Page31 What's in a name

                                                   WHAT’S IN A NAME?                                         4 19 10

                                                         ROY GARDE.

John and Deborah Davenport had lived in their nice Colonial house, one of a row of nice Colonial houses in a tree-lined street that sees little traffic, for five years before Jonathon and Debra Nightingale moved in across the road from them.

Following what is present-day normal procedure in suburbia neither couple went out of their way to get to know the other one but their similar life styles made it inevitable that they’d meet up eventually and sooner rather than later.

 John Davenport was the General Manager of an engineering company and, as is normal procedure for a large number of executives, he liked to get to his office around seven o’clock so as to get a full hour of uninterrupted time to deal with left over paperwork.

His wife, Deborah, was a stay at home Mom who, from time to time, did some work for her old employer, a big NY advertising agency, to ‘keep her hand in’ until she could go back to work full time which couldn’t come too soon for her.

 Jonathan Nightingale was a writer who had made enough of a reputation for himself, and had a loyal number of readers to go with it, to be able to work at home and that meant that his wife, Debra, could leave for her job in the city every morning knowing that Jonathon would get breakfast for the kids and then see them off to school while she caught the 7.05 to her job with a publishing company and she was always the first one to arrive because that way she could  insist on being allowed to leave for home at five o’clock every evening.

 On the day that school started in the fall Deborah stood at the curb with her kids and waited for the school bus to arrive. It showed up on time, as usual, and, as always, stopped in the middle of the road and when it began to slow down the driver switched on the flashing lights and then he’d spread its ‘wings’ so that the big Stop signs at the end of both of them would see to it that no foolishly impatient driver, or out-of-state driver who didn’t know the rules, would be able to pass on either side.

Deborah helped her children to board and when she stepped back Jonathon Nightingale, who had sensibly brought his kids around the front of the bus to avoid having to breathe in its exhaust fumes, took her place and helped his two to climb aboard.

It was the first time that Deborah had been that close to him and she sensed a peculiar tingling up her spine even before she got a good look at him and when she did so the tingling went around to her front at two distinct levels. Both erogenous.

She didn’t understand what was happening so she withdrew in confusion, as they say, although she did manage a muffled “Good Morning” and got a “Hi” in exchange.

She kept thinking about the episode all day and she determined to be better prepared the next time.

 The following morning she was ready with a smile and a cheery “Hi” for him and she got one in return but then she found herself to be too tongue-tied to venture anything else so once again she retreated from the fray.

It was a Tuesday and that is recycling day for their street and when she was wheeling the second of her three bins to the curb she saw that he was doing the same thing. She slowed down so as to match his timing and then she noticed that – although he’d separated his glass and plastic bottles properly – sitting on top of the bin that contained aluminum beer and soft drink cans was a badly dented bowl from a mixing machine that looked to be aluminum too but she knew – she’d once had to do research on all of the electric mixers on the market – that it was made of steel.

She called out to him and then walked over and politely told him that the mixing bowl wasn’t aluminum and that even if it had been he still couldn’t put it with the aluminum cans because it was considered to be garbage by the recycling people and if it was still there when they came they wouldn’t touch the bin that it was on.

Jonathon said, “How could you possibly know . . . ha, but wait, I can check easily. Give me a minute, please.” He hurried into his house and came back with a plastic-refrigerator-sticker. “Look what I’ve got here, Miss Smartypants. I’m going to test your highly questionable ability to know what is ferrous and what is non-ferrous at first sight and from a distance.” He applied it to a vertical side of the bowl and when he let go it stayed put. “Wow, aren’t you the clever one? I’m impressed.”

He thanked her and then he removed the offending item and was about to take it to where he stashed his garbage, in yet another a bin that was just inside his garden gate, when he came to his senses and he asked Deborah what her name was and when they’d introduced themselves he asked her if she’d had coffee yet and if not would she like to have some with him on his balcony, “Please do because then you can kindly tell me about any other bureaucratic nonsensical rules that are in force in this town and, also, how you come to know the characteristics of metal items on sight.”

His request was out of the norm, but by no means out of the question, and because she couldn’t seem to muster words to politely accept his offer she just nodded and murmured affirmation and a few minutes later she was sitting in a willow chair while he was in his kitchen waiting for his percolator to finish – uh – well, percolating.

They got on well from the start, telling each other about their families and their histories, and like that, and he eventually got to the part about his being a novel writer. After some prodding by her to show her a book that he’d published he’d gone inside his house and returned with copies of all four of his novels. She shrieked when she found that she’d already read two of them and she squealed, “Oh, you’re that Jonathon Nightingale.”

She told him that she had a copy of, “this very one,” in her house and he agreed to autograph it for her ‘sometime’ but she’d have none of that.

 “ ‘Sometime?’ I don’t think so. Not a chance. Please wait here.” And with that she went across the street to her own house and came back two minutes later with the book in her hand and he wrote on the first blank page the rather weak witticism that he’d thought up while she’d been gone– ‘For Deborah, neighborhood alchemist and stolid Local-Council-Rule-Enforcer – Jonathon.’

As he handed it back to her he asked if she’d liked it and she had to hold back from outright gushing but couldn’t modify her enthusiasm altogether and so what she said was, “I liked it very much and what’s more I think that it’s just about the only novel that I’ve ever read that lives up to the advice that you hear about how to write well – ‘Make the first paragraph interesting and then make all the ones that follow interesting too.’ I sure would like to know how you do it.”

Her words were the nicest ones that a writer can hear and so he thanked her and then, to find out if she’d actually read it and was sincere with her praise or if it had been just flattery, he asked her what did she think about the surprise ending.

