Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Lassiters Ch. 8 Wait For Me - Pt. 1

It had not been a good morning for Lori; she should have just waited until another day to talk to Brian. First Trey caught her when she came down the stairs and gave her noogies. She was furious and it started a dull headache.

Next she wanted to make omelets for everyone and she overcooked them. They should have been light and fluffy but instead they were rubbery. The family ate them anyway but afterward Lori saw her father heading toward the cupboard where he kept his Tums. 

When she got to school she realized she’d forgotten an important report for one of her classes. She knew it was back home in her bedroom. By the time she got home and made a necessary appearance at supper to keep up pretenses, she’d become extremely nervous. Brian had asked her not to come to his house anymore and here she was planning on going there only two nights later. Chapter where Brian tells her to stay away. (That chapter makes more sense if you read all 3 of Brian's chapters).

And of course what Brian told her when she got there and the way he told her was the worst yet. She could hardly keep from blubbering like a baby all the way home. Once she passed Melanie’s house she lost it completely. Maybe she could just run up the stairs, she thought at first, and make it to her bedroom without anyone seeing, but, no. As usual her parents were having their coffee in the dining room. It wasn’t like she could sneak in the back way; she’d still have to use the stairs that flanked the dining table. The world was out to get her.


John and Melora were indeed drinking coffee when Lori came running up the front walk and headed to the stairs, sobbing as though her heart would break.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” John hurried to catch her, “What is it? What happened?”

“He doesn’t care about me; he doesn’t want to see me anymore,” she spat out, too brokenhearted to care if they knew about her forbidden romance.

“Who—Harvey?” John was totally bewildered.

“No, not Harvey,” Lori took a breath, her voice quaking, “Brian. He told me to go away.”

“Hold on,” John was furious, “You’re talking about Brian Ottomas?”

Lori said nothing as renewed sobs tore from her body.

“You’ve been seeing him?” Melora asked in a surprised voice as she joined them by the steps. Lori nodded,

“Just twice, well three times counting tonight. Oh, nothing happened, he never even kissed me. I wish he had!”

“Don’t talk like that, young lady. You are in serious trouble. Did nothing we said—“
“I don’t care if I’m grounded forever. I never want to go out of this house again, anyway!”

“That can be arranged,” John said in the deadly monotone he used for business, “What did you think—“

“Leave me alone!” Lori cried. She ran up to her bedroom and slammed the door. Never had she talked to her parents that way before.

Melora faced John and put her hands gently on his broad chest.

“Sweetie, please let me talk to her alone for a minute.”

“Okay, but Baby if we cave on this—“

“I know, John. She lied to us, but we can deal with the disobedient child later. First let me talk to the broken-hearted girl. Please. I’m going to give her a few minutes before I go up there; so how about a refresh on your coffee?”


Fifteen minutes later, Melora was knocking quietly on Lori’s bedroom door.

“Come in,” she sounded resigned.

She was on the floor by her bookcase, sniffling, and scribbling a mile a minute in her diary. She’d cried so much her face was puffy and blotched. Melora sat down across from her.

“Lori, honey, will you tell me a little about this…about Brian?”

“You’re just going to report to Daddy.”

“You mean I’m a snitch?” Melora smiled, “Well, yes, I don’t usually keep secrets about his children from your father. But he doesn’t have to know every detail. And I’d really like to know more about someone you are so crazy about. If he’s that important to you I’d like to understand.”

“It doesn’t matter,” Lori said dully, “I thought he liked me, but he said he didn’t like me that way. He said I had to go away and forget him.”

“What made you think he liked you?”

“Just the way he talked to me,” she brightened infinitesimally, “He looked so happy to see me every time. Sometimes he called me 'Princess'. He remembered my favorite songs and other things I talked about. It seemed like he remembered everything I said.”

“I see,” Lori carefully considered this a moment, “And how do you feel about him?”

Lori’s expression grew rapt, “I love him, I know I do, Mom,” she looked at Melora, “I know. You’re going to say I’m too young to be in love and that he’s too old for me.”

“I would never say someone is too young to be in love.  Perhaps too young to be doing certain things because you are in love, I think we can agree on that. It's true you are very young to be making life-altering decisions, yet it is almost time for you to do just that.”

“I don’t understand.”

"Well, for instance where you go to college is a big decision and I think you are capable of making it with a little help from your father and me. As for love…well, let's talk about a few things first. Tell me where did you think this was going to lead if Brian had returned your feelings?”

