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Regular customer finally gets up the nerve to ask out the knockout waitress...then magic happens

“Good morning, Ray,” said the waitress, as she filled his cup with hot coffee. “The usual?”

“Yes, thank you,” Ray said.

“Coming right up,” she said, with a wink. “I put the order in when I saw you coming.”

“You’re good, Monica.”

Ray smiled and watched her walk away, focusing on her perfect butt. Monica was a knockout, no other way to put it. Medium height, jet-black pony-tailed hair, deep dark intelligent eyes, slim sexy body with all the right curves. She was smart and witty and had a genuine, shy smile that could thaw ice. And that cute little wink that made him feel like they were sharing some long lost secret. He’d almost asked her out a dozen times, but he always wimped out. She didn’t wear a wedding ring, but he assumed any gal that looked that damn good is sure to have a boyfriend, if not several. Or who knows these days, maybe a girlfriend or two.

Ray ate breakfast at Hal’s & Sal’s Restaurant most weekday mornings and always sat in Monica’s station. He usually ordered the same thing: Hominy grits with salsa, sourdough toast, coffee and a small tomato juice. It came to about eleven bucks and he always left fifteen on the table.

“You’re later today than usual,” Monica said, as she set his food on the table.

“Yeah, I have an appointment with Hal at ten o’clock,” Ray replied. “We’re putting together some new ad copy. New specials, or something.”

“Sounds like fun. You know Hal, he’s always got something up his sleeve to drive his servers crazy.”

“But we love him anyway, right?”

“That goes without saying,” she said, and gave him another wink.

Ray was an account executive for a local radio station. Big Country 103. He never much cared for country music, but it had grown on him over the last couple years. And its audience delivered the ideal demographic for most advertisers.

Breakfast over, at a couple minutes before ten, Ray saw Hal waving him in from behind the counter. He placed a ten and a five on the table and grabbed up his satchel from the floor and followed Hal back through the kitchen to the office. They sat down and went to work. After he had gotten all the info he needed to write the ad copy for the next flight of commercials, Ray asked Hal about Monica.

“What’s her story?” he asked.

“You like her?” Hal said.

“Sure, who wouldn’t? What’s not to like?”

“Better get in line.”

“Oh, really?”

“No, I shouldn’t say that, I really don’t know. I don’t think she’s seeing anyone steadily, but guys hit on her all the time. She’s a single mom, has a little girl, so I guess that scares most of them off. But she’s sensational, I wish I had eight or ten more just like her. She’s sharp, is a hard worker, and is the first one to pitch in and help someone else if they get into the weeds. You know, she’s worked here more than three years and I don’t think she’s ever missed a shift, and she works breakfast and lunch six days a week. I remember she was late one time because her car wouldn’t start. She’s got an old beat-to-shit Honda Civic. She lives in a little house in that old neighborhood behind the legion hall.”

“How old is she?”

“Twenty-six-or seven. Her daughter is eight, I think, and that little girl is all she cares about. Don’t know the whole story, but she got knocked up in high school and the boyfriend took off when he found out, didn’t give a shit about her or the baby and never gave her a dime.”

“Hmm. Wow, that sucks. She’s been through a lot. Strong lady.”

“She is that. She’s been loyal and reliable for us. I wish I could do more for her. We offer some benefits, I know the health insurance is important to her. It’s not the best plan and it takes a chunk out of her pay, but it’s better than many local businesses provide. I’ve tried to get her to work dinner, she could make more in tips, but she won’t, she wants to be home when her daughter gets in from school.”

“Sounds like a good mom.”

“She is. Good person, too.”

“Would you mind if I asked her out?”

“No. Why would I mind?”

“Oh, I dunno, just checking. You’re a good client, I wouldn’t want to make things awkward, or weird, or anything, ya know?”

“Yep, I know. But what the hell, Ray, go for it. Like John Lennon said, life is what happens when you’re making other plans. You never know, so take a shot. Plus, she’s gotta say yes first, right?”

“Right, there is that,” Ray said with a hollow laugh, suddenly realizing he could easily be shot down. “And I wouldn’t want to put her on the spot.”

“Tell you what. I know she takes her little girl to the dog park behind the high school on Sunday mornings if the weather is good. Maybe catch her there.”

Ray thought that sounded like a good idea, and told Hal as much. A laid-back, no pressure, fun atmosphere. It might just work. He knew then and there he would be staking out the dog park come Sunday.


Two days later on Sunday morning the weather was fair. The dog park was next to a big community park that had a playground, ball fields and tennis and basketball courts, as well as an asphalt hiking trail that encircled it and interconnected with the surrounding neighborhoods. Ray dressed to go running and parked his car at the far end of the lot. He planned to spend the morning running and walking the trail as he scoped out the landscape in hopes of spotting Monica.

He heard the dogs as soon as he got out of the car, barking and yelping and arfing down at the other end of the park. He did some stretching, then started jogging around the trail. Over the next hour he walk/ran about fifteen laps around the park perimeter, resting here and there, while keeping his eye out for a beat-up Honda. Finally, he spotted it driving onto the lot. He moved closer for a better look. He would observe for a bit, let them get into their routine before choosing a time to approach.

The car was a faded blue, had to be twelve or thirteen years old. Ray figured there would be three of them, Monica and her daughter and a dog, but there were just the two of them, no dog. Monica looked beautiful. She was dressed entirely in black: jeans, sneakers, shirt. And her long black hair was hanging loose and free over her shoulders and down her back, not tied back like it was when she was working. And the little girl was a cutie-pie, clad in a blue jumper and obviously eager to visit with the dogs.

They went through the double gates and the little girl made a hasty beeline for a corgi and a what looked like a beagle something-or-other that were interacting in the center of the fenced-in space. She obviously knew these dogs. The dogs knew her too, and excitedly surrounded her. The fun began.

Monica said hello and made conversation for a couple minutes with several dog owners, then made her way to a bench that backed up to the fence, sat down by herself, and watched her daughter play with the dogs. Ray took a deep breath. It was time. He walked over to where Monica was seated and approached her from behind.

“Monica, I’ll have the usual,” he said from over her left shoulder on the other side of the fence.

Startled, Monica turned around to face him, looked confused for a second before a smile formed on her face.

“Ray, Hi. What are you doing here?”

“I’ve finally gone to the dogs.”

She laughed. “I guess we have too. My daughter loves dogs and has made friends with a few. Look at them.”

He watched her little girl romping around with her friends for a moment.

“Looks like the doggies love her too.”

“Yeah, they’re all buds. We come here a lot. It’s very relaxing, almost therapeutic.”

“I know what you mean. I’d like to have a dog, but my lifestyle is not conducive to having one. I’m single, out all the time working, whatever, it wouldn’t be fair to the dog.”

“I know what you mean. We’d love to have a dog too, but my landlord does not allow pets.”

After a silent pause, Ray said: “Do you mind if I join you?”

“Not at all, please do.”

Ray put his hands on the rail of the chain link fence and hoisted himself over in one swoop and sat down beside her.

They didn’t say anything at first. They watched the girly dogplay, the petting, chasing, tossing the ball, with lots of giggling, and occasional peals of laughter.

“Wow, your daughter sure does love this. What is her name?”


“Cheri. That’s a pretty name. And she’s a pretty little girl. Takes after her mom, I guess.”

Monica’s lips twisted into a shy smile and she turned her head toward him and locked her eyes onto his. “Are you flirting with me?”

Ray shrugged. “Nah. Well, yeah, maybe, just calling it the way I see it. What? Too corny?”

Monica burst out laughing. “No, just a little. But thank you. I’ll take that as a compliment.”

“Yes, please do.” He swiped his fingers across his forehead and said, “Phew.”

She laughed again and patted his knee. He thought that was a good sign.

They made small talk while they watched Cheri play with the dogs. Cheri eventually ran over to them, chased by Buster, the beagle. Shorty the Corgi followed. A brown and white mutt with floppy ears lingered nearby. One of the pet owners, a smiling older gentleman in Bermuda shorts and smoking a pipe, observed the lovefest from a few yards away. Monica introduced humans and canines.

“Cheri, this is Mister Ray. He’s a customer where I work.”


“Hello Cheri. It sure looks like you’re having fun out there.”

“Yep,” she said, hugging both dogs and getting an unexpected french kiss from Buster. Then they all ran off again, racing away in buoyant, playful glee.

“Damn, she’s having a blast,” Ray said.

“I know. She loves animals. If there’s an animal show on TV, we watch it, doesn’t matter what it is. Dogs, cats, birds, fish, whales, apes, hippos, you name it, we watch it. She’s fascinated with animals.”

This gave Ray an idea.

“Monica, have you and Cheri ever been to The Petting Safari?”

“No, what’s that?”

“It’s a petting zoo, a big one. It advertises on my radio station. It’s only about an hour away, on the way to the National Park. It has all kinds of animals. Miniature horses, donkeys, goats, pigs, sheep, ducks, and more, they are all tame, you can pet them. They have a llama, an alpaca, and they get animals on loan from different places too, they even had a young giraffe for a while, but I think that’s over now. There’s pony rides, and exhibits, and shows, and refreshments. I think Cheri would love it. I think all three of us would. Would you like to go? My treat, of course.”

Monica smiled again. “Are you asking me out? Like on a date?”

Ray blushed. All he said was, “Yes.”

There was silence, a pregnant pause. Ray was beginning to wonder if maybe that was a bad sign when Monica spoke.

“I was wondering when you were going to get around to it,” she said.


“Asking me out.”

“You were?” he said. She nodded. “Well, I’ve been trying to get up the nerve for some time.”

“Really? Why did you have to get up the nerve? You seem like a pretty confident guy to me.”

