One Step Closer to Heaven Ch. 02
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The first phase of the Hanover clan Thanksgiving occurred not at George’s apartment, but Jerry and Janey’s ‘country estate.’ This made sense, even to George. Gerry and Janey had bought the place for a song, then continuously upgraded it over the years. Barns, sheds, additions, balconies, a larger, sunnier kitchen… the spread was nearly unrecognizable compared with the modest home they’d originally purchased. Mom and Dad Hanover, more commonly referred to as Grandma and Grandpa, were the default occupants of the single, small guest bedroom. Others would bed down in more public but equally comfortable digs. This was a house with three couches, four bathrooms, five televisions including a 59-inch behemoth in the ‘media room’ with surround sound speakers and reclining sectional seating. No one would feel crowded.
By nine o clock Wednesday evening, the clan had gathered with the sole exception of George, who declared a need for last minute preparations and promised to be Johnny-on-the-spot Thanksgiving day to make up for it. Grandpa retired early, claiming fatigue from the long drive west. Niles, flushed with success as an environmental management consultant, quickly holed up in Jerry’s office to work on his most recent contract. Jerry moved into the master bedroom to relax and watch some tv while waiting for sleep. With the roosters safely out of the way, the hens chattered and clucked.
Or so it seemed to the roosters.
“Okay, everyone is here, I’m calling this meeting to order,” Janey announced. Even wearing jeans and a plain white t-shirt, she projected confidence and power. Her hair and makeup still reflected her morning grooming for work. Shewas perched on a chair at one end of the dining room table, one leg tucked under, leaning forward on her elbows and smiling at the women gathered there.
Opposite Janey sat Grandma Hanover. A woman for whom the word ‘petite’ had been coined, she remained attractive in a mature way, with short, carefully styled, thoroughly silver hair and a minimum of makeup. Along the side from Janey’s right sat tall, slender Leah, her pale skin livened with a light dusting of freckles, auburn hair nicely complimenting dark green eyes. Next to Leah was Marie, shorter, solidly built, with dark hair, sparkling brown eyes, a mouth shaped for easy laughter and a wry wit to make it happen. Directly across from Leah was Kay, the oldest sister, with Marie’s dark coloring, Leah’s slender shape, and Grandma’s petite stature. And finally, next to Kay and across from Marie, sat Janey’s eighteen year old daughter Heather, an interesting cross of Jerry’s features, Janey’s coloring, and all the confidence, energy, and insecurity of a teenage girl.
Janey scanned the women gathered there. “All the arrangements are complete, just as we’ve discussed,” she stated. “Several of the board members and the lead leasing agent are clients of ours, so they were easy to talk to and totally sympathetic with our needs.” She stopped talking and grinned widely. “There will be no guest passes available for the Hanover clan this Thanksgiving.”
“Woohoo!” Heather cheered.
“Right on!” Marie affirmed.
“Yes, we RULE!” Leah declared, raising the Fist of Sisterhood high in the air.
Janey nodded, accepting their acclamations, then looked down the table to Grandma. She was still concerned. This was far, far outside anything they would have expected her to acquiesce to. Janey wanted to make sure her elderly church pianist in-law wasn’t going to back out at the last moment and ruin the holiday. “Last chance to back out, Granny,” she announced. “How about it? Are you gonna go for it?” All eyes turned to Grandma Hanover. She seemed uncomfortable with the attention.
“Well, I’m not sure why I let Kay and Leah talk me into this, but I don’t want to be the party pooper and spoil everyone’s holiday. I do think you girls are pushing it a bit farther than it needs to go. I mean, if the building says the men have to be naked, then I guess the men will have to be naked.” She didn’t seem terribly put out at being surrounded by naked men for Thanksgiving. “But,” she added, “the building rules don’t say anything about all this other stuff.”
“Oh, there isn’t all that much other stuff,” Kay argued, trying hard to suppress her own grin.
“Not much at all, really,” Marie agreed with vigorous nodding of her head.
“You know what I mean,” Grandma argued right back. “But I already said I’d go along with it. I just don’t want to actually DO it.”
“We all agreed to leave your name out of the drawing,” Janey said.
“Yes, and we all want you to know how much we appreciate that you’re here with us and not hiding somewhere reading a book or something,” Leah added. “It’s much nicer when everyone can be here and enjoy it.”
“Hummph! I don’t know how much I’ll enjoy it!” Grandma said with a mock-disgusted look.
