Chapter 3

Bob felt surprisingly nervous as he left the kitchen and slowly walked the carpeted stairs to the second floor of the house. The master bedroom took up most of the second floor with a master bath and a large picture window overlooking the back pasture.

Eula had already pulled down the bedspread to the bed and she was undressing at the foot of the bed. Bob wasn't expecting to see such a sight. He hadn't been with another woman since his wife left and he certainly wasn't used to this level of spontaneity or forwardness.

Naked now, Eula sat on the side of the bed and looked at him expectedly.

Bob thought about their times together. He had hoped on graduation night that this would have taken place between them but instead they fell asleep together on the living room couch of Bonnie Stevens' house, fully dressed with a dozen other kids around them.

Bob drove Eula home in the morning thinking that they'd pick up where they left off as the summer progressed but a week later the house was empty and she was gone without a trace.

"Where did you go?" Bob asked as he began to undress, staring at her as she sat in the nude on the bed. "After high school?"

"My father had already moved to Hartford a few months earlier for a job promotion," Eula explained. "My mother stayed behind with me until graduation. Then we joined him in our new house. I went to the University of Connecticut at Storrs and began anew."

"I was crushed," Bob said, naked now as he sat next to her on the side of the bed and took her hand. "I thought we had something."

"We did," Eula assured him. "But it ended when high school ended."

"And now?" He wanted to know.

She looked at him with watery eyes. "Now we're two broken people," she answered. "It feels like high school never even happened."

"It happened," he assured her, leaning in and kissing her.

"Help me remember," she pleaded, kissing him in return.

Bob lifted Eula up on his lap with her back against his chest and she used her hand to direct his shaft to her opening and they made love that way, the way they might have if they were still in high school.

Later, when it was over and they lay in the bed under the covers with Bob spooning Eula from behind, his arms wrapped around her naked waist, his face buried in her hair fallen on her neck, Eula let out a sigh.

"She was my first lover," Eula revealed.

"Who?" Bob asked with confusion.

"Kelly Kane."

Bob pulled his face from her hair and Eula turned her head slightly to look at him.

"We'd strip naked together in my room after school," Eula said. "Lie on the bed. Explore each other."

"Oh," Bob said, trying not to look too shocked.

"I told you we were close friends," Eula said. "We were always together at school and after school. Somehow we developed this unspoken power dynamic that exists between people, no matter what the age or sex sparked by some triggering reality that reveals itself without explanation setting in motion the act that remained a secret that we didn't speak of but it was our own sacred ritual. We'd touch each other all over and lick and suck and explore our womanhood using tongues and fingers. It was lovely and beautiful but we were scared of being found out and we felt guilty for doing something we weren't supposed to be doing."

"I wanted you to do that with me," Bob confessed.

"Now you know why I didn't."

Bob fell back, his head on his pillow as he stared at her face, half turned toward him, her eyes searching his.

"I don't know what compelled us to do such things," Eula confessed. "What could we have been thinking?"

"A curiosity about sex?" Bob guessed.

"Maybe that was all there was to it," she shrugged. "Maybe it was just basic intimacy that happened quite naturally and ordinarily, two girls' sexuality explored, but the one thing I know for sure is that I completely erased all of it from my memory until you mentioned her name a while ago."

"Did you break up?" Bob asked with confusion.

"No, it just stopped," Eula explained. But what if I screwed her up?" She asked painfully, her eyes watering up. "What if I'm the reason her life was so messed up?"

"Did she mess your life up?" Bob gently asked.

"No, I did that all on my own," Eula sighed, wiping the tears away.

"So didn't she," Bob replied.

"It sounds like she suffered so much," Eula lamented.

"It wasn't your fault," Bob said.

"I've been so lonely," Eula confessed. "I bet she was too."

"We all are at various points in our life," Bob said.

Eula turned and pressed herself against Bob's body with a shudder of goosebumps. "I hope you don't hate me," she sighed.

"Never," Bob assured her.

They lay in silence for a while.

"I was really shocked to hear what happened to her," Eula said finally.

"I'm sorry you had to hear it like that," Bob replied.

They didn't say anything more for some time.

"I don't want to talk about it again," Eula let him know after a while.

"Okay," Bob agreed.

"But I want to remember you," she said knowingly.

"When you see the future?" Bob asked hopefully.

"I am here," she assured him. "I'm not going anywhere this time."

"Good," he said, leaning in and kissing her forehead. "Either am I."