Surprise Saturday: Chapter 8

He went to the studio and a few minutes later his mother joined him. He briefed her on the interaction with Kate then asked what to say when Mitch’s mother called. She told him to agree but if she wanted to talk, “tell her you are at dinner and will call her in the morning.” When she asked some questions, he found himself explaining how he and his sister had worked out their own code of conduct regarding nudity. He told her that he felt he had violated it by watching her pick out clothes wearing just her panties.

“You did good Stephen” his mother praised. “I must say I did not know you’d never been in the prolonged presence of your sister while she was undressed before.”

Stephen corrected “Oh, she had on her panties, so she wasn’t naked.”

“Yes, yes, I heard what you said, but you are missing what I’m saying. Your father and I just assumed the solution that ended the fighting a few years ago was you two just gave up trying to keep from being seen naked. Not that I’m criticizing your choice, I think it was an elegant one and shows more maturity than we gave you credit for.”

Stephen sitting at the desk chair said “I suppose it might seem weird to you since you, as an artist, see nudity as so normal. Now that I say that I think both Kate and I would agree, despite what it might appear. I have no doubt if you went in to her room right now, as me, and said that Mom said it was up to us to decide if the family should adopt nudism; she would totally say yes. So it’s not about embarrassment. I think our approach to sharing the bathroom has been about our trust. But, the boundaries by which we show both trust and respect have been changing already. The change in how we interact started a year ago the night Monica and Kate came in my room together about having sex with Monica. I have no doubt that when she left the room for us to do it; that Kate stayed in the bathroom listening the whole time to ensure I treated her friend right. I say that because the next day she came and asked how it went for me. At first I was hesitant, but after she recited the details and it was apparent she knew everything that happened I opened up. She said that Monica had told her what we did but I suspected it was more than that. Kate wasn’t asking what happened but rather she was just asking for my take on it. Since she clearly already knew all the ins and outs of what we did as it were; I had no reason to fear embarrassing her with what I said so I told her how it was from my perspective. Then surprise of surprise she gave me suggestions, very detailed suggestions of what Monica wanted me to do differently the next time. I had the good sense to listen and do what she said. Over those first three or four sessions Monica and I had, Kelly couldn’t have been more involved if she were standing beside the bed coaching.”

Sue could not help but laugh. She’d laughed more on this crazy day than she had in a long time. But this too was funny to her. Stephen must have seen it too and for a while they both just sat there laughing at the absurdity of the whole situation. She laughed not only about what he’d just said, or the craziness of switching bodies, but the entire way they had all been ignoring the things going on at home for so long. After a while Sue told him to go on.

“After that, without any plan, we have been completely open as far as talking about our sex lives.” He seemed to think, then suggested, “You know, the truth is I wanted to tell you, but I thought I couldn’t. It also helped that Kate couldn’t talk to you either about the ups and downs of her sex life, so we confided in each other. And of course we also began to compare what we each heard from the other room and we both learned to put actions to sounds. I bet from the bathroom I could write a play by play of one of Kate’s hour long sessions.”

Sue took all this in. It was just so much new information to process. “I guess I didn’t realize how sound traveled between your rooms. So earlier, when you talked about being with Monica while Kate has been with her guys, I didn’t quite grasp what that meant. So what I think you are saying is that you can more or less hear and know what the other is doing in bed? Is it almost like watching even though you can’t see it?

He nodded “Yep. I can’t hear your room though because it is down and across the hall. It was a process but by the time she asked if I would do Dianna we were talking as much about what she and her guys were doing as about me and Monica.”

Sue jerked her head over to look at him “Dianna? What about Dianna?”

Stephen sighed. “That is what I wanted to tell you before I go off with Dad. It looks like all sorts of stuff is coming out and I don’t want you to think I was hiding something. Because I’m not, and I don’t regret my choices”

Sue continued in a sharp tone “Don’t tell me you have had sex with Dianna?”

Stephen shot back, “No Mom, you can’t play that game! You say you are proud of fucking Rob Pulaski a few weeks after his seventeenth birthday when you were what? Thirty-Seven? I was sixteen and she was fourteen and if you will let me explain you will see I did the right thing.”

Sue just sucked in and said “OK, explain.” Vivian had told her last March she’d made an appointment for Dianna to get an IUD put in because she said her daughter had become becoming sexually active. It seems she took that step because she had started having sex with Stephen, though she’d never given a hint who Dianna was screwing. ‘What else hadn’t Vivian told her?’ she asked herself.

