Please read the introduction. It may matter to you.
This is not a stroke story.
It's an emotionally painful romance.
The only sex that approaches explicit is phone sex.
The non-explicit sex is remembered and includes sibling i****t with love and father-teen daughter ****.
This story was written before Sisboomba shared her story on the story forum. It's close enough to her story that I asked and recieved her permission to share it.
How I Found Hope:
My life was lonely but safe. The safe was important to me. Especially with women.
I was only window shopping Tuesday morning when I saw it. I'd been single for a long time and intended to stay that way.
The ad on the bulletin board outside the co-op read:
SWF seeks housemate. Must be
patient & kind and willing to be a
father figure for my daughters & son.
Everything else is negotiable.
Leave a message @ xxx-xxxx
My first reaction was a sad chuckle. Single mothers with k**s are at a serious disadvantage. Not many guys are looking for an instant f****y. I sure as hell wasn't.
My second reaction was to notice every mom with k**s in the co-op. Her ad left me hoping that each one of them had a patient and kind man in their lives. Anyway, it was when I was leaving the co-op that the insanity hit me like a stroke. (Maybe it was a stroke, most of my brain definitely stopped functioning and I'm still not sure how much I've recovered.) So I wrote down her phone number. Just in case.
About five hours later, there was no doubt that I was losing it. I left her this message:
I saw your ad for a housemate. I'm
pretty sure that at fifty I'm older
than you have in mind. Unless you're
just looking for a decent man to
become a small part of your f****y
life. My number's xxx-xxxx. Just in
I was calling myself a fool and an idiot and fervently hoping that she wouldn't call when I logged onto XNXX that evening. I was looking for a sexy romance, they're so much less trouble to read than a real one is to live. Believe me, I know.
I was most of the way through an exellent story ("ELLEN") and deeply immersed in it when the phone rang. My "Hello" was answered by an unfamiliar woman's voice. I suddenly and completely forgot the story.
"Hi, are you the man that answered my ad for a housemate today?"
"I left a message but I didn't really expect you to call, I thought..."
"That you're too old? You're older than I had in mind but when you said 'Just in case.' it made me hesitate. So I replayed your message and thought about it. You sound like a good and caring person and if you're offering to be our friend, the k**s and I can use all the friends we can get. My...our lives have pretty much been hell for way too long. My name's Hope....Are you still there?"
God but she talked a lot.
"I'm still here. My name's Don and I've been lonely too long. Every since the ex left, I've pretty much kept to myself. I have to admit that being friends sounds a lot less scary than being housemates."
I still don't know why I opened up so instantly and completely. Maybe because she sounded like a fighter with a good heart. Maybe saying they'd been through hell had something to do with it. Or maybe it was just the result of my suspected stroke. Now it was my turn, "Hope, are you still there?"
"I was just trying to think. I need to tell you a little bit about our troubles. Kind of a warning. We've got some emotional issues. Two men got in serious trouble. I've been telling myself that the worst is over but the scars are pretty deep. I'm still trying to pick up the pieces. Hello?"
"Sorry, you shook loose a few memories. I've got some issues too. I'm not so good at trusting. When the ex left, I kind of fell apart. Pretty bad. What I miss most is being needed. I've just been taking up space for an awful long time now."
Then she started laughing. Hysterically. I was thinking about hanging up when she started squeaking out "I'm sorry" over and over. It took her at least a minute before she could talk. I didn't say a word.
"I'm so sorry. I wasn't laughing at you. It was just that when you said that you miss being needed, I thought that we are just about as needy as you can get and still have hope..."
She was so quiet that it took me a few moments to realize that she was very softly crying.
"Please don't cry. I know I'm not what you..."
"Thank you. I thought you'd hung up when I couldn't stop laughing. It only occured to me when I said 'hope.' My own name's become a curse. It's gotten so hard to even think about hope, let alone feel it. If you really want to be needed, you're talking to the right person."
"It'd feel good to feel needed again. It sounds like we're both walking wounded. Maybe we can understand and encourage each other a little."
"That sounds good. Thanks Don. God, it's getting late already. Would it be okay to call you again tomorrow night?"
"I can't think of anything I'd like better." And I really couldn't. It made me feel kind of pitiful.
"Thanks. I like how you said that. I'll talk to you then."
So we said our goodnights and hung up.
Wow. I felt almost like I was in love. It was like I was her dad. If she hooked up with a loser for a housemate, I'd want to kill him. If she found a good one, I still might want to kill him. And I didn't even know how old her k**s were.
As I sat there and thought about Hope, it seemed kind of odd that she'd be surprised at how late it was. We'd only talked for about five minutes. Then it dawned on me that it was probably because I wasn't going to hear from her again. I was sort of relieved. It'd hurt a lot when the ex left and it still did, even after all these years. I didn't know if I was hoping that she'd call or hoping she that wouldn't call.
Her First "Hard Thing:"
By Wednesday night I'd convinced myself that she wouldn't call and that I'd be better off if she didn't. I reasoned that my life wouldn't get all shook up and stressful. I could stay relaxed and safe. The word "unfulfilled" stayed completely out of my mind. I didn't answer the phone until the third ring and my voice might've wavered a little when I said, "Hello."
"Thank you for answering. I didn't think you would. I was so sure that I almost didn't call. I know that you need to know at least the basics of our troubles. I'm hoping that we can mostly talk about easier things for a while and get to my hard things a little at a time. It isn't easy for me to talk about the hard things. I get pretty nervous and it always makes me talk too much. I'm trying to relax but it's not easy right now....Don?" She didn't sound nervous, she sounded terrified.
"It's okay, I think I understand. If it'll help, try to pretend that I'm holding you and gently stroking your hair."
She was quiet for a little while and then said, "Thank you, that was nice." After another long pause she went on, "The k**s and I are sort of alone in the world. I'm 32 and we just moved here last year. My parents are out of the picture and it's pretty much just me and them."
"How old are they?"
"Lisa's 17, Christine's 15, and the twins, Sarah & Peter are 13."
"I guess I can understand why it's so hard, single with four..."
"No, that's not it. The k**s and I have problems but they're good k**s and they take care of me nearly as much as I take care of them. Can you take a turn talking for a little while now? Please?"
