Forever A Philanderer—Chapter Fifteen

“Time and I against any two.”
– Baltasar Gracidn

 

“You have to take me back. I can’t stay here.”

Christ: Would she still love you, do you think, if you told her the truth?

“Is it because…,” Dain said.

When Britney said nothing he added, “You said you loved me.”

Britney sighed.

“People don’t just fall out of love.” Dain’s statement lacked much in the way of conviction.

Britney looked at Dain. “Don’t they? Isn’t that what happened to you when you found out Betty was sleeping around on you?”

“That was different.”

“Different? Maybe. But the principle is the same.” Britney took a deep breath. “I was as much to blame as you for Betty’s death.”

“No, you weren’t.”

“I was, Dain.” Britney looked as if she were trying to comprehend what she’d done to her daughter. “I was Anne Bancroft to your Dustin Hoffman. We never should’ve –”

“That’s in another reality.”

“It happened nevertheless.”

Dain paused, searching for something to say. Finally, he said, “He was a different Dain, and you were a different Britney. She was only ten years older than me.” As if that somehow mattered.

“I should’ve known better.”

“It was my fault. If I hadn’t seduced you eighteen years earlier.”

“You can’t seduce the willing, Bronson.”

“Maybe my motives weren’t pure at first, but they are now.”

“You came back for me and I turned you away. It was only after you stopped coming that you were sincere in wanting to take care of me. When I… When I first saw you, so many years later, I couldn’t know you were the same man. You hadn’t aged. They say everyone has someone walking around who looks just like them.”

“A doppelgänger,” Dain said, recalling the day another Britney had called him a “double-ganger.” He put his arm around Britney’s shoul­der. “I should’ve –”

“Should’ve what? Abducted me then? Brought me here? Raised your future wife as your own daughter?”

“I would never have thought of her as my wife.”

“Really? Even when she became seventeen – the age at which you first met her?”

“No, I wouldn’t, because by then I’d have been forty-six years old.”

“And I’d be fifty-five. Can you honestly say that you wouldn’t reminisce about the days when she was your wife?”

“Yes, because I loved you. I love you now.”

Britney was chasing other timelines. “We made love in another reality, after you’d learned Betty was cheating on you.”

Dain looked away.

“Was it revenge?”

“Maybe it was, initially. But I’ve come to love since.”

“How can I be sure?”

“Betty was the catalyst for what I should’ve done sooner. I love you, Britney. You have to believe that.”

Britney wiped away a tear that had fallen to streak her cheek. “You love my body.”

“Yes, but I’ve come to love you, too. If only I’d met you before I met Betty.”

“But you didn’t. No amount of time travel, and no number of alternate realities can change that.”

Dain didn’t hear her. “Love is finding someone you can’t live with­out. I can’t live without you, Britney.”

Britney ignored him. “I was foolish then.”

“No more foolish than you were eighteen years later, when you gave yourself to me, or ten years after that.”

“That was wrong of me.”

“No more so than it was for me to make love to you back in eighty-four.”

“Not just because of how it turned out.”

Dain’s panic rose. “We can still make this work –” because he didn’t know what else to say, how to further his argument. “We can still make order from chaos.”

Britney shook her head. “You said you can’t live without me. I think you just fear my abandonment.”

“My taking you back to 1980 isn’t going to change anything. You’ll still have the memory of what happened to Betty in that other time­line.”

“But at least I won’t have to look at you every day.”

“Do you so hate me?”

“No, Dain I don’t hate you. If anything, I still love you. You awak­ened in me – in us, me and my other selves – what love should be, how wonderful sex can be.”

She seemed to leave something unsaid, so Dain ventured, “But you don’t want to love me.”

A tear fell from Britney’s other eye; she was quick to wipe it away.

“What about Jeff?” Dain said.

“What about him?”

“Will you go back to him?”

Britney shook her head.

“You know you risk him not taking ‘no’ for an answer.”

“He will, in time.”

“If he doesn’t hurt you first.”

“You can’t protect me, Dain.”

Dain only stared at Britney. She left unsaid that she never wanted to see him again.

“Please,” she said. “Take me back to where I belong, and don’t ever come back.” Now she’d made it clear.

Dain didn’t argue against Britney’s final directive. He was already plotting to once more bring order to the chaos in his life.

When the knock sounded at his door, Dain didn’t hear it; it was only when Britney said, “Dain, aren’t you going to answer the door?” that he realized someone had knocked.

Curious as to who it might be, unprepared for any more chaos that might be added to the healthy measure that already comprised his life, he strode across the living room to open the front door.

On the stoop stood a man in a Honolulu blue and silver Detroit Lions hoodie. Dain despised the Detroit Lions. In his eyes the fran­chise was hapless, an embarrassment not only to the city of Detroit, but to the NFL. They’re the only team in history ever to go winless for an entire season, and hold the worst eight-year record in the history of the modern NFL, 31-84 between 2001 and 2008. The players come and go – they had arguably the best running back to ever carry a football in Barry Sanders and were no closer to winning a Super Bowl in his tenth season than any other season under William Clay Ford’s ownership – head coaches are fired, never to work as head coach elsewhere in the league, and the team has made the playoffs just ten times, winning once, and have compiled a 310-441 regular-season record during Ford’s fifty-year tenure. Every year is a rebuilding year for the Lions, and yet the fans continue to support the team. So it was no surprise that Dain already didn’t care for this stranger before him, clad in Lions attire, his hands pushed into the pockets of the hoodie, who might’ve been in his early fifties.

Not terribly overweight, he had that horseshoe thing going on on the top of his head, his scalp mottled with sun damage. Eyes red and a bulbous nose just as red betrayed a bad case of bottle abuse. It took Dain a moment to recognize in this little gargoyle Jeff, thirty-four years older than he’d been the last time he’d seen him, in 1980.

“You!” Jeff said. He appeared startled, probably because Dain didn’t look a day older than the last time they’d squared off, when Jeff was an adolescent punk. Then he pushed past Dain and into the house.

“Jeff?” Britney said. She’d followed Dain to the front door and now stood beside him.

Jeff gaped at her, still the beautiful teen from more than three dec­ades past. He looked from Britney to Dain, then back to Britney. Finally, he said, “What is this? How is it you haven’t aged?”

“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me,” Dain said.

Jeff fixed his hatred on Dain. “For more than thirty years I’ve waited for this moment, looking high and low for you.” He spoke as if that were something of which to be proud – wasting the better part of a lifetime seeking a woman who’d broken up with him in their youth. “You abandoned that house on Linden Street, and like that, poof, you were gone.”

A credible impersonation of Kevin Spacey, Dain thought, recalling the line of dialogue in The Usual Suspects when, in the role of “the gimp”, he ex­plains to the detective the disappearance of Keyser Söze.

Jeff turned his gaze on Britney, looked her up and down, and Dain saw the hunger in his eyes – at last she would be his.

“And you disappeared with him,” he said to her. “The police found no trace of you; eventually they gave up looking. Your mother assumed you were dead; but I didn’t. I never gave up looking for you.”

Jeff looked back at Dain. “It took me years to find this address, but you were never here.”

Still a punk, Dain thought.

Dain understood that, until he and Britney traveled forward in time to 2014, they didn’t exist in this timeframe, created the moment they appeared. Jeff continued with his diatribe.

“But I came here every day, morning and night for years. Always you weren’t here. Until today.”

Jeff looked at Britney again, then back at Dain. “I’ll ask you again, why is it neither of you look a day older than you did thirty-five years ago?”

“It’s very simple,” Dain said, grinning. “I built a time machine.”

“Yeah, right,” Jeff said. “It doesn’t matter. I’ve got what I came for,” he added, glancing at Britney. Then he pulled a .38 Special from the pocket of his hoodie.

“Jeff, don’t,” Britney said, stepping in front of Dain; but it was too late: Jeff pulled the trigger.

“No!” Dain shouted as Britney fell back against him. He gently lowered her to the floor, holding her head in his lap. He saw where the bullet had penetrated – her left breast.

Britney’s breathing came in short gasps as she looked up at him through tears.

“Dain,” she whispered. “My Bronson.”

“Shhh,” he told her. “Don’t talk.”

“I’m scared.”

“It’s okay,” he told her. “Don’t try to talk.”

She ignored him. “I’m sorry.”

“No need to be.”

“I turned you away a second time. I shouldn’t have.”

Dain pushed a strand of hair off her forehead, stroked her cheek.

“I love you,” she said.

“I know. I love you, too. I always will.”

“Don’t,” she whispered.

“Don’t what?”

“Don’t try to undo what’s been done.”

Dain waited for her to bleed out, expecting, wanting, needing the second bullet to penetrate him, wondering if it was true, that you never hear the bullet that takes your life.

Britney’s breathing slowed; finally she took a breath – and never let it out. A moment later he heard Jeff’s voice.

“Is she –?”

Dain gently laid Britney’s head on the floor and leaned down to kiss her on her lips, softly, as if he feared he might wake her. Then he slowly stood, fists clenched at his sides, to face his old nemesis. Jeff still held the handgun, but it hung down, by his side.

“You idiot,” Dain said.

“I didn’t mean… It was an accident –”

“You didn’t mean,” Dain said, and punched him in the face – a solid jab that staggered Jeff. Then he launched a roundhouse right that sent him to the floor. Dain heard the gun skitter across the hardwood floor.

Straddling Jeff’s chest, Dain pummeled his face with lefts and rights that sent him into oblivion. After thirty seconds Dain stopped to catch his breath; but he wasn’t finished.

After a moment’s respite, he went back to using Jeff’s face as a punching bag.

When finally he finished, Jeff’s face was a bloody pulp.

Dain was alone for the second time, his knuckles bloodied and aching. Betty didn’t exist in this timeframe, so he didn’t spare a thought for her and her duplicity and all that she’d unknowingly set into motion. He’d won that battle, but without Britney, he’d lost the war.

Not yet, I haven’t, he considered. I still have options.

“None of them are good options,” Christ said, startling Dain from his revelry.

“Then I’ll choose the best one.”

“The best of the worst, eh?”

Dain said nothing.

“She gave her life for you, Dain, so that you might live.”

“Small consolation.”

“It should bring you great solace. That she offered her life for you is the ultimate act of love. She has gained a great reward in Heaven. Have you forgotten her last words, that you shouldn’t try to fix what has been done?”

Dain ignored Christ’s question. It may have been her final request, but he had no intention of abiding by it. Instead, he asked, “And Jeff?”

“He lies in the other room, soon to follow her in death. His reward will not be what she has won.”

Dain took greater consolation in that. “This isn’t my fault.”

“Dain, I tell you the truth. Betty may have been the instigator of all that has transpired, but she is not at fault for your actions. I tell you again, you cannot undo her sin by sinning yourself. You must refrain from taking further action.”

“So I should wallow in self-pity? Play the role of victim?”

“Why did you marry Betty?”

“I loved her.”

“Like Britney, you only loved her body.”

“So what if I did? I shouldn’t find my wife desirable?”

“Desire stems from love, Dain. You put the cart before the horse.”

Dain sighed. “And what about Betty? Why did she marry me?”

“This isn’t about her.”

“The hell it’s not. It’s all about Betty.”

“Your eternal soul is at stake, Dain.”

“Oh, and Betty is going to spend her eternity at the right hand of God?”

“That is not your concern.” Christ peered at Dain. “I’ll ask you again: Why do you think Betty took another lover?”

“I don’t know. I’m not a mind reader. She experimented with les­bian sex in high school. Maybe she couldn’t resist the touch of a an­other woman.”

“Always denying your accountability.”

“Didn’t we have this conversation already? If she wasn’t getting from me what she needed, wasn’t she accountable for telling me?”

“If Betty loved you, Dain, she would not have taken a lover.”

“Tell me something I don’t already know.”

“Betty only thinks she loves Rachael. It, too, will come to an end.”

“I’m supposed to take comfort from that?”

“Your marriage was not based on love.”

Dain only stared at Christ.

“Love is a choice, Dain. It is not about what happens in the dark, under the blankets.”

Or in the shower, Dain thought, reminiscing about the glory of Britney standing under falling water. Or in the mud at Ford Field.

“Or in the kitchen, or in the back of a car,” Christ said.

“Dammit, I wish you wouldn’t do that.”

“The communion of bodies is an expression of love, Dain, not love itself. You were obsessed with Betty’s body, as you are obsessed with Britney’s. You told Britney that people don’t just fall out of love. Two people who fall in love often fall out of love, when the reality of who they are sets in, because that is not true love. A couple who choose to give their love to one another will not fall out of love. An obsession such as yours is not love, nor can it withstand the test of time. When Betty’s obsession waned, she found she had fallen out of love with you because she did not love you. What do you think will happen when your obsession with Britney’s body diminishes?”

“It won’t.” Because Dain didn’t believe it could.

“Or hers for yours?”

Dain didn’t wish to consider that possibility.

Christ added, “I tell you the truth. Your affair with Britney can only end in a similar fashion.”

“Don’t talk to me about truth. Truth doesn’t exist in the world. It certainly didn’t exist in Betty’s mind.”

“Your truth doesn’t equate to truth, Dain, simply because you wish it to.” A moment later he added, “What will you do with the bodies?”

“Nothing. There’s nothing I can do for Britney. She’s gone. And Jeff can lay there until he rots for all I care. I’ve got work to do.” When he returned they’d be gone from Dain’s newly created timeline.

Christ laid his hands on Dain’s bloodied and bruised knuckles. “I can see you must find out the truth for yourself.”

It was only after Christ was gone that Dain realized his knuckles no longer ached. His skin was completely healed; the only remaining evi­dence of his dark deed was the dried blood.

Dain found it child’s play to trace Jeff’s roots.

What did we do prior to the Internet? he wondered.

It would’ve taken him days, even weeks, working with third parties to discover Jeff’s family tree. But using the Internet, he was able to accomplish his goal in minutes, before Britney’s and Jeff’s bodies fin­ished cooling.

Names, a marriage certificate, an address: Andrew Crogan; married to Millie nee Parker on November 4, 1961. Dain was grateful the last name hadn’t been Smith or Jones. Crogan, Rollen Frederick “Rock ’n’ Rollen” Crogan notwithstanding, was one of the least common last names in the country.

A few mouse clicks revealed the next bit of important data: Son, Jeff, born June 13, 1962.

So Andy knocked you up, eh, Millie, and had to marry you, Dain reasoned. And you, Jeff, born on the thirteenth, a bad omen to be sure.

Andrew graduated from Northville High School in 1960, a year af­ter the building opened. He’d attended school in what became, after the new school opened, Hillside Middle School. Millie graduated a year later.

Dain wondered if Millie had been a cheerleader. He doubted she looked as hot in her cheerleader outfit as Britney had. He was con­vinced no one could.

Andrew and Millie apparently met in school, and the timeline of their marriage and Jeff’s birth indicated that they’d likely celebrated her graduation in bed. Andrew had done the noble thing, probably at the dangerous end of a shotgun held by Millie’s daddy, making Millie a respectable woman.

Jeff’s parents lived in a house on Walnut, not far from Hillside Middle School, just a few blocks away from the home in which Jeff and Britney would live as husband and abused wife two decades later.

Dain should’ve targeted Millie. By targeting Andrew, Dain risked the chance that he wasn’t Jeff’s father, but another Britney outcome was too hazardous. What if she, too, when he came face to face with her, was as hot as the sun? Seducing her wasn’t a sure thing, and it might not prevent her marriage to Andrew and the resulting birth of baby Jeffy.

No, it’s you I want, Britney; it’s you I love. I’m doing this for you – for us.

Removing Andrew from the equation before he could impregnate Millie with Jeff was a risk worth taking. Besides, if he was wrong and Jeff’s father was someone else, say the Mustangs’ star receiver or mid­dle linebacker – Millie had another year as a Mustangs cheerleader after Andy graduated to a job on the assembly line at the Rouge Plant, where eighteen years later he’d get his son a job – Dain could always go back for another hit and get it right.

Dain was chagrined when he couldn’t find Andrew on Facebook.

A few mouse clicks using Google Search brought him to a website called Northville High Alumni. It didn’t cost him anything to create a profile.

A couple clicks and he found Andrew Crogan. He’d played the quarterback position on the Mustangs’ football team. He found a senior class picture of him: crew cut, no smile, just the grim determination of the position he played, as if he had, like his boy after him, something to prove to the world – that he was tough. Dain was gratified that, although Andrew had a slightly rounder face, and he likely was bigger and more muscular – Dain guessed the result of playing football – he’d passed down to his son enough DNA to enable Dain to recognize Andrew as Jeff’s father.

After making his time travel calculations for a Thursday night in November, Dain returned to the past. Unsure how it might play out, he thought of it as a dress rehearsal. He needed to watch Andrew’s rou­tine: a Friday night would be a game night, and Dain figured it would be busy; too many people would be around. Did he hang out at Cloverdale Dairy Farms with his teammates after football practice, or someplace else? Or did he go right home? Did he have a car of his own or ride with a buddy, or did he simply walk to and from school?

Once he got a sense of Andrew’s routine, Dain would return to 2014 where he’d formulate his final plan, return to the same day in 1958 – it would be like watching a summer rerun of Person of Interest, knowing the story line and how it’s going to turn out – and bring final order to the chaos Betty had wrought.

That’s right, he thought to no one in particular. It’s her fault, she’s to blame that it’s come to this.

He donned a University of Michigan Wolverines hoodie, blue with maize trim, retrieved Jeff’s .38 Special to stuff into the kangaroo pocket of the hoodie, set his time machine for the future site of the pitcher’s mound at Ford Field circa 1958, then a mere field.

1958

When he arrived he found the sky overcast, with the scent of rain in the air. Walking at a brisk pace, Dain covered in ten minutes the little more than half-mile to what would next year become Hillside Middle School. On the football field he saw the Mustangs going through their drills. Dain took a seat in the bleachers and caught sight of Andrew loosening up on the sideline. He wore the number 16.

In 2014, a middle aged man sitting alone to watch teen boys prac­tice football would likely draw attention – he might be considered a pedophile, and someone would come by to ask him what he wanted, and probably suggest that he leave.

Dain thought of the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal at Penn State in 2011. Sandusky was convicted and imprisoned, the NCAA heavily sanctioned the football team, and Head Coach Joe Paterno’s legacy as one of college football’s greatest coaches was ruined.

