3 Aftereffects

~Caitlyn~

Almost two years have passed since I left home and I am now 21. Staying in my college town all year round, I took classes throughout the summers. I now only have one semester left before I graduate, a full year and a half ahead of some of my friends. I haven't come back to this house in all that time. Not for holidays, birthdays, and not even for my own stepdad's engagement party. So why am I here now? As I pulled my used Jeep into the driveway of the first and last place that ever felt like home, I knew the answer. I was here to see if I had truly moved on or if I had been living in self-exiled bliss. Living away from the man who was at once my entire world and my greatest tormentor, Daniel Sharp. I needed to see him with my own two eyes if I would have any chance of really moving forward. Also, I was curious as to how he would react after not seeing me or hearing my voice for two years.

As I turned off the ignition and the old engine let out a screeching wine, I broke into cold sweats as nervousness racked my body. Maybe he did still have a power over me, maybe he always would, or perhaps it was just coming back to this house where all the best things in my life had happened and some of the worst as well. Whatever the cause of my nervousness was, I intended to face it head on.

Trying to motivate myself I spoke aloud, "Okay Caitlyn. It's not such a big deal is it? I'm back. I have my reasons. That's all there is to it. Stop being a ninny and get your ass in gear." The pep talk did not work. I just sat there, my hands on the keys still dangling from the ignition. I was torn between facing the reason I came here and bolting.

Frustrated, I slammed my head into the headrest and yelled, "Argh! He's just a guy! Get the fuck over it already!" Determined, I pulled the keys out of the ignition, jumped out of the drivers seat and slammed the door behind me. I held my head high as I walked up the driveway to the front door. As I walked I remembered that strange day two weeks ago, which precipitated this unplanned trip. That day started like any other and would have been unremarkable, except for how it ended. It all came back like a wave crashing into my new life. The riptide of which dragged the painful memories I had hoped long ago to have buried into the sea.

Two Weeks Ago

"Caitlyn, there's someone out front who wants to see you."

As I was returning from my lunch break, my friend, co-worker, and roommate Tabby informed me I had a guest. We both worked as part-time receptionists at the busy campus health center. As I stood there looking confused she raised her pretty blond eyebrow trying to understand why I wasn't moving.

Smiling she responded, "Earth to Caitlyn. Hello? Are you in there?"

I shook my head, for the life of me I couldn't figure out who would be coming to see me. Other than my other roommate, Samantha, no one else would have a reason to come see me at work. Over the last two years I have dated numerous guys, none of which have made it to a second date, so there was no guy in my life. "Sorry, Tabby. Do you mind covering for me?"

Tabby was a perpetually cheerful person. Often times she took it as a personal mission to drag me kicking and screaming out of whatever crappy mood I would find myself in. She was my best friend, well one of them. Samantha was the other. We were a pretty tight group.

Tabby grinned, "Yeah no problem. Calls are kinda slow anyway. Don't worry about it. Take your time."

Nodding I turned to leave. I was brought up short. I was so lost in my own musings I neglected to ask her for any details. "Tabby, did this person give you a name or a reason they wanted to see me?"

Tabby furrowed her brow, attempting to remember, "No, no she didn't actually."

She?

"What did she look like?"

Tabby's eyes lit up as she started to describe the surprise visitor. "She had gorgeous eyes, and long black hair, I think she was like Spanish or something, but I don't know for sure. Anyway she was kinda hot, if I swung that way I would definitely go there."

I knew I had to stop her from rambling on before she embarrassed herself. Tabby had a knack for over-sharing. "Okay Tabby, that's good. I'll go see what she wants. Thanks!"

"No probs!" I heard her chirp behind me as I rounded a corner for the front entrance.

Who could that be? None of my teachers fit that description, and my counselor is Spanish but you would hardly describe her as 'hot'. Whatever, I'll find out soon.

As I approached the front entrance I saw two male underclassmen walking into the health center. They didn't even bother to hide their perverted stares as they checked me out. Both of them sneered and I knew they where thinking of doing dirty things to me in their childish minds. I sighed.