“Well, a couple reasons. First, I’m divorced. I was only married briefly, and no children. It was almost five years ago, now. It was short and not so sweet. I got married and in less than two years my wife was cheating on me.”

“So you don’t trust women,” Monica said.

“No, it’s not that. It’s more that I have trouble trusting myself.”


“I married the wrong person, plain and simple. After we were separated and headed for divorce, friends and family told me they knew she was all wrong for me. Everyone could see it but me. It was easy to get over her, believe me, I don’t have any hangups there, she is who she is. But it’s taken me quite a while to come to grips with the fact that I could have misjudged someone so badly.

“We broke up for a while when we were going together, then one day a few weeks later she called me out of the blue and wanted to meet for a drink. Next thing I knew we were back together and before long we were getting engaged, the ball started rolling and I couldn’t seem to stop it. I was along for the ride and then I was getting married. To the wrong person.”

“It’s not your fault.”

“I know that now. That’s what everybody kept telling me and I’ve gotten over it, and I’m a better man because of it. And I am glad it ended when it did because I would have been the type to stick it out, keep trying, and it would have just prolonged the whole mess. We had no children or assets to fight over, so the divorce was pretty smooth compared to what a lot of people experience.”

“I’m sorry you had to go through that, Ray. But thank you for telling me. What’s the second thing?”


“You said there were a couple reasons you had put off asking me out.”

Ray chuckled. “The other reason is that I figured you probably were getting hit on by guys all the time. And I didn’t want to be just one of those guys.”

Monica touched his arm, and an electric buzz of exhilaration jolted through him. “I don’t think you’d ever be one of those guys.”

“So what do you think? Do we have a date for The Petting Safari?”

“I think it’s a wonderful idea, Ray. And I would definitely like to go out with you. But here’s the thing: I have been very cautious about introducing a man into Cheri’s life. And if someone is in my life, they are in hers too. Understand?”

“Absolutely. You’re a good mom.”

“I have my own sob story that maybe I’ll tell you sometime, so I’m careful. So, my answer would be yes. But can I let you know for sure tomorrow? I want to make sure Cheri is comfortable, because if she’s not, it would not be an ideal first date. I think that when she hears about the animals, she’s going to love the idea. But I want our first date to be a good one. Okay?”

“I think tomorrow is fine, and it’s a standing offer. And, know what else I think? I think you are a very smart lady.”

They talked a bit longer while they watched Cheri play with her dog friends. Then Ray decided to make his exit.

“Well, I think I’ll be going, Monica,” he said as he rose off the bench. “I’ll see you in the a.m. And I’ll have the usual.”

“I’ll try to remember that,” Monica said, and gave him her wink.

He hopped over the fence and walked to his car.


The next morning Ray had no sooner sat down when Monica was at his table pouring his coffee. She also placed a four by six inch white card in front of him with a giant YES! written on it in multiple colors with felt tip markers. It also had Monica’s cell number written on it. A big grin took over his face.

Monica was grinning too. “Oh, Ray, Cheri is so excited. She can hardly wait, she’s already praying for a sunny day. I was curious last night, so I looked on line and found the website for The Petting Safari and showed it to her. I had to pull her away from the computer to put her to bed. She looked at photos of all the animals they have. There are cattle, yaks, a zebu, sheep, goats, rabbits, pigs, llamas, horses, donkeys, and a map of the place, she’s already planning her route. I think you hit a home run with this idea.”

“That’s great. I’m happy and relieved. And I’m looking forward to it as much as she is.”

“So am I,” she said, with a wink. “I’ll get your breakfast.”

The rest of the week couldn’t move fast enough for Ray or Cheri or Monica. Breakfasts were joyous occasions each day as the weekend neared. Ray hoped for good weather. He also kept his fingers crossed that the anticipation would live up to the actual event.


There was no need to fret about the weather. It was mostly sunny with a slight breeze.

They met at the dog park, where Monica and Cheri piled into Ray’s sedan. Monica looked great as usual, again dressed in black, with her long black hair hanging loosely and black nail polish to boot. He’d offered to pick them up at Monica’s house, but she suggested they meet at the park. “My mother lives with us,” she’d said. “I’d like to save her for another time, if that’s okay.” Ray was fine with that.

The drive to the zoo was comfortable for both Ray and Monica, and the conversation flowed back and forth easily, not forced at all. Any first-date jitters they might have had were eradicated by their week-long anticipation and by Cheri’s excitement in the backseat.

The Petting Safari did not let them down. Cheri had studied the map on the website all week long and knew her way around like she was a regular customer. They went from cows to sheep to llamas, petted an alpaca, rabbits, goats, pigs, miniature horses, donkeys, even a yak. Cheri fed ducks and geese and a horse, and took a pony ride. There was big sign announcing that soon a small elephant would coming to the zoo for a limited time, and Cheri was already dropping extremely obvious hints about coming back for that.

As they walked around the park, Ray and Monica couldn’t help but smile observing Cheri’s enthusiasm. You could almost feel the excitement and joy emanating from the little girl. On a couple occasions Monica grabbed Ray’s hand as they walked, which he more than welcomed. He thought her hand meshed with his just right.

They sat at a picnic table outside the small cafe and ate burgers and fries for lunch, and from the gift shop Cheri got a book about mammals, which she read in the backseat of the car on the ride home.

All in all, it was a long afternoon, but it couldn’t have gone much better. When they got back to the dog park it was getting onto dusk. Ray pulled his car into a space close to Monica’s Honda. She lowered her window a bit and unlocked her car with a remote.

“Cheri, get in our car and I’ll be there in a minute, okay?”

“Are you guys gonna kiss?” Cheri said.

Monica smiled at Ray and said, “Honey, do you have anything you want to say to Mister Ray?”

“Thank you, Mister Ray. I had fun.”

“You’re welcome, Cheri. I had fun, too,” Ray said.

“Now take your book and get in the car, Honey, I’ll be right there,” Monica said.

“O-kay,” Cheri said, and opened her door. “But don’t kiss too long.”

They watched her get into the Honda and close the door.



“Kids say the darnedest things, huh?”

Monica turned to Ray and took his hand, looked into his eyes. “Ray, thank you so much. Today could not have gone better. I had a wonderful time. And doing this for my daughter…I can’t tell you how much that means to me. To both of us.”

Ray squeezed her hand. “I had a blast. She’s a doll.” Then, with his eyes locked on hers: “When can I see you again? I mean, except breakfast.”

“Soon. I’m looking forward to it.”

They kissed. Their lips melded together. He took her in his arms and could feel her breasts pressing against his chest. Lips parted, their tongues got in the act, their arms tightened around each other. It was a long kiss, it went on longer than either one of them expected as their tongues explored, but it felt right. Monica did not remember a kiss like that ever. And it was their first one.

“Wow,” she said, almost breathless. “I better get out of this car now while I still have a chance. Whew.” She smiled and waved her hand in front of her face as if to cool off.

Ray was smiling too. It was definitely a kiss to remember. And his dick was hard.

“Good night,” she said, tightening her hand around his while she planted another quick kiss on his lips. “See you in the morning.”

Ray sat there and watched her walk to her car, open the door and get in. He watched her start the car, and waved back at her when she waved to him. He watched her drive out of the lot before he put his car in gear and pulled away. He had a smile on his face.


Breakfasts at Hal’s and Sal’s became more and more enjoyable. All of the employees knew immediately that Ray and Monica were seeing each other and welcomed the idea. Hal and Sal gave Ray the thumbs up. His interaction with Monica became more playful and intimate, loaded with sexy innuendo.

Monica had her hands full with work and Cheri during the week, so they would get together on the weekends. The Saturday after their trip to The Petting Safari Ray took her to dinner at a nice seafood restaurant while Monica’s mother Molly babysat. The week after that Monica had him over for dinner--nothing fancy, chili and salad and bread--and Ray met Molly for the first time. The house was very small, and the neighborhood had seen better days, but it was neat and clean and well-cared for. After dinner they all sat in the living room and watched a movie on TV. The week after that, dinner and a concert.

At the end of each date, their goodbyes became longer and longer as it became harder and harder to say good night. At the end of their fifth date, Ray’s cock was like a slab of petrified wood in his pants, and Monica’s pussy was dripping as they made out in his car in front of her house.

“I want to make love to you,” Ray said into her ear as he sucked on her lobe.

“I want you too,” she whispered. “But…”

Ray backed off and looked at her. “But what?”

Monica looked down for a moment, then back up into his eyes. “I’m afraid.”

“Afraid? Afraid of what?”

Tears formed in her eyes. Her face scrunched up. “Afraid you’ll go away.”

He looked at her for a moment, forming his thoughts. He shook his head. “No. Monica, I won’t go away. Not unless you want me to. I want to get closer to you. That’s why I want to make love.”

She hugged him as tightly as she could. “I want to make love too,” she said softly. “I want to be closer to you, too. I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry. And it’s okay to be scared. And look. I don’t know your history, I hope you’ll trust me enough to tell me sometime. But I know that you have had a bad experience and Cheri’s father gave you the shaft. But not all men leave. My father has been married to my mother for thirty years. That’s my role model when it comes to what it means to be a man.”

Monica sobbed softly, then said, “Thank you for saying that. You’re a good man, Ray. I think I just need a little more time. Would that be okay?”

Ray was falling in love. He would be ready when she was.


One thing that blew Ray’s mind about Monica, aside from her incredibly good looks and body and mind and strength and toughness and resilience and responsibility, was how they could talk. About anything. She only had a high school education, but she was extremely intelligent and well-read. He’d never known a woman with whom he could talk like he could talk to her, about most any subject. They would go out on tangents of conversation like branches on a giant oak, and she’d be right out there on the limb with him, and he with her. He’d always heard the word ‘soulmate’ but never really knew what it meant, he couldn’t grasp it. Until now. When they got into a meaty discussion they would lose time, and two hours could go by in a flash.


