Incest/TabooSerendipity 09: Nonna Comes to Visit
VIII. Nonna Comes to Visit
"Nonna's coming to visit!"
Those famous words, spoken countless times over the millennia, announcing that Grandma is coming to stay for a while.
In this case, it was my daughter, Lauren, who gleefully made this announcement. And it was her grandmother — my mother-in-law, the mother of my — late? deceased? dead? — wife who is coming. Almost 11 years now, and it still seems not-quite-real.
Anyhow, Grandma Georgia has been one of my favorite people in the whole world since my high school friend-later girlfriend-later wife, Sofia, introduced me to her when I was 15. At that time, I liked her a lot because she was smart, funny, good at solving any problem that came up, and she treated her daughter and her daughter's friends, always with respect, and usually with affection. She was and is a wonderful person. Sadly, this marvelous woman lost the love of her life, her husband Arthur (born Arturo), seven years ago, and she has been on her own since then.
Also, did I mention that she is real easy to look at. I'm not sure there was the concept of "hot mom" when I was in high school, but Sofia's mom Georgia would've been up near the very top of that category. Medium height, with auburn brown hair that looked good no matter how she wore it, and that same hint-of-olive skin that Lauren was born with. When Sofia and I were in high school and college, Georgia was shapely, but in the slim, svelte way. And even though she's probably only about 5'-5", she has legs that seem to go on forever. She should have been the material for numerous masturbation sessions, but somehow I never could. She was just too classy and too kind to be in one of my jerk-off fantasies. (Richie Compton's divorced older sister — now that was a whole different story!)
Apparently, she'd be arriving on the 15th, but her ticket was open-ended, so she could stay as long as she wanted. We made arrangements to pick her up outside "Arrivals" at the airport.
We had no problem finding her. Despite the fact that her hair was now a dark blond, there was no mistaking the elegant woman with large, stylish sunglasses and wearing a beige linen suit, with the expensive Coach handbag and toting the beaten-up old Pullman-sized suitcase. We got out to greet her and put her stuff in the car trunk. She and Lauren screamed and hugged each other and said how happy they were to see each other. Then she turned to me and gave me a hug that took in my entire body, placed a warm and slightly-inappropriately-long kiss on my lips, and said, "Hello, James, you're looking better than ever."
What the hell?! I actually felt my penis start to thicken up. I made a point of turning to retrieve her luggage, attempting to adjust myself without it being obvious. I'd swear she smirked.
Did I mention? She always called me 'James.' My actual name is James Paul, but since my father was named James — it's a family thing — everyone called me 'Paul.' But to her, I was always 'James,' and I liked that — it was something special we had between us.
We loaded the car and navigated our way out of the airport and headed into the city toward home. The conversation was non-stop: Tell me about your new condominium. How far is that from the Lake? Tell me about your roommates. How did you all get together? How are your Houston neighbors, the Rineharts? ("They send their love"). And so on. The trip flew by, and in no time we were pulling into our building's parking garage. Unloaded the car, took everything up on the elevator, and entered our condo.
The first thing was to look at the views, of course. After that, the glorious kitchen, where the bathrooms were, and the 'guest' bedroom where I'd put Georgia's luggage.
And then the question we knew was coming: "Where are your rooms?"
Lauren gestured toward our door and said, vaguely, "This is ours."
Georgia took one look at the one room Lauren had indicated, and at the one bed visible inside it, hesitated to make sure she had not missed something, and exclaimed, "You're together!"
Lauren and I looked at each other. We knew it wouldn't take her long to figure things out, and we were still not sure how she'd take this, and how we should respond.
Well, it took about two seconds for her to throw her arms around Lauren and say, "That's wonderful! Sweetheart, I've known this man since forever, and you couldn't be with anyone finer!" Then she turned to me, gave me a big hug and kiss, and said, in a conspiratorial tone, "You lucky bastard!"
Then she looked around the condo some more, glancing at the layout of the other rooms. "Your roommates, Jane and her father — are they … a couple, too?"
We made some sort of affirmative gestures.
"Damn! This should be an interesting visit."
