The Making of a Gigolo (16) - Epilogue
Many readers requested that various subplots in the Making of a Gigolo
series be addressed at the conclusion of the series. To have included
all the data requested would have made the last story much too long, so
this epilogue is provided to address as many of those issues as was practical.
My thanks go to Norm, for providing the idea for and the data
concerning the PP of A. You'll understand when you get to that part.
If Bobby Dalton was a kind of earthquake in Granger, it should come as
no surprise that the aftershocks would continue to shake things up,
even after he got married.
The first thing he did to shake things up was buy Agatha Roberts'
house, which had languished on the market for months. He didn't
actually try to make a good deal, but got one anyway. There were
obstacles, but only small ones. The bank refused to grant him a loan on
the property, citing the lack of "a steady income." Agatha, who was now
engaged to Jim and would be moving into his house when they were
married, no longer needed the cash from the house up front, so she
simply carried the loan herself.
This distressed the neighbors to no end, but there wasn't anything they
could do about it. A lot of people actually thought about moving away,
but the history of successful real estate transactions, accomplished in a timely manner in Granger disabused that notion fairly quickly.
What made it even worse was that the house quickly became the best
looking property on the street, which also distressed the neighbors to
Another fact that shook things up was that Constance became Bobby's
business partner. She didn't sit at home and keep books. She went out
and got her hands dirty right alongside her husband. People were
constantly amazed that this pregnant woman could work up a storm and do
it beautifully. She took special delight in showing other women how to
do things by themselves, which distressed her husband to no end, since
it cut into their business.
As it happened though, Dalton Repairs and Renovations had only
satisfied customers. It was a small town and word spread. Within a
year, they had more business than they could handle, particularly when
Connie had to take a break to have a baby. There came a time when half
a dozen teenagers, both boys and girls, worked part time for the
There were two aftershocks that Bobby wasn't directly responsible for,
though the fault lines that slipped were connected to him.
Will and Christy wanted a small wedding, with little fuss, and only
close friends at the ceremony. The guest list, in fact, only had
thirty-six names on it. They didn't count on the impact Will had had on
the community though.
The wedding was crashed by the entire VFW, consisting of forty men and
three women who had begun celebrating long before they marched through
the doors ... in formation ... with Master Sergeant (Retired) "Dub"
Pritchett calling cadence. It was unfortunate that the only cadence
call Dub could remember was one that involved two old ladies lying in
bed, but the marchers voices were a little slurred by that point, so
their thundering replies weren't all that clear. They even had the
flags with them, like it was a parade.
That might have been manageable. The Four Square Free Church of
Granger had a total of ten pews in the sanctuary - a
room about forty by thirty feet in size, including the altar and choir
It was the sixty-four students from Granger High, who also crashed the
wedding, that resulted in standing room only.
Then there were the hoots, applause, and "That's what I'm talking
about!" type calls, as the bewildered minister tried to conduct the
ceremony with dignity and aplomb.
Even that might have ended in only a series of stories that might have
been told for years, but when Christy was asked for the ring and
produced a new prosthetic hand that neither Will nor anyone else had
known about, and which had a custom made wedding ring welded onto it,
there was bedlam. To put it on, he had to take his suit coat off, and
then his shirt, which produced the first true silence of the day in the
packed congregation, as the full extent of his scars was revealed.
A high school girl whistled and, within twenty seconds, there was
jubilation that shook the windows of the little church.
That story became legend in the town and still is to this day.
The other aftershock was smaller in many ways, because fewer people
took special notice of it. Those who did take notice of it, however,
were almost thrown from their feet by the shockwaves.
Mirriam Dalton got married.
Just that fact alone might have shaken things up in town. But the man
who married her left a full professor's position, to establish a
nonprofit foundation to repopulate two hundred thousand acres of tall
grass prairie with buffalo, of all things.
