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Posted:|| September 22, 2020 Views: 23|
Chapter 23 of the book Par Angusta Ad Augusta
Abigail learns a new word.
A law professor gets a family and a bookstore owner offers advice.
Previously in "Par Angusta Ad Augusta":
After his brother and sister-in-law are killed in a car accident overseas, NYU law professor Jefferson Thomas brings his young nieces and nephews to live with him in Manhattan. Meanwhile, local bookstore owner Monique Vasquez continues to run her family's business while rebounding from a recent break-up.
After lunch, Amy took the twins into the restaurant's restroom to clean them up while Eric and Jefferson paid the bill.
"Hey," Eric said. "I'm sorry for running my mouth about Linda. I forgot that you weren't telling the kids anything yet."
"It's all right," Jefferson assured him. In reality, he had been glad to have the issue come up as a distraction from how he and Amy were behaving towards one another.
"It's gotta be difficult dating these days," Eric remarked.
"It's all right," Jefferson said. "Linda's got kids, so she understands. That does help."
"How do you two actually find the time to pursue this relationship? I mean, Amy and I are married and we sometimes have problems with getting time for just us. It's gotta be a nightmare for you two."
"We manage," Jefferson said, calculating the tip he owed the waitress.
"Creativity, compromise, and knowing someone who you can call on to watch the kids."
"Hey," he said. "aren't you supposed to talk about that prostitution case today? The one tried to spin Lawrence v. Texas in the 9th Circuit?"
"I gotta figure out what to do," he said. "I can't talk about prostitutes with Abigail and Taylor there."
"What's a prostitute?" someone asked.
Both men realized Amy had returned with the twins.
"What's a prostitute?" Abigail repeated.
Neither Jefferson nor Eric knew how to answer her.
"It's something grownup women do for work," Amy said. "But it's not something people talk about, so forget it, all right?"
"Can I be a prostitute when I grow up?" Abigail asked.
"No," Amy, Eric, and Jefferson all said at once.
* * *
Jefferson's afternoon class went pretty well, except for when Abigail accidentally sent one of her crayons flying halfway across the front of the room and had to run after it. Of course, having the Stevenson twins in the class didn't pass anyone by either and some students found jokes in that. But all in all, it went well, including Jefferson's last-minute substituting ESPLERP v. GascÃ³n with Korematsu v. U.S. Many students did not miss the unmentioned cause for the change, glancing towards the twins.
* * *
Unfortunately, Gloria Lawson showed up for one of her surprise visits a few minutes after Jefferson and the kids got home. Both girls told her about going to work with Jefferson that day and she seemed to approve after learning no other means of supervision had been available. But things quickly went sour when Abigail let something slip about having heard the word "prostitute."
"Where did she learn that word?" Gloria Lawson demanded after the kids went outside to play with Presley.
"She overheard it," Jefferson admitted. "I was talking to a friend of mine about having to change the discussion topic for a class of mine and she came back from the bathroom before I realized it."
"Well," Gloria Lawson said, writing furiously in her notepad, "I strongly suggest that you make sure she learns another, more appropriate word and forgets this one."
Jefferson promised he would and she left soon after that. When she was gone, he headed for the phone.
"Hey," he said, calling Monique. "You wanna do lunch tomorrow?"
"Sure," Monique agreed. "Subway again?"
"Sure," Jefferson agreed. "I'll see you at 12:30."
He hung up and dialed another number.
"Hey there," he said. "Listen, I'm just gonna be blunt about this ... I need sex. Can you come over tonight?"
"Rough day?" Linda asked.
"You can tell me all about it. I have to see about tonight though. If not,, definitely tomorrow night."
"Okay," Jefferson said, rubbing his temples.
What a day, he thought as he hung up.
* * *
"Oh God," Monique said, laughing. "Tell me she's learned a different word by now."
They were back at the Starbucks, which was becoming one of their regular haunts to meet at during lunchtime, and Jefferson was recounting the twins' day in law school.
"Yeah," he said, taking a bite of his muffin. "I think she's forgotten about it. I'm just praying I don't get a call from school about her suddenly remembering it."
"Consider it a lesson," Monique remarked. "Always watch what you say. Always."
She took a long sip from the tea in her tumbler.
"Thanks for the tip," Jefferson said.
"What I'm here for," Monique replied, grinning.
* * *
Against her better judgment, Amy rang the doorbell of Jefferson's house, an overnight bag tucked under her arm. She waited anxiously for him to answer. When he did, she managed a smile.
"Hey," she said.
"Hey," Jefferson said, letting her in. "Thanks for doing this."
