The flash of lightning and ear-splitting thunder came at the same time, followed a moment after by the unmistakable noise of a falling tree. That one was way too close. I was adjusting to some of the differences between the forest of high-rises and bustle of the city I'd left six months ago and the little town I now lived near, but these storms! I'd moved here to unwind, content to relax and indulge myself a little after twenty-five stressful years in finance. I'd been successful, to the point that I'd worked up to a partnership in a venture capital firm in the Big Apple, but my passion for making money had cost me two wives, the first having left me and taken our unborn baby with her, the second needing much more love than I had time to give. So there I was, forty-seven and unattached, living like a hermit in a fully-furnished small rented house. Was that pounding at my front door or something that had come adrift from the wind outside The noise came again. There was definitely someone out there, and on a night like this! I switched on the front light and pulled a curtain aside to see. Unless I was mistaken, it was my neighbor whose house was about fifty yards from mine, a young woman who looked quite scared. I hastened to let her in. "Oh, thank you, thank you very much," she said. "I'm sorry to bother you. It's just that my lights went out and ... I tend to get a little frightened with storms like this." "Yes, it's a bad night," I responded. "Let me take your jacket and have a seat. You must have heard that tree come down. It may have taken out your lights." "Yes," she said, "it scared me half to death. I thought something had hit the house. I'm not used to weather like this." I nodded. The girl - she couldn't have been more than twenty, maybe twenty-two - sat huddled in an armchair near the door. "It might be a good idea to call the power company and let them know. It could be a bit dangerous walking around out there with downed high voltage lines. By the way, my name is Wil. What's yours" I was glad to see that the frightened look was gone. "Jennifer," she answered, taking in my small living room. "I'm Jennifer Gunderson." "Okay Jennifer, can I get you anything, coffee or something else" She started to shake her head, then changed her mind. "Call me Jenny. I'd love a cup of coffee if you have some." As I poured boiling water into my French press and added fresh-ground beans, I heard the girl on the telephone. She'd found my emergency numbers I'd scribbled on a pad. When I rejoined her, bearing a tray, I watched her sit back down, a worried expression on her face. "Something wrong" I asked. "The repair guys can't come out until the morning. There are power outages everywhere." I smiled. She needn't have been concerned. I wasn't one to make advances to young girls. Chuckling, I pointed to the ladder that led up to the loft. "The cot upstairs is actually more comfortable than my bed down here, and besides, I like to hear the rain pattering on the roof. You're welcome to my bedroom." I put the tray down on an end table between our chairs. Shaking her head, she said, a rueful expression on her face, "No, no, that's not the problem. You don't understand." In a mocking tone, she continued, "Miss Gunderson in a strange man's house at night We can't have that!" Mystified, I regarded her. Slim, wholesome rather than pretty with a friendly face and body with few curves, Jenny wouldn't be turning many heads. She did have lustrous dark hair that fell half way down her back. She reminded me of my kid sister with whom I'd lost contact years ago. Jenny laughed, then explained, "I'm the only elementary school teacher in this little farming town. It's incredible how people talk. I have to be very careful around here - go to Sunday school every week, never swear and never ever be seen out with guys who aren't members of the church. It drives me nuts!" "So, you're not from here" I queried. "Hardly," she replied. "I'm from Los Angeles. I couldn't find a job anywhere in California where I wanted to be, so I answered an ad and here I am. I've applied to a dozen other places so I can get out of here by this coming fall." "A California girl," I said. "Not really. I was born and raised in Honolulu. I moved to Los Angeles six years ago after my parents were killed in an auto accident. I went to UCLA to school." This girl had a story, but not one I was inclined to hear, at least not then. It was late and I was looking forward to my bed. She was up and gone before I was awake. In a note, she said she was sorry not to thank me personally for my hospitality. She had to be off early to get to school. She'd seen the electrical repair men on her property as she'd left, so not to worry.