“Wonderful. Just wonderful. I was both surprised and happy because I’d felt a certain rapport with Henry from the beginning. Like in that movie ‘You’ve Got Mail.’ I felt as pleased as Meg did when she found out that Tom Hanks was her secret admirer.”

“Ha, yes! I know what you mean but, that aside, I think that ‘Sleepless In Seattle’ was the better movie overall. Agreed?”

They went on from there and two hours flew by and from that day on they had morning coffee together regularly.

 One day, two weeks or so later, they were finishing their first cups of coffee when a sudden downpour, combined with gusting winds, drove them indoors and she was shown into the huge living room. He went to the kitchen to refill their cups and so she was able to look around.

The furniture in the sunken conversation pit – two generously stuffed easy chairs and a four-cushioned way-over-stuffed sofa – was sitting on a thick carpet and there were furry rug throws here and there. The descriptive word that would probably come to the mind of any other first time visitor was ‘comfortable’ – in fact, that was what Debra had aimed for when she’d purchased each piece – but the word that came to Deborah’s mind, completely involuntarily and surprisingly to her, was ‘nest.’

When Jonathon came back, carrying two cups of coffee, she was still thinking of that word and when she took her cup from him her mind, inexplicably, came up with, ‘How appropriate, here’s my mate coming back to our nest,’ and her body, also without any good reason as far as she knew because she was by no means short serviced in the love making department, betrayed her in that it reacted to her thought. Her spine straightened up, which made her breasts more prominent, and her knees bent outwards and forwards to provide better balance because her hips had not only pivoted towards him but had also thrust themselves towards him a little. All of her movements were very small, to be sure, but they were all highly significant too and they sent him a message that was impossible to ignore.

Jonathon was both astonished and very pleased – he’d been fantasizing about being in the same bed with her for weeks by then – and he wasn’t slow about acting on the signals that her body had sent out and so instead of handing her one of the cups he put both of them down on a side table and then moved in on her.

Mentally she wasn’t at all sure that she wanted him to touch her, notwithstanding what her body was feeling, but when he was kissing her mouth, and his hand had found her left breast, her “Oooooh” and his “Aaaaah” melded perfectly and her brain dropped its objections and, when she could speak, she murmured, “Oh yes, yes, you darling man.” On hearing that his hands dropped to her bottom and pulled her close which made her knees weaken and after another kiss he had to half-carry her upstairs to the bed in the spare room.

When he’d penetrated her all the way he paused to register his triumph and she had time to think rationally again and she realized with a shock that she was feeling thankful for having the appropriate equipment that had attracted this wonderful man to her. She knew all too well that the last time that she’d been happy about having what she usually thought of as being an unbelievably badly designed reproductive system – especially the ridiculous entry hole at her center with its enormously high maintenance costs and, on top of that, a nasty habit of inconveniencing her regularly – was when she’d been in college and was twenty years old and had ‘allowed’ a man, John – who had stirred up her loins no end just by coming near her and who was now her husband – to seduce her and the euphoria that she’d experienced by being able to share with him what he obviously revered beyond all reason had lasted for maybe one year after their wedding. Since then she’d never again become fully reconciled with having to maintain and support her reception and pleasure-giving area – except when her darling babies were using it as an exit – until NOW.

When he started moving it recalled her to her duty which was to give him all the pleasure that there was and so she started writhing her hips but he immediately stopped moving and whispered, “Be a darling and, this first time, lie still and let me do all the work, please,” and she did so thankfully because she could then be selfish and let the pleasure that he generated wash through her. She opened herself up and enjoyed his slow probings and his abrupt changes to heavy thumpings and back again although she knew that he’d said what he did because he, selfishly and in the way of all men, wanted to pick his own rhythms and also to find out, in his own time, what techniques to use to fully experience the unique ins and outs of her. His request increased her happiness with being in bed with him which was already enriched because of the daring illicitness and more so when she thought that she really should be over the road preparing dinner or doing the vacuuming, or some such.

She’d never refused her husband and she’d always enjoyed their nightly sessions because he was a considerate man except for the few times when he was overly needy and was driven to get off in the shortest possible time. That kind of selfishness appalled her but she’d been told often that it was a common trait in males and should be overlooked by wives and so she braced herself and kept still for him and tried not to think of herself as being merely a receptacle for him to use while knowing that that was exactly what she was. However, his occasional brutality was relatively easy for her to over look because even though they’d been married for more than ten tears he still had to have sex every night, he couldn’t go to sleep else, and so that had unavoidably added up to their having had a huge amount of practice and consequently he was usually well aware that she needed at least five concentrated, well-directed and expertly administered, minutes of foreplay to get stimulated enough to do his favorite thing for him before being pinned down in the position that he liked best when he had to get serious.

That held true for every weeknight except Fridays, when he didn’t have to get up early the next day, and was repeated every Saturday and Sunday morning – if their kids didn’t ruin it for them – but then it took an extended form because he’d be well rested.

He had to get up at five thirty every weekday morning and so he liked to go to sleep before eleven the night before and so he’d climb the stairs at about ten thirty and she’d wait downstairs, watching TV, and she’d keep the downstairs bathroom door open to be able to hear the rush of water through the pipes that would tell her that he’d flushed the upstairs toilet and that it was therefore time for her to go up and minister to him.

