The following tale is my entry into the CAW #14 Writer's Challenge on our Sex Stories Forum. It is a romance that spans a half a century. Much of the story is set during the winter holidays in a little town in northern Pennsylvania. This is a work of fiction. While the town is real (Google is your friend), and the family names of the characters are common names in the area, any resemblance to any events or to any person(s) living or dead is unintentional and purely coincidental.
“You've been collecting snow globes for as long as I've known you, Mary. You don't have one like this.”
I picked it up again from the shelf where it was displayed with some old cast-iron banks. “It's not in perfect condition. See that big scratch? You know I'm fussy. This is beautiful, but I wish it were in better shape.”
The flea-market stand holder came over to us. “I see you have good taste, madam. That's a rare one. It's patterned after a real town in Pennsylvania. It must be a lovely place.”
My friend June touched my arm. “Didn't you meet David in some little hick town in northern Pennsylvania?”
“Wellsboro isn't a hick town. It's more like a time machine. If you pulled the cars off the streets today and replaced them with antiques, Ozzie and Harriet would fit right in. David worked at the diner. My boyfriend at the time wanted to get a burger after the game against their high school one Friday night. We stopped there. By the time David brought our tab, I was trying to come up with an excuse to break up with the boy I had dated for six months. I called the diner from home the next day and said I lost my scarf. They actually put David on the phone to talk to me. I told him my tale and gave him my phone number and address in case he found it. He knew I was lying.”
“That was a long time ago,” June said.
“It will be fifty years in January. There was light snow the night I met David. It looked just like this snow globe. He proposed to me four years later when we took a walk, Christmas Eve. We crunched though the snow past those gas lights to the park. He got all wet when he broke through a frozen puddle kneeling next to the Wynken, Blynken and Nod fountain, and we made snow angels together after I said yes. We got married in that park the following June. His parents weren't happy. No one but hippies and outlaw bikers had outdoor weddings back then.”
“Isn't he buried up there, Mary?”
“His family lives there, and they all own plots in the same cemetery. When I go see his relatives I visit his grave. His mother still remembers me, even better than she remembers him. Sometimes she thinks I'm her daughter, but I don't argue. That woman was more of a mother to me than my own.”
“Buy the damn thing, or expect to get it from me for your Christmas present,” June stated.
The stand holder took the snow globe from my hands. “The scratch will polish out. I have this new glass-restore stuff my son-in-law the big world traveler schmuck found. I tried it on some junk glass. Works like a miracle. I'll give you a couple sample tubes. In fact, I'll give you the works. Snow globe, polish, boxed and ready to go in two minutes. A nice lady like you should have this if it brings you memories. Happy Hanukah to you both. The wife, she doesn't understand sentiment. Wait just a minute.”
That night, I examined my new find more carefully. I put it on my desk and turned on the desk lamp, hoping to see the scene inside more clearly when the imitation blizzard subsided. The detail was like nothing I had ever seen in a snow globe, especially when I put on my “reading glasses” that I use for my crewel work. The gas lights in the center of the boulevard almost looked like they were lit. There were decorations on the store-fronts, and the Penn Wells hotel looked just the same as it did the first time I saw it. A fresh coating of snow covered the village time forgot.
Buried under Styrofoam peanuts, small boxes of chocolate covered peppermint sticks, and business cards for the antiques stand and a deli downtown, I found some tubes of polish. Even with my glasses, I couldn't read a thing on them. Everything was in a language I didn't recognize in an alphabet I couldn't decipher. Great. Well, how hard can it be?
I rummaged in my rag box for a piece of one of David's old flannel shirts. The nicer ones went to charity years ago, when I came to my senses and realized keeping his stuff wouldn't raise him from the dead. The red scrap I chose came from the shirt I bought him one autumn when we visited his parents. A picture I took that day is on my night-stand. David had leaves stuck to this shirt and in his hair, the result of a leaf-pile dive when we helped his dad rake the yard. The following summer David had his first cancer surgery.
The cream in the tube was an odd color, and it seemed to change as the air and light hit it. It smelled of wood smoke, hot glazed ham, and pies baking. I squeezed a little onto the cloth and gently rubbed at the scratch on my glass snow globe. Nothing seemed to change, so I rubbed harder. After some effort, I was amazed to see the scratch disappear completely. Not only that, but the scene through that part of the globe seemed much clearer and more life-like, even through the snow squall inside.
I squeezed more polish onto my cloth and worked outward from the clear spot. I have no idea how long I rubbed that scrap of David's life on the snow glove, but the repetitive motion relaxed me almost like a long soak in a warm tub of bubbles. My mind wandered, as it always does, to David.
I remembered the first day I drove to Wellsboro to meet him alone. He called me the day before and told me he found my scarf, an obvious lie, since I lied about losing one in the first place, but the fantasy gave us an excuse to talk. When I hung up, I knew I would have trouble sleeping that night.
Nice girls didn't pursue boys. We dropped hints, big ones if necessary, but we let the boy make the first move. Both thrilled and terrified by my audacity, my night was a series of dreams about possible bad outcomes for the day. An hour before my alarm was set to go off, I gave up on my bed and treated myself to a bubble bath. As I dried off, I looked in the mirror critically, appraising my proportions and wondering if David would like me if he ever saw me this way.
My blue eye-shadow went on perfectly, and I spent extra time on my hair and eyebrows, anxious to make a good impression. I wanted to feel as feminine and pretty as possible, but as I prepared myself all I felt was nervous and flustered. Now, that teenage angst seems silly. We were so right together, from the start to the end.