The next Friday night, Monica’s mother had a hot date, and told Monica not to wait up. Ray went over to Monica’s house. They had a pizza delivered and Ray and Monica and Cheri watched a movie together. No sooner had Cheri been put to bed, Molly came home, peeved, and started ranting. It hadn’t gone the way she’d wanted. That killed any chance of intimacy for Ray and Monica. Ray kissed her goodnight and left.

Molly was in her late forties, and she still looked pretty damn good. Slim, hard body. An older version of Monica, middle-aged sexy, with hair a shade lighter and an ass a tad wider. Her face and demeanor let you know right damn quick that she’d been through the ringer and come out of it stronger than ever.

Monica and Molly split the rent and had an agreement that Monica insisted on: Men don’t sleep over. Monica made it clear that her daughter would not wake up and see a strange man at the breakfast table. Molly accepted it. She’d raised Monica as a single mom and had subjected her daughter to just that, and regretted it. So if she needed to get laid, she did it elsewhere. She juggled men like hot potatoes.


The next night their relationship changed, and took a giant step forward. Molly was babysitting. Ray picked up Monica at her house with the intention of taking her to dinner, but that plan was eighty-sixed pretty quick.

“Take me to your place,” Monica said.


“Yes. Really.”

Ray lived alone in a small two-bedroom house he’d bought a couple years before. He’d gotten a good deal from a builder that was a client of his, and a good mortgage from that builder’s preferred lender. It was plain and simple, in a newer subdivision just outside of town and close to the radio station.

Monica squeezed his hand as he drove, not saying much. When they reached his house he hit his remote and the garage door rose, and he pulled his car inside. As the door lowered behind them, Monica handed him a small, flimsy package, crudely gift-wrapped. Her eyes drilled into his.

Ray tore it open. It was a pack of three condoms.

“I’m not on birth control. I want you, but I don’t want to get pregnant.”

“Well, this will get us through this evening., but what about later on tonight?”

Their faces broke into broad grins and they power-kissed for thirty seconds, his hand on her breast and hers on his leg. They went into the house and directly to his bedroom, hard and wet with expectation.

Ray put the pack of rubbers on the nightstand. He turned on the lamp and draped a towel over it to dim the lighting. He faced Monica and ran his fingers through her long hair.

“You are so beautiful,” he said, and kissed her. Her lips parted immediately and his tongue dove into her ready mouth.

“It’s been a while. I may be kind of rusty,” she said, with a catch in the back of her throat.

“It has been for me, too,” he said. “But I know it will be magical.”

She nodded, and said, “Let’s fuck.”

They kissed again and kicked off their shoes. She was dressed in black again, this time in a sleeveless dress. He unzipped her. She wiggled her shoulders out of it and the dress dropped to the floor. She wore nothing underneath and Ray got to see her shapely body naked for the first time.

Monica started unbuckling his belt, so Ray unbuttoned his shirt and tossed it aside. She pulled down his pants and his shorts and he stepped out of them. She saw his cock, stiff and pointing up at her. They kissed again, for the first time as naked lovers, their tongues dancing and their bodies attached. She felt his hardness against her tummy. He felt the tautness of her nipples mashed against his flesh. Their bodies fell as one onto bed.

Ray had been waiting for this moment, and he treasured it. He would take his time, explore her body and savor every step along the way. He wanted to slowly work this sublime woman up to a hot, wet frenzy until her love flowed out of her in a rush like never before.

He started up top. He kissed her hair, her ears, her neck, her eyes, nose, cheeks, chin, and of course her mouth, which received gentle lip pecks as well as powered tonguefucks. Monica’s fingers were in his hair and on his back, and she emitted breathy sighs as he loved her.

He licked between her supple breasts and sucked her nipples alternately, which were hard and erect, like hard candy in his mouth. She liked getting her titties sucked, and dug her polished nails into his scalp and upper back and moaned with pleasure. He lingered there for a while as her torso responded with gentle quivers.

He moved on down. Kissed her stomach, licked her navel and her pubic hair, which was neatly trimmed, cut short and nearly nonexistent. He skirted her glistening pussy by a fraction of an inch all around, saving dessert, but that didn’t stop her crotch from jiggling to and fro with anticipation. He licked his way down one thigh and kissed his way up the other. Monica’s clitoris was swollen with readiness. He zeroed in.

Her body shuddered when he locked his lips onto her puffy clit and jabbed his tongue into her. His hands slithered under her ass, his fingers splayed around her buttocks, and he fondled her ass like he was testing melons for ripeness. His face and hands, and her ass and cunt, became one.

Monica massaged his scalp, dug her fingers into his flesh, fucked his face. She slung it at him, wanted it, needed it hard against her, her hungry loins ready to give. She wrapped her legs around his neck, squeezed his head even tighter into her crotch. No man had ever gone down on her like this, damn, his head was like a new appendage between her legs, and every muscle, tendon, ligament, pore and nerve ending in her body was wired into what was happening down there.

“Oh, My God!” she gasped, as he face-fucked her. She was not religious, it just came out. She kept pumping, her body writhing with electric sensation. “Oh, fuck. Here I come. Oh shit.”

Ray smiled with her clit in his mouth, massaged it with his lips. He liked hearing her talk like that, liked that she had an earthy, raunchy side. He knew that barriers were eroding.

She exploded into his face. Her stored-up cum flowed like a dike broke. Ray’s face and mouth were drenched and Monica’s body shook in uncontrolled tremors. Ray stayed put until her body relaxed, which took a little time. Then Monica pulled his head away from her crotch and up to her face and kissed him hard and deep.

“You need to fuck me now,” she said.

“Ooh, I love it when you take control,” he said.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be sorry.”

He scooted up onto his knees between her legs, and with his cock thick and hard and pointing at the ceiling, he reached over and took the pack of condoms off of the nightstand. He tore it open with his teeth. He tossed two of them back onto the table.

“Let me,” Monica said, taking the condom out of his hand. She opened it, tossed the wrapper aside, spread the rubber over his rigid shaft, lingering.

Her eyes were bullets into his. “Fuck me,” she whispered.

He leaned forward above her, and she sucked his tongue into her mouth as she slid his rubbery cock into her slick pussy with no resistance. She was wet as rain. In a nanosecond they were fucking hard in perfect sync, lovers locked in, a perfect fit.

Ray had his hands on her ass again, damn he loved her ass. Monica squeaked when he inserted his middle finger into her asshole. Her first reaction was surprise, but then she felt his hands gripping her ass tightly and his finger slowly crept deeper into her, and suddenly it was even more intense. It felt better and better the harder they fucked, his cock stabbing her pussy with each thrust, and his finger probing her ass on every backswing.

Ray’s bed was rocking and rolling, too. Literally. The wooden headboard was keeping perfect time banging against the wall, and with casters on the bottom, the whole bed was going through the motions right along with the two fuckers on top of it.

The sounds of the bed and the two lovers combined to create an avant-garde musical opus. The knock of the headboard on the wall. The slide of the casters on the floor. The creak of the bed springs. The slaps of sticky flesh. The moans and groans of Ray and Monica. KNOCKSLIDECREAKSLAP UNH UNH… KNOCKSLIDECREAKSLAP UNH UNH… KNOCKSLIDECREAKSLAP UNH UNH. Over and over. But Ray and Monica were pretty much oblivious to it. They were too focused on each other. And their genitals, of course, and whatever they could squeeze out of them.

Ray was staring into Monica’s eyes with a smile on his face as he humped her. He was making love, he knew that without a doubt. He was pretty sure she was too, even if she didn’t know it yet. She smiled back.

“This is really good,” he said. She nodded. “Can you come again? I want you to come again.” She nodded again and he felt a little extra kick from her slim groin and her cunt muscles constricted around his cock. “Come with me.”

He squeezed her buttocks as hard as he could with both hands and a middle finger embedded in her ass. She hugged him tightly, moaned, sucked his neck. He banged her harder.

It actually happened. They came together. Ray ejaculated into his latex shield, and Monica surrounded it with her own flow of cum. They kept fucking through their spasms and when their bodies were finally done, taxed and drained, they fell together on the sheets in a sweaty, entwined blob.

Exhausted, satisfied silence. Monica’s head rested on his shoulder, and her arms were latched around him tightly, holding him close, like she didn’t want to let go.

Ray kissed the top of her head and was the first to speak. “Wow. That was good.”

“I know,” she said, and squeezed him tighter.

He maneuvered their bodies and looked her in the eyes. “You know, Monica, I don’t want to scare you,” he said. “But I think honesty is the best policy…”

“What?” she asked, with alarm.

“I’m falling in love with you. Uh, no, that’s not quite right. I’ve already fallen. I love you. You don’t have to say it back, but that’s how I feel.”

It took her a moment to digest his words. They’d just made love and it had been fantastic, better than she’d ever had and better than she’d imagined it could be. But was it a mirage, a temporary high, too good to be true? Or was it the beginning of something special, something to build on, that could get even better? Can love really be this easy?

“Really? But we really haven’t known each other that long. You don’t really know me that well.”

“It’s true I don’t know a lot about you. But I know what you’re about.”

He let that sink in. Neither said anything while Monica thought about it. She’d said what she’d said as a defense mechanism, because she thought it had to be said. But in truth, lying in Ray’s bed, naked in his arms, at that very moment, she felt good, and couldn’t remember ever feeling any better than she did right then.

“I’m not,” she said.

“You’re not what?”

“Afraid. I’m not afraid. I thought I would be, but I’m not. I feel good. I feel safe.”