Paterno’s staunch supporters believed he was framed; but Dain, who wasn’t a judgmental man until he discovered Betty’s cheating ways, always felt that if Paterno was revered for the success of the Penn State football program, he should be held accountable for the scandal that took place under his watch.

Like the statue of Saddam Hussein that was toppled from its ped­estal shortly after Iraq was liberated, Dain recalled Joe Paterno’s statue being removed from the Penn State campus.

An independent investigation of the incident later confirmed Dain’s belief, revealing that Paterno had participated in a cover-up to conceal Sandusky’s actions in an effort to protect Penn State’s cele­brated football program.

But this was 1958.

Not that it mattered, but Paterno wouldn’t take over as head coach of Penn State’s football team for another eight years, and he had no clue that he’d later be fired in disgrace; Dain had little to fear from be­ing accused of nefarious intent.

Glancing at his watch, he saw it was 4:15.

Dain watched the players go through their drills and run a number of offensive plays. Andrew had a decent arm, but never pursued a col­lege football career, or failed to get a scholarship from a university.

Practice wrapped up shortly after five o’clock as the daylight began to fade. Dain followed the team from a safe distance, across Baseline Road to the main building, where the young men filed through the en­trance to, he guessed, shower and change.

Twenty minutes later, as Dain paced along Baseline Road, the play­ers began to funnel out the door. Andrew was one of the last to exit the building, and Dain watched him chatting with a teammate as he approached a pickup, a late forties Ford F1.

A moment later, Andrew and the teammate got into the F1 and left. As the F1 passed Dain, he noticed a For Sale sign in the back window, and Dain began to formulate his plan. He could end this to­night, without having to return.

Dain quickly made his way to Andrew’s parents’ house. He arrived just as Andrew was pulling up in front of the house. He was alone. Apparently he’d dropped off his buddy at his house.

“Excuse me,” Dain said as Andrew got out of the truck. “How much are you asking for your truck?”

Andrew looked at Dain’s hoodie. “Go Blue,” he said.

“Always a wolverine,” Dain replied, forcing a grin. He had his hands in the kangaroo pocket of his hoodie, his right hand grasping the .38 Special.

“You looking to buy her?”

“I wouldn’t ask if I wasn’t.” Dumbass, he thought.

“Two hundred dollars or best offer.”

“Mind if I take her for a spin?”

“Sure.” Andrew tossed him the keys and made his way around to the passenger side.

Dain slid behind the wheel and fired her up, noting it had a three-speed automatic transmission. He put it in drive and pulled away from the curb.

“How come you’re selling her?” he asked. He didn’t really care, but if he did he’d hope to dupe the seller into revealing that the vehicle was perhaps burning oil or had an engine knock, or maybe that the trans­mission was slipping.

“My dad’s selling her. He’s getting a new car and I’ll inherit his old one.” Andrew sounded self-important.

Dain nodded. “She’s in good shape.”

“My dad’s a mechanic. Changed the oil every three thousand miles; kept it in good running order, tune-ups and all. Washed it every week, and waxed it twice a year.”

Dain pulled into the school’s parking lot and into a parking space away from the building. He put the truck in park and turned to face a puzzled Andrew. “I know who you are,” he said. “I know you’re dating Millie Parker.”

“What? How –?”

“Never mind. I’m here to tell you to stay away from her.”

“What? Why –?”

“Because I said so.” Then Dain pulled out the .38 Special and shot Andrew in his left shoulder – his throwing arm.

“You fucking shot me!” Andrew cried.

“Oh, shut up. Be grateful I didn’t kill you.”

Dain drove back to Andrew’s parents’ house, while Andrew, clutching his shoulder, cried like a little girlie boy.

As Dain wheeled the F1 onto Walnut, Andrew managed to say between sobs, “I’ve got a game tomorrow night.” He was trying to re­gain his sense of self-importance, that the team needed him. “What am I going to do?”

“I don’t know. Not play?”

Andrew went back to crying, wiping a sleeve across the snot that ran from his nose.

Parking in the street, Dain told Andrew, “Remember what I said.”

“Stay away from Millie.” Andrew sniveled.

“Atta boy. Stay away from her or I’ll be back to finish you off.”

Dain stepped out of the F1 and ran full speed to the corner, slowed to a trot to the next corner, and then took long strides back to what would, in 1972, become Mill Race Park.

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Forever A Philanderer—Chapter Fourteen

“I want to go ahead of Father Time with a scythe of my own.”
– H.G. Wells

Dain awoke with a start with the words of the Christ echoing in his mind: It will not end well. Not for you or Britney.

Glancing at the alarm clock, he whispered, “Shit.”

It was after ten. Last night, when he dropped off Britney at her place, he asked her to come by before work, for a morning tryst. Britney agreed, telling him she could think of no better way to start off her morning than with him inside her. She could then take him with her, carry him inside her, while she waited tables for the rest of the day.

She was late by nearly forty minutes and hadn’t called that anything was up, or that she’d changed her mind.

Why would she change her mind?

Was that arrogance on Dain’s part?

No, not after what she’d told him last night.

Was it Christ’s final words to him that left him with a feeling of ominous foreboding? More chaos to spoil the order?

Dain swung his legs out of bed and headed for the bathroom.

After relieving himself, he called Britney. The line was busy; maybe she was calling him.

Hanging up, he realized how much he missed having a cell phone. But here, in 1980, making a phone call meant being tied to a wall by an eight-foot curly cord.

After waiting a few minutes to see if the phone might ring, Dain headed back to the bathroom for a shave and a quick shower.

“Probably nothing,” he told himself as he lathered up his face with soap. Maybe she’s just running late, or overslept.

Dain finished shaving unable to put out of his mind thoughts that something had gone terribly awry.

Stepping into the shower, under the hot water, he recalled Britney’s words to him the previous night: I love you.

And this morning, no Britney, and no phone call to explain why.

Probably nothing, he thought again, lathering his hair with shampoo.

If she overslept and was running late to work, she probably figured to call him from Cloverdale.

But her shift doesn’t start until one.

Dain scrubbed his scalp.

The line was busy. Maybe her mother was talking to someone.

He rinsed his hair and began to lather up his body with soap, but try as he might, he couldn’t shake the feeling that something had hap­pened to Britney.

Jeff’s final words to him from the other night: I’ll get you.

What if the little bastard decided instead to approach Britney first? Winning her back would certainly be, in his mind’s eye, not only easier than besting Dain in fisticuffs, but also much more gratifying. All he had to do was convince her to dump Dain and he could gloat that he’d won the prize without getting his nose bloodied.

The sequence of events played out in Dain’s mind: Jeff stopping by Britney’s place after Dain dropped her off to make one last plea to get Britney to change her mind, to give him another chance. Britney would certainly have told him no, sent him down in flames.

Dain recalled the lyrics from a Little Feat tune, penned by Bill Payne, Martin Kibbee, Paul Barrere, Neon Park, and Craig Fuller, for­merly of Pure Prairie League:

 

She said we were in love last night.

In love with no last name.

Last night the fire was burnin’ bright, now I’m goin’ down

Goin’ down in flames.

 

What would’ve happened next? Would she have told Jeff that she’d given to Dain all that she’d withheld from him?

Jeff was quick tempered. Dain had seen evidence of that, and Britney had told him how quickly he’d gone from tears to anger the night she’d told him it was over. Telling Jeff all would only amount to pouring gasoline on a fire. Would she have been so foolish?

Dain finished rinsing himself off and stepped out of the shower to towel himself dry.

After dressing, he set the coffeemaker to making coffee and noted the time – nearly eleven o’clock – and called Britney again, but the line was still busy.

Dain’s apprehension turned to outright alarm as he considered that maybe the phone had been knocked from its cradle the result of vio­lence. He pictured Britney, or maybe her mother, trying to call the po­lice, and Jeff slapping it out of her hand. Dain didn’t even want to think about what happened next.

Noting Christ’s absence, Dain hopped into the Celica and drove over to Britney’s house without waiting for the coffee to finish.

Dain turned left off Rayson onto Horton, and immediately slowed. In the driveway of Britney’s house sat an ambulance. In the street were two police cars, their gumballs flashing. The front door of the house was open as two EMU attendants maneuvered a gurney down the steps of the porch. On the gurney was a body bag. Dain felt his heart rise up into his throat.

Is that you, Britney, in that body bag? he wondered.

Dain fought the urge to stop and ask the police what had hap­pened. He couldn’t risk that the police would start asking him ques­tions. In the twenty-first century, on TV crime dramas like CSI, crimi­nals often returned to the scene of their crime. Dain didn’t know if that was but a Hollywood contrivance any more than he could know whether the profilers of the early 1980s knew it. But he couldn’t chance it.

As he drove past the house, every fiber of his being wanted – needed – to stop the car, get out, and rush over to the attendants to ask them who was in the body bag. But he kept driving, slowly so as not to draw attention to himself, noting that no policemen were outside the house. Apparently they were still inside.

Numb, Dain drove home in silence, unable to even consider the possibilities of what may have happened inside Britney’s house, or who was in the body bag. But he didn’t have to. There was only one possi­bility: Jeff had taken Britney’s life rather than let another man have her. Any other possibility was merely a wish that it wasn’t so.

When Dain got home, he shut off the Celica, put his forehead onto the steering wheel, and wept.

Once inside the house, Dain expected to find Christ waiting for him; but the house was empty. That didn’t really surprise him. Christ came and went as he pleased, showing up when Dain least expected.

Dain heard the voice of Billy Crystal as Edward G. Robinson, playing Dathan in The Ten Commandments: “Where’s your Messiah now?” In the movie, Robinson never said, “Messiah.” It was “Moses.”

But that didn’t matter to Dain. Not now. All that mattered was that Christ, despite all his assurances that he never turns his back on his flock, had abandoned him.

Not that Dain expected any great miracle from Christ, like raising Britney from her body bag. All he’d ever gotten from Christ were ad­monitions and ominous forebodings. Dain didn’t need another admon­ition, he had enough of his own: this was his fault.

He should’ve taken Britney with him to the future, where he could’ve kept her safe from Jeff, as well as his job. He should’ve known Jeff wouldn’t let her go. Even Christ had told Dain that if she loved him – and she’d told him that she did – she would trust him implicitly.

But trusting him was one thing; adapting to life three decades into the future, leaving behind her mother as well as her life in 1980, was quite another.

As for forebodings, Christ had been full of those, too. Not only his warnings about Dain’s eternal soul darkening with each sin he com­mitted, but his final one:

It will not end well. Not for you or Britney.

Why didn’t you tell me? he wondered.

“Would I have listened?” he muttered. Then, “Bullshit. Had you told me of this day, I would have taken her with me back to the future.”

Maybe that’s why he didn’t tell me. A lesson for me to learn: two wrongs never make a right. A negative reaction to a negative action cannot have a positive out­come. Any other lessons from which I can pick?

“Yeah: Do as I say, not as you do. But that’s hardly a lesson, simply a command, usually followed up by an ‘I told you so.’”

Dain sighed.

“I told you not to eat that fruit, now get out of my garden.”

I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children,’ and all of your children, and all of your children’s children, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera – but that was Yul Brenner, and not as Pharaoh in The Ten Commandments – will be born to sin. None of that seven generations bull­shit. Every boy and girl child has paid for Adam and Eve’s insolence.

Psalm 51:5: Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me.

What’s the point of even trying to be righteous when we’re born to sin?

Dain shook his head and came back to the moment.

Maybe that wasn’t Britney in the body bag.

“Who then, her mother?”

Maybe. Maybe Jeff came by to plead with Britney to reconsider, and when she told him she wouldn’t, maybe he became violent, and maybe her mother got in the way. Maybe he struck her, too, and, like many crime shows, she fell and hit her head on the corner of the coffee table. Maybe it was an accident.

“On the other hand, maybe she was expendable.”

But what became of Britney?

Dain wanted to believe she was still alive. He couldn’t bring him­self to picture her corpse, cold and gray, on some table in a morgue, her beautiful body marred by the “Y” railroad tracks of an autopsy. That was too much. Maybe, after killing her mother, Jeff had kidnapped her.

“Too many maybes,” Dain told himself, afraid to hope. “Besides, how many kidnappings end with a murder?”

I watch too much TV.

Sitting in front of his darkened television, Dain forced his mind to refrain from further speculation – he’d rather expect the worst and be pleased if he was wrong than anticipate the best and be devastated to learn he’d been foolish, as foolish as he’d felt when he learned, as a boy, that Santa wasn’t real (the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy quickly fell after that, like dominoes) – and waited for the evening news.

Bill Bonds, Channel 7 Action News: “Three bodies were discovered in a Northville residence early today – a young woman, her mother, and a young man. Police, who were called to the scene when neighbors heard gunshots, suspect it was a double murder-suicide.”

Bonds went on to his next story, but Dain didn’t hear him. Chaos had again trumped order: Britney was gone to him. Forever. In this time period.

“Shit.”

And then, “What is it with murder-suicides? Why can’t they ever just do the suicide part without the murder?”

Dain shut off the TV and waited. But no one came.

Never before had Dain felt so alone, so abandoned. Not even when he discovered Betty’s disloyalty.

Dain awoke the next morning to birds singing outside his bedroom window.

William James: I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.

And then Dain remembered.

He arose, shaved, showered, and dressed as if by rote.

It wasn’t until he left the house that he realized the mantra he’d been repeating in his head were words echoing in his ears: “There’s nothing here for me anymore.”

Not even vengeance or justice. Jeff had deprived him of that.

He drove to the bank and closed his account. The teller wanted to give him a money order, but Dain insisted on cash.

On his way back home, he took to chanting, over and over again: “I can fix this.”

At his 1980 home, Dain packed up his few belongings, including his dishes and glassware, clothing, laptop and printer, and returned to 2014. He was committed to bring, once and for all, order to the chaos.

It never occurred to him that the more he strove for order, the more chaos he created.

2014

Dain spared a moment to consider the footprint he’d left in the past: Britney was gone, and would be gone here, too, as would Betty, since she’d never been born. He’d succeeded with his initial plan; but it brought him no satisfaction or comfort.

Then he wondered about his younger self, the Dain who ceased to exist the moment his older self had traveled back in time, and who winked back into existence the moment the older Dain left for the fu­ture. Would they track the Celica and rental agreement to him?

Does it matter?

“No. You’re just distracting yourself with claptrap. You know what you need to do.”

With that, Dain set his time travel machine to the night before Britney’s death.

1980

Dain and Britney had just replayed their final night together – the night Britney had worn her cheerleader outfit for him. She’d again told him that she loved him. But this time Dain made love to her more passionately than he ever had before, and that included all the Britney’s he’d known and made love to in all the other timeframes. Losing her had made him realize how much she meant to him. He wondered if she noticed his increased passion, the intensity with which he pleasured her.

Of course not, he concluded. For her, this is the first time she’s worn her cheerleader outfit for me.

“Do you trust me?” he asked.

“Of course, Dain,” she said. “I love you. Isn’t love the greatest ex­pression of trust?”

Dain nodded. “I suppose it is, and your wisdom makes me love you even more.” Then he added, “What if I could take you away from all this?”

Britney smiled at him. “Are you asking me to marry you?”

Dain nodded a second time. “In a sense, I am. But what if I could take you to a time and place where none of this existed? Where Jeff wouldn’t bother you ever again. Would you come with me?”

Britney looked at him; gone was the smile of a moment ago. Re­placing the smile wasn’t fear, but instead curiosity.

Ah, youth, Dain thought. Someone older would think me mad. If she knew what I was planning, would she have the fortitude to be a part of it?

“How?” she said. No fear; she sounded intrigued.

She trusts me.

Still, Dain couldn’t tell her.

“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. I have to show you.”

Then it was Dain’s turn to smile. “What do you say? Are you up for the grandest adventure of your life?”

Britney’s smile returned. “With you? Always.”

“Close your eyes,” Dain told Britney. “You may feel a bit nauseous, but keeping them closed will help.”

Britney smiled. “We going someplace?”

“Sort of.”

“Are we there yet?”

Dain chuckled. “My little girl.”

“This feels like Christmas. Am I going to like what I see when I open my eyes?”

“That depends.”

“On what?”

“Whether you still like me.”

“Always and forever. I love you, Dain Galdikas.”

“I love you more.”

“I love you most.”

“I love you more than most.”

“I love you best.”

“I love you better than best. I can keep going, you know.”

Britney laughed.

“How are you feeling?” Dain asked.

“Never better.”

“I always experience motion sickness on boats, trains, airplanes and buses.”

“That’s okay, that doesn’t change how I feel about you.”

“Okay,” Dain said. “You can open your eyes now.”

Britney opened her eyes and looked around the room; Dain didn’t say a word. He simply watched her for a reaction. She betrayed no fear, just curiosity and a healthy dram of intrigue. But the where they were was only the half of it. She couldn’t know the other half: the when.

How will she react then? Dain considered.

“Okay, Houdini,” Britney said. For the first time since opening her eyes, she looked at Dain. “Where are we and how did we get here?”

Dain smiled. “We’re at my place.”

“Your place?” she said. “But where were we before?”

Dain chuckled. “I guess you could call that my past place.”

Britney looked confused, but still she didn’t appear alarmed.

“As to how we got here,” Dain added, glancing around the room, at the devices that comprised his time machine, “you could say I did it with lasers and mirrors.”

Britney didn’t hear him. “What’s that mean, my past place?”

“That, my love, requires a lengthy explanation.” Dain took her hand. “Come with me.”

When they neared the door, Britney stopped, looked at a poster-sized photograph of a hockey player hoisting the Stanley Cup over his head, and asked, “Who’s that?”

“Steve Yzerman.”

“Never heard of him.”

“You would have, eventually.”

Britney looked at Dain. There was still no alarm on her face, merely curiosity.

“You still trust me?” he asked.

“With my life.”

Dain squeezed her hand. “Then come on, let’s sit down. I’ve much to tell you.”

2014

Dain told Britney everything, beginning with Betty’s perfidy and ending with Jeff’s murder of her mother and her mother’s mother. The only details he left out was his initial plan to prevent Betty’s birth by taking Britney’s life, and his ongoing conversations with a savior who’d been crucified more than two thousand years ago; he also accounted their own love affairs in most of the alternate realities he’d created. He also left out that her daughter had taken her own life when she discov­ered her mother’s illicit affair with her boyfriend.