The glass polish and cloth in my hand now almost smelled like Bal A Versailles, my first adult cologne. Taking a break to rest my wrist, I let the snow inside the globe settle. Half the glass was completely free of scratches and blemishes, and the scene inside was incredibly clear. What skilled hand had crafted these buildings and painted the scenery? The delicacy of the detail was amazing.
My glasses weren't enough. I found the old magnifying glass David used on his stamp collection and moved another lamp near the desk. Then, I could see there were a few people on the sidewalk. One of them wore a red and black plaid wool hunting jacket and matching cap with ear-flaps, just like David had when I first met him. Seeing that miniscule figure on the tiny sidewalk in front of the miniature movie theater made my heart ache.
It was late, but curiosity got the better of me. More polish, more rubbing. More repetitive movement. More relaxation.
I rested my chin on my hands on the desk. The globe was clean, completely clear. The snow had settled, and my lights glistened on the roofs of the buildings and the narrow strip of white dividing the short boulevard. The smell of the polish was headier now, but it had changed to a mix of wet wool coats, wet cars, and vintage English Leather after-shave. It was a scent of comfort, and I was suddenly very drowsy. I sat back and got comfortable, losing myself in the scene before me.
A tan VW beetle putted down the street and parked behind the hotel. I got out and walked around to work the kinks out of me after my drive. The car was my combination eighteenth birthday and Christmas present. This was my first drive in it in snow, and I was scared green, but Dad told Mom I would be fine. He equipped me with a blanket, a flashlight, some highway flares, an Army surplus “entrenching tool, folding, one each” (shovel), tire chains, and a roll of dimes for pay phones. “Remember what I taught you about winter driving,” Dad said. “I know you'll be fine. These cars are great in snow.” He leaned through my open door and kissed me on the cheek, and then walked back in the house.
My memory of riding with my now ex-boyfriend helped me understand the directions David gave me. We agreed to meet behind the hotel at noon, since parking near the diner was hard to get that time of day. I was early, and it was cold, so I settled back in my little car to wait, my breath fogging up the windows. A few minutes before noon, I got out and spotted David walking across the lot behind the movie theater.
“Do you want to get some lunch? I know a great place.”
I laughed, and David offered me his arm. We walked to the diner, David always staying on the street side of the sidewalk to help protect me from slush cars might throw. I barely remember the walk itself, not even a city block long. All I recall is the feel of David's bulk next to me and an intoxicating manly smell of Brylcreem and after-shave. His presence made me blush because of the warmth it created deep in my feminine parts.
We waited in line outside like everyone else. The snow had stopped, giving way to a cold, crisp day. When I shivered, David closed his arm on my hand and pulled me closer. “Do you want to go in through the kitchen? It's warm in there.”
“How much longer do you think we'll have to wait?”
“Cora's in charge today. She keeps things moving, and she doesn't have a problem with telling customers to eat up, pay their bill, and make room for someone else. With today's crowd, less than five minutes.”
“That's not too bad. Is it always like this, David?”
“The crowd is this large today because it's January White Sale weekend at Dunham's. The diner is the most popular spot in town. Everyone eats here. The food's good and the prices are cheap. Everyone knows all the employees since they grew up with them or their kids did. My mom, both my sisters and my brother all worked here.”
A severe looking woman with the name tag “Cora” on her ample bosom greeted us at the door. “David Hudson, do I have to speak to your mother about your manners? Are you going to introduce this poor, frozen girl or not?”
“Mrs. Cora Morris, please allow me to introduce Miss Mary Shepherd,” David said with a slight bow and an impish grin.
Cora looked me up and down, like a prospective buyer at a livestock auction. Then she smiled. Her mouth didn't turn up much, but her eyes twinkled at me. Not looking away, she said, “David, treat this one right. I see things in her that a boy your age doesn't notice. Be a man like your father is. She's worth it. Madge saw you in line, so I have that booth for two ready in the corner.” She grabbed two menus and hustled down the narrow central walkway, her heels loud even over the din of the crowded place.
As David helped me with my coat, I saw a package on the seat on his side of the tiny booth. “Look! Someone forgot something.”
“Yes, Mary, you did. Please, sit down.” He put the box on the paper place mat in front of me. “Open it.”
Inside was a handmade knit scarf with a cap and mittens to match. “Oh, my,” was all I could think of to say.
“Are they okay?” His brow was furrowed, like he was very concerned.
“They're beautiful! But, why?”
“You lost your scarf, remember? We're going to have a good lunch, and then we're going to walk it off. I want to show you around. You'll need a warm scarf and maybe the cap and mittens too. Look. There's a little bit of gold fleck in the blue yarn, just like your eyes.”
“I don't know what to say! Thank you! Where did you get all this?”
“My Grandma Bailey makes them. She can knit or crochet anything. Everyone says she's the fastest and best in this part of the state. I told her there was a special girl who needed a new scarf so she made these things yesterday.”
He called me a special girl. Thank goodness I wore a well-structured padded bra. I would have died if he saw what those words did to me. I felt myself melting in ways I hadn't with Roger in the six months we went steady.
David seemed oblivious to the color in my cheeks. “What are you hungry for? Chet's in the kitchen, so I'm having the western omelet and a side order of bacon.”
“That sounds good.”
“Coke, tea, milk, or Hawaiian Punch?”
“Iced tea with lemon.”
