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Her mother had been remarkably calm when Joe brought Chris home that afternoon. Her dad was at the country club. A fact that her mother encouraged her to take advantage of in allowing her to meet the "gentleman in question".
Her mother didn't ask where Chris spent the night and Chris didn't offer that bit of information. Fortunately, Joe did have a turtleneck that covered the one hickey on her neck that a regular shirt showed. So as far as any physical evidence went, they were good. She was long past the age where her mom walked in on her in the bathroom or anything.
Chris and Joe both knew that her mother knew and was just not saying anything. She'd even served Joe a cup of coffee when he'd mentioned smelling it when they'd gotten there. Chris' mom was as mindful of the time as Chris; both knew what time her father would be home from the club.
"You two just need to be more careful in the future," her mother said on her way back to the kitchen to see about dinner.
"Mom. We went to a baseball game. How could we know Dad was going to be there?"
"I think it was the shock of seeing you kiss him in front of his friends, honey. That's all."
"So, what I can't ever kiss him in public in case Dad or one of his friends might see me?"
"Well, of course not. That's not what I'm saying. Just be mindful, is all, that you just never know who might see you."
"I assure you, Mrs. Parker, I have no intention on causing bad feelings."
"Nonsense. It's not your fault my husband judges people based on things they have no control over. You're black. A young man that could have made partner at your father's firm very easily was passed over because he was Baptist." She shrugged.
"It's true. He'd never tell anyone that was the reason, but as his wife I know it. I can't change his mind on these types of things, Christine. You know it as well as I do. All I can suggest is don't flaunt it, but don't lie to me either."
"I won't! I didn't! I told you I was going to the ballgame."
"You didn't tell me who you were going with."
"You didn't know him."
"Now I do, and while I don't expect an itinerary of your exact whereabouts and plans, I do expect you to abide by the rules that have always been in place up until last night."
"If you're late once in a while, I understand. City traffic can be awful."
"And no more talk of not going to college in the fall. Your father will send you to Stanford or Harvard if you insist on fighting him on the issue. Especially if he thinks it'll get you away from influences he'd rather you not be near."
"I'll pick one this week. I was looking at Southern Illinois."
"Pick a couple and we can visit campuses over the next couple of weeks. Now, you say good night to your guest, Christine, and then come talk to me in the kitchen."
"Okay," Chris said, suspecting what that conversation was going to entail.
She walked Joe to the door, holding his hand.
"That went much better than I expected," Joe said when she'd closed the front door behind them.
"I know. She's not so bad. Don't ever tell my dad this, but she dated someone in college before they met that she's sure he'd divorce her over if he found out."
Joe chuckled as they walked to his car on the street in front of her house. "Good for her."
"I don't think he was black."
"Doesn't have to be," he shrugged. "Clearly your father has a very narrow view of life and the people who are worthy of his time. I don't fall in those specifications so I need to act carefully. I get it."
"At least Mom's not going to be bad about it."
"At least there's that. Southern Illinois? Isn't that all the way down in Carbondale?"
"That's like a seven hour drive."
"Well, there are others."
"No, no, you choose where you want to go. I was just making sure I had the right school."
"What are you going to study anyway?"
"Honestly? I've been thinking about nursing or teaching."
"I could see both very easily."
"Yeah," she said, grazing his lip with her thumb. "Especially if you keep getting beat up."
"My own private nurse. I like that idea."
"So, no more overnights."
"I don't think Mom will be that lenient."
"She let me leave without demanding I marry you or arresting me, so I'd say we're okay for now."
"Yeah. I'm sure she'll make my dad think I stayed with Brenda."
"I'm sure. That's okay. It can be our secret. And as we proved this morning, daytime works just fine for things, too."
She blushed profusely, ducking her head to hide it from him. He laughed, knowing what she was doing.
"So, you know where we live now."
"I do at that. You'll let me know when it's safe to pick you up; otherwise I suspect we'll be meeting elsewhere."
"I know, but at least you know."
"I do, and it's pretty much what I pictured, too."
"Yeah. I had you pegged pretty well that night. Wrong about some things, but the important stuff I was right on."
"I think so." He leaned in to kiss her. "Call me before you go to bed."