Lori shook her head, “Nowhere, I guess. I mean, I knew he couldn’t like take me to the prom or a basketball game. I'm not that dumb. At first it was just that it was exciting to have a secret romance, but I would listen to him talk about things he’d done and places he’d been; the music he liked.  Oh, I don’t know. He is like no one I’ve ever known. He’s funny and he’s a very talented musician, you know, he won scholarships and was going to be a concert pianist at one time. It’s just, well, it’s just that he had to quit college, but I don’t know why. It didn’t matter to me, though, not at all. I thought, well, I won’t be sixteen forever and if he really loves me, he’ll wait for me. I know I hoped that he’d kiss me pretty soon, at least once. But he never did. And now he never will.”

Melora flinched inwardly at the thought of her daughter kissing a grown man. She had not seen him, but it made her sick to think of him touching Lori.

Tears trickled down her face as she went on, “I knew what he said the other day, but I thought he was just telling me that to protect me.”

“What did he say the other day? Where was this?”

He called me on my cell and said I need to hang out with kids my own age and not to visit his house or call him anymore.”

Melora wanted to scream out, “YOU WENT TO HIS HOUSE?” but she kept calm and set it aside for the moment.

“Anything else?”

 Lori was sulking, “Oh, he kept saying ‘I’m 32; you’re 16’. He just kept talking about how young I was over and over. I mean, I’m going to be 17 in two months. I told him about how women were married at 15 one hundred years ago and he said I was in never-neverland or something like that. Then he said I was a confused but nice kid and he said goodbye.”

She did not mention the times she and Melanie had stalked Brian at his house. She told herself it was not that important since even Brian did not know about it and never would.
So that was Thursday?”

“No, Wednesday.”

“Then what happened today?”

Lori’s face clouded up again.

“I begged him to tell me if he cared. He said it didn’t matter if he cared for me or not, he was too old. He said not to make him tell me things I wouldn’t like hearing. Then he told me he liked another woman, and she was older and that’s what he wanted. And he said he wanted to be with her and I was just a child. Then he said to go home or he would call you and Daddy to come get me! Like I was a pest or something.”

She started sobbing all over again as she finished. Melora crawled over to her and put her arms around her.

“I’m so sorry, sweetie. So sorry you are hurting.”

Lori grabbed on to her mother and cried herself out while Melora rocked her the way she’d done when she was a small child.

“But why didn’t he want me, Mom?” her voice was muffled against Melora’s chest.

“I guess because he’s a grown man. That’s the natural thing, honey. And that’s what’s best for him and what’s best for you.”

“But he used to like me, I know it, I know it.” Lori raised her head and wiped her nose with her arm before Melora could hand her a Kleenex.

“You keep saying that, but what makes you think it?”

Lori sat and thought, remembering,

“It’s just not something I can put in words. I saw it when he looked at me; I could hear it in his voice when he called me. I even knew it when he sent me a text.”

“You don’t think you maybe made it into more? You know how you get a little carried away sometimes.”

“I know,” she nodded, “but I wasn’t imagining this.”

“Did he say he cared?”

“No,” she admitted, “That’s what I wanted him to do.”

“Honey, I don’t know how to put this. It’s not unlikely that he was attracted to you—you’re a pretty girl—but men can be attracted to a woman and not really care about her.”

“No! He’s not like that!”

“Well then, maybe he did like you, but he just knew it was improper, so that’s as far as it went.”

“Then why didn’t he just tell me that?”

“Maybe he could see how much you cared for him and was afraid to encourage you by saying what he felt. What do you think?”

Lori considered this for a bit. She looked at Melora.

“Yes, I could see he might do that.”

“Maybe, just maybe, in the end he was trying to do the right thing. And he’s right, you know. He is too old for you. You need to be with kids your own age.”

“I knew you were going to say that,” Lori complained, “People are so hung up about age. I can’t wait until I’m 21. Or even 18.”

“The time will come soon enough,” Melora smiled, smoothing Lori’s long hair.

“That’s what he said.”

“Did he? Well he was right about that. This fall you start your senior year, so many activities and you have to keep your grades up for college. That will be exciting, too. Lots of things to keep you busy. You will hardly have time to think of him. Lori, is there anything else I need to know? Just anything?”

Lori smiled a little, “No, Mom. He hugged me like an uncle a couple of times. That’s it, never held my hand, never kissed me, nothing. Just nothing.”

She sighed in regret and said candidly, “If I’d known he would do this, that he would send me away, I’d have tried a lot harder to get a kiss at the Arcades. Too late now.”

She looked at her daughter. Lori had always been forthcoming with them until this recent incident, but it was hard to hear her talk a second time about wanting to kiss this grown man. Right now Melora was trying not to tear her hair and gnash her teeth, but it took a little effort.

“I know,” Lori grumbled, “but that’s the truth.”

“Okay where does this leave Harvey?”

