To Those Who Wait Ch. 03

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Hello Readers! This is Part Three of a Three-Part story. All three parts are written and will be posted in order.

Chapter 3: The Good Things

The answer to Autumn’s question, as it turns out, was ‘as long as I wanted.’ I could stay in town as long as I wanted.

It turned out that the my alma mater housed the personal papers and sketches of one of the artists that was prominently featured in the museum where I worked. The archivists at the University had not yet had the chance to go through the documents and properly organize them. My boss had heard about this and, knowing where I went to school, offered to allow me to go out and sift through the documents. If we organized the documents, the University was willing to loan us any items we wanted from the collection. My boss had made this offer at the very height of my divorce, when the stress was the greatest. At the time, I had declined. I didn’t want to be back east and I didn’t want to give my husband the satisfaction of thinking he had chased me out.

But the morning after my first night with Autumn, I had immediately called back into work. I had only taken a week of leave off and I didn’t had any left after that. But I asked if I could stay in town in the deal with the University was still on the table. Suffice it to say that both my boss and the university were thrilled with the idea. And just like that, I had bought myself an indefinite stay with Autumn (and I do mean indefinite! The artist was a prolific sketcher, letter writer, diary writer, angry screed writer, and everything else! I had no idea what I was getting myself into, from a professional standpoint. Or, I guess, a personal standpoint).

A lot had happened that first day. I think that Lisa had expected me to be a little upset after she rejected me, and that morning she walked on eggshells. But, to be honest, I felt like a new woman. Completely transformed. I was even happy to see her husband (who was, I think, happy to see me). I surprised her again when I told her that afternoon that I would be temporarily relocating to town. And then I think I nearly dropped her on her ass when I actually took her up on her (merely polite) offer to save money by staying in the “rumpus” room indefinitely.

Though, if Lisa was concerned that I hadn’t given up on her or that I was planning on making some sort of big scene, I think I quickly put her at ease. I, obviously, never raised the issue again. I just sort of melded into the background of family life. I ate breakfast with Lisa and Ray nearly every weekday and most nights I had dinner with them. I was actually a little bit surprised by how easily I slipped back into my close friendship with Lisa. We talked and laughed and remembered old times.

But honestly, I spend very little time with the “old people.” In a lot of ways, it felt sort of like I had fallen back into college again. Every day I drove from Lisa’s house out to the University, what I called “class.” I went down into the basement of the library and sifted through documents while young students bustled about doing…whatever it was they were doing. But, much like in college, I had a lot of down time where there was no one watching me or making sure that I stayed on task.

And I spent all that extra time with Autumn. When we were at school together, well it was like having a college girlfriend. She would swing by the library with coffee and sandwiches at lunch and we would eat and talk and she would give me a kiss when she left. And when she was done with classes for the day, I would meet up with her and we’d go to a bar or a coffee shop with her friends. In the evenings, after dinner, I’d meet her downtown and we’d play pool, or go to a show, or sit around on campus and bullshit. And after Lisa and Ray were asleep, we’d come back home, pile into the rumpus room, and have sex. We planned day trips on the weekend and would end up having sex.

Okay, so we had a lot of sex. It as like dating in college again, what can I tell you? But it was amazing sex! By far, the best sex that I had ever had in my entire life. And I knew that Autumn was having a good time too. And, I mean, it wasn’t just sex! We had a lot of fun together. Walking through campus at night, holding hands. Eating greasy pizza at 3 a.m. to stave off a hangover. Creating inside jokes to the point that I could make her laugh just by making as specific look at her. I had never had a relationship like that in my life.

Though, I do admit, it felt strange to be ‘hiding’ the relationship. Autumn and I had mutually decided that we would be…discreet while we were at home. Neither one of us wanted to talk to Lisa about what was going on. I know that I felt guilty about it for so many different reasons that it was hard to pin them down. In fact, I essentially chose not to consciously think about those reasons, afraid of what I would uncover. Instead, I barely spoke to Autumn at home, because it always made my cheeks turn bright red and it tied my stomach into knots. ümraniye escort Still, it was tough to avoid saying to doing something that would raise unpleasant questions. Especially as Autumn and I grew closer and closer. Luckily, Lisa and Ray saw no particular reason for me and Autumn to be close, and I don’t think they notice anything.