Boys, boys, boys. The least they could have done was hold the door open.

Edging my way past them into the cool spring breeze. I had to squint my eyes against the glare of the bright sunlight. I looked around the entrance but it was filled with people. Some guys and girls were skateboarding on the high curve in front of the building. A couple of doctors were sitting on a bench eating lunch and watching the goings on around them. A woman was on a cell phone with her back to me. Two construction workers were taking a break from working on the new parking structure a few blocks away. There was a street performer playing a violin, she drew a small crowd of onlookers, some of whom threw dollars or change into her case. I figured I would sit down and whoever was looking for me would show up.

As my eyes adjusted I noticed the woman on the cell phone seemed tan, from behind she was clearly in great shape. Her ass was fantastic, stretching out her red pencil skirt. I figured I would take a chance.

As I approached her from behind she was just disconnecting her call and putting her slim smartphone into her Louis Vuitton clutch.

Wow, I couldn't afford a purse like that in a million years. Okay so she has money, I don't know anyone like this.

Standing behind her I became more and more unsure who this person was. I nervously cleared my throat.

"Ex--excuse me. Were you here looking for me?"

As she turned around, her jet-black hair flipped perfectly over her toned shoulder. It was the type of move you would see a model perform for the camera. However, she did it as if it came second nature and she was not trying to impress anyone. Her back was to the sun, obscuring its brightness. I couldn't have been more shocked by the person standing in front of me if purple golems dug themselves out of the concrete right in front of me.

Not Spanish, Tabby. Cuban.

Marcy smiled at me. It was a warm smile. I just stood there with my mouth hanging open trying to comprehend why she was there.

Her honey voice disrupted my contemplations, "Buenos dias, Caitlyn." She moved in to hug me.

I took an involuntary step back.

She noticed and withdrew the gesture, but still she smiled warmly and her eyes still shone with affection. I suddenly wanted to rip those pretty brown eyes from that flawless face of hers and shove them down her pretty throat.

"What are you doing here?"

She smiled even wider, making me want to punch her even more. "I'm here to see you. Or did your partner not tell you that?"

I was shaking, "No she told me that someone was here, that's why I came out. Why didn't you leave your name? What game are you playing Marcy?" My voice was slowly, yet steadily getting louder. I was seething with anger and intense hatred against this bitch.

Raising her well-manicured eyebrow, "And if I had left my name, would you have come to see me Caitlyn?"

Before I could think of a response I blurted out, "Well no, not at all."

Crap!

"I-I mean maybe, I don't know. You should have at least left you name though."

Marcy smiled, "You know neither of you are good liars. But don't let it bother you, for there is no shame in that. As a matter of fact I think it is a good trait to have. Both you and Dan are alike in that regard."

Dan? Oh shit!

My eyes nearly came out of their sockets at the mention of my stepdad, who I hadn't seen in almost two years. "Is he…is Dan here?" I said as I started to survey the surroundings.

Touching my arm slightly to get my attention focused on her she responded, "No, Caitlyn. He is not here. He doesn't know I am here for that matter. I am attending a conference this weekend a couple of counties over and thought I should come and see you."

Thank god, I don't know what I would have done if he was there.

I hated feeling grateful to Marcy, but I did in that moment. Of course I still despised her, so going back to my original problem.

"So why did you want to see me?" I said while crossing my arms across my chest. I wanted to make a barrier between us.

"I want you to come home." I expected a long exaggerated excuse about coming to see me. But instead she said it as if it were the most normal request in the world. I looked at her in disbelief. But her eyes did not waver. She was telling the truth.

"This is my home, ma'am. You shouldn't have wasted my time with this nonsense. Goodbye." I turned to go but she placed one hand on my shoulder. I knew she felt me trembling, I hated that she knew how upset I was.

She pleaded, "Caitlyn, at least have dinner with me tonight. Please, you can leave at any time, I promise I won't try to pressure into doing anything you don't want to."

Too late, I already had to see your fucking face!

"Please, just dinner. If you still don't want to come home then I give you my word I will never bother you again. I swear."

