Commentary #5: Follow-Up To “Godless Parents Are Doing A Better Job”

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“Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you’d want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.” – Jesse Ventura

I don’t agree with this entire quote, but “It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people’s business” speaks volumes.

Curious? Read on.

Recently, I published a post commenting on the article titled “Godless Parents Are Doing A Better Job.”

Didn’t get a chance to read it yet? Check it out.

When I published the post, the first response I got was from my friend Justin. He messaged me on Facebook, saying: “It wasn’t bad. The only thing I think you might have included is the fact that you may be expecting questions from people in your church (or other people) on how to raise them, and how you will know that your blood runs in their veins and that alone gives you the right to raise them as you see fit, religion or no religion …”

I was very pleasantly surprised to look at my WordPress stats page later on and see 25 views – Wow!

Then I went back to Facebook, and noticed two things about the “likes” on my post with the link:

  1. Only one person, at that time, was associated with my church.
  2. All of the “likes” were from people who are all under the age of 40.

This was interesting to me.

I’m not trying to make assumptions here, but I feel like people either

(a) didn’t see the post, or

(b) chose to ignore it.

Religion is one of those touchy topics. It’s very polarized. It tends to light fires under people.

For me, I don’t want to start fires or make anyone my enemy here.

I just want to have a civilized discussion on this subject, with anyone who is willing to listen and participate.

And that previous sentence right there is where some of the issue is. A lot of people don’t listen well. I’m getting better at it, every day. It’s hard to listen when you have an opinion, an agenda, or something to say – Trust me! I’ve gotten so wrapped up in talking, and thinking about what to say next, that I realize, after the conversation has long ended, that I was barely listening.

Over the last few weeks, since I published the original post, I started reflecting on several things:

  • My current view on the church (the church in general, but focusing on the church that I currently attend)
  • Observing the families in my current church
  • The people who I most closely associate with, and their views on the church and raising children
  • My vision for my future (concentrating on the next year)

When I first wrote the original post, it was tough for me to get my thoughts sorted out and somewhat straight. That’s why it took so long for me to write that post!

In my reflections, with time, I found myself less confused. I started seeing things a little more clearly.

I believe that “everything happens for a reason.” I’m living proof of that, literally. I was not supposed to survive my entry into this world, but I did. I should have had many more medical and developmental challenges, but thanks to my parents and doctors and a host of others, I didn’t.

This belief has continued throughout my time on this Earth. I believe that I was with John for so long to teach me how love can be flawed. I know that staying with John for so long, although awful and terrible and terrifying for half of it, helped me connect with Nick, and that led me to Al 🙂

My current view of the church, as a whole, is a bit skewed. My current church has been going through transition, for some time now, with membership in steady decline and the recent announcement that our senior pastor slated to leave this summer and a new one to come in. Also, this is the church that I have been attending almost every Sunday since I was four years old.

But as a 26-year-old, who is to be married in about seven months and planning to have a family one day, I’m not happy with the church. I feel smothered almost. It’s getting harder to smile on Sundays. If it weren’t for me being on the multi-media team and helping my parents out with Sunday School and blood drives on a regular basis, I wouldn’t see myself attending.

I go for the social aspect, to see the friendly faces. I’m becoming more withdrawn from the church services; less interested in worship, the Bible readings, and the sermons. I’ve learned more from helping out in the children’s Sunday School classes, which to me is exciting and sad simultaneously. I feel more connected with our associate pastor at the moment, and one of the main reasons is because she is closer to my age.

Observing the families in my church, they are wonderful people. The kids are well-behaved, for the most part (The parents are a significant part of that overall issue, but that’s another blog post entirely). The Sunday School program that we have for grades 1-5 is awesome, but attendance is down drastically, due to our steadily declining membership.

For me, if I brought a child into this world tomorrow, I would hesitate to bring them to my church.

Do I want my child/children to be baptized as infants?

  • Yes.

Do I want my child/children to learn who God and Jesus are?

  • Yes.

Do I want my child/children to be raised in the same church that I was?

  • No.

Do I want my child/children to attend church regularly?

  • Yes. But only if they choose to do so.

I want to be a mom that gives my child/children choices. I don’t want to force them to do anything that they feel uncomfortable with, within reason. Moreover, if they don’t understand something, I want to help them learn. I don’t want to force them to participate in something without explanation.

With the church, I want to guide my child/children, trying to strike a balance between holding their hand in life and letting them go on their own to discover and explore. I want them to know how I was raised and what I learned – BUT – I don’t want to raise them exactly like I was raised. I want to do that on my own terms. I am not dictated by anyone. As the mother, I have the right to raise my child/children as I see fit.

I do not plan to raise them in the church that I was raised. That was my original plan, for many years. But I have lost faith in my church over several years, literally. I don’t feel inspired like I used to be. If I don’t feel that way, I don’t want to show that to my child/children.

Looking at my friends that I closely associate with, many of them don’t regularly attend church. I can only think of three or four that go to a church. And those three or four don’t have children, not yet, anyway.

Those that have children, and there aren’t many, I haven’t seen them at my church or involved in religious activities with their children.

To me, this is part of my generation. We were raised in the church, but our marriages and families are less involved in church and religion. And to me, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I have several friends that do not identify with religion, or with God and Jesus. And to me, that has been so refreshing. Remember how I said earlier that I felt smothered in my church?

Meeting people and becoming friends with those that are not Christians or who are less involved with the church and religion as I have been – It’s been a breath of fresh air. It’s been eye-opening. I have had more deep discussions about religion and other societal topics with them than I have with many of my Christian friends and acquaintances.

That says something.

Like Jesse Ventura, I strive to live by the Golden Rule as well. I don’t want to tell people how they should live or how they should raise their children, so neither should they.

As I think about the next year, I’m very excited to be married to the love of my life in my church sanctuary. To me, my marriage ceremony in that sanctuary is symbolically closing a chapter of my life that has been Aldersgate.

I don’t plan to withdraw from Aldersgate entirely come November 15th, but I do plan to focus on my new marriage and new home for a while. If that means I don’t attend church as much or be as involved in favor of spending more time with my new husband and our commitments to each other, then that’s the way it will be. Aldersgate will always be a part of my life, no doubt about it. But my involvement will change.

As far as raising my child or children in the church, I don’t plan to be a completely “godless parent.” I plan to draw on my life experiences to give them as wonderful of a life that a mother can give.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Writing Wednesdays #10

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This quote could not be more true! This is why I’ve been writing for the better part of 16-17 years now!

Enjoy edition #10!

“Mary Anne, why didn’t you alert me sooner? Mr. Laton is extremely important. And I’m just learning of this meeting not 10 minutes before it’s supposed to begin?” John struggled to keep his voice from rising to a shrill level.