Thirty minutes later they sat silent, facing each other, Dain trying to read Britney’s reaction, while Britney stared at a place over Dain’s right shoulder, processing not only the impossibility of time travel, but also her motherhood, her death, her marriage to Jeff – all in other timelines – and Dain’s reason for bringing her into the future, that if he hadn’t, Jeff would’ve killed both Britney and her mother.

Finally, Dain dared to break the silence. “I know it all sounds in­sane, and impossible.”

“No, no, it doesn’t,” Britney said, meeting his gaze. “I’ve been having strange dreams lately, since meeting you. Everything you described: being married to Jeff, his abuse, the birth of a baby girl, his death, his murdering my mother and –” She stopped, and when Dain didn’t finish for her, she added, “It all makes sense now.”

A moment later she finished, “We really are in the future?”

Dain smiled. “My present.” Chuckling, he added, “If you’d lived all the intervening years you’d be fifty-two.”

Britney thought about that for a few seconds before asking, “My mother? Is she alive?”

Dain shook his head. “She passed away a couple years before I met your daughter.”

“How?”

“Ovarian cancer.”

“Jeff?”

“I’ve only encountered him in the past. Betty told me, before I started traveling back in time, that you and he divorced shortly after she was born. She never knew him and has no recollection of him. You never told her why you divorced.”

Britney closed her eyes and thought a moment. From the conster­nation on her face, Dain knew she was trying to recollect some distant memory – distant not only in years but across timelines. Her eyes flut­tered open and, peering at him intently, she told him, “She didn’t di­vorce him. She took his life.”

Dain nodded.

Gazing down, Britney said, “He became increasingly abusive of me after Betty was born. And he never loved her. He saw her as a ball and chain. She changed our lifestyle.” Britney fell silent for a moment. Then she added, “She regretted turning you away.”

Dain felt his heart flood with warmth: So I did mean something to her.

But Britney had more to share. Meeting Dain’s gaze, she added, “I’m sorry, Dain, for turning you away.”

“You didn’t.”

“Yes, I did. Even if it was some other version of me, I spurned you.” Britney closed her eyes, tuning into that other Britney across timelines and decades. Not wanting to interfere with the radio waves, or whatever they were, Dain remained silent.

“The truth is, I feared you, that you couldn’t be real, and that if you knew me, who I was beyond my body, you wouldn’t accept me, you couldn’t love me.”

“Ah, Britney.”

Something more for which to thank Jeff: he broke that other Britney, mind, spirit and body.

“I didn’t trust myself. I thought I loved Jeff, enough to marry him, and look how that turned out. You came along and opened my eyes to how wonderful sex could be. I loved how you loved my body.”

“But she didn’t know if she loved me.”

“She?”

“Not you, another Britney who lived other experiences.”

Britney considered Dain’s perspective for a moment, before she shook her head. “She was still me, making the same choices I would’ve made had you not come along.”

Dain nodded. “Did she love me, do you think?”

“I – she wanted to, but she worried that she might choose poorly again. She had a baby to think of, too.” Britney went silent a moment, looking as if she was in a trance communing with that other Britney, before adding, “She feared that she was confusing sex with love. She loved your body, as you loved hers, and she loved how you made love to her, but she didn’t know you well enough to love you. Jeff was such a disappointment to her, from their first night together. The novelty of sex – what little there was – quickly wore off for her. She loathed Jeff’s touch, his kisses, even as she craved yours. She worried what would happen when the novelty wore off for you.”

Dain only stared at Britney.

“My mother told me, after I brought Jeff home to meet her, that I should marry my best friend. That way I’d have someone to talk to in my old age.” Britney smiled. “That was her way of telling me she didn’t approve of Jeff.”

“So why did you marry him?”

Like a car radio, its signal strengthening the nearer it gets to the transmitter, Britney’s responses came quicker as the signal from her twin sister became stronger.

“Why does any young woman marry? Mothers teach their daugh­ters that that’s what a woman does when she gets of a certain age.”

“But –” Dain said. Then he realized that Britney’s mother was of a generation in which women didn’t have the opportunities for career that more recent generations have. Nor did she have a daddy – a hus­band to her mother who provided her a model for how a husband treated his wife, good or bad; Dain couldn’t know.

“Jeff introduced her to marijuana,” Britney said, “which clouded her judgment. When he graduated, he got a job on the assembly line at Ford. He made good money, and she thought he’d be a good provider. She hoped that once they were married he’d be less possessive.”

“You said your mother didn’t approve of Jeff,” Dain said.

Britney nodded. “She married him as much to go against our mother’s wishes.”

“Your mother was that controlling?”

Britney shook her head. “Not controlling, Bronson. Perceptive. She could see Jeff for who and what he was.”

“But so did you.”

Britney nodded. “But it wasn’t until I met you, and you asked cer­tain questions, that I was willing to acknowledge it.” Then she said, “Explain why in one timeline, when Betty brought you home to me, I had no interest in you, while in another I seduced you.”

Dain took a deep breath, fretting over how much this Britney might be able to ascertain from her sister.

“In the original timeline, when I first met you – before I traveled back in time to meet you when you were twenty-two, I was ten years younger than you and ten years older than Betty. I can only surmise that, after Jeff, she had no interest in men. After I seduced you when you were twenty-two, you were pregnant with Betty but didn’t know it. When you refused to leave Jeff for me, I returned to my present. Years later, when Betty introduced us she –”

“She thought you were her lover incarnate.”

“She only ever knew me as Bronson. It wasn’t until I paid her a later visit, while she was pregnant, that I told her my name was Dain; but given the circumstances, I don’t even know if she heard me.”

“Dain,” Britney said. She seemed not to have heard him. “Betty caught you with me, and she…”

Dain only hung his head, unable to meet the horror in her eyes.

“I never forgave you.”

“No.”

Forever A Philanderer—Chapter Thirteen

“I don’t ask for your pity, but just your understanding– no, not even that– no.
Just for your recognition of me in you, and the enemy, time, in us all.”
– Tennessee Williams

Sleep came slowly to Dain. He tossed and turned, fretting over what Jeff might do. He wasn’t so much worried about his own safety, but what the kid might do to Britney. He considered calling her to tell her what had happened – that Jeff had seen him drop her off and fol­lowed him back to his place and threatened him. But he decided against it. It was late and a ringing phone might wake up her mother. But be­cause it was late, Dain didn’t think Jeff would circle back to Britney’s home.

Jeff saw Dain as the threat. That’s why he’d accosted him in the driveway. He wouldn’t turn his wrath on his beloved Britney until it became clear to him that she was lost to him forever. Only then would she be at risk of physical harm.

Britney: She’d told him that she was in love with him.

But she was only eighteen years old. Was it puppy love?

Dain didn’t think so. He didn’t want to believe that. He was con­vinced she wanted him as much as he wanted her.

His feelings for her were growing, beyond that of simply a lover. He loved her for her innocence, even if he did miss the tease from Hell she’d been in alternate realities, as well as the fuller, more mature body. The best of her body was yet to come, and Dain was committed to seeing it reach its full ripeness.

Eighteen or eighteen?

She was like Betty when Dain first met his wife to be. Young, but yet mature beyond her years; inexperienced but willing to try anything new.

Betty had agreed to don her old cheerleader skirt and sweater, along with knee socks, when he asked her to. Dain wondered if Britney, too, had been a cheerleader. He made a point to remember to ask her, already convinced she’d be only too happy to accommodate his request that she wear it so he could make love to the schoolgirl she once was.

Does that make me a pedophile?

No.

Yes, he loved her body – who wouldn’t, especially after tasting it? – but he felt himself falling in love with the woman she was.

Like Adam was supposed to protect Eve, Dain wanted to protect Britney, not only from Jeff, but also from the havoc of the world. He wanted to give her the world and more.

If they were, in God’s eyes, sinning, then he’d marry her. As hus­band and wife, they could indulge in all of their debauchery, be it whipped cream, cheerleader outfits, fishnet body stockings, role-play­ing, or anything else that got them hot for each other – in short sin with God’s blessing.

Maybe I should just pack her up and take her with me back to the future. Thirty-five years will certainly be enough time for Jeff to get over her. But that would leave me with a lot of explaining to do.

If he took Britney to the future, he would be assured, once and for all, that Betty would cease to exist. She might still live in some alternate reality, along with Rachael or another woman, tormenting some other version of himself with her accursed treachery, but with Britney in his bed, he could live with that. With Britney, he was certainly trading up, and she was trading up from Jeff.

Dain eventually fell asleep, but it was a troubled sleep. He was waylaid by conversations with Christ; but he couldn’t be certain whether they were real or simply figments of his subconscious.

“Dain, your soul blackens, not only with each dark deed you com­mit, but with each deed you consider committing.

“It’s for the greater good,” Dain argued.

“Can’t you see that you are digging yourself a hole from which you may never emerge?”

“I can’t help myself.” It was the closest Dain came to admitting his obsession; but he was unconscious. “She needs my help.”

“She must be free to choose for herself.”

“She doesn’t have all the facts.”

“No one ever has all the facts.”

“Except you.”

Christ ignored Dain’s accusation. “And are you not feeding her false facts, withholding certain truths?”

Dain ignored Christ’s question, choosing to respond to a previous statement. “Hasn’t she done that, chosen me over him?”

“You have stacked the deck so to speak, manipulated her.”

“Maybe it’s she who is manipulating me.”

“Because she tempts you with her body?”

“Yes.”

“You continue to write yourself into the role of victim.” Christ sighed. “She cannot help how she looks, Dain. She is young and does not yet understand the power of her body.”

“She’s learning.”

“You are corrupting her.”

“She was free to choose, to say ‘no’ to me.”

“Thou shalt not covet, Dain.”

“I’m in love with her.”

“You told her the truth: being in love is not the same as choosing to love.”

“I will come to love her.” It was a promise Dain intended to keep.

“Love cannot be based on an obsession with the flesh.”

“Love can be found in a variety of ways and for myriad reasons, and how can you know? You never even slept with a woman.”

“I accept all without question – the sick, prostitutes, tax collectors, criminals. That’s love, Dain.”

“Does anyone ever do anything for purely altruistic reasons?”

“I do.”

“Really? Because for a moment there you sounded somewhat boastful.”

“I was simply speaking truth.”

The truth, or your truth? Because part of the human condition is that, like morals, we like to impart our own truths on others. That doesn’t make them true or moral. God may have given us freedom of choice, but he still likes to maintain control of his creation, doesn’t he? Make us dance at the end of his strings, giving us commandments by which to live, imparting moralities that, in their time, served to help stop the spread of venereal diseases.”

“Man was created to spend a lifetime with one partner.”

Dain sensed Christ’s frustration, pushed it to his advantage. “Man also lived for a thousand years back then, too. Until I met Britney, I couldn’t envision spending a millennium with the same woman. Imag­ine the nagging, after a single century.”

“Man sinned.”

“Because God allowed sin to enter the world.”

“Dain, giving Adam free choice is not the same as allowing it.”

“Now it sounds as if you’re blaming mankind for God’s mistake. Adam blew it, so judge him on his error. Why are the rest of us still paying the price for Adam’s sin? Why can’t God just let it go?”

“God forgives.”

“He’s gotten so good at it that he’d rather write off his creation as incapable of pleasing him. Can’t you see that he’s playing the role of the aggrieved victim? ‘I gave them the world and more, and this is the thanks I get.’”

“Dain –”

“And you. You’re not human. You can’t understand what it’s like to be human, to endure human needs and wants.”

“I was human, for a time. I understand more than you know. You respond only to your obsessive need.”

“You’re wrong. I want her.”

“But for the wrong reasons.”

“Maybe that was true at the start. But I want to love her.”

“You give your body to her, showing much generosity in giving her pleasure, and she returns it. But neither of you understands what it means to love generously. ‘Live simply, love generously, care deeply, speak kindly, leave the rest to God.’”

Dain laughed. “Now you’re quoting Ronald Reagan.” Then, “Yeah, like Donald Trump left to God the care of an elderly woman he de­manded give up her home so that he could build a parking lot.”

“Donald Trump does not live simply, love generously –”

“Except when it comes to buying the love of a woman.”

“Care deeply, or speak kindly.” Christ wouldn’t let Dain derail him.

You’re fired! Dain thought, Trump’s catchphrase on The Apprentice.

“At least we agree on those last two,” Dain said, and awoke with a start, a curse on his lips. He rolled onto the edge of his bed. Pushing himself to his feet, he muttered, “If I learned anything at all from Betty, it’s that God helps those who help themselves.”

Then his thoughts turned to Britney, an image of her in a cheer­leader outfit he could only hope she still owned. She looked so young and yet nubile, the smile on her lips telling him that she was as into this role-playing as he was, and he wondered if this fantasy had ever played out in Jeff’s mind while they were in high school.

No doubt, he concluded.

Dain imagined himself as Captain James T. Kirk where Britney was concerned – or at least this youngest version of her that he’d bedded – going where no man had gone before.

By the time he got to the bathroom, his penis was painfully erect.

Shit.

His morning piss would have to wait until after his tepid shower.

Britney came into the bedroom wearing her Northville Mustangs cheerleader outfit. Orange and black with white trim, Dain’s eyes focused on the mascot embroidered across her breasts – she could tell he liked what he saw: her breasts, large and firm even without a bra, her nipples already erect in anticipation of his mouth. Then he looked at her legs, where white knee socks seemed to add to his need.

Britney’s eyes moved down to his abdomen, where his penis bobbed, painfully erect, waiting for her and all that she was about to bestow upon it. Then she looked into his eyes.

“I like how you’re looking at me,” she told him.

“You have no idea how hot you look.”

“I think I do, from seeing myself through your eyes.”

Dain grinned that grin Britney had already come to love – boyish, playful, mischievous.

“What about what you said the night we met, about my looking at you with respect?”

“That was then and this is now. Yes, I see desire in your eyes – so much desire – but it’s respectful because I know it’s for me alone. That you’d never look at another woman that way.”

Dain held out his hand, and Britney stepped to the bed.

“Does it frighten you, my desire for you?” he asked.

“No. Because you treat me like a woman, and not like some pos­session that exists just for your own pleasure.”

“My pleasure is your pleasure, Britney. Always.”

“I know,” she said. “I can feel it in the way you touch me, kiss me, lick me, make love to me. There are no taboos between us.”

Dain nodded, and Britney wondered if this would be the night.

Make love to me, she thought. This is good. I’ve progressed from screwing and fucking to making love. Will he feel the same way, if not tonight then tomorrow night, or next week or next month, or ever?

“It’s almost…” she said. Suddenly she feared his abandonment.

“What?”

“You look at me and touch me, and make love to me with so much reverence.”

Dain looked taken aback.

“What, Bronson? Did I say something wrong?”

“No,” he said, and Britney thought he might be lying.

She realized in that moment that she knew so little about his past. He’d never volunteered any information about his past loves. Had he ever been married? Did he have children?

She knew only that he’d recently moved here, but not from where. Perhaps he’d had his heart broken, had trust issues. Up until now it had always been about her, and Jeff. He seemed so healthy that it never occurred to her to ask him about his life, what had led him here, to her.

Suddenly she wanted to know everything about this man who seemed to live to give her so much pleasure so that she could give in return some small measure of… love.

“Then what?” she asked.

“I just hope you’ll never take that for granted, use it against me.”

It was her first glimpse of what lay beneath his shining armor – something vulnerable, which only endeared him to her even more.

“Never,” Britney said. “Never in a thousand years.”

Dain grinned.

So quick, she thought, to cover up his pain.

“Did I say something funny?”

“No,” he said. “But what then, after a thousand years?”

Britney smiled and said, “I hope you’d still look at me like you do now, and love me just as you do every –”

“As I’m about to do,” he corrected. “Each time is like the first, Britney, but better.”

“It is, isn’t it?” she said. Something more about this man she loved: he was deeply reflective. But she let it go, forgetting his wisdom the moment her sweater was gone, helped over her head and cast away to the foot of the bed.

Needful, Dain pulled her to him roughly to kiss her, her breasts crushed against him. Their tongues wrestled briefly while he kneaded the flesh of her buttocks with his hands before he bent to take a breast in his mouth.

Soon, her nipples matched Dain’s own desire, erect with need. As he suckled at her right breast, Britney looked at the nipple on her left breast, gleaming with his saliva, so stiff and sensitive, and responsive to his touch, his mouth, his tongue, and realized that, before Dain, with Jeff, she only thought she’d known desire. Before Dain, she’d known desire by its definition alone, what Webster’s told her it was: a wish for something.

Dain was Britney’s wish come true.

In the center of the bed, on her hands and knees in front of him, Dain pushed her skirt up around her hips and pulled her orange pant­ies, already soaked with arousal, down to around her knees. Then she felt his face pushed between her cheeks and his tongue begin to lap her labia.

After a few minutes of this, divine though it was, Britney needed to feel his penis inside her.

“Bronson, give me your cock, please. I need to feel you, stretching me, violating me.”

But he said nothing, only continued with his wet work. When he danced his tongue across her clitoris it was too much and she came, thrusting her backside against his face. It was only then that he replaced his tongue with his penis, holding her hips, viselike, with his hands as he plunged into her while she whispered profanities between moans, squeals, and groans.

Britney came again, quickly – a different type of climax this time, with his penis inside her, more satisfying even if it was less intimate than his oral delight, screaming her pleasure at him as her cunny con­tracted around him; but Dain’s release seemed a long time cumming that first time, and she wondered if his desire for her was waning, whether she’d ever be enough for him.

“Fuck me, Bronson,” she cried after her third climax.

Suddenly she feared she was losing this god of the bedroom, but not without a fight.

“Fuck me harder, faster. I need it ever so much,” she urged.

“What?” Dain asked. “What do you need?”

“To feel your hot cum spurting all over my ass. I want to be your cum-soaked Britney, yours and yours alone.”

Apparently that was all he needed to get him over the top.

Dain withdrew to make Britney’s wish come true, cumming a huge load, maybe the biggest ever; it certainly felt that way to Britney. Every geyser after the fourth she thought was the last, but it was followed by another, and then yet another, until she lost track of the number of hits she felt on her backside.

Thin with heat, she felt it run into her crack. When he pulled her butt cheeks apart, she felt it trickling down onto her flower petals.

“My god, Bronson,” she whispered, still breathless. She rubbed his jism into her flesh, and inserted a finger into her vagina.

“What?”

“You cum so much.”