They already had the land, thanks to land donations by several Indian
tribes in Oklahoma, and the purchase of land that connected those
areas, by Chester and Felicity Chumley. The word on the street was that
a herd of four hundred bison would be released into the preserve within
a year. It was bringing a lot of attention to little Granger, even
though the town was two hundred miles away from the preserve itself.
The next year, 1979, Will and Christy were again the talk of the town.
Though it made less of a splash, either regionally or nationally, it
brought great prestige to the little town, because Christy Bradford
entered a photograph in a national contest and it made the news.
The Professional Photographers of America, commonly referred to as the
PP of A, is the largest group of professional photographers in America
and has affiliate groups all over the world. Its purpose is to educate
and train its members, extending their craft. Christy had joined the
Wichita chapter when her business took off and had been a member for
three years. She got together with her cohorts occasionally and, at a
seminar on portraiture, she happened to show one of them the picture
she'd taken of Will wrapped in the American flag.
The PP of A holds print competitions every year, where local winners'
prints are forwarded to regional events and then to the national
competition. Christy's peer lobbied her heavily to prepare a print for
that year's competition.
Making such a print might sound easy. It is anything but. The print
must be sixteen by twenty inches. It will be judged for artistic
ability, impact, and technical details. The judges, usually five to
seven masters grade photographers, sit in a darkened room. The print is
displayed on a vertical turn-table, angled so that the lighting won't
glare off the surface. Each judge may view the print for as long as he
likes. Once each judge has scored the print, the scores are averaged
and they move on.
Scores range from fifty to a hundred. For our purposes, scores of
eighty to ninety are considered as "deserving merit" and ninety to a
hundred is classed "exceptional." Very few prints get a score above
Points may be awarded on the basis of subjective and intangible points
of interest, such as color saturation and tone, placement of shadow in
the print, and whether that shadow adds to or detracts from the subject
matter. Even the title of the print may affect score.
It was into that intimidating and highly respected competition that
Christy entered the print of the man who was now her husband, titled
"All gave some..." - a reference to the well known phrase, in
those days, of "All gave some, and some gave all." On the advice of her
peers, Christy "burned" the corners and edges of the
print - making them dark and driving the viewer's attention to
the center - then covered the final product with a coat of
clear gloss finish that made the colors jump out at the viewer. She had
to make fifteen prints before she was satisfied that the colors in the
flag were true representations of the official emblem.
She waited, in the gallery, along with dozens of other observers. By
the luck of the draw, Will's portrait was one of the last five prints
It had what is commonly called the "wow factor."
"All gave some," said the announcer, and Will's portrait was turned to
face the judges.
There was an audible collective indrawn breath, followed by a stunned
silence that lasted perhaps six or seven seconds. Then all that indrawn
breath was expelled in a sussurating whisper that filled the entire
"Quiet please!" said the announcer.
Had an observer been watching Monica Truebridge's eyes, that observer
would have seen them narrow slightly as the judge viewed the portrait.
Her eyes flicked to various things in the print: the ravaged skin; the
stripes in the flag that were a deep, rich authentically blood red; the
end of the stump that held that flag to the chest ... and the hair,
that looked perfectly natural. It was the juxtaposition of normal
versus abnormal, all in one person, that gripped her. She tensed and
then relaxed. This was what she'd been waiting to see. She keyed in her
score and signaled the turntable attendant to move the portrait so that
it faced Harold, the judge next to her.
For Harold Bluestem, who had served three years in the Army and never
experienced anything more exciting than driving a deuce and a half
through mud that was three feet deep, he saw what could have happened
to him, had he been sent to war. It shook him and it made him realize
how incredibly lucky he'd been. This photograph spoke to him on a very
personal level. This young man, and this photograph, espoused the apex
of bravery and sacrifice. He stared at it so long that the turntable
"Yes," sighed Harold. "Go on."
