Part VI. Mommy Dearest
The check arrived and was paid, and Alex was drunk. He spent a few minutes discussing the likelihood of gravity working against him when he stood up before he actually attempted it. True to his assumption, it took a concerted effort between the two of them to exit the building. First she had to put an arm around his waist to help him stand, then he leaned on her and the railing as she held the crutches while they made their very slow progress down the steps in front of the building. People stared; Alex laughed into Jasmine’s hair.
“They should teach drunk crutch navigation in rehab,” he said as he made the first careful steps by himself on the sidewalk. “This is considerably more difficult than I was prepared for it to be.”
Torn between amusement and concern, she smiled wanly. Luckily for them both, they had taken his car so there were only a few feet between them and their destination. She opened the door for him, held on tightly to his forearm as she lowered himself into the passenger seat.
“Want me to drive?” he asked generously. “I’m a good driver. That wreck wasn’t my fault, you know? The cops said so.”
She nodded. “I know. I think I can handle this, though.” He blew a kiss at her as she stowed his crutches in the back seat of the Accord.
As she drove, he pushed buttons on the car stereo. “I should keep cd’s in here, shouldn’t I? If we’re going to have these little adventures. Some Elvis Costello. Some Pixies.”
“Maybe. You think we’ll be having more adventures any time soon?”
“Why?” He looked at her, baffled. “We’re having fun. We are having more fun than anyone could ever have predicted. I’m very sure.”
“You’re having some kind of episode, Alex.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He found a suitable song and leaned back to stare out the window.
She held the wheel with her left hand, rested her right on his knee. She spoke up again nervously. “If you’re not ready to be going out yet, honey, we don’t have to.”
He was silent. She took a deep breath and continued.
“I think you’re… I don’t know, compensating? Or, maybe hiding from it? You’ve been shit faced twice in like 18 hours. After a year of total hibernation. I’m worried you’re going to hurt yourself or something.”
He turned his head languidly to look her in the eyes, took her hand in his. “Jasmine…” he sighed. “I don’t know what you want me to say. I don’t know what you’re expecting from me. There’s nothing here you can fix, you know? Your job, all your training and experience—you see yourself as healer, and you should. But that’s not what this is. It’s not that easy.” He lit a cigarette, studied it intently as if it might be able to solve all his problems if he could decode its message.
She flicked her eyes back onto the road she’d been shamelessly neglecting and kept them there. “I’m not looking for something to fix, Alex. I’m not that selfless. I want you. I’ve wanted you for a long time, you have no idea. I’m actually being disgustingly selfish, because I was going crazy with this unsatisfied desire. I just want to be sure I’m not doing some kind of damage; that you’re not trying to please me at your expense. I don’t know what we’re doing, exactly.”
He snorted. “I don’t either. But it ought to be interesting.”
There was momentary silence, then Jasmine’s phone rang. Alex reached down between his legs into her bag and extracted it. He made a face and handed it to her. She turned the volume down on the radio and clicked answer.
“Jasmine, where are you?”
“On our way back to your house, why?”
“Well… Janey’s here. She was looking for her son.”
“Christ.” Jasmine bit her lower lip in frustration. “What did you tell her?”
“That you took him out for a very late lunch. What should I tell her?”
“Hell, I don’t know. Here, hold on,” she handed the phone to Alex.
As she pulled into the Prescott’s long driveway Alex told Jasmine he thought he was going to puke. He was paler than usual, which she wouldn’t have thought possible; his hands were shaking.
“Ok, that’s ok, we can deal with that. Just, give me a second.”
She parked outside the guest cottage and went to help him out of the car. As she was pulling the crutches from the back seat he threw open the door and leaned over to expel sushi and liquor onto the grass. Jasmine scanned the windows of the main house for his mother’s watching eyes and was relieved not to see them there. When he was done she reached for his hands and pulled him into a standing position. For a second he leaned on her totally as she reached down to lock his knee joint for him.
“You’re a very strong little girl, aren’t you? I seem to forget.”
She handed his crutches to him and stepped back as he oriented himself. “You’re not very heavy. Now let’s go brush your teeth before you talk to Mommy, shall we?”
