Readers, if you’re looking for hot sex scenes, then just know that this chapter’s got none.
Mr. Beauchamp and Emil had scarcely walked into the house before Kate bombarded them with a myriad of questions.
“Tell me everything, from beginning to end. Don’t leave anything out. I want to know all that happened today. How was his first day at work, Cheri?”
“Wait a minute. Could we at least take off our shoes and jackets first?” Emil, Sr. asked his inquisitive wife. “And maybe you could let us sit down first? And maybe get something to drink first?”
“Okay, hurry up and get settled in, and I’ll get you both something to drink, and dinner will be ready in a bit. But I still want to hear about everything that went on today, all of it. Come on, don’t let me suffer too long, tell me everything bit by bit, you two, don’t torture me, I’m all ears… I’m dying to know what his first day was like!”
It was late Thursday afternoon at the university, and the students who didn’t live at the dorms were scurrying about, trying to catch the shuttle to take them to the parking lot where their cars were parked. Professors and other university staff were walking to their coveted parking spaces on campus. Everyone was anxious to get to their cars and drive home.
Still lingering on campus however, were Lara and Karen, who were sitting at a small table inside Campus Café, both relieved to be done with their classes for the day.
The two classmates were having a quick snack at their usual pit stop, and would later head on over to their favorite bar in the village to join the rest of the gang. Lara chose this opportunity to leak the news of her recent engagement to Emil, to tell her closest female friend about the proposal.
“Yeah, right…” Karen responded initially with a dismissive chuckle.
Lara looked straight at Karen, who was staring back in disbelief. Lara then gave an affirming nod, reassuring her friend that she was indeed serious.
“No way!” Karen struggled to process the news she’d just been given.
“Way!” Lara answered with a little chuckle herself.
“You’ve got to be kidding me”, Karen said to the diminutive girl sitting across from her, even though she knew Lara wasn’t one to kid about matters, least of all, matters of the heart.
Karen went on, “I don’t believe it. It just can’t be… This is like something out of a movie, or like, some soap opera… But, you really see yourself with him for the rest of your life?” Karen inquired with palpable skepticism.
“Yeah, I do”, Lara stated gently, looking her friend straight in the eye.
Ever the realist, Karen proceeded to give her opinion on the situation, “Listen… I hate to be blunt…”
“But you always ARE blunt”, Lara reminded with a grin.
“Okay, so I’m blunt, but I’ve been told it’s one of my most endearing qualities. Anyway, I understand why a ‘Simpleton’ like him would want to marry you. But you, Lara, you know better. I mean, what do you guys even have in common? Surely, you couldn’t talk to him about world events, or even school stuff.” The judgment in Karen’s voice was sharp and cut like a knife.
“Karen, he has a name, it’s Emil, not Simpleton.” Lara indicated, as she insisted her friend be respectful towards the man who would soon be her husband.
“Okay, okay, what do you and Emil have in common? I’m serious, Lara.”
“I know you are”, Lara replied, looking serious herself.
“Did he give you an engagement ring?” Karen asked somewhat aggressively, as if to challenge the validity of Emil’s proposal.
“No”, Lara answered calmly, “but it’s not important to me. Anyway, he’ll probably get me one when he can.”
“Well, how did he ask you? I mean… did he get down on bended knee? Did you see it coming?”
“Well, before he actually asked, we both already knew we wanted to be together, but I just assumed it would happen after I graduated, like in couple of years at least. But apparently he wants to be with me now, and he can’t wait.” Lara said, slightly confused about the whole development, which had happened so fast.
“So you guys are going to get married and live together before you even graduate? And what is he going to do all day when you’re at school, and at the deli?” Karen blurted out, injecting a dose of reality into Lara’s fantasy world, perhaps on the verge of bursting her bubble.
“Well, remember I told you a little while ago that he planned on taking a job at his father’s company? Well, that’s exactly what he’s done. He’s actually started working there, full time and everything.”
“So okay, he’ll earn a measly salary working at his dad’s place. And how are you two going to live together as man and wife if he’s upstate and you’re here, at least for the next year and a half?” Karen reasoned.
Ever the pragmatist, unrelentingly analytical, Karen was this way for a reason. She had not grown up in a financially stable family, nor had she been raised in a bursa escort hunky-dory neighborhood. So she knew all too well the hardships life could dish out to a naïve person like Lara, who was oblivious to all of relationships’ pitfalls.