For Stephanie Wells, it was the eyes that drew her attention,
particularly the fact that the eyes were identical, warm, full of
life - just normal brown eyes. But those eyes were in a head
that had two faces. Half was the face of any young man, with his dreams
and hopes and plans. The other half was the essence of destruction and
the ruination of all dreams, hopes and plans. And yet, the eye in the
midst of that destruction still shone with hope and pride. She had to
wipe her own suddenly tear-filled eyes before she could score the
entry. She scored the photograph with the highest score she'd ever
given and waved at the attendant.
Crandall Peabody considered himself the senior judge, based primarily
on his tenure in the PP of A and his opinion that he was as good as
Ansel Adams. Other photographers admitted he was good, but their
opinion wasn't anywhere close to his own. His face was still frozen in
the rictus of horror that had taken it over as soon as the photograph
appeared. "That's disgusting!" he breathed.
"What?!" Stephanie's head swiveled away from the photograph.
"That's the most disgusting thing I've ever seen," Crandall almost
panted. "It's obscene!"
Stephanie couldn't believe her ears. She stared at her peer in
Jerry Baldwin, the judge to his right, was also astonished. "Crandall,
you're insane," he said, his voice low. "That's master work if I ever
"It's pornography!" snarled Crandall. "I object! This ... this ... this
travesty should not have been accepted into the competition!"
Jerry snorted. "Just score the print, Crandall," he said.
"Zero!" thundered Crandall.
The announcer's voice came onto the PA system almost instantly. "Judges
will keep their votes secret until all votes have been cast, please."
Crandall made a production about pushing one finger onto the keypad,
leaned back, and folded his arms, scowling.
"I need to change my vote," said Monica.
"As you should!" said Crandall, not all that softly.
Monica made just as much of a production of pointing her finger and
pushing down three times. There was only one possible score that
required three numbers ... the perfect score of 100.
Jerry did exactly the same thing.
The easel was turned toward the last judge, who was Larry Turnbull.
Larry was the oldest judge present, at age sixty-two. He was also a veteran
of WWII and had landed on Omaha Beach, though no one in the room was
aware of that. He still had a German machine gun bullet lodged in a
knot of scar tissue less than an inch from his spine. He knew when it
would rain because of that bullet.
"I've already scored it," he said quietly. "Next photograph please?"
After all the photographs are viewed and scored, there is a second
viewing, for all prints that scored 85 and above. One photograph in
each category is selected as best in category. The last viewing
compares all the best in category and best of show is then determined.
It sounds fairly routine, but rarely is, in fact. It wasn't routine at
all in this show.
When all portraits that scored 85 or better had been viewed, and the
announcer said that wedding photographs were next, Monica Truebridge
raised her hand.
"I don't believe you displayed 'All gave some.'"
Silence descended on the gallery.
"That photograph received a score of eighty-two, point six," said the
Crandall harrumphed and smiled widely.
"And now wedding photographs," said the announcer again.
"One moment, please," said Monica. "To get a score of eighty-two point
six," she said, "I believe that five of the scores would have to have
been averaged somewhere above ninety-nine." She let that sink in as
Crandall's face twisted, while he tried to do the math. "If five out of
six judges feel that strongly, I believe that photograph has merit. I'd
like to see it again," she said.
"I object!" said Crandall.
"We'll take a little break," said the announcer. "Would the judges
please assemble in the conference room?"
"You people are insane!" trumpeted Crandall.
"What, exactly," asked Larry, "is your objection to the photograph?"
"It's unpatriotic!" snarled Crandall. "It's blasphemy!"
Five judges looked at him like he'd sprouted a third eye.
"Don't you see it?" said Crandall gruffly. "He blames the United States
of America for his infirmity! And to flagrantly expose those scars! I
shudder to think what some poor child would think if she accidentally
saw that monster!"
Monica, Stephanie and Jerry all drew breath to argue, but waited when
Larry raised his hand.