“Well, Harvey I've kissed a lot,” she admitted.

Melora had to laugh,

“Yes, I’m aware of that; you’ve made no secret of it. What I mean is how do you feel about Harvey? It’s not fair to keep him dangling if you don’t care that much.”

“I really like Harvey. Probably if I wasn’t in love with Brian, I’d be in love with Harvey.”

“You sure do use the phrase “in love” a lot, but I’m not sure that you know what it really means,” Melora told her.

“Oh, Mom! You’re not going to tell me about love and marriage and you and Daddy, are you? It’s so embarrassing and anyway you already did that.”

“No, not tonight I won’t. But perhaps a refresher course is in order. So are you okay? You want to come down and have something to eat?”

Lori shook her head sheepishly, “I know Daddy is going to jump on me.”

“Well you can’t go without eating the rest of your life so you don’t have to see your father. But I will tell you this; we are not going to talk about your disobedience tonight. We will address it tomorrow.”

“Yeah but, Mom, you know Daddy will still be in a real bad mood.”

“Don’t you think he has a right? Well, don’t worry about it tonight. Daddy loves you very much, Lori, and he’s been worried about you. He’s your father and he deserves more than just the title and paying the bills.”

“I know,” Lori was once more on the verge of tears so Melora stood up,

“I think I can safely say that he’ll cut you some slack for tonight. Okay I’m going down to the kitchen and serve up dessert. You splash some cold water on your face and brush your hair and come eat some cheesecake.”  She hugged Lori again and kissed her on the forehead before she left. 

They were in the kitchen as Melora cut slices of cherry cheesecake for everyone. John was leaning against the counter beside her.

“Now remember, don’t say ANYTHING about it tonight, John. We’ll have a talk with her tomorrow.”

John nodded, “I guess you’re right. This way I can have all night to think over what I’ll say and not get any sleep. Fantastic.”

Melora smiled at him and then called upstairs, “Trey, cheesecake! Tell your sister.”

Trey hollered back and then they heard both of the kids coming. Their youngest son bounded down the stairs taking two steps at a time. Whether he had heard everything was not known, he frequently had earphones on listening to his music. Mostly likely he had heard and didn’t want to be any part of it. Lori followed him down demurely. Melora noticed that she had, indeed, combed her hair and used a cold wet cloth on her face; it was much less flushed and swollen. Her eyes were still red-rimmed though.

She didn’t look at anyone and took her place at the table as Melora served their snack. Over Lori’s head John’s eyes met Melora’s and he remarked,

“So, Steve says I should think about doing a book not on cooking fish, but on catching them.”

Steve was his publisher at Wickham & Knowles. Trey perked up, he loved fishing,

“Maybe I could help, Dad. I’ve got a few secrets that work for me.”

“Maybe so, Trey, maybe so.”

Melora turned to Lori, “I think we should go shopping tomorrow and get a head start on our swimsuit quest. Maybe over to Bluewater Village, what do you think, Lori?” without waiting for an answer she queried John, “You don’t mind if we take the new car, do you, John? We won’t leave until after lunch.”

Lori peeked up for a moment and, seeing that no ax was descending on her neck at this point, finally spoke, “Holly said they’re having a lot of sales at the stores there.”

John looked at Melora, “Sounds like a good time to go then, maybe you two should leave earlier and have lunch in Bluewater. I’m sure you could be able to leave by 9 or 10 anyway.”

In this way Lori realized a couple things; her talk with her parents where punishment would be administered would be early and over by 9, and she was evidently going to live through it since her Dad said that she and Melora should go shopping and even have lunch. Therefore Lori surmised that she would be alive to do so. She relaxed slightly and hazarded a glance at John as he discussed lures with Trey, his face impassive but he winked at her. Then she knew it was all right and her knotted up insides went soft and comfortable. 

Her father had always been first with Lori; the man she thought could do all things, and was the most handsome father, and the smartest. She learned to ride her bike and to ice skate with her father at her side. Then she reached thirteen and began to have crushes on various boys. Suddenly her father was no longer the only man in her life. But her mother had said that was part of adolescence; moving beyond your childhood and parents as you grow up.It was funny, Lori thought, as far as her older sister Grace was concerned there still was no other man like their father. She thought he was brilliant and every other man was a stooge. Maybe that's why she's never gotten married, no one is good enough for her if they're not like Daddy. Shrugging, Lori decided that boys (and men) were wonderful, but very confusing. Cherry cheesecake was much easier to understand and so she decided to pig out on a second slice of her mother's cheesecake.

1 comment:

Sim Girl said...

Nice, nice talk with mamma! I'll have to read part 2 in the morning.