All Night Long

May 20, 2005


  "Susan stop, your hands are cold."  Robert rolled away from his wife.

"Oh come on, Robert.  You never complained about my cold hands before."  She said seductively as she rolled up against his back.

He promptly removed her hands from around his waist.  "Well, I'm complaining now.  I played 18 holes of golf today and I'm not in the mood."  He pulled the light blue sheet up and held it tightly to his chest.

Susan sat up in bed frustrated and poked him in the back.  "What's wrong with you?"  She asked impatiently.  Somewhat alarmed at his odd behavior, she turned him over to face her. "Talk to me."  

Sensing her concern, Robert exhaled deeply and sat up adjusting the pillows so that he could sit comfortably beside her. He took her hand gently in his and rubbed the palm with his thumb.  "Nothing's wrong, Honey.  I'm just tired and a little grumpier than usual."  He said softly.

Susan moved her pillows beside his and scooted next to him. Leaning her head on his shoulder as they sat there for several quiet minutes in the darkness of their bedroom.  Finally, she spoke, "Something's wrong.  Isn't it?  It's been over two months since we last made love.  Every time I try to touch you, nothing happens. You move away.  You haven't touched me in ages. Are you feeling all right? Is there someone else?"  She asked tentatively.

Robert pulled Susan up against his chest and held her there tightly.  "No, there's no one else and don't you ever think there is. There's only you."  The pain of his last indiscretion came flooding back to the surface.   "There's only you." He repeated those words with conviction.  He turned her toward him.  "No one but you Susan."

She smiled against his chest.  "I'm sorry.  I still think about that sometimes."

He squeezed up again. "God, I'll never forgive myself for that...for as long as I live."

Silently, they held one another, each chasing away past demons.  Susan pulled away from her husband and moved to sit back against the bed. "Talk to me.  Tell me what's wrong."  She said softly, still holding his hand.

Robert looked off into the inky darkness of their bedroom. "I can't."  

"You're scaring me.  What's so bad that you can't talk to me?"

"I just can't.  It's too embarrassing."

"Nothing can be that bad."  Her words were soothing and soft.

Robert threw his hands into the air.  "Every time I think about...” He stopped and looked at her. Not wanting her to think the worst, he had to tell her.  Trying again, he said, "I can't..."

"Robert, just say it." She held his hand tighter.

Turning to his wife, he took at deep breath and the words came tumbling out.  "I’ve been avoiding making love because...I'm unable to perform."  He closed his eyes in defeat.

Initially, she wasn't sure she understood him. The words "unable to perform" didn't register with her.  They'd always enjoyed a mutually satisfying sexual relationship.  It wasn't like they were young or even middle aged people.  Some things just naturally slow down with age. Maybe for this first time, it occurred to her that they weren't as young as they used to be. Then she thought about it, really thought about it. It had been more than 2 months since they'd last made love.  It had been almost twice that.  Robert was usually the aggressor and she'd been so busy with social responsibilities and new grandchildren that time had slipped up on her. No wonder he was upset, she thought.  Not wanting to make matters worse and knowing she couldn't say anything that he would interpret as blame or criticism, she chose her next words carefully. Susan lifted her hand up to his cheek and brushed her thumb under his eye.  "Oh Robbie, I'm sure it's just temporary. We've been busy with the arrivals of Sammy and Robbie.  You had that cold a few weeks ago.  I'm sure once things settle down, this will pass.”

"That's what I thought too.  But my inability to perform has been getting worse over the last six months.  It's not going away." He sounded defeated.

"Have you talked to Ron?"  

"Not yet. This isn't exactly something I want to talk about."

"It's probably medical..." She didn't get to finish before he interrupted her.

"It's not medical."

"And just how do you know? Oh, I forgot.  You're a doctor." She shook her head.  They'd argued many times over the years about Robert's refusal to seek medical treatment when he was sick.  He preferred to treat himself.  At times she felt like she was banging her head up against a stone wall.

"That's right.  I'm a doctor and I say it's not medical."  He said defensively.

They sat in total silence for a while.  Finally, Susan spoke.  "Robbie, please go talk to Ron. He's a urologist. Perhaps there's some treatment..."

"I don't need treatment!" He yelled.  "Besides, it's not like I don't want to make love to you.  I's just that I can't!” His voice turned softer as he finished.

Susan exhaled deeply and moved back down in the bed, rolling back to her side.  Robert watched her, knowing that once again he'd taken his frustration out on her. He scooted down in the bed and spooned her body.  "God, I'm sorry. I didn't mean to take this out on you."  He rolled her over so that she was facing him.  He stroked her face. "I really want to love you."

"Then try."  She reached back and kissed him softly.  He responded back and soon their kiss grew passionate.  Things were progressing well until she reached under the covers.  On contact, Susan’s hand stilled as Robert froze. He was mortified and Susan was immediately sorry she had pursued him.

"I want you Susan, just as much as I ever have. I just...can’t,” he said.  His voice filled with regret. He pushed her hand away and rolled back over to his side of the bed, pulling the covers up around him.

Susan pulled her gown back up on her shoulder and tried to hold her husband but he only pulled away.  It was going to be a long night for both of them as they each lay there staring into the darkness.

The next morning, Robert woke before sunrise. It was his custom to go downstairs and start the coffee and read the paper.  This morning, the paper stayed on the table while he sat on the porch with his coffee and thought about Susan.  All the stuff she'd put up with, all the things she sacrificed for him and the girls. He'd put her through so much and now he was doing it again.  How selfish he thought.  He began to ask himself some hard questions: What was stopping him from calling Ron? Pride? Guilt? Could he really ask Susan to give up that part of their relationship?  Would she leave him if he couldn't ever make love to her again?  The answer to that question nearly made him cry.  He knew that she wouldn't leave him.  She'd just accept it as part of their life and move on.  It would just be something else she'd sacrificed for him.  "NO!" he shouted into the air. He could not nor would not allow her to do that.  She'd given up enough already.  He made up his mind to see Ron. Smiling, he walked back into the house to retrieve Susan's coffee.  Usually he woke Susan with a kiss and a cup of coffee.  Today, he hoped that Ron's advise would help him so that he could wake her for something other than coffee.

She was sleeping on her side when he returned upstairs. Her blonde hair lay across her forehead, an errant strand covered one of her eyes.  Smiling, he pushed the hair back and kissed her cheek, as he sat her coffee on the bedside table.  She woke slowly, shielding her eyes from the morning sun.

