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Loosening Up – Book 4 – Revelations
Chapter 1 – Holiday Spirit
Dave sat in the core living room looking at a spreadsheet he’d made of all the people in and connected to the Circle. He was astounded. There were twenty-three women and fourteen men as members or affiliate members who lived offsite. Thirty-seven people overall were Circle members.
Of the thirty seven, twenty-two lived in the ten homes that form the perimeter of what had become known as the Circle, surrounded further out by Circle Drive. Just off that road on a spur to the airport Owen had built, the eight-unit townhouse accounted for ten more. The five people that lived offsite were Derek and Emily, Abby – Derek’s long-time girlfriend, and Martin and Sasha who lived in Ohio, but were making noises about moving to Florida if they could arrange jobs.
He listed the women: Alice, Pam, Julie, Heather, Dori, Wendy, Kat, Clarisse, Christie, Rachel, Grace, Nancy, Shelby, Holly, Susan, Donna, Erin, Megan, Ashley, Sasha, Joan, and Abby.
The men consisted of Ty, Dev, Sean, Owen, Mike, Roy, Jack, Aaron – his brother, Dale, Ken, Paul, Martin, and Derek.
Every dwelling on the Circle property was full: ten houses and eight townhouses.
Dave set his spreadsheet aside, but he’d come to one realization, and that is that the Circle had grown so much, that it needed some kind of structure or management to keep track of things. Christmas was just one example. Someone to help with arrangements would have been superb. Some jobs were becoming onerous despite having more hands to add to them,
Dave had a premonition that others would come along and become Circle members, maybe some people they already knew or people they had yet to meet that would think the same way they did. He’d talked with Jack Anders, the architect for the Circle homes, and suggested that he be thinking of another townhouse addition and some way to build a few more homes on the large acreage the Circle owned.
In an overflow housing emergency there were two small rooms in the hangar where Owen kept his jet and where the Circle Flying Club kept their Cessna 182RG. Each was like a very small motel room, with very modest accommodations. Some of Ken’s pilots for his jet slept there before or after especially long flights. A cleaning service took care of the units once they were notified they’d been used.
He thought of the pilots in the Circle. Dave shook his head as he reminded himself of the feats of some of the Circle members. Owen had known how to fly simple aircraft in good weather when her arrived. He kept trying to advance his ratings, but just didn’t have the time. Alice and Pam had each gotten their instrument ratings and were working on their commercial certificates from the FAA. Pam was building hours faster than Alice, since she used one of the planes to fly for business.
Now that inclement weather and freezing temperatures brought ice to states north of Florida, Pam had given up flying herself for the winter.
Rachel was about to take her private pilot’s flight test. Joan Paige had just started taking lessons as an additional boost to her self-confidence. Dave had even taken a couple of lessons, and found that he loved the activity. It brought so much of his engineering background and interest in meteorology into play as an integral part.
He glanced up as one of the automatic timers turned on the Christmas lights festooned around the core living and dining area and making the whole room look festive. The large Christmas tree in the center of the room also lit up and started to sparkle.
Dave thought to himself, ‘This will be the best Christmas ever.”
There had been all sorts of discussions about whether some of the members would leave the Circle for Christmas to be with their ‘blood’ families – parents, siblings, and such. EVERYONE decided to be at the Circle with their ‘intentional’ family for Christmas Eve and Christmas Morning. Only after that time period would people start to scatter to the winds or welcome guests.
Dori had summed it up while they were meeting. “I was born into a family and put up with them the entire time I was growing up. When I was a young adult I realized that I wouldn’t have chosen a single one of them to consort with. Instead, I ended up choosing all of you. You all are my Intentional family, and I love you to pieces. You are where I want to be. I am cared for here, loved here, and I can express myself in the same way with each of you. This is why I’ll be with my real family – my intentional family – for the holidays.”
Beginning, with a brunch on December twenty-fifth, the Circle would start to welcome relatives and other visitors into their homes. A roster of expected guests had been posted on the white board. There were about twenty-five guests, bringing the total milling around the Circle to just over sixty.
As the group had done on a few earlier holidays, everybody opened up their homes to visitors, so people could roam bostancı escort around and see how people had decorated and such. Even the townhouses were open, as well as the aircraft hangar.