Even though I detested this woman, one thing I did admire about her was that she was a woman of her word. I knew from stories Dan told me and from my own experience that no matter how small or large the issue is, if she says she will do it, she does it.

Without turning to look at her I responded, more coldly than I intended, ��Doyle's Oasis, on Manchester. 7 o'clock." Then I stalked off.

~

"I still can't believe you didn't at least tell me! What the hell Sam?" I was getting dressed while Samantha and Tabby lay across my bed. Sam was her usual aloof self, and Tabby was laying there in wide-eyed astonishment as I stomped across my room getting ready. They both knew I was pissed.

"Look Caitlyn, she came by the house. She said it was a delicate family matter. I didn't ask and she didn't tell."

"Maybe you should have asked at least one or two questions Sam!" I was furious. "The least you could have done was text me to let me know!"

"Umm I did text you. Check your phone."

I stumped to my closet and snatched open my peach purse. My phone was nowhere in sight.

"Umm, here it is." I heard Tabby say hesitantly. "Its on your nightstand."

I forgot my phone at home again. Great!

I snatched up my phone and went to my messages. Sure enough there were two messages from Sam. Deflated I turned sheepishly towards Sam.

"Sorry Sam."

She just shrugged her shoulders, "No worries, Caitlyn." She got up and gave me a hug. Tabby followed suit.

"I'm really sorry guys. None of this is your fault. I shouldn't be taking it out on you."

Tabby looked back and forth between Sam and me, I knew what she was trying to decide. She knew Sam would never ask me for details, but she was dying to know why I was so upset. We told each other everything; therefore, she was surprised that she didn't know anything about this situation.

Unfortunately for Tabby, Sam beat her to it. "Caitlyn, you have the right to your own privacy. If you wanted us to know what was going on you would have filled us in a long time ago. Don't worry about it, just go do what you have to, we'll be here."

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Tabby began to pout, and I thought it was adorable. I laughed and held both of them tighter.

When I was dressed and ready to go I looked at both of them, they both resumed their previous posts on my bed. "Guys, listen. It's about Marcy. There are some things I haven't told you."

Tabby bolted up onto her knees her attention completely on me. Sam placed her hands behind her head and lied back. She knew this was going to be one hell of a story. "You see...it's about a guy named Dan—Daniel…"

As I explained the entire situation between Dan, Marcy, my mom, and I, Tabby's jaw practically hit the floor and even Sam was sitting-up straight with her eyes bugging out of her head.

I didn't know what I expected them to say or do. By the time I was finished we all just sat there, silent as the minutes ticked by.

Tabby started, "So Dan, he is your stepfather, and he is the guy you're in love with."

"That's right. Well I don't know if I'm still in love with him or not. But he was a big deal in my life."

"I'll say", Tabby muttered. "So you slept with your stepdad and then he left you for this other lady. And now this lady is here to collect you?"

"Yeah, that about sums it up I guess."

"Wow."

"Yeah, wow."

Sam finally seemed to regain the ability for speech and chimed in. "So you fucked your stepdad?"

"Yeah Sam, didn't you hear her story?" Tabby was agitated.

"Yeah, I heard her. But still." Turning to face me directly she continued, "So you fucked your stepdad?"

"Yeah." I didn't know where she was going with this.

"Wow, that's kinky!" She exclaimed, impressed.

"Eww! Gross!" Tabby interjected.

"Wait, what?" Now it was my turn to lose the ability for speech.

"Well come on Caitlyn, it's not everyday that you hear about some girl boning her own stepfather. You even dated guys who resembled him and brought that one guy home just to piss him off. Wow girl you are fucking kinky!" Then Sam burst into laughter.

Both Tabby and I stared at her as if she had just grown a second head.

"But Sam, don't you think what she did was, you know, wrong?"

Wiping tears from her eyes, Sam regarded Tabby. "No, they were both adults, and its not like he forced her, as a matter of fact, she's the one that coerced him." I felt my face blush.

"Yeah but still, he's her stepdad."

"Yeah? So?"

"So…" Tabby face became red with embarrassment. "He still took advantage of her, and he shouldn't have led her on. Who's to say he didn't plan this all out from the beginning. You know like some pervert?"