“Good. That’s how I want you to feel. You make me feel…”

“I’ve been so cautious, afraid to bring a man into our lives. What if I liked him and Cheri didn’t? What if she liked him and then he split? What if he treated Cheri like a queen but I found out he was cheating on me? What if, what if, what if. But I’m not afraid. I feel like with you, for the first time, it’s worth the risk.”

They kissed, a long, deep, wet one.

“You know, the first time you kissed me,” she said, “I knew it was a love kiss, and not just an I-want-to-fuck-you kiss.”

“Well, actually it was both,” he said, and they laughed.

“I guess that’s okay.”

“Tell me your story,” he said.

She sighed. “Yeah, I guess it’s about time. You deserve to know what you’re getting yourself into.

“I was an only child,” she began. “Raised by a single mom, or divorced mom, I should say. I never really knew my father, he was gone by the time I was five, and only there off and on before that. He had a drug and alcohol problem, and was abusive. He was never physically abusive with me, only verbally, but he was with my mom. I remember a lot of yelling and screaming and cursing and fighting, and he hit her a few times. They’d separate, he’d be gone for a while, then he’d be back, then he’d go away, no contact for weeks or months, and then he’d show back up. He was a mean person. They finally got a divorce, which took years because he was a moving target, plus the fact that neither one of them had money for lawyers. He had no interest in me, and I had no interest in him. There was supposed to be some child support, but he hardly ever paid it. He was gone.

“My mom raised me from then on. We lived in an apartment on the south side of town until I was fourteen, then we moved to the house we now live in. It was a step up from the apartment, but not by much. It’s still on the wrong side of town, as I’m sure you know, but it’s convenient. The landlord has been great; we’ve been there ever since. It’s very small, only two bedrooms, but it has a basement which we were able to fix up into a third bedroom. That’s where Cheri sleeps.

“Mom has always worked in retail, which basically means she’s been overworked and underpaid, works long hours and different shifts, and almost never has two days off in a row. She’s a good mom, worked hard, raised me right, all by herself. We never had much, but we usually had enough, despite the fact that my father was a deadbeat. So, I was on my own a lot when I was a kid and learned to fend for myself. I fixed my own meals, bought my own clothes, cleaned the house, cut the grass, shoveled the walk, whatever.

“I was a good student in high school but I didn’t participate in many extracurricular activities because I always had jobs, after school and holidays and summers. I worked various jobs, in restaurants, and at a couple of the stores my mother worked for. My money helped with the household expenses, plus if I needed something for myself, I didn’t have to ask for it, I would just save up my cash until I could get it on my own. I dated a number of guys, but none lasted very long or became too serious. Until my senior year.

“Roger was his name. He was handsome. A star athlete on the baseball and football teams. A rich kid. He lived in a fancy gated community. Drove a nice car. He was a big man on campus. And he pursued me, which was weird, because high school is full of cliques, and cliques stick together. The rich kids hang out together and usually don’t mingle with the lower class, which I was definitely a part of. He came on strong, and I was flattered, although I wish I hadn’t been. We dated throughout the second half of our senior year. He was the star pitcher on the baseball team, and they went to the state finals. I was his trophy girlfriend, we looked like the ideal couple. But I was still the girl from the other side of the tracks.

“I found out I was pregnant the day before graduation. I waited a couple days before I told him because I didn’t want to spoil the happy occasion. Happy for him, at least. When I told him he got pissed off, became belligerent, accused me of things I hadn’t done, asked who else I was fucking, called me terrible names. Slut, cunt, whore, words a girl never wants to be called. All I was, was his faithful girlfriend. And I screwed up. He avoided me after that, blew me off, wouldn’t take my calls. I called his mother to try to reach him and she blew me off too. She’d always looked down on me, I was just trailer trash to her. I felt so helpless, and hopeless, and alone. Although, my mother has always been there for me.

“Roger had received some college scholarship offers for baseball, Clemson and Alabama, plus some smaller schools. We had talked about this as he weighed his options. If he went to college, he would not leave until August, and in my mind would have given us time to figure things out. But he didn’t want to figure anything out. He wanted to get out. He didn’t care about me, or the baby in my womb.

“He had also received an offer from a professional baseball team, with a big bonus. He took it, and left within days. I never heard from him again. I’ve been taking care of my daughter and waiting tables ever since. It’s not been easy, but we get by.

“I haven’t dated much the last few years. When Cheri was little I was too overwhelmed with her to even think about it. As she’s gotten older, guys have come on to me but they usually just want to get me in the sack and lose interest pretty damn quick when they find out I have a daughter. So I have been very cautious, maybe even overprotective. Until now. You’re the first guy I’ve felt comfortable enough with to confide in.”

“And there you have it. My sordid story. I think lying here naked with you, after the incredible way we made love, made it easier to let it all out.”

When she was finished, Ray lay beside her in awed silence. When he finally spoke, he said, “Wow. No wonder you’re so tough.”

“Is that what I am, tough? I hope I don’t scare you away.”

“Not a chance. In fact it makes me respect you even more. You’ve been through so much, but it’s made you strong. But you still have a softer, more vulnerable, trusting side of you, too. That’s a good combination.”

“Is it?” she said, and turned her head to look at him.

“Yep. Sexy, too.”



He kissed her, and it immediately escalated into a full body-slam mouthfuck. There were roaming hands, beads of sweat, and aroused genitals. There was a long, stiff penis in Monica’s left hand when they finally broke their kiss.

“Can I ask you a question?” Ray said.

“Sure,” she replied, “But can it wait?”

“Okay. Why?”

“Because I really want to suck your cock.”

Ray joyfully found out that Monica was not only a good woman, mother, daughter and waitress. She was also a pretty good cocksucker. She kissed it and licked it up and down, teasing it to its tautest, stretched girth, as she massaged his balls into tight, hot nuts. Then she sucked the whole damn thing into her mouth.

He bellowed with raunchy pleasure and his body swayed with the movements of her head. He caressed her scalp and upper back as she sucked him. His mind wandered, wondered, jeez how lucky am I? This fine woman, who I adore, has my dick in her mouth, and I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life. She’s my woman, he thought. My soulmate.

He came with a torrential vibrato, his body spiraling in flux. He shot what he had, which was thick and fruitful, into her throat. Her lips stayed plastered to his penis until his body quit its throes. Then Ray tasted his own cum as they kissed.


“Can I ask my question now?”

It was ten minutes later. Their bodies were enwrapped. Ray loved the feel of her arms and legs around him, snug, like she was afraid to let go.

“Okay. Shoot.”

“This guy, Cheri’s father…”


“Right. Roger. You’ve really never spoken to him since high school?”


“And he has never contributed to help support Cheri?”

“Not a dime.”

“Do you know what happened to him?”

“No. I don’t follow baseball. Once I knew he wanted nothing to do with me or my baby, I wanted nothing to do with him. He turned his back on us. I could never forgive him for that.”

“But Monica, he has a responsibility. Legally. To you and Cheri.”

“I don’t want him in our lives.”

“I understand that, I don’t blame you. But if he is actually the father…”

“He’s definitely the father. There was no one else.”

“Then he owes you. I’m no lawyer, but I don’t think there is a statute of limitations on fatherhood. If he fathered Cheri, by law he should be compensating you for her support.”

“I don’t want him in our lives. I don’t want anything to do with him.”

“I get that. But he has skated off scot-free. You work your ass off and are an incredible mom. Cheri is a loved, intelligent, well-balanced kid because of you. And your mom. But that son-of-a-bitch should be footing half the bill. All these years he hasn’t given you a cent, that’s not right.”

“I don’t want to have anything to do with him.”

“Yes. He sounds like a real scoundrel, and he has proven over the last eight years that he doesn’t give a shit. But he still should pay. If we could make him pay without you ever having to deal with him in any way, would that be okay?”

“How could that happen?”

“I don’t know. But I can find out. The lawyer for my radio station…”

“Ray, I can’t afford to pay any lawyers.”

“You may not have to, that’s what I want to find out. This lawyer, I’ve met him a few times. He’s not a sleazeball like most of them are, he’s really down-to-Earth, acts like a real person. He’s the brother-in-law of the general manager. His firm is huge, very well-respected.”

“Sounds expensive.”

“Probably are, but they’re good. They may be able to get him to pay your legal fees, or they might work on a contingency, I don’t know. Is it okay with you if I at least talk to him? There’s no risk in that. You should know what your rights are. Think about how much it could help Cheri in the long run.”

“You should go into sales,” she said.

They both broke into laughter. “Is that an okay?”

“Yes. I trust you.”


They kissed again. They fondled each other again. She was wet again. He was hard again. They fucked again, but not before Monica cracked open another condom and slathered it onto his cock.

They slept.


“Ray, wake up,” Monica said, shaking his shoulder.

“What’s the matter,” he said, as he stirred.

“I need you to drive me home.” She got out of bed and started dressing.

He looked at his watch. “It’s four-thirty in the morning. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. But I need to be at home when Cheri wakes up. She gets up early.”

Ray sat up and put his feet on the floor. He looked around for his clothes and noticed the unused condom on the nightstand. “Hey, there’s one more rubber left,” he teased.

Monica chuckled. “Get dressed, Handsome,” she said. “Save it for next time. In fact, you might want to stock up. I’m going to be doing something about birth control, but we might need them in the meantime.”

He drove her home, and on the way he pumped Monica for information about Roger. She only knew the basics, full name, parents’ names, former address, high school, stuff like that. After he dropped her off he went home, fixed a pot of coffee and booted up his computer.

He got online and began researching Roger, the deadbeat dad. And he found out some startling, very interesting things.