Steven began “The reason Kate asked me to have sex was because the night before Dianna told her there was a guy in her neighborhood that had all but asked if she would come over to his house to get it on. Not the guy who she started having sex with in the summer. The guy she was talking about was not her age or even in high school, but he was like twenty or something. So that day Dianna told Kate that she was planning on telling him she would have sex with him the next time she saw him. She insisted she would just do it once to see what it was like. That got Kate really worried and concerned. You know as well as I that at fourteen, she was as tall as her mother and had bigger boobs. Kate knew full well that if she did it just once with a grown man that would not be the end of it. It would be like what happened to Jenny but way worse. Of course we didn’t know about Jenny at the time but she knew that men took advantage of girls just like that. Kate didn’t want her to wreck her life so she asked Dianna if instead of that man she would do it with me. When Dianna said she would much rather have sex with me but didn’t think I would. She’d been thinking about it ever since I’d started having sex with Monica, but given how we are almost like brother and sister she didn’t ask. She knew I would be a way better choice than what she was planning on doing, but didn’t think I would. Kate came to me and told me what Dianna had said and asked if I would take her on just like I had Monica. That was right at a year ago.”

Sue tried not to sound aggressive “Why was she going to do that? If a grown man was hitting on her she should have told her mother about it.”

Stephen looked at his mom with incredulity. “I thought I was blind. Don’t you know that Dianna and her mom’s relationship has been on a rollercoaster ever since her dad died? I know you know how Mrs. Flint went crazy with sex and alcohol for like two years right? To this day, Dianna has not forgiven her mom for bringing home a strange man for sex just one week after they moved home after staying with us. To both Collin and Dianna it looked like she was spitting on their dad’s grave by bringing men into their dad’s bed. Now you told me all this stuff today; I can see Flint was not forgetting their dad, but she was just continuing what she had been doing before he was killed. But they did not know that. I’m pretty sure they still don’t know that.”

Sue did not know why she’d never thought of how it looked to the Flint kids before. Of course they thought their mother and father had been monogamous, why wouldn’t they? Every message from the overculture taught them that normal married people were. Worst yet they were taught that sex outside of marriage was betrayal. So by openly screwing other men Vivian was, in effect, betraying their dead father. Without a counter narrative, that must have been what the Flint kids had believed. Keeping their lifestyle a secret had done actual, and possibly irreparable, harm to Dianna & Collin.

But, in her mind Sue considered that Dianna had been eleven when her father died. Even if she’d had the insight to explain to Dianna, how could she have understood at that age? Perhaps she, Dwight and Vivian had mitigated the situation by taking in the family and openly having Vivian sleep in their bed. Sure at eleven Dianna likely didn’t understand, but at fourteen she must have seen the sexual component of that relationship. Of course she did. How had she and Vivian convinced themselves that the kids would not see it? That was why the girl had essentially guided her mother to confirm what she already knew about the fact she’d been having sex with Calvin. Even as Dianna was once again told a half story, she knew that her mother had not been having an affair; but that her mother and her best friends parents were, in effect, one grafted family and sex was just naturally part of it.

Sue thought back to last summer when Vivian called her over to the house to explain to Dianna.

There had been no push back when she’d told the girl that she thought it was a good thing that Dwight and her mom were lovers. She let her know it had never been a secret. Sue assumed that Dianna thought that the sexual relationship had started while her family had lived with the Richard’s. She did not disabuse her of the idea. And if, as Stephen said, Dianna was such a fan of porn, she would know full well that with three of them in the bed the two mothers were having sex as well. Sue put it all together in her head; ‘Yes, that was it, Dianna hadn’t been confronting her mother with proof she’d been having an affair, but was seeking confirmation that all was well. No wonder that after Sue had told the girl that she knew and approved of her mother and her husband’s sexual relationship she had latched on to Sue in a hug that wouldn’t quit.’

Still Sue knew that reality would not mitigate the damage Vivian had done by leading her children to believe that she only became sexually active with other men after their father had died. As far as Sue knew, Vivian had convinced herself that the kids knew nothing about her time of using booze and an endless stream of men to drown the pain, even while having the comfort of Dwight’s arms. She doubted that the kids had missed that. Yet, how could an eleven year old girl and a thirteen year old boy understand why their mother was behaving so? Sue understood. She’d done much the same thing when she was nineteen and twenty. Actually Viv was far more responsible than Sue had been in her wild years. Even when drinking, Vivian was and still is a condom fanatic with men outside their circle. She knew that first hand, she’d been with Vivian on a good number of those cruising expeditions. Ostensibly she had gone with Vivian to keep her safe, but they actually had a lot of fun on some of those outings. Yet, in all the times they dragged a man, or two to a nearby hotel; she never once had to remind Viv to use a condom. And Viv always used condoms for blow jobs as well. Sue was not a fan of sucking latex, but when she was with Vivian it was the rule for both of them. She remembered how Vivian had said on multiple occasions, even before Jack had died, that to her a condom is an emotional barrier as well as a protective one. She said she believed that it It keeps the man from touching her spirit. Only bare back sex counts as real sex to Vivian.

Yet her children knew none of that. If they had been like the McCurry’s, the children would have known and understood that there was no betrayal there. Yet that alone did not seem to explain why, at fourteen, Dianna was bound and determined to start having sex with random men.

“I didn’t say what you did was wrong” Sue told Stephen though she knew full well that was her first response. “I’m just seeing a lot of things much more clearly than I did yesterday. And you are right, we were both blind to what was right in front of us.”