Wrapping her arm around Tabby, Sam pulled Tabby on top of her. "Admit it, you're just jealous that he got to have sex with Caitlyn." She started to run her hands up and down Tabby' side. Then she moved her hands to Tabby's ass and cupped her little round cheeks. Tabby squealed. I knew she loved the attention.

Tabby started to breathe heavily, Sam started to kiss down her neck and down her chest. I desperately wanted to join in, they both looked delectable.

"No, Sam! That's…that's not true. I just want her to be safe." Sam had rolled her onto her back and now had Tabby's skirt bunched up around her navel. Sam was pulling Tabby's panties down. I started to get wet, knowing this could only end one way.

Teasing Tabby, Sam started to nibble and kiss her inner thighs. Tabby was moaning and gyrating her hips trying to force Sam's mouth onto her wet sex.

"Admit it Tabby." Sam said while slowly circling Tabby' clit with her thumb. "Admit you're just jealous. Tell the truth and I might eat your little box."

Tabby had begun to sweat, I watched these two beautiful women, mesmerized by the scene in front of me. We had done this periodically over the few years we have known each other. None of use would characterize ourselves as lesbian, and we were the only girls each of us has ever slept with. We just found each other attractive and our closeness kept the bonds of friendship tight. God how I wanted to jump on the bed and sit on Tabby' pretty tanned face, or taste Sam's sweet ebony nectar. But I didn't have the time.

Time didn't seem to matter to these two, Sam's dark ebony skin was holding down Tabby's tanned skin. Heaving Tabby finally responded, "Yes! Okay! Yes! I don't want some smelly old guy laying a finger on Caitlyn! She is ours and I hate that someone else got to her! Now please stop teasing me and eat my fucking pussy!"

Sam just smiled, "As you wish." Then she dove in, causing Tabby to scream and arch her back off the bed.

As much as I wanted to stay I knew I had to go or I would be late. So I quietly got up, tiptoed across the carpet and quietly shut the door. Leaving these sexy women to a pleasure I desperately desired.

"I'm sorry I'm late." I said as I pulled up a chair across from Marcy. Truth-be-told I sat in my car for ten minutes trying to decide if I would go in or not.

"That is not a problem at all, Caitlyn. I am just glad you came. I began to believe you wouldn't show up."

You have no idea lady.

Getting right down to it, "So what do you want from me?" I didn't want to spend any more time with her than was absolutely necessary.

Taking a sip from her white wine Marcy looked at me with her unwavering eyes. "I want you to come home, Caitlyn."

Again with this. Does she even know why I left in the first place?

"Caitlyn, it has been two years since Dan has seen you or even heard your voice. He is worried about you, so am I." She reached across the table to grasp my hand. I pulled back.

She looked saddened but I didn't care. "Marcy, look I get that you're trying to play family peacemaker and everything. But I have no reason to want to see him or you." With that I stood up to leave.

"So does that mean you are no longer in love with him?"

The air went out of the room; I found myself flopping back into my seat.

Does she know? But how?

"I—I don't know what you're talking about ma'am."

Leaning across the table she said, quieter this time, "Oh yes you do Caitlyn. As I said earlier neither one of you are great at lying. I know that you loved him, and that you probably still do. But heartbreak is no reason to treat your father this way."

"Stepfather!" I knew I sounded petulant but I just didn't care.

"Fine stepfather. He needs to see you Caitlyn. And I think you need to see him, I can tell it's killing both of you."

I suddenly became furious, I wanted to launch myself over the table and bash her upside the head with her wine glass.

Too bad we're in public.

"What would you know about heartbreak ma'am?" My tone was cold and flat. I challenged, "You are the one that ruined our home. We were perfectly fine until you came around like a horny little slut to seduce my stepdad. You took him from me! You have no right to tell me anything about heartbreak, you conniving bitch!"

I had hoped she would get angry and come at me. And I was ready for it. I had my hand clenched to the wine bottle, daring her to strike.

