Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Lassiters Ch. 8 Wait For Me - Pt. 2

“John, I just learned Brian Ottomas has left town,” it was Glenn on the phone, “Is everything okay with Lori? I also just found out from Gareth who heard through the high school grapevine that Lori saw Brian a couple more times after that first time.”

“I know. Melora had a long talk with her Friday night and I talked with her Saturday morning; evidently this Ottomas clown told her to stay away on Friday. She’s okay, she’s grounded for a while except to go out with her mother, but Melora has talked with her quite a bit. Evidently he was content to see her and not touch her.” John paused significantly, “Or he’d be dead by now.”

“I understand. I’m sorry I didn’t discover she was seeing him earlier, John. I just didn’t think it was necessary to follow him. I was wrong. Anyway, he must have left right after he said goodbye to Lori. His sister came home around 10 pm and he was already gone.”

“It’s okay, Slats. From what I can tell he’s not really a pervert and had no criminal intentions, he just showed really poor judgment in my opinion. I don’t know if I should tell her or not. She just got calmed down,” John debated.

“She’ll find out anyway, John. In this small town today’s news is tomorrow’s gossip. Maybe it’s better if it’s you who tells her.”

“Guess you’re right.”

He told Melora and they called Lori down to the library so they could tell her privately. She took it quite well, John thought. Tears sprang to her eyes, but she wiped them away. She asked if they knew where he went and they said no. They were glad that they did not know--they didn’t have to lie.

“I have to finish my homework,” she murmured quietly and they understood she wanted to be alone. There is some pain from which you cannot shield your child.


Up in her bedroom, Lori wrote in her diary that her beloved Brian was gone and she did not know where. She called Melanie.

“He’s a guitar player; naturally he’d have to leave. Didn’t you say he was joining a new group?” Melanie pointed out.

“Yes, that’s true.”

“I don’t suppose you got the name of the band?”

“No, he never said what the name was. Mel, do you think he left on account of me?”

“Hmmmm,” she thought it over, “Well, at least partly. I mean he did tell you he didn’t like you and all that stuff but, of course, what a lie that was.”

“What do you mean?”

“Lori, even though I never met him up close and in person, I saw his texts to you; you told me every little word he ever said to you; I know he called you up to the Arcades.”

“He didn’t call me up there, he just said that’s where he was,” Lori pointed out.

“Please! He knew you’d come up there if he was there.”

“Do you think so?”

“Okay, let’s look at the facts: 1. First time: the man meets you and asks for your cell phone number, then calls you and texts you for a week, just to talk about music and what you’re doing 2. Next, he calls and asks you to come over to his house and have dinner a week later and meet his sister. 3. He continues to text and phone you all week. 4. You have dinner there and when you leave he wants to know if you have a boyfriend. Hello? 5. the day after that he goes up to Arcades and just happens to call you, (because he knows you will come up there)," Melanie was ticking these points off on her fingers, “5. Then there are two days of silence and then he calls you again, this time to say he doesn’t want to see you anymore. 7. You go to his house to talk to him and he sends you away.”

“So what do you think it means?”

“Duuuhhhhhh! I can’t believe you are giving up so easily after you were so sure a couple days ago that he wanted you. ”

“Melanie, please tell me what you mean. I can’t tell if you’re for it or against it.”

“Look I know you love this guy, Lori. I'm sorry I can’t fall in love with him to keep you company but I just can’t think that way about someone over 21 I guess. I can see he’s seriously cute (for an old guy) with that bad-boy look he’s got going on, but for me? No. Here’s the thing; I knew it was dangerous for you and for him so I didn’t want to promote it after the first week or two. Now that he’s gone, I guess I can be more open.”


“Here goes. I think he was crazy about you. I think it scared the heck out of him—you’re jailbait remember? There are probably other things going on his head that we don’t know about, but I would say he left so he could be sure he didn’t involve you in something that would be bad for you and put him in jail. And, of course, he had this job as a guitar-player that would take him on the road; an easy out.”

Lori laughed in delight. Brian loved her. At least in Melanie's opinion.

“Now that you know that I think he has a real thing for you,” Melanie continued, “That doesn’t get rid of the fact that he is too old for you. Or more to the point, you are too young for him. Right now. But think about it; when you’re 21, he’ll be 37. Thirty-seven sounds old to me, but I bet it doesn’t sound old to you. And it definitely is legal. So you just have to last 5 years.”