“Hey, if you don’t even enjoy sitting and watching this without actively participating, I’ll need to check your pulse and call the undertaker!” Janey ataşehir escort bayan declared to universal chuckling. “So,” she continued on, “we all know how it’s going to work, right? We’ll have two piles of names, one for women, one for men. We draw a woman’s name, we draw a man’s name. They’re a team. No whining, right?” Everyone was silent for a moment. Then Kay cleared her throat.
“There are some problems, I think,” Kay said. “For instance, what if the two names you draw are for a married couple? Is there going to be a rule that no one can draw her husband’s name?”
“Yeah, and what about the fact that there are more women than men? What happens when the men’s pile is empty and there are still names in the men’s pile?” Heather asked. Her plump cheeks were flushed with teenaged excitement at what they were contemplating. This was the kind of party she and her girlfriends had barely dared fantasize about during slumber parties and camping trips.
“Well, I figured we’d just have to go with the names that get drawn,” Janey answered. “That way there’s no favorites. Everyone has an equal chance to participate.”
“Yeah, except that two of us won’t get to participate at all!” Marie complained. “That’s hardly fair.”
“How do you want to deal with it then?” Janey asked.
“Maybe we can negotiate,” Leah suggested. Janey smiled. Negotiating deals to her own advantage was a Janey specialty. “And it’s not really six to four here, because we already know Grandma is only going to watch.”
“I’m not sure how the negotiating would work, but I’m willing to try it,” Janey said. “All in favor?” Nods and general signs of assent met her eyes from all around the table. Only Heather sat still, looking slightly confused, her blue eyes focused on the table top.
“I can start the ball rolling,” Leah spoke up.
“Don’t you mean, ‘balls?'” Marie interjected.
“I don’t think those balls roll,” Kay commented.
“I plan to roll some!” Janey declared to open laughter. “Okay, Leah, what did you have in mind?”
“I know Niles, and I know he’s going to be uncomfortable with this,” Leah said. “And I know that he can be very stubborn if his limits are being pushed. So I think it will probably work better if we give Niles to me instead of doing the random drawing with him. If it’s anyone but me, I think he’ll probably cut and run.”
“We could knock him down and sit on him,” Marie suggested.
“I get his face!” Kay claimed.
“Oh my God!” Heather expostulated in response to Kay’s words, raising a manicured hand to her mouth. Janey was shaking her head.
“We can’t hold him down, that would ruin the measurement,” she pointed out. “We’ll pretty much need their cooperation. So maybe Leah is right, maybe we should give her Niles just to keep things running smoothly. Any objections?” All the women were silent for a moment. “Carried,” Janey declared. “Anyone else want to negotiate?”
“If we get to choose, then I’m going to choose George,” Kay declared. “I’ve wanted to get my hands on him again ever since Mom made us stop playing doctor!” Eyes that had been settling on Kay shifted suddenly down the table to Grandma Hanover, sitting demurely in her armchair.
“Why did you make them stop?” Janey asked.
Grandma shrugged. “I thought it was bad for them,” she said. “In those days everybody said it was. I was just trying to do the right thing.”
“Looks to me like you just caused a lot of pent up curiosity,” Janey observed.
“Damn straight!” Kay said flatly.
“Hey,” Marie interjected. “Since there are more women than men in the pile, someone is either going to have to double up or go without.” The others fell silent.
“Do you have a preference?” Janey asked.
“Yes, as a matter of fact I do,” Marie said. “When we were teenagers and we went on a summer vacation trip once, George fell asleep on an air mattress floating on a lake, and got his legs horribly sunburned. Remember that?” she asked, turning to her mother.
“I remember very well,” the older woman said. “His legs were terribly sunburned, but he had to sit on those vinyl seats for hundreds of miles on the trip home. He was in agony. I felt so sorry for him but there wasn’t anything I could think of to make it better.”
“Well he thought up something,” Marie said. “A couple days later when it was just him and I in the house, he walked into my bedroom bare-ass naked, handed me a tube of moisturizer, and asked me to rub it onto his legs for him.”
“Oh my God!” Heather expostulated again in what was quickly becoming her signature expression for this holiday. This time she covered her mouth with both hands, her eyes wide in disbelief. Hearing that her old, fuddy-duddy aunts and uncles were once wild teens themselves, and the hijinks some of them had pulled, was a real eye-opener for her.
“So did you?” Kay asked.