Lara slowly started, “I don’t know, to be honest. I was thinking about all this stuff on the ride back to campus last Sunday, and I still don’t have the answers. All I know is that I love Emil and he loves me. And that’s enough reason for us to get married.”
Karen looked at Lara and shook her head. “Boy, you’re really looking at this through rose-colored glasses, Lar. Typical mentality of a social worker, you want to save the world and everybody in it.”
“I’m not marrying Emil to save him, Karen. I’m in love with him, and I want to be the woman in his life, the one to take care of him. And he wants to take care of me, and that’s that.”
Still shaking her head, Karen rolled her eyes in aggravation. As part of the Gang of Five, she usually thought about life and voiced her opinion along the same lines as Ben, whereas Jeff and Mike knew to keep their mouths shut and just go with the flow.
Karen wasn’t done voicing her take on the situation, “To be honest, I thought Emil just had a harmless crush on you, Lar. I couldn’t even fathom you would get serious with someone like him. I mean, he’s cute and all, but there’s not much going on upstairs”, Karen pointed out.
“But love’s not just about intelligence, Karen. There’s tenderness, caring, warmth, intimacy…”
“Wait a minute… wait a minute… Holy Shit! So you guys have done it?” Karen asked in disbelief.
“Yeah, we have, and I swear to god, it’s incredible. He makes me feel absolutely amazing. I mean… I don’t know where he learned all that stuff, but in that department, he’s not missing a damn thing…”
“Jesus Christ! I can’t believe you guys did it! Do Mr. and Mrs. Beauchamp even know? Does Mike know? Shit! You guys actually did it!” Karen couldn’t stop ranting.
“They might know… I mean… We didn’t try to hide the fact that we’re a couple, and we’re openly affectionate with each other. Besides, Emil’s spent the night in the guestroom with me a couple of times already, and we didn’t try to hide that from anyone.”
Karen’s face suddenly looked naughty, and she curled her lips into a mischievous grin, “Have you stopped to think how Mike feels about you cradle-robbing his baby brother?”
Lara nodded, “Well, of course I have. I mean, early on, Mike was the one who told me how he and his parents were constantly worried about Emil’s future, like who would take care of him once his parents got old, and once Mike got a family of his own and all that. So I figure Mike should be happy that his brother has someone to take care of him, right?”
“I didn’t mean that, Lar. I meant, that, well, what I wanted to say…” Karen hesitated, seemingly grasping at straws, struggling to find the right words to tell Lara what she was thinking.
“What, Karen?” Lara was now interested to know.
“What I meant was…uh…if I were Mike, I would wonder why my own female classmate, who’s my own age, who’s my level intellectually, who’s known me longer, would be interested in my little brother, who’s a Simp…er… I mean, who’s a Special Needs kid. Why my female classmate would choose my baby brother over me. You see what I mean, Lar?” Karen finally managed.
“Well, he hasn’t said much about it, to tell you the truth. I mean, during our long rides upstate, he hasn’t said anything, not even after I told him Emil and I were engaged. And he knew about us as a couple before that, but never said so much as a word”
Just when Karen thought Lara was finished explaining Michael’s reaction, Lara added one last thing.
“Karen, just for the record, Michael has liked you for a while now.”
“Well, yeah, but it’s nothing different from Jeff and Ben liking me, Lar. They look at my tits and ass like all the other guys, and it’s nothing profound, believe me. He’s not in love with me or anything.” Karen immediately dismissed Lara’s suggestion that Mike was more than physically interested in her.
“No Karen, I know Mike likes you more than that. Haven’t you noticed the little things he does for you?” Lara questioned. “Like he always insists you sit next to him whenever all of us hang out, and god forbid anyone but you sit in his passenger seat when we’re going somewhere. What’s more, he invites you places where he doesn’t invite me, or the boys. Don’t tell me you haven’t noticed.” Lara felt the need to point out the obvious, unable to accept that Karen hadn’t seen the torch Mike was carrying for her.
“Nah… it’s nothing Lar, I mean, he might lust after me, you know, wants to get me in the sack, but that’s it. Besides, he knows it’s never going to happen with us, I mean, he knows I usually go for older guys already out there in the world, making names for themselves, those who can afford me”, Karen stated somewhat conceitedly, not bursa escort bayan intending to sound the least bit arrogant.
Not put off by Karen’s bluntness, Lara knew her friend was not one to exhibit false modesty. Karen knew she was a hot commodity and didn’t bother to act coy about it.