“Sir – I tried to – but you were in a meeting – and …” Her voice trailed off as John rushed past her and into the front of the office. She heard him greet Mr. Laton as if nothing were wrong and then seconds later the soft click of the doorknob as he closed the door behind them.

Evelyn paled as Mary Anne turned to face her. She struggled to form her words. “Mary Anne, I’m sorry, I didn’t know …”

Mary Anne looked as if she would burst into tears at any second. “Evelyn, I … I …”

Evelyn’s face fell. She steeled herself, not prepared at all for whatever Mary Anne was trying to say.

“I tried to find John to tell him ahead of time. I had forgotten about the meeting until 12:20, and by then you both had disappeared for your meeting. I searched all over to find you, then, well …”

Evelyn swallowed her tongue. “Mary Anne, where did you look?”

“Well, naturally I checked the conference rooms, since John had mentioned it was a design meeting. Then when those were empty I rode all the elevators to see if you were coming back down. Then I remembered the 6th floor and the empty workspaces …” She shuddered.

Evelyn’s eyes went wide. “Mary Anne, did you actually go to the 6th floor?” Mary Anne could only nod.

Evelyn’s hands slid down her face. “Oh, my God. I am so, so sorry. How horrible of me, of us.”

Mary Anne’s eyes glistened with tears. “I’m happy for you, really, I am. I’m just sad because I think I’ll be single again before Christmas …”

Evelyn reached for a tissue. Mary Anne dabbed her eyes. Neither of them spoke for a minute and a half.

Evelyn finally broke the silence. “What you witnessed was not professional at all. Truthfully, it’s been happening every day for weeks. We always thought we’d be caught, but not by, well, one of the team …”

She had to laugh. “It’s been fun, but not appropriate. I will not tell John that you saw us today, but I will tell him that I’ve been having feelings that it’s not professional or appropriate, that it needs to stay at home, in private. I guess that’s why they’re called ‘private parts,’ huh?”

Both girls broke into almost uncontrollably giggles, and then remembered where they were. Mary Anne had always admired Evelyn’s sense of humor in disparaging times.

“Besides, this little situation that’s happened almost cost us something crucial to the company today, quite literally.” She gestured her head toward John’s door, where she could hear the faint but seemingly lively discussion of the two businessmen.

As she turned to face Mary Anne again, Evelyn sighed, gave her head a little shake, her eyes downcast. She breathed in deeply before saying, “I just hope, for John’s sake, that the meeting goes well.”

Mary Anne gave Evelyn a quick hug, then lobbed their makeup-stained tissues into the kitchenette wastebasket with a swish – She was quite the athlete – and grinned. They both got back to work with sighs of relief, feeling like they’d dodged a major bullet.

The planning continued almost uninterrupted. After the meeting with Mr. Layton, everyone had extra motivation to press on toward the vision and the dream. John knew that these things took time, especially since they were a very young company. But he was determined to construct the first house of the neighborhood before the company’s two-year anniversary.

By the picnic that marked 1 ½ years of JLA Construction, the team had completed their preliminary designs of three of the houses. The community space and playground were all but complete.

The groundbreaking ceremony, complete with the mayor and almost everyone involved in real estate within 100 miles of JLA’s headquarters, was set for March 1. Everything was going swimmingly – That is, until Mary Anne discovered something about Evelyn.

Mary Anne didn’t notice immediately. She just thought Evelyn had been drinking more water and eating better, to slim down a little for the groundbreaking ceremony. Besides, she knew that their engagement wasn’t very far off – They had been rock solid since John had stopped drinking. She was surprised that John hadn’t already proposed, but Mary Anne figured that he would surprise her at the groundbreaking. Evelyn would be the one with the big surprise in store.

Mary Anne became alarmed when Evelyn appeared to start putting on weight, not lose any. She thought it was stress, everyone had been under immense stress and pressure as the groundbreaking ceremony was fast approaching.

Suddenly, just three weeks before the groundbreaking ceremony, Evelyn couldn’t make it to the bathroom in time. She hurled what little was in her stomach into the kitchenette sink. Mary Anne heard the unpleasant sounds and the light bulb came on.

She waited for Evelyn to calm down and clean up. Once Evelyn passed Mary Anne’s desk, Mary Anne snatched her elbow.

“Evelyn, you’re pregnant – Aren’t you?”

One tear rolled down Evelyn’s cheek. Mary Anne helped her swipe it away, and they rushed off to the bathroom.

“How far along are you? Does John know? What are you going to do?” Mary Anne’s questions came fast and loud.

Evelyn shushed her, looking nervous. Once she knew they were completely alone, she relaxed a little.

“You’re the first to know. I think I’m four months along now. I want to tell John, but I’m absolutely terrified!”

Mary Anne’s face turned sympathetic and she hugged Evelyn tightly.

“It will be all right. He loves you. I figured something like this would happen sooner or later, the way you two have been going at each other! I think he was going to propose at the groundbreaking, anyway!”

Evelyn scoffed at the suggestion. Mary Anne’s face fell.

“Sorry. You’re right – We have been doing it a lot, but not as much since the Mr. Layton meeting. We went home that night and I set him straight – No more sneaking around at work unless we know for sure we won’t get caught.” Evelyn smiled at the thought.

“I’m just scared. What will John think? Oh, no, I haven’t even told my parents! I don’t want an abortion – I don’t want to be sent away to a place for unwed mothers – I just want to have my baby!”

Mary Anne told her to calm down, and that broke the dam for both of them. She just held Evelyn in her arms in that bathroom stall, stroking her hair as Evelyn bawled her eyes out.

Finally, they wiped their eyes and Mary Anne reached for her stowaway mascara.

“I’m going to tell John this weekend, when we’re at home. Until then, can you keep this confidential? I don’t think anyone else has noticed, but I don’t want to assume anything, either.”

“You’ve got it. Call me this weekend when the dust settles. It will be okay!”

Evelyn sat John down from his puttering that sunny Saturday morning and started crying. John comforted her and just said, “We’re expecting, aren’t we?”

Evelyn sniffled and raised her head. “You knew?”

John smiled. “I knew you’d gained some weight, and then I started thinking about the last time we romped around – The math added up.”

Evelyn sighed. “What do we do?”

John laughed. “Well, I wanted to wait to do this until groundbreaking day, but I guess this is just as good of a time as ever …” He shifted off the loveseat and bended on one knee. “Evelyn Carlson, I love you with everything I have. Will you marry me?”

Evelyn burst into tears and happily said yes. Mary Anne was right about everything.

As soon as John stepped back outside to tend to the windows, Evelyn hurried to the phone. She was so excited that she misdialed Mary Anne’s number five times before she got it right.

“It’s Evelyn. You’ll never believe it! Not only is he actually, truly thrilled about the baby, but he proposed, right in the living room. I’m going to have a baby, and I’m getting married!”