The brunch was kept simple, and not the usual custom breakfasts. The meal had been delivered by a catering service the day before and then warmed up in special ovens starting early in the morning. Large urns of coffee were also evident in several locations around the core.
A special dinner crew of Circle members had volunteered and several large turkeys were put in the core kitchen ovens, and numerous side dishes started not only there, but also in various homes that all appeared when the tables were seating and the meals begun.
Donna flew her older parents in from the Boston area. They were staying at the new Westin Hotel that had just opened. She’d had a somewhat awkward discussion with them about her new lifestyle despite trying to downplay the sexual side of things and up play the loving relationships and caring she felt. They’d been after her to remarry after she’d been in a brief union shortly after she graduated from high school. She tried to explain to them about her criteria about feeling loved and being able to love others. Nonetheless, they didn’t give her too hard a time and were good visitors and vibrant conversationalists within the large group of the Circle and other visitors.
Aaron and Dave’s widow mother, Elise, came down from Ohio. This was one of her first trips after their father had passed away after a long illness. She was on the upswing and for the first time fully understood what the Circle meant. For a long time she sat with a glass of wine and watched the harmonious havoc that made up the interactions between Circle members that day. Eventually, Elise declared, “I think you’ve created the best community in the world here. I wish I were younger. I’d be knocking on your door.” As an afterthought, she said, “I may just knock anyway.”
Of course, not a word was heard from Alice and Julie’s parents. The sisters had put out a tentative invitation to visit again through their older sister Karen whose family lived near them, but the silence was deafening. The result was that the sisters just shrugged. Alice wondered whether the specter of a grandchild might eventually break the philosophical logjam, especially with her mother.
Kat and Sean’s parents also flew down for a few days. Paul and Kiki had already been fully clued in about the lifestyle, and were accepting and supportive of how their children lived. They tried not to be judgmental. Kat’s pregnancy was a draw for this trip, especially since she had only a month or two before birthing. Sean’s parents Art and Dell Marbury were also present.
Shelby’s mother and father were in town, along with Nancy, Pam, Wendy, Dori, and Owen’s parents. Owen had flown his into Sarasota on his jet. There were a few single parents and sibs, too: Holly’s mother, Ken’s father, Heather’s mother from only a couple of miles away, Dev’s mom, and Roy’s brother.
What caught Art and Dell Marbury (Sean’s parents) and Paul and Kiki Sylvan by complete surprise was the ‘relaxed’ paternity of the baby Kat carried. Kat casually introduced them to Mike, even kissing him in front of them as Sean stood nearby smiling at the couple. Heads rolled between the couple and then eyeballs rolled around, too. There wasn’t much anybody could say and so most mouths kept shut and bit their tongues, hoping to raise the subject later about the morality of the situation.
Elise Prentiss had sensed the friction in the interchange within the Marbury family only a few feet from her. She’d been sitting with Alice, Pam, and the very pregnant Shelby at the time. She announced in a low voice, “Well, at least that’s not a problem in our family” in a matronly tone.
Shelby smiled and said in a contrasting tone, “Oh, it’s not? I’m almost a hundred percent sure that Martin is the father.”
Elise’s eyes rolled around in her head and her head spun around several times as though she were the demonized girl in The Exorcist. “WHAT?”
Shelby calmly explained to her mother-in-law about her and her husband’s travels eight months earlier, and how their paths were seldom crossing at the ‘right’ time, how she spent several weekends with people they loved who were Circle members although they lived up north most of the time, and thus, she got pregnant. There was no tone of apology or regret or even resignation in her voice. The situation was what it was.
“Who’s this Martin character?” Elise demanded as she shifted to sit rigidly upright at the front of the sofa she sat on.
Shelby waved and caught Martin’s eye as he stood with a few others about twenty feet away. She motioned for him to join them. This had been discussed and even rehearsed over the past weeks, and so wasn’t a surprise although they knew it wouldn’t be a favorite discussion.
Martin came over and stood at the edge of the group. ümraniye escort bayan He smiled at everyone in his best winning way. He knew from the tension in the group that he was on stage.
Shelby introduced him, “Elise, this is Martin Hedrick, one of the men I love with all my heart.” She took hold of his hand and kissed it and then held it to her cheek, despite her sitting position. He looked down at her with love.
