May 16, 2023 // By:analsex // No Comment
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“Wow! You look amazing.”
“Oh, thank you. But we are going to the opera, you know.”
“Right. Hey, we better hurry or we’re gonna be late.”
“Oh, jeez! No kidding. Let’s get a move here. My mom will kill you if she misses the opening kick thingy.”
Justin Reese laughed out loud. He didn’t want to, but he couldn’t help it. Even after three years of marriage his wife’s utter lack of understanding regarding his favorite sport astounded him. Then he again, he didn’t know Swan Lake from The Nutcracker and Rachel could talk ballet or opera until the cows came home. Lucky for her, so could her dad. Lucky for him, her mom was a football fanatic.
“It’s about time you guys showed up!” Denise Conrad told her daughter and son-in-law. “We’re gonna be late and you know I hate being late to a Seahawks game!” She grabbed her coat and gloves, picked up her purse and gave her daughter a quick hug. “You look beautiful, honey! And your father looks very dashing in his tux. You two have a great time tonight, okay?”
“You do the same, Mom. And remember, just because they serve light beer doesn’t mean it won’t affect you.” Rachel was kidding but only partly so. The last time her mom and her husband went to a Seattle Seahawks game, she got so wasted Justin had to steady her coming up the sidewalk. In spite of her insane love of sports, she loved her mother dearly. And she was grateful to her for the genetics her mom gave her. At 48, Denise still looked a lot Rachel Welch did when she was that age. Her skin was soft and smooth and she still had no crow’s feet around her eyes. Add to that her high cheekbones and soft, silky hair, Rachel knew she need not fear growing old. Other than the fact she hated all sports, the other reason she didn’t care to go anywhere with her mother was getting asked who her sister was. Hopefully, in 23 more years when she was 48, she’d still look that good.
“Daddy!” Rachel exclaimed when she saw her father. “Mom said you looked handsome, but…wow! Look at you!”
He did a quick pirouette for her, bowed, and said, “You ready to go, my dear? We don’t want to late, either. I can’t remember being this excited about going to the opera since…”
“Since the last time we went?” Rachel teased.
Christopher Conrad was not only her father but her best friend and her hero. He’d instilled in her a deep love for the opera, ballet, the theater, and classical music from the day she was born. He’d spent his entire life performing in one form or another and done quite well at it. His influence had definitely rubbed off on his baby girl who was now 25 and a married woman. The only thing that pained him was that his son-in-law had no interest whatsoever in the finer things of life. He preferred beer to champagne, football to ballet, and Nascar to the theater. But then, so did his wife of 26 years.
Rachel knew early on her future husband had precious little interest in any of the things she most loved. It concerned her even then but it pained her now. She did her best to hide how much it bothered her, and she consoled herself by often saying that opposites attract. And boy we’re they opposites! She was girly girl. She loved all those things her father raised her to love and she loved dressing up for the performances as much as the events themselves.
Justin was man’s man. He was a firefighter for the City of Seattle and he loved sports of all kind. He was an outdoors kind of guy who also loved camping, hiking, mountain biking, and even hunting. Hunting. Ugh! She hated hunting. But her mother, who also loved to hunt, had taught her to respect both hunting and guns and neither she nor Justin ever killed anything they didn’t eat. Even so, just the thought of killing a living thing sent chills through her. Never mind that she was not only a vegetarian but a vegan. She not only wouldn’t touch anything her husband or mom ever did bring home, she wouldn’t eat anything that had a face or that had a mother with a face. The thought alone made her sick.
As a devoted daddy’s girl who loved the finer things in life, Rachel was wearing a formal gown with a diamond necklace and earrings and 4″ heels while her husband was in jeans and Seahawks jersey, just like her mom.
“Okay, so we’ll back around midnight, you two. Enjoy the opera and try not to get hurt handling those programs. Paper cuts can hurt like hell!” Denise called out as she and her son-in-law headed for the stadium.
“Daddy? Why did you marry mom when you have nothing in common?” she asked as they got ready to leave for the Seattle Center and tonight’s performance of Figaro.
Her father handed her a medium-sized silver box tied with large, red ribbon. Inside was a beautiful, new, very expensive wrap. As she opened it, her eyes opened wide and she gasped sharply. “Oh, Daddy! It’s beautiful!” As he put it around her shoulders he said cheerfully, “What you said isn’t true, honey,” he said. “Your mother and I have something in common. Something very important to both of us. We have…you!”