Instead she just sighed and looked out at her unclasped hands. She sat this way for more than a minute. Not moving, not talking. My anger quickly drained out of me, leaving an empty feeling. Finally she spoke.

"My ex-husband, Steve, left me because I am unable to have children. He left me for a woman half my age, she was an intern at his company." She looked up at me, her eyes haunted. I was taken aback.

"I—I had no idea, Marcy. I'm so sorry." At the time I didn't know if I was sorry because her marriage failed, because she couldn't have children, or because she seemed devastated by being forced to admit that to me. I started to see how childish I had been acting towards her and towards my stepfather. I was embarrassed for myself.

She waved her hand as if she were plucking my words from the air and sat them down. "No one does. Except, you, Dan, Steve and his little jezebel. Caitlyn, the point is that I know what is it like to live with a broken heart. Which is why I came to see you." This time when she reached her hand across the table to grab onto mine, I did not pull away. I let her warm hand become my anchor while she continued. "I want you to know that I love Dan, I always have. Things between us didn't work out when we were younger. But he has always been the love of my life. I know this isn't easy for you to hear. But I want to say it to your face, duplicity is not something I enjoy."

She looked away, it seemed as if she was deciding something. I sat there waiting for the other shoe to drop. Instead she dropped a damn anvil.

Turning back to me she softly spoke, "I know Caitlyn. I know about you and Dan. He told me everything."

I started to sweat. I tried to pull my hand back and think of an excuse. She squeezed down harder, not hard enough to hurt but hard enough to let me know I couldn't run away.

"Don't misunderstand Caitlyn. I am not mad at you or Dan about what happened. You both have your reasons, and that is good enough for me. We have all done things we regret or that were powered by our libidos and not our rationale. The fact is that you two were two consenting adults and I don't own Dan. Besides, I knew how you felt from one look at you the night…the night you caught Dan and I on the couch."

I didn't know what to say to her. My brain stopped working. I think I actually felt the gears come to a screeching halt.

She continued, "Caitlyn, I love Dan. And the fact is, he loves me too. I think you know this."

I nodded my head.

"Do you know that we are getting married in a few weeks?"

Again I nodded. I got the engagement party invitation by email from Dan. I never responded.

This time she came close enough so I could smell the wine on her breath. Her honey sweet voice mixed with the sweet wine was intoxicating, I began to feel what little remained of my will, shatter.

"He needs to see you Caitlyn. We cannot start our lives together when he is holding onto the past--onto you so powerfully. I know that he still loves you, just as I know that you still love him."

At this I interrupted, "No, Marcy. I don't…I don't love him. That is…I don't know. I just…I just don't know."

She released my hand and intimately caressed my face. My vulnerability in that moment almost caused me to kiss her, and if she leaned forward to kiss me I don't think I would've resisted.

Placing a finger across my lips Marcy continued, "Shush hija. You don't have to make excuses or come up with a story. You feel how you feel. If you didn't love him you would have come home a long time ago. So I am asking you now, come home."

Her stare was unguarded and honest. There was no guile, she was really just trying to repair my broken makeshift family, and all I have ever thought was that she was a harlot and a thief.

Okay so Marcy is one hell of a woman. What does that even make me? Just some bratty child throwing a years long temper tantrum I suppose.

Defeated, I knew I didn't stand a chance against a woman like her. I don't even know if there are any more women like her or if she shattered the mold. "Okay Marcy. I'll come home. But it won't be for a couple of weeks, I need to put the request in for time off and it will have to be after the semester ends. I have a week off between the Spring and Summer semesters so I will stay home for that week.

Marcy beamed, I found myself smiling as well.

Home, huh? It has been a while. I wonder what the place looks like now.

Pouring myself a cup of wine I looked back at Marcy. Curious I asked, "So what exactly did he tell you?"

She leaned over and winked conspiratorially, "Just between us girls?"

I smiled genuinely, "Yeah, just between us girls." Damn, I was starting to really like Marcy.

She leaned back and topped off her own wine. Taking a sip, she looked left then right then leaned across the table. "Well he started off telling me how he found your pink panties in the laundry room."

I chuckled to myself at the memory of how I coerced him into fucking me the day I left for school.