When she withdrew her finger, Dain bent to lick the remnants of his climax from her puss, then her butt. Britney wiggled her hips and told him how much she loved that he did that for her. She couldn’t im­agine Jeff ever being so thoughtful. But then, she couldn’t picture him even going down on her.

She recalled reading in some magazine that most men find giving oral distasteful. But not Dain – her Bronson. He loved it. Couldn’t get enough of it. His appetite for her snatch was unquenchable. He insisted on making oral sex a part of their nightly love making ritual, and she loved him all the more because of it.

When he finished, Britney rolled onto her back, and he kissed her, giving her a taste of his desire’s release.

They lay cuddling. Britney was ready for more – a lot more – but she knew Dain needed more time to recover, even if it was his first cli­max of the evening.

“Tell me about yourself,” she said.

“What do you mean?

“I know so little about you, Dain Galdikas. Only that you just moved here. From where?”

“Is that so important?”

“It is if you’re being as evasive as you sound.”

“I’m not being evasive, I’m just…”

“I’m sorry,” Britney said when he didn’t finish. “I don’t mean to be rude. It’s just that I’m in love with you, and I want nothing more than to one day be able to, as you said, choose to give my love to you. But before I can do that, I need to know more about you. I want to know all about you.”

Britney heard him sigh beside her.

“It’s me who should apologize,” he said. “You’re right. If we’re going to move this relationship to the next level, you need to know me.” He paused, perhaps unsure where to begin, before continuing: “I moved here from across town. I’ve been married once, but it’s been over for several years.”

“Any children?”

“No.”

“Good.” She heard Dain chuckle.

“Good?” he said.

“Any children you father should be ours.”

“I like the way you think.”

“I also think that our children would be very beautiful, polite, duti­ful, and obedient.”

Dain laughed into the darkness around them. “A tall order.”

“You think so?”

A moment later Britney heard him say, “Maybe not so tall. Not with you as their mother.”

“Don’t downplay your role. I think you’d make a wonderful daddy.” And then, “So why didn’t it work out between you and the first Mrs. Galdikas?”

He drew a breath, and a long moment ensued before he said, “She was unfaithful to me.”

“Oh, Dain. I’m so sorry.”

Britney couldn’t imagine what sort of woman would cheat on this man. He was handsome and desirable in so many ways: kind, consider­ate, thoughtful, and such a wonderful lover, putting her pleasure above his own, making her pleasure his own.

“Don’t be,” he said. “It wasn’t your fault.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“I know. But it was for the best, wouldn’t you say? If she hadn’t cheated on me, I’d never have met you, and we wouldn’t be lying here naked having this conversation after having made love.”

“Dain –” because Bronson was for bedroom play.

“Shhh, don’t say it.”

“I need to say it: I love you.”

It was a long moment before she heard his voice: “You don’t know what a relief it is to hear you say that, Britney, because I love you, too.”

Dain took her twice more – once with her on top and once in a variation of the missionary position. Flat on her back with her legs straight up in the air, her knee socks now bunched around her ankles, Bronson pistoned in and out of Britney like a freight train, kissing and licking what he called her “glamorous gams,” and Britney was free from the torment of her fear that he would one day abandon her.

She took him in her mouth the second time; his climax was weak and lacked much content, but she refused to let her earlier fear that she might not be enough for him creep back into her thoughts.

Britney was committed to never letting this man go, no matter what it took to keep him.

After returning from driving Britney home, Dain lay in bed recounting bits and pieces of their earlier discussion.

Britney: I want to know all about you.

Dain sighed. He’d withheld so much, because he had to. Even if he wanted to share the whole truth and nothing but the truth, she’d think he was a stark raving mad lunatic with his tale of time travel from 2014, where he’d been married to her daughter, who’d been unfaithful to him, that he’d traveled into the past to prevent her birth, had seduced various other versions of Britney, and, in one alternate reality, been seduced himself.

If he told her the truth, he’d have to show her the proof, take her with him, to coin a movie title, a movie that Britney wouldn’t see for another five years, back to the future.

Is that an option?

Yes, but Dain wasn’t yet ready to take that step, although he wasn’t sure why. Maybe Christ’s warnings about his eternal soul?

But it would be the smart thing to do, to keep her safe from Jeff.

Dain wanted to keep this Britney, above all the others, safe from the fates of those other Britneys. This version was young and had been, until that night at Ford Field in the rain, pure, chaste. Yet she’d been easily seduced the first time he’d returned to the past. Had she been so dissatisfied with deadbeat Jeff as her husband, or had her first time with Dain unlocked that same something that had been unlocked in Dain? He was loath to call it an obsession. If it hadn’t been Jeff, would it have been someone else? Anyone else?

Dain didn’t want answers to those questions because it would mean that he was no one special, and that maybe, in time, Britney would step out on him, as her daughter would do – had done in more than one future reality.

Britney: I also think that our children would be very beautiful, polite, dutiful, and obedient.

Dain agreed, with all of it, even the dutiful and obedient parts. Their children – his and Britney’s – would grow up to be good people, responsible, honest, and true to whomever they took as their spouse.

That’s right, he considered. Betty had been born from bad seed – Jeff’s. He refused to believe that Betty’s bisexuality or proclivity for cheating on him had come from Britney’s DNA.

“Not wanting to believe something does not make it true, Dain.”

Dain sat up in bed to see Christ sitting on the chair in the corner of his bedroom. From the light of the street lamp outside his window, he could see that Jesus sported a Happy Earth Day t-shirt: a caricature of the globe on his chest, with two arms, two legs, and a smiley face in the Atlantic Ocean, flanked by the eastern and western continents. He still wore the John Lennon glasses.

“I don’t really need them,” Christ said. “The glasses. They’re more a fashion statement.”

“Didn’t you preach against attachment to worldly possessions?”

Christ nodded. “But that doesn’t mean one can’t enjoy the com­forts available to them while they live, or admire and support someone popular in a certain era.”

“Didn’t you tell me that happiness isn’t a birthright?”

“Which is not to say one cannot enjoy life, Dain. But when pursuit of such enjoyment excludes all else, prevents one from loving one’s neighbor, from doing what is right, from communing with He who sent me, it becomes sinful. Each of you is born with a purpose. That pur­pose isn’t to seek pleasure at the exclusion of all else.”

“Why the attachment to John Lennon?”

“He was a thinker and a poet. I loved him for his creativity.”

“Yeah, like ‘Why Don’t We Do It In the Road?’ was so creative.”

“Actually, Paul came up with the lyrics while meditating in India. Watching a troop of monkeys walking along a jungle path, he saw a male monkey suddenly copulate with a female. After he finished, he simply hopped off, as if the act was the most natural one in the world.”

“Isn’t it?”

“Of course it is. But that does not mean a man and woman should jump from partner to partner under the pretext, ‘If it feels good, do it.’”

That credo, born in the late sixties at Woodstock, sounded odd to Dain, coming from the lips of the Messiah.

“Yes,” he said, “but in the nineties, that was amended to, ‘If it feels good, it must be risky and bad, immoral, and dangerous to your health.’ That should make you feel better, that all fun today is considered bad.”

“It is but a cyclical movement of repression, and repression is never healthy.” To Dain’s raised eyebrows, Christ added, “I preach suppression. The latter is a conscious choice, the former is not.”

“What difference should that make to you, how someone gets to heaven, whether it’s by conscious or unconscious choice?”

“Life is about choices, ever since the Creator gave Adam freedom of choice. Which is why he and Eve where thrown out of Paradise.”

“What if God had not laid down the law to them?”

Christ chuckled. “William Davenant, an English poet of the six­teenth century, put forth: ‘Had laws not been, we never had been blamed; for not to know we sinned is innocence.’”

“In America, ignorance of the law is no excuse.”

“That goes back to Aristotle’s time. Nemo censetur ignorare legem – no­body is thought to be ignorant of the law – or ignorantia iuris nocet – not knowing the law is harmful.”

“I get that,” Dain said. “People should know right from wrong, that stealing is wrong, as is taking someone’s life. But some things aren’t so black and white. How could Adam know that eating from the tree was an act of rebellion if God didn’t tell him?”

“The point is moot, Dain, since He told Adam not to eat of the tree. Although Adam tried to deflect, telling God that Eve persuaded him and that God had given him Eve, my Father held Adam account­able for not holding Eve to the law.”

“Ah, but you taught that, in marriage, a man and woman should leave their parents and cleave unto each other.”

“That does not mean that they should not continue to respect them, and that is not the same. Although my Father created Adam, it was not through procreation.”

“So God wasn’t his father?”

“Not in the sense your father was to you.”

“God didn’t have an obligation to teach Adam right from wrong, or how to throw and hit a baseball? He just makes rules and expects them to be followed? Do as I say and not as I do. No wonder they re­belled. No child likes to be told not to do something ‘or else.’”

“Be careful, Dain. Tread lightly where my Father is concerned.”

“Or what, I’ll be condemned to a pit of fire and brimstone for eternity? I’m simply asking questions, seeking answers and truth.”

“Yet you seek no answer from Betty.”

“Whatever answers she gives in response to my questions would only amount to excuses, and there are no excuses for what she did.”

“And what of what you do?”

“She started it. She made me do it.” Dain sounded like a petulant child. “As for my treading lightly, according to you, I’ve already lost my immortal soul.”

“You have not, else I would not be here. But, getting back to Paul and the song lyric: most people conclude it is a song about sex, but it is a statement about freedom. Why don’t we procreate in the middle of the road? Paul might’ve been talking about defecating in public when he wrote the lyrics. Man is civilized and that’s why you don’t. The song simply posed a question. For some, ‘Why don’t we do it in the road?’ might be a statement having to do with sex, but for others, more im­portantly, it’s about freedom.”

Dain heard Paul’s voice singing the lyric in his head – Why don’t we do it in the road? – and worried that it would prevent him from falling asleep. He recalled that back in the seventies, when the song had been popular, some disc jockey at a rock and roll station had spliced together an eight-minute version for airplay from what originally had been a less than two minutes ditty.

He shook the voice from his head and said, “Freedom? You’re one to talk. Religion is all about rules. What we can’t do, shouldn’t do, and what we must do in order to gain the keys to the car.”

“I do not believe in religion, Dain.”

“Come again? Didn’t you create Christianity?”

“Christianity is not a religion. It is a philosophy, a way of life.”

“Tell that to the church in Rome.”

Christ sighed. “Man needs rules in his life, and order. An orphaned lion cub becomes unruly, and grows up to be aggressive.”

“We’re not lion cubs.”

“Man is much worse. He is far more intelligent and devious, and has opposable thumbs. Mankind prides itself on finding new ways to kill itself more efficiently.”

Dain yawned; then he looked at Christ’s t-shirt again. “Every day should be Earth Day.”

“I agree, but that is not why I am here.”

“Of course it’s not.” Dain made little effort to hide his sarcasm. “But I’m tired. Can’t we do this in the morning?”

“Do not put off until tomorrow what can be done today.”

“Who said that?”

“Benjamin Franklin.”

“Don’t tell me, another historical figure you hold in high esteem.”

Christ nodded.

“Let’s see,” Dain said. “An illegitimate son and a common law marriage. Seems Ben was a sinner, like the rest of us.”

“Benjamin proposed to Deborah, but her mother forbade her from marrying him – he was young, and she had been recently widowed and lacked financial means. Deborah wed John Rodgers who, in order to avoid his debts, fled alone to Barbados, taking Deborah’s dowry with him. Because of bigamy laws, Deborah was not free to remarry.”

“So that made it okay, to live in sin?”

“This is not about Benjamin Franklin, Dain. It is about you, and you only endeavor to put off taking your own responsibility.”

“Sigh,” Dain said. “I think I’m being nothing but responsible.” He stopped to consider, then conceded. “Maybe I was wrong to seduce Britney that first time, but my only other option was to murder her.”

“That was not your only other option.”

Dain ignored Christ. “And maybe I was wrong to seduce her in other timelines and realities. But I’m trying to make it right, holding myself accountable for my first indiscretion and, more importantly, keep her safe. Besides, being the voyeur I know you to be, you know that she told me that she loves me, and I reciprocated.”

“Would she still love you, do you think, if you told her the truth?”

“I’d have to show her the truth.”

“If she truly loved you, she would trust what you tell her as truth.”

“And actions speak louder than words. Taking her with me back to the future – could there be a greater act of love?”

Christ said nothing.

“Romeo killed himself when he thought he’d lost Juliette forever.”

Romeo and Juliette was just a play.”

“Does that really matter? If Romeo had truly loved Juliette, he would not have killed himself. He would’ve gone on, kept her alive in his memory, made the best of it.” Dain tried to recall the novel in which he’d read that – some local novelist striving to make it to the big time. “Which is what I’m doing. Betty gave me lemons, and I’m making lemonade.”

Christ shook his head. “I tell you the truth, Dain. Your time grows short.”

Dain nodded. “So it was a lie, what you said. You’re turning your back on me.”

“Dain. I am not turning my back from you. It is you who is turning your back to me.”

Dain said nothing.

“What you are contemplating… It will not end well. Not for you or Britney – not in this life or the next one.”

Forever A Philanderer—Chapter Twelve

“Let time that makes you homely, make you sage.”
– Thomas Parnell

2014

Dain returned home to find his house changed. The changes were not subtle: it lacked a woman’s touch. All of the rooms showed a man’s choice in color and décor.

So I’m not married to Betty, he thought with glee. Good riddance to the philandering bitch.

Then it hit him. This was the house of a bachelor; apparently he’d never wed at all. He knew he wouldn’t find Britney waiting for him with open arms and legs, because he hadn’t yet married her in the past. But that he’d never married surprised him. He’d always considered himself the marrying type.

“No, you never married,” a voice said from the corner of his den. It was Christ, still wearing his John Lennon Imagine t-shirt.

“I wish you wouldn’t do that,” Dain said.

“Imagine what your life has been like these past ten years, not having met Betty.”

“At least she’s not cheating on me.”

“And still you feel the pain of her past betrayal.”

“But she’s no longer making a fool of me.”

“You’ve done little but take a string of lovers into your bed, Dain, because you’ve yet to meet the woman of your dreams.”

“I married the woman of my dreams, and she turned out to be a nightmare.”

“Dain,” Christ said. “I tell you the truth. Your other self, whom you replaced in this time stream when you returned, is vaguely aware of your doings, such is your tie to him across time realities. He seeks, although he is unaware of it, his Britney.”

“You mean he hasn’t met her at the post office, the grocery store, or any of the other places they both frequent?”

“He cannot.”

Something in Christ’s tone of voice and demeanor alerted Dain that something had gone terribly awry in the past.

“Jeff took her life, a week after you took her virginity.”

No,” Dain said. “I’ve got to go back to save her.”

“Haven’t you done enough harm?”

But Dain didn’t hear Christ. He fled his den for a shave and a shower, his thoughts aswirl with plans to undo the past and finally win Britney for himself.

On Monday, he went to the bank and withdrew his life’s savings. He had no intention of returning to the present. Even if he did, he would return at the precise moment he’d left. He thought about cash­ing in his 401K, but he didn’t wish to wait for the paperwork to pro­cess. Although he could set his time machine for any precise moment in the past, he was anxious. He couldn’t bear the thought that Britney had been murdered. He’d do anything to prevent that.

Then he went to the coin shop to exchange his currency for older bills. He ended up having to go to a dozen coin shops before he could exchange all of his fifty thousand dollars.

Returning to his den, he photo-shopped a new driver license, changing his birthday and the date it was due to be renewed.

Next, with a few mouse clicks he discovered to his chagrin that the Lotto 6/40 wouldn’t be in place until August 13, 1984. He’d have to live frugally, very frugally on the occasional daily three and four number tickets. It would be several months before he could place a winning bet on the Super Bowl XV winning Oakland Raiders. He wrote down the winners of the Super Bowl and Kentucky Derby for the next thirty years, along with the winning numbers for several lotto drawings throughout the 1990s.

He considered printing several copies of his resume to bring with him, but it would prove worthless. His work experience didn’t start until the mid-nineties, and his degree was dated 1993. If need be, he could always get a job on an assembly line until he scored the lotto. He’d do anything for Britney, now that she was within his grasp.

Satisfied, he set his time machine for 1980, on the morning after he deflowered the eighteen-year-old Britney.

1980

Dain’s first order of business was to open a bank account. He held his breath when they asked for identification; but his driver license worked like a charm. He kept five thousand dollars and asked for a roll of dimes.

Next he purchased a copy of the Northville Record and sat at a breakfast diner perusing the real estate section. He found a house on the west end of town within walking distance that was open for immediate occupancy, and used the pay phone to call the owner. She agreed to meet him at eleven o’clock.

Dain found the house to his liking, signed the paperwork, paid his security deposit and first month’s rent, exchanging it for a key.

He returned to the breakfast diner and, using the phone book, called the utilities companies to set up accounts in his name. Then he phoned for a cab.

“Where to?” the cab driver asked as Dain slid into the backseat.

“The nearest car dealership.”

The cab took him to Tom Holzer Ford, where Dain bought a black three-year-old Toyota Celica with low mileage for fifteen hundred dol­lars. Paying cash resulted in not having to show proof of insurance.

With his new wheels beneath him, Dain drove to Art Van, and purchased furniture for his new pad. They were happy to deliver his purchases on Wednesday, which meant he would have to spend two nights sleeping on the floor, using the mattress pad he purchased for the bed.

On his way home, he stopped at the grocery store to buy staples for his pantry and refrigerator.

Passing Cloverdale, he considered stopping to see if Britney was working, but thought better of it. He didn’t wish to appear too eager, possessive, or clinging, so he drove home, unpacked his groceries, and fixed a quick dinner.

By then it was late and he was exhausted. He’d had a busy day, had accomplished much in laying the foundation for his new life. He still had the copy of the Northville Record, so he sat down at the dining room table to peruse the want ads.

Syntel, Inc., a provider of integrated technology and business ser­vices had recently opened its doors for business. They were head­quartered in Troy, about thirty-five miles northeast of Northville. Dain regretted not creating a dummy resume before he left, but even if he had, using it would be risky, and he had no references. He likely could talk his way into a consulting position. He knew enough about eighties technology to be dangerous. Still, he needed to have something to pre­sent at an interview in the way of a resume.

He decided he was too tired to make an informed decision, and called it a night.