"No problem," Amy said, relieved he wouldn't be there. She set her overnight bag on the kitchen table as Jefferson began feeding her information, such as where the necessary phone numbers were.
"Eric's okay with this?" he asked.
"Yeah, he'll be fine without me for two nights," Amy said. "Besides, he has no reason to worry because he doesn't know."
Jefferson nodded and called for the kids to come downstairs.
"Thanks again so much for doing this," he said, turning back to face her.
"It's all right," Amy assured him. "You need a weekend for yourself. Have a good time ... but, before you do, could you tell me where I can grab a spare pillow and blanket for the couch?"
"The third floor hall closet," Jefferson told her. "But you can just take my bed for the weekend ..."
"I really don't think that's a good idea," Amy interjected. "I'll be fine on the couch."
Jefferson nodded, understanding. Just then, the twins and Matthew came down and the subject was dropped.
"Okay you guys," Jefferson said. "You be good and listen to Mrs. Nelson while I'm gone. I'll be back on Sunday afternoon. Sound good?"
All three nodded as Anya emerged from her room, a large backpack hanging off one shoulder.
"I am leaving now," she told Jefferson. "Have a good trip."
She turned to the three kids.
"I will see you soon," she said, hugging them each. "Proshchay."
She'd begun teaching the kids to say simple words and phrases in Russian. They mimicked this word and she left.
"What does she have planned?" Amy asked.
"I have no idea," Jefferson admitted. "All I need to know is she'll be back. I've gotta get going too though. You all set?"
"We'll be fine."
Somewhat satisfied, Jefferson went upstairs and got his bag, along with a pillow and blanket for Amy. He headed out the front door with a final wave, Presley leading the way. When he was gone, Amy turned to the kids.
"Okay," she said. "We've got a few hours until dinner. What do you guys wanna do?"
* * *
Of course, late Friday afternoons in New York City were nightmarish times to try to obtain any form of public transportation, so Jefferson had thought ahead and reserved an Uber the day before. Therefore, he was right on time when he reached Grand Central Station.
Linda arrived about five minutes later in her own Uber, clearly sounding haggard. She embraced Jefferson and kissed him deeply.
"It's not often that I get to do that when I first see you," she remarked with a smile.
Jefferson kissed her again, running his hands over her body.
"What's that your wearing?" he asked, catching a whiff of her neck.
"It's called 'Celebration'," Linda described. "You like?"
"Very much. And the outfit's nice too. Conservative but sexy."
"Thanks. I fixed myself up at work for you. Now come on. We've got a train to catch."
* * *
"All right," Amy said. "It's Taylor's turn."
She and the twins were playing Junior Monopoly while Matthew was nearby, playing with some toy cars. Taylor took the dice and rolled them half-heartedly, getting a six.
"Everything okay?" Amy asked as Taylor bought the bumper cars she landed on.
"Hey," Amy said, not buying this response. "He'll be back before you know it."
She wondered what might have happened the last time she saw her parents to cause such attachment issues. It had to be more than them dying so suddenly.
* * *
The train ride up to Albany took about three hours. Once there, Jefferson and Linda rented a car and drove another two hours to reach Proctorsville, a small town in southern Vermont, where the Golden Stage Inn Bed and Breakfast was located.
They checked in with an older woman who ran the place and proceeded up to their room on the second floor, having eaten sandwiches during the drive. Jefferson got Presley settled with food and water and then pounced on Linda, who was already lying on the bed after having taken off her shoes.
"You're not wasting any time, are you?" she remarked as he began unbuttoning her blouse.
"I wanna get going before I get too tired," Jefferson replied.
Linda laughed and began undoing his belt buckle.
* * *
The alarm on Amy's phone chimed and she stirred to life, sending her blanket to the floor in the process. She sat up on the couch, rubbing her eyes and taking a moment to remember where she was and then to remind herself she had not slept with Jefferson again. She then snatched her phone off the coffee table before its alarm could wake the kids.
I'm losing my mind, she thought as she got up and headed to the kitchen for some coffee. Despite the agreement she and Jefferson had made to put their one-night-stand behind them and stay friends, the idea's practical application wasn't going so well.
Amy remembered her work study program in the library of the New York University School of Law almost two decades earlier. She could visualize the two second-year students who approached her between the shelves, where the nosy and bossy law librarian couldn't see them. God forbid anyone engaged in a casual conversation within a hundred feet of that woman.
Like ninety-nine percent of the Earth's population, Amy's eyes immediately fell on the guide dog with one of the men. He was a large yellow Labrador Retriever/Golden Retriever cross. Using the dog as their opening, the men introduced themselves as Jefferson and Eric. The dog's name was Emerald.