“Alright then believe what you want to believe”, Lara said, then adding, “Love’s not just money and power, Karen. It’s sharing and caring, it’s tenderness, it’s the moon and stars, it’s destiny and fate, and it’s…”
Abruptly putting her hand up to signal stop, Karen cut Lara off, “Okay girlfriend, whatever…”
At Molly Malone’s in the village, Mike, Jeff and Ben were kicking back enjoying the endless beers. Since Karen and Lara had not arrived yet, the boys were fully able to revel in the sports blasting away on the big screens above the noisy bar. There were so many beer mugs on the table that it looked like a contest of who could swing back the most.
“You’re shittin’ us!” blurted out an incredulous Jeff.
“Nope”, replied Michael matter-of-factly, chugging back a big one.
“What the fuck…?” Jeff was scratching his head in disbelief, while Ben, jaw dropped, remained silent.
“I know”, admitted Michael, with a slight tinge of blue melancholy.
“You’re playing with us, dude.”
“I wish I were”, he added, lightly shaking his head while he took another swig, going on his fourth beer now. It almost appeared like he was he was drowning his sorrows, exemplifying the ultimate cliché.
“Lara? Our Lara?” Ben, the only senior of the group, finally expressed his shock.
“Yep. The one and only”, Michael replied, staring up at the football players tackling each other mercilessly, or so it appeared on the big screen. Normally, Michael would’ve been totally enthralled in the game, what with the Super Bowl fast approaching, but at the moment, he was too preoccupied about other things to be bothered about football.
Similar to their hapless buddy, Jeff and Ben were too wrapped up in the amazing news to worry about the impending playoffs.
“It’s got to be some joke, man”, Jeff continued, shaking his head.
“It’s no joke. They’re real hot and heavy for each other.” Michael elaborated.
“What? You mean to say, they’re hittin’ it?” Jeff asked, eyes wide. Ben’s eyes and jaws had open up even wider.
“Yep, don’t ask how I know”, Michael replied, as he had seen it with his own eyes.
After a few moments of silence, Ben chimed in to offer his little piece of wisdom, “It’s not gonna happen. I don’t see them actually going through with it. Lara’s going to come to her senses, the shit’s gonna hit the fan, and it’ll all blow over. You mark my words. Your brother’s hot and heavy for her because she’s his first, ahem”, clearing his throat, “girlfriend/pussy he’s ever gotten, and his dick is doing all the talking right now.”
Michael came back with, “He got a job because of her. He’s actually getting his ass out of bed early in the morning to go to work with my old man.”
“That doesn’t mean shit. It’s just his dick wagging. This is the first time a real life breathing girl’s given his cock a good workout and he’s confusing it with love, or marriage, or whatever. Shit, if I went around proposing to every chick who blew me…”
“You’d still be single jacking off by yourself”, Jeff finished Ben’s sentence, whereupon all three burst out in laughter. A few beers in the young men always let their tongues loose, allowing uninhibited, uncensored talk of girls and sex.
Just then, Michael felt a cold draft of wind from the front door several feet away, glanced over his shoulder and looked across the bar, immediately spotting Karen and Lara, who then caught sight of the gang. A few catcalls could be heard as the girls made their way over to their table.
“Hey guys, what’d we miss?” greeted Karen and Lara, taking off their scarves, hats and gloves. They took turns giving the boys their usual friendly hugs.
“Hey ladies, sit down, and we’ll get the waitress over”, Jeff cordially offered.
Karen was pleasantly surprised the boys had nabbed an ample space in the perpetually crowded sports bar, “Hey guys, great table, we actually have extra chairs to store all our coats and purses.”
Michael locked eyes with Karen, motioned for her to come over to his side of the table, and patted the chair next to him. She smiled her flawless smile and pranced over to sit down beside him. He could smell her fancy perfume as she took off her coat.
Lara eyed the chair next to Jeff, and Ben wasted no time in chivalrously pulling it out for her.
“Thanks, Ben”, she whispered to him with a sweet smile. Ben noted a new glow on her face, as Lara seemed more radiant than usual.
“Afternoon classes go okay, ladies?” Ben asked, as the waitress walked over to take the girls’ orders.
“I’ll have my usual”, indicated Karen matter-of-factly.
“Okay, one Vodka Soda; and escort bursa the usual Coke for you, Lara?” the friendly waitress asked.
“Yeah, thanks Rhonda”, Lara answered politely. All the waitresses at Molly Malone’s, as well as Lara’s friends, knew she didn’t usually drink, as she had a hard time holding her liquor.