Elise challenged, “My daughter-in-law just said that you might be the father of the baby she carries. The baby that should have been my son’s, Arron’s child.”
Martin looked surprised at the accusation, but nodded.
Shelby said sharply, “Elise! You just made an assumption that we don’t abide by. Many in the Circle do not think that a particular man has to impregnate a particular woman based on some rite of passage such as a marriage. We’ve ALL moved beyond that, fortunately. I thought you understood that from the conversations with your sons.”
Elise retorted in a stinging tone, “They don’t tell me squat – none of the important stuff, apparently.” She looked daggers at her two sons who were standing only a few feet away talking with Dori and her mother.
Dave and Arron came over to join the others in that conversation circle as they started to hear the sharp words and harsh tone from their mother.
Dave reminded his mother, “Mom, I did mention our philosophy about paternity, and well before Shelby got pregnant. I’ve explained the whole Circle to you several times, too.”
Elise relaxed slightly, her shoulder dropping. “Oh, I know. I can tell neither of you are upset about Martin’s relationship with Shelby. I suppose I shouldn’t be either, unless this is going to lead to divorce or separation.”
Arron spoke crisply, “It’s not; Shel and I love each other more every day. We just opened our hearts to include others. Everyone in this Circle loves everybody else. I happen to also love Martin’s wife, Sasha; she’s the pretty blonde serving coffee over by the refreshments.”
Elise challenged, “And you all have sex together?” No one was sure whether her statement was a question or not.
Dave responded, “We do. I told you that, too. I did not want to go into the details, so I was crisp about it, but I thought I was clear.”
“In only the most veiled terms, like ‘we all love each other in every way possible’, or something,” Elise replied. “Well, I have some news for you two men, just to show that you’re not the only two that can claim sexual enlightenment, tell somebody nonsense in confusing and vague terms, and feel you’ve done a good job of communicating.”
Aaron and Dave looked at each other, and then at their mother in confusion.
Elise pasted a benign smile on her face, “You two are not really brothers – you’re half brothers. Aaron, your father has not been who you thought it was all these years, although he loved you just like he did your brother.”
By the time Elise made her announcement the circle with the Marburys and Sylvans had merged with the Prentiss family. They’d detected they had a common phenomena in the question of paternity of their impending grandchildren, and then that a major family revelation had just occurred.
While Dave’s jaw had dropped at the revelation, he tried to keep things light. “Well, I always thought he was the weird one of the family.” He gave his brother a playful and light punch in his arm, partly as a gesture to keep things under control.
Aaron spoke in a way that displayed that he was rapidly becoming pissed off at having been kept in the dark for thirty years, “Care to share the details, Mom?”
“In front of all these people?”
“We don’t have secrets from each other. We are, as I’ve told you, an extended loving polyamorous family. We are completely open with each other, apparently unlike other families, including the one I grew up in.”
“Oooookay,” Elise took a deep breath and started going on the defensive based on his tone. “As you know, we were church goers before either of you were born, and very supportive of the Christian Bible Church you were raised in. Well, we got very close to another couple in that church – Bill and Betty Watson. We got so close that we started to enjoy sexual relations with them. When I wanted to get pregnant with David, we were careful to only do things without protection when I wasn’t fertile. After he was born we didn’t worry so much. The pregnancy that became Aaron was a surprise to all of us, since I’d just started to have sex again after healing from the childbirth experience with Dave. Bill had been unusually attentive to me at that time, and we’re quite sure of the result. We all just agreed not to worry the situation any further.”
Aaron shrugged, “Nice to know after all these years. Now, you kind of understand why we’re not concerned about Martin and Shelby, except it’s not something we hide.
“Just so you know, I am not angry that Bill Watson is kartal escort my father, I AM POSITIVELY RIP SHIT THAT YOU DIDN’T TELL ME!!” Aaron’s loud voice echoed around the core living room. Everyone turned in his direction, and a few of the men prepared to come to his aid or the aid of someone.
Elise reeled back away from her son. She said, “Well, I’m sorry.”
“SORRY! YOU’RE SORRY! Sorry is what you say when you spill a few drops of milk on the tablecloth. This is WAY BEYOND ‘I’m sorry’. I don’t know that I’ll ever forgive you for not telling me.” Aaron was flapping his arms and sputtering.