"Sure, my story's pretty simple. After the ex left, my son moved away, and I'm not very good at keeping in touch. I've got a few good friends that I see from time to time when they need a hand. I get a small disability pension and my needs are modest. I probably shouldn't say this but I grow a little pot too."
She laughed again but this time it was a gentle relaxed laugh. It made me glad that I'd mentioned the pot.
"You don't sound like a pot grower." Another pause, then she really surprised me, "I kind of need to ask. Can you tell me about yourself...sexually?"
It was one of those rare moments when the perfect thing to say just fell out of my mouth.
"I'm pretty self-sufficient."
It took her a little while to respond but I was proud of my answer and just waited.
"That's more reassuring to me than you can imagine." Another pause, pretty long this time. "Lisa's dad ****d me."
As gently as I could I said, "I'm really sorry."
In a strangled rush she said, "I'll call again tomorrow." And she turned off her phone before I could even open my mouth.
I was beginning to understand why she said she'd gone through hell for way too long. I'd also figured out that I was hooked and wanted to talk to her again. Like I'd told her, I needed to be needed. And she needed a friend.
Trust gets Shattered:
I felt really good Thursday, full of anticipation. Until she didn't call.
Friday I went to the co-op again. Mostly to look at her housemate ad. It was gone. For the second time I thought she probably was too. By the time I went to bed I was sure that she was gone and that made it my turn to quietly cry. I couldn't stop. My eyes leaked until I thought they'd never stop. The pillow was wringing wet when the phone rang. I only answered it to wish her well as we said goodbye. I could barely croak when I tried to say "Hello."
She sounded even worse than I felt.
"Thank you for answering." A tiny sniff. "I'm sorry I couldn't call last night. I tried to but I just couldn't. I started thinking about the hard things. Don, do you think you could talk about holding me and touching my hair again? Please?" Then she started to really cry.
My heart melted. She was in worse shape than than I'd realized. "I can try. Do you have a pillow or something to hug?"
Another sniff, "I've been hugging my 'Scruffy Bear' for over an hour."
"Okay, scoot over a little so I can sit beside you. Now lay your head on my shoulder. Tell me if I'm squeezing your shoulder too tight. Your hair is so soft. Your cheek is so smooth. You can put your arms around me if you want to. It's alright. I won't leave you. I'll be here as long as you need me to. Your hair smells so good. You feel warm and nice. I could hold you like this forever. I want to hold you like this forever. God you feel good." I went on for quite a while before she finally managed to settle down and relax.
"Thank you. You'll can't possibly know how good you make me feel when you do that. I do pretty well during the day. It's at night, after the k**s are in bed, that I get lonesome and afraid. I get so scared that I have to curl up and close my eyes and just hide inside my head. I just lose control when I think about the hard things at night."
She lost it again and I gave her another long distance hug, comforting her and gently smoothing her hair back and telling her that I wanted to hold her like that forever. I was starting to get better at giving phone hugs and I knew how much she needed them. God, it felt good to feel needed again. She didn't know it but the phone hugs were as important to me as they were to her. Then she ruined it.
She said, "Thank you. I really am a lot better during the day, pretty close to normal I think. I could even meet you somewhere during the day. If you want to."
It caught me completely off guard.
"Don, are you there?"
"Yeah." I barely got any sound out, I didn't know if she even heard me.
"What happened? Was it something I said?"
"Sort of. It kind of caught me by surprise." I could barely talk.
She figured it out before I could explain myself.
"It's okay Don. I don't need to meet you. All I really need is to talk to you and let you talk to me like you're holding me. So I can pretend I'm okay and not afraid and not alone. I really don't need to meet you, at least not any time soon. Please talk to me." She was really sounding desperate and I had to try to explain myself.
"I'll be okay. I'm okay. It was just a shock. I didn't even realize it but now I'm not sure I'm ready to meet you." She'd started to quietly cry again.
"Can you tell me why?"
"I've got this picture of you in my mind and it's perfect. You're not so pretty that I'm afraid you'll leave me. And not so plain that I'll want to leave. And I'm not sure there's anything in between. If you're attractive, I won't be able to trust you. Do you understand?"
"It crushed you when your wife left you."
"Yeah. More than I realized. Until just now. A lot more. It's kind of a shock."
"You really care about me don't you?" It was barely louder than a whisper.
"Yeah. More than I want to. More than I should. I think that's why meeting you scares the hell out of me."
"Can I call you again tomorrow night?"
"I'll be miserable if you don't."
"Don, sometimes you say exactly what I need to hear. I've been thinking. If it's okay with you I'd like to try to tell you a secret instead of saying goodnight."
"Does that mean I should say goodnight now?"
"Yes, if you're ready, I think I am."
"I miss you already. Goodnight."
"My dad ****d me, he's Lisa's dad too." Then she was gone again. And I couldn't have talked anytime soon anyway.
I was still upset Saturday morning. I thought she probably was too. I was pretty sure that she'd call but I didn't know when. I sure didn't expect it to be in the middle of the day.
"This is a nice surprise, I didn't expect you to call until tonight."
"I was just hoping to talk a little during the day. When I'm not such a mess. I wanted to show you that I really am better during the day. Can you talk for a little while?"
"I can talk for as long as you want, but I've got to warn you, I'm just as screwed up during the day as I am at night."
"It's okay, I just called to talk a little, that's all I'll ever really need."
"Hope, can I ask you a question? It's kind of important to me."
It was a few seconds before she answered, "I can't talk about some things. Not even during the day."
"You weren't really looking for a housemate when you put your ad on the bulletin board were you?"
I started to panic when she hesitated again.
"I told myself I was. But you're right, inside I knew better. I'm not even ready for a real boyfriend. I just needed to find someone that could care about me. And the k**s."
After a few moments she went on, "I only got two other calls before yours. They were both looking for bedmates. I took the ad down Wednesday morning."
"I'm glad. Do you feel okay talking about what's going on in your lives right now?"
"There are still some things happening that hurt. But they're getting settled and slowly moving into our past."
"If it's okay to ask, how are you doing financially?"
"I'm pretty self-sufficient."
If my mouth had been full, I would have sprayed it all over. I think I giggled.
"That's about a perfect answer. Exactly what I hoped to hear and a payback too."
"Aren't you going to ask me how I make a living and take care of the k**s too?"
"I was wondering."
"Brace yourself, this may be a little shocking."