"Is it possible, Crandall, that the photograph could be viewed as if he
loved his country, despite what he suffered?" Crandall took a breath,
clearly about to argue, but Larry cut him off. "Could it be that the
flag he drapes himself in is a symbol of how America cares for those
who suffer for our benefit?" His voice hardened and got louder. "Could
it be, Crandall, that that young man displayed incredible courage in
letting the world see those scars you object to so much? He suffered
those wounds for you, Crandall, so that you could have the privilege of
taking whatever photographs you want to and won't be jailed for showing
them to anybody!"
"Nonsense," snorted Crandall. "The Vietnam war was a mistake, a
travesty. The Vietnamese never threatened us or our way of life! Men
like him killed babies and raped women. They disgraced our whole
"We're not here to talk politics," said Harold. "We're here to judge
"And I judge that one as having no value at all," said Crandall smugly.
"So the colors are wrong?" asked Monica.
"That's not what I'm objecting to," said Crandall.
"How about the composition?" she pressed. "Is that poorly done?"
"That's not the point," said Crandall.
"It's exactly the point, Crandall," she said. "It's a photograph.
Regardless of whether you think the subject matter, or what it says to
the viewer, is objectionable, it's still a photograph and should
receive due consideration on its technical merits. I could understand
if you gave it a fifty, but a zero makes you look like an idiot."
"I am not an idiot," said Crandall stiffly. "I am merely a man of moral
"So anybody who is sent to war by this country, and suffers injury,
should just be put on a shelf and forgotten," said Larry. His voice
"I didn't say that," said Crandall.
"You scored him zero!" snapped Larry.
"I scored the photograph zero," insisted Crandall. "It profanes the
Stephanie spoke. "I think we should get the photographer in here."
"Why?" asked Crandall.
"So he can tell us what his intent was," she said.
"The intent is clear," insisted Crandall. "Except to Larry, I suppose,"
"Except to all of us," said Monica. "It's five to one, Mr. Peabody."
Her voice was formal.
Christy stepped into the conference room. She was very nervous. She'd
left Will back in Granger, to mind the shop while she came to Wichita
for the competition. What she'd seen and heard had made her very glad
he wasn't there.
The six judges were sitting at the table. No chair had been provided
for her, so she just stood at the end of the table nearest her. She had
no idea why she had been called here, but she was sure it couldn't be a
"You're the photographer?" That was Monica and she sounded surprised.
"Yes," said Christy. She didn't trust her voice to say more.
One of the men, the older one with gray hair, spoke. The man who had
said such horrible things sat next to him, with a frown on his face.
"Would you please tell us what you intended to portray in the portrait
Christy clamped down on her emotions. That was no easy feat because
just the photograph alone caused emotion to balloon in her. And she
didn't know what this meeting meant, which caused other emotions to
roil in her. But her anger and frustration at the frowning man gave her
the strength to speak.
"When I met Will, he was withdrawn and in pain," she said. "He had
given up on life." She calmed as she thought about him. "But he wasn't
bitter. He didn't blame anybody for what happened to him, even though
it was friendly fire that caused his injuries."
"Did you say friendly fire?" asked the gray haired man, leaning forward.
"What's that?" asked the man next to him.
"That means it was American ordinance that burned him," said the older
man. "We did that to him, Crandall ... not the enemy."
"Oh," said the man he had addressed as Crandall. He looked confused.
"Go on, please," said the gray haired man.
"He almost died. He lay on the battlefield for hours before they found
him. All he wanted was to see his sister again ... to go home. He was
in the hospital for months and months," said Christy. "And through it
all, he was in agony that is indescribable." She felt tears forming in
her eyes and blinked rapidly, clamping down on her emotions. "He
survived it, though, and he wasn't bitter. He still loved his country. America
took him back, burned and broken, and helped him survive. He's done
amazing things since then. He gave so much and wanted so little. He
knew it was friendly fire, and he still loved his country. I wanted to
"Why did you show the scars?" asked one of the women.
"It's who he is," said Christy, helplessly. "He can't disguise them.