“And what about you gentleman, another round of beers?”
“Yeah, Rhonda, that’d be awesome”, Michael answered for himself and the boys.
Lara spoke up first, “Afternoon class was okay. I learned some important stuff that I’m sure will be on the final, so that was good.”
“Yeah, but afternoon classes make the day so long and boring”, Karen quipped. “I was in class from 8 am until the goddamned afternoon!” She then paused, suddenly brightening up, “But I’m still glad I chose this schedule, because I’ll have all of tomorrow off, yay!” She put up her arms as if to celebrate.
“Yeah, the days are long Tuesdays and Thursdays, but at least it frees me up to work at the deli my days off. And this weekend I’ll have to put in extra hours to make up for ditching my boss last weekend.”
Taking advantage of the perfect segue into Lara’s engagement to Emil, which supposedly happened last weekend, Jeff quickly spoke up, as if to officially announce, “Oh yeah, Lar, we just heard, you’re gettin’ hitched, right?”
“Yes, I am”, she confirmed with a beaming smile.
Jeff and Ben declared together, “Congratulations!”
“We gotta admit, it’s kind of a shock…” Jeff indicated.
“Yeah, I know. I didn’t ever talk about it before, because I didn’t know how serious Emil and I were, not until recently. But it is kind of a shock, yeah. Sometimes when I think about it, I’m shocked, myself”, Lara admitted.
Ben gave a swift knowing smile to Michael and Jeff, as if to prove he was going to be proven correct about the marriage not panning out. He reasoned that the whole thing was just too crazy an idea to ever materialize.
Back Upstate, Kate Beauchamp was beside herself with concern for her youngest son.
She declared to her husband that Sunday evening, “I don’t know what to do, Cheri. He’s going crazy, and he’s driving me crazy in the process. We need to do something about it.”
Mr. Beauchamp had just returned from work and was anxious to take a shower and have some dinner.
“We? How did I get involved in this? What could I do about it? Lara needs to be at school, and at work. We can’t expect her to come visit Junior every weekend. It’s not realistic”, Mr. Beauchamp indicated.
“Oh come on Cheri, you’re so resourceful, you can think of a way to solve the problem. Allez, think of something, Cheri! Junior’s been asking a hundred times a day when he’ll get to see her, and I’m all out of answers, and patience, at this point. Tabernac!”
“Didn’t I tell you I had a bad feeling about this? Didn’t I tell you something would go wrong? Now what do you have to say about Junior ‘experiencing life for himself’…?” Mr. Beauchamp hated to say ‘I told you so’ in most instances.
“You doubted Lara’s feelings for Emil, but it turns out she does love him, Cheri. That’s not the problem here”, Kate retorted.
“Yeah, the problem here is Junior’s gotten to fixating on something all over again, only this time the something is a SOMEONE, who won’t drop everything to be with him, and you encouraged it, Kate, like it was a good thing… and now I’m supposed to help fix it all”, Mr. Beauchamp sighed, exasperated.
“Well, Cheri, go on and take your shower and your dinner will be waiting for you down here. I know you’ll have a solution, you always do…” Kate stroked her husband’s back, not to mention his ego, to encourage him to come up with something.
An hour or so later, After Emil, Sr. had his shower and dinner, he was a bit calmer, and could think with a clear head. He suggested that Kate call up Lara and ask for her input.
When Kate made the call Sunday evening across state, Lara had to put her on hold, because she was already talking to Karen on the other line.
After Lara finished talking to Kate, she got Karen back on the phone.
“So what should I do, Karen? I really hadn’t thought about things this far ahead.”
“Yeah, I figured, you and your rose-colored glasses, Lar”, replied Karen.
At that instant, a light bulb popped in Karen’s head.
“Hey, I have an idea. Seeing is that you’ve got to stay in town to work at the deli, why don’t you invite Emil to come down next weekend? See if his mom would agree to come down with him. They could stay at my place, since my roommate is going to be away at her parents, and you know my apartment’s huge, bigger than yours or Mike’s. What do you think?” Karen offered a temporary solution, a band aid of sorts, to deal with the current situation.
Karen wasn’t yet done explaining her plan.
“And remember what you said the other day about Michael carrying a torch for me? Well, what if you and Emil, and me and Mike got together for a double date? I could find out for sure about Mike, and at the same time, observe you and Emil together, to see what you guys could do about the long-distance thing. How about it, Lar?”