"I get a little c***d support, I sell stuff on the internet, and I work as a surrogate mother."
She was right, I was shocked.
"Are you working now?"
"I'm almost seven months along....and I'm getting a substantial bonus for twins.....are you okay with that?"
"I'm okay with it but I've got to tell you that it turns me on. Are you okay with that?"
Now she took a turn giggling.
"Aren't you going to ask me what I sell on the internet?"
"The surrogate mother business kind of distracted me. What do you sell?"
I was nearly speechless. The term "pregnant pause" exploded in my head. I wasn't far from another explosion about three feet below that one. "You've got my attention now, Mr. Happy's waking up too."
She giggled again, "I was pretty sure that if pregnant got to you then breast milk would too...Don, I'm not frigid, I just can't trust men, at least not anytime soon. If you want to touch yourself, it would turn me on too."
"Hope, this is going to be over way too quick for you."
"All I need is for you to talk, sort of like when you hold me at night."
So I told her exactly what I was doing until I made my mess. Then I started telling her what I'd be doing for her, if I was with her. It didn't take her very long to get just a little noisy. When she quieted down, I gave her a long, slow phone hug, this time with kisses. Then she ruined it again.
Very quietly she said, "I love you."
It felt exactly like the day before. And she figured it out in about three seconds.
In exactly the same quiet voice, "I really wish I hadn't said that."
"I love you too." It was all I could do to f***e the words out. They scared me shitless.
"Thank you" Then she laughed. "I've got a mess to clean up. Can I call you again tonight? It means a lot to me."
"I missed you when you didn't."
There was a little pause and then in a rush, like before, she said, "Dad's still in prison and I'm still glad."
And she was gone again. I just hoped that it was her last secret.
When the phone rang Saturday night, I'd been thinking a lot.
"I'm laying on my bed naked and my breast pump just broke. What should I do?"
I was so screwed and I knew it instantly. My head was full of mixed up feelings and there was no way I could be what she needed right now. So I did what I'm good at. I bent over and stuck my foot in my mouth, right up to the knee.
"Hope, I need to talk a little first."
After a long pause it was my turn to say: "I really wish I hadn't said that."
After a heart stopping moment she started laughing. And I started to breath again.
"I think I can meet you if you can be patient and help me work up to it....If you still want to. I've sort of got a plan."
"Okay, I lied. The breast pump is fine, let me hook it up and I'll call you right back."
Fifteen long minutes later the phone rang.
"I got what I deserved for lying. The damned breast pump really is broken now. Can you tell me about your plan?"
"If you can tell me what you look like I think it will help."
"I can try but it might make it easier if you can tell me what you want me to look like."
"Mostly, I just hope you're kind of average. And you aren't real heavy." I almost said "Oh shit" out loud. If she thought she was even a little overweight, I'd really stepped in it.
"I'll start with the worst. My chest is about normal for a woman that's been lactating for fifteen years. They're big. And I'm about as heavy as the average woman that's seven months pregnant with twins. Otherwise, I'm not really fat or skinny, so I think that's good. I'm a little short so my breasts look bigger than they are. I've thought about getting them reduced and I still might. I think you could call me pretty average if I do. I've got brown hair and brown eyes.
"The thing about me that's screwed up is the me that's inside. I'm not k**ding. I may never be able to be alone with a man. I get panic attacks. I think I'll get better, but I'm not yet. That's why the phone is such a big deal to me. Could you give me a really good hug now? I need it bad. I feel like a cow. A really scared cow."
So I did. I told her how I had a thing for pregnant women. And how much I loved big breasts. I told her how good it felt to hold her and comfort her. I took a long time doing it. Then I asked her to give me a hug back and she made me feel safe and loved, and it was wonderful. After a while she reminded me that she was still naked and that her breasts were leaking something awful. Next she told me to do what she was doing. She started by unbuckling my belt. One slow step at a time she undressed me then laid down on the bed beside me. Then she said it was my turn. I picked up her left breast using both hands and did my best to replace the broken breast pump with my lips. When she giggled I gently reminded her that this was important to me and I not only enjoyed it but wanted to do it to make her more comfortable. Her lips were my lips and their touch on her breast was full of love and tenderness. As we took turns talking softly it slowly led to each of us having another mess to clean up. It was quite a while after we'd made our messes when I said goodnight as lovingly as I could. In her usual rush of words she said, "My twin b*****r's name is Chris and we fell in love. And he's Christine's dad." Then she was gone. And I instantly missed her again.
It was raining when I woke up Sunday morning. Hope called just before noon. The first thing she said was, "Now it's your turn to tell me what you look like. I just hope you look as kind and gentle as you sound."
"Okay, I'm fifty and I look like it. I've spent a lot of years in the sun. I used to work hard and was in pretty good shape then. For the last ten years I've had to slack off. I'm pretty average now, in every way I can think of except maybe height. I'm 5'9" and weigh about 175. I've got light brown hair and hazel eyes. I don't think I look scary or threatening or anything. Does that tell you what you wanted to know?"
"I told you that my breasts are big."
It took me a couple seconds but I finally figured it out.
"Just barely seven inches on a good day when I was about sixteen....And I told you how I feel about the size of your breasts."
When she finally stopped laughing she said, "That's my favorite size." And started laughing again, just as hard.
When she'd settled down she said, "I'm really sorry that I can't get naked right now and do what we did last night again." After a little pause she went on, "Have you thought any more about meeting somewhere eventually?"
I answered very quietly, "I think I'd like to exchange some pictures if that's alright. Can you send one with your k**s too?"
She said, "I was hoping you'd want to see what the k**s look like. All the pictures are about 6 mos. old. They're already in an envelope with a note, all I need is your address."
We exchanged addresses and she asked me if she could call me that night. She lived less than ten miles away, just outside of town.
I told her I loved her and that I'd miss her until she called.
She was quiet for so long that I started to panic again. Then she choked out: "Chris was killed by a d***k driver just before Christine was born. I died with him." And she was gone again.
I'd never heard so much pain in my life.
After her last words earlier, I didn't really expect her to call again Sunday night. My "Hello" was a quiet one.
She asked me to hug her forever and I did my best for what seemed like hours. Eventually she said very softly, "Thank you. I love you. I'll call you tomorrow night." And that was all. She'd quietly cried the whole time.