Then a junior at Columbia, Amy was able to make ten minutes' worth of conversation with the pair before she heard the librarian looking for her. The three of them scattered before the woman had the opportunity to discover their "unauthorized chatter".
It'd been three weeks before she saw either of them again. Taking a lunch break at a pizzeria just off campus, she spotted Jefferson sitting in one of the booths and engaged him in conversation. She was surprised he remembered her. Their chat turned into a lunch and that ended with an invitation to a party Jefferson and a bunch of his friends were hosting.
Amy wasn't sure exactly when it happened, but she was Eric's girlfriend within a few months of that second meeting. Jefferson was supportive of their relationship and served as Eric's best man at the wedding. But Amy supposed she always knew, on some level, there was another side to his feelings. He'd been very happy to see her again at the pizzeria, even remembering her voice and her name.
The three sometimes joked about what might have happened if Amy had ended up with Jefferson. Those jokes hadn't come up in a while and Amy now wondered if they felt like Jokes to Jefferson. She also wondered how exactly she ended up with Eric. After all, she'd seen Jefferson again first and they'd had a nice lunch.
Though he wasn't lonely, Jefferson sometimes lamented the fact women were intimidated by his blindness, fearing they might either offend him or seeing this as a potential burden on them. Amy feared she might have subconsciously considered this as well. She could admit she was more mature than that undergraduate so long ago, but would she have been that shallow back then?
The coffeemaker finished just as Amy heard noises above her. Time to get started, she thought as she added milk and sugar to her cup.
* * *
"Morning," Linda said softly as Jefferson opened his eyes, running one hand through his hair.
"Morning," Jefferson returned, kissing her. "I gotta say ... it's nice having you stick around in the mornings instead of watching you get out of bed and hurry off."
"Is it now?"
* * *
As best she could, Monique spent her morning helping Frank and Samuel restock some shelves to make space in the storeroom. They were expecting a delivery on Monday and they would need that space. So, the laws of physics required that every available space in the shelves be filled.
Monique couldn't help thinking about Jefferson and the fact he was taking his girlfriend up to Vermont for the weekend. He'd mentioned this plan to her a few days back and she was envious in the sense that she didn't have anyone who would do that for her. The last time she had been on such a trip was in her senior year of college when she and her boyfriend had spent a weekend at a vineyard in upstate New York. They had had fun, despite her having some difficulty with the wine-tasting due to her being unable to properly hold the glasses. Now, with the exception of complicated trips to southern California to see her mother, she hadn't been on a vacation in years.
* * *
After breakfast, Linda persuaded Jefferson to go to a local antique fair she'd read about. In exchange, she agreed to drive ninety minutes north to the Ben & Jerry's factory with him that afternoon. On their way back, she put forth the suggestion that they go on a hayride that evening, adding that dinner would consist of a cookout which was included.
"Can I sneak you off into the woods to do the wild thing?" Jefferson asked mischievously.
"I think we might scare the horses," Linda replied.
* * *
While the twins watched a cartoon, Amy sat on the floor, helping Matthew build a fort with his blocks. By now, the kids, especially Taylor, had warmed up to her more and seemed to believe her when she said Jefferson and Anya would both be back the next day. And she had been able to shed some of her misgivings about staying in Jefferson's house. All in all, it wasn't going that badly, even if the memories persisted.
* * *
As the wagon bumped along the wide dirt road, Linda looked up at the night sky, describing what she saw for Jefferson's benefit. There were ten people on the hayride plus Presley, who was fascinated by the pulling the wagon through the woods. The view of their backsides and hearing the occasional snort or neigh was enough to hold the dog's interest.
"We'll be at our cookout site in about ten minutes," the driver announced at one point, keeping a firm grip on the reins.
A few people acknowledged his announcement while others didn't speak, instead admiring the scenery around them.
"This remind you of that time we took that carriage ride around Central Park?" Linda asked.
"This is quieter," Jefferson remarked, wrapping his arm around her waist and pulling her in close.
Linda smiled and leaned her head against his shoulder.
True to the driver's word, they reached a large clearing about ten minutes later where several people were already busy preparing food or putting the finishing touches on a large campfire. The menu consisted of burgers and sausages, which the hayride's passengers consumed with drinks as they sat around the campfire.
"My God," Linda commented, looking back up at the night sky. "You can see so many more stars here than in the city. It's beautiful."
* * *
Amy sat on the couch in her pajamas, watching television. The kids were asleep and she couldn't find anything which held her interest. She couldn't sleep either.
She finally switched off the television and dug a book out of her overnight bag. "Remembering Virginia, the first installment in the "2nd Time Around" series by Christian Becker. She curled up on the couch and picked up at the spot where she had left off.