A pretty, buxom girl filled our water glasses and took our order. David spoke for me, which was just as well. The girl barely glanced at me, and when she did, I had the impression she hated me for some reason. She was warmer toward David than seemed appropriate, too. When she was gone, David said, “Maxine has had a crush on me since seventh grade. I thought it was under control until she started working here. I can't apologize enough.”
Cora's voice cut through the diner. “Maxine! Kitchen! Now!” A few minutes later, Cora strode to our table. “Maxine is taking the rest of the day off. Mary, I run a tight ship here. I know all these kids are friends, but they're here to work. I've been telling that girl since she started, even though she thinks David is perfect for her, she's not right for him. I see things in people. You and David could be good together. Now, Jim will be your server for the rest of your stay, and your meal is on the house. If you decide to remain in this area, I'll hire you.” She turned and walked briskly away.
David chuckled when I turned to look at him. I'm sure I had a stupid expression on my face, considering how shocked I was.
“Mary, you have now met a woman who can strike fear into the hearts of soldiers. Cora is queen bee in this place and a lot of the town. She's the most honest person I've ever met. Too bad if you don't like what she says. She's usually right. We might be good together.”
“We just met.”
“I know. I also know you didn't have a scarf when you came in here last week. Cora was the one who answered when you called, and she knew it too. When she handed the phone to me, she said, 'Ask her out.' So, will you go out with me?”
Jim showed up with our food. “David, Maxine is a fool. I hope Cora fires her. Mary, welcome to Wellsboro. I'll be back to check on you in a few minutes.”
When we were alone, David picked up his fork and said, “Do you think you might?”
“Go out with you? I guess I already am. I drove fifty miles on roads I don't know in a new car through snow for this lunch. And I broke up with my boyfriend so I could come here today.”
David's grin flustered me. I felt a want I had barely experienced making out with Roger. He wanted to do things I wasn't ready for, or maybe wasn't ready for with a boy like him. I questioned my self-restraint with David. He said, “I think we will be very good together,” and dug into his food.
We didn't say much as we ate, the few words exchanged making him smile and me blush. I knew almost nothing about this boy, but I wanted to grow old with him. I knew nothing about this little town, but I wanted to live here. Everything had a freshly-scrubbed look to it. The food was excellent American home cooking, the kind of breakfast I wanted to feed David in our home.
After lunch, he gave me a walking tour of his little village. We went into the lobby of the Penn Wells Hotel to admire the flag dominating one wall, a display of one thousand four hundred thirty-eight glass Christmas balls from the nearby Corning (New York) Glass Works. “We could have dinner here tonight,” he said. “Have you read any of the James Bond books? 'Dr. No' is playing at the Arcadia Theater next door.”
The sun hung low in the sky when we got to the park. The water supply to the fountain was turned off for the winter. Snow covered the turquoise patina of the bronze on the heads and shoulders of the three children. David took my hand to steady me on the slippery pavement as we inched around the fountain, studying the sculptor's work. He didn't let go when we got back to the cleared sidewalk.
He held my hand until he opened the door to the hotel lobby for me. He took my hand again to lead me to the restaurant, and held my chair for me when the hostess showed us to our table. We spent our time getting to know each other, swapping stories about our families and our childhoods. When I excused myself after the meal to go powder my nose, I confirmed what I knew all along – my panties were damp from my fantasies and daydreams about him. I needed to watch myself.
In the movies, we sat toward the back. He held my hand from the time the previews played until the lights came up. When we walked out into the lobby, I was shocked. Heavy snow was falling, and the wind was blowing. A snowplow went down the opposite side of the boulevard, but the wind and storm quickly covered the path it cleared.
“You're not driving home in this, Mary. You don't know the roads that well, and there aren't many pay phones.”
“I can't stay here.”
“Of course you can. Let me call my mom.” We shuffled to the hotel next door. David spoke to the desk clerk and dialed the phone as I watched the big fire in the fireplace. I didn't listen to him until I heard him say, “Thanks, Mom. Hold the line. I'll put her on.” Turning to me, he called, “My mom wants to talk to you.” He handed me the phone when I walked to the desk.
“Listen to me, young lady. This is no night for a girl to be out on the roads alone. Give me your phone number. I'll call your parents and tell them you're staying the night at our house. David will to take you to the diner and buy you dessert. I'll call over there when I'm done talking to your folks.”
A little overwhelmed, I gave Mrs. Hudson our number, and then handed the phone back to David. He listened for a moment. “Okay, swell. We'll be at the diner. My truck is parked there. I love you, Mom. 'Bye.”
David thanked the desk clerk and turned to me. “I hope we have film in the camera at home. I want to take a picture of you in the things Grandma Bailey made. Maybe it will be nice in the morning so I can get the sun on your hair without the cap. Now come on. Madge worked today, and she always saves some of her apple pie for me.”
The snow was a couple inches deep on Main Street, more where we crossed to go to the diner because of drifts. We walked in the tracks left by a truck that passed by.
The diner was surprisingly busy. Snowplow drivers ate homemade soup while waiting for fresh coffee for their thermos bottles. Volunteer firemen who lived outside of town took up two booths to share stories of winters past and lounge over dessert, since Cora wasn't there. We sat at the counter so David could get to the phone quickly.
We were enjoying our warm apple pie a la mode when the phone rang. David spun on his stool to answer it. “Wellsboro Diner!” he said cheerily into the phone. “Yes, she's right here next to me, Mr. Shepherd. Yes, sir. Hold the line.”
I took the phone from him. “Dad?”