I mailed her two pictures Monday morning and spent a very unpleasant three hours with my ther****t in the afternoon. Five minutes after we got started he canceled his other two afternoon appointments. He basically tried to make it into one long suicide prevention session. He warned me that two people with serious issues very seldom produced a happy or well adjusted couple. I knew he was right and I hated him for it. He told me that a woman that had bore c***dren both by her father and a b*****r was not likely to ever recover emotionally. Even if she hadn't been ****d. I hated him even more.
I told him what had happened to me when she offered to meet me. He told me that he didn't think that I was ready for a serious relationship. That just made me feel pathetic. He told me that if he hadn't been my ther****t for so long he wouldn't be giving me his personal cell phone number. In case I had a crisis. I just sat there while he wrote it down on a business card and handed it to me. That was when I started to wonder if Hope might be better off without me. I was holding his card in my hand, staring at it blankly when he asked me what the relationship between Hope and her dad was like now. Before I could say anything the word THEr****t on his card came into focus and morphed into: THE r****t. That was when I realized he really was right and I asked him if he could help me make ending it as easy as possible on Hope. He had several suggestions and the last hour of the session went slightly better.
I left scared shitless and stayed that way. In spite of my ther****t's best advice I had no idea what I was going to say when Hope called.
She sounded seriously stressed when she finally called that night. I'm sure I did too, I sure as hell was. I was amazed that she was so quiet, she usually talked a lot when something was bothering her. I finally told her that I saw a counselor every Monday. (There was no way that I was going to say THE r****t to her.) She was quiet for too long then said that she saw a counselor every Monday too. She said that every once in a while it made her feel a little better. I asked her if it helped her with the hard things and instantly regreted it. She said, "Not really." and started quietly crying. I started to panic when she didn't want to be held. I asked her if they'd talked about me. She said, "Yes, did you talk about me?" I told her that we did. We were both quiet for a little while then she softly asked, "Did your counselor say that we shouldn't try to get together too?"
That was when I suddenly realized that we both might never get another chance to not die alone. And both of our counselors could go fuck themselves.
So I lied. "Yeah, just before I stood up and quietly told him that he had room in his schedule for a new client at 1:00 next Monday." Then I held my breath and prayed like never before to a god that I didn't really believe in.
I nearly passed out before she said, "When I fired mine I didn't do it quietly." I still think she was lying too.
Then I told her that I loved her and she did the same for me.
After a minute I had to say, "I'm still scared to death about seeing your pictures and meeting you."
"I wish I could tell you that I feel safe enough to be alone with you soon. I can only say I'm doing the best that I can." She sounded both afraid and quietly determined.
"The thought of trusting anyone to never leave me just terrifies me. If it's humanly possible, I'll learn to trust again."
"Thank you for trying so hard. If we make it as far as a chance to be alone together, I want you to know that I'll be trying just as hard."
I really meant it when I said "Thank you." Then I had to ask, "Is there any chance that I'll get your pictures in tomorrow's mail? The waiting is killing me."
"You might, I mailed them in town early yesterday morning." She was quiet for a few seconds and then added, "I can't seem to get my new breast pump to work right. Can you think of anything I could try?"
At least we both used towels to catch our messes. We talked about nothing for a little while and then she told me that she had something important to say. She paused and then she said: "Don't interrupt me until I'm done....I got the k**s together earlier today. I told them about you. I told them about your fear. I told them that I thought that we were both falling in love. I told them that you knew that I can't be alone with a man. I told them that I had hope for you and I. I told them that I was scared, bad. Don, I wrote all these things down so I wouldn't forget to tell them something important. Then I asked them how they felt about you and I trying to get together. They all took turns talking and when they were done each one of them had said their own version of: 'I'll walk on hot coals for you if it will help.' Then we all held each other while I cried....I'm done now."
I was kind of stunned and I couldn't think of anything to say so I just said, "Thank you."
Then she very quietly said, "I love you...goodnight." And was gone. I was so in love and so scared. And I still didn't even know what she looked like.
The Second Tuesday
Tuesday morning I called my shrink and made my lie into the truth. He never had done much more than make me feel a little better for a while anyway. Then all my clocks stopped as I tried to forget that I was waiting for the mail. It wasn't going to be pretty if I had to wait another day. There aren't many things worse than waiting for something that you're scared to death of. I couldn't stop thinking that Hope might be my last chance. It was about two hours before my mail was due when the phone rang.
The first thing she said was, "You look as gentle and caring as you sound. The k**s think so too. Did your mail come yet?"
I was my normal (for the last week) basket case self. I just told her that I was really scared.
She said "Please listen to me carefully. I love you and I look average except for my breasts. If things work out, I'll even get them reduced for you if you need me to. If I'm too pretty for you, I can change that. If I'm not pretty enough for you I can change that too, at least some. If I can find a way to marry you, I will. I love you and I know that with my troubles, you might be my last chance."
I said that yesterday I'd finally realized that she might be my last chance too.
She asked me if I would call her when my mail arrived.
I told her I would and we said our goodbyes.
The mail was late but it finally came. Before I collapsed from the stress. Barely.
Her handwriting was beautiful. She was lovely, and her breasts were at least as big as she'd described. Thinking that most men would think they were too big made me feel a little better.
Looking at the photos of her k**s, I could only think that she must be very proud of them. All four had her brown hair and eyes and could only be called good looking. I'd be able to remember one name. When I was a k** I'd have said that Lisa sure was a pretty hippie girl. And had big boobies too. I wondered how Hope had explained to Lisa that her dad was her grandfather too. Lisa was already "Lovely Lisa" to me and I hoped that she didn't have a boyfriend with dreadlocks.
I finally realized that Hope was probably just as stressed out waiting for me to call as I had just been. When she answered the phone, I could barely hear her as she asked, "What do you think of us?" I said, "If I didn't already know you, you'd be too pretty for me. But when you said that I might be your last chance, it helped me a lot. I think I'm ready to meet you. And your breasts look awesome."
"I was afraid that you wouldn't find me attractive. I expected my breasts to be a problem for you. They are, even for most men that claim to like big ones. I know, I'm nervous and I'm talking too much. I'm just so relieved that you're okay with my breasts. They make me think I look like a freak. I did my best to prepare for the worst.