She’d undress in the bathroom and would pause to freshen-up, strategically, and would then go to him completely naked – they were long past the time when he wanted to be the one who eased her panties down but when she came towards him he still said, “Well, well. Will you lookee here? Who’d have thunk it?” and that silliness had never gotten old for him – and he’d go through her favorite routines and then let her reciprocate and then he’d mount her and, it was a given, he had carte blanch to pound away at her as if he wanted to drive her clear through the mattress and on through the bed-springs to the floor. Afterwards, she’d hold him until he fell asleep and then she’d roll him off to his side of the bed and then use the bathroom to clean up and then she’d pull on a robe and go down and watch the remaining parts of the eleven o’clock news and then Jay Leno.

She was resigned to having to follow that routine but she never could reconcile herself to having to give him the ‘quicky, that he, well rested and well fed, wanted to have on Sunday afternoons. Doing that had become the norm for them and he insisted on it even after the kids had gotten to an age when they needed supervision to keep them from constant squabbling. They’d have all had lunch already and both of their off spring would be reading or playing in the living room and, inevitably, he’d pass her the signal with his eyes and she’d see the need in them and could never find it in her make-up to deny him and so she’d signal assent back at him and he’d get up and go to their bedroom and get between the sheets to warm them up.

 She’d get the kids interested in a long lasting game of some kind and then she’d tell them that she wanted to rest for a while and, “Please don’t come knocking on our door until the big hand gets to be here and the little one is here because Daddy and I are tired and we don’t want to be disturbed until then.”

She’d lock the bedroom door and get undressed and she’d lie down for him but two out of three times he’d hardly get into his long-haul rhythm before: Knock, knock. “Mommy, he hit me.” Or, “Mommy, she won’t follow the rules. Come and make her play properly.” or one of dozens of similar cries for help. When that happened the best that she could do for poor John, when he’d hurriedly lifted his upper body weight off her to let her fill her lungs and call out something appropriate in as near to a normal voice as she could muster, was to go with him into their ‘get-it-done’ technique which took a matter of minutes but made him cranky for the rest of the day.

She’d be patient for him on the times that the kids didn’t bother them and, although she realized that the plan that they followed was good for him, having to lie there for him like a lubricated, softly-lined, mechanized hole in the mattress while not getting anything out of all that activity for herself, made her disgruntled and ultra aware of the built-in inferior status that was inflicted on her solely because of her gender. Also, knowing that he always got a satisfying orgasm out of it and would be able to shrug the whole thing off and go out somewhere with the kids ten minutes later didn’t help her one little bit as she lay there and tried to deal with the turmoil that he’d stirred up in her.

* * *

Every afternoon, Deborah and Jonathon knew that they had plenty of time – the school bus delivered their children to their front doors at around three thirty – to indulge themselves and when he’d had his second and last orgasm she always saw to it that he stayed on top of her, still joined to her, because that way she felt that they were truly sharing in that what was joining them belonged to her as much as to him.

They’d have a late lunch at the kitchen table and they both liked the fact that they wanted to hold hands the whole time like teenagers.

She’d have to tear herself away from him when it got to be close to three o’clock to get dressed properly but he’d always go with her and he’d bother her so much that he turned what should have been a three minute task into a fifteen minute one. When she finally got to be fully dressed, with all of her charms safely covered, he’d walk downstairs with her but he wouldn’t let her go out the door until she’d promised him a repeat performance the next day?”

On the night after their first meeting, when she was waiting in the living room for the ‘running water in the pipes’ signal to go up and join her husband in bed, she felt some shame, and apprehension, about having let another man use ‘his’ property but then she was made to realize that that was only in her head because her body, still feeling well primed from Jonathan’s earlier efforts, had already brushed aside its misgivings and was sending out unmistakably positive signals that it wanted more of the same, ASAP, and the source wasn’t important. That startled her so she took time to analyze it and she came up with: “Why wouldn’t it because I love John as much as ever and we’ve been doing it at this time of the night for many years and so it’s programmed to want it now. Still and all, it sure is going to be interesting when he goes down on me about ten minutes from now and who knows if I’ll react differently from usual? But there, come to think on it, there’s another consideration now. He won’t be able to go to sleep properly if I don’t let him have some soon – that is, if I don’t think up a valid excuse – and then, maybe, he won’t be able to get up early enough to catch his train and that could well have a cascading effect that could interfere with my rendezvous with Jonathan – so, I guess I’d better stop this nonsense and go up and get it done.”

Having made that resolution the void in her center started to strengthen and she found it difficult to stay where she was and hold to the usual routine and she had to use both hands to placate herself. When the water pipe signal came, at last, she hurried up the stairs and she undid buttons and clasps on the way up.

When she joined him in bed he did the usual amount of kissing and feeling – not only to get aroused but also to re-establish his rights to do so – and then he moved down and renewed his acquaintance with her center after saying, as she well knew he would, silly things like, “Well now, I wonder what’s down here then? Wow! Will you take a look here! Who’d have thunk it?” – he never got tired of saying things along those lines and she figured that that was because his brain disengaged when he was that close to his favorite single object in the whole world – and then, after just a sip or two from the furry cup, he paused to murmur something that sounded like gratitude and then he went ahead and did her favorite things, which turned her bones and muscles to putty, before mounting her and, as was his wont, going at it as if she was made of glass and only very gradually building up strokes per second before, at the end, going at it as if she was made of steel.