Although happy and relieved, we were a bit taken aback by Georgia's reaction to our dual 'unconventional' situations. As long as I have known her, she has always been proper — even classy — in her own conduct. But she was also seldom judgmental (unless someone was being hurt, that is) and generally accepting of individual differences and personal choices. So her acceptance of our situations was not surprising. Her enthusiasm for them, however — that was something we weren't expecting.
It was nearly two o'clock when Lauren set out the lunch we'd prepared in advance — home-made chicken salad, fresh pineapple, almonds, croissants from the bakery, and a nicely chilled Chablis. And you know what the lunchtime conversation was about:
"How did you two get together?"
"After Mom's death I often slept in Dad's bed because I was lonely, and one night he woke up and found me humping his leg, and he hadn't had any sex in six years and found a pretty young woman in bed with him, humping his leg."
"How old were you, Sweetheart?"
"And your friends, Jane and — Matthew?"
"A little more complicated. But basically, they were both in a place similar to where Dad and I were. Her mom-his wife had run off to be with another guy, and they had to be there for each other. We thought that if — if they were together like Dad and me, it would be good for both of them."
"So you thought that would be good for them. But how did you cause that to happen?"
"We arranged for Jane to 'discover' Dad and me in bed, and that gave us — me, mostly — the chance to explain our situation and why we thought a relationship like ours with her father would be good for them both. We gave them some tips on how to make it happen."
"And is it working?"
"Yes, Janey is happier than she's ever been, and Matthew has completely shed his years of depression. And they are very much in love — like Dad and me."
"Well, I'm very happy for both of you. All four of you, I guess." We drank to that.
As we were finishing up, we heard the front door open and Jane and Matt returning from a morning shopping excursion and a lunch downtown. As they put down their bags and boxes, we got up from the table to greet them.
Lauren introduced "my grandmother, Georgia," and Janey and Matt returned the greetings, welcoming her and saying how happy they were to finally meet her. The thorough up-and-down glance that Matt gave Georgia did not escape any of us, either.
Georgia was a bit more forward and less vague. She gave Janey a big hug. "Jane, I feel like I've known you for years. Lauren has written so much about you two, and she talks about you all the time when we're on the phone."
She turned to Matt and gave him a hug — much more polite than the ones she had given me earlier — and said, "We've all been talking over lunch, and I feel I already know a lot about you."
Matt raised his eyebrows questioningly, as if to say, "Does she mean what I think she means?"
I raised my eyebrows and gave a little nod in acknowledgement. "Yup."
Well, no need for anyone to pretend about anything.
Matt and I had a chance to talk a little later that afternoon.
"That mother-in-law of yours is one attractive woman. In fact, some might even say that she's a fine piece of ass. I'd never be that crude, of course, but still, others …"
And, yes, over the years, her slim figure had served her very well indeed, because the weight gain that inevitably comes with age helped mold her slender figure into men's magazine pinup quality — a well-filled jersey top, trim hips with a solid, round ass — and still those legs. Her rich hair was now died a dark blond, streaked with her natural auburn, and cut in a shoulder-length bob, with blond bangs that almost reached her eyebrows. When I was growing up, she was always very pretty. With her new look, she's a stunner.
Then, "Tell me the truth. Did you ever have fantasies about her when you were dating Sofia?"
In fact, no. Of course I noticed how good-looking she was, but corny as it sounds, I only had eyes for Sofia.
"Well, it'll certainly be nice to have her here, in addition to all the beautiful women we currently have around. An embarrassment of riches, no?"
Lauren, Georgia, and I were sitting at the breakfast table having our mid-morning cups of coffee and discussing what everyone would be doing today. Then Georgia's brow wrinkled and a question formed on her face. "I notice how you all seem to like each other so much, and how comfortable you are with each other. I can't help wondering …, " and she looked right at me and said, "Do you and Jane …?," moving her index finger back and forth as if alternately pointing to two people.
"Yes," I nodded quietly.
She paused and thought some more, then looked at Lauren. "And do you and …?"
"Yes." A small smile.
She gave a sudden laugh and clapped her hands together in delight. "Oh, this is going to be a very interesting visit!"
She seemed to think a bit more. Then she asked, a little hesitantly, "Do you think it would be all right if I joined in sometimes?"