Everybody he meets sees his face. He gave something up for his country
and that should be honored." She looked at the man who had said those
hurtful things in the gallery. "You were wrong," she said. "It isn't
pornography. It's reality. He lives with that reality every day."
Crandall was stubborn, but in the face of what she'd said, his
arguments had no punch. He was badgered into accepting the inclusion of
the portrait into continued judging. When the other five judges
selected it as best of show, there wasn't anything he could do about it.
He hated that photograph for the rest of his life, because it made it
all the way to national competition. Nobody along the way agreed with
his assessment and he was never asked to judge again.
Something a lot more people paid attention to in 1979 were the Country
Music Association awards. Misty Compton played significantly in that
situation, because she was nominated for female vocalist of the year.
By this time in her career, she was known for two things. First, she
had a string of number one hits under her belt.
The song that stayed at number one on the country charts for thirteen
weeks was the one that tipped her name for the nomination. It was one
she wrote herself - about a wild young man who was finally
tamed by a shy young girl who claimed his heart. Most people thought it
was about the still unknown father of her child and her fantasy of
capturing his love. It made her famous.
And it ensured that the press would pay particular attention to her at
the awards. That's because the second thing she was famous for was
telling the press it was none of their damned business who the father
of her daughter was. On multiple occasions, her answer to the question
was: "That's part of my personal life, which is none of your damned
business." She always delivered that line with a smile and people,
particularly women, loved her for it. She always appeared at things
like this without an escort - arriving alone and leaving the
What had Nashville in a buzz that night, at least as far as the press
was concerned, was that word had been leaked that she would be escorted
this time. When the limo stopped and the driver opened the back door,
the place lit up like the silent finale of some immense fireworks show.
In the midst of that blazing strobe-like light, Misty stepped daintily
from the rear of the car, smiling widely, and reached her hand inside.
A man stepped out.
All chatter stopped as the man, who was blushing mightily, looked
around with stunned eyes. The tuxedo he was in couldn't hide the fact
that he was almost certainly in his late fifties or early sixties. What
wisps of hair he had left had been carefully combed over the top of his
bald head. His Adam's apple bobbed frantically as he swallowed multiple
In the stunned silence, punctuated only by the click and whir of the
motor winds of a hundred cameras, Misty said "I'd like y'all to meet
Jasper Tomkins. He's my songwriter."
Madge fairly barreled from the back of the car and took Jasper's arm.
"And he's my husband," she said triumphantly. "So y'all can just go on
back to wonderin'."
Jasper's leaving, to write songs professionally and get married, wasn't
of that much note in Hutchinson. What got a lot more attention was the
wedding of Amanda Griggs. She had met the man when she spoke at a
symposium being held by a medical group, during which she gave a speech
on the techniques she used to communicate with her father, who had lost
his speech abilities due to a stroke.
She was approached by a young man who wanted to study Ron and her
techniques for communication, and write a paper about it. Over the
ensuing months, during which he spent hours each day with Ron and
Amanda, a romance developed.
What made all that well known was a contest KDEF had, in which
listeners were invited to suggest a date for the wedding, along with an
explanation as to why that date was better than any other.
There were over six hundred submissions. The winner was the woman who
said the wedding should be on Ron's birthday, because he had brought
the bride and groom together - both by being born in the first
place and because of his affliction, and the way in which it had caused
things to happen.
Bobby and Constance were invited to the wedding, where they saw Amanda
push her father's wheel chair down the aisle. Five year old Michael,
Bobby's son, was the ring bearer.
Bobby and Connie sat with the winner of the contest, Erica
Bradford-Dotson and her husband of six months.
July of 1980 was an exciting time for the Dalton extended family. Part
of that excitement was the impending birth of Bobby and Constance's
third child. By now, a child being born into that family in July was
almost a tradition.
Their first had been born on the fifteenth of July,
1978 - almost nine months to the day after the wedding. The
little boy had been named Timothy Dean, in memory of Tim Appleton.