"Good morning, my love."  He said softly tucking her hair behind her ear.

"Mmm..."  She murmured.  "What time is it?"

"Early.  Go back to sleep.  I'm going out for awhile, okay?"

"Okay," she mumbled barely aware of the coffee sitting on the table.  

"I'll see you later."  He stroked her cheek lightly before leaving her.

An hour later, Robert met Ron Freestone in his office.  Freestone was a long time friend of Robert's.  Freestone's wife Kathryn had been Susan's college roommate.  They had double-dated, and their wives had been each other's support group while the husbands made their way through medical school.  They both had twin girls too and had lived near each other while the girls were growing up in Illinois. They had a mutual interest in golf, and once established in their professions they began to play every Wednesday, or that's what they told their wives.  Instead of playing golf, they’d go straight to the bar and toss back drinks for most of the afternoon.  Their mantra was "what their wives didn't know wouldn't hurt them."  They'd had a few disagreements over the years but they managed to stay friends. 

When Robert retired and they moved to Texas, Ron had his wife had visited them and fallen in love with the Texas Hill Country.  They moved to Fredricksburg where Ron set up a small practice and he and Robert continued their rounds of golf and bourbon. Regardless of their personal histories, Freestone was a brilliant urologist and Robert trusted him.  After running some tests, Ron suggested that Robert try a new drug.  He gave him some information and a prescription, asking him to call if he had any questions.

Susan was in her office in the stable when Robert returned from town. He tapped lightly on the windowpane to get her attention.  She favored him with a smile as she waved him into her office.  Her good mood was contagious and he smiled in return.

"I'm sorry, I don't have an appointment, Miss Miller.  But I was wondering if you could see fit to spare me a few moments."  He teased.

"Well," she said as she rounded the desk, " I think I can squeeze you in."

She hugged him tightly and her tone turned serious.  "Hey you. You were gone when I got up.  I was starting to worry. It's almost the middle of the  afternoon."

He kissed the top of her head, "Ah Honey, I'm sorry I worried you.  I just went into town for awhile."

"Everything okay?"

He kissed her one last time before pulling away to sit down on the brown leather couch in her office.  "Just fine."  He said.

She returned to the chair at her desk, reaching back to the small coffee pot behind her desk to pour them both a cup of coffee.

"I bought another pony today."

"Really?  What kind?"

"It's a little Welsh stallion.  He’s a flashy little modern, and already trained to ride.  I think I'll let Geoff name this one."

Robert chuckled.  "Why?"

"Because believe it or not this pony is a little wild, just like Geoff."

They laughed together.  "As wild as his mother."  Robert interjected as he raised his cup in the direction of his wife.

Soon the laughter stopped and they were left with silence.  Robert rose from his chair and placed his cup on the corner of Susan's desk.  He moved behind her and began to rub her shoulders. "I saw Ron today."  He said quietly, surprised at how easy it was to admit that to his wife. Knowing that it was only that easy because he wasn't looking at her when he said it.

Susan placed her hands on top of his. "What did he say?"

Robert exhaled deeply.  "Said it was probably just stress and worry.  He did run some tests just to be sure and they were all negative."

"I see." Susan turned in her chair to face Robert.

He reached in his pocket and pulled out a small brown bottle containing some pills.  He handed her the bottle.  "He gave me these to get through the rough spots."

"What are they?"  She asked as she opened the bottle and poured some of the pills into her hand.

"Something to help me.  According to this literature, I'm suppose to take one before we want to make love."  He handed her the material regarding this new med. "Ron said this drug works for four out of five of patients and he's sure I'll be in the four group.” He winked at her. "He also suggested that we go out on a date before we try it out.  You know to set the mood, I believe he said."

Susan shook her head lightly.  Robert took her hand and pressed it against his heart.

"Tell me Miss Miller, you would like to go out on a date with me?  Say tonight?"  He's tone was light and teasing.

She looked into his eyes and saw a bit of a twinkle. She slipped her arms around his neck.  "I think that can be arranged."  

Later that night as they lay in bed in that period between reality and sleep, their bodies were relaxed and tension free. Robert lazily stroked his wife's bare shoulder as she softly rubbed the hair on his chest.  "Susan?" He called softly.


"Did you ever think we'd get to be this old?"

"Who's old?"  

"When we were first married, did you ever think we'd get to a point where we'd need a drug in order to make love?"

Susan lifted her head from Robert's shoulder, only half awake. "No I never imagined that we'd need a little blue pill to have sex. But I sure hope you bought a big bottle of that stuff.  I have a feeling we are going to use a lot of it between now and when the children come in July." 

A smile slowly crept across Robert's face.  "Keep talking like that ma'am and I just might have to take another."

"Shh. You've worn me out, you big stud. Let's just talk about this tomorrow...” She yawned before finishing her sentence.

Robert started to chuckle at the use of the word "stud."  I'll bet that’s one of Missy expressions he thought vaguely.  He pulled his wife closer to him and whispered "I love you."  Then he drifted off to sleep.  

July 3, 2005

THUMP-creak-THUMP-creak.  Squeak, squeak, squeak creak .

Helena rolled over with a moan.  “What time is it?”

“About five a.m.” John replied with a sigh.  He turned over and pulled her into his arms.

“They did this yesterday morning too.”

“I think it must be their regular time.  You’ve got to admit, they probably won’t be interrupted by the kids at this time.”

Squeak—squeek-squeek.  The tempo picked up, and they could hear Melissa moan.

“John.  I love being here with everyone, but I can’t take this much more.  They were doing this at midnight too.”  

“Yeah.  I know.  Maybe we should find someplace else to vacation.”

Helena sighed.  She had been in Seattle for the last week teaching a seminar on implanting the artificial heart.  It wasn’t the money, but the feeling that she was teaching needed skills that kept her traveling.  John and the kids had flown up two days ago and they had all come to Miller’s Bluff for the week of the fourth.  Their nanny was vacationing this month.  Next week they would leave the kids here and stop briefly at home then head for a week in London.  Helena was exhausted and jet lagged and dealing with the guilt of leaving her children behind for days at a time.  The trip to London would include an award ceremony and she was the recipient, something she was less than comfortable with.  She had written an acceptance speech, and spent last evening after the children were in bed going over it with John.  She still wasn’t happy with it, and had spent most of the previous night dreaming about it.