The next morning, Dain decided to return to the future. He thought it prudent to bring back into the past his laptop and printer. He’d have no access to the Internet, since it did not exist in 1980, but he’d at least be able to create and print documents. He also packed a couple of boxes of dishes, glasses, silverware and some cookware, along with a phone and some clothes, to bring back with him. While in 2014, he changed the coordinates on his time travel machine to his rented house. He also added a day of his arrival to Wednesday so that he wouldn’t have to spend a second night tossing and turning on the floor.

Art Van arrived with his furniture shortly after eleven o’clock, and by two o’clock he had his furniture arranged, his bed dressed, his kitch­enware unpacked, and his laptop and printer set up. He spent the next hour creating a resume, but he was still unsure whether to use it.

At three o’clock he called Britney. Her mother answered the phone and told him she was working and that her shift would end at seven.

Dain arrived at Cloverdale a few minutes before seven. After Britney clocked out, they strolled over to Genitti’s Hole-In-The-Wall for dinner. Genitti’s started out as a meat and grocery store, but in November 1979, the restaurant opened. Dain knew that the restaurant would expand in 1981 to the building next door, which would further expand a few years later to include downstairs dining, a bar and a gift shop.

“I didn’t think it was possible,” Dain said, admiring Britney from across the table.

“What?”

“That you look more beautiful each time I see you.”

Britney blushed. “Thank you. Being in love might have something to do with that.”

Dain chuckled. “Oh? Have you met someone else?”

“No, silly. I’m in love with you.”

“Music to my ears. But don’t you think that has to do with our making love?”

“I’m sure it does,” she said. “I can’t wait to get naked with you again.”

Dain grinned. “Soon.” Then, recalling what Christ had said on the subject of love, he got serious. “Yet being in love with someone is not the same as loving them.”

“What do you mean?”

“Being in love is part of the courtship process. It’s the butterflies in the stomach, the sweaty palms and the quickened heart rate. The wanting to spend time with someone. But love is a choice. When we look at our partner, see them and all their flaws, and we choose not to look away, that’s love.” Dain felt his conscience hiccup at that wisdom. He’d been unable to look away after he discovered Betty’s last and greatest flaw.

Britney laughed. “You have flaws?”

“A few. But seriously, I look forward to the day when you tell me that you love me.”

“That’s really how you see love?”

Dain nodded.

“I’ve never looked at it that way.”

“You’re young, idealistic, and I don’t mean that in a snobbish way.”

“I took no offense. But it seems a healthy way to view love.”

“A healthy love is difficult to come by; it doesn’t just happen. It re­quires work.” He recalled the work he’d put into his marriage. But Betty had never reciprocated. Her disloyalty was proof. “But it is ever so rewarding.”

Dain looked at Britney, her dark hair and eyes, her upturned nose, dimpled chin, and her ripe lips, and liked the way she was looking at him. Perhaps she was beginning to see him for who he was, and not just the man to whom she’d given her body, the man for whom she lusted – a Charles Bronson fantasy lover.

“You really are beautiful,” he said, “and,” glancing at her full breasts, “you have a beautiful body.”

Dain recalled from previous soirées between the legs of other Britney’s what got her motor revving: his kisses, his mouth sucking on a nipple, his tongue teasing it erect; kissing and licking his way from her ankles, nibbling her thighs, probing her petals with his tongue. As well as his copious compliments.

Britney rolled her eyes. “Contrary to what a third party used to tell me.”

“That you weren’t beautiful?”

“He told me I was fat.”

“Jeesus, Britney. He’s nothing but an ass. He probably told you that just to lower your self-esteem and make himself feel better.”

“Really?”

“I’ve never met him, but I know his type, and yes, it’s a way for him to keep you under his thumb, to control you, to make you feel in­secure.”

“I never thought about that.”

“A man should always make his woman feel beautiful.”

“You certainly do that.”

“You have a glorious body, perfectly proportioned. It fits you, and you so wear it well, proudly but without arrogance.”

Britney smiled. “Don’t ever stop telling me that.”

“I won’t, nor will I ever stop showing you, if you know what I mean.” Then he added, “Speaking of third parties, have you heard from him?”

“No. I think he’s accepted the fact that it’s over.”

Dain grinned and nodded, but he wasn’t as hopeful as Britney was. He didn’t think for a minute that Jeff had accepted that he’d lost her.

Dain drove Britney back to his place.

“Wow,” she said as he slid into the driver’s seat next to her. “This is one of those expensive babies.”

“It gets me around.”

“With five speeds, I imagine it gets you around fast.”

“I prefer a manual transmission,” he said.

“Why’s that?”

“When I’m driving my woman home and I reach for the gearshift, I can misplace my hand, like so.” Dain rested his hand on Britney’s thigh and gave it a gentle squeeze.

“I love the feel of your touch.”

“Anywhere?”

Everywhere.”

“I love the way you make me feel, Britney.”

“I’m glad, because I feel the same way. Now hurry, let’s get back to your place so we can make love.”

After giving Britney a tour of his house, they stopped in the kitchen, where Dain got a can of whipped cream from the refrigerator.

“What’s that for?” Britney asked.

Dain smiled at the innocence of her question. “A sweet substitute for mud.”

Her arms went around him and she pulled herself against him. “Oooh. I can’t wait.”

In the bedroom, Dain slowly undressed her. First her blouse and bra came off, and he gently kissed and suckled her breasts as Britney offered encouragement. Next, he pulled down her skirt and panties, and pushed her onto the bed. She watched him undress.

“Oh, Bronson,” she said, arching her back when she saw his erec­tion bobbing in front of him. “He looks so happy to see me.”

“He is,” Dain said, giving her his best Charles Bronson imitation. Hearing Britney say her pet name for him aroused him further.

Britney giggled. “You even sound like him.”

Armed with his trusty can of whipped cream, he climbed into bed and covered her nipples with cream. After licking them clean, he sprayed a thin trail down her belly and then on and into her vagoo.

“That’s cold,” Britney shrieked, drawing up her knees.

Dain looked up from where he knelt between her thighs. His eyes lingered a moment on her heaving breasts – her nipples glistening with saliva, were thick and erect with arousal – before he gazed into her eyes. “Let’s see if I can get you hot.”

Then he began to lap up the whipped cream, starting with her mound and then working his tongue inside her – lathering her labia with his tongue before, at just the right moment, flicking it across her clitoris, teasing it from its hood, probing, licking, sucking, slurping. Britney squirmed and squealed as he ate her, clasping his face with her thighs until she came, thrusting her pelvis against his face.

Then it was Dain’s turn. He lay on his back, his erection purple with desire, threatening to burst as Britney covered his genitals with cream. After licking him clean, she sucked him to a forceful climax while he fingered her trim. As she had on the pitcher’s mound at Ford Field, Britney, wanting to please her man, let a small amount dribble down her chin and onto her breasts.

Dain licked her breasts clean and then went down on her again, bringing her to another climax. By then he’d reloaded and took her again, from behind, cumming a torrential flood over her rump.

They lay side-by-side, Britney cuddling Dain with a leg over his.

“I love the way you love my body,” she said.

“You’re pretty amazing yourself.”

“I feel I have so much to learn.”

“You’re a quick study. Just keep doing what comes naturally, what you enjoy. I won’t ask you to do anything you’re not comfortable do­ing. And remember what I said. Keep it out of the classroom.”

Britney laughed and slid her hand down to between Dain’s legs. “You think you can go again?”

“Absolutely.”

He led her to the shower, where he took her from behind, hefting her breasts in his hands, withdrawing at the last as she knelt in front of him, fisting his manhood.

“Please, Bronson,” she begged. “Give it to me. You want to unload all over my big titties, don’t you?”

“Yesss.”

“I want to feel your hot cum shooting all over my tits.”

With a groan, Dain gave her what she wanted. After spattering his jism over her immense breasts, she raised each one to her mouth to lick his cum from her nipples.

“Wow,” he told her, “that’s so hot, watching you do that.”

Britney only grinned.

After lathering each other up with soap and rinsing clean, they re­turned to bed, where Dain told her how much he loved Britney’s body.

“I’m glad you do.”

“You have a magnificent body.”

“You think so?”

“I know so. You could do a spread in Playboy.”

“You wouldn’t want me to do that, would you?” she asked seduc­tively. She knew, instinctively, that Dain loved to be teased in that way. Where Jeff would’ve flown into a rage, Dain knew she was only teasing him. She understood he would never ask her to do something like that, but she wondered if she would if he did ask, telling her how hot it would make him, seeing her naked body in vibrant color on the glossy pages of a girlie magazine, imagining millions of men masturbating to her Playboy spread.

“No,” he said. “I want you to myself.”

Britney’s smile widened, and in that moment she realized how much power she had over him. But she promised herself that she’d never use that power for evil.

“Then I’m all yours, now and forever,” she said.

After a moment, he asked her again about Jeff. “You really think you’ve heard the last from that other interested third party?”

“I hope so.”

“So do I,” Dain said, “but I’m not so sure.”

Something about the way he said that, and the look on his face, chilled Britney. It was as if Dain knew of what Jeff was capable. But she immediately cast it away.

“Let’s not talk about him in our bed,” she said, and then covered his mouth with hers.

Britney felt Dain respond to her hand fondling his testicles, and he took her again, in the missionary position, withdrawing after her climax to cum over her belly, which she promptly rubbed in before licking her fingers clean of his sticky sauce.

Lying next to him, she whispered into the darkness, “Please don’t ever stop wanting me, Dain.”

“I won’t.”

“Promise?”

“You have my word, along with another part of my body.”

Britney laughed.

“In return,” he said, “I ask only that you never ask me to ablactate myself from your body.”

She almost laughed again, but Dain looked so serious. Instead, she said, “I don’t even know what that means.”

“It means to wean an infant from their mother’s breast.”

She smiled and told him, “You’re anything but an infant.”

“That’s true, but I’m already addicted to your body, and incapable of weaning myself from you.”

“I hate watching you dress,” Dain said, watching her step into her panties and pull them up around her hips. “I prefer seeing you nude.”

“I know,” she said, stepping into her skirt. “I love your nakedness, too.”

“I wish you’d stay the night, Love,” he said.

“I wish I could, but my mother will miss me, and I’m not ready to let her know that we’ve slept together.”

Dain chuckled. “A misnomer, since we’ve done everything but sleep together, but I hear you.”

“I love your legs,” he said, “but I can’t wait to see you in jeans – the tighter the better.”

“Hah.” “I know someone who insisted I looked fat in jeans.”

“We have to stop talking about him. I tell you the truth,” Dain added, “you have an incredible body. I love every inch of it. You’ll never be fat to me. Listen to what I tell you, and forget that you ever knew that moron.”

Britney smiled and nodded. “I will, Bronson. For you, I will.”

Dain drove Britney home, walked her to the door, and kissed her goodnight. Then he drove home, deep in thought.

He recalled her pulling up her skirt and telling her how beautiful he thought her legs, knowing that they’d become even more spectacular in a few years, once she finished maturing.

Dain: You’ll never be fat. That other, older Britney, the alcoholic, was in another reality, and he was certain that this version would never let herself go. He wouldn’t let her.

“Shit,” he muttered, suddenly aware of his other words: I tell you the truth. Those were words Christ had used, many times. Why had Dain made them his? Was Christ, at that very moment, his conscience, trying to persuade him to put a stop to his madness?

Madness? he thought. I’ve never been more sane, seen with more clarity.

“This is right,” he whispered. “It has to be right.”

Why? Because you want it to be?”

“Damn straight.”

Madness, he thought again, aware that, until recently, he’d never in his life talked to himself.

Dain pulled into his driveway and shut off the Celica. As he opened his car door, another car pulled into his driveway, stopping with a squeal of tires.

A moment later, Jeff got out and approached him.

“You stay away from Britney, you hear?” Jeff said. “She’s my girl.”

Dain’s adrenaline rushed, but he forced himself to remain calm. He stepped over to Jeff.

“First, Britney isn’t a girl. She’s a woman, and she’s not yours. She doesn’t belong to anyone. She gets to choose,” he added, as much for Christ’s benefit as for Jeff’s. “And she chooses me – a man over a boy. You’re rejectamenta, get it? Now, let me tell you: you stay away from her.”

“You don’t scare me, old man,” Jeff said, and gave Dain a two-handed shove. Dain had six inches on Jeff, and thirty pounds, so the push had the effect of sending Jeff backward two steps, while Dain rocked back once, but kept his footing.

“Well, that makes two of us, boy.”

Dain lowered his shoulder and drove forward, like a linebacker is taught to drive through his tackle, and knocked Jeff stumbling back­ward. The kid lost his balance, tried to keep his feet under him, but fell hard onto his coccyx with a resounding crack.

“You’d best let this go, before you get yourself hurt,” Dain said, towering over Jeff. “Drive safely,” he added, and left for his front door.

Behind him, Dain heard Jeff say, “I’ll get you.”

Dain threw up a hand and replied, “Yeah, yeah.”

As Dain entered the house, he heard a car door slam and an engine roar to life; a moment later, a squeal of tires announced Jeff’s angry departure.

Into the order some chaos must fall, Dain thought.

Forever A Philanderer—Chapter Eleven

“Nothing really belongs to us but time, which even he has who has nothing else.”
– Baltasar Gracián

 

They left Getzie’s and strolled down East Main holding hands. Other sidewalk walkers passed them walking the opposite way, and Dain noticed the envious glances of several young men, where their eyes were fixed – on Britney’s breasts – and he wondered if she was aware of where they looked. She seemed oblivious to their stares. She’d either learned to accept it as a penalty for being desirable, or, as a result of her naiveté, she wasn’t aware of it.

He glanced at her and found she was already looking at him, beaming her smile. He tightened his grip on her hand and fought back his desire.

“This is nice,” she said. “So different from when I’m out with Jeff.”

“He treats you as a possession, his property.”

“Yes.”

“Let’s not talk about him.”

Britney nodded.

“Did you drive or walk?”

“I walked. It’s not far.”

“Then I’ll walk you home.”

Ten minutes later they stood in front of Britney’s home. Dain turned to her and took her other hand.

“I enjoyed our time together, Britney.”

“Me, too.”

“Thanks for agreeing to see me.”

“Thanks for asking. I almost said ‘no’, but I’m glad I didn’t.”

“So am I.”

“Want to come in and meet my mother?”

“No daddy?” Dain knew, from Betty, that her mother’s husband had abandoned Britney and her mother when she was just a toddler.

“My father left us when I was very young. I have no memory of him.”

“That’s too bad. But are you sure you want your mother to meet me so soon? I mean, she might think I’m too old for you.”

“Just how old are you?”

“I’m in my thirties.” Dain had been told that he looked thirty-something.

“She’ll be fine with that. She never liked Jeff anyway. I told her I was meeting you, and she’ll think you’re a predator or something if you don’t come in.”

“Okay, let’s do it.”

Britney opened the door and called out, “Mom, I’m home. There’s someone here I’d like you to meet.”

A moment later an older woman entered the room. Older was a misnomer, since she appeared closer to Dain’s age than Britney was. Dain could see where Britney had gotten her good looks, although where the daughter was more glamorous, the mother was plain, and a bit more than matronly.

Dain held out his hand. “I’m Dain. It’s a pleasure to meet you.”

“Thank you, it’s nice to meet you, too.” She didn’t seem troubled by his age. “Britney’s told me all about you.”

“Really? I can’t imagine she’s told you much since we only just met this afternoon.”

She laughed and said, “Well, any young man would be an im­provement over who she’s seeing now.”

“Mother!”

“Well, it’s the truth, Britney. That boy is trouble.” Then, to Dain she said, “I’ve been hoping she’d meet someone nice.”

“I promise to treat your daughter with respect.”

“That’s good to know, and I’ll hold you to that.”

“Wouldn’t have it any other way.”

“Now, I’ll leave you two to say goodnight.”

When she was gone, Dain turned to Britney. “How’d I do?”

“She likes you.”

“She only just met me.”

“Well, she’s right. Anyone would be an improvement over –”

“Don’t say his name,” Dain told her, placing his finger over her mouth.

“Sorry.”

“Let’s look ahead, to the future.”

She smiled.

Dain looked at her for a long moment, unsure how to proceed. Finally, he said, “I had a great time tonight, with you. When can I see you again?”

“Give me a few days to break up with… you know who. Give me your number and I’ll call you.”

“It’s best if I call you. And no, I’m not married. I just moved to the area and don’t yet have a phone.”

She seemed to accept that lie and left the room, returning a minute later to hand a scrap of paper with her phone number on it.

“I had a great time, Dain. Thank you.”

“Thank you back,” he said, turning to go.

“Aren’t you going to kiss me?”

Dain grinned. “I was hoping you’d ask.”

Then he bent to kiss her mouth. Britney was tentative at first, un­certain that he might find her inexperienced, but she was quick to fol­low his lead, and the kiss turned sensuous. After a moment, he gen­tly probed her mouth with his tongue, which she allowed.

“Wow,” she said when he broke the kiss. “I’ve never been kissed like that before.”

Dain smiled at her. “I can do better.”

“I don’t see how.”

Then he hugged her, delighting in the feel of her breasts against him. She seemed reluctant to let go.

Then he kissed her cheek and said, “Good night, Britney.”

“Good night.”

“Oh,” he said, reaching into his pocket to remove the necklace. “I almost forgot. When I saw this this afternoon, I thought of you. Don’t open it until I’m gone. You can tell me next time if I did well.”

Britney took the box while she held her other hand over her mouth in disbelief.

On his way back to Ford Field, Dain wondered how in the hell he could manage to date someone in 1980 from 2014.

2014

“You’ve been a busy man, Dain.” Christ sat in the chair in the cor­ner of Dain’s den. Gone was the Tigers jersey, replaced by a black t-shirt bearing the image of the left side of John Lennon’s face, a huge left eye behind the perfect circle lens of his glasses and the left side of his nose, over which his name appeared, vertically. At the top, just be­low the crew neck and at a slight angle, was the word Imagine.

“Where’ve you been?” Dain said. “I thought you’d given up on me.”

“I never give up on a member of my flock.”

“I’m not a sheep.”

“You know what they say about love, don’t you, Dain?”

Dain blinked. “I don’t even know who ‘they’ are.”

“Love is as much an object as an obsession. Everybody wants it, everybody seeks it, but few ever truly achieve it.”

Dain ignored Christ’s lesson. “You know, The Beatles at one time were more popular than you.”

Christ smiled. “But they couldn’t remain faithful to one another. But I will be here forever.”

“Like a rock,” Dain sang, in a credible impression of Bob Seger.