A little less than a year later, Robert Shaun had been born. His name
was more than appropriate, because her water broke while they were at
the 4th of July picnic, making him another male named Bobby Dalton who
drew attention at the celebration and was the talk of the town for a
That month in 1980 was also exciting, because on the first of the month
Granger got a brand new doctor. Suzie Dalton was accepted onto the
hospital staff to perform her residency, with a plan to settle into the
field of primary care, when her residency was complete and she got her
Suzie moved into Bobby's old room in the barn until she could get
settled and look for her own place. She arrived in Granger alone and
went to work almost immediately. To her sisters, little had changed in
the three years she'd been away to med school. She was the same old
Suzie. To people outside the family, her calm, cool demeanor inspired
trust and confidence in her abilities. She seemed very grown up to them.
It was by pure chance that her first rotation in the hospital was in
the OB/GYN clinic. It was also by pure chance that her first delivery
was Constance Dalton's third child.
But that was only after a rather hair raising labor, brought about by
the fact that Connie had been working when her water broke and her
labor started. She'd been standing on a short stool, because she
couldn't climb a ladder, as gravid as she was. When her water broke and
ran down the leg of her overalls, the slick spot it caused sent her
foot flying as she tried to step down. Off balance, she took her full
weight on an ankle that wasn't prepared for it. There was a clearly
audible snap and Constance went down like a sack of rocks.
Bobby, only five feet away, was horrified as he saw his pregnant wife
hit the floor on one hip, her side ... and the side of her swollen
belly. Her "OOOFF" upon impact was followed by a surprisingly calm:
"Damn, Bobby, I think I just broke my ankle."
Constance wanted Bobby to just carry her to the car and get her to the
hospital. Bobby argued with her long enough that the arrival of the
ambulance made him the winner.
The ambulance driver, having called ahead on the radio, had a veritable
sea of medical personnel waiting in the ER. One splinted her ankle
while another checked the baby. Still others cut her overalls off, much
to her displeasure, which only mounted when Bobby was denied entrance
into the treatment area.
Suzie's arrival calmed her down, which had a significant role in her attending physician saying, "Okay, you got it. I'll be right here if you need me."
The initial diagnosis was that the baby was still alive. Connie had
been having contractions throughout the whole procedure and they seemed
normally spaced for this point in a labor so, covered with a blanket,
she lay there groaning as a cast was applied to her ankle.
It was at that point that Connie became what is known, in the medical
industry, as "a pain in the ass."
There was some discussion of doing a delivery by Cesarean section, but
Suzie ordered a tech to get ready for the spinal block and Constance
objected to that too.
"I had the other two naturally," she groaned. "I want to do the same
with this one."
"I can't give you anything for the pain," said Suzie into her ear. "I'm
afraid it would stop the contractions."
"I only have a broken ankle!" snapped Constance. "Just get me to where
I can push this baby out of me!"
Then there was the fact that Connie hadn't had time or opportunity to
evacuate her bowels before things got to the point that it was no
longer an option. Hospital orderlies hate that, because they're the
ones who have to clean it all up when nature takes its course. It's pretty much impossible to push a baby out without some of that push affecting your bowels, too.
Once they got her ensconced into a labor room, Suzie had enough clout
to get Bobby admitted for what became, other than the fact that
Constance was in unending pain from her broken ankle, a fairly routine
labor and delivery.
After all, it isn't at all unusual for the woman in labor to curse like
a sailor ... particularly at her husband.
In any case, while it was an accident that Suzie got to deliver her
niece, there was no chance about it whatsoever when the little girl was
named Beverly Susan Dalton.
Suzie pushed open the door to the room and walked in to see Connie
"And how are we this evening?" she asked.
Constance smiled. "We're just peachy."
"How's the ankle?"
"Hurts like the dickens," said Constance.
"Anything I give you will get into your breast milk," said Suzie. "If
you'd let her go on formula for a while, I could do something about the
"And miss this?" Constance adjusted the baby, which was sucking eagerly.