Mary Anne jumped up and down and screamed along with her best friend. “What does the ring look like? I’m sure it’s beautiful. Oh Evelyn, I am so happy for you! Can’t wait to see you on Monday. Enjoy the weekend!”

And enjoy the weekend they did. Evelyn was scared to have full-on sex because she was convinced that it would hurt the baby, but there were other ways that they could pleasure themselves and each other. They reveled in the fact that they were spending their first weekend as parents-to-be and happily engaged. Evelyn couldn’t stop staring between her gorgeous ring, her stomach that was starting to make itself known, and John. She was blissfully happy, even if she had to camp out close to the bathroom the whole weekend. Morning sickness turned into all-the-time sickness. She subsisted on saltines and as much water as her bladder and the growing one would allow.

It was better that John camped out with her, making her as comfortable as possible in the comfiest chair and the softest blanket right outside the bathroom door. She fell asleep all three nights sitting up, with John holding her hand while he was on the floor with a sheet and blanket.

By Monday, she hadn’t slept more than three hours. John could tell that she was absolutely miserable. As the time to go to work got closer, Evelyn insisted on showering and going to the office. But she struggled to get out of the chair and nearly collapsed on the hardwood with her first few steps, like a baby animal just learning to walk. John was there to catch her and ease her back into the chair.

“You’re not going into work today like that. I’ll stay home, too. I want to take care of you, there’s nothing else I’d rather be doing.” He was such a romantic.

Fighting every urge to say yes, Evelyn finally shook her head, which she instantly regretted. She felt another wave of nausea washing over, threatening to burst any second. She took a deep breath before speaking. “I’m fine, just tired, that’s all.”

John was firm. “No, you won’t be able to concentrate. I’ll tell everyone that you’re under the weather.”

Evelyn looked at him with pleading eyes. “No, it’s time to tell everyone. Mary Anne figured it out on Friday, and I think everyone else is starting to catch on. Just tell them both pieces of news.”

John shook his head and kissed her forehead tenderly. “No, we are going to tell them together, as soon as you’re feeling better. We’re a team, always have been, and we always will be. I’m going to go in for half the day and then send everyone home so I can come straight back to you. It may be half-days for a while, I don’t want to leave you at home like this.”

Evelyn kissed him and then shooed him in the direction of the shower. “Go. You’re already late. And you hate being late.”

As John pulled his rumpled T-shirt over his head in front of her, he laughed. “I do hate being late. But I don’t mind much, especially since I’m taking care of two people.”

Evelyn held on to him as she made her way to the toilet. Fortunately, it was just dry heaves, but that was almost worse. She sat back on her knees and took in the rapidly building steam from John’s shower. She certainly didn’t mind the view she was getting, either. She knew it would be a long while before she’d see him naked in any other capacity, so she wanted to take every chance she got.

Come back next week for more!

Until the next weekend, Laura Beth 🙂



Writing Wednesdays #9

“Paper is dead without words
Ink idle without a poem
All the world dead without stories
Without love and disarming beauty”
~Nightwish, “Song of Myself”

Welcome back!

It’s hard to believe that we’re already in the middle of March!

Enjoy the latest installment of “Specialton.”

She expected John home before nightfall, but she was preparing, and hoping, for some time in the afternoon. She had cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, and it had needed it, badly. John apparently had never invested in a housekeeper, ever. Evelyn was jazzed up, especially since she had spent all those hours cleaning in the buff. She smiled the entire time, enjoying her nakedness. This was the first step in prep for John to come home. In fact, she planned to stay in her birthday suit all the way up until John’s key hit the lock and he stepped into the home they shared.

At 5:30 p.m., the phone jangled. Evelyn wasn’t expecting any calls, so a wave of panic hit her when it rang. With a trembling hand, she picked it up from the cradle.

“Hello, Alspice residence. This – This is Evelyn speaking.”

“Evelyn? It’s John.” Relief washed over her, and she shivered.

“John! Is everything okay?”

“Baby, I had car trouble. Something’s wrong with the engine. I had to have it towed to a repair shop in Niceville. Maybe this two-week trip wasn’t such a good idea for the car.”

Evelyn frowned. She knew by his tone of voice that wasn’t everything he had to say, so she just waited for him to finish.

“Good news though – I called a taxi. The repair shop won’t have their best engine guy in until Monday. I’ll be home in just a few hours; I can’t wait. Sorry for the delay. I love you.”

Evelyn swallowed. She didn’t know what to say. She couldn’t tell if he was lying to her or not. She knew he hadn’t been drinking; at least, not that she could tell.

“Baby? Are you there?”

Evelyn snapped out of her funk. They could talk about this later – after he’d come home to her.

“John – I’m glad you called. Sorry about the car. Hope it can be fixed by next week. But whatever you do, tell that taxi to step on it when you get in – I’m waiting, handsome. I love you.”

Evelyn hung up and slid down to the floor. She let a tear escape – Maybe all of this was a mistake. She looked up and down her nude body.

“Well, let’s see what happens when he gets home. Niceville is only two hours away from here. He wouldn’t lie to me, would he?”

Two-and-a-half agonizing hours later, Evelyn heard a car pull up to the curb. She dared not look out the window, she did not want to give away her surprise. But she could listen.

She heard John talking to someone, expressing thanks and appreciation.

“Keep the change!”

Relief flooded her – He always paid cash to taxi drivers and gave enough for the fare and a generous tip at once. He hadn’t lied.

She tensed all over as she heard his dress shoes click on the concrete walkway. She whirled around, trying to decide whether to hide or remain out in the open, everything out for him to see at all once. Before Evelyn could decide, the key turned in the lock. She fluffed her fresh pin curls, checked her lipstick one last time, and smiled with a deep breath.

“Here goes nothing,” she thought to herself as the doorknob turned and the first shafts of new sunlight peeked through the doorjamb.

John didn’t have to say anything. His briefcase and hang-up bag hitting the floor was enough. He almost left the front door completely wide open, but slammed it shut within seconds. The slam made Evelyn jump and a stifled scream escaped from her mouth.

“Wow, baby …”

Within seconds, John had crossed the foyer and scooped Evelyn up, taking in all her nakedness. He could barely keep his mouth shut. He squeezed her tight as her bare feet left the ground. She felt weightless, free. His hands went everywhere, almost frantic that he would miss an inch of her beautiful skin.

They immersed in kisses, their hands everywhere. Evelyn desperately wanted John to undress and start making love pronto, but John wanted something else first. Holding Evelyn by the waist with his left arm with her legs wrapped around him, his right hand trailed down from her neck, to her breasts, over her hard nipples, to her navel. As his fingers grazed the skin at her hips, words hadn’t still not been said between them. Breathless with anticipation, Evelyn could only stare into his gray eyes and wait for his next, tender move. He was determined to be as gentle as possible. He wanted to make this time special for both of them, to make it up to her.