“You deceived Britney, Dain, by telling her you were not married.”

“I’m not married, not anymore. Not since Betty started cheating on me. It’s no longer a biblical marriage, right? In your time she’d be stoned and I’d be free to take another wife.”

“Dain, do you not see what your obsession is doing to you?”

“Don’t talk to me about obsession. Obsession and fortitude, along with my morals, are what’s brought me to where I am – and it’s not such a bad place.”

“You paraphrase the wisdom of Albert Einstein, and poorly.”

Dain shrugged. “Einstein wasn’t so brilliant. He thought Tesla was smarter.” Then he added, “Maybe my morals aren’t what they once were, but I was unfaithful only because someone cheated on me. Now I’m trying to save someone who needs saving.”

“You are not so brilliant as you would like to think, Dain.” Christ’s tone was as close to mocking as Dain had ever heard from him. “Don’t you think that necklace was an inappropriate gift for a first date?”

“She didn’t seem to think so.”

“And that didn’t strike you as odd? She is drawn to you, Dain, be­cause of her connection to all of her sisters in other universes.”

“So what. That’s good. That will only make my job easier.”

Christ sighed heavily and said, “Your latest journey into your past has altered your present, but not in the way you wished.”

“I’m not finished with my plan.”

“Betty still lies in your bed.”

Dain thought about that. “That just means that Britney and Jeff got back together because I haven’t yet returned to finish what I started.”

“What do you plan to do, Dain, return to 1980 with still more money, get a job, buy a home, marry Britney, and live happily ever af­ter?”

“If that’s what it takes to protect her.”

“If you do, then you can add murder to your list of sins.”

Dain shook his head. “Betty will cease to exist, which is not the same thing as killing her.”

“Isn’t it? Your argument against pro-choice is that abortion takes from the zygote everything it will become. You call that murder.”

Dain hadn’t considered that. “Well why don’t you wave your magic wand or chalice or hand, or whatever, and stop me?”

“Dain, that’s not how it works.”

“Of course not. Freedom to choose. Then I get to burn in Hell for eternity.”

Christ said nothing.

Dain ran a hand through his hair, finding his way back into the dis­cussion. “But surely Betty still exists, in some alternate reality, along with her cheating slut-lover, Rachael.”

Christ nodded. “But it doesn’t change what she did, Dain.”

“I don’t care. At least I’d –”

“What, Dain? Win?”

“Yes.”

“What good is winning if you lose your eternal soul?”

Unconvinced, Dain paraphrased Mr. Spock: “Sometimes the needs of the one outweigh the immoral actions of another.”

“You justify saving Britney at Betty’s expense.”

Dain nodded.

“Wouldn’t it be more gratifying for you to approach Betty with her duplicity, and hold her accountable?”

“No.”

“Because you would have to give up Britney.”

“Because, as you said, it would change nothing. What’s been done is done. She can’t undo her treachery. Is she still cheating on me, the Betty upstairs?”

Christ ignored Dain’s question. “It won’t heal your heart. And you surely won’t find happiness in the arms of her would-be mother.”

“You don’t know that.”

“I tell you the truth, Dain, I do know.”

Dain thought about that, about with whom he was talking. “Even if you’re right, I’m happy now, at the moment, and I’ll take it, for as long as I can.”

“Are you truly happy? Or do you simply think you are?”

“You sound like a shrink.”

“Speaking of murder, what of Jeff?”

“What about him?”

“You know not what you drive him to do.”

“All the more reason why she needs me, to protect her.”

“What if you should fail?”

It occurred to Dain that Christ was omnipotent. “Are you speaking of what will come to pass, or only in possibilities?”

Christ only launched another salvo: “Have you considered your younger self, and what happens to him when you travel into your past?”

Dain considered a moment. “I assume the two of us can’t exist in the same moment.”

Christ shook his head. “You take from him, too, everything he will ever have.”

“But surely he exists in some alternate reality of the past.”

“Your soul blackens, Dain, with each immoral act you commit. You must stop before it is too late.”

“Oh, and Betty’s soul remains so pure?”

“Do not compare your sins. Her sins cannot justify your actions.”

When Dain said nothing, Christ added, “Remember, for God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever be­lieves in him shall not perish but have eternal life. I am here for you, Dain, whenever you’re ready.”

Dain recalled seeing the reference to that bible verse in many foot­ball playoff games: John 3:16. Rollen Frederick Crogan (no relation to Britney’s husband), known as Rock ’n’ Rollen, and Rainbow Man for his rainbow-colored afro wig, started the trend, holding up signs that read John 3:16 at sporting events around the country in the 1970s and 1980s. A born-again Christian, Crogan was determined to get out the message via television.

But Christ was gone, and for that Dain was grateful. He didn’t want to listen to his banalities about righteousness and immorality masked as proverbs of wisdom.

1980

“Hey, baby,” Dain said when Britney came to take his order. “I know the plan was for me to call, but I couldn’t wait to see you. I hope you don’t mind that I came by.”

“Not at all,” Britney said, smiling.

“I see you’re wearing the necklace I gave you. Do you like it?”

Britney’s hand went to the pendant. “It’s beautiful. I love it.”

Dain didn’t think that she thought it an inappropriate gift. Still, he hoped she hadn’t showed it to her mother.

“A beautiful necklace for a beautiful woman. I’m glad you like it.” Then Dain put forth the question that was weighing on him heavily. “Did you tell Jeff it was over?”

Britney grew serious. “Yes.”

“How did he take it?”

“Not well.”

“I didn’t think he would.”

“He asked me if I’d met someone else, and when I told him yes, he got angry. Then he cried and begged me to reconsider. When I told him it was over, he got mad again. He accused me of cheating on him.”

“Is that what you felt you did, cheat on him?”

“No.” Then, after a moment, she recanted. “Well, maybe.”

“You did no such thing, Britney. You’re not wearing his ring, he hasn’t asked you to marry him. We did nothing but kiss. You’re eighteen, and quite frankly, you should be playing the field.”

“I don’t want to develop a reputation for being that kind of girl.”

“That’s not what I meant. I only meant that you will increase your chances of finding a good man, someone who’s compatible with you, if you don’t settle for the guy who gave you your first kiss.”

“But I –”

“No buts. There’s truth in the adage, ‘If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you, it was meant to be.’ You’re not his property. If he truly loved you, he’d want to see you happy.”

Britney nodded.

“Now,” Dain said, “what else happened?”

“I thought he was going to hit me. Finally, he told me it wasn’t over until he told me it was.”

“You want me to step in?”

“No. I think that would only make it worse.”

Dain considered that. He knew, from future experience, of what Jeff was capable.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “I worry about what he might do to you.”

“I think the worst is over. He’ll get over it.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“Listen,” she said, glancing toward the kitchen, “I need to get back to work. Will you be here long?”

“Until you’re free for dinner.”

“Great,” she said, and left.

Dain watched her for the rest of her shift, lusting over her legs and recalling all the Britney’s he’d known over the years of her life. He felt his future with this one was brighter than all the others. But how he might attain that future remained just out of grasp.

He considered abandoning his future, moving into the past for good, but that would prove difficult. He’d have to get a job, which was akin to acquiring a new identity. He’d have to find a new career, maybe even go back to college, get his first degree a second time.

Then ne thought about bringing her back with him to the future, and that was an option. She’d certainly be free and safe from Jeff’s retribution.

Then it hit him. Armed with the knowledge of the future, he could win the lottery, make money betting on the outcome of the Super Bowl and the Kentucky Derby. Money wouldn’t have to be an issue. They could live a life of luxury.

He relaxed. He could make this work, one way or another.

After dinner at Getzie’s, they made their way hand-in-hand across the ball field in Ford Field. When they reached the pitcher’s mound, Dain stopped and turned to Britney to kiss her, first nibbling her lower lip and then covering her mouth with his, slipping his tongue past her lips; she moaned and let herself melt against him. This is what she wished it could be with Jeff. When he placed a hand on a breast, she didn’t push him away. With a groan, she pushed her pelvis against his and felt his erection. Dain cupped her right buttock with his other hand. Jeff had told her he thought her backside was fat; but she trusted Dain, that he would never say anything hurtful to her. She could see the way he looked at her. There were no lies in his eyes, only honest desire.

The first few drops of rain began to fall as their kiss became more ardent. Britney held her body against his as the rain fell harder, moving her pelvis against his, and Dain seemed to give himself to the moment, returning her hungry kiss. She sighed as he hiked up her skirt around her hips and cupped the soft pliancy of her buttocks, drenched by the rain.

Britney looked down to where his eyes had fallen, on her breasts. Even her bra couldn’t conceal the arousal of the large pebbles that her nipples had become. She’d always thought her breasts were too large for her figure, but the way he looked at them banished that fear, and she suddenly longed to feel his mouth on them. His skin glistened with rain, as if he’d just gotten out of the shower, and her desire increased.

He pulled her top over her head and removed her bra, and his eyes widened at the sight of her wet breasts dancing as she stepped out of her skirt, and then her panties. She wore nothing but the necklace he’d given her. His clothes joined hers in a heap; his body was beautiful – not muscular, but lean and taut – his erection pointed skyward and looked so painful. Britney was drunk with power, that she had caused its splendor, and she longed to taste it, to ease its great need. Dain low­ered her gently to the ground.

They wrestled in their passion as the rain fell still harder, Dain’s hands unable to rest for long in one place, first fondling a breast, then going to a hip, her buttocks, a thigh, leaving mud wherever they rested. She stroked his need – the first erection she’d ever seen – with mud and tickled his balls, and he moaned with desire.

“Are you sure you want this?” he asked.

“Yesss.”

Dain fingered her muff gently, already wet with Britney’s arousal. He withdrew his finger and inhaled her sent before he licked and sucked her dew from it. Overcome by desire, Britney smiled and arched her back as he lowered his head to suckle her proffered breasts, first one and then the other, so tenderly.

“Oh, Dain, that feels so nice,” she said, cradling his head against her breasts.

He stopped nibbling a nipple to say, “Call me Bronson.”

Britney giggled, and said, “Bronson.”

Dain tongued her to climax, twice in rapid succession, then rolled on top of her and gently pushed himself inside her until he felt an ob­struction, then he lunged to penetrate her hymen; Britney cried out, then squealed and squirmed to accommodate his erection, and they settled into a steady rhythm. Britney clasped his buttocks with her hands and clutched his waist with her thighs.

Dain rolled onto his back, with Britney still impaled on his penis, allowing her to control their pleasure. She rode him gently at first, wanting to acclimate her virgin muffin to his erection, raising and low­ering herself with her legs.

Soon she increased the tempo, and her mud stained breasts heaved and bounced from the ferocity of her movements. A moment later, Dain placed his hands on her breasts, and when Britney looked at his face, she found his eyes fixed on hers. In that moment – that his con­cern was for her, that he might hurt her – she loved him all the more. She closed her eyes and tipped her head back, felt his hand leave her breast to clasp her left buttock.

“Oh, Bronson,” she breathed into the wet night.

Dain grunted, and climaxed a flood of semen inside her, more than she thought possible, and she soon followed.

Britney climbed down off of him, rolled onto her back, and Dain collapsed on top of her. Listening to the rain pelting the mud around them, Britney felt her body settle into the soft mud.

“Britney,” he said. “I want, I need to feel every precious curve of your body beneath me.

“Bronson,” she whispered into his ear. She loved saying his nick­name. “I never dreamed sex would be so wonderful.”

“It’ll only get better,” he told her, rolling off her to stare at her mud-covered breasts.

“How is that possible?”

“It takes a few times to learn what pleases someone.”

Britney laughed and he watched, fascinated, as her breasts quiv­ered. He placed a hand on one.

Britney sighed at his touch and said, “You seem to know all the tricks. You played my body like an instrument.” And then she asked the question she most feared asking: “How was I?”

“The best I’ve ever had. If it weren’t for the fact you were a virgin, I’d have thought you had some experience.”

“Really?”

Dain nodded. “I can’t believe your ex-boyfriend didn’t deflower you.”

“Oh, he certainly tried.”

Dain chuckled. “I’m glad to see your obstinacy trumped his insist­ence.”

“I told him I was saving myself for marriage.”

“Did he ever propose?”

“No.”

“That should tell you what he thought of you, Britney, that he only wanted your body.”

“I guess he thought I’d eventually give in.”

“So why did you give yourself to me? Am I husband material?”

“Are you asking me to marry you?”

Dain raised an eyebrow. “Not yet. We still have a lot to learn about each other before we can take that step.”

“Thank you,” she said.

“For what?”

“For including me. With Jeff it was always about what he wanted. If I loved him, I should give myself to him.”

“I’m so glad you didn’t.”

“Me, too,” Britney said, smiling.

“Any regrets?”

“Not a one.” Then, “When can I take you in my mouth?”

“Because you’ve always been an oral kind of woman?”

“Mmm, I like that you refer to me as a woman. I’m tired of being someone’s ‘girl’.” Then she came back to the present. “I’m curious what it feels like, to have a man in my mouth.”

“How about now?”

Britney felt her eyes widen. “Really? You’re ready again?”

Dain guided her hand down to his penis, which was half erect.

“For you, always. Turn around and straddle me, with your pussy in my face.” He smiled at the look on Britney’s face, which she was sure was one of blind stupidity. “You don’t think you’re going to give all the oral pleasure, do you?”

Britney positioned herself over Dain, her backside slimed with mud, which only seemed to turn him on more. She felt him spread her cheeks as she covered his penis with her mouth, and then his tongue probing her vagina. She squirmed and squealed and sucked. Only when she came did she stop sucking, and then she came again.

“I’m nearly there,” he said. “Here, kneel in front of me. I want to watch you take your first load down your throat.”

With her lips around his erection and her head bobbing along its length, he groaned, “Here it comes,” as if she couldn’t feel his penis swell and contract.

“Don’t swallow it all,” he said just before the first spasm sent a jet of cum into her mouth.

When he finished, he withdrew, and told her, “Now let some of that dribble down your cute little chin.”

Britney did as he directed, and he watched his gift ooze from be­tween her lips to run down her chin and onto her breasts; one of the final drops landed on the necklace’s pendant.

“Oh, Britney. You have no idea how beautiful you look, all covered in mud and dripping with my cum. Your complexion is flushed, blush­ing that blush of those newly acquainted with the pleasures of sex.”

Britney smiled up at him while she massaged his semen into her breasts.

“Really?”

“And so hot. That stuff is good for your skin you know. Not that you don’t already have beautiful skin. Have I told you how mouth-watering gorgeous your breasts are?”

“No, you haven’t. You don’t think they’re too big?”

“They’re a perfect fit on you.”

Britney smiled and said, “I’m glad you think so.”

Dain cupped her jaw for a moment, thumbed the remnants of his climax from her chin, and told her how much he adored her dimpled chin; then he leaned over to kiss her, tasting his saltiness.

“How’d I taste?” he asked. “Not too bitter I hope?”

Britney shook her head. “Sweet. Very sweet.”

“Must be the sugar in my diet. I hope you’ll do that again for me sometime.”

“I can’t wait.”

Using the rain, they washed as much mud from each other as they could, and then dressed. Dain helped Britney with her bra, but not be­fore lovingly kissing each breast, gently nibbling and tonguing both nipples, telling her how marvelously responsive they were. Britney only sighed contentedly.

“Damn, woman, I’d love to make love to you again.”

“Me, too.”

“But it’s late and I have to get you home before your mother thinks something happened to you.”

Britney hated that Dain had to cover her breasts with her bra, but after fastening it, he stood behind her for a moment, nuzzling her neck and fondling them, while she cooed happily.

“Until next time,” he said, reluctant to let go.

Dain walked her home, and kissed her goodnight at the bottom of the driveway, letting her feel his erection through his jeans.

“I thought men were… you know,” Britney whispered.

“Not me, not for you. I can reload quick as a six-shooter.”

She smiled up at him. “I’m glad.”

Then she looked at the front door. The porch light was on, but the house inside was dark. “Now let’s see if I can sneak in and get to the downstairs shower without waking my mother.”

“Good luck with that,” he told her, grinning.

On his way back to Ford Field, Dain thought about the evening’s festivities. It was the first time he’d ever made love in public, not that the bleachers had been filled with a cheering crowd.

He chuckled, happy that order had again been restored to the chaos.

The mud wrestling was incredible, but my preference is for a bed. Then, recalling his many showers with other Britneys, We can simulate a rainstorm in the shower and use whipped cream instead of mud.

Forever A Philanderer—Chapter Ten

“There was a young lady named Bright
Who could travel much faster than light
She started one day
In the relative way
And came back on the previous night”

– Anonymous

 

2014

Dain checked the house to find he was alone.

Probably “at the office” with Rachael.

He drove over to Britney’s house. She greeted him at the door wearing his favorite jeans – a faded blue and tattered, with several holes, two in very strategic places. They clung to her like a second skin, and how she managed to pull them on he didn’t have a clue, but he couldn’t wait to peel them off her. She also wore a hot pink t-shirt with the words Momma’s Girls silk-screened across her breasts. He was delighted to see she wore no bra.

“Dain,” she said, smiling, “what are you doing here?”

Seeing her laptop on the kitchen table, Dain pulled her against him, grabbing a butt cheek with his left hand and her left breast with his other hand.

“I’m here to help you with your laptop,” he said, and then kissed her.

Britney pushed him away. “Dain! What are you doing? You’re mar­ried to my daughter.”

So my last trip changed the present. Shit! My desire to save her only resulted in her building up her walls.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “Isn’t this… I thought… isn’t this what you wanted? Isn’t this why you wore those jeans, and why you tease and flirt with me?”

When he reached again for her breasts, she was quick to push his hands away.

“Dain, no. I’ve never flirted with you, and I wear these jeans be­cause they’re comfortable. What’s gotten into you?”

Nothing, but I want to get into you.

“Frank’s out back, mowing the lawn.”

“Frank? Who’s Frank?”

I’d be jealous seeing you with another man, he’d told her just a few days ago, in another reality.

“Frank, my husband. What’s wrong with you?”

Dain had never met Frank, had never seen him with Britney, had seen her with only one other man – Jeff, her abuser husband – and he was already jealous. Insanely. Because this Britney seemed happily wed­ded, and because she was spurning him, the man who reminded her of her favorite movie star.

Warrick Brown, CSI: “You don’t recognize that guy, do you? It’s Tom Haviland, movie star.”