"I think I understand how hard it is for you to trust a woman not to leave you again. And at the same time need to share a love. I don't think it's a lot different from how I feel about trusting a man to be alone with me. And it's reassuring to think that you understand my trust problems too. I feel like all the past misery in our lives has prepared us for each other. I'm going to help you trust me by learning to trust you. And I hope that you can help me be brave enough to spend our nights alone together. Someday. While we wear each other out in the best possible ways. If you can help me trust you, I promise you, I'll never let you fall asl**p unsatisfied. I'm so relieved that you're ready to meet me. We've only known each other for a week but, oh you know what I mean, I'm going to shut up and listen. Right now." And she did but I was guessing that she had to jam a sock in her mouth to do it.
Man, she was as wound up and worried as I was just plain worried.
Suddenly it dawned on me that I was being an idiot...again. "Sweetheart, can you go to your bedroom and lock the door?"
"I'm already alone in my bedroom and the door's already locked too. I have your pictures propped up on the night stand and my pussy is leaking worse than my breasts. I cheated. I started getting ready as soon as you said that you think you're ready to meet me. I couldn't help myself. If you're not quick, I'm going to make my mess without you."
"I'm hurrying." Fortunately I'd been busy since the word "idiot" had popped into my addled mind. Finally I was able to say, "I'm ready and waiting for your instructions."
She just started gasping and groaning and I was f***ed to act on my own inititiatve. As soon as she'd settled down, she started telling me what she was doing with her breasts and how heavy they felt and how much they were leaking and how good they felt when she sucked on her own nipples and pretended it was me sucking on them and.." And I was done. After I'd settled down a little, she asked, "Was it good for you too?" And then burst into a giggling fit.
After we'd laid there and talked about nothing for a while she said, "That damned dog, he chewed up the tubing on my brand new breast pump. What am I going to do? I'm leaking something terrible already." From the tone of her voice, I suspected the breast pump tubing might not be all that bad off.
So I asked, "Do you have a feather?" She didn't. "Can you cut a thin strip off of a sheet of paper that we can call a feather?" She could and she did. "Close your eyes, I'm there with you now and I'm using the feather tickling my way down your belly. I'm using my other hand to lift your breast to my mouth and nibbling and licking it just a little. I'm settling down and enjoying your perfect nipple. The feather's tickling its way down one inner thigh and up the other, you're trying to hold still but the tickling's forcing you to spread your legs as you're trying to get away from it. With my fingertips I'm starting to slowly explore your wet and slippery softness. Damn, I'm starting to have trouble..concentrating...because you're starting..to drive me..crazy...your turn to drive..." and then I shut up. After a few seconds she released her nipple with a wet little "pop" and took the wheel. It took another few minutes before she crashed the car and left us both piled up in a wet mess. God I love women drivers.
We finally decided to meet the next day at noon at The Pantry for a cup of coffee. I told her that I'd be wearing a green John Deere baseball cap. She said she'd be wearing a large bra and a matching belly.
Then she started what had become our goodnight ritual, "Are you ready to say goodnight?"
I braced myself and said, "I love you and I miss you already."
She said, "My ex husband was a kind and gentle lover until we were married." And then she was gone.
The Second Wednesday
She was already there when I arrived a half an hour early. Two words came into my mind when our eyes met and I got my first glimpse of her tentative smile: Vulnerable and Hopeful. Her smile made me feel protective and a little safer. I managed to say: "You look nice."
She looked down at the table and quietly said, "Thank you for coming." After I sat down, and without looking up, she added, "If I never can get well enough to be alone with you, do you think you could still love me? Please think about it before you answer. I need to know if I can hope." Then she just looked afraid and kept looking down while wet spots started appearing on the table.
I hadn't felt so safe since my marriage ended. I picked up my napkin, put it on the table by her hand and said, "It's already way too late for me to ever stop loving you. Even if I never see you again, I'll still love you until I take my last breath. Or longer."
She wiped her eyes and face and still not looking up, she said, "I didn't think it would be this hard. I mostly do pretty well during the day. I just didn't think I'd ever have another chance to be in love again. I'm scared to death."
"In the years since my divorce, there were two different women that I could've and should've married. Both times I just thought that they weren't quite right for me. Since I've gotten to know you, I've come to realize that I just wasn't able to trust either of them to never leave me. When I realized that I could trust you to stay with me forever, I decided to do everything I could to spend the rest of my life with you."
"I really need a hug. Can you sit beside me and hold me? Sort of like when we're on the phone? I just need some comfort and reassurance. I'll be okay here where we're not alone."
She scooted over in the booth for me and we hugged exactly like we'd done on the phone. Except that now I was really with her and added drying her tears to my routine. It was the first time that I actually touched her and she flinched when I did. It was tiny but I couldn't miss it. Then she put her arms around me and buried her head in my chest with her right breast pressed against my side. If it was much bigger, it'd have been too big even for me. I wanted terribly to sooth her fear, but I was suddenly getting very distracted. Her breast squeezing against me and her pregnant belly were more than I could ignore. My crotch was way past tight and Mr. Happy wasn't very happy.
I was starting to feel guilty because I couldn't stay focused on the hug that I was trying to give her when she started softly giggling. She looked up at me and said, "I believe you now. Large breasts and a pregnant belly obviously don't turn you off." And she giggled again and gently pressed her hand against my bulge. Then she pulled away from me and said, "You look like you need to make a little more room for Mr. Happy."
I took her advice and was much relieved. When I looked up, she looked like a different person, she was wearing a slight smile and looked almost relaxed. I couldn't help asking, "What?" After hesitating for a moment, she said, "It's been several years since I last wanted a man to find me sexy. And now that it suddenly matters again, I can't tell you how good it feels to see you get interested."
"Any time I can help you feel better is a good time for me. I'm beginning to understand how bad some of the things in your past were. Between that, talking on the phone, and meeting you, I'm starting to feel a lot safer. Safer than I've felt in years. I just needed to say thank you for that. You could make me feel even better if you'd let me buy you lunch next time. Soon."
She hesitated, then said, "Would Friday be okay with you?" We agreed on the same time and place.