Lauren and I had never even considered this possibility, but we looked at each other, and without having to say a thing to each other, I said, "I don't think we'd mind that at all."
And Lauren, with an amused little smile, added, "In fact, I think we might enjoy it."
And so began a very interesting visit, indeed.
Saturday night Jane and Matt and Lauren were headed out to hear Madeleine Peyroux at a small club on the north side. The unfortunate news was that they could only get three tickets. Since Jane and Matt had long been fans, and Jane got Lauren into the singer when they were roommates, it was decided that those three would use the tickets, and Georgia and I, the yet-to-be fans, would remain behind.
As Lauren was getting dressed to go out, she asked, "So what are you and Georgia …" (under the circumstances, we couldn't bring ourselves to call her 'Grandma' or 'Nonna') "what are you and Georgia going to do while we're gone?"
I thought we might find a movie on cable, or if there was nothing good, we could order something from OnDemand. Open a nice bottle of wine. Perhaps open one of the nice cheeses that Paul and Jane had brought back from their shopping. But what I replied was, "Oh, I don't know. Do you remember where we put the Parcheesi board?"
Lauren punched me — hard — on the arm and said, "Don't be a dork!"
Then she added, "Y'know, you wouldn't be the first man to have the hots for his mother-in-law."
I replied, "Yes, well, we're nowhere close to that bridge, I think."
"Just sayin'," she added. Then, with an exchange of good wishes and injunctions to enjoy and have fun, the three went out, leaving Georgia and me to play Parcheesi, or whatever.
It was nice to be alone with Georgia. Not sexually. Just a pleasure to be with an old friend — for, indeed, we had been good friends for decades — who's smart, great to talk with, knows a lot about a lot of things, and also is a pleasure to look at. I think we were both looking forward to the evening together.
But, then, there's also what Lauren said. And Georgia is a bona fide cougar, no two ways about it.
We put out some cheese, a fresh baguette, some marinated mushrooms, a tin of pate' I remembered we had, and opened a nice bottle of a creamy white Burgundy — I thought the evening deserved a Meursault, and that's what we found.
We plunked ourselves down on the leather sofa in the living room, grabbed the remote for the big TV, and started browsing. Funny, both of us hopped on the idea of watching Pulp Fiction, but we decided that it had too much action and its quirkiness demands such attention that it would not be conducive to conversation. We selected Victoria and Abdul, a lovely film about the unusual friendship that developed between an aged Queen Victoria and a young emissary from the Indian state of Punjab. We settled in and began to watch and to talk.
We exchanged notes about old acquaintances, she inquired about my new job (three years now for me, but new to her), how we liked our new home and living in the heart of the city, general (i.e., non-sexual) stuff about Matt and Jane. It was pleasant.
Then Georgia said, "So how about it, James — do you have the hots for your old mother-in-law?"
I figured we'd get to this sooner or later. "First, let's lose the 'old' shit. You look my age, and your attitude is younger than a lot of twenty-year-olds."
"Yes, I noticed how attractive you were the very first day I met you, when I was 15, and you seem to get more attractive every year. How do you do that, by the way? Is it the picture you keep up in the attic? Or that deal you made with Satan? But, anyhow, I was also head-over-heels infatuated with your daughter, and nothing else ever crossed my mind.
"But, to be honest, yes, I — along with most of the males of this species — think you're hot."
She leaned over and gave me a kiss on the cheek. "Thank you, James, I think you said that all beautifully." She went on, "What I'll bet you didn't know is that I definitely had the hots for you. You were young, and good looking, and considerate, and smart, and just a little bit shy. If my daughter hadn't cared for you so much, I would have been all over you like a pit bull at a pre-school."
Quite the testimonial.
"So I'm glad we both conducted ourselves appropriately back then." She took a hearty drink of her wine and continued, "But that was then. This is now."
The meaning was clear — our restraint, which was totally appropriate 'back then,' was not necessarily — necessary now.
