Eric has been here but not here, all at the same time. His January travel budget was drastically cut so his feet have stayed on the ground but work has been all consuming; his time, his conversation, his mind. I see him very little as we struggle to mesh calendars and fit the pieces of our lives together enough to have some quality time in each other's arms. February brings travel back and the strain of changing times reads heavily on his face.
For me, school is once again in session and my job is as demanding as usual. I battle with my inability to keep to a schedule of healthy exercise, eating and sleep. It affects my mood and my weight; and not necessarily in that order. Plans frequently slip out the window as deadlines approach, homework increases and drama ensues.
Sara is the drama in our home and my cousin from New Orleans. She's young and impetuous with legs that won't quit, jet black hair with bangs, a sleek little bob hair style, and the reddest fire engine lipstick money can buy. She wears short skirts and dresses that show off her cheeks if she ever bends to pick something up off the floor, with high high heels and two tone sun glasses framing her face. Her suitors come sniffing around, often in pairs, and she's not the least bit shy about making eyes and flirting with them all in the room. She has no job and no source of income, yet she never seems to go without. We took her in after my family begged us to save her from a slippery slope in the land of Mardi Gras. We were clear, "No alcohol, no drugs, back to school". She's in her twenties and keeps to our rules but "No men" was not one of them.
It's been almost six weeks since Sara crashed at our house. Quite frankly, it is nice to have someone around to walk the dog, have dinner with when my husband works late and bring life back into a place that used to bustle with children living full happy lives. She's bright and fun with a classy look on the edge of call girl; in many ways, Sara is mesmerizing.
Eric and I had planned a weekend in the snow two weeks ago. We left Sara to watch the house and care for the dog. Half way to the slopes, the road was closed so we headed back late in the evening. I believe every light in the house was on when we returned. It was practically glowing from a block away. Eric and I couldn't park in the garage as our driveway was filled with multiple cars so he parked on the street and took my hand, leading me to the backyard where tall windows served as eyes to our living room.
Live porn. That's the only way to describe it. Right there on the floor near the sliding glass door. There were two men, Sara and another girl, naked and entangled with arms, legs, lips; every sexual crevice being either touched or tasted. Four camera's angled around the group and mid-action, one of the men stopped everyone to change the height of a tri-pod. We stood there; mouths open, eyes gawking, for an eternity.
I angrily reached for the door but Eric grabbed my wrist and pulled me back to the car. We drove to a local hotel as I sputtered and downloaded every single thought as it crossed my mind. "What the hell was that? Who does she think she is? In our home? Are you kidding me?" I went through it all and then turned on my husband. "Why are we leaving? Aren't you going to do something?!"
He laughed. Eric actually laughed.
"Look at you," he said. "That girl has got you by the tail and all spun up. She's a grown woman and can make her own choices in life. It's none of our business how she makes a living. I'll handle it."
The next day, we returned home to a clean house, a well fed dog and my cousin Sara. She had laundry running, was taking an on-line class and there was even a chicken roasting in the oven.
"You're back early!" she exclaimed. "I didn't expect you until tonight."
"The roads were closed," he said, eye brows rising on his forehead as he drilled his gaze directly through to her core. "We came back last night."
Sara froze right there in her chair, a myriad of possibilities running through her mind. It was obvious that he, that we, knew.
"Never again in my house," he stated after a pause long enough to choke a horse.
She went scarlet and looked down at the floor.
"You can stay but somebody deserves one hell of a spanking."
That was it. Eric went upstairs and when a barrage of criticism began to spill from my lips, he placed his hand tightly over my mouth and pulled me into his chest.
"It's done." he said firmly. "She won't do it again. At least not here."
His grip lessened and I backed away, ready to spew another round of my opinion.
A scolding finger caught my sentences before they escaped.
"Another word and the spanking will be yours."
Time makes it less awkward, the unspoken tension between my cousin and me.
Eric took his stand and I have kept quiet. He has "handled it".
Sara's skirts are longer this week.