Rachel hugged her dad and thanked him for the expensive new Fatih escort bayan gift. He extended his arm for his daughter to take and said cheerfully, “Shall we?”
Rachel laughed and said, “It wouldn’t be a night out if we didn’t!” Christopher Conrad dipped his head and shoulder and led them down the hall as they skipped and sang, “Oh…we’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz!”
Denise was furious. “What the hell’s the matter with you? Did he hit you in the hands again, you bum?”That was the second pass the Seahawk’s tight end dropped that was thrown right into his chest. “They’re trying to give the damn game away!” she hissed.
Justin was too busy cussing out the receiver himself to hear what she said. Once he’d vented his spleen he put his mouth to her ear and hollered, “You want another beer, Denise?” In a rare moment of relative quiet, it was possible to hear the person next to him but it was definitely NOT quiet tonight. Seattle was one of the loudest stadiums in the NFL. In fact, the crowd was so loud it was nicknamed the 12th man meaning the crowd was worth another player for the home team.
“Yeah, sure. But this has to be the last one. I can’t risk a repeat performance if you know what I mean!” she hollered at him.
As he looked around for the guy selling beer, Denise Conrad had a rare moment of melancholy. She loved going to sporting events or NASCAR races with her son-in-law, but these were things she would never share with her husband. They lived in the same house, but they lived in very different worlds. Life with Christopher was comfortable, but Denise would never in a million years call it exciting. Other than Rachel, they really had nothing in common.
Denise had been the girl every guy wanted. In high school and college, she’d been pursued by numerous good-looking jocks on campus and not a few of her male professors and other older men. And she’d dated plenty of them. But it was the quiet, cute musician and budding actor who’d won her heart. She still didn’t understand why she’d fallen in love with him, but fall in love she had. He was just so…handsome. And yes, he was very talented. As she looked back, what sealed the deal was the time he put up a makeshift cover to keep the rain from hitting his violin as he stood outside her window and played some piece she didn’t even know to prove how much he loved her.
For whatever reason, she’d said yes all those many years ago. Now she couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like if he just had some tiny bit of interest in the things she loved. And yet, here she was again at a sporting event with her daughter’s husband. And Rachel, just like her dad, couldn’t appreciate just how exciting it was to watch an NFL game or see a car driving around a track at 200mph or summit Mount Rainier. Denise just didn’t get it. She accepted it, but she couldn’t imagine a life lived indoors.
“Here you go!” he yelled as he handed her the cup.
“To another win!” she hollered back as a toast. They sloshed their cups of beer and drank up just as the tight end held on to a pass and ran for a first down.
“Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!” Denise screamed. “Go, Hawks!”
Even though Seattle was up 31-17 with two minutes to go, neither of them would ever leave early. No way. Watching the entire game was sacrosanct. Leaving early was sacrilege. Justin winced when Denise ordered her eighth beer at the two-minute warning. She chugged the rest of it as the game ended, crushed the cup and tossed it in the air. “We…kicked…ASS!” she screamed. She turned and grabbed Justin and put him a bear hug. She smelled like a brewery again, but he couldn’t help but squeeze her back.
Once he got her in the car he said, “Okay, we’re hittin’ a Starbucks before we take you home. Coffee won’t sober you up, but it’ll give us another half hour to let your liver do its thing.”
“Fuck my liver,” she said. Denise wasn’t afraid to swear, but she didn’t do so gratuitously very often.
“Everything okay?” Justin asked her.
“Sure. Everything is just freakin’ peachy. How could it not be? I mean, my husband is out—again—with my daughter and I can’t even get any attention from my handsome son-in-law.”
“Okay, that’s it. We’re having two cups before we go.”
After a cup that took her about 30 minutes to sip, she was a little less drunk. “I’m sorry about what I said. You know, on the way here.”
“It’s okay. You were drunk. People talk shit when they drink. It doesn’t mean anything,” he assured her. “And for the record, I do pay attention to you, Denise. You’re a beautiful woman. It’s kind of hard of hard not to notice.”
She ordered her second cup then asked, “Can I ask you something?”
“Sure. Anything,” he said sipping his first.
“Why did you marry Rachel? Don’t get me wrong. Christopher and I both love you dearly and she does, too. It’s just that you two have about as much in common as he and I do, you know?”
Justin sighed and said, “Well, she is beautiful.” He paused and said, “She really takes Escort Fındıkzade after her mom, you know?”