Before she slipped into losing herself in mind-swamping contentment she acknowledged to herself that she was happy that it was John that she was with, and not her new lover, because being able to let go completely depended on her partner responding properly to the signals that her body gave out at various stages of the act. Yes, it had been exciting and satisfying earlier on but long established procedures was what she sought then and, sure enough, he orchestrated everything well and she was given such a deep, strong orgasm that she couldn’t get off the bed afterwards. In fact, he was long gone in sleep before she got enough strength back to lift her head to read the clock and although it was only eleven thirty she decided that Leno would have to try to manage without her support that night and she leaned over to switch the light off and then she lay back and marveled at how small the difference can be between making love when your inclinations make you do it and making love when your duty makes you do it.

                                                                        * * *

One day, Debra had to go to work even earlier than usual because it turned out that her new big boss liked arranging breakfast meetings – he was the only one in the company who’d ever wanted to do that and she and all of her fellow producers and assistants knew that they accomplished nothing of value because the drives of creative people don’t kick in that early in the morning – and although she hated them she had to go along because he was the head of her department and so she didn’t want to defy his very first edict but she promised herself that it would be the first and last one because she knew where she could get several articles that spelled out, convincingly, just how useless such meetings are.

She got up at five fifteen and her ablutions went so smoothly for once that even after a cup of coffee and a pastry she saw that she had more than enough time to catch the six-ten at the station that was within easy walking distance. Although the temperature was mild right then there’d been a warning that snow was on the way and so she decided to wear her heavy coat and would put boots and gloves and a scarf in a shopping bag. She put her assistant’s birthday present, a cashmere matching set of sweater and scarf which wasn’t heavy but was bulky, in another bag and was then dismayed to find that besides those two bags there was also her laptop and her briefcase to carry and all of them were essential so she felt like a pack mule when she let herself out of her house.

She found that the train was very crowded because the weather channel’s warning of a snowstorm that afternoon had made lots of people, sensibly, decide to leave their cars at home.

Searching for a seat she had to walk all the way up the aisle of her carriage and then into the next one along and it was difficult for her because she had to ease her way along sideways because of all of her baggage. She saw that in that carriage too all of the seats on the two-seat side were full and although there were plenty of empty middle seats on the other side she didn’t ask anybody who was sitting in the outer seat to let her use it partly because of the resentment that it generates but, mainly, because she needed to use her laptop to do some work on a presentation that she had to give later on in the day and she’d found that, for her, using it was awkward when she was sitting on the inner or the outer seat no matter about in the center one.

A half way down the next carriage a kind man, or perhaps only a gentleman, seemed to understand her quandary and he beckoned to her and moved into the middle seat which meant that she could take the one that he’d just vacated. When he saw how much baggage she had with her he stood up and helped put them all, except the laptop but including her heavy coat, up and onto the overhead rack.

She gave him a big smile and then sat down and she powered up her laptop and ignored him from then on as she got on with her project.

He couldn’t ignore her though because he found that because of their closeness he was receiving strange vibes from her and that was much more to his liking than reading his newspaper so he closed his eyes and let them wash through him and he soon reverted to being a schoolboy again as he fantasized about what strength they’d reach if she was in bed with him.

 Just before they arrived at the junction of Secaucus the guy in the window seat indicated that he wanted to get out and so they both had to stand and go into the passageway to let him do so. Afterwards they could both spread out.

When they got to Hoboken, the last stop, he helped her with her overcoat and handed down two of her bags and then he saw that she couldn’t cope with it all properly so he offered to help her carry them out to the platform and when they got there he handed them over and smiled and said goodbye.

He and all of his fellow passengers who were headed to the city via Path had to walk clear around the train to get to the subway entrance because it had pulled into a different platform than was usual. When he was making the turn he looked back and saw that the lady with the baggage was coming that way too.

He stopped to let her catch up and then he said, ‘Hello again, would you like me to help you again because the Path trains are always full so you’ll find it difficult to deal with all of that stuff?”

She had been thinking about that very thing so she gave him a grateful smile and thanked him in advance and then she handed over two bags.

When the doors opened for them he hurried and struggled to commandeer a seat and then he stood up to let her have it when she got to where he was and he put her two bags at her feet and then smiled goodbye and nodded to acknowledge her smile of thanks and then he went over to where he could lean against a barrier and read his paper.

 He got off at ninth street and, yes, you guessed it, when he glanced back he saw that she’d gathered up her stuff and was following him and so, because he knew all too well that there was a long uphill ramp and four or five stairways to climb before you got to the street, he waited for her and she didn’t say anything but smiled ruefully as she once again handed over the same two bags to him.

When they got to the street he didn’t give her bags back because he felt it was likely that their odyssey wasn’t over yet and, sure enough, when he asked she told him that her office was on Fifth and Tenth.

“Ha! I guessed that that would be the case. It follows. Well, mine is on Fourth and Eleventh so I can walk right past your building. Let’s go, shall we?”

They were practically forced to introduce themselves, after all that, and then, to be polite, she asked him how long had he lived in northern New Jersey and in what town and he answered, “Only a few months and it’s Westdale.”

“Really! That’s my town too. Which street is yours?”

“Ash Grove.”

“No! What number?”

“Forty one.”

“Wow, is this weird or what? That’s right across from me. I’m in number forty.”

“Really? Ha! I can’t hardly believe it. Oh, but wait, I’ve seen your family several times – sure, you have a boy and a girl. Right? I do too. Mine are six and eight years old. Yours?”

“God in heaven! Same for me. Now please don’t tell me that your boy is the oldest one too.”

“Whew, that’s a relief. No, my daughter is the one who’s eight and my son is six. I guess that they attend the same school, correct?”

 “Regional Middle-school. Yes, but they probably don’t know each other because of their different genders but they do use the same bus so they might have gotten acquainted on that, sure.”