John’s fingers started to move below her hips. She tensed, but then relaxed. Her eyes spoke trust and love, exactly what John wanted to see. He touched her thighs, first the tops, and then moving inward. Her breaths started to speed up to a rapid pace. He kissed her softly, to help her relax. As she breathed out deeply, she felt his finger enter her smoothly and gently. She was surprised, but thrilled. She had wanted this to happen for a long time, and she accepted it with pleasure. He moved in and out to get her excited, and she began climaxing. Evelyn started to moan, and that’s what John loved. He kept moving his finger around, pleasuring her greatly. He put two fingers in after a few minutes, and she had to look down; she had thought it had to have been his penis. She only smiled and motioned her head toward the bedroom. John shook his head. It was going to happen right there in the foyer.

His fingers kept moving and thrusting where she had to remind herself that the best was yet to come. He wanted her to orgasm like this, and besides, he was getting harder with every move of his fingers in her hot, wet vagina. He wanted to make this experience as good, or better, than when they had their first celebratory experience on top of John’s desk.

Finally, he felt her clitoris erupt and then relax in a series of waves, and her moans matched that.

Evelyn came out of orgasm shocked that he was still fully clothed. As he carefully extricated his fingers out of her, Evelyn was ripping his clothes off, which was exactly what they both wanted. As they reveled in their nakedness, she stroked his penis with one hand and started to move his left hand toward her waist, indicating that she wanted a second round to prep for their ultimate passionate love-making in progress. They stimulated each other for only a few minutes on the freshly waxed hardwood floor, until John couldn’t take it anymore. He finally laid Evelyn on her back, breathed deeply, and pushed his penis into her vagina with such love and care that she wanted to spend the rest of her life in that position on that floor.

They made love for what seemed like hours, experiencing orgasm after orgasm.  Finally, John pulled out when he was absolutely spent. He laid his head on Evelyn’s gorgeous chest, feeling her calming breaths rise and fall between her perky breasts. Before passing out in exhaustion, John looked up into Evelyn’s robin’s egg blue eyes and just smiled. They didn’t need to say “I love you” at that point. They fell fast asleep on their foyer floor, wrapped in each other’s arms, and everything was right in the world.

Unfortunately, neither one of them wanted to go to work on Monday. That weekend had passed far too quickly – They were one of those couples who “lived for the weekends,” even though they were more than fortunate to be able to work together during the day and then go home together. They wanted to make love all the time, whenever and wherever they could.

John and Evelyn started to sneak away during the work day to have quickies. It started out with it only happening once or twice a week, and then quickly progressed to multiple times a day. John’s office was far too obvious with its frosted glass and thin walls, so they started exploring the multiple-story office building for new and exciting places. They were both adventurous, so it became very much like a game – who could find the next place with they could briefly escape but have the rush of potentially getting caught. They progressed from the bathroom stalls to the elevator to the abandoned cubicles on the 6th floor.

One of their favorites was the janitor’s closet. They both had memorized the layout very quickly so that they could move things back once they were done so nothing would be suspect. John reveled in the fact the Evelyn wore skirts and high heels every single day and rarely any pantyhose. However, when she did have to wear hose for clients or find it necessary in the winter, she went without panties and cleverly cut a hole large enough for John’s penis to fit that squarely aligned with Evelyn’s vagina. Whenever that happened, all John had to do was unzip, hoist Evelyn up so her bombshell legs wrapped around his waist, and for her to lean back far enough that John could enter her.

It got to the point that it didn’t matter if she was wearing hose or not, Evelyn decided to go commando most every workday. She knew John wanted her all the time, and she wanted to keep the spice alive. Besides, she got a thrill and an incredible rush whenever John was able to come up behind her, undetected of course, and grab her sexy ass without having to feel panty lines. In fact, almost every time that happened, some excuse came up where they both had to step out …

The quickies went on with great frenzy until they got caught. The whole team had caught on, rather quickly, that John and Evelyn were, well, involved with one another. Mary Anne starting keeping track of their “meetings” and “appointments out of the office” over the course of several weeks, and finally put it all together on a Friday in December. She wasn’t upset; actually, she was happy for them, and even a little jealous of Evelyn and what she had with John. Her long-term relationship with her significant other was rapidly going south and she anticipated their breakup before Christmas.

That Friday, Mary Anne had forgotten that John was supposed to meet with one of the most prestigious real estate developers in the vicinity of three cities at 1:00 sharp. John and Evelyn had disappeared just after 12:25 for a supposed “design meeting.” Knowing that this real estate developer was not only prestigious but very terse and onerous, she was determined to have John ready and presentable before 1:00.

It took Mary Anne three tries before discovering them. She wandered into the still-abandoned 6th floor at 12:37 and immediately saw John’s belt and pants hanging a little loose around his rear end. Then the sounds hit her ears – The moans, the grunting – It made her wince thinking of her degrading personal relationship. However, she didn’t dare interrupt – They were attempting to have a private moment. 

Was it appropriate, no, but Mary Anne didn’t want to risk any wrath from her boss, nor threaten the friendship he had carefully built with Evelyn.

She ducked into the hallway and found the closest bathroom to prevent drawing any kind of suspicion. She kept glancing at her watch. Apparently she had discovered them right as they had started – She didn’t hear Evelyn’s heels click until almost 12:45. As the elevator doors banged like a loud pot, she flushed and scrambled down the three flights of stairs, knowing full well that they would probably be involved in the elevator for as long as possible. Mary Anne just shook her head and couldn’t believe how any couple could have sex that much. She was doing good to have sex with her significant other a few times a week.

Mary Anne re-entered the office ahead of John and Evelyn, to her relief. Her relief was short-lived, however. She had taken not three steps through the doorway when she heard the nasal inhale of Mr. Laton – He had arrived and he was waiting impatiently.

“Welcome to JLA Construction, Mr. Laton, sir. It is a pleasure to finally meet you in person.”

Mr. William Laton was a seasoned veteran of the real estate business, with nearly 30 years under his belt. He just nodded at Mary Anne’s introduction. Finally, he cleared his throat.

“I do have a 1:00 appointment with Mr. – Mr. Alspice, correct?”

Mary Anne briefly glanced at the wall clock – 12:52.

“Yes, Mr. Laton, sir. He stepped out to a meeting with one of our designers and he will be returning very shortly.” It took everything Mary Anne had not to reveal her worry.

“Of course. Meetings are necessary in this business.” Mary Anne almost collapsed in relief.

With Mr. Laton occupied by the latest architectural literature on the coffee table, Mary Anne excused herself to the restroom. Out of sight, she ducked to the elevator bay and picked one. She got lucky.