“I told Mrs. Hudson I would call you. Your mother is ready to kill me. Please promise me you won't be foolish. Mrs. Hudson and your mother had a long talk. Somehow, David's mother managed to convince your mother that you'll be better off there than on the road, so don't disappoint me.”
“Daddy, please!” I cupped the phone to speak quietly. “Don't you trust me?”
“I trust you completely, Angel. But I was your age once. David's age.”
“I know, Daddy. I know you want me to wear white when you give me away.”
“Angel, I know you will. Call us in the morning and tell us about the roads. Reverse the charges. Tell that young man to drive carefully, and get a good night's rest. I love you.”
“I love you too, Daddy. Good night.” I hung up the phone and returned to my stool next to David.
“Your dad sounds cool.”
“He is. I've always been Daddy's little girl. I can usually get my way if I get Dad on my side. Within reason, anyway.”
“Mary, I couldn't help hearing what you said to him.”
“You mean, 'I love you'? I do love my father, very much, in fact. He's always supported me. He's a really nice man, a good father, almost like a big brother or an older friend sometimes.”
“I think I'd like him,” David said, “but that's not what I meant. I was talking about you wearing white.”
“Oh.” I blushed again.
“If I were standing up there waiting for you, I'd want to see you all in white.”
“Oh.” It was all I could say. How could I be feeling this way? What WAS I feeling? Arousal, for sure. Feeling the skin of my small hand encased in the warm skin of his large one made me lose track of the movie a few times, a hot need I hadn't felt that strongly before muddling my brain. Hope was another thing I felt, hope that I wasn't going crazy. Strongest, I think, was comfort. I felt safe with David's hand holding mine.
“Ready to brave the cold?” David asked when he finished his coffee. He helped me with my coat and paid the check. “We'll go out the back. My truck is right there.” He helped me climb up into an old pick-up truck. The engine rumbled to life, loud like a hot rod. David used a broom he kept in the back to clean the snow off the windows, and then joined me in the warming cab. “It will be toasty in here in no time.”
He turned on the wipers, yanked a meaty handle on the floor that responded with a soft thud and an amber light on a panel mounted on top of the dashboard, and pushed the long gearshift lever forward. “Not much stops Old Blue when she's in four-wheel drive.” The rumbling behemoth crept out of the narrow lot and then moved confidently through the blanket of white on Main Street, past the shops and the snow-whipped fountain to a little side street. He parked next to a Victorian style house, a gaily decorated Christmas tree framed by frilly sheer curtains tied to frame the front windows.
A woman called from the doorway, “You must be Mary. Come in, come in. My husband just shoveled the steps.” She was tall, like David, and when I got inside in the light, I saw she was as good looking as he was. “Come in dear! Let me take your coat. Oh my! David said you were beautiful, but I didn't expect you to look like this. I'm sorry. Where are my manners? I'm Gladys Hudson. My husband Ted will be down shortly. He got pretty wet out there.”
Even though I felt a little like a specimen under a microscope, it was obvious this woman meant well. Their home was warm, decorated in friendly colors that showed love. Once again, I thought about what it would be like to live in this little village. When David's father came downstairs, I knew what David would look like in a few decades. I could live with that quite well.
He reached for my outstretched hand (I always thought it was stupid that “ladies” didn't shake hands with men) and took it gently in his meaty paw. “Mary, please call me Ted. Or Dad, if you like. Welcome to our home.”
I went on dates with boys whose parents I never met, and I wished I hadn't met my ex-boyfriend's family. This family was different. In an hour of sitting on the couch between Gladys and Ted, we learned a lot about each other. They were a proud family with a long history in the area. David's parents were high school sweethearts who now, twenty-five years and four kids later, were more in love than ever. I never thought of people their age still being in love, and it excited me.
Gladys was the first to yawn. “What time is it? Oh, we need to get to bed. We'll have to go help Mom tomorrow before she gets it in her head she should try to clear her walk herself. Come with me, Mary. I'll get you towels and something to wear. I'm sure there's a new toothbrush up here. You can change in the bathroom while I make up the guest room bed.” She started up the stairs.
I said a hurried goodnight to David and Ted and followed her. I scrubbed off my make-up, used my new toothbrush, and changed into a nightgown one of David's sisters left behind when she went back to college after her winter break. I came out of the bathroom carrying my clothes when David started up the stairs. Hurriedly, I went in the guest room and closed the door.
I was turning down the bed covers when a knock came at the door.
“May I come in?”
“I don't have a robe.”
“Get under the covers, then. I'd like to talk to you.”
He walked into the room and left the door open behind him. “May I sit down?”
Without waiting for an answer, he perched on the edge of the bed, turned so he could look at me. “I had a swell time today. I enjoy being with you.
Feeling my nipples harden brought color to my cheeks. “I had a good time too. And yes, I really enjoy being with you, David.”
“Mom will make us breakfast, and then we'll see about getting you home.”
“I hope we get a lot of snow,” he said with his impish grin.
“Being snow-bound with you might be fun.”
I wanted to throw myself at him. I wanted to pull down the covers and rip his clothes off. If his parents hadn't been there, I might have.
“Mary? May I see you again? I'd like to take you on a real date in your town.”
“I'd like that.”
“You can laugh at me, but please don't be mad. I have to ask you a question.”
“Will you be my girl?”
“You mean, like, go steady?”
“I'd love to be your girl.”
“Then, may I kiss you?