They continued talking as they walked and she told him about her new boss and about his unnatural liking for breakfast meetings and that she would try hard to get out of going to any more of them so that she could return to being fast asleep still when the six-ten came and went and could get up at a more civilized hour and catch the eight-thirty.

When they got to the entrance to her office building he handed over her bags and wished her good luck at her meeting and then said goodbye and walked away with a torrent of thanks following him.

 Over the next few days he kept remembering about those vibes that had come from her and, although he had no pressing need to get involved with any woman – especially her because the phrase ‘Don’t soil your own doorstep’ came to him – he was intrigued by the fact of having it at all because it had been many years since he’d felt vibes like that and that had been long before he got married when he’d be with a new girlfriend in the back row of a movie house, or in a parked car or wherever, and she’d stopped pushing his hand away from her blouse and so he knew from that that in a minute or two, if he kept on with the whispered endearments and the compliments and didn’t make any wrong moves, he’d be allowed to undo some buttons and then unclasp her bra and get himself a handful of the sweetest, softest flesh that there is.

He was intrigued at what had happened and he wanted to find out if it would always happen when he was near her and whether it was a one way thing or not and, most importantly, he wondered if the vibes meant that she had the power to transport him back to the time when his juices were flowing strongly and when he was delighted with life in general because of them.

 He allowed a week to go by, so as to not appear pushy, and then he held back and went to the station in time to catch the last morning train, the eight-thirty, and he stayed out of sight until Debra had boarded it and then he hurried to get into the next carriage ahead and then walked back to where she had to be.

He was delighted to find that she’d chosen the inside seat on the two-seat side and when he got up to her he asked if he could sit next to her.

 “Of course,” she said, automatically, as she glanced over and then she smiled when she recognized him, “Oh, it’s you. My neighbor across the street. What’s this? Did you oversleep?”

“No, no. I have to work late tonight so I decided on having an extra hour of sleep. Well, how’ve you been? Did you win your battle about not going to any more breakfast meetings?”

“Ha! Yes, I did. It was a famous victory too. I assembled a formidable number of articles that all showed that they not only don’t achieve much they usually mess up the entire morning for everybody and I got my immediate boss to show them to him and now I’m the office heroine.”

Immediately after sitting next to her he had felt the vibes come at him again and wanting to bask in them and not have to do any talking, the better to enjoy them, he took out his newspaper and held it as if he was reading it. On seeing that she opened her book and they had made three stops and starts before it came to him that she hadn’t turned a single page of her book. A glance told him that she wasn’t resting her eyes but was staring straight ahead and could possibly, he fervently hoped, be enjoying similar but different vibes from him.

To get confirmation of that he concentrated on trying, surreptitiously, to identify the book that she was holding and when he saw that it was a popular novel, and not a technical book that might have called for deep contemplation, his hopes soared even more. It came to him again, along with the beginnings of an erection, that if they could, and were, doing this to each other just by sitting next to each other how marvelous would being in bed with her have to be?

 She did indeed feel those same vibes – she’d felt a little of them the last time but her mind had been pre-occupied then and so she’d just kept them in the background although she’d enjoyed ignoring them – and she felt discombobulated by them so she stayed still and let them wash over her and she soon got to be transported back to the time when she was in college and on her first date with Jonathan, on whom she’d set her hopes for months before he finally asked her out. Everything went well on the date and when he’d kissed her goodnight at the dorm door her feet had seemed to have left the ground and her whole body had started singing because the touch of his lips had set up a whole symphony of the self-same nerve-tingling vibes that were coming at her on the train at that very minute.

 John wanted to see her eyes so that she could see his and, by doing so, acknowledge that something wonderful was happening to them both so he let his newspaper fall towards her and she reacted at once and caught it and then handed it back to him which meant that she had to look over and when she did their eyes locked and the double confirmation was very evident.

They both knew that it would be stupid to show any emotion seeing that someone in the carriage could well be from their town and so they just sat there and only sneaked glances at each other and that somehow encouraged the vibes to strengthen and they both recognized more and more that they were in the midst of something truly remarkable and so, when he asked her if they could have lunch, the only possible answer from her was, “Where and at what time?”

She gave him her card after writing her office phone number on the back of it and then she whispered that he should phone her and tell her what restaurant he’d picked, and at what time she should be there.

She leaned in closer, as he took her card from her, and she whispered that she’d never done this kind of thing before and was frightened and so he let his fingers touch the back of her hand in a consoling gesture but that increased the intensity of what she was feeling tenfold and it, more than anything that had happened between them up till then, reaffirmed for her the inevitability of what had to come of this.

When she got to her office her immediate boss, who had been her BFF for several years by then, saw that something was very wrong so, after she’d greeted her, she said, “Debra darling, I see that there are eighty-seven e-mails piled up so please distribute them, or deal with them, and then come and have coffee with me and tell me all about what’s happening to you.”

                                                                *   *   *

“Ha, that was quick. There were no problems for me, obviously, but plenty of promising enquiries I hope? Good. Well, the coffee is all set up for percolating so be a dear and switch it on and then come and sit down.”

                                                               *    *   *

When she’d been told all, Ellen, her boss, said, “Oh, dear, ain’t life a bitch? As soon as you get to think that you’ve beaten the system and can let down your guard something like this comes at you and there’s no way to get around it.” She poured more coffee and then she said, “Well, Debra dear, I can’t tell you how worried this makes me so please let me tell you what happened to me once and then maybe you’ll be able to deal with this better than I did.

