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Drake suffers the delights of bondage; prepared for caning.
"Yeah, you know that," Doug said.
"And this will help you, right?"
"Yeah, so much you wouldn't believe it, Dad."
"So get it. Order it. Today. Why wait! You deserve it. After all, you're my only son!"
"So far, Dad!" Doug looked at me and I turned my face down to my toast and coffee.
Ned laughed. "So far is right! Which reminds me, Cyndy, why don't you get that thing we talked about for our overnight visit coming up."
"That thing" was a sheer black lace nightie. He had seen it online and said it turned him on. That must be one hell of an ignition switch to turn HIM on. One that he had kept hidden from me for years.
"You really shouldn't be walking around," I said.
"Rest is for the wicked," Gail said.
"I think that's 'no rest for the wicked,'" I corrected.
"I was closer than usual."
We laughed. It was good to see her laugh. It felt good for me to laugh.
We were walking in the mall. I had called to check in on Gail and told her of Ned's request and that I was going to visit the local lingerie shop and pick it up.
"No way you're going without me," she said.
And so, here we were.
"Actually, I'm feeling better than I have for days, since I learned I was ... pregnant. That really threw me. I mean, I felt this weird feeling even before I knew, and it wasn't guilt about ... you know."
I knew she meant about having sex with Doug.
"So you didn't feel guilty?"
This was the first time we had this part of the conversation. It had all been about the pregnancy before. Even after we watched the video together. She had deflected any other aspects. Maybe now she had a different perspective, now that she was "free" of its outcome.
"Right afterwards, and I mean RIGHT afterwards, yeah. But, then my body kicked in and I remember feeling so feminine and alive and-satisfied! Like something had been tied up in me for years and even though I knew it was a good and powerful part of me, I had doubted it and even thought it was dead forever. But, after that time with Doug, I felt like the total woman I knew I had been in the past. I just had forgotten, or maybe suppressed it."
"So the weird feeling ...?"
"Yeah, even before I knew I was pregnant, it was like I knew I shouldn't be pregnant, and that this was something that never should happen. A vague thing, nothing specific, but like destiny took a wrong turn. I know that sounds stupid."
"Not as stupid as you think," I said. That "destiny" part threw me, and I felt that was my cue to tell her what had happened to me while I had been waiting for her.
We passed the lingerie store three times while we kept walking. While I told her about my feeling and that her baby-Doug's and her baby-was waiting and looking for the perfect place to be born.
"Wow!" That's all she could say. At first. Then she teared up and said: "Right before they did it, that's exactly the prayer I prayed. I said 'God, I'm not the right mother for this baby. You know that, but please find it someone who can love it all its life.'"
That's when we both teared up. "Let's sit a minute," she said, and picked an empty bench.
"You feeling okay?" I asked, concerned for her condition.
"Physically, fine. That just sounded so right, it sent chills through me."
I debated whether to add the second part, the part with Doug's plan in it. I knew it was shocking, and for me embarrassing to even express it, but we had never kept anything from each other for our whole lives:
"There's some thing else," I started. Then, while people, perfectly normal people doing perfectly normal mall things strolled by-I told her all about Doug wanting to get me pregnant.
"Oh ... my ... God!" she said. That's all she said about it. Except: "I need a little time to process that one."
I was relieved in a way. For two reasons: first, sharing it burst some wall, some pressure that had built in me from the moment I heard Doug propose it. That secret had been too hard to bear alone. And second, I'm glad Gail didn't weigh in-I couldn't stand a judgment at this point.