I didn't answer him as he leaned over me. I wanted him to kiss me and so much more. His lips went for my forehead, and he planted a small, delicate peck there and then moved back to look at me. I'm not sure what my face showed, but it was enough that he kissed me on the mouth. Nothing passionate or sexual – the kiss was gentle and warm, the kind of kiss you share with a truly close friend. I kissed him back, maybe harder than I should have, but he didn't say anything about it. He just smiled and walked away, closing the door behind him.
Lying there in the darkness in the warm, comfortable bed, I listened to the rest of the family settle down for the night. I don't know how long I lay there re-playing the day's events in my head, but when I got to the memory of our kiss, things didn't stop there. Quietly, guiltily, I brought myself to an intense but empty orgasm. My shocked mind understood that my body wanted David to do that for me.
After breakfast, Gladys insisted I call my parents again. The plows were busy in town, but we weren't sure how the roads were between here and my town. To give the road crews some time, we all worked on digging out their driveway and the one belonging to the elderly couple next door. David, Ted, and I squeezed into David's truck to go clear Grandma Bailey's snow. When we got home, Gladys served us a hearty lunch, and then David drove me to my little car and helped me clean it off. We made plans to see each other the following weekend. I was still grinning from his goodbye kiss when I turned onto the street where my parents lived.
My cellphone rang, which confused me. I didn't have a cellphone in 1963. When I opened my eyes, I found I was still sitting in my desk chair, my polishing rag in one hand. I picked up the phone and saw it was June calling. Muting the ringer, I sat back in my chair and stretched. I hadn't thought much about the first time I met David in years. My dream was more vivid than any I ever had, not so much a dream as a reliving of a magical twenty-four hours in my life.
I looked at my snow globe again. I wanted to take a better look at the fountain in the park. Turning the globe slowly, I found the best vantage point. Some smudges blurred my view, so I squeezed a little more polish on the cloth and began rubbing at them. When the glass seemed clean, I sat back in my high-backed desk chair, pulled Grandma Bailey's afghan over my legs, and closed my eyes to wait for the blizzard to end.
David wore a white frock coat, vest, trousers, and shoes. He looked very Victorian standing next to the fountain, his brother and the minister smiling down the pavement to the curb where I climbed from a white carriage, carrying a bouquet of white roses and orange blossoms. My father beamed at me as he took my hand to help.
“Today I give you to another man. I'm so happy you're wearing white,” he said, kissing me on the cheek as my mother and sister fussed with my outfit. “Ready?”
I looked toward the fountain, my man standing there, shielding his eyes from the sun, smiling his love at me. “I'm so happy, Daddy.”
“So am I, honey. You couldn't have picked a finer young man. Let's get past the photographer before I start to cry too.”
The ceremony was brief and simple. David's touch as he put the ring on my finger was electric. There was love and fire in his eyes.
We nearly gave in to our desires a number of times during the previous four years. David was accepted to nearby Mansfield State College before we met. After that first weekend with him, I applied for late acceptance and learned in March that I could be an Elementary Education major there. David commuted from home, and I lived in a dorm my first year, though I spent weekends with him and his family. When I was a sophomore, I got an off-campus apartment. He and I spent a lot of time together, and could have gone all the way, but we didn't.
Tonight we would. I was old enough by this time that the majority of my friends weren't virgins, and some of them told me about their first times. I thought I was prepared for the pain, and hoped I could find some of the pleasure they talked about. Throughout the agonizingly long reception, I played blushing bride, but David knew me well enough to know the color in my cheeks wasn't from embarrassment.
As we danced, David whispered, “Are you okay, Mary? You look a little flushed.”
“Let's get out of here. I want you to take me and do things we couldn't do before.”
David danced us over to his brother and said, “It's time to go.” With a sly smile, Bob turned and strode to the door. Everyone thought he was going to drive us to the airport that night to stay in a hotel there before our honeymoon trip the following day. That wasn't the plan at all. We drove out of town and then doubled back, hurrying to the room in the Penn Wells hotel that David had rented under a fake name. A wink and a small tip to the desk clerk was all it took. Our privacy was assured.
In the room, I opened my suitcase to get the white negligee I bought for this special night. I turned to see David sitting on the bed. “Come here, Mrs. Hudson. I want to make love to you.”
I melted in his arms, kissing him with the unbridled love and passion it was now proper for us to share. We undressed each other slowly, taking time to calm our shaking hands with kisses both tender and hot. When David unclasped my bra, I held it against me for a moment. “I was going to wear white for you.”
“Today, were wore it for each other. But tonight, I want to feel your skin against mine.” He pulled the bra out of my hands and tossed it on the chair with the rest of our clothes. Then he lowered me to the pillow, gently pulling my hands off my breasts and holding them in his own above my head so he could kiss me harder. I felt the sparse hair on his chest on my aching nipples, and his answering bulk through his briefs against my thigh. Carefully, he pulled my white stockings off, then held me again and rubbed my bare leg with his own.
“I'm scared, David. I'm afraid I won't please you.”
“That's supposed to be my line. I want you to enjoy every time we make love, and I'm afraid you won't our very first time. I don't know how to make this any easier for you,” he said, gently cupping my wet panties in his big hand.
“It will be with you, baby. I'll be okay.”
He already knew how sensitive I was. He was able to make me orgasm a little just touching me through my panties, which was all we allowed ourselves to do before. I knew how hard he got when I rubbed him through his trousers. Now, they were off. His briefs were badly distorted. I had to see, so I boldly pulled on the waistband and touched him for the first time.