He rolled his eyes. “I feel like I’m in the tenth grade again.”
She reached into the pocket of his jeans and removed his house key to let them in. He stumbled briefly at the threshold of the door, but regained his balance quickly and headed into the bathroom. Only moments after Jasmine had shut the door, it opened again and Jane Prescott walked in, resplendent in Anne Klein leisure wear the same color blue as her eyes and smelling strongly of Chanel. She shut the door quietly and clicked over on her high heels to where Jasmine was standing trying to compose herself. To Jasmine’s immense astonishment, Mrs. Prescott threw her arms around her and kissed her on each cheek as she squeezed.
“Good for you,” she said to the younger woman as she stepped back. She reached out her hand in a maternal fashion and smoothed a strand of Jasmine’s unruly hair. “I knew you two would… well; a mother knows, you know? Mike said I was thinking wishfully, but I knew.”
Before Jasmine could respond Alex reappeared beside her. “Hi, Mom,” he said. “How was Montgomery?”
“Hot,” she said, narrowing her eyes. “You smell like a distillery. I’m going to make you some coffee. Sit down. Go on, both of you—sit.”
They sat close to each other on the couch, trading confused looks, as his mother busied herself in the tiny kitchen.
“Why is she here?” he asked quietly.
Jasmine shook her head. “She, um… she knows, Alex.”
He raised one eyebrow. “Monica’s mouth, again?”
“I don’t think so. But, she seems to be, well, really happy.”
He smiled. “Are you surprised?”
“Gee, do you think so?”
Jane returned to the living room with a cup of coffee in her hand which she offered to her son. He peered into the cup and frowned.
“Yes, it’s black. Same as your father got when he came home smelling like a frat boy on spring vacation. Drink it.” She sat down prissily in the chair across from them and beamed. “So where’d you go?”
“That was fucking exhausting,” Jasmine said as she laid her head on his shoulder an hour later. “Are all the women in your family like that?”
Alex laughed and put his arm around her. “I’m afraid so. I guess you’ll refuse to ever marry me, then.”
“I don’t know—how much money did your dad leave you?”
“Aren’t you adorable?” He squeezed her and yawned. “What time is it?”
“Almost seven thirty. Are you sleepy?”
In response he reached down for his crutches and stood. “Are you coming?”
She followed him into the bedroom at the back of the little house. There, the early evening light filtered in through the blinds made shadows on the walls and floor; she could barely make out, in one dark corner beside the bed, the shape of a resting wheelchair. He unlocked his knee brace and lowered himself onto the bed; she knelt on the floor in front of him and unlaced the brace on his left leg, pulled it off and laid it on the floor. He lay back on the bed as she worked on the more time-consuming removal of the right brace. When she was done with them she unbuttoned his jeans and slid them off as he pulled off his shirt. She stood in front of him and he looked up at her. She pulled off her clothes slowly, watching him get harder with everything she removed. Finally, naked, she pushed him onto his back and lifted his legs onto the bed.
“I don’t know how…” he started, his eyes wet and voice quavering.
“Shhh,” she kissed him as she climbed on top of him and pushed him inside her. “It’s easy.”
She leaned over him, bit down on his earlobe until he groaned. He used his elbows to push himself up and into her, she tightened the grip with her legs and moved her face down to his chest, flicking her tongue over his nipples and grazing them with his teeth. A few minutes later he put his hands on her hips and panted,
“Slow down. I don’t want to come yet.”
She smiled at him and stopped moving, for a second. Then she squeezed her thigh muscles and started rocking back and forth, very slowly. He moaned underneath her, his eyes rolled back toward his brain. “And what if I want you to come, hmm?”
Saying that, she took his wrists in hers and pinned his arms down behind his head, still moving her body on top of his slowly. “You’re not in charge here, you know? You’re mine right now. And I,” she gnawed on his earlobe again and started banging her hips against his fiercely, “want you to come.”
As it so happened, they came together. He jerked his arms free and grabbed at her wildly, crushing her against his chest as she shuddered and then rolled off of him.
He laughed out loud and turned his head to look at her. “You are crazy, aren’t you?”
Jasmine grinned. “That was a test drive, buddy. You just wait.”