“You know that I got divorced, of course, but I never told you, or anybody else, the horrible details and I wouldn’t do so now except that I love you and I love your kids and I like Jonathan very much and I really don’t want you to throw all of that away.

“Well. Like you, I had a wonderful marriage to very good man and we had a darling son and were shaping up to have another baby and we had a nice row house in LIC and everything was going well and I thought that nothing bad could ever happen to us.

“Well. Then I met Gregg at a Christmas party and I too got that tingling feeling and so much so that it overwhelmed me and after getting together with him one afternoon, in a poky and nasty motel near the Lincoln Tunnel because neither of us had any money to speak of, I knew that I just had to be with him forever and so I abandoned everything and moved into his crappy little apartment on twenty-third street.

“Yes. Hard to believe, right? I gave up everything for him and then, although I couldn’t fathom out how it happened, the euphoria began to wear thin almost at once and in a couple of weeks I went from nearly worshiping him to having to mentally and physically brace myself to let him so much as touch me.

“Well, I had to get away and so I walked out on him and I wasn’t too proud to get on my knees in front of my husband and ask for forgiveness and plead to be taken back but, of course and quite rightly too I guess, he didn’t want to have anything more to do with me, “You’ve betrayed the family,” he said, “I wont be able to forgive you for that, ever.” and he kicked me out. I had to go and ask my parents if I could come and live with them for a while and they demanded to know what happened and so I had to ‘fess up and although they let me have my old room back they’ve never forgiven me since. “How could you possibly have been so stupid?” they asked. I stayed in my room and I cried for around a month.

“Well now, it doesn’t end there either. My ex poisoned my son against me and so he too will have nothing to do with me, and then he got married again about one week after the divorce came through and his new wife quickly got pregnant, and has done so again twice since, and that, of course, put a positive stop to any possibility of there being a reconciliation and I’ve never so much as seen my son since the day that I went around there to ask to be taken back.”

Both women were crying by then and they moved closer to comfort each other.

“The only good thing that came out of all of it was this job. I started at the bottom and because no one cared where I was nor when I was coming home I was able to pour my life into it and I’ve worked hard and I put in so many extra, un-paid hours that I got promoted all the way up to Department Head but, believe me, I’d give it all up like a shot for a family life like yours.”

They sat still for a few minutes, both of them looking miserable, and then Ellen spoke again, “Well, what I’ve told you should be warning enough and you’re an intelligent woman so please tell me that you won’t see this man again, ever.”

“You’re a good friend, Ellen, really you are and I do appreciate your concern and of course I know I that should do as you say. I sincerely wish that I could but I also know that if he gets to be near me again – as he will soon because we’re having lunch together and I can hardly wait – any resolve I make about doing so will melt away. My attraction to him is the strongest that I’ve ever felt and when his vibes are coming at me it makes my knees go rubbery and all that I can think about is being with him and getting really close.”

“Ha! I thought you’d say that because, as I told you, when the same thing happened to me I too thought that it meant that I’d feel like that for ever and so I know exactly what you’re going through. Even so, I can’t let you ruin your life so this is what I want to do for you and it’s what I wish that someone had done for me back then: When I got my second promotion here I could afford to buy an apartment in the building that’s just down the road – I wanted to live close by to be able to put in even more hours here because, back then, working helped me to forget the stupid mistake that ruined my life – and so I’m going to call my doorman and give him your name and tell him that you and your ‘husband’ – Jonathan, right? – are going to use my apartment this afternoon. Now, here’s the key and I want you to take two or three hours for lunch – we’ll keep track of the number of hours you take and you can stay at your desk for an extra hour every night until you catch up – and I want you to go there and make all of the love that you want to with this lucky guy. Oh! The bed in the spare room, which is the one on the left at the far end of the passageway, is made up with clean sheets as it happens.

“So, I want you to promise me here and now, that you’ll do the self-same thing every weekday afternoon until you’ve given this whirlwind affair time to simmer down until your mind and not the void in your center is giving the orders again.

“Will you do that for me, Debra? It’s for the best. I’m positively sure of that so please trust me on this.”

                                                              *    *    *

When they were sitting across from each other in the restaurant that he’d picked – it was close to both of their office buildings and it had some booths that had room for just two people in them – the vibes started up again with the same strength that they’d done so in the train that morning. They both knew it and they just sat there and let them wash over them and they held hands until the waitress came to take their orders and when she‘d returned with the plates of food and they had to start eating she told him about Ellen’s kind offer and he was delighted to hear it and was so eager to go and act on it that he hardly ate any of the minute steak that he’d ordered nor did she do much with her lamb chop and salad.

He left a large tip, because he was feeling ebullient about all possible things, and they walked down the street to their about-to-be love-nest and they forced themselves to not touch each other until he’d closed the door of Ellen’s apartment behind them.

 When they were undressing each other the appearance of any as yet un-greeted skin was immediately remedied with kisses and they’d paused, just before panties and boxer shorts were the next items to hit the carpet, to say out loud, in awe, that things couldn’t possibly top what they were feeling for each other at that moment. However, it didn’t keep them from proceeding.

The shock that came to them when they first experienced full-body skin contact overwhelmed them both so much that foreplay got to be completely out of the question and when she’d reached down and had guided him in he drove himself into her all the way at once because he wasn’t looking for an orgasm so much as for surcease from the insupportable intensity of his need to become one with her. He got no complaints from her about his brutalism because that was exactly what she needed too.