For the last two days she’d watched her sister’s carefree family spend their days riding and swimming and playing ball. She had tried to get her mind off her professional obligations, to spend time with Tori and Sam and John, and then she’d tried to get some needed rest at night, only to listen to her twin make the bedsprings squeak late at night and early in the morning.

She burrowed her head under John’s shoulder and pulled a pillow over top of her. 

“You know,” John said, tracing a finger down her back.  “If we can’t beat them, we could join them.”

She didn’t hear the end of John’s sentence.  She had already fallen back into an exhausted sleep.

When Helena woke up, she was alone in bed and the room was quiet.  She looked over at the clock and it said 9 am.  That surprised her.  She had never needed much sleep, although she had been pushing that envelope lately.  From somewhere down the hall she heard her daughter’s laugh.  She sat up and found her robe.  She visited the bathroom and opened the bedroom door.  The nursery door was open down the hall.  She approached quietly and watched. 

John was lying on the floor lifting one year old Sammy over his head.  The baby was laughing.  John flew him gently around at arms length and brought the baby in for a soft landing on his stomach.  Tori leaned against her father’s knees.  “My turn, Daddy!”

John pulled his knees forward and placed his stocking feet against Tori’s belly.  She took his hands and he carefully pushed her off the floor so she was balanced on his feet and his legs were sticking straight up in the air. She let go of his hands and moved her arms carefully out to her side, balancing on her father’s feet.  She giggled.  John was obviously concentrating on her, making sure she didn’t fall on her little brother.

Tori looked up and saw her mother.  She grinned and started to wave, but that cost the four year old her balance.  John’s hands were swiftly on her waist and he lowered her gently to the floor.  “Mommy!”  Tori called.  Sammy also spotted her and beamed a drooling smile, bouncing up and down on his father’s stomach.  Helena came and joined them on the floor.  Tori claimed her lap, and John sat up, rolling Sammy around and upside down before sitting him up into his lap.

“Good morning!” John said, leaning across the children to give her a kiss.

“Good morning.  I didn’t realize I’d slept so late.  What’s everyone doing today?”

“Daddy and us are playing,” Tori explained.  “We’re going to go swimming in a little while with Uncle Alan and Grampa and Geoff and Robbie.  They’re all out riding horses now, except Grampa, of course, who said he had grown-up stuff to do in his den and we’re to be quiet.”

“I see.  Is there any coffee around?”  Helena asked her husband.

“I’ve kept the pot on in the kitchen.  Feeling more rested?”

“Much better, thank you.  And I have an idea for feeling even better.”


“I’m going shopping for new mattresses today.  I’m buying a set for our room and one for the adjoining room, and I’m going to have them delivered today, if I have to go all the way to Austin to find them.”

John grinned at her.  “You sound very determined.”

“I am.  Well, Tori, want to go shopping with me?”

“Can I, Mommy?  Does Sammy have to go?”

“Nope, your father will watch Sammy.  Just you and me and maybe Auntie Mel.”

Tori stood up quickly.  “I’ve got to get dressed!”  She dashed across the room to the wardrobe where her clothes were kept when she visited.

Wearing cutoffs and a bikini top, Melissa stepped onto the landing at the top of the stairs with a sway in her hips and a smile of her face.  John and Helena were exiting their bedroom and as Melissa walked by them she lightly ran her hands across the top of John’s chest.  “Gettin’ any, Brother in Law?”  She asked with a wink, not expecting John to answer. 

Long used to the exploits of his amorous sister in law, John smiled and shook his head ruefully. Helena stepped between them and swiftly removed her sister’s hand from her husband’s chest.  “Apparently, you and Alan are getting enough for everyone here.” 

Melissa stepped back and did her best to act innocent.  “Not us.”

Before she could continue, Helena heard Tori clamor out of the nursery.   “Aunt Mel.”  The little girl jumped up into her aunt’s arms. 

“Victoria Beoria” Melissa picked her niece up hugging her. 

The little girl wrapped her arms around Melissa neck and gave her a squeeze. “We’re going shopping Aunt Mel. Mama said you’re coming with us.”

Melissa looked toward Helena,  “We’re going shopping?”

“Yes, we are.”  Helena watched John retreat into the nursery to check on Sam. “Tori go with Daddy and get your shoes on.”

“For what?”  Melissa asked as Tori wriggled out her arms and followed John.

Helena looked over her shoulder and make sure Tori was out of ear shot. “For… Come in here.”  She pulled her sister back into their bedroom. 

“Mel, we are going shopping for new mattresses for our room and yours.” She gestured across the open bathroom into other room.

“Why?” Melissa asked confused.  “Those mattresses are perfectly comfortable.  I mean come on Cake, doesn’t yours have that big crease in the center that makes you sleep really really close to John?”

Helena glanced over at her old bed.  “Yes, but…”

“And there’s a problem with that?” Melissa raised one delicate eyebrow as she spoke.

“The problem is not sleeping next to John.  The problem is you sleeping – or should I say - not sleeping - next to Alan.  These walls are thin and these mattresses are old and every time and I mean every time - that you and Alan make love …well, we can hear everything.”

A slight blush crossed Melissa face.  “Everything?”

“Wait here.”  Helena walked through the bathroom into Mel and Alan’s room.  She sat down on the side of the bed and bounced lightly. 

In the other room, Melissa’s mouth curled into a slight smile as the sounds of creaking and cracking came through the bathroom and invaded John and Helena’s room.

Helena returned to her bedroom to find her sister smiling. 

 “I had no idea.” Melissa laughed.

“And that my dear sister, is the reason we are going shopping for mattresses today.”

“Okay, I see your point.  I’ll get dressed.”  Melissa headed toward the bathroom.  “You know Cake, I haven’t heard any noises coming from your side of the wall.”

Helena smiled. “Let’s just say we are a bit more conservative.”

“Too bad.”  Melissa quipped as she closed the door of the bathroom.

An hour later, the girls, including Susan, were loaded up in John’s rented Navigator and heading toward Austin.  Susan, having been recruited by her daughters to attend this little shopping adventure on the logic that these mattresses were going in her house, sat in the back seat with Tori while Helena drove and Melissa flipped through the newspaper looking for sales.