Then I had to say: "You can say no and it'll be fine if you do, but I need you to listen to all that I've got to say before you answer." She just looked at me and waited. "I'd like for us to start seeing a counselor together." Her eyes instantly looked wary but she didn't say anything. "We're both out of practice at being with someone. I know I could use some pointers on how to think both before I talk, and again after I listen. We might decide it's a waste of time, but if you feel able and willing, I'd like to try it, at least once. What do you think?"
She just sat there and looked at me for at least twenty seconds. Then she very slowly and carefully said, "It has to be a woman. And I have to talk to her alone first. And it might not be easy for us to find one that I'm okay with. I can only promise to try." Then she waited.
It was my turn to be careful, "Thank you. That means a lot to me. When my ex left, she refused to go to a counselor with me. I'm still glad she's gone, but I'll always wonder if counseling would have changed anything. Would you like to find one that you feel okay with or do you want me to call around?"
She said it might be best for her to look for one if I didn't mind. I knew she was right and I didn't mind at all.
It was nice that she sounded reluctant when she said that she had to go. Outside she looked nervous and told me that it was important to her that I always hug her very gently. She emphasized the word "always." So I was especially gentle and completely surprised when after a few moments of holding me, she ran her hands up and down my back and then tried to squeeze me in half. Her belly and breasts would have gotten my attention even if she hadn't looked so nice. After "accidently" brushing her hand across Mr. Happy's not too tiny bulge, she gave me a little mischievous smile and a quick peck on the cheek. I think she would have ran to her Ferrari if she hadn't been pregnant. Okay, it was a red Honda Civic, but compared to my pickup, it looked like a Ferrari.
I walked over to my pickup but changed my mind and went back inside. I had a cup of decaf while I calmed down enough to drive semi-safely. I realized that I wasn't as done being afraid as I'd thought. While we were talking together in the restaurant, she'd made me feel safe. As soon as she was gone, so was the safe feeling. She was too pretty and I was still full of fear. I hated my ex wife for the way she left me.
The first thing she said when I answered the phone Wednesday night was, "Are you doing okay?"
I told her that after she'd driven away I was surprised to find myself a little afraid. I was bending the truth pretty far, the word "little" didn't apply at all. Then I told her I thought she looked nice (again) and asked her how she was feeling.
She sounded like she really meant it when she said, "Relieved. You have know idea how scary it is for a woman to go on a first date feeling like a cow. When your little bulge started to grow during our first real hug, it was like I could finally breath again. I got afraid again when we were sort of alone saying goodbye outside too. The more patient and understanding you can be, the better I'll feel.
"I left messages for five female counselors this afternoon. Four called me back and two of them sounded nice. One even had a cancellation appointment available at 2:00 on Friday. If that'll work for you, I'll confirm it in the morning. What do you think?"
She was really on a roll. Even I could figure out that she needed a little reassurance. "That sounds good to me. Thanks. Are you in your bedroom alone?"
"Yes. And I've got my broken breast pump in here with me. The store was out of breast pump tubing."
I loved it when she told obvious lies. "I've got a confession to make too. I wasn't going to tell you but I'm a little nervous about sex. I'm not as young as I used to be and way out of practice. So I got some Viagra, the really strong ones, you know, just in case."
"I love how you're...so thoughtful...Is there anything else...you want to tell me?"
"Yeah...I got a really bad...headache...this evening...so I was...in a hurry...and I...didn't...turn on...the bathroom light... and wasn't...paying attention...when I..."
"So....how many....did you....take?"
"Oh.....my.....are you....sure you're.....okay?"
"It's...pretty hard...but it...only hurts...a little." I'll give her credit, she didn't make a lot of noise.
"So, were you able to jury rig your breast pump and use it?"
"I thought you were with me!" Oops. I was in the shit now.
"I mean't to be. I just couldn't quite keep up."
"I'm sorry." She was quietly crying again.
"I'm still here." She was hurting but she was tough too.
"Can I give you a hug? I still need to be needed."
"Thank you. I'm scooting over for you. I need you to hold me."
Eventually, her breathing got slow and steady and I quietly asked her if she was still awake before I hung up.
I was so in love and so horny as I looked at her picture. And remembered her breast squeezed against my side. It didn't take me long.
She started with: "I'm pretty stressed about tomorrow."
"I hope this helps: I love you...that won't change if tomorrow's a disappointment...I'm not leaving, unless you push me away."
"Thank you. If I like Karen as much as I hope to, I want to talk about my hard things."
"Please don't push yourself."
"I have to push myself. It's my only hope. All I've ever done is deny, run away, and hide. It hasn't helped."
"I didn't know it until last week but that all applies to me too. Can I offer you a hug?"
The hug turned into phone sex, another hug, sex again, and another long hug before we finally fell asl**p. Her breasts fit my best fantasies perfectly. She was a woman that I'd be happy to die for.
It was 12:45 when I sat down and looked up to see her breasts, I mean face, coming through the door. Neither of us were smiling.
"If you give up on me after we see Karen, I'll understand and never hold it against you."
She had my attention. Her voice was completely emotionless.
"Lisa's waiting in the car, in case I need help getting home."
"Can we invite her in?"
"She said she'd rather give us our privacy. She brought a book."
We tried to talk about the weather. The news. Nothing helped. It was awful. It took forever to get to 1:30. She asked me to wait a few minutes before I followed her in at Karen's office.
Lisa drove her and I followed and waited until she'd been inside a little while. Karen's office had a little lobby but no receptionist. Just a sign on the inner door that said: "In Session: Do not Disturb." It was a half hour before Karen came out and said, "She's ready Don, come on in."
Hope only looked at me one single time in Karen's office that day. She was quietly wipeing her eyes as Karen explained to me, "We have all afternoon, longer if we need it. Hope has some things to say that are going to be traumatic. She insists that you hear them too. So do I. This is going to be painful and you'll want to comfort her. You can't comfort her today. She'll be reliving terrible things that men have done to her and she said that you would understand why you couldn't comfort her. Do you?"
I was wiping tears too as I said, "Yes."
"Good. I expect to hold her and comfort her as much as I can while she struggles through this. Are you okay with that?"
"I'll appreciate all the comfort that you can give her."
"Good. Hope, I've counseled couples for a lot of years and my first impressions are pretty reliable. I think you have found one of the very few men that can help you. If he could make this easy for you he would. I'm sorry to have to say this but no one can do that. Go ahead and start when you're ready and stop any time you need to."
