Shug and I spent the rest of Tuesday in that Best Western motel just two hours outside of St. Louis. We made love. We ordered in pizza. We made love again. We actually did venture out for dinner. It was fast food, and as fast as it was, we couldn’t wait to finish it and get back to the hotel. We spent most of the night naked, exploring each other with fingertips, tongues, hands and eyes. I realized that we’d really hadn’t spent a lot of time getting to know each other’s bodies. Up to this point, we had merely grappled and groped. What was wonderful about Tuesday night was the way we both took time to explore each curve, bump and crevice of each other.
The first time I took him in my mouth Shug tried to protest.
“Please,” he said, “I’d really rather you didn’t do that.”
I released him and asked, “Why, Shug? I want to.”
“It’s just. I don’t know. I think it’s kind of demeaning, don’t you?” he asked.
“I don’t see why it has to be,” I answered. “If I want to, and it makes you feel good, why shouldn’t we?”
“Because,” he said, “it makes me feel uncomfortable.”
I laughed. “You didn’t seem to mind kissing my pussy, baby, and that made me very uncomfortable, remember?”
“Yeah,” he told me, “but that was different.”
“No, it isn’t. There’s no difference at all. I want to kiss and suck you here,” I said, caressing his cock with my hand. “I like it. I haven’t had a nice cock like this in three years. If I want to suck it, I will.”
Shug groaned and lay his head back down on the pillow. I took him back into my mouth and licked up and down the length. The texture was like hard rubber covered in silk. My lips tingled with the sensation. When I pressed my tongue into the sensitive area just below the head, Shug groaned again.
“I take it you’re enjoying this, now?” I asked.
“I’m not,” he insisted.
“Oh, really? What do I have to do to improve your enjoyment, then?”
“You could stop,” Shug suggested.
I kissed the tip. “I’ll tell you what,” I said, kissing the tip between each phrase, “I’ll stop, after you come, in my mouth, then I’ll stop.”
“Oh, god!” Shug moaned.
“It’s my toy,” I asserted, “and I’ll play with it as long, and in any way that I like.” Then I slid my lips around him and sucked him all the way into my mouth. My hand cupped his balls, gently massaging and squeezing, encouraging him to spurt.
“I’m going to come, Caroline, seriously,” Shug said in warning.
I hummed around him, “Umm Hmmm!”
“I mean it, Caroline,” he said, his voice sounding strained.
“I’m not going to be able to hold back much longer.” He sounded nearly desperate.
Shug’s thighs got tight and his ass rose off the bed. I felt his cock swell in my mouth and then the pulsations began. Spurts of warm come splashed in my mouth and I swallowed hard, sucking him, feeling him spasm and squirt his gism into my mouth. Another swallow and Shug was finished. I licked him up and down, my tongue flicking lightly over the sensitive head.
“Okay,” I said, my voice a little thick with the coating of come. “I’m done now.”
Wednesday morning we rose early. Well, Shug rose, then I rose up and rode him. Afterwards he wanted to talk.
“About last night,” he said.
“What about it?”
“I don’t want you to get the idea I expect that,” he said.
“That’s fine, puddin’, as long as you remember that I expect to be able to do that whenever I want.”
“I just don’t want you to think you owe me, or anything.”
I laughed at him. “Are you keeping score, Shug? Are you?”
“Yeah, you know, you eat me, I blow you? That kind of score.”
“No, of course not, Caroline. That’s ridiculous.”
“Sure is,” I assured him. “So cut it out. I’m a big girl. I do what I want, when I want. Okay? No keeping score.”
“By the way,” I added, “your come tastes like oysters. Did I ever tell you how much I adore oysters?”
“Well, I do. And, since we don’t have many oysters in Tulsa, I found a ready supply of the flavor I adore.”
“You’re embarrassing me,” Shug complained.
“I am? Why?”
“Because,” he said, then added very softly, “That’s what hookers do.”
I laughed out loud. “It’s okay, baby. I’ll be your hooker. I will be your whore, sweetie. I don’t mind that one little bit.”
“I don’t want to think of you that way, Caroline.”
“Shug, I think you’re trying to pick a fight with me. Are you?”
