Surprise Saturday: Chapter 3

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

As they walked to a table at The Riverside Cafe’ Stephen’s cell phone rang. Kate didn’t seem to notice that their mom had her brother’s phone in her hand or that she handed it to Stephen without comment. To Kate it was her brother simply answering his own phone. Though she did not miss that he did so despite the fact their parents had told them repeatedly it was rude to do so when out with the family like that.

“Hi Sweetie” said the cheery female voice on the other end. Sue knew Jenny’s voice. For the last six months, she’d been at there house almost as much as Dianna and Monica. Unlike some of the other girls who had come over for activities related to the school’s football team, she did not seem full of herself and condescending to Kate and her friends. That had won Jenny lots of brownie points in Sue’s book.

“And hi to you too” Sue replied. It would prove far easier for Sue to make a convincing Stephen then Stephen to act the part of his mother. She let ‘Mom’ and Kate take their seats at the table while she talked standing off to the side.

“I really had a good time last night. That was a great idea, it was so romantic. It was a little chilly, but that made the snuggling afterward even better” the girl’s voice said. “All of it was wonderful.”

“I had a great time too,” Sue replied “and I’m so happy you did as well.”

“It looks like I will be alone at home tonight. One of my aunt’s sisters died and my parents are going to Clarks Crossing tonight so they will be out super late. They are taking my little sisters to my other Grandma’s so we will have the house all to ourselves. Can you come by?”

“What time?” Sue said. She made eyes to Kate like she was trying to get off the phone. She knew full well that their family did not allow anyone to talk on their phone when the family was sitting to eat.

“They will be leaving at like 4:00, but you will have to wait till after dark. I wish we could have all day but that is just too risky. Park on the next street over and come in the side gate. My parents have like all the neighbors watching the house…well me. I have been forbidden from leaving. I got in and out last night, but trying that twice in a row is just crazy.”

Sue didn’t like the idea of being part of a deception, but if she was to live his life, she’d better go along. And she had sympathy for the girl. Though they had never talked about sex directly, it was clear her parents were a lot like Sue’s mother. She knew how the girl felt and the truth was she thought her son was good for her.

After putting his phone away ‘Stephen’ apologized for answering Jenny’s call just before they sat down. Then he asked ‘Mom’ about going over to Jenny’s tonight. To Kate’s eyes, Mom seemed a little nervous. Even so, she agreed to let him go out even though he’d missed curfew the night before.

Kate listened and watched. She was puzzled. Something was going on. They seemed to be getting along all too well after last night’s blow-out at two in the morning. At the same time both of them seemed to be treading carefully. But why? That question took a back seat to the unfairness. She had to speak up. “Mom! Is he going to get off scot free for breaking curfew? It was just last month I was grounded for two weeks when I came home at 1:30. You caught him at 2:00. I heard you yelling when he came in!! That is just so totally unfair!”

The response was astounding; Kate later would call it life changing. Her mother turned to her and nodded in agreement. “You are right. I need to make it up to you. I guess this is as good a time to discuss this as any.”

Mom put down the menu. Kate knew she didn’t need it anyway. “Your brother and I had a talk this morning. I apologize for blowing up at him and he told me some things I did not understand. It seems that when your father and I created the permanent house rules, we didn’t make our intent as clear as we thought. You and your brother seem to have inferred something far different than what we thought you would understand.”

Sue (in Stephens’ body) tensed. She had not intended him to bring that up to Kate today….at The Riverside Cafe’. She struggled for a way to stop him but could not think of one that would not make things worse.

Stephen tried to say it like his mother had just said it before they left the house. “Katie, when your brother and I were processing what happened last night, I realized the fault was mine. Your brother had been out late to spend intimate time with Jenny rather than to just bring her home and do that in his room.”

Kate couldn’t believe what Mom seemed to be saying. ‘Was she really saying that she knew that Stephen had been out screwing his girlfriend? No that wasn’t possible, but it seemed she was.’