"Okay." She sat still for a little bit and changed. She looked the same but she wasn't. It wasn't natural. "My twin b*****r Chris has always loved me and tried to protect me. I'll love him just as much, forever.
"Dad....was d***k that night....when he ****d me the last time. Chris heard him. He called the cops. Dad went to jail. He hasn't looked at me since that night. Not even at the trial. Where he told everybody that I'd teased him since I was a little girl. He said awful things that were lies. And never looked at me. He said that I'd tried to get him to do it to me since my boobs started to grow. He said that I was the one that attacked him that night because he was too d***k to keep me away. He never looked at me once.
"Chris told them what he heard when Dad was doing it to me. Chris looked at me, he loves me. I was going to tell everybody that Chris was lying and that I did what Dad said I did. I didn't want Dad to stay in jail, we needed Dad to pay the bills. But the lawyer was real tricky. He tricked me into telling the truth. About what Dad did to me. I hate him. He made me feel like a little girl. I was a woman and he made me feel like a little girl. I knew I was a woman because I knew Lisa was growing in my belly. Everyone did by then.
"Mom hated me for Dad going to jail and for my Lisa. She tried to keep it secret from me but I could tell. The only one that loves me is Chris. And Lisa after she was born. Dad doesn't love me anymore. He won't even look at me. I'm glad he's in jail now."
"You're being very brave Hope. Don, are you proud of her?"
"I'm very proud of her. She's the best thing that's ever happened to me." I meant it.
"Okay Hope, tell me about Chris, when you're ready."
Hope looked down at her hands as she hugged her belly. "The first time Dad ****d me was two weeks after I turned thirteen. He told me he would make Chris have a terrible accident if I ever told anyone. He was always careful to do it at the right time of the month. Until that night when he got d***k. I never told anybody about all the other times. Not even Chris." I'd never wanted to hold her more than I wanted to right then. Not ever.
You know how the most absurd things just pop into your head at the strangest times? It occured to me that the 32 year old woman that I loved looked like a pregnant six year old with big tits. Being held by her mom while she cried inconsolably. That was also when I realized that finding Karen to help us was a miracle.
It took about two forevers before Hope had recovered enough for Karen to go back to her old overstuffed chair.
Her twin b*****r Chris:
"Chris loves me. He's always loved me. Even when all the hard things happened. He pretended he's Lisa's Daddy because she didn't have one. He pretended we were married when I was lonely. He always cuddled me and loved me and made me feel like a real wife and mom. He was the only one that really loved me. Everything that Dad did bad, Chris did good. We've always loved each other and we still love each other.
"After Lisa was born, he even showed me how what Dad did to me could be really special if it was gentle and we loved each other. We made Chrissy the right way. With love. Mom hated me even more when she found out I had our Chrissy growing in my belly. She tried to keep it secret and I tried to pretend I couldn't tell but we both really knew. I'll always love mom because she worked so hard and tried to keep loving me, even after the bad things. But Chris always loved me. And after she found out Crissy was growing in me, she pretended that she didn't know he snuck in and cuddled me every night. All night. Chris loved me and mom tried to. Then two weeks before Crissy was born, Chris didn't come home. Mom said I could still talk to him in my dreams. She said he was was in a car wreck and had to leave. She told me he still loves me but I already knew that. He still does, even now. I want him back. And in my bed with me at night. Just like it used to be. I was safe then.
"I know he's gone. But he won't really die until I do."
Then Karen had to hold her while she cried again. For just as long. These were her Hard Things. That day was the hardest day of my life. Sitting there and not being able to hold her. Or even pretend to hold her while she listened to me talk to her on the phone.
"Hope honey, Don loves you now, just like Chris did."
"Don's trying to love me. Chris still does." Hope had forgotten that I was even in the room or it would have hurt even worse. She was in her nightmare past. I thanked God that Karen was there with her.
"I've never loved anyone as much as Chris and I love each other. Not even my husband. He can rot in hell too."
Her ex, Bill:
"Tell me about your husband. How did you meet him?
"He worked at the pharmacy. He was nice to me, he always asked me how I was doing. I was on a lot of meds after Chris left." She almost broke down completely again. She proved how tough she is that afternoon. "He noticed every time my meds got cut back as I started to get a little better. Part of why I tried to get better was just to make him smile. Mostly I tried so hard because Lisa and Crissy needed me to get better.
"It was right after Chrissy's first birthday when he asked me to marry him. We had a really good counselor then too. But I never told them about Dad, I mean what he was doing to me before the night he got so d***k. I was afraid it'd scare Bill off. I didn't tell them that Chris and I always slept together either. I was so lonely and I was starting to love him too. We got married three months later. It was my fault. I didn't know it would happen and I couldn't stop it. I called him Chris when I was half asl**p. Not just once. And even sometimes when he made me cum really hard. Bill was a really good lover. He knew how to wear me out so I could sl**p. I just couldn't stop calling him Chris sometimes. I can't blame him. I know how I'd have felt if he'd been calling me Susan or something." She'd started to sound like an old answering machine as soon as she started talking about her ex. No feelings as all.
"At first he just tried harder. He never said it but he finally gave up just before the twins were born. How could I blame him? I was sl**ping in his bed, pregnant with his babies, and calling him another man's name. I couldn't stop myself. It just turned into another nightmare for both of us. He tried so hard. It was just like when mom didn't want to hate me. After Dad went to prison. He just couldn't help it.
"I was still breast feeding the twins when he started to lose control sometimes and get mean. He was always sorry afterwards. He knew I was doing the best I could. We should have gotten a divorce. But I was too afraid of being alone and he knew how much I needed him. So we stayed together and it just got worse.
"It didn't help when he got laid off and had to go to work for his b*****r landscaping. It was mostly just mowing lawns. It wasn't enough money. That was when I started selling breast milk. We could still barely afford to eat but it was enough to get us by. It was also one of the things that led to me becoming a surrogate mother."
Then she slowly started to talk like a normal, reasonably happy person for the first time that day.
"I love having a baby growing inside me. And my body's good at it. Bill was attracted to pregnant women too. But four k**s was a big enough f****y for both of us and he'd gotten fixed. So when I met another woman online that sold breast milk and had been a surrogate mother, we got to be friends, and she convinced me that I might like it. Bill and I talked about it and we decided to try it. I loved it and he tolerated it and we spread the money out over the three years that I've made my schedule.