The doors clanged open with the sounds of cymbals. Fortunately, she didn’t see John and Evelyn in any kind of compromising position this time. She cleared her throat as John was straightening his tie and Evelyn was tucking her candy-apple red blouse into her camel pencil skirt.

“Mr. Laton is here, early, to see you, sir.”

John and Evelyn exchanged a look of worry as Mary Anne stood there, waiting.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂


Adventure Time: Chesapeake, VA Edition

I hate snow.

This adventure time was delayed for two weeks in a row because of the white stuff.

But, finally, spring decided to arrive in Chesapeake.

It may have been cloudy and spitting rain last weekend, but it didn’t prevent Justin from driving down to see Al and I.

We were finally reunited, almost two months to the day since we last met.

Justin pulled in front of my house about five minutes before I arrived from work. We went inside and he met my mom. I gave him a quick tour of the house, helped him put his stuff in his chosen room, and then we were off to meet Al for dinner.

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For dinner, Al and I took Justin to Gianna’s Pizzeria, in the Harbour View section of Suffolk. If you live in the 757 area and haven’t tried this place, it is one of the best! It’s not a chain. It’s Italian. And it’s amazing!

After we stuffed ourselves silly, we went to Al’s house to wind down Friday night. We explored YouTube and watched several episodes of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver before calling it a night.

Saturday was dubbed “Opposite Day” for Justin and I. You see, I am a Green Bay Packers fan, while Justin is a Denver Broncos fan. Months ago, Justin and I were talking online about our teams. I think it was Justin who said something to the effect of, “Wouldn’t it be funny if we bought each other shirts for the other’s team?”

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So that’s exactly what we did.

The hilarious thing was that Justin was noticed at least twice during the day with his Packers shirt. When we went to mini-golf in the mall, the lady working the place said they were her team. So did our server at Red Robin! It was hysterical. Justin almost said something, but decided against it. The three of us had a great laugh though.

We started Saturday off early. Al was getting his car inspected, so Justin and I went over early to pick him up. Then we went out to O’doodleDoo’s Donuts in Suffolk. They have the best donuts!

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After dropping off a half-dozen donuts to my parents, we went to Al’s.

We thoroughly enjoyed our donuts, including Twix, red velvet, chocolate Pi, mint chocolate chip, and more 🙂

We caught up with the Last Week Tonight with John Oliver episodes, then switched to TableTop with Wil Wheaton (Geek & Sundry). Al and I love this series!

We watched one of the most recent episodes, featuring Epic Spell Wars. It looked so awesome, that Al immediately went to Amazon and bought it!

Around lunchtime, we went up to the mall to check out Lunar Mini Golf. It was so much fun!

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Everything glowed in the blacklight. We had fun watching kids run around during a birthday party, and we played all 18 holes. You get three rounds of the course for the price of admission, which is only $8.00. The paintings on the walls were really epic too!

We enjoyed lunch at Red Robin before going back to Al’s for more fun.

One of the things that we were most looking forward to was playing Munchkin. Al bought the game several months ago, and then when we met in Richmond in January, Justin had given Al some extra cards.

We played two games. Before this, Al and I had only played once, just the two of us. It was awesome to have Justin play with us. It’s much better to play with at least three people, if not more.

The second game was better than the first. Justin still managed to win, even though Al and I killed him – twice!

Hoping to play with Drew, Katie, and Heaven the next time that the six of us can meet.

We went back out into the world to get dinner at Zaxby’s. When we returned, we watched a few things on Netflix and Amazon Prime while we ate, including the pilot episode of Fringe. Al was showing it to Justin, and it took me back to when Al and I watched the series together several years ago. It’s definitely a different show, but it is really cool.

On Sunday, Justin and I hung out at my house for a few hours before he drove home. He brought CSI: NY on DVD. That is the best of the CSI series, in our opinion.

This was one of the best weekends ever! I hope that Justin can come back to visit very soon.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂







Writing Wednesdays #8

Welcome back!

Enjoy the latest installment of “Specialton.”

Fortunately, John wasn’t on the floor with his scotch. He was still in his chair, but making his way down. Evelyn focused on one thing – the drink on the rocks on the desk. She grabbed it with a speed that even surprised herself, and tossed it into his potted plant. John was furious, and he let her have it.

“Evelyn – That was my drink! You just wasted a glass of really good scotch!”

She was surprised how clearly he spoke.

“John – You have a problem. I’ve seen where the money’s been going. All on drinks. I realize it’s been stressful on you – On all of us. But drinking away the stress isn’t going to solve all of these problems. It’s only going to make it worse – and it’s getting worse by the hour. I don’t like it.”

“Evelyn …”

John paused to take a shaky breath. He knew he couldn’t stand up from his chair, he’d fall on his knees in front of Evelyn within seconds.

“I know you’re upset – I can see that. But I don’t think I have a problem. I enjoy a drink in order to relax, and I’ve needed to relax lately. I didn’t realize … how many issues could come up … so quickly.”

The only thing that John heard next was the pounding in his head as Evelyn slammed his door shut, so hard that everything on his desk rattled.

He thought he’d lost her at that moment. In despair, he looked around his office. It was no longer the neat and organized workspace that he had taken so much pride in when he first formed the company. There were files all over the office, scattered like discarded toys. He very much felt like a child at that moment too. He felt everything slipping away – His work, his vision, his team, and most of all, his girl.

John needed to let it out – Let it all go. Every emotion was bubbling up and it was begging to come out, in some way. He looked at his body up and down. He saw his disheveled clothes, his scuffed dress shoes, his fists that clenched almost instantly. He needed something else to express how he felt right then. He started turning in a circle, looking for something physical to hold, or destroy.

On impulse, he saw the bottles. He was stunned that there were so many. So many different kinds of drink – Scotch, whiskey, bourbon, even a bottle of sherry. He grew more and more disgusted as he scanned the tabletop. He saw all those bottles, the glasses, the bucket of ice with the fancy silver tongs.

Whether they still had drink in them or not, John picked up every piece, once by once, and proceeded to smash them against the wall with all the force he had.

When he was finished, he slumped in his chair, looking at the shattered glass and the different colors of the drinks dripping down the wall. He felt like the mess he had just created – Shattered, broken, and fragmented.

John finally fell asleep in his drunken stupor, hoping to grasp the pieces of his life in the morning.

He awoke to sunlight streaming through the blinds on his office window. He groggily stared at his watch and gasped at the time – 10:45 a.m. John sat up in his chair, and immediately regretted it. The hangover slammed into him with full force. He groaned so loudly at the pain that both Mary Anne and Evelyn came running and almost collided in the doorway.

Mary Anne spoke first.

“John, what can I get you? Coffee, aspirin?”