"I hate to tell you this," said Suzie. "But when they cast your ankle,
they did a rush job on it. The x-ray I ordered shows that it needs to
be operated on to get everything back where it all belongs. I've
already scheduled the surgery." She stopped, but Connie just nodded.
Suzie sighed. "We're going to have to anesthetize you for that and
she'll have to take formula for a few days. We can still express the
milk you make and keep you producing."
"How long am I going to have to stay in the hospital?" asked Constance.
"We're guessing a couple of weeks."
"You'll be off your feet for most of six weeks, if everything goes
well," said Suzie. "But the surgery should get you back to normal, when
everything is healed up."
"Well, that's good," sighed Constance. "Bobby will probably make a pest
of himself until then, though."
"He loves you," said Suzie, smiling.
"Oh, I know that!" said Connie. She stroked her daughter's hair. "Your
namesake is the most recent evidence of that." She looked up at her
"How are things going with you?"
Suzie sighed. "So much has changed since I left! Mamma is married and
you have three children! Bev and Flo both had babies while I was gone
and Mary may be my next delivery. The twins are all grown up. You and
Bobby have a whole house to live in. Everything just seems so
"How's your love life?" asked Constance.
"Not so much," said Suzie, matter-of-factly. "I met a couple of guys in
med school, and went on a few dates, but none of them rang my bell. Not
like..." She went silent.
"Like who?" asked Constance.
"Nobody," said Suzie, straitening up.
"There's nobody like your first, huh?" asked Constance slyly.
Suzie looked at her patient intently. "No ... there's not."
Constance closed her eyes. "I still remember it," she sighed. "Bobby's
a great lover ... no doubt about it ... but I still remember my first
time with Tim."
"I'll be sure not to tell Bobby," said Suzie, smiling.
"Oh, he knows," said Constance. "Just like I know about all the women
before me." She looked around, as if to see if anyone else might be in
the room. "You want to hear something funny?"
"I told him he had to do everything he'd ever done with all those women
... to me."
"No, I'm not. And Suzie, he's wearing me out! He's got a sex drive that
would power a locomotive."
"Yes, but he's not wearing you out," said Suzie, smiling.
Connie grinned. "Well, maybe not, but it is all I can do to keep up
with him." Her face went back to normal. "I used to wonder how he could
take care of all those women ... but not anymore."
"Well, you'll get a nice rest in the hospital," said Suzie, grinning.
"Yes, but he gets cranky when I can't take care of him."
"He'll just have to be cranky, then," said Suzie. "You're not going
anywhere for a while."
Connie looked down. "I think she's done for a while. Would you put her
back in the bassinette for me?"
Suzie took the baby and cuddled her. She was already asleep. She seemed
so tiny. Suzie still remembered catching the squirming messy little
thing in her hands after Connie's last push. It was something she'd
"She's darling," sighed Suzie.
"Wait until you hold your own," said Connie.
"Like that's going to happen," snorted Suzie. "This is Granger,
remember? You might have gotten lucky, but the pickings are mighty slim
around here, as I recall."
"A lot of women in this town got lucky," said Constance.
Suzie looked at her. Something in her voice demanded it.
"Are you still jealous?" she asked.
"No," sighed Constance. "Not any more. I used to be, but now I
understand. They couldn't resist him any more than I could ... or you
Suzie blushed. "He's behaving himself ... isn't he?"
"Absolutely," said Constance. "I'll tell you something if you promise
never to tell him."
"Within a month after we got married, I knew I needed to go to work
with him. He attracts women like honey attracts a bee."
"And you were afraid he'd cheat on you?"
"No," said Connie firmly. "He's a man of his word. But I knew women
would try things, sooner or later, and it's just better for everybody
when I'm there with him. Besides, I love that we get to spend so much
time together. I love the work and I love him. I've always loved being
around him. It's a dream come true for me."
Suzie smiled. "You don't know how happy I am for you."