I leaned over toward her. She put her wine glass down and her mouth met mine in a passionate exchange of lips and tongues that had been twenty-five years in the making. And it was worth every one of those years. It's hard to describe something you've waited for so long without actually realizing that you were waiting for it, and then it finally happens and it's everything you could have anticipated — only you didn't know you were anticipating it — until now, that is.
I put one hand over her breast, and she put a hand over mine. She put her other hand over the steadily growing hard-on in my pants leg, not stroking — just holding, firmly, but not hard.
We separated a little and smiled at each other.
"We've waited a long time for that, haven't we, James?"
"We have." I put my arm around her shoulder, and she snuggled into my shoulder, against my chest. I rested my cheek against that beautiful auburn-now-blonde hair, breathing her scent, and enjoying every bit of the moment.
"You know, James, I want nothing more than to take off every stitch of our clothing and climb into that bed of yours and make years' worth of love. And I'm sure that you'd like to do that, too.
"But there's something else, isn't there, James?"
I sighed. "Yes, there's something else. What becomes of Lauren's grandmother? If you and I change our relationship status to "sexually involved," does Lauren still have a grandmother?"
""That's my concern, too. Much as I want to expand the definition of how I love you — and believe me, I do — maybe we should think on this for a while."
"Me, too, and ditto."
A little after midnight, the front door lock rattled and Lauren, Jane, and Paul stumbled in, a little giddy, but happy from a night of good entertainment and good company. What they found was me and Georgia, sitting up in Georgia's guest-room bed, wearing nylon track pants and tank tops and with the covers up to our waists, eating salted caramel gelato from the carton and watching Pulp Fiction.
Janey and Paul both broke out laughing, as they were prepared to see something entirely different. But Lauren gave me an expression that clearly said, "WTF?"
Georgia turned down the volume. "So, … tell us about the show." Everyone sat down on the bed and proceeded to tell us about the show. Apparently, fine singer, great combo, good sound, comfortable club. Good drinks afterward. Lousy parking.
Matt and Jane bade everyone good night and headed off to their room. I took Lauren's hand and said, "Bed time, Honey?"
She said, "Guess so." I leaned over and gave Georgia a kiss, she wished us good night, and off Lauren and I went to our room.
Georgia had gotten up early to go to the market with Matt and Jane. That left Lauren and me having third cups of coffee at the breakfast table.
"So, what's the deal with you and Georgia? We leave you two alone and we expected to come home and find the bed clothes in a shambles and the room smelling like a whorehouse. Instead, you're sitting there, almost dressed, looking like Ozzie and Harriett, or maybe like a millennial parody of 'American Gothic'. You're two great-looking people who've been attracted to each other for lots of years. When we left, I gave you the go-ahead. So what went wrong?"
"Nothing went wrong, Princess. We had a wonderful evening. And, yes, we did talk about our long-time attraction to each other, and even acted on it a little. But we both hit a wall. That wall was, well, you. If Georgia and I became fuck-buddies, what would become of your grandmother? If you and I were 'merely' father and daughter, it might be okay. But you and I are a bit more to each other than father-daughter. If your grandmother became my lover, too, could you still look at her like your grandmother? And she and I both know, that relationship is very important to you — to both of you. So we decided to put things on a back burner 'til we could think about it some more."
Lauren was silent for a while. Refilled her coffee, topped-off mine. Then, cautiously, "I'm sorry that I messed up your — I guess I can't call it a 'reunion.' Maybe your 'union.' I really hoped you two would finally have a chance to get together after so many years."
I moved to reassure her that she hadn't 'messed up' anything, but she 'shushed' me and went on, "But I'm … so proud … of both of you, that you were concerned that much about me that you … or that you didn't … ." She took another sip, then said, "You're right, though. You were both right. I hadn't thought it through that far. Maybe, … give me some time to think about it, okay?""
I got up and kissed her on her forehead. "Take all the time you need, Princess."
But the very next day, Lauren sat me down and said, "Dad, you know what we were talking about? About Georgia and you? Well, I've thought about it, and I think everything would be okay if I could be there when you do. I don't mean join in — just be there with both of you."
"Do you think that might make it okay for you? How?"
"No logical explanation. I just try to picture it in my mind, and it feels like if I'm there and it's like I'm a part of it, then it'll be okay."
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