John smiled at her pleasantness despite the pounding in his head. He rubbed his temples as he processed the first words that had been spoken to him in over 12 hours.

“Yes, please. And a glass of water on the … um, with ice, please. Thank you.”

Mary Anne bustled to the kitchenette without another word. Evelyn remained in the doorway, the arms of her crisp pink blouse tightly folded together. She said nothing – They was nothing for her to say to him.

John looked up, squinted at her, and opened his mouth to say something. His mouth shut as he met her fierce glare and could only watch as her curls bounced away.

Mary Anne wasn’t his enemy, at least not yet. She was sugary sweet as she brought him coffee, aspirin, a doughnut and water without another word. As the phone continued to ring, he overheard her say that he would not be taking any calls for the rest of the day and that she would take any messages.

Evelyn stewed all day, although she was secretly thrilled to have witnessed him be afflicted with what she hoped was a cure-all hangover. She wasn’t just angry about the drinking – Their relationship had faltered over the last several weeks, and she was very concerned that his vision was lost forever.

She was bound and determined not to cry over any of this, but over the course of that day, as she watched John attempt to pick up the pieces in his office alone, she let a few tears escape at her desk.

That night, everyone went home early except for Mary Anne, Evelyn, and John. Before heading home, Mary Anne found a broom and dustpan in the closet, and went to John’s office, having seen the broken glass earlier in the day. As she raised her fist to knock, Evelyn touched her shoulder.

“Mary Anne, go home. You’ve done more than enough today. Thank you. See you tomorrow.”

Mary Anne smiled and nodded her thanks. Evelyn took the broom and dustpan and knocked.

John looked up from the same papers he’d been staring at since the morning. He smiled and waved her in. Evelyn walked in and just held up the broom and dustpan. John nodded and she set to work. He went back to his papers, but couldn’t help but notice how careful Evelyn was in cleaning up the shards of glass. He didn’t mind the way she looked, either. That pink blouse with that pencil skirt. And those heels. He found himself lusting again, and his penis followed. He wanted to stop her and take her in his arms, but he knew that he would have to do a lot to win back not only her love and affection, but her trust.

At this point, all he could do was watch and wait for her to come back to him.

Fortunately for John, he didn’t have to wait as long as he’d feared. Evelyn avoided him for a good portion of a week, and then she started speaking to him again. But she gave him several ultimatums before anything could go back to normal. Those demands rang in his head over and over.

“John, you know that I love you. I was frustrated and angry and hurt. In order for things to go back to the way they were – I have several requests that have to happen.”

“First, no more drinking. Not at the office, and not in front of me. If you go out without me, that’s fine, just don’t drink in excess. I don’t want you to become an alcoholic, not when we have the dreams that we do – at least, I think we do.”

John nodded in agreement. He thought they had very similar dreams – Build the neighborhood, move in to their own home, get married, and start their own family.

“Second, I want you to take some time away from the office. The team can handle the workload right now. I want you to take at least a few days, maybe a whole week – As long as it takes, really – for you to relax and to re-focus. I think you’ve lost your dream, your vision – And I’m desperate to help you get it back. We’re only going to be young for a few more years. If your vision doesn’t happen now or soon, it won’t happen at all.”

John smiled. He knew she was absolutely right. Most women would not speak up, they’d go along with anything and everything their boyfriend, fiancé, or husband said without another thought. But John knew that Evelyn was different, and he’d known it from the moment he’d met her. After all, she’d already bucked tradition and studied design and architecture in college rather than become a teacher, nurse or a secretary. He was inspired by her, and her words cemented his desire to get back on track – The sooner, the better.

“My only other request is that you come back from your rest and rejuvenation, again however long it takes you, ready to truly work and finally realize your dream. I know that if you’re ready to get this done and that your head and your heart are in the right place, it will happen. And I’ll be right here, waiting for you to get back. Who knows, by then I’ll be ready for you to rip my clothes off and passionately make love again.”

She finally took a breath; that had been a lot of talking for her in one sitting. She winked at her amazing boyfriend and work partner. Evelyn then puckered her crimson red lipstick, signaling their first kiss after all the turmoil, and John happily accepted. He didn’t want to leave, but he knew that he needed the break. Besides, he couldn’t wait to leave because he wanted to come back to her as soon as humanly possible.

John left on a Monday as the crisp October air began to settle in, swearing to Evelyn that he was taking a minimum of a week and a half to drive to see the sights he hadn’t yet seen – All the Frank Lloyd Wright houses he’d wanted to tour since studying them in school. A few days in Chicago – Both the city and the expanding suburbs for research. Maybe even driving all the way to New York City. She laughed and repeated that he could take as much time as he needed – Everything was under control and there was plenty of work to do.

As she watched him drive off, she so wished she was in the passenger seat, going off on these fabulous adventures. But then she shook her head and smiled, thrilled that there was a bit of a break for herself and the entire team. They wanted to work as much as possible – to gather as many feasible ideas – preparing for John to come back to finally put everything into motion.

John promised to call once he arrived at each hotel, which he did, like clockwork. He was happy for the break. He did drink, but Evelyn’s pep talk had compelled him to never drink in excess again.

He thought back, albeit very briefly, to that night where he absolutely lost it. John bowed his head in shame at the thought, forgetting that he was at the hotel bar. It prompted the tuxedo-clad waiter to inquire from the shadows if he was okay. John nodded, and then asked for a glass of water.

He swirled the remainder of his whiskey in the glass, and then downed the water like a shot.

The bartender was surprised, but didn’t say another word. John swallowed, feeling the ice-cold water wash in his throat and stomach. He stared at the whiskey and the melting rocks, then got up and just left it there with his tab and generous tip, without another word.

After nearly two weeks on the road, John rang Evelyn from his last hotel room on a stormy Friday night.

“I’m coming home, baby. Tomorrow. I’m so excited I can’t wait. I may even drive back tonight – I could be at the house, to you, by dawn.”

Evelyn laughed and then suddenly turned serious. “No, John. I’ve waited this long, I can wait one more night. Besides, it’s pouring rain from your hotel to the house here, I definitely don’t want you driving now or tonight. Period. It’s supposed to be bad until tomorrow afternoon. I don’t want you leaving until the weather starts to clear. I definitely don’t want anything to happen to you.”

“But, I can tell that this is exactly what you needed. I have missed you, and the team has been working non-stop since you left. We can’t wait to see you. But I’m really excited because I get to see you first, and for the whole weekend at that.”

He could hear her smile through the receiver.

“So, you’ll be waiting for me, whenever I get home?”

“Of course, handsome. I may be asleep, depending on the time you get to the house, but I’ll be here for you – I wouldn’t miss it for anything. I love you, John.”

“I love you too, Evelyn. See you tomorrow.”