He seemed surprised. “No, Caroline, I’m not. Really.”
“Yes, you are,” I asserted. “For the last three days you and I have screwed each other silly. We’ve lusted, made love, rutted and fucked. I’ve been behaving like a bitch in heat. True?”
“I.” he stammered. “What? I… I don’t know what to say.”
“Say it’s true, sugar. It is.”
“Okay, if you say so.”
“I say so. And, I say you haven’t complained, not once until I sucked you off.”
“What’s your point?”
“Just this. You’ve been enjoying every minute of our mobile fuck-fest. So have I. But, this one thing, this one little thing has you tied up in knots.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” he argued.
“Whatever. The point is, I am ready, willing and able to continue acting your whore. Now, if you want to change something, anything, sing out. Otherwise, you need to trust me when I say I like it and want to continue to give you and myself enjoyment like that in the future. Okay? So, if you don’t want to piss me off and ruin a perfectly good, sensual, sexual and thoroughly enjoyable physical relationship, just shut up!”
Shug shut up.
We actually drove close to four hundred miles on Wednesday. Shug offered to take us on into Tulsa if I wanted. I told him I’d rather spend one more night with him out on the road. We booked ourselves into another non-descript chain motel at about eight that night, showered and lay in bed, naked, just holding each other.
“You know what tomorrow is?” I asked him.
“The twelfth?” Shug offered.
“It’s Thursday,” I reminded him.
“You know what happens tomorrow?” I tried.
“The Mets and Braves?”
I poked him in the ribs. “No. Maybe. I don’t know about that. Something else.”
“I know,” he nodded.
“Should I be scared?”
“Maybe. It all depends on your outlook.”
“What does that mean?” I asked.
“If you want an empty, physical relationship, with no commitment, then perhaps you should be scared.”
“You know that’s not what I want.”
“If your outlook is that a long-term relationship has enormous challenges and pitfalls in it, you might also be scared.”
“Are you trying to give me a hint? If you are, it’s not working.”
Shug chuckled. “I’m not hinting at anything. I just said, depending on your outlook, either way could be scary.”
“You’re a smug son-of-a-bitch,” I shot at him. “You know, don’t you? You know and you’re just not telling.”
“It’s not Thursday, yet.”
“If I give you another blowjob, will you tell me?”
“I’ll tell you tomorrow.”
“If I fuck your brains out, will you tell me?”
“Okay, how about if I go over there in that bed and go to sleep. Will you tell me, then?”
“I said, I will tell you tomorrow,” Shug insisted.
“But, you do love me, don’t you?” I tried one more time.
“Tomorrow, Caroline. You’ll just have to wait until tomorrow.”
I lay there, trying to decide. I could pout. I could just withdraw and spend the night alone and wondering. Or, I could surrender to the ordeal at hand and make the best of it, holding him, loving him, feeling him love me. I chose the latter.
“Come over here,” I ordered him. “I want to feel you inside me, again.”
Shug raised up over me. I took his face in my hands and looked into those crystal blue eyes as he entered me. I could see it. Down inside his soul, I could see what I wanted to see. I knew as we joined again in the dance of lovers that he was mine and I was his and we were linked to each other. I smiled at him as he began to move inside me. I clamped my muscles on his hardness and squeezed him with all my strength, trying to hold him at his deepest penetration. I looked square into those eyes.
“I’ve got you,” I whispered.
The bedside clock said three seventeen when I woke up. Shug was warm and fragrant beside me. I struggled free of the bedclothes and walked naked to the bathroom to relieve myself. As I crawled back into our warm bed, the thought struck me. Three in the morning. Thursday morning. I shoved against Shug’s shoulder. He groaned. I shoved harder. His eyes struggled open.
“Is anything wrong,” he mumbled.
“No,” I said. “But, it’s time and I want to know.”
“What time? What are you talking about?”
“It’s three twenty, Thursday morning. Tell me.”
“Three in the morning? Are you crazy?”
“It’s Thursday, Shug. Now dammit, tell me!”
“All right,” he groused, tossing the covers off his naked shoulder and propping himself up on his elbow. “Yes, Caroline, I love you.”