Within fifteen minutes of hitting the highway, Tori fell asleep in her car seat.  Susan moved in between the seats, so that she could talk with her daughters. “So why the sudden interest in new mattresses, Helena?”

Helena gave her sister a sideways glance.  “Well, those things are very old and lumpy.” 

“Really? Alan told me this morning it’s the best he’s slept in weeks.  I think he said your mattress at home is too hard. Missy."

Melissa rolled her eyes at the old nickname but said nothing.   She only looked at her sister and smiled sweetly,  “Our mattress is fine with me, Mom.  But apparently, it creaks and pops when we…roll over and the noise is bothering the sensitive ears of our dear Cupcake.” 

It took Susan a nanosecond to read between the lines and figure out what was going on.  She had noticed a few more noises in the house lately.  Robert had been complaining about the noises too but they both figured it was just the normal noises made by an old house as it settles.  She laughed lightly.  “Cupcake isn’t the only one with sensitive hearing. “

Helena looked into the rearview mirror and made eye contact with her mother.  “Daddy’s noticed it too.”  Susan said.  “He thinks the house is settling.”

Melissa sank down in the passenger’s seat.  She was beyond mortified that her father might figure out what she and Alan were doing.  Susan noticed the look of shock on her face.  “Well, Missy your bedroom is right over ours and if Helena can hear you through the walls surely you realize…”

Oh GOD!”  Melissa slipped lower in her seat.  “The very thought of Daddy knowing what is going on is enough to make me want to sleep in the barn!”

Susan and Helena laughed. 

“Well, sweetheart, I think you better get back into that newspaper and find us a place that not only sells mattresses but delivers them too.”  Her mother patted her gently on the shoulder.  “Because Daddy is not a dummy. He’s going to figure it out at some point.”

Melissa put the paper down and switched on the radio.  A loud voice came booming through the radio  “Sale Sale Sale!  Big July 4th Firecracker sale at Hill Country Furniture!  We deliver!”   The women glanced at each other.

“Are you two thinking what I’m thinking?”  Helena asked. Susan and Melissa shook their heads.  “Well, Hill Country Furniture, here we come.”

It took the women two hours to select the mattresses and provide the man at the store with directions to Miller’s Bluff.  As soon as they’d entered, Helena and Melissa sent their mother to the other side of the store with Tori to look at bunk beds.  Then, they spent the next hour testing the different mattresses.  After bouncing on every one in the store, the two sisters finally selected two mattress sets.  And Tori talked Gramma into buying bunk beds for one of the spare rooms at Miller’ Bluff.

 “Mama,” Tori called as they left the store.  “I’m hungry!” 

“Me too.” Chimed in Susan.

“Okay, let’s grab some lunch.  I’ll call home and make sure someone will be home when the mattresses are delivered.”  Helena pulled out her cell phone.

Back at Miller’s Bluff, John and Robert were sitting by the pool watching Alan playing football with Geoff.  Thankfully, Robbie and Sam were sleeping peacefully inside under the watchful eye of Maggie.  The phone rang and Robert went inside to answer it.

“Hey, aren’t you burning up out there?”  John called out to Alan.

Alan scooped up Geoff and ran to the pool with his son tucked under his arm yelling,  “FIRE FIRE!”  Then he dumped a giggling Geoff into the shallow end of the pool.  “You were right Uncle John, I had a flaming four year old boy that needed a good dousing.” Alan said as he watched Geoff swim to the edge of the pool laughing with his father.

“Uh-oh Daddy, you threw me in with my shoes on.  Mama’s gonna be mad.”  The little boy sat on the step of the pool and emptied the water from his shoes.

“Sorry, mate.  I’ll deal with your Mom.” Alan replied.  “Why don’t you go inside and get something cool to drink and get Grandpa to help change your clothes.”

“I’ll bring us some of Gramma’s lemonade.” The chipper little four-year-old replied as he headed into the house. “Sure, you go ahead.”   Alan glanced at John.   Both men knew that they’d been tossing back cold ones all afternoon and that they weren’t about to switch over to lemonade.   As, Alan watched Geoff make his way inside the house John reached down into a nearby cooler and handed Alan another beer, thankful that Maggie was inside to watch the children if they over consumed.

“So, what’s going on with Helena and her furniture hunt?”  Alan asked as he eased back in his deck chair underneath the umbrella on the patio table and drained his beer. “Those old mattresses giving her back a bad time?”

“Not exactly.” John placed his and Alan’s empty bottles back in the cooler and grabbed two more.  Not wanting to bait Alan into yet another conversation regarding the ever-wild Melissa, John tried to drop the subject. This wasn’t really something he wanted to discuss with Alan. 

“What then?”  Alan reached for his sunshades that were lying on the table and reaching for his new bottle of beer.

“Well, let’s just say that those things are a bit too noisy.”  John said trying to be diplomatic.

“Really?  I haven’t noticed.”

“How can you not notice?  Every time someone has much as shifts those things creak.” 

A big smile made it’s way across Alan’s face.  “The only noise I hear is the sweet moaning of my wife.”

“I bet.”  John said sharply.  The beers combined with the sunshine were making John even more defensive than usual. Alan had always been willing to share the details of his and Melissa’s sex life and at times it made John more than a little jealous. 

Alan sat up and looked at his brother in law. “What’s that suppose to mean?”  Pushing his now empty beer bottle back across the table.

Not liking Alan’s tone, John decided to try and drop the subject.  “Nothing.”  John waved his hands slightly in the air but Alan could tell that John was a little peeved about something.

“Come on, Mate.  Out with it.”  He demanded.

“It’s nothing.” John practically yelled back

“John….” Alan was clearly not going to drop this subject.  Clearly, it involved his wife and he suddenly felt the need to come to her defense.

The two men stood up from the table and within seconds were nose to nose.  “Must you and that wife of yours always make so much noise when you are having those frequent trysts?”  John said in an angry but controlled voice.

“Look, my wife can make as much noise as she wants.  In fact, I like it when she makes all that noise!”  Alan retorted.

“Well my wife is tired and needs to rest and all we hear all night and day is a bunch of moaning and squeaking coming from your side of the bathroom.”

“So that’s it.  You’re not getting any because your wife is too tired.  Did you every think that maybe your wife is a prude!”  Alan was breathing heavy and despite the beer adrenaline raced through his veins.