I didn't see Jenny again for several weeks until the end of June when school was out. I was grocery shopping for a barbecue when we next met. She looked different somehow, more perky, more, I don't know what. Perhaps it was the daylight or maybe the colorful sun dress she wore. I wasn't lonely, but, I thought as I contemplated her with her little grocery basket in her hands, it would be nice to share my dinner. After some pleasantries, I said, "Jenny, as you can see, I've bought far more food here than I can eat. It'll be marinaded chicken and shrimp with lots of vegetables, and, of course, good wine. Would you like to join me" She was attractive when she smiled. "Sounds like fun. When should I come and what can I bring" Surprised but pleased, I responded, "Yourself and an appetite will be just fine. Say, five" "Awesome," she said, her exclamation a clear reminder of the generation gap, not that I needed one. Whatever her inclinations, she'd be going home alone when the sun went down. I was no cook, but I did know how to grill. The food was good and so was Jenny's company. There was little similarity in the frightened girl who'd come to my house during a thunder storm at night and the airy coquette who sat across from me. She was no debutant. She'd just poured what must have been her third large glass of wine. I'd more or less kept pace. Finally, the mosquitoes chased us in. Alarm bells sounded in my head when my dinner guest came to sit close beside me on the small loveseat. "You have any more of this" she asked, holding up her glass. I did, of course, but the expression in Jenny's eyes made me wary. I'd never touched a girl of Jenny's age since my late twenties and I wasn't about to start. "Oh, alright," she rejoined, putting down her glass, relaxing, her head back and slightly turned to look at me. "I make you uncomfortable, don't I" Before I could object, she added, "I told you, I'm a city girl." And just a little hungry, I thought. Not liking where this was going, I said, "Jenny, look. You're a doll and any man would be crazy not to want you. I don't have any children, but you're easily young enough to be my daughter, and I can't deal with that. Can you understand" She nodded. "I'm sorry if you think I'm forward." "No, no, Jenny, it's quite alright. Everything is fine. It's been great having you here, but maybe it's best you go before I change my mind." A contemplative expression in her gray eyes, she gazed at me for a long time, then rose. I accompanied her to the front door. "Shall I walk you home" the question sounding as nonsensical to me as it must have to her. She giggled. "What, for a nightcap" she teased. "You're welcome to come, but I'm not so sure I'll let you go." I laughed and reached out to give her a one-arm hug. She pecked me on the cheek, then before I knew, she put her hands behind my head and drew me to her mouth. It was seconds before I could pull away. Half way through that kiss, I felt a long-held principle of mine begin to crumble, the one that holds that girls just beyond their teens should not be plagued by the attentions of predatory older men. "You vixen," I said, laughing. "Good night."
Each time I thought of Jenny which was often, I tried to turn my mind to something else, but her kiss had done precisely what she'd intended. Though the girl was not sexy in any obvious way, the intoxicating taste of her remained unforgettable on my tongue. Best I not be with her again. Despite my good intentions, I did little to protest when she offered a week later to come and cook for me. "You choose the wine," she said, "and I'll bring and cook the food, okay" Did she know how low my resistance to her would be But of course she did. I hadn't pulled away all that quickly from her kiss. The allure of that young body had become strong, but there was more. Introspective and analytical by nature, I had thought a lot about what else attracted me.
No hellos at a distance when she arrived. As though she knew with certainty what was to come, she set down her basket on the floor and came straight to me. No short interrupted kiss that time. Her body pressed up against me and my arms tight around her, we hungrily explored each other's mouths, her increasing breath rate keeping pace with my heart that hadn't beat wildly like that for years. By the time we came apart, both of us were thoroughly aroused. Jenny's face was flushed and she was breathing fast. Neither of us saying anything, I guided her to my room and to my bed. I can scarcely remember how our clothes came off. There she was, in a tank top with no bra and her miniskirt, then we were naked on my bed, rubbing and nibbling at each other everywhere like clumsy teenage lovers. Our mouths locked together and Our arms tight around each other , I felt the exquisite shock of her warm moist body as it took me in. She finished twice before I felt my sack contract and my orgasm begin to build. In a moment of clarity, I remember asking her if she was on the pill. "No problem, Wil," she gasped. "Let me feel you come inside me." And come I did, the experience the longest and most intense I'd ever known. I couldn't keep away from her after that. I awoke each morning with the feel of Jenny's soft breath upon my cheek or from caresses of playful hands. We took long walks, both of us impervious to disapproving glances everywhere we went. We'd soon be away from there, I off to another metropolis to ply my trade, she to god knew where. We talked about many things and made love in just about every way two people can. Jenny was especially fond of oral sex. Fully aroused, I found myself one afternoon standing next to her while she lay on her back, sideways to the pillows, her head hanging over the edge of her bed. She stretched out her arms to me and opened her mouth wide. Her hands on my hips, she drew me into her. I was hard and only half of me went in. She gagged and I attempted to withdraw, but she held me fast. I watched, mesmerized, while very slowly Jenny pressed on my but cheeks. I felt something give deep in her mouth that could only have been the opening to her throat. Astonishingly, her neck just below her chin began to bulge. Jenny maintained the pressure with her hands as I felt her swallow. There are no words to describe the shock to my entire body as her nose touched my balls and her tongue stroked the part of me that was in her mouth. Unable to hold back, I burst deep inside her throat. So weak that I almost fell, I pulled away. She coughed twice, wiped her tearing eyes and said, "That was fantastic. The only thing I didn't like is that I couldn't taste you. The girl was insatiable.