Still, I think that we both felt relief at those times when, for one reason or another Lisa and Ray wouldn’t be out of town. Then we would draw the blinds, pop some popcorn and snuggle up n the couch. The upstairs couch. Like we were grown ups. And then we could go downstairs to my room at a decent hour and take our time, make as much noise as we wanted to make.

It was one of those nights, about two months after I’d moved in, that it happened.

Lisa and Ray were going to her mother’s place a couple of hours away, and they were going to to be gone all weekend. Autumn and I had been giddy with anticipation from the time we first heard about it. It was all I could do not to push the “old folks” out the door. When they left, I cooked dinner, we found some horror movie on Netflix and and then made out on the couch, like we were high school kids. I don’t even think we finished it before we ended up downstairs on my rickety pull out couch. And then we had sex.

Afterwards, we laid in the bed, my arm around Autumn’s shoulders. It was terribly hot in the room and we’d kicked all of the covers off onto the floor. Autumn was resting her head on my breast and running her fingers around my abdomen.

“Well, I don’t like basketball either,” I said, “but the school is good at it! I went to a couple of games when I was a student. The atmosphere is fun, even the game isn’t. Get nachos and stuff. You have to go once, just so that someday you can say you did it!” I said. Autumn giggled.

“I need something to say in case I need to bore a girl I tricked into bed someday?” she said.

“Bored? Tricked?” I said, reaching across my body and poking her rib, “And what other girls are you trying to get into bed right now anyway?” I asked. Autumn raised her eyebrows.

“I am literally getting propositions from cute girls all the time,” She said, wiggling away from my pointing finger.

“Cuter than me?” I asked, pouting cutely. Autumn rolled her eyes and responded dramatically.

“Oh my lover! That simply isn’t possible,” she said, shaking her head emphatically.

“Gross, lover,” I said in response and Autumn laughed.

“You brought this on yourself!” she said and now I laughed.

“I really did,” I said and kissed her forehead. And then I heard a creaking sound.

“Rays mom got food poisoning but didn’t call us to…Oh Holly! I didn’t know you had someone in here. Autumn! What the fuck is going on!” I could hear the words as Lisa walked into the room. I could sense the escalating realizations that hit her. That I had someone in my bed, that that someone was a woman, that that woman was her daughter. But the words sort of came to me as though they were from a great distance. I could hear my blood rushing in my ears, my heart fell into my stomach.

“Christ what am I doing?” I asked myself under my breath. It took, I don’t know, thirty seconds, for my brain to regain control of my body. I noticed that Autumn had jumped out of bed and was clumsily putting her t-shirt over her head. Lisa had closed the door behind her (I guess to keep Ray out) and she was running her hand through her hair. They were both saying…something, but it took me a minute to even be able to understand.

“We are, like, kind of in a relationship, mom,” I heard Autumn saying and Lisa tilted her head to the side and crossed her arms in front of her chest. I had never seen her so upset in my entire life.

“A relationship?” she asked.

“Yeah, we didn’t just like…fool around…We have kind of been dating. Tell her Holly,” Autumn said as she quickly slipped on her panties. She turned and looked at me, her cheeks a deep crimson,”Christ, Holly, cover up, this is bad enough!” I mechanically sat up on the bed, reached down onto the floor and found my sports bra and underwear. I slipped them on silently. I didn’t know what to say.

“A relationship, Holly?” Lisa said.

“Yeah,” Autumn said, sounding ever so slightly more comfortable now that everyone was clothed.

“I wasn’t talking to you Autumn, I was talking to Holly,” Lisa said. She wouldn’t even look at her daughter. She was staring at me intently. I took a deep breath. What could I do? I mean, I couldn’t lie. That would hurt Autumn too much.

“Yes, we have been seeing each other. And didn’t want to worry you about it,” I said. That was the partial truth, I supposed.

“So what, you are going on dates? Holding hands? Having sex?” Lisa asked and I winced.

“Jesus mom, we are both adults, this isn’t really any of your goddamn business!” Autumn shot back. Now, finally, Lisa turned to Autumn.

“Oh, it isn’t my business, Autumn?”