A surge of immeasurable joy swept over me. I put my arms around him and held him as tightly as I was able. Tears leapt into my eyes. “I knew it,” I whispered. “I knew it, I just knew it. Oh, Shug, I love you so much. So very much. So, tell me, when did you really know?”
“Monday, I guess,” he said. “Tuesday, for sure.”
“The blowjob, right? Is that what convinced you?”
“For heaven’s sake, Caroline!” Shug exploded. “That… That… Well, it wasn’t even part of the consideration. It’s… Look, not everything about our relationship revolves around the sex, you know?”
“Then why?” I asked.
“Why what?” he responded.
“Why do you love me?”
“Oh,” Shug scratched his head. “Because your funny, and bright, and brave. You’re understanding, compassionate, and caring. Because you’re beautiful, sensuous, open and sexy. And, you give the best head this side of the Rocky Mountains.”
“Aha!” I exulted. “You noticed!”
“It was a joke,” he said, grinning. “And, of course, I noticed.”
“You want another one?”
“Sure, now. Why not?”
“Caroline, I’m not even, you know, half-way hard.”
“That’s all right,” I told him, pushing back the covers for access to his member. “I like to feel it grow. It gives me a sense of power.”
So, I took his flaccid member in my lips, tickled it with my tongue, slid my lips across it and manipulated it with his fingers until the pulsing began. Then I slid him between my lips, pressing my tongue against the underside and just held him there while the blood engorged him, eventually hardening him to his full length and girth.
“There is one thing I want to say to you, before we start,” I said, removing my lips from his rod.
“What’s that?” he wanted to know.
“I love you, Shug,” I said.
“I love you, too, Caroline,” he answered.
“I am thoroughly delighted to hear that,” I told him, before taking him back inside my mouth and urging him to shoot his oyster-juice into my throat.
Shug and I drove into Tulsa about noon. I took him directly to my house, into my bedroom and into my bed. When we were both momentarily sated I hitched up on an elbow and toyed with the skin on his chest.
“I’m going to have to ask you to do something,” I said. “I don’t want to, but I have to.”
“I’m going to have to ask you to stay at a hotel. You’re being here presents a problem for me right now. People in the neighborhood just wouldn’t understand.”
“All right,” he agreed. “I understand.”
“You can stay here all day,” I told him. “At night, though, I can’t have you sleeping in my house. There’s Nathan and the neighbors, not to mention my mother-in-law.”
“It’s okay,” he said. “I understand.”
I got out of the bed and started to put my clothes on. “I’ve got to go get Nathan,” I said. “I’m going to call my mother-in-law and tell her I’m coming for him.”
“Okay. You want me to leave now?” Shug asked.
“No,” I said. “I want you to stay here and get dressed. Make yourself at home. I want you to meet Nathan, though.”
I called from the kitchen phone.
“Caroline,” she said. “Are you back?”
“Yes. I just got in about an hour ago. Can I come pick him up?”
“Just a second,” she said. I heard her call to my son. There was a rustle on the receiver and Nathan’s near-breathless voice said, “Hello?”
“Nathan? It’s Mom.”
“Hi, Mom. Where are you?” my son asked.
“I’m at home, baby. Can I come get you?”
“Yeah, sure,” he said. “Grammaw said I’m starting to look like a prune.”
I laughed. “Too much time in the pool, huh?”
“I guess. When are you coming?”
“I’ll be there in about a half-hour. Will you be ready?”
“Yep,” he said.
“Okay, baby,” I told him. “I’ll see you in a little while.”
“Okay. Bye, Mom.”
“Bye bye, punkin’” I said, and heard the click on the other end of the line.
Shug’s hand rested on my shoulder. I covered it with my own.
“Everything all right?” he asked.
“Fine. I’ll be back in an hour or so. I’ll pick up some groceries, then get Nathan.”
“You’re worried about him, aren’t you?” Shug suggested.
“I want him to like you,” I admitted.
“It’ll be fine,” Shug promised. “Honest.”
I stopped at a quick mart for milk, bread and eggs. Then I headed for my mother-in-law’s house.
Nathan looked just like his father. His blond hair was tousled and his skin had a healthy tan. He ran to the door and grabbed me around the neck and hugged me hard.
“Did you miss me, baby?” I asked.