Somehow, he got my panties and his underwear off so we were fully nude together, wearing nothing but our new wedding rings. I looked at his manhood, so stiff and large as I ran my fingers over it. I both wanted it and feared it, but I wanted it more. “Please, David. I need you inside me.”
I expected him to do it when he moved over me, but he supported himself on his arms and knees, keeping his weight off me, but kissing me with growing urgency. He broke our kiss to inspect my breasts, kneading the flesh, hefting me, teasing the little bumps around my nipples with the back of his fingernail, driving me crazy. He kissed me on the throat, and I arched my neck to offer myself to him. Barely perceptible butterfly kisses were my reward, lighting everywhere on my neck, throat, and upper chest, moving too slowly down toward my nipples. When he kissed the first one, I felt his hard penis against my thigh.
“I don't know how long I can wait to do this, David.”
He kissed my mouth. “We've waited four years. That first night in the diner when I waited on you and Roger, I vowed somehow, some day, I would make love to you.” He kissed the special spot he discovered years earlier on the side of my neck. “I knew I didn't want anyone but you from that first moment.” He licked one nipple, and then sucked the other. “You're more perfect than I dared pray for. I want to take time to enjoy you. I want to enjoy you for the rest of my life.”
I touched him, wrapped my fingers around him, and felt his slipperiness on my palm. “You're leaking.”
He touched my bare womanhood for the very first time, even more gently than I do. “You're leaking, too.”
“I want it. I don't care how much it hurts. I want it. I need it.”
“Not yet.” He pulled my hand off him, and again pinned my wrists gently to the pillow above my head with a single, strong hand. “I want you wetter than you are. I think it will be easier.” He kissed me again, sometimes tenderly, sometimes urgently, as his free hand roamed over me, teasing my skin, chilling it and warming it at the same time. “I love you, Mary.”
“David!” I hissed when his finger pressed lightly against my entrance.
“My brother told me to see if I can find this one spot,” he mumbled from between my breasts. His hand urged my thighs apart further, and then his nails combed my hair upward, teasing it away from the top of my folds. The tip of his finger played in the wetness at my entrance, and then traced upward, spreading my juices, making me slick everywhere. “Ah! Is that it?”
I jolted with the sensation, somehow much stronger than when I touched my clitoris myself. “Yes,” I whimpered. “That's it, all right!”
“Good.” David proceeded to pleasure me with his hand, making me even wetter while licking, kissing, and sucking on my breasts. Every time he caressed my entrance he pushed a little harder, until my drooling hole accepted the tip of his finger. It was as big as two of mine, and they had always been enough to make me feel very, very good. David's one finger did more, and when my breathing told him how to coordinate his finger in my entrance, his slippery thumb on my clitoris, and his mouth on my breasts, I understood what an orgasm really was.
“David,” I panted as I gathered myself, “where did you learn to touch a woman like that?”
“I don't know. Made it up as I went along. I watched your eyes and listened to you.”
“I want you to feel that good. I know it will hurt and I don't care. I want to make you orgasm inside me. Now.” I helped him position himself at my entrance.
We were both so wet that the pressure of him pushing to enter me was delicious. One of my girlfriends told me even that hurt her the first time, just accepting a man's girth into areas a woman can easily reach herself. It didn't hurt me. My tissues resisted at first, but then admitted just a bit of him, and the pleasure took my breath away.
“I didn't know it would feel like this,” he growled softly. “I love you so much.”
“Push it in. Break me and mold me to fit you,” I moaned, pulling on his muscular butt to urge him to penetrate me deeper. When he hit my membrane, I whispered, “I love you, David. Take me.”
He did, mercifully stopping his forward movement when he felt me give way. I held my breath, and David kissed away a tear from each of my cheeks. Then I started giggling. Heaven knows why – relief perhaps, or an overflow of nervous and emotional energy. Whatever it was, it startled him at first, and he started to pull out.
“Oh no you don't, Mr. Hudson,” I laughed. “That didn't hurt much at all, and you're already starting to feel pretty good in there.”
“Thank you. You feel pretty good to me, too.”
Slowly, he sank to full depth inside me, the discomfort quickly giving way to an amazing sensation, nerve endings I didn't know I had vying for attention in my brain, all of them telling me it might get even better than it already was. He moved just a little at first, tentatively and very slowly. The he shifted his position and put exquisite pressure on my pleasure center.
“Move a little more.”
He pulled about half his length out of me, and then kissed me deeply as he pushed back in.
“You know where you're hitting me, don't you?”
“My brother and I talk a lot. I hope it feels good.”
“It's mind-blowing.” I wrapped my legs around him to help me meet his gradually increasing speed and force.
“Mary, I'm not going to last much longer.”
“Good. I want to feel that.”
David and I wanted children, but we didn't want them yet. I was careful about taking my prescription, so when his eyes started losing focus and his penis felt larger inside me, I welcomed it.
“Oh, Mary, I ….” He twitched as his body stiffened in my arms. I felt warm, slick wetness that hadn't been there a second before. My own body responded, squeezing him with my internal muscles and my limbs, holding him deep as he deposited his seed inside me, consummating our marriage, and throwing me into a grunting, bucking orgasm of my own.
“I love you,” he whispered into my hair, and I responded with the same words, never more heartfelt.
When he pulled out of me, I felt an emptiness I had never known before. I was sore, leaking blood-tinged slime on his thigh, my carefully coiffed hair in sweaty ringlets on my face and neck. He held me against him to kiss, urgently at first, but then softening into the caresses and gentle touches of a satisfied lover. His big hands played with the soft white skin of my buttocks, and my fingers traced random patterns in the sparse hair on his chest and belly.