He got in his car then and she watched as he drove away, dreading "the talk" with her mother. She had a pretty decent relationship with her mom. They had their share of arguments and there were times Chris thought her mom was completely clueless, but more often than not her mom came through for her. Like today. And they did things together that Chris loved like going to museums and stuff downtown.
"You like him," her mother said as she chopped vegetables for the salad. Chris took over that chore so her mom could work on other stuff for dinner.
"I can tell."
"You don't have that deer-in-the-headlights look I saw whenever that Mike Toddwell was around."
"It's true. He was too smooth for his own good."
"Why didn't you say something?"
"And you would have listened?"
"Some things we ladies have to learn on our own as difficult as they are."
"If I ever see him again it will be too soon."
"You're better off without him. Your father said he's taken up with Sesame?"
"Who hasn't she taken up with, so don't take it as an affront, dear."
"What? I hear things. She has a bad reputation. I was just glad your name hasn't been mentioned in the same league as hers and those like her."
"Well, no. I'm not like that."
"That's good to know."
"Thanks, I think," Chris said.
"It will take a while for your father to get used to this situation."
"I know. Joe knows he can't pick me up or anything."
"He seems smart."
"Yeah," Chris said, not really having thought of it that way. He was definitely wise, knew things Chris couldn't even begin to imagine.
"He has a home?"
"Of course. He doesn't live in a box."
"I meant a home. A real home like we have. There is a difference."
"Yes. It's old, but it's nice and he works on it. He wants to restore the fixtures and stuff to the original time period."
"A project to keep him busy."
"And to use as an excuse for you to spend a lot of your time there."
"What does he do?"
"He's in between jobs right now. He works with cars."
"Is he good at what he does?"
"Then hopefully he'll find something soon. How did you two meet?"
"When I was out one night with some friends a few months ago."
"I want you to go see Dr. Martz."
"You still have a few months before college. I want to be sure nothing stops you from going."
"Nothing's going to stop me from going, Mom. I told you I'd pick one this week."
"A baby could stop you."
"Don't Mom me," she said, walking to her. She drew the collar of the turtleneck away, grazing the hidden hickey with her fingernail. "I wasn't born yesterday, you know. Why do you think Cecily Adams hasn't been in school this semester?"
"Cecily? Really? I didn't know and I didn't think you were."
"So, you will see Dr. Martz just to be safe. It's about time you had an exam anyway."
"Okay," Chris said, realizing her mom was right. She trusted Joe knew what he was doing when he pulled out, but knew it wasn't reliable.
"I only want the best for you, Christine."
"I know, Mom."
"Okay then. I'll call tomorrow. Whatever you do is between you and Dr. Martz. You're an adult; I can't dictate what you do or inquire as to what you talk about with her."
"All right. Your father should be home soon. You'd better go upstairs and change into something of yours. Make sure that stays covered."
"I love you. Your father loves you in his own way."
"I know. I love you, too."
"Just remember, I can't act as a go between or a buffer if I don't know what's going on."
"I will. I'm sorry."
"Dinner will be ready in about an hour."
Chris glanced at the clock. Dinner was always at six o'clock on Sunday's in the dining room with the good china. Company or just the three of them, it didn't matter, it was just what the Parker's did.
She went upstairs to shower and change. Birth control. That was what her mother was talking about. The pill. Chris wasn't sure how she felt about that. She never imagined even needing it. Her mom must know her pretty well to know Chris needed it now with Joe and hadn't with Mike or anyone she'd dated before now. Was it that obvious? She didn't know, but her mom evidently did. She was right, too. Her dad would come around to Joe if they lasted long enough for him to need to, but a baby without being married to him would be another thing entirely.
At school the next day she was faced with a predicament. What exactly did she tell Brenda? Well, she had to talk to someone about what she and her mom talked about. Her mom was making an appointment for her with her own doctor so she could go on birth control. It was weird and Brenda would probably be jealous in a way because her step-mom probably wouldn't stop to care if Brenda got pregnant.
That didn't stop Chris from telling Brenda everything about the weekend on the way to school, though.
"Oh my God, Chris. You did it."
"And with someone nice."
"I thought you didn't like him."
