken up with ferrying his dad to the hospital, or to the doctor, or to the drug store, and with haggling with the insurance company.
Bruce had gotten his health insurance plan through the union, and it was a bureaucratic nightmare getting them to pay for his treatment.
The difficulties with the insurance left Braxton wondering what those members did who didn’t have sons or other relatives who knew how the insurance business worked, as he did.
Braxton’s troubles with the insurance and the doctors and the pharmacists was compounded by his pervasive sense of dread that his father was dying.
Ironically, it was the old man himself who helped alleviate Braxton’s fears. They were sitting on the front porch on a Sunday afternoon, the first really pretty spring day of the year, when Bruce looked over at his son.
“You know, Brax, I’m really glad we’ve had this time together,” Bruce said. “You’ve made this last year an unexpected joy, just having you home. I wasn’t sure after your mother died whether I’d ever have joy again, but I really appreciate what you’ve done for me. Hell, I know I’m a cantankerous old cuss, and I’m sure you probably get tired of chauffeuring me around and listening to me bitch. But I’m glad it’s you that’s doing it. I think now I can die with some peace, knowing that you’re here to take care of things. You belong here, son. This is your home, for better or worse.”
“I just wish I could find someone to settle down here with,” Braxton said “I feel like my chances are slipping away.”
“Oh, you’ll find someone, probably sooner than you think,” Bruce said.
The old man was right.
Miranda Thompson was driving to her work at the Palestine Head Start School one morning when a high school kid ran a red light and plowed into her car. Fortunately, she wasn’t hurt, but her car was totaled.
She filed a claim with her insurance company, and Braxton was the adjuster for the company who came to assess the damage and write a report so that she could begin the process of obtaining a temporary rental that she could use until the company cut her a check and she could buy a new car.
The moment Braxton laid eyes on Miranda, and heard her soft Southern drawl, he felt his stomach twist in knots, with good reason. She was taller than average and very pretty, with porcelain skin, dazzling blue eyes and dark, naturally curly hair that fell just short of her shoulders.
She’d grown up in an aristocratic family in the Low Country of South Carolina, but her mother had been a bit of a rebel, and she instilled in Miranda a desire to be something other than a Charleston socialite.
She’d graduated at the top of her class in high school and went off to Princeton for college. She could have had her pick of any career she wanted, but she wanted to teach, and teach some place where she could make an impact on the world.
So she’d answered an ad for a Head Start teacher in Palestine, and had found a lot to like about the rough steel town.
She loved teaching the sons and daughters of the working-class, and she made a distinct impression on everyone she came into contact with in Palestine.
She certainly made an impression on Braxton. He’d had some experience with Southern women during his time in Nashville, and while some of them had been real heartbreakers, he still loved their ways — the way they talked, the way they understood manners and the way they treated their men.
He couldn’t help himself from thinking dangerous thoughts about the tall brunette. He couldn’t get her out of his mind, and the thoughts of her lithe body sent shivers up his spine. As a teacher of young kids, she projected a front of coolness and propriety, but Braxton quickly got the sense that below the surface, Miranda Thompson was one hot-blooded woman.
As for Miranda, she was never quite sure what it was about Braxton Rogers that appealed to her, but she left her first encounter with him feeling hot and sticky between her legs. He was sexy, but not overtly so; good-looking, but not someone who appeared vain about it; confident, but not cocky.
Her feelings for him confused her. She still had a somewhat steady boyfriend from college that she saw periodically, but that relationship had cooled noticeably, and she had bostancı escort been on a few dates in Palestine that had gone nowhere.
A few days after inspecting her car, Braxton called Miranda at home. At first, he talked business. The company was in the process of getting her check ready, and she should be getting it in a few days.
“Look, I know you’re the client and all,” Braxton said after an awkward pause. “But I wanted to know if you’d like to go out to dinner one night this week. I’ve been thinking about you a lot.”
Miranda tried to hold down the excitement level in her voice, but she still had a jittery tone to her voice as she accepted Braxton’s invitation.
“S-sure; I’d love to,” Miranda said.
Braxton made reservations at the Chez St. Denis, a French-style restaurant located across the street from the river, right next to the old concert hall that was the city’s cultural centerpiece. Braxton smiled as he walked Miranda past the old building and told her about some of the concerts he’d seen there when he was younger.
Dinner was delicious, and Braxton found himself getting lost in the azure pools of Miranda’s eyes. They talked about their families, their backgrounds and the city that had brought them together.
Her enthusiasm about Palestine and the possibilities the city offered was infectious, and Braxton realized that his father was right. This was his home, for better or worse. He was a part of the community now, and he always had been, he’d just been too proud to admit it.
After dinner, they took a walk over to the park that the city had made out of the large island that sat in the middle of the river. It was the perfect place for lovers.
“Penny for your thoughts,” Miranda said as Braxton leaned over the railing by the riverfront and gazed back at the town that had nurtured him and made him a hero back in his glory days.
“You know,” he said, almost talking to himself. “You are just about the prettiest woman I think I’ve ever seen.”
“I’ll bet you say that to all your girlfriends,” Miranda said, snuggling up to Braxton for protection from the slight chill of the mid-spring night.
“Funny thing about me,” Braxton said. “I only have one girlfriend at a time. I don’t believe in keeping women on a string. Either I’m with them, or I’m not.”
“What about me?” Miranda said. “Are you with me or not?”
“That’s up to you,” Braxton said softly, seconds before he drew her into his arms and kissed her for the first time. Their mouths strained together, and their tongues did languid, lustful battle, and Miranda could definitely feel the swelling bulge of Braxton’s cock as it pressed into her abdomen.
Miranda shivered when they came up for air after a long kiss that told them a lot about their feelings.
They kissed again, deeply and with incipient passion, then walked arm-in-arm back to Braxton’s car.
Miranda was tempted to invite Braxton in after he brought her home to her apartment, but she resisted. She wasn’t a woman who fell into bed with a guy on the first date, plus she needed to sever her ties with her old boyfriend once and for all before she entered into a deeper relationship with Braxton.
But there was no doubt in her mind that she was going after Braxton Rogers, going for broke with him. She’d never felt this way about a man before, and she was eager to experience him in every way.
For his part, Braxton floated home on a cloud, and his eyes had a dreamy cast to them as he walked in the door. Bruce was in the kitchen getting a glass of milk when Braxton came through the door, and he grinned when he saw that look in his son’s eyes.
They talked for a few minutes, then Braxton went into the den to watch some late-night ball game. Bruce felt his heart soaring as he slowly made his way to his bedroom. His most fervent wish was that he could live long enough to see his boy get married.
He and Mary had always known that Lenny and Julie would find someone pretty early in life. They were both quiet, introspective, and very domestic. But Braxton had been a restless child, never settling for less than what he thought was the best.
And from the way Braxton talked about this one, as time went on, he felt that maybe his son had finally found, “the one.”
Three weeks later, on a beautiful, warm Saturday night, Braxton knocked on the door to Miranda’s apartment. He was dressed in a starched pair of khakis and a dress shirt, and he carried one long-stemmed rose.
When Miranda opened the door, he stood there speechless. She had on a tight little black dress that showed off a generous portion of her outrageously long legs and molded around her smallish breasts like a second skin, giving him a good impression of her eraser-like nipples. He dark curls were pulled back off her ears and she’d taken great care with her makeup.
Miranda wanted everything to be perfect about this night. She’d invited Braxton to her apartment for dinner, a fateful step in the progress of their relationship. They’d hinted around about their desire for each other, but they’d taken it slow, letting the fire build to a white-hot intensity.
By now, they both knew they were in love; it was just a matter now of sealing it.
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