On Monday morning, Ray had his usual at Hal’s & Sal’s, and as usual, Monica served him with smiles and winks. But there was one major difference from his normal breakfast experience. When Monica placed the check on his table like she always did, she also slipped a small envelope into Ray’s breast pocket.

“Read this when you get out of here, Honey. I’d tell you myself, but I’m working and I don’t want to cause a scene.” Wink.

Ray tossed a ten and a five onto the table and left the restaurant. When he got into his car he pulled the envelope out of his pocket and opened it. Inside was a plain, white folded card. On the front, there was a rudimentary line drawing in black ink. It showed three figures: an adult male and an adult female, both holding hands with a little girl between them. He opened the card and inside there was a short message in black ink and perfect penmanship. He grinned as he read it: ‘Thank You for a perfect night. A night I never thought possible. I can’t even describe how I feel. I’m not scared anymore. I trust you. I want you. I love you’.

Ray was ecstatic. She had given him a gift and he would treasure it; it would be on full display in his bedroom from now on. She had also given him something else. He was now more determined than ever to track down Monica’s ex and make him pay. Monica and Cheri deserved it.


Later that same day, Ray hung around the office finishing up some paperwork. The office staff left promptly at five like they always did, but Ray took his time and loitered for a bit. Syd, the general manager of the station was in his office talking on the phone. Syd was quite a talker and a hell of a salesman, Ray had learned a lot from him in that department, and the call went on and on. Finally, when he heard him hang up the phone, Ray tapped on his office door.

“Syd, you got a minute?” he asked.

“Sure, Ray, come on in. What’s up?”

“I was wondering when the next time Joel would be coming here to the station.”

Joel was the lead attorney for the station’s business, and was Syd’s brother-in-law. He would come meet with Syd once or twice a month. Syd was married to Joel’s older sister, and gave Joel a lot of business, and they had a pretty tight relationship, as client-attorney as well as in-laws.

“He’ll be here Wednesday afternoon, as a matter-of-fact. Why do you ask?”

“I have a friend, uh, a woman I’m seeing, who, well, I don’t know but I’d like to find out, if he thinks she has a case, and I’d like to get his opinion on something that I think…”

“He’ll be here at five on Wednesday,” Syd interrupted. “After our meeting we’re taking our wives to dinner. Be here then and you can talk to him before we have our meeting.”

“Thank You, Syd. I really appreciate it.

“No problem. Joel knows his shit, he’ll know what to do. And I’m always here for you. After all, you’re my fifth-best salesperson, I gotta take care of you. Now get out of here and I’ll see you then.”

Ray smiled on his way out. Typical Syd. The station only had four salespeople, five if you counted the sales manager, and Ray was number one or number two every month.


Ray was armed and ready when his opportunity came to meet with Joel. He was organized and didn’t want to take any more time than necessary. He had learned some juicy tidbits while researching Roger on-line, and had printed out some biographical information and articles about him.

He was at his desk in the office at a little before five p.m. when Joel arrived. Syd had given Joel a heads-up that Ray wanted to speak to him, and he waved them both into his office right away.

“You wanted to talk to Joel, so Presto!, here is Joel,” Syd said as they all took seats. But talk fast because we have some business to discuss, and if I know Joel, the meter’s running.” Syd and Joel shared a smile.

Ray was nervous, but he dove right in. “Thanks for your time, both of you, I won’t take up much of it, I promise. I just want to get your professional opinion about something, Joel. This lady I am seeing, Monica is her name, works for one of our good clients, and I’d like to help her if we can. She’s a waitress at Hal’s & Sal’s, a good person, hard worker, but she’s been screwed over by the father of her child, a little girl, eight years old. Here’s the deal. She got pregnant at the end of her senior year of high school. Her boyfriend was a hotshot pitcher on the baseball team, had scholarship offers and an offer to go pro. As soon as he heard she was pregnant he turned his back on her, blew her off, wouldn’t talk to her. He took the pro offer, got a big bonus, and bolted. Never gave her a cent. That was nine years ago, and ever since Monica has been busting her ass as a single mom, slinging hash, barely getting by, supporting her child as best she could. Meanwhile, Daddy-O has been very successful. This is our guy.”

Ray handed Joel several pages, printouts of biographical information and an article about a big contract Roger had signed the year before.

Syd and Ray watched Joel as he read the pages. They saw him subtly nod and shake his head as he absorbed the information.

“This is true?” Joel asked Ray. “This guy is the father of her child?”

“She assured me it could be no one else.”

Joel said, “Look, I’m a business attorney, this is not my area of expertise, so this is off the record, okay? But this could be huge.”

“What is it?” Syd asked.

“If this is real, the father is Roger Lemon.”

“Roger Lemon?”

“Yes. Or, ‘Lights Out’ Lemon as he’s known these days. He was a star pitcher in high school. Got signed to play pro ball, got a $200,000 bonus, went away, worked his way up through the minors for a few years, and now he’s the closer for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Signed a four-year deal before last season for forty-five million dollars.” He looked at Ray. “Like I said, this is not my bailiwick, but we have an attorney in our office who is a wizard at family law.”

Joel took a business card out of his pocket and wrote a name and phone extension on the back of it and handed it to Ray.

“This is my colleague Melvin, he’s a family law guru. Call him and tell his secretary I referred you, and set up an appointment for you and this gal. I’ll give him these papers and let him know you’re going to call. I’ll sit in if you want me to.”

“That would be great, I’ll call tomorrow morning. Thank You so much.”

“You’re welcome. Again, it’s not my area, but I think you may have something.”

“Okay, great,” Syd barked. “Now get outta here Ray, me and Joel have some actual business to discuss.”

All three were smiling as Ray left the office.


Ray went over to Monica’s house and brought burgers and fries. He had good news for both of them. He told Monica what he’d learned from Joel, and he told Cheri that the elephant had arrived at Petting Safari, and if she was good and the weather was good, maybe they could go this coming Sunday.

After supper they watched a little TV, Animal Planet, a show about the duck-billed platypus, as Cheri sat on the floor in front of the screen and Ray and Monica held hands on the sofa.

Ray didn’t have to worry about Cheri being good. She was a well-behaved, intelligent, respectful little girl, a testament to Monica’s mothering, as well as Molly’s grand-mothering. She was a confident, courteous child. She liked Ray too, which made him feel good.

After Cheri was put to bed, Monica walked with Ray out to his car to say goodnight. They kissed hard and deeply, their bodies were fleshed into one right there on the street.

“I have to tell you something,” Ray said. “That card you gave to me Monday morning means so much to me. I grinned like a little boy on Christmas morning when I read it. I love that you trust me, because I love you and trust you, and I know how wary you’ve been. And Cheri is a doll and seems to be accepting me into your lives…”

“She thinks you are the Cat’s Meow. Our first date, including her and going to the petting zoo was a stroke of genius. Most men would never have thought of it, much less gone through with it, but you did and we all enjoyed it, the whole day was just so natural. I think that one day accomplished what it would have taken eight or ten normal dates to accomplish as far as our relationship is concerned. And Cheri absolutely loved it, she had a wonderful time. Remember when she said, ‘Are you guys gonna kiss now?”

He chuckled. “Yeah, that was funny.”

“You know, I think that was her way of saying okay, Mom, go for it. She sensed something different in me, being with you, and it felt right to her. I think she knew I loved you before I did. You know what she said to me a couple days ago?”

“No, what?”

“I don’t want to scare you.”

“Huh? What?”

“She asked me if I was going to marry you.”


“Yeah. And I said, why would you ask me that. And she said ‘No reason, just curious’. Then she said, ‘But it’s okay if you do’.


“Yep. You have the Cheri stamp of approval.

“That’s good. How about Mom?”

“Thumbs up there, too.”

They kissed. A tongue-diving groin grinder. Then Monica went on.

“When we made love at your place Saturday night, I was ready, and I knew it would be good, I wanted you so much. But it was so much better than I could have imagined. I’d never had sex like that before. It’s like my body was wired to yours, it was electric, hypnotic. My body had never, ever responded like that. Christ, I was gushing, I never came like that before. Then you had to drive me home at four in the morning, I felt bad about that.”

“You shouldn’t, that made sense, being there when Cheri woke up, I respect that. Just being a good mom.”

“But the next day, it was all I could think about. The way we touched, and kissed, and the way I came, three times, oh my god, that had never happened before, I’d never climaxed like that, not even close. That’s when I realized it wasn’t just sex. It was beautiful, and it was beautiful because it was love. I’d never experienced that before. But I knew it was real, I could feel it in my bones. I’ve been so protective of Cheri, so cautious about bringing a man into our lives, it seemed too risky after the way Cheri’s father abandoned us, and the way the guys I’ve met and dated just wanted to get me into bed. But I feel like I’ve been waiting for you and didn’t even know it. With you, it’s like I always imagined it could be, but thought was impossible.”

“Monica it’s not just possible. It’s fact.”

“God, I’m so in love I’m shivering.”


The next day Ray called the number Joel had given him and scheduled an appointment with Melvin’s secretary. It was set up for the following Tuesday afternoon at four p.m. He dropped Joel’s name and said he’d like him to sit in if he was available.


That weekend Monica and Ray decided to take a giant step. Sunday they would take Cheri to Petting Safari, but they would drive there on Saturday afternoon and check into a motel. They told her it was so they could get there first thing in the morning, and Cheri was fine with that. But their ulterior motives were that they could sleep together and wake up together, and Cheri would begin to accept this as normal.

They checked into a roadside motel a few miles from the park. They rented two adjacent rooms with a connecting door. Cheri had a queen bed all to herself, and Ray and Monica shared one on the other side of the wall. The door remained cracked open, so the adults would practice quiet lovemaking.