But this too failed to stimulate her. Amy set the book down on the coffee table and looked around the room, feeling uneasy. Here she was, staying in the house of the man she had stupidly had sex with while her husband was at home, thinking everything between them was fine.
Of course everything between them was fine. What she had done with Jefferson was nothing more than an extremely dumb mistake. And now, alone in the man's den while in her pajamas, Amy was reliving the stupidity.
Thankfully, her day had been busy keeping track of the twins and Matthew, but now that they were asleep, there was nothing to keep these thoughts at bay. How could it have happened?
Amy remembered she'd had a few drinks after dinner that night, just like Jefferson. But she didn't think of herself as being drunk. Her thoughts and speech had still been clear and lucid and the same seemed to apply to him. She recalled how she had been about to leave when she remembered the brochures she wanted to give Jefferson. They were for that soccer program. Their fingers had innocently touched and they subsequently joked about it, and then, after some more time and tension, they were suddenly kissing and going upstairs to his bedroom, pausing only long enough to come to a verbal consensus on the idea.
"Upstairs?" Jefferson had asked.
"Okay," Amy had replied.
The rest had been a flurry of undressing and the subsequent act itself. It had all been stupid ... just stupid sex.
And Amy was kicking herself for it. She was sure Jefferson felt guilty about it as well, though he didn't always show it, but she was sure she felt so much worse. After all, after she left that night, he had been able to just go back to sleep. She had to endure the taxi and subway ride home, going into her house and taking a shower, and then getting into bed with her husband while making up an excuse about where she had been for so long. She couldn't even remember what she had said and was thankful Eric never brought it up again.
Feeling emotionally overwhelmed, she had quietly cried that night. And now, it was happening again. Amy curled up on the couch, burying her face in her hands.
* * *
Linda kissed Jefferson passionately as they stood in the middle of their room in the Golden Stage Inn. Presley was off in a corner, chewing on one of her toys and they didn't worry about her right then.
"How about you make yourself comfortable?" Linda suggested softly, leaning close to Jefferson's ear. "I'm just gonna go change and freshen up in the bathroom."
"I think I can do that," Jefferson told her.
Linda smiled as she headed off into the small bathroom.
Jefferson kicked off his shoes and sat down on the bed, staring up at the ceiling as he waited. He was sure he had some idea of what Linda had in store for him but the woman nevertheless had a way of surprising him.
Linda came back out a few minutes later and he could smell the fresh dose of perfume she'd just put on. She'd explained she worked at a high-end makeup boutique during her graduate studies and knew tricks which could make Hollywood look amateurish. So far, Jefferson had believed her.
He could hear the click-clacks made by the high heels she was now wearing as she came over to the side of the bed. For one brief moment, Jefferson found himself wondering what she'd done with the boots she'd worn during the hayride. The thought evaporated as fast as it had formed.
"Hey handsome," Linda said in a sultry voice as she took one of Jefferson's hands in both of hers. "You wanna know what I put on for you?"
Jefferson nodded and she took his hand and guided it up to her torso, letting him feel the silk material of her nightie.
"You like that?" she asked.
"Oh, definitely," Jefferson said.
"That's good," Linda said, climbing on to the bed and straddling him. "Now, I want you to go ahead and explore. Find out exactly what I'm wearing. Enjoy. Just don't take any peaks at what isn't showing yet. No sneak previews."
Jefferson didn't hesitate and ran both his hands over her body, soon finding the lace trim which ran along the edges of the nightie. Linda kicked off her heels as she kissed him and began unbuttoning his shirt.
|The book continues with Chapter 24. We will provide a link to it when you review this below.|
I have rearranged this story a bit. It is now thirty-eight chapters (instead of the original forty-two.)
Cast of characters:
Jefferson Thomas: a blind NYU law professor.
Presley: Jefferson's guide dog.
Monique Vasquez: a bookstore owner in Manhattan
Abigail and Taylor Thomas: seven-year-old twin daughters of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nieces of Jefferson Thomas.
Matthew: four-year-old son of Stanley and Margaret Thomas. Nephew of Jefferson Thomas.
Anya Motkova: Jefferson's new live-in nanny.
Brad Myers: accountant whom Monique meets
Linda Carrows: mother of children at Abigail and Taylor's school.
Joan: Monique's nurse.
Eric Nelson: Jefferson's colleague and best friend
Amy Nelson: Eric's wife and Jefferson's friend
Stanley "Stan" Thomas: Jefferson's brother. Killed in a car accident in Berlin.
Margaret "Maggie" Thomas: Stan's wife. Killed in a car accident in Berlin.
Feedback is always welcome. Enjoy.
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