Her mother went on “Your father and I somehow seem to have given you and your brother the impression that we did not want you to…” She looked around. Her back was to an open space so there was little chance of being over heard. Even so, she spoke just above a whisper. “…we did not mean to make you think we did not want you to have sex in the house when your father or I were at home. That was the exact opposite of what we meant. With the rules we posted we were trying to let you know that when you were ready, that our home was the best place for you to have sex; and that you had no need to hide what you were doing. We wanted you to be safe and comfortable as you enjoy your teen years to their fullest. I actually regret waiting till I was in college to begin really enjoying sex. One of the big reasons I struggled so much in high school and my freshman year of college was my mother had programmed me to think I had to wait till I got married. That messed me up. If she even suspected I had sex with my high school sweetheart…well it would have been bad. Even when your father and I moved in together my senior year of college…yes college…she was angry and hurt. You know full well your dad and I don’t believe like she does; but I seem to have given you the impression that I was embarrassed or didn’t want to be aware of when you and your boyfriends were getting it on in the house. That is not so. From here on out, if you want to bring home a boy and spend the afternoon in your bed, you can just say so and I won’t disturb you. When the weather warms up, if you want to make love under the sun in the back yard, just let me know. I’ll even set you out blankets and bring you ice tea when you are done. How is that for making it up to you?”

Kate was in a catatonic state. She was reeling. ‘Where had this come from?’ her mind screamed. She knew her mother was as far from being a prude as she could get. She’d posed nude for her mother’s paintings many times since she was little. The cool bias relief painting that hung in her bedroom was first sketched out at a girl’s trip to the Outer Banks the summer before she started high school. She and Dianna and her mom spent a week posing (mostly nude) for her mother on deserted stretches of beach. On that trip and twice since her mom had posed nude for her to give her experience in drawing from live models. From that trip were literally thousands of photos of the four of them either topless or fully nude on the beach and in the water. Her mother made a big deal about explaining that nude beach photos of girls her age were perfectly legal, not that she or Dianna cared.

Kate knew there were many more photos on her mother’s computer that she did not know that she and Dianna had seen. They were of both of their mothers and fathers at swinger sex parties. She had never let on to her mother that she knew that Mom and Dad fucked other people at parties like that. And then a few months after that beach trip, her mother hadn’t even raised the slightest objection when, just before her fifteenth birthday, Kate announced she was ready to start having sex and wanted to get on birth control. But this? ‘Did Mom really just say she’d bring me and a guy iced tea after we had sex in the back yard in broad daylight? She had done a school report on when Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was replaced with open and legal gay marriage. For the people involved was it like this?’ Not knowing what else to say Kate answered by just saying “Really?”

At the same time Kate was trying to make sense of this, across the table her brother blanched. The gamesmanship was getting out of Sue’s control. Though he didn’t actually say anything she would disagree with, she certainly wouldn’t have just laid it out like that. She hoped this didn’t backfire and make her daughter even more secretive. This made her very uncomfortable, but there was absolutely nothing she could do.

Stephen, in his mother’s body, thought he needed to further clarify the house rules. “You have had a 1:00AM curfew since you first started going out. The intent was never that you had to be home, only that you were off the road. So, we still expect you to be off the road by one, but let me make the meaning more clear. You can spend the night with boys, just like you do with girls.”

Kate seemed to be trying to work out the catch. There had to be a catch. There had to be a ‘but’ or a claw back of some kind.

Mom nodded, “Yes Kate. I mean if you want to you can sleep with your boyfriend at his house as long as his parents know and agree. But I will need to confirm that with them. But that is no different than the rule about sleeping over at a girl’s house.” She paused then added “Now, of course since you are only sixteen the boys you sleep with can’t be more than eighteen years old; but I don’t think that is an issue. Is it?”

Sue knew that she had not said that when talking to Stephen earlier. Why had he added the caveat? Though he was right and she was actually glad he had. He seemed to be ahead of her on this.