They went out for pizza, half cheese, half pepperoni. Mom and Ray split a pitcher of beer, and Cheri had a large Dr Pepper. They returned to the hotel and had no trouble getting the little girl to bed, and to sleep. She wanted morning to come as soon as possible. The elephant was waiting.

The other room was soon the site of extended foreplay. Lips and tongues and fingers worked overtime as their genitals bloated with want. Monica stifled her pleasured sighs with her forearm when Ray licked her inside and out. When he entered her, her slick pussy sucked him right in. They started slowly, and gradually gained thrust, and kept their tongues entwined and their mouths plastered together to mute any whimpers or moans or groans as they fucked.


The second trip to the Petting Safari was a smashing success. Cheri saw everything, and did everything, she’d done on their previous visit, plus petted and rode a juvenile elephant. And she went home with a new book about yes, you guessed it, elephants. You can’t beat that.


They arrived at the law office promptly at four p.m. Tuesday, and checked in with Melvin’s secretary. Monica, Ray and Cheri took seats in the waiting area, three in a row.

Within two minutes Joel strolled in. He greeted Ray warmly and introductions were made. Then Melvin appeared from an open doorway, there were more introductions, drinks were offered and declined.

“Well, come right on in,” Melvin said.

“You wait here, Honey,” Monica said to Cheri. “We’ll just be in the next room. We won’t be long.”

“Okay,” Cheri said. She opened her elephant book and was quickly engrossed.

They walked single file into the next room and the secretary closed the door behind them. As they were taking their seats, Joel said, “Mel, thanks for meeting with these folks. I’ve gotten to know Ray from Big Country 103, he’s one of the top salesmen over there, and when he approached me last week I told him you would be the one to contact about this and you would know how to proceed. Have you had an opportunity to review the material I gave you?”

“I have, and I’ve done some more research on my own.” He looked directly at Monica. “And my opinion Monica, is that this son of a bitch owes you and your little girl a shitload of money, pardon my french.”

Monica squeezed Ray’s hand. He squeezed back.

“So what do we do?” she asked.

“We go after him.”

“I don’t want him in our lives. I don’t want to have anything to do with him. I don’t want him ever seeing Cheri.”

“That’s fine. I certainly understand that, can’t say I blame you one bit. You’re in the driver’s seat here. You’ve been wronged and we’re going to rectify the situation.”

“I don’t have any money to pay you.”

“Don’t worry about that right now. We’ll go after Deadbeat Daddy for our legal fees. Considering how he turned his back on you and has never given you a cent, I think we have a good shot that a judge would approve that, especially with the kind of income he has. If not, we’d take it out of whatever he ends up paying. And we will be shooting high, don’t you worry about that.”

Over the next thirty minutes Mel laid out the game plan, and Monica reiterated several times that she had no money to pay the law firm, could not afford to be in debt to the firm, and did not, under any circumstances want to have Roger in her or Cheri’s lives, no way. Mel assured her that she was the boss, and if that’s the way she wanted it, that’s the way it would be. He said he would put specific language into their agreement to represent her that would assure her that she would incur no personal out-of-pocket expense or debt, and legal fees would be paid by Cheri’s father or by a percentage of her settlement.

Joel had kept quiet since his opening remarks when they’d first come into Mel’s office. He finally said to Monica and Ray, “It’s a good agreement. I know it may seem like a big step, but there’s really no risk here for you. You have nothing to lose.”

Ray was proud of how Monica had spoken up, and he trusted Joel. Monica trusted Ray. She signed the agreement.

“Now the first thing you need to do, Monica, is for you and Cheri to get DNA tests,” Mel said. He buzzed his secretary and asked her to set them up, which she did promptly, for two days hence. “Because when we approach him, and we’ll go through his employer first, because I’m sure they’ll want to keep it quiet and be discreet, the first thing we’ll ask for is his DNA. And if it’s a match, which I’m sure it will be, we will pursue child support for the years up till now, and for the years to come. And you know something else: I think this is going to be fun.”

Two days later after school, Ray drove Monica and Cheri to the lab for their DNA tests. On the way home they stopped off for smoothies.

“Good smoothie,” Ray said, at one point.

“Yes,” Monica replied. “And you’re a pretty good smoothie yourself.”

“Say what?” Ray said, a blank look on his face.

“The way you got us to meet with the lawyers. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but I feel good about it now. Thank You.”

“You’re welcome. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but they seem pretty confident about it. And you deserve it. I want what is best for you and Cheri.”

“I know you do.”

She gripped his hand and kissed him. A public kiss, a first, plain to see, sitting at a table in a smoothie shop, surrounded by customers, at a small table with Cheri. Cheri was oblivious to the moment, however, as she was very busy sucking strawberry coconut smoothie up through her straw.


Over the ensuing weeks, Monica received periodic updates from the law firm. There had been denial at first, then resistance. Roger was now married and evidently had not told his wife about Monica and the child. It was not until Mel said he would get a subpoena and insinuated to Roger’s attorney that they may then take it public, that Roger agreed to a DNA test. Mel surmised that Roger caved because he wanted to keep it quiet so his wife wouldn’t find out.

Ray and Monica could usually steal a couple hours on a weeknight each week to make love at his place, but they both wanted more of each other, as much as they could get. So, since the trip to the Petting Safari to see the elephant, and the stay in the motel, had gone so well, Monica and Ray began to schedule more overnighters. Where they could sleep together, fuck their brains out, wake up together, and have breakfast with Cheri in the morning. Monica even took a Saturday off now and then.

They went to the beach. They went camping in the mountains. They went to the big city, three hours away, to the giant zoo by the river. Each excursion was a step forward, a successful blending of lives, an unvoiced acceptance of their futures together. Even the camping trip, despite the close quarters. The campfire was great, as was roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, hiking the trails, and spotting wildlife here and there, a deer, a snake, a squirrel, a skunk. But it’s hard to fuck in a tent with a little girl five feet away.

One Sunday morning Ray took Monica, Cheri and Molly out to brunch at a nice restaurant downtown to celebrate Molly’s forty-seventh birthday. As they waited for a table in the vestibule, Ray saw a guy he knew enter the restaurant, accompanied by a young woman.

“Hey Frank!” Ray called, once they’d checked in with the hostess.

Frank looked up and grinned. “Ray! They let you into a nice place like this?”

“We snuck in the back. How’d you get in?”

“I got naked pictures of the chef.”

“That’ll do it.” They laughed and shook hands.

Frank was an engineer. He was in his late thirties and divorced. He maintained the transmitter and all of the equipment at Big Country 103, as well as other radio stations in the region.

Ray introduced Monica, Cheri and Molly to Frank. Frank introduced himself, and his daughter Nina, to all. Nina had visited Frank for the weekend.

They all conversed for a few minutes as they waited. Ray thought about asking Frank and Nina to join them, but quickly nixed that idea. The brunch was to celebrate Molly’s birthday and he didn’t want to make Molly, Monica and Cheri uncomfortable by inviting people they didn’t know and might dampen the party. But he noticed that Frank was chatting up Molly quite a bit, and Molly was laughing and eating it up. He could tell that the others noticed it too.

It was a great brunch. Fancy egg dishes, omelets, poached, over this way or that, mimosas and bloodies for the adults, fresh fruit, toast, bacon, sausage, and grits and tomato juice for Ray, which Monica ordered. And then a small birthday cake for Molly. They all took a slim bite, as they were stuffed.

Frank and Nina finished their meal long before the Molly party finished theirs. As they departed, Frank waved at Ray and said, ‘I’ll call you tomorrow’.

“That’s funny. He’s never called me before,” Ray said, looking at Molly. “Wonder what he wants.” Ray and Monica were smiling. Molly blushed.

Frank called first thing in the morning. After initial small talk, he got right to the point. “What’s the deal with Molly?” he said.

“She’s Monica’s mom. A cool lady.”

“Yeah, but what’s her situation?”

“Her situation?”

“You know. Is she married, single, divorced, is she seeing anybody?”

“Nothing serious, I don’t think. She’s not married. Sees guys here and there. You interested in Molly? She’s ten years older than you.”

“Eight. But I don’t care, she’s hot, she’s funny, she seems like she’s got her shit together. I’d like to get to know her. I didn’t want to come on too strong yesterday and make things awkward for your birthday party, but I’d like to call her. She seemed to like me.”

“I noticed that.”

“What’s her phone number?”

“I don’t know her cell number offhand, and they don’t have a landline. I could get it for you. But she’s a manager at the SuperMart out on the bypass. She’s working today. Go out there and you’re likely to find her.”

“Alright, thanks, I will.”

And he did. Frank went to the SuperMart that afternoon and wandered around until he spotted Molly at the end of aisle 16. She was directing some associates on how to properly display the end cap. Once she was free, he approached her and re-turned on the charm from the day before. Asked her out for coffee after her shift. Took her to lunch a couple days later, then dinner. They were clicking, they both had exes, and kids, and histories, but it was working. Frank got into her head, then her heart. And after three weeks, her pants.


Monica was informed that Roger’s DNA test had proved to be an undeniable match and negotiations were underway. Let the games begin.


Cheri received an invitation to a friend’s birthday party. It would be a Friday night sleepover for eight little girls. Ray and Monica were anxious to get away together, and fortunately Molly had that Saturday off and agreed to babysit, creating the opportunity they were hoping for.

Monica took that Saturday off. Late Friday afternoon she dropped Cheri off at her friend’s house, gift in hand. Molly would pick her up on Saturday and watch her Saturday night and Sunday. They figured Frank would be in on it too, and he and Molly would do their thing once Cheri was put to bed.