They stayed still and melded until Nature got impatient and made him ejaculate – Debra sighed with contentment when she felt his fluids flowing into her because she knew that the millions of spermatozoa that he’d entrusted to her care were not only being welcomed up inside her but, by being absorbed into her body, would have to make them even closer – and then they were content to just hold each other and it was only her concern for their hostess’s sheets that made her pull away from him and when she looked at the clock, after taking care of the leaking, she gasped in dismay and she told him what time it was and they were both astonished that more than two hours had gone by in what had seemed to be a few minutes.

  When they got back to their offices neither of them did much useful work that wasn’t basically mechanical because they found it close to impossible to climb out of their euphoric state.

 Ellen called to Debra to come and talk when she’d tried to slip past her on her way to her desk and she took one look at her face and said, “Good. Wonderful, in fact. Oh boy! I can’t tell you how much I envy you.

“So. Clearly you want more of the same so I suggest that you hang on to the key for a while and you can feel free to go there whenever you want to at lunchtime – I’ll tell the doorman that it’s OK always – and that way we’ll soon see if my prognosis is right. It’s a bit cynical, I guess, but I don’t go along with that saying, ‘The only known cure for love is marriage.’ I think that getting laid repeatedly will do the job too!

“Uh, I don’t suppose that you want to tell me any of the details? No. I didn’t think so. Right. Well, come to think on it, maybe it’s best that you don’t tell me because it’s been so long for me that if you did I might be tempted to chuck all this right now and go on a get-picked-up-and-get-laid-at-all-costs pub-crawl.

“Oh, Debra. Before you go back to your desk I want to tell you that I’m going to write down ‘two hours’ on your ‘absent with permission’ log. Well now, to get back down to earth and to mundane matters, please take this folder with you. Inside it you’ll find, spelled out, what I want you to get started on from five o’clock to six o’clock tonight. I guess that you’ll have to call home but I suggest that before you do you wait until your feelings get back to near normal. And don’t even think of using Skype.”

 John had no way of knowing that Debra was being ‘kept behind after school’ and he knew that she always caught the five-thirty-five home so – not wanting to see her until their next tryst because he didn’t trust himself to not show his love for her and, also, because he didn’t want to be caught out in a lie – he stayed at his desk until six-thirty and then he was lucky with the interconnecting Path train and so he got to the train station in plenty of time to catch the seven-ten.

He walked up the platform, the train was there but they hadn’t opened the doors yet, and just after he’d passed one of the stanchions he heard someone call his name. He turned and found that Debra had evidently been leaning against the far side of it.

Their bodies sent out welcoming signals and she went along more than willingly when he guided her into a little alley that was just off the platform.

She leaned against the wall and he closed with and they forgot everything but their closeness.

Luckily the alarm that precedes the opening of the train doors is very loud and so it got through to them easily and he stepped back but she closed with him again and gave him a final kiss that demonstrated her need for him so well that it made his knees shake.

They were both, of course, well aware of the danger of being seen together and so he said, when they’d climbed up the steps of the carriage, “I’m going this way,” as he turned towards the rear of the train and she nodded in understanding and went forwards.

The turmoil inside her didn’t ease much until they were halfway home and it didn’t subside completely until about two stops before they got to Westdale.

When they’d gotten off the train he didn’t so much as look in her direction and he sat on a bench in front of the station until she’d had plenty of time to get all the way home.

 Her husband had made dinner, as was usual, and she only had to greet everybody and then go and wash up – and apply a lot of deodorant and a little cologne – and get changed and when she came back downstairs he’d already served it out to the kids and they all went through their regular give and take as they ate.

When they’d had dessert and coffee Jonathon took himself off to his study and he closed the door firmly to tell the world that he’d done all that he was going to do for anyone for the rest of the day and she, without the slightest rancor for once, cleared the table and dealt with the leftovers and washed the dishes and put them away and then she gave her full attention to the kids until they were both in bed with washed teeth and had been read to and kissed and bedded down.

She watched a little TV but didn’t register much of it because her body kept sending up paeans of praise and each time that it happened she’d hug herself with glee at having found her soul mate but ten seconds later she’d go back to wondering what would happen if Jonathon was feeling horny when he came to their bed after listening to Leno – it was a Friday – and then to what passed for a monologue from the crazed Scot. She was still nearly brimming over with residual passion and she feared that a touch from him would make it spill over and make it obvious to him that something – uh – untoward had happened to her.

She decided to have some vodka to help her to get to sleep quickly when she went up after the eleven o’clock news – in the hope that he wouldn’t need to ‘have some’ as he always euphemized his need to have sex because he’d never found a comfortable way to verbalize it in a less awkward way – badly enough to wake her up to do her duty by him.

It was not to be.

When his hand squeezed her upper breast to wake her up she dutifully turned onto her back and opened up her nightgown and then lifted her bottom so that, per established routine, he could slip her panties off. She then she opened her legs for him but she stayed inert until she was made aware, unmistakably, that his feeling her up had had its desired effect – she’d waited because several times in the last few weeks, for the first times in their entire marriage, none of his trusted delvings and mouthings had done their job and he’d simply turned away after a while which had puzzled her a great deal and she had no way of knowing that this time he’d swallowed a blue pill a half hour earlier. As he was climbing onto her she worried for a second whether her hand would refuse to guide him in because, she figured, it might well have changed its allegiance and so, because she knew that she couldn’t let that happen – he was the father of her darling kids, for crisake – in the free half minute that she knew was coming to her – another of their usual routines was for him to do some frotting as he hovered over her and then he’d take his hand away and let her have a turn at it, which she liked doing but, of course, with much more delicacy and precision than he could achieve, before using that same hand to guide him in – she concentrated on trying to commit double treason by convincing her body that it was her new lover and not her old one who was about to enter it.