“Damn straight I did!” Marie declared. “I was uncomfortable as hell, I think I was only thirteen at the time, but I was escort kadıköy also fascinated with those things hanging there between his legs.”
“Oh my God, you actually rubbed skin cream onto him while he was standing there naked?” Heather asked.
“Yes. I asked him why he didn’t put some clothes on, and he said because it hurt too much,” Marie explained. “But I kind of meekly did as he asked. When I finished with his legs, I told him that was all. He asked if I was sure, and I said ‘yes.’ And he went back to his room.”
“I never knew about any of that,” Grandma said quietly from her end of the table.
“Well of course not, Mom, do you think I would actually tell you?” Marie said.
“Well, I hope you would tell someone if your brother was sexually abusing you!” Gandma said.
“It was hardly sexual abuse!” Marie argued. “He asked me to do something, and I did it. There was no one there forcing me. No one had me nailed to the floor!”
“But…” Mrs. Hanover began.
“Mom, it was not abuse. In fact, I think it was the first time a guy ever got me wet!”
“Oh my God!” Heather whispered. Everyone else sat with mouths open but voices silent until Janey cleared her throat.
“So, uh, what’s your preference?” she asked.
“I want to help Kay with George,” Marie said. “I want to finish what we started there. I’ll volunteer to be the odd-girl-out and double-team our brother. Is that okay with you?” she asked, looking at Kay. The older sister shrugged.
“I doubt that George is going to complain,” she said.
“Sounds like the little perv started this CFNM thing at an early age,” Janey commented. No one argued. “So, that leaves Grandpa and Jerry,” she continued. “Now I understand Grandpa has some issues because of his surgeries and cancer and all that?” She looked down the table at Mrs. Hanover.
“Yes,” Mom said nodding, “the vascular surgery left him pretty much impotent, and the bladder cancer probably finished the job. He’s been through a very rough time the last ten years, and it’s all left its mark.” Heather started to giggle but Janey’s instant glare stopped her short.
“There are some things you never, ever laugh about,” Janey lectured sternly. “You never tease a man about his size or his performance or his ability to get hard or not,” she said.
“Mom, I’m not teasing Grandpa. He’s not even here,” Heather said. “And even you laugh about it when Dad’s not around.”
“Good point,” Leah stepped in. Janey’s expression softened.
“Just make sure you remember tomorrow, no giggling young lady!” Janey ordered. Heather nodded still smiling. She secretly suspected there would be a ton of giggling during the Thanksgiving fesitivities, and it woulnd’t all be her. Not by a long shot.
“Any way, the point is,” Janey resumed, “Grandpa has some medical issues that will affect the procedure.” Smiles sprouted around the table at her use of medical terminology to label the activities they had planned. ‘Procedure’ was hardly the term that first came to mind for most of them. Janey continued. ” I don’t think matching him with someone as inexperienced as Heather would be a good idea. The other three adults here are already assigned to someone else, and since I’m a nurse, medical issues are my specialty. So, I’ll take Grandpa. Any objections?”
“None here,” Marie said. “I think it’s a great idea. It could be pretty embarassing for him otherwise.” They all turned at the sound of a grunt from the end of the table. Mrs. Hanover was looking at them with an indescribably odd expression, combining elements of disapproval, curiosity, humor, disgust, impatience, and perhaps several less identifiable reactions.
“Do any of you imagine for a moment that this could be anything other than embarassing for him?” she asked. “From start to finish? Every man at dinner tomorrow is going to be terribly embarassed the entire time, and when we start the matchups, it’s just going to get worse.”
“Do you have a problem with that?” Leah asked.
Mom thought for a moment, then shook her head. “No,” she said decidedly. “I don’t have any problem at all. After some of the things he’s put me through over the years, this is the least he deserves.”
“Would you like to do the honors with him instead?” Janey asked.
“No, of course not,” Grandma said. “I think you should do it. Just make it good.” Heads nodded around the table. Everything seemed settled until Heather spoke up.
“Mom?” She said plaintively. “Who am I going to get?”
“Huh?” Janey looked at her daughter absentmindedly. “Oh, well, Leah has Niles, Kay and Marie are taking George, I have Grandpa, Grandma is an observer only, so I guess the only one left for you is Daddy.”
“What?” Heather shrieked. “Oh my God, you’re going to match me with my own Dad? I can’t do that!”
“I don’t understand why not.” Janey responded. “I’m matched with your Grandpa, Kay and Marie are matched with their brother, what’s so odd about matching you and your Dad?”