Ray and Monica left around five p.m. Friday and drove two hours to the beach. They’d reserved an oceanfront room for two nights and were ready to make the most of it. It would be a romantic getaway for sure, but it would also be a no-holds-barred unrestrained lusty horny sex romp.

They checked in at around seven o’clock. The room was glorious. Ground floor, great view, and only steps to the beach. Ray put their bags on the floor and turned to face Monica, took her into his arms. He kissed her, long and deep.

“I want this to be the sweetest, most romantic weekend. But first, I want you. I want to love you, and eat you, and lick you and kiss you and suck you and screw you, every inch of you, inside and out. I want to make you mine forever.”

“Oh My God, Yes!”

He pushed her onto the king bed and undressed her as best he could as he kissed her face and licked her neck and sucked on her earlobes. She clawed at his clothing too, and eventually they were naked.

It was gentle at first. They kissed, fondled their ways around, their organs swelled, aroused and hard and wet. And as soon as Ray went muff-diving all hell broke loose and it turned into an all-out body-bending, mind-melding, heart-blending, love-sharing, moaning and groaning fuck fest.

He ate her until she flooded his face. Then he mounted her, fucked her missionary until his seed exploded inside her. Then, after a brief rest, they sixty-nined their way to second orgasms and each received a mouthful of cum.

They went out for a late dinner, then came back to the room and made love again before falling asleep.

That’s the way it went the rest of weekend. Wake up, make love. Have breakfast, back to the room and fuck. Walk on the beach, relax at the pool, have lunch, fuck. Shop for small gifts for Cheri and Molly, then back to the room to fuck. Have drinks, dinner, fuck. On Sunday morning they had butt sex for the first time.

“Put it in my ass,” Monica whispered into Ray’s ear, as they lay in bed kissing, working up to it. Overnight, she’d cleaned herself out back there.

“Are you sure?” Ray asked.

“Yes. You want every inch of me, inside and out, right?”

“I do.”

“Well, I want that too, so let’s do it. There’s lube in my toiletry bag. Get it, and I’m all yours.”

Ray got out of bed and walked to the bathroom, his cock hard and fat at an upright forty-five degree angle. Monica smiled at the sight.

“Coconut, smells good,” Ray said, as he got back to bed, sniffing it.

“Edible too,” Monica said. She slathered the greasy stuff all over Ray’s cock, and fingered her asshole with it.

This was a new intimacy for both of them. Guys had tried to fuck Monica up the ass before, and there had been one disastrous attempt by Roger back in high school, but she’d usually told the guys to get bent. Ray had only fantasized about it.

She had a fabulous ass, it’s only natural Ray would want to fuck it. He licked her rim, daintily at first, skirting her hole. But Monica was grinding her ass against his face, sending a message. He plunged his tongue into her asshole and she squealed with delight. He tongue-fucked for a bit, felt her sphincter responding, loosening up. The coconut tasted good.

When he put the tip of his cock to her hole, Monica reached back and spread her cheeks for him, giving total access.

“Make me yours,” she said.

It slid right in. Monica hissed, felt the burn, took it. Ray fucked her beautiful butt while he nibbled her neck and licked her ears and kissed the side of her face, and whispered dirty love into her ear over and over. ‘This feels so good’, he said, ‘I love this’, ‘You are so fucking hot’, ‘You’re my woman’, ‘I love you so fucking much’, ‘Fuck, this is good’, on and on it went until he went into spasms and ejaculated into her.

He pulled out and saw his cum backflow out of her ass. He put his arms around her and spooned her from behind, held her for a time, his head flush with hers.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you, too. I feel so lucky.”

“No. I’m the lucky one. And I love Cheri.”

“I know. I can tell. That makes me love you even more, if that’s possible.”

He almost proposed, but didn’t. That could wait. He thought that if Roger’s lawyers found out she was getting married they might try to use it to lowball her, and he didn’t want that. Monica had been busting her ass for years as a single mom to provide for her little girl. They deserved as much as they could get.

So, he held her in quiet repose. They made love again before climbing out of bed, taking showers, packing their bags and checking out.


Meanwhile, Frank and Molly had their own love affair going on. Ray and Monica noticed that Molly often had a new smile on her face and a new pep in her step. Frank had slept over both nights Ray and Monica were gone, and respectfully had slipped out the back in the early morn. For Cheri’s sake.

Frank, being divorced with kids and therefore paying out the ying-yang on a monthly basis, lived in a plain little apartment by himself. Molly was by this time spending some nights there. And Ray was spending those nights with Monica. Ray, Monica and Cheri having breakfast together was becoming more and more of a normal thing.


Over the next few weeks the legal negotiations were ongoing. Monica’s attorney asked for income verification, tax returns, proof of income and expenses. The other side was dragging it out. Don’t worry, he told her, be patient. All the numbers do is help your case. And they don’t want to go to court because no judge or master would ever look favorably on a wealthy prick who abandoned a pregnant girlfriend and never contributed a dime.


“Monica’s been taking more days off lately,” Hal said. “Must be going pretty well with you two.”

Ray was in Hal’s office at the restaurant, they were working on a new campaign. “Yes, it is. Is there a problem with the days off?”

“Hell, no. Christ, she’s been such a good worker for us and she’s never taken many days off over the years, she’s entitled to a few, deserves it. Just take care of her.”

“Don’t worry about that. I love her. And don’t tell anyone, but I’m going to ask her to marry me.”

“Really? Congratulations.”

“Well, not right away, but in the near future. But I wouldn’t want Monica to hear it from anyone else but me.”

“Of course. But I gotta tell Sal, she’ll be tickled pink. She can keep a secret better than a deaf mute.” Sal was his wife Sally, who ran the kitchen.

“Yeah, I figured on that.”


“I just wanted to thank you,” Frank said.

It was the second time Frank had ever called Ray on the phone.

“Thank me for what?”

“For hooking me up with Molly.”

“I didn’t really hook you up, I just told you where she worked. You took it from there. Plus, she liked you already, that was obvious by the way you two were flirting at the restaurant when you met.”

“Well, I still appreciate it. She is incredible. Hard to believe she was available.”

“She probably is thinking the same thing.”

“Did she say something?”

“No. Just a guess.”

“I can hardly believe it. I’d about given up on women by the time I walked into that restaurant for a Sunday brunch. With my daughter. She busted my chops later, told me to go for it.”

“She saw it. We all did.”

“Molly is amazing. She’s smart, witty, and…”

“She’s a strong woman, she raised her daughter all by herself. Monica is just like her.”

“Right. But in bed, she’s like an animal, she’ll do anything, nothing is off limits…”


“I mean fucking her is like riding some bronc in a goddamn rodeo.” It appeared that Frank, the left-brained engineer was letting his right brain freak flag fly for the first time.

“All right, too much information.”

“I’m sorry. But, I don’t know. She’s incredible.”

“That’s how I feel about Monica.”

After a moment of awkward silence, Frank said, “Maybe the four of us could go away for a weekend.”

“Five of us.”

“Right, five.”

Ray wasn’t crazy about that idea, so he just said maybe, we’ll see, and they ended the call. But Frank must have suggested it to Molly, who mentioned it to Monica, who brought it up with Ray. Soon it was being scheduled, and more days were being taken off, and a weekend at the beach was arranged.


Frank set it up. He knew someone who owned a three bedroom condo one block from the beach, and he was able to rent it pretty cheap. It was a short walk to restaurants and shops and the sandy shore. The third bedroom was not much larger than a walk-in closet, but it had bunk beds in it, and was fine for Cheri. Frank and Molly took the master bedroom with the private bath, and Ray and Monica were on the other side of the wall in the bedroom in between.

By the time they arrived the first night they barely had time to unpack, order a pizza and eat dinner, before it was getting close to Cheri’s bedtime. Monica put her to bed, then the adults each had a glass of wine before retiring for the night. But once they went to their respective bedrooms, there was not much retiring going on.

After their ablutions, Ray and Monica got naked and into bed. They looked at each other and smiled, hearing a racket coming from the next room. Molly and Frank were going at it in an unquiet fashion on the other side of the wall.

“Listen to that,” Monica said. “This is the first time I’ve heard Mom fuck since high school. Sounds like she’s getting into it.”

“I’d say so. Did you listen to her fuck a lot back then?”

“Now and then. She’d bring men home sometimes and I’d hear them. That’s why I wouldn’t allow it.”

“Goddamn, you’re a smart woman, no wonder I’m in love with you. In fact, I think I better do something about that right now.”

“Good idea. Let’s give them a taste of their own medicine, what do you say?”

Monica and Ray had practiced the art of quiet lovemaking during their overnights with Cheri. This night would be an exception.

“Works for me,” Ray said. “Come here.” He was already hard.

He sat on the edge of the bed and pulled her onto his lap, facing him. He slid his cock into her as far as it could go. He splayed his fingers around her buttocks and stood up, his cock a helpful fulcrum as he lifted her. With his cock embedded inside her, he waddled over to the wall until Monica’s back was flush against it. He kissed her, their tongues went into high gear, she locked her legs around his waist. Then their groins went into overdrive. He fucked her up against the wall, and their pounding combined with their hisses and grunts and groans of pleasure resounded in the room. Ray came first but Monica was a close second and her jism flowed, oozed out of her, around his cock and down into his crotch. They fell into bed as one cock-connected, sweaty, laughing mass.

In the morning, they had coffee and breakfast, and there were shy smiles all around, but nothing much was said about it at first. Cheri ate her Froot Loops, oblivious to the underlying tensity, and then left to go gather up all of her stuff for a day on the beach.

“Sounds like you two had a helluva time last night,” Molly said. “I thought the wall might come tumbling down.”

“Yeah, we had to do something to drown out all the racket you guys were making,” said Monica.