Evelyn placed the receiver in the cradle and sighed, her head flopping on the pillow. She’d turned in her apartment keys over a week and a half ago and left all the furnishings with the full intent of helping out whoever the next renter may have been – They could have been down on their luck, the rent was only $50 per month. She’d only asked the men in the company to help her move her wardrobe and her remaining personal items into John’s place the next day. It didn’t matter – She’d practically been living there for months, except for the week that she hadn’t spoken to him. Besides, she had a feeling that they wouldn’t be boyfriend and girlfriend much longer.

Evelyn was on pins and needles the whole time on Saturday morning, especially since the weather hadn’t appeared to let up at all. The few glances that she stole through the picture window blinds revealed lashing rain and very blustery weather that made the fallen leaves of red, orange and yellow dance across the sidewalks and streets.

Come back next week for more!

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂



Getting Personal #8: “Top 10 Names Of Men Who Make The Best Husbands”

So, I found this image on Facebook today:

Image Credit: HOT 104.5 Facebook page

Image Credit: HOT 104.5 Facebook page

I posted it just for fun, but I got some interesting feedback as well.

So, I decided to create my own list!

For me, I wanted to cross #5 off the list automatically, because of my past. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Although, I thought it was interesting to see mostly Biblical names on this list (this is the researcher in me coming out):

  • David – Well-beloved, dear, beloved, King
  • Andrew – Manly, strong, courageous, warrior
  • Daniel – Judgement of God, God my judge
  • Paul – Small, little, humble, few, modest
  • John – The grace or mercy of the Lord, Jehovah’s gift
  • Simon – That hears, that obeys, he has heard
  • James – The Greek form of Jacob, supplanter (to take the place of another, as through force, scheming, strategy, or the like)
  • Stephen – Crown, crowned, wreath, honor, reward, that which surrounds or encompasses

Anyway … Here’s my list! Notice that it’s not numbered. “Top” lists are for ranking things, usually from best to worst, or based on number of votes.

Here, rank doesn’t apply. These are the names of men who I know will be (or already are) awesome husbands.

  • William
  • Alfred/Alphonso/Albert/Alan
  • Steven/Stephen
  • Nicholas/Nick
  • James/Jim
  • Bruce
  • Andrew/Drew
  • Justin
  • Joseph/Joe
  • Jake/Jacob
  • Jesse
  • Nathan/Nate
  • Matthew/Matt
  • Robert/Bob

Frankly, your name and/or what it means doesn’t matter.

As long as you’re a good person and you treat your spouse lovingly and with as much support as you can, that’s what counts.

Anyone can be the best husband (or best wife, best boy/girlfriend, best partner).

It’s your choice, and yours alone.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂

Writing Wednesdays #7

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“The beginning is the most important part of the work.” ~Plato

Welcome back to Writing Wednesdays!

Today, I am introducing the novel that I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013. I hope you enjoy it! It’s a little longer than my 2012 attempt, which was I was originally striving for. One of these days, one November, I hope to reach the ultimate 50,000 words in 30 days.

But, for now, I’m just happy that for three years running, I’ve bested the previous year’s word count.

Enjoy the beginning!

Working Title: “Specialton”

Word Count, as of November 18, 2013: 14,247 words

A builder had a vision. John Alspice built a reputation from the ground up, literally. No one in his family had ever gone into construction, much less earn a Master’s degree. In the early 1950s, his father was very high up in the local bank; his mother, a homemaker with another daughter and son to raise. Through age-old hard work and perseverance, John studied architecture and business throughout college and graduate school, holding on to his dream of building the best neighborhoods for the most amazing families. He never realized that he would become part of a neighborhood so astounding. John built the neighborhood and then never left. He’s 85 years old and his proudest accomplishment, in his illustrious six-decade career, is Specialton.

John was 25 years old when he received his Master’s in business that May, bound and determined to settle the post-war land into sprawling suburbia for those who wanted the American dream. His family was surprised, but proud. His father had seen his architectural renderings. John had studied and admired Frank Lloyd Wright, he didn’t want to build another cookie-cutter Levittown. He wanted his houses to be unique, yet affordable.

Thank goodness John’s father was a banker with seniority. That’s where he started to begin financing his company – JLA Construction. However, it took more than one loan. But John started with what he was given – He was raised that way. He knew he had to be careful with the $25,000 that was offered – He didn’t know what would come next.

After securing the generous loan, John sought out his first workers. He naturally turned to his architecture classmates for their input. A couple of them signed on immediately, intrigued by John’s drive and vision – Robert, Frank, Donald. Those who didn’t want to commit right then, mostly those who were either engaged or married, promised to spread the word. Within a few weeks, John had assembled a stellar team of 25 designers and workers, ready to kick off JLA Construction. They also broke stereotypes – They had a female designer, Evelyn, and a few black construction workers – Howard, Carl, Albert, and Louis.

The next step was to work together to create a strategy and secure more funding. John didn’t realize it at first, but the team he’d assembled was more than just designers and construction workers. Several of the families of these 20- and 30-somethings were very well-off and used their social graces to drum up contributions and ideas. And those who weren’t wealthy contributed in other invaluable ways – Food, office supplies, and best of all – their mouths. Word spread like wildfire from place to place.

Word spreading wasn’t always positive, however. John almost immediately ran into naysayers and some stiff competition. John knew how to deal with the naysayers and the prejudiced – He ignored that and focused inwardly on his vision. He was fortunate that there were enough people behind him to mainly protect the women and the blacks, since there was still great turmoil in America then.

Weeks went by, then months. By November, six months in, no land had been purchased. John was trying to pay everyone fairly, but more money was going out than coming in. Some of the team members were becoming restless, especially the construction workers. Suburbs were popping up everywhere and cities were developing higher and fancier office buildings – Workers were in constant demand.

Carl and Albert left first, almost without warning. They couldn’t be dragged away from the offer in Chicago. Although discouraged, John worked hard to keep up morale.

Another seven months, and still nothing. John was running out of money and growing desperate that June. He’d lost over 40 percent of his original team. They weren’t angry with John – but most were starting families and needed stable income to support them.

Those who were left – John, Evelyn, Howard, Frank, Billy, Mary Anne, plus the construction team – were still holding on to John’s vision. These people were convinced that John would realize his dream, no matter how long it took.

Evelyn was one of John’s biggest supporters. She’d been attracted to him right after he hired her. She wanted to impress him as a ground-breaking female architectural grad from another college. She loved design, both inside and out. Evelyn not only wanted to help design John’s dream – She wanted to design the perfect family. However, she knew that love and marriage would come after the company started succeeding. She was okay with that – She was in for the long haul with John.

Finally, on an unseasonable chilly and rainy July afternoon, the phone rang. Mary Anne, as the secretary, picked it up and said in her syrupy voice:

“JLA Construction. Mary Anne speaking, how may I direct your call?”