John, driven by his own adrenaline, grabbed Alan by the collar of his T-shirt.  “Trust me, Helena is no prude.”

“HEY!”  Robert yelled from the house.  “What the hell is going on?” 

John let go of Alan and backed away as Robert joined them.  “What’s going on?”  Robert demanded.

The two men looked at each other and both retorted at the same time. “Nothing.”

“Well, something’s going on.  You two were about to come to blows!”

“It’s nothing.” John said.  His breathing had returned to normal but he was still staring at Alan.  He put his shades back on the table.  “I think I’ll go in and check on Sam.” 

Robert watched as John walked away and slipped inside the house. He turned his slow hard gaze on Alan.

Alan’s adrenaline level had returned to normal and he sat back down at the table.  Robert followed.

“Carter?’’ Robert asked in calm voice. “You and Koenig are friends…and family.  I won’t tolerate that type behavior here at Miller’s Bluff.  Especially when my grandchildren are so close by.”

“Nothing going on here, Pops. Just too many beers and too much sunshine.”  Alan hated being in Robert’s penetrating line of vision and tried to make light of the situation.

Fortunately for him, Robert dropped the subject.  Alan figured his father in law had seen a few fights brought on by too much beer and the hot Texas heat in his day.  

“That was Helena on the phone.”  Robert said. “The girls are going to grab some lunch before coming home.”

“Good for them!” Alan replied.

Robert stood up to leave.  “I hope that you and Koenig can work out this little problem before the girls return.  I wouldn’t want to have to worry Miss Susie with this information.”

“Pops, I think we can work this out.” 

Alan watched his father in law leave the pool area and head toward the stables.  He wasn’t surprised to see him head in that direction, knowing his mother in law she’d probably sent him out there to check on her prize ponies.  How ironic Alan thought.  He and John had nearly come to blows over protecting their wives reputation and how Robert, in an effort to protect his wife, wanted this whole mess resolved before his Susan got home.  I swear, he thought. Two days in Texas and all three of us are acting like unruly cowboys.  He got up and headed inside to find John.

By the time the women returned all the fences had been mended.  Each decided that the beer combined with the heat and the lack of sleep had gotten the better of them.  They’d also agreed not to discuss this little incident with the women.  Around four o’clock a big delivery truck pulled up with the new furniture.  A sad Melissa and Alan watched as their favorite mattress, the one Robbie was conceived on, was loaded into the back of the truck.  While a smiling John and Helena pulled clean sheets on their new mattress, Robert eyed the bright red bunk beds that were now occupying what used to be his old exercise room.

Later that night after everyone had gone to bed; John and Helena snuggled closely together.  “Hear that?” Helena asked.

“What?”  John whispered in her ear.

“Silence.”  Helena whispered.

John pulled her closer to him and held her steadfast against his chest.  One hour later they were both roused out of their sound sleep.

“Ohhhhhh, Alannnn!”

“Not yet baby…”

Helena bolted upright in bed. “Not again.” John sat up too and they both looked at each other.

“Lower, Alannn.  Hmmmm, right there.”

Helena flopped back down on her pillow.  “Let me guess, it’s midnight and they just HAD to christen that new mattress.”

John glanced at the clock.  “It’s midnight.”  He lay back down beside her.

The noise only got louder.  “Ahhh, God Mel!”

“I think it was better when we only had to listen to the creaking.”  John said.

“Wonder what they’re doing in there?”

“Damn, Honey that’s great.” They heard Melissa’s plaintive yell though the walls.

“SHIT!” Helena pounded her fist against the mattress.

John laughed at his wife.  She rarely cursed.  He took her hand in his. “You know, we could lay here and listen to them or we could do something about it.”

A slow smile crept over Helena’s lips.  “Are you thinking what I’m thinking?”

John rolled over on his side and ran his fingers over her nipples,  “I was thinking that maybe we could give them a little of their own medicine, so to speak, Doctor.”

“Wait right here.” She purred.  He smiled as she moved from his embrace.

He watched as she moved across the room to the bath, pausing only to favor him with a smile.  John quickly undressed and slipped further beneath the sheets of the bed. The door to the bath opened and Helena emerged wrapped only in a towel. 

He smiled in the dim light of the room.  “I like it.” He said.

She moved slowly toward the bed, a seductive smile on her face.  “Well, I thought I should do my part.” 

He pulled the covers back for her.  Her hand went to the top of the towel and very slowly pulled the towel from her.  He smiled as her body was revealed to him.  She slipped underneath the covers and into his waiting arms.  “God, you are beautiful.”  He whispered, kissing her ear.

She smiled at his compliment.  “Even after two children?”  She asked. 

He nodded against her head as he kissed her neck. “I think you are incredible.”  He raised his head and kissed her. 

She caught his head in her hands, “I think you’re pretty incredible yourself.”  She said, feeling him growing hard against her.



She drew her hands down to his shoulders as his moved to her hips, bringing her closer to him.

She sighed as he trailed kisses down her neck.  He raised his head and kissed her deeply, playing his tongue against hers.   Her hands found him beneath the sheet, warm, hard and throbbing.  She stroked him, as he pressed her back against the bed. 

He ducked underneath the sheet as she released him and began a slow trail of kisses across her breasts, down her stomach, and down her legs. He retraced his path with a slow deliberate pace.

She moaned at his gentle touch.

Alan heard Helena’s rare outburst and nearly broke into laughter.  He exchanged a wink with his wife who was leaning against the bathroom door next to him.  She grinned and put her finger to her lips. “Think it’s time to climax?” she whispered. 

“You are one wicked woman,” Alan said.  He added, “and I love it.”

As a reward, Melissa reached over and caressed his chest, moving her hand down to his member, noting with pleasure that their antics had aroused him.

“Ohh, Ohhhh, ohhhhh!”  She moaned, caressing Alan and swaying back and forth.

“Now, honey, now!”  Alan played his part to the hilt.  The two of them finished up with a flurry of moans and gasps, then held each other tight, working hard to avoid laughing out loud.  Silence reigned, and then Alan heard a noise.  “Listen,” he whispered into his wife’s ear.  Helena’s moans were louder now. 

“Looks like we inspired them,” Melissa whispered back.  “They’re both too uptight and full of themselves for their own good.  They needed a good screwing.”

Alan silenced her with a finger to her lips.  He heard John moan “oh, Baby!” and felt Melissa shift against him, and knew what she was wanting. 