Denise smiled and thanked him for the compliment. She took a drink of the hot, steaming liquid and said, “Do you believe opposites attract?”
Justin laughed and told her, “Rachel says that all the time. Now I know where she got it.” Denise smiled at his comment. “I guess so. After all, aren’t the four of us living proof?” he asked.
“I suppose so,” she said. She took another sip then asked rhetorically, “And yet why is that birds of feather are the ones who always flock together?”
Justin couldn’t help but notice Denise looked so…sad. “Do you want to talk about something?” he hinted, offering her a free pass to say anything she liked.
“No. It wouldn’t do any good.” She sat there for a moment then said, “I mean, it’s just so hard to spend your life with someone when the only thing you have in common with them is a child. If I could do it all over again…” She stopped in mid-sentence and said, “Anyway, I think I’m sober enough to go home now. Thanks for the coffee.” She stood up then reached out for his hand and said, “And Justin? Thank you for listening.”
He held hers back and said, “Thanks for going to the game with me. We’re going again next month, right?”
“You better believe it!” she said a bit too loudly. She swung his hand back and forth a couple of times and told him, “I wouldn’t miss it for anything.” She put her arm through his as they walked outside then pulled herself close when the blast of cold air hit them. “I love Seattle, but I’m really tired of 40 degrees and this raw, cold weather. But…I wouldn’t live anywhere else so…” she said as he helped into her seat.
It was so quiet on the way home. “The crowd noise is still ringing in my ears,” she said. She paused then said, “Don’t you just love that?”
“I do,” Justin told her. “The crowd energizes me. God, I love football!”
As they pulled into their upscale neighborhood, Justin noticed the lights first. “The cops are up ahead.”
“Oh, we’ve had two break-ins here in the last six months. I hope it’s not our house,” she said as she rubber necked trying to see where the flashing lights were parked. In some parts of town, two break-ins a day was the norm. But in this very upscale, suburban neighborhood, a single break-in was tantamount to a scandal. “Ah, shit. It is our place. If those assholes stole my Russel Wilson jersey…”
“What about the grand piano? That’s gotta be worth…”
“I don’t give a damn about the piano. But if that jersey’s gone, there’ll be hell to pay, let me tell you! He signed it for me personally last year at a fan event at the stadium. I waited in line for two hours.”
The driveway was blocked by a police cruiser and an unmarked car was parked along the curb. Both had their lights flashing. Justin felt disoriented by them as he went around the car to help Denise out. As she stood up and Justin closed her door, a man in plain clothes approached them. “Good evening ma’am. I’m Detective Brenner. Are you Denise Conrad?”
“Yes, that’s me. What did they take this time?” she asked.
“Ma’am?” he said with a puzzled look on his face.
“Whoever broke in to my house. What did they steal?”
The detective said, “Ma’am, there wasn’t a break-in. Are you the wife of Christopher Conrad?”
“Yes. Why? What’s going on?”
He turned to Justin and said, “Are you the husband of Rachel Reese, sir?”
Justin felt his knees go weak. His voice was suddenly hoarse as he croaked, “Yes.”
“Can we go inside?” the detective asked somberly.
Two minutes later both of them were in shock. “According to an eyewitness who watched the accident unfold, they were killed instantly. An 18-wheeler traveling in front of them lost control and jack-knifed on the wet road on I-5. Their vehicle couldn’t stop and ran headlong into the cab of the semi while another vehicle hit them from behind at the same time,” he explained.
Neither of them heard the sordid details. After hearing, “I’m so sorry but both of them were killed in an accident on Interstate-5 about 45 minutes ago,” their brains disengaged.
The detective asked if there was anything he could do for them. Both managed to shake their heads. He left them his card and told them call if he or the department could of any help in any way.
As the detective showed himself out, Justin and Denise sat there in stunned silence. Neither of them spoke for what seemed liked hours. Finally, Denise lowered her head and Justin heard her begin to cry. He didn’t speak. He just slid closer to her and put his hand on her back. Her tears came freely now and she sat up then just fell into his arms.
“I’m so sorry for you, Justin,” she managed to choke out. “I’m sitting here feeling sorry for myself but you lost your wife.”
“And she was your baby girl,” he said in a hollow voice. “I’m sorry, too, Mom.”