“No! pendik escort I mean we didn’t tell you because we didn’t want you to feel weird because she is your friend and I am your daughter. But we are both adults, so it really isn’t any concern of yours. You should turn around and leave,” Autumn said, growing angry now that the shock had worn off.

“Well Autumn,” And I knew what was coming next and I was powerless to stop it. The one thing I had been actively avoiding thinking about for the last two months, “Did you girlfriend Holly share with you that she and I used to sleep together in college?” There was complete silence for a long moment.

“What?” Autumn finally said, turning and looking at me, confused.

“Holly and I used to have sex before I started dating your father. Did she tell you that?” Lisa said bluntly.

“Holly?” Autumn asked.

“No,” I said after a long pause, I saw Autumn relax a bit, like I had denied her mother’s accusation, “No, I never told her about us,” I said, turning and looking at Lisa, the blood draining from my face. My fingers and toes felt cold.

“You had sex with…my mom?” Autumn said, and I saw her shiver.

“I am sorry, I…” I started, thankful to be looking away from Lisa.

“You’re sorry? You didn’t think that that was some information that I deserved to have before we had sex? Do you know how weird this makes me feel?” Autumn said, her anger returned and turned towards me. But Lisa hadn’t even turned the knife yet.

“Autumn, did your girlfriend tell you that on the first night she came here, she told me that she wanted me to leave with her? That she wanted me to divorce your father so that we could be together?” Lisa asked and my stomach lurched.

“What?” Autumn said and she ran her hands through her hair, “the first night you were here…the first night that we… Oh god, this is sick!” And Autumn got up from the bed and started moving out of the room, heading towards her own.

“What is this Holly?” Lisa asked, “You couldn’t convince me, so you thought you’d get the next best thing by sleeping with my daughter? She looks like me when we were in school, did you pretend it was me? Or is this some sort of sick way of getting back at me?” And as she finished speaking, Autumn slipped out the door behind her mother and slammed it behind herself.

Lisa was still talking. I could hear the anger and the hurt in the voice, knew that it was justified. From where she was sitting…well… But my eyes lingered on the closed door. I knew that Autumn had hung a hard left out of the door, walked down the hallway, and had taken another right into her bedroom. I knew she was in there, angry and embarrassed and confused.

I realized in that moment that I had somehow managed to screw up the only two solid relationships I had in my life. And I had managed to destroy both of them at the exact same time. Lisa was just a few moments away from kicking me out of her house, which was reasonable.

But as miserable as that realization was, I also saw something else. The humiliation and embarrassment allowed the gravity of what I had been doing for the last two months to really register for the first time. It burned away all of the silly deceptions I’d played on myself. I had been acting like child. And I could see, for the first time, what I was really doing and what I was really feeling. What I had learned in the last two months.

I wanted to explain it, to Autumn and Lisa. To lay it all out, all of the things I was thinking and all of the feelings that were directing me. I didn’t know if that would “work” or even what it would mean for it to work. I mean whether I could get them to forgive me…I mean that was totally out of my power. But I could be honest with myself, so that if this was the end, at least they would cut ties with me for what I had really done. Not for what they suspected.

The problem was that I couldn’t be in two places at once. I seriously doubted that I could convince Autumn and Lisa, angry and humiliated and embarrassed to look at one another, to be in the same room together. I could plead my case and explain myself. But to only one person. I had to choose. To stay in the rumpus room and speak with my oldest, most understanding friend. Or go to Autumn, and do something even harder.

“Are you even listening to me, Holly?” I heard Lisa ask angrily and I sort of returned to the moment. I looked into her brown eyes, seeing them hard and cold for the first time in my life. For everything that she had ever done for me, ever given me, I owed her my attention. And I owed her an explanation for my action.

“No,” I said simply. She wouldn’t get one.

“What?” Lisa asked, as though she had been struck. But I was already getting up off of the bed. I walked briskly across the room, almost jogging. Lisa’s brow furrowed and she sort of shook her head in disbelief. She didn’t try to stop me or even say anything else. I think she was bostancı escort a bit shocked I moved past her, careful not to even brush into her, opened the door and stepped out.

“Is everything okay in there? I heard…” It was Ray, standing at the foot of the stairs with a quizzical look on his face.

