Chapter 6

Betsy was sitting on the side steps of the library when Taylor returned and Taylor felt like he was picking up a high school date. Betsy suggested a movie so he parked in a nearby lot and they walked to the Greenville Cinema, sharing a tub of buttered popcorn and a soda while watching a fun romantic comedy that got them both laughing. Afterward, they walked down the street to a nearby tavern for a drink and appetizers.

"I never really had that type of romance," Taylor remarked, referring to the movie. "I didn't date much in high school."

"Because of your mother," Betsy assumed from where she sat across from him. "She probably messed you up when it came to women."

"She didn't want me around girls," Taylor sighed. "She didn't trust them. She didn't want me to get hurt or in trouble. Life was never safe because of the way my father died, squashed on a loading dock. My mother was paranoid that I'd meet the same fate. I enlisted without her knowledge or permission because I knew she'd try to stop me."

"Believe me, getting away from her was the best thing you could have done."

Taylor told her of some of his Navy 'adventures' – various cruises and port calls and excitement at sea, foreign women, the satisfaction of doing a job well and of serving the country and how unimportant he now felt delivering cookies.

"It's not what you do, Cookie, as much as whom you do it with," Betsy told him. "You need to remove yourself from the toxicity of your mother and your wife and find the happiness you deserve. Climb into a car trunk and see where the road takes you."

"Is that what you did?"

"And look where it brought me," she smiled.

"Greenville."

"Yes, and you!" She laughed.

"I was just the guy driving the car."

"A special guy who gave me a ride and got me a room and showed me a part of his life," Betsy said. "You want to know why I took that road trip with Steve and ended up in the commune and all the rest of it?"

"Why?" Taylor asked.

"Because I was always looking for something," she answered. "I was never satisfied. I grew up happy and well off and I really had it made but it was never enough. I was convinced that there was something more out there, something different. But I never found it. I thought I did sometimes – whether it was Steve or on the farm, but I'm getting too old to be searching for something that I'm probably never going to find anyway. Lately, I've realized that I've had it all along. My family. My personality. Having fun. I'm learning to be satisfied with who I am and what I have instead of looking elsewhere for the answers. I'm happy to be me."

"But you weren't happy with Steve."

"That's why I climbed into the trunk," she smirked. "And I'm happy with what I found when that trunk opened."

"I've never met anybody like you," Taylor admitted.

"Good!" She laughed. "That makes me unique!"

"You don't know how much I wanted to get up from the table at the Grille and bring you from your table to ours," Taylor revealed. "How much I wanted to tell my mother all about you without caring what she thought or said. I haven't felt this rebellious and free in a long time."

"We could still have breakfast with her tomorrow," Betsy grinned.

"Okay," Taylor agreed.

"Really?" Betsy asked. "Are you really ready to do this? Blow up your life?"

"I wouldn't mind delivering furniture in Connecticut," Taylor decided.

"Why?" Betsy tested.

"Because it's not what you do, it's who you do it with," Taylor smirked.

Betsy smiled while she brought her glass to her lips.

Taylor felt lightheaded and giddy as they drove to the motel. He wasn't drunk (he only had two beers during the two hours they spent at the tavern) but he was certainly under the influence of something new, something freeing, something enjoyable. Amazingly, he didn't feel guilty in the least and he no longer worried about Connie, knowing it was time to end the charade of their marriage.

"I'm going to take a shower," Taylor announced once they were back in the room.

"Of course," Betsy replied.

Taylor felt a draft while standing in the shower. The shower curtain was clear plastic and he could see that Betsy had entered the bathroom, apparently naked once again as she stood at the sink brushing her teeth and brushing her hair. Taylor didn't care that he was naked too and he tried to remember the last time Connie took any interest in him in that way. He turned off the water spray and was caught off guard when Betsy pulled back the curtain, handing him one of the long white motel towels.

"Here you go," she grinned, happy to take in the full view.

"Thanks," Taylor replied, feeling unusually relaxed and comfortable despite the strange and unfamiliar circumstances.

The naked Betsy continued with her own activities for a few more minutes before disappearing from the bathroom. Once dried, Taylor wrapped the towel around his waist, brushed his teeth, used the toilet and then stepped into the room. Betsy was lying on her back under the covers of "his" bed. The television was off and the lights dimmed.

"When's the last time you had sex with your wife, Cookie?" Betsy wanted to know, staring at him intently.

"I don't remember," Taylor answered honestly. "It's been a while. Maybe when I got back from my last deployment out of a sense of obligation – or maybe she needed something from me, I don't quite recall. That was four years ago now."

"I'm sorry," Betsy said with sympathy.

"I don't know why I accepted the absence of sex," he admitted. "I guess I accepted a lot of things about our marriage that I shouldn't have."

"You never said no much to either your mother or your wife, did you?"

"I suppose not," Taylor confessed.

Betsy pulled the covers back to reveal herself naked, her left hand lying just above her pubic hair. "Are you going to say no to me?"

"No," he smiled, releasing the towel from his waist.

"At least for tonight," Betsy said as Taylor joined her in the bed.

She rolled onto her side with her back toward Taylor. He rolled onto his side facing her and she moved her body until she was rubbing her ass against his groin again, only this time there were no clothes as barriers. He draped his left arm across her stomach and rested his hand on her belly while nestling his face in the back of her hair. "I'm so lonely," he whispered.

"Not anymore," she assured him.

Later, they clung to each other under the covers after the lovemaking was completed.

"That felt so wonderfully good," Taylor said with appreciative contentment and foreign happiness. "Thank you, Trunkie." (His new nickname for her).

"You're welcome, Cookie," Betsy said warmly.