Speaking slowly Sue asked “Do you know why she told Kate she was determined to start having sex? Was it just because Kate was having sex so she thought she should too?”

Stephen had just assumed his mother knew everything about what Mrs. Flint had done in those years after she was widowed. But perhaps she didn’t. He decided he needed to fill her in.

“Mom,” he said “do you know what happened to Dianna and her mother’s relationship after Mr. Flint was killed?”

“I thought I did, but perhaps I don’t. Why don’t you tell me?”

Stephen took a big breath then began. “Dianna was, and is, conflicted about her mother’s behavior in the two or three years from when her dad died till when her mom married Mr. Otis and he moved in. I know for sure she resented how fast her mom seemed to move on from Mr. Flint’s death. Collin wasn’t really around home much due to football and baseball; so it was just the two of them most of the time. From what Dianna has told me right off her mom started talking to her like she was an adult friend, not her mother. At first it was just normal stuff, but after a few months she started telling Dianna all about her sex life. I don’t think she ever told her about doing it with Dad or the people we know, but it was like she wanted Dianna to be her adult best friend. It wasn’t that she just would go on and on about what she did with guys she picked up, but she did that. I mean she told Diana really detailed stuff about what the guys did right and wrong in bed; but as Dianna got older and her body developed, her mom started teaching her all about what to do in bed with a guy or guys.”

“Like what?” Sue asked.

“Well, like each part of having sex with a guy or a girl and what to do when she had two guys or a guy and a girl in bed at once. She told me how her mother told her how good it felt when a guy’s penis was long enough to hit her cervix when he fucked her. Whenever she’d had sex with a guy who could do that to her, the next day she’d go on and on about how good it felt. I think it was for her thirteenth birthday her mom got her a long dildo so she could see what it felt like. In the first few months hearing about her mom screwing guys she just met grossed her out; but by the time she turned thirteen she had come to like how her mom talked to her like she was an adult. She said she came to look forward to hearing all about the sex her mom had the night before. It just became their normal conversations and it didn’t seem weird at all to her. Dianna told me that her mom right out asked her about how she masturbated and how often she did. That led to her telling her mom about playing with herself just like her mom talked about fucking. That was when she bought Dianna the dildo and suggested some porn websites to look at.”

Sue was incredulous. “I thought Vivian told me all about what she’d said to Dianna about her sex life. Clearly she had not told me a great deal of it. Last spring Viv had told me that Dianna had become sexually active with a pair of boys who lived near their home, but she never mentioned the two of you having sex. I guess I don’t know her as well as I thought I did. I’ve heard that some single mom’s often over share with their teenage daughters and start treating them like peers; but I didn’t have a clue that Vivian had done that.”

“Oh she told her mom all about us. I guess Mrs. Flint has heard about every single thing we have done. But it is strange that her mom told you about the two guys in her neighborhood, but not about me.”

Sue just nodded. It seemed odd to her too.

Stephen went on “It took a while but Dianna figured out while her mom brought home a lot of different guys for casual sex, it was usually one of the same three guys. Oh, and there was a couple who she would have over too, and not just for sex. They seemed to be regular friends that had known her dad. Perhaps that is why Dianna knew what was going on when none of the rest of us did. Now I can see they were probably a couple in your group.”

“That would make sense” Sue agreed. “It would also help to explain why Vivian has always been vague and evasive about what she had told Dianna. Did she hear their names?”

“Oh yea, it was a man named Simon and his wife Belle. Like I said, they came over for dinner and stuff before they went to her mom’s room to have sex. Dianna said Belle was really nice. They still come over to her house, but they haven’t had sex there since Mr. Otis moved in; well not when Dianna’s been there at least.”

Sue nodded. “Yes, Simon & Belle Frazier. And yes they are part of our group. Dianna would have seen them at all the pool parties for the past four years, so she knew they were part of our social group. Did she not tell you that?”

Stephen was surprised. “No she didn’t. So I’ve seen them?”

Sue turned to the computer and pulled up a directory. The photos were of a pool party at the Pulaski’s but not one that Stephen had been to since most of the people were nude. Sue opened an image of a nice looking couple perhaps in their late twenties and the woman was clearly pregnant. The man was completely naked but the woman had on bikini bottoms. “This is from two years ago. Now do you recognize them? Last summer they brought their baby with them to all three big pool parties.” His mom then pointed out “You can see Mrs. Pulaski and her daughter Michelle, and to the left is the McCurry’s daughter Marcella laying on the deck and Glen and Stella Eisenstein’s son Seth and his wife. And of course that is your father on the chaise lounge. In the background you can seem more people I’m sure you recognize. Viv and Mary and the others are at the other table out of the frame. But I guess you can see now that those three big parties are just about the only time swimwear is expected; though of course you know full well that most of the swimwear at those parties would not be legal at a public pool.”

Stephen recognized everyone, even those in the background. ‘So why didn’t Dianna tell him that that couple were at the pool parties?’