The Remainders

By Matthew Arnold Stern All Rights Reserved ©


Chapter Three: Lake Forest

"Did he ever write back, Oliver?”

I shook my head.

Rachel put her arm around my shoulders. She was both firm and soft. Defined and taut deltoids and biceps and silky skin. She exhaled deep.

“We should let her know...”

I sighed. “I don’t know...”

“It has been a month.”

I turned to her. She stood next to my chair, but I didn’t have to look up much to see her face. But packed into her four-foot-eight frame was a powerhouse of strength and energy. She was in the Israeli Army, proficient in Krav Maga, and played every sport they offered in school. She looked younger than 38. Her dark olive skin was smooth, and she only had a few wrinkles around the eyes. She told me she got her youthful skin from her Ethiopian father, who also gave her curly black hair and full lips.

At that moment, those lips pursed tight. They forced another sigh from my lips.

“But Muriel’s about to start her midterms for the quarter...”

“Still, she should know. Maybe she heard from him.”

“They weren’t that close.”

“They’re still brother and sister.”

I nodded, because I knew Rachel didn’t yet understand. David and Moshe were just kids. They still fought over silly things like whose turn it was to use the iPad or that one called the other a “stinky poo-poo butt” when they weren’t saying probably worse things in Hebrew. Rachel never stood for that. I don’t know what she did, but it got them to stop. I knew things would be different when they become teenagers. Like it was for Muriel and Dylan. And my brother and me.

“I can’t write her now. It’s late in Minneapolis.”

“You can write her in the morning.”

One 145-milligram tablet of Fenofibrate for my triglycerides. One 50-milligram tablet of Losartan for high blood pressure. One 81-milligram tablet of low-dosage aspirin for heart health. And one 5-milligram tablet of Cialis for an awful 17-year marriage. Because of that marriage, I used to take other medicines. Because of Rachel, I was able to stop taking them.

I swished around a capful of spearmint mouthwash and spit it out. Then, I put a dab of whitening toothpaste on my Sonicare toothbrush.

Soft and firm arms wrapped around me.

When Rachel and I first started dating, she could barely reach around me. Now, she could reach past her wrists, thanks to her forcing me to go on daily workouts.

But I had to spit out.

“Always the romantic,” she joked.

I turned around in her embrace. She wore one of my old Angels t-shirt as a nightshirt. She had a glint in her eye and a mischievous smile.

“Try to grab me.” She fluttered her eyelids.

“We’ll wake your kids...”

“They can sleep through anything. Come on.” She let go of my torso and took my hand. She led me into the bedroom. I closed the bathroom door behind me. She let go of my hand and dashed to the other side of the bed.

“Hey!” I couldn’t call out too loud for fear of waking the kids.

Rachel didn’t have such a worry. She giggled out loud. “You gotta grab me!”

I chased her to the other side. She scampered over the bed, stirring the comforter. I was about to follow her, but I turned and rushed around the bed towards her. She may be faster, but I could outsmart her! She headed towards me. She froze and started to giggle. Perhaps she outsmarted me, because she knew I would go that way.

I grabbed her by the waist and threw her on the bed. Though she weighed about 90 pounds, there was a time I could barely lift her. And was afraid to. Not because I was afraid of hurting her. She was a soldier, after all. I was afraid of hurting myself. I worried that either my lower back or heart would give out. Since she got me to start working out, I didn’t feel afraid any more. I tossed her on the bed like a doll and pounced on her. Her giggles turned into a deep, body-shaking laugh. She flailed her arms at me in a half-hearted attempt to resist. I grabbed her wrists and forced them on the bed. She squirmed in a mock struggle. That’s when our eyes locked. Her green eyes staring into mine. Her giggles stopped. Her breathing became deeper. My lips pressed against hers. I grasped her wrists tightly, just the way I knew she liked it. I kissed her on the side of neck and then the gap between her clavicles. I let go of her wrists and reached under the Angels shirt. My fingers glided up her defined torso, around breasts that were still firm. I pulled the Angels shirt over her head and flung it across the room. Rachel looked so beautiful without her clothes. Sculpted as if crafted from marble.

She grasped the tops of my sleep pants and briefs together and yanked them down. I was hard. That was a relief. It was difficult at the beginning, especially when I had to put on a condom. I was afraid of losing it and losing her for losing it. After a while, I felt more comfortable, especially when we stopped using condoms. We had been monogamous long enough, and she had been using birth control. It was one less thing to worry about.

I slid off her panties and entered her. She lubricated easily. We both moaned as her vaginal walls pulled away for me. I grabbed her wrists again and forced them deep into the comforter. She struggled this time, her body writhed against mine as I slid up and down her.

I was better about waiting. That was difficult too. The first time we made out, even before we had intercourse, I came in my underwear. That was embarrassing. Fortunately, she didn’t know or chose not to say.

I could hold myself until I knew she was ready enough. Her moans got deeper. She tilted back her head and closed her eyes. It felt so good to let go. My whole body shuddered as every muscle pushed to ejaculate into her. When she climaxed, her body seized before she let out several hard and long moans before letting every part of her body relax.

I washed off in the shower. Rachel had fallen into a deep sleep. I slipped on my briefs and tucked myself into bed.

As I stared into a blissfully sleeping Rachel, I couldn’t believe that I made love to such a beautiful and strong woman. I thought my sex life was over when I split up with Teresa. Actually, it ended long before then. It wasn’t the only reason why we broke up, but it was a factor.

Still, I felt numb for the longest time after our marriage ended, especially since it happened right after Mom’s death. The divorce proceedings were a blur. I knew I was getting screwed over, but I didn’t care how much Teresa took as long as she was out of my life. I figured the kids would be OK with her. She was a good-enough mother, and Steven seemed an upright fellow. Well, for an adulterer at least. Muriel turned out all right. Dylan? I knew he had problems. I agreed with Teresa and Steven that Pacific Military Academy would straighten him out. I guess it didn’t. In many respects, I really didn’t know that much about him, even though he’s my own son. I certainly didn’t know how bad things had gotten until I got that call from Teresa.

Maybe she was right. Tough love was what he needed. He’s an adult, after all. He’s not her responsibility anymore. Or mine. I have a new life now, and possibly a new family with Rachel.

Still, I couldn’t stop worrying about Dylan.

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