“Five years! Why not when I'm 18? I'll 18 right after we graduate!”

“Because you have to get through 4 years of college, too. What, are you going to give up all your dreams? But don’t worry; you’ll have plenty to do.”

“That’s what Mom says,” Lori slumped, then she brightened, “So you really think he loved me? You’re not just saying it because you know that’s what I want to hear?”

“I’m going to be so sorry I told you that, because I can see that you’ll make me tell you twenty times,” Melanie laughed, “Yes! Again, I never saw him with you in person--but everything he did toward you, everything he said to you—and the fact that he did NOT touch you, seems to me that it shows he was, yes, I hate to say it, ‘in love’ with you. I don’t think he wanted to be and that surely made it worse for him.”

Lori danced around the room and said into the phone, “Melanie, you are my bestest, sweetest, and most intelligent friend!”

“Lori,” Melanie grew serious, “Promise me that you’ll try to think about other things for a while. Five years is a long time. You have to find a secret drawer in your mind and heart and shut him up in there while we finish high school and college. Can you do that?”

Lori nodded, “I know. I can do it now, I know I can.”

There was a silence. Finally Melanie spoke,

“What about Harvey?”

“What about him?”

“If you are so crazy about Brian that you can’t be a real girlfriend to Harvey shouldn’t you reconsider things?”

“Oh. But I really like Harvey a lot! He’s so sweet and he has those beautiful eyes,” Lori said, “Can’t I just love him until we graduate?”

Melanie sighed, “I guess so.”

“Well if you think I should break it off I will. I don’t want to be mean to Harvey. I did used to kiss him and pretend he was Brian; that was bad. Well, sometimes I forgot to pretend. Just kissing Harvey for Harvey was pretty nice, too.” She laughed. 

Melanie didn’t reply.

“Okay, maybe I should break up with him,” Lori said, finally ashamed. She was a terrible person. First she loved a man she shouldn’t love and lied to her parents; then she kissed someone else and maybe made him think she loved him. She did love Harvey in a way, just not the way she loved Brian.

“I’m not saying to do that necessarily,” Melanie said softly, “Just make up your mind how you feel about Harvey. If you don’t think you care for him as much as he cares for you, then maybe you should let him know.”

Listening carefully to her, Lori was struck. She’d never realized it before but Melanie cared a lot about Harvey. In fact, Lori guessed that Melanie wanted to go with him and never said anything because of her. Of course I never realized it; I’m always too busy with my own emotions to ever notice anyone else’s. Shame lashed her again, but she did not say anything to Melanie who obviously wanted no one to know her secret. Lori knew she would definitely have to rethink a lot of things in her life.

“Hey, want to come over tomorrow after school and lay out by the pool?” she asked.

“Sure, we need to get started on our summer tans!”

The next night, after her bath, Lori sat at her desk. It was funny, once she knew that there was a good chance Brian DID care deeply for her and that he was gone from town, it became easier to keep him in the back of her mind. She had not thought of him all day since they went swimming. As long as people were around it wasn’t too bad, as soon as she was alone, it came back to her.

Looking in one of the cubbyholes in her desk, Lori pulled out the drawer and removed the photo of him that she took with her phone at the Arcades. She had downloaded it to her computer and printed it. He wouldn’t smile, that day, he hadn’t really wanted his picture taken but he did it for her. He looked so solemn and his arms were crossed in a typical male posture. Lori looked at it for a while, remembering that day and thinking of things in a different light since Melanie talked to her. His black hair and gray eyes were the same and really she did not need a photo to help her remember. Still, it was all she had of him now. She put it in a small envelope and taped the envelope underneath the drawer. Then she returned the drawer to its safe and secret cubbyhole. Telling herself that she was putting away his memory, too, but only for a while, she made a vow. She would never forget Brian, even if she didn’t talk about him. Someday, some way he would come back to her and they would be together forever.

“Brian, wait for me. I promise I'll grow up just as fast as I can,” she whispered. 


Next installment of the Lassiter Family HERE

If you haven't already done so; read Brian's continuing story HERE 

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.