Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Lassiters Ch. 11 Bothered and Bewitched

The thing was, John admitted to his consternation; he might indeed have been an idiot that day he’d spent with Lalique, but he could not forget it. The whole weekend after that he bounced around his home feeling as though he was 35 again; at the top of his form. He worked on his fruit trees and garden; did the usual chores; even stretched out in the hammock to read for a while. It didn't matter; whatever he did he felt fantastic because in his mind's eye he was young again. And Lalique was the reason for his euphoria. It had been difficult to get her off his mind before he asked her out; now it was impossible.

When he momentarily allowed himself to examine his feelings, guilt assailed him and made him sick at heart. So he gave extra attention to Melora whenever he was able to come down to earth for a few moments. She  had begun to be worried about his recent detached air, but now she felt somewhat reassured.

Within a week or so, though, John began to spend more hours away from home. He'd taken up health-walking and now began working out at the gym and was becoming buff, more than he'd been in ten years. He even went out and bought a whole new wardrobe. His preoccupation with being healthier and looking better was contagious. He did not know it, but Melora was beginning to get the seeping, creeping conviction that he was getting bored with his home life. She grew her hair out again and worked on exercising and looking more youthful. She'd always loved makeovers, she told herself. That was true, but these endeavors now had more to do with worry about John's attentions straying than anything else. Never before had she had cause to doubt him, although she'd occasionally been jealous when women had sometimes openly flirted with him, especially when they were younger. John, unlike most men, had been way too smart to ever let her catch him noticing a woman with a good figure, and he'd always made sure not to pay much attention to women who might come on to him.

Why he has to start worrying me now and after all these years I don't know, Melora thought with irritation. On one hand she felt like telling him if he was bored at home, not to let the door hit him in the butt on the way out. On the other hand...she loved him very much and did not want to lose him. For any reason.

This was about the time Lori visited her mother and Melora mentioned to her daughter that John had recently told her he was working out at Harvey's new health club. Shortly thereafter Melora treated herself to a shopping excursion even stopping at the toy store to purchase items for when the twins would visit. She surprised John by coming home with a calico cat she'd found at the animal shelter. She named her Felina and had even more fun with her than with little Spanky. The cat, grateful for a good home, soon adored Melora, who "talked" to her all the time. John complained irrationally that she paid more attention to her pets, particularly Felina, than she did to him. To his additional dismay Felina far preferred their bed over her cat bed in the living room. Melora didn't mind at all, but John kicked the cat out of the room every night. If Felina wanted to nap on the bed during the day, that was one thing, but not since Trey and Lori had been small had he tolerated interlopers in their bedroom. Some things should remain sacrosanct in his opinion, and the cat had access to the rest of the house; let her find someplace to sleep out there.

Nights were quiet now at the house by the sea. John was affectionate, but their lovemaking was sporadic. This was so unlike him that Melora worried he might be having health problems. He expressed no concern and she didn't want to pressure him; after all, he was no longer a man of 35...

So she showered a lot of affection on her pets and threw herself into more renovation on the house. She completely redid the en suite master bath and had the wall in between the living room and foyer knocked down, as well as the one on the other side of the foyer between that and the dining room. Those walls had been put in 20 years ago on a previous decorating spree. The carpeting was ripped out in the living room so that the hardwood floors could be refinished.

The large kitchen was repainted and new cupboards and granite counters went in. Stainless steel appliances were all the rage, but Melora liked warm colors and easy to clean surfaces. New flooring and new curtains and lighting completed that project. Then she widened the archway between the living room and small library, which was converted into a game room with a poker table.

John seemed to be on a similar kick to have new things around him. He traded one of the cars for a new sports car. Then he saw a vintage 1959 Viking convertible for sale and traded their sedan for that.

"I'm thinking about having a two-car garage built," he announced to Melora, "I don't want either the sports car or the Viking sitting out in the sun and rain--how we've got by all these years with no garage, I don't know."

"There's no room to widen the driveway or build a garage, is there?"

"Oh, we can move things around a bit. We don't need Trey's old basketball court--and we hardly ever use the sauna anymore. I could dismantle it. I could put in a wider driveway and 2-car garage on the other side of the house."

"But the pond..."

"Well, I know we've had the pond there for thirty years, but we can put one in on the other side, just not as big."

Melora blinked. John fished that pond every day in the summer. And it was the jewel of their front yard.

He saw her bewilderment,

"I know, I know, but it's not that hard to install a pond and we'll stock it with with fish, too."

She shrugged. If collecting old cars tripped his trigger that was fine with her; at least the project might keep him contented and at home. Strange; she'd always thought that women who had to keep constant tabs on their husbands were suspicious throwbacks. If you could only trust a man when he was in your sight then you couldn't trust him at all. At least that had been Melora's opinion for years. Still the hours John would spend on the cars and his garage project would have that result; she'd know exactly where he was. And she realized unhappily that was what she now wanted.

"If that makes you happy I think you should do it, John," she said  with a sweet smile, "As for us not using the sauna much anymore; that certainly isn't my fault. Any time you want to steam, just let me know."

As she sauntered off, swinging her hips, John's gaze followed her. She'd always had a lovely walk, almost like dancing. Maybe he'd been rash about getting rid of that sauna, after all, he could just move it elsewhere in the yard. He headed toward the kitchen where he could hear Melora singing as she emptied the dishwasher...

In the end John kept the pond and built just a one-car garage where the driveway always was but he added a carport to it. Over the carport and garage he put a wide deck that featured their beautiful and unobstructed view of the sea. It could be accessed either by steps in the backyard or through a door in Lori's old bedroom and included a hot tub. But he shocked Melora by dismantling his beloved greenhouse claiming his heart was not in it anymore and he didn't really have time anyway. She would miss the fresh produce when it came to her cooking.

John insisted that they should have gotten a bigger house and yard years ago, but Melora was definitely not interested in moving from their home after all the redecorating she’d just done. He kept the sauna but moved it to the other side of the yard so they could put in a playground for Gray and Valrae.


Sovereign Dark said... the extent of Melora's knowledge is, as yet, only suspicion. John certainly loves his wife, I gather as much. I'd imagine he must be even more surprised and confused by his own actions than Melora is by his out-of-sorts behaviour. Only, he seems too lost in the euphoria of having a young girl's affections to restrain himself from going further astray. What a spot he's gotten himself into.

Lorelei said...

He definitely have I lol...pondering, pondering.

Sim Girl said...

Aww, Poor Melora. I do not like that she feels this way. She should not pull away from John though, but I know it is tough to think the way she does right now. It quite seems like he is going through a big midlife crisis, but he is a little high in age for that is he not?
I also feel bad for the poor adorable kitty that John kicks out of the bed! Oh my! That little bear on the counter in that one picture is SOooo cute!
Wow, the renovations look fabulous.
The garage/carport is lovely! I love the deck too, awesome. TOo bad the greenhouse is gone though.

Lorelei said...

Yes, he is like middle-aged crazy, but not middle-aged really, unless he expects to live to 120 years old! lol See how men act? He's got the hots for a girl half his age and then he gets jealous of his wife's cat...That bear is cc and I think he's cute, too. As for the greenhouse..he already doesn't know what to do with himself when he's home because his greenhouse is gone...