"I don't not like him. I don't know him. I just don't know how much of a future you can have with him."
"I don't either, but I can't help who I like."
"And maybe you would like to get to know him."
"What do you mean?"
"You could come with us to a movie or something."
"I don't want to be a third wheel."
"You're my best friend, Brenda. I promise you wouldn't be a third wheel."
"Just don't take me to see the movie you saw with him the first time."
Chris laughed. "No. Not likely."
"Good," Brenda said. "Though Mickey Rourke is kind of cute."
"He is," Chris admitted.
"So was it good?"
"As good as you thought it'd be?"
"And your mom knows."
"I guess. I'm not sure if she knows for sure or just suspects."
"Either way she's being pretty cool about it."
"I know. I couldn't believe it. I thought she was going to tell me I should wait for marriage or whatever."
"Your dad, though."
"Yeah, it'll take a while for him to come around. If he ever will."
"You think your mom will let him pick you up for prom?"
"I don't know. I hadn't even really thought about it. I bought the tickets back in January when I was dating Mike."
"You haven't asked him?"
"I'd ask your mom first because she'll want to take pictures and stuff."
"She'll need to make sure your dad is gone, too."
"I know that, too, I'm pretty sure it's a little too soon for Dad to see me with him again."
"I can't believe he saw you kiss him."
"I know. Talk about embarrassing. Jeez. It's bad enough he knows who I go out with."
"And you're really going to pick a college this week?"
"I have to. Mom's right. Dad's paying. If I don't choose one and he thinks sending me far away will keep me away from Joe then he'll choose for me."
"Southern is so far, though," Brenda said.
"Joe said the same thing."
"I do like him!"
Chris laughed. "It's only a few hours and he talked about paying for train tickets for me to come up for the weekend sometimes."
"To see him."
"Brenda. I could see you, too. Trains run from Oak Park to the city."
"Besides you'll be in college, too."
"Yeah, at Lake Forest."
"You're still not going to be living at home any more, Brenda. And it's a good school. It's not like your dad's sending you to some shitty college."
"But my dad and step-mom can come see me anytime."
"Do you really think they will?"
"Well, no," Brenda said.
"I may not go to Southern. I just know I don't want to go to U of I, which is my Dad's choice. I looked through some brochures last night. Aurora has a good nursing program."
"I think so. And Aurora is a smaller college, which is better for a major like that."
"That's not much farther than Lake Forest, if at all. Come on. It's not like we planned on going to the same college."
"I'm going to talk to Mom about my options when I get home."
"It's kind of scary, isn't it?"
"Yes," Chris admitted. That was probably part of the reason she hadn't wanted to think about college. She really didn't want to think about being a grown up, but clearly she had to be able to do something for a living.
"See you for lunch."
"Yeah," Chris said as they went their separate ways to their lockers.
Her mom must have pulled some strings or made Chris' need for birth control entirely more serious than it was because by Wednesday she'd seen Dr. Martz and was given a prescription for pills that she could pick up at Osco from now on. She heeded the doctor's instructions about when to start taking them and waiting a month before assuming she was protected. The nurse had given her a paper bag full of condoms, which embarrassed Chris to no end except clearly she was at the very least thinking about having sex or she wouldn't need the pill. It was just the fact it was her mom's doctor's office she supposed.
She and her mom were going to visit Aurora University's campus over the weekend. Chris knew someone from her high school who was going there now as it turned out, so the girl agreed to show them around. She wasn't going for nursing, so Chris doubted their paths would cross too much, but still knowing someone would be kind of nice.
There were a couple of other colleges she was looking at, but the more she thought on what she'd want to do with her life the more she settled on Aurora and nursing.
After the doctor's appointment, she drove to Joe's. She had to be home by ten o'clock since she had school the next day, but she'd still be able to see him for a few hours.
"What's this?" he asked when she handed the paper bag to him.
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you."
"Okay," he said, opening the sack. He looked inside and shook his head slightly before looking at her. "This your way of telling me there's a reason you're here tonight?"
"Maybe," she said with a smile.
"I'm ambitious, honey, but I don't think even we could go through this many in the next couple of hours."
"My doctor gave them to me."