"I'm getting older now though and these two babies are going to have to be the last ones I'm able to give to another couple. It's making them the most precious ones since Sarah and Peter. It always kills me to say goodbye to them. This time's going to be even worse. A lot worse." And that was the end of her sounding okay for the day.
She paused and Karen told her how brave and strong she was being. Then she said, "Tell us about your last hard thing when you're ready. We're not in any hurry."
"Two years ago Lisa got pregnant. She was fifteen at the time and she refused to name the father. She has a beautiful little boy. Then six months ago she got pregnant again. Bill is the father of both of them. She's been through exactly the same thing that happened to me. Except she didn't have a twin b*****r to protect her. And so in three months, she will be the mother of two boys, both concieved while she was being ****d by her step dad. His condoms didn't work any better than my dad's rhythm method in the end. This time she named him and two weeks ago he was sentenced. We won't have to worry about my dad or Bill again."
Then she looked up at Karen and said, "I've only got one more thing to say."
Karen looked at her and very slowly and quietly said, "You will never have to suffer this much in this room with me again."
Then Hope turned her whole body toward me and looked me in the eyes and said, "What do you think of me now?"
"I love you desperately." She flinched like I'd slaped her, closed her eyes, and curled up into a ball. Her whole body shook as she sobbed almost silently. Suddenly Karen was holding her and stroking her hair and telling her how brave and good she was. And looking right at me and shaking her head "No" just barely enough to nail my shoes to the floor. I hated her for being right. I loved her for comforting Hope.
The next thing I remember clearly was looking up at Karen as she said, "Lisa's driving Hope home. She'll be able to function when she wakes up tomorrow morning. Don't get up, we need to talk for a few minutes before you go. For your sake."
She went over to the loveseat where Hope had spent the afternoon, sat down, and started asking me questions.
"You'd light your body on fire and burn in hell forever if it would help her wouldn't you?"
I could only nod.
"You understand that the odds of you two being able to help each other aren't very good don't you?"
Another nod. She hesitated for a minute, then asked, "Why are you trying anyway?"
"I don't have a choice."
"How long ago did your ex wife leave you?"
It took me a minute to figure it out. "Twenty-three years."
"Would it be accurate to say that you never remarried because in those twenty-three years you did not meet a woman that actually needed you?"
I nodded again.
"When did you figure that out?"
"That was when you realized how badly your ex wife had hurt you wasn't it?"
"You both understand that you are almost certainly each other's last chance don't you?"
"Do you have any questions for me?"
"What make's you think Hope and I have a chance?"
She took at least a full minute before she said, "You're both desperate. You're both severely wounded. You both have good values. And you're both in love. Real love, not just infatuation or sexually attraction."
"When do you want to see us again?"
"I understand you both have fairly flexible schedules. I expect to work with each of you separately but always with the other present. It took me a while to convince Hope that it'll be best this way. Will Monday at 4:00 work for you?"
"I'll be here."
"One other thing, I don't take insurance. I expect you to pay me the lesser of what you think I've been worth or what you can easily afford. For as long as you're together and consider yourselves happy. I always have more income than I need and I donate the excess to the most worthy charities that I'm aware of. They do especially well around Christmas and Valentine's Day."
"Why so different?"
"It pays an average of about $300K a year and motivates both me and my clients. I also provide stamped, pre addressed envelopes and couldn't care less if you send cash, checks, or a note with a credit card number and an amount written on it. The only payment I've ever been disapointed by was a plain wedding band and a tiny note with three words: 'Paid in Full.' Whatever happens, please don't do that to me."
"Thank you, Monday at 4:00?"
"I'll see you both then."
I fixed breakfast and tried to relax while I waited for Hope to call Saturday morning. I didn't have to wait long. The phone rang at 9:00.
"Do you still love me?"
"More than ever. Are you okay?"
"I don't think so." She sounded a little shaky.
"I'm not feeling my best either."
"How do you feel about Chris and I?" Now she sounded a lot shaky.
"Chris can use my body to love you any time you need him to. I'll change my name if it will help you."
She hesitated and I panicked. Then she started laughing hysterically. This time I didn't think about hanging up. It made my morning when she trusted me enough to just let her laughing die out slowly.
After she took her time composing herself, she said, "You're willing to change your name for me. And I'm willing to change my breasts for you." Then she had an attack of the giggles and I felt so good that it almost hurt.
Then she said, "Yesterday while you waited, I told Karen my five minute version if my hard things. The whole rest of the time we talked about you. She wanted to know how we met, if we'd slept together, all sorts of things. But what seemed to be the most important to her was how long it has been since your ex wife left and what your love life has been like since then. I told her you said you were pretty self-sufficient and that I thought that you've been single for at least ten years. She said that those were all good signs and the only real deal breaker she was worried about was whether or not you realized how emotionally crippled you are. Then she said if she had to guess, she would guess that you were worse off inside than I was. Don, is that possible?"
"Can you tell me about it?"
"I've never been really loved. You and Chris really loved each other. I've been in love, two times. No one has ever truly loved me. Not ever. Until you."
"I'm so sorry."
"This last 10 days has been one realization after another. You're not just almost certainly my last chance to be really loved, you're the only chance that I've ever had. I didn't even know that no one had ever really loved me. I'm just now starting to learn what real love is. You're teaching me." Now it was my turn to try to cry so quietly that she wouldn't hear me. I'd never felt so sorry for myself in my whole life. I hadn't even realized what I'd missed for every single pitiful day of my pathetic life.
"Don, sweatheart, sit down where there's room for me beside you. Lean down against me and lay your head on my shoulder. Thank you for shaving this morning, I'm reaching one arm around your back and cradling your head against me with my other arm. I'm just holding you and rocking you the tiniest bit. I love you Don. I need you terribly. If you'll let me, I'll love you until hell freezes over. Until the moment I die....." She went on and on. I don't know how long. It was until after I fell asl**p.
When I woke up it was noon and my neck was so stiff that I couldn't turn my head to the left. I had a cup of coffee and a sandwich and called my only Hope for the second time in my life. I said, "Thank you for loving me."
She said, "Your welcome. Thank you for needing my love. Even with Chris, all I ever really knew was how bad I needed his love. You're teaching me how good it feels to be needed. Really needed."