“Not fucking now, Ray,” I said. And I took a hard left and headed down the hallway. I could see the door to Autumn’s room was closed, but I grasped the handle, turned it (unlocked!) and stepped in. I saw Autumn laying on her bed, face down, the pillow over her head.

“Mom?” she asked in a muffled voice, “I am…so sorry. I am, like…”

“Not your mom,” I said, before I accidentally heard something that wasn’t met for me. Autumn sat up in an instant, the pillow flying across the room.

“What are you doing here? I didn’t invite you in here, get out!” she said, running her hands through her hair frantically. I lifted my hands.

“I know, I know. I am sorry. You have every right to be mad at me…” I started.

“I didn’t ask for your fucking blessing to be angry you…pervert,” She said. She pulled her blanket up off the bed and covered as much of her body as she could. I closed the door behind me.

“I am not a pervert,” I said and then blushed at the fact that I had to say that even once in my life in a serious conversation.

“You drove out from Washington to try to fuck my mom, and then when she wouldn’t do it, you saw that I looked like her and…Oh shit!” Autumn said, a disgusted look on her fact as the last two words came.

“What?” I asked sharply.

“You said I was your type! God that is so gross!” Autumn said. I shook my head and took half a step towards here. She recoiled and I stopped moving.

“Listen, Autumn… Listen,” I started.

“I don’t have to listen to you,” she asserted.

“You don’t” I admitted, “But I want you to, because…”

“You’ve done nothing but lie to me, why should I?”

“Damn it Autumn, I love you,” I said loudly, cutting her off. She looked at me for a long moment, then snorted derisively.

“Yeah,” she said. But she stopped talking. She was giving me a chance to explain. I knew I was threading a needle with a very small eye. I took a deep breath.

“I am going to be honest with you about everything even the things that are really uncomfortable. And I know that might not be enough. But I want you to unders…”

“Quit starting to say something just fucking say it,” Autumn ordered and I nodded.

“I came here after my divorce, exactly for the reasons your mom said. I had left a bad relationship and couldn’t remember any good ones. Except for your mom. We sort of…saw each other…”

“You slept with her. You fucked my mom,” Autumn said brutally. I had to meet the challenge of this, there was no sugar coating it. If I ever wanted credibility with her.

“Yes,” I said and Autumn shook her head, “And no. I mean, yes we slept with one another. But I never thought of it as fucking. It was nice…loving,” I explained, thinking back one last time on those memories from 1997.

“I don’t need the details of the times you made love to my mom, or whatever you thought about it as,” Autumn said, pulling the blankets around herself more tightly.

“I am not trying to do that. I am trying to explain why I was here for your mother,” I explained, “I thought back on all the relationships I had, and the best experience I had ever had was when I was with her. It was the only time that I felt respected. That I had fun. And I thought that maybe she felt the same way. And why should we be unhappy apart, when we could be happy together?

“But she didn’t feel the same way. She wasn’t unhappy. She didn’t even think of what we’d had back in school as a relationship. Just having fun. And that hurt. And it was embarrassing. And while I was wallowing in that, you walked into the room.”

“And you thought, ‘well, I can’t have her, so I will have the next best thing.'”

“No!”

“Oh, so you thought ‘even better, the younger model! She looks just like Lisa did when we were in school!'” Autumn said and I didn’t deny it as quickly. That was pretty close to the mark, “So that’s what I am? My mom at 21? And you think that’s love?”

“No,” I said, finally, shaking my head, “Look, I could lie to you and say I didn’t notice how much you looked like your mom or that that thought never crossed my mind. But we would both know that wasn’t true. I mean, I think I started to mention it at the time and you stopped me. So I won’t bullshit you.

“But I didn’t have any intention of sleeping with you that first night. I didn’t even really want to come out. You convinced me…”

“This whole mess is not my fault, Holly. I didn’t like…seduce you against your will or something,” Autumn said and I shook my head.

“I am not saying that,” I said, “I am saying that…I didn’t plan any of this. I didn’t go ou and try to seduce you. I wasn’t trying to lie to you. We went out. We had a good time. We clicked. Like…really, really clicked. And then we had sex. And then, even if I had wanted to, I couldn’t have told you about me and Lis…your mother. Because then…then all of this would have happened.”

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