“Uh huh,” he said. “I had fun.”
“I’m glad. Go get your things and let me talk to Gram for a second,” I told him.
“You’re looking well,” my mother-in-law said. “Better than I’ve seen you in some time.”
“It was a good trip,” I nodded. “I needed to get away for a few days.”
“You’re in love, aren’t you, Caroline?” she observed.
I was astounded that it showed. I nodded.
“Good,” she said with finality. “It’s about time.”
“I love Eric,” I told her.
“I know you do,” she smiled at me. “But, you’re young and beautiful. I know he would want you to be in love again. I’m happy for you.”
She reaches across my shoulder and hugged me gently.
“So,” she said, “you want to tell me about him?”
“He’s a med school student,” I said. “He’s younger than I, but so incredibly sweet and tender. And, most importantly, he loves me, too.”
“That’s wonderful,” she said, clapping her hands together, her eyes aglow. “I want you to be happy, Caroline. You look happy.”
“I am, Mother,” I answered. “Thank you for being so understanding.”
“Nonsense!” she said. “You’re due. I’m happy for you.”
Nathan and I climbed into the car, and with waves and blown kisses, pulled away from the brick ranch house.
“When we get home,” I told Nathan, “there’s somebody I want you to meet.”
“Okay,” my son said simply.
We pulled up into the driveway. Shug was sitting on the front stoop. He stood up as I got out of the car. Nathan jumped out and pulled his bag from the back seat. I caught up to him and we made our way toward the door.
“Nathan,” I began, “this is Mister Shugart.”
I was totally unprepared for what happened next. Shug came down off the stoop in three steps. He went down to Nathan’s level so quickly it made me dizzy. It was like sitting on a train and watching the others. As a train pulls slowly forward you get the feeling your going backward. Shug went down so fast I felt like my feet had left the earth and I was floating upward.
“Hey, sport,” Shug said. “You can forget about that Mister stuff. I’m Shug!” He stuck out his hand. Nathan took it rather tentatively.
“So,” Shug asked him, pulling a blade of grass from the lawn, “you got a bike?”
“Can you do tricks?” Shug stuck the grass between his lips.
“Sure I can,” Nathan answered.
“You want to show me?” Shug suggested.
“Sure!” Nathan told him.
In a flash, Nathan had his bike out from the backyard. Shug sat in the grass whooping and hollering as Nathan zipped around him doing things that I thought were at least marginally dangerous.
“I’m going to go unpack,” I yelled from the front door. The two boys seemed not to heed a word I said. “Be careful, Nathan,” I admonished him. “You don’t want to get hurt.” They ignored me. Nathan had the same daredevil spirit in him his father had. It put an ache in my heart.
After a supper of omelets and, under protest, settling Nathan into his bed, Shug and I sat on the front steps with ice-cold lemonades.
“He’s a handful,” I observed.
“He’s great,” Shug nodded.
“You guys sure seemed to hit it off well.”
There was a long silence while I worked up the courage to ask; “You think he’ll like having you as his father?”
“I won’t ever be his father,” Shug protested. My heart, I’m sure, skipped several beats. “Eric was his father,” he continued. “You should never let him forget that.”
I nodded in agreement. “All right. But, he was only three when Eric was killed. I doubt he remembers much about him.”
“You don’t know that, Caroline,” Shug argued. “He may have some wonderful memories of his father that only he knows about.”
“Anyway, I was really impressed by the way you instantly connected with him.”
He shrugged. “I know how to act like an older brother.”
Silence again. We both listened to the sounds of the early evening. From deep within me a ball of doubt and dread seemed to billow, then burst to the surface. I felt an incredible sense of loss and depression overwhelm me. Tears welled up in my eyes. Within seconds I was openly sobbing.
Shug was genuinely concerned. He put a hand on my shoulder.
“Caroline? What is it?” His voice was tinted with gravity.
“I – don’t – know,” I sobbed. “I’m – afraid. I’m – scared. I – just – felt so lonely – all of a – sudden.” I managed to squeeze the words out between the sobs.
My chest was pounding and I was overcome by a terrible sense of futility and anguish. Shug wrapped his arms around me. He held me close to him.