September had come with only two responses to Jenny's applications, one from Barstow in California and another from a small town in Illinois. She wanted neither. We'd just finished dinner in her little house. I would miss this girl fiercely when she finally went away. Miss her Much worse . In a ridiculously short time, I'd come to love her. She appeared to feel much the same. It was less the sex which was the best I could remember than it was the girl herself, her solicitousness, her sweet nature and an intellect that I had not foreseen. Yet there we were, soon to go our separate ways. Feeling bereft, I turned to look at her. "Jenny love," I said, "tell me about your past. You know a lot more about me than I do about you." Had I been so self-focused as to never ask "Do you have siblings and were you and your parents close" "I've got a brother who's eighteen. He's still going to school in Honolulu and living with his girlfriend." And, yes, I guess you'd say we were kinda close, with my mother at least I was. My stepfather and I never really hit it off. Hold on. I'll get some pictures and I'll show you." In a minute she was back with a scrapbook in her hands. "Here I am after high school graduation six years ago and here's my parents' house in Honolulu as it was just before I left." I was blind to everything but one photo on the page, a family picture of a handsome couple with two children there between them, one unquestionably my Jenny. I felt my heart stop for an instant. Coincidence. It had to be. I heard myself whisper, 'Dorothy', my first wife's name. It was clearly not her, but the woman could have been her twin. Still, the girl in that picture and my sister ... I felt my throat constrict, shaken by what I'd seen. "What's that you said" Jenny asked. "I thought I heard you say Mom's name." For a moment, I didn't process what she'd said. Then the enormity of the situation hit me. I could hardly breathe and I felt faint. "Wil, what's the matter You look pale." "Jenny," I managed to get out, "where was your mother born" My question and my tone of voice took her aback. "White Plains in New York, I think. Yes, that's it. Wil, what's going on Why do you look like that" In shock and feeling cold in the summer heat, I turned to face the girl who I realized was my daughter. "You knew my mother" she asked. "Is that it" As we regarded each other, neither speaking, I saw her expression change, to what I couldn't tell, so much in a state I was. Jenny gazed at me, a look of wonder on her face. Finally, she said, "My god! I can't believe it." A pause. I looked for revulsion on her face but there was none. Instead, I saw amazement in her eyes and the suggestion of a smile on her full mouth. Finally, she said, wonder in her voice, "This is wild! Unbelievable that we meet here in Hicksville like this! It's just plain crazy." She was quiet for a moment while she looked at me. As though speaking to herself, she went on, "Why am I not shocked Why is you being my father unimportant" Important, of course, it was, for a hundred reasons. Still reflective, she said, "I guess it's because I'm in love with you, regardless who you are. I knew you as a man before anything else, so ..." Again a pause. "Wow, this changes things, changes them a lot. I wasn't going to tell you, but now I can. That's wonderful, I can. I'm going to have your baby." I was stupefied, utterly beyond speech. "The baby," I croaked, you'll-" "Keep it of course," she interrupted, "that's what I'll do. I love it already and I love its father, so there you are." Appalled one moment and euphoric the next, I said, "How can you be so, so-" "Calm" she quipped. "Because I'm happy, that's why. I've found a man I can respect and love and I'm going to be his wife, and this baby is just our first." The girl was outrageous, out of her mind, but ... Bewildered, I felt neither guilt nor shame. Joy was what I felt, joy that I wouldn't lose my Jenny and joy about the coming of our baby. But how could I contemplate such things! Was I that vulnerable older man who'd become susceptible to infatuation of a sex-starved young woman far from home Could we survive in a world that technology had made small Dare we have another child Admittedly, there was no blood relatedness between my first wife and me. I was Jenny's slave, that much I knew. I would go to any place, do any thing not to lose her. I had sufficient money to take us anywhere on the planet in luxury for the remainder of our lives. But how would my darling feel twenty years hence when I was sixty-seven and she but forty-two Utterly irrational, very probably, but I would marry the girl somewhere far away and we would have our family. Smiling, Jenny rose and pulled me to my feet. "Now come love me like you never have," she said. "I can't get enough of you."
* * *
We live in the Bahamas with our three children, the oldest, sixteen, she as delightful as my voracious spouse.