“Mom, bostancı escort that’s sick!” Heather complained loudly. “How can you ask me to do that?”
“I think it’s perfect,” Kay said. Leah and Marie quickly agreed. “When we were kids, Jerry was always a little asshole lording it over us. Making him submit like this to his own daughter is a great way to finally cut him down to size. When this is all over, he’ll know where the power really is.”
“Yeah, and when it’s all really over, he’s going to be so mad at me he’ll cut off my college money and kick me out of the house,” Heather wailed.
“Not if he knows what’s good for him,” Janey answered. “He’ll learn a good lesson here, and you’re the perfect woman to teach it to him. In fact, I think we should plan some special treatment for anyone who causes trouble.” She looked to the other women for support, and found it in their faces.
Thanskgiving morning dawned clear and cool, the kind of day that makes short-term visitors sell their east coast homes and move the the Northwest. Morning shadows lay long and dim across brilliantly green pastures and darkly wooded hills. Pockets of mist still clung to low lying fields, while in the high distance small planes droned about the Hillsboro airport as private pilots practised ‘touch and go’ landings. When George arrived, the rest of the clan was scattered about the kitchen, dining room and living room, sipping coffee and juice and munching pastries.
“Hidy-Ho neighborly neighbors!” George announced as he let himself in from the surrounding deck. He navigated a wiggly course from kitchen through dining room to the living room, where chairs were still available. “I can’t believe you weak sisters are eating already. Couldn’t even wait for dinner? That’s the trouble with young people today, no self discipline.”
“Sounds to me like you have a lot of faith in that dinner,” Jerry retorted around a mouthful of Krispy Kreme. “You’re building up expectations here, I hope we’re not disappointed.”
“Since we’ve all agreed to help with the cooking, if there’s anything wrong there’ll be plenty of people to spread the blame among,” Niles chipped in.
“Well who am I to spoil a good party?” George quipped, gathering coffee and donut as he passed the dining room table. “Everything’s ready back at the pad.” He looked directly at Janey. “You’ve made all the necessary arrangements, right?” he asked.
“Absolutely,” Janey confirmed, focusing carefully on her coffee cup as she returned it to the saucer before her. She looked up at George, then quickly scanned the room exchanging glances with the women as she continued. “Leilani’s grandparents are clients, and several of the directors in your building also have relatives in our care, so there was no problem at all. Everything’s set up just the way we want it.”
George noticed she hadn’t said “just the way you asked,” but decided to let it go. Janey was nothing if not strong minded. He was sure whatever arrangements she’d made were exactly the way she wanted, and it was too late now to try to force changes without a major upset of the proverbial apple cart. He would have to trust her and leave it at that. True, her actions when she’d visited his apartment had been a short step shy of appalling, bringing her character into a decidedly different light. True, she’d seemed to take peculiar pleasure in stroking him to an aching erection, then leading him out the door without release so that everyone they passed smiled or openly laughed at his discomfort. But this wasn’t just him now; anything she did from here on out would necessarily involve the entire family. That, he felt, was a significant safety cushion.
Georged tried to relax into his efforts at self-reassurance. Unfortunately, his underlying anxiety was growing, steadily if slowly, because he was acutely aware that every passing moment brought him ever closer to the moment when he would be forced to strip to his birthday suit in front of this entire crowd, lead them through the halls of his apartment building, and let them into his home for Thanksgiving dinner. Technically he should remain naked through the entire dinner: cooking, serving, clearing, eating, talking, doing all the things that go with hosting a family holiday dinner. All of it bare-ass naked while all of them remained totally, modestly, traditionally, acceptably, clothed. But as he’d commented to Janey when they discussed it, there were no Clothing Police at Sinclair Towers. Once inside his own apartment, he should be able to wear clothes just like the rest of them, provided no one complained. And really now, who here could possibly complain?
Transportation back to Portland was easily arranged: 6 people in Jerry’s Suburban, with room for chairs, folding tables, and extra food; 4 in George’s car with more food and drinks in the trunk. Even parking was miraculously easy as a spot opened just a block from George’s building. Jerry quickly maneuvered the Suburban into the narrow parallel spot, George pulled into the parking garage and parked in his assigned slot, and everyone debarked. George began leading the group with him back towards the exit, intending to meet up with the others on the sidewalk outside. His passengers, Kay, Marie, and Heather, all balked.
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