Elise said in an increasingly smaller voice, “Your father was adamant that you shouldn’t know. He never wanted you to doubt that he wasn’t your dad in every way.” She paused and added sotto voce, “There also more to the story.”
Aaron crossed his arms and looked down at where she sat, “This better be good.”
Elise sighed again, “You have a half sister – Gail Watson. Your father – or dad, if you will – got Betty pregnant while I was recovering from birthing you.”
Aaron looked aghast, “GAIL WATSON! Shit. Mom, I dated her in high school and you knew that. We even made out and just about had sex. I wanted to marry her at one point.”
“We didn’t know how to tell you, and neither did the Watsons know how to tell Gail. We just decided to roll with it and let it slide, or I should say your dad and Bill Watson did. Betty and I wanted to tell you both. If your relationship had lasted, we would have had to do something. We were relieved when you went off to college and didn’t show much further interest in her.”
Aaron whirled in a circle on one foot, “I can’t fucking believe it. My own parents screwed me over thirty years ago. Do you have any other surprises?”
Elise said calmly, “Not for right now, and not of this scale. A woman always has to have her secrets.” She was cautious that neither son blew up at her again.
Dave said, “Just don’t hold things in at the expense of others. You did damage holding in what you just told Aaron. He should have known about the relationships and his parentage from the time he was able to comprehend anything. We BOTH should have known.”
Matthew wandered over and took his dad’s hand. “Is everything all right? Uncle Aaron is mad at grandma, right?”
“Yes. She didn’t tell him about the difference between his having a father and a daddy.”
Matthew looked at Dave proudly and then said to his ‘grandmother’, “Dave is my daddy. My father skipped town. I love my daddy. He’s the best.” He hugged Dave around his leg.
Aaron and Dave just stared at their mother.
* * * * *
Susan Hedrick lay asleep in Owen’s arms, but then her eyes slammed open as though awakened by a loud startling sound. There was no sound. There was, however, a large, attention-getting pang deep in her gut. She looked at the clock; it was 1:07 a.m.
Susan was naked with Owen’s muscular arm thrown over her body between her breasts and atop the immense bubble of stretched skin where her baby resided. She became wide-awake, but didn’t move except to roll slightly more onto her back. She liked the comfort of a man’s arms around her.
Another pang, this one with a sharp edging pain made her reopen her eyes again at 1:18 a.m. She almost said ‘ouch’ in a loud voice, but held it in as she evaluated what was happening below her bulging belt line. The pang continued for about thirty seconds, although she didn’t time it. Susan smiled to herself; she was in labor. She felt around the baby with her hands and whispered, “Not too much longer, Kiddo, then I can have my body back.”
After a definite third labor contraction had passed, Susan woke Owen. “Owen, wake up. Hello. Wake up my darling man.”
“What’s wrong? You OK?” He became alert instantly. They hadn’t had intercourse, but they had made love earlier in the evening.
“Darling Owen, I need you to help me home. I’ve started labor, and I think that might be the best starting place for me rather than your bed.”
“Right!” Owen declared as he jumped out of bed. He pulled on some blue jeans, a t-shirt, and loafers, and then got a large robe for Susan that he wrapped her in as she sat on the edge of the bed. He talked to her and learned what was going on. This was an entirely new area of life for him; Susan, too, for that matter.
The couple went downstairs and then walked partway around the Circle to the Hedrick home. Owen helped Susan sit in one of the posh living room chairs. “I’ll go get Dale.” He headed for the stairs.
As he went up the stairs, he announced his presence. “Dale, this is Owen. Dale, wake up. We need you. Dale, do you hear me?”
Owen stood at the entry to the master bedroom. Of course, he’d been here many times before when he’d made love to Susan in her bed. In the dim light, he watched Dale sit up in bed and rub his eyes.
Dale mumbled, “What’s happening?”
Beside Dale, Joan Paige sat up, her pert breasts appearing as she too tried to wake up. She asked, “Is everything all right? What’s wrong?”
Owen chuckled, “Nothing is wrong, but Susan has started labor. She’s downstairs. I think you might want to start thinking about your plans for having a baby in your midst.”
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