Although the steps were light, I tried to reach the door of the bedroom without alerting anyone, my mother stood at the entrance to her bed chamber, waiting.
"You wish something?"
"I have not seen you this morning, nor as often in recent days."
"I know, I have been intentionally avoiding you. I have been thinking of ways to improve our relationship."
"What sort of success have you had?" I inquired as I eased further into the room, toward the bed.
"There are several... possibilities, but it is too early to determine if you would accept them. You will be first to know. That I can assure you."
"Have you discovered what happened with Sheila, near her home?" I asked, as I removed my shoes.
"Without you, she is returning to hunting male companionship, Son. She cannot seem to settle on one, and bounces around, much to her mothers despair." Her robe slides to the floor.
"And her sister?" I stand to loosen my belt.
"Little has changed with that family. Little will, it seems." This time the soft laughter is more throaty, as she assists with the belt. "Then, little has changed there in generations, I would believe."
"You think someone will supplant my influence?" My trousers now slipping free.
"It is possible, but it will change Shelia not at all. Whoever she selects will remain a captive in her imagination." Her fingers caress my neck.
"You are far more critical these days, Mother." I trace light patterns along her sides and beneath the outer curve of breasts.
"I would term it... realistic, Son." Her hands now moving to shirt buttons.
"I suppose one could call it that." I respond, moving thumbs gently across swollen nipples, eliciting a soft sharp intake of breath. "What have you determined of your Ralph?"
"He has left town and passed through your aunt's town, on his way to his home town. It would appear he has, umm, detractors here, and around the area, but they failed to move quickly enough." My shirt glides over my finger tips to plop softly on the floor.
"Whatever happens, it will not affect us," I replied, gently lifting the straps of the sheer night gown for her to shrug them free.
"That is true." She running hands beneath waist band of my shorts; cupping, fingers caressing.
"You no longer seem that concerned about Sheila's sister. Are you still opposed to her coming here?" I tenderly lift the bodice of the night gown over her breasts, bending to tongue areola. The gown gliding down slim hips, to pool about her feet.
"I have reconsidered, Son. As you had said much earlier, it may be for the best that she comes here. The very best." We sink upon the bed, turning toward each other, moving closer.
I nod. "I'm glad to hear that."
"That way," as we meet, and I penetrate, her folding warmly about me, "you can judge for yourself whether she represents a danger or an opportunity for both of us."
"And what if she is both?" Beginning the slow, soft rhythms toward the explosive relief, her hands stroking the small of my back.
"You are the male," Mother gasps in delight. "You must decide, as always."
I eased through the door into the private bedroom, closing it behind me, and smiling at Grandmother, who looked up from the desk and the sheet on which she had been writing.
"How are you feeling?" I asked.
"As I ever have, Dear Grandson." She sipped from the goblet and replaced it to the desk. "You have that thoughtful look."
"I would like you to read this." I said, handing my Lover Grandmother two sheets of paper and a series of photos.
She took them and read, frowning well before she had finished. "She is making herself look older than she is? Or new, bad, habits taking her place? Deliberate? How has it taken so long to discover this?"
"There were miss-directions and evasions... and we had not watched as closely as we should."
"I like this not. Are you certain this is Sheila?"
"Of that I am certain. I have known her a long time. Her features have not changed, nor her voice. Not her manner of speaking."
"Then she has turned loose of her core, and changes." Grandmother's laugh was sharp, almost bitter. "You exerted a powerful influence."
"Are you sure you are all right, Dearest Grandmother?"
"I am not so well suited to my thoughts as we had hoped. I find myself chill with forbidding. Perhaps you did not pick so well."
I slipped behind her chair, then bent and placing my arms about her, gently. "I prefer the woman I now hold, and nothing will change that."
"I'm glad." Relaxing for a time, resting her head back against me. "There is more."
"There is. She has changed her perception of her Sister coming here. She now seems to encourage the possibility. She also appears excited for the event... and has cultivated new friends - in enforcement, where before she was suspicious."
"Suspicious? As I remember, she was continually angry and spoke abruptly of them." Grandmother tried to conceal the enjoyment she felt slowly running her hand up, along my leg. "Would that she had returned to her old life."
"That could come, they say."
Grandmother shook her head. "A most terrible word play, Grandson." She stroked the area she had been seeking. "Do you think it a mistake that you invited the Sister here."
"I think not. But long-held views are not changed without reason."
"Views, long-held or otherwise seldom change. That is why I ask if these photos of Sheila are really Sheila."
"I would swear it is Sheila."
"Could it be they have turned her?"
"There is no record of that event, and I have searched very well for such."
"Has she acquired one that devotes time to her alone?"
"She is the only one we have invited in, since inception." I sighed. "And now I must be concerned with every word and action."
"As you must with everyone."
"Except with you, for which I am most grateful." I watched her hand move to the zipper of my trousers, and her head turn into the firmness she had been stroking near her cheek.
A light breeze through the open windows billowed the curtains of the dinning room, that Friday afternoon breeze cooler than the warm days of the prior week, but not intemperate. Despite the high clouds, there was no rain, and I didn't think there would given the wind direction. I stood across the dinning table from Sister, looking at the papers which had arrived moments earlier. Sister held another such set.
I watched Sister for some period, observing the color ebb and flow through her throat and those portions of her face I could see, as she bent over the papers. I knew she was just from the showers and spending time with Mother, and could imagine the warm glow burning in her veins. My pulse sped slightly.
As if in response, Sister's head raised, cheeks slightly flushed, on observing my gaze, and the light of promise began to glow deep within her eyes. She spoke, "You haven’t read the message yet, my Dearest man." Half question, half statement.
I held her eyes for a time and lowered my focus to the message.
Dear Mr.____,It had been almost three years since last talking with Grandmother in her bedroom. Much had happened in that time.
This informs you of the confirmed death of your Grandmother. The body was interred in the prison facilities as # _________, state penitentiary. The remains may be exhumed at the families expense at a future date, at the families request. See attachment ___, and ___, for the necessary guides.
State Penitentiary, _____
Sheila had died at Grandmother's hand. Surprisingly, Grandmother had chosen a public forum, with many witnesses and had made no attempt to conceal herself or escape. She had been taken into custody immediately, waiving all aids to her defense, talking to no one, not even family when we visited at the various facilities.
For many months, her eyes glowed, just as do Sister's now, when Grandmother would see me enter for our bi-weekly visits. Generally speaking, the prison authorities allowed a Grandmother and Grandson the privacy of the conjugal visiting rooms.
When the final waiver of rights to sustain her life were submitted was when the lights failed to appear in Grandmother's eyes.
That was also the day Mother and I moved Sister into the house and our lives. It was a glorious day - we were all at our most fit and the trios lasted well through the night.
Which was why Mother and I missed the scheduled execution.
May B. Yesno is a writer from Fresno, CA.