It worked well and her body responded with all-out enthusiasm – maybe because of her psychology 101 reasoning but, and much more likely, because of having been primed so well at noon – and she had to use all of the restraint that she could muster in an attempt to allay his suspicion but, even so, she gave who ever it was who owned the marvelous instrument that was probing at her a memorable ride.

Towards the end, as always, they both started letting out groans and moans and, of course, desperate pleas for it to end as soon as possible. His were addressed to “Debbie” – which, he’d already noted was acceptable to either and both of them and he’d practiced saying it multiple times – but she made the huge mistake of wanting to shout out, “Yes, yes! Give it to me John darling. Give it – etc.” and she was only saved from disaster because in that same second, knowing that he was about to lose control to Nature, he wanted to bury his tongue in her mouth so as to achieve a more perfect one-ness with her, and, consequently, all that was allowed to come out of her mouth was, “Yes, yes! Give it to me Jommmmm.”

Jonathon, of course, never knew how nearly his life had come to being drastically changed forever but, in the very second that she was rescued by his muffling tongue, she recognized her error and it shocked her all the way back down to earth from Nirvana – she had no doubt at all that she’d never forget how sobering it had been – and from then on, and even through his final few battering strokes when he most liked to be given her full cooperation, she found that she could only lie still and let him get on with it.

 She knew how close she’d come to losing everything through her stupidity and so when he’d finished, and she’d rolled him off her after what she considered to be a fair amount of wallowing, she forced herself to get on with her wifely clean-up duties but she promised herself that after that she’d give herself some time alone downstairs where she could find much needed relief by shedding some tears and by using some choice four letter words that would be, for the most part, directed at herself and by getting a little help from the vodka bottle.

When she’d done all three she replayed the perilously dangerous episode in her mind and it made her do some more shaking but, when she’d calmed a little and had refilled her glass, she concentrated on finding a solution that would be, necessarily, fool-proof and, being a realist, one that she could put into effect automatically because she knew that the whole scenario could well be – in fact almost certainly would be – repeated, exactly, when she came home from work on the seven-twenty train the next Monday night.

 As she was trying to think up something, on her living room couch, across the road John was preparing to do the same thing except that he couldn’t give it his full consideration just then because he was in bed with Deborah and she liked him to turn with her, after he’d transferred his semen into her care and after she’d had time to properly absorb it into her system, and let her lie full on him and keep her in position by holding both of her buttocks until she went to sleep. He couldn’t get started on thinking up a good, fool-proof plan as yet because the process wasn’t complete in that she was still murmuring to him how much she loved him and what a wonderful and skillful lover he was.

When she, Deborah, had come to bed – full of trepidation with what might happen if he caught a sniff of some inerasable remnants of what a rival male had left on her or inside her – to let him have some sex as per his standing orders, he was able to service her only because he’d taken a blue pill a half hour earlier. It had been the first time that he’d resorted to pharmaceutical help but he’d wanted to allay his wife’s possible misgivings, and its main purpose had been achieved but it couldn’t help with restoring his supply of semen and, because there’s no known way for a man to fake-it when he’s doing it with a bed partner of long standing, he’d had to bang away at Deborah for what was, in real time, only a bit longer than ten minutes but what had seemed to him to be ten hours due to his not having any natural drive to speak of and because his sperm producing factory was almost completely out of stock due to the way that it had been over-worked cruelly that afternoon and was evidently loathe to call its workers back to do another shift at double pay.

She, however, had loved every second of those ten minutes because from the moment that he’d entered her she’d been flooded with banked up, residual sensuality and so instead of hoping that it would be over soon she didn’t want it to stop, ever, and so she’d opened herself up for him and had let her body respond as it wished and due to the accumulative effect and to the extraordinarily long time that it took him to finish she achieved heights that she’d never before imagined. He, hardly aware of what was happening to her because he had to concentrate on keeping on station and seeing to it that uninterrupted signals kept on coming at him, simply kept plugging on.

 During the first week – when they were all having get-togethers with their new lovers that primed the women but depleted the men – both men came to realize that the potentially dangerous problem with improper identification of their current partners, under stress, could be solved satisfactorily by simply getting into the habit of calling the woman they were horizontal with, “Debbie,” or, “Debbie dear,” or, “Debbie, darling,” at all times.

 Similarly for the women – Deborah got to realize that she’d be able to handle her problem by getting used to calling out “Johndear,” or “Johndarling,” to which ever man was with her between the sheets but Debra had to do a lot of practicing, ‘cold practicing,’ before she became reasonably certain that the only names that she’d use when she was merely obliging either one of them by staying still and when she was wanting him to pound her out of her senses, were, “Jondear,” or, “Jondarling.”

Both women hoped fervently that the owners of the two names couldn’t distinguish the nuance that was present when “Johndear” or “Jondear” was being shouted into their ears but, due to having lived with their names all of their lives, that was not true except, mercifully, when both men’s sense of hearing had been given temporary leave of absence to allow his other senses room to expand and thus augment incoming pleasure signals.

Which means, when you come to think about it, that neither lady will feel truly secure until she is no longer driven by so much passion that it makes her want to abandon restraint enough to urge on the guy who’s with her but, all the while, never daring to not stay aware enough to be sure that she’s generating enough pleasure to keep him transported, just in case.

In other words, to be able to share their love fully all four of them will have to wait until the bloom has worn off and indifference has seeped in enough to let the two women treat their lovers the same way that they treat their husbands.

None of them were looking for more of the same but they’d have to settle for it.