Marcy and I talked the whole night. We shared a bottle of wine and ate great food. She came back to my apartment and met Tabby and Sam. I noticed both of them checking her out, pupils dilated, as we all sat in the living room and chatted throughout the night. We drank wine and got to know each other. When Marcy had to leave the next morning I was almost in tears.

One look at me, and Marcy chuckled, "What is this hija? Crying already? Don't worry you'll be home soon enough. Then we can talk more and will have much more time to spend together."

Then Tabby and Sam both came to stand on either side of me to see Marcy off. She had had a large affect on all of us in a very short amount of time. I don't know why I didn't see what kind of person she was earlier.

Marcy must have read my thoughts because she squared her shoulders and said, "Caitlyn, don't feel bad. You have obviously matured a great deal within these last years, otherwise you would not have agreed to meet me or welcomed me into your home to meet your beautiful roommates." I could feel Sam and Tabby grinning; I knew my face mirrored the same idiotic grin.

Matured huh? Well I sure hope so.

"Girls?" She was speaking to Tabby and Sam. "The wedding is the first weekend in June, make sure both of you come along."

"Yes ma��am." They replied in harmony. Marcy gave each one a hug and a kiss on the cheek. By Tabby's reaction I knew the small act caused her to cream a little. I laughed to myself.

"I'll see you soon sweetie." She kissed me on both cheeks and then turned to leave.

"Sure thing Marcy." As she walked out of the door I stopped her and asked, "Marcy, are you going to tell Dan?"

She seemed to think about this for a moment before responding. "No, I think I will leave that up to your discretion sweetie." Smiling she turned to leave, this time I didn't stop her.

My discretion huh? Well I have always wanted to make a dramatic entrance.

That was all two weeks ago. Now I am here and I still don't know if it was the right decision. But what the hell, I might as well get it over with. Unlocking the front door I entered the foyer. The first thing I noticed was the smell. Before there was a slight masculine odor, which came from the home being lived in by a man for so long. Now it smelled fresh, like clean sheets and fallen leaves. I found the transformation more comforting than distracting. As I walked into the living room I noticed he replaced the old furniture. The new leather set was at once simple and beautiful. I continued to explore the rest of the home. I ran up to my room to see what Dan had done with it. As I opened the door I was surprised, it was just the same as I had left it two years ago. The sheets seemed new, but other than that it was the same room. I smiled.

Well at least he didn't replace my room with some ridiculous theater room.

I went around the rest of the home. As I passed Dan's room I quickly peeked inside. A woman's presence was evident. There were flowers on the nightstand, pictures on the walls and a new oak armoire in the corner. I didn't want to stay in his room for too long so I continued to explore. Other than some minor feminine touches the house remained the same. Finally I descended the stairs and entered the kitchen. The previously remodeled kitchen had the least amount of changes applied. The only difference was an addition of an under-island wine cooler and cards on the fridge.

As I approached the fridge I noticed my handiwork. All of the cards that were spattered along the fridge were the birthday and holiday cards I sent back to Dan, so at the very least he knew I was alive. He had kept them all and put them on display.

I'm so selfish.

I heard the sound of something light drop behind me. I quickly turned around, suddenly feeling like I was snooping around a home that was not mine.

I was greeted by a bright and warm smile below two warm almond eyes.

Damn it! She is gorgeous!

Quickly Marcy stepped into the room and engulfed me in an embrace. "Welcome home, Caitlyn. Welcome home."

I laughed and returned her hug with one of my own. It felt good to be wrapped in her arms. "Thank you for everything Marcy. The house looks great." I kissed her on the cheek and she pulled back with a slightly shocked but pleased expression on her face.

I can't believe I wasted so much time hating this woman. She is simply amazing.

Now it was Marcy's turn to laugh. Releasing me she turned and grabbed two glasses of wine from the cupboard. "To celebrate your return home, how about a glass of Pinot?" I laughed in affirmation and reached into the new wine cooler and grabbed the unopened bottle. We drank and talked like old friends. It had been a long time since I felt so at home--at home.

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