“Let’s leave them to it, love.” He suggested.

Melissa nodded.  “I think we should go try out that mattress now—quietly.”

Alan swept her into his arms and they headed back to bed. “With pleasure, love.”

Back in the other room, John’s hands returned to Helena’s breasts tracing them gently, and then he kissed them tenderly, then brought her nipples tight with his tongue.

She was aching for him.  “John…” She called. 

He moved over her and her hand found his taut shaft.  He smiled as she stroked him.  His lips returned to her breasts, teasing them again.

His hands went to either side of her as he pushed himself above her to look down at her.  “I love you, Helena.”  His lips meet hers in a tender kiss.

His hand moved down between her legs that she opened wide for him to touch her.  She sighed deeply at his touch.  He felt her moistness between his fingers as her fingers played over the tip of his now wet penis. He moved his hand from her and pressed into her slowly, bringing her to the edge as her hands went to his backside. He moved against her slowly, building a momentum that brought them together. 

Her hands roamed up and down his back and buttocks, kneading and caressing him. He moved down to kiss her hard nipples, teasing them with his tongue.  He saw the desire rising in her.  “John…” She said huskily. He covered her mouth again and began to quicken their rhythm.

They maintained their pace, moving with each other until Helena screamed his name and he came inside her with a loud moan. He was panting at the intensity of their mutual orgasms. 

He held her as he caught his breath.  He kissed her softly as he laid his cheek against hers. 

She closed her eyes as she held him.  “That was wonderful…,” she said.

He raised his head and looked at her and smiled.  “And I hope they heard every word of it.” 

“Me too.”  She said. 

John kissed her as he withdrew from her. He lay back against the mattress and sighed. 

His hand found hers in the dark and their fingers wove into one another’s.

Soon she rolled into his arms to sleep. 

July 4, 2005

“I’ll get them, Susan,” John Koenig yelled back towards the kitchen.

“They are in our bathroom in the medicine cabinet on my side I think”, his mother-in-law returned. 

Robbie Carter had just fallen down on the patio and scraped his knee, needing a band-aid. The resident doctors, Robert and Helena, had gone into town with Melissa and the older kids to get more propane for the grill and fireworks so Grandma was playing medico. 

John stepped into the large dressing area off of the master bedroom then into the bath area.  He realized he had never had reason to visit the Thompson’s bathroom and stopped to try to determine which side was Susan’s versus Robert’s. 

He started with the left side of the bathroom and opened the medicine cabinet to look for the familiar band-aid box.  He quickly eyed the contents of the cabinet and determined them not to be feminine in nature.  As he began to close the cabinet door he noticed two or three prescription bottles on the shelves.  John felt a little sinister taking closer look, but it wasn’t like he wandered in there on his own to snoop; Susan told him to search for the band-aids and that was what he was doing, right?

The first two bottles contained drugs with names he found familiar from ads on television for high blood pressure or something like that but the third caught his attention and held it: Viagra. 

Viagra?  His father-in-law was taking Viagra?  At that instant, he conjured up a picture of his in-laws having sex and quickly shook it from his mind and closed the door to the medicine cabinet.  He proceeded to find the bandages in the other cabinet, careful not to look at anything on its shelves but his intended target, and hurried back to the kitchen where his nephew was having a Popsicle and being held by his father, Alan.

Throughout the rest of the afternoon, John couldn’t let go of what he had seen in the bathroom.  At first, he found it hard to look at his in-laws without the thought of Robert with an erection popping into his mind.  After his wife returned from town, however, his thoughts slowly shifted to what they could do on a dose of the drug. 

Not that their sex life was in trouble, quiet the contrary.  Considering they had two small children, a live-in nanny and busy careers, they seemed to find “quality time” alone together a few times a week. 

He had to admit, though, he was a little jealous of the tales his best friend, Alan, told of sexual adventures with Melissa.  According to Alan, the couple made love at least daily and his sister-in-law was insatiable at best.  And the girls’ recent mattress wars had certainly provided evidence of it during their stay this weekend at Miller’s Bluff.

John had heard stories of what the “wonder drug” was capable of and, as he watched his wife later that afternoon lying poolside in a new blue swimsuit which accentuated her long legs, he made up his mind what he was going to do. 

Later that evening, John had opportunity to act on his plan.  Even though the family’s festivities, including fireworks, were not yet complete, his young son, Sam, had fallen asleep in his mother’s lap.  When she stood to take him in to bed, he intervened.

“I’ll take him, Honey,” and he took the little boy from Helena’s arms and carried him into the house. 

After gently tucking Sam into bed, John took a detour before he returned to the back yard.  After a quick look to ensure the rest of the family was still sitting around the pool and the children starting to light sparklers, John snuck into his in-laws’ bedroom.  He went right to the medicine cabinet and carefully opened the bottle and took one small blue pill.

The rest of the holiday weekend went well but John was glad when the visit came to an end.  For John especially, who did not come from a large family, the trips with the Thompsons and Carters were chaotic and exhausting.  He was always glad to go home with just his wife and two children, who at times could be chaotic themselves.

This time, however, they were heading for London for Helena to receive a research award.  They had left the kids at Miller’s Bluff and made only a quick stop at home before boarding a plane for London. On the plane John thought about the pill safely stored in his suitcase. He needed to broach the subject of using it with Helena at just the right time.  He was unsure of her reaction but felt confident that he could persuade her if he used the right tactic.

The Koenigs settled into their room at the posh Savoy hotel in London.  The ceremony honoring Helena was the second night of their weeklong stay.  John felt that would be the perfect time for his surprise. 

Returning to hotel from the award dinner in back of the Bentley limousine that night, John turned his wife’s face towards his and kissed her ardently. 

“I am so proud of you…”

She looked deeply into his piercing blue eyes. “Thank you, Darling, it was a beautiful evening, but you know I don’t feel comfortable with all these awards…I was only doing my job on Alpha, we all were.” 

“Shhhh….”, he stopped her protesting with another kiss, “you deserve it all…and you looked so beautiful up there, I hardly heard your acceptance speech.  Good thing I had heard it four times on the flight over here.”

“Oh, thanks a lot,” she laughed and kissed him on the cheek.

John turned and whispered to her, out of earshot of the driver, “I have a surprise for you tonight.”

“Oooo, I can’t wait!” she purred in return and took his hand for the rest of the ride to the hotel.