"Yes I do," said Constance. "I know how happy all of you are and I know
how much you did to give me what I've got."
"You're our sister," said Suzie. "You always have been, ever since Bev
dragged you out to the farm for that first sleepover."
"I wanted you to be my sisters," said Constance softly. "That meant
more to me back then than anything else. You made me feel like I
belonged. You still do. It's wonderful."
"Good!" said Suzie, standing up. "Now, get some rest. I want you in
good shape for that surgery."
The surgery went well and Constance was told they expected a complete
recovery, as long as she gave it all time to heal properly. To avoid
accidents, the attending doctor wanted her to stay in the hospital
for three weeks. After that she could go home in a wheel chair, for the
rest of her recovery.
There were more intimate talks between Suzie and her patient, broken up
by Bobby bounding in to see his wife. The second time he ruffled
Suzie's hair with his hand and said, "What's up, Doc?" she kicked him in
the shin, much to the consternation of a nurse nearby.
On the third day after the surgery, Suzie looked in on Connie as she
was leaving for the day. Bobby had been there and had spent several
hours with Constance.
"You need anything before I go?" asked Suzie.
"As a matter of fact," said Connie, "I do."
Bobby had picked up Tim and Bobby Jr. from Renee's. They'd been fed and
played with, and he was in the process of getting them ready for bed
when the front door opened and Suzie walked in.
"What's up, Doc?" asked Bobby, grinning. He jumped and assumed a
makeshift Karate stance.
"Ha! Like you have the balls to hit me," said Suzie, sticking out her
tongue at him. She went and picked up Bobby Jr. "Time for bed, sport!"
she said, kissing him numerous times on his neck while he giggled.
"Your daddy will take care of your big brother."
"You came over here just to put him to bed?" Bobby raised an eyebrow.
"Your wife informs me that you're helpless without her and require
taking care of while she's in the hospital," said Suzie.
"That's bull," said Bobby, puffing out his chest.
"Oh is it?" asked Suzie, fingering the spatters of baby food on Bobby
Jr.'s clothing. "Have you brushed his teeth?"
"Not yet," said Bobby, defensively. It was clear he hadn't even thought
"Come with me, you handsome little boy," cooed Suzie. "Aunt Suzie will
get you all cleaned up and tucked in nice and warm."
"It's July, Suzie," said Bobby.
"He knows what I mean," said Suzie, taking the baby toward the bathroom
Bobby finished the story that Tim had demanded and turned off the
light. Suzie had already put Bobby Jr. in his crib and left. He was a
little surprised to find her in the kitchen, doing dishes.
"You don't have to do that," he said.
"Connie was very specific in her instructions to me," said Suzie. "You
Ten minutes later they were done. Suzie looked at her watch.
"We have plenty of time," she said.
"Time until what?" he asked.
"Until the twins get here," said Suzie.
"Uh huh," said Suzie. "Joey and Ronnie are spending the night at Aunt
Linda's," she said. Her fingers went to her blouse and began
"What's going on here?" asked Bobby, looking wary.
"I told you Connie was very specific about how we're supposed to take
care of you while she's laid up," said Suzie.
She shrugged off her blouse and reached behind her to unsnap her bra.
She tossed it aside and rubbed her breasts. Bobby watched as her thumb
and forefingers squeezed her nipples and they spiked. Taking her
brother's hand. She pulled him toward the bedroom.
"Very specific," she repeated.
In the next forty minutes, only a few words were spoken in the bedroom.
They say actions speak louder than words. But sometimes words can be a
powerful motivator for a person's actions.
"I'm fertile, Bobby," whispered Suzie in the ear of her lover.
She could feel the tension explode in his body as his efforts increased.
"And the twins stopped taking the pill when you got married."
With a groan of mixed frustration that he could no longer control his
impulse to spew and the ecstasy of knowing he had his wife's permission
to do something he was so good at, Bobby gave up trying to make this
He groaned and bred his sister.
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