“Yes, ma’am. This is Edward Clinton with the county. I believe we may have a tract of land for sale …”

Mary Anne struggled to maintain her composure, but Evelyn saw right through it. She banged, hard, into John’s office door, even though he despised being distributed. Her grin made his annoyance go away.

“There’s something? Finally? Is that Ed? Mary Anne, put him on my line, now!”

Mary Anne, startled, started stuttering. When she realized that Mr. Clinton was still on the phone, she flushed a deep crimson and apologized profusely.

“Mr. Clinton, I’ll transfer you to Mr. Alspice now. Thank you.”

Once she transferred the call and heard John start to speak, Mary Anne jumped up from her desk and hugged Evelyn like they were schoolgirls. They celebrated briefly, then calmed down.

“Let’s not get carried away, Mary Anne. This may not work out … but it does feel wonderful. This is the best news we’ve had in months!”

After what felt like an hour, John hung up the phone with Ed, even though it had only been 25 minutes. He made some notes and leaned back in his chair for a moment. Evelyn and Mary Anne perceived relief through the frosted glass but couldn’t quite tell. Finally, John opened the door.

“Well, girls, it’s ours for $15,000. Its 25 beautiful acres in the next town. We got it!”

Now they celebrated. It was complete pandemonium. The cheer spread like an infection. Nothing could wipe the smiles off anyone’s face. Calls were made immediately – Champagne, chocolates, a top-of-the-line floral arrangement were all delivered within the hour. The team partied for several hours in the office.

John and Evelyn finally consummated their relationship with a champagne-flavored kiss. And that wasn’t the one – Several other trysts occurred within the team throughout the night. No one cared who was with whom in that office and what anyone was doing – They were celebrating their first victory.

After the team staggered out, drunk and happy at half past midnight, only John and Evelyn remained. Their kisses turned into embraces, and soon a trail of clothes led the way to John’s office. Evelyn danced, naked, on top of John’s desk. She drunkenly kicked his neat and organized files on the floor. John staggered about to save the paperweights and lamp, then encircled her hourglass waist. He carefully helped her lay down on her back. She shivered as her skin touched the smooth wood, but she flamed and moaned as John entered her. They made love for the first time right there, kicking off the first drawings in Evelyn’s design.

John called everyone the next morning – He told everyone to take Thursday and Friday off, plus the weekend.

“Relax, spend time with your families – Because on Monday, we’re hitting the ground running. And we’re not going to stop until we’re done. Prepare yourselves. Step one is done, but we’ve got a marathon ahead of us. Good work – See you Monday.”

John and Evelyn shacked up for those blissful four days, just enjoying each other. And it wasn’t just the sex, although that was a major bonus. John admitted that he’d been smitten with her since her interview. She was stunned, but thrilled.

They both felt guilty about leaving John’s office in shambles the previous night, but no one would know since they’d be the first two in the office, bright and early on Monday morning.

She admitted that she’d never had sex on a company president’s desk while drunk and in the heat of passion, and she’d was hungry to do it again.

John just smiled, took her hand, and proceeded to make love to her in every single room of his house.

Monday morning, John and Evelyn arrived two hours earlier than clock in time, hand in hand. Before reorganizing John’s office, they made love on his desk again, and it was just as wonderful as the first time that chilly Thursday morning. Then they got to work, making sure everything was ready to help JLA Construction start down their first solid path.

The first order of business was to finalize the $15,000 payment to the county. Not wanting to overwhelm the county clerk with the whole team showing up all at once, John only took Mary Anne with him. Evelyn pined for him the entire time they were gone, but she knew that he would never touch Mary Anne. Besides, Mary Anne had called on Friday, saying that she was thoroughly enjoying the extended weekend with Frank.

John and Mary Anne returned after lunch, deed and county maps in hand. They pushed all the tables together in the middle of the office to spread out the maps. John had made it clear that everything was to be studied, no stone left unturned. He wanted to know anything and everything – good or bad – to help make this happen. Everyone was high on energy and analyzed every square inch of those 25 acres clear through to 8:00 that night. Notes were taken frantically and ideas slowly began to take shape.

John only had one request once the process kicked off that Monday afternoon – Everyone on the team should contribute ideas, and every idea should be considered.

Within the first week, plots and plans were in full swing. John and the others put their heads together and figured out that if every home was built on a quarter of an acre, then they could build 100 houses on that 25 acres. But then they laughed – Where would the streets go? Would there be a neighborhood park or community space? Besides, 100 houses was a lot for just one neighborhood in the county.

Back to the drawing board they went, and the ideas just kept flowing. They didn’t want a neighborhood, they wanted a community where people could live and grow for years.

The team started touring other neighborhoods, both old and new, within 100 miles of their land. John called them field trips, and he would rotate the team so that everyone would have a chance to explore and contribute. No field trip was complete without visiting the land offices for maps and other information gathering; it was research. Everyone was brainstorming and helping each other out, and everything seemed to be going splendidly.

The planning continued. The enthusiasm was high for the first two weeks, then it started to wane. Everyone was contributing ideas, but there was tension with some of them. The designers and the construction workers started to clash over building materials. John was the center of this brainchild, and he became increasingly frustrating that little disagreements were turning into bigger and bigger fights and arguments.

Even relationships started to be affected, especially with John and Evelyn. In the beginning, everything was practically perfect, with the sale of the land and the excitement over creating something amazing for their county. However, Evelyn was the first to notice more alcohol flow into the office, and then seeing the majority of those bottles heading to John’s office.

She didn’t mind that he drank; she knew that it was in part stress relief for him. He’d been under tremendous pressure to get the business off the ground, with generous loans to repay and a pretty big payroll to fulfill. Now that they had a massive tract of land, the pressure was only building. She also didn’t mind that his drinking fueled a lot of their sexual experiences, since all she wanted to do most workdays was send everyone else home and just shack up with him in his office or at his home.  But it wasn’t long before she started to grow concerned about him. She wanted to be as supportive as possible, but knowing the times, she knew that she needed to be submissive as well. Even if she didn’t want to have sex one particular night – If he wanted it from her, she make sure that he’d get it.

One Tuesday night in early September, Evelyn finally reached her breaking point. John was starting to get drunk during the workdays – So much so that he could barely take phone calls because of his alarmingly slurred speech. Before Mary Ann left for the night, Evelyn asked to review the recent financial records, to see what was happening with the company money. To her shock and disapproval, more than half of that month’s budget was already gone – all on alcohol, expensive drink too. She snapped.

Not caring about what John thought at that moment, she picked the lock on John’s office door with a bobby pin and stormed in. She was in a fury – They had a community to build, and everything was appearing to go straight down the drain.

I hope you enjoyed it!

Come back next week for more.

Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