Gil Grissom: “Clark Gable was a movie star.”

Dain fled, his mind whirling with thoughts of raging bedlam.

When he got home he found Betty waiting for him.

“Hi, honey,” she said. “Where’ve you been?” Apparently Britney hadn’t ratted him out, and he hoped she would keep mum about his indiscretion.

Or she hasn’t yet gotten around to calling.

“I drove over to the park for a walk. Where’ve you been? You were gone when I woke up.”

Betty sighed. “I told you last night I needed to go to the office for a couple hours.”

“Oh.” Same old Betty. Some things never change. Forever a philanderer. “How’s Rachael?”

“She’s fine.”

Dain noticed a slight widening of Betty’s pupils at the mention of her lesbian lover’s name.

Dain heard the ditty in his head: l-e-s-b-i-a-n, we love women more than men. Lesbi friends.

Unmindful of his own infidelity because what had started as re­venge sex was turning into something more meaningful – he was in love with Britney and choosing to give his love to her was on the hori­zon, closer than Britney knew – he wished he could climb inside one of those pupils to view the images playing inside his wife’s head as proof of her disloyalty. But only for a moment; he had other more important wishes, and business to tend to.

He spent the next couple of hours trying to figure out how he could right the ship. He couldn’t risk that Britney would call Betty to tell her that her husband had groped Momma’s Girls and kissed her. He felt a pressure in his jeans at the image of her braless breasts, but it de­pressurized at the realization that they belonged to someone else: Frank.

“Fuck Frank,” Dain muttered. “He can’t make her happy. He can’t please her, play her body like I can. Because I’m her Bronson.”

Just not in this reality.

He considered returning to the days immediately after Jeff’s death, not waiting three years for her to heal and find another abuser, hoping to return his present to the way it had been the last time, with Britney as his lover. But that would do nothing to change the younger Britney’s predicament.

Then he alit upon a plan; but it would require careful planning, precise timing, and money.

Dain told Betty he was going to pick up some beer.

On the way to the liquor store, he stopped at the ATM to withdraw two hundred dollars. After picking up the beer, he stopped at a coin shop to exchange his two hundred dollars for old bills.

“Planning a trip into the past?” the man behind the counter said.

“Yes,” Dain replied absentmindedly. Then, “No. Just investing in some old currency. Nothing before 1980.”

“I have some silver certificates, dating back to the early nineteen hundreds.”

“No. Seventies will be good.”

“Not much investment value in those bills.”

“Seventies, please.” Dain began to feel anxious.

“Suit yourself.”

Dain returned home, put five bottles of Stella Artois in the beer crisper, popped the cap on one bottle, and told Betty he’d be in the den doing some research for a work project.

“By the way, what was the name of that place your mother worked after she graduated from high school? It’s Rebecca’s now.”

“Cloverdale Dairy Farms, why?”

“No reason. Driving past it earlier made me think of your mother. Made me nostalgic.” For the way things used to be.

In his den, Dain took a long swallow from his bottle of Stella, set his time machine for 1980, closed his eyes, and hoped that eighteen-year-old Britney still had a thing for older men. Thankfully, he looked younger than his age. Plus, he had that Charles Bronson thing going for him. She didn’t stand a chance at refusing him.

As he waited for the time machine to initiate, he heard the phone ring in the other room, and wondered if it might be Britney calling to tell Betty what a pig her husband was.

1980

Dain walked into Cloverdale and looked for Britney. She was nowhere to be seen.

A waitress approached him. She was middle-aged and “stout” would be a kind assessment of her build. “Frumpy and overweight” would be less kind but more accurate.

“You can sit anywhere you like,” she said, smiling. In Dain’s mind, she was perhaps already working to inflate her tip. She certainly would never be able to inflate a certain body part of Dain’s.

“Is Britney working today?” he asked.

“Let me check the schedule.”

The waitress disappeared into the kitchen, waddling on orthopedic shoes, and returned a moment later to tell him that Britney would be in at two o’clock. He had a little less than an hour to kill, so he left and walked to the corner and turned left on East Main Street to window shop.

He stopped at the five and dime which, in 1994, would become Great Harvest Bread, where he often shopped for bakery products in 2014. The several coffee shops that were doing a booming business in the downtown district in Dain’s time were nonexistent in 1980.

On his way back to Cloverdale, he stopped at Orin Jewelers, on the corner of East Main and Center Street. He and Betty had shopped there when they were looking for an engagement ring. If memory served him, Orin Jewelers had opened their doors sometime during the sixties. They had a sister store in Garden City, another Detroit suburb although much less affluent than Northville, and lacking the Americana that Northville had held onto, which had opened in the early 1950s.

On a whim, he purchased a heart-shaped pendant for under fifty dollars, expensive for 1980, because of the diamond chips that dotted its circumference. He stuck the box in his pocket and returned to Cloverdale.

It was well after two o’clock when he walked in the door and immediately spotted Britney taking the order of a customer. She looked so young and innocent, her smile holding all the hopes and dreams of youth. Her figure hadn’t quite finished filling out, but her legs were al­ready at quite spectacular, although a bit thinner. Still, Dain desired her, turned on by her purity. She had so much to learn, and he was just the man to teach her.

Dain sat down in her section and waited.

As she passed him, she stopped, smiled, and told him she’d be right with him. He watched her retreating backside. It was the same seduc­tive walk he’d come to admire in her older clones.

Ah, Britney, he mused.

He never seemed to tire of meeting her for the first time, of mak­ing love to her for, in her various iterations in alternate realities, the first time. Taking her from behind for the first time, going downtown on her for the first time, letting her take him in her mouth for the first time. In providing for her all the variants of the pleasures of the flesh her husband had denied her.

When she returned with a glass of water, she smiled at him again and asked if he’d care for a cup of coffee.

“Yes, please, leaded, with cream.”

When she returned, she blushed and said, “Anyone ever tell you that you look just like Charles Bronson?”

Dain chuckled. “I get that all the time.” Always from you, my sweet Britney.

“He’s my favorite actor. He’s so handsome. I saw him last year in Love and Bullets. He was great.”

“A good movie,” he said, “but I’m sorry.”

“What for?”

“I only had eyes for Jill Ireland.”

Britney laughed that melodious laugh that every Britney he’d known had, but this one was somehow different. It was youthful, and although Dain preferred the more sultry laugh of this Britney’s older sister, he was drawn to this far more carefree laugh nonetheless. Dain reminded himself that this was before she’d married Jeff, who’d done his best to crush the youth out of her.

“What can I get for you?” she asked.

“Scrambled eggs and toast, with a side of bacon.”

“Coming right up,” she said, and left, with Dain following her with his eyes.

As he waited for his breakfast, Britney continued to serve the meals of the patrons in her section, always smiling at him as she passed his table.

A good omen, he thought, wondering if she was aware of his utter fascination for her. Not likely, he decided. She’s young and probably not yet aware of the potency of her sexuality.

When she brought the coffee pot to refill his cup, he took his chance.

Glancing at her nametag above her left breast, Dain said, “You’re a beautiful young woman, Britney.” He did his best to not undress her with his eyes, and to keep any familiarity of her name from his voice.

“Thank you,” she said, blushing. She seemed pleased that he hadn’t referred to her as a “girl.”

“I’m Dain.” But you can call me Bronson.

“Nice to meet you, Dain.” She appeared to enjoy saying his name.

“Are you always this pleasant, or are you simply working to inflate your tip?”

“I always try to be pleasant, even to unpleasant customers.”

“I hope I’m not one of those.”

“No, you’re not. You’re very nice.”

Then she left, returning a minute later with his breakfast.

“Thank you,” he said.

“You’re very welcome.”

Dain didn’t miss her “very” allusion and hoped he hadn’t misread it.

By the time he finished eating, her section was fairly empty.

“Listen,” Dain said when she brought his check. “I was wondering if you’d care to join me for dinner tonight.”

“Oh,” she said, smiling the smile of someone who is truly flattered. Dain didn’t think she was old enough, experienced enough, to fake that flattery so sincerely. “I’d love to,” she added. “But I don’t think my boyfriend would approve.”

Dain nearly blurted, “Jeff?”, but held his tongue.

“Well,” he said, “he’s a lucky boy.” He was careful to differentiate himself as a man from the boy she was dating. “Is it serious?”

“He thinks it is.”

“But you’re not so sure?”

She smiled and looked down. Her uncertainty was Dain’s cue.

“You’re young and beautiful. You should play the field, find out what you like and don’t like in a man. He doesn’t have to know. Just dinner. That is, if you don’t think I’m too old for you.”

“You’re not old. I find older men very attractive.”

“Well, there you go. What do you say?” Dain held his breath.

She hesitated a moment, before looking up at him. Dain put on his best Charles Bronson expression.

“Okay,” she told him, turning on that smile again.

“Great,” he said, tossing his hair back off his forehead with a quick movement of his head, the way Bronson did in his movies. “What time do you finish your shift?”

“Six.”

“I imagine you’ll want to go home to freshen up and change. Meet me at Getzie’s Pub at 7:30?”

Getzie’s would become Poole’s Tavern in the late nineties. Dain gambled that she wouldn’t want him to pick her up at home. He was, after all, a much older man, and her mother might not approve of her daughter going out with him when she thought she was dating Jeff. He also thought that she would feel safer meeting him in a public setting.

“It’s a date,” she said.

Dain spent the remainder of the afternoon at the library reading The Bourne Identity, by Robert Ludlum. It was a bestseller that summer and much better as a novel than a movie.

When he tired of reading, Dain made his way to Hines Park, which runs along the Rouge River for more than twenty miles between Northville and Dearborn. He made it to Six Mile Road, more than two miles out of town, before he returned to Getzie’s, stopping once to rest on a park bench just outside of town.

It was a few minutes past seven o’clock when he sat down in Getzie’s to order a beer.

“I’ll be a party of two at 7:30,” he told the waitress.

At 7:30, he flagged the waitress for another beer.

By 7:50, Dain came to the conclusion that Britney had decided to stand him up. Had she simply changed her mind, or had Jeff called her or come by and she couldn’t get away? He wanted to believe it was the latter because that would mean it wasn’t her choice.

Finishing his beer, he’d just decided to return tomorrow to try again with perhaps another strategy when he saw her come through the door. She wore a miniskirt that showed off her stunning legs and a snug top that accentuated her bust with its horizontal stripes. He waved at her, and she rushed over to his booth.

“I’m so sorry I’m late,” she said, sliding in across from him.

“I was beginning to think you’d changed your mind.”

“No,” she said, sounding already infatuated by this older man who she couldn’t know was in turn infatuated with her. “My boyfriend called and I couldn’t get rid of him.”

Dain smiled. “Did you get rid of him for good?”

“No.”

“Well, it’s a little soon for that I suppose. We haven’t even had our first date.”

“No, it’s not that,” she said. “He’s very possessive of me.”

Recalling Jeff’s future treatment of her, Dain said, hoping he wasn’t tipping his hand, betraying too much knowledge, “Possessiveness is one thing, jealousy quite another.”

“I tried breaking up with him once, but he’s very persuasive.”

Ah, Britney, my love, if you only knew what lies in store for you with him.

“You just need another option.”

“Oh, I get hit on a lot at work.”

“But?”

“No one I’d care to go out with.”

Dain raised an eyebrow. “Then why me?”

“I don’t know. You seem different. You didn’t ogle me. That you look like Charles Bronson didn’t hurt.”

“Lucky me.”

Britney laughed. “That expression you gave me at Cloverdale was spot on Bronson. That cinched it for me.”

Dain smiled. “I’m glad it worked.”

Britney said nothing, but something in her expression told him how well it had worked; but then, he had the advantage of knowing her in other timelines.

The waitress came by to take their order.

“I’ll have another beer,” Dain told her. “Britney?”

“I’m not old enough to drink. I’ll have a Coke and a salad.”

“Make mine a cheeseburger, medium well.”

Dain leaned back in the booth to admire Britney, careful not to appear predatory, even as he imagined lifting her blouse over her head and then removing her bra to reveal her dazzling dancing breasts. He suspected that Jeff had probably pawed them, the result of his ravaging teen hormones, but he held onto the hope that he’d not yet seen them in all their naked splendor.

“What?” she said, unmindful of where his thoughts had taken him.

“So you’re not yet of drinking age.”

“I’m eighteen. Not too young for you, I hope.”

“Not in the least. You look much older, and I mean that in a good way – that you’re mature for your age.”

Britney smiled and batted her eyes. Apparently his compliment had been just the right thing for him to say.

“What about you, Dain?” she said. “Why did you ask me out?”

“You looked like you needed to be rescued. I’m a sucker for a woman in distress.”

“I don’t know about that,” she said. “I’m just a poor working girl looking to find her way.”

“And if the right man were to come along to help her?”

“Then so much the better. Are you the right man?” She sounded hopeful.

“I know I’d like to find out.”

“I think I would, too.”

“Well, that’s a start.” Dain wanted to ask her what she intended to do about Jeff, but settled on, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

“I’d like to be married, have a baby.”

Dain grinned.

“Too much too soon?” she asked.

“I don’t think so. I think you should have a plan. The trouble is, plans don’t always go the way we envision them.”

My life certainly hasn’t gone the way I’d planned it, and hers won’t either.

Britney looked puzzled.

“If you’d asked me five years ago where I saw myself in five years, it certainly wouldn’t have been here.”

Britney nodded.

“And that’s a good thing, sitting here at Poole’s, across the table from you.”

“Poole’s?”

Shit. But Dain was quick to recover.

“Getzie’s. This place reminds me of another tavern in Royal Oak.”

“Never been to Royal Oak,” she said, which Dain had counted on.

“What’s your boyfriend’s name?”

“Jeff.”

“What attracted you to him?”

“We met in high school. He’s a year younger than me. He’s cute, and he treated me well.”

“At first.”

Britney’s eyes widened. “How did you know?”

“You said he was possessive.”

“No, you had it right before. He’s very jealous. You’re not the jeal­ous type, are you?”

“Not at all, so long as you give me no reason to be. See that guy over your right shoulder, in the Led Zeppelin t-shirt?” Britney turned her head to look; the young man was in conversation with a young woman who Dain guessed was his girlfriend.

“What about him?”

“He gave you the once over when you passed his booth.”

“Did that bother you?”

“Not in the least. You’re here with me. It made me feel great that he finds you attractive, even if his girl was less than pleased. A jealous guy is insecure. Jeff probably knows you’re way out of his league.”

“I never thought about it that way. I thought it was my fault.”

Dain grinned. “It’s not your fault how you look, and you can’t be blamed for how others look at you.”

“I like the way you look at me.”

“And how’s that?”

“With respect. You like what you see, but you don’t leer at me.”

“I admire you, but not just for your looks. I hardly know you, but what I do know of you, I like and think highly of, too.”

“Thank you.”

Britney’s mien told him that no one had ever told her that before.

“You’re young,” he said. “Mature for your age, but I suspect you have some learning ahead of you where men are concerned.”

“Does that bother you?”

“No, not as long as you’re a willing student.”

Britney smiled. “Are you offering to tutor me?”

You have no idea what I can teach you.

Dain laughed. “That sounds so academic.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I just don’t want you to think of me as a professor.”

“I won’t.”

“You’ll find me to be very different than Jeff. You’ll learn from me how a man should treat a woman, and you’ll learn it from practical ex­perience, so don’t think of it as being in a classroom.”

Britney seemed to look at him with something more than mere attraction. Perhaps he’d become more to her than a mere Charles Bronson lookalike.

“Mmm,” she said. “That’s what I like about older men. They know how to treat a woman.”

“So what are you going to do about Jeff?”

Britney thought for a moment. “I’ll tell him I think we should see other people.”

Dain shook his head. “That never goes over well with jealous types.” Because they know they can’t do better. “A clean break is best. It might be louder initially, but when the dust settles, you’ll be better off in the long term.”

“But…” she said. “I don’t want to hurt him.”

“It’s always painful. So is being told ‘we should see other people.’ But you’ve got to do what’s right for you. Unless of course you want to keep that door open.”

“No, I don’t.” Britney looked as if her statement had been a rev­elation. Then she added, “He’s always been a safety net for me. But he’s holding me back, too. He’s not what I want. Thanks for making me see that.”

“Then it’s settled. You’ll break it off with him?”

“Yes.”

“I’m here for you if you need me for moral support, and I’ll talk to him if you want me to.”

“Hopefully it won’t come to that, but thanks.”

Forever A Philanderer—Chapter Nine

“When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, you think it’s only a minute. But when you sit on a hot stove for a minute, you think it’s two hours. That’s relativity.”

– Albert Einstein

 

They returned to the kitchen, nude, where Dain, between stealing glances at Britney’s bare breasts, finished loading her Norton and Microsoft Office applications onto her laptop.

“What took you so long?” she asked.

Dain thought she was referring to getting her laptop running.

“I’ve been trying to get you to notice me for like, ages.”

Dain looked from her face to her bodacious breasts. “I’ve always noticed you, Britney. How could I not?”

Britney pushed her breasts together with her arms. “If you did, you were mighty discreet about it.”

“I’m a married man, Britney. To your daughter, I might add.”

She laughed. “I asked you to call me ‘Britney’ when we first met, but you always called me ‘Mom.’”

Dain chuckled. “Well, I’d never screw my mother. Calling you ‘Mom’ helped me to keep my thoughts about you pure. And my hands and mouth off you.”

Britney smiled. “I like hearing you say my name. I can’t wait to hear you say it in bed.” She sighed and added, “But you never made a move. Why now?”

“Better late than never, wouldn’t you say?”

“I’ve fantasized about you making love to me since the day Betty first brought you home to meet me.” Then, recalling his previous comment that he was married to her daughter, she added, “Is every­thing okay between you two?”

Only then did Dain recall that Betty had told him she was meeting with Rachael at work for a business call.

“No,” Dain said. “I think she’s stepping out on me.”

But in that moment, with Britney sitting across from him naked, he found it didn’t bother him in the least. And Jesus would rather he wal­low in pain and self-pity.

“Well, shame on her.” Britney seemed unable to comprehend why her daughter would cheat on him. “I thought I’d raised her better.” Then, fearing he might lament having made love to her, “Feel better now, now that you’ve evened the score?”

Dain glanced up from the screen as she leaned back and stretched her arms over her head, clasping her hands behind her; her breasts rose. When she dropped her arms, her golden orbs shook invitingly. With his gaze fixed on her erection-inspiring breasts, he nodded. He always felt better after making love to Britney. And he always would.