After a period of silence Kate said “No that is fine. Thanks Mom. Really, I mean I have really wanted to be open about it. I’ve been telling Stephen for a while that you are way more open about sex than he thinks, way way more open. You know how clueless guys can be about what women do. He has insisted that you did not want to know directly about our sex lives. So does that mean I can wear the kind of stuff you do around the house and in town? Summer will be here soon, since you said I can have sex in the back yard, does that also mean I can wear your bikinis? I mean the micro thongs you wear at our family friend’s swimming pools”

It was Sue’s turn to be taken aback. Clearly her son knew his sister better than he did. Not only was Kate not mortified at Mom’s explicit description of what was allowed at home, she repeated them back as she went after another huge inconsistency. It was obvious that Kate had been thinking about her mother’s double standard regarding what she wore and what she let Kate wear. Sue had never planned to set one standard for herself and another for her daughter. It had just snuck up on her. Since…well since before she met Dwight, Sue’s night and early morning attire has always been tee-shirt and panties. Not those long tee-shirts made for night shirts, but just regular tee-shirts. She had a whole collection of concert tee-shirts that made up her nighttime wardrobe. She was rather proud of them, even if now a day’s more had come from eBay than from concerts she had been to. Some of the ones she had actually bought at concerts were pretty old and ratty and none of them went lower than the top of her hips. None covered her where her panties would go. And she hadn’t owned “granny panties” since she was nineteen. Most of her panties were thongs, and those that did have some sort of rear coverage were lace or completely see-through. Occasionally after sex, she did not put on panties at all when she went down to the kitchen for something to eat or drink. To her kids that was normal night wear, unless it was cold, for their mother and always had been. Even on those rare occasions they saw her downstairs in her concert shirts without any panties, it was just Mom’s way. Yet, when Kate had been transitioning out of her Disney Princess night gowns, Sue had told her she was too young to dress like mom and insisted on pajamas. Somehow she’d forgotten to tell her when she was old enough to wear a tee-shirt and thong around the house.

Sue’s daytime home wear was actually fairly normal “mom clothes,’ but she knew that kind of attire was not what Kate was asking about. Kate was clearly referring to her studio ‘work clothes.’ The men’s overalls she wore even when she was with the students from the Tuesday art group literally left nothing of her breasts to the imagination. Not only when she bent over were her entire breasts visible from the side, more than once in the last year and a half, one of her mom’s breasts had fully come out during the sessions. Not once did her mother seem embarrassed or even apologize for exposing herself to the teenagers. More or less Kate was asking if she could effectively go topless not just in front of the family, but when her friends were over. But Sue suspected that Kate was not planning to do so, only to clarify she could if she wanted. One thing she had asked about in the last few months was for her and/or Dianne to pose nude for her friends in the Tuesday art group. The fact she’s had sex with all but the one gay guy in the group seemed to make that a reasonable question.

For years Sue had inadvertently created a double standard for Kate. On one hand she asked her daughter to pose in the nude in her studio, but yet the rest of the time she was expected to completely cover up. She knew the very day that she had shut the door on Kate dressing like Mom. It had only taken once, three years before, for Sue to tell pubescent Kate that she was too old to wear a top that exposed too much of her growing breasts while walking around the house. That one comment had created a defacto rule. Sue might as well have put the rule in writing that it was OK for Mom or for her to expose her breasts when she was in her studio, but Kate could not do the same in the family room. The hypocrisy was complete in that the family room (a converted garage) was more or less the kid’s space, just like the studio was her’s. At sixteen it was clear Kate thought the double standard was wrong. Kate couldn’t disagree.

The issue of swimwear had been much the same. Kate had never directly asked to buy one of the thong bikinis that Mom sunned in even when Stephens friends were at the house. Nor had she asked to wear one to go swimming at the Flint’s’; yet, it was clear Kate wanted the choice but did not think it had been available to her. The simple fact was Sue had never bought her daughter anything but full-coverage bikinis, nor had she even asked if her girl wanted the kind of revealing swimwear her mother wore. Once again Sue had passively created a double standard. Suddenly she was ashamed.

Stephen cut his eyes to his mom or rather as Kate saw it Mom cut her eyes over to her brother. Her brother gave a tiny nod and her mother turned back with a smile and said “Yes. You can, and should dress as you please. I wear what I like, and you should have the right to do the same. I was wrong to have ever suggested otherwise. And if my swimwear fits you, any of it, you can wear it whenever you think it is appropriate. Or if you want you can just go on line and pick out a couple of suits for yourself and I’ll order them for you.”