"Yeah. After you left on Sunday, Mom told me she was making an appointment for me."
"I see. And they just hand out rubbers?"
"When you're there for birth control purposes."
"Ah," he said with a nod. "So no interracial grandbabies for your mom either."
"That's not it. I have college and stuff. It's going to be hard enough getting my dad to accept you. And is it such a bad thing that I'm protected?"
"I suppose not."
"Well, that depends, I guess."
"Oh what? I've always heard guys hate those things," she said, gesturing to the sack. "And I may be inexperienced but I know pulling out is not effective."
"No, you're right. I told you I'd buy some."
"I know. They gave them to me. I swear, I didn't ask."
"It's okay, baby, I don't care either way. Hell, I'd love it if you were assertive enough to put one on me."
"I'm not sure I'm there yet, but maybe. What does it depend on?"
"Well, we're talking just you and me, right?"
"Yeah. Why?" she asked with a frown.
"You're going to college in the fall. If you were looking to sleep around."
"No! That's not it at all. You know, I didn't have to tell you at all. I could have been on the pill and made you use those anyway."
"I know, but I just want to make sure we're on the same page."
"You said you don't cheat."
"And I don't. I won't, but you're also not my first so I understand there might be some curiosity there for you that isn't for me."
"I'm not curious."
"All right. Because there's worse things than getting pregnant."
"I know that. They warned me about them today, too."
"Good," he said.
"I'm sorry. Do I sound mad or ungrateful? I'd tell you to thank your mom, but I'm not sure that's appropriate."
"Probably not," she said with a laugh.
"So. I made some dinner, figuring you'd be here about now. You hungry?"
"Only a little?"
"Yeah. I was so nervous about that appointment I guess."
"I know. I just," she shrugged. "I don't know. It's so weird, having my mom make the appointment for me."
"Weird to some, not for you evidently. Sounds like your mom is just being realistic. Would you rather she tell you not to have sex with me?"
"Well, no, because I would anyway."
"She probably knows that."
He kissed her then, lifting her from where she was sitting next to him on the couch onto his lap.
"Want to have sex with me now?"
"You're not hungry?"
"My beautiful woman comes to my door with a bag full of goodies. Somehow my mind left dinner pretty much right away."
She laughed. "Men."
"Yeah, baby, one track mind. I did cook you dinner, though."
"I know. Thank you. We can eat later."
"Yeah," he said, working her shirt off.
"Shouldn't we go upstairs?"
"That's where the bed is."
He chuckled, kissing her neck before capturing her earlobe in between his teeth.
"I don't think I had the bed in mind just now."
"Chris, I live alone. We can stay here if we want. Not to mention, if I get you upstairs in my bed, I'm not going to want you to leave it again until you have to go home."
"That's bad?" she asked, working his shirt off.
"It is if I don't want you to think that all I have is getting into your pants on my mind."
"You wouldn't have cooked me dinner," she said.
He kissed her with a chuckle. She slid off his lap to stand so he could slide her jeans and panties off before he did the same.
"You want to try to put one on?"
"Really? I don't think."
"Why not? If it tears there's another one. You'll be touching me, doesn't matter what the reason."
"Put like that," she said, taking the packet from him. She followed his instructions, glad that he said the same thing the nurse had. He groaned softly as she touched him, and she did more than she had to because really unrolling the thing wasn't that difficult. She kissed his inner thigh before sliding onto his lap.
"You all right?" he asked when her breath hitched.
"Yeah. Just different like this."
"No," she said with a laugh as she took him deeper into her. "Just more."
"Yeah," he said. "I've heard that different positions can be pretty intense. You're in control like this, though, so just take as much or as little of me as you want."
His hands at her hips helped guide his thrusts as she took in his length. She sank onto him completely with a groan as he took a nipple into his mouth. And then she was in control of the pace, his hands at her hips were merely there to help not control. She liked that idea. Toyed with it, took him in deep and hard, which both of them seemed to like. Neither seemed to mind slow, though.
Eventually, they did eat the dinner he made. The rest of the night they spent watching TV and while they didn't have sex again she was pretty sure neither of them could commit to what they actually watched because they were far too busy with each other to notice.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com