When they got to their room, Helena found the champagne and roses John had ordered waiting for them.  He was nervous about his next move and wanted to set the mood.  As he poured the Moet et Chandon into the crystal flutes, Helena took off her shoes and jewelry and moved to the balcony and looked out over the city.  John handed her a glass of champagne and excused himself to the bathroom.

He closed the door and loosened his bow tie while he searched through is bag for the pill. Before he walked back out into the bedroom, he took a long drink of champagne for courage.

“Enjoying the view?” He moved up behind her and kissed the back of her neck. 

“Yes, very much, but I like the view in here, too….” She turned to face him, “Now, what’s my surprise?”

John took her hand and led her to the settee and took a deep breath, “Helena, do you know what this is?” and he opened his hand to expose the blue pill with Pfizer etched on it. 

“John?” she picked up the tablet and turned it in her hand. 

He could tell she was getting worried and volunteered, “It’s a Viagra.”

“Viagra? John, where did you get this?”

“Is that important?”

“Yes, it is, this is a prescription drug….” She was moving into “doctor mode” which John knew would mean she would lose her sense of humor quickly. 

“Well, if you really want to know, I got it from your father.”

“My FATHER?” she exclaimed.  “My FATHER gave this to you?”

“Well, not really gave it to me.”

“I think you need to start at the beginning”, and she took a long drink from her glass.

“Well, when we were there last week, I had to get something from their bathroom and found a bottle of these. I assume you didn’t know he took them?”

“Of course not!” she replied quickly, “and not sure I want to.”

“Well, that was my first reaction, but then I thought we might have some fun with it…”

“John, first of all, this is not candy, it can cause adverse side effects including heart problems... but most importantly, why do you think we need this?”

“Honey, please don’t get upset, I don’t think we need it, just thought it might be fun.  We haven’t been away together for almost a year, I thought we might take advantage of being able to be a little ‘creative’.”

“I don’t know John….”

“Helena,” he took her hands and looked into her eyes, “all I want is to be able to please you. I’m not as young as I used to be…”

“John, I have no complaints…”

“Well, thank you,” he smiled, “I’d just like things to be the way they were when we first met. Alan and Mel…”

She interrupted, “Is that what this is about?  You’re jealous of their sex life?”

“No, honey,” John knew he needed to get this conversation back on friendly ground if he was ever going to have a chance to take the pill on this trip.  “I just know we don’t have much time together without being tired or fear of being interrupted, or heard...” He grinned at her, trying to coax her earlier romantic mood back.  “I just wanted to be able to make love to you all night long.”

The ring of the telephone sounded out of place in the steamy Florida night.  Melissa sighed.

“Want me to get it love?” Alan breathed into her ear. 

She removed his hand from her breast and swung out of the hammock.  It was nearly eleven o’clock.  The children were both asleep and they were watching the stars from the second floor balcony.  She entered their bedroom, light from a cluster of candles turning her bare skin golden.  She knew Alan was watching her and she stretched suggestively as she reached for the phone, winking at him and running her hand down her body.


Her mother’s voice sounded in her ear. “Melissa? Am I interrupting anything?”

“Hi Mom. We were just doing some stargazing. The boys are both in bed and we were enjoying the quiet.”

“I’m sorry to disturb you.  All settled in after your vacation?”

Melissa brought the cordless phone back out on the terrace and sat on the side of the hammock.  She leaned against Alan and he shifted over a bit so she would be more comfortable. 

“Yes, the boys are back in their routine and we’re back into ours.  We’ll probably take them over to the island this weekend.”

“I hope you don’t feel too bad about us keeping just Tori and Sam this week.”

“Certainly not, Mom!  You and Dad are great about coming over here and giving Alan and I some time to ourselves.  And I know Helena and John will enjoy their time in London, knowing the kids are with you. Ours and theirs are quite a handful, I didn’t expect to leave them with you.”

“Well, I’m reassured,” her mother said, but Melissa thought she still sounded worried about something. 

“Is something wrong mom?”

“Well, Melissa, I hope not, but I’m in a bit of a quandary.  Your Daddy is taking some medication and one of his pills is missing.”

“Missing?  You don’t’ think one of the kids got hold of it do you?”  Melissa sat up, concerned.  “What kind of medication is it?  I didn’t know Daddy was sick.”

Her words got Alan’s attention as well.  He removed his hand from her thigh and pushed himself up on one elbow.  She turned toward him with a worried look.

“He’s not sick dear.  As we get older, we just have to take some medicines to keep everything in working order.  Nothing to get upset about.”

“But Mama.  Obviously you’re concerned…”

“Oh, I am, about the pill being missing.”

“Mama, could the children have gotten them?  What were they?”

“No, no, honey.  I don’t think the children would have gotten them.  They were in Daddy’s medicine chest in our bathroom, and in a childproof cap.”

“That should keep them safe.  We kept a pretty close eye on them.”

“Missy—Melissa, I mean.  I don’t think it was the kids.”

“What are you saying Mama?”

“Well, I wouldn’t be so worried, except that according to the literature I read on this drug, there’s a problem with distinguishing certain colors.  Most airlines and the military don’t allow pilots to take this drug and fly, and I just thought, if Alan was flying…”

“Mother—why would Alan take some of Daddy’s medicine?”  Melissa asked, exasperated.

“I thought… well, Melissa.  I thought one of you might just be curious.  Not that you need it or anything.  It’s just that you’re both so…”  Susan’s voice trailed off.

“Mother, you’re not making any sense.”

“It’s Viagra, Melissa.  I just figured you might be curious, but you might not have read everything that we have on it, and since Alan’s a pilot you might want to know…”

Melissa dropped the phone.  She picked it up again quickly, a hand over the speaker, the other over her eyes.  “It’s Viagra!” she moaned to her husband.  “She thinks we took one of his pills.  Oh, gag.  My father’s taking Viagra.  And there’s only one reason I can think of for doing that.  Oh how gross!”

Alan’s eyes widened then he grinned and tried not to laugh. 

“Mother, I assure you, we don’t need any of your Viagra.  It’s just not something we would have done!”

“I didn’t think you needed it dear, just that you might be curious. I just thought you ought to know about the side effects.”

“Well, thanks, Mom.  But really, we don’t have it.  If we did, we’d be really careful,” she continued dryly, realizing that her mother didn’t really believe her.