Her brother cut in “But I wouldn’t get stuff just to wear at the Flint’s or Pulaski’s pools, or sun at home. You still need something that is legal to wear at public beaches and swimming pools here.”

Kate thought it odd that his brother cared at all what she wore. Odd or not, he was right. Perhaps that was something Jenny had talked about given what happened at the Pep Squad lake party. She followed up with “And about everyday wear and the stuff I’ve seen you wear to parties?”

This time her mother didn’t hesitate. Stephen knew that on those nights that guys came over to the house when Mom & Dad were gone, Kate often wore some of her mom’s sexy clothes. Her mother said “You and I can pretty much where each other’s clothes now. So my wardrobe is open to you. Anything that fits you, you can borrow. From here on out it will be on you to decide what is too extreme to wear out. If you want, next week we can go to the mall or go on line so you can pick out some spring and summer clothes. Your choices entirely, not mine.”

“Anything?” Kate repeated.

Her brother blanched then said “How much can she spend? Do I get just as much? How about we both get $400 for new spring and summer clothes?” Though even as she said it she knew she had no intention of letting Stephen have that much. Fairness be damned, this wasn’t about Stephen. If cleaning up this mess actually did cost $800 that would still be a bargain.

Mom said “OK, you can both have $400 for clothes.”

Kate’s face told Sue that her daughter was beginning to believe this wasn’t some cruel trick. “Thanks Mom.” Kate began to ramble on about what certain kind of clothes she had seen on social media that she thought would look good on her. As their late breakfast wore on they talked about clothes. She seemed impressed that Mom knew who many of the popular people on social media were. This in turn gave her creditability when she spoke with some confidence about which on-line influencers could be trusted to know where lie the line between sexy and trashy for young women.

Sue was bewildered by an entire world of youth culture of which she had not a clue. But she once again saw this inexplicable body switch had paved the way for her to repair her ability to talk to her kids. Still she asked herself ‘How does Stephen know all that stuff about girls fashion and social media influencers?’ It was a question she was dying to ask. Then she realized she would have to give herself a crash course on teen fashion in the next few days to pass as Stephen who was posing as her.

By the time they stood to leave her daughter asked “Mom, I’ve known forever you know a ton about how sexy clothes look on real people. I just didn’t know you followed so many people I do. Can you help me pick out stuff that will work for me?”

Only then did Sue breathe easy. Her son’s performance playing her had been more effective than she could have done herself. Once again it seems this event was breaking down barriers that she had unintentionally built over years. One more possible reason she’d triggered this curse.

While ‘Mom’ went to pay, Sue thought about dinner tonight. Stephen would have to play her at a restaurant for an hour before they actually go to the club. But, if he could keep on topics like this and off of actual knowledge of open marriage, polyamory and the swing club itself he would be OK. But what if the couple asked her about specific events? She would need to give Stephen some detailed information. The photo archive on her studio computer would help. That way Stephen could bring up specific events and turn to Calvin to take over. ‘Yes, that would work’ she thought.

Kate rushed out of the downtown café with her phone to her head. She had a lot of information to share with her friends now. First call was to Monica. Once in the car Kate asked to be dropped off at her best friend’s house. “Monica and I are going to work on a shopping list. Since I don’t care about actual name brands, I can get a killer warm weather wardrobe with $400.”

When Kate was out of the car, the trip to Grandma’s was canceled. “No need for that” Sue said after she had texted her mother. As they drove home, first question was how he knew so much about girl’s fashion.

Stephen laughed, “Well, it’s not like I meant to learn all that but when Jenny is over she and Kate talk about it and about who they look to on the net to guide them. And when Jenny and I are with Emjay, there is even more talk about those things. It seems that Jenny is getting help from Emjay, Kate and Monica about how to change her wardrobe to match her evolving image of herself. I’m just along for the ride.”

“Well, I owe you one” Sue said. “You did a great job back there. Better than I could have done.” She was happy to be able to honestly praise her son in playing her. He would need all the confidence he could get. She then began to brief him on what to say and do around his father to keep him from becoming suspicious.