“I'm sore and messy and sweaty. I need a shower.”
“I'm sorry, baby. I knew you would suffer, and I hate myself for it.”
“I didn't suffer, at least not so much that I don't want to see if we can do it again real soon.”
We bathed each other, an act that seemed almost more intimate than sex. The love and eroticism of it made us hurry to dry off and get back in bed.
I was enveloped in the comfort of David's arms, sleeping nude with him for the very first time, when the doorbell rang.
Hotel room doors don't have doorbells, and certainly not electronic ones in 1967. I opened my eyes when I head knocking on the door. I was curled up in my desk chair, bundled in Grandma Bailey's ancient afghan, lights bright on the desk where my snow globe, polish, and rag were. I worked my way out of my wrappings, got my feet under me, and answered the door.
“Are you okay, Grandma?” my granddaughter asked. She whisked past me into the apartment, an icy blast of wind following her. “I thought we were going Christmas shopping today. You were supposed to call me when you were ready for me to pick you up, and you didn't answer your phone.”
My brain was still struggling to free itself from the wrappings of my dream. Hadn't I just been naked in bed with my new husband? The father of this lovely child's father? Hadn't we just given our virginity to each other, and then made love twice before we slept, and again as morning light came through the blinds over the hotel window? My woman parts certainly felt like it, a well-used, satisfied tingle like I hadn't experienced in decades.
“I'm sorry, Hannah. I must have fallen asleep in my desk chair. I feel a lot better than I probably look.”
“You look fine, Grandma. I was worried about you, that's all. June stopped to see Mom this morning. She brought bagels for breakfast from a new place downtown. She said she got a business card for it when she was at that antiques place with you. Can I see your new snow globe?”
We went over to the desk, and she crouched down to view it from all angles, careful not to touch it and stir up the artificial snow. “Wow, Grandma! That's, like, super-detailed! You have some other really cool ones, but this looks like a real scale model of some place. Wait! Isn't this that cute little town where Great-grandma is in a nursing home and Grandpa David is buried?”
“Wellsboro, yes. I met David there, married him, raised a son with him, and, when David died, buried him there. Dear, take your coat off. I'm going to go get dressed, and we're going to have a great day together, but I want to talk to you first.”
She took off her coat and knit cap and sat down, primly holding them in her lap.
“You don't have a boyfriend, do you, Hannah?”
“No. I mean, I've gone on some dates, and I like guys and all, but there's no one special.”
“So you don't know what love is.”
“Well, sure I do, Grandma. I love my parents, you, even my bratty brother Michael, my friends,...”
“But you haven't been 'in love'.”
“Um, no, not really.”
“I hadn't either until one night, half a century ago, when I met your grandfather. Right there, see that little greenish building? That's the diner. He worked there. I went in with Roger, the boy I went steady with the autumn of my senior year in high school. I thought I was in love when I walked into the place. I knew I was in love with your grandfather when I walked out.”
“That's cool. So, like, it was love at first sight? He turned you on or something?”
“Well, yes, honestly, he did. I had made out with Roger quite a bit. We dated for about six months. We kissed a lot, and he kept trying to get his hand in my bra, but that was it. I wasn't ready for more at that point, and I knew it. Remember, this was 1963. We were good kids.”
“Um, okay,” Hannah said, blushing much as I did at her age. “I guess I'm a good kid, then.”
“I got married in that park there. We both wore white, and we deserved to. We made up for all that waiting many, many times over the years.”
“Why are you telling me this, Grandma?”
“Sometimes I miss David so much. I know one day I'll be with him again, though, so that helps. Maybe I'm feeling old. I'm starting to recognize people in the obituaries.”
“Grandma, don't think about that!”
“Why? Death is part of life. It's not something to fear. It's something to prepare for. You're an adult now, so you'll have to do some work cleaning up after me, but I want you to know that it's all spelled out in my will. My snow globe collection goes to you, since you've always liked those things, and your Grandpa David's stamp collection goes to Michael, since he likes them and has a little collection of his own.”
“Thank you, but I want to wait a long time to get them, Grandma.”
“I'm not sure I'm ready to give them up yet, dear, but I am ready for a shower, a nice brunch, and a day of doing girl stuff,” I said, draping the old afghan neatly over the back of the sofa. “I'll be ready in fifteen minutes.”
Hannah and I had a wonderful time together, both of us buying gifts for her parents and brother, and window shopping for ourselves. It's something we've done ever since she was old enough to tell me which dolls were her favorite, or which new boy band CD was “hot”. Now, we looked at clothes she could wear to college.
After a nice dinner, Hannah took me home. I was very tired. I changed into my nightgown and sat at my desk to check messages. I didn't get very far before my gaze strayed to the snow globe again. My movements had caused a few flurries. This time, I was reminded of the first Christmas Eve after our son, Dave, as everyone called him, moved away. He was spending the evening with his wife's family, and we would have dinner at Dave and Susan's new house the next afternoon.
“We have plans tonight, Mrs. Hudson,” David announced when he came home from work that day.
“Oh?” The tone of his voice made me think he was up to something, and when he came up behind me and cupped my breasts in his big hands, kissing me on the back of the neck, I knew he was. “What plans?”
“We have dinner reservations in the Mary Wells Dining Room, and we're staying at the hotel tonight.”