She hated when he called her that and the few times he had, she’d instantly rebuked him. Gaziosmanpaşa escort bayan But not this time. She just clung to him as her body was racked with sobs. Unable to stop crying, she heaved and sank in his arms for a very long time. At some point the sobbing slowed down then stopped.
“Can you please stay here tonight?” she said almost begging him. “I can’t stand the thought of being in this big house alone.”
“Sure. Of course I will,” he told her. He made sure she got to bed before he went to the room down the hall where Rachel lived growing up. As he lay down on her very girly-looking bed, he broke down and cried, too. He had no idea when he finally fell asleep, but it didn’t last long. Around 5am he awoke with a terrible headache and a momentary feeling he’d had a bad dream.
That’s when he saw Denise peeking in. “Can’t sleep, either? I made us some coffee,” she said. “Come on, I’ll pour you a cup.”
Denise could only think of one person to call and that was their attorney and personal friend, Lewis Pierson. He’d know exactly what to and he’d help her take care of everything from the funeral—no—funerals, plural—to handling the estate and any other legal matters. At 9am, she called the office. By 9:45 he was at the house and did indeed tell her he’d take care of everything. He assured Justin he’d do the same for him at no charge.
When they laid them both to rest at private family cemetery three days later, Denise told him again how sorry she was. “So what will you do now, Justin? Will you stay here in Seattle? Have you even had the time to think about it?”
“I have,” he told her. “We had plans to go home for a lengthy visit as my mom’s cancer is back. Now I’ll just stay with her until she recovers or…”
“I understand,” she told him. As they headed toward the black limousine that brought them there she said, “Do you think you’ll ever come back this way?”
“You know, if I don’t make a promise to do just that, I probably never will. So how about this? A year from today, I’ll come back to this very place. And maybe we can get together for coffee or dinner.”
“I’d like that,” Denise told him. “I’ll miss you, you know. I feel like I’ve not only lost my husband and daughter but my best friend.” She looked up at him and said, “You really have been a best friend to me, Justin.” She’d promised herself she wouldn’t cry again, but a tear fell anyway as she told him, “I do love you, Justin. You know that, right?”
“I love you too, Denise. And I promise I’ll stay in touch. Maybe we can even take in a game when I come back to visit.”
“I’d like that. A lot,” she said as they headed back to her place.
Two hours later, all of the visitors and friends had gone home leaving Justin and Denise alone in the big, empty house.
“So I guess this is it,” she said knowing he needed to catch a plane.
“It is,” he said. “I’m really gonna miss you.”
“Same here,” she said. She took his hands in hers and said, “Life has a funny way of turning out.” She looked down and said, “Perhaps the word ‘cruel’ is more appropriate considering the circumstances.”
“You want to say something,” he told her. He knew her well enough by now to know when something was on her mind.
“Yes, but some things are better left unsaid, I’m afraid,” she explained. “I’d love nothing more than to tell you what I’m feeling, but sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor and this appears to be one of those times.”
Justin put his hand on her cheek. He was amazed at how young and beautiful she still looked. “There’s no need to say the words, because I feel the same way.”
He kissed her on the cheek before she hugged him tightly. “Take care of yourself, okay?” she told him.
“I will. You, too.” She kissed him on the cheek once more before letting go of him.
As he walked out the door, she felt another tear fall and run down her cheek. A year seemed like a death sentence to her. Could she wait that long to see him again? But what choice did she have? Her life was here and his was now…there.
Back in Spokane, he sat by his mother’s bed and held her hand. “I know you wanted to be there, Mom. But you need to get well. Traveling isn’t an option until we get you healthy again.”
Gloria Reese did her best to smile. “You’re amazing, Son. You’re the one hurting and yet you’re trying to make me feel better,” she said weakly. She’d gotten much worse since the last time he’d seen here. The cancer had been in remission, but it had come back two months ago—and with a vengeance. He and Rachel were planning a visit at Christmas and now here was at her side—alone.
“I’m just glad Aunt Janet has been here to take care of you, Mom. But I can do that now,” he told her as he handed her a glass of water. She was so weak and so frail.
“You’re such a good boy,” she said. “You look so much like your father, you know. So handsome.”
Justin’s father passed away three years ago from a heart attack. He was barely 60 and in good health. The doctors told him it was just one of those things. Now his mother had just turned 60 herself and she lay here dying. First his dad, then Rachel had been taken from him, and now his mother didn’t have long to live, either. He wondered about the old saw that good and bad things come in threes.
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