That made all of them laugh, maybe even blush a little.

They had a great day, all five of them. The beach, mini-golf, ice cream, two big pizzas. But that night, once they all had gone to bed, both loving couples were a little more subdued.


The following Wednesday afternoon Melvin called Monica shortly after she got off work. “We have a tentative agreement,” he said.

“I don’t have to see him, do I?”

“No, you don’t.”

“He doesn’t want any kind of visitation rights, does he?”

“It never even came up.”

“Okay. Good.”

“It’s not all that we wanted, but it’s very good, I think. It will be in a lump sum, so you won’t have to worry about him dragging his feet in the future, or late payments. It will be final. He will pay our legal fees too, so you won’t owe us a dime.”

“Where do I sign?”

Melvin laughed. “Don’t you want to hear what it is?”

“Just write it up. You can tell us all about it when we come see you and I’ll sign it. I like pleasant surprises.”

Ray was the one responsible for putting the whole process in motion and Monica wanted to share that moment with him.


They went to the law office the next afternoon. They met in a conference room and sat around a large, shiny oak table. Mel laid out the simple terms, and had the papers drawn up and ready to sign.

Monica had been careful to limit her expectations and not get her hopes up. She’d made it this far without Roger’s help, and she would keep on doing so. She was happier now than she could ever remember being, this would just be an unexpected bonus. The most important thing to her was that she would have no contact whatsoever with Roger, for now and forever. Roger must have felt the same way and wanted to keep it hush-hush, as one clause required that it never be revealed or discussed publicly. Apparently he never told his current wife and wanted to keep her in the dark.

The recompense Monica would receive was beyond her wildest dreams. For the time since Cheri’s birth she would receive what worked out to be an average of about two thousand dollars per month; And for the next nine-plus years until Cheri turned eighteen, she would receive a little more per month each year. All told, she would be receiving close to a half-million dollars. It would be made in two payments, one month apart. Mel guessed that the reason for two payments rather than one, is that it would make it easier to hide it from his wife.

She was crying as she signed the documents. Ray held her right hand as she signed with her left. Ray and Mel were grinning, Mel told them he would call when he received the first check.


“Move in with me,” Ray said. “You and Cheri.”

They had just made love in Monica’s bed. By this time, the no-guys-sleep-over rule had gone out the window.

“Move in with you?”



“Because I love you. And Cheri. And I have a spare bedroom for her. And we can be together every day and night. And I want to spend my life with you. And we can get a dog.”

“A dog?”

“Yes, a dog. For Cheri. She’s old enough to care for a dog, don’t you think?”

“Oh, definitely. I think she would be the best nine year old dog owner on Earth.”

“So, what do you say?”

“You want me to move into your house, with my daughter?”


“We’re not even engaged.”

“I’ll marry you anytime you want. I’ve wanted to propose to you for a long time.”

“Really? Why haven’t you?”

“I didn’t want to you to think I was after your money.”

She burst out laughing, then he gave her his cutest shit-eating grin. They kissed.

“Ah, it amazing isn’t it? Almost surreal. To be receiving all that money for Cheri. What a relief. No more worries about having enough money for things. No more stressing about trying to scrape up the money for rent, or for Cheri to have new clothes, or school supplies, or to go on a field trip with her class, or being able to buy a decent gift for a friend’s birthday party, or going to a movie, or buying her books, or you name it. And now I can set up a fund for her schooling, she can go to college, oh my god, it’s like a dream. And it’s all because of you. I never wanted to ever see Roger’s face, or ever talk to him again, so I had no hopes he’d ever give us anything. But you did. You made it happen. You made him pay. Finally. It’s incredible.”

“All I did was get the ball rolling. And you were so strong and adamant with Mel, standing up and saying you wanted nothing to do with the guy. I was so proud of you.”


“Yes. You stood up for what was right. You are a strong, righteous woman, a good mother, and you and Cheri deserve every nickel. That sumbitch has been skating free for years, and as far as I’m concerned he’s an entitled prig, a no-good piece of shit. But what goes around comes around, and now he’s finally going to pay.”

Monica snuggled up tighter against Ray, dug the side of her face into his neck. Her brain and heart were a swirly mix of love, relief and the letting-go of hate. Embracing a new life.

“You know, I can’t believe I’m here. With you. In your arms, in love. I never knew it could happen. I never knew it was possible. I had plenty of boyfriends in high school, but it was like a game, I was the hot chick every guy wanted to nail, but I was a throwaway, I was from the wrong side of the tracks. I didn’t think much of most of the boys in my high school. But in my senior year, when Roger wanted me, oh my, I was taken in. He was a star athlete, every girl’s dream date.

“I screwed up, got pregnant, made the mistake every girl is warned not to make. Couldn’t even think about going to college because I was pregnant and was going to have a baby. My baby, not his. He could have begged me to take him back, but I would have told him to go to hell. He didn’t help my opinion of men, that’s for sure. My father was never there for us, and then Roger turned his back on us. Fortunately my mom was there for me, she worked hard to help us out, I don’t know how I would have done it without her.

“So, I went to work. I didn’t have any skills, so I worked menial, dead-end jobs for the most part, didn’t earn much, and had to pay babysitters, daycare whatever, and usually ended up with squat. And guys at work were hitting on me all the time. Guys who were working menial, dead-end jobs. Not very enticing, let me tell you.

“I had a friend who was making really good money as a cocktail waitress and she encouraged me to do that. She said she made great tips and met a lot of men. But I didn’t want to work nights, schlepping drinks and having drunk guys propositioning me. I had a little girl at home, I wanted to be there with her. So I waited tables. It was a good fit for me because I could work days and scheduling was flexible. It didn’t stop guys from coming on to me, turning tables the way we did, but at least they were usually sober. I dated some of them if I thought they had potential, but it was always a disappointment. They had no interest in my little girl. They just wanted to get in my pants.

“Then you came along. I knew you liked me because you always sat in my station and always overtipped. And I liked you because you were sweet and smart and courteous and handsome, and I knew Hal and Sal thought highly of you, and they are great people and good judges of character, and that meant a lot to me, too. I was hoping that you’d ask me out, but I was also afraid you’d be like all the rest, and I’d be let down. And then you showed up at the dog park that Sunday morning. And…”

She hesitated, stopped talking, lifted her head and looked into Ray’s eyes.

“And what?” Ray said.

Monica giggled, had an embarrassed look on her face. “I’m sorry,” she said.

“Sorry for what?”

“For talking so much, going on and on like that.”

“Why? I was riveted. It needed to be said, I guess.”

She blushed again, squeezed him tightly between her arms, and said, “Marry me.”

“Okay. Consider yourself soon-to-be-married.”

“So we are engaged?”

“Uh, I haven’t got a ring for you yet.”

“I don’t care about that.”

“I do. I want everybody to know that you are mine.”

“Fine, but we can do that anytime. I’ll wear it proudly.”

“Okay, good,” Ray said, spinning out from her grasp and pulling her to the bedside. “Sit here.”

Monica sat on the side of bed and Ray knelt before her and held her hands. His watery eyes looked into hers.

“I, Ray, hereby engage you, Monica, to me, to have and to hold and to cherish and to love, until death us do part. And I promise to work hard to be the best husband for you and the best Dad I can be for Cheri.” He kissed her vacant ring finger, and then her lips.

That did it for Monica, tears seeped from her eyes and down her cheeks. She pulled him back into bed and they made love again. It was a whopper.


Monica’s only reservations about moving in with Ray was that she could be leaving her mom in the lurch, because her mom had helped her so much and they had been splitting the rent for so many years. So when she told Molly, she offered to continue paying half the rent. Molly laughed, hugged her tightly, and said don’t you worry Honey, I’m happy for you, and I’ll be fine. Ray assumed Molly was also happy because she’d have a place to herself for the first time in forever. And when Cheri heard she could get a dog, she was one hundred percent all-in.

“What’s your favorite color, Cheri?” Ray asked, when they were preparing to move.

“Blue,” she said. “Like the sky.”

“Okay. Then we need to get some paint for your bedroom, what do you think?”

She agreed wholeheartedly. They went to the paint store, got everything they needed. All three of them spent the next Friday night knocking off a bucket of fried chicken and rolling layers of sky blue paint on the walls and ceiling of Cheri’s new bedroom.

They moved on a Sunday. Ray borrowed a pickup from a friend and Frank helped him with the heavy stuff. There wasn’t that much really, a bed, a dresser, a few pieces of small furniture, two lamps and boxes of stuff. Ray’s place was furnished, so not that much was needed.

They shopped for rings. It didn’t take long. Neither one of them was big on jewelry, and Monica had been frugally pitching pennies for so long she was not apt to spend any more money than was absolutely necessary. They picked out a couple. They were not for show; they represented commitment.

They were married at the courthouse. No bells or whistles, just slam bam, thank you ma’am, witnessed by Molly, Frank, Hal, and Sal. And Cheri, of course, a built-in flower girl. They didn’t care about formal weddings, neither wanted anything to do with church, and they didn’t want their friends, family and coworkers to feel obligated to give them gifts. Serendipitously, the first payment from Roger The Former Deadbeat had been wired into Monica’s account two days earlier. So, they all went out to dinner at a popular seafood restaurant, ate lobster and shrimp and combo platters, and drank to numerous toasts. Cheri’s treat.

Monica and Ray planned on throwing a helluva party to celebrate their union, and would invite all of their friends and coworkers and family members. And they planned on taking an exotic honeymoon too. But both would have to wait.

Because first, they learned that the giraffe would be making a return visit to the Petting Safari for a limited time. That was a no-brainer. And second, they had to get down to the Humane Society so that Cheri could rescue a dog.

You can’t beat that!
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