After a fabulous dinner and a sinful dessert, David led me to the tiny elevator and through the narrow hallway of the old building. We stood in front of the door to the room where we spent our first night together as husband and wife.
“Go ahead, Mary, unlock the door. Ladies first.”
The room was re-decorated at some point, but it was still old, quaint, a little cramped, and very romantic.
David undressed me that night, the way he liked to do, and I undressed him. We sometimes got the giggles at the most ridiculous times when we made love, and that night was no exception. Early in our marriage we discovered the pleasures of oral sex, first because David wanted to try it on me, and very soon after that, because I loved the sounds and movements he made when he was in my mouth.
We were in bed, sweaty in each others arms, tasting ourselves on each other, lazily kissing, when he said, “Is is possible that I love you even more right now than I did the last time we were in this room?”
“Good question. How much do you love me now?” I whispered, walking my fingertips down toward his groin.
“More than life. More than I can explain.”
“How much did you love me then?”
“The same, but I think all these years of waking up next to the most interesting, sexy and beautiful woman in the world has made me appreciate you more.” His hot, wet manhood responded to my touch like it always did, growing rapidly as I stroked it. We made long slow love that time, losing ourselves in the joy of a romance that had already spanned a quarter century.
Over breakfast, David said, “We should do this more often.”
“What? Go out for breakfast?”
“No, spend the night making love like newlyweds in a hotel room, and then go out for breakfast. After which we go back to the room and have wild passionate sex again before we have to check out.”
“You just want to work up an appetite for Christmas dinner.”
He leaned across the table, fixed his dark brown eyes on me, and used the voice that always made my panties damp. “That's a side benefit. The main thing I want to do is see how sweaty I can make the only woman I have ever loved.”
We didn't get all our clothes off until the second time he mounted me in our frenzied session that morning. Playing in the shower was out of the question. We barely beat the clock at the front desk. The clerk grinned at our damp hair. “I hope you enjoyed your stay This place is magical when it snows.” He processed David's card while humming “Jingle Bells” off-key, smiled, and called “Merry Christmas” as we dashed to the car.
Dinner with Dave and his wife was a joyous occasion. She shared the news her doctor gave her two days before. We were going to be grandparents.
In bed that night, spooned against my husband, I said, “The name 'Grandma' sounds so old.”
“You're not old, baby. I'm four months older than you, and I'm not old.”
“So you say, Grandpa.”
“I take that as a personal challenge,” he said, gripping my breast exactly the way I liked.
“Good.” Sleep didn't come for almost an hour. The last thing I remember saying to him that night was, “I'll love you till I die.”
“My love for you won't stop then,” he whispered into my tangled hair.
The little funny tone my computer makes when I get a new e-mail woke me up. Another ad for canes, walkers, and electric scooters. “Not yet,” I mumbled, deleting the ad and closing my laptop. This was getting ridiculous. I was not going to spend another night in my desk chair. The dreams and vivid memories of David made me feel young again, but who was I kidding? At my age, I needed a firm mattress and a good, neck-supporting pillow.
Settled under the covers, I thought about him. I remembered him when he was so very ill, trying to stay alive to see Hannah graduate from kindergarten. He made that his goal and said he could give up after that. I have a picture somewhere of him, in his bed at the hospice center, grinning weakly out of his sunken eyes at the little girl sitting next to him, holding her diploma for him to see. My world ended a week later. “I'll see you when you're ready. I love you,” he said, and closed his eyes for the last time.
I spend every Christmas with our son, his lovely wife Susan, and my grandchildren, Hannah, and Michael. The kids were on their best behavior, as they always were on holidays or when Grandma was around, but this time, they showed a maturity I hadn't noticed before. Hannah would graduate from high school in six months, and Michael was studying for his driving learner's permit. Seeing these young adults made me feel even older than my reflection in the mirror.
“Mom, I got the confirmation e-mail last night. Everything is set for our New Year's weekend with the family in Wellsboro. Our rooms are confirmed, and Granny knows we're coming. We'll pick you up Friday after I get off work.”
Dave had me sit in the passenger's seat of his car for the drive on the afternoon of New Year's Eve. Susan and the kids crowded into the back, since they bend more easily than I do. “The town looks the same,” I said. “It looks the same every holiday.”
“I know, Mom. I feel like a kid again every time I come here,” Dave said. He parked in the little lot behind the old hotel and took my hand to help me out of his car. We went in the side entrance next to the lounge.
“So good to see you, Mrs. Hudson,” the man behind the desk said. “Your rooms are together on the second floor.”
When Dave unlocked the door for me, I realized where I was. This had been our honeymoon room. This was where David and I made love so passionately the night before we learned we would be grandparents.
Feeling very tired, I declined the family's invitation to see in the new year and went to bed early. The sound of a few fireworks woke me. Fireworks? Oh, of course. New Year's Eve. I was almost asleep again when I heard his voice. “I love you, Mary.”
I turned on the light. He sat in the over-stuffed chair next to the bed, wearing a red flannel shirt and the grin I missed so desperately. “David? What are you doing here?”
“Waiting for you. Remember when I said I wouldn't stop loving you after I died? I also told you I would see you when you were ready.”
The crying teenage girl finally stopped banging on the door when the hotel manager came to let the police and the ambulance crew into old Mrs. Hudson's room New Year's morning. Her body was already cool, but she had a smile on her lined face.
Hannah helped clean out her grandmother's place a week after the funeral. “Dad, I think this is my favorite of all Grandma's snow globes. There's even a couple making snow angels near the fountain in the park!”
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