“Shhhh” he whispered in my ear. “I’m here for you. I love you.”
“I know,” I sobbed. “But, you’re leaving.”
“I have to leave, Caroline. I can’t stay here. The neighbors.”
“Not that,” I wailed. “You’re leaving for Atlanta. You’re going away.”
“Caroline, my love,” he chuckled, wrapping me in his arms. “It’s okay, really. I’ll come back.”
“No you won’t,” I sobbed into his shoulder. “You’ll fall in love – with some young, pretty nurse or one of those young and beautiful lady doctors – and I’ll never see you again.”
“Ahhhhh,” Shug hummed with revelation. “Worried about the age difference, are we?”
I was slowly gaining control of my sobbing. I gradually became more able to breathe, and speak with some coherence.
“And the distance,” I sniffed. “And the fact that you’ll be gone for months at a time. And, I won’t be able to hold you, and love you, and,” I took several gasps of air, “Oh, Shug, I’m so tired of being lonely and alone.”
Shug almost laughed. “They’re not the same?” he chuckled.
I slugged his arm. “Don’t laugh at me!”
“I’m not,” he protested quickly, his voice not completely void of humor. “I’m not laughing at you, Caroline. I love you. I really do. If you’re scared, I want to protect you. If you’re lonely, I’ll be with you.”
“You can’t,” I snapped. “You’ll be in Atlanta. I’ll be here.”
“Oh,” he said simply. “Well,” he mused for a moment, “but, I’ll still love you.”
He was talking to me like I was a child. My desperation had reduced me to that level. I gathered myself together, wrapped my arms around him tightly, kissed his neck gently and mentally closed the door on that large, dark room of fear.
“I’m sorry, Shug,” I whispered, afraid my voice would crack. “You’ve just seen a miserable display of my raw, unrestrained, emotions. It seems that as much as I love you, I’m afraid of losing you.”
“The wall of self-confidence has some chinks in it,” he observed, holding me to him. “It’s all right. I don’t know what else to tell you, Caroline, except that I do love you, and, that I’ll come back to you. I don’t want to be with anyone except you. I love you and I love being with you.”
“If I allowed myself to admit it,” I told him, “I’m besieged by a terrible sense of desperation. That’s not a good thing.”
“True,” Shug agreed.
“I don’t like being dependent,” I said with firmness.
“We could be co-dependent,” he suggested with a chortle.
“Cute,” I said, not amused. “When Eric was killed I was devastated. It took me months to get hold of myself. I finally realized that my dependence on him left me unprepared for living without him. I don’t ever want to be that way again.”
“So,” he observed, “there will always be this wall between us. You’ll never fully love or trust me, because something bad might happen?”
I was astonished. “I do love you,” I protested.
“Okay,” Shug said reasonably. “I’ll take your word for it. But, you’re going to have to achieve some balance between your love and your fear. When your fear overwhelms you, as it just did, it can destroy us both.”
I nodded. “I know.”
“You can’t live in constant fear that you’ll be devastated again,” Shug confirmed. “If you do, there will always be this little corner of you that I can’t reach. That would break my heart.”
“I don’t know how,” I admitted. “I’d be so afraid.”
“Caroline,” Shug said, very quietly, “what happened to you was tragic. Because I love you, I want to heal that hurt. That’s in my nature. I’d do anything to take away the agony you suffered. The only way I know how to do that is to replace is with my own love for you. As long as you keep that corner of yourself trapped away from my love, I can’t heal all the hurt. I can’t even touch it. But, one day, sometime in the future, you’ll have to let me in there. And, you know, I think you will, someday, want me there. Someday, you’ll open up that little part of yourself and let me in because you won’t want to hurt there anymore.”
I stayed very still in his arms, just listening.
“So, I’ll just be patient,” he continued. “I’ll love all of you that you’ll allow. And, sometime in the future, you will open yourself to me completely and all the hurt will be gone.”
“You’re too young to be so wise,” I whispered, my heart full of love for this young man.
“Or, too wise to be so young?” he whispered back.
“Come inside,” I told him. “Come make love with me.”
“The neighbors?” he asked.
“Screw ‘em,” I said decisively. “I’m not letting you out of sight while I can have you here.