“Maybe I should thank her. If she hadn’t stepped out on you, I’d have gone to my grave without ever having enjoyed the pleasure of your body.”

“You truly have remained celibate all these years?” When Britney nodded, he added, “What a shame. Surely men have –”

She cut him off: “What, tried to get in my pants?”

Dain watched her anger commingle with something else. His lips pursed twice. Distrust? Dain didn’t like seeing Britney angry, and the thought that she might harbor a distrust of him because of how Jeff had treated her, and how other men wanted only to use her assailed Dain’s conscience.

No, he argued. That might’ve been true initially, in my haste to get even with Betty. But I’ve come to want so much more – everything I ever thought Betty pro­vided, including fidelity.

“I’d be jealous seeing you with another man,” he said.

“There was someone who came around after Betty was born. But he…

“And someone else who could’ve been your twin, but he was your age then.” She left unsaid that they’d been lovers before Betty was born.

“Someone who looks like me? Poor fellow.”

“Don’t say that, Dain. You’re very handsome.”

Dain chuckled. “A Charles Bronson lookalike.”

“My Bronson. I always call you that in my fantasies.”

“I like that. You and that other Bronson never…?”

“No.” Apparently she wanted to keep that memory to herself, or she wanted to give the illusion that she’d kept herself chaste for this Dain.

“I’m sorry.”

“Whatever for?”

“For making you wait so long. I know that sounds egotistical.”

“No, it doesn’t, Bronson. You tried to be a good husband. It was she who failed you.”

“I know. But two wrongs don’t make a right.”

Is that you, Jesus?

It would’ve been wrong to kill Britney, which is what Dain first in­tended. Instead, he’d seduced her. That was as wrong as killing her? Maybe his reason – to get even with Betty – wasn’t pure. But that was then and this was now.

Rodin, he thought, was said to have molested his subjects, and he created art from his perversity. Following Einstein’s theory that E=MC2, Dain con­cluded, It might be possible for me to find true love through my original sin.

He likened his reference to original sin to Adam and Eve’s rebellion in the Garden of Eden. While many would argue that it’s been downhill for mankind even since Eve offered the forbidden fruit to Adam, Dain believed that the choice to pursue knowledge wasn’t in itself evil even if some chose to use knowledge for evil reasons. Baneful Betty had handed him lemons, and Dain now endeavored to make lemonade. How was that evil?

Britney intruded on his thoughts: “I’m sorry for the pain my daughter caused you, Bronson. You know who she’s seeing?”

He shook his head. “Only that it’s a woman.”

“Really? I had no idea she swung that way.” Then that sinful grin appeared. “You think she’d care to join us sometime, for a threesome?”

Dain shook his head. “I want you all to myself.”

“Oooh, I like the sound of that. She probably wouldn’t like that though, sharing you with me. But I’m glad you came to me and didn’t go to someone else for payback.” She laughed then, adding, “Payback’s a bitch, isn’t it? Feel free to come by anytime to lube me up. I won’t be keeping score.” She leaned forward, setting her breasts on the table.

Dain winked at her. “Didn’t your mother teach you not to set your boobies on the kitchen table?”

“No.”

“Good.” Dain tore his eyes from her breasts and went back to what he was doing: a few clicks of her mouse, closing windows, shut­ting down.

“Well,” he said, closing the lid on Britney’s laptop, “she’s gotten a head start, so I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.”

He carried her to the bedroom, Britney squealing and kicking her legs, where they assumed a sixty-nine, Dain on his back and Britney straddling him with her fanny in his face. He knew her ex-husband had never gone down on her let alone given her a rim job. He alternated between her two holes, dipping his tongue and lathering her flower and bung hole with saliva while she rode his penis with her mouth, letting profuse amounts of her own spittle soak his balls. She seemed to love it when he tongued her poop chute, as evidenced by her soft sighs and words of encouragement, while he recalled a joke about God being a civil engineer. The punch line: Who else but a civil engineer would put a toxic waste site behind an oasis?

Dain chuckled and told her she had an incredible body.

“Mmm,” she groaned while his tongue worked its magic. “I’m glad you think so. Until this day I’ve saved it just for my fantasy of you.”

Had I only known, Dain thought. So many wasted years. So much to make up for.

But Britney had gone back to her own wet work, the room quiet save for her occasional moans, Dain’s grunts, and the sounds of their mouths, each working to feed the pleasure of the other. Even the walls seemed to lean in close, curious about what they were doing, perhaps even envious.

“Oh, yes, I love that…” he whispered. She swirled her tongue around the tip of his penis, now gently tonguing the underside, where it was most sensitive. “Ahh, Britney, that feels so good.”

Hearing him say her name increased her due diligence. She took his length inside her mouth, fought her gag reflex, and began to bob her head up and down the full length of his erection with vigor, working up her customary saliva, worshipping his penis like the god it was to her.

Would it bless her with its gift?

Of course it would.

A few minutes later she crouched on top of him, toad-like, to ride his erection while Dain, wide-eyed with lust, watched her breasts bounce with joy. He grabbed one, let it go and grabbed the other, then grabbed both of them at once. It was a dilemma: he so loved watching them jouncing free, but he also loved feeling them, kneading them with his hands, so smooth and firm and heavy, her nipples long and stiff with need. Tiny penises engorged with blood. Having them in his hands made them more real. Made them his.

When she slowed her tempo to prolong her pleasure, he watched, fascinated, the muscles in her thighs and calves flex in perfect concert as they worked to raise and lower her on his rigid pole, slick with their combined saliva and her flower’s dew.

Soon she picked up her pace, threw back her head, and screamed her climax; a moment later, when Dain felt himself nearing his own, he flipped her over and positioned her on her hands and knees so he could take her from behind – his favorite position.

She gasped as he grasped her by the hips and plunged deep inside her. Dain was beyond teasing. Her butt cheeks quivered and quaked with each thrust. Britney squealed her delight.

Moments later she groaned from her throat that she was cumming yet again.

How many times had she climaxed? Dain was beyond keeping score. He only knew he wanted to pleasure this woman sequentially for the rest of his life.

“That’s a good little Britney,” he said. “You love having me inside you, don’t you, stretching your tight little pussy to the limit, all hot and wet, making you cum over and over again?”

“Yes, yes, I love feeling you inside me, making me cum.”

“And being drenched in my hot cum – all over your ass, on your titties – you crave my spunk, don’t you, the taste of it?”

“Yes!”

Dain slapped her right butt cheek, recalling what that other, younger Britney had once told him: You’d like to watch your hot jizz shoot­ing all over my fine ass after taking me from behind, wouldn’t you?

“Yes, I would,” he grunted between clenched teeth.

“What?” Britney cried.

Dain slapped her ass cheek again, watched it tremor from the blow, groaned, and…

“This,” he hissed, and withdrew to release his impossible need.

The first eruption found its mark: her buttonhole, and then he directed the next five jettisons – long and hard, each one accompanied by a loud grunt as he watched each spurt leap from the end of his penis – to saturate her pussy cat. Dain leaned forward to lap up his offering from her petals while Britney cooed and wiggled her backside against his face.

Kissing her, Dain shared the remnants of his climax with her.

Britney swallowed and said, “Oh, Bronson, you were so worth the wait. What did you mean,” she added, “when you said, ‘Yes, I would?’”

“Well,” he told her, “I’ve always thought you had a gorgeous ass.”

“Yeah?”

Dain didn’t think for a minute that she doubted him. Surely she’d seen other men checking out her bumcakes, and she’d admitted that others had tried to get into her pants – and she’d chosen to let him – but the way she said yeah sent its message to his groin.

“Until now, I always thought it looked its best when you wore tight jeans.”

“Really?” Britney lay on her side, propped up by an elbow. One breast was crushed against Dain’s torso, while its sister lay comfortably on his chest. Her entire body was covered with a thin sheen of perspi­ration.

“Oh, yes. That tattered pair you wear makes it look…”

“What?”

“Like no other I’ve ever seen.”

“It’s just an ass, Bronson.” She was teasing him.

“Ah, but it’s your ass. I often fantasize about peeling those jeans off you, easing them down over your hips and ass, pulling them down around your ankles, and then kissing and licking my way back up your legs before eating your pussy until you scream for me to stop.”

“Jesus, Bronson, you’re getting me all hot again.”

“It’s all I can do to keep from jumping your bones whenever you wear them.”

“I guess I’ll have to wear them around you more often.”

“Only when Betty’s around, as a tease, as a reminder of this.” He reached around to grab a cheek, still wet with his saliva and ejaculate. Giving it a gentle squeeze, he added, “I prefer seeing it like this when we’re alone.”

“Up close and personal.”

Dain nodded. “In the crack so to speak.”

Britney grinned. They were soul mates in their depravity.

“Go on with your story,” she said.

“Well, I had this fantasy.”

“Yes?”

“You ask me if I want to shoot my cum all over your ass after screwing you from behind. Which, by the way, is my favorite position.”

“Well, I’m glad I could make your fantasy come true because it’s been my fantasy, too, feeling your hot spunk on my hiney.” Then she grew serious. “How’s my butt compare to Betty’s?”

“There is none. I adore your freckles, and that soft, fine fur… As long as I live and breathe, you’ll always have two places to sit: my lap and my face.”

“Mmm, I so like those images, especially that second one.” Then, “Does she like it that way, from behind?”

“No. Her preference is missionary.”

“Good,” she said. “That was the first time for me, and I loved it.”

So many firsts for this woman.

“You should see it from my point of view,” he said. “Watching my rod gliding in and out of you, all shiny with your honey, and your cheeks all a-tremor.”

“It’ll be our special position,” she added, already anticipating next time, perhaps wondering if it might be today.

Dain kissed her, then said, “A special woman deserves special treatment.”

Britney smiled. “You do know what to say to a woman. Do you always cum so much?”

“You bring out the most in me.”

Her eyes lit up. “You’re such a poet.”

Britney began to gently play with his balls. “How many times can you cum in one afternoon?”

“I thought you weren’t keeping score.”

Britney laughed.

A few minutes later, just as Dain was about to concede he wasn’t up for another round of Britney, she raked her long fingernails ever so softly along the glans of his penis. He moaned, arching his back. Then he drew her down to him, taking a breast in his mouth.

“Ouch,” she said when he bit her nipple. “Not so hard. They’re very sensitive.”

It wasn’t the first time she’d referred to her breasts in third person. Dain always found that very erotic, and he felt himself stirring.

“Sorry,” he said. “But you really excite me. As if you didn’t know.”

“A woman needs to hear that from her man from time to time, so she doesn’t feel he’s taking her for granted.”

“I’ll never take you for granted, Britney.”

When she felt his penis begin to swell, she smiled her wicked smile at him and bent to take him in her mouth. When he was fully erect, she said, “Wanna do it again, cream on my ass?”

“Oh, ayeah.”

“Yes, I thought you would. You’re such a good boy, always want­ing to please Mommy.”

After she positioned herself on all fours, wiggling her ass seduc­tively, she said, “Give it to me, Bronson. I need it so bad. All of it, every delicious, pussy-stretching inch of it.”

Dain, standing at the edge of the bed, mounted her again. This time he came inside her, something he’d done only once before. He stepped back to admire his handiwork as it oozed from between her lips to trickle down her rounded thighs.

When she stood up, Dain pulled her roughly against him and kissed her hungrily on the mouth. Her breasts crushed against him, he mauled her butt cheeks with both hands; Britney moaned into his mouth.

She led him to the shower by his balls, but Dain, despite being willing, couldn’t will another erection out of his penis.

“That’s okay,” Britney said, feigning disappointment. “Another time?”

Dain grinned. “Any time you need help with your lap… top.”

Tomorrow was Sunday. He could only hope that Betty would have to go back into the office. And during the week, well, she likely wouldn’t notice him coming home late from work.

“Call me tomorrow if you need more help,” he added.

“I need more help now.”

Dain turned her around, dropped to his knees, and brought her to another orgasm orally.

When he finished, he said, “Just so you don’t forget what I’m capable of providing when my pecker isn’t up for it.”

“Not the same,” she told him. “But I’ll take what I can get from you.”

“And I’m happy to give what I can, when I can.”

“Mmm, the gift that keeps on cumming.”

Britney called the next afternoon, and Dain was only too happy to come by to service her hardware for her, peeling off her the tattered jeans she wore special for the occasion, like he had in his fantasy.

“Will you never get enough of me?” she asked after their third time.

“Never ever.”

She led him to the shower, where he took her again from behind, fondling her big breasts as she sang her pet name for him. He came all over her rump in a torrent that seemed to match the falling water under which they stood. With legs trembling, she clasped herself to Dain, who had just enough strength to keep her upright as he suckled her breasts.

“I love your body,” he whispered to her.

It didn’t occur to him until much later that he’d never told her that he loved her. But Britney seemed content with that – his love of her body parts. Perhaps she felt, hoped, that his love for her would come later.

Had she come to love him over the years, for being a good hus­band to her daughter, or would that, too, come later?

And Betty never suspected anything was up, not even her husband.

He saw Britney after work every day that week, making love to her several times each evening in every room in the house, and once, shortly after dusk on the patio in the back of the house, she took him in her mouth – yes, she still had the privacy fence – savoring the flavor of his discharge, before he led her to the bedroom where he licked her legs and pussy like a puppy until the power of his need reasserted itself and he took her from behind, their special position, and he came in a flood, soaking her ass, and Britney marveled over the copious amount his rod offered her – a seemingly never ending supply of spunk.

Being a curious man, he wondered what had happened during the intervening years that turned Britney again into the vixen he’d come to desire. Maybe it was the day Betty brought him home to meet her. He regretted making her wait ten years.

You can have Rachael, Betty. I’ve got your mother. His heart soared at the thought, while the monster in his pants twitched.

On Friday night, after taking the afternoon off work for a matinee tryst that lasted well into the evening and included copious amounts of baby oil, on his drive home he considered going back to take Britney one more time, to set a record, but would it count as one session, his leaving and then returning? He chuckled. He’d never taken Betty that many times in one day. He decided against it. Tomorrow was Saturday, and they had a long afternoon ahead of them that would turn short. They always did.

Dain felt that things were as they should be.

Then his thoughts drifted back to 1985, to the Britney he’d left be­hind. Frightened and alone. No husband – not that Jeff had been a good one – with a baby to raise on her own. She needed to be rescued, and that’s what Dain was: a rescuer.

He wondered if she’d come to regret turning him away, whether she wished he’d show up at her door to pick up where they’d left off.

Evidently she had, because when she saw the reincarnation of her Bronson show up at the door with her daughter she had, in her words, tried to get him to take notice of her. Apparently his other self had been, in Britney’s words, “a good boy” but for the wrong reasons. But that Dain was gone, to where Dain didn’t know, replaced by this ver­sion who knew several previous Britneys, intimately. He again felt re­morse for making this Britney wait so long. If she only knew what her sisters had enjoyed.

Feeling he’d abandoned her, Dain began to think how he could help that Britney overcome the anguish of his desertion.

Don’t do it, his conscience advised.

Is that you, Jesus?

No, it wasn’t.

And where was the Christ? He’d been noticeably absent as of late. Not that Dain missed him. His visits always left him feeling guilty, as if he was doing something wrong. Maybe he’d given up on Dain.

How can something that feels so right be wrong?

He failed to put the obverse of that question to himself: How can something so wrong feel so right?

If he returned to the past again, he might change the dynamics of his current situation – improved beyond measure, although there was the possibility that Betty would find out he was doing her mother, and where would that leave him? Would he be able to stop seeing Britney?

Never, he thought.

Betty might leave him, not that that would be a loss, not with her cheating on him again.

But what if I lose them both?

He couldn’t bear the thought that Britney would turn him away again.

“Shit.”

Truly, it was a dilemma.

But the image of that younger Britney, her face streaked by tears and looking so forlorn, decided it for him. He had to risk it.

1988

“Bronson,” Britney said from inside the door.

“Mind if I come in?”

Britney turned and walked over to sit on the sofa, while Bronson took a seat in a chair across from her. She was glad because she didn’t trust herself with him sitting next to her. He glanced around the room, she guessed for Betty, but it was her naptime.

“I hope you don’t mind me coming by to check on you.” When Britney didn’t say anything, he added, “I know you had no way to get in touch with me, so I –”

“I haven’t changed my mind. You shouldn’t have come.”

When she saw where his eyes had fallen, she closed her legs and looked away from him.

“Who did that to you?” Bronson said.

Britney remained silent.

“I care for you, Britney, and I care about what happens to you. When are you going to understand –”

“Stop,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “Betty will be up soon and I don’t want her to see you here.”

“Why not?”

“I’ve moved on from you. I’m seeing someone else.”

“Who? Someone who does that to you?” He pointed at her legs. “Didn’t your marriage teach you anything?”

“Who’s the man?” Betty said from the archway to the hallway that led to the bedrooms.

“No one, honey,” Britney said, wiping her eyes. “Just an old friend who came by to say hello.”

Bronson stood and nodded to Betty. “I’m Dain.” To Britney, he said, “It was good catching up with you. I hope we can talk again.”

After letting himself out, Dain wondered if Britney had heard his name, whether it might make a difference the next time he saw her.

He was devastated to learn that Britney had taken another lover, and angry that she’d chosen another abuser. Why couldn’t she see him as the right choice for her?

Timing, he thought.

Three years ago she had been raw in the days following her hus­band’s death. And while for him it had been only a matter of days since that day, for Britney it had been much longer. Even had she changed her mind, she had no way of getting in touch with him. She was young and beautiful, and even with a child he was certain men were clamoring for her – or for a certain piece of her. And because she had a child, she probably felt she had little choice, that a decent man wouldn’t want her for the baggage she carried.

 

She’s got baggage.

She’s got so much heavy baggage.

The weight of the world is on her shoulder.

I wonder how she carries it around.

 

Dain ignored the voice of John Fogerty in his head.

Dain felt his frustration rise, fueled by an obsession he refused to acknowledge.

He thought back to his first trip into his past, to 1984, when his plan was to eradicate Betty from his life by taking her mother’s life. In­stead he’d seduced her, with little change to his present circumstances. Betty was still cheating on him, and while he was, in Frank Zappa’s words, “wheeling and dealing” in one Britney’s bed, this Britney re­mained unavailable to him, choosing another abuser over him.

What do I have to do to save you?