“We won’t say anything to your father about this.  I just told him that he must have mis-counted or something.”

“Right, he won’t hear about it from me.”

“Well, have a good evening dear, go on back to your star gazing.”

“Good night Mama.”

Melissa disconnected and sat the phone on the floor next to the hammock.  She lay back with a groan.  “She didn’t believe me.  She still thinks we have it.  She says it causes temporary color blindness and pilots shouldn’t take it.”  Melissa giggled, then began to laugh harder.  “Oh, I didn’t need that conversation.  I may not be in the mood for…”

“Hours?”  Alan was laughing harder and harder.

“Minutes at least flyboy.  You didn’t take it did you?”

“Not me, love.  But I know who did.”  By this time Alan was having to wipe tears from his eyes he was laughing so hard.

She sat up and looked at him.  “What do you know?”

“I know that your mom sent John up to their bathroom for a band aid when Robbie skinned his knee.  Bet he found them and decided to try it.”  Alan was practically gasping for breath. 

“Oh, I don’t think I wanted to know that either.  Wonder how serious that color blindness thing is.  Think we should warn him?”

“You think I’m going to call him up and tell him one of the side effects of Viagra?  That’s not one of those things you easily work into a conversation.”

“Yeah, I noticed.  It just happened to me.”

“I’m not doing it.”

“How dangerous could it be?”

“Helena won’t let him do anything dangerous.”

“What if he doesn’t tell her?  What if he just turns into some superstud for the night and then they fly off and crash!”  She held out the phone to Alan.

“Honey, I am not calling him.”

Melissa gave him the famous Look.

“No, no, no.”  Alan said, covering his eyes in mock horror.

“Let’s put it this way, flyboy.  Until you call him, you’re one pilot who is not going to get lucky, or have the possibility of needing anything like Viagra.”

Alan propped himself up on his elbows, looking at his wife, trying to gage how serious she was.  Melissa delivered The Look again.  “You’re serious?”

“Try me,” she growled. 

He sighed and took the phone from her.  With a reluctant glare, he dialed the phone.


Helena stared at John.  She was till holding the blue pill in her hand.  She leaned forward and stroked his cheek tenderly.  “It does seem like we never get any time to ourselves.  Even when Mother and Daddy take the kids we usually have some kind of an agenda.”  She paused.  There was also a bit of rivalry between John and Alan and their respective twins, and she wasn’t certain she wanted to bring Melissa into this.  “Mel usually makes sure they take the kids and have what she calls ‘quality time’.  We haven’t had much of that have we?”

“I’m not complaining, honey.  Really, when you compare your career to your sister’s… well there’s not much reason to be a dedicated travel agent is there?  While you’re saving lives every day.”

“That doesn’t mean I should neglect you.  John, you’re my heart, my life.  We need to find some way to make sure we have time for us.”

He leaned forward and kissed her tenderly.  She responded quickly, and for a time they simply sat and kissed.  John put his arms around her and she pulled back.

John gave her a puzzled look.

She stopped his question with her finger to his lips.  “Give me ten minutes, and let me keep the pill.  I guarantee you won’t need it to make love to me all night long any more than we needed Taybor’s perfume.”  She kissed him quickly, stood and headed for the bedroom before he could reply.

She left the door open and he could hear her opening the suitcase and moving around in the bedroom.  He leaned back on the sofa.  “I hadn’t thought about Taybor’s perfume in years.  Think it works kind of like Viagra?”

“I don’t know,” she called.  “I never had a chance to check it out.  It did have quite an effect though, didn’t it?”

“Good god, yes.”

“John, I don’t really have a solution to our little problem, but I’m sure it’s not a pill.”  Her voice grew closer as she walked back to the bedroom door.  He turned toward her and his heart rate increased.  She struck a provocative pose.

She was wearing the golden bra and panties he had given her for her birthday before Breakaway.  She had added the black sheer stockings she had worn earlier in the evening along with her black pumps.  Her hair was pulled up off her neck and she wore the emerald and diamond earrings he had given her for that same birthday.  She also wore the matching pendant.

He stood and simply looked at her from across the room.  “I didn’t know you still had those…”

She smiled at him.  “I’m glad you didn’t say you didn’t think I could fit in them.”

“Never…  I … when I saw you the other day by your parents’ pool, in that new swimsuit, I was thinking what a gorgeous woman I was married to.”

Her voice was husky, seductive.  “And is that why you decided to take the pill?”

He nodded.

She held out her hand.  “Come here and tell me how you felt seeing me by the pool.”

A slow smile creep across John’s face.  Suddenly and without warning he sprinted across the room, scooped Helena up and carried her into the bedroom.

Two hours later, John woke her, teasing her awake with little earlobe kisses.  She was surprised to find him wanting another go.  It had been awhile since they’d made love twice in one night. 

Before he could move lower they were interrupted by the ringing of the phone.  John reached for the offensive device that pulled him away from his task.  “Hello.” 


“Alan, do you know what time it is over here?” 

“Uh yeah, sorry John but…”

Helena’s head rose from his chest when she heard Alan’s name.

“But what, Alan?  Is something wrong?”

“Not exactly.”

“Then what is it?” 

“Uh, Susan called, she wanted to know if you knew anything about Robert’s missing medication.” 

John’s face registered the shock at being discovered.

“John?”  Helena asked, concerned.

John shook his head at Helena.  “Tell her no, Alan.”

“Okay John, whatever you say.”  Alan said laughing.

“Carter.” John said, but the connection was dead.

John replaced the receiver. 

“What was that about?”  Helena asked.

“Does your father count his pills?” He asked.

“Of course…he’s a doctor…,” she said. “Oh no….” she exclaimed as she realized that he’d discovered the missing pill.

John’s head fell back to the pillow.  “Great, now everybody knows.” 

Helena’s hands went to his chest.  “I won’t tell.”

He sighed as he looked up at her.  “I’ll never live this one down with Alan.” 

Her hand moved down his body, underneath the sheet.  “I don’t think down is your problem.”  She chuckled.

He looked down as he felt her hand on him.  “I guess not.” He said with a smile.

He took the phone off the hook and pulled the covers over their heads forgetting all about Viagra, his in laws, his job and all his other responsibilities.  The only thing on his agenda was pleasing his wife and he planned to do it as many times as he could. 

Maureen J. Long

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